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Thread: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

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    Fallout Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    Post promos for Fallout 006 in here.

    The deadline is Sunday 17th October at 23:59 Pacific Time.

    That is Monday 18th October at 02:59 (3am) Eastern Time.

    That is Monday 18th October at 07:59 (8am) British Summer Time.

    That is Monday 18th October at 09:59 (10am) Moscow Standard Time.

    That is Monday 18th October at 16:59 (5pm) Australian Eastern Standard Time and Chamarro Standard Time.

    THIS IS A LONG PROMO WINDOW AND HALF OF THE MATCHES HAD ALREADY BEEN ANNOUNCED.

    NO EXTENSIONS FOR THIS ONE.

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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread





    Sailing somewhere along the Seven Seas is a ship.


    Many ships have sailed these seas before and few have survived the wild, frantic weather and waves of the sea.


    This isn’t a story about surviving the Seven Seas though or the ship in question.


    This is a story about the crew aboard the ship. A four man crew. Not the biggest crew and probably not the wisest crew (depending on who you ask), but it’s a formidable crew nonetheless (again, depending on who you ask).


    The captain of this ship goes by the name of Nasty Nate. Nasty Nate may look friendly but he is far from it. He certainly lives up to his moniker because he is the meanest, nastiest, most foul of all pirates around. Anyone that has dared to cross his path has felt his wrath tenfold and has never lived to tell the tale, or so the legend goes.


    Nasty Nate’s second in command is Jax. Now the first thing you’ll learn about Jax is that he isn’t the sharpest sword, and he’s as dull-witted as they come, but he’s fiercely loyal to Nasty Nate and he’ll always look out for his leader.


    The other two crew members are Karl and Boom Boom, not much is known about either man except that Karl is a self professed expert in fighting while Boom Boom is an expert in all things explosives and death defying stunts. All of these things are not why they are kept around on the ship; however, someone has to keep the ship neat and tidy after all!


    Nasty Nate and his crew have just set sail for their next destination after stopping at what appeared to be an abandoned island. It was on that island that Nasty Nate found a treasure, a big gold belt with a blue X in the middle of it. Little did they know however that this island was inhabited by two people, one of whom claimed that treasure as his own, until Nasty Nate robbed him of it and took him and kidnapped the man and his companion.


    The man in question is named Nox, and his companion is Santo. Nox and Santo had been stranded on that island for many years. Nox had been there for far longer than Santo and had many other friends on that island, but all had passed on. Santo had washed up on shore and Nox took her in and cared for her. Santo had been on a quest to find the man that was once her mentor, but had abandoned her and left her for dead.


    Nox and Santo were locked up in cells deep within The Undisputed ship. Both in separate cells sat next to each other. Both of them try to devise a plan of escape when Jax comes strolling down below along with Karl and Boom Boom at his side.


    Jax: “If I didn’t know any better, it sounds to me like you two are trying to form a plan of escape. It sounds like it, doesn’t it Karl?”


    Karl: “Uh, yes, sir.”


    Jax: “Boom Boom?”


    Boom Boom: “It does.”


    Jax: “Now, I may not be the smartest person, but even I know that trying to escape this ship would be suicide because these waters that were sailing on right now are shark-infested! You’re much better off staying aboard here instead of being shark food!”


    Santo: “I’d much rather be eaten alive by sharks than stay another minute on this ship with you, you cretin!”


    Jax: “Oh, is that so? I’m sorry you feel that way, Santo! Does your pal Nox feel the same?”


    Nox doesn’t say a word as Jax’s eyes him up and down with a smirk.


    Jax: “Seems to me that he wants to stay here!”


    Santo: “He didn’t say anything, you fool!”


    Jax: “His silence speaks volumes and what it told me is that he doesn’t have the guts to speak up, let alone escape this ship, isn’t that right, Noxxy?”


    Jax and his two henchmen begin to leave when Nox speaks up.


    Nox: “We will escape, and when we do, we will take this ship, and I will take back my treasure.”


    Jax turns back around and laughs at Nox’s proclamation.


    Jax: “Is that so? You think that you’re going to escape, take this ship and the treasure?”


    Nox nods back at Jax in defiance.


    Jax: “Well, as much as I’d love to see that happen, I can’t let it happen. Which is why I’m ordering Karl and Boom Boom here to keep watch of you two.”


    Karl: “What?”


    Boom Boom: “It’s better than swabbing the decks, especially the poop deck.”


