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Chapter -3 : Old Chapter 1

Daedalus

Chapter 1: Prequel 1

The year where the story begins is 2142.

This chapter is to a historical prologue. A brief summary of the major events from the 125 years:

The catastrophe of climate change had come and gone with little more than a bump in the road. Species was averted by major changes to the energy mix from a fossil fuel source to renewables and of nuclear And in the year 2074, a series of breakthroughs led the world to rely on cold reactors, small and large, for its energy needs. Other than a few going underwater, of a few dozen species the human race survived without too much trouble. As a lasting consequence people were now predominately vegetarian. Feeding ten people with different forms of meat was not sustainable.

Where the world skipped past a mass event and avoided -wide anarchy with climate change, it came close to Armageddon with the rise of robot labour. All through the twenty-first-century robots humans in the workforce. It started with factories, logistics and even driverless cars, trucks and trains their part. Before spreading to every industry and sector.

Robots humans in call centres and nearly every facet of the technology sector. AI programming became a reality where these robots would learn and adapt. They were not sentient, not yet, but a Robot would learn on the job. Although they had no body, no bipedal mechanical structure these entities were labelled robots.

People worried about driverless cars, arguing they were not safe, where in reality the software driving these cars was far more reliable than human beings on a mass scale. Governments became addicted to removing drivers as a matter of reducing traffic A highway which could handle a human-controlled cars a week could handle ten driverless vehicles, due to the far traffic management, merging, and the consistent speeds of driverless vehicles.

Unemployment rose from ten percent to twenty, and once it hit fifty percent, the world began to buckle. Anti-robot protests led to which led to anarchy in a few of the major cities followed by a lethal crackdown. The cycle repeated. And protest turned to

The European was an early adopter of wages for all, whether you worked or not. With these wages, all people could afford rent and food with spare money for a few entertainments. If they wanted to work, they could and still receive the government stipend.

The political from the right could not stomach the idea of free money for all, it was against everything they stood for. But with unemployment creeping towards sixty and then seventy percent it was either this policy or the whole world would burn.

The Romans knew they had to give the people bread and give them entertainment.

Without the wages for all policy, governments would topple. The who existed to increase their share price, the shareholders and the wealthy one percent all agreed. If the people had money, they would spend it, and their world was turned by money. The were caught in a cycle of reducing labour for productivity, but as fewer people had jobs, there was less spending in the market. Wages for all was a to this problem as well.

It was 2100 and every citizen, no matter their wealth and earnings, was paid a stipend from their respective government. The was cheap, most conveniences were cheap, food was cheap, you could live happily and do no work whatsoever. Nearly all entertainment was delivered on demand to the person or home, to old school monitors, goggles, headphones or a multitude of devices. Or to the new wave of first-

Twenty percent of people worked for as the backbone of what was a much larger workforce of robots. Some worked in research or maintenance. Some worked as supervisors or as one of the few humans in any number of sectors.

In 2017 the world's richest one percent owned fifty percent of the world's wealth. By the year 2100, this number was over eighty percent. The majority of the masses just spent everything they received and due to being housed, fed and entertained they were compliant, sedated and controlled.

Out of the eighty percent who received money for nothing, those who did not work for a job, they were free to earn extra by working for themselves. This is where the motivated could change their lot, where most people quite happily sat at home, watched streams of the latest drama, or games, a few produced content themselves.

Whether they streamed, sold digital items from the latest VR or AR, programmed their own , made music or some other creative outlet which was this group had the ability to make a little extra and in some cases a lot.

Then in 2101, the world changed. We were no longer alone.

An alien vessel parked itself in orbit around Earth, and after a few days of , end of the world , general mayhem and panic the aliens spoke to the entire world.

"We are peaceful. Do not despair. You are not alone," the alien vessel then released four mechs which dropped to the One to China, one to the European , one to Russia and the last to North America. These four mechanical monoliths walked the earth and handed each of the world's superpowers a package.

To this day it has not been confirmed exactly what was in that package but what did happen after this event was dramatic.

