PHD #321: Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground
Summary: Nataly gets some lessons from Vandenberg and Richards.
Date: 13 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: A few Memoirs
Nataly Richards Vandenberg 
In the Set
Read below. Promise.
Post-Holocaust Day: #321

The bustle around the Elpis is the same as always, folks going on and off of shift as they travel through the ship to wherever they're going. In one of the common areas, Nataly sits on a couch, comfortable in a pair of overalls with a small bag beside her, writing in her notebook. She is getting some looks from those around her, some smiles, some frowns, to which she is oblivious. Occasionally she glances across the way to an easy chair, where a woman sits, staring blankly. After this she always shakes her head sadly, and then goes back to writing.

When Vandenberg arrives, she looks -nothing- like the last time they met. She's in designer jeans, a plain navy blue t-shirt, and black cover shirt that is left unbuttoned and flowing around her when she walks. Even her hair looks like she brushes it out, the length bobbing around her shoulders and turned behind her ears. Spotting Natalie, the Marine Lieutenant heads for her lazily. She drops onto the couch beside the young woman and rests against the arm. "Heya, Nat. Don't advertise me, hon." Apparently the Marine is here and not in uniform on purpose.

"Hey there!" Nataly says warmly, pulling up her feet to give the MP some more room. "It's good to see you!" At Natalie's admonition, the younger girl gives a quick look around, then nods. "Oh, ok. So, uh, how is everything going? Did you sort out who was stealing the food?"

"Good to see you, too, kiddo." Natlie's own smile is a little subdued but its genuine. "Can't get into that at the moment. Sorry." She clears her throat and glances around casually. "You get the note? Seems you've been causin' a stir."

Nataly smiles, but looks a bit confused. "Oh, yeah. The note was great, a real pick me up after I got off a shift in Hydroponics. Dunno what you mean about causin' a stir, though." She shrugs. "Someone defaced a few of the copies, but its probably just that Rene-Marie guy or one of his friends. No biggie. The Pyramid team at Davidson did worse when I wrote an article about how they were basically taking turns dating the cheerleaders." A small frown forms. "I wasn't jealous, no matter what they said. Anyway, one of them took me to junior prom."

Natalie might be amused but there's something else in her eyes. Or perhaps a lack of it. No emotion? No, not that. Its darker. There's emotion but its heavily reigned in. "I bet they weren't happy about that." Vandenberg continues looking around, glancing at faces and their hips as they walk by. Eventually her focus settles on Nataly and those green eyes are stone cold. The eyes of a killer. Nataly has probably seen them on the faces of Marines before when there have been emergencies or some serious business going down. Her voice drops to nearly a whisper. "This isn't high school, Natalya. I meant what I said in the note. You need to be careful. These people are not screwing around. What Rene-Marie pulled on my team and I? I think he wanted violence."

Nataly thinks about that, sucking on the end of her pen for a second. "Hmmm. You're probably right, but what he wanted was for YOU to be violent. If he gets violent, or one of his friends, then you lot can pack him off to the brig, and no one would mourn him being gone." She shrugs. "He loses everything if he takes the first swing, 'cause taking the first swing at a Marine is STUPID, and he wants people to think he's smart. Besides, if he is so dumb that he wants me hurt, that's why you're gonna do the self defense thing, right? I'm not gonna shut up just because some scarf-wearing emo-wannabe doesn't like what I say."

"He wanted us to be violent so that the people would rage against the military. If four Marines had been assaulted like that? Surrounded in a corridor by an angry mob? Natalya, Marines fight until our dying breath. We would have gone to guns. If I hadn't been there I think there would have been an explosion of violence." Likely Vandenberg has talked about this with a few Marines. "He doesn't have to take the first swing. He's a charismatic guy. Why should he endanger himself when he can get other people to do it for him?" Its a posed question she doesn't see the need to answer. "I can teach you only so much. If you fight off one, next time they might try with three. Or more." The Marine turns to face her more. "I'm not suggesting you shut up, but you need to be careful about accusations. This is the last of humanity, Nat. History ended on Warday. We're starting a new chapter right now and people might very well be willing to kill to be penned in."

"That is one way, but I'd rather be the one holding the pen." She leans forward a bit to pat Natalie on the leg. "I appreciate the concern, really I do, but I might be able to help you guys with my writing. I don't want to give that up. I'll be careful when I move around, keep from being alone in dark corridors, etc., but I honestly don't think it'll come to that. I'm a glorified high school student, and they're thinking about taking on a military ship and her crew, the same one their lives depend on. Whatever sense they have will tell them I'm not the threat they need to worry about."

