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Old February 5 2012, 03:51 AM   #6
Saito S
Fleet Captain
 
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Location: Lennvale, Valocea
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Re: "A Running Start"

Yuri walked aimlessly along the corridors of deck five. She had no specific destination, she had simply wanted to spend some time thinking things over, and had always had a hard time doing so when simply sitting still.

“Common ground, common ground…” she mumbled, drawing an odd look from a passing ensign. She mulled over what Rana had said, trying to think of some way…

She looked up, coming to a stop. Well, that’s one thought… she is in Security, after all. Quickly, she returned to her quarters, accessing her computer and looking up Sil’s Starfleet records. It didn’t take her long to find the information she was looking for. Perfect. Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself for what would no doubt be a difficult endeavor. “Rienne to-“ She cut herself off. “Computer, cancel comm channel and tell me the current location of Lieutenant Sil Farren.” Better to do it in person…
--

“You want what?” Sil’s voice held none of the animosity from earlier; her initial reaction to Yuri’s proposal conveyed mainly surprise.

“To get in a little sparring,” she said, repeating herself. “According to your personnel file, you have quite a talent in unarmed combat. You breezed through Starfleet’s self-defense training, having already studied Casserian martial arts for years.”

Sil blinked several times, and then her antagonism returned, though it was less powerful than before. “Yes, I took Anlashu.”

Yuri nodded. “Specifically, the Arel-Marva sub-school, correct?”

Sil sighed. “Correct.”

Yuri grinned broadly. “Me, too. Thus, some sparring is in order. I always welcome a new challenge, and from what I’ve read and heard, so do you.”

Sil glared at her. “I… must decline, s-Commander.”

Aha. You’ve rethought that, at least. Yuri shook her head. “Chalk it up to lingering security officer instincts, then. I’d like to see what you can do, to know the skill level of someone who might very well have my back one day.”

At that, Sil visibly stiffened. She said nothing for a moment , and when she did reply, her words were measured, slow. “I would rather not, Commander.”

Yuri wasn’t smiling anymore. She stared into the other woman’s eyes, studying her. “I really think it’s a good idea, Lieutenant. Look at it is as more than a suggestion, if that’s what it takes.”

“You’re ordering me to the gym, then?”

“Yes. As I said, I need to see what you can do.”

“I don’t think that really qualifies as a justifiable reason for an order, coming from-“

“And I don’t think I will need to report your borderline insubordination earlier,” Yuri said flatly, cutting her off. “Nor recommend that you need further grief counseling. That is, if I get a proper chance to evaluate you for myself.” She didn’t like pulling rank, but she sensed an opportunity to get through to her, and wasn’t about to let it go. Before Sil could respond, she spoke again. “It’s your decision. If you wish to take me up on it, meet me in the gym in ten minutes. And I’d suggest something a little more suited to sparring than your uniform,” she added, turning to exit the security station.

“Why?”

She stopped in the open doorway as she heard – barely – Sil’s voice. “Because I’m stubborn as hell. And I’m not giving up on you. Not yet.” And she walked out into the hall, letting the doors shut behind her.
--

Yuri was halfway through her stretching routine, when the door opened, revealing Sil. She walked in hesitantly, her face a nearly unreadable mask. “Glad you could make it,” Yuri commented idly.

Sil said nothing, walking over to the mat in silence, beginning a similar set of stretches. Like Yuri, she was dressed in white training garb, consisting of a sleeveless top, tied at the waist with a dark gray belt, and simple, loose pants, with her feet bare. “”I’m still not sure I see the point of this,” she finally said, her voice low, uneasy.

Yuri shrugged. “In addition to all its practical purposes, sparring helps me unwind. It’s just… fun. Don’t you think so?”

Sil looked up at her, and for the briefest of moments, Yuri could swear she saw the beginnings of a smile. But the taller woman simply shrugged. They continued their warm-ups, in silence.

Finally, they took up positions near the center of the mat, standing a little over a meter apart. They bowed to one another, and almost simultaneously, spoke a single word in Casserian, signifying the beginning of the session. “Tanley.”