    Jax: “Hey, look, I thought that with a name like that...how was I supposed to know?! It doesn’t matter! You two stay here and make sure that they don’t escape, got it?”


    Karl and Boom Boom nod as Jax leaves, and eventually, Jax rejoins his captain, Nasty Nate. Nate is at the front of the ship, looking out ahead with his spyglass.


    Jax: “The prisoners are planning an escape, sir.”


    Nate puts his spyglass away and turns to his second in command.


    Nasty Nate: “Ha! I’d like to see them try!”


    Jax: “That’s exactly what I said to them!”


    Nasty Nate: “Where are Karl and Boom Boom?”


    Jax: “Keeping an eye on the prisoners now, sir.”


    Nasty Nate: “What?! Why would you leave them down there with prisoners?!”


    Jax: “I’m sorry, sir, but I thought that Karl and Boom Boom were more than capable of watching over our prisoners.”


    Nasty Nate: “You fool! That was your first mistake, don’t think! Karl and Boom Boom are utterly inept and shouldn’t be trusted with that job! Hell, they can’t even swab the decks properly; what makes you think that they can watch prisoners?!”

    Jax: “Sir, I think that you might be overreacting just a tad….”


    Nasty Nate grabs Jax by the scruff of his pirate coat and holds him up.


    Nasty Nate: “Overreacting?! I could make you walk the plank for speaking to me like that! Is that what you want?!”


    Jax: “No, sir! Not at all!”


    Nate releases Jax from his grip, and Jax brushes down his coat.


    Nasty Nate: “It took me years to find that treasure, and I’m not going to sleep well knowing it’s in jeopardy of being stolen by two measly prisoners!”


    Jax: “That’s if they escape, though, sir.”


    Nate gives Jax a look as if to say to correct himself right away or else. Before Jax can correct himself, there’s a loud commotion coming from the lower deck. Eventually, Nox and Santo emerge from below, and both of them now carry weapons that they retrieved from Karl and Boom Boom.


    Nox: “Nasty Nate! You took my treasure! Prepare to die!”


    Nox holds out his sword in front of him and points at Nate, but all Nasty Nate does in response is laugh.


    Nasty Nate: “Do you think that you can defeat me? You’re lucky that I allowed you to live when I took that treasure from you and away from that island! You won’t be so lucky this time, but if you think you have what it takes, then you’re even more foolish than you appear to be!”


    Jax has unsheathed his sword and points it at Nox, but Santo does the same and points her sword at Jax.


    Santo: “You were the one foolish enough to let us both live and bring us here on your ship! We will defeat you, take this ship, and Nox will take back his treasure that you unrightfully stole from him!”


    Nasty Nate: “You can call me foolish little girl, and maybe I was a bit foolish to take pity on you two and show some semblance of mercy, but now I can fix that mistake, along with Jax here, and we can both make you pay your sins. Tell me something, though, do you think Nox here actually cares for you?”


    Santo glances over at Nox and Nox back at her.


    Santo: “Of course he does! Why else would he have taken me in as he did?”


    Nasty Nate: “He took pity on you simply because everyone else in his life has gone away. He was so desperate for a friend and to be trusted that he was willing to take anyone in. Then you floated along. Tell me, do you think that you can trust him? From the stories I hear is that Nox is as untrustworthy as they come. He’s tried to change, but he’s still the same untrustworthy snake that will no sooner stab you in the back to get what you want.”

    “What’s to stop from abandoning you as soon as he gets what he wants? Although, you should be used to abandonment by now. Your mentor, The Saint, abandoned you and left you to fend for yourself. Now you’re nothing more than a lost little child desperately trying to find her way. All the while still living in the shadow of your former mentor. You put on this little tough girl act but deep down, you’re just a scared little girl that’s afraid to be alone, but at the same time doesn’t know how to keep a friend.”


    Jax: “Tell’em, Captain!”


    Nasty Nate: “Come to think of it, you two are perfect for each other! Outcasts! One desperately tries to atone for his past transgressions, while the other is a lost little child searching for a purpose! The harsh reality of it all, though, is that neither of you will ever amount to anything. You’ll try and try, but in the end, it’ll all be for naught.”

    “If I were you, I would just give up now and live to fight another day. I let you live before, but next time I won’t be so merciful.”


    Nox: “Never!”


    Santo: “Never.”


