By Right Interlude: Practice
The sun was slowly setting on the station. Orbit rotating the large habitat into its pre ordained night cycle as it had with clockwork precision since the day it was finished. It was hardly the first time the thylacine cub had seen such a thing. True her training usually confined her to the bowels of the station interior or the cramped inner halls of some command ship as she was dragged this way and that. It was, however, the first time she'd made her way out like this. The crush of a real crowd. The strange smells of open air. Things familiar to her from dives into urban combat training and yet so utterly new and different. A living, breathing world without conflict. Without even the bare hint of impending war.
It was a rather uncomfortable feeling. So were the cloths. Baggy slick pants adorned with odd and seemingly pointless stripes, a vest and a rather large T shirt. Taya found herself longing for the stiff, crisp lines and predictable ease of her uniform. Or at least a shirt thick enough to hide her Grav'ya without a bulge.
Why are we out here again?'' Runa was, as always, the first one to speak. It could be she sensed Taya's discomfort and wished to alleviate it. More likely the princess was just as confused. She wore the commoner cloths with a bit more ease if nothing else. Her hair tied back and a massive pair of headphones draped over her shoulders with their display face side swirling some small holographic sigils along to a tune nobody else could hear. Yet she also seemed more annoyed. She walked in the grass beside the sidewalk plating and dragged the tip of her practice sword in the dirt. Small AR markers popping up to indicate that the care crew would be underway shortly to fix the damage.
``you ask too many questions, girl.'' The old shrew muttered to Runa. Whatever tension Runa and Taya may have felt out here in the `wild' it seemed almost second nature to their tutor. Though given the way Lady Oda was, that had to be expected on some level. Graying as she was the woman held herself with a poise and brutal grace only the trained eye could see. Shoulders slumped and hands in the pockets of her jacket amid the carefully regulated temperatures of the station. Nothing more than an old woman, perhaps spending a day with her grandchildren as far as any passer by may know. Nobody would see the careful planted foot movements. The way her body twitched every time a new figure approached them. The faded old eyes scanning her surroundings just when another fur looked away.
Naturally she refused to answer Runa Instead guiding the two well into the middle of the artificial park area, away from the many young class 2 citizens seeking to revel in the transplanted nature which was their birthright without actually wandering too far from the storefronts. One path ended at one of the small artificial streams which ran though the park. Little more than a pond pumped up into a waiting well of earth and run down a gentle slope into another. An aesthetic accent that may well have passed for realism as far as Taya knew.
``We're here.'' Lady Oda muttered. She pulled herself to one of the larger rocks and hauled her body up on top of it. The two girls both looked up at her in confusion. Blades hung limply in their hands as their mentor situated herself and basked for a moment in the falling sunlight.
``Here... where?'' Runa looked around the area rather confused. Her feet grinding into the grass curiously. She shouldered the large and overly elaborate Durafoam practice weapon she'd been given. The Jarldottr had been all too enthusiastic when the odd weapons were handed out. Ranting on about one of the countless cartons Taya had always promised they would watch, but which she knew she wasn't technically allowed to see. It was odd since the weapon was far smaller than what Runa was used to, a shorter-bladed long sword with glowing runes and chips in the foam clearly meant to simulate battle damage.
Taya herself held a similar one, though with a deep black single edged blade. Longer than what the thylacine herself was used to. But probably just as `show accurate'.
Lady Oda smirked and pulled a small bag of hard candies from her pocket. She bit the wrapper on one and pulled it free popping the candy into her mouth and leaning back on to the rock. ``Here.'' She said bluntly. ``Come on now, you two. We don't have all day, do we? Positions.''
Confused or not, both cubs knew exactly what to do at that call. Taya slid her foot back and placed her sword before her, rooting herself into the dirt just in time to see Runa charge. The wolf plodding her way forwards with sword back and ready for a quick swing.
