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CMO. Saveron & Lt. JG. Alora DeVeau - "A New Martial Art"

Sedrin Belasi

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((Holodeck 3, USS Garuda)))

::Alora's suggestion that they explore their home planets via the holodeck had been eminently agreeable. Her desire to show him her martial training was met with rather more reserve. Vulcans were by nature pacifists, and whilst Saveron understood the principle of being prepared to defend one's self - he himself practiced the Vulcan martial art of Suus Mahna to a high level - he was aware that Terrans as a species still occasionally employed violence purely for it's own sake. That was not a concept that he found easy to equate with what he knew of Ensign DeVeau, and he had meditated on his reluctance regarding that particular exposure.::

::Having come to the conclusion that Alora's apparent desire to show him parts of her own life was not disagreeable in principle, he arrived at the appointed Holodeck, dressed in a long, loose robe against the cold of Federation Standard temperatures.::

::When the doors opened to admit the Vulcan, he stepped into a single, large room. On the floor were mats. A little more than half were made out of some sort of light wood while a smaller section boasted more padding. The walls were lined with various banners that contained script not too unlike Vulcan, but blockier. Alora was already present. Her uniform had been exchanged for a jacket that folded across and tied with a belt and wide, loose pants that billowed as she sat - or rather, kneeled. There was a man with her, an older gentleman around seventy or so. His features were unlike hers with dark, slanted eyes, a rounder face and darker skin. When he spoke, the words clicked and sang at the same time and Alora responded in kind.::

Sensei: Your guest is here. ::The universal translator offered::

DeVeau : Yes, teacher.

::Alora's gaze moved away from the man before her and to the man who had just entered and rose.::

DeVeau: Hey. Ready to learn some Aikido?

Saveron: Sochya, Lieutenant DeVeau. The acquisition of knowledge is always agreeable.

DeVeau: This is a holographic version of my sensei back on earth, Hideyuki Takeguchi.

::The Vulcan noted the nature of the name and the man's appearance. One of Terra's asian cultures, if he recalled correctly. He bowed politely, never seeing any reason to be less than so to a hologram.::

Saveron: I am Shghren T'Ashaii Savehroahn, and I am honoured.

::The man bowed in a fashion typical of his culture, then straightened.::

Saveron: Were you speaking Japanese?

::He remembered her saying that she was fluent in the language, and it was an asian language.::

DeVeau: Yeah. I can teach you if you want. It's pretty complicated and often allegorical, but it's a beautiful language.

::Of course, Alora was rather biased, but that didn't need to be said.::

DeVeau: Shall we begin?

Sensei: Hai.

::The hologram turned and took up position at the head of the room. Alora took a place diagonal to him, but facing.::

DeVeau: It is traditional for the newest students to stand closest to the door.

::Alora indicated a position to her left, which would indeed keep Saveron closest to the entrance.::

::Saveron inclined his head but moved to the side of the room first to remove his robe and slippers, leaving him standing in a pair of loose black trousers and a close-fitting garment that was essentially a very long, strip of white cloth, wound about his torso and over his shoulders in a complicated interleaved pattern that made it close-fitting but flexible, shifting with his movements. The garment left his arms bare, and the backs of his upper arms were covered in the same pale spots as the back of his neck.::

::Following Alora’s gesture, Saveron took up the position nearest the door.::

Once in position, Alora turned to face the 'sensei' who bowed. She bowed in return and indicated that Saveron should do the same. The hologram turned and then bowed toward the wall of the room upon which hung a banner. Alora did likewise.::

DeVeau: The first thing we're going to do is the walking Kata. This is the basis for every single move that we'll do in Aikido. Break down the more complicated motions and you'll always find something from this kata. When we do this, always keep your knees just slightly bent. Roll your body forward on the balls of your feet so that your heels are just barely off the floor, just enough to slide a piece of paper under them. When you move you want as little up and down motion as possible. Keep your weight on the front part of your foot and do more of a sliding motion and that will help.

Sensei: Hajime! (Begin.)

::The motions were not complicated in of themselves. To someone who was not used to performing them, however, they were awkward and contrary to how most people would move. Both the hologram and Alora performed them with a grace evident of long practise.::

::Saveron had an innate grace but the movements of the Kata were counter to how he had been trained, to how his body was designed to move. Despite the lightness of his frame his people were built for strength, adapted to a high gravity and a harsh environment, and his movements were overly stiff and lacked the flowing grace of Alora and her sensei.::

::As the kata wound to it’s close Saveron returned to his resting position.::

Saveron: It is... interesting. The basic principles appear different to that which I have learned.

::And it was always interesting to learn something new, even if he found this difficult. A challenge was not disagreeable.::

::Saveron’s attempts to mimic the motions were more successful than a lot of students, but was obvious that the Vulcan needed to relax. That was something else he had in common with a lot of newbies. Alora chuckled softly to herself and nodded.::

DeVeau: Aikido is a purely defensive art. If you attack someone, then you aren’t doing Aikido. It uses your opponent’s strength and speed against him to allow you to either get out of the way and run away, or disable your opponent if there’s no other option.

