Chapter 19

Chapter 19:
Unbalanced Matches and Inappropriate Homework


For the third time since the class had begun twenty minutes prior, Barry Jeung found himself sucker-punched. The normally attentive Korean youth rubbed his jaw from his newly acquired downed position and looked up at the tiny girl that had just laid him out. Again.

"You know if you're going to spend the whole combat section staring at Scott neither one of us is going to learn much. Aside from maybe proper treatment for concussions." Louise kept up a relatively playful banter as she waited for the lanky black haired man to find his feet again. "If you're thinking of asking him out, I have to warn you he's already taken. And Cat would fuck you up if you tried to steal her man."

Barry growled at the small Latina as he found his feet and assumed a ready stance, moving to attack his aggravating opponent before responding. "Ha ha. You know I'm just pissed because I was stupid in the challenge match. If I'd had half a brain shorty over there wouldn't be in Combat."

The tiny dark haired girl easily avoided Barry's opening attacks and retaliated with a leaping thrust kick to the man's groin. The asian youth's eyes crossed momentarily as he collapsed again. "You should watch out with the short insults Barry. Us little guys stick together. And Scott would have kicked your ass either way."

Taking deep, rapid breaths as he tried to focus, Barry pulled himself to his feet again before Coach Rachd could threaten him with additional training for slacking off. Every one of the students that had ended up kept late the first class were working like demons to avoid the same fate again. "Okay, sorry about the short crap. Seriously though, low blow?"

"We're not having a regulated sporting match Barry, this is Combat training. Wear a god damned cup." Louise grinned at the taller man and started another round of her trademark reckless offense.

Barry could not figure out how a girl close to a foot shorter and barely more than half his weight could be so difficult to fight. Opting for a change of tactics, the young man attempted to tackle his opponent to the ground and simply use his superior size to overwhelm her. Not being an overly large person, Barry was not particularly familiar with the intricacies of his newly chosen strategy. As a result, the dark haired Korean found himself flipped to the bottom position with his arm trapped in the petite girl's legs. Trapped, and twisting.

"Ah, fuck, tap. TAP!" Louise released the limb and rolled gracefully to her feet as Barry followed more slowly as he checked to make sure his arm wasn't damaged. "And seriously, you don't think I could take Scott in a rematch?"


Barry waited for some elaboration, but none seemed forthcoming from the smiling girl who launched another of her highly energetic attack routines at him while he was still collecting himself. This time however the sequence was interrupted as a massive form crashed through both combatants from the side.

"Ah, fuck. Sorry guys." Rorie Samuels pulled himself to his feet and offered the two stunned combatants a hand. Gerard Finne waved an apology from a few feet away, obviously the one who had delivered the large Samoan directly into the smaller fighters' melee.

"It's okay, we're supposed to be watching for that stuff too." Barry glared at Louise as she quickly accepted the apology and turned to face off with him again. The petite girl was apparently entirely uninterested in any sort of break.

"So why is Scott so great then?" Barry resumed the conversation as he came in more carefully and began throwing more measured attacks against Louise. The girl had no style to speak of, but still somehow managed to be amazingly effective in close quarters. "He was only ranked twenty first. And he fought what, two upward challenges all semester?"

His opponent evaded the first few attacks, but when she attempted to counter Barry managed to finally land a clean knee that sent the smaller girl tumbling for the first time in their match. "Ow. Yeah, he worked his way up a little bit and then decided that was enough to advance. He wants people to underestimate him dummy." Louise finished righting herself and launched another barrage at Barry that momentarily prevented further speech. "If you hadn't noticed, no one in the unpowered fights has been able to really touch him, and you have got to be the worst match up in the class to try and take on a magnetic manipulator in a real match."

"Bullshit. His power's too short range to do much if I'd been smart enough to keep my distance." Barry punctuated his sentence with an attempted sweep, but his hyperactive foe simply rolled on top of his leg and suddenly the taller man found himself tapping once again, this time as the petite hispanic girl threw her entire body into a vicious knee bar.

