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Posted on Sat Jan 28th, 2017 @ 4:39am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram

Mission: S1E3.5 - Interlude
Location: Gymnasium (Deck 12)
Timeline: MD 30

It had been a long time for Akiva since he'd entered a gym. A career of hands-on work in addition to hard colonial life kept him fit and trim, but lately the stresses of command made him feel a little... pent up in the physical exertion department.

In truth, physical labor had always been an outlet for his anxiety. The lack thereof was perhaps showing in the performance of his duties. For his own sake as well as others, he needed to remedy that.

Fortunately he had found an opening for a little sparring practice with the Master-at-Arms.

Seneca stood before him in a red gi with a thick black belt wrapped around his waist. The larger man bowed before Akiva, who was dressed in a form-fitting robe with its skirt girded around his thighs. He nodded in return without the formal bow.

"I have to admit, Commander, that I was surprised when you requested a sparring session," Seneca said. "You... do not seem the type."

"Every Hebron boy learns Abir Qesheth from a young age," Akiva said flatly. "It's tradition. I never excelled at it, so I never went beyond the ceremonial katas."

"Abir Qesheth?" Seneca said slowly, attempting to reproduce Akiva's enunciation. "I'm afraid I am not familiar with that style."

"I imagine not." Akiva's smirk was a mixture of pride and chagrin. "It came to prominence around the start of the 21st century, though it claims a much older pedigree. Critics compare it to Kuk Sool Won and Hapkido, even saying they inspired Abir, so if you are familiar with either of those styles...?" Akiva trailed off with a turn of his head and a shrug.

"I've studied a fair piece of each." Seneca returned a matching smirk and dropped into Goju Ryu karate stance. "Begin."

Akiva fell into aleph stance, his feet crossed and his hands up to form a lopsided X with his body.

"What the hell is that?!" Senece fell out of stance for a moment, his face incredulous.

"Come at me and see." Akiva was deadpan serious.

"Very well."

Seneca dropped into a shotokan squat and threw a rolling side kick, which Akiva attempted to block with an elbow. He succeeding in deflecting it, though Seneca's foot still glanced off his side.
Akiva stepped forward, crossing his feet into a reverse position, and grabbed Seneca's shoulders with their opposing hands.

Left hand to right shoulder. Right hand to left shoulder.

Akiva went for a choke, but Seneca easily threw his balance off, forcing Akiva to attempt a hip roll. Rather than follow through, Seneca planted his weight to anchor himself to the floor, then pivoted into Akiva's motion.

Akiva found himself dumped upside down on his own head. He groaned at the gymnasium ceiling.

"Not bad." Seneca extended a hand to help Akiva off the floor. "Your execution was terrible, but I saw what you were trying to do. With practice, you could manage to perform a move without telegraphing it beforehand."

"Thanks. I think." Akiva accepted the burly man's larger hand, then grasped him by the elbow as he was pulled to his feet.

"I mean it, Commander." Seneca clapped him on the shoulder. The heavy hand forced Akiva off balance. "Your instincts are not refined but they are there, which is more than I can say for some."

"Please, do go on," Akiva said with playful sarcasm.

"What I'm saying, you lunkhead, is that I am willing to train you." Seneca straightened his mouth so Akiva wouldn't think he was joking. "You have the raw materials for me to sculpt."

Akiva visibly perked up. "Do you really mean that? I... I washed out as a child, which is part of what fostered my love of tinkering."

"You'll have to forgo that ridiculous dance-fighting you started with, of course." Seneca indulged himself a chuckle at Akiva's expense. "You did fine once you stepped out of practiced form and into the flow of combative energy."

"That's my heritage you're talking about," Akiva teasingly chided.

"No. You leave your heritage at the door," Seneca said with an aggressive point to the corridor, an act which contrasted his serene face. "Just as I do. When sparring, there are no friends or family, there is no universe, there is no outside world -- nothing but you and your opponent." He grinned. "Or, in this case, your master. Do you accept my terms?"

Akiva clicked his tongue before giving in to a reciprocating grin. "Sure. I concede to your greater wisdom."

"Atta' boy." Seneca clapped his hands and fell back into stance. "Again!"


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