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Chapter 12 : M1 - Term: 1, Round: 1

Daedalus

Attendance at Fortescue Military Academy M1 Y:2142

House Thoth, Squad Zero

M1 Rank: ?/1275, Tier 3 M-Rank: Null

Term: 1, Round: 1

"I didn't think so," Axelzero to the squad which had gathered for the final three lectures.

"mmhmm?" Vannier asked what she meant non verbally.

"I could not see how the parents, in-house counsel or even robot legal aids would miss something so as handing over the rights of an The Academy contract our guardians signed clearly states we retain the right, and its an addendum. Axel's company lawyer says someone had it added years ago," Axelzero

"Why does that matter?" Barran asked with a bored voice.

"It was something Chief said in to being a Fortescue man. I think they try and obtain any cadets come up with," Axelzero stated.

"Again, why does this matter?" Barran repeated.

"Because, unlike you, most of us have brains. Just look at Daedo, he wrote his own AI ," she replied.

"Oh," Barran "But…" he paused in , "oh it doesn't matter. The fun subjects are up finally."

Chief Conde and Chief Turenne were the gunnery and piloting instructors. They took the stand together and outlined a mix of range activities, combat games, a small amount of theory and each would host the intra-house All squads would complete in the inter-house games in the tenth week of each term in tiered

Squad zero would be taking gunnery and piloting with the other squads in Thoth, they would not compete with other houses except rankings. At least until the tournament.

As piloting and gunnery could and would go hand in hand, many were combined, but the Chief's had five houses from each M year level to supervise and advise. They used robot assistants, but they were always present. They had fifteen in all, which meant House Thoth, and all other houses only received their presence for minutes per week for each Chief.

The Chief's went on to outline what the cadets would expect over the next ten weeks and what they advised to do in or for extra training. There were twenty-four hours in a day, and each House had their own combat arenas and obstacle courses. If the cadets, as a house group, did not use these facilities at least twelve hours a day they would fall behind in practice. One squad was limited to forty-five minutes per day, but if the shared with another squad that would be doubled to minutes for the fifteen or sixteen cadets.

Then there was the Gauntlet. The Gauntlet was both physical and AR. It would consist of AR traps, enemies and real obstacles. These would test the gunnery and piloting of the cadet using an exo.

A Cadet would receive a based on their time and goal , which was different for each design. The design would change five times per term. The term was ten weeks, it was broken up into five two-week Which meant each cadet would have two weeks, or ten attempts, to set their best and once the Gauntlet reset at the end of the week, they would have no further attempts at that design.

Each squad would book in an Arena and a Gauntlet The Gauntlet were for your squad only, but the Arena could be shared with another squad. Squads could then compete, unofficially, against each other in their Arena

"I'm on the now, and the dual booking for squads, in the Arena, is not a feature," Gaumont said after the Chief's had finished their lecture.

"What?" Barran asked, "how are we supposed to lock in extra time with other squads?"

"We will need to talk with them," Vannier said, "and make a deal. We may even need agreements, so certain squads don't monopolise time."

"; Gaumont asked, "why don't they just add the dual booking feature. Then none of this will be needed?"

"That's the point," Daedo answered.

"Remember they are testing from monitoring us," Mace added.

"That's evil!" Gaumont , "so they purposely make stuff harder to test us?"

"It's logical," Daedo said.

Gaumont looked grumpy. Although he could comprehend the reasoning, he didn't like it.

"Whatever," Barran added. "Vannier, you can deal with this right?" He was already assuming Vannier would take care of the negotiating and he could just and do his thing in an exo.

"I can, but I want help," she looked at Daedo, Mace and Axelzero.

"We should book in our times immediately and as far forward as possible," Picard stated.

"Oh shit," Vannier answered.

She was going to wait and line up time slots next to others to get a neat -minute block, but the time slots were disappearing before their eyes.

"I will do it," Daedo answered, "quickly everyone grant me admin of squad zero." He pulled on his helmet and as soon as it was granted he booked out 1800 every day for the gauntlet and 2015 for arena combat. Many of the morning slots were taken. It was done in a blink of the eye with Myrmidons assistance for the entire ten-week term.

"Week-ends were blocked, we couldn't book any there. We have 1800 for Gauntlet and 2015 for Arena for the term," he said.

"Wow, that was quick," Vannier observed.

Daedo shrugged, "I got times you can work with. Allows us a small amount of time between the two even if we team up with a forty-five in between."

"That's good, the gauntlet will be like a warm-up for the combat arena, I like it," Barran added.

Myrmidon: based on the lectures I am creating a weekly schedule for you to review and edit.

Daedo: thanks, Myrmidon. We will need to spend more time on physical than suggested, as much time as possible for gunnery and piloting as we can book. Do we need to book ranges?

