James didn’t get challenged Sunday, however Sandy did. Fortunately, she was able to get Coach Tillman to give her the earliest timeslot so that she and James could go out later in the day. Her challenger was Tom Peterson, a big muscular guy, taller than James, whose black hair was cut in a short military haircut. He was always serious and angry looking, and he hung out with Derrick Davis and Matt McGee. As a group, Tom, Derrick and Matt, acted like bullies. Saying that about college students who were training to be heroes sounded stupid to James, but he figured some people couldn’t leave high school behind. James’ list had Tom’s power as tactile ferrokinesis, the ability to move, control and reshape any metal he touched. Consequently, while down in the HCP complex, he always walked around with heavy chains wrapped around his forearms, waist, and over his shoulders. He used those chains to great effect in the weapons trial and would prove difficult for Andy to handle; their speed and power was deadly.
James had shared that information with Sandy. If Candy was better, he would have recommended against using Andy, but since Tom only had normal human strength, there wasn’t much Andy could do. James wasn’t optimistic about Sandy/Andy’s chances, but he tried to remain supportive. “Good luck,” he called out as she left the spectator platform and headed down.
James found the cell and looked down through the window. Tom was already in there, shirtless, with five different chains touching his skin and flying around his body, like double-dutch, jump ropes, moving in impossible configurations. The defense those chains created was solid against any but the most powerful melee fighter and many ranged fighters as well. James’ power would likely phase right though the chains and a drain would be easy, but Andy would have to get close and she didn’t have the durability of someone like Jackson.
The other door opened and Andy stepped through. Tom stopped the movement of his chains and let them settle onto the floor. He said something to Andy that James couldn’t hear, and James saw her replying. Then the buzzer sounded and Andy charged straight at Tom. James thought that was a stupid idea, there was no chance she could cover that distance before he got the chains moving again. To her credit she did dodge the first two or three attempts to grab her, but then she slammed face first into the floor as a chain grabbed and pulled her leg. Then a second chain grabbed her as fast as a striking cobra and a third, then she was strung up like a puppet; one chain around each limb and the final one around her neck. It had taken all of thirty seconds from the buzzer and literally no movement on Tom’s part to make her as helpless as a kitten. He said something, likely asking her if she surrendered, but possibly just gloating. She replied, shaking her head no, then the chain around her neck began to tighten and it was over.
Tom was declared the winner, then he gently set her down and released her. She awoke pretty quickly after being set down and looked pissed. For a second it looked like she might attack his back, but then Mandy was down there in her place and the red marks on her neck faded away. A few seconds after that Sandy was in her place and she said something to Tom, probably something like ‘congratulations’.
James headed back over to main viewing platform to wait for Sandy to come up. “Hey. How are you…is she?”
James smirked a bit, “She going to be alright?”
“Yeah, but I’ll need to give her a little time to work off some steam. You still want to do something today?” Sandy asked.
“Definitely,” James said, smiling like an idiot, which in turn made Sandy smile, “If I meet you at your dorm room in an hour will that be enough time?”
“Better make it an hour and a half. I don’t know how long she’ll go, but I’ll cut her off after thirty minutes.”
“Okay, I’ll see you then.”
“Hey!” Sandy yelled as he started walking away, “What are we doing? What should I wear?”
“Casual is fine, but wear comfortable shoes.”
James arrived at her dorm right on time and the sight that greeted him was nice. Sandy was wearing tight jeans which made her already nice looking legs and butt even better. She wore a pink long sleeve shirt with a deep neck line that showed just a hint of cleavage on her chest and she was probably wearing a bra that gave them a little lift, since in the HCP uniform they didn’t look that…large. Her hair was curled and she had just a hint of make-up. It made James feel underdressed in just his black jeans, black t-shirt and light jacket. It was really windy outside, but at least it wasn’t a cold wind yet. “Wow,” James said, “You look great, um, not that you don’t always look great, but, just you know…”
Sandy laughed at his faltering compliment, “Thank you, I’ll let Candy know you appreciate it.”