    Nasty Nate: “I was afraid that’s what you were going to say. You know, it is too bad you made this choice. You two would have made some fine crew members on this ship. Oh well, that was your last chance, and you blew it. I do admire your courage, though; it’s admirable. Too bad I have to end you now once and for all!”


    Nate is about to unsheathe his sword when Jax speaks up.


    Jax: “You can’t say that you’ll end them, sir.”


    Nasty Nate: “What do you mean?”


    Jax: “I mean, you can’t say that you’ll end them and not end them! It’s too unrealistic, and it’s too much of a false proclamation.”


    Nasty Nate: “What are you even talking about, you blubbering buffoon?! Do you even know what any of those words mean that you just said?! When I say I’m going to end them, it’s a figure of speech! I don’t mean that I’m going to literally end them!”


    Jax: “Oh, right, what are we doing again?”


    Nasty Nate: “Ending this godforsaken promo!”


    Who will win this fight? Tune in to Fallout 006 to find out!
    Rest in power, Flock U
    Rest in power, TCON

    Team Cyrus T is Best for Business

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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    Jeremy & The Boy Band


    Fade in.
    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "Hiya friends! It's me, your pal, Jeremy Best...and what a start I've had on my fun filled FWA experience!"

    As Jeremy welcomes us in, we see clips from Fallout from Jeremy making his FWA debut at Lights Out in the Gunfight Battle Royal.

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "And sure, I know I didn't win the Battle Royal, but I had a blast!"

    More clips of the Battle Royal but now focusing in on Jeremy eliminating each member of the Bad Boys Boy Band.

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "Sorry guys..."

    Fade out from the Lights Out highlights and we now find ourselves inside a hotel room as Jeremy is sitting back on his bed, reading a magazine that looks out of the 2000's - the name of the magazine can't be made out but it looks like N'Sync is on the cover.

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "I'm afraid...boy bands...are bit of a touchy subject for your pal, Jeremy. In high school, like most teenage boys my age at the time...I was a huge boy band fan. I loved all the most best ones...5ive, LFO, and my own personal favorite....O-Town. I know, I know...who wasn't an O-Town fan? So, I know what you must be thinking...what went wrong?"

    Jeremy sat the magazine down on the bed, standing up and walks over to the window of the hotel room, staring out as if reflecting on life itself...

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "Well, it all started my Freshman year of High School...."

    As Jeremy stares out the window with much introspection, we get the wavy idiosyncratic dissolve along with harp sound effects that clearly indicates we are getting a FLASHBACK!


    November 11, 2002
    Eastwood High School
    Friendship, NC
    8:15AM


    The flashback scene opens up on the hallways of Eastwood High School. It's first thing in the morning before class, so most of the students are congregated in the hallway, around their lockers in small social and friend groups.

    A young teenage JEREMY BEST rushes into the crowded hallway, heading over to one group of four hanging out by the lockers.

    JEREMY
    "Guys! Guys! Oh my gosh, guys!"

    The four teens, two boys and two girls, seem more annoyed than anything to see Jeremy rushing over to them. They try to ignore him.

    JEREMY
    "Hey Guys! Hey! You won't believe this! Take a look at this, Adam! Kimberly!"

    The two teens he addressed reluctantly break away from the group to at least, presumably, get Jeremy to shut up.

    ADAM
    "What is it Jeremy?"

    JEREMY
    "Check it out - the latest O-Town album came out today!"

    Adam and Kimberly look to be trying to hold back their laughter.

    KIMBERLY
    (sarcastically)
    "O-Town? Really?"

    JEREMY
    "Oh, I know...I didn't think they could top their self titled release album from last year but they did it - THEY REALLY DID IT!"

    Adam and Kimberly lean into one another, snickering.

    JEREMY
    "You guys wanna come over after school and we can listen to it together?"

    ADAM
    "You know what, Jeremy...this gives me an idea. Hey Zack, c'mere man."

    The other guy from the original grouping breaks away from the other girl to come over.

    ZACK
    "Sup?"

    ADAM
    "You know how I'm AALLLWAYS sayin' that we should start up a boy band?"

    ZACK
    "Huh?"

    Adam nudges Zack HARD.

    KIMBERLY
    "C'mon...you know, you two won't stop talking about how much you just LOVE boy bands and you wish you could start your own.."

    ADAM
    "But we can never find the THIRD member to make it possible."

    Zack's eyes go wide as he finally catches on to what Adam is getting at here.

    ZACK
    "Oh, yeah, duh."

