PHD #214: Thera and the Sarge
Thera and the Sarge
Summary: During an afternoon in the athletics area, the Constin Fan Club is convened. Gods help us all.
Date: 28 Sep 2041 AE
Related Logs: None
Angelica Astra Constin Devlin Leyla Malone Madilyn NPC 
Athletics Area
A large pair of mats dominates the center of this room, their centers taped-out for a small area to practice boxing or other martial arts. Around the outside are treadmills, bikes, weights, and an impressive variety of gym equipment to help tone and shape the bodies of the crew. To one side of the room is the locker room while at the rear is a hatch that leads back to the oversized swimming pool. Off to the side is a rack that holds boxing gloves, pugil sticks, and the associated pads for the sticks.
Post-Holocaust Day: #214

Nearly three hours after the start of second shift, and Constin has had time to shed the uniform, get a late breakfast, and get some gym time in. The big sergeant has hands wrapped and boxing gloves on, killing time on the heavy bags.

Leyla, however much she looks as if she could use a bit of a workout, isn't actually working out at all. Instead, she's seated not far from where the Sergeant is working out, eyes directed just past him and towards the mats where two of his fellow Marines are sparring. If she were anymore the scientist, she'd have a pad of paper and a pen, taking down note—oh wait, she does. And is.

Whistling as he enters the athletics area, Malone looks around for a few moments, before he heads in the direction of one of the bikes, moving a bit purposefully. Looking like a man on one particular mission now.

Madilyn leaves the boxing and sparring to the other Marines. Today, she's got a date with an extended cardio session, specifically, a treadmill. From that side of the athletics area comes the whir and steady thump thump thump of feet on rubber as she goes at a pretty brisk jog. Today's goal is ambitious: 40 minutes at a steady pace like this, something that she (shamefully) hasn't attempted in some time.

The round timer sounds with a loud piercing double beep, and the sparring in the ring- as well as Constin's constant punching of the heavy bag, both come to an end for a brief breather. Squaring his shoulders and drawing deep breaths, the sergeant sends a narrow eye toward Leyla. "You got a test or something, sir?" he wonders dryly of the pilot. Madilyn on the bikes has drawn his notice, but a 'do not speak until spoken to' approach is employed with COs on a high speed treadmill.

"Sweet Pea," Leyla offers, as Constin comes to a stop, addressing her. Her attention, now that the sparring match has ended, turns to the big man she's seen only rarely since they came back from the rescue on Sagitarron, "And not an official one. But I have a feeling I'm going to need to improve my ability to punch someone in the face sooner, rather than later."

Pausing a bit right before he reaches the bike, Malone glances over in the direction of Leyla and Constin, "Always a good skill, that," he remarks, a bit lightly. Placing himself on the bike, he starts working, at a slow pace at first.

"It's a skill that pilots are usually lacking," Madilyn comments, between deep breaths. As she runs, her dog tags (which, are especially shiny with the addition of two rings - one with a large rock on it!) have a habit of getting mixed in with the end of her pony tail which has a habit of continuing to slide over her shoulder with the way she leans her head. "Even the CAG is looking to increase her close-quarters combat skills."

"Yeah, the Raptor jockey. I remember, sir," Constin drawls to Sweet Pea's introduction. "Punching's one of them things you gotta learn by doing, El-Tee." Malone gets a dry sidelong look, and short lived half-grin. "Ain't it just?" he drawls to the pilot, before inviting Leyla, "C'mon up. Hit the bag a couple times. Let's see if your hand falls off." Not too busy for a quick basic training lesson is the drill sergeant. Madilyn's words draw a short chuckle. "And well she frakking should. The Major in one helluva pilot, but she damn near got kay-oh'd by the heavy bag when she took a swing."

Leyla hops up from where she's been sitting, leaving off the notepad and making her way over towards the Sergeant and his heavy bag, "Well, I think that's because most pilots prefer the subtle approach of blowing things up from orbit." Well, not orbit precisely, but at least from a distance. Still, she moves easily enough towards the bag, ignoring the fact that she's walking up on a man that has both well over a foot and probably well over 100+ pounds on her. "Thank you, Sergeant."