“Yeah, I turn into her, she dresses and does the hair and make-up, and then I turn back and it’s all in place. If I tried to do this to my hair it’d take two hours. It’s like she has a second super power that can get her looking ready in record time. Come on in, I’m almost ready.”
James walked into her room, it was a pretty typical double occupant dorm room, but while there were two desks and dressers, there was only one bed, “You have a single?”
“Depends how you count single. There’s still the four of us, with a lot of our own unique stuff, like three different sets of clothes.”
“Mandy and I have the same style so we share the same wardrobe, and we all occasionally dip into Candy’s; this is her top. So a lot more of the room is used than would be in a normal single.” Sandy said, putting on her shoes and heading out the door.
They walked out of the dorms, heading to the train station, “So, Sandy…” James started, he was terrible at small talk, “Do you have any other brothers or sisters, or is it just the four of you?”
“I have an older brother.”
“Any other supers?”
“An aunt. She actually works on a PEERS team here in Chicago. How about you, any supers in the family?” Sandy asked.
“It’s just my mom and I; never met my father,” James said, half lying by implying he didn’t know who it was, rather than that he just really hadn’t met him. “And my mom came from Korea for college and stayed after she got pregnant. Apparently, I have a Grandma still back there that I’ve never met and a small extended family, but it’s a pretty unspectacular family tree. My mom implied that my father was a super, but she doesn’t talk about him much.” Which was true, his mom refused to even say his father’s name and James had to discover the whole sordid legacy himself.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Must have been hard when you came into your powers; my aunt was a huge help in explaining the world of supers to me,” Sandy said.
“Yeah,” James said pensively, “My mom moved us to a tiny town in Iowa when I was just an infant and we were the only two non-whites in town, aside from the occasional migrant farm worker. It really set us apart and when I got my powers it made it so much worse.”
“Really? I thought powers generally made a person more popular.”
“A bit, with like school fan-boys, but the general population there don’t like the concept of the Hero world, they only see the violence and destruction, and they don’t want any reminder that anything could impact their ‘paradise.’ So parents and adults were at best standoffish and often downright hostile; add powers to being the only black kid for 50 miles and it made my childhood…difficult. Bullies were always present and the first time I used my power to protect myself…well, you would not believe the riot act the sheriff read me. He threatened me with assault and attempted murder and worse, and you know my power, it just puts people to sleep, so that’s why I got into martial arts so young, I needed to defend myself and I was terrified of using my powers for so long.”
The train was much less busy than it had been Friday night, so they grabbed a seat a good distance from the next nearest passenger and continued talking. “I’m sorry to hear it was so hard for you James,” Sandy said.
“Thanks. It wasn’t all for naught though, I think it gave me the strength and drive that will help me succeed here.”
“Well, let’s hope it is not too much drive; you were only a few points behind me in the rankings last time I checked and I just lost another three with that challenge today. Got to try to hang on to my third place rank,” Sandy said smiling. “So you going to tell me where we’re going yet?”
“The aquarium,” James said.
“Really!? I love Shedd Aquarium!”
“Oh, you’ve been there?” James asked, a little concerned his date idea might not be so great.
“Well, yeah. I grew just over the border, we went there for my sixth grade field trip and again for a science class I had in high school. But, I still love it,” she said quickly.
“You got to go to one of the largest aquariums in the world for a field trip? My field trips were mostly dairy farms and corn farms and chicken farms, oh and the history of farming museum.” James said with a smirk.
“It actually got me really interested in marine biology. I would have studied it if Sizemore offered a program like that.”
“What is your major then?” James asked.
“Math,” Sandy said with no hint of enthusiasm.
“It’s Mandy. Doing math makes her oddly happy, but also she’s so good at it we’ll ace the whole program easier than any throwaway major, so the rest of us can focus on the HCP, or in Candy’s case, parties and boys.”
“Aren’t you splitting your time with a boy now too,” James joked.
