NFG Season One - Training, Mistakes, Emotions.

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Description: A blind girl falls on her head, a tech ninja gives her electroshock to set her straight. A marine listens to her PTSD following the event.

Kenzo sits by himself in the lounge area at the central table looking at a tablet with a screen divided into sections. The bottom half is dedicated to a note taking app. The top half dedicated to a video playing app. The video playing on the app is a video of his fight with Buck with edited so that his feed from his point of view on one side and video from a 3rd person view of his fight is in sync with each other.

At this point, Kenzo has probably developed a reputation among his team mates, sponsors, and external staff as a film junkie. When he's not eating, sleeping, or training, he's constantly breaking down film on his fights as he strives to learn from the mistakes of his past.

Next to him is a plate with a partially consumed chicken sandwich. It once was warm but in watching and rewatching that fight as well as taking notes, he has allowed it to cool off.

Djamila comes to the lounge area himself. She at least can hear the video playing on Kenzo's Device. Yet she doesn't speak right away. She gets breakfast first. Her sponsors and teammates might have noticed she has nights where she can barely sleep. She also goes out quite a bit. But she trains, and whatever she does has paid off so far.

She has oatmeal, and now she finally speaks. "Hello, Kenzo. I hope the day has you well so far. Sorry about your fight with Buck. I was sure you were going to win." She takes a seat and starts eating as quietly as she can.

After a moment, she asks. "Are you going to train today? I was thinking we could train together. You have a style that certainly could teach me a few things." She finishes her oatmeal, and then she stretches.

She stands back up and cleans her space, leaving a moment before she comes back to see what is Kenzo's decision. She seems independent and does most things non-blind people do. If she couldn't, she probably wouldn't be here in the first place.

Upon hearing Djamila's voice, the electro-ninja pauses the video and looks up. Upon seeing the dancer, he doesn't bother clicking on the button to turn screen off. It's not like she can see it, or even if she could there was nothing he should be ashamed of, and there wasn't a power consideration to think of considering he could act as a charger himself. Because of those factors, he had luxury of being able to just let idle out.

"It was a winnable fight. Now that I had a chance to review it, I can say that I made a bunch of tiny errors which by themselves wasn't enough to lose the fight individually but when put together gave him the opportunity he needed to claw victory from the jaws of defeat. In hindsight, Buck was probably the one of the best opponents I could hope for in terms of my development. His transformations gave him different traits which require different strategies to address. It was like having to fight several types of fighters in one opponent."

As Djamila, finishes her oatmeal, Kenzo finishes his now cold sandwich with video review no longer distracting him. He then stands up, cleans up, picks up his tablet and takes it to just outside the fighting area. While normally he would keep his footsteps quiet as he possibly can, he lets his feet be heard. He chooses to let his actions speak louder than words and those actions say 'yes.'

Djamila doesn't know all the power specifications of Kenzo, but there has been no attempt at peeking at his video or mention of it once paused. The former would be strange, and the latter might be invasive. So she is quiet until he speaks out.

Isn't that the case for at least 99% of the fights? Even if someone is much stronger than you. You should be able to compensate with speed. There is always a way. So mistakes and adaptation. the 1% left are the people that are better at everything than you are. That's my take on things." She makes a pause. "At least that gives you material to learn from the mistakes, yes? Like you said, best for your development. I will keep it in mind when I fight Buck one day. Change my strategies."

"You are not very ninja-like Kenzo." she hears the footstep. Please during our training, do your best, do not telegraph your moves just because of my condition. If you are to destroy me, then I want you to destroy me. I promise to give it my all too." She says as she follows toward the fighting area.

"I don't need to be 'ninja-like' with a team mate or ally until we're both on the mat. The spar hasn't started yet after all."

To further emphasize that point, the moment the foot steps reach the mat, the sound he makes stops. He quietly moves farther onto the mat while he waits for Djamila to step on to the mat as well.

"Considering you made it into a later round than I did, I would be an idiot to hold back. I'm not perfect but I'm not an idiot either."

He slides into his fighting stance. Sickle held in one hand while a gentle breeze can be felt from spinning of the weighted chain held in the other hand.

"Whenever you're ready."

COMBATSYS: Kenzo has started a fight here.

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Kenzo            0/-------/----===|

"I am disappointed. I thought ninjas had to be quiet all the time." She's kidding about it. "Just Liza talked about you, and she enjoyed the pictures, I think." She makes her way to the mat.

She has her stick. She must have gotten it at one point after cleaning up. She rarely goes without it, since it can be used as a cane in a bind. "Ok, point taken, you are very very quiet when you want to be." She still manages to get in front of him in one way or another.

"I don't think you're an idiot. I respect you."

He tells her whenever she is ready, but she's not sure if he meant to strike now. Yeah, he must have meant that. She slams her staff on the mat close to Kenzo. If her can feel chi, he can feel some at the base of the staff. She jumps on the staff and spins her extended legs in a helicopter kick. Until she reaches the ground. If she has her way, she hits Kenzo a few times.

COMBATSYS: Djamila has joined the fight here.

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Kenzo            0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0          Djamila

COMBATSYS: Kenzo blocks Djamila's Chopper Spin.

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Kenzo            0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0          Djamila

With that opening move, he can see the implications of what her style can do. The pole could be set up as a fort to hide behind or in a team situation, utilize as a set up platform for some of his own moves. The ideas quickly go through his head but then he quickly tables them to deal with the clear and present danger that attack represents.

He brings up his sickle reinforced by the forearm chain holding hand, intercepting the kick but being driven back by the impacts of kicks and letting out a grunt.

Driven back a bit farther than what he cosiders ideal, he darts in, a little past the pole and close enough to grab the dancer by her waist and takes to the air before flipping backwards in an attempt to drive Djamila head first into the ground with an almost stereotypically ninja move.

COMBATSYS: Djamila blocks Kenzo's Izuna Drop.

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Kenzo            0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0          Djamila

Kenzo manages to block her legs/feet, and she kind of expected it.. She would have been surprised to successfully get to him just get that. But he's not anti-pain, so it's something.

When Kenzo attacks his own, quickly darting in, she can feel his arms around his waist. As she feels herself go in the air, she locks her legs around the staff and breaks the connection. As she is taken in the air, she does something she isn't even sure will work. She flips herself to slam the other end of her staff down. The chi attaches it there, and her head is safe. It does resonate in her legs and thighs though. "oof." Note to self, don't do this all the time. LKegs don't like it.

When she has a good hold of her staff again, she quickly spins on her it and tries to kick him. She aims toward Kenzo's head, but who knows if it's what she will hit if she hits at all.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo dodges Djamila's Light Kick.

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Kenzo            0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0          Djamila

He has to respect the creativity of her response. He would never have imagined someone would stop that attack by locking their legs around their weapon and using said weapon to take the impact instead of their head if he hadn't seen it himself. He aborts the rest of his own descent by landing in a controlled handstand and pushing out of it to land back on his feet.