"You need to diversify Barry." Rolling to her feet again, Louise prepared for another rush but Coach Rachd signaled the end of the first bouts. This meant a five minute break followed by new pairings, and the declaration of whether the next fights would be with powers or not. "Everything you use to attack with is the same titanium crap. It's a great metal sure. Relatively light, durable, and I guess it stands up to the wear and tear your ability puts out too? But it's metal, and attacking with a metal object against a guy that can magnetically lift a freaking TRUCK is just asking him to hurt you with your own weapon."

"Come on, he's not that strong."

"You need to pay more attention Barry. Scott may be short, and his power may be short range, but you know in the ability-on matches yesterday he managed to cuff and hold Susan down."

That piece of information was a bit of a shock to the Korean youth. Susan was the physically second strongest student in the class, and one of the few that didn't partake in the non-powered training. For Shifters, training their normal form was generally pretty pointless, so both the physically oriented shifters trained with the freakishly powerful Amelia during the portions of the class when the other students were restricted from using their abilities.

Louise observed Barry's suddenly thoughtful expression for a long moment before speaking again. "You still in there? Pairings are about to get called."

"Yea, I'm fine. Actually I think I'm feeling better knowing that Scott actually took down Susan. Maybe the shrimp does deserve to be in Combat." Barry choked back a yelp as the petite girl landed a vicious stomp on the taller man's instep. "Ow, ow, sorry, no more short insults. Promise!"




Rorie entered the alternate combat room with more than a mild feeling of apprehension. As the Combat training switched from a no-abilities round to a full power round, he had drawn the high card it seemed. Waiting for him in the room with a cheerful smile stood the number two ranked freshman student.

"Hey Rorie, so I get to practice dodging grenades today?"

"Just promise you'll remember that I can't take a hit like Ramón, 'kay Ames?" In yesterday's matches Gerard had been the first to draw a round with Amelia in the unrestricted training. A match that ended up requiring direct supervision by two upperclassman healers in order to keep the blond man intact for the full half hour session.

"Don't worry, we've already got Dinah on standby today." Rorie started a bit as a female figure partially concealed in the far doorway waved in response to her name being called. "You want to calibrate a bit before we start for real?"


"I figure I have enough advantages without making you guess how hard you can go safely, so if you want to take a minute and lob a couple bombs at me you can figure out how hard you need to push, and Dinah can get some practice on me instead of my opponents today." The large Samoan nodded in enthusiastic agreement at the braided girl's offer. Amelia responded by moving her arms to cover her face and calling out, "Whenever you're ready!"

Considering his opponent carefully, Rorie decided to go for about fifty percent to start with. Once the fight started it was unlikely he'd have time to charge for higher than about thirty but it would feel good to put the freakishly powerful girl down hard at least once. Rorie focused on his right hand, and felt the crackling orb of red-orange energy form and intensify. "Ready?"

"Throw it!"

Rorie's aim was true, the explosive projectile landing at his opponent's feet and blasting her into the air. Amelia sailed for about twenty feet before landing and rolling to a stop at the wall. The large man felt his jaw drop open as his opponent simply pulled herself to her feet, though he felt a bit better when he noticed that she was limping notably as she did so. "Little help here Dinah?"

The upperclassman tucked away a tablet she had been playing with and strode quickly out to the tall blonde. Rorie got his first good look at the woman, noting that she was average height, raven black hair, and a truly impressive example of the female form.

"If you don't stop staring at my ass I'm not going to turn the pain off at all when you get healed." The spiky haired man's gaze immediately snapped up to stare innocently at the wall slightly above where the two women were standing. "Christ girl, how much damage did that do? This is turning out to be a bitch to heal."

Amelia shrugged in response to the question. "Not that bad, twisted the leg a bit when I landed. I could probably still fight if I had to, but I figured we might as well do a full reset while Rorie dials in how much power he wants to use in this match."