"We all have dreams. You want to write history. You want to make sure people understand what they are being provided with. Trust me, we understand." She touches her fingertips to her chest. 'We' is likely the military. Or at least the Marines. "I once saw a man shoot another in the face because the shooter was insulted in the local paper by the victim - who was a reporter. People get insane over two things: love and politics. Neither are logical." It might be a joked line, but the Marine is serious. She only glances to the tapped knee. "They aren't going to care if you are a glorified high school student, girl. Ideas, especially radical ideas, can become violently unpopular quickly. Or violently popular. Sense and logic will have absolutely nothing to do with this."

"I'm not sure what you want me to say, Natalie. I'll be careful, but someone needs to stick up for you all before someone does something stupid… or rather something else. I'll watch my step, and I'll learn what you teach me, but…" she gets a stubborn look on her face. "I'm not just gonna duck my head and stay quiet while it all goes to hell. Maybe if I can show how stupid these people are being, other folks will realize it too, and then it'll just be a few whackos; basically harmless." She looks Natalie in the eye. "Would you give up being a Marine, just because I wanted YOU to be safe?"

Natalie just watches the young woman explain it all in her own light. The Marine doesn't seem to outwardly react. Her face is marble, though. Anyone giving Vandenberg a double-take would know who and what she was. "No. Because I have the means, capability, and willingness to kill anyone I meet. Including those who would harm you." Its delivered stone cold and quickly. The pink dot on her neck is barely visible as the scar healing from her most recent neck wound. No telling how many more she might have from backing up her words. Semper Fi, indeed. The Lieutenant's eyes dart to the bag beside the younger woman. "That your workout gear? Its time we had a lesson. You ever been punched before? Thrown a punch?"

"For the record, Natalie, you might want to soften up, a bit. When your face looks like that you'd be recognized as a Marine even if you were twirling from a pole at Pete's." Giving a smile, she grabs the bag. "Yup, here and ready, just like you told me. We gonna go over to the gym?"

"There's a certain mindset that the face betrays. You will have your own, trust me." Natalie rises from the couch and motions for the girl to follow her. "No. We're going back to the battlewagon. Its time shit got serious for you." As Vandenberg moves off, she reaches into her pocket and produces an ID badge to be clipped to the shirt. "Keep this in your bag until we are on the Raptor." 'Rassvet, Natalya. CIV. Marine Escort ONLY. Detain on sight w/o escort.'

"Oh, ok, one second." Nataly stuffs the badge in the bag and then walks over to the chair, crouching in front of it. "Aunt Cicely? It's Nataly, can you hear me?" After a moment the woman's eyes come into focus, and she looks over at the younger girl with recognition, a small smile and a nod. "Ok, I am going over to the Cerberus for a bit. Don't forget to go for dinner when its time, Miss Peters will probably come for you. I'll be back soon, ok?" Another long pause, then a nod, and then Nataly walks over to join the Marine. "Ok, lets go."

Richards has arrived.

The Raptor ride over would have had a few people on it. Vandenberg and the girl probably would have gotten a few curious glances. Making sure Nataly has the badge on her, the two would have walked across the hangar deck and on up to the Athletics Area after a quick stop by the Marine Officer Berths. Van would grab her own bag and head for the Athletics area where a large blue mat is lain out. Having changed, they would be back out on the mats a few minutes later - Van in sweats and her military tanks.

Changed from her overalls into her workout gear, Nataly still holds a bag with her clothing as they walk out onto the mats, quietly observing everything as they walk. Her looks at Van are slightly different, a reevaluating, perhaps, as they walk. Her ID badge is clipped to her shirt, marking her as here with permission, so long as she has a Marine escort.

Warming up across the way, Richards has been here several minutes stretching while awaiting N&N's arrival. When they find him he's stony faced, nothing like expression found upon his features. As far as it can be concerned, he might as well be some kind of automatronic imitation of a man. Looking across the room, he offers the pair a nod, nothing else.

Vandenberg leads Nataly over towards Richards. "Just clip the badge to your bag. Nobody is going to question you while you're in here with us. Just don't go anywhere without the badge." Stopping beside the young-looking man, Vandenberg stands between them. "Sergeant Richards, this is Miss Natalya Rassvet. She's the woman who wrote that kind letter about us and posted it on the Elpis." She looks to Nataly, then. "Nataly, Sergeant Richards is going to try to kill you today. If you've never been punched or thrown one before, you most certainly will today."

