Hook, jab, jab, jab, hook, feint, uppercut, hook.
Some punches landed. Others were deftly blocked. No attack was randomly thrown out by either party. They were either probing strikes, feints to open up a hole in a foe's defense. Total Experience's hands started to glow, heating up with the velocity of his punches. His third strike carried hard into the ninja's ribs, but she retaliated with a kick to his knee that nearly blew him back, forcing him to step away for a second before he redoubled his efforts. Pain was nothing to MUSCLE MACHINES.
When the ninja ducked under his subsequent attack shots - something he'd expected, as he was still closing in - she rose with a shot to his temple, snapping his head to the side as her knuckle bruised the silver skin. Her elbow slammed into his foreram, but he bent with the blow, power rippling across chrome muscle. A barrage of punches from his left hand were endured and answered with a jab into his eye. He closed it at the last second, temporarily unable to see.
His thoughts were razor-sharp and as reflective as his shining flesh.
This is the most skilled opponent I've ever faced.
Over a dozen punches in, she landed a solid hit on his arm, metal groaning in protest as he overworked the muscle. This wasn't human pain - it was a mechanical warning that he was overexerting himself, a pervasive soreness that begged him to stop. If he fought too hard, his life would be in danger. But that didn't matter now. There was more at stake.
One final punch - !
There was an opening. He'd need to take a punch to land his. He had to trust that his own strength was stronger, that his resolve could surpass her technique.
"I'll - do - both!"
With that declaration, he slammed his fist into the ninja a final time, just as he endured the strike to his windpipe. He felt his throat close, dented. Reflexively, he coughed and sputtered, nano-blood spurting up between his teeth. It functioned like lubricant in an engine, transmitting signals from his muscle machines faster, a fluid that suffused his teeth from the sheer force of the Lotus' strikes. But she'd endured too much to go on too, it seemed.
So they resulted to sabotage.
The ninjas fled. He coud pursue, but up ahead was danger on the tracks. They gleamed red-hot, and he knew that if the train went over them, it'd collapse.
These foes could be hunted down later. The lives of the people still on the train needed to be protected now, no matter what.
Experience coughed, wiping the silvery-black blood away from his lips. He felt weak, tired. It'd take days for him to recuperate after this.
This might be beyond even my strength.
There were only seconds to spare.
It could very well kill him.
Springing from where he crouched, Experience pumped his arms like pistons as he raced across the roof of the subway cars, leaping out in front of the train.
Executing a perfect three-point landing some distance from where the tracks had melted away, he pivoted to face the oncoming train.
The top speed of a subway train was about fifty miles an hour. A single car weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 tons, and there were ten about to slam into him.
With a defiant smile, he braced himself, and caught the train with two open hands.
The tracks beneath his feet were obliterated. The sound was deafening. His heels dug into the iron, sparks flying up as he was forced backwards. It'd taken all that remained of his power to not just be run over.
And slowly - agonizingly - the cars came to a stop.
Experience fell away, down onto the street, as pursuing firefighters and police swarmed the area. He landed hard on his back.
It was over. He breathed out.
They got away.
Propping himself up on an elbow, he looked up at the tracks. The civilians left behind were being extracted. The flash of cameras surrounded him in his defeat, though they called it a victory. Perhaps the truth was something more in the middle - a draw. Or an intermission.
He kept his chin up. It wasn't a total failure. They'd only gotten away...