(and with thanks to Joe Medina for the ISN transcript from “Endgame”)
Morning had just dawned by Earth Standard Time when Kim entered the small gym. It was nothing like on the Phoenix, but sufficient for the smaller crews of the White Stars. And it was more than enough of a distraction from the war they had so recently seen the end of. It might have seemed absurd to go on as if it was another day of routine chores, but for some, it was the only way to comfortably cross the wide bridges of change.
Morgan was already there on the practice mats. She had stretched a little, but she could only do so much without stressing her arm.
“You summoned…” Kim joked as she walked across the pads towards her. “But where’s the good doctor?”
“Trying to avoid the inevitable, I imagine,” Morgan replied with a grin at her friend.
“Well, there’s only so far she can run, and she can’t hide.”
“Ie.” Morgan stood and hopped onto a stack of mats, a good vantage point.
Kim started practice movements, limbering up as they spoke. “So just how lenient do you want me to be on her? Any training progress?”
“Not lenient at all,” the XO said, grinning evilly.
Kim laughed. “Do I detect a hint of gleeful revenge? And from a Ranger,” she responded with mock disapproval.
“Naturally.” Then she considered. “More progress than I would have guessed, to be honest.”
“What have you been training her with?”
“Hand-to-hand to begin with. A good foundation. And her mind’s quick — not like some I’ve had to train.” Morgan grimaced.
Oblivious to the compliment, Mira hovered outside the door for a moment. Finally, resigning herself to her fate, she took a deep breath and stepped quietly into the gym. She carefully took off her green Med coat to reveal practice clothes underneath.
Mira approached the mat in time to catch Kim’s reply to Morgan. “The more basic the better I think.” She looked over at Mira and smiled as she paused her warming exercises. “You look like there’s a PPG at your back, doctor.”
The Centauri blinked at Kim, not understanding the idiom at all. “No,” she said, “Morgan took away my PPG.”
Morgan’s soft chuckle greeted that remark.
Kim chuckled, shaking her head. “Anyway,” she continued, “it’s good you came. It looks like I’ll be working with you for a bit.”
The doctor folded her coat as neatly as she could, with it’s bulging pockets, and warily stepped onto the mats. “Yes.” She smiled slightly. “That’s good… variation is the spice of life, after all. Where are we to begin today, then?”
“Warming up first. We want to make sure we can get a good couple hours out of you, after all.”
Mira managed to suppress a wince and almost wished for an emergency. “Of course.” She got down and started a few simple stretches.
“Do you good,” Morgan called out, heckling from the sidelines. She didn’t quite manage to hide her grin.
Mira glared at Morgan. “Oh,” she said, innocently. “I’ve brought you a few more pills… I can get a quick look at your arm after this session.” She smiled at the XO.
Kim laughed. “One would think this session was for fencing.”
Morgan grinned. Mira straightened up, confused. “What have fences to do with this?”
Somehow, Morgan stifled a laugh.
Kim exchanged a glance with Meg. “A manner of sword fighting,” she explained, amused, “with special weapons…. and they liken a sharp wit to a fencing foil — sword.”
“Aaahhhh… Fencing. Not Fences. Or Fenced.” Mira nodded. “One would think that such a clever race would be able to think up new words instead of reusing the old ones….”
“Ignorant, I guess.” Kim grinned.
The doctor shook her head. “No, not ignorant … maybe just unimaginative. I’m as stretched as I get, now.”
Morgan leaned back to watch, interested.
Kim nodded. “Well, let’s see what you know, and see what more we can teach you today.” She moved into guard position.
Mira eyed her and settled herself into position as well. She began to circle left. She wondered vaguely if she should worry about Morgan sitting behind her. Kim moved as well, watching… and learning how best to begin. Mira tried not to chew her lip and decided to start out with a feint.
Many hours later it seemed, (but more like two) Mira landed loudly, flat on her back…again.
Kim stepped up beside her. “Everything all right, doctor?” she asked, hands on hips. She was breathing harder, her straight, black hair starting to come out of it’s tight braid, but she not the worst off of the two.
From the sidelines Meg grinned, enjoying this whole session.
The doctor on the mat blinked. Her small knot of hair was straggling out of it’s bun and flopped to the side a bit when she moved her head. Then, she started muttering, gradually getting louder as the language grew more colorful, “Fraggin’ bloody thrice-cursed Buelan-mule piss.” She got up on her feet again. “Fine.”
Kim’s eyes widened and she bit her lip on a laugh. Morgan had no such restraint and laughed out loud.
Mira winced. Her joints popped and crackled like a breakfast cereal. “I actually saw that coming,” she commented. “And I still didn’t know how to stop it. I hate that.”
“Actually, that’s progress. You’ll learn how to, soon.”
Mira looked sideways at Kim. “Before or after I’m covered in bruises?”
“Isn’t it already ‘after’?”
“Why does it seem the better I get the more I get knocked down?” Mira muttered as she made a point of inspecting herself. More loudly, “No, I think there’s a patch over here that’s still my natural color.”
“Well, we better even it out then, shouldn’t we?” Kim was far too amused, and Morgan also had a big grin smeared on her face, but she was privately pleased by the doctor’s progress.
“You don’t have to gloat!” Mira accused, seeing Morgan’s grin.
Still frowning at Morgan, Mira sighed. “I suppose we should,” she responded to Kim and fell into guard position.
“I’m going to go even slower this time,” Kim instructed, “and keep watch, because then I’ll have you do it to me next.”
