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Lessons

Posted on 28 Feb 2022 @ 3:06am by Lieutenant Commander Cintia Sha'mer & Commander Indi Hawk

1,842 words; about a 9 minute read

Mission: Home

When Indi entered the gym, very early in the morning, she found it empty just as expected. Sha'mer hadn't arrived yet, also as expected. She knew the woman would be on time if not early, but she was earlier still. She wanted to get a sense of the setting, a sense of her own mood, a sense of how her own body would react to a sparring session. Maybe it wouldn't get to that just yet, as she first wanted to evaluate what Sha'mer hoped to gain from these lessons, but it couldn't hurt to prepare.

In any case, she didn't have to wait long for the other woman to arrive.

Sha'mer had set her alarm for 5.30. She rose quickly, as she always did, steeling herself for the first step out of bed. That first step always hurt the most. Nerves hadn't been desensitised from the day yet, painkiller had stopped working and the next one hadn't yet kicked in. The first step hurt the most. The next a little less. The third one felt almost normal.

By then she had reached what was grandly called the bathroom. Her quarters were small, but as a senior officer she had the advantage of private quarters instead of shared ones and that was a good thing. Well, if she wanted more room and an actual shower instead of the sonic one she should've stayed on the colony, she thought with a wry grin.

She changed quickly from night garments to workout clothes, a tight legging, sports bra and loose-fitting shirt, downed the first raktajino of the day while she fastened the brace around her leg. She tightnened the straps and set the support field to the highest setting, knowing she'd need all the support it could give during the training as well as after. Then she ate a light breakfast – training on an empty stomach was not recommended – and headed out. It was ten to six when she entered the gym.

Even before she opened the doors, she knew Indi was already there. The realisation sank in just a moment too late to realise that the commander might have wanted some time for herself. The door already opened, announcing her presence. She might as well go in. "I didn't mean to disurb you," she said softly.

The arrival was just about the moment Indi had expected. This person really was too much alike her wife. Letting out a small resigned sigh, she composed herself before turning on her heels to face Sha'mer. "No problem, I was expecting you. Good morning. Before we begin, I suggest we sit down and discuss expectations first," she motioned towards a bench and took her own advice and sat down.

Sha'mer sat down as well and placed the cane behind the bench on the ground. She hadn't needed it when she came here, but it was a fair bet that she'd need it once she was done, and it was better to be prepared. "Indeed. I've had my share of training in various hand-to-hand combat techniques." Not all of them which were taught within the Federation. If Indi and her counterpart had trained together, and they might well have, she could be sitting here with the only other person within a radius of many lightyears who actually knew them. "But I haven't been able to train since, well, this happened." She gestured vaguely at herself. "And though this should only be a temporary situation, I still need to be able to deal with anything that comes my way before then. Bad things won't wait until I'm healed." The 'only a temporary situation' was hopeful thinking. In the early stages, doctors had assured her she would make a full recovery. Others, later on, had been less optimistic. But Sha'mer needed to believe that this was only temporary. That she would fight and train herself back to full health. She wouldn't settle for anything less. "So I need to work with what I can still do, and work around what I can't do yet."

Indi nodded as she spoke. Exactly like what she'd expected. This was unnerving and comfortable at the same time. Unnervingly comfortable? Uncomfortable familiar? She could word-warp herself in knots from here to eternity, and still not be the wiser. "It's obvious that you are far less concerned with people knowing you have mental gifts compared to the universe I come from," she spoke, carefully avoiding anything directly implicating her wife. General terms were far easier. "If that's indeed the case, we can train towards you using a combination of mental abilities and physical exertion to the point where it doesn't leave you utterly exhausted mental wise, and not quite dead physically. I obviously can't use the mental tricks myself, but--" a moment's falter, "I have some experience sparring with somebody who does, so it might be useful to you."

"That…" Sha'mer looked pensive. "It had never even occurred to me to ask for this. As to showing my gifts… Yes, it's mentioned in my personnel file. But few people know the true extent of my capabilities. I'm not sure how many people just gloss over it, or think that a telepath or empath is more than 'Captain, I sense something'." There was no humour in the brief smile which crossed her face. "As for the other stuff I can do… It's surprising how few questions people ask. Even though I do the replicator trick fairly regularly."