"Personally, I prefer the approach of knocking people down by body checks, if I have to do the unarmed thing," comes the quiet comment from Malone as he keeps on pushing himself on the bike, with higher intensity now.

Angelica comes strolling into the area, "perhaps green…or red..that might work. Purple would be great, but I don't think we have any purple..well, maybe something else." She stops and glances around a couple times, "Oh, so this is where I ended up…"

Devlin heads into the athletics area ready for a workout from the looks of it. Headphones dangle out the neck of his non-regulation t-shirt to bump against his chest, and he fiddles with the settings on his music player as he goes. He glances sideways at Angelica as she talks to herself, and then heads towards a treadmill, lifting a hand to wave to a couple familiar faces. "Hey Constin, hey Leyla."

"The quickest way to subdue an attacker is the single, swift, savage attack. They can't fight back if they're passed out, you know," comes the slightly sinister? unexpected? surprising? response from the Marine CO. But then, being able to get a surprise knockout blow is pretty difficult when your hand-to-hand follows gunfights, Raptor landings, or whatever else tends to prepend such brawls.

"Anybody who relies too much on machines to do their fighting is walking a real bad line," Constin opines bone-dry to Leyla's opinion on the fighting habits of pilots. A tight grin accompanies the mild barb. "Take your stance. Weak foot forward, spread the feet a bit more. Chin down, weight between both feet, hands up." Mirroring the stance so that Leyla has a visual cue to follow, he mutters, "Shit, you're a midget, sir. Right, turn the shoulder into the jab, and snap it out- don't rear back, snap it our fast and bring it back to cover your chin.." Madilyn's sinister advice earns a tight grin from the big man who looks up with a "Sir," to Devlin's entrance.

Malone keeps quiet for now as he works on his biking, shaking his head a little bit after a few moments, "Wish I could use a real one…" he mutters to himself, with a bit of a grimace. Glancing up and offering a bit of a nod to the newly arrived ones now.

"That was always the philosophy where I grew up. Though, they seemed to prefer knives and guns to fists, so perhaps they were simply talking out of their asses." So says the black country girl. Right, she forms up, right foot forward, as she's left handed, settling into a mirror, if slightly more…diminutive stance to the big man beside her. Midget, Midget you say? "The better to bite your ankles, Sergeant." Hey, you reach whatever part of the enemy you can. "Alex, good to see you." But now, to business, as she strikes, following, as best she can, the Marine's cue.

Add another poker to the fire: this time, the potential for hand-to-hand 'refresher' courses for pilots. That all goes along with Marine courses for, potentially, the upcoming freighter addition to the fleet, and that's a lot of logistics in and of itself. Madilyn regards the others when they enter, silently, alone with her thoughts for the moment. She does take the chance to yank her ponytail back over her shoulders so that it's not in the way, however.

There's nothing quite like the smell of wet children. Several of them come out from the pool-room hatch, thin and scrawny and wrapped in towels, and with them a woman who looks thin and scrawny herself. There is an MP nearby who looks wishing to be anywhere else. The woman gets the children all into a half-organized group, sitting them down in an out-of the way place to get dry, maybe to rest. She sits down herself, nestling a towel-wrapped pair of bundles in her lap, and begins to stretch out as she dries her hair.

"Right," Constin deadpans to the jovial threat from Leyla. "Do NOT rear back for a punch. Leaves you wide open, and slows down the jab. S'everyone's instinct, to try and put muscle into the punch, but speed is all that matters in a jab. Roll the fist over as you extend-" He demonstrates, popping a quick jab out with a shift of his shoulders, drawing it back with equal speed. "The power comes from the speed, in a jab, so just focus on that. POP," he emphasizes with a faster demonstration. "And keep your frakking chin down." A crooked smirk back over his shoulder at Madilyn, the sergeant drawls, "Figure I got this spare for a reason, sir."

Angelica hmmms, as she spies the little event going on. Training..yes, the military do like their training. She strolls over to get a better view of what's going on, this might be interesting.

