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Chapter 84 : M1: Term: 2, Round: 3


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: 3

Daedalus Operating Capital: 160,000 bitcreds




Old Dawg faced off against Dead Beat.

Axelzero faced off against Mister Kang.

Although both mechs possessed tech, Dead Beat and its pilot Mister Kang, had been in dozens of pro league matches.

There was another reason Daedo picked Axelzero, in hand to hand combat she was the weakest in the squad excluding their newest member. Dead Beat and Old Dawg were now equal in terms of armour and power delivery. Power delivery directly to strength and speed with the only being the actuators and structure itself.

And that was where Dead Beat had an advantage, although his arms were short for the pro league, they were longer than Old Dawgs. His chassis was only two years old and was to Old Dawgs in terms of design and material provided by Kang.

Daedo knew he could improve on Dead Beat's design, but that would come in the future when he thought it was ready, for now, the Daedalus' mech, Old Dawg, was it.

The squad, Ikaros and Cisse, were all cheering for Old Dawg, with the of Kang who cheered for her Father out of loyalty. Dead Beat was to her what Old Dawg was to the rest of the squad. It was her first mech as much as it was her Fathers.

The spectators were behind a protective transparent polymer which itself was protected by an alloy cage thirteen metres off the ground.

In the future, the floor of the range could host numerous training and testing equipment which was slowly being added to the store beneath. For a mech melee duel, the floor was clear. Daedo hoped the soundproofing would be enough to reduce most of the noise, but the from a mech falling were sure to be felt by their neighbours in the industrial estate.

Axelzero put one foot behind herself taking a side-on combat stance while she waited for the confident Mister Kang. Daedo was certain that So-Ra informed her Father regarding Axelzero's ranking within the squad which emboldened him further. It was his hope Mister Kang would learn a valuable lesson today.

Dead Beat moved forward at speed; reaching out with a jab at Old Dawg's torso. The speed of the retrofitted mech was much improved. The jab shot towards his opponent. But Old Dawg brought his left arm swinging down pushing the blow aside before taking a step towards Dead Beat and landing a right hook into his shoulder.

It was a textbook block and counter performed by Axelzero.

Dead Beat rocked back, with one foot moving backwards to regain as he leaned Old Dawg had not stopped moving, he took another smaller step before jabbing Dead Beat, at the same height, but on the other side of his torso. It was a strategy to keep him off Old Dawg landed the blow knocking Dead Beat back with the power delivered by the innovative hydraulic system.

The mechs were well armoured, they had a power delivery system, but if the pilot did not keep the mech , it would fall on its arse just as Mister Kang did with Dead Beat.

Axelzero took two steps back with Old Dawg and waited for Dead Beat to get back up. She took up a defensive posture again except this time switching sides.

"She is doing great," Picard stated.

"Yeah, maybe we should tell her to go easy on him?" Vannier asked.

"Don't you dare!" Kang growled.

"I agree with Kang, the Dead Beat pilot needs to learn a lesson," Daedo said and received a from Kang.

Dead Beat got up, but this time instead of launching himself at Old Dawg he inched forward. Just before he got into range; Old Dawg jumped up and brought a blow arcing downwards on top of Dead Beat.

Dead Beat tried to step back but was too slow, while the weight of the blow pushed him down, but his superb armouring held firm. After stabilising the two mechs were very close, torso to torso and Old Dawg reacted first. Bringing up his knee while Dead Beat threw a hook towards Old Dawg's right side.

Both blows landed with one mech rocking back on his heels and Old Dawg being knocked to its side. Old Dawg used the momentum and twisted while Dead Beat took two quick steps back this time, learning from the last

Old Dawg finished his turn and lifted his foot to use the momentum to kick Dead Beat.

"Oh no," Daedo said.

It was quickly apparent the mech was not capable of this range of movement, and it lost with a leg joint screeching in protest. Even with the soundproofing, the spectators covered their ears to try and block out the high pitched shriek.

Old Dawg went down to his hands and knees. Dead Beat had regained his and waited patiently, returning the favour from minutes earlier.

Old Dawg slowly got up and stood, his leg joint looked bent out of shape, but he was able to stand and move.

"He has to fight like an Old Dawg," Barran chuckled.

"Is he ok?" Vannier asked concerned.

Daedo checked the telemetry data and nodded. The hydraulics were still almost full capacity, and the leg actuator was still reading green on all its elements.

