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Chapter 22 : 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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"Etana!" Cisse giving him an embarrassing hug. She managed this by leaning out and pulling him in from her floating chair.

"Argh, it's Daedo here," Daedo said pushing her off him. Since he had been working on exos all weekend, he wondered why she rode her hoverchair. It would be a simple thing to make her robotic legs with and even an AI to control them.

He looked at her for a change, "why do you use that chair?" he asked bluntly.

For a moment she looked confused and shocked by the , but she quickly smiling. "There are many reasons, but mainly because I prefer it," she answered.

It wasn't really an answer. , she preferred it as it was her choice, he wanted to know why she preferred it. But if she did not want to share, he was not going to pry. If Daedo could empathize with one thing with others, it would certainly be the lack of a need to share.

He plonked the compact cold reactor onto her lap.

"This is what we have right now, it is capable of a hundred and twenty kVA, which is ample for the systems and subsystems, but even a heavy exo only carries enough for a hundred and thirty megajoules of deliverable power," Daedo said.

"That's thirty percent , that is terrible, is this a gen two reactor?" Cisse asked.

Daedo shrugged.

"The field containing the is probably the issue as the reactor is in the field. The field surrounds the with the next layer being the transfer with the reactor at its core. A spherical shape is the standard design for this sort of small reactor. Do you need any thermal energy output of the reactor or just electrons?" She asked.

"Quite the opposite, I would prefer a heatsink if it were possible, some systems already generate heat, especially ordnance such as cannons," Daedo replied.

"What is the ; Cisse asked.

Cisse was effectively asking Daedo to outline what he wanted for an and any that were applicable. He thought about the for a moment.

"The main energy consumers are the jump jets. We also have to power systems for the strength and speed of the exo as well as all weapon systems. The physical enhancements are delivered from the backpack via hydraulics, as well as the jump jets. The main energy consumers not on the back are the weapon delivery systems, which are usually handheld or attached to the shoulder at best," Daedo pulled up his exo schematic and dropped all layers other than the power delivery schematic.

"Are we limited by size or technology?" Cisse asked.

"There are no rules that limit the reactor specifically. However, the overall suit has design in regards to size and weight. We can afford more weight if we have more power, but this shape and size is limited to this outline," Daedo pulled up a new schematic showing how much space the reactor could take on the back.

"What is the max power draw of all systems combined?" Cisse asked.

"That changes based on the weapon loadout, but if we assume a rail gun, two jump jets and all other systems we are aiming for over seventy megajoules," Daedo said.

"Are you not making these systems more efficient?" Cisse asked.

"No, on the contrary, we want to increase their power. And we really want to increase the runtime on the jump jets," Daedo said.

"When do you need it by?" she asked.

"We need seven by next Sunday if possible. But if it takes more time we can use the reactors provided," he answered. "It could be possible to tweak what we have to deliver a in a few weeks as well,' he suggested.

"A few weeks?" Cisse asked rhetorically, "you are a hard taskmaster. There are off the shelf products you could buy, but they aren't cheap."

The latest of compact Cold reactors of this size were not cheap at all, they would cost more the Daedo's home, in the thousand bitcred range.

"We have already spent too much on this , and we are supposed to be engineering our equipment as part of the Academies projects. I was hoping you could throw a few together for us?" Daedo asked politely.

"You are supposed to build your own reactors as part of an M1 academy project?" Cisse asked incredulously.

"No," Mace walked in chuckling at the "That is just Daedo. We are meant to look for ways to improve our equipment and take on a project for tech studies. Only Daedo wants to rebuild a whole new exo in his first week. I am Mace by the way," She held out her hand for Cisse to shake.

"Oh," Cisse said summing up Mace and shaking her outstretched hand, "I am Cisse. I am Daedo's Aunt, sort of."

"Oh I know about you, he you earlier when we discussed our power problems. He said you would sort it out," Mace said smiling. She left out the part were he her in his letter on their first day.

"If it is meant to be a project and I do all the work, isn't that cheating?" Cisse asked.

"The Academy expects us to use all resources There is no such thing as cheating in war," Daedo answered using Chief Albert's logic.

"Let me think of a cost-effective then. As for tweaking and tuning your current reactors that will not be hard, I could change the conductor outer casing and inject more increasing its efficiency. The reactor will not need to change since it is already seventy percent over capacity," Cisse said.

"I knew it would not take you long. Where will you build the new reactors, can you do it here?" Daedo asked.

"I have no idea what you have here, and you need to show me around," Cisse said.

"Oh how rude, and he needs to introduce you to everyone," Mace said.

Mace calling Daedo rude for not interacting socially in a proper manner was a low blow, she was the one who usually said nothing unless pressed.

