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Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

[Lieutenant Junior Grade Amanda Ashby | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy]
Attn: @BipSpoon

She had been here before, roughly a week earlier, when Lieutenant Commander Hathev asked her to do a psychiatric examination of a TACCONN Fighter Pilot who was arrested on suspicions of sabotaging the ongoing mission. Back then, she hadn’t been aboard the USS Theurgy long enough to memorize the layout of the massive ship though and, as a result, the blonde-haired Martian eventually found herself so hopelessly lost on Deck 07 that she’d ended up asking for directions. Now, a week later, Amanda immediately asked for directions upon getting off the turbolift and the Bolian whom she’d asked, who turned out to be a Security Officer himself, was kind enough to escort her to the Security Center. Some people would call that progress.

Amanda, always the annoyingly cheerful optimist, was one of those people.

The reason for coming here was entirely different this time though; last week it’d been business that drove her to the Security Center, yet this time it was something of a far more personal nature. Over the last two weeks aboard the USS Theurgy Amanda had begun to realise that their mission was just slightly more dangerous than her average short-range planetary survey missions aboard the USS Aurora. During the Battle of Vector 1, where Lieutenant Valyn Amarik saved her lived on several occasions within the span of a single afternoon, the blonde-haired Martian learned the hard way that, despite being in a side-branch of Starfleet Medical, it didn’t automatically meant that her status as a non-combatant would be respected by everyone.

That was exactly the reason why Amanda found herself in the Security Center this time, seated on the uncomfortable waiting room couch while playing Farmtown on her PADD. During the Battle of Vector 1 she’d been forced to fight, but her aiming with a Type-III Phaser Rifle turned out to be so poor that she’d hit the bulkheads more often than the hostile Klingons whom she’d actually aimed at. As such, Amanda had found herself approaching the very woman who had saved her life and whom she now considered a friend, Lieutenant Valyn Amarik, and in a half-hearted attempt at humour asked the blonde-haired Vulcan to teach her how to shoot properly before Thea would start to take things personal. Much to Amanda’s delight, Valyn accepted right away and that was why the gleeful Psychiatrist, who regarded this to be a friend’s day out just as much as serious phaser training, was now waiting for her friend to arrive.

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #1
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nesota Kynnovan  [Show/Hide]
Valyn had received the message from Amanda, and accepted her request without hesitation. Not only did she actually like Amanda, given that they’d fought through hordes of angry Klingons with one another, but she’d seen that the woman really did need some extra work with her phasers, and she wasn’t the sort to turn down a crew mate asking for help. So, Valyn left the intelligence center around 0830 and made her way through the bowels of the ship, until she’d found herself at the security center.

It wasn’t her first time there, hell it had been where she’d been stationed when she’d first come aboard. Before the attack, before the rescue, and before her transfer. Valyn had worn her normal uniform, pressed to perfection, her head just slightly slicked back over her Romulan ears. She greeted the man at the desk, but continued on inside without waiting for anyone, and she was welcome for the most part. She’d lost access to a few areas, but aside from that her access remained the same.

Seeing Amanda, Valyn called out, in that telltale southern drawl of hers, “Ashby!” She shot a smile her way and approached the counselor. “I’m glad you reached out. We’ll make it fun.” She ushered her to follow along with her and wound her way back towards the fire range, fetching a few weapons on the way in. She’d chosen the basics to start with: a pulse phaser pistol, a type-III rifle, and a standard issue hand phaser. Each of them had merits and flaws, and out of the three Valyn herself was partial to the pistol variant.

“Before you even start firing though, we’re going to work on your stance.” She grabbed the hand-phaser and demonstrated, placing her feet shoulder-width apart and aiming down range with one hand on the weapon, extending her arm forward and holding the weapon at eye level. After a moment of showing Amanda the position, she offered the weapon over. “We’ll work our way through the others too, shoot some shit, then we’ll run a course to finish up?” She wanted Amanda’s opinion as much as anything else, “And since we’re on a holographic range, I’ll have Thea give us a few more…entertaining items to shoot at the end.” Valyn knew how to have fun when it came to weapons.

