December 7th, 2013

The Cadet: Part 10

“Cadet Gens.” The PT instructor had the coach of the haidarna team and her own haidarna instructor with him. “A word with you please. There is a problem you may be able to help with.”

“Certainly, Petty Officer.” It was the very beginning of the lunch break and the three instructors had been standing, no, waiting outside her classroom.

“Then join us in my office for a few minutes.” With that the PT Instructor led the way to his office and locked the door behind them after they’d entered. “Now, Cadet Gens, do you still not care about participating in tournaments?”

Five minutes later, the situation having been explained to her, Parthi asked cautiously, “This won’t get me kicked out of the Academy or the Navy, will it?”

“Not if you get the timing right,” the team coach assured her, “and if we can prove his timing, there’d be no chance of that.”

Parthi considered for a moment then declared, “I’m in. Now, what are the tournament rules?”

Three weeks later, she entered the ring for her third bout of her first tournament. The rest of the Academy’s team had been unimpressed that she’d been given an entry in the mixed open division of a tournament the team had had to qualify for. The mutterings on the bench had quietened after she’d beaten her first opponent and stopped after she’d beaten the second. There had even been some glances of sympathy as she’d gone out to meet this third opponent, one Silas Haut, a member of a university team from across the continent.

It was a tight bout that would have gone faster if Parthi had been allowed to use more of what she knew but, despite Haut’s superior weight and reach, it was to her that the referee awarded the final match point. Parthi saw Haut’s weight shift as the point was awarded, nothing wrong with that, but then as the referee declared the bout over, he moved. Parthi sidestepped then, as his other leg came through for the follow through, she made what she had been trained in as the appropriate block and deflect. There was a loud crack and Haut fell to the mat with a scream.

There was one cry of, “Foul!” from the stands but the rest of the audience including her own bench was deathly quiet.

“Foul move!” The man who ran out from the audience to kneel beside Haut was clearly his father. “I want her disqualified for using a banned move! She broke his leg on purpose! I want-”

The referee looked to the adjudicators for guidance and Parthi said clearly, “I request a review of the video and audio stream.”

The man turned on her with a snarl, “No! I demand that she be turned out of all competition for life for trying to maim my son!”

“And I demand that the honoured adjudicators be allowed to fully inform themselves before coming to a decision.” Parthi gazed back at him calmly.

“I don’t know who you think you are, you little nothing-”

“A participant, not an onlooker,” Parthi snapped back at him, “and neither of us are allowed to dictate to the adjudicators. If you are justified in your demands, allow the adjudicators to do their work and you will get the outcome you desire. And for heaven’s sake, stand aside and let the medics treat your son.” The man glared daggers at her as he got out of the medics’ way.

On the dais the three adjudicators consulted their screens, talked among themselves and then consulted the screens again. After five more minutes of conferring, the adjudicators announced their decision. The middle adjudicator stood with the signed decision in his hand. “We find,” he announced, surveying the crowd and avoiding looking at both participants and the older male Haut, “that competitor Haut moved after the referee began declaring the match over, thereby rendering his move an attack outside the bout upon competitor Gens. Competitor Gens was therefore not bound by tournament rules and was entitled to defend herself by the best means available. For his unsporting conduct, competitor Haut is suspended from competition for the rest of this season. Competitor Gens will approach the adjudicators.”

“We’ll appeal!” The older Haut was spluttering in anger.

“If you do that,” Parthi paused for a second beside him, “then you’ll guarantee that the appeal board will pore over every second of your son’s performance this year up until now. Get him a good orthopaedic surgeon. Perhaps some of his past opponents will recommend one, if they’ll talk to you.” She continued on to stand in front of the adjudicators, bow and face the music.