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: 2
Daedalus Operating Capital: 140,000 bitcreds
“As rank one, I am assuming the chair, does anyone disagree?” Siderus asked.
Daedo immediately got the impression that the M3 squads and leaders were much more mature and professional than M1. And Siderus was utilizing skills he learned over the years in M1 and M2. By placing himself in the leadership position, and asking for a challenge, he did not have to argue his case, others would have to unseat him. It was classic leadership claiming as opposed to waiting for an appointment.
“I agree for this meeting only,” Matthias replied. The others fell into line after his statement. It seemed that Matthias was Siderus’ main rival for the alpha male role and when he relented there was not much point in others fighting over something inconsequential which was bound to fail. Daedo noted that Matthias ensured he did not agree to this arrangement for the entire time, just this initial meeting.
Siderus nodded. His dark hair was in tight curls clinging close to his scalp, he had a darker complexion than Daedo, but they looked similar in that regard. No one would assume they were brothers, their eyes, nose and cheekbones were dissimilar. Siderus had a broader, sculptured face with a wide jaw where Daedo’s was rounder even with losing the baby fat on his chin and cheeks.
“I haven’t sent you an agenda Daedo, but I thought it was a good idea for you to be here for the Inter-Academy team and strategy discussion. Your result in the Gauntlet last round reinforced your claim to be at this table.” Siderus began the meeting with a short explanation.
“I wasn’t aware that cadets were involved with the Inter-Academy team selection,” Daedo responded truthfully.
“So you have no idea how it works?” St Claire sounded like he was disappointed.
“The information in the induction manual states that the Academy has a selection process….” Daedo began before he was cut off.
“I don’t have time to sit here giving tutes to M1s,” Matthias said angrily.
“Give him a break,” Siderus said, “I invited him two hours ago, the manual doesn’t state the system because it changes all the time and it's his first year. His squad hasn’t seen an Inter-Academy season.” Siderus turned to face Matthias directly, “I remember you in M1. You barely knew how to hold a minigun until term three.” He paused and turned to Daedo, “This kid is comparatively ranked one on our Gauntlet.” And then back to Matthias, “One which, I believe you scored 261? Do you want me to pull it up?”
Matthias didn’t look happy. It was clear Siderus, and he were rivals, and if Siderus brought Daedo in, Matthias might be antagonistic for that reason alone.
“Fair enough,” Matthias said before launching into a summary explanation, “The house leaders, which are usually the M3 Squad leaders,” he let off a deep chuckle before continuing, “Form a committee. This committee comes up with strategies and recommendations to the Commander and House Masters. In the end, the decision lies with the Commander, but he follows the House Master recommendations if they are in agreement. And if we come up with a strategy and selection they like, they put forward our recommendation. It only gets complicated when an agreement is not reached. Which was half the time last season.”
“If a team wins well one week,” Deimos added, “We would continue with the strategy and composition. However, the team and tactics can change weekly.”
“Which makes these meetings a time sink,” St Claire mentioned.
“In the end, the goal for us is to win the league and give the Academy the best chance of getting promoted,” Siderus summarised.
“That’s assuming that U3 rank highly if they come last, it doesn’t matter if we were undefeated in all rounds in all events. There are rumours that they will struggle,” St Claire said pessimistically.
“I know about the point mix, it's in the manual,” Daedo replied. The Inter-Academy season was broken up into the home and away league with a tournament at the end. Each academy would compete against one other from their tier each weekend, for twenty-two weekends in succession. This took place from the beginning of term three until the end of term four. Each weekend would have an Arena match and a Gauntlet for the Middle Academy level cadets. Then at the end of the year, all twelve Academies would meet for a giant melee. Twelve squads of eight in a mass free for all; last man standing. The points from the Middle Academy level would account for forty percent of the total. Which meant that the Upper Academy quotient was sixty percent.
“This is good, we can assume you have everything in the manual memorised, and you are clueless if it's not,” Matthias stated.
St Claire scoffed, “Cut the smack, Matthias. We do not have time for it.”
Matthias shrugged non-committedly.
Daedo was surprised that the Horus leader, while not quite standing up for him, at least neutral and definitely not the antagonist.
“We have all term to discuss selection and tactics for the first match,” Deimos said, “but what we want to do is put plans and a process in place. Because week to week in term three we may make changes. And we do not want those changes to take all of our time arguing and negotiating. We still have studies and training like everyone else.”
“Our first question for you Daedo is the exos,” Siderus said, “And any other tech you come up with that is the best available in class. Will you make these available to the Inter-Academy team?”
“Free of charge,” St Claire added quickly.
