GGNOVEL > Xuanhuan > Daedalus > Chapter 6 : Fortescue Military Academy
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Chapter 6 : Fortescue Military Academy


The hovervan Etana was riding zipped through the streets of outer Paris, its route optimised to deliver its swiftly to the Fortescue Military Academy main gate. The closer it got to Paris the more vehicles it merged in a streamed with. They were like a school of fish, moving seamlessly from lane to lane at high speeds, never slowing, never colliding.

He had a small backpack in his lap and was wearing his bodysuit. Etana and his AI Myrmidon had studied the and documents meticulously. The last thing he wanted was to be embarrassed in front of the crowd of snobs he was about to He took comfort in the fact that he had Myrmidon. He needn't make any friends and if at all possible he would avoid the awkwardness of socializing altogether.

It was lost on Etana that he was the most watched and followed the in CyberMech, he rarely interacted with teammates and almost never spoke to his fans other than short text snippets, which Myrmidon wrote half of the time.

To him, the bitcreds from streaming were a direct result of his unique and performance. If the fans did not like it, they would not watch. The irony was the most was a twenty-one year old woman who spoke to her fans and shared personal images and vids. Her fans lapped it all up. They were opposites in terms of public Some commentators thought that his mystery was for strategically genius and theories regarding his actual persona were part of his or her appeal. For all they knew Daedalus could be a female.

His bodysuit had arrived in plenty of time, Myrmidon tracked it all the way to their door as a delivery drone dropped it off directly from the in Germany. There were of delivery drones operating in their designated airspace all across Europe, and you usually would not know if they were carrying something worth zero point one of a bitcred or fifteen hundred like his bodysuit.

Etana and Myrmidon had spent the entire day testing out its features, adjusting the settings including the establishment of the checks. None of the other students would be able to stupid tricks by his suit or worse. Myrmidon had synced and calibrated all the sensors, it had a view of the world like never before. A multitude of next-gen visual lenses, auditory sensors, radar, lidar and thermal detectors allowed Myrmidon to see and hear everything in close proximity.

Daedo: how are you coping with the sensory overload?

Myrmidon: I am removing some of my core programmings in to CyberMech and adding code for data analysis of the suit's sensors.

Daedo: good idea. We should remove all the manoeuvrability code we added to the core and relocate it to the cloud. You operate best when your core code is lean.

Paris was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the architecture in the outskirts was twenty- century with elegant structures where the central parts of Paris where heavily to maintain the sandstone look and limiting building height to a few stories. There were no or colourful signs, there was no need. Everything was easily found using apps and if you really wanted you could use a visual which made central Paris look garish.

The hovervan made its way south running along the Seine towards Versaille. The Fortescue Military Academy grounds to the North and West of the of Versaille. It was a magnificent area, and forests, so close to central Paris. There were too few buildings for an Academy housing over seven thousand cadets above ground. Most of it was built underground to maintain the aesthetics of the area.

The Academy was the size of a large town itself, far too large to house less than ten thousand cadets and staff. It also had two thousand robot servants which did everything from cook, clean, maintain gardens and grounds security.

Above ground, it was elegant sandstone, and tiles were at most two stories high, it was probably due to the proximity to Versaille , monoliths would have dwarfed it ruining the scenery. From the layout drawings, Daedo knew that the above ground buildings were a fa?ade, used only for teachers, offices with some public All the cadet living quarters, lecture halls, labs and arenas were underground. The battle arenas stretched for kilometres in all , they were more than a hundred meters below ground in

As his hovervan approached the main gate it became apparent he was one of the very few using public transport. In the park outside the Academy were VTOLs, fancy reactor bikes, luxury carriers, military carriers and even a few Mechs.

Both he and Myrmidon were fascinated.

Myrmidon: we have seventeen minutes before we have to report to the Auditorium. I it will only take two minutes to run from here. That leaves fifteen to inspect the vehicles.

Daedo: you don't have to tell me twice.

Etana ran up to the first military carrier, it was parked with presumably no one inside but as soon as he approached a security bot stood up on the roof. It had been lying down, it what was a bed moulded to its shape on the roof of the vehicle. Etana did not let the appearance of the bot deter him. It would have strict rules of engagement, and unless he broke the law, for example, damage or attempt to steal the craft, it could not touch him, and even if he was stupid enough to commit a crime, it would be authorised to prevent and detain him only.

If he looked, it could do nothing other than appearing menacing brandishing its handheld railgun.

"Damn," he said. He had never seen a handheld railgun in person.

The carrier was impressive, its alloy armour was exotic and unknown to Etana. The wheels and tires were massive. It looked like a tank, it could certainly take a hit. He resisted the urge to touch it.

"Why are you looking at that piece of junk?" someone asked from behind.

Myrmidon: House Osiris squad one, male M3 cadet. Unknown identity.

