In Pan Post 34 Prince Llacheu, Vivane and Shalott watch from Castle Camelot as Camelot the spacecraft finally leaves the planet Earth behind. Aboard the ship they all marvel at the stars and the moon as they've never seen it before. King Arthur visits the Command Deck where Tom a'Lincoln is working out the systems with Merlin the Younger. Arthur presses a button that forces the ancient ship to jump through the solar system, pinning everyone to the walls, until they reach Mercury.
Space Camelot: Redshift
Castle Camelot stands on the border of Wales and England towards the north. It is a majestic castle, quite unlike the other castles of Europe early 6th Century. It has a great keep that stands tall and strong with a single gigantic tower that rises far above even the castle's enormous and thick walls of white stone. The walls are cornered with circular dens that are considered sacred plots for four magical weeping willows. Surrounding the castle is a moat of deep water that is home to a lot of plant life and fish. The drawbridge is usually down with no foreseeable enemies this deep into Arthur's realm.
The keep has gigantic stained glass windows with depictions of Saints from all over Europe. Mounted on the walls are traction trebuchets, massive ballista but, possibly the most surprising, is the liquid dome that seems to rest atop of the walls. Evidently Castle Camelot enjoys the liberty of magical protection.
Standing atop of the tall tower of the keep are lords, ladies and some Aes Sidhe from Albion. They are all looking up at the colossal space galleon that hovers above the king's realm. That king soon to be Prince Llacheu, who stands with some trepidation with the rest. He's eager to become king but afraid of the responsibility and saddened that he may never see his beloved mother and father again. He blows his nose into a handkerchief. Shalott pats him on the back.
Shalott: "There, there. Mummy will be okay."
Prince Llacheu nods pathetically, more concerned for his own well-being without her.
Vivane: "It appears they have finished boarding..."
She can see those boarding the ship through her mind's eye, allowing her sight all across the world at any given moment.
Shalott: "I wish I could do that..."
Vivane: "You'd waste the power on watching Sir Lancelot."
Shalott grins mischievously.
Shalott: "Only when he's getting out of that armour."
Vivane shakes her head slowly.
Vivane: "You'd turn into a cat in no time, Shalott."
Prince Llacheu looks at the two magical Aes Sidhe as though they'd just declared they didn't like tea. The shock and horror of the very idea.
Shalott: "I'm a witch, dear prince. If an Aes Sidhe witch uses her power too much, too quickly, she'll be confined to cat form forever... cat form being our original form, you see."
The prince tilts his head, brain trying to figure that one out.
Prince Llacheu: "So... you're actually a cat! A cat in human form!"
Shalott: "You say it like it's a bad thing!"
Vivane: "It is leaving..."
Their attention is drawn to the huge ship as its engines flare up brightly. It slowly cruises away from the land of Britain and ascends towards the sky.
Prince Llacheu: "Won't they crash into Heaven?"
Vivane: "There is no Heaven up there, young prince. Only--"
Most of the human populace have gathered in the conservatory - a gigantic room that, through a large shield, gives an incredible and expansive view of the universe beyond the ship. As Camelot breaks through Earth's atmosphere the blue of the sky is replaced by the glistening stars of space. The Medieval space-farers marvel at this miracle of the universe. Many praise God, many weep at the splendour while others embrace their family and friends with exultation. The room is filled with Britons from every country; England, Wales, Scotland and even some Irish that were not too pissed off that their country was almost drowned. Arthur was fairly disgruntled that he didn't have as many people as he'd have liked but both Merlin and Sir Bedivere calculated that there'd be enough to sustain a new colony. Assuming they find a new Earth.
Sir Kay: "Definitely worth climbing that stupid rabbit for."
Sir Bedivere: "That rabbit was not stupid. It saved your life and got us up here, didn't it?"
Morgan: "I thought it was supposed to be a giant kangaroo."
Sir Bedivere: "Kangaroo!? A giant, wooden kangaroo. That'd just be ridiculous."
Guinevere: "I thought it was a panda so..."
Sir Kay: "I don't even know what either a kangaroo or a panda is."
Guinevere points excitedly, discarding her usual cool composure. Outside the moon swings into view, much bigger, brighter and more wonderful than ever before. Everyone will remember this moment not just because of the beauty of it but because they all saw Queen Guinevere squeal like a little girl.
Sir Bedivere: "What makes you believe it can go, uh, 'super-fast', Sire?"
King Arthur: "Merlin said it can."
Morgan: "You know she's an imbecile, brother."
King Arthur: "I meant the other Merlin. Seriously. Why do they have to have the same God damn name?"
The knights all facepalm at Arthur's never ceasing blasphemy.
King Arthur leaves the conservatory and walks down the corridors of the ship. Despite the grime and slime that coats the outside of the ship, the interior was well insulated from the sea it had been surrounded by while buried. The magic of Avalon seemed to have powered up the energy core easily enough. Merlin, the younger, said that it should keep going forever so long as she, or any other magic-wielder, topped it up.
The ship seemed structurally sound, though not in the best condition. Unsurprising since it had been sat in a planet-spanning pond for thousands, if not millions or billions, of years. Everything in the curious ship is made of peculiar materials that clang or clink when tapped and it seems to run on magical mirrors showing informations or pictures of things that Arthur couldn't even begin to work out. Merlin had had the most success with her magical and studious brain.
