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Chapter 90 : M1 - Term: 2, Round: 5


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: 5

Daedalus Operating Capital: -1,700,000 bitcreds


Siderus, Matthias, Deimos and St met with Daedalus in the topside library. Daedo and Vannier were hosting the meeting, and the rest of the squad were in the next room studying or working on Daedalus projects.

"Thanks for coming," Vannier began.

"And you are?" Matthias asked

Before Siderus could put Matthias in his , he knew very well knew who she was, Vannier replied.

"I am Vannier, and I will be heading the of the Middle-Academy first team," she replied with a genuine smile.

"Err, the what you say?" Matthias asked. Daedo sat silently next to Vannier and received a puzzled and slightly hurt look from Siderus.

Vannier pulled up the pertinent of the contract from Fortescue group, "As you can see in this contract Daedalus has been given the authority over equipment and team methodology for the Inter-Academy league; starting next term."

All the M3 cadets peered closely at the contract while Vannier continued to speak, "You will be able to confirm with your House Master, the Commander and Lieutenant General as to the veracity of this arrangement."

Ignoring her, Deimos stated, "It says here both Middle and Upper first teams. Are you in charge of Upper as well?"

"Yes," Vannier answered politely, "We are."

"How the fuck did you pull this off? I gotta say I'm impressed," Matthias said.

"To cut a long story short, we can get the job done without cheating or gene therapy," Daedo said the last savagely.

Siderus nodded solemnly before responding, "It's unexpected, but not What's the method?"

"Wait," Matthias interrupted. "Little Miss was in charge for exactly three days before things went to shit. How long is this going to go on for?"

"If you read the contract, the term is until the end of the year or until the league ladder points disparity guarantee us number one or last spot. If Fortescue wishes to break the contract they must pay Daedalus two bitcreds in to our bank guarantee being returned," Vannier stated cleanly as if rehearsed.

"So," Matthias , "Fat chance they will break the contract then. Two freaking bitcreds is a lot of dough."

"We have a rather simple method which will yield the best result," Vannier said, "Siderus you will lead a team and select seven cadets from the entire Middle Academy with the of cadets from M1TS0. You will choose cadets who will produce the best team, you will begin practising daily with this team, from tomorrow with one scrimmage against M1TS0 and one against the team. The other three practices will be for drills set out by Daedo and yourself."

"What the hell, who put him in charge?" Matthias protested.

Vannier tapped the contract, "Me."

Siderus nodded.

"Once this team is known we will select the captain," Vannier stated.

"Will Matthias be in your team?" Daedo asked Siderus, who nodded immediately.

"Deimos or St ; Daedo asked.

Siderus shook his head.

Daedo nodded to Vannier.

"Deimos, you will be the leader of the team. Same rules apply except Siderus has first choice, you have to select from the remainder," Vannier stated.

"This is rather arbitrary, isn't it?" St observed, being the only House Captain left out in the cold.

"That is a good , St Please enlighten me, what part of the Military or a top tier company is not arbitrary?" Vannier asked.

"Har, she's got you there St ," Matthias said Other than not being the leader he was satisfied with his guaranteed in what he thought was the first team.

"Moving on," Vannier said, "We have much work to do, and we can't afford to waffle in these meetings." She stared at Matthias for a moment before continuing. "The team which will represent the Academy will be decided in the arena. It will be either Siderus' team, Deimos' team or Daedo's. Everyone will receive the latest exos, railguns and top of the range weaponry per their loadout ;

"That means if M1TS0 beats my team in training they will be representing the Academy?" Siderus made a statement in the form of a

"Yes, and we will hold these matches as often or seldom as we choose," Vannier stated.

"What happens if one of my cadets is underperforming and I want to take one from Deimos?" Siderus asked.

"We have full authority to make over team ," Vannier said, "And we will allow any change which we think will give the Academy a better chance of winning. If that circumstance, or any other, , we will make a judgment call at the time."

"That's hardly fair," Deimos observed.

"We're not interested in fair, we're interested in results," Daedo said to Deimos before turning to Siderus. "We have five weeks until the first match of the season, nearly all of my time will be dedicated to getting a viable mech ready for the Upper Academy. I'm relying on you for the exo matches. Get your team together, train your butts off and you will need to beat M1TS0, no excuses."

"During the break, you can come to our facility in Nanterre for drills," Vannier said. "And we can use the topside arena for practice matches."

"And no gene therapy?" Siderus queried.

"We're not stopping you undergoing legal procedures, but there will be no Academy delivered, let alone enforced schemes," Vannier said sternly emphasising the word no.

"Is that it?" Siderus asked.

Daedo and Vannier nodded once. Siderus stood and looked towards Matthias, "We have work to do."

Matthias jumped to his feet and said sarcastically, "Yes boss," then burst out with a short laugh at Siderus.

