A/N: Posting a day early just because I can...although maybe if I get a good number of reviews I might be induced to post tomorrow as well ; - P
Just Another Manic Monday - Part Two
U.S.S. Enterprise, 2279.331, 1358 hours. "'Tak, duck!"
At Marcy Keene's cry he spun around and the ball slammed right into his outstretched hands with resounding force. Someone had clearly been aiming for the back of his head while he was busy trying to block Ranarc. Looking around at the others he quickly locked eyes with Cole Granger trying to hide the smirk on his face; Cole's act was so obvious but before he could say anything Lieutenant Deng stepped forward.
"Care to explain to me what that was all about?"
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean, Sir."
The Lieutenant stepped into his face. Deng was one of the few people on this ship that even Se'tak wouldn't want to mess with, and he was almost twice the man's size. He'd seen the Security Chief spar many many times and the man was crafty—crafty and scrappy. He'd even seen him take out Sa-mekh once and nobody'd ever done that before.
"Are you trying to tell me that I didn't just see you throw that ball at the back of Se'tak's head?"
"I didn't realize he wasn't looking, Sir."
Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit… As if reading his thoughts Deng glared at Cole harder. "Do I look like a farmer to you, Granger?"
Cole squirmed uncomfortably. "Sir?" he squeaked out. Oh man, this is priceless! Se'tak thought. Better than me gettin' to chew that ass-hat out myself!
"I asked if I looked like a farmer, Granger, because right now you're trying to sell me a load of bull and I'm not buyin'!" The guy looked around bewilderedly at his buddies but still didn't answer. "That's it, 10 laps, right now! Go!" Cole took off like a shot while everyone else snickered and whispered among themselves. "And the rest of you get back to the game! This is called physical education, not the gossip hour! I want to see some hustle!" Re-gripping the ball in his hands he looked down the court and shot it toward Tabitha.
1429 hours. "Good job on the essays, everybody! I'm very pleased." As Mrs. Henlish walked up and down the rows between desks she tapped away at her PADD, returning everyone's graded history papers. The assignment had been a ten page, double spaced essay on what each student believed were the inciting incidents that led up to the Eugenics Wars.
His teacher leaned over as she passed him and said sotto voce, "And yours, Se'tak, was especially well done. I can tell you did a lot of research."
He looked down at his PADD and saw the marked-up essay with comments and corrections. Hastily flipping to the back page he saw his grade—another A—which made him smile. At least there was one class on this ship where he could do something right.
1657 hours. "I believe this is the last item," Selas announced as he handed the object over. It was a ceremonial Kitaarian sphere awarded to his parents by King Narunen after their help on a particularly stressful yet successful away mission. Shifting a few items around in the packing crate Se'tak settled it in then let loose a contented sigh as he sank back against the edge of T'Alora's bed.
He looked around at the two crates Mama had asked them to pack. The task had taken almost an hour, what with all the arranging and re-arranging, and he was glad he was through. She'd taken to doing this off and on over the last few years, clearing their quarters of personal knick-knacks and mementos collected along the way and forwarding them to the house in San Francisco, but this time she'd gone on a real cleaning spree. Sitting up he sealed the crate and affixed the shipping label with a definitive thump. "Finally!"
"We are in agreement," his brother replied. After a brief rest Selas stood and wiped his dusty hands on his pants. "I must return to my studies."
"Uh huh. Ok." He remained sitting there a while longer, legs stretched out before him and head tilted back, eyes closed. It'd been a go-go-go kind of day what with school, then robotics, and this. He still had homework to get to too. Se'tak remained in that attitude for some time until he heard the door slide open again. Expecting his mother with more items to pack he groaned, "Mama, don't tell me you found something else because there isn't anymore room; this pack is about to bur—!" His thought ended abruptly as he recognized the footfalls now entering the room as belonging to his sa-mekh; his eyes flew open and he scrambled to his feet.
Sa-mekh studied him carefully. "Sa-fu, I have arranged for us to use one of the adjunct gymnasiums with which to practice your next kata this evening. We will begin approximately thirty minutes after the family meal."
Another stupid kata…he knew enough suus mahna to defend himself and was a better fighter then a third of the crew, so why was Sa-mekh always insisting he keep studying? Besides, he promised Aaron he'd be there for another go at 'Banshee Raiders' after dinner.
There was always that pesky little matter of his homework too.
"Sa-mekh, I don't have time…"
His sa-mekh held one hand up, instantly silencing him. "For this, you must make time. I am certain that if you expended as much effort in suus mahna as you did your other extracurricular activities then you would be as proficient, if not superior to, your sister; therefore I expect to see you in the gym at 1900 hours."
Se'tak gritted his teeth at the slight but said nothing; after all, what was there to say? He didn't know why he even bothered.
