Defend Yourself! (RP Log)
- Ceremonial Challenge
- The Vulcan sun blazes in a clear mid-day sky, the temperature hovering around 50 degrees C or just over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is dry, the air almost totally devoid of moisture. The desert stretches out before you in brown and ochre plains of sand. In the foreground is a ceremonial combat square marked out by stakes planted in the ground which anchor the lines forming the square. A Vulcan holo-character stands in the middle of the square, obviously awaiting the participant. He is young, maybe about 50 standard years old, clad only in loose-fitting pants and bear chested. In his left hand, the character holds a weapon with a curved, half-moon blade and a padded handle with a rest for the knuckles that keeps the hand completely clear of the blade. Looking at the blade, you see a block of text floating in the periphery of your vision with information. The blade is a senapa, the deadliest hand-to-hand weapon ever devised by the ancient craftsmen of Vulcan. The obsidian blade is dipped in a traditional paralytic poison. While the senapa is a slashing weapon, it's cuts are nothing compared to the poison in which the blade has been soaked. One slash of the senapa is survivable. Two slashes can be survived by a young and strong Vulcan in good health who receives immediate medical treatment. Three slashes is almost always a sentence of death. Finally, outside the square stand three more Vulcans. Two have taken positions at opposite corners of the square, the seconds of the combatants. The third is the arbiter of the contest. His job, to initiate the contest, to declare victory, and if a contestant should step outside the lines of the combat square, to declare that contestant disqualified and subject to immediate execution. At the start of the program, the arbiter holds the remaining senapa, clearly awaiting the second participant. Dueling with the senapa is the deadliest contest of honor Vulcan has ever devised, used only when no other challenge of honor would serve in the days before Surak. Today, practice with the senapa is considered a supreme exercise in discipline, tactics and physical endurance.
The exit doors appear and open, admitting Alkris.
Alkris arrives from Holosuite Corridor.
Alkris walks into the program slightly bemused by what she is seeing, she removes her overcoat and jacket to account for the heat. She walks across the sand, she hasn't faced such heat in a long time.
The program has been in progress for some time. Senka, also bear chested and clad only in nondescript, loose-fitting trousers, holds an identical senapa in his right hand. He and his opponent circle one another, lashing out with their weapons. Each man faints, paries, dodges, and attacks in a blur of precisely timed and almost coriographed motion. So far, neither Vulcan has been cut.
Alkris watches from a distance curiously as the Vulcan Doctor fights.
A couple of minutes later, a line of green opens on Senka's left arm, blood rilling across his skin as his opponent finally slashes him. Unable to bring his blade around quickly enough, the Vulcan officer lashes out with a foot, striking his opponent hard near the right knee. The other man staggers, and the second he's off balance is all the time Senka needs to get his blade back into an on guard position to meet the next attack.
"Computer, what is this event?" Alkris calls out as she drops her belongings.
Over the scuffling of feet in sand and the breathing that is all you would hear of the deadly ballet, the computer replies. "A ritual honor challenge dating to the pre-reformation era of Vulcan history." Meanwhile, Senka is giving a better account of himself. His blade seeming to flicker in the sunlight with its motion, he opens first one shallow gash along the back of his opponent's bladehand, and then a deeper slash along the man's torso before wheeling away.
Alkris presses her tongue against the back of her teeth as she squints in the light, "What is the blade and its coating." She watches the pair more closely.
"The blade is made from a form of obsidion," the computer replies. "It's coating is an alcalyne paralytic poison refined from the extract of a native desert kactis." The battle continues. Briefly, the opponents close, and you don't see what happens. When they break away, at first your point of view suggests that neither is hurt. Until Senka's bladehand comes up, at which point you see a deep slash along his rib cage. Both contestants have been slashed twice and are slowing down from the increasing effects of the poison. Of course, you would know about holosuite safety protocols, but however he has done it, Senka has obviously programmed the simulation to force his body to slow down in response to the amount of senapa poison he would have absorbed. Both Vulcans glisten with swet and gasp audibly with effort. The strain is obvious even on Senka's face, which is drawn.
Alkris's jaw tenses as she feels the adrenaline rise in her body as she watches the pair, there was nothing more soothing than a male who knew how to handle a blade. She continues to watch knowing that possibly with another hit he would fail.
The contest continues, both Vulcans flagging badly. Senka's opponent begins backing him towards one corner of the square. As you're skilled in tactics yourself, you would know how hard it is to fight one's way out of a corner. Nevertheless, Senka is heading for that position. As you watch him, he begins to feign weakness, favoring the slashed side of his body. That, or he's suddenly grown weaker from the simulated poisoning. Whichever it is, his opponent takes the opportunity to lunge for Senka's injured left side, which is clearly exposed to the attack. And then, you see. Using every ounce of control and consentration he has left, Senka flips his senapa into the air from his right hand. Catching it in his left, he brings his hand back and around, delivering a vicious backhanded slash. Clearly, his feigning weakness was a tactical move designed to cause his opponent to run right into Senka's blade. If the senapa had dropped to the sand, the move would have failed, and it's the kind of move that only works once, but once was all that was needed. Senka's blade opens a deep green gash frim his opponent's waistline to his shoulder joint, and the other Vulcan collapses, life ebbing before your eyes. "Kroikah," the referee calls, and the universal translators in the holosuite translate the word, "Stop." "The contest is finished," the referee states formally. "Honor has been satisfied." "Program complete," the computer says. The air shimmers, and the program resets to the very beginning. The other contestant is whole and undamaged, and the referee stands patiently to one side of the square, spare senapa in hand. Senka turns and meets your eyes. Whatever might have been simulated, his wounds are real, as blood runs in rivulets down his torso. "Greetings, Daughter of Nmak," he calls out respectfully.
