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“I’ll make you a deal.” The man’s voice holds more than enough poorly-concealed glee to warn Mercy this isn’t going to be pleasant. “We’ll let you go if you can beat up three of us in a fair fight.”

Mercy folds his arms. “Three conditions,” he says.

There’s a low murmur around him, but the man just raises an eyebrow, inviting Mercy to continue.

“One,” Mercy says, ticking off on his fingers. “You send your guys at me one at a time.” He pauses, waiting for a response. When he doesn’t get one, he taps a second finger. “Two. When I’m done wiping the floor with you, I get Martine.”

That gets a loud snort from one of the men pressing forward, encircling Mercy and Martine. Mercy makes eye contact with the guy and grins. It’s not entirely a show, either. He’s pretty sure he could take anyone here one-on-one.

“Three,” he says. “You don’t harass either of us on the way out. Just to clarify the ‘let us go’ part of the deal.” He doesn’t back down, even when the leader comes up to stare down at him.

They’re standing there for a moment that seems to stretch forever before the leader says, “One. Accepted. Two. If you want Martine you will have to fight me. Three. Accepted.”

Mercy smiles. “Deal,” he says, and kicks him in the balls.

It’s enough of a surprise to the room at large that Martine can duck out of the way in the split second breath before the leader comes up swinging. Mercy doesn’t bother keeping an eye on him -- there are more than enough men in this room who would rather die than let Rudolph Martine out of sight. It’s not exactly a priority either; the man is a lot faster than Mercy had assumed.

He feels the pressure groan of his knee buckling as the man moves to sweep his legs out from under him. He lets it happen; resisting will only cause more damage. Instead, Mercy uses the man’s own momentum to knock him off-kilter, then slams the heel of his hand into the man’s sternum. A punch catches him in the jaw, but Mercy figures it’s worth it to get him on the ground.

As a rule, Mercy prefers to hold his emotions at arm’s length in combat situations. This time, slamming the steel toe of his boot into his opponent’s ribs, he lets himself have a victory grin. One foot resting none too gently on the man’s throat, he looks around. “Two more of you?”

Martine starts applauding, like he’s at a theater or a fancy concert. He’s the only one. Probably does this on his regular operations, Mercy thinks, nose wrinkling involuntarily. The rest of the circle stares for a long moment, then two men rush Mercy’s position at once.

Mercy’s initial adrenalin rush is starting to fade, which is a significant disadvantage -- he’d relied heavily on that boost to ignore the pain in his leg and jaw and arm and everywhere else -- but he’s not counting himself out yet. He ducks the first punch, kicks at his attacker, misses the second one coming from behind. It’s a strike on his kidney, so he’ll probably be pissing blood for a bit, which sucks, but at least he’s not on the floor.

He dodges out of the next attack, resulting in the two men getting in each other’s way. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Mercy throws himself on the back of one of them, clinging with his short, ragged nails digging into the man’s throat. Before he can choke the guy unconscious, though, a smashing blow to the back of his head makes him lose his grip.

Strategy goes out the window after that. Now he’s racing not only the mission clock, but also the point where his body realizes exactly how hard he’s just been hit. A kick, a punch, teeth digging into his wrist, and he hits one of them hard enough to get him out of the way. The other one backs up, and Mercy mirrors his circling movements out of habit.

Mercy’s the one who breaks that stalemate the second he’s facing Martine. He runs straight at the man, not bothering to stop and concern himself with pain. Shockingly enough, it works -- Mercy’s barreling through the circle and grabbing Martine’s arm before anyone can stop him.

“Run!” he barks at Martine.

They do.