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Irina Pavlova

JP: Commander Brayden Jorey and Lt. Cmdr Oddas Aria - Teaching an Engineer How to Dance (Part 1/2)

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OOC from Andrew (writer for Irina Pavlova):  This is EXACTLY the kind of sim that makes me sad we no longer have a Top Sims competition.  Incredible character development, not only of the two participants, but indirectly of the people who matter to them.
 
This is part 1 of 2
 
 
 
((OOC: Between the memorial service and the awards ceremony. ))
 
((Ops, Main Embassy - Duronis II))
 
::Brayden sat quietly like a cadet reviewing their PADD before an exam. He had been looking over the mission reports and listening to officer logs for nearly an hour. He felt a slow burning fire of frustration building that he thought had been extinguished. He was beginning to suspect through the pages of the reports and subtle tones in the logs that the embers had remained hot and close to reigniting. They just needed something explosive for kindling and they had found it in the Typhon Expanse. The conditions were perfect for it. First, an officer with little combat experience thrust into the captain’s chair. Clearly, Admiral Turner believed Oddas was ready and after going over everything it was clear Toni’s instincts were spot on. Next, there was a rapid succession of difficult situations with equally difficult decisions to be made. Then you throw in a bull-headed, occasionally short-sighted and self-righteous, veteran marine who has managed to hang on to some throwback notion that the SFMC is a separate entity from Starfleet. The hidden danger was that Hannibal Parker, for all his bluster and ego, was a good man with good intentions - usually. It made him often come off as some sort of old warrior wiseman. Even when he was just lashing out at others because he didn’t have the coping skills to deal with his own emotions.
 
Brayden had been down this road before. He suspected that countless others had too. In fact Oddas’ new wife had been part of what Brayden saw as ‘the problem’ when he was first assigned to the Embassy. Irina Pavlova, a Major back then, was as much of a problem to social cohesion as Major Parker. Her blatant displays of disrespect, passive-aggressive manipulations, and tactless sarcasm might have been even more divisive than Parker’s more predictable machismo targ dung. Brayden had decided long ago that he was going to change all that. He focused on being the kind of leader Irina, and others like her, needed him to be to help them want to change the social climate. The irony was that he was given the perfect opportunity by Tyr and Hannibal during their past mission that involved the USS Discovery. 
 
They had tried to confine the Betazoid’s Chief of Security to quarters. It was a move that left both Irina and Brayden furious. Even though Tyr carried the rank of Captain, as First Officer Brayden was the ranking officer. FO trumps all but the Commanding Officer. Chain of command was simple that way. CO, FO, then everyone else on the senior staff regardless of rank. Brayden had let it all go relatively unspoken, but the marines’ actions that day had left a bad feeling with him. He felt like they were hypocrites who only championed chain of command when it served themselves. Most of the time they had no problem insinuating that they and their marines were somehow superior to other departments. Brayden pounced on the situation and insisted that Irina get back to work and dared the others to question his authority. None did. It wasn’t entirely a game-changer but he was convinced that that moment set up a series of events that would ease the tensions with Irina. Looking at the reports he was as sure now as he was then that Oddas now needed a ‘moment’ with Parker. Moreover, if the divide between green and the rest were to be bridged, it was now Aria’s responsibility as the Embassy’s Executive Officer. They were her crew now. Brayden believed that if anyone could pull it off, it would be her. She had a way in that he and all those before him didn’t - Irina.::
 
(( Executive Officer’s Quarter’s, Main Embassy, Duronis II ))
 
:: Aria was in her office, looking over the sensor data from the new sensor relay coming in all the way from the Typhon Expanse.  Rather, she was trying to, if she was honest with herself.  She had left from the memorial to come here where she was supposed to have a meeting with R’Trill, the closest thing they had to a Chief Engineer, but she was thinking mostly about the service and the men she had lost. 
 
Any other day the Engineering challenges of the Embassy with its three starships, the base, the new sensor grid, and now what was sure to be their point in the design and construction of Anchorage would have been enough to keep her engaged, distracted even.  Today, she was thinking of one large set of problems looming over her she never considered having to need to deal with: Commanding people around her who she was realizing she had little in common with.
 