"You are being FAR too kind to your opponent girl. This is a competitive program you know."

"If I just try to blitz everyone all the time then I won't learn anything, and eventually they will. Then I'll be playing catch-up and most of them won't be particularly well inclined to help me with that."

"Huh, smarter than you look." The taller girl stuck her tongue out at the healer in response to that statement. "All right, you should be good. Maybe I'm just having an off day, that was way harder than it should have been."

"Okay Rorie, one more free shot, you might want to go a little bigger than the last one, but don't overkill me please!"

Rorie focused his attention again on his right hand, feeling the energy once again gather and intensify. The heavily built man opted to dial it up just a small amount, but aim for a direct hit this time. The second orb was pitched with much greater force than the first, streaking in a nearly straight line into the tall girl's stomach.

The Samoan felt his jaw drop open for the second time since arriving. Amelia still stood, seemingly unfazed by the explosive impact. "Come on Rorie, I said throw a bigger one at me this time. Want to call that one a mulligan?"

Rorie pulled his jaw shut and nodded in response. It must have just been a miscalculation of some kind. He'd go definitively bigger this time to be sure. Seventy percent should be enough to put the skinny girl out, then they could have the proper match where Rorie expected her to return the favor several times over. The orb coalesced in his hand once again, and was thrown with perfect precision again.

The tall man almost dropped to his knees in surprise at the result of his third attack. His opponent had been rocked back by this one at least, but he was certain it was more powerful than the last two. Hell, he had felt a significant force from the blast from his position roughly fifty feet away. Amelia gave him an inquisitive look in response to his dumbfounded gaze.

"You feelin okay Rorie? That one was still nowhere near the first shot."

"I've been ramping it up every time Ames. The first one was only about half power. That last one was about three quarters." The blond girl offered a skeptical look, but judging from the taller man's expression, this was an entirely serious matter.

"Hey, maybe you're a hyper Adaptive type or something?" Both freshmen turned to look at the healer who had rejoined the conversation. "If this is a new ability thing though, you have to get the Coach now. Otherwise bad things will happen. Trust me." Dinah gave an involuntary shiver as she finished, apparently haunted by the memory of the aforementioned 'bad things.'

"I'll go grab Coach Rachd, you get put back together again because he's probably going to want to test this out." Amelia nodded, and Dinah was already on her way over to the tall blonde.

It took Rorie several minutes to track down the Combat Instructor through all the various rooms being used at present. Once Rachd was located it was a relatively brief explanation, followed by a rapid return to the room where Amelia was waiting.

"Jacobson, you have a breakthrough?"

"Don't know Coach Rachd. Was getting a feel for how powerful Rorie's attacks are and everything felt like it was getting lighter even though Rorie said he was ramping it up." Rachd's expression was one of clear disbelief, but both the large Samoan and the voluptuous healer corroborated the story.

"All right, let's see it then. Hit her with one of the big ones Samuels."

Rorie looked to Amelia for confirmation, then began focusing energy again at the skinny girl's nod. A moment of concentration, and a fourth red-orange orb flew across the room to cleanly impact the tall girl's stomach.

Amelia was blown off her feet to slam heavily into the wall by the explosion. A sizable network of cracks marked where she had impacted, and she landed limply on the floor, barely conscious.

"That's an improvement in durability?"

"No, that's not how it went last time, fuck!" The healer was already rushing to the downed girl's side as Rorie spoke. "Last time I started at about half power, but when I ramped up to a blast like that one it barely moved her."

"Doesn't look like she's adapted well. What the hell is taking so long Gleaves?" Dinah turned a frightened expression towards the Combat Instructor as he yelled at her.

"It's not working, I can't heal her. It's like nothing's going in."

"Well fuck. Samuels, rotate in with whoever's fighting in the next room over. Do a three person alternation. Gleaves, go let the Doc know I'm bringing him an injured student."




