Previous Next

Taking Out Some Aggression

Posted on Mon Feb 5th, 2024 @ 4:09pm by Commander William Gerhard & Lieutenant JG Calanthe 'Cal' Diaz

Mission: Contagion
Location: Gym - C Deck
Timeline: Day 365 - 2300 hrs
2099 words - 4.2 OF Standard Post Measure

The thuds from the bag sounded louder in the gym as William threw another punch as it swung back towards him. The lateness of the hour meant there was no one else there but just him, so he didn't have to worry about the noise. He shifted his stance to the side as the back swung back towards him as he worked, his sharp exhales coinciding with each strike he planted. Normally, William would not be up this late, but the nightmares had threatened to engulf him again, so he'd decided that making himself tired would be the best way to sleep. Lexi had not been in their quarters, having been placed on the bridge midwatch to cover for Ensign Natrona who's allergies had flared up. William was still perplexed how someone could get allergies when on a starship, but his specialty was weapons and not medicine.

William placed a few more jabs before he spun and placed a firm kick with his right leg. The bag shook and he took a step back, his chest rising and falling as he sucked in air. He strode over to the bench where he'd tossed aside his tank top and grabbed his town before drying off his face and chest. As he was doing this, he heard the nearby door open. He reached down and grabbed his water bottle before squirting a stream into his mouth when he looked over and saw Cal coming through the open hatch.

For much the same reason that Gerhard had likely chosen now as a good time to train, Calanthe had a habit of scheduling her workouts close enough to bedtime to minimize her interaction with the rest of the crew. It was somewhat counter-intuitive for the extrovert but had become increasingly necessary in preparing her for a decent night's sleep, which no longer came as easily as it once had. As the doors opened to reveal the current spanner in the works, there was only a brief moment of startled adjustment before the brunette relaxed and dressed up her mood to suit her intended company.


When push came to shove, Diaz was as professional as the next person. They'd been through enough now for her to have proven entirely capable of adhering to orders and respecting her superiors, and Gerhard's recent elevation was really no exception to the rule. The difference lie in a previously-determined dynamic that, whilst feisty, had never been without intended camaraderie at its core. The push-back he gave her was what she needed, Lexi was a woeful verbal sparring partner because she was too gifted as a peacemaker to buy into the sheer ridiculousness of bickering for the sake of it. The tone was usually playful, always honest and very rarely problematic.

She flicked her towel at him on her way past to change her shoes.

William raised an eyebrow at her as he swallowed his water. The towel she had flicked made a popping sound in the air as she walked past. "Isn't this prime beauty sleep hours for you," he asked his tone echoing hers as he set his water bottle down on the floor before rolling his neck and squaring back up to the swinging weighted bag.

"Just giving the rest of you a chance to keep up."

Sat on the bench and pulling off her work boot, Cal squinted a partial smirk and promptly found herself without the energy to follow through with a verbal sparring match. Her sleep had improved but it was far from back to her typical capacity to sleep through a meteorite shower and the only thing convincing her to go through with a workout was the acceptance that physical exhaustion tended to work in her favor, at least for ensuring a few solid hours of uninterrupted sleep. Rising again, both shoes on, she reached up to pull her hair back away from her face and watched the barrage of punches for a moment.

"You make it look personal. Do I want to know whose face your replacing that with?"

"You worried it's you," William said between jabs before delivering a quick right-left combination. He reached out and stopped the back swinging as he sucked in air before glancing over at her. "I've got plenty of personal reasons to replace this bag with. But you have to be careful. Making it personal can give you tunnel vision. You have to have focused aggression," he offered before he looked back at the bag and adopted his fighting stance again, "The trick is to make the opponent lose his focus." Two hits of the bag punctuated his response. William internally realized that he probably sounded high and mighty, so he braced himself for the retort he was sure to get. At first, William had been annoyed with how often Cal would snipe back at him, but it had grown into their banter. He held no animosity towards her, especially since Lexi most often played the peacemaker between them.

"If you haven't decked me by now, it's never going to happen." To emphasise her point, Cal shoved playfully at his shoulder before rounding to the other side of the bag, hands on her hips. "And that furry guy back on Relea wasn't focusing that well. Got all the distraction he knee-ded," she deployed terrible wordplay before grinning. "Though I will admit that I was making a very ballpark guess about where he housed his unmentionables."

“Some would say that move was ‘unsporting’, but it’s always quite effective,” William said as he stopped and reached out to stop the bag from swinging as he took a breath. He recalled reading the report that had been submitted by the Relean authorities and that he had slightly smiled when he’d read that Cal had landed a blow to the attacker’s genitals. There was a saying amongst the Close Quarters Combat instructors: Not everyone’s genitals are in the same place.