::Alora fiddled with the ties on her hakama and straightened it a little.::

DeVeau: The first rule is to not fight unless absolutely necessary. On Earth, if someone came and tried to rob you, any good Aikido instructor would tell you to just give the attacker what they wanted. Fighting should be limited to protecting yourself and others if you know you’re in danger of bodily harm.::

::The Vulcan considered the information. It was interesting in many ways, aligning with many of the principles that he had been taught, though not all of them. It was certainly educational.::

Saveron: Violence is always abhorrent; occaisionally it is necessary. ::He agreed.::

DeVeau: Okay, next up, falling!

Saveron: You have my attention.

DeVeau: While technically there are no attacks in Aikido, we do teach people how to attack so that one can practise defense. It’s done in a slow manner, however, because when you’re learning something, it’s better to start slow. Like...piano. You practise a tune for the first time, you’re not going to go a tempo. You’re going to start slow. Then, as you learn the piece, it gets ingrained in your muscle memory. Once that happens, it doesn’t matter what speed you’re going at, you’re going to be able to perform that piece.

Because of that, there are going to be lots of times when you make people fall or you’re falling yourself. So you need to learn how to fall in such a way where you aren’t going to get hurt.

Saveron: That is logical. Prevention of injury is preferable.

::And he was interested to see how Terrans practiced such things.::

DeVeau: We start from the bottom and we work our way up.

::Alora sat down on the floor and waited for Saveron to do the same. ::

DeVeau: First, the most important thing to protect is your head. So you’ll always want to tuck your chin as you fall so that it’s against your chest and your head never actually hits the ground. We always start at the safest point - on the back. Then we work our way up from there.

::Alora demonstrated and rolled back. She started with her head on the ground, then tucked her chin against her chest. Her arms which had began at a position across unfolded to come to her sides slightly bent.::

DeVeau: When you fall, you want to spread out the impact so that it’s not concentrated in one area and thus increases the chance of injury. If you fall with your arms like this, you’ll keep from landing on your elbow and your hand will be open and slap. Then it will sort of spring back up. You don’t want a hard slap, just a natural response to the fall.

Saveron: To absorb some of the impact. Suus Mahna utilises similar techniques.

::Basic physics showed the logic of the method.::

DeVeau: Every time you practise, do it at least ten times. Then we go from a sitting position and fall from there.

::Saveron nodded and, after a moment, copied her motion, chin tucked and arms at his sides and bent ever so slightly.::

::The obedient student, the Vulcan followed through the falls and rolls as Alora and her sensei taught and guided him, though it was plain that he had difficulty relaxing into the motion. The fact that he had enough strength to effectively push himself off the floor when he caught himself didn’t help his adherence to the technique.::

DeVeau: Maybe you should go see a masseuse.

::Saveron [...]ed his head curiously.::

Saveron: Why?

DeVeau: Might help you relax.

Saveron: Such would not be culturally appropriate. ::He said delicately.::

::Alora chuckled softly, then slipped over to the edge of the mat. Upon it near the wall were a pair of dark blue gloves that matched her gi jacket. She pulled them onto her hands, then rejoined her student. ::

DeVeau: There’s a lot of contact and sometimes its on the wrists and hands.

::It was an explanation for the gloves, an attempt to keep things comfortable for the Vulcan. She didn’t want to overstep her bounds again. He might not forgive her a second time.::

Saveron: I see, that it logical.

::It was also considerate, although perhaps she found it preferable to avoid such contact after their previous encounter. A spoken command to the holodeck’s computer provided him with a pair of elbow-length gloves that he pulled on fastidiously.::

Saveron: We also practice with gloves in Suus Mahna, though one is not afforded such luxuries in a genuine combat. In which case bare hands can be an advantage.

DeVeau: I imagine it could.

::That earned her another one of those blank looks where he tried to puzzle out whether she was thinking what he was thinking.::

Saveron: My people chose peace but we evolved from violent beginnings. We are capable of mental defence; and offence.

::Scrambling someone’s mind was an option, should the situation become sufficiently desperate. He felt it was important for Alora to understand that, unlike Betazoids who used their broadcast telepathy for casual communication, his people’s abilities could be far less benign.::

DeVeau: I know.

::The Vulcan nodded, seriously, just once.::

::Alora hadn’t ever experienced telepathy through physical touch before Saveron and Saavok, though she’d certainly been around Vulcans, including teachers of the language. While she admitted to learning more about their culture, particularly the differences between certain communities, she was not completely ignorant. She had learned something about their violent history and of the teachings they had adopted. She could certainly see the logic in it, and she could understand why they underwent such drastic measures. Vulcans were extremely strong and from what she had read, they had intense, passionate emotions. Or had if one asked a Vulcan.::

::The thing was, Alora wasn’t entirely convinced that the Vulcans didn’t have emotion, though some claimed that they did not. Even with those claims, hints to the presence of feelings emerged here and there despite all their attempts. Or maybe, for some reason, she saw it more with Saveron. Or maybe she was simply imagining it all.::

DeVeau: Okay, so the first thing you learn in Aikido are the releases. They’re called that because at their most basic level, they break the hold that the attacker has on you - force them to release you - and allow you to gain control. We’ll focus on the first four today and work our way up.

