Somewhere in Japan, a boxing ring is held as a training ground for a particular robot's hand-to-hand combat ability. Not a particularly outstanding one, despite the group that is holding this match being particularly wealthy. It's just a standard issue one in an office complex during the day.
In one corner awaits our robot protaganist, Aigis, who is currently equpping boxing gloves on her hands. Boxing preparation is pretty easy when you're a robot; you don't necessarily need to worry about wrapping your hands, or needing to wear a helmet. Aigis certainly isn't invincible, but she doesn't need to worry too much about trivial human things like "pain" or "brain damage"...with the exception when it comes to fighting her human opponent, Naoko, who awaits in the corner opposite, probably wondering why the hell she agreed to do this.
Near Naoko's corner was one Mitsuru Kirijo, who is holding this match. "I appreciate your time and courage to do this, Henyokai-san." she said. "Regardless of the result, I can assure you that you will be paid VERY well for doing this. Aigis has needed this training for a while in case of a situation where she couldn't use weaponry, and Akihiko never seems to be available to do it, so you were the next best candidate; so, once again, my thanks."
Oh. Right. Money. That's probably why. Oh, not even probably--DEFINITELY why.
"I've been paid to get my hands tied behind my back while a busty lady punches my face, at least this time I get to punch back I guess." She leaned against her corner. White boxing gloves, pink trunks and white top were her uniform, no boots or shoes because she hates them. "... But really? All that weaponry and no hand-to-hand combat skills? Who the hell focuses on only one range of combat?"
"Not only did her programmers have that oversight, it's all simply in the outlining in our team. When we already have enough up-close combatants in our party, we would have assumed Aigis focusing on nothing but ammunition would be alright. But as we used her for more than just shadow fighting, it became increasingly apparent that she'd have to deal with close combat situations. A rocket launcher or a minigun up close would be...well, let's say 'devastating', and it also brings the problem of Aigis trying to bring it out in the heat of combat."
Mitsuru continued. "While Aigis can disable people who hold weapons up close, which means her defense is in check, she can't really do much from an offensive standpoint. Which brings us here."
"Yeah, it would be devastating." Naoko snorts. "You know what? I might have forgot to tell you that I'm really bad at punching."
"I've definitely observed that you use more of your legs than your arms in combat, but don't worry; Aigis is practically no different from any human, and also lacks the experience of a proper boxer. I'm sure you've been in enough fights that your basic ability to throw a punch will be enough to defeat her."
"I am also sure you can defeat me, Henyokai-san." Aigis quipped from across the ring. "I will not let you...but I have enough faith that you will be an adequate sparring partner."
Naoko's eyebrow rises. "'You can defeat me', 'I have enough faith', 'adequate'... I'm not your first sparring partner, right?" She placed her hand on her hip.
Mitsuru blushed a bit. "Aigis' smug sounding attitude is...unnatural. I can assure you that is her first boxing match...as far as I am aware. But I've never told any of the scientists to have her box, so unless they've been doing it behind my back--which will require immediate action--Aigis is just very, very, confident."
Aigis smiled. "You are going to be pummeled like there is no tomorrow. Prepare yourself!"
Mitsuru gasped. "A-Aigis! That is NOT sportsman like behavior!" Mitsuru turned to Naoko, feeling embarrased again. "I-I'm sure Aigis just picked up some taunting terminology from some of our party. Th-there's no way she's going to do that, Henyokai-san. Everything is fine, r-really...a-anyway, are you ready to begin fighting?"
"Taunting?... Okay." Naoko grinned. "Am I ready to fight? Sure. Is everything fine? Sure. Am I ready to get pummeled by a robot? Sure!... Just let me dent that stupid fake face of yours first." Naoko slams her gloves together.
"I can assure you that you can not even touch me, much less dent me, Henyokai-san." Aigis took a fighting stance, still smiling. "Today, victory will be mine, no matter how far I must go to defeat you."
Mitsuru stood aghast at the fighting happening here. "It's like Akihiko and Aragaki all over again..." she thought to herself.
Mitsuru went back into reality. "E-Excellent. Your fight is until one of you admits defeat or is rendered unconcious. I will be refereeing right here, outside the ring! (Mostly for the sake of my own safety...)" Mitsuru produced a small bell and a small mallet to hit it with. "You may now..."
Aigis rushed out to the center of the ring, filled with energy, but making sure to keep her guard up; going on the offensive so early didn't seem like the best strategy, now that she has her opponent riled up and ready to battle. Naoko took a couple of steps forward, but going offensive wasn't her thing either. She has fought demons, other people with incredible logic-defying skills, but a robot was still something new for her. She decides to keep her guard on her chest while taking small steps on her toes to circle around her. "You look funny with those gloves on."
Aigis also began circling, waiting for an opening. "Worry not about how I look; it is my ability to fight that matters more than anything, is it not?"
Aigis throws a few jabs on her opponent's face to begin her offense, but Naoko moves her head out of the way of the jabs, confident enough to keep her guard on her chest. After a couple jabs of her own Naoko aims high and connects with a straight. Aigis' head got knocked to the side, but she had enough time to regain composure and went for a hook to Naoko's ribs, hoping to gain an opening. Naoko easily blocks the hook and counters with a double jab at the robot's face once again and tried to follow it with another straight with her other arm. While the jabs did connect, knocking Aigis' head back a bit, she managed to duck the straight and went for a straight of her own to Naoko's face as she came back up from her duck "Igh-ih!" Aigis' straight connects on Naoko's face, stunning her in place by the sudden pain of the counter.