"Hey, if you grab me, it's all bets off as far as I'm concerned." Though she held her hands up in defense, Calanthe was amused herself at how that particular skirmish had played out. It was a gift of hindsight, one that was relatively safe to enjoy now that Ben was recovered and that justice had been served. The brunette squinted at her superior officer for a moment before pulling herself to full height, which in itself was comically short of his. "So, Chief, if fighting dirty is off the cards, what should I have done?"

"I never said it was off the cards, you do what you have to to win. I just meant to say that if you ever decided to take up fighting as a hobby, below the belt is considered unsporting," he said before giving her a raised eyebrow while she stood at full height. "I'm sure that's difficult for you at times," he said again with the gentle ribbing. He then reached out and peeled the Velcro off his gloves before tossing them to her. He then stood to one side of the hanging bag and braced it with his arms before looking at her. "Let's see what you got," he said slightly pressing the bag forward for her to hit.

What she had were a few training sessions from Ben before he'd upped and died on them. The fact that he'd reemerged in a very convoluted and technical sense hadn't resulted in an update on technique, though if Cal thought about it, it was probably one thing she could do with the engineer that wouldn't constitute overstepping boundaries. Just as she had been doing for months, she squared up to the best her recollection would permit and, grimacing only slightly at the sensation of pulling pre-sweaty gloves on, tightened them, (though they were still a little large on her), and tapped them together settle them in place.

As had been the case all the way back when, Cal could make impact with a decently surprising force considering her stature. Earlier coaching had attempted to harness that, to curb the tendency to expend all her energy in the first few swings, but there had definitely been times recently where pummeling the bag until she was physically exhausted became more of a priority than any sort of sustain. Things had settled a bit but there were still remnants of impatience to her technique.

William watched her technique and gave an approving nod as she worked. He could feel from her blows that she had some power behind each punch, but the quickness between jabs would lead to her tiring herself out faster. When she stepped back he nodded again towards her. "Good form, your driving off your back foot gives each hit solid power which can work to your advantage. Normally, one wouldn't expect someone with your build to be able to hit with such force," he said with a slight smile when she rolled her eyes at him. "Remember to pace yourself between jabs, because they won't always be standing still," he said before he stepped back and gave the bag a big shove which sent it spinning and moving in every direction. "Again," he said as he stepped back to watch.

By now, the slight hesitation it took for Cal to square up again was easily recognizable as her pausing to consider whether she wanted to capitulate or determine her own course. She was, as noted in somewhat nicer terms in her performance dossier, particularly stubborn when it came to maintaining agency, though it had taken being flung a lifetime away from everything she loved for the officer to accept the value of command hierarchy. In this case, William knew his stuff, and though she wasn't about to admit it to him, lingering recollection of what it felt like to be overpowered was reason enough to tighten up her self-defense. It was a hell of a motivation, being able to remember your 'own' death, but even Cal couldn't argue with its implications. That alone was reason enough for her to slow down, without protest, and attempt to follow his advice.

And, perhaps not shockingly, she found it easier to settle into a rhythm. Having grown up alternating outdoor activities between the likes of horse riding and skiing, there wasn't necessarily a whole lot to recognize in the focused determination to beat the living hell out of an inanimate object but times had changed. She had changed, and the target wouldn't always be unable to fight back.

William watched and gave an approving nod when Cal stepped back after exhausting her attacks. He could see by the way she worked she fell into a natural rhythm, her blows echoing loudly and sending the bag wheeling in the opposite direction. He reached out and stopped the swinging with one hand. “Nice work, just always remember to use your opponent’s momentum to your advantage,” he said before giving her a slight smile, “But the real question is how do you think you’d fair against someone that is fighting back?”

Pulling free a glove to push sweaty strands of hair away from her eyes, Calanthe followed him with her eyes and a mildly amused deadpan. "Last guy who wondered that wasn't confused for too long."

William walked over to his bag nearby and pulled out his second set of gloves before looking back at Cal. “Don’t worry, I’ll go easy on you,” he said as he strapped on his gloves waiting to hear the snarky comeback he knew was coming. When he had his gloves on, he stepped into the matted area and faced her. “For the record, what should I tell Lexi if I come home with a black eye,” he asked her with a raised eyebrow.

It was, Cal realized, probably a stupid idea. Even at her most proud, she didn't expect to legitimately best him. It was a direct challenge, however, and as William already knew, she'd rather walk away defeated than forfeit. With a sly smirk, she snapped her glove back into place and stood, both hands rested against the back of her head, to wait for him.

"Given my recent track record," she retorted, one eyebrow twitching upwards, "I'd say an eye is the least of your concerns." Her lips pursed as she brought both gloves around to tap together. "If you can walk home, I'll owe you a drink."

An accompanying wink added jest to the threat...probably.


Previous Next