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Chapter 14 : M1 - Term: 1, Round: 1


Attendance at Fortescue Military Academy M1 Y:2142

House Thoth, Squad Zero

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

Term: 1, Round: 1

Master Nader: Daedo, Vannier, Axelzero, Mace and Picard report to my office immediately.

The cadets looked at each other and thought that Master Nader clearly watched their every move and And acted whenever she saw something she didn't like.

The group in made their way to Master Nader's office, it was adjoined, for good or ill, to where they slept and lived. There were other communal areas they could use, and they could eat in the middle academy cafeteria if they didn't want to eat in their quarters. But this area was the was their own space. It had home in the short time they had been attending the Military Academy.

It was not long before five were standing in front of Master Nader.

"Master, I apologise," Picard began before Master Nader spoke.

She held up a hand and summoned them to stand before her desk.

Daedo wondered about the strategy Nader was employing, she sat behind a large desk, and they stood on the other side facing her.

The Master could arrange the room in any way she wished, she could have a roundtable with stools. A bench seat. Or she could have nothing and they all stand, but she chose this setup. He did not doubt that she wanted it to convey something. A between her and the cadets perhaps or her dominance. As he pondered this, she began to speak after silencing Picard.

" or a forecast in a like this is unnecessary and unwise Picard. You should wait and see what I have to say and only prepare responses to what you think the words could be. There was no need to commit yourself," Master Nader began lecturing Picard.

"Now, I summoned you all here to offer my assistance," she brought up a map of Paris and zoomed in on the industrial estate outside of Paris. "There is a company based here," she pointed at a specific in Nanterre which then highlighted and the image zoomed in closer.

"Which used to repair mechs for the Academy and others. It had gotten into financial trouble and stopped operating some time ago. The building where it is operates from it no longer owns." The owner of the building and other details were on the interactive holomap.

"There will be an this week for the of its assets, but, as I understand it, you make an offer to the liquidators. You could purchase the company outright. This is important because this company is a registered supplier of the academy which means mechs and exos can be taken offsite to this company and its premises. But I would suggest if you have enough funds to purchase the dying company, and its tooling, for potentially a rock bottom price. You could also purchase the building or just continue to rent it."

"Why did it go out of business?" Axelzero asked.

"Does it matter?" asked Master Nader.

"Yes, there could be a reason that affects us if we purchase it," Axelzero.

"Have your experts from your families investigate it. It is not my area of expertise. If you want an off-campus base this would be ideal, it is close, and it is approved. That is enough assistance for you today. Dismissed," Nader ordered.

"Why didn't you just send a message?" Daedo asked.

"I said dismissed," Master Nader roared with her robotic voice on full. The room went dark, and arrows pointing to the exit lit up the floor.

Daedo shrugged. Another test. He was twelve, and the answer was unimportant, he had his guesses anyway. He left the office, he really didn't want to find out what would happen if he disobeyed a dismissal for a time.

"I will get our lawyers to investigate immediately," Axelzero said.

"We should all buy in and shareholders based on the buy-in," Mace said.

"Let's find out how much it is first," Vannier , "it may be in , but, it could still be more than our parents are willing to give. Or what we have in savings."

Myrmidon: there is an equipment list posted for the

And he proceeded to show it to Daedo who in turn showed the list to everyone on the wall of their communal area.

"Most of this is junk," Mace informed them, "but the lifters, UAN table, machining, electrolyte bath and lasers are useful. The fabricators are so old, we would need to the heads at least."

Daedo sent the list off to his Father with an He asked his father to assess the workshop tools and equipment, as part of a project to outfit a mech and exo workshop.

In a few hours, his Father came back with a list of outdated equipment that needed upgrading or and a few of his favourite tools, some old school, which he would to add. He also the and compressed air supply of the building would need to be checked as well as it's primary and power supplies.

Daedo: Dad, could you come to this address on Saturday 0830 for an of the workshop project. We would appreciate your help.

Ikaros: Of course. You only need to ask, and I will be there for you son.

His Father was probably surprised and delighted his son had asked for assistance and in their very first week.

"My Father will inspect the premises this Saturday 0830," Daedo informed the group after they were all feverishly asking parents for creds and the

"We need to invite Barran and Gaumont," Vannier said.

