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Chapter 59 : M1 - Term: 1 to 2 - Break

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: 2, Round: (holiday)

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Trace scratched his belly, "are you sure Seb?"

"Yeah, Trace, I am sure. We are going to turn on the dampener. We need the creds and the win," Seb replied solemnly.

Trace shook his head sadly. The dampener was an electronic warfare (EW) device which he developed fourteen years ago when he was stump fighting in yards and disused lots. A standard sensor would not detect the micro-pulse signals the dampener sent every five The result was an opponent mech's internal power delivery was slowed due to the interference with its internal The small were , anything noticeable to the human eye would send off bells. But a of a here and there was all Smack Ninja needed to turn a fight.

"But, if we get caught, it's ova. Foreva," Trace replied sourly.

"Look Trace, we won't get caught. If there was a chance of us being caught, I would never suggest it," Seb stated.

"Ya don't know what sensors they have here in Munich. This ain't little league," Trace said in

"It's my dosh and my name on the line," Seb pulled rank. Trace was a great engineer, but he was never rich. He needed Seb's creds to get Smack Ninja upgraded and to fund their first season. Most of the time they worked as partners, but in reality, Seb was the majority owner.

"Seb, if its ova for you. It's ova for me too," Trace sadly said.

"It's getting close to over without the win. We owe too many creds to different mobs," Seb said. "I'm sorry Trace, but we have to do this."

Trace relented finally. He picked a module off a shelf and installed it into a small socket through Smack Ninja's rear panel. After pulling up his interface, he activated the module and tweaked the setting to the shortest micro possible. He tuned the power rating right down in an attempt to weaken the signal past a twenty-metre range.

"Ok, its done," Trace said.

Seb nodded and patted his friend on the back. "It'll be ok," he said reassuringly.

The workshop afforded to seeded mechs at the Munich arena was better than most. With a forty tonne tower crane, knuckleboom with harness, plentiful storage, power and hydraulic line supply.

After last minute checks and tweaks, Trace announced, "He's ready Seb."

Smack Ninja stood six metres tall, his centre of gravity was at three point eight, which was just under the halfway point of his trapezium shaped torso. His electrolytic coat was jet , with splotches of red added, indicative of blood Smack Ninjas arms and legs were almost to a humans. With the of a small amount of cheating on arm span. Reach was important.

The arm span was still well under the maximum allowance in the Trace knew the longer arms were, the slower the striking rate. There was a fine to maintain between power, strike rate and reach.

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Smack Ninja's

Height – 6m

Total Arm Span - 7m

Torso width – 2.25m

Arm Length – 2.375m

Leg Length – 2.8m

Centre of gravity – 3.8m (affected by structural design)

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Average Male Human 2140 (for reference)

Height – 1.8m

Total arm span – 1.85m

Torso width – 0.5m

Arm Length – 0.68m

Leg Length – 0.8m

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The semi-final was due to start in twenty minutes, Seb, who was the pilot paced the workshop, as he always got nervous when an important match approached. Seb used a state of the art bodysuit and a All the movements were controlled with his own movement. Modern cockpits interfaced with the pilot's and bodysuit. The pilot was in a standing , and as he threw a punch or kick so would the mech.

This was not an inefficient method of command, the punch didn't have to be a full punch, only indicative. Compared to a human a mech moved very slowly which meant nothing was lost compared to a push of a joystick or button. This method was because a pilot could focus on their HUD and the controls came naturally. Even when a pilot was caught off-guard and raised an arm in self-defence, so would the mech.

An average pilot could focus on four objects or processes. By utilising the full control user interface (FMC), it allowed for instinctive freeing up a thought process or focus for other tasks. Ergonomic scientists agreed this was the most efficient approach and the early adopter pilots loved it. It was extremely rare for a mech not to use this method.

The Military Brass loved this control method as well. Aside from all the sciency reasons FMC kept their Mech pilots in shape. By staying in shape, keeping the same movements as an exo, it allowed for cross-technology deployment. Cadets could be trained in exos and then put into more expensive mechs at a later date. As well as any other trainee or recruit. And if for some reason if Mechs were in short supply, they could put the remaining pilots into exos instead of inactive.

Seb finished his warm-up and jumped into Smack Ninja. He was almost forty, he needed to limber up his muscles much more than a decade ago. He was warmed up, now it was time to fight.

Seb began to run through last checks, "Left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg." As he announced each body part, he checked the full range of movement with Trace monitoring the technical readout on his own HUD.

"For someone so fat ya can still fight," Trace teased. He said the same thing before every match. It was a Smack Ninja

"Thanks, bro," Seb replied before throwing a keen strike into fresh air, followed by another. Seb wasn't obese, he just had a few extra pounds on his tummy that possibly shouldn't be there for an elite mech pilot.

