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Chapter 28 : 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


After the lunch meal, Daedo had Philosophy and in his schedule. Which basically entailed completing an interactive VR tute or completing an old-school reading set by Chief Holmes.

Daedo did not mind Philosophy at all, it was part of the larger strategy subject which also contained Thinking Methods and Tactics. He always enjoyed the material, it was interesting, challenging and made him consider ideas that may have never to him.

There were also synergies with other subjects, for example, Reference had military history reading. Both subjects referenced Sun Tzu's Art of War.

Daedo participated in mock debates and with the Chief's AI tutor. The Chief could only be in one at one time, but her AIs could manage thousands of cadets at once. It was just a matter of allocating enough processing power.

He did not know whether the tute today was specifically aimed at him or it was a coincidence. It was based on anxiety, worry and stress. After giving examples of what physical symptoms and cognitive showed a person was suffering from anxiety or stress the AI gave examples of methods to relieve the mental Simple strategies like listening to music, reading or a game.

All of which sounded like escapism to Daedo. And games were not de-stressing if you them competitively like he did.

Philosophy AI: Cadet what is to be gained by worrying about a problem?

Daedo: nothing, but when the problem is in the future, and it is to an important event then it is natural to worry about it.

Philosophy AI: Is it? Is there a rule or law that says you must worry about it?

Daedo: I would ask, is it worry? Or is it just thinking about it and strategies and ways to your problem?

Philosophy AI: We are not discussing strategizing, we are discussing when a person worries about a future problem or event. Let me ask you a series of

Daedo: ok.

Philosophy AI: is there a future event that you are currently worried about?

Daedo: yes.

Philosophy AI: have you done everything possible to perform well in this event?

Daedo: no. Because there are competing interests. For example, I am doing this tute now rather than preparing for this future event.

Philosophy AI: You are the issue. Assume there are other responsibilities that must be done, you have done these. Otherwise, you have done all you can to prepare for the future event. And are continuing to do all you can to prepare.

Daedo: very well. Yes, I have done all I can.

Philosophy AI: Now what is to be gained by worrying?

Daedo: if you put it like that. Nothing.

Philosophy AI: You admit there is nothing to gain?

Daedo: yes.

Philosophy AI: then the logical is you should not waste your finite grey matter on worrying.

Daedo: that is easier said than done.

Philosophy AI: Cadet, nearly everything is easier said than done. But that does not change the facts. Does it cadet Daedo?

Daedo: no. I admit there is nothing to be gained by worrying. So how do I stop?

Philosophy AI: how do you make or break any habit cadet Daedo?

Daedo: to make a habit you repeat the over and over at intervals until it a habit. To break a habit it is probably the reverse, you stop the until you are no longer doing it without thinking.

Philosophy AI: you have now answered your own Whenever you catch yourself worrying, you put a stop to it. Complete breathing exercise alpha and make a to stop thinking on the subject. If that fails, bring in another subject to and push the worry from your human brain.

Daedo: ok I will try that. Are you sure this is Philosophy and not Psychology?

Philosophy AI: You are correct. Only the on what worry is and what is the use of it is Philosophy. The techniques to reduce and remove it fall under psychology. , the way we pursue critical thinking and the way we argue is also Philosophy.

Daedo: arguing is a good thing? I thought it was bad?

Philosophy AI: Do not confuse a healthy argument with an unhealthy one. A healthy argument is a debate. You argue your case, communicate your ideas and reasoning. There is nothing bad about learning how to argue. The negative you are referring to is when two people have not been taught, or have no understanding of how to argue in a productive and conducive manner.

Daedo: thank you P.AI. I am out of time, we will conclude this tute for now.

Philosophy AI: Very well Cadet Daedo. I am always here when you need me. The Chief compliments you on your time spent in Philosophy although it has no grading attached. Many cadets have ignored all the tutes in the first two weeks.

Daedo: I am hoping no Cadets from Thoth Zero have ignored the tutes.

Philosophy AI: This is privileged. It is only to a peer cadet if they are squad leader.

Daedo: hmm, so that is not official?

Philosophy AI: no. I presume it will be official at the beginning of next week. The cutoff date is the end of round one term one for the Master to decide on squad leaders.

Daedo: Thanks. I really have to get going.

With that Daedo cut the and logged out of the VR tute. He took his helmet off and walked into the common room of Thoth squad zero quarters. Axelzero and Vannier were sitting at the table, both with helmets on and completing tutes themselves.