He can see the pole is reattached to the ground and so he's deciding that perhaps the chained weapon might not be the best weapon to deal with her at least for now. The kusari-gama is quickly coiled and attached to his hip before he pulls his war fan out. He doesn't receive any more time beyond having a kick directed at his head. He slides under the attack to get in close before getting his shoulder under her kicking thigh while kick her planted foot from under her in order to throw her to the ground. Should he manage this, he'll quickly follow up with a fan smack to the forehead.

COMBATSYS: Djamila fails to interrupt Armed Combo from Kenzo with Inside Leg Hang.
- Power fail! -

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Kenzo            0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0          Djamila

Djamila can see how Kenzo can be really quick. He didn't have much time to react to her kick, yet he was under her when the kick arrives.

He does a kick of her own, and she decides to take it. She thinks she can flip upside down on her staff, locking her legs around it to continue with a move of her own. But the way she moves, with her timing, she gets Kenzo's kick right in her head, which makes her mess up. Her legs don't lock correctly around her staff, and she ends up head-first to the ground.

She did a big mess up with this, and the smack to the forehead doesn't make it any better.

It's a good learning experience. Sometimes, if you try something daring, you can hurt yourself nastily. But due to this, she's not doing any further attacks. She's just slowly grabbing her staff to get back up on her feet, but it's still affecting her.

It sure is nice having folks under one roof. It's easier to provide security this way -- no need to bring in external staffing or support crews. But even still, that doesn't let Mint get away without running patrols around the building. Especially not after her experiment with autonomous drones went... a little haywire.

The outside door can be heard jangling open. (Yes, she put bells on it.) A moment later, Mint walks in the inner door. One giant metal fist is clutching a thermos of hot coffee, the other swings by her side as she walks. She takes one look at the fight in process -- and that brings a large uptick to her smile. Mint walks over to a stool, watching from a respectful distance so as not to disturb the two, while she sips at her coffee.

Though she does draw in her breath as Djamila gets bonked in the head. Sometimes it's the best way to learn...

Everything goes topsy-turvy. He expected to catch her leg with that kick and got her head instead. She wanted him to hold nothing back? And so he still followed up with the fan swat to the head even if his attack did more than he was expecting.

When Djamila gets back up to her feet, Kenzo is ready to continue to put pressure on her. This time it's not by utilizing the fan since he manages to put it away before quickly uncoiling his kusari-gama, electifying it with his energy and launching it towards to wrap the weighted end around her torso then violently yanking her towards him before slashing out at her with the still electrified sickle of his weapon.

No matter the outcome, he lets the weighted end go slack and drop to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo successfully hits Djamila with Lightning Snare.

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Kenzo            1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1          Djamila

She is not surprised Kenzo goes for another attack. She even welcomes it. She needs to know how to push herself even after that big failure of hers. Even if she can't deal with this time, it will be knowledge for next time if such a thing happens.

Djamila is aware of Kenzo intention's more or less. She doesn't feel like she can block it currently in her current condition, so instead, she tries to get on her staff yet again, but she is too slow, and the kusarigama wraps around her waist and electrify her. It's quite the boost to the brain, with the current and the pain. She's still upright, at least, helped by the staff.

She concentrates. She had worse. Kenzo is giving him her best, and she needs to do the same. No anger Djamila, calm down. Let the wind take you to peace. She thinks to herself.

She grabs her staff firmer. She starts undulating her hips to a rhythm with music only she hears. Wind circles her, and she makes the 'om' sounds. The wind brings peace to her body and mind, allowing her to think better. "Come on Kenzo. That's not all you can do right?" When in doubt, push your opponent further. She keeps undulating her hips.

COMBATSYS: Djamila makes the om sound and wind chi flies around her for a short moment.

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Kenzo            1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1          Djamila

Oddly enough. Kenzo was at a similar point in his fight with Buck and it was also at this point that he was making those small errors that he noted that each one taken individually wasn't enough to cause him to lose by themselves when combined added to take him down. Here was the point that in his haste to finish the fight quickly he failed to take in some of the details he could've used to help land his attacks so while like before, he is stopping to assess his opponent, this time he's being more deliberate about it so he doesn't miss the finer details.

While he stands there, he takes few deep breaths, while he spins his chain. His eyes take in her movements and all of the readouts provided by his combat specs he's wearing.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo focuses on his next action.

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Kenzo            1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1          Djamila

Djamila keeps undulating her hips. She's waiting for an attack that never comes. So far, she's been doing the mistakes, and Kenzo has been doing all he needed to do to capitalize on them. She keeps herself calm and doesn't rush herself into this. So, maybe Kenzo was watching her or thinking. Fine, she can do her things. She needs to focus on herself for a moment anyway. She can keep her focus and maybe distract him a little bit. Worth a try. She is what she is after.

She concentrates on herself, stripping moves coming to her easily as she jumps on her staff, and flips herself upside down on her pole. With no distractions, her legs lock well around the staff. Her dress goes high on her thighs and she runs her hand left from the inside of her knee, to the top of those thigh highs. As she does that, she lefts herself slides slowly to the floor. When her hand touches the floor, she uses it to flip back onto her feet. The long skirt is falling back into place, covering her fully, except for the slit on the left side.

COMBATSYS: Djamila stops moving and focuses herself.

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Kenzo            1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1          Djamila

Mint had been watching intently. But -- and as this was a point she had -wanted- to comment on in earlier fight performances, she finds it a little awkward to just stand around and gawk while her mentee is trying to psych out her opponent.

Mint takes a long sip from her thermos. Maybe... the coffee is really hot, -that's- why her cheeks are red.

... Unfortunately, it goes down the wrong tube, and she's forced into a very, very weak cough. So much for keeping watch in stealth mode.

If Djamila isn't going to come to him, he'll have to go to her. As the dancer goes upside down, he doesn't go in immediately. After all, Djamila has demonstrated in this fight alone that even with her legs locked on the pole, she can still be dangerous. Anyway, he's has as much information as he's going to get at this moment and so he waits until she's back on her feet before going in.

He darts in fast. It almost looks as though teleported right next to Djamila. That is the only warning she gets before he slashes out with the sickle of his kusari-gama.

His ear does twitch slightly when he hears the cough and judging by the height of the origin of it, he can tell exactly who it belongs to.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo successfully hits Djamila with Flicker Edge.

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Kenzo            1/------=/=======|=======\=====--\1          Djamila

Djamila back on her feet, feels something. She tries to far away to the side. But again, this attack is so fast. She might have dodged a training-ending injury, but the slash catches her at the shoulder instead, cutting in both the bra strap and the skin of the shoulder. She winces. "Fuck." She lets out.

She's making all the mistakes right now. Can she turn it around? Maybe it's time to just go crazier. She made so many mistakes. It's time to commit further. She grabs her staff off the ground. slams it back as hard as she can with her good arm to use the momentum to send herself in the air she looks like she will strike with her staff, but at the last moment, plants it back down on the ground and spins on the staff for a double feet at his head. That's assuming everything goes to plan. If there is even a plan for this. It does seem like a crazy move.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo interrupts Random Strike from Djamila with Shocking Shell Stance.