“Please. It’s night and day. I’ve been at this University for a month now and this is by far the longest conversation I’ve had with a male student.”
“I’m honored,” James said.
“You should be. I’m quite the catch,” Sandy said smiling.
James marveled at how easy it was to talk to Sandy. She wasn’t the first girl he dated; in high school his exotic looks and super powers did get him the attention of the girls, but it was unfortunately mostly from girls rebelling against their parents with the ‘dangerous’ boy, even though James was probably the most timid and rule centric student at that school, so therefore none of his other relationships were particularly interesting.
They got into the aquarium at a deeply discounted price thanks to student ID’s and spent the day touring the exhibits; watching the whale and dolphin shows, eating at the café in there, and he’d even gotten in a kiss under the jellyfish tank. James’ date idea really seemed to hit the mark. Sandy loved it and kept dragging him back to the otter’s exhibit where a baby otter’s parents seemed to be teaching it to swim. Although the ‘guy code’ prevented James from saying it aloud, it was probably the cutest thing he’d ever seen too.
Tony awoke in El’s bed with her laying on his arm. He looked at her sleeping form and was again struck by how beautiful she really was and how lucky he was. In high school, he was the Super class clown and he did fine with the females, his power and personality winning out over his looks. But here he had to pretend to be human and therefore didn’t have much to offer. He was short, pale, and skinny; although just a month in the gym had gotten him some definition in his muscles. His hair always looked like it might be a bit greasy and he always thought his nose was a little too big, and yet he’d gotten this beautiful girl to agree to see him. He knew a big reason he’d been able to get her attention was that she had such low self-esteem from being powered, and the fact that Tony had immediately treated it as a non-issue had scored him huge points.
But now things were becoming strained. El didn’t like to go anywhere, not to restaurants or parties or clubs, not even to the dining hall. The only concession was going to the movies because it was okay not to talk. The silver lining though was that they spent a lot of time alone in her room and that led to sex, and the only problem Tony had with that was that she didn’t make any noise at all; no grunts, or moans or screams, which always felt to Tony like he was failing on his part. But the real problem Tony felt was after the sex, when they started talking (is it still talking if she’s using a text program?) Then the lies started, first about his family but even more so about his college schedule, how could he explain what he did in the afternoon? He couldn’t say where he was on the weekend during challenges, or why he was starting to build muscle even though he never mentioned going to the gym. The lies were building and now he knew why nobody in the HCP dated outside the program. He still had a little time left, but the writing was on the wall and he’d have to end it.
Today, however, he’d agreed to go with her on an outing. Ella was part of a Powered Support Group and today they were having a potluck/picnic at the park with friends and family invited. Tony was pretty fascinated to meet some of them, as El had mentioned some of their powers before. He placed his hand on her shoulder and gently shook it, “Hey, need to start moving if we don’t want to be late.” She rolled onto her back and smiled at him, the blanket dropping down below her magnificent breasts. Tony was tempted to instigate a morning quickie, but they were going to be late as it was. He kissed her forehead instead, “Good morning.”
She waved, using the short hand version of sign language that Tony was catching on to. She got out from under the covers and did a few stretches, making sure Tony always had the best view of her tone body for each one. She walked over and put on her robe, then grabbed her shower stuff. “Can I join you?” Tony asked, but she shook her head no. It was technically against the rules for men to be in the woman’s showers and vice versa, even though every time Tony used the male shower on the floor above he saw or heard girls in there. El was already paranoid about the fact that she was powered and that the floor would form a lynch-mob against her if she broke any rule, but Tony kept asking, because, why not?
Tony got up, put on yesterday’s pants, grabbed his bag with clothes he packed yesterday and headed up to the male showers. He finished up much quicker than El and had been on her computer for about ten minutes before she came back and started on her hair. Tony knew enough about girls and El to know it’d still be a half hour before they were out the door. Normally in a situation like this, there’d be talking but she couldn’t do her hair and type at the same time. For someone like Tony who enjoyed hearing the sound of his own voice, this was another annoying part of their relationship. When she was done with the hair, she got up and dropped the robe, once again giving Tony a spectacular view, which always had the effect of wiping away all his complaints and arguments about the relationship; stupid id, always beating out the ego!
