Fall Nine Times


asi_icon.gif faulkner_icon.gif

Scene Title Fall Nine Times
Synopsis Asi gives Faulkner an intense crash-course in skills needed for what lies ahead.
Date June 27, 2021

Raytech Industries Campus

Asi tilts her head at Isaac after he goes down to a well-placed legsweep, sweat clinging to her brow. Her nostrils flare in some unspoken sentiment before she looks away and then back down to him, offering him a hand up. "Full-body focus will come in time. It's a lot to manage. Don't disparage yourself for not minding your footwork."

"Just learn from it. That's all I ask."

It's late down here in Raytech's workout facilities, and they may not be intended precisely for this kind of training, but it'll do. The mats are comfortable enough to fall onto, and the protective gear they've brought for their hands and head will have to do the rest. They don't have much time, potentially, for this training. They have to make the most of each moment while they make preparations to storm the discovered ARM facility.

Perhaps Isaac had been expecting just to focus on arms training, but Asi was insistent on this part, too. On building up his reactions to people taking a swing at him as much as his ability to throw skillful counters in return. Sparring, disarming, submission exercises. Her time training with the Mugai-Ryu would prove to be universally helpful here.

After hauling him back to his feet, Asi tells him, "You lead this time. Mind how you leave yourself open. I back off, don't overextend and lose your center. Questions?" She doesn't so much as arch an eyebrow when she extends that offer, her tone barely lifting enough that it could be considered one. Her expression is every bit the crisp deadpan of a trained professional, giving away nothing on how she feels his progress is coming.

Isaac Faulkner accepts the hand up without complaint; it's another bruise on his pride, but if his pride was soft enough to bruise it deserves it, he supposes. The upside of this is that every time he falls, he learns from it; on that, at least, he needs no instruction. So when she tells him to lead, he just nods, fixing his eyes on her and assuming a stance — loose, fluid, ready.

Then he strikes. One, two, three, an easy rhythm that uses the followthrough of one motion to feed the next, aiming at head, stomach, ribs —

— before settling back onto his heels, waiting to react.

Hands fly up, feet light. Asi draws a hand high to protect her head, leaving her to juke to the side to avoid the hit to the stomach— and take the shot to the ribs. There goes her breath, leading her to shuffle a foot back…

Grounding her posture so it can swing out and forward again in a kick, high, arcing for his head, she grunts with the force of it. Eyes flare with a glint of overhead light as she plants her foot again and steps into quick punches— one-two— for his chest.

Faulkner's movements aren't quite those of a boxer, but there's some of the same grace there in the way he moves. He raises a hand to ward off her high kick; when she throws her first punch he rolls his torso and takes a half-step back, robbing the blow of its force. He can evade the second punch —

— but he's not going to. Because he learns from his mistakes.

Instead, he steps forward. Again he rolls with the blow, but this time it still has plenty of force behind it, drawing a grunt as it connects… and as her blow drives into his right side, he launches a counterpunch with his left, a hook driving at her right side.

"Good," Asi hisses out when he counterattacks instead of merely dodging, forcing her to begin moving back after that blow. She ignores that second sting to her side that adds to the first. It's just a bit of sting on top of the numbing hits they've accumulated over the rest of this training. "Now what?" She's on the retreat back, like she warned she might be, her eyes so sharp as she waits to see how he approaches.

The base of her bared feet skip back across the mat, hands floating in front of her in preparation for his next move. This is where the learning moments have been. How to continue to capitalize and not lose your advantage in the process.

Isaac considers that for a fraction of a second. Now what?

The answer comes quickly. He moves, stepping forward after her, hand already coming forward with a jab, quick as a whip and lashing at her jaw… this time, though, there's not a second punch following up. Instead, he slides a foot back, opening up just a bit of range —

— and the other foot snaps out in a low kick, aiming to scythe Asi's feet out from under her.

Leaning back, hands up to defend with her forearms, Asi takes the brunt of the jab where she's meant to. Her arms lower as a whole to defend her midsection again. Her body tenses when he slips that step back, ready to close that gap with aggression. She lifts a foot to do just that and then comes Isaac's sweep.