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Kenzo            0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Djamila

When Djamila goes crazy, Kenzo goes incredibly defensive. At first, Kenzo thinks the dancer is going to swing with her staff even though that had been a significant deviation from her previous attack methods but it is hard to ignore what the attack mechanics look like. As staff slams down to lock in place once more, the electro ninja creates a protective energy field around his body as he draws his fan once more.

Djamila's double footed kick encounters some resistance at first. The kick does eventually get through causing the ninja to stumble backwards but it isn't without cost. Electricity goes through her legs and through Djamila's body.

When Kenzo is able to get his own feet under him, he shifts into a defensive stance , holding the fan out in front of him and using it as a shield between himself and Djamila while a sphere of electricity acts as a defnse for him as well.

She can say she has hit her target. But it doesn't feel like a success. It feels painful as she ends up on the ground. She didn't expect to get electrocuted again from this. She could blame it on her head injury, but that would be coping. Right now. Kenzo with all his arsenals, is simply better. She hurts everywhere, but she forces herself to come back up.

She starts dancing again, of all things, moving her hips and holding her staff. She wonders if she can come back from this. A plan may be forming in her head. At worse, she will get hurt more and she can use that as knowledge, knowledge to be tougher.

Before she starts humming, she says softly. "is that all you have Kenzo? Why am I still standing? Come on. You hit like a baby." That's a complete lie, as her shoulder is still bleeding, her body looks tired, and if she had eyes, they would show the pain she is in. But who said you need to tell the truth? If she claims she feels like a million dollars. It might become true.

She starts swinging, doing the 'om' sound again. There is more wind chi, and it does soothe her body some, but it does not remove everything that she has been through so far.

COMBATSYS: Djamila makes the om sound and wind chi flies around her for a short moment.

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Kenzo            0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Djamila

Mint's massive gauntlets curl around her proportionally tiny coffee thermos. She continues watching for the most part -- though one part has her disbelieving her own ears. She mouths the words silently to herself -- hit like a baby? Shrugging mutely, she pronates her left palm, while her right hand holds up the thermos. From the way she's squinting at the OLED display on her left gauntlet, she seems to be taking notes. Somehow.

She looks back to the sparring match with interest. If she has anything to say, she's reserving feedback for later.

In fact, Kenzo is probably the one of the worst if not the worst person to tell that lie to. Between his personal observation skills plus the read outs from the combat specs he's wearing, he knows that he hasn't, for the most part, been landing weak shots. That being said, he has been putting an emphasis on making sure that his shots land which is the reason that Djamila is still standing.

His lips form into a smirk. He just barely contains his laughter as he moves in closer. He stows his fan once more replacing it with the chained weapon once more but still in that oddly defensive stance in spite of the change in weaponry.

"You are aware that you have to attack me if you want to beat me, right?"

With that protective electric energy still surrounding him, he electrifies his chain once more swinging it around at Djamila rapidly in a figure 8 pattern. He has made the decision to not only not get baited by the taunting but to maintain the pressure especially while he's operating from a position of strength.

COMBATSYS: Djamila interrupts Whirling Chain Blitz from Kenzo with Teddy.

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Kenzo            0/-------/--=====|>>>>---\-------\0          Djamila

She grinds her teeth. That was a good comeback. She has to admit. Especially compared to her, but she wasn't trying to hurt Kenzo. Who knows what she was trying to do?

When all is said is done, Kenzo attacks her, and Djamila uses wind chi to give herself a burst of speed. With that burst of speed, she spins her staff very quickly overhead first. Then she brings it in front of her toward Kenzo, winds coming from her staff, she pushes forward, pushing away his chain. That's not the problem. It's when her staff comes in contact with the shield to get through. She gets electrocuted. She takes the pain, to hits him several times with the staff. The electrocution doesn't hurt as much as she expected. Perhaps because the wind weakened the shield.

Some of the wind that got to Kenzo comes back to her. It soothes her body, helping counter the effect of this third electrocution. "I am aware, thank you." She jumps back a bit and takes some deep breaths as she pushed her body with this, but she's ready to do it more if necessary.

He takes several hits as Djamila smashes him over and over through the energy shield of his. It hurt... a lot. Even still, his shield still did manage to soften the impacts from the staff and wind chi. He'd rather not contemplate how bad it would feel if he didn't have the energy shield up.

It takes a moment for him to get back but once he does, he smiles.

"That's more like it"

He then moves in close, using sickle, not as a slashing or stabbing weapon but as a hooking weapon to take Djamila's legs from under her while he uses his attack to reposition behind her. The shield however is flickering bit.

COMBATSYS: Djamila dodges Kenzo's Mix-Up Throw.

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Kenzo            1/------=/=======|>>>>---\-------\0          Djamila

"Now, if you beat me, I gave you something to remember me by." She laughs softly."Because you are giving me a ride for my money."

In her match with Chevy, she claimed to her she couldn't be tripped. For the most part, she was right. Again for this attack, she proves it. She quickly jumps over the scythe, letting it pass under her

When she lands back on her feet, she spins to the side and sends her staff forward, trying to hit him in the chest while trying to get some better positioning.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo blocks Djamila's Evasive Strike.

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Kenzo            1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0          Djamila

At this point the ninja isn't surprised by her avoiding the hooking attack but with her hop and repositioning it allowed her to attack quicker than what he found to be ideal for him. Though he managed to deflect the staff, it still manages to catch his shoulder spinning him backwards and giving his shoulder a bit of a bruise that he'll have to worry about after the fight.

He's unfortunately in no man's land where it isn't a great range for the sickle or his fan and a little bit too tight ranged for him to be comfortable swinging the weighted chain around. He takes another option. He pulls out a metallic orb around the size of a baseball, sends some electrical chi through it and drops it at Djamila's feet.

After a moment, the small orb releases a large burst of electricity through it.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo successfully hits Djamila with Pulse Device.
Glancing Blow

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Kenzo            1/-======/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0          Djamila

Djamila nods her head when Kenzo manages to deflect her staff. Taking it in the shoulder instead. At least, it seems to have done some damage.

After that she can feel the device on the ground. She moves away quickly, unsure of what will happen. Electricity chi comes out of it. She's fast, but not quite fast enough to evade all of the electricity coming out of it. It hits her leg, and she feels a sharp jolt. She knows she can't take much more of this, but while her body still functions, she decides to push it more.

She decides to do something quite basic but quite useful if it works. She uses her legs to jump up and then tries to slam her staff on his head when she comes down. If she hits the first time, she jumps back up to do the same thing again.

COMBATSYS: Kenzo dodges Djamila's Superman.

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Kenzo            1/-======/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0          Djamila

When he tossed the device down at her feet, he was attempting to set up a situation where no matter how she reacted to it, he got a benefit. If she hunkered down and covered, she still would end up in the blast radius. If she tried to barrel through, she stll would end up having to go through it to get to him and she still feels a little bit of it. If she tries to avoid it he gets a reactionary gap to allow him to deal with the subsequent attack. The fact that she still got caught in it was the cherry on top.