Alkris bows her head with a nod, a firm is affixed on her lips as she watches him admiringly, "I hope you also carry an autosucher Sen-ka." She states with interest as she steps toward him. "I did not take you for a man of such skill." She admits.
"A dermal regenerator will be sufficient, but the wounds are insignificant," he replies dismissing them with the abruptness you might expect of one of your own people. Indeed, as you watch, Senka exerts his own biocontrol and slows the trickles of blood. Looking into your eyes, he raises an eyebrow. "Would you care to participate with me? It would be a new combat experience for you with an unfamiliar weapon."
Alkris's smirk spreads across her lips as she gives a single nod and drops her removed attire, her fingers flex with anticipation. It was a feeling she had missed, the rush from battle. She moves towards the arbiter with chest pushed out and strong strides, she narrows her eyes at the simulated Vulcan before taking the senapa from his hand. "Heal yourself," she commands, "I will not have you think that I am only worthy of fighting a wounded Vulcan." Her tone is almost playful but has an air of truth to it. She passes the blade between her hands, her training had made her able to move between the two freely.
"Computer," Senka calls out, arch. When it appears, he removes a dermal regenerator from his bag and heals his injuries almost without thinking about it. Taking up his senapa, he calls out, "Computer, delete all holographic characters." The referee, the seconds, and the other combattant disappear, leaving you, Senka, the combat square, and your gleaming senapas. He steps into the square and gazes for a moment at your face and into your eyes. Offering you a salute with his blade, he commands in your own language, "defend yourself!" He follows the words with a forward sweeping slash aimed at your torso.
Alkris was always ready, her eyes widen as he opens his mouth. It was like watching slow motion, the blade in her right hand as she turns and bats it away with her own. Droplets of the foreign poison splatter on the searing sand and sizzle inaudibly as she swings her blade around full circle to slice upward toward him.
Senka dodges your initial counterattack, bearly. He may be skilled with this particular weapon, but you are an experienced warrior. It's a near miss on your part. He lashes out at your bladehand. Since any slash with the senapa is valid and potentially deadly, he doesn't have to aim for an artery or a crippling cut.
Alkris' steady hand remains low so she able to use the curve of the blade to her advantage, catching his Senapa and forcing him backward with a firm push with her blade aided by her foot. "MAJ!" She growls as she begins to circle around him to the his left, as she passes the blade to her left hand with a grin.
Planting his back foot, Senka is able to hold his position, but the force of your maneuver and the proximity of your blade casues you to open a gash on his forearm, the arm that holds his blade. His green blood glistens like emeralds under the sun, and your keen sense of smell catches the coppery scent of his blood along with the scent of his swet and the odor of foreign, yet male, Vulcan pheromones. He continues to fight with precision and logical discipline. Senka mais another slash at your torso as he starts circling you.
Alkris rumbles a growl as the adrenaline urges her on she swings the blade and counters with little effort, it wasn't in her nature to play down her ability but there was no honour in beating a combatant of lesser skill. Drawing a breath she spins her blade in her hand allowing the curved back of the blade to face outward. Sweat, sand and combat what more could she ask for than a half naked Vulcan before her.
"I am not a Ferengi, Alkris. Do not dishonor me. Now fight! Defend yourself," he taunts you and challenges you. He is not to be cottled. He snaps a kick up at your right knee and brings his blade up towards your face in the same motion.
Alkris growls loudly as he accuses her of treating him like a Ferengi, she stumbles at his kick and the blade catches the hollow of her right cheek. Her foot sweeps at his legs and her blade swings upward the curved edge of the blade providing a wider cutting surface. She springs to her feet.
Your blood gleams lavender in the bright sunlight. Your own blade opens a deep gash across Senka's chest, his second cut to your first. As the circling and sparring continue, he starts to flag as the holoprogram activates local forcefields that inhibit his reflexes and force his body to simulate increasing debilitation. But if you look into his eyes, you would see a quiet and cold determination to continue the fight. His blade aims for your rib cage.
With the back of her hand Alkris wipes the blood from her cheek and licks it, her speed and torrent of attacks continue. Her footwork is slight but her movements are sharp as she weaves and swings her blade. She locks her Senapa against his and pushes against him, breathing in the coppery scent of his blood mixed with sweat.
Your raw physical force sends Senka to the ground, his blade disengaging as he falls. He has just enough presence of mind to lash out with one foot, catching you behind the knee in an effort to bring you down with him. There is no rule in this contest, after all, that says combattants must remain standing.