Hope awoke in her own bed, alone, but she looked over the side to confirm that Jackson was still there. Hope had offered him the bed after the night’s activities, but just as a platitude. With his super endurance and resistance he could sleep on broken glass, hot coals and a mound of fire ants and still sleep fine. He was just too…big to share. They couldn’t even really use the bed too much last night, but they’d worked it out. She noticed that his eyes were open, “Morning,” she said.
“Good morning. Did you sleep well?” Jackson asked.
“Yeah fine, but I should be asking you that. You slept on the hard floor with no blanket and that one small pillow.”
“I can sleep anywhere. The real problem is that I only need about five hours of sleep a night so I’ve been laying here quietly for about three hours,” Jackson said. Hope had been surprised last night during the pillow talk when he actually held a conversation with her. He’d said more in five minutes than she’d heard from him in a month of classes.
“Why didn’t you leave, or just go down and watch TV?”
“I didn’t want it to look like I was sneaking out on you.”
“Maybe you should have,” Hope said with a sad look. “You know we can’t be seen together on campus. People already see you as a Super, that’s why you got the exemption, if I am with you, with my hair and my eyes…some people may think I’m just a groupie, but more than a few will make the connection. Sorry.”
“I know,” He said. Hope had made the same point last night when she’d hit on him in the gym, but it was still probably hard for him. He had to lie about the HCP on the surface and now he couldn’t be seen with someone from the program either.
“Well how about some breakfast?” Hope asked, “I’m cooking.”
“Yeah alright, but however much you’d normally make for a person, triple it for me.” Hope got up. She had gotten into her pajamas after the nights activities, short pink shorts and a long white t-shirt. She stood over Jackson as he was starting to stand, and while he was still on his butt she leaned in and gave him a long kiss to show that she appreciated his patience and understanding. “Maybe we can delay breakfast a while?” Jackson said with a smirk and a lustful look.
Hope giggled and lightly slapped his muscular chest, “No, we can’t. You have a challenge today.”
“I’ll skip it.”
“No you won’t,” Hope said sternly. “Coach would ream you for missing a match you already agreed to.”
“Well, if I’d known what my weekend held I definitely would have declined.”
“I’ll make it up to you. Don’t do any challenges for next Sunday and we’ll spend the whole night and day in bed,” Hope said mirroring his lustful look.
“Deal!” Jackson said then grabbed her up and kissed her, continuing to make out with her as he walked down the hall, only stopping when they reached the stairs. They got to the kitchen to find Allison at the stove making her own breakfast.
“Morning!” Hope said, her happiness evident even to a non-empath.
“Good morning, morning Jackson,” Allison said with a knowing smile. “You two want some breakfast?”
“I can get that,” Hope said.
“Its fine I’ve already got everything going. What’ll you have?”
“How about a nine egg western omelet?” Jackson asked.
Allison counted the eggs, “Alright, Hope?”
“Egg-white, cheese omelet and some turkey bacon.”
“Okay I can do that,” Allison said.
“We didn’t disturb you last night, did we?” Hope asked as she and Jackson took seats at the kitchen island.
Allison looked like a deer in the headlights and Hope worried that the walls might not be as thick as she thought. “Well…” Allison started, wringing her hands, “I normally turn off my empathy when people have guests, but I was asleep at the time and was awoken by…um…mutual joy,” she said trying to be tactful.
Hope’s smile was a mile wide, she thought that was hilarious, “But you shut it off after that…right?” Hope asked coyly, playing a hunch.
“Oh, well, there was just soooo much happiness and joy and contentment, that…I sort of used it…to, enjoy myself,” Allison said, not looking at their eyes.