He passes by several rooms of what is being called the living quarters. People have been putting their names on doors to indicate which was theirs - a necessity since they all look the same, quite unlike the self-made homes back in England. He notices Sir Kay's room, on which he not only wrote his name but also draw a match-stick figure of himself with his red hair scribbled ontop of the orb head. Next door is Sir Bedivere's room, which Arthur spots Kay has also drawn a match-stick figure, this one with cross-eyes and a tongue lolling from the mouth. Arthur grins wickedly and takes out a piece of graphite. After a moment he's drawn a very small penis between the match-stick man's legs. Cackling to himself he scurries down the corridor until he turns left toward the Command Deck. The door slips open.
The single room is almost as big as the entire keep of Castle Camelot. It's filled with machines that Arthur called mystical-goggle-window-boxes, while Merlin insisted on the term 'computer'. One huge magical frame adorns an entire wall and shows the view outside. Smaller views appear on the window in smaller boxes that one of the space-sailors moves around the window by waving his hand at it. Arthur is impressed.
Tom a'Lincoln is an expert seaman and a clever tactician. He was the natural choice to ask to captain this bizarre vessel. While Merlin had to work out most of the actual mechanics and functions of the ship, only Tom could really work out why the ship needs such functions. The basics of movement came first and Tom was often complaining that he now had to think of up and down as well as left and right, forward and back.
When Arthur enters the room Tom waves him over. The man has shaved black hair that is little more than stubble over his head. His skin is well tanned from many years at sea and his frame is stocky and strong. He first met Arthur when he asked if he was actually the illegitimate son of his mother, daughter to the Mayor of London, and Arthur himself. Though Arthur conceded that there may have once been a drunken dalliance at one of his father's house parties (or castle parties as the case may be) Tom is almost as old as Arthur himself. So the answer was a flat no. Yet the absurd meeting held enough traction that Arthur liked the sailor and the man was talented enough to rise through the ranks of Arthur's navy and become the 'Red Rose Knight' for the Round Table. Tom was one of the few sailors permitted to enter Avalon, his own wife being a faerie of Albion that lived on Avalon with Morganna.
Captain Tom: "Sire. We've worked it out."
Merlin's own shaved head popped up from behind a console.
It disappears behind it again.
Tom points to the screen of the computer and it shows a kind of map with several coloured balls on it. Arthur frowns.
King Arthur: "What're they supposed to be, Tom?"
Captain Tom: "Worlds."
He looks at Arthur's face, searching for a shocked reaction. Arthr, however, just nods and says;
King Arthur: "Cool..."
A little dejected, Tom continues his explanation.
Captain Tom: "These are worlds linked together. That big yellow ball--"
He swipes his fingers across the screen and it zooms out to show how much larger the big yellow ball is to the rest of the balls.
Captain Tom: "--is the sun."
King Arthur smiles and nods with more enthusiasm this time. Tom zooms in again.
Captain Tom: "So these are all worlds connected to our world... we all share the same sun. So we could visit them. I don't know which we should go to see, though. Don't know if they're dangerous or not."
King Arthur: "Just start with the first one and see what happens!"
He taps the first planet.
She leaps up but she realises she's far too late.
The ship gives an almighty jerk. Then rests silent.
Merlin breathes a sigh of relief.
Merlin: "I really thought something ba--ACK!!!"
Everyone in the room is suddenly flung against the walls, pinned there by some unseen force. Arthur struggles and wriggles. He hears everyone shouting out, either from fear or anger or shock. As he watches the massive window screen shows the world getting faster and faster and then, in an instant, there's a great jerk and the view is nothing but white and blue and then, quickly, red. The redshift lasts for a moment and then the ship lands back into normal space and the wall-captives and thrown to the floor. Arthur lands, face-first, against the floor where he just lies there, unmoving and uncaring. He hears others belch or even wretch but he just feels numb and senseless.
Arthur: "... help..."
He manages to mutter in his stupor.
It's Tom, the Red Rose Knight, that comes to his rescue and hoists him up to his feet.
Captain Tom: "Lucky I spent so many years at sea so my stomach is like iron."
He watches as Arthur then flops straight back to the floor again where the king remains after whimpering;
King Arthur: "Owie..."
Merlin staggers over and looks at her console. After pressing some things on her screen, the big window at the front of the Command Deck changes to show outside the huge sun up close. Arthur, having managed to crane his neck up, winces.
King Arthur: "It... burns..."
But he's too weak to move and just lets his head knock back against the hard, cold floor.
Captain Tom: "I though the king pressed the planet, not the sun..."
Merlin points. A dark orb slides across the sun. It's very small but it's definitely the planet.
Merlin: "Welcome to Mercury, everyone."
King Arthur: "I'm welcomed... only... by the floor..."
"Camelot's jump is meant to be identical to that of The Hopeful as featured in Clear and the Hopeless, as is the Command Deck. In CatH, however, Clear and her people were originally unable to access their own version of the Command Deck as it was sealed. Space Camelot essentially gives insights into The Hopeful, while CatH also gives insights into Camelot.
Tom a'Lincoln is based on the Arthurian character. The original tale of Tom a'Lincoln[Ext 1], by Richard Johnson[Ext 2], sees a'Lincoln as the confirmed illegitimate son of King Arthur. In Space Camelot, I aged the character up to the same age as Arthur and thus making it impossible but related the tale anyway. The character in Arthurian Legend is most notable as the father of the Faerie Knight[Ext 3] and the Black Knight[Ext 4], but in Space Camelot his character and his story is vastly expanded upon." ~ Britt the Writer