Tetsuko Ueda vs Mizuko Shiokaze
The announcer was at his usual level of hyperbole. There was a seed change in the tournament. The most first appearance fighters to ever make it to the quarterfinals has happened. And Tetsuko, The Iron Girl, was one of them.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to introduce, stepping out of the gate to our battle stage, our first competitor for this match! And she is a real spitfire! Equipped with the latest self-defense technologies and adaptive tactical programming, she is Capsule Corporation's newest Android, and has threatened several match time records in her qualifiers and opening round matches! The blue haired Iron Girl is here now to show the strength of her engineering, but don't doubt her heart as well!"
Tetsuko stepped out on to the walkway leading to the battle stage, wearing a white and yellow bodysuit she used to use when she was a test pilot. Designed for high-visibility, and durability in high-G maneuvers. And it was just about what she needed when her first couple of outfits were tore up severely with Tetsuko's style of high-speed combat. She wore a white semi-transparent rain cloak over it, partially for dramatic effect, but also a light rain had been happening off and on for the match. Not that it dampened the spirits of the fighters, spectators, and the bottom lines of the peddlers selling cheap raincoats and umbrellas.
"Here she is! UEDA... TETSUKOOOOOOO!"
The crowd erupted in cheers as Tetsuko tossed away her cloak standing in the center of the ring. But then a chant started through the crowd, drowning out the exited fans of the newcomer.
"Mi-zu-ko! Mi-zu-ko! MI-ZU-KO!"
Tetsuko turned towards the entrance as she could start to make out with the lighting her opponent.
"A... Swimsuit?" Tetsuko puzzled as she walked out to where everyone could see her, and then everyone lost it.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this young woman needs no introduction! In her Third consecutive appearance in this round of the tournament, let's give a warm welcome back to The Walking Typhoon... The Living Tsunami... SHIOKAZE... MIZUKOOOOOO!"
Tetsuko could get a full measure of the young woman as she strode up to greet Tetsuko in the center of the ring. And she was impressed now at the full setup. It wasn't just a swimsuit, but it looked durable and designed to take a lot of punishment with the fabrics and materials chosen.
"Ooooh! That outfit is sooo cooool!" Tetsuko gushed. "What's the flappy thing around your neck?" She said, pointing to the sailor collar that was part of the fighting costume.
"Oh?" Mizuko said with a harumph. "Just a shout out to my girls on the swim team back home. I adapted our school uniform to this outfit." She said, waving to the crowd once, hoping a camera would catch a shot for all her friends.
"Wait... they allow Teenagers to fight?"
"They've let kids in, kiddo... And I'm a Senior, thank you... Have you looked up the tournament history with that Wi-fi brain of yours? There was a certain spikey haired boy and his bald-headed best friend as part of one year's offering." Mizuko said, placing her hands on her hips. Enjoying the banter, but starting to get impatient."So... that suit... what's up with that?"
"Oh, this... just decided to throw this on. It's the most durable outfit I own. Used to wear it as a test pilot."
"Yellow and white. Expecting to fall overboard?" She said taking a couple steps back before taking a defensive stance.
"Enough pretenses I see..." Tetsuko said taking a couple steps back as the crowd grew quiet. A fight was about to begin, between a cagey veteran and a newcomer making waves.
Tetsuko purposely hesitated as she wanted to see the level of resolve Mizuko could throw into her punch. When it connected Tetsuko slid back on the wet but still not slick as-of-yet battlefield. Her eyes widened. "Your skin... muscles... they're... abnormal for a human."
She could also see Mizuko's breathing slowed, and each breath was deep. "Yea... I train at about 1000 feet of water. I think the longest I've managed to hold my breath at that depth and still train effectively was 10 minutes."
The pressure at 1000 feet was amazing... surely the girl had to be doing something else to hit with that sort of force. Tetsuko responded with her best, her punch landing square on Mizuko's jaw. "I detest dishonesty and liars." Tetsuko said. "What's your tournament training regimen?"
