by Manna

Dayna spread her legs as wide as she could and bent down to grab her
ankles.  Stretch, two, three, four.  Hold, two, three, four.

Warm-up completed, she strode over to the weapon racks and viewed the
selection.  The practice room in Liberator was generously sized, but
she kept having to put up extra shelves to hold her ever-expanding

She decided on a new toy she'd built from a historical specification
Orac found for her.  It was a kind of baton, a shade under two feet
long, with a handle at right angles to the shaft which allowed her to
hold it braced against her forearm.  According to Orac, it had been
used by law enforcement officials in the late twentieth century.

Dayna thought that must've been an exciting time to be alive.  The guns
were rather primitive (all the better for invention and improvement)
but the old weapons were still in use.  More than once, Dayna had
contemplated trying to persuade the rest of the crew of the merits of
fitting bayonets onto their guns.  Regrettably, modern energy weapons
were too flimsy and anyway the others much preferred to do their
killing at range.  Neutron blaster range.

Preferably from ambush.

Sometimes Dayna thought they didn't really appreciate the fine art of

She started gently, with a few rolls and sweeps.  It would be
embarrassing to give herself a black eye with the new baton, especially
since she was on her own.  Cally was supposed to be here, but she had
cried off with an important something or other she had forgotten about.
 Hah.  Someone, more like.

Avon was, unsurprisingly, also busy.  In any case, Avon didn't *do*
practice.  He just killed people when they needed killing and then
spent the rest of his time fiddling with computers, or arguing with
Tarrant, or brooding, or being 'busy' at the same time as Cally.
Honestly, did they think the rest of the crew was blind?

Tarrant was probably still trying to work out an intercept for the
third Federation ore carrier they weren't going to be able to hit.
Vila was supposedly helping him.  She'd left them to it without telling
Tarrant where she was going.  Not that he would have come down with her.

Tarrant hadn't been keen on practicing with Dayna for quite a while.

Dayna did a double somersault across the mat and flicked the baton out,
hitting the practice dummy square on the knee.  It dropped to the
ground in computer-simulated agony, and she rolled and pinned it,
pressing down on its throat with the baton until the amber light
indicating suffocation flicked on.

Damn.  She'd meant to break its neck.

While the dummy reset, Dayna lay on the mat, caught her breath, and
thought about the last practice session with Tarrant.

Ever since leaving Sarran Dayna had been curious about men.  On
Liberator that really meant one man.  Avon was too old.  Not that she
had anything specifically against older men--quite the reverse--but his
self-confidence made her nervous.  Besides, from very early in her time
on Liberator, she'd had a suspicion bordering on certainty that Cally
would take exception to the idea.

Vila was, well, Vila.

That left Tarrant.

The next question had been how to catch her prey.  Of course, she could
just have asked, but that wasn't the kind of approach with which Dayna
had much experience.  Hunting was more her style.

Eventually, she's decided on the practice room as the perfect setting.
In the end, it had been gratifyingly easy.  Unarmed combat was, in
Dayna mind, a natural lead in to person contact of a more intimate
nature.  Tarrant didn't seem to disagree.  Kisses had lead to caresses,
which became more and more passionate.  At some point she remembered
asking Zen to lock the door.

And then he was inside her.  She'd had a vague expectation it might
hurt and Tarrant seemed to have the same idea because he'd paused,
breathing rather hard, and asked if she was all right.  But she was--a
benefit of an active life.  So he had begun to thrust in and out, quite
gently, and reached down with one hand to stroke her clitoris.

It was always good to practice something new with someone who knew what
they were doing.

In fact, everything had been going rather wonderfully until she got a
little bit carried away and tightened her muscles around him, hard.

The noise he'd made hadn't *quite* been a squeak, but it had been
close.  His eyes opened very, very wide and, reflexively, she had
tensed up even more.  A few seconds later it was all over.  From
Tarrant's point of view anyway.  He'd grabbed his clothes, mumbled
excuses and vanished at speed, leaving Dayna puzzled and rather

Dayna had confided in Cally.  Probably, on reflection, she'd done it
because she missed Lauren, whom she could tell anything and everything.
 And because she was curious to know what Cally would think.

Cally thought it was very funny.  After she mostly stopped laughing,
Cally suggested that Tarrant's pride was no doubt injured, and that
Dayna might be wise to leave the situation alone for a few days.  When
Dayna pointed out that it probably wasn't just his pride that was
hurting, Cally started laughing again, so hard Dayna thought she was
going to be sick, and eventually Dayna joined in.  It *was* quite
funny, in hindsight.

However, Dayna had more than a passing suspicion that at least some of
her confidences had made their way to Avon's ears.  Or at least,
something put Avon in a suspiciously good mood for several days, and
there were, well, comments.  Avon-variety comments, with a subtext so
well concealed there was nothing to pin down, not when his face was so
carefully blank.  Until eventually *everything* he said began to sound
as if it had an edge.

'Tarrant is always precipitous.  Or hadn't you noticed?'

Unless Avon was using Zen to spy on them (which was more than possible)
it had to be Cally.  So that was the last time Dayna had told Cally
anything like that.  Not that there had been anything *to* tell.
Despite hints, Tarrant had been the model of gentlemanly friendship
ever since.

However, he stayed away from the practice room when Dayna was there.

Dayna began a new round of attacks and feints.  Half-an-hour of serious
practise should work off her tension.  Barely five minutes later, the
baton whipped round and smashed into the side of the target dummy and
its arm detached and hit the mat with a rather sad thump.  Dayna picked
up the arm and inspected it.  Broken shoulder joint.  Damn it, weren't
these things *designed* to get hit?

"Sorry, Servalan," Dayna said to the dummy.

She reattached the arm as best she could and watched as the repair
circuits began to work.  It would take them a while though, so she
might as well call it a day.

Dayna went to hang the baton back up on the rack, then paused, stroking
the smooth plastic.  It was warm from her hand.  An idea occurred to
her.  An idea she rather like the feel of.

Twirling the baton casually, Dayna set off to her cabin.  Practice made
perfect, and solo practice was better than none at all.  When the next
chance arrived, Dayna wanted to be ready for combat.