Hey, it's not like they didn't teach her hand to hand in the Academy, the problem is, they don't really teach you how to fight which is completely different. Academy fighting is forms and drills and practice routines. Real fighting is quick and dirty and completely foreign. So, Leyla, having only barely missed adding a new bruise to the Sergeant's side, goes in again, doing her best to really watch his stance, and the way in which he shifts his weight. Okay, here goes nothing.

Devlin heads for a treadmill, smiling at Madilyn as he goes by, offering, "Afternoon, sir." His fellow viper pilot gets a friendly smile as well, and a lift of the nugget's chin with the greeting, "Hey, Malone. Not in on the boxing classes?" He sets the treadmill to a walk to begin, watching Constin's lesson.

Malone keeps pushing himself on the bike, standing up a bit for now as he's adds even more power on the pedals. Doing so for about twenty seconds or so. Shaking his head a bit as he hears Devlin's question, "Not at the moment, no," he replies, with a bit of a shrug. "How are you today?"

Better Constin than Madilyn. He's actually seen combat recently. "If you lose an eye, you're still going to be expected to pass your rifle certifications, ability to visualize in three-dimensions or not," Madilyn comments to Constin. Devlin is given a nod as he joins her on one of the treadmills, and then her attention goes to the group exiting from the pool area - probably the biggest group of kids she's seen on board to this point.

"Better," Constin mutters to Leyla's second effort. "Now, you're a lefty too, so every time you throw a jab you're gonna want to follow it up with a straight left, down the center line.. The straight left? Is why crybaby orthodox punchers say lefties oughta be drowned at birth," he relates, with a smirk. Ah, the joys of teaching another southpaw. "Jab, straight. Right, left. Shift the shoulders back and forth like so- one-two.. And for frak's sake don't pick up your feet when you shift your weight…" Slowly at first, to let Leyla get the hang of the weight shift and shoulder rotation, he comments to Madilyn without looking away from the bag and pupil, "My hate runs hot enough to serve as a radar, Major. Like bats or some shit," quoth the big marine who clearly misunderstands the navigation of bats.

Two of the boys — the oldest — are watching the fighting too, and they stand up, circling each other in their little area. "Left, right, jab," mutters the oldest, who can't be more than ten or eleven. The younger boy grins mischievously. "Frak. Frak. Shit." he chirps, and punches the older boy in the stomach. The older boy gets him in a headlock, and the younger flails, until Astra turns her head and gives them The Look. "Zander. Nestor. I have a wealth of chores with your names on them. You want to learn real fighting, we'll talk about it later. And Nestor, just because the crew says it doesn't mean that it's fine for you to." Her voice is stern, calm, and the boys let go of each other, suddenly meek.

"Not too bad," Devlin replies to Malone with a broad smile, "You?" He punches up the speed on the treadmill to a jog, but nowhere near fast enough to preclude conversation. He keeps watching the boxing even as he talks to the other pilot, and then glances at Madilyn again as she chats the the big marine. "Major… Cavanaugh, is it?" he half-guesses, half-remembers, "The marine CO?" Astra and the kids get a chuckle as he spots them, particularly the little boys fighting and cursing.

Leyla follows the demonstration, and then turns her attention back to the bag. She steps forward, and then…almost tries it, only to fall back as she shifts her weight improperly and only just stops herself from stumbling forward. A shake of her head as she looks back to the man standing next to her. "I'm sorry, Sergeant, could you show me that again?" She does glance away, at the sound of familiar voices in the gaggle of children and one woman making their way out of the pool, but she knows better than to let herself get distracted from the lesson. She'd never hear the end of it.

"If you're into brevity. Otherwise, Willows-Cavanaugh. I started that following Warday, seeing as how I am, but at the same time not, married," Madilyn replies to Devlin. "Yes, the Marine CO," she adds. The course of the exercise is taking its toll on her as she keeps up the somewhat brisk pace: sweat is really beading up on her forehead and running down her neck. She's been here a while now, and the planned regimen is on the downhill side of being finished.