"Five Minutes at 2000 feet." Mizuko said with a smirk as suddenly her speed jumped up, as she hit Mizuko with blow after blow, her strength and speed was truly a match. Tetsuko responded with matching ferocity, but could see that at that depth it was like training with weights. That and you learn breath control.
The thought of training dangerously made Tetsuko skip a beat and Mizuko slammed a punch into Tetsuko's gut that ripped open her outer skin, wires and hoses stuck out as well as hydraulic fluid spurted on the battle stage as Tetsuko rolled like a rag doll. When she got to her feet, Mizuko held out her hands and the falling rain seemed to stop and collect in her hands. "You seem to be interested in what it's like to train at that depth... although I wouldn't recommend it... You seem to be out of your depth, Tetsuko."
Mizuko suddenly surrounded Tetsuko in an orb of water that compressed hard on her. "300 feet... 400 feet..." Mizuko said, slowly constricting Tetsuko with increasing water pressure. Tetsuko winced from the pain as she felt water rush in from the breach in her skin into her body. She tried to talk but her vocalizer didn't work in water. "500 feet... 600 feet..." Mizuko said, walking over as the orb became smaller and smaller and Tetsuko's body strained. "I know you're tough... But I wager you're not designed to operate at depth for very long with that sort of breach."
Tetsuko could hardly move... her body had swelled up and her skin strained. Her musclature was almost completely useless with that sort of pressure on it. Then Tetsuko smiled as she blinked out of existance for a moment appearing 10 feet behind Mizuko. Followed by Mizuko being hit with a riot hose of water pressure coming out of the skin breach Tetsuko had, right into the orb of water Mizuko created which dispersed after she hit it. She saw the almost cartoonishly expanded Tetsuko expelling the massive amount of water crammed into her. Not just from the â€œwoundâ€ as it were, but from anywhere that could expel water. "Yes... I am tough... and resilient."
She grinned as the rest of the water was purged from her body.
People thought the fight was over right there... "Oh? Then I'll have to do this." Mizuko said, grinning from the ground.
Tetsuko barely had enough time to see orb after orb of water strike her as Mizuko propelled herself up into the air on a column of water, jumping on to other columns as she fired away. Tetsuko knew she had to respond. Matching shot for shot with her energy blasts first knocking away the orbs, but then she started to connect, and in the process started to recover her energy reserves off of Mizuko's own energy. Mizuko fell from the air as Tetsuko found a second wind, but the damage she was incurring was starting to take a toll.
Mizuko glared as she jumped up into the air using the prodigious strength of her legs. Water started to form into a compressing orb of water in her hands as she went up. Tetsuko prepared to move but started to feel her right leg was failing. She had been flying for most the fight, but she had to switch it off until she could get restocked with energy. Tetsuko started to hover again and fired blast after blast into Mizuko, but floating orbs of water stopped each shot. Then Tetsuko executed a desperate gambit, teleporting behind Mizuko and grabbing her and torpedoing them both into the battle arena like a pile-driver.
Tetsuko teleported away at the last moment, sliding back from her own momentum of flying, and she knew she was about out of energy... There wasn't much dust and smoke from the crash, the rain had dampened the rubble enough to prevent the view from being obstructed.
And Tetsuko's heart sank. She underestimated Mizuko's overall toughness. In fact water was entering Mizuko's pores and seemed to heal her... and re-energize her in the process. "That was a good showing, Mizuko... but it seems you have much to learn about fighting. This time... I'm advancing." She held her hand out as she walked towards the unsteady Tetsuko... she couldn't activate her flight at all, and her right leg protested against even staggering.
Mizuko formed another orb in her hand, as her eyes glowed a phosphorescent blue-green. Tetsuko could sense the spike of bio-energy within Mizuko... and it scared her... how could Mizuko recover so fast, yet it took such effort? Then it dawned on her... Tetsuko showed her cards too early... her blasts could restore her own energy by stealing it from Mizuko, but she displayed that too fast! The glowing eyes suggested that Mizuko was exposed to some sort of bacteria in the deep waters of the ocean that infected her with a helpful strain that in exchange for certain things, namely the minerals kicked up from the battle arena and Tetsuko's own mineral-oil like hydraulic fluids Mizuko's energy and overall well-being was restored.
