Description: Jezebel has finally made it to Thailand, and started her first day as a terrorist. It comes with a free meal, and turn with a teetherball, and of course, sweat. The former Lightning Spangles isn't terrified of this new existence. It is just like a summer camp. And with her savior now her mentor, Jezebel is embracing the chance for her brand new Shadaloo lifestyle.
After the cargo plane touches down in Thailand, at a dusty airstrip carved into the jungle, Jezebel and Cracker Jack seperate. Jezebel is given a black jumpsuit, very plain with a few pockets, and she's put in the back of a truck that rocks through the jungle roads for a good hour. Then, she finds herself within a Thai opium cultivation operation, where fields of poppies are divided off from the exotic jungle, and one can hear the distant roars of tigers. She is put to sleep for the night in a small room with a table and chair as a desk, plus a small cot to rest in.
At exactly six AM, Thai time, Cracker Jack opens the door, not dressed in his typical suit. He's dressed in a black Shadaloo uniform, similiar to Jezebel's jumpsuit except with more flash and trim. He's also wearing a black hat with a skull and wings. The only thing that is normal about his accoutrements is his baseball bat, held in his hands. "Good morning, recruit Faiblesse. Time for breakfast."
Jezebel was secretly nervous.
Once the black jumpsuit was given to her, she felt herself... going somewhere scary. It was a frightening experience now, being jutted into a new life. Her new home? It was a farm. Just a farm of flowers. That's how she thought of it. And her new home? She had her own room! With a desk! And a cot! It was relaxing. And even though she fell asleep on the plane... she would fall asleep again in her own room. In her new home.
In her new life.
At 6 AM, Jezebel was slower to wake up than before. Hair messy, and wearing her jumpsuit as a kind of sleepwear... or something. The actress was still muddled about what was exactly going on. As her new friend arrives for the wakeup call, she smacks her mouth, scratching her head as she sits up. A quick yawn comes, and with it, an answer. "Good morning Cracker Jack! Or is there a proper title I have to give you now?" Jezebel laughs a bit brightly as she stands up groggily. In spite of the... darker look of her recruiter, she wasn't worried. Not even about the bat. She just smiles, as she responds what she still considered a friend and savior.
"What's for breakfast?"
"Jack will do, we don't use formal military ranks." Cracker Jack taps his bat against the frame of the door as a form of quiet encouragement. "C'mon." He turns around and gestures with his free hand to follow. "You'll get the basic, no frills Southeast Asian military breakfast. Plain rice for carbohydrates, chicken for protein, and some goat milk for calcium. We need to get you in top shape." As he guides her down the hallway of the barracks, there are synchronized shouts from a larger room, where Jezebel can see, in passing, men doing one handed pushups in rows next to their beds, warming up for the day. Jack tips his hat to another drill instructor watching as he passes, the drill instructor offering him a toothy grin with a sparkling gold tooth sharpened into a fang visible briefly.
Jack takes Jezebel to a small veranda outside the barracks, where a Middle Eastern man in a labcoat is drinking a cup of coffee and reading news printed in Arabic as he gazes out over the poppy field. In the distance, workers cultivate the poppies efficiently under the watchful gaze of men in black uniforms holding Russian assault rifles, probably AK-74s, if Jezebel is familiar with firearms.
Jack takes a seat at a table across from Jezebel, and a woman delivers a plate of pork ribs to him, along with a cup of coffee, on a tray. Another woman sets a tray down before Jezebel. A decent sized bowl of boiled white rice, three chicken skewers flavored with satay sauce before cooking, a chicken egg fried over hard, and a wooden glass full of goat milk, recently pasteurized. "Consider this a luxury. You can't always eat this well in the field. This is just for training purposes. You need plenty of gas in your engine." There's the click of boots as a small column of Shadaloo soldiers marches out of the barrack behind Cracker Jack, lead by an exceptionally large, muscular man, who smokes a cigar.
"Jack it is then!"