At that, Nataly takes a very deep breath. She unclips the badge and tosses it over to her bag, and then nods. "Nice to.. meet you?" She offers a hand, a bit uncertainly, to Richards. How else do you greet someone who is gonna try to kill you?

Richards mental notes - thank Nataly for her support later since he really can't right now, that being due to the nature of the task the El-Tee has put before him. The offered hand is glanced at but not taken, nor does he really do anything to acknowledge her greeting save for the faintest narrowing of his eyes at the girl. Not being in possession of body mass like Crowe and Constin, he's having to rely on attitude to convey the severity of what is about to happen. Hopefully he'll pull it off.

"What I'll be doing is demonstrating to proper way to handle an attack on Sergeant Richards. After a dry run for you, its going to be the real deal. Richards will come after you and I want you to take him out." Vandenberg motions them over to the mat. "Sergeant, grab headgear for yourself so we don't break your jaw or cause a concussion." She then looks to Nataly: "We will be simulating groin strikes and eye gouges. At no time are you to touch either part on the Sergeant. Just say the part you are going for and motion towards it. Is that understood?"

Nataly doesn't respond out loud, but nods as her face takes on a look of determination. So she's gonna be swinging at him, first. Ok, but not touching? Ok. She didn't want to hurt him… STUPID, girl, he's trained for this, you don't want to look weak or they may just try to get you to give up writing. She nods again, takes a deep breath, and then waits for whatever is going to happen to happen.

Nodding, Dick ambles to where the sparring gear is where head protection is gathered, the padded item then tugged over his head and swiftly fastened into place with the ease one tends to exhibit after quite a bit of practice. "Think I'm ready, sir," he intones, finally speaking. Nataly is given a quick nod and then he stands there, taking up a defensive stance instinctively.

Vandenberg nods once more, sternly, to Nataly. "Let's begin. Watch closely. We'll start with attacks and grabs from behind since that's where most grabs will come from." Vandenberg walks over towards the wall, about three feet away, and faces it. "Sergeant, I want you to put both hands around my neck and try to shove me face-first into the wall. Play for keeps and no Marine training. Barfight Only." And so it begins. The Sergeant does as instructed. He comes at her from behind, wrapping both hands around her neck. Natalie, being as small as she is, might seem easy to manhandle. This is false. She takes the hit but puts her hands out to the wall, turning her face away as her head is pushed to it. Her left arm lifts in one lightning fast motion while her body twists around to face Richards. That left arm shoves at his own, loosening, if not tearing his grip off. Her right arm swings around and she lands an elbow right into the Sergeant's headgear. The left hand curls around his arms, locking them while her left knee lifts repeatedly towards his groin but never hits. It ain't over until Richards backs off. "You good, Sergeant?" She then looks to Nataly. "Your turn. Slow motion. I'll talk you through it."

Nataly takes this all in, and then takes a very deep breath and turns her back to Richards, so he can grab her from behind. Another deep breath. "Ok, I'm ready."

Dick does like he did with Vandenberg after giving her a thumbs up to let her know he's fine, that being coming up behind the younger of the two women, his arms wrapped about her in the same manner the Lieutenant experienced. He is mindful of the fact that she's smaller and younger and inexperienced but even then he doesn't really hold back, only stopping from causing actual bodily harm while holding her in a grip which is strong.

"Slooow. Okay," Vandenbeg stands beside them. "When he gets you into this position against the wall, you're going to screw his wrist. When you flex the wrist back, your hand is forced open. When you lift your left arm and tuuurn at the waist, you are going to shove his wrist open with the sheer force of your arm. Right there, he loses control of you." The Lieutenant motions to the moment. "One hand can't control the neck except from the front. So you bring your right elbow up and you want to hit him as hard as you can about three inches up on your forearm." Natalie taps the area on her on arm. "Then your left arm swings down, locks his own arms in place and you own his manbits. You do not stop attacking that point with your knee until he crumples. One hit will usually do it."

Going in the spirit of the thing, Nataly follows through with the instructions she is given, following the motions fairly well as she goes through the steps. It helps to think of it as a dance, and so she hits her marks in stride, almost like she is on a timer. "Screw back his wrist, force hand open, turn at the waist, shove at the wrist, elbow to the head, lock down his arms, and Knee, knee, knee…" it is all slow motion, but it makes sense to her.

At this speed there is very little chance of Richards getting hurt but he does go down, sinking to the knee which is the subject of their student's attack. Looking at her and then to Vandenberg, he doesn't move after that, giving his CO the chance to make corrections or add further directions before he gets back onto his feet.

