What is the Force? (Spyker, Ace)

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: What is the Force? (Spyker, Ace)

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2011-03-02 23:08

Upon catching his blade, Spyker strapped it to his back with the handle downward towards his right hand. He unsheathed it using a reverse grip, then slid his right foot back and reached his left hand out. He wielded the ko-katana like a shorter blade, with his hand nearer the handguard than most would consider. It was a decent stance, meant for infighting and tight spaces, much like his favored knives. As such, he was able to apply similar techniques, modifying them as necessary for the situation.

As he began circling around his teacher, he remembered receiving it from then-Commodore Dravius Stari. He remembered the clang of steel-on-cortosis-laden-steel as they sparred, him learning the beginner's tenets of the older man's school. Additional memories surfaced, of Stari carefully adjusting his technique, raising his arms here, fixing his stance there. Perfection was sought, and perfection was earned. He had had the bruises to prove it at the time, and he gave a slight smile at that. He did not fear pain, but rather relished it, learned from it, and like what happened on Cinnagar, even used it.

Unfortunately, their training had since ceased as deployments tore their little team apart for different missions. Spyker had been on medical leave during that time, returning in time for that ill-fated operation on Sarapin, the aftermath of which had seen Spyker chasing a young pilot halfway across the galaxy. As far as he knew, she was still on a tight leash, having to report regularly to ISIS and MEDCOM for debriefing and deprogramming; the rogue NR operation had done a hell of a job on her, fragmenting her mind. He made a mental note to send a note through channels later about it.

Bringing his mind back on task, he continued to circle his target, searching for any opening in the man's defense. He could see it was an unconventional one, one which he had not encountered in the past. He looked past it, at the man using it. The person behind a stance often told much about it; Spyker could see he was uncomfortable with his form, either through unfamiliarity or through disuse. This alone might make it easier, but after seeing what Kyp could do in the previous test, his guard was up, and some of his focus was still on his developing precognitive ability to prevent being caught by a second or third Kyp.

He lashed out experimentally with two fast strikes: one reversed, then flipped the blade back around for a second cross-strike. This left him open for a counterattack, which Kyp moved in for. Spyker twisted, and barely dodged the blade. He had no time to counter the counter however, and dropped back out of range. With his blade now in a standard two-handed grip, he lunged forward again, and they clashed.

The man quickly found that not a single strike penetrated Kyp's formidable defense, and Spyker attempted to study it as he threw himself at it again and again. He saw it was formed of quick, rapid movements covering all angles, but was weak on the attack. Spyker couldn't find a path through it, yet he kept trying. Forward grip, reverse grip, slashing, stabbing, all were countered, and it was only through his own reflexes and agility that he dodged more than the smallest of cuts.

Minutes passed, stretching into more than an hour, then two. Spyker was beginning to tire, the special operations conditioning being the only thing keeping him going for that long, while Kyp's defensive posture remained as strong as ever, or at least it seemed that way to the Army noncom. Stepping back for the nth time, he tried to think of a different tack. His thoughts were broken by a taunt from Kyp.

"What's wrong, Sergeant? You planning to hit me or not? Maybe I made a mistake in trying to train you." At that, Spyker looked past the blade and at his opponent's face. He saw nothing there, nothing that would give away an opening. For a moment, he was back in boot camp and commando training, listening to the DI shout at him and his fellow recruits.

"You're nothing, meat!" He lay on his back after being flipped from his bunk, the instructor staring down at him...

"You think you're a tough-shit-commando, huh? You. Are. Nothing! You aren't even fit to scrap the poodoo off a Bantha. Run the course again!" Mud in his mouth, the other recruits doing the same thing up and over the walls and through the traps...

"Patience! They're in no hurry to die, why are you in such a hurry to shoot them? Reload, reset, and shoot again!" Aim, fire, reload, repeat...


Spyker closed his eyes and returned to the present. That last memory clicked in his head; repetition was the key. This was an extension of the last half-exercise, where he had to anticipate the second attack, only this time he had to anticipate not another attack, but a defense. He shifted more of his focus over to the developing sense and renewed his assault in earnest, moving in small, quick strokes to counter the defensive stature. Another timeless period passed, with neither gaining the upper hand.