Jack explains the diet, and the actress... half listens. She was taking in the sights, the sounds. When the man with the gold tooth and fang comes by, the actress averts her gaze. She was ignoring it. As she passes the poppy field, she DOES look away again, eyeing the flowers, the scientist(?), and of course, the guards. Jezebel... was not familiar with firearms. "Are those AK-47s?" She states, looking over at the armed guards from a distance as she takes her seat. As the 'breakfast' comes before her, she quickly and efficiently eats. In spite of spoiled treatment in the past, she did have a work ethic. You can't be a B-Actress without working hard. Mixing the egg and satay sauce with the rice, she eats swiftly as Jack gives her the law. Picking up the skewer, she tears off a chunk, before swallowing.
"I'm a lot tougher than I look, Jack."
The bubbliness seems to pop a bit. "I remember, well, remember is the wrong word. I've experienced a time where I had the worst diet, hahaha. Beer is essentially liquid bread, and you can get a lot of energy from liquid lunches, breakfasts, dinners, haha." She laughs a bit, as a darkness seems to cast over her. For a moment, the idealism fades. She glances to the column of soldiers, eyeing the brute of a man smoking a cigar. She adjusts in her seat nervously, as she takes another bite out of the satay. "I need to start showing, uh, strength in public around here, right Jack."
"To keep myself safe, right?"
Jack looks over his shoulder at the poppy field, before looking back. "AK-74s, they're an upgraded model made by the Soviet Union in the early eighties. First saw action in Afghanistan. In many ways, they're superior to the M-16. Much better in field conditions. M-16s are the best rifle in the world if you take care of them, but any Kalishnakov can work forever with very little upkeep." He takes a sip of his coffee, before biting into his pork ribs, eating just about as fast as Jezebel, even while he watches her eat. It's clear that he's scrutinizing her habits, as opposed to wanting some of her food, the way his pupils flick here and there. "Beer isn't how you build muscle, but it can sustain you for a little while. It also has a nasty effect on your digestion."
Jack looks where Jezebel is looking, eyes drifting over his shoulder at the man smoking and his soldiers. "Nobody is going to mess with you out here, you're considered an elite hire. Strength will come, don't rush it." He raises a finger. "Never try to prove you're tough around your comrades. That's how fights break out. Just try to be quiet and learn from the culture. For instance." He looks to the scientist, raising his coffee mug. "That's Aziz. He's one of our chemists. He's completely comfortable here, and he has very little fighting ability. Why?" Aziz looks over his paper, smiling at Jack, before looking back down to the news. "That's because Aziz manages the conversion of poppies to heroin for shipment to Australia, our top market. Without Aziz, we lose a major portion of our funding in this theater of operations. You mess with Aziz, you bring down the worst we have to offer on you. Another example."
He bites into a pork rib, before raising it as an example. "Nobody disrespects the people that serve the food. They're all trained, each and every one of them, to spot various toxins and the like. That means they can poison you if you disrespect them. Maybe not lethally, but enough to make your day unpleasant. You never know. The major rule here, Jez, is simple." He smiles and spreads his hands.
As Cracker Jack explains the firearms... Jezebel seems to blur over it. The only guns she tended to handle were six-shooters, and those were props. Cracker Jack was... was very knowledgable in fact. As he goes through the details, going through it quickly, she gives the dull nod of a student in the crosshairs of the teacher. She felt like she had no idea what was going on. But it was a role, in the end. She kept thinking of it as a role. And Cracker Jack? He was teaching her just what kind of role she needed to play.
But respect. That was something else.
As Cracker Jack explains how the villainous organization Shadaloo runs internally, Jezebel was in fact surprised. Respect. Just like in Tae Kwon Do. She anticipated fear. As he motions towards the 'egghead' Aziz, the nature of respect was doubled down. She polishes off the last skewer, looking at it with a head tilt. She smiles again. "Well, how do you earn respect here?" She asks openly, as she begins to break up the egg into the rice.
"Do you just do your job, and not rock the boat?"
