3
$\begingroup$

On July 24 around 516 AD, the Apollo 11 crew returned to Earth and, to their dismay, found that they had travelled into the Middle Ages, and were seized by King Arthur's men.

As the first person to walk on the Moon how, can you convince King Arthur and his advisers, if any, that the Moon landing isn't a hoax? Otherwise, you will be put to death for witchcraft/sorcery.

$\endgroup$
13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @HDE 226868: your assumption is correct or maybe the Apollo crews go into an alternate timeline where the legend really exists. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Oct 1 '15 at 0:17
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Witchcraft and sorcery trials are mostly an occurrence of the early modern times, excessive in the early history of the American colonies, and as such a legend of the U.S. that is backported to the real medieval times where this existed but not in a noteworthy amount. A late antique (or very early medieval) Arthur in 516 would probably not use this as instrument of accusation. $\endgroup$
    – his
    Oct 1 '15 at 0:39
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wait, you're trying to avoid being executed for witchcraft by describing, in detail, how you got to the Moon and back in Arthurian times? If you think that's a good legal strategy, maybe you shouldn't be representing yourself. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '15 at 13:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Whatever argument you come up with - have someone other than Armstrong make the pitch. Neil can't even get through the first six words of a prepared statement without flubbing his line! $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '15 at 15:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It has been some time since I've read my Arthurian legends, but IIRC, the moon was referred to as Arcadia and was believed to be the home of the fairies. Any fact based account of what lies there would not be easily believed... $\endgroup$
    – IchabodE
    Oct 2 '15 at 22:18
3
$\begingroup$

Speaking as the crew of Apollo 11, tell the story in terminology that King Arthur and his court are going to understand so instead of saying "Saturn V launch vehicle", say "magic metal ship with a fire breathing dragon for a tail".

King Arthur and his court don't have a concept of "proof" as we are accustomed to thinking about it. Just showing up with strange "armor"/spacesuits and a fantastic tale to tell will probably convince them. Science doesn't exist for them, only magic.

Remember: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. What the Apollo 11 crew has done is so far beyond anything that King Arthur can imagine that the only explanation is magic. There isn't any evidence that you can offer them that they will accept. Better to tell the story, then prove that you are powerful warriors/magicians by giving a demonstration of modern science. The flashier, the better.

"Your Majesty" said Neil Armstrong, "you are too kind".

"Rise, he of the Strong Arm. Pray tell us your story of your fantastical story of how you came to stand on the moon"

"Yes sire. The leader of our nation, King Kennedy, laid out a plan that my people should set foot on the moon in 10 years time. We are a nation of mighty magicians and artificers so no challenge is too great for us. An army of magicians set to work looking for ways to harness dragon's fire as a way to lift ourselves towards the moon. They eventually succeeded and along with the artificers crafted a tall metal tower, taller than the highest parapet of Camelot (begging your majesty's pardon). Other magicians set about forming invincible armor to protect myself and my crew from whatever dangers we might find on the moon."

"In the ninth year of our labors, the dragon's fire vessel was ready. My crew and I finished our training and were ready to brave the dragon's fire. Caged dragons in the vessel roared so loudly as to split the very earth but our magics held and we ascended to the moon. Our armor held stoutly against the many dangers we met there and we returned home, safe and sound.

Be very very careful to not speak blasphemy against their Christian God. It may not be possible to avoid triggering a superstition but try to use those superstitions to your advantage. Given the nature of the Space Program, it should be easy to portray engineers and scientists as magicians. A nation of magicians would be very scary. It would be easy to terrify them with a description of a nation able to level a forest in a day or call down fire from the sky (A-10's for the win!).

