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To Train Or Not To Train

Posted on Mon Jun 29th, 2020 @ 11:39am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis & Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt

Mission: Interlude 4
Location: USS Firebird
Timeline: March 16, 2395 - 1700 Hours


"No," Lieutenant Commander t'Aegis replied for the second time and closed the door of her locker in the USS Firebird's gym. "If you want hand-to-hand combat lessons, speak with Chief Warrant Officer B'Rala. Or Ensign Carver. Now, if you will excuse me, Lieutenant." Without another word, she brushed past the young engineer, intent on getting to the exit before he could say anything else.

"Ensign Carver will repeat the standard skills they taught in the academy." Gantt followed closely behind Lieutenant t'Aegis. "I want to learn from the best, no matter how hard it is. Besides, you've taught several of the other crew members. Why won't you train me?"

"I teach those who show promise and who wish to advance their skills." The Romulan spoke without slowing down or looking back at Gantt. "Do you actually /master/ the standard skills you are scoffing so easily now?"

"I don't mean they're unimportant. Those skills helped keep me alive from my first mission, when flying lizards attacked us while we worked on a missing hull panel," said Gantt. "We're a small crew in frequent danger, and I've realised those skills aren't enough on the edges. I do wish to advance them."

She could hardly argue with that. This vessel seemed to attract trouble. The Romulan stopped abruptly and turned around. "Show me what you think you can do."

"What do mean? We're not in a training room." Gantt had to stumble back a few steps to avoid running into Rhiana. He smiled wanly, trying to lighten his discomfort. "Unless you want me to throw a punch at you there's no equipment around."

Within the span of two seconds, Gantt found himself turned around, facing away from Rhiana with her left arm around his throat and his right arm twisted behind his back. Her hold was not yet painful, merely uncomfortable for the Bajoran. But it was also obvious that this could change in an instant. "When I give an order, I expect it to be followed, not questioned, Lieutenant," she said softly, her breath warm against his ear. "Furthermore, you lost any initiative you might have had by talking when no words were necessary."

The wall was cool against his burning cheeks while Gantt struggled against the arm hold. He struggled to keep anger in check, too. If he blew up like a spoiled child Rhiana would walk away and never listen to his request again. Gantt swung his left arm back into her face with as much force as the limited space allowed. As soon as his tricep connected he twisted the other way and reached for her neck with a free arm, but she was too fast. He found nothing but air.

She was several paces away from him by the time he turned around, with no apparent ill effect on or effort from her part. She was not even breathing faster. "You do not seem to have forgotten everything from that basic training," the Romulan commented. "How much time are you willing to commit to working on your combat skills?"

"As much as you decide I need, as we train." said Gantt. A blank promise for combat training to a Romulan. Was he biting off more than he could chew? "It needs to be you. Ever since the cave outing on Bajor. Do you remember that?"

Rhiana frowned and searched her memory. The "cave outing" on Bajor... Oh. Yes. There had been a sudden thunderstorm and their group had sought shelter in an abandoned cave. "I remember." It seemed as if years had passed since then, when in reality, it had happened only a few months ago. "If I recall correctly, my point of view was not shared by the others. Why me?"

"It was not popular. You called the Cardassian atrocities against Bajor a means to obtain what they wanted from an inferior people. I disagree vehemently that Bajorans are inferior based on a superior Cardassian military." Gantt stood at attention, drawing calm in to pacify the rapid beating of his heart. "One of their atrocities resides like a pestilent taint in my own DNA. I am genetically modified to be inferior to what I could have been, and the moment that news starts to spread people will take pity on me. They will let a bit of laziness, of self-indulgence, slide into my training. You won't. You'll demand discipline and effort that won't let me, or anyone else, get in my own way."

"You have not understood the concept of inferiority. You are not inferior because of your military. You are inferior because you are not Cardassian," Rhiana stated matter-of-factly. "And I will not waste my time with you if you are physically or mentally incapable of coping with my demands. What is the nature of this modification?"

"Incapable? Nothing like that at all," said Gantt. He let her condemnation of racial inferiority drop. Now wasn't the time to pick that fight when he wanted her help. "They wanted to create instinctual fear of Cardassians into Bajoran DNA. Much like the Earth cats known as mountain lions won't attack tracking dogs even though the mountain lions could kill the dogs. Cardassia wanted slaves with fear of their owners in their very nature. Nothing that will stop me from the work you require."

"That is an interesting application of DNA modification," Rhiana approved. "Your main goal for this training is to be able to face a Cardassian without cowering before them in fear, is it not?"

"Yes." He became aware of how rigidly he stood. Everything had gone exactly as he had hoped it wouldn't. The current focus on his own secrets made the room feel like an ice box. He shrugged with both arms out and then folded them across his chest, using the action to keep the anxious energy off his face. "If you think you can train the instinct out."

"I am not making any promises. But if we do not try, we will never know," Rhiana replied in her usual, matter-of-fact tone. "You will join the Marines for their warm-up in gymnasium two at 0500 tomorrow. At 0530, you will meet me in gymnasium one for your lesson. Do you have any questions?"

"None, I will be ready at 0500 tomorrow." Gantt felt molded to the floor and a surge of adrenaline at the same time. He nodded several times before he could stop himself. Better to leave before he looked the complete fool. "Thank you, Lieutenant Commander t'Aegis," he said and then walked towards the exit. This would work. This, or something else. But the next time he stared down a Cardassian he would not pause to shoot.


Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Junior Grade Soto Gantt
Assistant Chief Engineering Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant JG Owen Woodhouse on Tue Jun 30th, 2020 @ 12:20pm

Love this JP so much. New tidbits of personal history woven into historical context from the shows and previous JPs. What a great read. Looking forward to see where this takes Gantt. -Liam