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #2
[Lieutenant Junior Grade Amanda Ashby | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy]
Attn: @BipSpoon

Upon hearing how her name was being called in a telltale southern tone of voice that could only be Valyn’s, Amanda’s blue eyes immediately came up from her PADD to meet the blonde-haired Romulan. Her enthusiasm about this fun (and definitely educational!) morning pastime between friends clearly showed as the equally blonde-haired Psychiatrist stood up, picked up the picnic basket she’d brought along, and presented the Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer with her friendly signature smile before following the woman deeper into the Security Center.

When they arrived at their destination, the holographic range, Amanda looked over the three weapons with great interest. She quite honestly hadn’t fired a pulse phaser pistol since her days at Cape Valencia -the Martian campus of Starfleet Academy- and never fired any other weapons either until forced to during the Battle of Vector 01; and even at that point she’d done so with great initial hesitation.

As Valyn demonstrated the firing stance Amanda carefully watched her and, after putting her picnic basket down on the table next to the weapons, attempted to copy the other woman’s stance. During the fight against the hostile Klingons she had mainly fired from cover, firing blindly at any Klingon in her general vicinity while trying her best to present them with as little a target as possible, and it quite honestly felt strange to take up a proper firing position again. Then again… her aiming had been downright abysmal during the entire encounter. ”I’m not going to lie, I haven’t practiced this since Starfleet Academy and… it feels rather strange to do this again.” The tone of Amanda’s voice was only further accentuated by her apologetic grin, but as Valyn offered her the hand phaser everything began to come back to her quite fast as long-since forgotten Academy training came bubbling back up to the surface. Not that her aiming was likely to improve just because of that, but some people would nevertheless call it progress!

In response to Valyn’s question about running a course to finish up, Amanda just presented the other woman with an enthusiastic nod. ”Yeah, definitely! That sounds like a lot of fun.” With those words, Amanda put the Type-II Phaser back down onto the table and took a hold of the somewhat heavier pulse phaser pistol. It quite honestly felt odd to hold such a cumbersome weapon, especially in comparison to the sleek Type-II Phaser which could be fired by a single press of a button, and Amanda fumbled with it just briefly; taking great care to avoid pulling the trigger by accident. ”I honestly haven’t held one of these since Starfleet Academy either, this will take some getting used to!” As she spoke, the blonde-haired Martian observed the weapon in her hand as if it was the strangest thing in the known Galaxy before carefully putting it back down on the table and turning her attention to Valyn. ”If I may ask though, which one of these weapons has your preference?”

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #3
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nesota Kynnovan [Show/Hide]
Valyn for her part looked absolutely radiant with excitement. She took any chance she could get to have some time on the range. Amanda hadn’t done terribly during the boarding but there was certainly things she could improve upon, so a fun day at the range had the chance to become something useful. Her eyes darted down to take a quick glance at the picnic basket, but she didn’t question it just yet, instead just leading her into the range and letting the woman look over the weapons.

She kept a close eye on Amanda's facial expression and body language, “You’ll do fine, I think. Starfleet does a good job of making the training stick, even with officers typically reserved to non-combat specialities.” Valyn firmly believed that each and every Starfleet officer had the duty to one another to be able to hold their own should it come down to it. Space was a dangerous and violent place, the officers of the fleet had nobody to rely upon besides themselves and their crew mates. Often, by the time Starfleet received word of a need for assistance, it was too late. In any case, it wasn’t as if Theurgy could just ring Starfleet HQ up and ask for help. According to the fleet, they were the bad guys after all.

“That’s alright. We’ll get your basics back up to snuff, then you’re gonna be practicing a lot more often.” She smirked at Amanda, not ordering her to practice but leaving it clear that should their lessons be successful, Amanda would need to continue to practice and hone her skills. Watching her take position with the hand phaser, she looked down range. “Computer, begin training simulation difficulty one, no target movement…five to ten meters.” Like magic, the targets appeared down range. There were six targets, scattered between five and ten meters away from the shooting point. If shot, the hovering disc would vanish, then reappear after a few moments, leaving the course open to continued practice without messing with the program itself. “Before you fire, check the phaser, see what setting you’re on. We’ll start with low stun, we don’t need to mess with anything else right now, just workin’ on stance and aim.” If she needed assistance activating the weapon and changing the firing mode, Valyn would assist, otherwise she left her to do it herself.

