They began the drill sequence on the Lieutenant's mark, and he hit her palms hard, so that the stinging pain focused her attention sharply. Was he mad at her because of the rejection that night? Who cares, said that same small angry voice. Although he hit harder than she did, she was faster than him, and she thought she could plant him on the pad if she chose to, but something held her back. She hit back, harder, pushing him back to his side of the line.
He grinned the same cocky smile he always had, as he stepped up the pace, suddenly skipping the sequence and just striking at her. It took her a second to realize that he wasn't following the drill any more, just slamming his hands into her palms or forearms or shoulders. She felt a prickle of fear, the same she had felt before, with the man who tried to kill her on her tail. It was the same look. The same arrogant, sure-of-himself grin.
She backed away from the line and kept up her defense, trying to shake the image from her head. Just then a well placed strike hit grazed her chin. The Lieutenant called out his name sharply, but he struck again, catching her jaw more squarely. Her head whipped back and she felt a warm wetness in her mouth. She hit the pad with a popping sound.
Something in her snapped. She slipped into that anger inside herself and felt it burn. Time went from too fast to molasses slow in a millionth of a second. Her opponent was gone, vanished. She saw the would be killer stepping forward with that slack, sickening grin on his face.
She flipped to her feet, sidestepped his advancing attack and snap-kicked his knee. There was a pop, a sickening crunch and the killer's face contorted with pain as he fell to the pad. There was a scream, then another. Was she screaming? She saw the man scramble away from her on the pad, and kicked him hard in the stomach, started to follow him, arms up in a boxing-defense pose. There was an arm around her neck. She ducked, grabbed the arm, leaned forward and threw that weight over her, widening her stance. Someone came up behind her. She whirled just as the new attacker kicked her in the chest, and she landed on top of first new attacker. Pain froze her body. She tried to get up, but couldn't.
“Hold her down!”
“Doctor! Get over here!”