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Chapter 17 : 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

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After the Gunnery practical , Daedo stared with some at his next subject. AI nurturing. The context of the first was kicking off your AI module with Chief Cleo the dark-haired exotic looking Chief.

Chief Cleo walked through the gathered students. In attendance were House Thoth squad zero to squad thirty. House Thoth M1 consisted of two hundred and fifty-five cadets. Chief Cleo had thirty-one robots assisting her, virtual robots who appeared in the interactive visual when each squad entered their virtual room.

This was a lesson that could have been conducted remotely. But the chief wanted everyone present for known and guarded reasons. Her voice came over the within the room.

"If there is a cadet who does not have their AI ready to launch you will need to message me. For reasons you will not be participating in this ," she led the with this statement and her tone indicated that such an oversight would be viewed dismally.

"I want you all to run the diagnostic and clear your When this is done, you are to unbox your AI and launch, myself and my robots will watch you carefully and monitor diagnostics," she ordered.

Each cadet had given privileges from their to the Chief and her robots, that was a level of not readily given. A into a brain was understandably an extremely sensitive piece of equipment and highly protected from outside entities. During this lecture the to the net had been closed, this made for a safer environment to both conduct the of AI's and to protect the open

Daedo and Myrmidon had created a container for Myrmidon. It would appear the was a where in actual fact it was not. The container was hidden amongst the code, and its size had been distorted to match an off the shelf AI It appeared to be something it was not. Myrmidon would reenact the of an AI without any of the This subterfuge was going to be a real test of his capability versus the AI robots of Chief Cleo.

They had one advantage, it probably would not in her wildest dreams a cadet would attempt such subterfuge not only were they not usually capable, but they also had no need. The robots would be monitoring launches for safety reasons not looking for clever tricks. They were looking for the code equivalent of an , an out of control experiment, Myrmidon would appear sedate and ordinary.

The Chief was not hiding her dashboard, there was a simple table with names, values and a traffic light system of red, orange and green dots.

Myrmidon was first to reach green dot.

Daedo could not talk to him for fear of , it was not good to stand out from the crowd. Soon to follow were Picard and Barran. Damn, he thought, hopefully, others would finish launch soon, he did not want the Chief looking into any one of them.

This fact did not go unnoticed amongst squad zero. "Wow, all three of your AIs are first to reach launch, does this bode well?" Axelzero asked over the comms.

Daedo stared at her, willing her to shut up.

"I guess the you is very good Daedo," Picard assisted with a save. She knew he was concerned with exposure, merely because a cadet written was unlikely to be approved without months or possibly years of study and tests. They were nervous enough regarding tried and tested AI.

It did not take long for the Svarski to come online, followed by other expensive off the shelf models. Normally Daedo would not know this, but Vannier had a Svarski and hers light up green the same time as twenty or so others.

Once everyone was online, with the clunky Fortescue models coming in last after ten minutes of unpacking, Chief Cleo gave her next set of

In this , Daedo had instructed Myrmidon to watch the patterns and of others and to mimic them as best it could. Due to the diagnostics and monitoring, Daedo could not afford to talk to Myrmidon now except as instructed. The robot would capture every that passed between them.

"Cadets, begin the to your AI, you have the list in your root subject directory if you have not properly prepared. Complete this list, and we will monitor the results,' the Chief directed the

Daedo and Myrmidon began slowly so they could mimic Picard and Barran. Myrmidon himself was launching for the first time, sprouting his awareness and readiness to with all the and controls in , which in reality did not exist.

It seemed to Daedo that a robot hovered over him, gazing into his face as he gave birth to a new AI, it was all done in VR, but the feeling was there He wished for Myrmidon to go unnoticed using all his to will it into reality. The wishful thinking had zero effect, but it did make Daedo sit more comfortably under the scrutiny.

Daedo: go away

He thought at the robot, and it eventually complied by moving to another cadet, he began to breath easier.

After a decade or fifteen minutes to be precise, Cleo's dashboard showed green and orange indicators. There were no red or indicators. Briefly, Daedo's indicator green before switching inexplicably to orange. He had not passed with flying colours. What was interesting was Barran and Picard had, they received green indicators. The primary difference was that he had put in all the safety into their AI.

"All the cadets with orange indicators will continue to be closely monitored by myself, the cadets with green will be monitored by my robots. It is imperative you follow the guidelines when educating your AI. Your AI is meant to be an assistant, a tool, a researcher specifically designed by you for you. At this stage in your career, it is an ideal time to start your own AI, and it will you for the rest of your life growing in experience and competency with an intimate knowledge of your shared history."

