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Pointy stabby things

Posted on 15 Jan 2023 @ 2:07pm by Crewman Apprentice Unknown 'Weirdo' & Commander Kristiana Petrova

2,858 words; about a 14 minute read

Mission: A New Frontier
Location: Gymnasium 1, USS Odin

He couldn't help but wonder, after their encounter in the holodeck the day before, how Kristiana was doing. She certainly seemed to feel better, and she did look better, when she left, but still. He still had no idea what happened though. He didn't feel diminished in any way when the light left him, so that was another good thing, he supposed. Still, it was a mystery, and it intrigued him.

So… "Computer, locate Commander Kristiana Petrova please," he said to the air in his quarters.

"Commander Petrova is in gymnasium one," the pleasant computer voice replied.

"Thank you," he answered automatically and left. He knew where that was – it was one of the locations he used to practice juggling, since his quarters were rather cramped for that.

Kristiana was just enjoying some down time. Though, as executive officer, even down time really wasn't. She was always on call. That didn't mean she couldn't work out though. As such she was in gymnasium one, wearing sweatpants and a tank top, practising her form with her messer, a one handed, single-edged sword, roughly 75cm long. She moved with purpose, stepping in to a guard and practising her lunges, thrusts and slashes, always keeping a weather eye on her footwork.

She was quite good at this.

"Whoa!" the visitor exclaimed as she lunged in his direction (or to be precise, the direction of the door through which he'd just entered). "Careful with that thing, someone might get hurt!"

Well, that certainly answered one of his questions. She most definitely did feel a lot better, having exchanged cane for a weapon. It was an improvement. Of sorts.

"Don't worry," she grinned, chest heaving from the exercise, a bead of sweat or two making their way down her face and staining her tank top. "I know how to be safe. You're way out of reach, and I only practice like this when it's empty in here anyways," Kris added, lowering her messer and standing up more straight, a more relaxed pose. "Can I help you?"

"I was just coming to see how you felt, after what happened yesterday." He strolled closer, keeping a wary eye on the weapon. "Lots better, by the looks of it."

"I do, yeah," She admitted readily, though she noticed the way he was looking at her weapon. As such she placed it down on the floor, next to her. "I don't know what you did or if it really is what you did, but - I feel better. Stronger. Almost good as new. Even the doctor said my blood levels were normal again, so I don't need to come back for plasma treatments anymore," the XO explained. "Don't worry, it won't bite," she added with a chuckle, motioning to her sword.

"I don't know what I did either, but if it did help I'm glad." He smiled. "As for the weapon – given the chance, it will. That is the nature of weapons. They will always find a hand willing to wield it." The smile faded as quickly as it had appeared.

She tilted her head a bit, listening to his words, her expression calm, unreadable. "That's just it though, they need a hand to wield them. My messer isn't going to hurt you, down there on the ground - unless you kick its blade with bare feet but even then all it's doing is lying there. But if I were to pick it up and use it, yeah. But I don't need a weapon to cause harm. All my messer is, is steel a useful shape. These - " she held up her hands, strong of build. " - are the weapons. This - " she pointed at her head now. " - is the will that wields them. And this will is peaceful to all until they start threatening my crew, or the greater purpose of the Federation."

"What this messer represents to me is not a will to harm what's in front of me, but a will to protect what's behind me. And it's a very useful tool in working out," she smirked. "I like keeping myself in shape."

"I like the philosophy, just not the weapons," he replied. "And I agree that there are certain situations when violence is unavoidable. From what I've heard of the recent situation," he gestured around to indicate the damage to the ship, though most of it was repaired by now, "that was one of those instances. Some… entities, enemies, cannot be reasoned with." Was there a flash of something, from deeper down, from the other side of the divide? No, he decided. No.

"There's something there. Isn't there," Kris spoke quietly, watching him, looking into his eyes, seeing something hidden. She rolled her shoulders, then sat down on a bench, leaving enough space for him, if he wanted to. "Most people don't know how to fight. Nobody really should, either. Fight, I mean - for real. To have the tools, the power and the will to do so, when needed, is the burden of - well, people like me, I guess," Kristiana explained, quietly.