Quickly her hand moves to his foot to balance herself and she swings out the blade toward his leg hoping to catch him before he hits the sand. His lower leg nesting between her thigh and calf.
One foot caught by you, he falls awkwardly, one foot elevated and braced between your legs. Your slash is awkward, only tearing his pants, given where his leg is and what you're doing. Refusing to yield even now, he pistons his free foot outward, driving it into your kneecap, which is handily placed for it as you brace his other leg and leave your knees vulnerable.
Alkris lurches forward as she is kicked. She catches herself in the sand, blade still in hand. She hesitates a moment looking down at him before making the decision to make a play for his blade.
Senka's body burns beneath you both from your combined exertions and the fact that his body temperature is a couple of degrees warmer than your own. He can't keep you from his blade using conventional means, so he adapts. Winding a hand into your curly, dark brown hair, he yanks hard, snapping your head in the opposite direction from his blade. Because your body will follow your head, you may lirch in that direction until you can compensate. His eyes are only centimeters from yours, the smell of his coppery blood strong in the air between you. your own blood drips onto his face. His expression remains impassive, every inch the Vulcan as his hand snaps his weapon into position. The blade moves towards the side of your head.
Alkris braces herself with her right hand as her left still holds her blade, she raises it under his chin. She can feel her own breath against his skin and her eyes track his hand as she tries swings out her blade to catch his. The momentum of her swing causes her to roll onto her back and attempt to take him with her, her hand grabs his shoulder. Her legs tuck in and push if he follows to try and push him over her head.
Because the simulated poison from the one cut you did take is working inside you, the computer engages and slows your reflexes just enough so that you can't quite launch the Vulcan over your head. He lands on top of you, his blade in his hand. Meanwhile, he himself is weakening. His blood continues dripping on you in hot, coppery freshets. Blade in hand, he looks down at you only a few centimeters away. "Yield," he snaps in Klingon. He doesn't expect you to do anything of the sort.
"yIDoghQo'! (Don't be silly)" The Klingon growls even in her weakened state she pushed through the poison, "I will not yield." She states her left hand pushing up with her blade into his, her knees continue to push up against his hips and her eyes narrow.
Remaining atop you, Senka focuses on keeping his position on top of your body so that he can strike. His breath mingles with yours, and his scent is powerful. Unfortunately, he is too debilitated to attend to everything he needs to. Your blade slips off his and opens another gash on his wrist. His third and final cut. In real life, he would be as good as dead. In keeping with the realism of the exercise, the computer immobilizes his body about 10 seconds after the cut, and he falls to the ground, rolling off you, the blade falling from his hand.
Alkris remains on the sprawled out in the hot sand and pants quietly, her hand still holds the blade as she allows her body to go limp. Her eyes close as she basks in the warm the blood drying on her skin. The labouring of her chest slowly calms and she comes to her senses, she was glad to before she lost control.
"Program complete," the computer says. The air shimmers, and you once again find yourself at the start scene, outside the combat square, holographic Vulcans present in a frozen tableau. The computer releases the forcefields immobilizing Senka's body and you feel yourself freed of the slight debilitation you had been experiencing. Senka rises smoothly to his feet, now weaponless like yourself. Blood dries on his body. He nods to you, expression as impassive as it ever was. "Admittedly, I am not a warrier," he offers. "Nonetheless, hopefully you found the exercise to be an interesting diversion."
Alkris laughs softly from her horizontal position a moment before she opens her eyes and sits in the sand, her forearms resting on her knees, "I didn't expect you to tell me to yield." She states before pushing herself up to standing. She stretches herself out and lifts her face to the sun
"Nor did I expect you to comply," he murmurs.
Alkris looks to the Vulcan, the gash on his chest closely resembling her own. "You are full of surprises, you are honourable." She states with a bow of her head as returns to her resolute posture. "You will grow more skilled with time." She adds with a smirk, she moves carefully to collect her jacket and overcoat before returning them to her body.
"Perhaps," he says. Calling for the arch, he retrieves his dermal regenerator. Approaching you, he takes your face in one hand and, holding it still, you get a hint at the Vulcan strength he possesses. He seals your injury, not allowing you to move until he's done.
Alkris quickly bats away his hand as he finishes, "It is a certainty, which practice comes knowledge." She states catching his wrist.
Taking his wrist back, Senka recalibrates his dermal regenerator, resealing his own wounds before re-dawning his civvie clothes. "Indeed. You handled yourself well. It was an unfamiliar weapon in a hostile environment. You should be proud of that fact, even if defeating me was not difficult for you, Daughter of Nmak."
Alkris watches him dress, "It has been a while since I have handled a blade, it was still a challenge with a combatant I have yet to evaluate." She clarifies for him, "You have created a worthy challenge."
Senka nods. "That is well. Perhaps you would care at some point to introduce me to a weapon from your own culture that you are familiar with. It is an interesting exercise in discipline."
"I can arrange that for you." Alkris pulls on her jacket and twitches her shoulder, "A drink to celebrate?"
Senka nods. "A glass of 2309, perhaps." He exits the holosuite.
Alkris nods and also exits.