“I prefer the pistol over the type-II’s.” She stepped forward and reached for her upper thigh, producing her own from a handy thigh holster. “Mimic me.” She took a firing position, one slightly different than the one for the type-II phasers. Where a type two had the shooter standing sort of sideways, arm outstretched to aim with another arm hanging freely at the hip, legs shoulder-length apart, the pistol position changed a few things. She stood straight up, not canted to the side, and she had two hands on the weapon holding it roughly at the level of her head, legs still shoulder width apart. Valyn often fired with one hand, but she wanted to present the correct position and way of doing it first. She squeezed the trigger, and sent a bolt flying down range towards a target, which vanished into thin air on contact. “Give it a shot.” She smiled, holstering her weapon and stepping back to give Amanda some space.

“Of the bunch of them, likely the pistol. Rifles have their place too, but without a pistol on a mission I feel naked.” It was what she was most comfortable with. “My kit is usually a rifle, a pistol, and my knife.” The knife like usual, was sheathed neatly on her waistband, right above her rear.

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #4
[Lieutenant Junior Grade Amanda Ashby | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy]
Attn: @BipSpoon

Amanda watched as the six targets appeared down the range and, if only for the briefest of moments, the blonde-haired Psychiatrist felt as if she was back at Cape Valencia all over again. The particular feeling of discomfort that came with a mandatory firing exam which she had to pass before being allowed to transfer to the San Francisco campus of Starfleet Academy and proceed with her specialised studies was something Amanda failed to completely banish from her mind. Contrary to that exam however was Valyn’s presence; the instructors down at Cape Valencia hadn’t nearly been as enthusiastic about it, and the blonde-haired Romulan sure made the entire situation feel a lot more comfortable and fun.

”I do have to say though…” As she spoke, Amanda picked up the type-2 phaser and tried to remember the stance taught to her at Starfleet Academy; she remembered having to stand square to her target, with her feet at shoulder width and her firing foot just slightly behind her support side foot. While that definitely wasn’t required for the rather light type-2 phaser, Amanda was more than aware that her one-handed aiming was mediocre at best. Using two hands improved her aim enough to barely pass the firing exam, so that was what she’d default to in this training session as well. While she took up her firing position, making sure to flex her knees as to act as shock absorbers if she’d have to move in any particular direction, Amanda leaned forward just slightly and extended her arms straight out. ”The pistol is so much heavier than the normal type-2 phaser. How did you learn to prefer such a cumbersome and unwieldy weapon over the phaser?” For the briefest of moments she turned her blue-eyed attention to the Romulan woman and presented her with a smile, before shifting her attention back to the closest target. While she lined up her weapon for the first shot, Amanda took a deep breath and exhaled about half of it before holding her breath and pushing the firing button. With its signature scream, the phaser discharged its orange beam which hit the first target straight in the chest.

As the target vanished, Amanda lined up her phaser on the second target, which was roughly seven meters away, before repeating the entire procedure. Just like the previous ‘victim’, she hit this target as well. With a grin, Amanda turned back towards Valyn. ”I was taught the basics at Cape Valencia, but during the Battle of Vector 01 I learned that an actual combat situation isn’t anything like the Academy firing ranges. How do you do it?” Amanda’s grin turned into her signature friendly smile while she placed the phaser back onto the table. ”I mean, taking aim and firing that quickly? It takes me such a long time to take aim, I’d be shot at least three times before I can shoot back.”