Dinah Gleaves felt herself trying to shrink through the wall as Doctor Saxena took charge of the tall girl from the Combat Instructor, and had her back on her feet in less than ten seconds. Rachd glared at her as he spoke to his other student. "Jacobson, go grab Samuels and don't screw around this time." Amelia nodded and headed out the door.

"James, stop glaring at Ms Gleaves, it's not her fault." The doctor's statement turned the muscular bald man's attention towards the smaller man, and Dinah breathed a sigh of relief.

"How do you figure that one doc?"

"Ms Jacobson seems to have some kind of reflexive defense when she is attacked in a non-physical manner. Her resilience seems to be drastically increased to most forms of energy while that defense is active, and it appears her instinctive reaction is not intelligent enough to differentiate between a harmful energy source and a benevolent one."


The older man gave an exasperated sigh. "When you hit the girl with energy her body becomes resistant to all energies for a little while. Even energies that would heal her."

"But no increase in physical resilience? That seems a bit odd doc."

"I would guess that due to the amount of physical strain her own body can stress itself with, any increased defense in that area is already active most of the time."

"So Jacobson gets hard to heal if she gets blasted with something?"

"Temporarily. I monitored her reaction while I worked on her and in spite of the short window, it was obvious that there was a receding effect present, and that effect required me to use far more energy to heal injuries at that level than I would normally. Considering the effect seemed to be vastly reduced when Ms Jacobson arrived here, and that Dinah is normally an extremely competent healer, I would deduce that it lasts two to three minutes from the last time she was attacked, then dissipates quickly." Rachd seemed to be mulling over all the data the doctor was giving him, and Dinah took this as a sign that she was safe to return to her duties monitoring the freshmen Combat class.

As the attractive black haired woman made her way through the door she found herself considering the conversation she had just been present for carefully. Even the junior class had heard a great deal of stories about Amelia's ridiculous physical abilities. Learning that the girl apparently had even greater resilience than had already been suggested was a bit shocking to the young woman. At least I know how to deal with that block now. Just wait a couple of minutes and then fix her up. Easy as pie.




"Is this all?" Aaron Sexton examined the two boxes he had helped his new roommate move into the townhouse dorm with a skeptical eye.

"I travel light." The extremely average looking telepath responded with a shrug. Michael had been overjoyed when he learned this his single occupancy status in the dorms was giving him priority to move into one of the vacated spots in the townhouse style campus residences. Communal showering with college students was NOT something any telepath should be subjected to. Ever.

"You figure out what you're doin' for Martinez's assignment yet? Or you just going to run some more laps?" Michael simply offered a glare in response to the taller blond man's teasing question.

"What assignment?" The third resident of the townhouse asked as he entered the common room. "Did I forget something?"

"No Barry, unless Rachd gave out homework for fighting you didn't miss anything. Martinez is making all the Alternatives come up with a 'entirely new way to use you ability.'" Barry nodded in response as he made his way to the couch and the remote control located in front of it. "And our new roommate here spent the entire class period running laps becau-..."

"So I suck at being creative when I get put on the spot. You make it sound like you had such a great breakthrough." Michael was obviously a bit defensive about his inability to come up with any previously unconsidered uses of his power as he interrupted Aaron's condescending speech.

"Why didn't you just copy whatever Cat was doing? Or did she strike out as well?" The question from the couch was met with a redirection of the dark haired telepath's glare, but it seemed the back of the Korean youth's head was immune to such forms of intimidation.

"Cat is a projective telepath, I'm not. I couldn't do the shit she does if I spent my whole life trying to, just like she couldn't magically become telekinetic overnight."

Aaron moved to join his roommate on the couch to see what fruits the shorter man's channel surfing would bear. "Except that the way abilities work, you could just wake up one day and have a new aspect to one. So could Cat for that matter, and then what would the class need you for?" The taller blond's tone was still teasing, but judging by his expression Michael didn't see the matter as a particularly light hearted one. The point definitely made as the TV shut itself off and the remote flipped up from Barry's hands to land in Michael's.