    ADAM
    "And y'know, the school talent show is right around the corner...whataya say, Jeremy - will you be our third and join our new boy band?"

    Now it was young Jeremy's time for his eyes to get wide with a big smile creeping up on his face. He can barely contain his excitement.

    JEREMY
    "You guys just made me happier than a pig in mud! When do we start? Should we meet tonight to practice???"

    ADAM
    "Well, here's the thing - we both have football practice every day so what we should do is just practice our parts by ourselves. Then it'll just all come together on stage...I'll send ya the details."

    JEREMY
    "Oh...well, alright! This is great! Okay, I guess I'll see ya at the talent show then."

    ZACK
    "Uh, huh. Can't wait...it'll be something people will NEVER forget!"

    Adam, Zack, and Kimberly all laugh while Jeremy, clearly not sure what to make of it, smiles and lightly laughs along though he's not really sure what's so funny about it. He waves to his new friends before walking away and is quickly approached by another girl, holding her school books in one hand while adjusting her glasses with the other as she walks with Jeremy.

    JEREMY
    "Oh, hi Rebecca! You'll never guess what?"

    REBECCA
    "Adam asked you to join him and Zack in there....'boy band?'"

    JEREMY
    "Oh, wow - you're really good at this game."

    REBECCA
    "I was standing right by you guys...I'm pretty good at blending in."

    JEREMY
    "Well, ain't this so great? We're gonna be the coolest kids in school when this is done.."

    REBECCA
    "You know, they're just messing with you Jeremy."

    JEREMY
    "What, no? They're my friends - they're a couple of good fellas, I know that much."

    REBECCA
    "Just be careful Jeremy..."

    JEREMY
    "Hey, you don't gotta worry about me! This time next month, I might be on my way to making my own CD!"

    Rebecca just shook her head as the pair headed down the hallway and off screen as we dissolve out.

    November 22, 2002
    5:23PM


    We dissolve back in on a new interior location within Eastwood High School. It's the auditorium, the host of the night's Fall Talent Show! The audience is full of both students and parents and we then head backstage where many students are preparing for the night's performances as we see in the background a student practicing a juggling, another playing a violin, and another doing some gymnastics. However, we're focused on teenage Jeremy, wearing leather pants - no shirt, and a denim vest. Zack and Adam join him, though both are wearing their normal clothes - bluejeans and Letterman Jackets.

    JEREMY
    "These pants are super uncomfortable and very impractical."

    ZACK
    "But you look GREAT!"

    JEREMY
    "Do I have to be shirtless? Is this necessary? And why aren't you guys dressed like this?"

    ADAM
    "You know every member of the boy bands has their THING. I'm the Jock. Zack is the Smart One. And you're the Bad Guy!"

    Zack nods along with a smile.

    JEREMY
    "Ooooh, of course! Well, let's do this! I think we're up first!"

    ADAM
    "One more thing...we each have these cool glasses as part of our outfit. Here you put yours on first."

    Adam brought out a huge, bulky pair of sun glasses wrapped in tin foil and duct tape...and closer inspection, those aren't sunglasses...the lenses have been spray painted black. Jeremy slides them onto Jeremy's eyes.

    STAGE DIRECTOR
    "You guys are on in..5...4..."

    JEREMY
    "What the...I can't see a thing!"

    ADAM
    "Yeah, that's the point - you look so cool, man! Just go with it - you know your part. Let's do this!"

    STAGE DIRECTOR
    "3...2.."

    JEREMY
    "Let's do it!"

    STAGE DIRECTOR
    "..1. SHOW TIME!"

    Adam and Zach quickly run off stage as the curtain goes up.

    Jeremy now stands in front of the entire school, faculty, and parents...his back facing the crowd wearing his ridiculous outfit and he begins singing the lyrics of O-Town's one hit song, "All or Nothing" with absolutely no music and to top it off, Jeremy clearly cannot sing whatsoever. His awkward dance moves include riding a pretend pony, doing the Sprinkler, and doing the
    Macarena...

    With the crowd roaring in laughter, Jeremy finally realizes that something is wrong...probably the lack of actual music and the laughter but in any event, he finally stops in his tracks and slides off the vision depleting "sunglasses" to reveal he was all alone on stage as the crowd continues to laugh hysterically.

    Fully embarrassed, Jeremy rushes off the stage as we dissolve back out.

    Present Day
    7:22PM


    Back in the hotel room, Jeremy continues to reflect on the past.