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #5
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nesota Kynnovan  [Show/Hide]
Valyn smirked and thought for a moment. The type-twos were frankly too light for her, she enjoyed the more weighty one but her reasoning for such wasn’t as cut and dry. “I don’t know. I think since it has more weight to it, it forces me to be more choosy with which shots I’m takin’.” She paused for a moment, “Besides, the one I used to use before I joined up with Starfleet had weight to it, it what I trained with for most of my life, jumping to a small hand-phaser was honestly more frustrating for me.” Aside from that, she’d found that she respected the pistol more for what it was due to its weight, a weapon. Valyn turned her attention down range and watched as Amandas thumb made contact with the firing button, and nailed the target on the first shot.

“There you go!” Valyn gave her a clap on the back and stepped a bit closer to the firing line to see where exactly she’d hit her target. Center mass, right where it should be.

She paused though at the question and let out a sigh, “Comes with practice unfortunately. That battle wasn’t my first. I’ve been fighting just about as long as I’ve been walkin’.” She crossed her arms and shrugged, “You learn to take all that…adrenaline, and all that rage and everything else you’re feeling in the middle of a fight, and turn it into something useful. When you’re being fired on, you don’t have time to make clean shots, you just need to take which ones you have and with time, you get better at judging what you can hit and what you can’t. Ain’t nothin’ to be ashamed about, not everyone is a soldier, nor should everyone be. War and combat are-“ She paused for a moment. She didn’t hate combat. In fact, she understood that it was her calling. To fight and stand for her values was what she was made for.

“Why don’t we adjust this a little.” She adjusted the range, to throw back the occasional round, which would fizzle out a short distance behind them as to not blast anything important with weapons fire. “We’ll use the line as cover.” She crouched, just beside Amanda, covered by the platform that held their weapons. “Try and pop up, take a shot, then come back down. Remember that you aren’t only trying to hit, but you’re also trying to suppress them in their cover so that your team can move up and press the advantage.” Eventually Valyn intended on bringing her into a simulation, but she wanted to take it one step at a time.

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #6
[Lieutenant Junior Grade Amanda Ashby | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy]
Attn: @BipSpoon

With a deep, somewhat nervous breath, Amanda mentally prepared herself for the next exercise as she crouched down behind the platform as well. This kind of advanced weapon training, advancing while moving from cover to cover, had only been briefly taught back at Cape Valencia; while she prepared herself for the start of the exercise, the blonde-haired Martian tried to recall just how often she had actually trained in these particular exercises but it couldn't have been more than four or five times at most.

Then again, in Amanda's defense, it was two years ago since she graduated from Starfleet Academy and, during her time in the Medical Wing, the focus had been much more on her advanced training as a Counselor as opposed to weapon training.

Turning her attention to Valyn, she took another deep breath before presenting the blonde-haired Romulan with a curt nod. "Alright, I'm ready." Maybe the tone of her Martian-accented voice made her sound much more confident than she actually was, and she could feel how the hand in which she held the standard-issue type-2 phaser was already starting to sweat. Several seconds later the buzzing sound of the firing range could be heard; signalling the start of the new exercise.

Doing as Valyn had instructed her, Amanda quickly popped up and scanned for targets. She found two but, while she tried to figure out which one to aim her phaser at, one of the targets threw a round back in her direction. The round went wide, instead hitting the platform in front of her, but it had the effect of forcing the Martian back into cover. While she leaned her right shoulder against the platform, trying hard not to look at Valyn while softly cursing under her breath, Amanda steeled herself to try again; popping back up from cover within moment and fixating her gaze on the first target she found. Before she could even aim her phaser, which admittedly took her way too long, the target found an opportunity to fire back in her direction once more. This round, much like the other, went wide but it nevertheless forced Amanda back into cover again.

It had the effect of making her curse just slightly louder this time. "I think I'm way too slow, Valyn." As she spoke, she turned her blue-eyed gaze towards the blonde-haired Romulan. "They fire at me before I can aim my phaser... how do you manage to shoot and hit a target within a split second after spotting them?"

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #7
[ Lieutenant Valyn Amarik | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Nesota Kynnovan [Show/Hide]
Valyn knew that for a large majority of her life she was little more than a glorified assassin, and when the war began, she simply became a ready-made and packaged soldier for the Romulan Empire. The use of a weapon was practically a second language for her. She wasn’t expecting Amanda to be a perfect shot two exercises into their first combat training. She just wanted to get a good baseline understanding of where Amanda stood, and what she needed to work on. She fully understood that a scientist likely had little training and experience in the art of war.