"Hey, take your shit out on him, he's the one messing with you. Give me back my remote!" The lanky asian man didn't even bother turning around as he complained, simply stretching his hand in the general direction of his sulking roommate. "Thank you!" as the remote landed in his outstretched hand and channel surfing resumed. "So what did you end up assigning yourself to, Aaron?"

"I'm trying to figure out how to cause a specific hallucination with my ability instead of just whatever the target's mind throws out on its own."

"And how well is that working out for you?" Michael's tone was one of pure condescension as he queried the blond.

"Not well, but still a couple steps ahead of the guy that hasn't started yet." Aaron's tone remained teasing as he responded. "Seriously though Mike, even BEN came up with a decent approach to using his power in a new way, and all that guy has going for him is brute force. It can't be that hard for an Advanced Mind to get stretched in a new direction."

"You should go for flying man!" Barry's response drew chuckles from the other two men.

"It doesn't really work that way Barry. The amount of focus required to pick someone up is pretty big, and trying to do that to myself while adjusting for movement and everyt-..."

"I didn't say it would be easy Michael, but this is the HCP. We're only one semester in and I don't think 'easy' has been discussed yet. It's something new and I know there's a few TK's out there that can pull it off because we can watch them do it on the news some days."

Michael attempted to find another rebuttal, but discovered the idea had actual merit. The objective of the assignment wasn't to immediately add a new ability to the student's arsenal, it was to expand their ability in a way they hadn't previously considered. Even if it didn't work, the control training would be a definite boon.

"You know Barry, that's actually a good point. Thanks for volunteering!"

This statement drew surprised looks from both couch occupiers. "What did I volunteer for? I said YOU should fly, not me."

"I'm going to need to practice lifting a human body with pretty precise control. If I start that on myself I'm probably just going to get injured. You'll help me out though, right Barry?"

The lanky Korean let out a long suffering sigh before responding. "All right, but we're going underground before you start floating me around. I'm not getting tossed out like that idiot who was flying around the quad back at the start of the year."




Ty Rodins was going at his keyboard like the inanimate object had somehow done him a great wrong. Typing at an absurd speed as various windows flashed across the screen in front of him and various designs and specifications were constructed, modified, or deleted at a breakneck pace. Ty had been one of two students that had been unable to come up with a new direction to stretch their powers during Alternative training today. It truly bothered the tall black man that his significant intellect hadn't been able to solve such a seemingly simple problem.

He sighed as he paused his work for a moment to retrieve another energy drink from the mini fridge placed within arms' reach for exactly that purpose. The real problem Ty was having with his ability was starting to become clear to the young man, but he was still desperately searching for an alternative answer.

Ultimately, for everything Ty could make there was someone else that could use it better than he could. He specialized in constructing new materials in new ways. Polymers and alloys that hadn't existed previously, or were made in more efficient ways, or somehow just altered slightly to give them additional properties that the base materials didn't possess. But the 6'1" heavily built black youth was being forced to accept that there wasn't really anything HE could do with the materials he made that someone with a more impressive ability wouldn't be able to do better. His girlfriend made the perfect first and last example needed, with her relatively modest physical enhancements able to make far better use of the materials he constructed than Ty could ever hope to. And of course Scott used the high density alloys Ty had designed for him as a superior option to just getting pieces of scrap steel and shaping them as needed with his power. He ran his hands through his tangled dreads and tried to picture what his third roommate, Amelia, would be able to do if he could actually manage to fabricate something that could withstand her ridiculous strength well enough to be genuinely useful. For some reason this line of thought conjured an image of a hundred foot tall Amelia stomping through Tokyo wearing a set of Ty Rodin's plate armor, and he chuckled at the absurd image before turning back to the monitor in front of him.

