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Chapter 95 : 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: -1,660,000 bitcreds


Picard and Gaumont bounded to the west before swinging around to the south in an attempt to use a hill for cover. Each stride they fired their jumpjets for almost two , which caused them to look like they were running on the moon with ten-metre strides. They were able to cover a hundred metres in less than ten

Gaumont shadowed Picard directing his shield to the east, while she faced her shield to the north. As they ran to the red dot, Picard pointed up in the air, and a message appeared on Gaumont's HUD, death from above. When they were thirty metres from the target, he soared into the air. And immediately attracted fire from the northeast. Holding his shield in his right hand, Gaumont was able to block some of the damage.

Picard was intercepted by the infamous Matthias before she got to her prey, he landed directly in front of her and brandished his Unlike his partner, Matthias used the equipment. and shield, with a one-handed railgun slung at his side.

He didn't pause for long and charged Picard, she wondered why he didn't try and land on top of her but shrugged off the thought as she prepared to defend herself.

Moments before the pair made contact Matthias spun to meet the Gaumont, and Picard used this opportunity to impale her opponent. He was quick. He pushed off Gaumont with his shield and brought his own lancesword around to deflect Picard's blow.

She anticipated this move and brought her own shield around in an attempt to barge Matthias. He leaned into her bash, but the force behind Picard's shield had enough momentum to overpower the strong M3 cadet, and he was pushed backwards upon contact.

The Thoth Liberos and Cover were keeping the rest of M3IAS busy as Gaumont and Picard attacked their opponent Despite being pummeled by two cadets, Matthias kept up his defence, but he was unable to launch a counter-assault.

Daedo: on three leap back out of range, 3 , 2, 1, GO.

Picard and Gaumont activated jumpjets and moved away as fast as possible, Matthias realised something was up when a drone exploded on top of him and released what seemed like a hoverbin worth of goo.

Picard: railgun

She ordered Gaumont, Matthias could still swing at them, and his defence would be much better if they got into close range despite the goo. But from range, all he had was his shield.

The M3 cadet frantically tried to block the fire and break free of the goo. It was an almost comical amount of movement coming from his knees and elbows. The exos were strong, but this goo was extremely sticky.

A grenade landed directly on Matthias after the fourth railgun round and fire from M3IAS began to increase on the Thoth Vanguard as well, they were quickly the focal point of the entire battle.

Daedo: V2 V3 LOS

An image appeared on their HUDs before Daedo began to speak, it was showing Matthias as a sundial with green, orange and red zones. Gaumont did not move, but Picard strafed to the green zone in moments. With their current , they would continue to Matthias who was still able to block some shots with his shield, but if they both moved into the green zone, they would lose the crossfire advantage.

Gaumont went down under a barrage of fire and then moments later Matthias went down, which was a huge win for Thoth squad zero. Picard immediately moved towards another marked green zone, on the west of the closest hill. She skipped backwards with her shield in front of her. They knew the of all of M3IAS due to three remaining drones.

She took in a few deep breaths. So far it had worked out well, there was little chance she could take Matthias in a one on one fight, but in a battle it was different. She checked her remaining armour value, and it was just under thirty percent, not good. But she could still participate and make an impact.

Being in the Vanguard was much more exciting than her role as long-range cover. It also to her strengths. She didn't realise when term one began the difference in training she had received from other cadets, her father especially had organised a training regime which gave her skills and experience, in melee combat, well above most cadets.

The exercise at EUDF highlighted this for her, and if Daedo hadn't asked her to move to the Vanguard, she would have requested it.

Picard was now alone, Gaumont was down, and Barran had gone down during their battle with Matthias. Her eyes narrowed, and she focused while concentrating on her breathing. The dots were moving, but her green zone remained safe, it would be best to take the initiative before she was forced to react from a loss of cover. The Thoth liberos engaging in a cat and mouse game with M3IAS who were understandably of Daedo's tactics.

The red dot began to , which could mean only one thing. Without Picard flew, her storage had refilled during the short break in the green zone, and she used all the power at her command to close on the red dot in the utmost urgency.

After gaining full speed on the ground, she took to the air, burning her power reserves while closing on her target. She stretched her out to full while using her shield to deflect any rounds, which so far had been none, M3IAS was fully with the liberos and cover, they had no one to spare for her.

Picard realised that Daedo had called for her assault knowing this fact. She loved being under his command for moments like these. They had never been close and were not now, but they respected each other, and that was how she preferred it. Unlike the rest of the squad, she had lived on a base for her entire life and had witnessed the gamut of great commanders to poor. Without knowing what she saw at the time, it had started to stack up, for her, in the last year.