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "It was on that day...I swore off boy bands forever. But at Fall Out...for the first time in nearly 20 years, I came face to face with what I fear most. To the Bad Boys Boy Band...it was nothing personal and maybe we can be friends still! You seem like fun guys...I mean, I don't really know if I'm down with the whole party scene you guys seem to be into or anything...maybe I shouldn't hold the whole boy band thing against you guys."

    KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK.

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "A visitor? To my hotel room - well, I know it's definitely not Billy. Hmmm."

    Jeremy turns away from the window and heads to the door of the hotel. He opens it to find a hotel attendant.

    ATTENDANT
    "You got a delivery."

    JEREMY
    "That's peculiar. From whom?"

    ATENDANT
    "You think they pay me to know that kinda info. Just take your mail, weirdo."

    The attendant hands over a small Manilla envelope over to Jeremy before extending his hand out, hoping for a tip.

    JEREMY
    Why thank you, kind Bell Hop!

    Jeremy instead shakes the attendant's hand and shuts the door. Jeremy walks over to the bed and sits down, examining the envelope.

    TO: JEREMY
    FROM: ???

    JEREMY
    "My, isn't that curious."

    Jeremy shrugs his shoulders and proceeds to tear into envelope. He reaches in and pulls out the contents...

    An unopened copy of the 2002 O-Town CD, O2 along with a portable CD player and headphones.

    On the album is a yellow post-it note. Jeremy takes the note off.

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "Jeremy, it's time to face your fear. You got this."

    While Jeremy isn't sure who this delightful little surprise is from, it does bring a smile to his face.

    Jeremy removes the CD from it's case and pops open the portable CD player, sliding on the headphones and leaning back against the bed.

    JEREMY (v.o.)
    "Mystery pen pal, you are right. I do got this. Back Street Boy, maybe one day we can be friends but at Fall Out, I have to prove to myself that the past is in the past. Boy Bands - you have no power of me anymore!"

    "'Cause I want it all
    Or nothing at all
    There's nowhere left to fall
    When you reach the bottom
    It's now or never"

    Fade out.



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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    “Are you ready, Rockstar?”

    Chris Peacock looked expectantly over at Randy Ramon, who was sitting on a black production crate with his back to Peacock. No answer.

    This came as no surprise to Peacock. Despite Ramon being pleased that Peacock approached him in Tokyo to step in for Devin Golden for Ramon’s match on Fallout 006, “Disco’s Last Warrior” was fully aware that he is not Devin Golden. The loss of the FWA World Tag Team Championships still weighed heavily on Ramon’s mind.

    The fact that Devin Golden had walked out on him in Tokyo without so much as a word weighed even heavier. He’d not just lost a championship, but seemingly someone who he thought of more than a friend; a brother.

    Every waking moment Ramon had thought about Golden, and everything that they had been through together in the last year. It made Golden’s silent disappearance hurt even more. Someone who he had shared so much with, opened up to and thought so much of, was gone. What a time for it to happen, too. Just weeks before the biggest match of his career. Golden had spent copious amounts of time singing Randy’s praises and heralding him as the next FWA World Champion, only to ditch right when Ramon needed him there the most.

    Randy… you in there?”

    It was Peacock’s second attempt at initiating a conversation that snapped Ramon back into the present. His mind strayed from Golden and he raised his head to see Peacock standing in front of him, dressed in the brightest white suit with a purple tee underneath it. With the perfectly-trimmed moustache and slicked back hair, he looked like Tom Selleck in Miami Vice. Such wardrobe choices were not outside of the norm when it came to Peacock. In fact, this could be one of his more understated outfits.

    Once he’d taken in Peacock’s attire, Ramon looked around to where they were situated. Long hallways with busy workers bustling around populated the immediate vicinity; many of the workers carrying stage equipment and musical instruments. Aside from the chatter between those around them, the main sound that could be heard was coming from the stands in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.

    “Can you get with it, man?”

    A playful (but slightly hard) punch to Ramon on the shoulder snaps “Rockstar” fully into the room and looking up to Peacock, it would seem that “Disco’s Last Warrior” didn’t appreciate being ignored.

    “Sorry, Disco,” Ramon says whilst brushing his hair back with his hands. “I was just thinking about-”

    “Devin.” Peacock cuts Randy off, and Ramon solemnly nods his head to confirm Peacock’s suspicion. “I know it is hard letting something like that go, but you’ve got more important stuff to be worrying about, Rockstar. Look at this!”

