“The auditorium had already been soundproofed, so it’s made the perfect firing range,” Cekiah explained. “We didn’t want the children or those who are vulnerable to be frightened by the sound of guns. Of course, we could only stop so much sound transfer, and there is a level of distastefulness to use a room inside of the school for this purpose, but unless you were on this part of the property, you wouldn’t hear it.”
“That makes sense.” From where we stood, I could see shapes of people moving about just inside the door. With the exception of the Trojans and the like, they’d be using guns. After all, it seemed like guns were mankind’s weapon of choice. Fight fire with fire.
“We also use some of the classrooms for strategic planning for those who have been recommended for possibly leading an outpost,” Cekiah explained. “The school has two gymnasiums, and we use them for grappling training.”
“Sort of like wrestling,” Luc expounded. “But a bit more intense since it often incorporates mixed martial arts. The Daedalus often uses it in their training.”
“Considering how I took out April, I imagined I was trained in something like that, but I guess it’s locked away.”
“I find that fascinating.” Cekiah turned to me, eyes widening. “Not that I find what was done to you fascinating but more so the fact that what you know exists on an unconscious level. How you’re able to tap into that knowledge and use it, I find very interesting.”
“You and me both,” I mumbled.
“It would be interesting to see if you can access those training techniques under the right circumstances.” Luc pulled his gaze from the sprawling brick building. “I imagine it would be a lot like with the Source. Once you use that training, it will become more natural to you.”
“I don’t know.” I folded my arms. “Being able to use an alien source of power seems more believable than my suddenly knowing jiujitsu.”
Luc grinned. “As easily imaginable as you being able to run faster than I can?”
I smiled at the memory of doing just that, basking a little in that moment of victory.
Don’t rain on my parade, I told him. “Who is doing all the training?”
“A mixture, but for the most part, people who are skilled in whatever area they are training in. We got lucky with Eaton. He knew a lot of men and women who weren’t happy with what was coming down the pipeline. Even a few who, like he was, were aware of the Daedalus and in the beginning had believed that there was good that they could accomplish.”
“Do you believe that there was good in the beginning?” I asked, curious to know where she stood.
Turning away from the school, she gave a small shake of her head. “I think anything that involves humans isn’t cut-and-dried. The same would go for Luxen, for any species that has the capability for emotions, desires, and wants.” She glanced over at me. “History has shown that some of the greatest atrocities were aided along by well-intentioned people.”
“Well, they do say the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” Luc said, shoving his hands into his pockets.
Cekiah steered us away from the entrance, toward the chain-link fence. “The football field is one of the areas where we train the humans for hand-to-hand combat,” she explained as we walked through the parking lot. “As you can see.”
I could definitely see.
There were several stations set up across the field where the plain marking yards had long since faded, some of the stations led by a Luxen or hybrid, others by humans.
Several dozen humans were in the midst of either laying the smacketh downeth or being on the receiving end of one. One group near the rusted goalpost appeared to be straight up tackling one another on bright red mats.
Something about that tugged at the fringes of my subconscious. “Are they learning…?” There was a word for it, and it wasn’t tackling. Not how they were being instructed to use their legs or how to drag their opponent down by the arm. The word suddenly popped into my brain. “Takedowns! Are they learning takedowns?”
“Gold star for you,” Luc murmured from behind us.
I shot him a look over my shoulder, and my stomach took that moment to grumble loudly.
He raised his brows.
Cekiah nodded. “In any fight, the odds are better if you get your opponent on the ground. They are also being taught how to take a fall in a way to avoid as much injury as possible, but to also be able to get to their feet quickly.”
At other stations, they were learning punches and kicks and more complicated techniques that resembled something you’d see in mixed martial arts. There were faint popping sounds as we walked along, nearing the soccer field. The moment I got a clear eyeful of that, my mouth dropped open.