When she leaps up, Kenzo sees the danger and then all of a sudden, he starts crackling with electricity as he darts to the side and away from the descending staff. He starts panting and then all of a sudden, he lashes out with the weighted chain and lets it wrap around her neck.

Should the chain wrap around her neck the chain will suddenly be electrified with his energy before he stomps down on the chain. Where head goes the rest of the body follows and the act of stomping the chain pulls the dancer down to the ground before he follows up with some slashes with his sickle.

COMBATSYS: Djamila blocks Kenzo's Deadly Electrocutioner.

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Kenzo            0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>-----\1          Djamila

Djamila's body in a way is on fire, but she keeps pushing it. Kenzo being so fast right now and dodging her attack is a pain in the ass. But she does what she can.

She brings her arm up when the chain comes for her neck. It saves her in a way, but in another way, it's still as damaging to her. She gets electrified with his energy. When he falls, she falls onto her knee, still in a prime position to be slashed. Her chest takes the hits, and she bleeds from there. "Args." That was a pain in the ass too.

"God, you hurt." Yes, she grabs her staff with her good arm and pulls herself up with pure will, making more blood come out of the slash. Then she starts "Until the end. When I lose, I learn. What doesn't kill me. Makes me stronger. Thank you, Kenzo." She says it in Arabic, though the name Kenzo stays Kenzo.

"Let me be a pain in the ass a bit longer, as I am probably going down very soon, but I don't want to go down yet." She dances again, only one hand around her staff, but wind chi goes around her as she 'om', and she at least has enough wind chi to stop the bleeding in her chest. "You're quite the fighter."

COMBATSYS: Djamila makes the om sound and wind chi flies around her for a short moment.

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Kenzo            0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>----\1          Djamila

"How about we call this a draw?"

Kenzo is breathing hard. He pushed his body harder than he probably should have. He can also see through combat specs that Djamila had also been pushing herself pretty hard as well. Had she attacked, he wouldn't have had anything left beyond going for ai uchi(mutual destruction). With her taking a moment to pause, it gives him an opportunity to call for a stop. If they were to continue, there would probably be a huge risk of one or both of them getting injured before the next matchups began.

"I don't think it would be prudent for us to risk injuring ourselves in training and making it easier for our next opponents."

He then turns to where he had heard the cough earlier.

"Isn't that right, Mint-sensei?"

"Alright I accept this. I had a plan maybe. but not knowing if it would have worked or not. Signs point you would have won. Draw it is. But I won't forget any of it. It has been an honor. Thank you. I learned a lot from this." She breathes. "it has been an honor. I hope I made you learn a few things too."

"I hope you win your next round. You deserve it." She breathes more, feeling tired. it was a good fight, she respects Kenzo even more now.

Mint blinks, as it takes her a moment to disengage from 'quiet spectator' mode and snap back into 'sensei' mode. The transformation is thankfully quick, as she dons a smile and climbs down from the stool, setting her thermos upon it.

"Yeah, this is a good place to stop." She nods to Kenzo, and then to Djamila. "Great work, you two! I... " She chops both hands outwards. It's a Marine thing. "I have a few notes."

She turns to Djamila first. "Okay, I'mma be real: You did great dunkin' on that sword girl. Burn was so bad she ain't been walkin' straight since. But you gotta keep it fresh!" She raises her left gauntlet, peering at the OLED screen on the inner forearm. "'Hit like a baby,' you said." Mint frowns, even grunting to make sure the mood is communicated. "This is a fight, okay? A -fight-. If you stop fighting to get your head in the game, you gotta make that work -for- you. If you're not gonna strike, you can still hit 'em..." Here, she takes a quick jab at an unseen opponent's solar plexus. "In their -confidence-."

"A bad burn," she explains with an open-handed gesture, "will just heap more fuel on -their- fire. That comment was fourth grade, Scholastic Book Fair material." She clamps one fist shut like a crab's claw, with a *clink* sound. "A -good- burn will snuff fire that right out, and get the audience on your side to boot. So -that's- somethin' you can take tips from Kenzo on."

She draws in her breath... and steps to the side, squaring up to face both Kenzo and Djamila equally. "Now, we're done with teardowns. Let's build up."

Mint glances to Kenzo and Djamila. "So each of you -- I want you to tell me some things the other fighter did -well-. I've got my notes, but let's hear your thoughts."

Djamila ponders the question and thinks of what Mint told her. "I didn't want to burn Kenzo for real, so it came out wrong. I should have just said nothing instead. It was bad. But when it was out already, I rode with it. I couldn't take it back."

"Kenzo was fast a lot of the fight and went even faster. He was able to capitalize on my mistake at the beginning when I landed on my head. I just gave him that on a silver platter. But this doesn't account for the whole fight either. That would be an excuse if I blamed it all on that. He kept pressing his attacks, so he kept doing damage to me. His attacks were also very precise for the most part.

There is probably more, but this is what comes immediately to mind.

"No big!" Mint winks back at Djamila, not wanting to belabor the point. "Just consider keepin' some shade in your pocket for a sunny day."

As Djamila self-asseses, Mint's eyes half-lid and she leans to one side. "... Just to call it: You're being a -little- overly critical of yourself, but it's a good segue here. Your opponents are going to make mistakes all the time." She nods, turning to address Kenzo: "It -is- a good tactic to take advantage of that. It's good experience for you both."

Mint nods, clapping her palms together. "Okay, -my- notes are little different. Precision, Djamila touched on. Kenzo's good at strategy, as we've talked about before. He kept his head in the game... " Here, she turns to Djamila, her giant hands whirring and groaning as she gestures. "He got in your head, a little, y'know: made you think twice." She grins. "In the long run, this is a -very- important concept to keep in mind about fighting: pacing." She starts to walk in place. "You wanna -always- keep in mind how the fight is going, and you want to be in charge of that. I really think Kenzo had that -- and I -want- to say you were trying to regain control of that with your dancing. Do you think that would that be accurate?"

"I am just trying to be fair. I did a mistake that turned things around, and I had a hard time after it." She listens to her assessment from Mint.

When she is done. "You are more professional than I am. So it must be mostly accurate. If I may say, I was trying to stay cool, and I had a plan. I am willing to say, as I said earlier, on paper, it looked like he would win, but if my plan would have come to fruition I would have won. I was dancing a lot to keep my body going. I was going for the long run on this..."

She sighs. "I also have trouble sleeping at times. This doesn't excuse my performance. But I suppose this is something I must be honest with you with if you didn't know already." she takes a deep breath.

Kenzo is quiet as Mint and Djamila have their back and forth. It's interesting to see how he is being perceived vs how he perceives himself.

"Djamila-san between her wind chi and her ability to pin her staff in a given location gives her a lot of area control potential. It forces a person to come into her territory if they want to engage her. I had to control the pacing so I wouldn't be forced to fight on her terms."