Taya managed to leap back a bare instant before the swing, Her sword helping to measure the distance and lowering just under the strike to ensure Runa was vulnerable. The girls feet rooted into the ground once more, then faltered. Her ankle nearly twisting in on itself as she tried to land properly on the hill slope. She barely managed to keep her heel dug into the dirt while her whole body lurched towards the right at the demands of the gentle hill.
Runa, it seemed, was less lucky. Her swing had been made with the slope of the hill, and it took little for her to crumple and skid herself a full meter down the hill. Long thick streaks of green and brown quickly stained the right side of her new outfit. She scrambled to gain hold of the sword once more as it rolled and slid down the grassy hill towards the pond. The wolf cub finally pushing herself on all fours and fumbling her way after it as Taya watched.
``You're getting sloppy, princess!'' The Thylacine called out. She turned to get a better footing on the hill before leaping off. Sword held overhead, ready to strike Runa while she fumbled for the weapon.
Runa, in turn, looked up at the cry just in time and rolled to one side. Her paws fumbling awkwardly for the sword blade to pull it closer while Taya looked on at the quickly approaching ground and the shallow bank of water right next to it.
Neither girl seemed to expect the splash of water. Runa barely managed to get hold of her sword and pull it up as if the toy weapon would offer some defense against the spray. She watched as Taya landed with her feet just on the bank and quickly faceplanted in. Fumbling and pawing before finally pulling herself up from the crystal clear liquid with a loud scream of frustration.
``Oh wow. That was bad. Like really bad'' Runa burst out laughing. ``Maybe you should watch where you're swinging that thing.''
The grumbly cub brushed her thick mop of hair from her face and growled. She dipped one hand into the water and shoved it forwards in a huge splash that doused Runa rather heavily. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction to march herself on to shore and shake off what little she could.
``Oh, that's it.'' Runa snarled.
Taya quickly struck with a hard vertical slash before scrambling her way up the hill once more, giggling furiously. The wolf girl pushing herself back up to her feet and struggling to charge up the unfamiliar surface. Both making their way towards a rock resting at the top of the hill.
``Get back here and face me you stripy brat!'' Runa barked. Her first attempt to make her way up the hill nearly causing her to fall backwards before she finally righted herself and dug her claws in, reluctantly getting herself rooted in much the same way Taya had moments ago.
Oda looked on and smiled softly. What little wind the station produced with its ventilation systems brushing though her graying hair. Those birds and beasts allowed to roam relatively free in the park singing songs amidst the two cubs shouting and squealing at each other.
She tensed for but a moment as a pair of furs stopped behind her, ear twisting to the lilting hackle of one of them.
``Well it looks like those two are having fun.'' The voice of a young man muttered.
Oda looked back over her shoulder. The man, a rabbit ,was indeed in his twenties give or take, his body free of the few signs of Rejuv Oda knew all too well. She looked over at his wife, a smiling hare with a belly ready to burst poking against a shockingly simple sun dress.
``Are they yours?'' The woman asked in passing, leaning heavily on her mate.
``Something like that.'' Oda nodded soflty. ``
``You know your mother is going to be just like that.'' The man chuckled to his wife. ``Spoiling the kids with toys and dragging them out to get dirty.''
``Excuse me, but aren't you the one talking about how you're going to buy a vintage car and teach our little girl how to be a mechanic just like her grandpa taguth you?''
The man rolled his eyes and sighed before turning his attention to the girls. Neither he nor his wife seemed to see the carefully drilled precision. The well honed movements. Muscle memory that would make any special forces trooper jealous.
And for a moment, as she looked back, neither could Oda. Watching the young princess leaping over the large bolder in an effort to strike down on Taya while the thylacine dashed around to the other side and taunted her with a small Vaga hand gesture.
``Just make sure to enjoy all the time while you can.'' Oda muttered as she popped another candy into her mouth and let a smile grace her graying muzzle. ``You can never really get it back.''