Lessons Learned

She came off the wall with muscles coiled and screams echoing in the dark shadows of a damaged mind. She wasn’t a fighter, she was a survivor, and surviving exacts a heavy price.

The challenger was on the floor choking for air and fighting for survival himself in the time it takes a child to hiccup. She stopped the killing blow a hair’s breadth from skin. It was, Nolan realized, a scary thing to see that iron control slide back into place. To realize how close they had been to disaster before they even realized it. She rose with the svelte grace of a jaguar. She didn’t offer the gasping man on the mat a hand up, she merely looked over his shaking form at Nolan, “I told you. I don’t spar.” And she did what few men dared to do; she turned her back on him and with measured strides left the room.

Nolan unclamped the cigar from his teeth and looked at his brother, “We need her on our team.”


Nolan looked at the new team medic, and then looked at the rest of the crew. “He just called Ciara ‘sweet’” Willie stifled a snort. “My friend, Ciara is many things. Sweet isn’t one of them.”

The medic looked at them all and shook his head. “You don’t see it do you?”

Nolan looked at him, “What do you mean?”

“She wears her scars like the grandest diamond necklace, and because of that nobody looks past it. Yeah, she’s tough, she’s been through hell, and she can handle herself. But that woman, deep down, is sweet.” He looked at the old crew. “You don’t see it at all do you. You see the tough and don’t bother to remember she’s a person, not a machine.”