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Chapter 34 : M1 - Term: 1, Round: 2

Daedalus

Attendance at Fortescue Military Academy M1 Y:2142

House Thoth, Squad Leader, Squad Zero

M1 Rank: 1/1275, Tier 3 M-Rank: Null

Term: 1, Round: 2

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Daedo: everyone head to the west side of the square, alpha. Barran, Gaumont withdraw and get into adequate cover until everyone is in I will head to the east side and suck them into a pincer-like ambush. We will make them pay for allowing their to be known so easily.

Axelzero: they are so arrogant.

Everyone else was quiet. It was not the time for idle commentary during an Arena match. The cadets had to stay focused, so comms were limited to orders and tactical It was a practice known as comms discipline. Where there would be some squads who chatted, bantered and add commentary to every move, squad zero were when it came to arena battles and this one. Comms discipline was just nature to these cadets, even Barran.

Gaumont and Barran retreated to the north and west, ducking into cover forcing the enemy to lose sight of them. They had taken minor damage from a couple of hits to their heavy exos from the standard assault rifles.

Barran: from what little I saw, Horus have one PPC, numerous Assault Rifles and one

The PPC was a particle project cannon and experimental weapon which emitted an ionic bolt. There were other which emitted proton bolts, but an ion cannon was the most common. The damage it dealt was both thermal and The standard AR did considerable damage but at a great cost to energy from the reactor. There would be no energy remaining for jump jet usage and vice versa with one of these weapons. On the plus side, it consumed no ammo.

Daedo: who has the PPC?

Barran: Fortescue.

No surprise there. The only did she have a more advanced registered in the AR or was she using the standard. The range of the standard was medium at best. The from Barran was extremely valuable, knowing the of each weapon helped form strategies. The Assault Rifles, which were probably standard, were good at all ranges. Even long. By themselves, they did not do a great deal of damage, but when three concentrated fire, the versatile weapon was a good choice. The was to deal with anyone who got to close range.

Vannier: we're in

Mace and Axelzero announced there were in as well. Vannier was speaking for herself and Picard. Enemy fire had died down, which meant Horus had lost line of sight of Barran and Gaumont for the last thirty

Daedo, in the meantime, had been skirting around to the east side. He gained as much height as possible while at maximum range, for a grenade launcher, on the east of Horus' last known

Daedo: squad prepare for the attack. I will engage from the east, as soon I as do, I will try to lead the enemy away. As soon as you hear "go", charge the enemies rear. I will call the shots while I am alive. As usual, if I go down, command goes to Vannier and then by house rank.

As soon as Daedo reached the top of the building, he could see the backs, aside from one watcher, of the Horus squad. They were focused on the west as expected. They had spread out to three buildings instead of one, and he could only see six of them.

Daedo did not wait for a warning to ring out. He immediately lobbed a frag grenade on the closest building, in range, where two Horus squad members lay. Before it landed, an alert had rung out through the Horus squad. They were not able to dodge the grenade entirely, taking some damage, then they began to focus fire on him.

Jumping over the edge of his building Daedo used his grapple to jump on the wall of the next building to his east. After retreating off the top of the building, Horus had temporarily lost sight of him.

Daedo: GO GO. Attack now.

There would be time before his squad engaged, they were out of the line of sight and out of range.

Daedo hung on the south side of a building near the corner to give him eyes on any approaching enemy. He wished for a drone right now.

Myrmidon: fire in 3,2,1

Myrmidon hard marked a to the west on Daedo's HUD. The AI was possible trajectory and of the enemy. While many travel paths were possible, Myrmidon only showed the highest possible The cue was for something which Myrmidon deemed of the highest probabilities.

Daedo fired a grenade, the pair timed it to land as the enemy topped the building, giving them no time to dodge.

Myrmidon was rarely mistaken which was proven again on this , as predicted the grenade landed at the feet of two Horus cadets.

The spectators watching holos of the match were astounded at the of the grenade launch. Chatter ensued,

was it a guess?

how did he know?

did another squad member have eyes on the opponent?

No.

They have no spy drones or cams.

Then how?

Until one said: He is Daedalus, He just knows.

The feed was stopping spectators communicating with combatants. But as far as they were concerned it was live, a few minutes may put the in the past, but it was not a All was new to the Academy cadets outside of the Arena.

Myrmidon was picking up sounds from the Axel bodysuit which enhanced his monitoring capabilities. The suit also had radar and lidar which were useless unless you wanted to broadcast your own Daedo had radar on, hiding in case the enemy decided to engage radar to find him. Which anyone would do in certain circumstances. If they had a drone, they could use its lidar or even radar. It would be toast soon afterwards, however.

Daedo was busy using hit and run tactics on the enemy who now all appeared focused on him. He used Myrmidon's predictive capabilities and lobbed frag grenades with of flight time, to land at the appropriate He could even lob them over buildings and into of cover. These shots would give the enemy to move out of the way, but their heavy exos reacted sluggishly. They were not adept at dodging grenades

The armour on Horus' heavy exos was They had taken hit after hit from the grenades and all except one were still operable.