"I came up through security. Ever since enlisting I wanted to protect the ideals of the Federation against those who would do it - .. us, harm. But even long before that, my father raised me as a protector. Against wild animals, but the basic idea is the same," she continued. "I'd learn how to hunt. Foxes, so they don't eat our chickens. Wolves, so they don't eat our sheep. Bears, so they don't eat our fish. Everything else kinda grew from there."

"Try it," the man said. This was another impulse which came from stars knew where, from somewhere deep, deep inside. There was a curious intensity in his voice. "Take the sword and try it."

"Try what?" She blinked.

"Pick up the sword and come at me." This impulse was, in an undefined way, every bit as strong as the one he had acted upon in the holodeck. Only this time there wouldn't be any flashy lights, he knew. But still, there was something, and the weapon triggered it. "Trust me."

"No," she replied calmly, remaining seated where she was. "It's not a toy. And I won't turn it against those who aren't threatening me or my people," Kristiana looked up at him. She could see he was being serious, but so was she. "I don't know what your game is here, but I'm not playing it."

"Then do it slowly. Hold back so that you're in full control. You say that you are. There is something here, I can feel it. If it were a toy, I wouldn't ask." This was important. He didn't know why, but somehow it was.

Kris looked at him for a moment, trying to read him, before nodding. "Alright, you win," she offered, rising to her feet with a slight wince and reaching for her messer. Once in hand she moved into a guard position. "You ready?" before slicing at him, in slow motion. Easily enough time for him to get out of the way, or for her to stay her hand should he not.

"Yes." He didn't watch the blade this time. He barely watched her. But he felt the motion, he felt her presence, even though there was no real threat in her right now. He waited, waited – and then moved, stepping out of the way of the weapon with a fluid motion, placed both hands held close together on the blade as it passed to push it slightly out of line. His body acted before his mind could, wholly automatic. "Keep going," he said softly.

The blade was cold, uncaring carbon steel, though with a slight, subtle oily substance to it - weapon oil Kris treated it with to keep rust from forming. At the path of her messer redirected she smoothly adapted, taking a half step forward, turning her foot slightly, keeping her steady balance and using the blade's momentum she brought it down again - again slower than a real attack - coming in on a diagonal from above now.

Again he waited for the last possible moment to move out of the way, again he pushed the blade slightly to the side, but this time he stepped in so that he was too close for the messer to be wielded efficiently until Kris would be able to step away again. One hand came up and reached for her wrist, the other moved towards her upper arm, but he aborted both movements before he could touch her and moved away again.

"... You've got some moves. Alright, I see you," Kris smirked, taking a step back and placing the messer on the bench before speaking again. "Computer, one handed polypropylene practice messer, eleven hundred grams, please." A blunt, black plastic sword very reminiscent of her steel one appeared in her hand, with that blue shimmer of the transporter systems. She gave a few quick practice slashes as if to test the weight and balance, before stepping in to her guard position again.


Upon his confirmation she stepped forward, a bit faster than previous time, making a quick feint right before thrusting left.

He kept standing and waiting for the attack, didn't react to the feint but moved aside for the thrust. His moves were quick and efficient. Again he stepped in close, again he aborted his moves before a blow could land. This time he didn't step back, though, but let Kris react to his actions. A small smile began to appear, but his eyes were darker than usual – stormclouds.

Fortunately for her her martial arts had solutions for situations like this. In a swift and smooth movement she brought her left foot out a bit, turned on her feet, switched grips on her practice sword - letting go with her right hand and in an instant bringing it up on the blade below the guard, grabbing the end of the blade with her left hand and bringing the guard up towards his stomach - though she was still holding back, her movements were fast and precise.

He spun out of the way of the sword, moving his own feet closer to hers, close enough that he could almost trip her. He maintained his balance easily. This time he reached for the weapon again and pushed against the grip – it would've been easy to close his hand and take the sword, but something in him still rebelled against this action. All he did instead was flip the blade a quarter, so that the flat was level with the ground. Then he slashed down with his other hand, slamming the weapon towards the floor.

A move that almost caught Kris off guard, but she was practised enough of a martial artist to not fall for it. Not entirely. The weapon was disabled for a moment as she moved, arched her wrist and tightened her grip, he did knock her off balance and she did have to take a step back to recover - but she held on to the blade - barely. A hand held up as if to say 'enough', as she relaxed, a grin on human features and a nod of approvement as she looked him up and down.