After a tour and a round of , Cisse gave her verdict.

"I can bring a few pieces of equipment and instruments from my lab to complete the works here. The fact you can manufacture the materials is fantastic. I have a program we can put into a robot assistant as well," Cisse said.

"We don't have any robots," Vannier answered.

"Ah, we can remedy that," Ikaros said, "I will bring in three tomorrow. Once programmed they can work all week, even when you are at the Academy."

"So as long as we order supplies, they can keep manufacturing fibres and materials day and night," Daedo thought out loud, "that's awesome."

"The first exo is almost ready; it just needs the interface, reactor, and weapons added,' Ikaros said.

"Let's get cracking, I really want to test this before we go to bed," Daedo said.

"Who's going to bed? I am too excited," Axelzero said.

"I will be, I am beat," Daedo said. He had been working nonstop since his twenty kilometre run in the morning. It had been twelve hours of problem-solving, tweaking, designing and being the central resource for everyone. He had only stopped to eat a few times, and that was only to something down in ten minutes.

"We should go down to the river for a run," Picard suggested, "that will refresh you."

Daedo stared at her like she was crazy.

"I do my best thinking when I run," Barran suggested.

"You should run more often then," Picard teased.

"Daedo, I can put this together, you should go for a run and clear your head," Ikaros offered, "when you get back you can test it out."

"Ok, ok," Daedo felt cornered and into taking a break.

"I'm coming too," Mace said followed by a chorus of me toos. All the cadets left Cisse and Ikaros behind at the workshop.

The path along the river Seine was lit, but even if it wasn't they cadets had enough sensors on the bodysuits to run in complete darkness.

"I had an idea," Picard said running behind Daedo, keeping up with his pace easily.

"What's that?" he asked between breaths.

She pulled alongside him and pointed to a metal armband she was wearing, "I have these on my arms, legs, back and stomach. In all, it weighs twenty kilos, but you could start at ten. Even ten is difficult and will make a big difference."

"Ah," he said, "are you trying to kill me?" He was amazed she could keep up with him while wearing an extra twenty kilos.

She laughed, "no, you misunderstand. If you wear these for a few days a week and during your obstacle course practice runs you will get much stronger. And when it comes time to complete your best time on the obstacle course, when you do not have them on you will feel like you are flying."

Daedo just thought it sounded like torture. But his competitive nature talked him into it; he was only behind his squadmates and other cadets in physical training. And if he wanted to perform well in an exo, he would need to improve, especially given his preferred strategy probably included a heavy sword lance. The more he thought about strategy a short range weapon may be better than a melee weapon. If the melee weapon could not pull off a one-shot kill then dual pistols, like Axelzero, or a large calibre gun maybe a better

Other than the bet with Horus he had plenty of time to experiment with different weapons. The fact they could be modified or built from scratch made tactics infinitely more complex than CyberMech with its set ordnance and loadouts.

"Picard," Daedo said as they ran, "what do you know about large calibre short range guns."

"You mean twelve point seven mill rounds?" She asked.

"They would be awesome for a railgun, but I am thinking a short range weapon, something with an exploding round," Daedo said.

"Explode on impact or one which explodes before impact?" Picard asked.

"There are rounds which you can explode remotely?" Daedo asked.

"Yes, usually the rifle has a laser sight, and as the round approached the target it explodes a hundred mills in front of them causing a cone of shrapnel to spread, but for exos and mechs, armour piercing rounds are more effective," she answered.

"I think a twelve point seven round gun is great at medium range, even with an old gun like an M2HB packs a punch into mech armour given modern ordnance," Picard said.

"If I did use a twelve point seven type round, we might as well design a short barrel railgun so that I can swing it around faster. The faster the speed of the round the more damage it will inflict," Daedo said.

"Yeah and there is no reason you cannot use a high explosive round in a railgun," she responded.

"What about a cannon?" Axelzero asked, joining the

"I don't like the heat they generate, and I would prefer a shorter barrel for close range, the longer the barrel, the slower it is to pan," Daedo said.

"I heard one of our affiliate patent companies are working on a shield," Mace joined in as well.

"Now that is interesting," Daedo was intrigued on how a shield could work.

They ran on for awhile discussing different weapons.

"I think I will stick with the vibro sword for now," Daedo said, "that and the grenades. And when the work on the railgun is done, I will try a shorter barrel of it."

"If it out damages pistols significantly I may switch too," Axelzero said.

"The pressure is all on us now Picard," Vannier said.

"I am used to carrying my own weight and then some," Picard said indicating the weights she was wearing.

