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JPL Cadets Sheme and thâHanera
Cadet Soan th'Hanera came walking out of the locker room to the large pool. He wore the standard bathing suit given to the male cadets and had a towel draped over his shoulder. He looked for Cadet Sheme.
Flower emerged from the other locker room. She followed slowly behind, as she was not looking forward to this lesson, "Hello, Professor Th"Hanera."
Soan turned around. He could see the roundness of Flower's eyes and the way her ears were flicking back and forth, along with her tail. "You really are frightened of this, aren't you?"
Flower nodded her head. "Yes, I am.â
"Well, you don't HAVE to learn how to swim," he said to her.
"Yes. i do. i wonât be the reason we fail a survival mission. The last one was very scary too.â
Soan led her around to the shallow end of the pool. He walked down the steps and waded into the waist deep water. "Come on in." Flower tentatively approached the water and started to enter.
Flower laid both of her forepaws onto the edge of the pool, and she finally stepped all the way into the water. She edged slowly toward Soan.
"Let go of the side," th'Hanera urged. "This is the shallow end."
The Catonian continued toward him, still hanging onto the edge like a timid little kitten. Soan walked over to Flower. He grabbed one of her paws and led her away from the edge
. "You scratch me and I will push you totally under," he cautioned her.
Flower nodded and kept her claws in, "Okay just donât surprise me like our professor did,"
"If I wanted to surprise you, I would have tossed you in the deep end," th'Hanera said. "Now all living beings have a natural instinct to swim. My parents had me in a pool before i could even walk. I could probably take a Terran feline and toss it into the deep end, and it would swim to the side immediately."
Flower looked up a little scared. "Okay."
"Look at yourself," the Andorian pointed out. "You're standing in water. You have complete control of what happens to you right now, right?"
Flower looked down and saw her paws in the water. It felt cold at first, but then a tickling feeling came over her. "I did it!"
"Yes, you did," th'Hanera agreed. "I want you to see and realize that you have full control right here.. Now, I want you to move around just a bit. Get a feel for moving in the water."
Flower slowly walked around Soan in the shallow end. "this is like zero-gee training, right?â
"In some ways, yes," th'Hanera told her. "Except you won't drown in Zero-gee training. Now, I want you to get yourself a bit lower in the water. Watch me."
Flower gave an unsure nod and watched her partner and instructor. He turned and lowered the upper half of his body into the water. He pushed off the bottom with his feet and glided a couple feet away from her, then stood up again.
"Like that," he said to her.
Flowerâs ears flicked back, showing her displeasure. She attempted to follow his example and slid down lower. Her tail slapped the water gently as she calmed down a little bit. Soon she was gliding like Soan. "I canât believe I never tried this before! This is awesome!â
Soan crossed his arms over his chest and watched her with a smile. "For many it is a natural thing to swim. You just have to allow yourself to do it."
Flower continued to glide around Soan a while longer. "I think I got this.â
"You certainly picked it up quickly," th'Hanera acknowledged. "Do you want to go deeper?"
Flower looked up. "Do we have to?"
"No, we don't HAVE to."
"I will go as far out as long as I can still feel the bottom." she said worriedly.
"Then just stay in this area," the Andorian said. With that, he dover forward in the water and proceed to swim the length of the pool to the deep end. Flower watched as she paddled as far as her hind-paws could touch the bottom.
"okay,â she said to herself deciding that was her limit.
Soan's head and shoulder were the only things visible as he began to tread water in the deep end. He looked back toward Flower. Flowerâs head was now the only part of her body above water. Soan smiled, watching her, but said nothing. Flower hissed as a slip of her paws caused her to go under. She started to flail in the deeper water, meowing.
Soan sighed and swam to Flower. Being careful to avoid her flailing paws, he wrapped his arms around her torso and drug her back to the shallow end. He made certain she could stand before releasing her.
"Sorry about that," Flower apologized as she grabbed the edge of the pool again. Soan merely nodded an acknowledgement of her apology.
After a few moments, Flower calmed down and let go of the edge and looked over to Soan. "I was moving along then I didnât feel the bottom,â she explained.
"As you swim, you shouldn't feel the bottom," th'Hanera instructed. "Your body should have some buoyancy and your limbs help to keep that buoyancy and propel you through the water."
Flower tried again to not flail as she swims again. "This is all new for me."
Soan swam alongside her. He remained just close enough that if she got in trouble, he would be able to help her immediately.
Flower stopped just short of the areay where she started to flail the last time. She allowed her hind legs to touch the bottom of the pool. The water was almost at her neck. Soan looked at his friend and recognized the look in her eyes. As much as he wanted her to go the length of the pool, he didnât want her dreading any of this.
"Flower," he said to her. "Don't go into the deep end until you are totally comfortable of actually swimming. You can swim in the shallower waters and if you feel the need then you can stand. Get comfortable there first."
A look of relief came to Flower. She nodded and returned to the shallow waters to get more comfortable. Soan watched her swim around a bit longer.
"That should be good for today," he said to her. "I have some other things I have to take care of."
Flower nodded and stood up. She waded to the steps to climb out of the pool. "Thanks Soan."
"You're welcome," he replied, climbing out of the pool and grabbing his towel. "You did really good for your first time out."
"it was much fun. I will see you later, need to get the booster shot for November, pumpkins are still on campus and of course catnip will be in bloom soon."
"Catch you later, Flower." He turned and walked into the locker room. Flower nodded and hits the sonic shower.