Built Tonka Tough
2,902 words; about a 15 minute read
General Sim Postings
Timeline: Prior to time in a bottle
Cassandra wandered. She was still numb from the news of her brother's coma, but also from the news that Haze, the engineer who had saved her life from the serial killer Rhys Antako was now dead. Killed in a mission by a pirate. Shot in the head. She was still processing it. Still coming to terms with the terrible truth. One would think she'd be used to such news given her professional career choice. It still wasn't easy and part of her prayed it never would be. She found herself outside of the holodeck. The program running was some dojo which meant likely a training program of sorts. Still, she also recalled that most dojo settings were set in some of the most beautiful landscapes. Perhaps it would allow for a moment of relaxation or meditation or simply just a moment to feel anything other than fear and pain. So she entered not sure just what to expect.
The room changed to a sight most anyone who had been through Starfleet Academy could recognize. The open-air gymnasium is right on the coastline with a beautiful shot of the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop with a slight call of the wind and seabirds echoing across the picture landscape.
Above all that was the sound of a gym bag being smacked.
Thex was clearly doing her best to strike the bag with a series of blows and kicks causing it to swing back on its chain. Her hair normally in a ponytail was loose being kept out of her eyes with a band around the Andorian head. Hearing the door open she paused looking over at the stranger. " Hey." She said as she reached for the water bottle by her bag on one of the nearby benches. " Not interrupting your holodeck time an i?" She enquired.
Cassandra shook her head. "I believe I walked in on you." She remarked casually back. "I was just wondering. Looking for a place to clear my head." Her eyes drank in the vaguely familiar setting. She was never a big fan of Earth in general. But still, she had to admit to the beauty of the scene before her. "This place takes me back. That combination of moves you were doing. Looks a lot like kickboxing. Very elegant. You are obviously advanced. I'm sorry for interrupting your practice."
" Don't be sorry if I wanted privacy I wouldn't have left it an open session," Thex replied as she stopped pushing the gym bag. " Kharkom or as best as this blue girl can manage," she added on her form.
Cassandra nodded. That made sense. Still. "Ooh," Cassi replied her interest peaked eager for a distraction from her misery. "Mind if I linger a bit? Or would that be too weird?"
" Hey, I said I left it an open session," Thex replied with a grin. " if you don't mind me asking what are you needed to clear your head off? I know it helps to get things off your chest as the humans say."
Cassandra thought of how to reply. There were a great many things. Mostly though. "Death mostly. On the mission, I didn't allow myself an opportunity to think about it. Now that things are all said and done looking back and now forward I find it all around me. A man from engineering saved my life before the mission... He didn't make it back. My brother is injured and possibly might die. I just don't know what to feel about it anymore, angry? Sad? Indifferent? We know when we leave the academy that the possibility of death is always looming. As a Marine, it's a constant threat that comes with the responsibility of wearing the uniform. I know I am not indifferent. But my heart has suffered so much pain. It's almost numb. I feel like I should be beside myself with grief. He had two little girls. They are waiting for him at the station with their grandmother. They just lost their mother to illness. I .... I know the pain that they are going to suffer. I lived through it myself as a young child. I am more aggrieved for them than anything else. I am thinking about how if I had died my own daughter would be at least too young to understand or know that she'd be an orphan. But Jorel... Lt. Haze ... His girls will know. They will understand and they will be in pain. That ... That thought hurts me more than anything else."
Thex stopped punching the bag and turned to look at the marine. " And I thought my life was complicated. Have you talked to the ship's Counselor?" she inquired.
Cassandra shook her head, " I have an appointment with her in the morning. The medical staff insisted on it." She said with a bit of a sigh. "So until then, it's just me and all these thoughts and feelings. Well, and now you. Sorry about all this. I'm not the best hand-to-hand fighter but if you are up to it maybe we could practice a bit together." She offered.
Thex chuckled to herself as she flicked her ponytail to the back of her head. " Sounds like a plan. Don't worry I'm not the best hand-to-hand fighter either. You can use the changing room if you want to change it to another outfit." She added noting the marine uniform.
Cassandra nodded. She probably should change out of her fatigues. She'd been all but living in them since she heard the news about C'Tirr and Haze. Though she'd showered and kept up with her other hygiene needs, the tedious task of replacing her clothes just seemed like too much effort. Not when she was in such a hurry to get back to her brother's side. "I'll be quick," Cassi said appreciatively as she headed to the changing room.
