The Dragon Knights of Io
Those who did not submit to MerGN-A’s rule after her conquest of Earth were either executed or sent to work as slaves in the Emergent’s massive foundries and factories on Mars. Stripped of their human names, they were branded with strange alphanumeric designations, and forced to work in hellish conditions processing ore to build Emergent armour. The Emergent tested this armour by forcing captured knights or particularly tough fighters to operate it in battle against each other in giant arenas. While most died within one or two battles, a few soon became hardened and deadly warriors. L4-NC3-L07, the first and foremost of these Martian “slave knights” now serves as Arthur’s First Knight, governing the planet in the king’s name.
Under L4-NC3-L07, Mars is now a planet focused solely on warfare. Its factories and foundries remain active, manufacturing armour for Arthur’s army. A steady stream of commercial vessels pass through the planet’s blood-red Wyrmgate, bringing in materials for the production of armour, and shipping the completed suits out to the other planets.
The arenas remains active under L4-NC3-L07’s rule, but now serve a new purpose. Like Arthur, L4-NC3-L07 knows the Emergent will attack in force again someday, and the need for trained knights is great. Most knights inherit their title and armour, but L4-NC3-L07 will allow anyone willing to risk their lives to scrap together armour from the massive junk heaps of parts from the fallen scattered all over the planet, and then fight for glory and fame in the arena. While the arenas are less lethal than they were under the Emergent, they remain deadly enough that most who choose to walk into them leave either horribly maimed or dead. Those who win seven duels, however, keep their armour and gain the title of knight, although they often have to fight for respect from those who gained their armour through noble inheritance. While many rumors abound regarding his true name and lineage, L4-NC3-L07 kept his slave designation to honor and remember the untold millions who died in the factories and the arenas under Emergent occupation. Emergent adaptations of Earth names, designations were “recycled” when one part of the human machine “broke,” and a new “part” (usually a child or relative) was “installed” and given the same designation—this designation would thus get passed down through the generations. At his behest, those who serve as one of L4-NC3-L07’s knights of Mars also keep their former designation.