"I think the structure is bent out of shape," Ikaros stated.

"That doesn't sound good," Barran said.

Ikaros shrugged. He didn't seem worried.

Old Dawg waited for Dead Beat to attack and as soon as he jabbed, Old Dawg knocked his fist away and returned with a blow of his own. He then stepped back and waited for Dead Beat to repeat the , Axelzero was now fighting conservatively.

Barran yawned.

"Yeah, this is boring but its smart fighting," Picard stated what everyone was thinking after Old Dawg blocked and punched Dead Beat half a dozen times.

Dead Beat slowly got frustrated and began to push harder with riskier attacks. He feinted with a jab and followed up with a powerful hook trying to catch Old Dawg off guard.

Axelzero must have seen through the move; Old Dawg ignored the feint and instead of blocking the hook he grabbed it and pulled the same that the blow was coming.

This time Dead Beat rocked forward and down as Old Dawg moved to the side allowing his opponent to land on the ground.

Old Dawg then put his foot on Dead Beat's back, got his before bringing his full fifteen tonnes of weight onto Dead Beat. Dead Beat was strong, but he couldn't get up.

"What would happen if this was a tournament?" Picard asked Kang.

"You'd be booed out of the arena," Kang replied with a grin.

Daedo called the bout. It had run to a standstill, and he wanted to inspect Old Dawg properly before starting a new match.

*Daedo: Mister Kang. Old Dawg is damaged would you like to run some tests while we have a look at him?*

*Mister Kang: Yes young son. I am very impressed with the power and speed improvement. Do you have a way to test punch power?*

*Daedo: we have robots and a program for this, it will take ten minutes to set up.*

Pro League mechs did not give away their data on punching power, however, there was some on retired models. A human's unassisted strike power had a wide range, anywhere from 100 to 1000N. In an exo, the squad was striking up to 15kN and Daedo suspected a mech could reach ten times this number due to the amount of power delivered to the actuator and its rating.

Once the massive constructofoam block and test sensors were in , they were ready for the strike test. The block would move, and its speed over the first three metre's of movement was all they needed to measure. The and opposing force were known, the was a factor of the speed because it was and the weight of the constructofoam block was known. Daedo had the mass, and opposing force increased twenty-fold from the exo test to stop it from flying too far.

*Picard: ready Mister Kang.*

Picard was running the tests with Kang and her Father as Daedo was inspecting Old Dawg with Axelzero.

Dead Beat stood in front of the block and jabbed. The reading came through 88kN. It was six times Barran's best strike in an exo. Dead Beat then swung a hook at the block, it read a much better number; 114kN.

*Picard: Mister Kang, you are not using the full range of and weight of the mech. Do you know how to strike using Sanda style?*

*Mister Kang: No. I know some Taekwondo though.*

*Picard: Use that style, please. You'll get a much better result.*

Dead Beat bent his knees slightly and held inverted fists by his sides. As he struck he rotated his arm and twisted his torso slightly. The result was a much-improved 131kN with each strike.

*Picard: much better you are hitting with 130kN consistently.*

Mister Kang finished off the test practising maneuvers around the old warehouse. Jumps, charges and dodging.

*Mister Kang: this is very good. Much improved. Thank you, Daedalus.*

*Picard: don't thank me, thank Daedo. Ok, bring it in. We'll get it ready for shipping to your tournament next weekend.*

*Mister Kang: I am coming to believe I need to work on my melee combat skills. You have this before, and the spar with Axelzero confirms that these are important skills for a pro league pilot.*

Picard wanted to tell him that it took long enough to come to this , but she was disciplined and did not disrespect her elders out of habit.

*Picard: very good Mister Kang. We can set you up with some VR tutes to follow if you want. I would suggest doing these daily.*

*Mister Kang: good I would like that. Thank you, Cadet Picard.*

Picard looked at Kang who shrugged and smiled. The unarmed specialist cadet then mumbled something about old people being stubborn.




Daedo waited patiently for Master Nader to respond to his request for a meeting. It was the week of round three and Daedo had just finished his meeting with the House Captains.

Another weekend had flown by, and he had delivered another parcel of to Cisse. This time it was a detailed theory and engineering on field control. The was so impactful that for the first time it made Cisse as to how Daedo came up with it. He was able to alleviate her fears, as he had studied it backwards and had the seed that he had been working on it for months.