A replication unit provided Cassandra with a fresh set of clothes, A sports bra, skivvies, socks, And some basic P.T shorts and a T-shirt. Nothing special. Just the usual. Her hair had grown long enough to require being pulled back. So Cassi made sure to get it out of the way. Soon she was ready as she was going to be. Her mind still needed to be forced to focus on the task at hand. Slowly though it was coming to terms with the fact that she wasn't going to linger on the negative things. She was going to practice and maybe her mind would catch up after a few hits landed on her perhaps. Besides physical pain was far more preferable to the emotional turmoil instead of her heart. She knew one thing though. She was grateful to Thex for being here. Even if Cassandra was likely about to get rag-dolled by the Andorian several times before the night was through.
Thex meanwhile was adding some weight bands to her arms and legs. Given Andorians being stronger than most federation species it only seemed fair to give her opponent a chance. " Looking good," she said to Cassandra as she took her place on the sand-covered sparing area.
Making her way to the sparing area herself, Cassandra wondered just what she was playing at. She knew she was about to get tossed around like a toy. Still, she was built Tonka tough so that wasn't a problem. Yet a part of her wondered if it wasn't more of a self-punishment than a distraction. She took her position in the ring. That's when she felt it... A thrill almost a subtle excitement that came like a live wire corsed through her. Not adrenaline, No. It was something more akin to that feeling of Christmas morning. When you knew you were about to receive treats and gifts. Sparing with others was much like a gift. You learned new things not just about the opponent but about yourself. Cassandra's mind was always hungry for anything new. She eyed up the slight Andorian woman in front of her weighing and measuring what she'd already seen, size, speed, form, analyzing. It was with a note of actual playful joy she announced, "I am ready when you are."
With a nod Thex shot forward. She'd openly admit she'd never been the best at either kharakom or helshvalath even though her parents had made her and all of her siblings practice till their hands and feet bleed. Still, she'd kept practising it. It would never not come in useful given engineering was often the highest boarded places in combat.
Starting out the blue girl set out a series of quick jabs to test her opponent.
Cassandra managed to block a couple and dodge one before one struck her chest. Instinct kicked in and she grabbed the offending arm and twisted under it to get behind the girl. Last minute she let the arm go to prevent accidentally hurting Thex's arm as it bent backwards with Cassandras movement into a restraining hold. Cassi took several steps back her hands coming back up to prepare for the next volley. She knew that her opponent was faster than her, and so she'd need to adjust her strategy to accommodate that.
Thex readied herself again wishing she'd taken off her trainers. She'd always found fighting easy in bare feet. Letting out another burst of stabbing blows she began wearing Cassandra down. Seeing an opportunity she stopped one of her punches halfway as she brought her foot around in a kick aimed at her waist.
The fury of punches kept Cassandra on the defensive. Then it came a kick. Cassandra barely got her body turned to adsorb the blow as she grabbed the leg and gave the other leg a sweep. Or at least she tried too. The shoe she'd grabbed came off in her hand and her momentum left her tumbling to the floor.
With a grin on her face Thex gave a spin and a twirl that was clearly not from her material art form. It worked and her leg came free and the blue girl was back on her feet raising her arms before letting out a fresh series of blows. " You fight well Cassandra. " She said smiling as she did so.
" your pretty good yourself," Cassandra managed to say as she bobed and weaved through the on slaught. That was an understatement though, Thex was an excellent opponent and soon Cassadra's mind was fully occupied with keeping up with the blue skinned girl. It felt liberating. The best anger they engaged the easier it became to read her movements and soon Cassandra was making a few punches and kicks of her own.
Thex blocked a few of the furiously incoming punches before managing to bring her leg around in another kick. Only it was a faint. As Cassandra tried to dodge out of the way Thex manoeuvred her own leg to catch in her in a lock.
Too late did Cassandra see the faint for what it was. By then her leg was trapped. She managed to keep her balance and kept her arms up to block as best as she could.
Thex did her best to keep Cassandra pinned with her legs and arms, but a loose blow from the marine smashed into her right antenna. With a grunt of pain, Thex's grip loosened.
Cassandra stopped, her face broke out in worry as she apologized, " I'm so sorry. I got a little carried away. Your alright?".