They had landed a few rounds on Daedo, nothing that concerned him yet. Daedo gauged they were suitably angry at him. He did not need to communicate with his squad he knew they would be engaging in mere

Daedo presented himself on top of a building, he was out of grenades and all his enemy could see was his light exo wielding a large lancesword held in front of him.

Where was that before?

The spectators chatted. They had not seen the lancesword, it should have been on his back, sticking up above his head. Daedo was not that tall.

Paget-L: Smash the scat

Paget-L shouted over the Horus' comms. Presumably, scat was for short person from the lower who pissed her off.

Horus descended upon Daedo. Assualt Rifles firing the charging to get into range wanting to get some damage on the killboard report or to steal the kill himself and a PPC bolt shot across four buildings with amazing range and damage. This was not a standard PPC.

Before the arrived smoke covered the area where Daedo once stood, the PPC bolt had impacted with the cement , turning it from a to dust instantaneously. It was at this moment Horus return fire from behind.

Barran and Gaumont were running hard as they could, but damn Daedo was leading the enemy away from them, not towards. For every three steps they took towards the enemy, the enemy took two away. The only time they gained ground is when their opponents took cover.

Barran was much faster than Gaumont, but the drills and tactics forced him to stay with Gaumont for now. At least until Gaumont engaged or was down. Gaumont was his shield. But they were ambushing the enemy. Every fibre of Barran wanted to charge in, with his own reasoning and egging him on. But his discipline held, he would stay with Gaumont, at least until the enemy was in sight.

Picard and Vannier put their heads together.

"His range is this," Picard markings on a virtual map. "The enemy is here. It will him here when he engages."

"Assume he will draw them east, he will fight in a retreat, even if it is Daedo it is still one versus seven," Vannier added.

A ping popped up on their virtual map. Daedo had not spoken but had indicated where they should set up. Or at least given them a guide.

"Well that makes it easier," Picard said.

"Let's trail Barran. I assume Daedo will time our assault with his charge, we just need to remain hidden and reach this point as Barran engages," Vannier said.

Picard nodded. They could easily outpace even Barran in their light exos, which apparently now had a better armour factor than mediums. They had a better speed enhancement than mesh, but tactics meant they could not always use its power to the fullest. Tactics, in this , was about being in without being seen.

The two railgun cadets topped each of their adjacent buildings. Close enough to have lines of sight to focus fire, and far enough apart to make return fire more difficult. Four hundred meters was the maximum range in the optimal segment. Their was two hundred meters behind Barran and Gaumont.

Axelzero and Mace were trailing the two heavies when Barran and Gaumont charged two from Horus' assault rifle brigade.

The Horus squaddy was focused on Daedo when Gaumont's lit up his back. It was a free shot, Gaumont was handed a kill on the His was drowned in the ensuing combat. As his spewed forth, a PPC bolt flew from their south across four hundred meters to Daedos They had not caught Karine Fortescue in their pincer.

Barran closed on Paget, or Paget-L, as she was known in the Academy. He could not have lucked on a better victim for his first kill in his new exo and weapons of choice. Heavy Cestus. Or was it Cestii, since he had two. He didn't care.

Her armour had been damaged, presumably by Daedo's frag grenades, although in reality, it was pristine, the AR showed signs of damage. The AR did not report numbers like hit points, it was supposed to be realistic. The enemy was alive until they were incapacitated or dead. You attacked them until the AR showed they were down. It even gave a kill message for the killing blow.

There was one thing about AR weapons like the cestus. Barran still got to hit things, but rather than the heavy allow chunks of metal he had some sort of compound. The impact was going to be , like any AR weapon, but his opponent would feel something. Albeit reduced dramatically because of the change in material. The fact that Paget, the prissy little bitch who was Fortescue's lapdog even before the Academy, would feel him hitting her gave him immense pleasure.

He smashed her back with every ounce of strength he could muster. Although his Cestus was fake, her armour was real. And fortunately, for her, it was very good heavy armour. She fell prone, and after a follow-up love tap to the back of her neck, the AR reported her death.

Engagements were happening simultaneous across the map. Picard and Vannier had started to fire, and Fortescue changed her target to the Thoth Heavies.

Paget-A took cover from the railguns. The Horus squaddie with the never did reach Daedo, he turned and sprinted back under orders from Fortescue.

Paget-A and her partner began to fire upon the two Railguns. They were within range, and these two versatile weapons were capable of short, medium and long range. They switched to single shot to enhance their , it was their role to tie down the two long-range weapons. They had a much better rate of fire, even with a single shot.

Fortescue wanted the railguns focused on her two surviving Assault rifles while her two trump cards would take down these challengers. She sent out her trump card, Raoult, who was by her side, her personal Raoult would be needed to help deal with the medium range Thoth while she dealt with the short range.

Fortescue: Raoult, dual pistols and another grenade launcher. Cut them up.

Raoult wielded a lancesword, much like the one Daedo held when she took him out. It carried an electric shock component, it was heavy and could even be used to deflect rounds by a skilled user. And no one at the Academy was as skilled as Raoult.

