“Missed me, ooof” Marsh backed away hurriedly as the reverse heel kick caught him squarely in the solar plexus with enough force to knock all the air from his lungs. The padding on the sparring suit took out most of the force, but it still allowed some through. Drick kicked like a mule on steroids. Way more of the impact from Drick’s attacks came through the suit. Marsh was comparing it to the force from the two other sparring partners. “Give me a moment,” Marsh said as Drick spun to face him.
“You need a little lie down, maybe someone to rub those sore parts and hush you with comforting words?” Drick spoke with a pout on their face.
“That’s funny, you are a real funny person, Drick. Maybe we all need a break, for sure. I just need a moment as if you hit me like that again I am likely to puke.”
“You wont get a break in a real fight, and you are not coming with us without a lot more practice.” Drick was calm but stern. “I know this is new to you but it isn’t new to the other side. They are going to have implants and they are going to have years of experience. You need to fortify, or you need to quit the idea of coming along. Which is it?”
“I will fortify,” said Marsh. He nodded at the other two ‘Angels’ as Drick referred to them. Marsh had led all of the attacks and it had resulted in everyone being brought down by Drick. Might be time to change tactics.
The three of them circled Drick cautiously. As before Drick merely moved in a slow, graceful circle. Occasionally Drick would seem to half close their eyes as if focussing, Marsh surmised that they were reviewing the internal screens.
Marsh had been training with Drick for about five hours since leaving the construct program where Rodero and Drick had introduced him to all the capabilities of the implant in his head. It still felt wrong, a device that was melded to his brain frankly gave him the shakes. It was so alien. However, each new capability seemed to ease those feelings. Marsh had quickly learned how to call up visual aid; enhance his senses; and even semi-master answering a call, while resisting every urge his body had to speak out loud or gesture. The implant created its own form of internal construct that Marsh interacted with. It could display a representation of himself, or an avatar, to whomever he contacted.
Marsh currently had the implant helping him with the combat. It was tracking all the moves and suggesting positions, possible attacks and showing him potential targets. It also tracked all the motion on the court, using all of his senses and enhancing where it could. It was a ridiculously powerful piece of equipment and it gave great help.
However Drick always seemed to have the edge. They were quick. They anticipated fast, and they hit like a freight truck.
Marsh rejoined the fight and had angled into position as the two angels spun and attacked Drick. Marsh kept on trying to get a jab in with a kick or a punch. Occasionally he feinted, mostly he was brushing empty air.
The angels were tiring as Drick seemed to goad them into making larger set piece assaults that were taken apart with an almost forensic precision of hits and dodges. Marsh joined the Angels to impart a fury of blows directed at Drick who was mostly dodging. The two angels saw a hole and pressed an advantage but it was a trap. Drick had led them into a position where they could be slammed into each other, their heads colliding.
That attack should have had Marsh as well, but he had dodged backwards a moment before. Now he bent his body low as Drick moved out of the assault on the angels, attempting a spin kick at waist height. It was a ruse and he hoped Drick would avoid it, or even better engage with the kick. Drick did the latter using a sweeping kick of their own aimed to the kneecap. Marsh had already flicked his body into a roll. The kick had moved him forward and now contact with the floor gave him the ability to thrust himself backwards. Powerful arms pushed hard against the ground and his legs shot out towards Drick at high speed.
Impossibly Drick wasn’t there. They had used their own kick as a ruse to back flip in front of Marsh. There was a moment where Marsh was in the air his head looking backwards at where Drick once was that he wanted to know how to teleport. And then Drick heel snapped his face into the ground and landed on his spine with a sharp knee. He hit the ground hard and shouted to break the fight.
Marsh waited a few moments to see what part of his frame would light up in pain. Thankfully the suit had a helmet and that was padded and protected in much the same manner as the rest of his body. There was a tingle from his neck, a throbbing in his spine, and his nose was bleeding lightly. Not too bad. Had the suit not taken out the force Drick would have crushed his face, broken his neck, and snapped his spine with that manoeuvre. “I think you killed me,” he said.
“That was my intention.”
“That’s so nice of you. I didn’t realise that you cared so much.”
“Well it is the level of care I afford everyone who I train with.”
“Yeah, I noticed when you aced the other two. So what has this taught me aside from you are one nasty piece of work?”
“Sweet of you to say. Time for you to practice weapons with Boomer. Rodero has a construct ready for you. Just find somewhere to rest and connect up with them, they are waiting for you.”