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Chapter 61 : 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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Mace's parents were in Munich to catch-up with their Daughter. They would attend to some business matters in Germany early the following week. Axelzero's great Aunt set two extra for the Korean guests which brought the dinner party to eleven in number. The six cadets, Mace's parents, Sabine Axel and now the Kangs.

"So tell us who our new guests are?" Aunty Sabine asked. The Kangs were to arrive soon and were running slightly late. It was 1830. It went without saying that Aunty Sabine liked to serve dinner on time.

"Kang Lee and his daughter Kang So-Ra. They own a Mech from the EU Mech League called Dead Beat," Vannier

"I apologize, Aunty Sabine," Daedo said. All the cadets were by Sabine Axel to call her Aunty Sabine since they were guests in her house and close friends with Pascale (aka Axelzero). "We needed a business meeting with them, and I asked them to join us for dinner."

"Etana, my dear boy. It is quite alright. I wanted you all here rather than going out to a restaurant, and I am not concerned when a guest who has not had adequate time to prepare is running a few minutes late," Aunty Sabine replied gently.

"I like your new outfits," Mace's Father, Gabe, announced, changing the subject. He traced the lines of Ameline's (aka Mace) bodysuit. "Axel is very well known for producing the best bodysuits in the world."

"Yes," Aunty Sabine replied, wooed by the compliment. "We take care and pride in the manufacturer, but also invest heavily in development to ensure they are cutting edge. I especially like this model, you chose well Pascale."

It was the same model Axelzero and Daedo were using at the Academy, just with all the relevant add-ons that were to a family member in to all the military-grade sensors.

"I think it's wonderful the children have started their own company. It shows tremendous initiative. I didn't think the Academy would have such an effect on Ameline," Mace's Mother, Adele stated to which Sabine and her Father nodded.

"Ah," Mace corrected shyly, "it has more to do with my squad than Fortescue Military Academy."

Vannier agreed, "we have some enormously talented squad members who were the instigators. You really can't give the Academy credit. Only Master Nader has had any involvement."

Gabe Mace rubbed his daughters head and then put his arm around her, "she has come out of her shell so much it is unbelievable. If this is the influence of her new friends, then all I can say is thank you. I know you are all just for being in squad zero. But what you are doing has really surprised us." Mace's Father was a smooth talker who left Barran and Vannier for dead. Only he didn't apply this skill so well in his daughter's who was turning bright red with embarrassment.

"Ah, our guests are here," Aunty Sabine announced.

Lee Kang, or as it was said culturally with the surname first, Kang Lee was of average height and a thin build. He was taller than Barran, at 1600mm, and shorter than Mace's Father Gabe who was 1800mm. His hair was jet with no signs of grey, and he had kind eyes.

Kang So-Ra, was the same height as Mace, 1500mm, slightly taller than Daedo at 1480mm. She was wearing a red skirt over a bodysuit, she also had a red bandanna wrapped loosely around her neck. Now that her hair was clean. it was confirmed as jet and cut into a neat bob that almost reached the bottom of her neck. Her demeanour was best described as surly.

The dinner party got underway with adults and cadets exchanging pleasantries and engaging in general So-Ra was quiet offering only one-word answers when addressed directly.

Aunty Sabine was an excellent cook and host. In the modern world, cooking involved selecting a menu, ingredient adjustment and even tweaking method that the bots would use to deliver the meal. The way Aunty Sabine allowed the guest to select from numerous dishes showed her age. It was common for a host to have three for guests and run the dinner on a couple of set themes. Aunty Sabine allowed guests to select from twelve or more each course.

Daedo hated having to think about what to eat and just chose the first item from each of the courses. He noticed So-Ra did much the same except she chose the eighth every time without reading what it was, she just scrolled down counting to eight and poked with her finger. The server bot wheeled away after collecting everyone's orders.

The eleven sat down at the table as the dinner service began, little bots bringing out trays of steaming food and the drinks machine lowered itself from the ceiling extending its long hose to each up dispensing their chosen beverage.

"You all drink water?" Lee asked. Seeing the six cadets sticking to water where the adults drank all sorts of things from ginger ale to green wine. So-Ra was drinking red pop, and Lee himself had pineapple crush.

"Habit," answered Barran, "I wanted to ask you something, Mr Kang. The move you do before each match, it doesn't gel with your friendly personality."