"Exactly. Just make sure you turn your face away from the impact of the wall. What he's trying to do is break your nose and slam your forehead to disorient you. That -will- happen if you don't turn away. But that's exactly how its done. Its easy and incredibly effective." Natalie leans forward to offer Richards a hand-up. "The only difference is if you face a woman attacking you. Obviously a knee is still going to hurt. A lot." She lifts her knee and taps it. "But the knee is used for higher strikes. If its a woman you take a step back and you give the single hardest shin kick to the groin that you could ever possibly muster. Then do it again. You can alternate open-faced punches to the breast or eye socket if the groin strikes on a woman don't work."

"Ok, I think I got that," Nataly says nervously. "So, uh, now we do it full speed, or what?"

Vandenberg says, "Yep. Fullspeed. When you are ready."

He is supposed to be stoic and imposing but dammit if he doesn't wince slightly at the thought of a shin to the groin. Sure, it's different when a woman gets nailed between the legs but if you can't be sympathetic at the thought then you might as well be a Toaster. Clearing his throat, he waits for the girl to turn around before getting his arms around her. Time for round two.

Nataly nods and turns her back on him, a bit nervously.

As soon as she feel his arms, her own go up as she turns her head to avoid getting her nose broken. She hits the same marks, this time much faster, and feels the added resistance. She feels his hand open as his wrist is screwed back, and then turns at her waist to get the leverage for the rest of the move. A push on his arms, and an elbow to his head, and she is now facing him, moving to pin his arms down and take the first knee shot, then another, then another…

Richards goes down like before although this time there are several points in Nataly's attack where it hurts, especially when joints are involved in the impact. Going down, he holds up his hands, this time calling the girl off without waiting for the instructor to call a halt. Breathing hard, he remains still outside of the motion of his breathing which is ragged.

Vandenberg watches the takedown with a sly smile. "Outstanding, Miss Rassvet. Do it again." And so it goes. For another ninety minutes, Vandenberg would run the girl hard. Numerous elbows would be sent, ground throws executed, punches absorbed, and given. By the end of it, they'll be sweating. Its not an easy workout for the exercise given and bruises taken. All the while, the Marine Lieutenant drives them like a horse team. When it seems like people might be reaching the point of exhaustion, she calls it out. "Alright, cease fire." Natalie heads for her gym bag and grabs three bottles of water, tossing one to each of them. "Thank you, Sergeant. You can stand easy." Her gaze flits to the young woman. "Nataly, good work. Thoughts?"

Nataly is panting between drinks after gratefully taking the water. "I think my biggest advantage might be that no one will expect much resistance from someone my size…" she takes another deep drink. "I was a little scared, at first, but I'm feeling a bit more confident about it, now."

Pulling his head gear off, Richards now allows himself to smile. "You're a pretty fast learner," he compliments. "But you got a lot to learn, still. One lesson doesn't make you a hardened combatant, after all." Looking at Natalie, he gives her a faint nod to convey his approval before tossing the protective gear across the room, leaving it on the floor to put it away later.

"Its amazing how much you think you know until someone puts you under pressure at full speed." Richards has probably seen Vandenberg practice gun grabs, stripping a pistol from someone's hand and throwing them down on the ground hard. Its fast and brutal. She takes a long drink from the bottle and wipes at her lips. "Aye, Sergeant Richards makes an excellent point. Confidence is good, but its not learned until its instinctive. Your body needs to be able to react in an instant. Also, your movements are good. But they aren't fast enough. I have an exercise regimine I want you to start."

Nataly nods and turns to face Van. "Ok, what do you want me doing?"

Richards goes to his duffle and gets a bottle of water, the cap of which is popped open. This is all Vandenberg now, a show he's happy to hand over to her, the Sergeant taking this moment to towel off and drink some water.

"Anaerobic workouts. They force your body to work much faster and harder in short bursts. You've seen movies where someone can land five punches in two seconds? That's the sort that they are into. You ship's library should have something on it. Start at half the requirement and move up one level every day. I want you running twenty sprints every day within a week. If your gym has a punching bag, I want to see twenty ten second bursts in two weeks." Vandenberg lifts the bottle again and looks to Richards. "You on execution detail?"

Nataly takes all this in with a look of surprise on her face, but then nods and goes for her bag, which has her notebook. She starts writing it all down.

"Yeah, I am, El-Tee," comes Dick's answer. "Speaking of which, I should get myself ready for that. Can I consider myself excused, please?" Nataly's note taking gains her a bemused smile but he lets her do her thing.

