Security Six head Woon Takahashi’s bare foot dug into the warm woody polymer of the slightly forgiving floor. He, launched with a slight hiss into a high flying kick. The breeze he generated wafted a warning scent to the very still enemy just before him. His hard heel thudded smack in the face zone of the lifeless form tasting his sweat. The flat fake bent, letting him sail on past in an unbroken arc. The well-dented dummy gave a metallic groan as it sprang back into place, ready for more punishment. As Woon landed with a surprisingly silent slide, the audience of expert students was clapping. He spun and put up a hand for silence. There was no way he wanted adulation for his necessary proficiency.
“Next,” he said.
The person at the front of the line took off running, gave a good jump and landed a foot at mid-level.
“Not bad,” Woon said. “The point is to challenge yourself. Next.”
One by one, the line of civilian karate students on Chiron gave it a try, with varying success.
“Ok, very good. Line up!” the students knelt for mokuso. All chanted to seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavour, respect others, and refrain from violent behaviour. Woon dismissed them and turned to a trio of sixers who hadn’t left with the recreational mission specialist and crew students.
“Alpha Two, give it another go. Your aim was too far to the left.”
Two nodded, readied, and took off. This time he was too far to the right.
“You over-compensated. Once more.” With intense concentration, the elite security force officer sped, took off, and landed dead centre.
“Excellent!” Woon said. “Three and Four, you need to work on your height.” He flicked on a screen and put a set of exercises on it. “I’ll leave you with these. Two, you can help them out if you don’t mind.”
“Sure,” Two said. Three and Four looked determined to do better so Woon gave a bow and went to change. He had a book to write in his none too plentiful spare time.
After a shower and quick-dry, Woon donned Okinawan clothes his dresser presented for him; a royal blue silk shirt with dragons embroidered in gold thread, and black slacks. The shirt gapped open like a kimono, showing his hard muscles to the empty room. On duty patrolling the ship he would be in his full-body zap suit with electrified patches in strike zones and the slip-off Japanese-style overcoat that didn’t alarm civilians.
Being off duty, he sat down with a cup of hot green tea with a hint of spice to get some work done. As he savoured the subtle blend of ginger and nutmeg in the jasmine, he looked over his notes and grew pensive. He took out his Pocod and made a call to the ship’s off-duty computer department head, Sufra Shahar. They’d bonded with each other on their mission to rescue Fbaris from the Octopoids.
“Are you available for tea?” he asked
“Sure, I love your tea.” Ten minutes later Sufra Shahar, the ship’s computer department head arrived at his door.
“Welcome!” Said Woon, letting her in. He handed her a real china cup of tea like his own and invited her to sit across from him. As a matter of course he used the antique dishes his father had sent him with, without considering more modern options. It wasn’t out of snobbery that he handed her a filigreed silver spoon in case she wanted sugar from the matching bowl accented with a gold floral pattern. It was just the silverware his family had always used. A family he now knew descended from a great Okinawan warlord, Shunten.
As Sufra accepted the cup, Woon smiled easily, saying, “I wanted to show you how my telling of our Octopoid adventure turned out. This is the memoire I mentioned, not the official report for the Ambassador and Captain. As promised, I omitted all references to your Palestinian/Israeli backyard martial arts proficiency from the official report. As we agreed, my memoire to be released at a later date must be historically accurate and complete, though.”
Woon shivered as an ever-present memory invaded his vision for a second. A young man had died by his own hand as he’d strived to ensure history was accurate and complete. It was the reason he was here at all instead of still in academia. He didn’t regret his choice to join the army instead of being charged with murder, but now he had to squeeze his history thesis work in around his day job. Why even bother? Was he going to go back and complete his degree if he ever made it back to Earth? Was security work his life now? The psychotherapy the Captain had sent him for when he’d offered to honour ancient Japanese samurai culture by committing honourable suicide had been informative. Now he realized that his guilt from the incident in his youth was pointless. It did no one any good. He was working on taking to heart the message that his diligent military and security service was penance enough. His work did a long more good for society that having his skills sitting in a prison, and was what his victim’s grandfather had wanted. At lease he had a goal, a way of working to push out of the black hole he’d been sucked into.
Suddenly he became aware of Sufra waiting patiently as she sipped the tea. “Excuse me,” Woon said to his guest with a bow as he got up to go to the kitchen. He came back with Taiyaki, a cake in the shape of a snapper fish, filled with, a sweet red bean paste called anko. “Shall I read my account of our mission to you while you enjoy a treat?” He asked, proffering a plate with a bow.
“That sounds lovely,” Sufra said, pushing back her long, straight, very glossy mane. She took the plate and settled back.
Woon folded his legs on his wide chair as if he were sitting on the floor. “You might have heard I was in a master’s program researching and recording Okinawan history. I should tell you that what I’ve written bears no resemblance to an academic historical work. I’ve used first person to tell the tale to make it clear to the reader that my personal point of view is incorporated into it. Traditionally, historical texts were written in third person omniscient, as though the work is an authority. However, I want to leave it to the reader to decide how to absorb the facts, given that the author is intimate with the historical event. Does that make sense?”
“Yes, totally. I think it will add accuracy to history actually, to have it from the horse’s mouth.”
Woon inclined his head. “I am honoured, though you might feel differently after the reading. My emotional connection to this had me use some fanciful metaphors. Stop me at any time you have a comment or question.” She nodded and he began.
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