Stupid Little Circles

OK, Tom. How'd your beginner class go? I understand you needed a rescue team to get you out of your own gym?

Very funny.

What happened?

We have a wild card... or at least an odd duck. Bat maybe? I don't know if you saw that little brown girl with the pointed ears and wings?

Hmm... Brown skin, brown eyes, brown wings, brown, dare I say it, uniform. Yah. She kind of stands out.

Turns out she isn't Starfleet Academy. She went to some tiny science school, deep in the Amazon basin. Great rep. They turn out some fine kids, but it isn't Starfleet. So, anyway, she shows up at the Yards with a brand new Ensign's commission, no hand to hand combat rating, so the computer tells her to show up at the station's beginner's class.

Brown belt?

Brown claws. I don't know that she's had any formal training, but she's got enough retractable pointy things on various appendages that I dropped her out of the basic moves line right quick. I mean, you don't use a basic front kick when you've got a velcoraptor's heel talon hanging out the back of your foot. Gogu Ryu, my basic style, teaches circle block, straight strike. She needs a ripping strike style, and she may not be strong enough for the circle blocks to work. A lot of races can use a lot of human styles, but...

Yah... Some prefer their own styles for good reason.

So, I sit her down, tell her to watch, that we'll talk after the class, until it came to one on one sparring at the end. I figure, what the heck, I had a student who knew what he was doing, let's see what she could do.

Mistake, I gather?

Well, first we had this little cultural misunderstanding. Seems her species is into gender specialization. Females are hunters. Males protect territory. Males protect females. Females run away, and hide behind males. Why does she have to stay inside that stupid little circle? She needs wing room. Males don't attack females. Females don't stand there and defend territory when something bigger than they are is coming. That's a male's job. I got the impression, though she didn't quite say so explicitly, that males are big, stupid and expendable.

Ah, yes. A slight cultural disconnect?

Uh huh. Anyway, I tell her there won't always be males to protect her, she won't always have a phaser, not all males in the galaxy are on her side, and just once to the first touch. I say begin. She just stands there, trembling.

That scared?

That's part if it. It might also have been an adrenal reaction, or something like it. If she was going to fight something as big and threatening as a human, she wanted to max out her metabolism, somehow.


So Jacob comes in, telegraphs the world's slowest round house kick, and she explodes.


Full speed. Full speed with a maxed out adernalin rush. Some sort of buzz saw instinct. She pops her wings open, looks about three times her size, screams like a banshee, throws enough claws and talons at him that he retreats out of the circle, then she jumps straight up, flaps the wings a few times, and clings to a cieling mounted light fixture. Still, I might add, directly over the circle.

Oh, dear.

Jacob acknowledges good touch, and I explain we only spar until first blow, that a death of a thousand cuts isn't necessary, that we're not really out to hurt her, that she can come down off the ceiling. She expresses the opinion that if you let something as big as Jacob, and threatening as Jacob gets as close as Jacob, you deserve to die, that you should hurt him as badly as possible before you die, and give warning to your pride so that they can get away...

Oh, dear.

And we have too many rules. In the jungle there aren't any rules. She offers to show us her style, her way. I figure, why not. Get her dealing on her own terms. Let her get comfortable. Get her down off the ceiling. I say OK. I relax. I sign Jacob to get away from the circle. She starts playing with a tricorder thing on her belt... and the lights go out.

How'd she do that?

It isn't hard. Simple protocol, really. There are no high security access protection locks on your typical light switch.


Her race is called the Nightflyers. They hunt by night. Those long pointy ears are optimized for sonar echo sounding. She demonstrated that in a jungle by night, there are no rules. She demonstrated that if the enemy sees you but you can't see them, you are dead. She got good touches on three of us before we figured out she was challenging the entire class. We learned that no matter how good or bad we were as individuals, we hadn't a clue on how to fight as a group in the dark. And we learned that aliens can be scary. Fighting aliens when the aliens define favorable terms of engagement is scary.

Ahh.... And males are big, stupid and expendable? So you had a good class after all.

In a lot of ways. She didn't have to lock the doors on us, though, and leave us in the dark.

Nooo... she probably didn't. But.... Strike and disengage. Once you have handled the enemy, you vanish.

Cling to the ceiling. Out of range. Safe. Yep. That fits. Anyway, I can pass her as competent in hand to hand, or hand to talon. I'll want to talk to the Razerwolf's combat instructor, though, and likely the ship's councilor. They might want to avoid a repeat fiasco. She's apparently boarded the Razerwolf, and pulled off her comm badge. I'm guessing she would be reconsidering her Starfleet career, and is thinking about returning to a nice safe rain forest. I figure Planetia Utopia has bungled alien relations 101 badly enough to let the Razerwolf people start over from scratch.

Razorwolf's captain is a Klingon.

I'll definitely want to talk to their councilor, then.

Anything else?

Well... Some of the other physical training instructors have decided it is cute to suddenly turn off the lights and scream. Not funny...

Live with it.

Yes, sir...


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