When the buzzer went off, Valyn just watched, checking her stance and letting her run through the exercise on her own. She watched the projected rounds make impact with the barrier, standing still not really concerned if one went awry and struck her. They were for training, so wouldn’t cause any damage and in truth wouldn’t even really hurt, it would just feel like a warm, but light impact. She did notice an issue relatively quickly but kept her mouth shut, instead trying to allow the lieutenant to solve the problem on her own. “Don’t look at me.” She smirked as Amanda looked at her, “Focus on the task.” She took up a position beside Amanda in cover and reached up to grab a training phaser, quickly holding it in a ready position.

“The key here isn’t to be perfectly accurate. In a firefight, particularly if you aren’t overly comfortable with a weapon, it's all about shots down range, less so accuracy, but if you keep your weapon in the right position, you should hit true. Watch.” She waited for a brief pause in the incoming fire before popping up, extending her arms to keep her pistol square in the middle of her body, sights pointed right where she wanted them, but she didn’t stop to try and aim, instead she fired a few rounds, forcing the target on the left into cover.

“Fire now.” She held her stance and continued to fire down the range towards the target, suppressed behind cover. She wanted to keep him there, giving Amanda a chance to practice her marksmanship on the other target. “Even if you don’t hit, you’ll force the enemy into cover, which lets us advance, and gives your team some breathing room to actually hit some of the targets. Don’t worry about your speed on target acquisition just yet, just keep your weapon squared, arms extended, feet shoulder length apart, if your weapon is aimed straight, you should hit right where you’re looking. Don’t close one eye and squint, you end up losing out on your range of vision that way, and time to target takes way longer.” She popped down into cover again, and let Amanda try for herself.

Re: Day 13 [0900 hrs.] A New Form

Reply #8
[Lieutenant Junior Grade Amanda Ashby | Security Center | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy]
Attn: @BipSpoon

When Valyn demonstrated how this exercise was supposed to be done, Amanda couldn’t help but watch in awe. It had never occurred to her that it was possible to force a target into cover by laying down suppressive fire and, where she had struggled just moments ago, the blonde-haired Romulan succeeded and made it seem remarkably (and almost embarrassingly) easy.

While the other woman kept one of the holographic targets suppressed, Amanda stood up from behind her improvised cover and aimed her phaser down the range once more. Before she could properly aim however, the target also raised its own weapon to take a shot at her. It prompted the blonde-haired Martian to duck behind the barrier once more, keeping just her arm above the improvised cover while firing blindly in the direction of the target; the shot went wild as a result but, by nothing but sheer, dumb luck, the beam of light which shot out from Amanda’s phaser hit close enough to the holographic target to force it into cover as well. Amanda fired several more shots like that, keeping one arm above the barrier while carefully peeking out from over the top and making sure to keep the back of her other hand pressed against the side of her face which faced the “enemy”. It failed to even cross Amanda’s mind that the palm of her hand wouldn’t be able to absorb a disruptor bolt and save her face from harm in an actual firefight but from where she was seated, relatively safe behind her barrier, it brought her some comfort at the very least.

At least until the target, which had popped out of cover again because all of Amanda’s other shots went wild, took a shot at Amanda’s exposed arm. The combination of the bright flash, the light impact (almost as if someone kindly brushed her aside) and the warm feeling prompted Amanda to yell out, albeit only for a moment. When she realized that this was literally all that would happen if the holographic targets would hit her, Amanda stood up from cover like Valyn. She flinched when the holographic target aimed at her and fired once more, but the blonde-haired Martian allowed the shot to hit her in the abdomen before properly aiming her phaser towards the target and firing a couple of semi-accurate shots that forced it into cover once more. It prompted a big grin to appear on Amanda’s face and, as she kept firing to suppress the target, she spoke up with an enthusiastic tone that matched her grin. ”Look Valyn! I’m doing it, is this how I am supposed to do it?”

 
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