Some commanders led by fear of punishment. Some inspired their soldiers, while most didn't lead at all, they just issued orders. Some led from the front, while others were tacticians from the rear.

At twelve years old, with her limited experience, Daedo was the best commander she had ever seen. She feared his disappointment, and he inspired her. Day to day, he led the front and was a master battle tactician from the rear. He was amazing. But she would never let him know this, a great commander didn't want to be praised, they just wanted to win and win well for all of their people.

Over time he had won her trust, and while she was friends with Vannier, Axelzero and even Kang. Trust was in short supply in the Picard family. It had taken a nod of approval from her Father to seal the deal.

As she closed in on her prey, an M3IAS sniper named Bernard, she used gravity to eek the maximum possible speed for her attack.

The M3 cadet began to roll, he was lying in a prone and must have been finally warned of the danger he was in. Picard changed the angle of her jumpjets to lift her trajectory, it lowered her speed slightly, but she was able to stay on target.


The AR adjudicator warned with the large words appearing in between her and her prey. The rules were strict, and while these warnings were rare, they had to be obeyed.

"Damn," she swore and pulled her blow missing the M3 cadet on purpose.

The exos had excellent armour, but apparently flying at max speed and lancing someone was dangerous. She didn't have time to herself for the oversight, she rolled and turned to take on the M3 cadet.

Before she could close on him, he was able to get off a round from his railgun which hit her squarely in the shoulder, threading its way past her shield. Picard was angry at herself for botching the charge and began to take it out on Bernard.

She kicked his railgun to the side, as he held onto it for dear life it turned his whole body to the right. Picard smiled as she brought her shield around in the same movement smashing it into his left side and pushing him over. She began to strike him with her while holding her shield between herself and the other orange dots which began to converge and target her

After one strike the shield began to take damage. And before the third and most likely final strike, a railgun round found its way past her shield and struck her leg. Normally this wouldn't be a major issue, but she was already very low. The AR adjudicator deactivated her leg pushing her off and causing her next strike to do minimal damage. She fought for with one leg operable and one immobile.

Before she could finish off Bernard, another round hit her in the back, and as she fell forward, she saw the final message from the AR adjudicator. Siderus railgun Picard.

Picard took a small that she fell on top of Bernard and it would take time for him to squirm his way out. A time where he could provide no cover. She wondered what Daedo, Axelzero and Mace were doing while she attacked the rear of the M3IAS, one thing was certain, they would be making the most of the


Mace was down to one drone, and it was important she kept it well hidden to ensure they had enemy data. She considered its current , while it was an hiding spot, it was better than being out in the open. And M3IAS would have to take time to search the divet if they were going to find the drone.

Watching the HUD, there was a new barrage marked by a purple haze with an orange dot in the centre. She fired off a grenade, from her cover , timing it with Axelzero and Daedo.

Daedo: Mace advance. We need to engage with railguns. Axelzero continue to provide launcher support. We will rotate shortly.

Her HUD comprised of orange dots, which meant she was free to choose her target. Designate red dot targets were to coordinate tactical damage and control of maneuvers. In this , she was to use her judgment on which was the best target based on what method and approach she decided to use.

Mace jumped up in the air, aiming her railgun, climbing quickly and as soon as the cadet came into her field of view, she fired before dropping down. She didn't wait long enough to ensure she hit, although the round travelled at speed faster than the sound it was an AR round and the impact was not noticeable in the split before she completed a controlled fall back to the earth.

She had to change , only an would launch that type of attack twice in quick or a genius, but that trick only worked once. She scanned the area for drones, looking for a spot where she would hide a drone, after checking two, she began to attract fire from two M3IAS liberos.

Laurent and Paquet were both from Shu and both Liberos in Siderus' squad. It was important that Mace stay alive, if Daedo were to go down, she was to take over tactical command, and once she bit the dust, it would be left to Vannier.

After thirty of agile movement and trading blows with the two liberos, something changed, one and then the broke contact moving to the north.

It was Picard, she was in behind their line.

Mace smiled while she thought about Picard causing havoc to the long-range cover cadets.

Mace: press?

Daedo: yes press. Axelzero, Vannier, Kang come. It's time to damage them while Picard has them distracted. Red dots for focus fire, but if you can't reach LOS take an orange.

Daedo: Cover - Release last of the drones.