Fortescue knew the last of , and the craptastic heavies that Thoth had would not have moved far in the moments that had passed since she was taken out. She aimed and fired two precise shots taking out one Thoth immediately. The inexplicably survived somehow and was now behind cover.

"Barran," she muttered under her breath. She actually wanted him in her squad. He was almost as good as Raoult. But she was overruled somehow, and he inexplicably went to Thoth. She did not fight for his return to her, as she wasn't looking forward to dealing with him, and just let it go.

As Fortescue lined up the railguns , Raoult took on the pistol wielder. Axelzero, one of the non-threats in Thoth zero. Fortescue was mainly concerned with Mace, Barran and Vannier. And now Daedalus or Daedo, the famous CyberMech had deigned to join her Academy. Mace who ranked third in M1 was another who had tanked her entrance tests like Daedo. And Fortescue wondered if that was or the tests were not thorough enough.

She was quite happy for all the potential engineers to end up in Thoth, they would assist her in later years. And those engineers needed a leader, whom Vannier, the likeable girl, was ideally suited. Thoth, however, was not supposed to be challenging her handpicked Horus team. And it was time to put them down.

A boom of a railgun rang out, those things made too much noise to be an effective sniper rifle Fortescue thought. The fact the rounds travelled at such high speeds, they not only broke Mach one for a sonic boom, like most guns, but they could also break Mach two and three. The nature of their mechanism made it impossible to muffle.

She lined up a Thoth Cadet, it wasn't Vannier, it must be Picard, and fired. Her advanced PPC prototype was the best weapon from the Fortescue group. The AR was kind enough to add huge amounts of debris when the bolts impacted a building due to its insane damage. It's range, its best attribute, was not a mere hundred meters but an astonishing five hundred meters maximum range, with zero to two hundred being optimal.

But even at four hundred meters, its massive damage was good enough to take down a standard heavy mech in one shot. If Raoult was her trump card, her advanced heavy exos were her third trump card which made her Particle Cannon Prototype her main asset.

Fortescue: does anyone have eyes on any Thoth squaddies?

She asked as she changed

Raoult: I'm engaged with a grenade user. A one.

Fortescue: that would be Mace. Take her out.

Paget-A: I have Vannier. Wait. Barran just popped up and .. OUT.

Aline Paget did not have time to talk on comms with Barran in an enhanced heavy exo charging her He had been damaged significantly, the AR indicated scarring across one of his sides, it even impaired his movement on that side somewhat. Although in reality, his exo had suffered no damage, when the AR non-lethal damage it would affect any impairments that non-lethal damage caused. Cadets always argued the effects were overstated by the AR adjudicator because no one like being handicapped.

Paget-A twisted as Barran flew through the air, he was diving over their cover. She had changed from single shot to burst automatically when she saw him and continued to shoot him as soon as she got out of the way and was able to turn.

Barran crushed her partner with two strikes to the head, he was now deactivated and probably in real pain. She returned the favour by firing short burst after short burst into his helmet.

At this range with her , Paget-A was able to burst headshots easily. But as Barran charged her, she began to waver. For the first time, she got an inkling of the difference between a and the real thing. He wasn't going to kill her, but his fist would actually hit her. Her aim suffered slightly.

She began to wonder what was his armour rating, he had taken a hit from Karine's PPC and now several rounds from her rifle. In her armour, she could not dodge very well. Barran was moving much better in his heavy armour than she could ever hope to achieve in hers.

He closed on her, but he did not dodge, he ran straight at her like a bull. What took felt like a lifetime. She emptied her entire clip into his torso, she had given up on headshots, she was panicking, and her dropped significantly. At least she had the wherewithal to realise this and to take steps to

Her heart began to pound faster as the skirmish evolved, nothing she had done had prepared her for this. Barran was roaring as his charge brought within a few steps. Paget-A had been back peddling, and her retreat came to a halt when her back hit a building. Her first clip was empty, and she fumbled with another.

"Goodnight sweetie," Barran called as his massive fist collided with her head.

She fell to the ground in a kneeling She would have fallen over, but the building and her exo had prevented that. Barran paused, he was confused why she had not died with the blow when she had fallen to her knees and was immobile for a moment. He did not know that her armour, like Fortescue and Raoult, was even better than the others. He also did not realise that she was not dead, she was merely stunned.

Something the AR adjudicator did not enforce in the arena. In fact was her stun was genuine. She loaded her clip finally and began to fire after regaining composure.

Barran swore.

As the rounds from her rifle hit his , he swung a hammer blow at her head. A blow that never reached its intended target. The AR adjudicator deactivated him before he could finish the strike. Paget-A stood and kicked him. Barran fell backwards. He could not move as he was presumed dead. All he could do was watch the kill message appear on his hud. Paget-A (image of rifle) Barran.

"Fuck!" he swore to himself. He would never hesitate or prejudge again. He would pound an enemy until he got the death message.

<break>

Raoult stalked Mace. Or was it Mace that was stalking her.

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