Book 2 Chapter 16

Preparing for the ceremony was in a way almost like therapy, allowing Mordred the time to collect his thoughts. In fact it may well have been the most relaxing thing he had been able to do in a long time. It was a sobering thought, and given his tendencies to introspection a fairly damning one. “So, about your armour, the formal one I mean,,,,” Dame Krim let herself trail off, only now aware that she was probably being inappropriate, again. “Yes, what about it?” Mordred welcomed the distraction, lest he allow his mind to wander across darker paths. “Aah! Y yes sorry Sir, it’s just, I know it’s rude but, is it true that it has a fully integrated medical protocol?” Mordred coughed, but only to hide an unwanted chuckle, the odd tendencies of the order of the road, and their sensibilities never failed to lighten his mood. ” It did come with a medical protocol, yes, however I have my own prefered software suite, and installed that instead.” Dame Krim shuddered, terrified by the casual tone in which Knight Commander Damodred had just spoken, the idea of someone battling a protocol, and not only winning, but also supplanting it with an entirely different program. “I should still have its original programing on a drive here somewhere, if you’re interested.” He had meant it as a placating gesture, thinking she found the removal of the orriginal code to be rude or cruel. Instead the figurative olive branch seemed to slap her in the face. ” You did not, delete it?” Her eyes were wide in terror. “Sir, to clarify, you put on the suit, removed the medical protocol, without deleting it, and then you installed your own suite of programming?” The tone of her voice caused Mordred to pause, and look up at her. “No, not exactly, I installed my prefered A.I. after transferring all the orriginal protocols to memory boxes, like the hackbox we used back on the Camelot.” He paused, and took a sip of his now long cold drink. “And yes I needed to wear the suit to do so, as all the controls are on the inside, or code driven, it wasn’t easy, but currently Gwenn34 is running the core functions, much like with my older armours.” A twitch made its way across the female Knight’s face, and it dawned on Mordred that nothing he could say or do would improve the situation, or even save it.
So instead he returned to his ritual preparations, carefully placing the small burlap satchel within his mother’s hands before slowly sealing the coffin. “Either way, that was in the past, now is our present, all went well back then,  and that is the end of it.”  Silence, awkward silence was all that answered his statement. “Dame Krim, you are still in my quarters, perhaps a different subject would make that less awkward.” He carefully sealed the coffin’s airtight edges before engaging its stasis function. “Sir? why are you sealing your dead mother into a stasis tomb? She is rather,,,dead Sir, so it won’t do her any good anymore?” For a while he remained silent, letting his fingers stroke the keys as he set the parameters. “The stasis is not for her specifically, although I do understand your confusion. The custom of the Knightly burial rites does not allow a dead Knight to be placed in stasis as it is considered abuse of the technology, this is a fact. ” Mordred paused briefly as he drew a deep breath, Dame Krim seemed oblivious of his reasoning, and also rather disconnected from common society or its norms. “My mother, Morgana, was however decidedly NOT a Knight, she was, to a degree, a civilian. But more importantly, aside from being my mother, she was a Queen.” He allowed himself to look at the female Knight, his ire made his choler rise, and he knew that he would fail to hide his mood if he did not at least look at the person he spoke with. To his surprise he found her nodding, in an expectant fashion. It reminded him of a scene he had once witnessed, though he could not recall where or when exactly, of a young child looking at a teacher as he explained tirelessly how the world worked. “So, in lieu of that, I am preparing my mothers casket for a voyage to a nearby proto-planet or a planet that has not yet formed its own ecosystem.” Dame Krim scrunched her nose a little, then rubbed it. “Where it will commit a series of manoeuvres, and ultimately land.” Dame Krim blinked and looked a little puzzled.”But Sir, why would you do that?” For a moment Mordred felt like he understood the teacher with the tired yet ever so patient smile from his memory, like across the centuries the man was now smiling at him and told him, now you know, as if all had come full circle.”Partly because that is the proper Burial rite for a space faring Queen. However I think you want to know why, not as in why perform it, as much as why is that the rite, correct?” She nodded fiercely, and oddly appeared uncomfortable. “The casket carries more than just the body and its wrappings, it also contains a set of three apple seeds, one for every aspect of my mother, once the casket has landed it will await the most opportune time to release the stasis, and initiate the germination cycle. Once that has been done the seeds, or at least one of the seeds will grow into an apple tree, using my mothers body as its initial food source, and hence from her death new life shall blossom, the tree, or trees will become the first life on the new otherwise plain planet, as the casket will have waited for the proper conditions, eventually there may grow a forest of apple trees descending from those three seeds. Thus the planet will become a new Avalon.” A thought occurred to him then. ” There is a toilet just over there the privacy curtain is recessed in the wall, use it if you must.”  The words Dame Krim spoke at that, as she darted towards the utility corner he had indicated, were mostly a riddle to him, but he was fairly certain he made out a sorry, and a thank you.

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