Their opponent in the semi-final was Dead Beat. Dead Beat was a to the scene, and not much was known about the mechanic and pilot. There was no investor, it wasn't a rich kid from a wealthy family. Dead Beat had not been seeded and fought its way through the rounds to the semis. A bookmakers dream as the pundits expected it to lose each match.

Seb and Trace were not fooled, they analysed each of Dead Beat's matches, and that mech was no easy beat. It had earned its in the semi-final, and the fact that Seb insisted on using the EW cheat only showed how concerned they were.

Smack Ninja entered the arena on a hydraulic which lifted them up through the floor. As soon as they walked off the , the floor closed behind them. The bout had not started, they were to stay behind the marker, that only the organisers, and they could see through the competitor HUD plugin.

Smack Ninja put on a show, it was all part of the entertainment that came along with the pro league. The more fans, the more spectators and gamblers which was better for everyone, competitors and organisers alike. Seb walked around in a large circle at his end of the arena striking into the air.

The crowd roared his name, "Smack Ninja!"

"Looking good," Trace said over the comms indicating all systems were in order.

It was Dead Beat's turn, and much to Seb's surprise the Mech barely did anything. It raised one of its fists to the crowd and with its three-fingered hand raised its middle finger. The crowd then booed Dead Beat. Seb had to smile, that wasn't a bad thing. The needed good just as much as heroes.

Dead Beat was stocky, he didn't reach the six-metre height otherwise his mass would have been over. At five and a half metres he barely reached the minimum height. His torso was wider and arms shorter. But Dead Beats fists had more weight in them than Ninjas. It was a design tactic he had seen on

While reviewing Dead Beat's matches, Seb noted his strategy was usually; getting close and hammering his opponent. Seb thought it barely counted as a strategy. The fights were interesting, it usually revolved around Dead Beat trying to close on his opponent while they landed blows trying to stay out of reach.

Seb didn't see why this match wouldn't be any different. Trace warned him to keep out of Dead Beat's grasp. It wasn't that Dead Beat was unusually strong, or his blows devasting. But he had not lost a match, so he had something going for him.

The countdown began, and Smack Ninja turned to face his opponent. The waving was over, it was now down to business. Seb moved forward to the line, as did Dead Beat. They were separated by one hundred metres when the arena horns signalling the start of their match.

Seb was in no rush, he strode across the arena at an angle. Being within reach of one fist was much better than two. Dead Beat ambled forward slowly and tracked Smack Ninja, aiming directly in front of him estimating an path.

When they were within ten metres of each other, the footwork began in earnest. Smack Ninja circling as Dead Beat plodded. Seb estimated he had a fifty per cent walking speed advantage unless Dead Beat was foxing.

Both Mechs could lunge, and both were capable of short bursts of speed. Walking speed was not an important factor.

Dead Beat made the first move while Seb was still analysing his opponent, it was one thing to analyse vids it was another to be standing toe to toe. Seb turned Smack Ninja by taking one large step backward and circling his foot behind, his front foot then controlled the engagement. He would pull it back as much as needed to avoid a blow.

As predicted Dead Beat came straight on. There was no foxing, Seb had over ten years experience and more battles than he could count. He was already side-on to the charge, and by controlling his front foot, he controlled the range. It all happened in a , as Dead Beat flew past Smack Ninja struck his right side. The angle and momentum causing Dead Beat to turn in an

Dead Beat had already lost his footing. Seb wondered how this guy made the semis with such poor piloting and tactical sense. Not one to let an advantage go to waste Smack Ninja closed on Dead Beat this time striking with his other fist before following through with a knee. As Dead Beat regained his , Smack Ninja jumped back out of reach.

Seb had been in many battles, and would not be caught by a counter attack so easily. or not.

Dead Beat did not hesitate, he came at Smack Ninja again. The EW micro pulse must have been working because Seb felt he had plenty of time to get out of the road of each assault.

Dead Beat tried to close again, and again. Smack Ninja avoided each time and each time he landed a blow before leaving Dead Beat's proximity.

Dead Beat was attempting to corral Smack Ninja towards a side, but it wasn't working. The Arena too large and Seb too wary to be pinned against a wall. Smack Ninja landed another blow on Dead Beat's torso. Seb quickly looked at how many he had landed after minutes of intense fighting.

It was sixteen, and he had not been hit in return. But Dead Beat didn't look much worse for wear.

Seb checked Smack Ninja's fists and knees. They had sustained more damage than Deadbeat. The was showing Smack Ninja was in good order, but he could see the metal was dented and slightly warped. Smack's fists were structurally the most part of the Mech. Yet they had taken a beating.

