As he fell onto the cold, hard, snow-covered ground, Boris pondered exactly how he'd gotten here. Was it just his serving in the Russo-Chinese War that earned him his medal and a recommendation into Spetsnaz? Sure as hell didn't feel like it. The bruises and cuts that he'd received since arriving in Siberia told him that he needed to have done a lot more before he deserved this position.
This training was brutal, to say the least. This fight ring was probably one of the better parts of it. Up until today, Boris had been poisoned, stabbed, exposed to tear gas, and had an arm and both his legs broken. And yet he persisted, because he knew that this was what he wanted out of life. He was going to become a Spetsnaz soldier, even if he died in the process. Perhaps this was the reason Boris staggered up, wiping at the mud, snow, and blood that caked his features. He glowered at his opponent in this fight, a man bigger, stronger, and faster than he was, in addition to being his trainer, Captain Degtyarev.
“You can quit any time, Krestyanov!” His opponent shouted. It was mostly an attempt to rile him up, but it was also honest. This was the eighth time Boris had been knocked down, and he was bleeding profusely from his eye and mouth. He was pretty sure that a few of his ribs were broken. It was something of a wonder that he hadn't blacked out yet. The spectators who had already fought had gone from cheering to a stunned silence. Boris ignored it all. The only things that were in his thoughts right now were his breathing, his heartbeat, and every bit of pain coursing through his body.
Sure, Boris had the option to quit. But was he going to? Of course not. No Russian worth his salt would dare quit. Still, when he raised his fists into a guarded position and took a few steps toward Degtyarev, all he got out of it was a bit of an eye roll from his opponent. Boris had been aggressive previously in the fight, but with his injuries, that strategy was a death wish now. Instead, he kept his distance, watching all of Degtyarev's moves.
Eventually, Degtyarev stepped forward and aimed another one of his devastating jabs at Boris's head. Somehow, Boris managed to duck that. To an even greater shock, he managed to score a hit on the Captain, a quick hook to the torso. It caused very little harm, of course. Though he wanted to believe that despite all the blood that's spilled out of him, he was at full strength, Boris knew that he had already lost this fight. All he could really throw now was the last few desperate punches of a half-dead man.
His last efforts were cut short, though. When he threw that last hook, he was unaware of his latest rookie mistake: he'd left his face unguarded. That became apparent when his good eye became the lucky winner of another punch from Degtyarev. Boris stepped back in pain, and any sympathy he might have received came in the form of a kick to his ribs. He fell to the ground, short of breath and in more pain than ever.
Still, he wasn't about to give up. Boris managed to turn himself over, and tried to push himself back up. This time, though, it didn't take. He just fell back down when he got on his knees.
As his senses began to take leave of him, he heard Degtyarev say, “Take him to the infirmary, and make sure he doesn't die.” Then there was nothing.