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Crawling in My Skin

Posted on Thu Apr 6th, 2017 @ 8:26pm by Commander Akiva ben-Avram
Edited on on Fri Apr 7th, 2017 @ 11:26pm

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Dojo (Deck 13 Sports Facility)
Timeline: MD 75; 05:15

It was early. Akiva had a shift ahead of him. But right now, all he focused on was the wooden dummy which suffered his Pak Sau and Lop Sao hand drills. His slow, deliberate motions rapidly turned to sudden chopping. In a moment, he abandoned all fluidity and gave in to his aggression. His fists flew in a blur of chain punches, one over the other, until a wayward strike snapped an arm off the dummy.

"Before you requisition me a replacement," called out Seneca from across the space, "I'll have you tell me what you did wrong."

"I lost focus." Akiva turned to bow to Seneca with his wrists crossed. "Forgive me, sifu."

"Wrong," Seneca said abruptly. "You never had focus." He offered a smirk, but he kept his posture. "What you did wrong was lose your footing, which is surprising due to your base style of dance-fighting."

Akiva rolled his eyes. Seneca recognized the value of Abir-Qesheth, but would never let Akiva forget his first display of it. That episode did not end well for him.

"Chinese boxing wouldn't seem to involve much footwork," Akiva said.

"On the contrary," Seneca snorted. "Boxing is all about the feet. Your fists are merely the delivery system; with Chinese boxing, even more so. If your hands get ahead of your feet, then you lose power and precision."

Akiva plopped down into a sprawl to think. Obviously he was not here to train, but to vent, so Seneca quietly joined him on the dojo floor.

"Your focus is elsewhere."

Though Akiva nodded, he did not speak or look at his sifu.

"Kung Fu is not a martial art so much as an achievement of the human spirit," Seneca said. "And, well, the Klingon spirit, too." He was part Klingon, though how much had never been determined.
"What is blocking you this morning?"

Commander Akiva could ignore the question, but Disciple Akiva could not. When Sifu asked a question, then he had to answer or forsake all future instruction.

"Women." Akiva may have had to answer the man, but he did not have to look at him.

"Ah." Seneca allowed a tight smirk across his face. "There is much to be said for celibacy. Many faiths and disciplines teach this."

Akiva rolled his eyes. This was not what he had hoped to do in the early hours before his shift.

"Yes, I know that," he replied at length. "My own faith is among them, though we allow for marriage."

Seneca gave a knowing smile. "Then you struggle to find a woman to take as a wife?"

"Not exactly." Akiva flushed a little at the memory of the previous night where he had embarked on a courtship with a blonde bombshell only to literally fall into the arms of a raven beauty. "My dilemma is narrowing them down."

"Oh, my." Seneca very nearly laughed, but he suppressed it. The smile on his face spoke volumes of humor nonetheless. "You would not be the first man to change his religion for the cause of love."

"No." Akiva was quiet but firm. "Not that. Never that. It's the only constant in my life, and my only piece of home."

"Home is not where we came from," the master-at-arms said with slow deliberation. "Home is where we make it."

"What are you trying to say, sifu?" Akiva shifted on his backside to face Seneca for the first time. "That I should try to make a home with both women?"

"Of course not," Seneca scoffed. "When considering matters of the heart, the bottom line is always determining what--or whom--one cannot live without."

The admonition set Akiva's thoughts aflutter. Amber came to mind... her strength of heart and captivating eyes, her warm and stunning smile that always enticed him to pursue her with promises of pleasure and happiness in store. But then his thoughts turned to Laena, unique and exotic with a captivating beauty wrought in frailty which practically begged for him to satisfy her lonely want. That both of them were drop-dead gorgeous only made the dilemma that much worse.

"I don't know who I can't live without," Akiva finally muttered.

"Then I suggest you go and find out," Seneca said. "Find your footing before you break something else." His eyes drifted to the wooden fragment on the floor nearby.

Akiva chuckled. "You're right, sifu, as per usual."

"I know." The comment would have come across as smug from most people, but Akiva took it in stride.

"I suppose... there is nothing wrong with courting both ladies until I discover which path I should take." Akiva smiled at the other man.

"Courting? I was talking about you replacing my Muk Yan Jong which you so rudely demolished." Seneca gave Akiva a playful slug to the shoulder. "No, really. It sounds as though you already possess the wisdom to proceed. What remains is for you to simply exercise it."

"Yes, sifu." Akiva remained unconvinced, but he felt less conflicted about an immediate decision. He stood up along with Seneca and bowed to his teacher. "Thank you for your instruction. I'd better get cleaned up before getting to work."

"More wisdom." Seneca winked at him.

Akiva winked back and headed for the door to his quarters for a quick sonic shower and a change of clothes.


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