Suddenly more error messages started appearing in Tetsuko's mind as Mizuko prepared to take her shot. Then a sudden display of a warning message came up in Tetsuko's mind. "Broadcasting Black Box data, in preparation for terminal collision. Advising immediate ejection." came up... an old, legacy message from her test pilot days.
Tetsuko fell to her knees and screamed. "I YIELD!" There was fear in her voice. She had hit her limit. No... crossed it. And everything in her programming was telling her to fight further invited damage she might not recover from... or worse.
Misuko hesitated, the orb that was about to get launched into Tetsuko dissipated.
â€œI... YIELD! Please...â€ Tetsuko begged. She trembled with her head downcast.
Mizuko's eyes widened... Tetsuko Submitted... a rare thing to see in these tournaments. Then again the Android didn't have the same tells in terms of being injured a human did... and perhaps... Mizuko stretched before offering a hand to Tetsuko. â€œSorry... sometimes in a fight people get a bit too into it and need reminding this is just for sport.â€
â€œThe match is OVER!â€ The announcer shouted from his booth, as the large jumbo-tron screens showed Mizuko's face as the victor. â€œMizuko is moving on to the Semifinals!â€
Capsule Corp technicians ran up to Tetsuko after Mizuko helped the injured Android back to her shaky feet and back down from the battle stage. â€œThanks... we'll take it from here.â€
â€œIf they get you patched up enough, I wanna see your face in the spectator's section for tourney participants!â€
Tetsuko grinned. â€œI plan on it!â€
She brought up a thumb's up before collapsing. A couple more technicians grabbed a stretcher to take Tetsuko backstage where Capsule Corp set up a special field maintenance tent. They placed her quickly into a tub that was full of what looked like water after strapping on a clear respirator face-mask to her head and let her sink into the water. It looked like her skin slowly knitted back into place.
...A few hours later, into the next day almost...
Tetsuko's mother, Ai Ueda sat down near the clear vat on a seat, straightening her labcoat. She looked over the apparently healed Tetsuko. The nanites in the liquid even fixed up the tearing that happened on her suit.
â€œTetsuko, dear... the repair systems are done.â€
Tetsuko weakly opened her eyes. â€œHow... how long I was out?â€
â€œYou missed out on the rest of your round's matches.â€
â€œI hope the Semifinals haven't started yet!â€
â€œNo, not yet, not for a few more hours. They've not even started breakfast for all the tournament participants. Losers and Winners.â€
Tetsuko blinked as Ai tapped an icon on her data tablet saving the black-box data of Tetsuko's fight. She then pulled out a swim ring sitting next to a crate in the tent, and tossed it on to the surface of the pool-like vat. Tetsuko swam up to it and slid into it. Leaning on to the ring she looked at her mom.
â€œI really sucked out there, didn't I?â€
â€œQuery:â€ Ai interrupted. â€œDid you gain valuable combat and tactical data back there?â€
Tetsuko blinked for a moment. â€œI... Yeah... I did... several gigabytes worth.â€
â€œThen you didn't suck.â€
Tetsuko sheepishly took off the respirator mask as Ai patted her â€œdaughterâ€ on the head. â€œEnjoy the bath and relax. I'll see you at the tourney breakfast.â€ She said with a smile.
Tetsuko quirked an eyebrow. â€œHow far did Capsule Corp expect me to go?â€
Ai sighed. â€œTo... be honest your lack of combat experience should have cost you in the qualifier round. It seemed your training was more than sufficient to blow away everyone's expectations.â€
â€œAbout time you smiled again about this.â€ Ai said pushing Tetsuko's ring into the water a little. â€œNow... enjoy your rest. See you later.â€
Ai walked out, leaving Tetsuko in a quiet tent. Leaning back in her ring she looked up at the tent roof. It was raining again, and it was the dead of night... as Mizuko walked in.