Yuri dropped into a loose fighting stance, putting most of her weight on her back leg. Sil did as well, though she somehow appeared less sure of herself. Yuri waited patiently, preferring to let the other woman advance first. She did so, at last, looking somewhat reluctant. A pair of quick attacks were dodged easily; Yuri barely even had to move. She immediately advanced as soon as Sil had pulled back, moving quickly toward her. Sil retreated– too much, in Yuri’s estimation. She was giving ground, instead of holding it. It was poor form, and Yuri was sure Sil knew it. Yuri’s own attacks were also half-hearted, as she felt there was nothing to be gained by pummeling Sil while she was holding back. “Come on, Sil,” she said. “I know for a fact that you’re better than this, unless your Starfleet file is faked.”

Sil blinked, her expression surprised. “I’m… I don’t want to hurt you,” she said, sounding more unsure of herself than ever.

Yuri laughed, moving lightly on her feet, dancing in and out of range momentarily. “Give me a little more credit than that,” she said, some of her usual playfulness seeping into her voice.

“No, it’s not that,” Sil replied, shaking her head. “I just… I don’t know, I just don’t know if I can do this.”

Yuri sensed she was on to something. The implications of her words reached beyond this sparring session. “Can’t do what, Sil? Fight?”

“No, not that.”

Yuri sighed. The simple, muted response was slightly frustrating, but she couldn’t deny that this was at least progress, after a fashion. She pressed on. “Then what? You’re afraid of something… of hurting me?” She dropped her arms slightly, her eyes widening. “No, not of injuring me yourself, but… of letting me get hurt. You’re afraid, that…”

Sil’s expression had become pained. She tried to hide it, but she couldn’t. She shook her head, saying nothing, beginning to move away.

Yuri rushed up to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Wait! Tell me what you’re afraid of, Sil!”

She flinched away from Yuri’s grasp, a strangled, soft grunt escaping her lips. “I can’t…! I can’t be your friend!” she blurted out finally. “Because, if I… if I fail, again, then…” She shook her head again.

Yuri took a step closer to her, though she didn’t make any further physical contact for the moment. “Fail again? To save me, if I’m in danger?” She paused. She didn’t know what kind of reaction this would get, but she felt she had to say it, now that she was this close. “Is that what you think happened before? That you failed to save Alison? Is… is that what she would say happened if she were here?”

A moment passed. The silence hung in the air like a fog.

Suddenly, Sil whirled, sliding toward Yuri, her eyes filled with tears, her face full of fury. Yuri barely had time to raise her arms defensively, sliding back as she deflected Sil’s elbow strike as best she could. She gritted her teeth as pain shot through her forearm. She had been caught off guard, and her block was less than adequate, but she did manage to read Sil’s next move, and snapped off a quick punch before she could execute it. Sil turned, taking the blow to her side as she slid away from Yuri. She turned the motion into a high kick, catching Yuri in the shoulder with the flat of her foot as the green-haired woman ducked and tried to get a better position.

Back and forth they went, arms and legs moving with lightning speed. Several minutes passed before either of them gained a clear advantage. They were the only ones in the gym, but had there been others present, they surely would have drawn a crowd.

Sil realized her mistake too late; she had left herself vulnerable, falling prey to Yuri’s feint, and committing to a blow that missed cleanly. She tried to pull her arm back, to stop her forward momentum, but to no avail. Yuri ducked down, pivoting as she swept her leg out, catching the back of Sil’s shins. She pulled her leg forward, sending the Lieutenant tumbling onto her back. Immediately, Yuri moved over to her, and as Sil began moving her legs, preparing to rise, Yuri knelt down next to her, grabbing both of her wrists and pulling her closer. Sil fought against her grip momentarily, and then simply sat there, staring at the other woman with wide, almost terrified eyes.

“Tell me!” Yuri exclaimed, her face only inches from Sil’s. She poured all of her passion, all of her energy, all of her kindness, into her next words. “Why, Sil! Why are you pushing me away? It’s not because I’m replacing Alison, is it!”

Sil struggled in her grasp again, briefly, again beginning to stand. And then, her resolve left her, and she sank back to the floor, releasing air from her lungs in a deep sob. “No!” she admitted finally, closing her eyes. Tears streamed down her cheeks, making barely audible tapping sounds as they fell onto the mat below.