Suddenly, Spyker felt a familar twitch, the kind that let him know something was about to happen. Quickly, he stepped to the outside, parrying an unexpected lunge from Kyp's blade. Pivoting on his foot, he swung around and wrapped an arm around the other man's neck, holding him fast. He then scraped his own blade along Kyp's abdomen near the kidney; from the other side, it would have looked as if he had been run through, but the blade merely rested there, letting him know of the defeat. Then he pushed the man away, wary of a second attack. He learned from his mistakes, that was certain. Dropping back into a ready position, Spyker waited cautiously for the next trick Kyp had in store for him.
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

Kyp Baker
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Re: What is the Force? (Spyker, Ace)

Post by Kyp Baker » 2011-06-01 03:27

Kyp held his katana lazily in his mechanical hand, eying Spyker. A grin crept across half his face as he regarded his apprentice. The man was wary, which was the wise thing to do given what had happened to him in the last test. Kyp's body language suggested that no further attacks would be coming, but that was no guarantee. Spyker knew this. What he failed to notice was how Kyp felt in the Force. He was relaxed. The only thoughts running through his head were of pride for his student.

"At ease, soldier," Kyp said with a chuckle. "If I wanted to hit you again, I would have done it already." Kyp winked and then dropped the lopsided grin for a more serious expression. "You're picking up on how anticipate the actions of others through the Force. Getting through the Soresu form is difficult enough for an experience swordsman. If I had been using a lightsabre, we'd probably still be going. You're beginning to understand that you have to pick up on the little things, subtle ripples in the Force."

Kyp sighed and let a little disappointment flood into the Force. He wasn't sure if Spyker would be able to pick up on it or not. "You're too focused on what's going to happen, though. Being able to anticipate danger is useful, but not if you miss the here and now. After beating my defense, you held in a ready position, which is what I would expect any special forces soldier to do after the tricks I pulled. But if you had been focused on me, you would have felt how relaxed I was, that I meant you no harm. Being able to read people with the Force is just as important as anticipating their actions and oftentimes it can be used to avoid conflict all-together. I can be emotional and aggressive at times, but I really would rather avoid a fight."

The more experience Dark Jedi didn't wait for a reply. Instead, he motioned behind Spyker. The soldier turned and found a chocolate cake waiting on a table behind him. He turned back around and raised his eyebrow in inquiry. Kyp smiled and walked over to the cake. "I figured I get something to celebrate a new chapter in both our lives. And who doesn't love cake?" Kyp cut a piece for himself and placed it on a plate. He took a bite and let his pleasure ripple through the Force. "Go ahead, you can't leave until you've had a piece."

Spyker nodded then grabbed the knife off the table. He brought the knife down into the cake only to find that it was no longer in front of him. Kyp looked at him like he was a crazy person and waited a few moments before speaking. "Umm...Spyker, the cake is over there." He pointed a meter to Spyker's left where the cake was sitting on the end of the table. Spyker walked to the end of the table, tried to cut a piece, and found the cake no longer in front of him yet again. Kyp spoke through a mouthful of cake, spraying crumbs on the floor. "Seriofly, whaf wron?" Kyp swallowed the bite with a loud gulp. "I'm starting to worry about you."

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Spyker Katarn
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Re: What is the Force? (Spyker, Ace)

Post by Spyker Katarn » 2011-06-04 08:39

Spyker nodded as the man finished his instructions on why it was necessary to take everything into account when using the Force. It was not all that much different from his protection training; there, he had to be able to read the body language of everyone around his assigned principal. The use of the Force in this manner would only augment that skill, but in a far deeper and more profound way. When coupled with the precognition in the first and second exercises, the skill would go a long way towards keeping Spyker and anyone with him out of greater danger than they needed to be in.

It was funny, the way Spyker found himself acclimating to the new sensations of the Force. For years, he had been surrounded by phenomena he couldn't explain. There was the constant sense in the back of his mind, like a radio set to a different frequency. At times, it was clear, like on Cinnagar at the facility known as DEEP ARC 6. There, he clearly heard an apparition speak to him, and tell him to follow the man who was now in charge of his training. At others, it was a faint tremor, one he knew to act on, but not always how, like during an number of times in his past. As they continued, though, he could feel it tuning in more and more. It wasn't fully clear to him, not fully a 'sixth sense,' but was already reassuring to have conscious contact with, and he was getting better with every attempt.

As he kept trying to cut the cake, he kept finding that it disappeared as soon as he was about to carve and reappeared somewhere else. It was too bad, really; he liked cake, and hadn't eaten in the last few hours. It didn't help that Kyp kept making his gustatory pleasure noticeable through both audible sounds and ripples in what Spyker was coming to notice was the Force. It all served as a distraction, and an effective one. He was growing progressively more irritated, although some of that could be attributed to his lack of sleep this night.

Because of this, Spyker was forced to revert back to the breathing exercises he learned whilst undertaking the firing range courses at the Sniper School on Omwat. He took one breath, let it out, and waited about ten seconds before taking the next. He went through five repetitions of this process before finding his center again, and blocking out all ambient noise and sensation beyond what was directly at hand.