Mace took over control of two drones from Kang and began to close on the red dot. It was Siderus, Daedo was shameless, he wanted to make M3IAS suffer, and if they were going to win, it would be hard fought.

The particle barrier was a surprise he kept just for this match, and while the cream of M3 would defeat Thoth squad zero on paper, they did not have the master tactician.

Mace's analysis of Daedo had his tactical ability as his main strength. The company, the research and of the squad, were all strategic moves on his part. His of the gauntlet had little to do with his skill in piloting and gunnery and everything to do with his tactical ability.

Most cadets overlooked this.

Most cadets also thought she was to Daedo due to academic and other results. Most cadets were wrong. Where Daedo was strategic, she was cunning. Daedo could be na?ve, she merely remained silent with her thoughts, and no one was the wiser. While they were in academic , their personalities could not be more different.

It was time to hurt Siderus, Mace ran and jetted into , the two new drones under her control quickly catching her.

The new rearguard M3IAS began to fire upon her, Siderus himself was at the front line while he sent his last two liberos to assist the long-range sniper, or cover, which was their new Mace thought of him as a rearguard because Picard had turned the entire squad around.

She began to return fire as she brought the two drones swooping down from above either side of his , but close enough for Siderus to be caught in the radius. Much to her displeasure, Siderus retreated, jumping backwards while firing up at the two drones.

Mace used this time to try and get some damage on the leader of the M3IAS. He was going to take out the drones, but he couldn't do that and fire at her at the same time.

As Siderus retreated over the hill after taking damage from Daedo and Mace, while Laurent and Paquet returned and began to engage.

Thoth squad zero had pushed up into the M3 combined squad. There was little cover and certainly none from all angles unless the cadets retreated. Remaining with Thoth was Mace, Daedo, Axelzero, Vannier and Kang. Their also had five cadets remaining, and the all cadets on the field had sustained some damage.

It became a dance of skill, the three liberos from M3IAS and the two covers, as soon as Picard went down they were up against the same mix from Thoth squad zero.

Kang was the first to go down, then Bernard who Picard had almost taken out, with one shot from a railgun.

Siderus pushed up onto Vannier in an attempt to take her out, as Daedo and Axelzero kept the other two M3IAS engaged.

Mace wove her way through to Dupuis, the last long-range cadet from M3IAS. Not only did she use a railgun, but she lobbed grenades into the mix from her entrenched It was too late for Mace to return and assist Vannier, she was too committed to taking out Dupuis.

Dupuis was an excellent shot, and despite her maneuverability, Mace was taking hit after hit. A lobbed grenade from Daedo landed directly on Dupuis, she was unable due to being pinned down. Mace thanked him silently while lobbing one of her own.

Daedo: drone

A drone was sent flying at Dupuis as Daedo released control to Mace. She could not take many more hits even in this improved exo, two more and she would be goners.

She directed the drone in, giving Dupuis a choice, fire on her or the drone. Mace's AI showed when the round was loaded, and she fired a smoke grenade in front of her before strafing to the left. Moments later she lobbed another grenade at Dupuis.

Dupuis chose the drone as the grenade landed on her Mace received bad news during the thick of the battle; Vannier and Axelzero went down. It was just her and Daedo remaining. As soon as she exited the smoke she fired upon Dupuis with her railgun, it only took her a to swap weapons while moving.

Mace was hit by Dupuis by a round at the same time. That M3 cadet had excellent capability she had rightly guessed the area Mace would exit the smoke. But ultimately all the skill from the M3 cadet was defeated by another grenade from Daedo who wasn't even in this area and a railgun round to the head from Mace.

Mace wondered, how did he have the time to afford her a grenade when he was basically one versus three?

Then the answer came in the form of a message from the AR adjudicator.

Laurent railgun Daedo.

"Bah," Mace He had helped her when he should have been helping himself. She didn't know if it was an or if he had that she just needed that one extra grenade in order to win. Which didn't make sense, the flight time of the grenade from his was over seven If it was anyone else, she would have thought it was not , but with Daedo she was not so sure.

The cream of M3 descended upon Mace who only had enough armour for a single hit. She picked up Dupuis, who was deactivated by the AR adjudicator and lay her in front of the entrenchment. She also stole the long-range railgun. It came from Daedalus anyway.

As the three liberos spread, weaved and flew she fired with Dupuis' railgun. She was going to die, but she took an almost perverted pleasure in abusing the corpse and equipment of her opponent. Using the pretend corpse for cover was tactical, but nevertheless embarrassing for the victim.

"You'll never take me alive," she said under her breath as she returned fire.

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