    Peacock opens up his jacket to expose the front of his purple t-shirt, showing that the words “TEAM RAMON” is emblazoned on the front of it in white lettering. Ramon scoffs, causing Peacock’s enthusiasm to dwindle slightly. He reaches behind his jacket and pulls another shirt out from his waistband and brandishes it in front of Ramon’s face. “What? Don’t you like it? I made you one too! Show a bit of solidarity, you know?”

    Ramon rises to his feet from the crate and stands in front of Peacock. “Rockstar” reaches into his black jeans pocket and pulls out a red bandana, and he places it around his head. “Thanks, but no thanks. Purple isn’t really my colour.”

    With that, Ramon walks away in the direction of the stage doors, leaving Peacock alone. Peacock looks down and thinks of the purple bandana that he’s given Ramon in Tokyo, wondering what had changed between now and then. He’d organised this event tonight as a way to take Randy’s mind off of things whilst doing something good at the same time, but also as a way to strengthen their bond before their match on Fallout 006. Randy had assured him that there were no hard feelings for what happened in the Elimination Chamber - and Randy getting a FWA World Championship Match subsequently meant that Peacock’s actions were ultimately to no detriment to Randy - but Ramon’s actions tonight towards Peacock had been to ignore him initially and then shun his attempts at unity.

    It was abundantly clear to Peacock that Devin Golden’s sudden departure following the end of Golden Rock had affected Ramon in ways that he understood probably more than Ramon realised. Following his own loss at Lights Out, Allen Price had seemingly severed all ties too; not returning any of Peacock’s messages or calls. Peacock thinks for his moment before pulling out his phone. He types a quick message and replaces it back in his pocket as the ‘sent’ alert pings on the phone.

    The person in Peacock felt cut by the actions of Ramon and Price, but the performer in him knew that it was time to go to work. He throws the spare shirt he’d got Ramon onto the crate where “Rockstar” was sitting. Buttoning up his jacket, and thus saving his customised shirt to be a surprise later on in the show, Peacock closes his eyes and removes all thoughts of frustration towards his friend to one side.

    Opening his eyes, he lets out a wide grin. It’s showtime!

    CHRIS PEACOCK and RANDY RAMON in...

    ROCK AROUND THE 'COCK PRESENTS...

    A ROCKIN'
    COCKIN'
    DISCO SPECTAULAR
    FOR CHARITY



    Featuring special performances from...
    Sixx:A.M.
    Jamiroquai
    Vengaboys


    and...

    FOO FIGHTERS

    As well as some of your favourite FWA personalities...
    Lizzie Rose
    Kurt Harrington
    Jeremy Best
    Sauce Man


    and...

    JOE BURR

    MSG is filled to the rafters in anticipation for ‘Rock Around the ‘Cock Presents a Rockin’ Cockin' Disco Spectacular for Charity’; a wrestling ring is situated in the middle of the arena for the wrestling portions of the show and a stage rests above the large swinging doors to the backstage area. The crowd cheer as the lighting dims to signal that the show is seemingly about to commence. Kurt Harrington’s voice fills the arena, and his rich, deep tone is perfect to lend the gravitas to the occasion.

    ”Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages… Rock Around the ‘Cock presents a Rockin’ Cockin' Disco Spectacular for Charity right here inside the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden in New York City!”

    The fans cheer following the name drop for their city. A spotlight beams down onto the stage from the arena rafters, illuminating it so a band’s set up is now visible.

    ”All proceeds from tonight’s show will be donated to Save the Children, an organisation committed to helping and improving the lives of children around the world. Now, performing their song ‘Rise’ to introduce one of tonight’s hosts… please put your hands together for Sixx:A.M.!”

    There’s a big cheer from the crowd as the members of Sixx:A.M. emerge from behind the set on the stage and they take their positions alongside their instruments. The lights darken once again, and they burst into life as soon as the song starts...

    RISE!
    Get yourselves together!

    RISE!
    Stand up and live your life!

    RISE!
    Get yourselves together!

    RISE!

    Hands up, hands up high!”

    The large doors swing open and after a few seconds “Rockstar” Randy Ramon walks out through the doors. The crowd becomes unglued at the sight of the next FWA World Champion. He grins politely at the reception he is receiving from the fans, and claps his hands for them in appreciation for the very generous and positive response.