Vannier gave a snort of for Picard, "yes I noticed. Daedo," she began changing the subject, "if the exos are ready on Sunday night, when will we put them in for testing and update the AR?"

"I thought we should book them in for the following Monday, so there is no of the increased effectiveness, of the armour at least, until our wager match with Horus," Daedo answered.

"Oh smart thinking," Vannier said.

"And we will have an extra week to make tweaks and improvements to the design," Daedo said, "which we will need after testing during the week. We have a long way to go. Don't be surprised if we are not making small upgrades and changes weekly," he informed them.

"We really need to work on making some creds. Those materials are not cheap," Vannier said.

"Well, if an opportunity comes up, we should jump on it," Axelzero said, "Mace how are you going with a patent for Daedo's AI ;

"I am afraid these things take a long time, it may be months before it starts making creds. I am sure some companies will start selling it though, it is just a matter of getting it registered, being offered to the companies, they then market and sell. Lastly, the royalties are paid quarterly at best. I doubt anyone will agree to an advance," she said.

"Why not?" Axelzero asked, "I know Daedo is an unknown, but if the product is good they should pay."

"The lawyers and our sales agent will get an advance if they can, we will just have to wait and see," Mace answered.

Barran had run ahead and was inspecting the outside of their workshop when they arrived back.

"You know, I reckon we could put a climbing wall down the side, in the yard, and maybe something on the roof. It's up there," Barran suggested.

"A climbing wall is a great idea, if we are here all weekend, we should do some workouts. We could also put a gym on the gunnery range and testing bay level. Or in the offices on the top level," Picard said.

"If we have robots doing a lot of the work, we don't have to be here all weekend," Daedo said.

Vannier walked up beside him an put a hand on his shoulder, "yes, but it's ours, and it's nice to get away from the Academy and our tiny rooms."

"Did you see the old mech in the yard?" Barran asked, "follow me."

The six cadets walked around to the yard which consisted of dump bins, old crates and unused pallets, and a tonne of junk metal and parts.

"Look behind here," he said, and after digging through a pile of scrap, they could all see the four-metre mech.

"All its armour is missing," Picard said.

"And it has no weapons," Axelzero added.

"But still," Barran said, "we own our very own mech!"

Daedo inspected it, it was ancient, and its titanium alloy frame was extremely heavy compared to modern composites.

"They don't make them like this anymore," Barran said.

"Maybe for a good reason," Mace retorted.

Daedo began to consider it. Everything they learned while developing the exos could be transferred to the four metre. It was just on a larger scale. The guns were larger, the armour heavier and the reactor was a decent size. The main difference would be manoeuvrability, he doubted any mech could be as agile as an exo.

"I am going inside, I want to test the exo," Daedo informed his squad.

"Oh, I need to see this," Barran said and the entire squad, the entire squad present, minus Gaumont of course, followed Daedo down into the testing bay which Vannier, Axelzero and Picard had worked so hard to clean and organise.

Myrmidon: this will be interesting. I am looking forward to seeing how our design works in reality.

Myrmidon spoke to Daedo as he got into the exo. Ikaros and Cisse were present as well. Everyone wanted to see how the first prototype performed.

Daedo: well here goes.

Myrmidon: everything is online, running diagnostics.

Daedo: the power and for Cisse. I will start walking.

Myrmidon: done, she has a live feed to her hud. There is no weapon so the figures will be light.

Daedo: but she can see how these old jump jets and old reactor perform.

Daedo and Myrmidon started to put the new exo through its paces. It was exceedingly strong and fast compared to the original light. Daedo did not even know if they could call it light anymore. And this was with the old reactor if they got another with double the power output he could push the hydraulics further.

The original light exo had a strength factor of one point five, armour value of twenty, a mobility factor of one point two five and a jump jet runtime of thirty per ten minutes.

The new Daedo light one had a strength factor of three, it was higher than a standard medium and double the original. The new armour value was unknown, it would have to go through AR testing. Its mobility factor was now one point six, it moved faster than a standard mesh. Due to no changes in the jump jets or reactor its runtime was still the same.

Overall Daedo was impressed with the improvement. A list of tweaks and fixes the length of his arm was made. Although it was much improved, there were minor errors and mistakes which inhibited its fluidity of movement or more drastically could cause it to break down after running for ten minutes. What was apparent was the hydraulic fluid needed The industrial machinery fluid was too thick for the tiny fibre vessels.

After running up and down, dodging and lifting a few hundred kilos, Daedo arrived back to the group to a round of

"I want a try!" called Mace excitedly and everyone for a turn. Daedo jumped out and one after another all the cadets took the new exo for a spin. After an hour he was dead tired and, the exo was beginning to break down mainly due to the unsuitable fluid.

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