Seb couldn't talk to Trace once the match had begun. Not until one Mech was inoperable or had resigned.

Smack Ninja decided to go on the offensive. He ran to Dead Beat's , spun and kicked Dead Beat's right leg. It was the leg he had hit once before. If Dead Beat's torso and arms were well armoured, perhaps his legs were the weak point.

Seb and Trace didn't know Dead Beat's weak point, because he had never lost a match. They also didn't realise he was so well armoured. He was quicker than the normal tank, he looked lighter, but his armour had soaked more blows than Smack Ninja had ever dealt in a single match.

If he had hit, almost any other Mech he could think of, sixteen times, the match would have been over. Yet Dead Beat looked almost as good as when he entered the arena.

The kick to Dead Beat's leg landed sweetly, right on the joint. Dead Beat rocked, and Seb sighed with relief thinking he could damage this Mech.

Smack Ninja landed after the kick and slid to a stop. Before launching again, this time at Dead Beat's rear. The Mech was immobile for a of a , and that's all they needed.

Jumping as high as he could Smack Ninja aimed both feet at Dead Beats back. When fifteen tonnes of Smack Ninja into Dead Beat, it would surely end the fight. It was a finishing move.

Dead Beat hunched, curling in on himself. He didn't try and dodge, he didn't have the nor time.

Much to the joy of the fans, the Arena reverberated in the loud of two Mechs smashing together

"That's putting the Smack into Smack Ninja," the announcer roared.

After the , Smack Ninja rolled onto his hands and knees. He slowly got up.

So did Dead Beat.

"What the fuck," Seb roared in his cockpit. For the first time in years, he was at a loss on how to win this fight. He would break Smack Ninja before he broke Dead Beat.

"Your name is well fucking earned. I will be dead before I beat you," yelled Seb. Although no one could respond, and most likely only Trace would ever hear, it was cathartic.

Seb had nothing to lose. He would lose this match either way. The only strategies he could think of involved dealing damage while spreading the attacking points around Smack Ninja. And if he could somehow use Dead Beat's weight to damage itself, by rolling or toppling the Mech. In short, he had to try and damage Dead Beat while minimising the resulting wear and tear on Smack Ninja.

Smack Ninja ran to Dead Beat who struck at him, but instead of dodging the blow Smack Ninja grabbed onto his arm with both hands. Smack Ninja had taken a hit to his torso, but now he had Dead Beats arm in his grasp he launched himself backward pulling Dead Beat with him, trying to use the momentum of the strike to propel Dead Beat forward.

"Don't land on me, don't land on me!" Seb yelled his wish for the right Smack Ninja landed on his back pulling Dead Beat with all his might. Throwing a human opponent was one thing, but Dead Beat was a fifteen tonne Mech.

Dead Beat flew, between the momentum of the punch, and the forces Smack Ninja brought to bear, he was able to lift Dead Beat off its feet and pull it forward. It came down in a crashing heap just past Smack Ninja's cabin.

Smack Ninja pushed himself off the ground and got his feet underneath himself. It was taking forever, he needed to beat Dead Beat to his feet. Seb felt like it was taking too long. Smack Ninja had sustained damage to his shoulder servos when he threw Dead Beat. One of his knees was barely holding together, his fists were a mangle, and now his rear was impacted from the fall.

Smack Ninja turned to find Dead Beat on his hands and knees.

"Yes!" Seb shouted. He was concerned because he was not watching Dead Beat properly while scrambling to get on his feet. "Take that," Seb yelled as Smack Ninja stomped on Dead Beat's back.

Any other Mech would have been finished ages ago. But somehow Dead Beat survived. His internals were still operating despite the number of hits, kicks and falls he received. Dead Beat's arms were still working. His legs were still working. It was freaking amazing and terrifying to his competitor.

Seb could not afford to lose this match. They needed the purse, the win bonus from sponsors and the fact he his last thousand creds on them to win before the tournament began. At the time they were twelve to one. Much hinged on the of this match.

Smack Ninja smashed his foot down again, and again, and again. Still Dead Beat had not thrown in the proverbial towel.

"How are you still working?" Seb yelled at his opponent. To no avail, there would be no way the pilot of Dead Beat could hear him.

Even while under the barrage of kicks, Dead Beat got to his feet. He turned slowly, as Smack Ninja threw a punch futilely at his chest. Smack Ninja kicked the right leg, at the knee, one last time before Dead Beat started to return blows. Smack Ninja was barely standing himself despite only being hit once.

After the blow to the knee, Dead Beat began to wobble, sparks flew from his right knee. It suddenly bringing Dead Beat down with it.

"Fucking Finally!" Seb roared.

Not only had the crowd never seen such a match, in Seb and Trace's ten plus years history, they have never been in one, quite like this.

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