"Slip your front foot a touch further forward," Constin advises. "Weight should never shift too far forward or back." The chatter of kids and their imitation of marine habits and boxing lessons draws a curse under his breath. "Aw, hell. Folks better not be trying to get me not to swear." Going over jab/straight combination pulls his attention back. "Yeah, yeah. Rotate into the jab, same as before.. but when you're drawing it back- watch my shoulders.. When you draw the jab back, you're already shifting the weak shoulder back… just roll the strong shoulder forward in the same motion.. and snap out the straight left. Your weight should be rocking back and forth from side to side. One-two. One-two."

"Been worse, but then again, I've been far better too," Malone replies, pushing the pedals even stronger for a little while now. Glancing between the others for a few moments now.

"Sorry to hear that," Devlin replies to Malone, "I mean, anything in particular or just, like… you know. Post-apocalypse and shit?" To Madilyn, he smiles a little sheepishly and replies, "Willows-Cavanagh, got it. Sorry about that. We met real quick when I needed my background check checked on, I dunno if you remember. Lunair was there about marrying Marko? Anyways, nice to see you again, sir."

Okay, okay, okay, she can do this right? I mean, how hard could it be? Her opponent is a bag for frak's sake. Okay deep breath, as Leyla gives Constin all of her attention. And it certainly seems to help that she can actually watch him doing what she has to do, as opposed to having to watch him do it from the right, then try to imitate it from the left. "Maybe it would help if I imagine someone's face on the bag." Okay, so, once more into the breech, and this time, she actually gets a good hit. You know, for a bag attack.

Constin eyes Leyla with a short snort of amusement at the imagining someone's face bit. "That's it. Whoever's face that was, keep it in mind, cause that worked pretty well. Now- don't hold your breath when you punch. That hissing sound you hear when folks are throwing punches? That's them letting air out, so's they remember to keep breathing. Lotta folks will hold their breath when they panic.. Those are the folks that wear out in thirty seconds flat."

Most of the kids are dutifully stretching out, their limbs only now beginning to put on some flesh after near-starvation. Nestor and Zander, though, are still mimicking the punching moves, this time hitting the air instead of each other. For the most part the little flock is quiet, having learned the value of silence. Still, two voices pipe up as Astra stretches herself. The first, a boy's, asks, "But Mama Astra, why is 'shit' wrong to say? I mean, shit is nasty, so shouldn't it have a nasty word for it?" The other comes from a girl, about four, who just looks and points to the woman hitting the bag. "Pea-pea!" she cries, then ducks her head and hides behind her mother, frightened by the volume of her own voice.

The treadmill that Madilyn's on gives an annoying little beep as the programmed time for her little run comes to an end. As it beeps, the whirring of the treadmill's motor starts to die down, as the belt slows and the machine enters a brief cool down walk period. Next on her schedule for the day is a trip to the showers, then a date with a stack of paperwork filtering in from the surface of the planet plus normal ship's BS. Towel in hand, and taking a squirt of water from the bottle, Madilyn steps off the machine. A nod is given to those around here as she makes for the hatch and excuses herself.

"Just one of those days, I think," Malone offers with a bit of a shrug. "But now, warmup's over, so I'll head off to keep the skills with the ball as it should be," he offers, stopping the cycling and getting off the bike. "See you all later," he offers.

"Oh, I think I can do that, Sergeant." And she continues, not asking for anything new, simply going through the motions of repeating what she's already been taught. A glance, and a nod, if she can manage it, as people begin to disperse from the area, but she's mostly completely focused. She does look back over, as Petra calls her name, "Hello, little wahine. I hope you had a good swim."

Petra makes a soft sound, a half-swallowed giggle, and she peers out enough from behind Astra to wave at Leyla. Then she ducks back again, peering from behind the woman's head. Astra clears her throat to keep from laughing and waits a few moments until she can make her face appropriately stern, or at least neutral. "You're right, Piers, it is nasty. And we don't talk about it when we don't have to, because it's nasty. Do you really want to tell everyone about Evanthe's diapers? Should I describe the smell and the color to you? No? Well, that's why we don't say shit."

"But… Mama, why do the Marines and pilots say shit?"

"It's probably because we don't have someone smart and kind and well-mannered like Astra to keep us in line. You're lucky to have her." Leyla takes a moment, shaking out her arms. This is certainly not the sort of physical exercise she's used to. The stick takes a much easier touch. But she's soon back at it again, accepting correction easily when it comes.

