Late Night Exercise
Episode 3.5 - Welcome to Paradise
Location: Marine Training Facility, Deck 43, USS Arcadia, Beta Antares Ship Yards
Korra was in a pair of grey training pants and matching short-sleeved shirt with the words "Semper Fidelis" proudly emblazoned on the front. As she warmed herself up on the side of the running tracks, she glanced around the training facility. It was late at night, and the spacious room was mostly empty except for a few Marines scattered here and there, working on their own routines.
It always felt good to be home - she might have been assigned to the Fighter Wing, but she would always be a Marine first and foremost. That was a concept Lieutenant Rhor, the Assistant Wing Commander, seemed to neither understand nor appreciate. She would have knocked that insufferable Bajoran over the guardrail and onto the flight deck earlier if Chien and Turbin had not been there to hold her back. With a shake of her head she decided not to let the thought of Rhor ruin a perfectly good running session. Stepping onto the track, the Marine pilot began at a slow pace before gradually picking up her speed.
George had finished unpacking his gear (what little there was), and had found his way to the training facility. It was the biggest one that he had seen on a starship yet to date, and he was impressed. He nodded to a few of his fellow Marines as he walked around, deciding where to start. Everyone was in their p.t. gear, so there was no rank, or names, on any uniform.
He saw a set of free weights set up in the middle of the track, and decided that he would start there. Once he was standing near them, and out if anyone's way, he started to do his warm-up stretches. Once that was done, he moved over to the curl bar and, after setting the weight limit for each side, he picked up the bar and started working his forearms and biceps.
Korr had lost track of the time, or rather she never bothered to keep it in the first place. She knew her own body and its limits. She didn't need a chronometer to tell her when it was time to take a break. She just knew it. And that time was now. She gradually slowed down to a walking pace and stepped off the tracks.
Everyone else had already left, except for one. She didn't recognize the man, which meant he was probably one of the enlisted, since she had taken the time to learn the faces of all the Marine officers and NCOs on the ship. She walked over and sat down on the bench opposite of him. As she tried out the dumbbells stacked next to the bench, she said casually, gesturing at the curl bars racks. "You should try the M250. It has much better grip."
Charles had, of course, noticed the smoking hot brunette earlier. She had been running around the track. It was clear that she was a Marine, Fleeters just never looked that toned. "Yeah, but I like the feel of the older Mark 100's. Something about the diamond cut hashmarks in the grips that make your hands a little sore." He cranked out a smooth and steady set of ten reps before placing the bar back down. "My names George, by the way. Corporal George Charles."
"Korra . Captain Korra Ymir. I'm with the fighter squadron." Responded the pilot. Having found the right dumbbells, she laid down on the bench and pressed both of them upward. "What's keeping you up so late, Corporal?"
Hearing the rank, Charles quickly put the weights down and stood back up, snapping to attention and saluting. "My apologies, Captain! I did not know who you were!"
Korea did not get up from the bench. Nor did she stop her pressing. She hated being interrupting in the middle of her workout. "As you were, Corporal." Said the pilot as she lowered the dumbbells before thrusting them upward again. "Now, you haven't answered my question."
George dropped the salute and changed his stance from attention , to at ease, with his hands clasped loosely behind his back and his feet shouldee-width apart. "I was having trouble sleeping, Ma'am. I figured that if I burned out my muscles, then I'd sleep like a baby."
"That has always worked for me." Said Korra. A few more silent presses later, she noticed that the Marine was still standing there. With a slight roll of her eyes, she said, "Unless you are planning on standing yourself to sleep, Corporal, you should go back to the Mark 100. I don't want to see your CO down in my hangar bay tomorrow, asking me why is it that I kept one of his Marines from getting the good night sleep he needed and now he can't even shoot a target at point blank range. 'Cause that would really piss me off."
George blushed slightly, and then resumed his workout. "Yes, Ma'am." He picked the curl bar back up and finished two more sets of ten repetitions before finishing the cycle. Putting the bar back in its cradle, he removed the weights and returned them to their racks. He then grabbed a twenty pound barbell from its rack, and then moved over to the leg lift bench. After locking the lift, he laid down upon it, hooking his knees and ankles around the foam bars. Then, holding the barbell against his chest, he began pumping out situps. His grunts, though quiet, combined with Korra's as both Marines continued their respective workouts.
"So, how long have you been with the Corps, Corporal?" Asked Korra without breaking from her bench press.
George finished the set he was working on and sat up, lowering the barbell to the deck. "Just a little over six years, Ma'am. How about you?" He stood, picking the weight back up. Then, after positioning the weight behind his head, while holding one end with both hands, started working on his triceps.
