They commenced warm-up exercises then started learning the basic body positions and moves. Karen and Dana were obviously more adept than most in quickly picking up poses. By mutual agreement they paired up for blocking exercises, and Karen said to her through the general hub-bub, “Are you a dancer?”
Dana smiled. “Yes, years of ballet in the Coalition Company. I was never the lead, so you probably haven’t heard of me.”
“Still, impressive,” Karen said.
“I’m guessing you have a dance background, too?”
“Well…” Karen gave a very brief, slightly sly smile. “You could say that.”
Dana looked at her quizzically, but the Ambassador merely said, “Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime.”
“Sounds like it will be interesting. So, until we meet an alien with a culture to analyze, what do I do around here?”
“I’ve been thinking about that, actually. You have a lot of psychology training, right?”
Dana nodded. “Yes, I almost went into psycho-analysis, but cultures called.”
“Perfect. You can study the morale of the specialists and keep me informed. It will help me decide if people should get new neighbours in the living area or have an adjustment in their work environment. We can use some more paintings on the walls too. We’ll keep you busy.”
“OK, I can do that. Do we tell the Captain?”
“No need. He has no authority over the civilians or decorations in shared areas unless they endanger the ship. Well, unless a specialist is a reservist in a training session or military emergency, which I could call. He and his first officer will keep an eye on the ship’s crew, so that’s already covered.”
“Got it,” Dana said quickly as Woon called for the end of class line-up. They did something called mokuso, which turned out to be a moment of meditation then a recitation of the positive statements, “Seek perfection of character, Be faithful, Endeavour, Respect others,” and perhaps ironically, Karen couldn’t help but think, “Refrain from violent behaviour,” in both English and Japanese. After that, Woon dismissed the class.
As the new karate ka dispersed, Dana asked, “Do we do something special this evening to prepare for the Displacement?”
“Yes,” Karen said emphatically. “We party. We want everyone distracted so they don’t panic. There’s really nothing people can do about the event until it’s time to strap themselves in.”
“Oh! So I should go around and make sure people go to the rec room or whatever.”
“Exactly. Let’s dance like we’ve never danced before.”
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