Monday, November 30, 2015
No matter what Oses says, Dramok Resan is a complete bastard and I hope one day he loses a fight to a Tragoom. And that said Tragoom makes him his bitch.
I did my usual physical therapy under Resan’s glare. Seems Oses had already told him he was in charge of getting me ready to fight the entire universe all by myself. Resan wasted no time in giving me his opinion of the matter.
I was only five minutes in when Resan began his insults. “You have got to be kidding me, Matara. Tell me this is a joke. You are already panting for air? This is what the weapons commander wants me to strengthen?”
“Well, I did try to get him to find me someone with a little humanity,” I huffed. My shoulders burned. I hated that I hurt over sad little three-pound weights. Getting my arms to lift straight up took some serious work, but Resan wasn’t about to give me the first word of credit.
Resan was in my face in an instant. “You want someone who will treat you like a baby princess! I’ve seen Plasians with more will to fight than you! Hell, I bet your daughter can do a better job!”
Resan is not a bad looking man, if I’m forced to be honest. I hate to give him any compliments, so it will end right there. He does have a long nose, and it is rather pointy. With it only inches from my face, the urge to bite it off was almost overwhelming.
“I am doing the best that I can,” I snarled through gritted teeth.
“Then you are hopeless and pathetic,” he snarled back, his big round eyes squinting tiny in the sneer he gave me. “This is no longer about making you strong enough to waltz your weak ass from your quarters to the dining room. It’s about giving you the skills to survive and fight and win. Now work or get out.”
He switched me to tricep kickbacks. My shoulders went to jelly in relief. However, the backs of my arms wailed after a few reps.
“Are you sweating?” Resan shouted in disbelief. “Over this?”
“I walked for half a mile before we started this,” I panted. “Of course I’m sweating.”
“Half a mile? Half a mile? My grandmother, may that great woman live forever, can run ten miles and carry on a conversation the whole time! In her best gown! You have got to be kidding me! Move those weights, damn you! No one said slack off. Stop being so lazy.”
On and on it went, him bullying and belittling me. I responded by pointing out reasonable excuses why I wasn’t ready to participate in the Olympics. When he hurled more insults, I did the same. Before half an hour was out we were toe to toe, screaming curses at each other.
I was so intent on out-swearing Resan that I didn’t notice when Oses, Betra, Feru, and Tep came in. How long they stood there watching us go at it, I couldn’t have said. I only became aware of their presence when Resan addressed Oses.
“You see, Weapons Commander? It is exactly as I told you it would be. All excuses, no effort. I cannot train someone so weak in spirit, so lacking in drive.”
“No effort? NO EFFORT?” I screamed in disbelief. I grabbed the hem of my sweat-soaked tee shirt to draw their attention. “Look at me! Does it look like I’m making no effort?”
Resan waved his hand dismissively. “It is wet from your tears, little girl. Go cry somewhere else. Come back when you’re ready to work.”
“I have not been crying!” I was humiliated to have anyone think I had been. True, I’d come close a couple of times when Resan had said something particularly cruel, but I had not shed one fucking tear. I wasn’t about to give him that victory.
Tep came forward and waved a handheld scanner over me. He looked over the readings.
“You have been working ... some. I suppose the lactic acid in your muscles makes you feel miserable, but it’s not damage. It’s not even real muscle fatigue. You could be doing more, Shalia.”
“Ha!” Resan chortled. His prominent cheekbones seemed to grow twice their size when he squished them with a triumphant smile. “Now you have nothing to say.”
“I have plenty to say,” I snarled at him. “Starting where I’d like to shove this weight.”
“If you put half the energy into working that you do crying and whining, you might get somewhere.”
“I am not crying!” I shouted. I stopped myself just in time to keep from stomping one foot like a child. Resan would have been all over me if I’d done it.
He gave Oses an irritable look. “She won’t do it. Send her to the nursery with her baby.”
Oses cocked his head to one side. “You say she won’t. But if she wanted to, she could?”
His tone grudging, Resan admitted, “When she tries, she shows a small bit of promise. But she is too used to being cared for. She doesn’t have the strength of will to push through the necessary pain of real effort.”