Even then it simply wasn't believable. If Cisse wasn't biased, she would not have taken him at his word. Daedo needed to know more about the origins of the tech, Cisse was the catalyst, but ultimately it came down to trust.

He didn't trust Master Nader anywhere near as much as Cisse trusted him. While she had always protected the cadets in her house and his squad, he had only known Master Nader for sixteen weeks. In those sixteen weeks she had murdered another house master, although it was not proven there was little doubt in his mind, she basically admitted it. That was disturbing, to say the least, but now this mystery box put Master Nader into a whole new category of dangerous.

How did she get it? Where was she from? What were the of Daedo releasing this technology on society and what was the eventual cost? These were the which he could not bear any longer. He needed answers and was willing to risk his life to get them.

Master Nader: Cadet, the VR room is ready and so am I. You may enter.

Daedo entered the secure VR room while Master Nader ran some checks including verifying Myrmidons status as inactive.

After completing the tests, Master Nader began, "Are you ready for the next parcel? You should space out the , too much too quickly will raise ;

"No. I need to stop. Unless you can answer my satisfactorily, I cannot take advanced tech from the box again," Daedo replied.

"Your concerns are understandable, but if you do not, it could mean the end of your species," Master Nader argued.

"That statement is highly , it is basically a threat in order to get me to do what you want. And the slip with the words "your species" is that ; Daedo said angrily.

"Did you come here with the to fight with me?" Master Nader asked ominously.

"No," Daedo said firmly. "I came to get answers. I meant every word that I cannot continue to do this without knowing the ;

"Cadet," Master Nader said sternly. "You were informed of the , and you interpreted it as a threat."

"Answer this," Daedo asked, "Where do you come from?"

"It is complicated, but this body comes from Earth," Master Nader replied.

Daedo was not often frustrated, but Master Nader managed to produce a yell from him. "! Stop qualifying your answers with partial Is that your body?"

"In the interest of saving your species, this and you. I will answer these But cadet, I do not think you have earned these answers," Master Nader stated. "It is complicated, this is both my body and not my body."

Daedo shook his head. "You're incapable of a straightforward answer, aren't you?"

"I have a compromise. I will tell you everything I am able and that I think you will understand," Master Nader said.

"Please," Daedo answered exasperatedly.

"This is from an alien species, once, over a hundred millennia ago, they were not unlike humans, but they have since evolved. And this species wants to help you," Master Nader began.

"What do they want in return?" Daedo asked.

"I would assume gratitude, but I do not know," Master Nader said.

"Are you one of them?" Daedo asked.

"I am, and I am not," Master Nader answered bringing forth another frustrated yell from Daedo.

"What part of you is from the alien species," Daedo asked.

Master Nader thought on her answer. "I am not one whole person. I am two," she finally said.

"Are you part human and part alien? Did you possess a human? Did you hurt them?" Daedo asked.

"Yes, yes and no. I saved them," Master Nader replied.

"Why should I trust you?" Daedo asked genuinely lost. He needed time to think on what she had said.

"You should be able to deduce the answer to that cadet, it is logical, " Master Nader said "You cannot afford not to trust me."

"Tell me more about the ," Daedo asked desperate to find a way to trust her or to exclude her and walk out of the Academy never to return.

"I have told you almost everything I know," Master Nader answered.

"What form are the aliens? What type of ships? Is there any proof other than your word and the fact that one percent of the is readying to flee?" Daedo asked rapid fire.

Master Nader thought again on his "I do not know the form, I know they have been engineered to rid this of the human species. They are not coming by ship, otherwise, we could have stopped them. And there is no proof other than the boxes handed to your governments forty-one years ago."

"If they are not coming by ship how are they getting here? Is someone here manufacturing them?" Daedo asked in a panic.

"They are travelling through the multiverse. You would consider it a wormhole, but not as you know it," Master Nader responded.

"Why does it take so long?" Daedo asked thinking that if it was a wormhole then why was it taking them fifty years.

"It will only take them a day," Master Nader replied.

"That makes no sense!" Daedo

"It is to do with spacetime and the multiverse. You have much to learn," Master Nader said. "This is enough for today. Go. Think on what I have said, but do not tell anyone. You will be putting their lives in danger."

Daedo did not doubt Master Nader when she said a life was in danger. She was basically telling him, that if he told anyone, she would kill them.

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