Hope bust up laughing. Jackson was back to his silent persona about the whole thing, but Hope could see him fighting a smile. “It’s fine. I say share the love,” she said, as they all started laughing.
El had spent the whole cab ride reminding Tony ‘not to stare,’ or ‘don’t ask about powers, let them bring it up,’ and ‘definitely don’t ask why they don’t just control their power.’ Generally Tony would say he could control himself, but he was the class clown and he often spoke too quickly, so it was good advice. The park was typical for what Tony had seen, playground, picnic tables, baseball diamonds and bike paths. The wind was blowing really hard so he wondered how they were going to have a picnic, when El pointed to a tent on the other side of the park. It was like a circus tent, but a bit smaller and all white. The tent was about as far as you could get from the playground equipment and Tony wondered if that was coincidence or if the one making the permit thought powereds needed to be kept away from the children.
They got to the entrance and were greeted by a tall muscular black man with a shaved head and long rubber gloves on his hands that went all the way up to the elbows. El had been typing for the last 15 feet or so and she hit ‘speak’ just as they got to him, “Hi Mac. This is my boyfriend Tony.”
Whoa, boyfriend? Tony wondered, had they gotten that far yet? But Tony didn’t let the question reach his body language and instead reached out his hand to shake, “Hi Mac.”
Mac held up his hand showing that he didn’t shake, “Electric touch,” he said. “I don’t touch people, but nice to meet you.”
“Same,” Tony said. They walked past him into the interior of the tent and it was packed. El said her support group had about 30-35 member with each meeting having about a random 10 showing up, but inside the tent there had to be 150 people. “This isn’t all from your group is it?”
“The one I go to near campus has about 30 members, but there are four other groups under the same banner in Chicago. This is open to all of them. But I would guess there are only about 40 or 50 powereds here right now.”
“Oh, okay. Let’s mingle.” Tony’s eyes were drawn to the three obvious powereds in the room. The first was a girl, maybe late teens, but it was hard to tell; her skins kept rapidly changing colors, and not just normal human skin color, but like blue and then zebra print and then gold and then sparkly pink. It was beautiful, but also hurt Tony’s eyes, even after just a few seconds, which is probably why the man she was talking to was staring at her feet rather than her face. The next one was a man in a full containment suit, like a cross between a CDC contamination suit and a deep sea diver suit. As Tony was watching he saw through the helmet a green gas explode from the man’s head which then cleared up a few seconds later and the man went back to talking with his guest. Then the last obvious one was a bear/frog thing, it had the size and shape of a bear, but the mouth was wide, its jaw was huge and the eyes were bulbous, with its skin hairless and slimy looking. He/she/it wasn’t talking to anyone, Tony doubted it was capable of speech in that form.
El was dragging Tony somewhere this whole time and finally stopped in front of a young Asian girl, maybe 5 or 6, very skinny, with long black hair, who kind of looked like that girl from the Japanese horror movie. “Tony this is my friend and sponsor, Jim. Jim, this is my boyfriend Tony.”
“Jim?” Tony asked cautiously.
El gave him a playful smack, but Jim answered, “I’m a shape-shifter, I am technically a 28 year old white male. Every time I get into REM sleep I change into a new person until the next time I sleep. This is what I got today.” Now that Tony understood a bit, he could see the clothes he/she was wearing did not fit this form, and his mannerisms weren’t that of a child.
“Oh that’s…” Tony started but had no idea what to say about that, “How’d you know this was him?” he asked El instead.
“I texted him. He sent a picture.”
“What do you do for a living Jim?” Tony asked genuinely curious how a person could work when they were occasionally a small child.
“Website design and maintenance. The internet is one of the best things to ever happen for powereds who want to work. You can work from home, a computer can be designed to hold up to almost any power and there are so many options out there. Even Shelby’s House has been working very hard to get all their residents productive careers from the safety of their rooms. I volunteer there sometimes, helping set up networks and stuff.”