Myrmidon was helpful, he the year and hour by the colouring on the boy's suit. Pity he couldn't give tips on what to say. Etana would have to work on that.

"Err," Etana non-answered turning to look at the older boy. He wanted to ask why, but got tongue tied for some reason.

"My company makes the Marais UTX. It has arguably fifteen percent more durability, thirty percent more and two robot sentries. And it's about the same cost as this thing, I don't know why anyone would buy this one," the Marais boy said.

Etana stood there looking dumb.

"I am Jeram Marais," he said holding out his hand.

Myrmidon: The Marais Trust owns forty-two percent of the Marais group shares and fifty-one percent of the voting shares.

Daedo: whats a voting share? Nevermind. So it's his families company?

Myrmidon: yes. The trust has sixteen beneficiaries of varying size.

"Etana Daedo, M1," Etana replied shaking his hand awkwardly.

"A word of advice M1, once we pass through the gate only use last names," Jeram Marais said.

"Ok," Etana mumbled.

"Remember what I said. Junk." And he pointed at the offending Military Carrier before scampering off through the gates.

Myrmidon: we should leave as well. Time is now four minutes, we may need the contingency of two minutes in case of of cadets.

Etana acknowledged Myrmidon advice and began to run towards the auditorium before walking once he was inside the main gate. He passed through an unobtrusive security scan and entered the foyer to the first year's auditorium.

This was one of six underground auditoriums, the one designated for M1, the foyer comprised of a waiting area and a mass of rail elevators embedded on two walls. One for entry and the other for the exit, Etana was one of the last to arrive and joined a cluster of cadets in an elevator which took them down and across to the auditorium.

There were twelve hundred and seventy-five cadets in M1, comprised of five houses with two hundred and fifty-five cadets each, crowded into the Auditorium looking for a to sit.

A short, thin man stood on the Dias, by five other adults wearing white suits with different coloured insignia, purple, green, red, blue and one had white with small amounts of The colours signified the different houses, Horus, Osiris, Amun-Ra, Shu and Thoth.

The central man who wore a dark grey with cobalt trim suit spoke, " to Fortescue Military Academy M1 of 2142. Stop wondering where you will sit, you will be standing for the of this My name is Commander Malet, I am the head of M1 and will follow you through to M3 as will your house leaders."

"Let me introduce them now." He said indicating the house leader's in order from his right to left.

The first was a tall blonde man, with a tinge of red, with short hair and neatly trimmed beard, "This is Master Becker of Horus, he hails from The Bavarian Academy, his achievements, as well as all the Masters, can be found in your brief. These achievements include leading his squad to victory for the last three years."

The was an older woman, she had pale skin and dark hair, "This is Master Ustinov of Osiris, she is an alumnus of the highly regarded Svarski Military Academy. She has a wealth of knowledge on tactics, strategy from her many years as a Master in a Tier one academy. We are lucky, especially Osiris, to have her guidance."

The third was a red-haired, bearded and freckled man, probably in his early thirties, "This is Master Gilley, he hails from several academies, please refer to your brief." As Commander Malet introduce each Master, they stepped forward, and a banner appeared on the wall behind. There were three banners with their colours and insignia. The Masters were spaced on the Dias to align with the banners behind them.

The fourth was a tall olive-skinned man with dark hair, a pointy beard and moustache, "Allow me to introduce, for the first time to the Fortescue Academy, Master Haddad who graduated last year from the promoted Abu Dhabi Military Academy. They achieved first in the third tier, our tier, and were therefore promoted to the tier. Master Haddad was instrumental in this achievement. We are fortunate to have him here at Fortescue Military Academy, he will lead House Shu."

The fourth Master was dressed in an almost pure white armoured suit. There were patches of underneath the armour , they also wore a full-faced holo helmet. The face of this helmet had no visible air or eye sockets. Like Daedo's holo helmet the front of the face was a , and it most likely had eight or more cameras pointing in all From looking at the Master, Daedo could not tell if they were a man or a woman.

"And lastly we have Master Nader of House Thoth." Commander Malet finished. He no history or origin at all for Master Nader, he didn't even if it was a he or she.

The Insignia for House Thoth on its and white standard looked like an abacus. All the standards had obscure patterns of different shades of their colours. Amun-Ra was several shades of Red from light to dark. , Shu's banner was several shades of blue, predominately light with a dark swirling insignia which was indicative of a gust of wind. Where the suits of the first four houses were all white with small amounts of their house colour which denoted year level and achievements, Thoth was different.

It had two colours on its banner if you could call them colours, and white. And its suit was completely different to the other four houses, it started off with white epaulettes and patches added in with advancement and achievements.