"Oh that," Kang Lee replied, "well I can't dance, so I asked So-Ra to program in an opening move which is permitted before a match starts. And the first time we used it was surprising. The crowd's was I thought we would be in trouble, but after the match, the organisers said they loved it, and they wished for us to continue a role. They said it would help us with seeding in future So…we show our middle finger every match now."

Barran laughed, "that makes sense. It was you." He directed at So-Ra who returned a slightly sarcastic smile followed by a middle finger which brought a round of laughter from the table.

Mr Kang waited until the meal was over before broaching business. "Who is the Business Manager and person who are conducting the ; He asked Daedo.

Daedo replied, "Barran and Vannier Mr Kang."

Kang Lee looked confused, he leaned closer to Daedo and whispered, "they are cadets from your squad zero?"

Daedo nodded.

"And not the parents?" Kang Lee asked politely indicating Mace's parents.

Daedo shook his head.

Kang Lee was surprised at first but got it under control quickly and was smiling again. "Very well, Mr Barran and Ms Vannier can we begin? It has been a long day."

To Mace's unease and Kang Lee's , the entire party collected around an inner circle of lounge chairs. Seated next to Mr Kang was his daughter and across from the pair sat Vannier with Barran on her left and Daedo on her right. Behind those three cadets stood Picard, Mace and Axelzero. The other mildly interested witnesses of Sabine Axel, Gabe Mace and Adele Mace sat within earshot in the next They were silent and listening intently, as to what the children were up to.

"Now cadets," Mr Kang began, "is that what I refer to you as cadets?"

Vannier nodded and smiled, "yes Mr Kang, cadets is fine, individually our names, or you can refer to us as a group as Daedalus."

"Good, good. Now as I understand it, Daedo invited us here to discuss Daedalus using our composite material technology and what sort of deal we could make to allow this to happen," Mr Kang began with a summary of the reason for the meeting.

Vannier looked at Daedo who moved his hand from side to side indicating comme ci, comme ?a.

Vannier smiled, "in a way, yes. This is a good to start," she shifted in her seat slightly and continued. "Mr Kang, I have a The composite have you patented it?"

Kang Lee shifted slightly , "No. So-Ra keeps changing and updating it so often it is hard for us to pin down what, if anything, to patent."

"Mr Kang it is not my business to tell you how to run yours, but you are taking risks by not patenting technology and could be missing out on opportunities," Vannier replied.

Kang Lee began to understand how these cadets ran a business without their parents. Daedo might not know how to make a deal, but the group had many talents besides their leader who's actual talent was unknown, but they all seemed to defer to him.

"What do you suggest?" Mr Kang asked finally allowing Vannier to take the lead of the meeting just a few minutes in. But he would not give away his assets. These people were extremely wealthy, looking at one of the family's homes in Munich. They could afford to pay a lot for So-Ra's intellectual property. And if it could be patented and had worldwide , then it was worth hundreds of thousands of creds. No

"Let us speak ," Barran took over seamlessly, and Vannier did not flinch as if they had this. "We want So-Ra to come work for Daedalus and are willing to offer shares in Daedalus to bring her onboard. We see the value of her developments and can realise them. We can take care of patents, selling and into other products like exos, weapons and mechs to showcase the technology. As it stands, we are not sure if the composite infringes on an already established patent. But Daedo thinks that even if this is the case, she has the capability of pushing her research further. Especially given the resources and facilities we can provide."

Mr Kang nearly fell off his seat. He was not expecting an offer like this. After himself, he asked, "what is the current value of shares that you are offering to So-Ra?" He was not selfishly greedy, he did not mind if it was So-Ra that was mega wealthy or himself. She would share enough with him to live in luxury or pursue his dreams of winning the pro league.

It was Vannier's turn to look nervous, and before Barran could answer with an number, she stated, "approximately one thousand bitcreds."

"No no," Mr Kang replied, "this is no good. Those are rookie numbers." He looked at the parents in askance and received neither eye contact nor a word in reply.

There was a moment of awkward silence. And Mr Kang returned to his polite self.

"Cadets, Daedalus, it is not for my daughter to give her to you for a small of their value," He said earnestly.

"Mr Kang," Barran interrupted, "you do not understand. We have many which have much larger potential than the composite metals..."

Daedo shook his head slowly, and Vannier a hand on Barran's shoulder to quiet him. It was not that Daedo was worried about giving away, it was more to do with spoken promises were worthless. They would have to prove to Mr Kang the value of Daedalus. Or seek a talent like So-Ra else.