Even still Kenzo is mentally reviewing the fight for points improve. He's already looking forward to watching his first person footage before overwriting. No training footage leaves Fort Metal.

Mint's walking-in-place turns into a jogging-in-place. She smiles faintly, as the topic steers towards Djamila -- and she just lets it happen organically. Criticism is always better from peers than teachers. She nods along as Kenzo offers his assessment.

"Mm... yep! You did a great job of keeping out of harm's way, using your pole as a solid foundation for both defense -and- attack. Your blocking practice is paying off, giving you more options than just dodging. And you've shown you can take the hits now. It took a while for you to find your stride -- and I'm glad you stuck with it."

With a big sigh, she grins cheerily. "So!" Clapping her hands together with a *clank*, she continues. "Great work, both of you! So... there's two things to keep in mind as you enter this next round."

Here -- she gestures to herself. And the jogging. "First one -- *pacing*. You explode out of the gate at a full run..." Here she speeds up... "you're gonna be outta gas." And here, she slows and lets her heavy arms hang low.

"Whereas if you and your opponent both start slow and dial up, you can save up for a big blowout at the end. Just pay mind to it."

But then Mint pulls her fist back. "Second, and most importantly: "-Confidence-." She throws her fist forward -- but it's just a thumbs-up! Lots of machinery sounds.

"It's your weapon against your enemy, and -also- your greatest asset. You can -not- let your opponent control your actions. You can let it inform you as to what they -expect- you to do -- but don't let it become a leash."

She takes a deep breath, resting her hands on her hips. "Okay! Any more thoughts?"

she listens to Kenzo and nods his head. "Thank you, Kenzo." She then looks at Mint again. She feels unsure now. Maybe it's not something you talk to a teacher after all. She ponders it while she listens.

"Know your limits and make sure you can go the long run if necessary... I understand that I think. I may not look like I do. I don't know." She chuckles a bit.

"Can confidence be waiting for the right timing to unleash on your opponent, even if you are holding back meanwhile and even maybe taking a beating?"

She takes a deep breath. "I think you could help me with something. But I don't want to make it a public matter though. I am not saying right now is a good time. But maybe, we could talk. It's not about my blindness or anything related to it. I don't want to make you think something is missing in that sense or anything. It's just some" slight pause "personal matter." She seems hesitant, but that's because she never talked about it to anyone, but since she has trouble sleeping again at times. Maybe. "yeah, it's not too important. But yeah."

Djamila wave to kenzo

"Know your limits is a good one, yep." She smiles, nodding her head. "You're doing fine! I'm not handing out grades on this. Ultimately, you guys are the one who make the magic happen."

Mint glances over to Kenzo for a moment, but nods in the brief lull of silence: "Confidence is... hmm." She strokes her chin. Which seems like a remarkably delicate gesture for such a gigantic robotic hand to make. "Yeah. That's a good way of thinking about confidence. Trusting yourself to wait for the best timing to strike, rather than just throwing attacks haphazardly." She nods enthusiastically.

The followup statement, though... Mint mentally kicks herself for letting the topic slide when it was brought up a moment ago. "Ah, trouble sleeping, right... it can affect you in fights." Mint smiles tightly, noticing how reserved Djamila is on -this- topic without having any hesitation on any others. "Let's take that to a sidebar." She pauses, then hastily amends, "A side meeting," in case Djamila doesn't know the military jargon. Mint -wants- to have the discussion, but if Djamila's uncomfortable, then it should be private.

"So, Kenzo -- you got anythin' for us?"

Kenzo, for his part, was content to hang back and let Djamila speak. That part is the dancer's show so to speak.

When attention is placed back on him, he was shaken back to the here and now.

"In terms of pacing control, I'd say that it had a lot of similarities to the pacing of the fight with Buck. From what I can see, I need to work on closing a fight when I am operating from a position of strength."

With that, he grabs his tablet and readies himself to be dismissed should Mint and Djamila need a bit more privacy.

Djamila is not afraid to speak to people, and take center stage. She can't do her job and all if she is shy. Which is probably why it's even weirder she is holding back about that "problem."

"I still think I could have beaten you. But I totally could have lost to you too. There was nothing set in stone." She tells Kenzo directly.

She wouldn't tell Kenzo himself to leave. For he had as much right to be here as she. She's not that much of a bitch. Mint could, but she didn't expect it one way or another. She doesn't know what Mint has in mind, and she tries to not assume. She said her bit, and she would wait when it was a good time.

"I enjoyed the fight, it gave me more things to learn and think about. I am grateful." She finally says.

"That's a good way of putting it, Kenzo." Mint grins and nods. She can see that Kenzo's packed up and ready to go, but she makes a point of keeping her stance open, because this is, in her view, an open forum about fighting.

"Yeah. You two are pretty evenly matched as far as I could tell. I don't... have any -specific- suggestions."

She folds her arms behind her back. Well, it looks like she tried to do that anyway -- it doesn't work as well with the giant arms. "Other than that -- I'm glad to see you two are working well together! It looks like we'll have some good synergy. Word has it that, er... we might be facing an opportunity for two or more of you to work in -tandem- at some point in the future, so... teamwork -will- be essential for that."

She grins, stepping back to grin at both combatants. "With that -- I'm glad you two got a fight in! No further notes to share, just keep up the great work!"

She remains on standby for now, pending what Djamila and Kenzo choose to do.

Kenzo at this point, has nothing more to say. He knows what he should work on and has a fairly decent idea of how to work with Djamila in the future.

The other thing for consideration is the fact that what Djamila seemed to be concerned about was probably a private matter. Prying without having built some type of rapport would be horrible for team unity. Or at least that's what he believed.

"Umm... Yeah... I do have some film to review. Anyway, Thanks for the training session."

If they were still in Southtown, he would've bowed. Old habits die hard though so there's a slight twitch as if he was about to bow but then nods instead and heads back to the lounge area of good ol' Fort Metal.

"Alright. Thanks, Kenzo!" Mint snaps a sharp salute. Which, again, fits really oddly with the huge gauntlets, but Mint appears to be completely comfortable with their weight.

She turns to Djamila with a grin. "Mm... did you want to talk now, or some other time?" The rest of Fort Metal is at her disposal: Mint seems more than happy to go along at this point.

"Thank you for your time Kenzo. This was an experience I will not soon forget. Instructive." She smiles at him and does end up bowing out of friendship. She's not a stranger to bowing, just does it when she feels it.

When Kenzo is gone, she looks at Mint."I don't want to impose if it's not a good time."

Then again, Mint offered. So it must be. "Ok, you're a Marine, and you're someone I can trust. Do you have any tips for recurrent dreams of getting shot? Well, dreams of getting shot, because of getting shot before.

She pauses a moment, then she adds. "it's ok, it's whatever, even if you don't. I can still fight. It's ok. Don't take me out of the team of anything." Was she really afraid of that? "But you're a Marine. I thought you might have some tricks."

After that she goes silent, but she fidgets a bit. She doesn't seem to enjoy talking about that.