“We can pay for materials and costs,” Deimos added her view.
Daedo was thinking on an answer when a message came through from the squad.
Vannier: they have to guarantee IP protection. For anything not registered.
Mace: negotiate a seat at the table and equal status for selection in exchange.
Oh, she is good, Daedo thought, he should have her ride shotgun more often.
“Daedalus,” Daedo began, “Will assist with equipment, in our possession, that is desired by the Inter-Academy team with a few provisions.”
“Daedalus is your Parents company?” St Claire asked.
Siderus shook his head, “It’s his squad’s company. They even have their own workshop down the road.” Siderus didn’t know the exact location, but it had been mentioned in conversations. And if he checked it would have been on the invoice and contractual documentation.
“I thought Daedalus was his CyberMech persona,” Deimos said. “Did you name it after your CyberMech account?”
“They insisted,” Daedo said indicating that it was his squad that made the determination. He moved directly to the conditions without waiting for a prompt.
“The conditions are as follows. One; the IP of our equipment must be insured and protected. If the Inter-Academy squad want the latest gear, it is possible it is still in the process of being patented with the IPO. And two; we are represented in this committee by myself or a cadet from my squad.” Hearing about these meeting becoming a time sink Daedo wanted the option to send Vannier while lightening her project workload. She would probably do a better job than him as well.
“Listen,” Matthias breathed angrily, “You don’t come here and make demands.”
“There are not demands, they are terms,” Daedo replied calmly.
Deimos smiled across the table at Matthias as if to say ‘pwned.’
“I think the terms are acceptable,” Siderus said assuredly.
“It is your squad paying the exorbitant prices for their exos. This may make cloud your judgment and provide you with a valuable ally at the table. One who is more amiable to you than Kalman,” St Claire observed. He stated his case calmly and effectively. While not pulling any punches with his words, his tone was polite.
“I am concerned as well. Perhaps a non-voting seat,” Deimos said. “He could provide valuable input without unbalancing the committee. And Kalman could still have his vote.”
“Which suits you Deimos,” Siderus said, “We all know how Kalman feels about you.” Daedo wondered what that meant precisely and hand Myrmidon send a message back to the squad.
Vannier: we can only presume that Kalman had a crush on Deimos, she was pretty, intelligent and confident. So it was not hard to imagine. He probably does anything she wants. So if he loses his vote that will affect her just as much him.
“We could have a duel between M1TSO and M3TS0,” Siderus offered an option.
The table just laughed the proposal away. It had already been established that the outcome was a foregone conclusion.
“You should offer that as a solution to all our stalemates. You would always get your way,” St Claire joked. M3 Shu did not have any trouble winning the tournament even Daedo’s squad only took down three of their cadets. Which was the most they lost in any match. St Claire was indicating that if Siderus had his way he would duel for every decision and probably win.
“That’s a good idea,” Daedo said.
St Claire looked at him like his brain was addled.
“Why is that a good idea?” Matthias asked politely this time. He was genuinely interested in why Daedo thought it was a good idea.
“The point of this group and the Middle Academy is to win the Tier 3 competition and maximize points giving the Upper Academy the best possible chance,” Daedo began. “Only the strongest will make this happen. The Strongest in skill, tactics, and equipment. It makes perfect sense if there is a stalemate to decide it with a duel,” Daedo stated.
“I like him,” Matthias changed his tune one hundred and eighty degrees. “It wouldn’t have to be squad based. It could be one vee one.”
“It could, but that would nullify much of the tactics factor,” Daedo replied.
Matthias was ranked second on the Gauntlet, albeit third if Daedo was counted. Along with Siderus, he was one of the most skilled pilots in M3.
“We are getting off topic. I do not like this talk of duels,” St Claire said sternly. “It is not part of the process traditionally used for good reason. The more skilled pilot does not necessarily have the right answer.”
“Might is right,” Matthias said grinning evilly.
“That is a cautionary adage, for dictators altering history,” St Claire responded.
“Exactly. The winners wrote history. The strong dictate diplomatic outcomes,” Matthias said. “You are supporting my argument.”
“We have five at the table,” Siderus chimed in. “This means we always have a tie-breaker there is no need for duels.”
“Unless we have six,” Matthias responded. “I now vote to include Daedo or Daedalus whatever they call themselves. And agree to their terms. All in favour?”
“You are not the Chair Matthias,” Siderus said. “But I agree and call a vote, that is two in favour.”
“I am in favour, but I do not agree to Duels as a means of decision making,” St Claire said.
“I am not in favour. I do not think we should be voting without Kalman,” Deimos said.