Myrmidon: the range for Thoth three hundred students from all years. It is doubtful that it will ever be full unless there is a peak hour due to scheduling.

Daedo: are we able to book a slot at the range?

Myrmidon: no, but if we want to use live ammo then we have to purchase with bitcreds.

Daedo: we can use energy weapons and AR ammo at no cost?

Myrmidon: correct. However, I would like to gather data on live ammo, we have only ever used VR. The consensus view is that VR is

Daedo: I think we can afford it, how much can ammo be?

Myrmidon: we earn more interest on our bitcreds than we would spend on ammo. Assuming a twenty percent of max fire rate output for five per week on the range of the most expensive AP Missiles are restricted to AR only.

Daedo: another cost that would make it difficult for a attendee like Picard.

Myrmidon: I now see that bitcreds are important. I thought they were just a measure of our performance in spacebuild and CyberMech.

Daedo: you can't do anything without creds.

The last Chief took the stand, this was the only Chief to present solo.

"I am Chief VanDien," he announced, he was short, and although fairly old he looked very fit in his red, white and bodysuit. "Some cadets why we need physical, why so much importance is on it. Before we start with the on this course and its in U1 to U3, let me the why."

"Piloting a mech is strenuous, you are constantly moving and concentrating. If you tired your wanes and your piloting ability and gunnery will suffer."

"If you are piloting an exo, your physical speed and strength dictate your exo speed and strength to a degree. Your affects everything, and even if physical training was just cross training, for , then it would be worthwhile."

"A fast, coordinated pilot with excellent stamina gains three points of efficiency over an enemy pilot for every point of physical ," Chief VanDien finished his treatise on why physical prowess was important.

He then went on to outline the training and testing schedule.

"Everyone's training will be specific to their needs. Each cadet needs to sync internal suit sensors with the Academy cadet database. Once this is done, we will be able to monitor your and vitals. With the data from your internal sensors coupled with your obstacle course time and gym activities, we will design a regime for you. This regime will update and changed, let's be optimistic, as you are improving."

"Following this program is voluntary, you can create your own, or use any assistance you wish. Testing and ranking are simple. Over the ten-week program, there will be five obstacle courses, each one with increasing difficulty. We do not care what you do in the Gauntlet, that pertains to your exo piloting and gunnery skills.

"Only the obstacle course which will test your whole-body strength, speed, stamina and agility. Your subject result will be no surprise, it will be directly to your public ranking."

"Lastly, if you do not meet the minimum criteria you will not be into the U1 intake of the martial combat nor the spec ops course if that was your desire. Not all battles are fought in Mechs," Chief VanDien finished.

Daedo had a clear idea of what was required the lectures had been very useful. With his helmet on, he began to tweak the base schedule Myrmidon set up.

"Yes, we have piloting at 0900 tomorrow," Barran celebrated.

Everyone was sitting at the same table, all with their helmets on, perusing their schedule, their only view of the outside world were the cameras on their suit and helmets.

"This is Thoth squad zero," someone said.

"Why am I not surprised they all have helmets on," another answered.

Squad zero ignored the Amun-Ra cadets who were cruising the auditorium.

"Hello," came another voice.

She was in Thoth, squad two, her blonde hair and blue eyes were atypical for a member of their house.

"Hello," replied Vannier, everyone else just waited for her to answer. She then removed her helmet, which was not necessary and Daedo would not have done so, she must be thinking it was polite or allowed her some advantage when interacting.

"Hi, I am Fafner of squad two," she said.

"Oh, I am Vannier, squad zero as you can see," Vannier answered.

"We have been offered ten bitcreds a to partner with us in the combat arena in our booked , which is 1930. I noticed yours was adjacent. We wanted to know if you would match or beat this price?" Fafner asked.

"Hang on, you are being offered ten bitcreds? By who, who would pay?" Vannier asked, "and why are you asking us to only match their price? Why wouldn't we just trade the slot one for one?" Vannier began to fire at the girl Fafner who became flustered.

"Ah, you see," she began, "it is Horus which is offering the bitcreds, and we would rather help our own house than another, so if you match their price we will sell it to you."

"And why don't you want another slot for yourself?" Vannier asked.

"We mainly want to be engineers, one slot is enough for us," Fafner answered.

Daedo , he couldn't help himself.

Vannier shot him a look, he was surely watching everything with a camera. She messaged the squad.

Vannier: do we agree to ten bitcreds?

Barran: so that's fifty bitcreds a week, ten weeks, five hundred bitcreds?

Gaumont: divided by seven.

Picard: six, leave me out of your stupid rich kid games. Daedo?