â€œNice... you got a little swimming pool.â€
â€œM... Mizuko? Shouldn't you be sleeping?â€
â€œI got a real jump of energy after our fight. I doubt I'll be sleeping for a few days.â€
She leaned against Tetsuko's pool. â€œWhat sort of thing is this?â€
â€œThis is a Nanofab Repair Pool. It is part cleaning pool, part maintenance bay, and part repair garage.â€
Mizuko laughed, poking at Tetsuko's swim ring. â€œI wager I couldn't swim in it.â€
â€œActually you can, the nanites ignore anything biological.â€
â€œAnyways... People are going ballistic over our match.â€ She said, pulling out a computer tablet to show Tetsuko the thread postings about their match. Some claiming it could be MOTY (Match of the Year) material.
Tetsuko grinned. â€œActually, I learned far, far more about my own ability than anything. I don't need people to tell me we had an awesome fight.â€
Mizuko grinned. â€œI can't wait for my next one, but this one...â€ Mizuko said leaning her head over the pool. â€œ...this one was the best match I've had in a long time going to these tournaments. And I've gone to three of them. Three years running. Never got past the Quarterfinals.
Tetsuko leaned over. â€œI still love your swimsuit. I want one.â€ She said with a girlish grin.
Misuko laughed. â€œWell, I think after this I don't mind naming you an honorary member of the Swimming Club.â€
Grinning, Tetsuko scratched her head. â€œSo... What's School?â€
â€œWhat's School? I know it's something like a training facility of some sort... but...â€ Tetsuko said scratching her chin.
Mizuko just blushed. â€œYou... don't go to school?â€
â€œNo... I was fully programmed before activation.â€
Mizuko frowned a bit in confusion. â€œYou're like... literally born yesterday aren't you?â€
â€œI've only functioned for 3.25 years.â€
That revelation cracked Mizuko up. â€œAnd here you are pontificating about teenagers being allowed into the tourney!â€
â€œDon't worry about it.â€ Mizuko said sliding into the pool and floating on her back. She looked so comfortable in water. â€œI'm going to catch a nap.â€
â€œShouldn't you get a flotation device or something first? You can use my ring if you want... or my respirator...â€
â€œDon't worry. I naturally float even when sleeping now. I have to intentionally think of diving to actually go underwater.â€
Tetsuko smiled in awe of her strange friend. She looked her over. â€œNo gills?â€
â€œYou're like a mermaid!â€
â€œNah... I'm just really healthy.â€ Mizuko grinned before closing her eyes. â€œWake me up before breakfast. I hear their omelets are to die for.â€
Tetsuko nodded. â€œOkay. I wager you'd wanna dry off. And skeedaddle before the technicians show up.â€
Mizuko impishly grinned. â€œNot the first pool I've snuck into, kiddo.â€ She said, dozing off.
All Tetsuko did was watch Mizuko's bio-energy flow. She was curious more and more about the one who beat her. And it was a natural state of mind for Tetsuko. As that was how Tetsuko learned. If it wasn't for the fact Tetsuko was a fighter she would be a phenomenal scientist. She pushed Mizuko a little, wondering what would happen and see how her body balanced itself in the water.
â€œHey... trying to sleep.â€
Tetsuko meeped before sheepishly moving away. â€œOkay...â€
It was obvious they would be friends, but this... this was the strangest friendship that Tetsuko has ever endeavored to have. But... Mizuko was really, really cool in her eyes.
Ai watched everything that transpired from a security feed. One of the technicians was turning red with frustration. â€œThis is completely against protocol!â€
â€œYes, and they're kids... let them be. We've been trying to have Tetsuko make more friends and now she's made one!â€
â€œBut... the liabilities alone...â€
â€œTetsuko's there. That's more than enough of a safety consideration.â€
The technician grunted in grudging approval. â€œOkay... that girl better not mess the nanopool system up.â€
Ai laughed patting the technician on the back. â€œDon't worry about it.â€
Ai knew it would be hard to let Tetsuko be her own girl... and have to deal with life as a super-powered android. Having moments of calm would be highly important. As Tetsuko will have very few from here on.
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