$\endgroup$
4
  • $\begingroup$ King Arthur stood up, greet the great knight Armstrong and asked slowly : Could you do it again ? $\endgroup$
    – Emmanuel
    Oct 1 '15 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ Sire, my nation is going back next month. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Oct 1 '15 at 14:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins will need to pull off what Mark Twain described in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court". They will face the same dangers that he did. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Oct 2 '15 at 0:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Or as Arthur would likely have said "Beth oedd y boi yn ei ddweud?" $\endgroup$
    – evilscary
    Mar 29 '16 at 14:01
3
$\begingroup$

It's been done so see the movie. If it's a campy fantasy those same methods will work.

If it's realistic, then first of all you won't see later people's imagining of an earlier England that's really more similar to their own: pick one of the 3 documented figures considered the "real" origin of the myth, with your own mixing and mythologying applied but keep it in the chosen guy's historical context.

First, they don't speak English. It had not been invented yet. So, no quick explainations. But people speaking other languages among the crew might help.

Pick the figure who was self-styled after a Roman general "re arthor mus" and used his knowledge of Roman roads as a tactical advantage in an effort to repel the current invaders (the ancestors of modern English— he lost). They would be shrued and cosmopolitan, and would be likely to question foreigners for knowledge to help their goals.

Then, you could help with advanced information on tactics, weaponry, and remembered historical information of the period.

Optionally, imply that the astronauts are the foundation of elements of the mythology, such as Merlin's ability to age backwards. That could be garbeled from travelling back, or a useful way to explain knowledge gained from being from the future.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

One of the comments said:

I assume this avoids the fact that King Arthur wasn't a historical figure? – HDE 226868♦

But King Arthur was just as historical as any other 5th and sixth century person mentioned in the Historia Brittonum or the Annales Cambriae - at least in what those sources say about him - so it doesn't make any sense to claim he is non historical and the others are historical.

As for king Arthur and his court believing in magic and not having any idea of proof, they can be considered as much late antique people as early medieval people. And some early medieval people in Britain were very educated - such as the Venerablw Bede abut 200 years after Arthur. It is possible that some of them knew the moon was supposed to be about 250,000 miles away, which is very far for even flying people to travel.

If you want to know something about the educated British elite of tha ttime you should read what St. Gildas wrote about them a few decades before or after Arthur's time.

Anyway, how could the Apollo Astronauts survive lending without a modern navy ship to pick them up? By landing in some British lake or river, perhaps in front of a crowd of witnesses?

$\endgroup$
0
$\begingroup$

I would just tell him the truth. If he’s keeping Merlin around, it’s not very likely he’d get hung up about either “sorcery” or religious heresy when somebody is useful. So make yourselves useful. If Arthur doesn't believe you about the moon, that’s his loss.

That said, whatever he might have heard about the moon (if Merlin can read Greek, that might include Ptolemy’s speculations, or, for laughs, Lucian’s True History) is going to be very inaccurate. It might or might not be worth the effort to try to disabuse him of what he thinks he knows.

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd probably start by trying to explain it to Merlin instead. When you start spouting gibberish, there's a possibility Arthur will refer you to him anyway. You may have to go through arithmetic, algebra, and classical physics to get there, but in most versions of the legend he seems pretty bright, so I'd say that's your best chance. Also, in some tellings Merlin is the literal son of the Devil, so he might put in a good word for you on the leniency-for-witchcraft front. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '15 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ The fact that Merlin is smart doesn't necessarily mean he wants to help you, as the Connecticut Yankee discovered. Use your best judgment when you meet them, but don’t antagonize anyone needlessly. $\endgroup$
    – Davislor
    Oct 1 '15 at 19:10
0
$\begingroup$

Showing him a photograph of yourself on the moon would be a start. Probably helps if you posture yourself as if you intend to make yourself useful to him. Kings tend to reward people help institute the kings authority and punish those who don't. Accusations of "sorcery" would be more of a means to an end then an actual motivation to execute someone. Remember, the king could just declare that anyone who accuses you of sorcery is themselves a heretic and it would be so.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ It is probably not wise to spite Merlin with space age "magic" because at the end of the day you still need his help to go back to 1969 if he is as good as the legend told. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Oct 1 '15 at 10:10

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.