"Shadaloo does not have a lot of frills," Jack explains, his pork ribs finished as he sips his coffee. "We are light, fast, and secret. When we show up, it is in force, it is without being announced, and then we pull out. Unless, of course, the boss says we make a statement. Which has yet to happen, but we've all been informed it will one day. Right now, we're mostly in the planning stages, and that is frankly way above most of our heads." Cracker Jack watches as she blends egg with rice, eyes down for a few moments, before they move back up to Jezebel. "You do what is asked of you, to the best of your ability, and you do not rock the boat, that is exactly correct. I deal well with a wide variety of people, and I know just about any sort of fighter's strong and weak points, so I'm a drill sergeant, among other things."
Cracker Jack finishes off his coffee, and then pushes his tray forward a notch, the signal for a nearby servant to take the tray away from him. He rests his arms on the table, elbows on it in a defensive stance, a sign that he's been in a government institution of some sort. In his case, juvenile hall. "Everyone here has some story to go with their skills, which is what makes the people you meet here so unique. So just be sure to listen, you'll hear a lot of interesting things. Aziz could tell you all about Iraqi Ba'athism's history, for example, and I could tell you about Las Vegas being founded by a Jewish mobster named Bugsy Siegel as a venture for Lucky Luciano and the America Mafia, back when they all worked as the same unit in the 1930s."
It wasn't bad at all.
"And I know about the cinema and television scene in both China and the US!" She exclaims brightly. She had no idea what she was doing right now. An optimistic idiot, just constantly moving forward. Jezebel didn't have experience with respect. Only attention, and working hard at being loved. Even in her naive outlook, she could really only see love or fear as options. But respect? She already was craving it harder than anything else. Finishing the rice, she washes it down with the milk, attempting to guzzle is... before gagging. Turning up her nose, she looks at the cup. Gingerly, she forces herself to drink the rest of it. So far, Shadaloo was... was very nice.
She could enjoy this lifestyle.
"I'm... okay. I'm okay. I'm sorry, goat's milk tastes... different from cow, hahaha." She laughs a bit, putting the cup down. "You are my drill sergeant, and you are gonna drill me so I am gonna have my place! Hahaha!" She laughs again, running her fingers through her hair. It was barely noticable that just had a series of nervous breakdowns, wasn't it. She didn't even think about having to kill people, until right now. This was like a dream, a criminal wonderland. The opposite of what her movie experiences had her do. "So what's... what's my first goal right now?"
"What's my first job?"
Cracker Jack rises from the table and picks up a small brown rucksack, tossing it over his shoulder. "C'mon." He turns about and begins sidling along lazily through the compound, towards what looks like a small sports and recreation area. There's a field with a pair of soccer goals, a tennis net, and a pole with a teether ball hanging from it and a circle of asphalt. He leads her over to the tether ball. "This is a little exercise I invented. Your kicks are your strength, but you're too used to being choreographed, or using theatrics while you're fighting. It's a distraction. So, out here? It's just you, me, and this ball." He drops the sack and steps into the circle, picking up the ball. "We'll start with some basic warmup, before I give you the challenge. Now, the only rule here is no hands. You kick the ball, as well as you can, using any stance or style that you want."
Cracker Jack watches Jezebel for a few moments as he lets this sink in. "It's not as easy as using your hands, but it will improve your footwork and improvisation. You can use any number of techniques or manuevers or moves that you've practiced in advance, but it's possible to counter you if you've become too predictable. Or, in your case, somebody's studied tapes of your fighting, which for you, is pretty damned common, given your public face. So, kick the ball. Easy." He throws the ball to the side, and the rope catches it before it can leave the asphalt circle. The ball swings at Jezebel at chest level, going at a relatively slow pace. Cracker Jack steps out of the circle, making it clear she's playing alone, against her own kicks and not his counter-strikes. He holds his bat in his hands, tapping it in his ungloved left palm.
The first mission.