He took new stock of where he was and what was around him, calling more on the Force to try and read his mentor, and following a process drilled into him by some faceless DI. He saw that the room was bare of all except their training gear, a set of sparring mats, some exercise equipment, and the table in front of him. He could hear his own breathing, and the whir of the ship's ventilators as they moved stale air out and fresh air in. The smell of his sweat hung on the air, evaporating as the molecules therein were recycled and replaced; it felt cool on his skin, and left a sickly-sweet taste in his mouth. His newest sense, that of the Force, mostly lay tantalizingly beyond his reach, though, only the most obvious of sources revealing themselves: his commander and teacher, Kyp Baker, and the slowly growing reservoir within himself.

There were a couple of options for him at this point, having taken in as much information about the area as he could. One, he could keep going on the way he had, trying and failing to cut the cake. To him, this was unacceptable. Failure was unacceptable; it was how he had made it this far, both as an operator and as a person.

Two, he could try to take the cake from Kyp directly; the man only said he needed to have a piece, not a freshly cut piece. He had simply assumed that, but discarded the idea anyway; this was not a test of his combat skills, not any longer. It was a cerebral test, meant to test his resourcefulness and ingenuity.

Three, he could do what Kyp had mentioned before, and read the man. There was an element of control necessary for such a trick, and Spyker smiled. The key was that, he realized: the cake was a lie, and he'd be damned if he would assume any sort of submission position in pursuit of the baked good. However, there was one thing that didn't gel, and it was a memory of a hunt, or rather, the end of a hunt. There was a woman, blonde and lithe, one who had taken custody of one of the galaxy's most wanted criminals after a galaxy-spanning chase. How she did it, Spyker didn't know; all he saw was her touch the special agent in charge of the scene, and he acquiesced as readily as a schoolchild would his teacher. She had tried it on him, and it failed. 'What made this different?' he wondered. He resolved to ask after this little exercise.

He brought his mind back on the problem at hand: how to acquire a piece of cake. Like he did in the first test, before getting knocked on his ass, he extended his awareness, pushing it past its current limit until he felt the beginnings of a headache start to come on. At that point, he saw, or rather felt the location of the actual cake, about three feet to his right and a full two feet beyond the fake one's position. Although he could have sworn he had cut into that area before, it served as a measure of how tired he was after the heavy training of the day before, his own lack of sleep as of late, and the fatigue brought on after the sparring session just minutes before.

Raising the knife, he feinted towards the fake cake, before shifting right and plunging its blade into the real one. He carved out a small piece, not wanting to be too greedy, and placed part of it into his mouth. It was indeed delicious, and tasted like victory.
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“I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it.”

Kyp Baker
Deceased
Posts: 194
Joined: 2008-03-26 14:22
Custom Title: Commander (Ret.)
Organizational Unit: Omega Order
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Re: What is the Force? (Spyker, Ace)

Post by Kyp Baker » 2011-06-04 22:32

"Good?" Kyp asked, a smile on his face.

Spyker, who was still working on the mouthful of chocolate cake, merely nodded.

"I'm glad you like it. Well deserved. You did well, on all the tests today, but I was most pleased by this last one. I was worried that, as a soldier, you would attempt to solve the problem with a fight. I'm happy to admit that I was wrong." Kyp cut off another small piece of cake and nibbled on it as he pondered what to say next. This whole teaching thing was difficult. "You'll come to find that many situations aren't easily overcome by direct action when the Force is involved. Like just now. You could have spent the rest of your life just trying to cut that cake, but it never would have happened. Instead, you found out why you couldn't cut the cake and where the real cake was. That type of thinking will save your life when dealing with other Force users."

Again, Spyker nodded, taking a few moments to contemplate what Kyp's words. Then, he spoke up with a question. "I witnessed a woman trick an agent into doing what she wanted merely by touching him. She attempted the same thing on me, but it didn't work. Why were you able to trick me just now?"

It was a good question. "What you experienced is called a mind trick. Basically, a Force user will plant a suggestion in the mind of the target so that the target will think the suggestion is the right thing to do. For the most part, it only works on the weak-minded and those sensitive to the Force can't be affected by it. What I just did was an illusion combined with some more subtle manipulation, a little parting gift from the Krath. The cake was real, I was eating some, you probably thought the training was over, and I am in a position of trust. All those things helped to reinforce the illusion in your mind. The illusion is only effective if you believe that it's real, so you could say that the illusion comes from your own mind. The only way you were able to see past it was when you realized that it wasn't real."

Kyp clapped the other man on the back. "We're done for today. You show a lot of promise, Spyker. Now, go get some sleep. And take some of that cake with you. I can't eat it all by myself."

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