::Never refusing a chance to learn, Saveron was a diligent if careful student, mindful of his superior strength and having no desire to inflict any pain on Alora, who was gifting him with this knowledge. Saveron was not particularly strong for a Vulcan, but he was far stronger than a Terran.::

::Some of the movements were similar to those used in Suus Mahna, some were very different. One of them he had difficulty with because his elbow articulated in a slightly different way; species variation. She was a very patient teacher, he gave her the courtesy of studiousness. He did wonder why she offered to teach him thus, and whether she taught others. All of existence was a chance to learn, but there were only so many hours in a day and each was precious.::

::Yet for some reason it was this perhaps eminently unsuited Vulcan that she was endeavouring to teach this deceptively gentle martial art to. It was his wrists she wrapped her cool hands around as she demonstrated the holds, and taught him how to break them. He could have broken her arm with one hand, but he was careful to use only just enough force to break the hold, gentle as he would be with a child. Who knew when he might have cause to use such techniques against stronger opponents?::

Saveron: Fascinating. It is a very different art to that in which I am trained, though no less effective. I shall experiment with my own trainer. Saavok might also benefit from learning such techniques.

DeVeau: Why do you say that?

Saveron: He will be smaller than others of his age cohort until he reaches puberty. Our species develops more slowly than those with shorter life-spans.

::And once they reached adulthood, aging slowed markedly further.::

::Ah yes. It was easy to forget that. Alora had only been around adult Vulcans before Saavok - at least, for any real length of time. Human children changed so rapidly, but Vulcans had more gradual growth.::

DeVeau: I wouldn’t mind teaching him, though there’s just a few things I can do at this point. At the very least I can teach him the releases and practise getting offline which. Both are still very useful and can help protect you, but many of the motions require locks that would damage growth plates because of all the twisting even if you aren’t trying to. I’m...not really too familiar with Vulcan anatomy, but I wouldn’t want to cause him any harm. ::She paused.:: He might be getting tired of me though.

Saveron: My son finds your company agreeable. He indicated that you expressed similar.

DeVeau: Oh?

Saveron: After the Fair. As family we regularly share experiences.

DeVeau: I see.

::And the experience she had shared with Saavok had been agreeable, as a Vulcan would say. The touch of the child’s mind had a different feel from that of Kestra - and from Saveron’s. She refrained from describing it. They would probably think her mad. Well...maybe just illogical.::

Saveron: I also find your company agreable.

DeVeau: And I yours. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with both of you and I’m glad you’ve allowed me to take up so much of your time.

::Alora had never had an issue making friends, but she had to admit she hadn’t expected to connect with someone so quickly. Not that she minded. Her smile returned as she tugged the gloves from her hands.::

Saveron: I find our mutual experiences both educational and agreeable; a valuable consumption of time. It is, after all, a commodity than can only be spent or wasted.

::And he considered time with Alora to be time well spent. He sometimes found it difficult to relate to other crew members and develop friendships beyond the professional, something that he attributed to cultural differences. With Alora however there had been no such difficulties, and he found her company particularly agreeable.::

DeVeau: I just hope you both don’t get tired of me.

Saveron: I consider that there is a low probability of that occurring.

DeVeau: You know, if I’m ever...you know, around too much, you can just say that you need some time to yourself. I can get greedy sometimes.

Saveron: Should that situation arise, I will do so. ::He said gravely.:: One trusts that you will do the same.

::It would be preferable not to bore Alora with his company if she wished to seek more culturally comparable companions.::

DeVeau: I will, though I doubt that’s going to happen.

::Despite the lack of emotions, the Vulcans were a joy to be around, and quite interesting in her eyes.::

DeVeau: I like being around you, and I like learning from you.

::He, also, found such agreeable.::

Saveron: Then, on that premise, may I enquire as to whether you would be interested in a demonstration of Suus Mahna?

::He didn’t know whether she could learn the strength-heavy martial art, though he would be willing to teach.::

DeVeau: I’d love to!

::Alora knew very little about it to be honest, but she was always open to learning new things. She doubted that she’d ever enjoy a martial art as much as she enjoyed Aikido, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t enjoy it at all.::

Saveron: Then I will book the holodeck for an appropriate time.

DeVeau: Good. I look forward to it.


Lieutenant Commander Saveron

Chief Medical Officer

USS Garuda


Lt. JG. Alora DeVeau

Science Officer

USS Garuda

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