"Stupid, stupid, stupid," said Nimue. "Why don't I listen to myself, when I know how clever I am?"
"What didn't you listen to?" asked Isis.
"I said it would probably take the sorcerors to have done this, didn't I?" She could speak freely because Isis had joined Nimue in the CMO's office in sickbay.
"The sorcerors? But you said sorcerors aren't supposed to interfere in history."
"That's a half-truth, notwithstanding that even most sorcerors believe it. I learned differently when I first wore the Lady of the Lake's link to the holodata bank. The true cause of the Avalonian sorceror is to preserve history. British archeologists of the future stumble across some of our more primitive artifacts all the time, and Merlin was compelled on one occasion to reveal that the 'ancient' preservers are active throughout all history and do employ indigenous agents in some time zones." He'd revealed it to Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot, in fact, whose discretion he trusted as his own; but even to them he didn't reveal that the ancient preservers were the Avalonians.
"Then you're saying," Isis stated, "that the elements of British history which you find anachronistic in this time zone must be effects of the efforts of whoever's behind these super-Saracens, but that there's an Avalonian effort already in effect countering that."
"Yes," said Nimue. "Possibly the sorcerors contrived to make the CAVE land here so that I could find this out. Though, if so, they're getting better about how subtly they contrive my CAVE's landings.
"On the basis of my previous association with King Arthur, I'd guess the sorcerors' objective was simply to get Arthur involved so he'd take care of the problem." Though Nimue, and Merlin before her, would never admit it out loud, even their own "dirty work" on behalf of the sorcerors was a product less of any desire of the sorcerors to "keep their hands clean" than of their policy to interfere in history as subtly as possible, through those who didn't live outside it. "The history of British space - and of the planets it interacts with - will now have many minor discrepancies from this point on, relative to the history I know."
"Such minor discrepancies as the Britons being a space empire at least a couple of decades late," said Isis.
"That's the enemy's doing no doubt. Yet, the basic outline of history will remain, as long as the sorcerors keep a step ahead of the Saracen-backers."
"So we're back where we started," said Isis. "We need to get off this ship without affecting any change to Round Table history."
The office door opened and Arthur stepped in, several crewmembers visible besides Merlin behind him blocking any chance at escape. "Now, Nimue," said the king, "you and I are going to have a little chat. ..."
Back to King Arthur in Time and Space index.
Back to Paul's index.