"I enlisted when I got out of high school and have been with the Corps ever since." Answered Korra. "Started with the infantry before a friend suggested I give flight school a try, and now I got my own squadron."
The pilot chuckled slightly as she remembered the drunken bet with Oliver that eventually landed her in the cockpit of a Valkyrie aerospace superiority fighter.
"And now I can't imagine being anywhere else." She paused to set the dumbbells on the ground and got off the bench. As she stretched herself, she asked, "How about you, Corporal? What made you join the Corps?"
George was silent for a moment. Then, he put the weight down, panting slightly from the exertions of his workout. He looked the pilot in the eye and stated, matter-of-factly, "To protect those that can't protect themselves." There was a fire behind his words, as if he wasn't saying something.
"I see." Korra nodded. The man's words were more than just platitudes; they were sincere, and there was something utterly personal about them. She wondered what his story was. "Someone close to you was hurt?" She asked.
His eyes grew much darker as he replied quietly. "Yes." His tone left no mistake that the coversation was starting to go towards a dangerous place. He simply kept quiet and moved to the pullup bar. After jumping up and grabbing the bar, he started cranking out quick reps of behind the head pullups, then switching to chinups.
Korra noted the change in his tone of voice and sensed increased intensity in his demeanor. The thought of finding out what had happened crossed her mind briefly, but just as quickly she dismissed it. She came up here for some workout, not to ruin someone else's, certainly not a fellow Marine's. Besides, unlike Oliver, who just couldn't stop himself from trying to help other people solve their problems for them even when the help was not appreciated, she preferred staying out of others' business, especially when there was big stop sign clearly posted.
An abrupt change of subject would have been awkward, so the pilot let some moments of silence pass between them as she adjusted the settings on the cable crossover machine. Once it was all set, she grabbed the pulleys, one in each hand. With her right foot slightly forward, she began pulling the weights. Hopefully that would do the trick and allow her to finally have a good night sleep.
"How good a shot are you, Corporal?" She asked.
After finishing his third set of chinups, George first held himself up, then slowly, lowered back down. Finally, he released the bar and landed back down on the deck. Sweat was pouring off of him from the exertions. He moved over to where his towel was and scooped it up in his left hand. He then used the towel to dry some of the sweat off his exposed skin. Once done, he hung the towel around the back of his neck. He then looked to Korra and replied. "I'm good. Ranked second in my class. Missed first by five points. Why do you ask?"
"Well, ever since they transferred Talas to the Normandy, I have been looking for a decent partner on the shooting range." Answer the pilot. With a small smirk she asked, "Do you think you are up for it?"
George tilted his head slightly to the right and shugged. "Fine by me, you just have to clear it with my platoon leader and platoon sergeant first, Ma'am."
"That shouldn't be a problem." Korra nodded. "So, Corporal, phaser or ballistic?"
"I'm qualified in both, Ma'am," George responded, matter-of-factly. "As a sniper, my specialty falls more into long rifles. What about you? I would imagine, as a pilot, you are more used to carbine and pistol-sized weapons?"
"Well, I do like my Type IIs. But there's nothing like the sweet sensation of punching some loosers right there in their face. What about you, Corporal? Do you like getting close and dirty?"
George's eyes took on an involuntary brief hardness as he replied. "I can hold my own against most, Ma'am. Were you looking for a new sparring partner as well?"
A small smirk crossed the pilot's lips. "If you think you are up to it, Corporal."
George spread his arms slightly and tipped his head to his left. "As one of my Drill Sergeants used to say, I'm yer huckleberry ."
Korra smirked as she began to pull the weights at a slightly quickened pace. "Well, I hope you don't mean the Encorian huckleberry, Corporal, cause those are pretty fragile."
As he was about to respond, George's personal PADD chirpped at him, signally that he had recieved a message. He moved over to his bag, reached inside and pulled the small device out, and loomed at the screen. His face softened as he read. Looking back to Korra, he spoke as he collected his things. "Sorry, Ma'am. Gonna have to give you a rain check. I gotta go, my sister just sent me a letter." Once he had his bag slung over his shoulser, he nodded to the attractive pilot. "Pleasure to meet you, Ma'am. Good night." Then, without waiting for a reply, the young sniper turned and headed out of the gym, a warm smile growing on his face as he went.
Captain Korra Ymir
Squadron Leader, VMF-31
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Corporal George Charles
Marine Scout Sniper
USS Arcadia NCC-89015