"Come here…" Astra motions for all her children to scoot closer, and while she waits for them, she smiles up gratefully at Leyla. "Remember when I explained to you about the bombs and the Cylons and all the bad things that happened?" The children nod solemnly, and she goes on. "Well, the Marines and the pilots, they don't get to hide like we did. They don't get to run away. They fight the bad people. They have to see terrible things and do terrible things to keep people like us safe. And they don't always get to cry… So sometimes they say bad words that it isn't okay for you to use. Because sometimes grown-ups need to say those kinds of words."

"Alright, you're starting to get the hands.." Constin mutters to Leyla. "Now, work in a slip- you know what a slip is?" he thinks to ask, a moment later. The marine;s eye had briefly strayed from the bag to the teacher and her kids. Narrow blue eyes regard the small gaggle of civilians in their varying sizes and ages, before turning back to his pupil for the moment.

Leyla isn't going to be the one to contradict Astra's explanation. heck, it's likely the best she's ever heard. And, after its own fashion, it does make sense. But then, to Constin, and a shake of her head, "I haven't." Hands are light and loose at her sides, gloved and all, though they're not at all the sort that would be useful, in this instance, "Would you show me, please?"

"But Mama, you don't cry, and you don't swear," protests one of the older girls.

"Oh Thera, I cry. Just when you all are asleep. I've cried plenty. But see, it's hard to cry when you're trying to be strong for other people. And they…" Astra points towards the military folk, "…have to be strong for each other *and* for people like us. So sometimes bad feelings come out in swearing. And then you get used to it, and swearing doesn't seem as bad anymore." The woman shrugs, and the children look over at the remaining military with those puppy-dog glances of sorrow and admiration combined.

"Yeah, remember that side to side weight shift I was talking about before? Dip at the knees when you do that, like so-" Constin ducks from side to side, with gloved hands in front of his jaw, and chin tucked. "You see fighters doing this all the time, yeah? Now, when a punch is coming at you.. go on and extend your forward arm at my chin-" he instructs, bobbing to the side when she does, so that her hand reaches past his head. "That right there is a slip. Now. If you use that motion to fire off a counter-jab?" He repeats the slip, this time extending his forward arm unhurried. "That's how a midget like you is gonna get inside on somebody who has a shitload of reach on you. Square up on me, instead of the bag. Now, I'm gonna start off with nice slow jabs, so you get used to the motion. Slip my punch, and jab right here.." he holds up a glove in front of his chin as a target.

It's like Davie and Goliath, for realz! Leyla turns away from the back, watching carefully to try to get Constin's moves just so. And she does her best not to say anything inappropriate, nor act that way, as the children are now looking right in her direction. He's just a bag, he's just a bag, he's just a big, fraking huge bag, goes her inner dialogue. She really is trying her best to mimic his movements, for all that they look almost childlike in comparison to his experience.

A single scream interrupts Astra's lesson, as the little four-year-old tears away from her. After the scream, she is silent, but there is something feral in her eyes as she launches herself towards Constin. Astra has to hand the babies over to the other kids, but then she is dashing after Petra, calling her name. She grabs hold of her and they both tumble to the floor, the girl kicking and scratching and biting until she realizes who it is she's attacking. "It's all right…" Astra manages. "It's just a lesson, Petra."

"Frak's sake, don't get so stiff," Constin growls back at Leyla's awkward first attempt. "I ain't gonna hit you. Relax, move smooth, dip to the side. Shift the weight, nice and easy. Slip.. and jab. Take it real slow.." Then there's a screaming kid rushing at him. Constin stares- one eye larger than the other *stares* at the kid, perplexed. "What the hell?"

Leyla actually managed to look a bit put out, by Constin's admonition, "I don't want you to take it easy on me, Sergeant. I'm not going to learn that way." Of course, that's also practically begging for a trip down to Sickbay, but there it is. As Petra comes tear-assing towards Constin like a smurf-sized valkyrie, Leyla tuns, dropping her hands as she moves to help Astra as she can, "Petra, it's alright, Sergeant Constin is only teaching me. He's trying to help me fight better, that's all. It's okay, I promise."