"What if So-Ra were to attend the Academy?" Daedo asked, and it was the first time that So-Ra seemed interested in what was being said.

Mr Kang nodded slowly, "this is something more like I expected to discuss. I would wish for So-Ra to attend the Academy as part of a deal we make."

Barran jumped on the opening, "Ok. So we get So-Ra into the Academy," brushing over the enormity of what he was saying. The annual cost was in excess of 2,000 bitcreds, and that was before purchasing bodysuits, military-grade and upgrading exos. "And she will be able to see first hand what Daedalus has, the potential and the growth. She reports back to you, and we make a deal towards the end of term two."

"Mr Barran, please slow down. Not so fast. Let us consider and perhaps visit you in the near future. Where is your company based?" Mr Kang asked. And he was shown where Fortescue Military Academy was located as well as the Nanterre workshop.

"Thank you. I cannot imagine getting into a tier three Academy is easy or inexpensive. How can you offer this with no strings attached?" Mr Kang asked carefully thinking there were strings. The devil was in the detail.

Vannier put her hand on Barran's shoulder again, restraining him. "You are correct sir, it is not a small thing. It may be possible but would require from yourself and So-Ra if that is what you wanted."

She did not it was highly unlikely for them to pull it off, but that would have to wait for another day now that Barran had opened this can of worms. If she shut down the viability of entering the Academy now, they would be saying goodbye to So-Ra Kang. And Daedo or Master Nader would have to look for another metallurgist. Vannier thought for a moment, 'Crap; Master Nader.' Without opening her mouth, she said the words to herself.

"We have one week before the next tournament, and I wanted to give Daedalus the opportunity to come on board as a sponsor tonight," Mr Kang continued. "Are you in a to do so?"

"What would sponsorship involve?" Axelzero asked.

"Major sponsor is one thousand bitcreds for each tournament or ten thousand for a season of twelve," Mr Kang replied.

Daedo bowed his head slightly and not because of the creds which were tight in any case. Axelzero caught the and continued, "Daedalus has many to market and if we were to sponsor it would have to be a Mech built by us, with our technology."

"And expertly piloted," Daedo added savagely. Although his tone was polite, the words hurt Mr Kang's feelings. So-Ra laughed her face brightening, in contrast to, her Father's pained

Kang Lee sighed sadly. "I suppose it was not to be Daedalus." He stood and bowed. "Thank you for your time and ; The cadets stood as he did and returned his bow. The younger cadets bowed deeper than their elder as was the custom.

Mr Kang looked from the well behaved disciplined cadets to his own daughter. He would love for her to learn discipline, but due to her nature, she probably would not survive in such an environment as these children were

After the Kang's left, it was just cadets and family who remained.

"That went well," Barran announced for which he received stares of astonishment at his denial of facts ability.

"You have to be joking," Axelzero replied.

"I don't know if So-Ra could handle the Academy," Picard observed, "she has had a carefree existence up until now."

"I handle it just fine, and I did whatever I liked before," Daedo

"You aren't normal Daedo," Vannier stated.

"Neither is she," Daedo replied, "Dead Beat was leagues above any other Mech out there, and it came down to her in one single area."

No one wanted to argue with Daedo, but it was clear no one agreed with him when it came to So-Ra handling the Academy.

"What do we do now?" Barran asked.

"Just what we had ," Mace answered. "We submit the list to Master Nader, and she finds us a seventh who has potential with the vacant ;

"Mace is right, she is taking on Chemical Engineering, and I know she will because she is smart. We don't have to find an extremely talented Metallurgist, we only need to find someone smart enough to learn, focus and specialise." Daedo summarised.

Mace beamed under the praise, and her mother noticed, to her credit she showed no outward signs of noticing her daughters change in demeanour at the compliment.

"Before we go our separate ways for the rest of the break there is something important we need to discuss," Daedo announced. Picard, Barran and Mace were coming back to the Workshop where Axelzero and Vannier had to spend time with their families for the remainder of the break. Vannier was leaving in a few hours, where Axelzero would see the rest off tomorrow; the Monday morning.

"Are you sure, in front of?" Vannier asked indicating Sabrine Axel and Mace's parents.

"They are citizens of Earth just as much as anyone," Daedo stated frankly.

"Oh!?" Gabe Mace said excitedly sensing gossip. "What is this important about?"

"The spiral, the ship and Master Nader," Daedo stated

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