EPISODE 01: Outbreak [Chapter 04 - Apprehension] June 07, 2011, 02:49:30 PM EPISODE 01: Outbreak [Chapter 04 - Apprehension][ Gymnasium | USS Theurgy ] Attn: Lt.JG Nathaniel IsleyThe locale lay empty that early morn on the second day in orbit of Niga - the vast floor illumined only partially by flickering light. Her arms were leaden with exhaustion. Her lungs felt like they were bleeding through ice, yet her body radiated heat like a furnace - breath a singe in the air. The hilt of her sword slick with sweat and every part of her hands aching by the trial she put them through, she refused herself rest throughout her non-seizing movement. For the movement was one, but the variations many. They had names, old names that the samurai of yore had made immortal through their students - an undying legacy down the centuries. One variation turned into another and the names changed, yet the intent remained the same. They were the names of murder, and Captain Jien Ives knew them all. Through the years, she had not deluded herself to think they were more than they were. Mankind always craved to justify its actions, with titles and favourable misconceptions of honour. Though if the deaths of many had individual names, some of them could be found in the way of the sword. Yet by naming Death, one never failed to draw its attention. To Jien, respite could be found in summoning Death this way. For in craving its notice, she forgot everything else. The self-flagellation she conducted in the early morning left her mind void of all else. Her purpose? To forget the reality she suffered. Expel the memories from her head; Old shame of inadequacy and past wanton destruction of her own morale; The suppurating scar of past failures, torn open by the fact of her continued servitude to the Fleet; the doubt of her orders that had fed so many of her own to Death - all expressed in the techniques that overlapped each other in a dance that stretched the limitations of her bare-chested body. Her stances and steps fluctuated in counterweight to the silver arc of her blade. Yet in sensing the presence of another, her dance stopped; focus quenched by the distraction. Jien was poised to strike. Yet her dai-katana would not fall... even though she defied admitting it to herself. Her movements had lost their momentum. It was too late to resume them. Her ragged breathing steamed invisibly before her contorted face - eyes wide in mirror to the past nightmares. Where she stood, in the very centre of the Gymnasium, she sensed the approach from behind her. Like a wild beast noticing someone entering its cave, Jien turned her female form's face towards the intruder. Yet her bared teeth and pumping lungs did not implicate hostility. She preserved her modesty by changing her form just slightly - now wearing a black sports bra of the same shade as her loose yet hip-hugging hakama. She said nothing, but took in the shape of the man that came out to her. Only someone new to the crew would not know that this time in the Gymnasium was hers alone - regardless of present circumstances.