Instead of diving into initial station design specifications, or marveling at the sensor network, or even reviewing repair estimates, she was rubbing her nose ridges and thinking about one man in particular.  ::
 
Jorey: =/\= Jorey to Commander Oddas. =/\= ::Despite the serious mood he was in Brayden’s tone was pleasant and downright chipper.:: =/\= I thought I could debrief you on your mission and offer a little stress relief at the same time. =/\=
 
Oddas: :: sighing :: =/\= Sir, respectfully, as much as I would love to get my nails done or get a new dress, I don’t think I have the time this morning. =/\=
 
::Brayden laughed. The Bajoran had a pretty good read on the Betazoid and under most circumstances a spa day, shopping trip, or some form of extravagance and hedonism would be his go to offer. However, under the circumstances and with the subject matter he had other ideas.::
 
Jorey: =/\= Actually, I was thinking a holosuite. There’s a simple sparring program that I’d like to share with you. =/\= ::As Brayden often did, he made the ‘question’ sound more like an order.:: =/\= Dress in your gym best, Commander.=/\=
 
:: She looked at the sensor data, and the time, and back at the sensor data. ::
 
Oddas: oO Pretend to look at sensor data or go get my butt kicked? Oo
 
:: In truth Aria liked Jorey, though most people assumed she wouldn’t.  Like most Introverts Aria didn’t mind being around people who projected energy.  As long as it wasn’t too many of them at once, and as long as they understood where boundaries were, and they could tell when she had enough of them, and they could draw some attention from her, and they didn’t mind her lack of social graces, and weren’t offended when she didn’t know what was supposed to happen next.  No, didn’t mind at all, as long as all those conditions were met.
 
Aria had wondered if it was telepathy or just personality that made him a natural at those things. In any event, maybe some time with him would be good now, before she was supposed to get up in front of everyone. 
 
She tapped out a message to R’Trill cancelling, then hastily added an apology.  R’Trill wouldn’t be offended by her cancelling an appointment, but Aria needed to practice her social graces.::
 
Oddas: =/\= My gym best is my gym only sir. I’ll meet you there in … 10? =/\=
 
Jorey: =/\= Just wear something comfortable. See you there. =/\=
 
:: On her way out the door she realized she had just made an appointment to get beat up. ::
 
(( Outside Holosuite 2, Embassy, Duronis II ))
 
:: Aria stood next to Brayden and peered at the holosuite console, unsure what she was seeing. The truth was, even if she knew what she was looking at, she’d be nervous. She had been sparing with Irina on a regular basis, and she was better than she had been, but still felt inadequate against all but the most basic opponents.::
 
Oddas: :: skeptically:: Sir, respectfully, what is this?
 
Jorey: It’s a multi-disciplinary combat training program based on some of the basic principles of Tassa A’kai.
 
Oddas: It’s not just an excuse to knock me down some more?
 
Jorey: Actually, the first lessons are all about how not to be knocked down. ::Brayden laughed as he set up his ‘work in progress’ program into the console outside of the suite..:: Also, in Tassa tradition we will not spar with each other, but will often cooperate together. We will spar with only holographic adversaries. So, no. ::He moved up and away from the exterior console and smiled at Aria.:: I’m not here to knock you down some more.
 
Oddas:  Generally, I would just avoid the other person and not get knocked down at all.
 
::Brayden stepped over in front of the door causing it to slowly open. Brayden led them into the holosuite and once they were both in the large door closed behind them. They stood in a small clearing, thick colourful jungle behind them and an oppressive verdant mountain ahead of them. There was a small leveled off area a few feet from the base of the mountain. From the platform there were a set of carved out stairs that wrapped around the rockface and led higher up the cliffs. Looking higher they could see other stairs and platforms that presumably went all the way up.::
 
:: Aria grimaced, she did not appreciate being outdoors.  Whether he knew it or not the Commander had hit on one of her least favorite things: being surrounded by trees, forests, and imagining the bugs, animals, and other inconveniences that came along with them.  She wasn’t afraid of them, just didn’t care to experience them if she didn’t have to.  The rockface reminding her of another rockface on another world certainly did not help. ::
 
Jorey: The very first principle of Tassa A’Kai is called Assaka, loosely translated it means the unwanted dance partner. ::Brayden very slowly started to strike Aria’s shoulder with his forearm. His movement was exaggerated and soft.:: See, I’m now your dance partner. Let me lead.
 
::Brayden’s arm made contact with Aria’s shoulder. It was clear she was still uncertain what he was asking of her so he put a little more force behind it and helped guide her movements with his free hand. Aria’s feet clumsily crossed over and stepped but she did move with his attacking arm rather than simply be struck by it. He took a step back and let his arms fall to his side relaxed.::
 
Jorey: The idea is that, if your opponent’s attacks become leading movements for a dance, they cannot strike you. Instead, they guide your movements into a spontaneous choreography. They become your unwanted dance partner.
 
Oddas: The only time I’ve only been remotely good at dancing, sir, there has been large amounts of Alcohol involved, and frankly the other people involved may have been humoring me.
 