Petra shudders, clinging to Astra now, and she gives a little nod to Leyla as she calms down. Astra lurches to her feet, her arms wrapped securely around the little girl. "Sorry. I'm very sorry about that. She misunderstood…" She shakes her head to clear it. "See, Petra, it's all right… It's all right." She offers Leyla and the Sergeant an embarrassed, apologetic smile. "It won't happen again."

"Sir, until you actually know how to dodge a punch and throw a proper combo? Sparring ain't gonna do either of us any good," Constin states plainly. "You try to go full tilt right out of the gate? All you do is stiffen up and lock in bad habits. You wanna learn to fight? You start light and dial it up once you get comfortable with the basics. Believe it or not? I've done this kinda shit before, sir," the drill sergeant drawls to Leyla, before regarding Astra and little Petra. The big, coarse marine frowns a bit, causing the scar that creates a gap in his hairline to tug with the expression. "Ain't a thing," he mutters to the apology. "You got a fan," he mutters to Leyla.

"Yes, sir," Leyla offers, the sir given with all of the respect she would give a superior officer. For all that Constin might be enlisted and she, well, not, today she's his student, and well deserving of her respect, "Of course, you're right," as she looks over to the man, still trying to comfort the small girl, "I just don't want you to go easy on me because I'm not a marine." Hence…a lightweight. "Petra, this is Sergeant Constin. He's a good man, stronger than anything. He takes care of me and the crew like Astra takes care of you," which is true, technically. He IS an MP, "So you never have to worry about him hurting me or Astra or any of you, okay?"

There is something still feral in Petra's eyes as she looks at the MP, and she makes a soft sound in the back of her throat that could easily be mistaken for a growl. Or maybe it is one. But she calms down, soothed by Astra and Leyla, and finally she nods. She gives one last glance at Constin, clicking her teeth together, and then she buries her face against Astra and clings to her tightly. Astra sighs, closing her eyes. Her cheek is scratched, and there are marks where small but sharp teeth bruised and broke skin. "I am sorry."

Constin looks down, frowning for want of any other expression to displace it as he regards little Petra. "'Lo there, little lady," he mutters in a token attempt to seem less menacing. Astra's second apology is met with a shake of his head and mumbled, "Don't worry none. I just ain't any good with kids." In search of something else to fix his eye on he notes Leyla, and belatedly corrects simply, "'Yes, sergeant', not 'Yes, sir'."

Leyla offers, gently, towards Astra, "Astra, perhaps you should see about talking to Dr. Byrne. He might be able to help a bit." And who knows, Astra may have already met the ship's Psychiatrist, "And you need some medical attention. Let me go get the kit." A nod, at Constin's correction, "Yes, Sergeant," before she moves off to retrieve one of the first aid kits that are dotting the area here and there.

"I just have to wait for him to be available," answers Astra. "And I can patch —" She sighs, bobbing her head, then looks embarrassedly at the Sergeant. "I… ah… didn't mean to interrupt you lesson… I'll ah… get going as soon as —" Before she can finish, though, there's another child at her side, this one a seven-year-old waif. "I'm Thera," she says. "And thank you for going through terrible things to 'tect us." She holds up a flower to him, silk, still attached to its ponytail band.

Constin, big hands still strapped into the bulky boxing gloves, lacks for an easy way to accept the offered silk flower, but regards Thera at the offer, with a drawled, "That's our job, little lady. But you're welcome anyhow. Now how's about you hang on to that pretty little flower awhile longer, since I don't really have any hands right now, yeah? Besides, I ain't got the hair to wear it," he deadpans, in the same even tone he'd used while addressing these curious creatures known as 'children'.

"You don't need to keep apologizing, Astra, honestly. You're living here as much as we're living here. If something happens, it happens. You don't see either of us getting upset about it." But Leyla keeps her voice gentle, as she returns, moving to tend to Astra's wounds, "Hopefully, he'll be free soon." But he's only one man, after all, and the ship's complement of doctors skilled in psychology is limited, "You might also consider the Chaplain's office."