Vandenberg nods, snapping her fingers and pointing to the door. "Get on it. I'll be down to join you shortly to witness." Unable to be apart of the detail, she is going to watch the results of her vote. "I need to grab a quick shower and get Nataly back to the Elpis before it goes down if I can." She looks back to the girl. "You're aware of what's going on today?"

At that, Nataly looks worried. "It's all over MV Elpis. They say that the law says that a court martial, in order to order an execution, needs to be signed by the President." She bites her lip. "There is no President to sign off… that makes them nervous. It makes me a bit nervous, too."

Oh boy. This is a conversation Chris doesn't want to be around for. Thankfully he is directed to go and he does, the snap and gesture getting him to scram for the hatch like a scalded pup.

Richards has left.

The Lieutenant dips her head to Nataly. "That's right. Ultimate control of the military is supposed to reside with the civilian leadership and thus the President must approve all executions of servicemen and women. Natalie wipes a towel across her forehead and tosses it onto her bag. "I want you to think about the ramifications of civilian control of this fleet, Nataly. What that might mean for us who are fighting this war. There's broad implications there." The Lieutenant sighs heavily, chugging the rest of the bottle. "C'mon. Let's get you showered." Then her face becomes that of the friendly, more soft woman Nataly met the other day. "I was able to liberate some excellent shampoo and body wash from Tauron. I'll let you use it if we can be quick."

"Oh… ok." Nataly falls into step with the older woman as they walk. "If… if the Colonel has the authority… to remand Colonial and Military Law because of the circumstances, then we aren't a democracy anymore, are we?" A few more steps. "And if he doesn't have that authority, if we are still under the Articles, then the detail is about to commit murder, right?"

"The military operates under the Articles of Colonization. If we had abandoned those, this would be a distinctly different situation. Because we still operate under them, civilians have rights and we don't impose brute force upon them." Natalie walks her into the locker room with her bag and heads for her own locker. "No, if the Colonel does not have that authority, he is committing murder. The execution detail, while following orders, is operating within the confines of the Military Code of Justice. Because we do not -have- a President, he or she cannot sign off. Therefore the convening authority defaults to Colonel Pewter." She opens her locker and goes about readying herself for her shower. A large towel is wrapped around her. "Technically? The government is operating as a military dictatorship for the moment. I know for a fact that this makes some people in the military uncomfortable. Whether or not this is temporary is up to Fleet Command, but remember what I wrote you: Gods. Colonies. Corps. Our duty to the people of the Colonies and the Articles comes before our duty to the military."

"They're still the ones pulling the trigger, or pushing the button." Nataly holds up a hand. "Is it written, anywhere, in any of our laws, that in the absence of the President the authority defaults to the Colonel? I thought soldiers were specifically exempted from that chain of command." She is looking really nervous now. "Look, I respect you and the Corps. I really, really do. But isn't it possible that in the absence of a Civillian government, there is no legal authority to approve this execution… which makes it not an execution at all? If that is even a possibility… shouldn't we wait and sort it out? Laws can be changed, legally. The Authority can be created, approved, all within the Articles. But to just do it… why is there such a rush to execute him?"

Natalie closes her locker, keeping her back to the younger woman for the time. Her hand rests on the locker door. "In time of war, when in the absence of national command authority, after having exhausted all attempts to contact NCA, unit commanders may operate in order to best serve the effort of the military as a whole." It sounds like she is reciting it. Those scars move with her skin, turning as she does back to face Nataly. "That man..thing about to be executed is guilty of treason, Nataly. I was on the jury. I heard the evidence. I saw it." She takes a step closer to Nataly. "Abbot was arrested back in..June. He's been waiting for a trial for months. If the rumors are true, he just wants it over and done with. The rush to execute? Its not just the military clamping down. But you better believe traitors aren't going to be let off with a slap on the wrist. Not when the last few thousand members of humanity are at stake."

Nataly nods. "So long as the law is there…" and looking reassured, goes for her own shower, her own skin basically unbroken. The sound of trust in her voice is strong, already she seems to be walking straighter. "Ok, it was good to hear it from you."

Vandenberg watches the girl head off for her shower but doesn't move. She turns back to stare straight ahead at the lockers in silence. There is no telling what crosses her mind but its probably not comfortable. Seconds tick by before she turns to grab her toiletries from the bench. The Lieutenant takes the stall next to the younger girl and turns it on, handing the shampoo over the top first.

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