Her expression flickers as she fights for control of her balance after the strike, other foot coming back down and skipping in that struggle. "Ha—"

Asi stumbles back, regaining her balance after several steps. Her hands remain lifted before her without as much certainty in her stance, but that's mostly because…

She's laughing, shoulders shaking as her head tilts back a breathless laugh. "Yes! Like that." On the next chuckle, she shakes her head, lowering her stance. "I don't think you can blame this entirely on your practice before. You're picking this up quickly."

"But," she sighs, pushing a stray hair back from her face. With a glance toward the door, she indicates, "We're not done yet."

Faulkner hadn't managed to drop her, but he'd caught her out on that one; he feels a flicker of pride at that, but doesn't dwell on it. One decent blow isn't something to dwell on…

… though she, at least, seems pleased.

He tilts his head slightly when Asi lowers her hands; after a moment, he does the same. At her compliment, he musters a small smile in return. "Hopefully quickly enough," he says, shifting to the side so she can get to the door if she's so inclined. "What's next?" He'd been hoping for firearms training, it's true, but she's the one with military experience… and what's more, she's in the same boat he is. He's not going to second-guess her curriculum.

Still, he might be happy to hear, "We see how well you can shoot when your arms have already been through a lot in an evening."


Asi pulls the velcro strap on her headgear, and heads for the door.

Bay Ridge Rod & Gun Club

Out here, there's less privacy, but also more of it, in a sense. Better than having gone back to the Bastion and been peered at over bringing someone outside in. So here they are, staring down a range with two other marksmen standing nearby, doing some shooting of their own.

Suits her well-enough.

As Asi hands over the gun over to Isaac, she asks, "Have you shot before?"

Isaac handles the gun gingerly, taking care not to point it at anybody as he studies it — he has not done a great deal of shooting, but he knows the first rule of gun safety well enough, and there's nobody here he wants dead. "A little," he says; the dubiousness with which the answer comes is probably a good clue as to just how little. "Never seriously, though."

Asi takes it in stride. "This is a nine-millimeter handgun, the most basic, 'bog-standard' weapon you could pick up." While that word is unfamiliar to her in saying, clearly, it's one she recognizes the use of well enough. "It's a Glock, so it's even better in that respect. You're going to take hold of it with your right hand on the grip…" She mimes this action and the next with tight posture of her own, elbows slightly bent, treating it as though it were real. "And support the bottom of the grip with your left hand to keep it steady."

Only once she's seen him do it and earned a nod does she adjust the magazine on the bartop before them and gesture for him to slot it into place. "Push it til it clicks, and pull back the top half to get yourself set." Patient, she waits for her instruction to be followed, then tips her head toward their lane. "From here, square your posture and aim. Don't lock your arms out. Keep your eyes on the sights— line the center between the sides to make a clean shot."

She frowns, knowing this oversimplifies things a bit, but he doesn't need to be a crack sniper. "It's more important you shoot where you're aiming, where you mean to, but in the head of the moment I want you to remember one thing— don't try some videogame bullshit. Aim for the chest. The heart. The broad target, not the head." With a slow sigh, she admits, "The only time you worry about the head is with a Qing— to take out its visual sensor." A beat. "Its camera," she corrects herself in laymans'.

"But that's where it becomes even more important to shoot where you're aiming. Yes?"

Asi looks Isaac over in her periphery, judging his posture, making notes. "It will kick some. Not nearly as bad as other calibers. Both hands steady it, though, for that reason." She looks back down the range briefly. "Try what feels comfortable within those bounds… shoot a few off, and then we'll keep going from there." Her hand lifts to slide the noise-deadening earmuffs on her head properly over both ears again.

Isaac listens, nodding as she identifies the gun. Standard is good. Starting with something standard makes sense, rather than starting with, say, running on rooftops and falling off a building because you overextend yourself.

Faulkner studies her posture, her stance, observing and imitating; the magazine likewise is given a few moment's study — the feel, the heft, how it slides into the gun. Then he nods, adjusting his own earmuffs, resuming his stance, and takes a shot.

There's a few seconds' pause as he readjusts, then fires again.