Before leaving, Siderus looked back at Daedo, "We'll see you Thursday." He was referring to the first practice match between the Siderus eight and M1TS0.

"I must say I am not happy personally, but, I think you are doing much better than the alternative," St said before taking his leave.

Deimos was the only M3 house captain left.

"Why me?" She asked.

"Each squad needs a tactician. They make a bigger difference than any other member," Vannier said.

"After an exhaustive analysis, you and Matthias were the best tacticians after Siderus. You are both excellent leaders as well," Daedo stated.

"But I'm basically or even third string," Deimos said.

"There's no denying it. You can look at it a few ways," Vannier said, "One, you have a chance to prove everyone wrong, to grab the cadets that Siderus overlooks and beat him with strategy and team building. Or two, you are your role to ensure we If you don't want this role, we can always give it to someone else."

"You make a good argument," Deimos said, "You are much more advanced than I was in M1. I was still worrying if people liked me or if I was falling behind in Math." She chuckled at the memory. "Vannier, you will be amazing by the time you are my age." She said honestly.

Vannier moved towards Deimos, and they hugged spontaneously, as Daedo looked on in amazement wondering what the hell just happened.

Deimos stood, "I need to get moving as well. Do I have until next Wednesday to put my team together?"

"Unfortunately, yes. You will have to wait for Siderus to finalise his ," Vannier said and with that Deimos nodded and left.

Daedo sat alone with Vannier for a moment.

"This is a big task you've taken on. I mean we," she said.

"The Middle Academy team is not the issue. If we just provided the gear and leave them alone, they will be fine. And if they can't beat us, we will compete," Daedo said.

"How do you rate a Siderus' team with the cream of M3 against us?" Vannier said.

"Since we are using the same equipment, they should win nine times out of ten. Siderus doesn't make mistakes I can exploit, and they are stronger, faster and more agile than us. They have three years of practice with gunnery, exo and melee combat compared to our six months. We have no right to beat them," Daedo said.

Vannier raised an eyebrow, this wasn't the Daedo she knew.

"But we will push them with everything we have, it will be good practice for us," he added after a quiet moment.

"So if you're not focusing on the Middle Academy I guess its time for us to get our ducks in a row for Upper. What's the strategy?" Vannier asked.

The pair discussed the method and equipment loadout for the Upper Academy at length coming up with a to present to the leadership of the U3 cadets. While Vannier worked at setting up a meeting with the House captains of U3 and their Daedo went back to work with Myrmidon on the Mech designs.

Daedo donned his helmet and entered his VR design lab.

"Myrmidon," he called. Myrmidon appeared as a small blue transparent figure to an Ancient Greek , including round shield, corinthian helmet and spear. The two hundred millimetre figure floated and flew around the VR room at will.

"We are not sticking to the schedule again?" Myrmidon asked.

"The Fortescue contract is taking precedence at the moment, once we have the mech designs under control things we will adhere to the revised schedule," Daedo answered. Myrmidon understandably liked a structured workflow, when tasks were fluid and it did not upset him, but he found it challenging.

"We should get these Mech designs completed, I have a list of outstanding tasks," Myrmidon said and brought up the list in midair between the pair.

"Kang needs to update armour composite in line with energy, particle and thermal weapons. Even is different a railgun round travelling at mach four isn't the same as a punch from another mech, even if that punch is two hundred kilonewtons," Daedo said as Myrmidon updated the list.

"The two outstanding items with the highest workload are ," Daedo began. "The thermal dynamics surrounding the reactor and the jumpjet How is dex progressing? Can I see a working model?"

"Yes, allow me to bring the latest up," Myrmidon answered.

The VR room expanded in size, and it began to take on the shape of a workshop mech bay itself. A layered wireframe design of Daedo's latest mech appeared. It was based on Picard's melee combat moves. The structural design would allow up to seventy percent of the range of movement, which was high compared to Old Dawg who's design was close to twenty and Dead Beat who was at fifty percent.

A mech couldn't and shouldn't be able to do high kicks, splits and exotic movements that humans can achieve. But getting closer to the full range certainly assisted a pilot to move freely when in melee combat, covering terrain or when using ranged weapons. Taking a knee was a valuable which many mechs could not do. And some took too long to get down and back up.

Myrmidon was able to add and peel back layers of the design with a thought from Daedo.

"Add the conduits," Daedo said, and Myrmidon updated the design.

"Add armour and equipment and run the model, jumpjets exhaust for zero every minute, vent excess heat as needed," Daedo said, and Myrmidon began the program.

The model showed the Mech was capable of venting all excess heat.

"Add two megajoules heat from external sources and two megajoules from internal equipment," Daedo asked testing the capacity for the systems to cope. The bar showing internal heat rose dramatically.