As Cracker Jack leads the way, Jezebel follows, eyes bright, eager for the first bit of training. Would she be fighting? A pit fight? No, no, it was teetherball. She doesn't question her training instructor out loud, but her eyes can't help but show a little confusion. As he explains, she just... nods dimly, and responds aloud. Just like a game!"It was more than a game of course. It was training. She stretches as she is allowed to warm up, long side stretches, limbering herself up. Theatrics. She was a real fighter though. Not everything was fake. And no hands? She was... she was good at just kicking. As Cracker Jack is ready to begin, so is she. She approaches the pole, and drops into kyorugi joonbi, the fighting stance of Taekwondo.
And Cracker Jack sends the ball away.
Jezebel responds with a built-up charge of energy. She unleashes a high roundhouse kick, ready to catch the ball coming to the chest. The blow comes heavy and hard, and from it, the ball whips around, coming from the other end. Jezebel's reflexes are slow and reactive; the back kick comes with the shift in momentum, and comes half-cocked, hitting much lighter than the last kick. As it comes around long and slow however, Jezebel throws out a back kick with the left leg, trying to catch it again. She succeeds fully now, as it whips around in blazing speed.
And this time, she's too slow.
It hits her in the shoulder with a thud, as she prepares the next kick. Jezebel is upended, spiralling through the air as the ball strikes her in the side. Cracker Jack could see exactly what was happening in careful, constructed detail. The blow wasn't even solid, it was glancing. He could see, in full view, that Jezebel took the hit... and neatly oversold it. The impact was almost negated, as the full force of Jezebel's body rolled with it. Landing on her feet, she keeps her footing barely, easing herself as she turns red in the face. The ball spins around the pole a few more times, as she nervously approaches back into her defensive stance near the pole.
"Hahaha, well, I need to learn to pace myself better, don't I?"
"Pacing isn't what I'm teaching you yet, this is just warmup to get you in the right mindset." He moves over to the rucksack and puts his bat down, bending over to reach inside. "Now, the standard way to kick in martial arts is to balance with your arms, correct?" He pulls out a pair of brown leather cuffs linked by a half foot of thick rope. "We're going to put your arms behind your back, and try this again. This time, you'll have all your balance below your center of gravity, instead of above it." He moves over to Jezebel and grabs an arm, firmly and just a little roughly in case she tries to argue, fastening her arms behind her back as he pulls the cuffs tight. They're snug, and the rope is deceptively strong. "This is how we're going to develop speed, power, and agility."
Cracker Jack releases Jezebel, and moves back to the other side of the tetherball court. He picks up the ball, grinning as he tosses it up and down in his hand. He gives her roughly a minute to get ready, testing out the constraints of her new balance and necessary stances, before he sends the ball hurling around at her, again at chest level. He steps out of range of the ball, crossing his arms as he appraises her quietly to see how she deals with the new challenge.
The right mindset.
As Jezebel sees the leather cuffs coming out, she gets... pangs of terror. Pangs of regret, pangs of shame. She hides it behind her smile. "Ye-yeah?" She responds, as Cracker Jack moves towards her to cuff her arms behind her back. She consents, averting her gaze from Cracker Jack as she smiles. She thought really hard that she trusted Cracker Jack. It was an important fact, as she continues to smile. "I wish I could say this is the first time I've had to fight like this, ahaha." She gives out another bright, nervous jab of laughter, as she gets in place for another round with the pole. She gets in position, as the ball comes hurled out again.
And energy begins to surge out.
RRed, white and blue energy cascades over her frame, as snaps out an even kick, leaning back as she does. Her force is a lot lighter now, and with it, the speed comes to a much more managable pace. Without her arms, she had a harder time unleashing the full power. But with it, she found restraint with her power. She is able to keep the chain going much longer, another short kick, followed by another straight.
It wasn't anything unpredictable, until a straight goes a little too high...
and in turn, the ball comes around low.
With the energy died down, she whips her leg around, a dropping heel as the ball comes in with a smashing blow. It drives low, looping around high on the pole in turn. Stepping in, she unleashes a straight to meet it, launching it back high to come around low. She was moving a lot more now, keeping less stationary. But as she turns, keeping up the high-low game, she manages to drive another powerful low blow in... and now, her back was to where the ball was coming from.