"Then invite them," Mace answered.

"Where is Gaumont?" Axelzero asked and pinged him.

His door opened, and he came out of his room, he had been working on his Maths and Physics tutes the entire evening.

Vannier sent off a missive to Barran who was still topside exploring the fields and forests which covered the campus. She proceeded to it to Gaumont. He nodded.

"I will send a request to my parents, but don't hold your breath, they aren't as wealthy as some and won't invest huge amounts of creds if it is high risk," he informed them and went back to his room.

"Vannier," Mace interrupted her perusing of the schedule, they had done all they can do regarding the workshop and were working out their weekly schedule, "we do not have a slot partner for tomorrow."

"And we need the contract for Horus signed," Axelzero said.

"Can I see it?" Daedo asked. He was no expert, but Myrmidon could scan and perhaps pick something up. Plus he was beginning to think of a tactic.

"Sure," Axelzero said, "anyone else?"

"I think we should ask Master Nader to look it over," Vannier suggested.

"Good idea, I will send to her as well," Axelzero said.

Myrmidon analysed the document.

Myrmidon: it is a very simple agreement. No room for loopholes that I can predict.

Daedo: I want to create one.

Myrmidon: oh exciting. Tell me.

Daedo: I don't know the wording if you can what is there if I just tell you. Ok?

Myrmidon: go ahead. Meathead lawyers can check when we are done.

Daedo: The total number of matches after the first should be left open. Horus said they had several extra slots. They will not expect to lose. If the contract was worded using open-ended terms and only had an end date to the first term and we continued to win, we could win all their slots.

Myrmidon: what happens if they win all yours?

Daedo: we have two slots and one primary. If they beat us three times in a row, then we would have nothing. That's perfect. If they see this loophole, they will assume they can take all our slots until we have nothing. A better than our bet.

Myrmidon: it is a simple agreement, I only had to change a couple of sentences.

It did not to Myrmidon that Daedo needed to ask his squadmates about this gamble. As far as the AI was concerned everyone was a lesser being to Daedo. Daedo himself believed that Axelzero's lawyers would pick it up when she forwarded it to them, and he would his strategy when necessary.

"I made a couple of minor amendments," Daedo said and sent the agreement back to Axelzero.

She forwarded it to Horus squad zero assumed captains Karine Fortescue, Master Nader and the House Master of Horus, Becker.

Axelzero then changed the subject back to the workshop, "if your Father is inspecting the workshop on Saturday does that mean you are buying a share?" she asked Daedo.

"No, my Father is inspecting because he is an excellent mechanic. I will purchase the largest share I can afford with my own creds," Daedo informed her.

"How much do you have?" she asked him quietly.

"Don't tell her," Barran interrupted, he just made it back from his topside , "all girls want is your money. Best to keep it secret," he said holding a finger to his lips and grinning evilly at the shocked look on Axelzero's face.

"I was just !" she protested vehemently.

"She protests too much," Barran said theatrically. He patted Daedo on the back, "the infamous Daedalus from CyberMech and a lady killer."

Daedo just blushed, he didn't think about Axelzero that way at all, but no words would come out of his mouth.

Axelzero huffed and put on her helmet, an excellent method to withdraw.

"So we are going into the mech repair business? It's been, like, a day," Barran observed.

"No, we are securing a to research and upgrade offsite," Vannier said.

"Whatever, I'm in," Barran said, "I have plenty saved from my allowance. I don't even need to ask ;

"We don't even know how much it is," Vannier argued.

"I will just buy the share I can afford. I couldn't be bothered it to Father, or worse, my sister," he said.

"My company's lawyers just responded," Axelzero announced.

"That was fast!" Vannier

"I think I get special treatment," Axelzero , "I will read what they said in summary. The repair business had standard overheads, sinking revenue and failed ventures which resulted in the removal of capital and current liquidated Risk of purchase low. Return on investment low to nil. Maximum advised bid for the company as a going concern, 14,000 bitcreds. The suggested offer is 5,000 bitcreds. Property value will increase if a purchaser is found, if purchasing the property, it is advised to do so before purchasing the company. Property value, 21,000 bitcreds, suggested offer 18,000 bitcreds."