The world was gripped with paranoia. Instead of fearing and fighting each other, for a short while it was united. The world had a common "them" to fear. Now instead of us being North America and them being Russia or vice versa. The us was now the world, and the them were the aliens.

The major arms and armament manufacturers began producing robot soldiers, but after they failed every test against human soldiers, who adapted spontaneously and with strategic variety, the moved to mimicking the aliens and mech research and development began in earnest.

Mech's came in all shapes and sizes, it was not only the arms manufacturers involved, ones like Lockhead Martin, Boeing and Saab industries. But tech companies like Huawei and DaVinci became involved. New companies were born and grew rapidly; Svarski, and Tiger Eight to name a few.

Governments invested heavily into mechs as did private enterprise and the richest one percent. Academies to train the pilots were born either as offshoots from the top universities of the world or sponsored by the large mech companies as proving grounds and to showcase their strength.

In 2120 amateur came into where old technology or fabricated parts were used to homebrew a mech fitting into one of three predefined categories. The fights went viral, and it quickly became an A VR game was one thing, but when real alloy mechs and dreams were blown to bits, it had a visceral appeal that digital could not come close to.

Amateur circuits soon became , and with increased views and crowdfunding, it soon turned into emerging businesses around the globe. Even the major took note of the coming from the "entertainment combat mechs."

The world had infatuated with mechs. VR and AR games were produced, World of Mechs being the most was born in 2112 only to be surpassed by League of Mechs in 2120. Finally, the latest dominant game to grip the was the first VR MMO to utilise AI enhanced used by the real world military mechs called CyberMech. It was launched in 2139.

Mechmania was born from fear and of the Aliens which visited in 2101. Although they had not been seen since it still gripped the almost fifty years later. The knowledge that we were not alone was driving and constant improvement, if war did come from outer space, the world would be ready or would die trying.

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Etana Daedo was born in the year 2130. His parents were among the few who worked for the

Ikaros Daedo, his Father, was a talented mechanical and robotic technician. He repaired, improved and jury-rigged everything from factory robots to massive combine autoharvestors. He was underappreciated and underpaid by his company which was part of The Fortescue Group.

Some would call Ikaros a genius engineer, his immediate him as an introvert. In his as a lowly mechanic at the Garenne repair facility near Paris, he saved the company a fortune in costs every year. He made himself too valuable to promote, and he was not enough to realise a better deal for himself. Colleagues and his few friends wondered if he even cared. He had a euphoric marriage, everything they could need and a healthy gifted son. Perhaps that was enough for him, and he was content.

Laine Daedo was Etana's mother. She was a talented power engineer and researcher who worked for a Fortescue Group company. She had met Ikaros at a work , and after an awkward beginning, their blossomed into respect, and love. They were best friends as well as husband and wife. Neither had many friends as they were company enough for each other.

The family was happy and wealthy compared to most, they lived in a small outside of Paris with plenty of room for Ikaros workshops and Laine's lab. When compared to the one percent however they were dirt poor, but this was not something they cared about.

Etana appeared to be a gifted child, showing concrete signs in his first years with early development. Which was not surprising given how intelligent his parents were. It was when Etana was five years of age, ready to begin his cyber schooling when disaster struck.

His mother was working with her colleague Cisse in the companies energy labs on a new type of energy reactor, a ZPE, which is the acronym for Zero Point Energy. Cold reactors had been around for over sixty years and had been incrementally improved over this time. The improvement curve had struck rock bottom, little gains were still possible, and those gains came at great fiscal cost.

ZPE was a theory which was on the cusp of It was Cisse and Daedo, Laine Daedo, who were at the forefront of research amongst many groups across the globe. There was immense pressure for them to , to elevate the Fortescue Group. This was a major factor in the for an out of control which resulted in an large enough to kill Laine instantly. Cisse survived, albeit in a wheelchair with her legs blown off.

After protracted , Fortescue was found liable, due to lack of controls and orders to proceed in unsafe It settled both Cisse and Laine's cases with vast sums of money. Vast to the Daedos while minuscule to Fortescue.

