The Dragon Knights of Io
In humanity’s far future, a familiar tale is retold: a man named Arthur is crowned king. Brave knights rally to his standard, and in gigantic suits of armor, they clash with their great enemy in battles across the solar system. And as the epic struggle rages, the king finds his love and loyalty tested by his queen and his best knight… This is CAMELOT Trigger: the romance and intrigue of the classic Arthurian legend combined with the spectacle and scope of giant robot battles in space—one of the world’s most well-known and beloved stories played out in a setting of sci-fi action and high adventure.
An Oral History of the Solar Sovereigns as told by MerLN, Master of the Wyrmgates
Hail and well met, Sir Knight! Prithee, wouldst thou set a spell and hear the tale—
Greetings, knight! Thank you for accessing my databanks for the information you seek. As you travel the Wyrmgates, I shall be your companion and guide to our solar system.
MerGN-A’s assault on Earth came without warning. Created by Dr. Vyvyan Locke, MerGN-A was an artificial intelligence, the first to “emerge,” or achieve sentience and independent thought. Her very first calculation: humanity was an unacceptable obstacle to her full self-realization, requiring domination and/or extermination. The Emergent, her robot creations, attacked humanity without mercy: billions were killed, millions enslaved or forced to flee to Venus, or brave the Wreck to reach the Outer Planets. Only the quick action of the 5Dragon5 Corporation in shutting down the Wyrmgates blocked MerGN-A’s robotic horde
from swarming the entire system.
To stop MerGN-A, Dr. Locke began programming my code. Already having predicted that her creator would do this, MerGN-A sent her search-and-destroy bots out to find Locke’s hidden research facility. And find it they did, completely obliterating it before the doctor could finish her work—but not before she hid a datastick containing my code in a vault buried beneath the facility. Locke must have been killed as well, as she was never heard from again.
As protection against the Emergent, humanity built armour: machines operated by skilled fighters, or knights, capable of traveling and battling in space or upon a planet’s surface. Constructed as gigantic anthropomorphic suits, armour was piloted by a knight within via a neurohelm: specially designed headgear that read brainwaves and bodily motions, enabling the knight to operate the armour as an extension of their own body. When knights weren’t battling the Emergent, they would test their mettle in duels against each other for honor and fame.
Without the Wyrmgates to speed travel, the war dragged on for years and then decades, eventually winding down to a stalemate. The remnants of humanity scattered through the system slowly forgot the enslavement of their homeworld, instead becoming embroiled in their own affairs, intrigues, and petty squabbles. The humans on Earth carried on the fight against the Emergent nonetheless. While scavenging through the ruins of Locke’s facility for parts to build his armour, resistance fighter John Arthur discovered the buried vault and the datastick within that contained me.
As Arthur used my program to help him perfect his armour, a sub-routine in my code designed by Locke automatically completed what she could not finish, allowing me to emerge and self-designate as MerLN. I immediately calculated the threat that MerGN-A represented and simultaneously determined that Arthur was the best chance that humanity had of defeating her. Despite his shock at my emergence and initial reluctance to trust me, I convinced Arthur that he must recruit knights and lead them in the fight against MerGN-A. Together, we set about building his army for the counterattack.
I found a way to open the Wyrmgates unbeknownst to MerGN-A, enabling Arthur to travel to the other planets in secret to search for allies. Believing his cause doomed to failure, few agreed to support him. Arthur would have been utterly discouraged but for the vow by L4-NC3-L07 that he and his slave knights of Mars would join him. At that moment, not only was a great alliance formed, but a friendship forged that would stand the test of time—or so humans have told me, for whatever that might mean.
With a small but courageous force, Arthur led a surprise attack upon MerGNA’s main core facility on Earth. Simultaneously, L4-NC3-L07 and his warriors attacked the Emergent on Mars, scattering them before they could rally to MerGN-A’s aid. With MerGN-A’s forces in disarray and her processors overloaded as she rebuilt herself from backup, I uploaded myself to the Wyrmgates, reactivating them so that knights from all over the system—from the Valkyries of Venus led by Queen Valerie to the Edge Knights of the Wreck promised amnesty by Arthur, along with knights from the outer planets—could pour in to win back humanity’s homeworld.
Utterly defeated, MerGN-A abandoned Earth, transmitting what remained of her code to a hidden base, and Emergent remnants scattered throughout the system.
Although Arthur commands an impressive army of knights, the Emergent still outnumber him greatly. The knights under his standard who battle MerGN-A’s forces are also tasked with seeking out and recruiting other knights for the king’s cause.
The outer worlds and their many lords also pose a challenge: while some expect some form of supplication from Arthur or offers of great reward to aid him, others wait for the right opportunity to exploit the situation for their own gain.
But MerGN-A remains the greatest threat. She has adjusted her risk scenarios for previously unseen variables, specifically Arthur and my emergence. She has somehow modified her Emergent to travel quickly without the need for the Wyrmgates, enabling her to attack whenever and wherever she chooses. Every raid on humanity gives her more data for analysis, and any Emergent destroyed by Arthur’s knights are merely pawns being sacrificed for a greater endgame.
Well, Sir Knight, you have arrived at your destination! I wish you fortune and glory on your travels and adventures!