There was only one way to go forward that he could come up with. Ty was overly specialized in one facet of what he could do with the insights granted to him by his Technological Brilliance. It was time to find another area that he could excel in, and diversify his talents. As dozens of research sites began to fill the screen before him, the young man couldn't quite shake the feeling that he would run into the same wall in any field he ended up acquiring. He briefly wondered if Tara was experiencing any similar crises as she explored her similar ability.




"You know this is the first time we've actually gone on a date?" Scott started a bit at the declaration made inside his head and looked across the table to where the auburn haired beauty was smiling at him.

"The Halloween party was kind of a date. And we did the Thanksgiving thing with your family."

"Yes, but the Halloween party was a group of friends going to a party, and taking you to meet my parents definitely does not constitute a 'date' in my book. It's truly shocking how many times I've let you take advantage of me without making you buy me dinner first." The teasing tone and sparkle in Catalina's eyes drew a brief laugh from the shorter brown haired youth.

"I took advantage of you? Perhaps the good Lord could let you remember that YOU carried ME off from that party to take me back to my room and ravish me." Scott actually managed to affect something approaching a Southern Belle voice for the end of his response, putting some extra emphasis on the word 'ravish,' and drawing giggles from his date.

"You know you're right. Now that we've finished with dinner we should go back to your place so I can make up for doing something so AWFUL to you."

"Check please!" The enthusiasm with which the young man signaled for the waiter drew some quiet laughs from the surrounding tables. As usual Catalina had been projecting sufficiently with her mental voice to make it appear as if the two were having a normal conversation to those around them, and not leave Scott looking like a lunatic as he kept up a one sided speech with his mute date.

Entering the parking lot the couple made their way to the small jeep that Catalina had borrowed from her roommate, both briefly marveling again that the massive Tasha could actually fit inside the small vehicle. A figure passing by on the street noted the two lovers in the bright illumination of the parking lot lights and called out. "My god, it's Cat! Why don't you ever call me anymore sweetheart?"

Scott turned to look at his date to see her a look of exasperated disgust cross her features before she responded. "I never called you Bradley, we never dated, remember? Or do you need my brothers to explain the concept to you again?" The short man winced a bit at the mental image of the four massive Blake boys 'explaining' things regarding their sister. The brothers had all seemed to like Scott and he was still moderately terrified of them.

"I don't see your bros around tonight sweetie, and what's this? Little cousin or something?"

"My name would be Scott, and I am Catalina's date for this evening. Bradley right?" Scott managed to plaster a neutral smile onto his face and offered his hand to the larger man as he approached the couple. Bradley gave the offered hand a look but then turned back to the hispanic girl, ignoring the shorter man.

"You should go out with a real man girl, how about I take you somewhere and we can get reacquainted?"

"Considering we were never 'acquainted' in ANY manner that you wanted, I think that would be impossible. Besides, your exes all talk. You just don't measure up to my current man, and a girl's got needs."Catalina's expression had turned to a truly dismissive one, but standing so close to her Scott couldn't help but pick up the tiny bleed through from her mental voice. She was genuinely worried for some reason. Catching his own concerns a quieter voice spoke to the young sandy haired man, this one obviously not broadcast to more than just him. "We need to get out of here quickly. If we get into a parking lot brawl we might blow the SI requirement."

While the taller Bradley was still searching for a retort to Catalina's last statement, the two HCP students attempted to bypass him and reach their borrowed ride. As Catalina passed by him he suddenly gripped her arm tightly, stopping her and drawing hostile looks from both Supers.

"You aren't going anywhere with the shrimp honey." As he spoke the taller man produced a knife from his belt and flipped the blade open. "We're going for a walk now little man, I recommend not following us."