Getting to her feet now that this was out of the way, Indi nodded once again. "I have some experience diverting mental tricks, but I'd appreciate you not destroying my mind entirely in the heat of the moment," she spoke. All in all, it sounded light-hearted, but it wasn't intended that way. In the heat of the moment, a lot of things could go wrong. A lot of things had gone wrong in the past. She'd been in situations where she'd needed help from her wife to get her mind unscrewed and back on track after said training sessions. She didn't quite trust this woman enough yet to be convinced she'd lend that aid at all. "Show me first of all what you've got," she motioned as they both got to the center of the mat.

"I have never destroyed a mind unless I intended to," Sha'mer said calmly. "And that hasn't occurred since I entered Federation space." She didn't want to talk, or even think, about what she had done before then. What she had been forced to do. What had been one of the reasons for her to leave her past behind.

She rose and followed Indi to the centre. "Mentally, I can move things with my mind. I can control people or stun them. But I need to focus to do so and that leaves me vulnerable for other attacks. So that's not usually something I do in a close combat situation. Other than small things, maybe, push someone off balance and add an extra small push, maybe make someone stumble at a critical moment. I don't read minds when I do so, but I am alert for shifts in mental tone, something which can give me a slight warning just before someone makes their move. Physically…" She took a deep breath and released it slowly. "Different story. I can put weight on the leg, but I don't have full range of motion. The brace is there both to support the leg as well as to ensure that I don't bend or stretch it further than it can handle." She demonstrated the range in which she could flex and stretch her leg. "Which means I can't use it for any effective kicks, and if I use it to stand while I kick with the other one, I have to place it down very carefully to be fully effective. However, my left arm and leg have become a lot stronger, by way of compensation," she added with a wry smile.

Indi wasn't hearing anything unexpected or unknown. Maybe this Sha'mer was slightly less trained in combination with her physical handicap than her wife. Her wife had probably lived with the physical limitations a lot longer than this one. But, that meant she also knew what kind of potential she had in front of her.

"You can use your mind to help balance and carry your body while your good leg sets up for a kick or a block. It's not always about using your mind to destabilize the other party," she spoke. It's not like she could give the example on how this could be accomplished, she just knew it could. "Aside from that, there's a few moves I can teach you that will get you further out of the reach of your opponent, thus giving you more time to focus on the mental tricks."

There was no avoiding it this time. Indi knew too well what she could and couldn't do. "Is your wife also…" Go on, Sha'mer, say the word, her dark thoughts taunted her. The word she didn't want to use for herself because it would mean having to face an unpleasant truth. She wasn't disabled or handicapped. She was just injured, it was just a temporary situation. 'You're badly hurt, but you're going to be just fine,' was one of the first things she'd heard when she came to in an unknown sickbay. She clung to those words as if it was a lifeline. 'You're going to be just fine.'

Indi felt like she had an immense advantage over the other woman, knowing that much, and she suddenly felt ashamed. Maybe she shouldn't have pushed through like this. Maybe, in the attempt to deny that this was her wife, she'd proven the fact that the two were very alike indeed. Maybe she'd gone about this all wrong. In any case, she felt uncomfortable as hell, and she'd been the one to cause it. Right now though, there was no turning back. "I don't know what to call it either," she spoke, more softly than she'd intended--both in volume and in tone of voice. "If I'm perfectly honest, it doesn't look like the kind of injury your body will ever fully recover from. That's just not in your race. But, what is in you, is the fact that you have the mind to compensate and then some. It's a burden. It'll make you feel weak. It'll make you cry. In the end, it'll be your greatest strength."

So it had been permanent, in the other. And maybe that was in store for her as well. But Indi was right, there were ways to compensate for her physical limitations. If only she could teach herself.

Grimly, she pushed the dark thoughts back. Feeling sorry for herself wasn't going to help her. Whether it was a permanent handicap or not wouldn't be determined in the next hour. What she did with her condition as it was right now, would. "Then let's get to it."

 

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