By the third shot, Asi's narrowing her eyes, watching the way the fired shots fail to cluster, and a seeming discomfort with his positioning. Her tongue clicks off the side of her cheek before she reaches forward, placing a hand on his back and waiting for him to slip his headphones back.

"We're going to switch your grip. Left hand on the grip and trigger, right to support." It's not a suggestion, it's an order, even if it's one that makes her frown. The dots on the paper at the end of the range verge high and right, and she's seen the careful way he's had to reassert his control over the sights and the gun when he begins to pull the trigger. "Go again," she indicates with a nod.

The first shot down the range after the readjustment is enough to flatten her frown out, though, an approving gleam in her eye. A hole is sheared right through the paper target's torso by its heart. "I thought so," she murmurs, then lifts her voice so he can hear her better as she leans in.

"Most guns are right-handed, so we'll have to practice until it gets less awkward ejecting the clip and finding the safety. But this is much better for you." Asi pats a hand on his shoulder before stepping to the side again. "All right, finish this one out."

The results of that particular change speak for themselves; granted, this is the starter course, but still, it's a good second start.

He nods as Asi instructs him to finish the magazine, then lines up his shot and pulls the trigger — once, twice, again, again, again. His shots aren't terribly quick, but his aim is careful as he works through the clip, focusing on trying to get his shots clustered as tightly as possible. When he's out of bullets, he ejects the magazine, lays it back down, and turns back to Asi expectantly; he slips his earmuffs aside and waits for her to give whatever the next instruction will be.

The moment he turns back, it's clear Asi is more engaged than distant now, already leaning in to provide earnest feedback. Something like a smile is working its way forward as she says,

Nite Owl Diner

"The trick is going to be reacting quickly, once you've mastered what we've started working on," Asi explains as she picks up her fork. "With how many preparations need made, how much needs investigated, other responsibilities… I won't be able to work with you every day on this. But it is something you need to follow up on, daily."

She surreptitiously presses both palms together, eyes narrowing at the cheap diner meal before her as she passes her fork from her right hand to her left. "Do you have anyone you can spar with on your own, to keep drilling with? Even if they can't stand toe to toe with you, bag… glove?" Asi wonders at the words, seeming satisfied with her second choice. "Training glove opportunities are better than nothing."

Scooping up a bite of egg, she wants until she's done with it entirely before adding, "And practice at the range can be done alone. The important thing there is to find what works for you, what you need to do to have shots land where you aim, and work on getting closer clusters on the target."

She seems content to talk about this openly, if quietly, despite the late evening deadness of the restaurant.

Isaac nods, frowning thoughtfully as he considers his own meal. "Range practice I can handle. It's the sparring that's going to be a problem. I don't want to lean on Aman more than I have to; he's already doing a lot for me. Tibby, maybe, but she's been scarce." His mind flickers unbidden to Isis; he winces slightly at that memory, now bitter and full of pain. "I don't have a lot of friends who do hand to hand. I can put the question to our, uh, support group, maybe?" he ventures… then turns his attention to his own meal, digging in.

Her eyes downcast on her own food, Asi's reaction to mention of Aman is quiet. There and gone without notice. The late-night coffee of hers is picked up for a long drink. "Kaylee has police training, but I'm not sure the Americans focus on learning CQC over gunplay. At any rate, for an earnest practice partner…"

She looks at him over the top of her mug. "Nova seems like she might be eager for that sort of thing. Or…" Less enchanted now with her own ideas, she sips again and sets her drink down with a grimace. "Kirk, potentially. Supposedly he knows how to 'look out for himself'. It'd be a good test of his abilities while furthering your own."

Isaac nods slowly, pausing and peering thoughtfully at his scrambled eggs. "I'll hit Nova up, see how she's doing with her physical therapy. Kirk…" he trails off, musing for a bit about that. "I'd be interested to see what Kirk knows, honestly."

He nods, looking back to Asi and mustering a smile. "I've learned a lot today. I'll keep practicing and see how much further I can take it. So I'll be ready when the time comes."

"It'll be here faster than you know it," the once-technopath advises in return with a ghost of a commiserating smile of her own. "The most you can do for yourself is see to it that you're as ready as you can be."

"To remember that for as many times as you fall, you have to rise again just as quickly."

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