And once again she gets hit.
The blow doesn't send her reeling this time though. She tightens at the cuffs, trying to throw her arms out instinctively as she is struck. But as she moves forward, without her arms, she just drops to the ground unceramoniously. The ball comes back around as she rises, and she barely evades it. The ball comes around again... and she throws a straight kick, getting back in position. A smile was fixed on her face throughout it, bright energy. With the light kicks, she gets back into the rhythm. Not power, but control. Gradually building into raw force.
"I'm doing better this time, aren't I?"
Cracker Jack notes Jezebel's discomfort, but says nothing to comfort her or offend her, playing the part of a neutral teacher. He watches impassively, a faint frown on his face as his eyes track her body, moving quickly as he observes her. He cocks his head as she tumbles to the ground, before offering a firm, "Good," as she gets back up and keeps at it. "You're improving. Speed is very important to a fighter. You can't always swing for a home run, sometimes, you have to use a little finesse. Also, notice how you're extending more with your legs. We're going to be here for a week, and every morning, you're going to start with this exercise, to loosen up your tendons. Flexibility is important, even if you sacrifice a little brute force in order to make a hit. It's the difference between kicking someone in the forearm, and kicking someone in the elbow. The forearm is a common spot to block an attack. The elbow, not so much."
He moves around the asphalt court slowly, and undoes the cuffs, putting them back in the rucksack. He picks it up, along with his baseball bat, and points the bat back towards the main compound. "Remember that, the forearm or the elbow. People will always put their best parts forward to counter an attack. All you have to do is stretch a little past those, and you can seriously hurt someone. Now that I've shown you how we're going to find the target, I'm going to show you how we're going to destroy the target." He brings her into a large thatch hut. There's a boxing ring in the center, where a pair of fighters in pads duel with Muay Thai, while an instructor talks to through their fight. Jack walks past the ring, to a punching bag. He pokes one, colored blue. "Standard bag." He pokes another, colored red. "Filled with sand and gravel." He moves to the side. "Punches and kicks, whatever order feels natural. And don't get into a routine. Change up your strikes. This is how we get physical condition. It will improve your skin, cartiledge, muscle density, and tendon strength."
She was learning.
She hadn't gotten this kind of attention since China. Since she stopped drinking, and... she still hasn't drunk anything. She was still sober, in the middle of an opium plantation. As Cracker Jack gives her the order, and undoes her cuffs, she finally stops her assault. Letting the ball spin around, she follows her instructor brightly. "This is just like the good old days." She states, cheery. She wasn't afraid. This really was like a summer camp for her. As she enters the next hut, where the two men duel, she mentally prepares herself for a fight. Fortunately, maybe, Cracker Jack had other plans. She is introduced to the punching bags. Standard, and hard mode. She thrusts a fist in the air. "Just go all out, and try to mix it up! Alright, Jack!" She moves forward, hopping a bit from foot to foot.
She begins with the blue bag.
Jezebel begins with her warm up side kick. Slamming her leg carefully into the bag, again and again, to warm herself up, letting it swing with every kick. Once she get the feel, she begins to set up into one-two combos. Side to straight, double round houses. It felt... bizarre not stopping between attacks. Urges of Lightning Spangles flooded over her; she wanted to banter, she wanted to act. But her role wasn't to be Lightning Spangles. She was a... member of Shadaloo. The double combinations flow into triple, as she unloads three kick combinations, changing up with the rhythm. Cracker Jack could see the same issue as before; Jezebel could keep offensive momentum, but after every attack was huge holes in her defense, always off-balance, always open for a counter attack. By the time she unleashes her Quick and the Dead, her four kick combination, she unleashes a staggering double roundhouse into a back kick, before finishing with an executing heel drop, ripping the punching bag from the chains. The blue was easy.
The red was another story.
