== During the New Talax colony building activities – USS Artemis (Closed subplot) ==
=== Deck 14 – Recreation Deck ===
The walls reverberated with shouting and cheering, and the atmosphere was filled with heat, humidity, and a coppery hint of blood. A sea of officers and enlisted alike surrounded a boxing ring, looking like a Departmental rainbow that had only grown over time. The deeper into the crowd though, the louder the decibels, with far more orange highlights on uniforms the closer one got to the ring. The mood was tumultuous and rowdy, with clear sections cheering for different fighters.
“Ayy! Ayy! Breathe Simms, breathe! Don’t lock up,” Coleman shouted from inside the ring, acting as referee, trying to get his words heard over the rooting and jeering.
As part of hand-to-hand training within Security, Damian had settled on having people with expert knowledge of specific martial arts lead sessions. Judo, Karate, Suus Mahna, were a few of the styles with practical close quarters combat applications. However, they also went through some of the more meditative forms, like the Klingon Mok’bara. It was less an exercise in becoming proficient in those forms, but gaining knowledge of those movements for defensive strategies, and encouraging his personnel to pursue styles on their own.
So, when it came time for Coleman to lead sessions, boxing was his obvious go-to. There were quite a few others that had deep boxing backgrounds within the Department, meaning that Damian was willing to go more in-depth with teaching and setting up sparring matches. While anyone with a Security background had some type of hand-to-hand training at the Academy or during Basic, some seemed to focus more on their phaser prowess. While that was important, Coleman knew for a fact that when the chips were down, knowing how to survive close-in was imperative. That, and he felt like boxing provided additional benefits when viewed under the umbrella of fitness as a whole.
“Keb, drop and pivot. I like the aggression, just need some power,” he said to the Bolian who was showing signs of being gassed, and it was only the fourth round.
Weeks before, they had gone through plenty of sparring sessions. And the week prior to the night that was now filled with sweat and blood, Damian had put up a sign-up sheet for actual boxing matches. There were different levels of experience, so Coleman was careful only to match up people in the same skill groups, with the more amateur fighters going first. And slyly, he had also setup a couple of grudge matches between people who seemed to have issues with one another. It was, in Damian’s experience, a good way to get some controlled aggression out. And sometimes, it even created a new positive bond between those who fought.
Then, there were a few others on the ship that Damian had invited, either to watch or participate. He hadn’t intended it to be a huge event. Though as the first few of fighters came and went, the crowd in the rec area had grown larger than he had anticipated. Coleman liked it as the atmosphere grew more competitive, with the fighters taking it even more seriously; cementing their abilities or discovering that they had more in them than they had previously thought.
A flurry of punches came out of Simms, and Damian was impressed with the combinations. Keb was on the ropes, but kept his hands up, blocking most of the other man’s punches. Simms didn’t listen to Damian’s previous advice though, and found himself gulping for air at the exact moment he needed to finish his opponent off. It was just a moment, a split second, where Simms had let up. Keb took the cue, and landed a strong, solid, right hook to Simms jaw. The other man dropped to the mat, completely out. If the noise had been loud before, the sudden clamor neared rock concert levels.
As things continued, and they got to more experienced fighters, the general trend ended up being shorter fights with less and less rounds passing. There was only one match that went the full set, and both fighters were laughing at each other by the end, their arms dead and their bodies languid. As the second last fight neared, something plucked the back of Coleman’s brain. It was an oddity on the sign-up sheet. Something curious, and something that no one could explain. An illusive member of the crew had written Damian’s name at the bottom of the sheet, outside the boxes he had setup. His opponent who had signed him up, only put a singular initial across from him, the letter ‘K’. No one fessed up. And if anything, it became a sort of mystery around the office that a few people tried to solve – with zero results.
The sound of the bell rang out several times as Prassn stood victorious over Lomax, a technical knock-out that drew some heckling from the packed crowd who were looking for a knockout.
“Alright everyone, that’s it! Thanks for coming out!” Damian yelled out, as a couple of nurses entered the ring to check out both warriors. A few more jeers and boos squeaked out, before the tide turned back to clapping and cheering. Then, slowly, the crowd started to disperse.
“Weren’t you supposed to fight someone?” Prassn asked Damian, who shook his head, smiling.
“Nah. It was a joke I think. You’ve got leave for the rest of the night and tomorrow. Head to Sickbay so you can get that eye looked after.
Prassn, left eye swollen, smirked but nodded before turning to head to the stairs. Some of the other security officers stayed behind to help clean up, the room steadily becoming serene compared to the raucousness from before. Though, Prassn’s words stuck in Damian’s head as he checked in with the nurses and Lomax. A conversation happened between the gathered people in the ring. Even though Lomax didn’t look too worse for wear, Nurse Able was adamant that he take a trip to Sickbay as well. When the security officer resisted, Coleman ordered it. As they walked out the ring and down the stairs, Damian stood up and looked out at the now almost eerily empty complex.
“Well, I guess K ain’t gonna show up for his round with the ol’ Super Middleweight champ?” he said to the few left toiling and chuckled.