It looked so weird hearing what looked like a small Asian child speak like an adult from the mid-west. “Cool,” Tony said.
“Tony, what do you think of Chicago Speed Demon’s chances this year in the SAA?” Jim asked, switching the conversation to sports talk, a great neutral topic to help everyone avoid saying something stupid.
“I’m from San Francisco, so I’m rooting for the Reapers. That rookie QB they picked up should put them over the top in their division.”
“I heard he was 11th ranked at Overton, just one spot away from making hero, that’s a pretty good pedigree for a rookie quarterback, but I’m sure the HCP and SAA are night and day when it comes to skill and strategy,” Jim said.
“There’s got to be more overlap than that, physical conditioning, power developments, and situational awareness; there is a reason they scout so heavily at those five schools,” Tony said, but as he was speaking he got the impression that he was skirting dangerously close to line between ‘general knowledge’ and what he’d actually seen of the HCP. So he backpedaled a bit. “El, you want to get something to eat?”
“You go. I’ll be here,” she smiled and kissed his cheek. He moved away fast, but heard Jim say, “He seems nice enough.”
The food table was loaded with delicious looking food, all the usual picnic fare. He grabbed a plate and started to head for the chicken when he hit something, and heard something hit the ground, “Ow,” a quiet feminine voice said. Tony happened to be in a class with a girl who could become invisible, so he caught on quickly.
“I’m sorry,” he said and put his hand out, in case she wanted help up. He felt a small soft hand settle into his a moment later and he pulled it up.
“It’s not your fault. I don’t always relieve when I fade. I’m going to go stand by the wall until the episode passes. Sorry,” she said, then it sort of felt like she was gone.
He got to the end of the line when he saw a beautiful older woman on the other side of the table, and while her beauty did play a factor in noticing her, it was the leash that was attached to her belt, with a man of similar age to the woman holding the other end that really grabbed his attention. It was either something kinky or, “it’s so I don’t float away,” the woman said, noticing Tony looking. He just gave a nod and smile and forced himself to stop staring. He grabbed his plate and went back in search of El.
He found her sitting at a table with a crowd of people; Mac and Jim were over there, as well as five more people. He grabbed the seat next to El that he assumed she was saving for him and she started typing, “You’ve met Mac and Jim,” pointing to them in turn. “This is Jim’s sister Abby. She’s a super, but we don’t hold that against her,” she said with a smile, pointing to a woman in her late twenties, a little taller than Tony, with long bright red hair. She waved and smiled at Tony. “And this is Phillip, his wife Amanda and their son Phil,” pointing to an older couple maybe in their mid-forties. The man had glasses and a thick graying mustache. The woman was rail thin, blonde and tired looking. The child was a typical looking ten year old, messy brown hair, dirt on his knees, and food on his shirt, but he had an atypical sad look in his eye, like he’d suffered. Of all the powered he’d met today, he could tell this was the family that was really feeling it, and they wouldn’t talk about it with a skinny college kid like Tony. So he just gave them a friendly smile and moved on as the phone continued to speak, “and this is Carrie.” The last was a small girl. Her face looked like she could be older, but her body was petite and tiny. She had short black hair, green eyes, and thick framed glasses.
“We’ve met,” Carrie said. “He ran into me at the food table and knocked me down trying to get to the chicken,” she said with a smile.
“Tony!” El’s phone said, somehow sounding accusing.
Tony relieved that Carrie must be the invisible girl, so Tony went for his default and made a joke, “Well she’s just so tiny. I didn’t even see her there.” Carrie smiled and Jim and Abby laughed. El looked a little concerned, until she saw everyone’s reaction and then allowed herself her ‘silent laugh.’
Michael awoke in his bed with Amy. They’d slept together nearly every night, but they had yet to go on a date. They didn’t even sit together in the dining hall, or talk that much before or after the sex. Michael didn’t say anything, because sex on a regular basis was great, but it was starting to grate at him. He’d begun thinking she was ashamed of him, but couldn’t think of a reason why, unless it was because he was Hispanic. He grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, which wasn’t exactly a melting pot of diversity, so he’d experienced a little racism, but he found that a long shot. How could she sleep with him if she didn’t even like him? Of course if Michael had known anything about psychology that might be the exact answer to his question.