:: Aria thought back to those people and was more sure of it than ever in this moment. As Brayden’s next movement pushed against her she pulled to her left, and took a step back, as if trying to avoid him.  ::
 
Jorey: ::Brayden cracked a devious grin.:: So, you are familiar with the unwanted dance partner then? ::A baritone laugh came from his chest.:: Come on. Take a series of three strike at me and I’ll demonstrate. Show me what Irina has been teaching you. 
 
Oddas: :: Tilting her head to the side :: something like that.
 
:: She sized the man up and took a quick kick at his ankle with her left foot, then a slight jab to his chest with her left fist and finished with a hard right hook to the side of his head.  At each step Jorey seemed to pull his body back and then counter-move in a way Aria hadn’t seen before. His movements looked like a somewhat strange, but graceful blend of kata and ballet. At each strike there was barely contact made before his body reacted and moved with her. His grandmother had described to him once as though they are punching the wind. They could feel the breeze against their skin, but there was no resistance and nothing to absorb their force. It was much easier for him than Oddas, after all Tassa A’kai was designed, developed, and perfected by telepaths over millennia. He had learned how to adapt much of it for non-telepaths when he and his Klingon Imzadi used to train together.::
 
:: Aria stared at the Commander with her fists in front of her face, ready to strike again, but feeling a combination of frustration and annoyance at the way the other officer had thwarted her attack.  She had pulled a punch, slightly, but not enough he should be standing and looking … smug. The fact he had done it while dancing around her, doing something else she wasn’t good at did not help. ::
 
Jorey: You see? ::He said smiling, unscathed.:: Like dancing.
 
Oddas: Right, :: sarcastically, but trying to smile :: dancing.
 
Jorey: Don’t worry, you don’t need to make it look so elegant. ::He shrugged his shoulders and started moving to the first platform on the mountain.::  If a Klingon with two left feet can get something out of it, I’m certain that you can too.
 
Oddas: :: as she followed :: As long as you don’t expect it this morning …
 
::Brayden didn’t expect anything. Part of becoming a Tassa Mystic is taking on apprentices and teaching others to become masters. It took some longer than other to learn, but it was a slow and life-long learning for all. Brayden too continued to learn and improve over time. He reached up over his head and gripped the overhang of the platform. It took quite a bit of muscle strength to lift himself up and on the platform. He remembered being a boy and having to train just to be able to do a pull up well enough to be able to make that first level. Oddas made it to the next platform by reaching up and using mostly her prosthetic, a crutch she hated having to rely on in situations like this.  Sparring with Irina on a normal basis she turned it to a weaker than normal setting, so as to rely on less strength than she had on a daily basis.  Now she was hoping Jorey didn’t notice she essentially was embarrassing herself by dialing the strength up. He didn’t. He to focused on reliving the joy he’d felt as a boy the first time he’d made it up to view. He was already facing the Jalara Jungles with sentimental eyes. He was brought back into the present by the sound of Aria’s voice. ::
 
Oddas: How long have you been at this s -- :: she caught herself, he had asked her to call him by name on multiple occasions :: Brayden?
 
Jorey: I remember Koroth and I use to spar when we were very small, 5 or 6. Shortly after that my grandmother started training me in Tassa A’Kai. ::He tilted his head with a high brow.:: You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but Calodia Jorey is an extremely skilled Tassa Mystic. I know a story that has my grandmother taking on multiple opponents during the Dominion War and vanquishing them all on her own. She likes to exaggerate, but from all the different accounts of the story from relatives, authorities and friends the number is somewhere around 13 or 14 at one time.
 
:: Aria knew the type well, from her own planet’s history.  As much as she disliked her own family, she had never doubted her mother, father, and grandparents were heros of their own Occupation. ::
 
Oddas:  The women I come from are all fierce fighters, some by choice, and all in different ways.  I would never underestimate anyone.
 
Jorey: Always a wise position to take. Assume everyone can dance and fight better than you. It will not only prevent you from underestimating someone, but will propel you to want to do better. ::Brayden open his arms and took on a relaxed posture to signal they were ready to begin.:: Irina and I will make a fierce warrior woman of you.
 
Lt. Commander Oddas Aria
Executive Officer
Duronis II Embassy / USS Thor,  NCC-82607
ASDB Co-Facilitator - Training Team
E239305OA0
 
and
 
Commander Brayden Jorey - Special OperationsEmbassy of Duronis II / USS Thor  - NCC-82607
Department of Veteran Affairs Training Team Member
Writer ID: T239002BJ0
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