“We can just have a vote whether we should vote without him. It was his choice not to attend,” Matthias said snarkily.
Deimos huffed and crossed her arms. It was clear she had lost. It was three versus one, and her attempt to delay the vote was not going to work.
“So that means Daedo has a vote now Mr Chair?” Matthias asked politely.
Siderus nodded, “I trust Daedo has a firm head on his shoulders.” He said pointedly at Daedo.
“I think the next matter is whether we include or exclude Kalman. It's something you would like to discuss and vote on now? Or should we vote on it next week,” Siderus said.
“I don’t like leaving things unfinished and undecided. I would like to vote now,” Matthias said firmly.
St Claire and Deimos nodded. Daedo made no indication, there were already three in agreement.
“Very well, make your positions clear and then we will vote,” Siderus said. “We will go left around the table, Matthias you are up first,” Siderus was chair and was dictating how the decision was being discussed and made. By selecting the clockwise method, Matthias would go first, and Siderus would have the last say.
“It’s pretty simple,” Matthias began he had been totally turned into Daedo ally for his own reasons, “Kalman in. We cannot remove a squad and House leader from M3, Daedo should not be seen as a Thoth replacement. He is joining because of their exceptional tech, which we need.”
Daedo scratched his head. He had not worked out Matthias’ motives. Vannier must have sensed it.
Vannier: he wants to have six at the table so he can have a duel whenever there is a tie. That will be his next move, probably this week before Kalman can come back and vote with Deimos.
Mace: why if Kalman always votes with Deimos?
Vannier: its possible the three are often aligned.
“It is clear that Kalman has nothing to offer. The M1 Thoth Squad is superior in every way. He should be their representative. Kalman has shown from his absence and his message that he is superfluous. My vote will be Daedo replaces Kalman for the fifth seat,” St Claire stated.
The vote was not being held at the moment it was arguments. But that did not mean that St Claire could not state how he was voting. It was a tactic.
Deimos looked like she was torn. She shifted in her seat as if she was uncomfortable. Finally, she sighed and said, “I think Kalman offers sound strategic advice and can add value. However, it will unbalance this group too much having six members. And M1 Thoth has clearly shown, through achievements, they should be represented at the least in the Inter-Academy decision-making process.”
“Woah,” Matthias said. He was obviously not expecting Deimos to advocate that Kalman lose his seat. That guy doted on her, and she played him like a virtuoso.
Siderus held up a hand to Daedo, “I will go next. Being new I want to allow you to listen to everyone before offering your thoughts.”
“You mean listen to you,” Matthias laughed at Siderus.
“I am in agreement with Matthias, it would set a bad example to exclude Kalman without him here to make his case. I think for now he should keep his seat. However, we could change our minds at a future date if he was unable to add value to the group.”
Siderus nodded to Daedo, it was two votes each. St Claire and Deimos fully expected Daedo to side with them despite pressure from Siderus. The fact that the two strongest cadets wanted an even number of six which could result in duels was not lost on the others.
Daedo thought about it, and his squad was silent not wanting to interfere with a decision they thought lay with him.
“It could be viewed as unfair that a member of this committee was kicked out without making their case or some sort of process to determine the Thoth representative. That is what the position was allocated to. Thoth. And as none of you are from Thoth, I do not think you have the right to dictate who represents the House. It is my view that until Thoth determine otherwise, Kalman stays. M1TS0s admission to this group was not hinged on a Thoth leader being ejected, that was not in our terms.”
“Holy shit, he is good,” Matthias said happily. Daedo had voted with him. He couldn’t care less about the Thoth bullshit.
Deimos leaned across the table to Matthias. “I’m looking forward to you duelling him,” she said with a mischievous grin.
Deimos put a hand on Daedo’s shoulder, “That was well said. I am changing my view and vote.”
Matthias laughed. “Yeah, cos you lost. Duh.”
Siderus called the vote, and it went as expected. The committee would expand to six and Kalman was going to stay.
“Daedo, I will send you the proposals for the cadet selection process. We all have compiled our ideas into proposals and shared. If you take these in, you will be informed for next meeting,” Siderus said.
“Are we done?” Matthias asked.
“Nice meeting you shorty,” Matthias said. He stood, turned and marched out with some of his squad in tow.
“You did well,” Deimos said with a pat on the shoulder and a smile. She stood and left the cafeteria with a couple of her squad who were waiting in the wings.
St Claire looked at Daedo seriously, “I look forward to working with you.” He did not smile nor sound enthusiastic. He stood and was about to leave, but he stopped and turned back before adding, “You should sell your exos cheaper if you can. Not all squads can afford them, and it skews the results of talented pilots.”