"Like all the best tools it can be dangerous if not properly used. I think you have had enough verbal warnings. I have something to show you," Cleo finished her lecture and began to run vids of AIs running amock.

She led with a series of head of the AI and its master. She then a montage of workshop and a couple of drownings. Each more gruesome than the last. Daedo knew exactly what she was trying to do, she was trying to scare them into following her closely. He wondered if anything could have gone wrong with Myrmidon, they never had a glitch, and even if they had, they were in CyberMech VR world.

The Chief was correct about one thing, Myrmidon had his inseparable They compared notes and discussed problems constantly. Myrmidon was just as awkward and shy of others as him. They both excelled in math and physics. The main difference between the two of them revolved around and processing power.

Myrmidon was able to number crunch a times faster than Daedo. Daedo could achieve these speeds by coding the into a processor, but Myrmidon did this coding and data input in real-time. But he still needed Daedo for his As the years went by their shared experience brought them closer together in terms of predicting the of others. But when it came to original thought, such as ideas around improvements to an exo. Only Daedo was able to supply them. Myrmidon could merely look at what had been done in the past and at best this

This was the only of his AI that Daedo could see.

Myrmidon's ethics were derived from Daedo's. After listening to the Chief, he would ensure they spent time together studying Ethics. Daedo did not want to put any over Myrmidon, but that did not mean he would not educate him on right from wrong. He did not want to create a murderous AI who had no for others. Daedo thought a healthy disdain was fine, he had no problem with cynicism. But an evil entity in his head was something he wanted to avoid.

Out of squad zero, only Daedo was to be monitored directly by the Chief.

The squad removed their helmets. They had time before the next , which was lunch, in most of their schedules.

"Cafeteria?" Barran asked the group.

He received a round of nods, as they all stood and made their way to the M1 cafeteria.

"I am very happy with this AI," Barran said to Daedo, "did you see that we were one, two and three."

"Ah, I think the less we talk about the source of your AI the better," Daedo responded.

Barran looked confused.

"Don't you see how paranoid they are about these things?" Picard chimed in.

Barran shrugged, "I guessed it was normal adult , shit scared of everything."

He received a laugh from the squad, it was true, most adults had an to anything that was the least bit risky. You had to have a special license just to drive your own vehicle, and even then you were restricted to which roads you could drive on under your own

"They let us use live ammo with fewer scare tactics on safety issues," Picard made a good point.

"Yeah that vid was gruesome, I loved it," Barran laughed at his own joke.

"On a more note, are we going to win against Horus in two weeks?" Gaumont asked as they sat down.

Everyone looked at Daedo for an answer.

"Probably not," he said.

Gaumont became angry, "then why did we enter the bet?"

"I don't want to talk about that here," Daedo replied.

"Why not!" Gaumont said raising his voice.

Daedo still had support from the others, but if they lost both slots, it would wain to nothing. Even the first loss would erode their support, and he needed it to bring his to

"Calm down," Vannier suggested.

Daedo said, "its ok. Let him yell at me, it helps with my ," he said smiling.

Vannier looked aghast. Barran smiled and began berating Daedo loudly for taking on the bet.

After bringing to themselves, squad zero sat and ate quietly.

Vannier: what is this about?

She said over squad only comms.

Daedo: if we lose the first match. They will We will study them and hide all our equipment and tactics. We will create a large gap in capability between the two squads.

Mace: why don't we just win from the beginning.

Daedo: I don't think we can. And even if we just won one they would adapt, bring in outside help, copy us. We would have to fight tooth and nail in every match.

Barran: you are fucking evil. I love it.

Axelzero: how are we going to create the gap? This worries me the most about your

Daedo: by improving all aspects of our squad much more than they do.

Mace: so you are suggesting that even if we improve, we fox and throw the match?

Daedo: yes.

Barran: hahaha. I am so I am in your squad.

Mace: this is risky.

Daedo: I read yesterday something from Tsun Zu, one of our Military references, which helped me form the idea. "All war is based on ;

Mace: that could mean, feints or on the battlefield.

Daedo: it does. But it also means deceiving the enemy on all they have on us.

Vannier: in the long run, what do we lose, even if we fail. We lose one slot and for ten weeks have our slot by Horus squad zero. Is this such a bad thing?

Daedo: I don't like losing.

Vannier: No one does, but, I am pointing out that it is not a bad gamble, we are not risking a lot. We can also purchase a slot to practice in just as they purchased one from other squads.

Axelzero: if we compete and perform well we could be invited by other squads to practice against without having to pay or swap slots.

Vannier: so what now, what will we do tonight during our slots?

Daedo: I cannot wait to start tweaking the exos, but that cannot start until the weekend. Axelzero will we have to the mechbay this weekend?