Mint smiles and shakes her head. "I'm here for you, no worries. Let's just step to the side a bit though..." The fight location was right in view of the entrance, so Mint steps towards a darker, quieter corner of the room, making her footfalls obvious for Djamila's benefit.

And then, as Djamila states the reason for her dreams, Mint gives another one of those smiles that can be heard. "I do have some tips, yeah." She walks towards a pair of stools, and scrapes the feet of one across the floor so Djamila can hear it. But Mint doesn't, herself, sit down -- because she's setting her gauntlets down, knuckle-side down. "No way am I gonna take you off the team for that." Relays close, servos unlatch, and ... in a second or two, Mint steps free of her gauntlets. She flexes the fingers of her normally-sized prosthetics, taking a few moments to shift gears into a more conversant mode of thought.

"Djamila," she starts. Her voice is subdued, but there's none of the joking-around tone from before. "I'll be blunt. First off, some bad news: the dreams might not go away. I'm sorry."

She draws in her breath. There's more.

"But the good news is, you can make them occur much, much less frequently."

"Ok thank you." She does follow Mint as she goes into a quiet corner.

Then she speaks, and Mint listens. "Well, I bet you didn't expect that, or maybe you did, I don't know. I was doing well. Just having it very infrequently. Then he came, wanted to have another chance, say he changed." She shrugs. "I don't need him. The girls who work with me are my family, and even here, you all kind of are in some way. Anyway, I told him to fuck off, but the dreams came back with a vengeance now. I don't even care. I mean about him." She shrugs, followed to the stool, and sat her ass down while talking, because to be fair, it's nice to sit down after that big training fight."

"I was worried like I love fighting, be part of this. Stripping and Fighting, that's my life. Might not be glorious for everyone, but it is for me."

She listens to Mint again. "Yeah, I don't expect them to fully disappear. But I need some sleep. Meditation at one point won't cut it." One might wonder why she's not at the psy or something.

"I will be grateful for any tricks you have, so I can hopefully get it back under control. If you need to know, it happened about 4 years ago. I don't know if it's relevant or not."

Mint does her best to listen as Djamila relates her story. Memories don't always work in a linear fashion; in most cases, memories are crammed haphazardly into long-term storage bins, and merely unpacking them can be an ordeal in itself. So for the time being, Mint listens.

And when Djamila trails off, Mint slips to her stool so she can look Djamila in the eye. Metaphorically, anyway; it's easier to see the whole range of emotions on Djamila's face when she doesn't have to look -up- as much.

"It's all relevant. Just you and me, Djamila, just you and me."

She folds plastic hands upon her lap. Not quite as bulky -- and not as noisy. "There's only two shortcuts that exist for this kinda stuff. Booze, and drugs. And those don't even solve the problem so much as give you a whole shit-ton -more- problems to deal with."

Her thumbs roll over one another with a slight plastic squeak. "But one thing that can help is melatonin. It's off the shelf, it's non-habit-forming, it's non-addictive, and it's perfectly natural. It's good to counteract just... y'know, -general- anxiety that might normally keep you from falling asleep."

Mint glances off towards the lounge, and then makes a brief scan of the rest of the facility as she continues. "And, y'know. Exercise, positive thinking." She turns straight towards Djamila, watching her expression carefully. "-Letting- yourself make mistakes is a big thing. Being kind to -yourself- is a big thing. Because when you're not kind to yourself, your brain has a way of associating that with the stuff you'd rather forget, but -can't-. Which -- drags it right out of storage. Gives you more nightmares."

Mint looks down for a moment, crossing her legs. "Do you want to talk to me more about this guy? Who is he? Why's he in this picture?"

When Mint moves to sit down on a stool too, to look into her 'eye', Djamila shifts her head slightly as if she was catching Mint's eyes. She continues what she is saying, however.

Then it's Djamila turns to listen. She makes a face. Not for Mint per se, but booze and drugs? Yeah, no thanks. "No booze or drugs. If I am not myself anymore, it's not worth it. Also, all the shit ton of other problems, as you say. I would sooner slam my staff on my head and go from there."

She nods about the melatonin listening to that. If she had her eyes and not a blindfold, right now she would still be staring into Mint's own. "I will look into that. It sounds like this could be a real solution." She gives a bit of a smile.

Then there is the talk about exercise. "My body is my temple and my money earner. I have to keep fit. Exercise is good for the mind too and all, I am aware. As for Positive thinking, I try my best. I also put my nose where it doesn't belong sometimes. Because I can." She chuckles, but more out of nervosity. "I have trouble with mistakes. I need to learn, but let them go. I fell on my head for example, and I can't change it in that match. I just need to not fall on my head again if I can help it. Good thing my head is very hard. It helped before and will help in the future." She sighs a bit. "Maybe it's why. I will try to let go of things I am keeping in, which I can't change. Will take time I think." She ponders.

She takes a deep breath. "Well, my father was a soldier. When that missile exploded and took my mother as well as my eyes in Baghdad, I was sent to him. "He was never a good father. Never meant to take care of a young girl. But I stuck around because I didn't think I could take care of myself. Probably couldn't when I was 8 years old anyway. Fast forward to four years ago or so. I was 14 then." She takes a deep breath because she never told anyone this. There's only one other person who knows, someone who helped her. "My father was having a flashback, or I don't know. He started shooting in the house. I got a stray bullet. I don't remember how I did it, but I just grabbed a few things, and I left. I never looked back. I didn't call the police. I didn't want to be in the system myself. No foster family or anything. I just wanted out." She shrugs and shakes a little. She can't help it. Even after those years. Because thinking about it, she becomes that wounded girl who ran away that day.

It takes a little bit before she continues, "I still have the scar, but it's hidden. So." She tries to stop the shaking. "Sorry." She sighs. "Anyway, I don't want revenge on my father, but he's dead to me. I don't know how he found me, but he tried to come back into my life and said he changed. Why would I care if he changed? If he loved me, he would stay the FUCK AWAY!" She screams those last words. There is anger in there. "Yeah, I guess he might have seen me on tv or something." She grips her staff very tightly. "you won't have to mother me, don't worry. I just thought you might have been shot before or something and had tricks to deal with it, and I was right on that. So thanks yeah. Don't worry. Everything is fine." Did she do the right thing in confiding? Maybe she did open up with that too, not just because Mint asked, but because if someone would understand it has to be someone in the Military, right?

"Melatonin's nice. It takes care of the physical things keeping you from falling asleep. And it can help you get -back- to sleep after a nightmare, which is why I bring it up." Mint's voice stays low and even -- not wanting to make a big fuss, in case any of the rest of Team Metal might be listening. "You have to quiet the mind in order for it to do any good -- or else, you just... stay awake." She offers a half-smile, at that.

When she's talking, Mint expresses the usual gamut of emotions to convey her message, and all the body language that comes with that. But when Djamila tells her story... she keeps much of that to herself. She flinches, slightly, when she hears about her father's flashback. PTSD is a real thing -- a beast she didn't want to name outright when she'd thought it was only Djamila's trauma she was hearing about. But as she listens... she can feel the tragedy of their pain.