"Good. Very good. Speed, accuracy, instinct. There's a lot of training and experience there. But - " she hesitated a moment, placing the blade down for now. "Your move set is entirely defensive. You move in close, good, get inside my attack envelope so I can't build momentum. You attack the weapon, good, knocking it out of the way, unbalancing me, disarming me. It's fascinating. No memory of how you learned all this?"

He stepped back the moment she raised her hand, but stood ready to spring to action again. It was only while Kris talked that he relaxed, gradually, as if he slowly came back tho himself. At her question he shook his head. "No idea." His voice was soft, pensive and lacked the mercurial spirit which usually characterised him. "It was like something clicked. My body knew exactly what to do and when. But as to how I learned it, no." He didn't want to know. Out there things were dark and deep.

"Hm," she watched his body language, noting the discomfort. As such she sat back down again, leaving enough room for him, safely away from her weapon. Her tool. "Is it only edged weapons you have so much issue with? Or all weapons in general?" she asked.

He considered the question. The silence which fell now went on for quite some time. Finally he replied: "There is a reluctance regarding all weapons I can think of. Oddly enough, I can think of quite a few. There… seems to be an extensive knowledge about them." He sighed, staring off into the distance. At last he gave a shrug. "You'd think that would be a key to unlocking more memories… but no."

A nod from the redhead, though she remained silent for a moment before speaking. "Hate to break it to you, but we're in a military organization and this is a military ship, with some very powerful weapons. Sure, the Federation talks a good talk about being explorers, but when things come down to it, we're absolutely willing to throw hands, and capable of throwing some very big hands at that. Sure, we believe we only use violence as an absolute last resort and in the service of good, but whether our morals fit yours is something you're going to have to figure out for yourself," she mused. "If you're gonna stay on this ship - or any other Federation ship or installation - that's something you're going to have to come to terms with."

"I'm well aware of the fact." That reply, unlike the ones before it, came promptly. "You are right that some situations cannot be resolved peacefully. I will not stand idly by to see those who I care about get slaughtered. Not if I can prevent it." And that also came from somewhere deep within. He felt those words were true. He felt that he – or the person he once had been – had had to make that very choice, and did. How? When? No idea. But the feeling associated with this determination was a well of grief- He shied back from those – memories was too grand a word for that. Those feelings, perhaps – he visibly recoiled.

The combination of his words and his recoiling puzzled Kristiana. "Am sorry, didn't mean to cause you discomfort," she offered. "Though, I have some thoughts about this whole thing, if you're willing to entertain them," she added.

He smiled, though again it wasn't the bright radiant grin which was his usual signature. "By all means," he said quietly. The feeling was dissipating now, but that brief episode left him profoundly disturbed. For all his determination to let the past remain the past it appeared there were some things which couldn't be fully buried.

"So, you're obviously trained in defensive combat. At least in edged weapon combat, and I strongly suspect hand-to-hand as well. You have a strong aversion to weapons, especially edged ones, and you have a strong sense of wanting to protect your loved ones. These are all clues to your previous life, something to pursue," Kris offered. "Though whether or not you do is up to you, it's also obvious to me it's not a comfortable thing for you to confront, leading me to believe there's something hidden deep in that brain of yours, some traumatic memories perhaps, and pursuing this thread might bring that back to the front."

His nimble mind had already come to similar conclusions, but he nodded when her thoughts aligned with his own. "Let's not push it for now," he said after a few moments of consideration. "Another training, later, might perhaps bring back more. Right now, I…" He shook his head. "I think I've had enough for today."

"Sure," Kris replied easily, flashing a smile. "So, what can I do for you? You must've come here for a reason. Or did you just want to work out?"

Now his smile was less pensive and more… himself, if that could be said for a creature who had lost all sense of self upon his awakening. More sincere at any rate. He gestured at her. "As I said, mainly to see how you are holding up after yesterday. But I believe I have my answer." He gave a slight bow.

"Yeah. I'm good. Feeling vital," Kris offered, rolling her shoulders and balling her fists as if to emphasize. "I don't know what you did, but - whatever it was, it worked."

"I'm glad it did," he replied. "Anyway… I'll leave you to your workout. Thank you for…" For what? Willing to train with him? Waking up the spectres of deeper memories within? He had no idea how to finish his sentence, so he amended it to just: "Thank you." And with a bow and a wave he left the gymnasium.

It was almost, but not quite, a run.


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