Daedo grabbed himself a of water and a freshly made bar.

"Are you following Picard's food ; Vannier asked.

"Yeah, I love not having to think about what to eat and what to wear. I just follow her food and wear my bodysuit every day. I am in heaven," Daedo answered.

"The Academy dietary rules are fairly strict, but I think her is an improvement on the stock ones out of Physical," Axelzero said.

"It meets the guidelines?" Vannier asked.

"The guidelines mainly rule out certain foods, and otherwise, well, they guide," Axelzero answered. "Picard has put a lot of research into what is needed without getting into what she as the dangerous cowboy territory of gene doping. She sticks to naturally substances."

"Sounds safe, I will ask her to create a for me," Vannier said.

"So what are you two up to?" Daedo asked.

"Oh, me. Math tutes," Vannier said.

"Physics for me," Axelzero replied.

Daedo left them alone, it was hard enough to get everything done, but if you got constant from fellow squad members, it was impossible. He had two of Physics scheduled himself, right before his famous forty-five-minute powernap in the afternoon.

Master Beck strode proudly through the main hall, he was topside, he much preferred it to spending time down in the dungeons as he liked to think of the main Academy facility. He spied Master Nader, heading in the opposite , she was his opposite, she spent all her time hidden in her office, and he rarely saw her up here.

He the reason, perhaps it was to do with the protests about her Thoth squad zero. He had not taken part, it was beneath him, he left that for the Masters, the ones new to the Academy or teaching entirely.

"Do you have a meeting Master Nader?" he addressed the strange woman. He only knew she was a woman from her , he couldn't tell by looking at her. And she always spoke using a voice synthesizer, which was probably due to some ailment, but what couldn't be healed these days? They could regenerate or almost anything.

"I have been summoned, yes. Are you not attending?" Master Nader enquired.

"No I am not," Becker answered.

"So it was not you who put in a formal ; Master Nader asked.

"Why would I do that?" Becked asked.

"Why would you indeed," Nader answered before moving on.

"Good luck," Becker called after her. He didn't mean it, he did not wish her ill, he just couldn't care less. There was no need for him to put in a protest, or as she stated it. The Fortescue resources, Karine brought to bear, and her maturity, tenacity and good breeding he doubted anything Thoth could do would unseat them.

He chuckled to himself and disdainfully mumbled, "Thoth." Before shaking his head and continuing to his

Commander Mallet sat in his ornate, ancient office. Its opulence was a mask for all the technology at his beck and call. It was well hidden amongst the trinkets from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

"Master Nader," announced a robot assistant as it her inside. Commander Mallet looked up from his desk and stood.

He walked around to shake her hand, "Oh, sorry to invite you her under these circumstances Master Nader," the short man stated. "But I must straighten this out, and I would like to speak to you before I ask for a formal response."

Master Nader was silent, she shook his hand and stood at Her back straight, and if she had eyes, they would be forward. All Commander Mallet could see was the of her helmet. He respected her wishes and did not ask her to remove her helmet.

"At Fortescue, we have struggled in Tier three. We have not risen above a middling finish at best and just avoided into the lower leagues by the skin of our teeth at worst," the Commander began as he paced and walked back to his chair. He indicated a seat for Master Nader.

She stood, not taking the seat.

He sighed and sat. "Master Nader. It is already apparent to me that your M1 squad zero is talented. But we cannot allow any rule breaking to continue. I would like your assistance in this endeavour without squashing their ingenuity and spirit," Commander Mallet said.

Master Nader did not respond. She stood at

"Master Nader?" the Commander said her name in the form of a

"Yes Commander, was there a ; Master Nader responded and asked.

"Yes Master Nader, can you put a stop to the offsite of exosuits? It makes it difficult to monitor what is actually ," the Commander stated his

"No. Commander I will not," Master Nader responded.

The Commander was not expecting an outright , he shuffled in his seat, and collected his thoughts.

"Very, well," the Commander said, he was not inexperienced, this response from Master Nader had meaning. "Do you agree the offsite activities are against the rules?" he asked.

"No Sir, they are within the rules," Master Nader responded.

This surprised the Commander, it was his understanding that it was very clear that Mechs and Exosuits could not be removed from the Academy unless they were to a event or facility.

"Sir, if I may speak freely," Master Nader asked formerly.