She'd been motionless. But the sudden outburst -- loud enough to rattle the windows -- is enough for her to uncross her legs, to have the Marine wrap her hands around the lip of the stool for security.

It's a good moment or two before Mint has a response. Quiet, and soft-spoken.

"I want you to know that I'm here for you, Djamila."

She looks down for a moment. Speaking with robots is easy. Building machines? Easy. Finding words to deal with such raw emotion? Harder.

"I'm happy to help you with where you are now. I'm... I'm -not- a psychologist. But I've had to spend a lot of time with them, over the years. And you've just given me a lot to unpack."

She presses down on her stool, adjusting her position slightly, so that she can prop her heels up on the support rungs.

"Can you tell me what you know about the condition called 'PTSD?'"

She nods about the melatonin part. "When I wake up from a nightmare, I usually just leave. But I will try melatonin before sleep and if I wake up from a nightmare. See how it works for me. If I don't try a solution, then it's silly. I will try to quiet the mind. On that, it feels hard."

After that's all her speech she has done until Mint tells her she is there for her. "I don't want to be vulnerable, to look like I am that blind girl anyone has to protect." She sighs. "it looks like I am ungrateful. It's not it. I thank you. It's just." She seems to have a hard time conveying what she is feeling right now. "I don't want to put pressure on anyone. I am an adult now." But it seems she needed to be an adult much earlier.

She is silent for a moment as Mint ponders her things. She didn't know what to say at that moment. But then Mint speaks again.

Djamila listens and nods her head, then shakes it. "I don't want to talk to a psy. I don't want happy pills. I love life. I am not going to do anything stupid. I just have to deal with things. Everyone has to deal with things." She 'looks' down. "I am sorry if it's too much for you. I hadn't planned of giving you the whole story about it. Not very many know of it. It's not a subject I want to bring up with the girls, to be honest." She shrugs.

She takes a moment before she answers the latest question. "PTSD. Might be what my father was having. He still was a pretty shitty father thought. It's a soldier's disease. It's like even if you're done with the army, there's part of some soldiers' mind that's still there, and things can trigger them." She fidgets with her fingers a bit, but her staff doesn't fall. "I don't want to her it wasn't my father's fault. I don't want him in jail or to pay for it in any way. I just want him to leave me alone. You know?" If Mint was trying to say Djamila is having PTSD from both nasty experiences she had, it doesn't cross her mind.

She brings her head back up. "Thank you, Mint. I know I am not very polite. I don't call you Teacher or Lady or something. But you have my utmost respect." She adds.

Mint listens.

That's all she does. She's present in all the ways Djamila would be able to verify. There's still the rise and fall of her ribcage, the intake and exhaust of her breath. But she is... just listening. Quietly aggregating all the signals Djamila is putting out, sorting them into a more concrete picture of the elusive enigma sitting in front of her.

She waits, just a moment, to see if Djamila will say more before she responds.

Taking a breath, she begins.

"It's okay, Djamila."

She lets the thought hang for a moment. The air handler machinery churns in the background. Some asshole on the street honks his horn. A string of expletives bowls out, far in the distance.

"I asked you to call me Mint, and you are. That's... what I want you to call me." There's the hint of laughter in her tone, but just a hint. "And I'm a Marine. There's not a single thing you can say to me that I haven't had barked at me by a pissed-off commanding officer before. So I need you to understand that no matter what you might have to say to me? I can take it. Okay?"

Mint glances at the staff. Sees the fingers twitching, fidgeting. And takes another breath.

"I've listened to everything you've said. You're an adult, you love life, and your father's pretty shitty." Another small laugh. "I'm listening. But can I ask you to do something for me?"

Mint stands up from her stool, scooting it back. And she extends her right hand out to Djamila -- with the sound of motors spinning and ribbon cables sliding into place.

"I want to congratulate you for making it here. And for taking this big step. I want to shake your hand. And I don't want you to let go."

She feels Mint's presence in all ways she should and then some. She is grateful. Maybe just letting it out will help. Who knows.

She then hears the deep breath (at least to her, it's a deep breath). That's the breath of someone ready to talk, so she listens. Mint first says three simple words. "it's ok, Djamila." Well, four if you include her name. It's nothing really, yet it's everything. When is the last time she heard those words? When was the last time she made herself vulnerable enough to her them? There are so many thoughts in her head from those simple words. She can hear all the sounds around, but they don't matter not right now. Who cares. Life is full of sounds. You have to learn what to ignore. Now, only the four words are in her head. Until Mint adds more.

"Ok Mint. I like the name, and I like the no bullshit about it. You could have titles, but you don't need any of them to have meaning. Mint is enough." She said, but her mind is still back on those four words. They have more impact than maybe Mint realizes. There are no eyes to display that impact, but perhaps, the way Djamila's body language changed a little is enough.

Her attention gets back to now when Mint sums up what she said, especially when she's asking Djamila can do something. It's like she gets at attention. Not like in the army, but at attention nonetheless. "Oh. I didn't do anything special. I am sure everyone has their story." She doesn't know what else to say, but she extends her hand, her right one, the one that fits for the handshaking. "You are too nice. But I will listen and not let go." It's the least she could do after all. She's not sure what to expect. She doesn't understand why she is told to not let go once it starts.

"Congratulations, Djamila." Mint shakes Djamila's hand. This is all good and well. And probably just like every handshake Djamila may have ever felt, aside from maybe the texture of the plastic, the heft and weight of the volume.

"You've made it this far. You found yourself in a bad situation, and you took every step you felt necessary to look out for yourself. And you put yourself in a place that allowed you to look after your girls. To do what was -right-."

But, as Mint speaks, Djamila may also feel whirring and clicking. Moving. The sound of five spring-loaded cables winding up. The hand itself getting heavier. And if Djamila moves the hand even more, she may be surprised at how far she can move it.

"Independence, you know ... is a separate thing from adulthood. I mean, heck, there's adults who still live with their moms. But you -- you're a warrior. You had to become independent -before- you became an adult. And in your homeland... this means you were probably in a pretty rough living situation."

Mint grimaces to herself. Out of the house at fourteen. And she's been an exotic dancer for -how many- years since then?

If Djamila hasn't realized it yet, she may understand what Mint's done when she hears Mint's footfalls as she simply walks away.

"PTSD isn't just a 'soldier's disease,' as you've put it, Djamila. It can happen to anyone who goes through a trauma. It just so happens that soldiers experience trauma more often than others."

The Marine looks down at her right elbow, and its array of bare, silvered contacts. Again -- a mirthless laugh.

"PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. It isn't a 'disease' like HIV or heart disease, something that shows up on a blood test. It's just a weight you carry with you. And society just expects you to hide it."

She stands apart from Djamila. Watching. And assessing. This is a dialogue between two adults, after all.