Yuri sighed heavily, letting go of the other woman’s arms. Slowly, she reached up, placing both hands on her shoulders. “It’s what I said before, isn’t it?” she asked softly. “You’re afraid you won’t be able to protect me, and that I’ll die, just like her.”

“Yes,” she said, almost in a whisper, avoiding Yuri’s gaze.

“Sil, you can’t assume reasonability for everyone on the ship, all the time. I can take care of myself.”

“So could Alison Myra,” she responded bitterly. “She wasn’t weak, or helpless. But she was vulnerable, in that moment, because she was so caught up in what she was doing, so determined to finish it. And she did finish it, and she saved so many people, but I couldn’t save her. I tried, I TRIED!” Her near-whisper became a scream, a sudden outburst of raw emotion contained in that one word. “But, I couldn’t…”

Yuri said nothing, waiting patiently, sensing that the young woman had more she needed to say.

“Do you know? Do you know what it’s like?” she asked between sobs, her voice shaking. “To have someone die right in front of you? In your arms? To carry them away from the crisis? To…” She nearly choked on her next words, coughing briefly. Yuri moved one hand to the side of Sil’s face, gently reassuring her. Sil looked up, managing to meet Yuri’s eyes with her own. “To watch, as the doctor tries, desperately, to revive her, but then… he moves away, and he knows… he knows he can’t save her. I can see it in his eyes… and…” She trailed off, looking away again, as more tears followed.

Yuri held her gaze, feeling the beginnings of tears welling up in her own eyes. “Yes, I do know what that’s like,” she said, plainly and honestly.

Sil’s face snapped up, looking into Yuri’s eyes again. “How?” she asked desperately, her voice strained and hoarse. “How do you go on? Knowing that you… you didn’t save them?”

Yuri sighed heavily, averting her own gaze for a moment, before looking at Sil again. “I don’t know if I can explain… how, exactly. And I won’t lie to you, and say that the pain will ever completely go away, or that you will forget about this one day. But you do move on, eventually. Your life continues. And you have to live it, otherwise, the sacrifices of those who… who we couldn’t save, become meaningless.” She shook her head. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Sil. I’ve heard about what kind of person you are, what kind of officer you are. And what you’ve shown me, since I came aboard… isn’t that person. You’re not living, you’re… you’re not Sil. And I don’t think Alison Myra would be very happy about that.”

Sil stared up at her, her eyes wide. Fresh tears still slid down her cheeks, but they were less numerous, now. Finally, after what felt like several minutes, she spoke. “You… you wouldn’t make… a bad counselor,” she said quietly.

Yuri relaxed, letting herself fall into a sitting position, keeping one hand on Sil’s shoulder as she laughed lightly. “I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not,” she said, grinning.

Sil sighed heavily, looking straight up at the ceiling for a moment. She wiped at her eyes, then turned back toward Yuri. “But, how did you do that?” she asked. “You’ve barely just met me, and somehow, you managed to cut… right to it,” she said, sounding slightly amazed.

Yuri shrugged. “I tend to approach everything head on. I just said what came to mind, really.”

Sil nodded slowly. “Th-thank you. And, I’m sorry… for what I said earlier. I was awful to you, there’s no excuse for-“

“Hey,” Yuri said softly, squeezing her shoulder. “Forget about that. I have.”

Sil stared at her. “B-but… after how badly I treated you… not to mention how inappropriate it was, since you’re my super-“

The rest of her sentence was lost, as Yuri abruptly leaned forward, wrapping her arms around the taller woman’s midsection, hugging her tightly. Sil tensed for a moment, surprised, her instincts running through several possible reactions, before settling on one. She relaxed, accepting the embrace, placing her own arms around Yuri and hugging her back. She felt Yuri’s hand on the back of her head and leaned forward slightly, resting her cheek against the offered shoulder. She was, to some degree, utterly baffled by this woman… but she couldn’t deny that she felt more at peace, more comfortable with herself, than she had in weeks.

“So we got off on the wrong foot, and stumbled a bit at the starting line,” Yuri said quietly. “That’s in the past. For the present, I think we’re off to a running start.”

End
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