Mira eyed her instructor and nodded. “All right,” she said while thinking, and that was slow before?
Kim continued, as if she had heard that thought. “Do it fast enough, and it can break bones. But I didn’t think the Captain would appreciate that.”
The doctor reviewed what moves she had seen before in her mind. “Yes, I can see that it would. As to the Captain, she might be grateful for any postponement of her upcoming physical.”
Kim looked at Meg to confirm, her eyes crinkling in amusement. Morgan nodded.
“Here we go….” Kim paused just a moment for Mira to get ready.
As Kim began to move, slowly, Mira watched her intently. Having seen this maneuver before, she was able to concentrate on each individual move a little better. Kim feinted once, twice, getting Mira in an over balanced position, easy to send over. She did it as gently as possible, but still she executed a movement that was meant incapacitate the doctor. This time, however, Mira managed to grab a hold of Kim and took her down, too. They both landed hard on the mat.
Kim’s breath left in a whoosh as she landed. It took a few moments before she spoke. “Now that’s your revenge, hm?” She leaned up on her elbows.
Mira just sighed. “I suppose, I’m still dead though.” She gave a wheezy laugh. “Revenge? Me?”
“Yes,” Morgan said quickly.
“Not at all….” The doctor sat up, groaning. “After all … you landed on me. Had it truly been revenge, I’d have been on top.” She popped her back, loudly. “Or at least to the side a little.”
Kim climbed to her feet, laughing, and held her hand out to help Mira to her feet. “You pulled. Now come on. Time to learn how to do it without going down yourself. And we have time for a few runs through, wouldn’t you say?” A decidedly wicked grin played across her lips.
Mira nodded and accepted the hand up. She suppressed a second groan. “Maybe just one or two?” she asked, hopefully.
Morgan grinned at them both and settled back for the show. It was not in the least bit encouraging to Mira.
“We’ll see,” Kim said, noncommittally. “Let’s go.” She moved back into position.
Mira slipped back in position, as well. Well, she thought, first I have to get her off-balance. The doctor feinted a few times. Kim allowed herself to fall for them. Mira saw her opportunity and rushed in, making the move. Kim went down with a satisfying thump. Morgan enjoyed the sight – she didn’t get to do that often herself.
Mira quickly sat on Kim, just to make sure she wasn’t going to get pounded for forgetting something. “Now, would you truly be unconscious? Or would I have to do something else?” she asked.
Kim wheezed in surprise at being pinned. “For most part, yes. There is a countermove, but that’s for another time … now will you get up?”
“Oh good….” Mira got up and sat back down heavily on the mat.
Kim actually groaned a bit, sitting up. She looked up at Morgan, who was grinning like a fiend on the sidelines. “Comments? Besides the fact you’re enjoying yourself.”
Mira muttered, “If she enjoys herself much more, I’ll be in traction.” She leaned back on her hands and splayed out her legs. “Yes, Commander,” she asked. “How am I doing?” With her legs out in front of her, Mira noticed how baggy the pants were. Frowning, she commented, “I do believe I’m losing weight.”
Morgan laughed. “Better than I would have guessed, Doctor,” she replied.
Mira blinked in surprise. She said with a bright smile, “I think I’ll take that as a compliment.” She winked and flopped backward to a prone position on the mat.
Kim climbed to her feet, about to go right through with it again. “We’re not done just yet.”
Mira groaned and crawled to her feet as well. “I suppose we’re going to go faster now.”
“That’s next, generally.” Morgan teased her.
Mira opened her mouth to say something, but the shipwide intercom chose that moment to kick on, abruptly. “Your attention, please,” came Hale’s voice. “If you’re near a comm screen, I suggest you turn it on. If you’re not, get there. An ISN broadcast is about to start, and unlike the past year, I don’t think you’re going to want to miss it.” As suddenly as it started, the line closed with a click.
Morgan sat up, startled. She shook her head, not wanting to believe the obvious.
Mira blinked, owlishly. “My, my… there are whispers in the Court….”
Kim blinked as well. “So soon? And who?” She thought of all the puppets the past year. “Well, doctor, I think you’re saved by ISN. Now that’s not something that’s happened in too long.” Her tone and expression were wry.
Mira shrugged. “Who can know?” Then, more cheerfully, “ah well! I certainly can’t say I regret it.” She laughed brightly and trotted off the mat.
Morgan slid off her seat, bemused.
“Come on, let’s get out of here.” Kim could sense the lift of emotion on the ship, and it sharpened her own curiosity. “I think we really don’t want to miss this,” she said with conviction.
Mira put on her coat and turned back to the other women more seriously. “Indeed. This might be important.”
InterStellar Network News "Hello. [sniffs] I want to...welcome back our viewers. We've been gone a long time. [clears throat] Over a year since ISN was captured by elite forces sent by President Clark. Over a year since martial law was declared. Many of us, and our associates at other networks, were imprisoned, interrogated, even killed. All that changed last night. At 1:45 AM Earth Standard Time, a multiplanetary force led by ships loyal to a free Earth engaged Clark's forces directly. Under the command of John Sheridan, the incoming forces disabled or destroyed their opposition, then prevented further destruction by taking out the planetary defense grid, whose lethal power was being turned toward Earth. Earthgov is still working to compile a list of the names of those injured or killed on either side of the battle. If you have family members who may have been involved, you can request information on a special Earthforce com-line. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those injured on both sides. We are equally sons and daughters of Earth, and we must continue to remember that, if we are to heal and move on."
(C) Copyright 1998 Alida Saxon, Leslie McBride and Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.