Aigis, achieveing an opening, worked her way down for the body, digging her fist into Naoko's stomach; her eyes widened by the punch in her gut, forcing her to lean against Aigis' body from the pain and promptly falling on her knees, placing her forehead against the mat.
Aigis stood tall, looking slightly concerned at her downed for.
"Do you wish to continue? If things go any farther, I could end up seriously harming you..."
"Sh-sh-uhht up!!" Naoko tries her best ease the pain on her belly as she got up by rubbing it with her glove. "You... just surprised me... that's all..." Said Naoko breathing heavily.
"Alright, then." Aigis smiled at Naoko's spirit. "I suppose we'll move on."
Aigis stepped back from Naoko and regained her fighting stance. Naoko raises her guard as well, taking a more aggressive stance just by looking at the position of her shoulders and legs.
Aigis, feeling confident, decides to go for a hook to Naoko's breasts, hoping that she wouldn't be able to react quick enough to block it; it connects, but having relatively small boobs the hit wasn't as painful as it would be as anyone else. Eating the pain of said punch, Naoko counters with a cross aimed at Aigis' temple and stays close to follow her with jabs at her face.
"Agh!" screams Aigis in a moment of shock.
"So you CAN feel pain, huh!?"
Naoko kept her rush of jabs, trying to push her to the ropes. As much as Aigis wanted to retort, she was more worried about avoiding the hail of jabs, keeping her guard and trying desperately to block each one. Naoko stops her jabs and takes a step back while crouching, faking a rest from her punches, just to quickly take a step forward and hit Aigis' body with an uppercut that landed into her gut. Aigis leaned forward, trying not to make any audio cues about her pain, but you could tell from her face that it was a big impact. Not being as nice as Aigis by letting her lean on her body, Naoko tries to push her back with her shoulder and hits her with another cross on her cheek to knock her down. Aigis barely catches herself during her fall by sticking her gloves out.
Mitsuru counted in the background: "1...2...3..."
Aigis breathed heavily. "So...it appears...we are even." Aigis shook her head in order to restore her senses before slowly getting back up around the count of 5 or 6.
"I'll guarantee you that that won't happen again!" Aigis said, refocusing.
"If I were using my legs you would be sleeping of electrical sheep right now." Naoko said confidently, taking some distance from her opponent.
"Clever; a reference to the novel of the same name published in 1968. But surely you can still find the strength to defeat me with your fists? Also, I do not have feet; there is no possible way I could combat you in that field."
Aigis dashed closer, getting ready to feign a body blow. "I know you don't have feet-- Wha-!?"
Naoko lowered her guard to block the body blow, falling for the bait. Aigis stopped the body blow at just the right moment, instead landing a wicked right cross. Naoko's head is violently twisted to the side by the robot's cross, spreading blood her her nose and mouth on the blue canvas on her feet. Aigis decided to get a little brutal, seeing as her opponent also didn't show any mercy previously. She opted for a left cross, and a scene similar to the one that happened a second ago played: Naoko spits more blood on the other side of the canvas. She looked dizzy, barely standing on her feet, with blood dropping from her nose and mouth, bruises starting to form on both of her cheeks too, but she still had her guard up ready to fight.
Naoko started to receive jabs all over her body and face; she was too tired to throw punches and all she could do is walk back to try to avoid them, hoping for Aigis to give her a second to rest, knowing that it obviously wasn't going to happen. Naoko was fine blocking some of the jabs, that was until she felt the corner hitting her back; there was no place she could escape to now.
Aigis felt a bit of karmic glee knowing that she essentially got Naoko stuck into the same situation she was just in. "This is how it ends, Henyokai-san." she said, as she launched a brutal right uppercut to the blue-haired girl's jaw.
And so, the fight was over. Aigis' uppercut connects with Naoko's jaw, spreading blood over the poor Mitsuru who was just watching the fight too close for her own good. Naoko slowly slided down against the corner to sit on the mat, with her head still up from the uppercut, she was unconscious.
But there was also something else on her, something that looks strangely off from her: Under her lost, emotionless, semi-closed eyes of defeat, tears were found sliding down on her cheeks.
This is what happened to her every day for a whole month, this was her story every night for 31 days. Going to a random bar, get tied up against a corner just for someone to beat her up for fun. This is what she was willing to put up with for her family. But those memories of humilliation and pain are hardly going to disappear, Naoko knew this well, it was just a job after all, a job she had to take for the sake of others. All she had left to do is drop her pride, stomp on it a couple of times and let out of a cry of desperation at the sky in the shape of tears.
A despair unending, but...
"Henyokai-san did so well! That was a very fun battle! Her tactics are..." Aigis thinks of a word that doesn't sound incredibly professional. "'Radical'. Yes, that seems like an appropriate word."
"While we could've avoided that mess you made, she's even more impressive than I thought...any normal man or woman would've been left unconscious at the first knockdown. The fact that she stuck it out for one more is impressive!"
"I did not think anyone besides Akihiko-san could knock me down or pierce my armor with their fists alone...and clearly, I was wrong. I should thank her when she wakes up."
"I think she'd truly appreciate that, Aigis. You really should."
"I was so happy to banter with her as well. I felt a true bond, Kirijo-san!"
The tears stopped. Naoko took a minute to realize--this was different. She wasn't pummeled for fun for a pathetic pay to help her family. The pay was better, the intention was kinder...
...and the people weren't scumbags. Hell, maybe she'd even say...friends.
She wasn't worthless, and while she sure can't box, at least she was stronger than most. And that was all that mattered.