Sweat pours from her brow as she immediately moves to the next one. She begins with the same pattern, warming up. This time, the bag doesn't move. Her leg burned from the impact, but she just hits harder. It still doesn't move. Jezebel stops her assault, slowing down as she backs up. Sweat was pouring down her face, as she was gasping for air. She slows down her breathing now, controlling it. A deep breath in, and a deep breath out. And then, she speaks. "Okay Jezebel." She starts. "You can do this. You are the greatest. You are amazing. You are wonderful. I believe in you, Jezebel. You believe in yourself. This is your chance. This is your chance. This is all yours!" With the last cry, she thrusts her fist in the air.
And red, white, and blue energy cascades over her frame.
Flowing with her chi energy, she flings herself back at the red bag, lunging in with a straight kick. This time, it moves. Closed in, she finally brings her arms into play; not to strike, but to control. Pushing forward, the bag swings back, and she repositions, flinging in a knee in close quarters to knock the bag back again. Moving back, she hurls out a change up, a high kick chained into a low kick. Energy was still flowing over her as she kept repositioning. She begins to pick up speed, hurling close-quarter roundhouses, back kicks, straights, and even spinning kicks. Finally, as her face begins to turn red, she leaps into the air, and unleashing a finishing jump kick. The bag doesn't get knocked down... but Jezebel rebounds make, stumbling away from the bag. She wheezes, jumpsuit drenched in sweat as she continues to stumble back. Finally, she stops, and bend over, facing down. She groans.
"Throwing- I'm throwing up- the goats milk!"
Cracker Jack watches, nodding as he sees the openings in Jezebel's defense. He'll have to work on that personally. Well, that's why he keeps the baseball bat. She's suicidally aggressive. He wagers that is probably a personality trait, and one that's a danger to Shadaloo as well as a danger to her. He'll work on it. A little jolt here and there next time they train ought to do it. He'll figure something out. He watches Jezebel giving herself an inspirational speech, reasoning that it's probably an acting method she picked up - and not a good habit for an actress, he ponders, but he's not entirely sure. Then, as she moves to the hard bag, he observes the energy she puts into it, before she collapses. Throwing up goat's milk, that's not a good sign. Very localized tastes in food. He had that problem too, at first. Common failing with Americans.
He moves over to Jezebel, holding her hair back as she vomits. "Don't hold it in, get it all out. You take a break for an hour, then Troy will come by to give you lunch and take you to the weight training room. He's the resident bodybuilding expert, he'll help you work on the machines and freeweights. Stick with it, champ. Piece of advice for traveling. When you're trying new food, eat from each portion a little at a time, so you eat it all at once, drinks included. It's much better for your stomach. You picked up a bad habit." He pats her back as she finishes up, and slips a tape in her pocket. It's a cassette, with 'Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven' written on it in black marker. There's an ancient tape deck in her room when she gets back.
It couldn't be suicide.
Maybe it could be. Maybe Jezebel just could pretend away the pain, or pretend away the danger. She wasn't even properly reckless with her offense, not even properly berserker. She just consistantly traded power for speed and defense. Even when drunk, when Cracker Jack was working her over with a bat? If she was sober, she might have crawled her way back. It was fun though, to tear into it.
Less so, the vomitting.
It was the goat's milk. Retching on the floor, she appreciates her trainer's assist. As she finally hits dry, she wipes her mouth. "Thank you, Jack. Hahaha. I have a lot of bad habits, don't I?" Bad acting, alcoholism, impulse control issues, and reckless offense. Many mistakes were made. But in the end? She felt like she was overcoming them. She wasn't thirsty. Not for booze at least. And especially not goat's milk. "I'll... I'll relax a bit, yeah." As he pats her, she even blushes a bit. But as CJ leaves, the actress... notices something in her pocket. Frisking it out, she sees the tape, with the black label.
"Maybe it will be something different." She tells herself.
Maybe all she needed was something different.
Log created on 14:52:52 01/05/2016 by Jezebel, and last modified on 18:28:45 01/06/2016.