1803 hours. Only the scraping of silverware against plates could be heard around the kitchen table. Mama was trying to get them all to talk but tonight he was as quiet as Sa-mekh.
"So how was everybody's day?"
"Fine," both he and Selas replied automatically.
Se'tak rolled his eyes and tucked into his dinner all the more. If he finished early he might be able to…
"Anything happen at school today that either of you boys want to tell me about?"
Uh-oh. He quickly swallowed the food in his mouth hoping he didn't look too guilty. Was Mama talking about his biology grade or that thing with Cole that totally wasn't his fault? What exactly did she know? He chanced a glance her way but her look gave away nothing.
It was the bio grade, he knew it. He was screwed.
Before either Mama or Sa-mekh could pounce Selas said, "This morning I was introduced to the art of clay sculpting. I find it to be a rather interesting, albeit untidy, medium."
"That's great, Sweetie! Maybe you've found yourself a new hobby."
Se'tak looked from side to side at each of his parents but no further attempt at conversation was made. Knowing he'd dodged a bullet he inhaled the last of his food, excused himself, and beat a hasty retreat to his room.
1859 hours. Pain shot up his back and the wind was knocked clean out of his lungs as he found himself flat on the mat once more. Wincing and trying to suck in more air he lay there until the shadow that was Sa-mekh stood over him and blocked the light.
"You must plant your left foot more firmly into the ground six centimeters further away from your body."
Opening his eyes he saw Sa-mekh extend a hand to help him up. Ignoring him he groaned and rolled over then pulled himself up onto all fours. With an angry cry Se'tak punched the mat before forcing himself to stand. He put his hands on his hips and tried to relax while walking in a circle. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Sa-mekh standing at parade rest on the opposite side of the room waiting for him to get his equilibrium.
He so did not need this after the day he'd had!
"You must focus, Se'tak. Do not feed your frustration to the point of distraction but rather use it to fuel your work." Sa-mekh stepped back into attack position. "Now ready yourself in formation three and I will come at you again."
Don't feed your frustration?! he thought. How the heck was he supposed to do that? His frown deepened and he glared at his sa-mekh. Oh just bite me!
Se'tak cracked his neck, shook himself out, closed his eyes and settled into position. He was going to block Sa-mekh this time…he was, he was, he was…
Back on the floor and seeing stars on the ceiling, all he could think of was that they really needed to upgrade the padding in the gym.
2035 hours. "An immediate consequence of the frame-independence of the speed of light is that observers in relative motion with respect to one another must assign different time separations to events.
"Consider an observer A with a simple gedanken clock consisting of a photon bouncing between mirrors attached to the ends of a standard rod of length l0 as illustrated in ﬁgure 1.1. One round trip of the photon takes an interval ∆t0 = 2l0/c in the 'rest-frame' of the clock. Now consider the same round trip as seen from the point of view of an observer B moving with some relative velocity v in a direction perpendicular to the rod…."*
He lost count how many times he'd read and re-read this page of his astrophysics text…and it still held no meaning for him. There was no way he'd pass his next midterm.
2102 hours. "Dude, you're late! I thought you were gonna bail on me."
Se'tak finished rubbing his hair and tossed the wet towel off to the side. "Nah man, I just had stuff I had to do."
"Well suit up and get in here, I'm getting killed."
Rolling his eyes he fixed the headset more firmly on his head and flopped down on his bed with the controller in hand. Aaron was a halfway decent second-in-command but playing Banshee Raiders wasn't as much fun without Tilk and Egil.
A rabid banshee jumped out of the woods at him and he shot it point blank in the face without batting an eye.
2241 hours. Nyota knocked softly on her son's door, straining her ear for any grunt of response. When she still hadn't heard from him after the second knock she quietly let herself in. Se'tak was propped up in bed and fast asleep, his video game still on and in his hands.
She smiled at her baby boy and leaned down, brushing the hair our of his eyes before placing a gentle kiss on his forehead. Slipping the controller out from his grasp she gently urged him down and under the covers as if he were a little boy of four instead of a teen of fourteen.
Se'tak stirred slightly as she pulled the covers up under his chin and she paused mid-motion, afraid of waking him. When he burrowed his head against the pillow some more her smile broadened and she leaned over to kiss his cheek.
"Umekuwa na siku kwa muda mrefu, mtoto. Kulala vizuri. Mazuri ndoto*."
* Kaiser, Nick, "Elements of Astrophysics" pg. 19, written on April 21, 2002. I repeat, this section is NOT MY MATERIAL.
* "Umekuwa na siku kwa muda mrefu, mtoto. Kulala vizuri. Mazuri ndoto" = Swahili, "You've had a long day, baby. Sleep well. Pleasant dreams."