For the story so far
My name is Keegan and I got to tell you, space flight is boring. We’d been on the Bwbachod for three days. I mean seriously, she was cool, the Bwbachod but three days in a ship that liked playing jokes on you. I almost peed myself when she changed shape. I was walking happily along a corridor, okay so I lied. Chaise had me running laps of the ship and she fucking changed on me. I went to put my foot down and suddenly there was this bloody almost vertical smooth wall in front of me. And she’d dotted the surface with Doire, each one shifting patterns and colors so the whole effect made me rather motion sick. The damn ship was lucky I did not hurl on her but I wanted to , I really wanted to. The only thing that stopped me is one of the others telling me about some idiot who got so drunk on board and this very Bwbachod formed around him and his vomit causing him to instantaneously find himself in outer space. He did not survive. I hope they were just pulling my leg, but I wasn’t going to test the ship out.
“How much longer,” I panted as I pulled myself up the surface. The damn thing changed to some form of conveyor belt. Fucking Bwbachod, I said that in my head, I was not game enough to say it out loud.
“I rather think until the ship stops.” Chaise laughed. “It’s good training.” He added. Like that was meant to make me feel better.
See it all started after the tour. I got shown to a room. It was a bit like a bunk room. Bunks around the outside with a hexagon floor space. Two of the soldiers were sparing. One ducked and weaved, the other dodged. It was like some sort of random dance. Then, after several minutes, one man hit out towards the other. The first man shifted his head to the side at the same time as he pushed a shield up. It was seriously cool. The thrower, hit the shield, sliding off the top to graze the man’s skull.
Then they turned and bowed to each other.
“That was amazing, can you teach me to fight like that,” I asked.
One of the men, the one who had raised the shield looked me up and down. He tilted his head to the side and continued to look me up and down.
“You may call me Gaithaise. You will not question my methods. You will do exactly as I or anyone that I put in charge of your training tells you. We will start soon.”
And so that was why I was busy running up a nearly vertical endless slope. I’d been fit before my training had started but I was so damn buggered now. Running, pull-ups, crunches, mountain climbs, whatever Gaithaise could think off. Then when he seemed to run out of ideas, he’d get someone else to take over my physical fitness. I had some time off.
He told me yesterday when I could run no longer he’d give me a book to read. Jeez, that book was sounding good now. I slipped, grabbed the side of the treadmill thing and the damn thing sped up. I flew down to hit the ground.
“You lost concentration.” Chaise commented. He was my current torturer. Funnily enough, I’d been close to calling it quits yesterday. I was on my fourth round of crunches, mountain climbs, and planks and they’d started fighting in front of me. Three of them versus Gaithaise. They managed to get a hit on him, but he’d winked as his shields had popped up into place. I guess he’d allowed them the hit. The dance though, it was magic. It was like one man moving between raindrops, it was better than anything I had seen and it was calming. I’d been allowed to collapse after that, waking up a couple of hours later by PIB who licked my face, to see Chaise, Pawman and Gaithaise fighting. Oh boy, I really wanted to be able to move like those three. If the others had moved beautifully these three together, I guess it was like an orgasm, not that I knew, just saying.
Perfection, grace, elegance, fast and deadly. If I could move like that, if I could fight like that then I would be able to defend myself against whatever would chase me on my return, whatever had ripped out my father’s heart.
Gaithaise had ordered me up the next day, my muscles protested big time but he simply had me stretch and then I started running laps. Every hour or so Gaithaise would let me know that another soldier was coming to take over my training. But now I lay sprawling, an image of Dad popped into my mind and I dragged myself up. I needed to be able to fight like those three if I wanted to be able to survive.
Gaithaise had told me to follow directions and orders. If I wanted his teaching then I guess I was going to run again.
“That’s enough. You can have a couple of hours off.” Chaise commanded. He grinned as he said it though. Sneaky bastard. “Follow me.”
He led me to a room, I lifted my arm on the way and smelt. Jeez, I stunk.
“Is there a shower on the ship,” I asked.
“No, we will stop soon enough and you can shower then. Meanwhile, your reading.” What could be described as a hologram of a book appeared?
“If you want to fight, you need to know strategies, you need to practice strategies. For instance,” he paused and a chair appeared for me, as well as some sort of fan that blew in my face, cooling it. “Gaithaise has you doing plenty of physical activity. Why?”
“To build up my stamina, I guess,” I responded.
“Yes, but there are other reasons. When you repeat activities sufficient times they become automatic. Whilst you are running, you need to be able to think, to strategize and if you stay with us long enough, you can learn to morph whilst you run.”
“So, I’m going to be doing things multiple times so I can learn automaticity.”
“You still need a physical break, thus the books. Read and learn. I am sure that Gaithaise will test you on this later.”
I nodded. “Can I have a pen and paper? I remember better when I write things down.”
Chaise walked out of the room without answering.
“I guess that’s a no then,” I muttered to no one. PIB jumped up onto my lap. Where had she come from?