When MECUs Fly
Posted on December 29th, 2015 by Benedict Wolfe and Kuari
Holodeck 3 – Training Simulation
“Good,” said Wolfe, stepping away and raising his PADD to control the simulation, “You may begin.” His northern British accent hung in the air for a moment.
Before Kuari were three Jem’Hadar soldiers. One had a knife, one a disruptor, and one was apparently unarmed. All were staring her down, all ready to inflict serious damage. Kuari immediately darted to one side, placing the one with the knife between her and the one with the disruptor. She then rushed forward, resisting her natural tendency to flap her wings for a boost. Her wing mobility wasn’t available to her when using the wing attachments to her Marine Environmental Combat Uniform, so she trained as if she were restricted. As expected the target armed with a ranged weapon dodged to the side in an attempt to get a clear shot on her, but Kuari modified her approach opposite his movements and swiftly reached Blademan.
As she was coming in low, Kuari was ready for the blade to come down on her. Blademan didn’t disappoint, and Kuari tucked her snout downwards and twisted her neck, causing the horn on the back of her head to slam into the man’s extended forearm. Continuing to drive forward after the attempted disarm, she slammed into Blademan’s chest and staggered him backwards. Recovering, Kuari found her attacker had managed to hang onto his blade, so she bit his arm. Mindful that Gunman was probably lining up a shot on her, she pulled on his arm and flipped Blademan over her back, grabbing the dropped knife as it fell and flinging it across the room.
Sure enough, Gunman had his disruptor aimed directly for her. Lucky for her, he was almost at point blank range. Kuari darted to the side, hoping she wasn’t too late. The move caused the Jem’Hadar to re-aim, buying her just enough time to continue her move into a spin, knock the disruptor from his hand with her tail and send it skidding across the holodeck floor.
A quick assessment told her that all three assailants were now disarmed. Kuari growled, giving them a chance to flee, but true to their nature, the Jem’Hadar did not back down from the fight. As they probably saw it, they still had the upper hand, three against one. Have it your way, the Rucara decided.
Wolfe was impressed with Kuari’s work so far. He found it interesting that she seemed to be limiting herself, though he couldn’t quite figure out how. “Computer, increase difficulty to Level Nine,” he called to the computer. While serving aboard the U.S.S. Thunderchild, he had become accustomed to seeing a slight glitch when updating the program for such requests; but that ship had not had nearly the power on its best day that Atlantis could deliver even with her warp core shut down. For a moment, Wolfe was confused when he did not see the distortion. It soon became apparent, however, that the simulation had properly increased in difficulty.
He was interested in seeing how the Rucara would respond, since by her own account she was keenly proficient in unarmed combat. Humans enlisted in Starfleet who had not had marine training had been known to fail quickly at this difficulty. Even most marines could only expect marginal success at this difficulty, as he had designed this level of simulation to be more difficult than fighting the actual Jem’Hadar soldiers represented.
Gunman was now closest, grabbing for Kuari’s head, and she reared up and screeched down in his face. The Jem’Hadar readied a swing up towards his head, but she arched her long neck further back and he missed. With a kick off the floor, Kuari’s hind feet were grasping at his shoulders, her claws bearing and scraping at his lightly-armored suit. Unfortunately, Jem’Hadar were sturdy creatures and Kuari didn’t weigh as much as she appeared to, so he didn’t flatten to the floor like she was hoping for. One of these days, it will work, Kuari mused. She instead turned for the next closest Jem’Hadar running towards her and leapt off of one onto the other.
The warrior to receive her dodged back a step, and Kuari found herself grabbed to either side and flung to the floor. She yelped, landing on her plated back. Feeling vulnerable, Kuari kicked, and she managed to land a blow to the Jem’Hadar’s torso, sending him backwards. Twisting and regaining her feet, Kuari was shocked to see the flash of a blade come down and be deflected by the curved plate just behind her shoulders. One of them had a hidden knife! As she lunged to take care of this new threat, she was aware that the third Jem’Hadar was going for her hindquarters.
Wolfe took a few more steps back watching the events unfold, clearly wishing to stay out of the way. This was interesting to watch, and it was something that most of his peers would envy: watching a person from a race of which there were only three in the quadrant display their melee prowess.
Instinct took over and Kuari lashed out with her wings. One knocked a man to the floor as she reared again and clawed for the knife. She wasn’t sure if she managed to disarm him, but Kuari found herself biting for his head and managed to sink her teeth around his scaly scalp to either side. Using her meager yet writhing weight, she wrestled the shocked hologram to the ground.
Kuari opened her eyes, and one of them caught a Jem’Hadar rushing for her. When would they stop? She pivoted around the fallen warrior’s head and sent her tail through the air, catching the next attacker around the neck and once again flinging him to the floor.
Releasing her hold, the Rucara scrambled a few feet away and turned, her chest to the floor and her tail high in a defensive stance, panting for breath. All three Jem’Hadar were on the floor, but they wouldn’t be there for long. Kuari had meant to keep from using her wings, but she had panicked and failed.
“Computer, pause simulation,” Wolfe called, waiting for Kuari to process that the action had stopped and make eye contact. After a moment she stood up straight on all fours, staring at the frozen actors a moment more before turning to him and coming to attention, panting in place. Wolfe walked up to Kuari and circled her. “At ease, Second Lieutenant. That was an interesting combat style. Unique, to say the least. I’ve not seen teeth or wings used before, though few marines have those features to call on in a fight.” He looked at her eyes, noticing they were somehow different from what he had seen previously, but he couldn’t put his finger on why. “Quite unconventional.”
Kuari slumped out of form, feeling defeated and hanging her head somewhat. It was then she realized it was replicated blood she tasted on her teeth. “I…I lost control, sir. I apologize. I’ll do the simulation again.”
“Lost control?” asked Wolfe. “Hardly. You used whatever you had available, and you took down enemies that, in another circumstance, might have killed you or a comrade. Where you see yourself losing control, I see you being resourceful. In that situation, you do whatever it takes to survive and bring your companions home. How was using your wings and teeth losing control?”
Her eyes tracked to the floor. “My MECU, sir. When necessary to seal my suit for harsh environments, it does not allow me to bite and I can’t extend my wings fully while wearing the wing attachments. I understand why, and I train in order to use the same means as most everyone else.” Having now confessed her slip, Kuari raised her head to face her superior. “Sir.”
“Hmm,” wondered Wolfe, “I see. So Starfleet has spent a large investment in time and resources, I am sure, to create a custom MECU, but they did not give you the ability to use your wings tactically.”
“They did try, sir, but it was too difficult.”
Wolfe frowned. “But you can fly, correct?”
She nodded. “Yes, sir, of course. Without the attachments.”
“I see. It’s understandable that we all have to live with certain limitations within our MECUs. However, it seems to me that your flight would make for a useful tactical ability, but most of all I don’t want your wings vulnerable to energy blasts.” Wolfe smiled. “If you’re up to it, I’d like to see you fly.”