Commander Mallet was a little annoyed he wanted her to speak freely from the beginning of their meeting, "please enlighten me," he responded.

"Does House Horus remove Academy equipment to company labs for upgrading and testing?" Master Nader asked.

Commander Mallet peered at her for a moment, "yes, I see where you are going. And I agree with Karine Fortescue in M1 we are experiencing a much different approach from the company with her squad and backup squads, but this does not give Thoth M1 the same authority. Fortescue Labs are on the approved list of offsite venues," he replied.

"Sir, may I ask you to please review the approved list of offsite venues and with the Venue that Thoth squad zero are using," Master Nader replied.

"It is not just the Venue, Master Nader, but the company needs to be vetted and approved," Commander Mallet replied.

"Sir," Master Nader said. Even with her synthetic voice, her impatience was apparent. "You are making judgments without all the facts. The squad purchased an approved company and venue. They are breaking no rules," Master Nader responded.

"What?" the Commander was surprised. He quickly looked up the approved list and it with the venue squad zero was using.

"Oh I see," he concluded finally. Commander Mallet resisted the urge to reprimand Master Nader for not forwarding this to him. If they were not breaking the rules and others did not protest, then it would not be an issue.

"Sir, I would like to make a ," Master Nader requested.

The Commander's patience was now wearing thin. She better not try and reprimand him. He did not know Master Nader very well, even if she had been here three years, she always stuck to herself and her Thoth cadets.

"Proceed," he said through clenched teeth.

"Thoth squad zero is talented, as you pointed out, and the average cadet is I am sure you are aware of the changes Chief Albert made to the Math problem program due to one Cadet solving his round one problem in time. You can see the rankings in the Gauntlet and the obstacle course. Now, if another house tries to pull this venue from the approved list, I want you to ask yourself. Does this for the benefit of the Fortescue Military Academy? Does this benefit the defence of earth? And if your answers to these are negative, deny all requests to remove the venue. I also have a for you before I am dismissed, why are the cadets here?"

Commander Mallet was quiet for a long time, her and Master Nader was a very educator, she did not do things lightly. Sometimes her methods were extreme, but she got results and results were what he was interested in.

"I understand your point of view Master Nader, and your argument is very well made," Commander Mallet responded finally.

If Master Nader expected a different response, he did not care. If she was dissatisfied, he did not know nor care. But he meant what he said, her point was very well made. The Commander was no thirteen-year-old Cadet to be , he took her and dissected its meaning. He took this meaning on board. He did not have to her games. But she knew this. And he meant it when he said her point was well made.

"Dismissed," the Commander said after a short pause.

Master Nader saluted and left.

The Commander sighed. He knew that Fortescue Group would want to dissect what the Cadets were doing if it was groundbreaking. He knew the competing Masters would do whatever they could to stop or steal coming from Thoth which gave them massive advantages in the Gauntlet and more importantly in the Arena tournaments. This latest protest was only the beginning, they were already focused on nullifying Thoth squad zero.

Master Nader exited the Commander's office. In the foyer was the old Russian Master, recently transferred from Svarski. Ustinov had been a Master for decades, she was extremely experienced and had come from one of the top Academies in the world.

The body language with which the Master of Osiris sat gave off a tense vibe as she saw Master Nader exit the Commander's office and she smiled venerably as Nader approached.

"Good afternoon Master," Ustinov said politely.

Master Nader walked right up to her as she stood, and leaned in very close. She whispered in Ustinov's ear, "do not interfere with my work again Master. I do not care for politics or games."

Master Ustinov leaned back and smiled disarmingly. "I would never," she lied easily.

"I will do you a favour Master Ustinov. I will you this once. But do not interfere again, you are meddling with entities you do not understand," Master Nader informed her.

"There are no rules in war," Master Ustinov said , her smile fading.

"Remember you said that when I kill you," Master Nader threatened her openly, a glint of light across her Without further ado, Master Nader stalked off. She walked in a rhythmic , all her steps were identical in length, speed and form.

Master Ustinov was stunned. She had no idea why the from mere verbal maneuvering to a death threat. Normally she would take this to the Commander and have Nader fired. It would be easy. Too easy. Had the Master been , was she capable of murder?

Master Ustinov left the Commander's office in a hurry, cancelling her meeting with him. She needed to investigate Master Nader further. The death threat was the strangest and scariest thing to ever happen to her in her career.

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