Picard asked Daedo if he had a problem with paying, she knew he had creds, but he wasn't a rich kid like the rest.

Daedo: it's no problem.

"We will match the ten bitcreds and will purchase the entire ten week term," Vannier answered.

"Okay, deal," Fafner said and walked off.

"Don't we do a contract or something?" Barran asked, "my family always do contracts for deals."

"We should," Mace chimed in.

"I feel dirty," Picard said, she was upset.

"Don't feel bad, it is pocket money for us. And if I it to my parents would just treat it like an expense for the Academy," Vannier said.

"No, it's wrong," Picard stood, "it's a way of keeping people like me down. What's next? Other than expensive tutors, better equipment and purchasing ammo, because they are already a thing."

Myrmidon: set the meathead straight.

Myrmidon was referring to the perceived bitcred shortage. It was easy to make bitcreds if you applied yourself. Myrmidon had witnessed this first hand as Daedo made creds hand over fist, first with spacebuild and then with CyberMech. Rightly or wrongly Myrmidon thought bitcreds were easy to come by if you applied yourself.

Daedo: Nah, I don't want to be bossy or get into an argument.

Myrmidon: I think you should, you help her, and she will help you.

Daedo: she might get pissed at me.

Myrmidon: since when did that worry you?

Daedo: good point.

"Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Either make creds or work harder, feeling sorry for yourself will not help you," Daedo cut Picard down.

She turned on him, "how am I supposed to make bitcreds?"

The others were with her, how was she supposed to do that. The best way to make bitcreds was to be wealthy already and own a good company or shares which paid a lot. The other five were just handed creds from their parents for expenses and pocket money.

He removed his helmet.

"What are your best skills?" he asked.

She thought about it. "I am good with guns, diet, physical training and I work harder than anyone."

He thought about it a moment. He was not an expert on making creds, it was just in his circumstance he had made creds by excelling at certain things.

"Ok, then sell your services with physical training or offer to tutor in gunnery, say four bitcreds an hour," Daedo said.

She laughed, "no one would pay that."

"Um, you where you are," Barran answered, "you only need a few clients. Do it on weekends. If you really high on the range, it will prove you are good enough to tutor."

" high has nothing to do with being a good tutor," Picard said.

"Yeah, but your clients are M1, they don't necessarily think that," Vannier said. She looked at Daedo, again he surprised her. She would have thought they all kick in and help their squadmate. But he insulted her and challenged her. Which was a much better strategy, as giving Picard creds was a which had more negatives than positives.

As they finished that with Picard needing coaxing that she could charge cadets creds, they were being charged themselves for the use of the arena, Fafner came back.

"You have a problem," Fafner announced.

Vannier raised an eyebrow, "why is that?"

"Horus squad zero have offered fifteen bitcreds and presented a contract for us to sign. We made a deal, so I ran straight over, but the rest of the team want to sign their deal saying I did not have the right to make a deal with you," Fafner

"And did you?" Daedo asked.

"Yes," she said, "the sent me over here to make the offer."

He stood, a right next to theirs was ideal, in the same house arena as well. It had never to him they could use other house arenas. With the savings in setup and travel time, it would be ideal to have the back to back each night.

"Take us over to your squad," he asked, Vannier, Barran and the others following.

Daedo: there is no point in making another deal with Fafner. We either give up this slot or fight for it.

Vannier: agreed. Do you want to lead?

Daedo: no.

Barran: I think you should, you are Daedalus and have made your own creds.

Daedo: Please do not to tell anyone I am Daedalus, it could get annoying.

Vannier: I think you should too. I will help if you need me to.

Daedo: fine. I'll do it. But only because other would be a pain.

The group of eight, seven of squad zero and Fafner arrived to see a cluster of cadets, some in and others in the white and purple of House Horus.

Barran: tell them not to sign anything.

Daedo sighed, first, Barran asked him to lead and then told him what to do. It was probably typical of rich kids. It was good advice though.

"Don't sign anything," Daedo ordered.

Myrmidon: I have been reading the legal studies document as fast as I can. Most of it is on military law, but there are on contracts as the Military has contracts and soldiers are contracted to the Military in turn. A verbal contract is still a contract in the private world but not a Military environment. And strictly speaking, the Academy is a Military But it is worth a feint?

Myrmidon knew feints and bluffs from their strategies in many games and in CyberMech. Feints were a of any attack.

Myrmidon: ask for damages to the amount agreed plus

"We have a verbal contract, and if you now award the slot to someone else, we will ask for damages to the amount we offered plus an factor for a less favourable slot," Daedo stated in a sure voice following Myrmidons lead.

He had come a long way in a short amount of time, slowly building confidence talking to meatheads. The support of Myrmidon made all the difference, they treated this like any strategy game.

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