"Now down to business," Master Malet announced breaking Daedo out of his reverie. "We have twelve hundred and seventy-five cadets in attendance in each year, being your first year this is the only year you will be assigned a house. "

"We could stand here all day and list, or we could direct message you, but if you had read your thoroughly you would have already given the Academy privileges on your suit to adjust colour. This being a mandatory feature of your suit you, of course, will be able to achieve this. This is your first test, we will now learn which of your cannot follow simple ;

With a wave of his hand, most suits in the room rippled to white, with a of colour denoting their house assignment.

"All cadets whose suit did not change colour receive one personal and one house demerit. I suggest you read the relevant part of the document now, you have thirty before receiving your demerit," Commander Malet spoke in a severe tone.

Daedo immediately knew which house he was assigned to, his suit did not turn white, it stayed , but two small white patches appeared on top of his shoulders. He was Thoth. The house with primary aspects of and research.

Myrmidon: oh, we were both

Daedo: we should have known, they only have our academic results and profiling to base house

Myrmidon: the document also refers to siblings. There is a to be in the same house as a sibling, although not an absolute rule.

"It is good to see the majority of cadets followed the Please proceed to your designated house area as marked on the floor and ceiling," the Commander ordered.

All the banners were present behind the House Masters and from these banners sprouted coloured lines heading down the Auditorium on both ceiling and floor. It was easy to see which was your area it was directly in front of your House Master. Being shorter than most Daedo headed to the front and pushed his way through the crowd to stand at the far right corner looking forward and left across all the Masters.

The Masters were ordered right to left facing out towards the cadets, Master Nader was on the left being the last Master. To Daedo's perspective, Master Nader was on the far right.

He still carried his backpack, part of his fees paid for general house clothes which would be supplied to their room upon arrival. All academic material was digital, and the only hardware required was his military-grade Uniform was strictly his polymer bodysuit which was ultrasonically self-cleaning. The only item in his backpack was his helmet. Which in hindsight he could have fitted to his back as he saw other cadets had done. He could see a few cadets with large luggage bags where most had nothing.

"I like your suit," said a girl directly behind him. She was not much taller than him.

He turned to look at her, she was wearing the same custom Axel suit.

Myrmidon: she has a few that were not in the store. I am not even sure what they are, but I can see two divergent

"Ah, … ," he stuttered nodding towards her suit, "nice suit. Um…"

She held a finger to her lips and nodded to the stage. She had dark straight hair, slightly shorter than shoulder length. It appeared she had less white on her shoulders than Daedo. It would take Myrmidons precise sensory analysis to work out the epaulettes.

"You will be grouped into thirty-one squads of eight, and squad zero will only have seven cadets. The top-ranking cadets, based on the entrance exams and profiling, have been in group zero," the Commander gave no reason why the The number of cadets per house had significance, two hundred and fifty-five it was the max value of the eight-digit binary number. Teams of eight also had significance, the inter-academy team event was eight mechs. It was also the same number of team members in a CyberMech match.

"A number zero to thirty-one will be generated on your suit, in-house colours, and will remain for the entire year," with the statement he waved his hand again.

Much to his surprise, a zero showed up on Daedo's upper right chest, and Myrmidon informed him his back as well. Daedo looked around at the girl who had spoken to him, he wanted to see what house she was in as she had been friendly and had an interesting suit. There was less than a three percent chance she was in his group zero. Yet, there it was on her right shoulder a zero. He opened his mouth in an oh, at her, and she smiled back.

"Axel suits are for the elite, so I am not surprised," she said.

"You have four minutes to assemble in your groups, and then you will head to your quarters for and your first team building assignment, get to know your teammate's strengths, weaknesses and You will write a report on each of your teammates and submit before twenty-one hundred this evening," the Commander instructed.

"Follow your document closely from now on, demerits will ramp-up for compound All personal demerits will affect your ranking, and House demerits will be viewed poorly by your peers and House Master," he finished.

"What's your name?" she asked.

"I am Daedo, what's yours?" Daedo said slowly. He was more comfortable talking to other cadets.

"Axel P," she answered.

"Axel P?" he asked.

"Yes, my family name is Axel, and my twin brother is in M1, he is Axel J. His first name is Jules and mine is Pascale," she answered.

Daedo: Myrmidon, I think her family made the suit we are wearing.

Myrmidon: that could her unknown , with a high probability they are experimental or restricted.

Daedo knew not to call her Pascale, they were supposed to call cadets and teachers by their family name only. But she may be wrong about being called Axel P, she probably was supposed to be Axelzero given what the Academy on naming stated.

"Are you sure that I am not supposed to call you Axelzero?" Daedo asked her.

She was looking around for other zeros, "oh yeah probably, we worked out this system at home, I only skimmed the manual."

"We should wait here, it's logical that zeros should head to the front and we are already here together," Axelzero said.

It did not taking long for the seven of group zero to gather. They were all rank zero for a reason and for the first time in his life Daedo was about others around his age.

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