Thex felt up and ran her figure along her antenna. " it's okay nothing's broken." She said with a grin. " let that be a lesson if your in a fight with an Andorian go for the antenna. "
"Noted, I'll keep that in mind should I ever fight any I'm willing to hurt." Cassandra acknowledged. "Sorta like kicking a guy in the jewels it will be stored away for those whom are particularly nasty. You ready to continue or do you need a break?"
" Just give me a second," Thex replied as she blinked a few times till she was steady on her feet again. " Okay. Give me your best shot." She said readying herself.
"The best shot is the one no one sees coming including yourself." Cassandra laminated then stopped as she remembered who she'd heard that from. She swallowed hard her face lost a bit of color. She couldn't believe that she'd really just used one of Rhys's catch phrases. She recovered after a few moments. Still her stomach felt sick now like she'd ate something fowl. "I... Umm." She wasn't sure what to say. " it's my turn to take a moment."
" It's okay take your time." Thex said as she dropped her guard and walked to her bag to retrieve her water bottle. Turning back to Cassandra she added " Have you lost someone recently?" She added recognising the pain in the marines eyes.
Cassandra nodded then said, "a few good friends. That's part of the job though. The risk we all take in service to the federation. " She had a feeling that the question was directed at her sudden moment of weakness. She didn't want her good friends to ever be mistaken for that monster Rhys. "What I said to you just now was something I was told several times by a man who tortured me and tried to kill me. I don't know why I said it... I startled myself." She admitted shuffling her shoes a little as she tried to brush off the uncomfortable feelings she felt. Jane said to talk honestly about her experience. That talking would help heal the mental scars he'd left behind.
" Okay... and i thought I had some baggage." Thex replied wondering how the hell she could reply to something like that. " Is this man still alive?"
"Thank goodness no. He was killed shortly before the mission on the Tomcat." Cassandra responded and saying it made her shoulders relax. Yes.. he was dead. He could never harm anyone else again. Why then did his name still invoke such fear in her? She didn't know. She did her best to brush it off. "Alright, let's try this again?" She managed something of a smile as she got into a ready position.
" You sure you're up for it?" Thex enquired as she adopted a defence posture.
" ready as I'll ever be." Cassandra responded wading in to begin the fray again.
Thex nodded and flew into action with a series of blows and kicks.
Cassandra welcomed the distraction. Moving and rolling with the blows they fell into an almost dance. Moves and counter moves. This carried on for some time. Cassandra was careful trying to avoid the antennas now. It was nearly an hour before she felt herself slowing and starting to have trouble blocking and countering Thex. Her muscles were being to complain and she was thirsty. Probably due to the buckets of sweat that now covered her body in a slick damp sheet. Thex didn't look tired. If she was the Andorian hid it well. It was impressive to say the least.
"Okay.. okay, I think I have to call it a wrap. You have some incredible stamina." Cassandra laminated as she disengaged from the melee.
" Feeling better?" Thex said as she lowered her guard. Andorians took a lot of effort to sweat, but even the Andorian needed a break after that training.
"Yes... Thank you.." indeed Cassandra felt much better. Much of the stress and depression had fled in the adrenaline fueled euphoria that came with a great work out and good company. Tired as she was she felt more in control. More able to tackle the things that had seemed so overwhelming job st an hour ago. "Seriously, I really appreciate everything. I hope we can get the chance to do it again sometime." She couldn't believe it. Usually Cassandra wasn't the type to extend such invitations. For a long time she had felt cursed, that people who got close to her would be put in danger and die if she let them get close. She didn't feel that now... Come to think of it she was actually excited at the idea of possibly making a new friend outside of the barracks.
" Glad i could help. " Thex said with a smile on her blue face. " I'll see you around the ship Cassandra."
"I hope so." Cassandra said with a wave as she headed out of the holodeck back towards medical.
Thex smiled as she watched the woman leave. She hoped their training session had helped clear the jarhead's head off the troubles that plagued her. At least for a while.
=/\= Computer how long do i have left =/\= she asked the holodeck.
=/\=Thirty mins=/\= came it's reply.
Enough time for a swim though the blue engineer as she headed for the beach. Though not enough time to change. =/\= computer set session to private=/\= she said to the computer as she began removing her gym clothes until she was as naked as the day she was born.
With the smile still on her face she did and running jump into the crystal clear water. Just her the sand and the blue water.