Feru had watched the whole thing with his usual clinical fascination, stroking his chin in his contemplative manner. He spoke up. “You’re incorrect about the strength of will, Dramok. Shalia has more of that than anyone I’ve seen. You’re making the mistake of setting it against you instead of making it work for Shalia.”
Resan pursed his lips. “Either she does the work, or she doesn’t. So far, she’s not doing it.”
Feru grinned. “Would I be wrong in thinking you two don’t like each other?”
The trainer folded his arms over his chest. “I have no feelings for her one way or the other. She is a task. Returning her to health has been my job. Now I’m being asked to make her more, to make her capable of fighting. If she would work as I’ve told her to, it would happen.”
“I think Resan’s a jerk. Spacing him would be all the reward I could ask.”
That got them all laughing. Even Resan smirked a little. I didn’t laugh. I was serious.
Feru gave Oses and Betra a look. “She makes an important point about a reward. I know she wishes to be trained similar to a Nobek, but she’s not a Nobek. Nor is she Kalquorian. You can’t treat her as such.”
“What do you suggest?” Betra asked.
Feru gave me an understanding smile. “The long goal is established, and it’s a good one. Shalia wants to be able to defend herself and her child if she must. However accomplishing such a goal will take time. Constant pushing without short-term incentives along the way might take away her motivation.”
Resan looked insulted. “Reward her before the task is accomplished? Ridiculous.”
“For us, yes. The way our society is set up, we’ve been conditioned to prove our detractors wrong. The more scorn we receive, the harder we work to overcome it. But with Shalia, such pushing only makes her want to give you as hard a time as possible ... even to the point of unconsciously inhibiting her own progress.”
I didn’t much like Feru’s take on my mindset. I was working hard. Hadn’t this been my idea in the first place?
I had a few choice words for him, but Resan spoke up first. “I cannot demand less than her best. I will not give out treats just because she does what she’s supposed to.”
“No, train her as you see fit. The incentives when she does well can come from elsewhere.” Feru gave Betra and Oses significant looks.
Betra grinned at the weapons commander. “I have a few rewards in mind.”
I know I turned red as a beet.
Oses nodded. “I think we can set up such a system. Let’s say I get a good report from all of your trainers for a couple of weeks, Shalia. They tell me you’re applying yourself to the best of your abilities, making progress, and I feel you’re doing the same with me ... we can give you something special to keep you motivated. Every couple of weeks until we reach Kalquor, you earn compensation for your hard work.”
Resan rolled his eyes. I could tell he thought little of the plan. I wasn’t so sure of it myself. Damn it, I had been trying with him. If I held back, it was only because I wanted a little energy left to hang out with my friends and spend more time with Anrel. I don’t want to spend my non-training hours in a coma.
I want this instruction though. For Anrel’s sake, I need it. I got the feeling Resan and Oses were thinking of pulling the plug on my training. Plus I’m more than a little curious what kind of rewards Betra and Oses might hand out for a job well done.
I gave Resan a wary look. “Are you going to at least be truthful and tell Oses when I work hard?”
He scowled. “I will not dignify that insulting question with an answer.”
Oses gave us both a dark look. “Dramok Resan is tough, but fair. If you give him your very best effort, he will report it.”
Six weeks, I told myself. I only have to put up with Resan’s shit for that long. I might even get something special for it.
“Deal,” I said. “Now the rest of you get out so I can finish with this crap for the day.”
“Just try to keep the screaming down,” Tep said, grinning. “That’s what brought us in here in the first place. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such language, especially from an Earther.”
Feru chuckled with him. “I interned at a Nobek training camp for six months, and I never heard that much profanity the whole time.”
“There’s a lot more where that came from,” I said, looking at Resan as I spoke. “But I’ll try to keep it down to a low howl.”
They left. Resan and I got back to work. By the time we were done I had belted out a lot more filth, my legs were shaking violently, and I could no longer lift my arms over my head. But Resan didn’t tell me I was wasting his time for the rest of our session. He called me every name in the book and made up a few, but he didn’t say a word about me not doing my best this time.
I still hate him.