"The property is worth more than the company?" Vannier asked.

"It makes sense, the company is almost worthless except for its equipment and land is always worth creds," Barran said.

"I will put in half," Daedo said, he almost had enough for all, in his , there were 21,300 bitcreds, but he did need some for parts, materials, ammo and anything else that popped up. He thought it a good move to allow everyone who wanted to buy a stake.

"Half of the business or half of everything?" Barran asked interestedly.

"Everything," Daedo said.

Barran whistled, "I can contribute twenty percent," he offered, "that leaves thirty percent between you three. Can you do that?"

Axelzero looked at the other two, Mace and Vannier who nodded.

"If one of us is denied the other two can pick up the difference," Mace suggested, she was always strategic.

"I this and sent to the Axel company lawyers, they will draft up the documents and make the purchase pro bono, whatever that means," Axelzero said.

Vannier looked it up, 'free," she said, "Will they get a good price?"

"Better than we would," Axelzero offered.

Everyone nodded.

"Thanks, Axel. Letting us use your company Lawyers is a big help. And you have done it a few times now," Vannier stated.

Axelzero, "let's hope they don't start charging. If I need to sweet talk mum and dad, we may need to put everyone into Axel suits, especially if we do well."

"Not everyone can afford them," Picard said.

Barran rolled his eyes at Picard, "we know, we know, stop whining all the time. They will either be free or we all chip in. Its better than paying for lawyers."

"Who are we going to get for our slot?" Axelzero asked changing the subject.

"Who hates Horus the most?" Daedo asked.

"Other than us?" Barran asked, "everyone I think."

"We should approach Shu, I know Tiphanie Lazard, and she will be a lot better to deal with than Almeras who we met earlier today. I don't know Amun-Ra squad zero members that well," Vannier answered.

"I will contact her now, we can meet with her squad before bed," Vannier suggested.

The night was escaping them, it had been a massive day, they had attended all the lectures, picked a fight for slots with Horus, exo improvement to give them an edge, began to purchase an offsite base to upgrade the suits on weekends so they did not have to wait for tools and could upgrade in secret. It would also give them room for testing and other activities.

And lastly, they were their schedules and filling in their last slot with someone who would push them. The core squad had stuck together, only Gaumont seemed intent on doing his own thing. Barran was a maverick, but he went along with the group.

Vannier took Daedo with her to meet Shu squad zero. Everyone else stayed to work on their schedules and They had to work out how much time to spend on each subject only a few were interactive with attendance compulsory. The other subjects could be completed at any time, they just needed to be completed before week ten came to a Daedo had his schedule worked out hours ago. With Myrmidons help and it was completed during the , and it did not require much tweaking.

"Lazard," Vannier greeted a tall, dark haired girl, she was by three boys two with blonde and one with brown hair.

"Vannier," Lazard returned the greeting. They were in the middle school cafeteria, it was almost empty. The six took a seat at a nearby table, the four Shu on onside and the two Thoth on the other.

"We would like to offer you two slots tomorrow and next week if you are keen to help us beat Horus," Vannier said matter of factly.

"I heard, everyone is talking about it, and most are laughing at you," Lazard informed them.

Vannier grimaced, "I would like to make them laugh on the other side of their face."

Daedo wondered what that even meant.

"What times?" Lazard asked.

"Monday evening, 1930 and 2015 back to back," Vannier supplied.

Lazard whistled,"back to back, and on a Monday, awesome," she looked quickly to her squadmates. They must have been sending her messages. "No strings attached?" she asked.

"Just one," Daedo answered, "you need to bring you're A-Game. We need to practice hard, and we can't do that if you are testing stuff or mucking around."

"No problem, we can do that, " she held her hand to Vannier and then Daedo.

It was 2100, Daedo had scheduled to sleep at 2300. He spent the extra time researching parts and ways to improve the light exo. Even if they didn't purchase their own Mech Bay, they would be able to make the tweaks on campus.

His day tomorrow was full with only a few hours spare for meals, an allowance for tutoring and a review of the day.

In 0600 he would rise and complete the obstacle course before heading to the gym and completing his physical training. It would be difficult one after the other, but it made sense efficiency wise. His body would just have to adapt and handle the strain.

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