THE RAPTURING – Part 2
Emotions can be very dangerous. It is expected that all emotions should be controlled. Many emotions lead to carelessness and errors. So emotions are not fostered nor rewarded. Good manners and decorum are expected at all times.
Mentioning Hope in yesterday’s journal entry brought her to remembrance again. Last night I reminisced about my time with her. I never admitted to her or anyone else, but I experienced emotions with her.
One day during combat, we were working on grappling and wrestling techniques. She began with a full body tackle. I went limp and allowed her momentum to carry us to the mat. After impact I continued the momentum by curling my legs under my body and rolling out from under her. She slid a few feets before she could steady herself. I capitalized on the moment of weakness and wrapped my arms around her waist lifting her off the ground. While she was disoriented, I brought her to her knees on the mat, putting her into a choke hold. As she had trained me I waited for her to tap my arm, a sign that she submitted, but she did not. Deciticks later she fell limp. I immediately released my hold on her and she landed on the mat on her back.
Highly concerned, I leaned close to gauge her breathing and heartbeat. From my kneeling position she suddenly grabbed my wrist and twisted it, removing my support, and I fell face first on the mat with my backside in the air. She spun on the mat causing me to flip over and land on my back. She then wrapped her legs around my waist, sat on my hips, and pinned my wrists to the mat with her hands.
Disoriented, I looked at my instructor as she smiled down at me. She leaned in closer, inches from my face, and whispered, “Never let down your guard.” Then she closed the distance between us and touched her lips to mine. I felt emotions as my heartbeat raced and my breathing quickened. I had the desire to stay there in that position with her.
Suddenly, she leapt to her feet and yelled loudly, “To your feet and back to position!”
I quickly went back to position. We never spoke of this incident to each other again, although I found myself spending more time training with her, increasing my combat training to two ticks a day.
I do not believe I will forget the incident with Adm-85542. We were two cycles away from turning fifteen anums. Hope was preparing for her rapturing and I had taken on the responsibility of combat training for the pod. I was teaching Ane-79952 takedown techniques in front of a small group of podmates. I showed her an easy submission using the fingers and wrist and she applied it to me. When I tapped to let her know I submitted, she continued to hold me in place. She said she had always wanted to hold my hand and then she giggled. I let her know that I realized she was only jesting, but I turned it into a lesson. I explained to the group that every submission hold can be countered if necessary but through the use of extreme force. She volunteered to be the example for the group.
To counter the submission hold, I simply jumped over in the direction of the hold and landed on my feet. Using my momentum, I stepped into her hips and threw her. When she landed, she did not tuck her arm as instructed and landed on her wrist, fracturing it. The group heard the crunching sound of the bone as it broke and Ane-79952 yelled in pain. Immediately I called for a medical team then knelt to tend to her injury.
At that time, my stolen medical lessons from the edugoggles had only taken me through anatomy, physiology and first aid. The other podmates in the combat room surrounded her and observed her injury. Within a few centiticks a med team arrived and carried her out on a small wheeled chair.
As I turned attention back to our lesson, Adm-85542 accused me of injuring her willfully. I reminded him that he was not following protocol. Then he roared with rage, his face flushing red, his eyes watering. He lunged toward me and I easily sidestepped him. I told him emphatically that he should return to calm. He yelled, “I love her and you hurt her!” then leapt toward me again. This time I resisted and he wrapped his hands around my throat and began squeezing. Ane-79943 ran out of the combat room and reappeared moments later with Hope at the door.
I dropped to the floor on my back and placed my feet firmly in his abdomen. As our momentum carried us downward and backward, I thrust my legs out forcefully and flipped him over, sending him sliding on the mat. The room was silent except for our heavy breathing. At this point I believed that he had come to control himself, but he rose to his feet and grabbed a slicer from the practice rack. Since we were working on takedowns I was standing nowhere near any defensive equipment. Yelling, he ran toward me. I took note that, like all Adms he was right-handed so as he attacked I ducked left and down, bringing my right foot upward at an arc. My foot connected with his nose, shattering the bridge. He fell to the ground, blood pouring from his nose.
I stood up and told him to report to the Administrator and that his actions were shameful. Hope walked closer to see if I had any injuries. Adm-85542 threw his slicer at me and as I caught it, the blade scraped across Hope’s face cutting her from her left eyebrow, across her nose and down her right cheek. I kept the momentum of the blade and redirected it back to him. The blade followed exactly as I had thrown it and hit him hilt first in the middle of his chest. “To the Administrator, now, sir!” I yelled. He stood with slicer in hand and ran toward me again. I stood still and he sped toward me, slicer out like a lance. At the last second, I deflected the slicer to the right with my left hand, catching his chin with my right hand, then sidestepping him, I allowed his momentum to continue forward as I held his head still. As his neck broke it made a loud snapping sound, and his body collapsed on the mat, slid for a few feets, then remained motionless.
Administrator came running into the room. After surveying the situation she calmly asked me to report to her office. A med team quietly carried Adm-85542 out of the living facilities. I was sent to a closet to sit while awaiting decision. If I was found incompetent, I would be sent to reclamation. If I used proper judgment, I would be released back to my pod. Sub-Commander-1004 entered my closet and asked only one question, “Why did you kill Adm-85542?”
I kept my response simple, “After repeated attempts to stop his physical attack, he was unreasonable. Only two options remained. One, allow him to impale me and leave the others defenseless with an unknown number of casualties. Two, stop his outburst with only one casualty. I chose the one that left us with the least amount of unknown factors.”
Sub-Commander-1004 left the closet. Ten decaticks later I was in the pod. Hope had gone to med for the gash across her face. She never returned for her rapturing.
Designation Day is an important day in our pod. A Sub-Commander comes into the pod and looks on her goggles, not edugoggles, something much more sophisticated. I suppose she reads our files. But she will call us to assembly then pass out designations. Most of the time the words have no meaning for us. They could be code words, but we don’t know. We were the last clutch to receive our designations. There are no new clutches in our pod, so ours was likely the last Designation Day.
On or about eleven ticks Administrator called us to assembly. We were told to sit and learn, which meant to give our absolute attention. A Sub-Commander entered the room through the Administrator’s quarters. I had not seen her type before, her hair a mixture of white and yellow and eyes as blue as pure sapphire. Unlike our pod, she was tall and thin, almost delicate, but she walked in with authority.
The Sub-Commander gave us a lecture on the necessity of roles in society. As Adms and Anes of a Tech Caste, we would be responsible for infrastructure. Then she assigned designations. Over half of our commencement group were given the designation Grunt Zeta. Three were given the designation Radar Delta. Four were designated Medic. Then Sub-Commander designated me Spear and abruptly left the room.
Grunt Zeta One stood at the front of the room and postulated that because of the sheer numbers of Grunt Zetas, that the Grunt Zetas must represent the governing body, able to calmly and rationally debate any issues amongst our commencement group. There were no spoken objections and Grunt Z1’s idea showed maturity, so we all consented.
Over the next anum, Grunt Z1 showed good leadership skills and better than average depth of thought. When an abnormality in our pod surfaced, causing cancerous tumors and ulcerative lesions, a number of our podmates died and were reclaimed. Grunt Z1 conscientiously kept a record of all symptoms and health progress for the pod. I traced the sickness to an abnormality in nourishment, a foreign chemical in the fat packaged with the meat. I asked the Radars if they could assist in making a detection device. After a cycle, we had a working prototype for safe food detection. Grunt Z1 logged all the information and we were able to counteract the foreign chemical. Once we had a working solution, Grunt Z1 made a request to the Administrator to investigate the poisoning of nourishment.