Thera just beams, nodding happily. "Thank you, thank you!" Then, impulsively, she flings her arms around him, giving him an enthusiastic, if awkward hug. "I'll keep if for you and then give it to you, even if I have to wait abso-fraking-lutely forever, Sergeant-sir!." She kisses, even more awkward, then grins.

Astra just shakes her head at Thera, raising her eyebrow with the clear message of "we'll talk" to the little girl. Then she nods to Leyla. "I know they're terribly busy, both of them. I can manage until then. She's not getting worse, so…"

Constin could be well described as entirely out of his element. A clear 'Help' look goes to Astra, as the marine eventually settles for giving the little girl a light pat-pat with a boxing glove on top of the head. "Lauren was outta her damned mind," he mumbles under his breath, expression a mix of a frown and 'uhwhuuuuuu???'

Leyla finishes tending to Astra's injuries, doing her level best to hide the amusement that peaks out at the Sergeant's reactions, "You have a fan too, I think." The first aid kit is cleaned away, though she makes no comment on whether or not Lauren Coll was insane. Leyla, for good or ill, never knew the woman.

"Thanks, Leyla," murmurs Astra, her own lips twitching a little. She clears her throat, then frees one hand from Petra so that she can tug Thera away from the poor Marine. "Thera, why don't we let him finish what he was doing, hrmm? I promise we'll wait for him so you can give him your flower. But you're all wet, ducklet, and you don't want him to be, do you? Come along now." She coughs slightly, stifling a laugh, and takes the girl by the hand.

From the remainder of the pack of children, a couple of the boys can be heard chanting, "Thera's got a boyfriend…"

"Sonuvabitch, kids are weird," Constin mumbles under his breath once Astra has gotten the clingy little thera to a safe out-of earshot distance. "Right." Letting out a short, bullish breath through the nose, he prompts of Leyla, "What was the last thing you was doing? Oh yeah- trying to slip and jab.."

"They have their ways, just like we do. They just don't go through as many filters as we do." But Leyla sets aside the first aid kit, and comes back up to attention, settling back into the routine of the instruction. "Would you like me to try again?" She didn't do TOO badly the last time.

The boys keep up their chant as Astra and Thera and Petra return to the little group. They are standing, Nestor and Tomas, hugging each other and mock-kissing each other. "He's not my BOYfriend. He's a MAN!" cries Thera, and she decks each of the pair, knocking them flat on their rumps. Apparently she's been paying more attention to the Sergeant than they knew.

Astra pulls Thera to sit down beside her, while the boys just stare in disbelieving awe. "Our sister's frakking bad-ass…" For once, Astra does not correct the language.

"We got filters?" Constin deadpans back to the pilot, before nodding once. "Yes, I would like you to try again. Slip the punch, and counter-jab.. shift the weight, bend at the knees, not the waist," he drawls as the slow jab is offered for Leyla to slip, and the free glove held up for Leyla to hit. Paying no attention to the curious midgets and their midget-talk.

"Some of us more than others, certainly." She falls back into the routine, coughing back a laugh as Thera white knights to Constin's defense. But, there's still work to be done, and she's ready to do it, moving into the attack, but slowly, carefully, making sure she gets it just right, using Constin's slower pace to give herself time to really think it through.

Astra speaks softly to the children now, her voice low, a soft lecture on how to behave, with an emphasis on This Isn't It. Mostly, though, she just sits and watches, her arms around Petra.

"Good," Constin notes plainly to Leyla's effort. "Again." After the next exchange, he instructs, "Now dial up the speed a bit. Bend at the knees, not the waist.. And don't rear back- you're hitting *faster*, not harder." In keeping with his urged increase in pace, the sergeant increases the speed of his own jab slightly but noticeably, giving Leyla a faster target to slip.

And with the children now, mostly, in hand, thanks to the fists of Thera and the words of Astra, Leyla can return to the lesson, one she intends to master, if her attentiveness and her willingness to learn and repeat and repeat and repeat again are any indication. And quite likely, this won't be the last time Poor Sergeant Constin finds the midget pilot coming to him for instruction.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License