The handshaking is fine. Djamila just doesn't understand. Well, she gets it. But she didn't do anything that great. She doesn't realize it yet. what is going on beyond that. "We are a family at the strip club, and they took care of me too. They will probably come to see my next match."

She is surprised by the hand, but then again it's prosthetic, so maybe it was normal. She wouldn't mention that though.

"I miss my homeland, but I couldn't stay once my mother died. But yeah, what I said about my father. He wasn't ready for a kid full-time with him, especially not a girl." She shrugs at that a bit, but still holds the hand, her left hand holding the staff. But it's not like she realizes it.

Until. "oh. Clever..." She chuckles a bit but says no more than that at least no more.

"So are you trying to say I have PTSD?" It's not an accusation, she just doesn't see herself that way. But she considers Mint's point of view on this, listening. "I mean, I had some trauma happens, I can't deny that. I just didn't see it that. way. "If it wasn't weird, I would hug you I think." She finally says. She doesn't know what else to say. "You have been great to me. I just needed some help to sleep." Is that a little blush creeping up? She's just not used to that kind of care.

Is Mint trying to say Djamila has PTSD? Mirth creeps back into Mint's voice, as it starts to get louder with Mint's approach. "Well, I'm not qualified to say. And even if I were, you just told me you wouldn't want to talk to me."

A second prosthetic hand clasps hold of Djamila's wrist, supporting it as Mint brings her elbow close. In seconds, ribbon cables unspool, ring joints lock into place -- and Mint is fully reunited with her disembodied hand.

"Thanks for holding onto that for me. I knew I could trust you."

She releases her grip -- and waits, just a moment, before continuing. If Djamila lets go, she'll take a step back.

"Sleep loss can come from a whole ton of sources. Dehydration. Arrythmia. Hypertension. HyPOtension. Muscle pain. Anxiety. And that last one's a real bitch to treat, because it can come from damn near anything. Which is why I just... wanted to listen. You're telling me so much, and... well, like I said, it's a lot to unpack."

Mint looks down for a moment, at her hands. "But I know, for a definitive fact, that *I* have been diagnosed with PTSD. For losing my hands to an improvised explosive in Afghanistan. And if I think about it too much? Heh. I'll probably wake up drenched in sweat." She chuckles. "Tonight, maybe. Or tomorrow, or the day after."

She pauses. "... This is where I'd normally say, 'Don't worry, I'm fine.' To keep from worrying people. Or 'I've got it. I'm a big girl.' Which anyone who knows I'm four-foot-nine would call bullshit on, but that's beside the point."

She gives Djamila's hand a small pat with her own.

"You asked me not to give you any special treatment, and I'm not, Djamila. I'm here to listen. And -- if your father shows up here with a gun in his hand I'm gonna thump him so hard he'll need a plane ticket to get back. So don't worry about -that-."

"Well I already talked to more than anyone else in a long time, to be honest I guess I don't care if what I have is PTSD or not... I dealt with it. Needed help, you gave it to me, and I will deal with it again with your advice." She ends up giving a bit of a smile. She was calming down now."

She takes a deep breath and almost doesn't let go of the hand, but she does eventually, soon enough. "I am not anxious. I don't think. Less I am keeping it deep inside and I am afraid my father will come for me, but I don't think it's that. What's more, it brought back what happened. I still have the scar, but hidden." She nods her head.

She listens to Mint talk about how she has PTSF "Can I say something? It will probably sound weird." She takes a deep breath. "You're still you, and you're still as beautiful, even with a new hand. Maybe something to think about when things are tough." She then adds. "I am not coming on to you, I promise." She hope saying that didn't make it even more weird. She makes a face a bit.

"It's easier to say we are fine most times. I know it's easier for me. I was uncomfortable speaking of my problem, to be honest. At first, now that I've let it out, it's ok."

If my father shows up, I don't want to see him, I will never invite him. I am fine leaving him alone as long as he leaves me alone. Hopefully, I was clear." She takes another deep breath. "Thank you Mint for everything. I think I needed to open up, but I didn't know I did. But I kind of feel lighter." She opens both her arms slightly, her Staff still standing up on its own, but chi can be fel

Whenever Mint isn't speaking, she's listening, with both her ears and her mind. There are several layers of trust to any relationship, between parent and child, between student and teacher, between friend and friend. And she knows that there are still a few layers to work through. But, at least, it sounds as if some of those layers are being bridged. And that gives Minal reason to smile. To breathe more easily.

"Thanks for that." The dark-skinned Marine didn't really -need- or -expect- the affirmation, but it's still nice to hear. "I'm comfortable in my own skin now, but it's taken me years. I know -you're- still comfortable in your own skin, or you wouldn't be doing what you do. And you're gorgeous -- of course you are!" She nods, grinning. "But that doesn't mean we don't need to just... y'know, talk things out sometimes. If we don't do that, we end up arguing with ourselves. Secret battles, that never get shared. And there's no winning those battles."

Mint steps forward. And gives Djamila a big hug. Which will be embarassing if she read the body language wrong, but fun all the same.

"You can talk to me any time you want, Djamila. And if you want to ask me what I think? You'll get that too. I'm here for you."

"It's the simple truth though. Just confirmation of what you already know. For the bad days." She gives a smile again."Thank you, Mint. It means a lot. I know I am gorgeous, but then again, some men don't care how the woman looks as long as she removes clothes. I still need to know that, to do my job, but it's also nice to hear. Thanks." She hugs the woman back. There is a connection. At least from Djamila.

Mint didn't read it wrong, and Djamila hugs back. Maybe tighter than expected. She needed the talk and all.

"I will take you on this offer. There is something else. but not now. One thing at a time. I have a lot of thinking to do, and get some melatonin" She smiles. "I don't know if it's allowed, but if you need to talk, you can count on me, I will also listen. At least I offered. But for now, I think I will take some "fresh" air and stuff. Thank you again Mint." She releases slowly.

Building trust is a matter of knowing when to speak and when to listen. Djamila may have shared secrets in her life that might have been shared with no one else before. And Mint hopes to keep those secrets safe, within the walls of Fort Metal's white noise generators and signal disruption technologies.

And Mint heard more than she'd responded to. Partly because Mint knows herself -- and she knows that offering her unvarnished opinion without being requested for it can easily do more harm than good.

But... what matters most is taking the established level of trust, and building upon it as a foundation. And she thinks that, insofar as that is concerned, she's succeeded.

"Yep!" she comments, pulling away. She starts walking -- slowly -- back to the other end of the room where she'd left her coffee thermos. "So... Get some air. And if you see anything spicy you wanna try, pick it up and I'll pay you back, alright?" She laughs softly. "We can try it out together. Sound good?"

"Ok, sounds good. I will get the most spicy thing I can find. We will breathe fire by the time we're done." She laughs a bit. She feels lighter. "I will get some melatonin too!" She then runs outside. Yes, she can run. Without crashing into anything apparently. She's just pumped now actually. Back to enjoying life. And with that, she's gone.

Log created on 09:28:35 06/27/2023 by Djamila, and last modified on 11:09:16 06/29/2023.