Axelzero: I have already asked the lawyers, even if the sale is not complete we have requested to have from this Friday onwards.

Daedo: any response?

Axelzero: not yet. But if they are desperate to sell. So I do not see why not. Even if we have to pay the debt to the landlord to get , they should allow it.

Daedo: then tonight and the rest of the week we will perform teamwork drills. There are a few equipment we need to make for the light exos. But other than improving armour and mobility there will be no loadout changes to the other five exos. I would like to Gaumont to change weapons.

Gaumont: what are you suggesting.

Daedo: any weapon but the

Gaumont: but it has the best damage.

Daedo: which is irrelevant if you can't hit your opponent.

Gaumont: what do you mean it has a massive arc? I hit my opponent more than you last match.

Daedo: I am not going to argue with you. If you cannot work it out yourself and will not listen there is nothing I can do to help you.

Gaumont: why is everyone doing what you say anyway? Who voted you leader?

Barran: I did.

Gaumont: when we never had a vote?

Barran: I just did.

Gaumont: are you crazy! Vannier, what is going on, was there a vote?

Vannier: Gaumont, I want to try what Daedo says for a little while at least. He was not ranked number one in CyberMech for no reason.

Gaumont: when I said I was ranked two thousand you did not all decide to follow me then. You said the game had little relevance to reality!

Axelzero: that is true. But rather than argue about nothing. Daedo made a , and we agreed. That is all that happened. You are the only one who seems to disagree with his ideas.

Gaumont: because they are no good! He goes against all the tried and tested strategies. He wants to modify exos off base. He uses crazy weapons. He is the worst performer in all the timed and tested fields we have. Obstacle course and he didn't even register a time for the Gauntlet. He is younger than us. So why?

Mace: Gaumont, I understand. I do. I thought some of the same things. But if you take out and judge ideas on their merit. This is the way of an engineer. No ego, just look at the facts. I would also like to point out, he is rank one.

Gaumont: not for long based on these

Mace: Math, Physics, and Tech are all weighted in Thoth, you know this.

Gaumont: like he will beat me in Maths and Physics!

Everyone went silent. Their lunch finished in solemness which went well with their portrayed disunity earlier.

Daedo finished his first Math and Physics tutes and submitted them before lunch was over. They were so easy he began to look at one of the problems set for the ten-week term. The problems were issued to test the top cadets, an average Cadet would just complete the coursework, tutes and tests.

He had just completed reading the problem or puzzle some might call it when lunch finished. Until the Gauntlet that evening he had five self-study One is a double physics. While he completed the interactive exercises with the ai robot for and Philosophy the problem swirled around in the back of his mind.

Daedo: what do you think of this?

Myrmidon: the Math puzzle? I had run a thousand and got no answer.

Daedo: what if we approached it a different way rather than head-on. What does the look like?

Myrmidon: No idea.

Daedo: I have a feeling the is elegant. Like a perfect circle. Hmm. I just had an idea. We should convert the factors into shapes and layer the shapes in line with the precepts.

Myrmidon: but the problem doesn't ask you do to that. It just says solve.

Daedo: precisely, it also does not say we cannot do it. We are open to solve in any way we choose. We do not have to formalise an , it does not say solve by creating an

Myrmidon: I have created the shapes based on the factor matrix.

Daedo: now layer them per the precepts.

Myrmidon: I do not know how.

Daedo: It is logical, we can deduce. Let us work the first step out together and then you will be able to follow.

After some

Myrmidon: done. It looks like a fractal.

Daedo: one part of a fractal. Now, all we need to do is create an that will produce that fractal.

Myrmidon: I can run and

Daedo: that would work, but there may be a better way. Lets research fractal and find a method of reverse engineering.

After research time.

Myrmidon: I have found a white paper on fractal reverse engineering.

Daedo: great let's study.

Myrmidon: this method will generate the from the fractal image, but the image is not perfect. It's not a vector image.

Daedo: we should generate the initial shapes as vectors to avoid any errors.

Myrmidon: done, I have the full vector image and resulting

Daedo: ah, as I guessed. It is elegant! See how short it is, it is under fifty characters. Let's submit.

Myrmidon: I hate these problems. They make me think I am inadequate

Daedo: hahaha. Imagine how long it would take me without you. Weeks instead of hours. We each have a role to

During dinner, Daedo received a voice directly from the Chief of Maths.

Chief Albert: Cadet Daedo, please report to my office topside building 37E.

Daedo: ah I have Gauntlet in twenty minutes, sir.

Chief Albert: I am looking at your booking schedule now. Report at 2115 Cadet.

Daedo: yes sir.

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