Scott's reaction was nearly instant. With a surprising amount of strength Bradley found his wrist gripped, twisted, and pulled behind his back as a sneaker crashed into his knee with seemingly explosive force, and a loud, wet, cracking sound. He released his grip on the Latina as he collapsed with a scream, the broken leg no longer able to support his weight. Still not relinquishing his grip, Scott proceeded to pull the larger man's knife hand away from his body before delivering a vicious strike to the elbow, resulting in another wet crack, another scream, and the sound of metal clattering on pavement as the knife fell from suddenly slack fingers.

"You should wait in the car Cat. I'll call the police, and we'll do this all proper and never have to see this piece of shit around here anymore." Catalina nodded in response and climbed quickly into the vehicle, waiting for the adrenaline to drop out of her system so she could resume a more normal breathing rate. Since she was already using other people's senses to hear anything around her, the auburn haired girl had no trouble hearing her boyfriend as he leaned down close to the sobbing man on the pavement and whispered in his ear. "You're very lucky you only pointed that knife at me. If you had done that to my girlfriend, there is nothing the good Lord could have done to save you from me. Nothing."

Catalina found herself truly eager for the police to arrive so that statements could be made and they could return to their interrupted plans for the evening. Glancing around she noted that the parking lot had several security cameras, and a brief read of Scott showed that he hadn't employed his ability at all so there should be no questioning their story and no SI infraction to report. Additionally, something rather primal had been stirred at seeing the small man fighting to protect her against a larger opponent. The athletic girl didn't particularly need such defense, but such dedication to the relationship probably deserved a special reward.




"Alright Ms Blake, walk me through why the doctor has decided to call me in here at this ungodly hour regarding some new experimentation that is somehow my fault?" Elena Martinez was definitely something less than professional in appearance at 5am as she looked down at the deeply blushing hispanic girl in the infirmary.

"I never said it was your fault, he asked me how it happened and I told him it was part of my assignment for Alternative training, and then he just left to go get you and wouldn't listen when I said it wasn't needed."

"Your attempt to insert sensory input in another person? That's what landed you and Jameson in the infirmary at four thirty in the morning?"

"Well sort of, see Scott and I are dating and there was a bit of extra excitement and a fight last night, but we didn't start it and Scott didn't break the SI rules or anything, but well afterwards I wanted to try something new and I had the assignment and, well, you see..."

The older hispanic woman massaged her temples as the younger girl's mental voice started to spiral around in hesitation. "Let's make this simple." Catalina looked up at the interruption from her rapidly spinning line of thought. "Would the end result of this story go in the 'Not Safe For Work' category?"

The younger girl blushed deeper and nodded in response.

"Would you say you were somewhat successful with your assignment?" This question was met with another nod. "And what did you learn going forward?"

The young telepath's response drew a long bout of suppressed laughter from the older woman. "Next time we try it we're going to make sure we get a healer on standby first."

Elena sighed again in response to Catalina's last remark and the still prevalent blush on the girl's cheeks. "She clear doctor?" At Saxena's nod she turned back to her student. "Go get some sleep and have a more complete plan before you show up for training tomorrow." The auburn haired girl was out of the room in a flash as soon as the dismissal was out of the Instructor's mouth.

Turning to directly face the now widely grinning Indian man the Alternative Instructor offered a glare. "Why do you always feel the need to wake me up when one of my students does something stupid? It's not like you actually sleep yourself."

"It is a point I like to emphasize Elena. In spite of the significantly more violent orientation of Combat training, Jim's students never end up in my infirmary in the middle of the night as a result of any homework assignments he gives them. With your classes I think I average three students per week."

"So complain to James that he's not pushing his students as hard as I am. I'm going back to sleep." Raj Saxena found himself laughing at the suggestion as Elena vanished from the infirmary. The idea did have some merit for entertainment value, but the doctor was intelligent enough to know better than to intentionally antagonize James Rachd.

"Besides, you have a far more beautiful visage than our dear Combat Instructor does my sweet Elena." The doctor turned and headed back to his office after whispering the words into the empty room. After having finally managed to say them aloud, now all that was left was to manage such a feat while the lovely Alternative and Subtlety Instructor was still in the room.