Sam’s first challenge match of the top half of combat rankings was Tyler Wagner. He wasn’t overly worried about it, but tech geniuses were dangerous because unlike every other person in the HCP they could literally have anything up their sleeves. But even with that possibility, Sam had an advantage. Tyler couldn’t use anything lethal. It was a nice little loophole that helped Sam immensely; even though he was capable of taking even more damage than Jackson, he physically showed no outward sign that he was extra durable, so unless Tyler could make an invention that would allow him to see when Sam was powered-up, then all attacks had to be non-lethal. He still had to try to deal with the electric attack that came from physical contact; electricity was the great equalizer of strongmen, although Sam was pretty sure he could handle that too.
Tyler came through his door in his armor. After the first set of matches it had been pretty much destroyed beyond repair for combat. Although he used its weapons for the ranged trial and although it maintained the same shape and overall design, and sported some of Tyler’s own creation servos from the old model, the rest was mostly redesigned. Gone was the rust colored iron frame, replaced with something shiny and metallic looking. Apparently the HCP had a fund set up for materials and equipment; while mostly this went to the professors to update the armories or improve obstacle courses, it also covered buying higher strength weights if a student that surpassed what was available and provided material for tech geniuses and subtlety majors. In Tyler’s case they got The Alchemist to change about a hundred tons of iron into Titanium. So the armor was shiny, fit together much better than before, was much stronger and lighter and left much fewer exposed parts; it was a massive upgrade from just three weeks ago.
They stood apart from each other and when the speaker gave the three second warning Sam upped his attributes to five times normal. If his perception hadn’t been increased he would have sworn Tyler cheated and fired early, but the timing was likely controlled by a computer program and a metallic sphere left a tube on the armor’s wrist a millisecond after the buzzer sounded. Sam only had to move a few inches to avoid the attack, or so he thought, as just a few feet after it passed him, it exploded and covered his back and left side with a sticky black goo, it causing his left arm to be pinned to his body. But it also only happened to be on his jacket, so he upped his strength to nearly a hundred times normal for just a few seconds and shredded his jacket to pieces, making sure to not touch any of the black goo. Just as he finished that he saw two more spheres in the air. He didn’t even give it conscious thought, he just upped his speed to extreme levels and a moment later he was on the other side of the cell behind the armor.
Tyler responded much faster than a human should be able to, which meant most likely it was another computer program which controlled that aspect of the armor. And before Sam could ‘catch his breath’, the armor fired another couple spheres. Sam repeated his previous effort and moved away from them, but this time he headed straight for the main body. He jumped at it, increased his strength and kicked both feet straight into the main body. He felt some electricity from it, but his rubber shoes and his own super resistance kept it from affecting him. The armor, however, went flying, its round body helping it roll comically; it ended up against the wall, partially upside-down. Where Sam had hit it there was a small dent, but otherwise it appeared undamaged.
Sam didn’t want to give it a chance to recover, so he charged it again. The body was too strong even for the kind of strength he could apply to it, so he went for the limbs, specifically the joint where the body met the leg. He kicked it several times as hard as he could, then he felt the armor trying to get back up, so he pushed down on the main body. This time he definitely felt the charge it gave off and it hurt, but he didn’t so much as twitch as he forced the armor back to the ground and went to work again on the leg. A few more kicks and it was loose, so he reached down with his hands and began to pull it apart, when he heard the armor announce, “I surrender!” Sam let up his grip and moved away, “If you completely remove the leg, it will take a week to get it back in working order. I obviously can’t win here.” The armor got back on its feet as Tyler opened the hatch and leaned out, offering his hand to shake, which Sam took.
“Good match,” Tyler said and Sam agreed.