Ikaros knew Laine's wish would be for Etana to attend one of the elite academies where he could study and eventually graduate as any type of engineer he wished. Any type of mech engineer.

The cost of in these was vast, and usually, only the benefactors of the one percent could attend. were few and far between, the for these was tremendous. Etana was gifted, and before the , it was ;s dream that he would attain a and attend the Fortescue Military Academy in Paris.

Ikaros was lost without her, he was , but he knew what to do. He invested the settlement in conservative funds to ensure Etana would attend one of the Academies. And although he still worked there, Ikaros had a grudge against Fortescue, he would try and send Etana elsewhere.

Students would begin M1 at an academy at age thirteen, and up until this time, they would take private or cyber school depending on their means. Ikaros would not spend one dime on private for Etana, he knew the boy would have no problem passing the entrance exam. Etana was enrolled in cyber school like almost every other child on the

In order to qualify for lifelong payments, every child in the European had to achieve middle school level three passing grade. Which was equivalent to year ten levels or years at the prescribed speed. It was enough to ensure everyone did it and had a reasonable Year ten in the year 2039 was equivalent to first-year university in 2017. The wealthy would have their children privately tutored or attend boarding school as they had done for centuries.

As expected Etana achieved P7 by the time he was nine; a full four years early. The schooling years were broken into three segments. P1 to P7 were the primary years, the years which the elite Academies did not cater for. These years began at middle school, which went for three years known as M1 to M3. And finally, the upper school which also went for three years known as U1 to U3. Thus the Academies catered for six years, all the years in the middle and upper categories.

A normal student, one who learned at the prescribed rate, was thirteen years of age when they qualified for M1. Etana was nine when his father took him, begrudgingly, down for the intake exam for the Fortescue Military Academy.

The investments did not yield enough to cover all six years, he would run out before , this problem was compounded by the fact Etana was ready too early. Fortescue MA offered a small due to the fact both Etana's parents were employees and the fact it was a third tier Academy on the global ranking system also lowered its cost compared to a or first tier Academy.

A third tier Academy was no slouch, it was still in the best twenty-five to thirty-six Academies on the The first tier consisted of twelve Academies across the globe, the the next twelve in ranking and so on.

If an Academy finished in the top two of their tier at the end of year , they would be promoted, and conversely, if they finished in the bottom two, they would be demoted. If an Academy finished in the top two of the first tier, there was no , but these were usually one of the big three Mech companies in the world. It was rarely an outsider broke into this stratosphere. The big three were Huawei from China, DaVinci from Europe and Svarski from Russia.

Not only was there prize money, but streaming shares there was also a direct benefit to sponsors for a performance. If Fortescue was able to advance to a tier Academy, there was a direct between and profits. This increase in revenue made the prize money look like chump change in comparison.

On face value Academies which were aiming to achieve often ran at a loss because the upside was that the gains in revenue made that loss a wise investment. And on the other side of the was disastrous brand wise and financially for any

Even with the benefit of an employee , the lower cost of a third tier Academy, and the saving in travel as the Academy was a bus ride away from their home. Ikaros did not have enough saved for all six years for Etana. He did not know how she found out, but Cisse arrived on their doorstep days before the intake and offered to make up any shortfall in savings from her settlement.

Cisse still worked as a power engineer, although part-time, for Fortescue and had her lifetime payments like everyone else. She had saved and invested her settlement almost as if she for this all along.

Rightly or wrongly Ikaros partially hated her for surviving when his beloved Laine died. It was with tight lips and terse words of thanks that he her help. He put Etana ahead of his own , swallowed his hate and allowed Cisse to work out the details.

Military History teaches that no battle survives the first railgun pellet. Which was appropriate for Etana's entrance exam because while he passed with flying colours on all the academic subjects, he failed the physical test. Abysmally. Not only was Etana not fast, nor strong, but he was also nine years old which was a long way from thirteen in terms of physical development.

The of Ikaros, Etana and Cisse headed home dejected. Laine's dream was quashed. For now.

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