"It's not coping we will need to increase the heatsink volume, decrease the reactor size or add more venting capability," Daedo said. "Scratch that, add to the notes fifteen percent more venting capacity, we may need this heat, and we will definitely need the power."

"We can't have too much power," Myrmidon said mimicking a line Daedo had said a thousand times. It wasn't true, but it was a design bent he possessed. Daedo liked to have all the power needed, he hated restricting a design due to lack of power.

"Run the jumpjets, begin at five per minute and incrementally increase to continuous running. I want to see the hydrogen and the impact on the thermal storage," Daedo said.

The condensed hydrogen fuel was burnt off at a kilogram a , it wasn't the weight that was an issue it was the volume. The incredibly hot was redirected through the jumpjet nozzle where a amount of condensed hydrogen was fed and burned. The particles were directed out the jets giving the thrust needed to lift a twenty-tonne mech off the ground.

The design was storing the excess heat from the reactor into , which was then used to burn the hydrogen. The stored had to be kept under control, and when its temperature peaked at elven thousand kelvin, excess needed venting before it shut down the mech. The shutdown procedure was and venting was the primary. If both failed, the mech would literally melt once the broke free of its shielded conduits and reservoirs.

Jumpjets and other specialised equipment used this stored heat. In order to lift a twenty-tonne mech off the ground, it needed thrust, and burning hydrogen at super high temperatures was a way to achieve this thrust.

"Estimated runtime?" Daedo asked Myrmidon. It wasn't showing the hydrogen versus storage in the model, and when Daedo was asking Myrmidon for this figure, it was a for Myrmidon to have this included in the User interface for

"Twenty , we have twenty kilos in the current design," Myrmidon stated.

Daedo was sure he wanted more, but he couldn't afford the space. A lighter mech which stored more condensed hydrogen could achieve a longer run time. But he was working on the first model, which would fulfil the role of Vanguard, Libero and Sniper. The only role it wasn't suited for was a For this role he expected the squad to use drones.

"Thanks, Myrmidon," Daedo said. "After I add in two more vents on the lower back send the design to Kang with the task requirements."

Daedo reviewed the power capability, it was above his Cisse had done an excellent job getting every watt possible from the reactor. He wouldn't know if it was enough until he reviewed loadouts with the U3 cadets. And he hadn't begun making advancements on weapons such as the auto-cannon, assault cannon or PPC. It was likely their initial loadout would be a of missiles and cannons. There was no point a PPC when it was

There was only one way to make a breakthrough on a PPC in a short of time.

Daedo removed his helmet and went to speak to his squad.

"Vannier," he called as he walked into a secluded part of the study. She removed her helmet as did a couple of the others. They were about the recent developments. The two bitcreds were just as much their debt as it was his.

"I need to head back and see Master Nader, otherwise, the mech design is almost ready," he said.

"Okay, you should speak to Gaumont as well," Vannier suggested, and when Daedo raised an eyebrow, she expanded, "He wants to hand over the research they've done, and some reassurance that everything is ok wouldn't hurt."

"Reassurance?" Daedo asked. "About what?"

"Oh, you can imagine the rumours," Vannier said, but as a matter of fact, Daedo couldn't imagine the rumours. As he stood there with a look on his face, she decided to further.

"You know, they are saying we have taken over the Academy, a mere M1 squad, that's on back of the media going ape about illegal gene therapy. Generally, cadets are thinking this has gone nuts and how can you them?!" Vannier

Daedo smiled, gave a single shrug and went to see Master Nader. He couldn't help the mess the Academy was in, that was squarely at the feet of Fortescue.

Daedo: Gaumont, hi.

Gaumont: oh Hi.

Daedo: Vannier asked me to contact you.

Gaumont: yeah. I have our workings on the shielding, it's not working for me, but I figured I may as well give it to you. You might be able to figure out a workaround for the power and control. Otherwise, the physics is solid.

Daedo: Thanks. Send it through. One last thing, there's no need to worry.

Gaumont: Worry. About what?

Daedo: Exactly my thinking!

Gaumont: Hang on. Now I am worried. Where is this coming from?

Daedo: Oh Vannier you were worried about the recent events and the contract Daedalus has with Fortescue.

Gaumont: Hmm. Yes and No. Fortescue are crazy bad at managing an Academy. I don't know why they even have one. But. Well, you are twelve. So putting you in charge of the inter-academy is crazy. But I know you. And I actually think it's a good idea. I think some people You are fucking Daedalus.

Daedo laughed, and Gaumont could hear through the comms.

Daedo: Nice chat. I'll review your shield research soon and let you know how it goes.

Daedo closed the just before entering Master Nader's office. He was about to sell his soul further down the river which led to hell. The upper academy mechs needed weapons, and he didn't have them.

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