    Behind Ramon’s eyes and largely unnoticed by all of the fans, there is a sense of emptiness. Being out here without Devin Golden… felt strange to Ramon. Even with them being drafted on separate shows, it wasn’t a surprise to him that one day Golden Rock was going to end. Randy became numb and senseless to what was happening around him. The sound of ‘Rise’ and the fans cheering blended into one, with Ramon freezing in place for a few seconds.

    Eventually, he snaps back into it and regains his awareness, finding himself standing on the outside of the ring with the fans thankfully not paying too much attention to his temporary absence, enjoying the music too much to notice.

    ”Wake up, this could be your finest hour
    Pick your head up, and get your body off the floor
    Hey now, don't be afraid to fight for something
    This is your chance, and you can stand for so much more
    There comes a time when you know there's a problem…”

    Ramon allows himself to live in the moment, something which he’d not been able to bring himself to do since Tokyo. Since the end of Golden Rock. He steps into the ring and starts willing the crowd’s energy up.

    ”Rise up, it's a dawn of a new day!
    Hands up, it's gonna be okay!
    Even when they strangle you, get yourselves together!
    Strike down for all that oppose you!
    Look now, what have they sold you!
    Even if they anger you, get yourselves together!
    Get yourselves together!

    RISE!

    The song ends and Nicky Sixx grabs the microphone from its stand and points in Ramon’s direction, who is waiting down in the ring. “We’re Sixx:A.M. and THAT is your former FWA Tag Champion and more importantly the next FWA World Heavyweight Champion… the “Rockstar” RANDY RAMON!!”

    Whilst the crowd reacted positively to Nicky’s announcement, the emphasis on Ramon being a former FWA World Tag Team Champion - mispronouncing the name of both titles as well as adding “the” in front of “Rockstar” - is what instantly kills off Ramon’s moment of bliss and calm. He runs his hand through his hair as Nicky raises the microphone again, wondering what he is going to butcher this time.

    “Now, for his co-host for tonight’s show… from right here in NEW YORK CITY…” Sixx is cut off by an overwhelming cheer from the crowd, which causes him to crack a grin. “...please welcome “Disco’s Last Warrior”... CHRIS PEACOCK!”

    A figure energetically emerges from behind Sixx on the stage, as the backing track of ‘Canned Heat’ by Jamiroquai plays through the arena speakers. Jay Kay, the lead singer of the band, accepts the microphone from Sixx, and Sixx:A.M. take their leave from the stage area atop the entrance way.

    ”You know this boogie is for real…”

    Jay Kay cracks a grin as the crowd responds positively, knowing that Chris Peacock in New York City means one thing and one thing only; a grand entrance.

    “I used to put my faith in worship,
    But then my chance to get to heaven slipped.
    I used to worry about the future,
    But then I threw my caution to the wi-i-ind!
    I had no reason to be care free, no, no, no.
    Until I took a trip to the other side of town, yeah, yeah, yeah.
    You know I heard that boogie rhythm, hey!
    I had no choice but to get down, down, down, down!”

    The doors swing open, and the place erupts when Chris Peacock walks out from the backstage! Peacock is busting out some of his best moves as he makes his way towards the ring where Ramon is waiting for him.

    “Dance! Nothing left for me to do but dance!
    Off these bad times I'm going through just dance!
    Got canned heat in my heels tonight, baby!”

    Peacock slides into the ring and removes his white jacket, revealing his ‘Team Ramon’ shirt to a big pop from the crowd. Randy backs into the corner, letting Chris do his thing for the fans. Not as if he’d be able to stop Peacock even if he wanted to.

    “I feel the thunder, see the lightning.
    I know this anger's heaven sent.
    So I've got to hang out all my hang-ups,
    Because of the boogie I feel so hell bent, hey, hey!

    It's just an instant gut reaction, that I got,
    I know I never ever felt like this before.
    I don't know what to do but then that's nothing new.
    Stuck between hell and high water I need a cure to make it through!

    Dance! Nothing left for me to do but dance!
    Off these bad times I'm going through just dance!
    Hey, got canned heat in my heels tonight, baby!
    You know I've got canned heat up my heels!”

    As Peacock dances, a wide grin across his face as his dancing wows the crowd, Ramon feels a sour taste emerging in his mouth. Chris Peacock is not Devin Golden, he shouldn’t have even thought about it being the same. Not that there’s anything wrong with Chris, but he wasn’t Devin.

    Peacock finishes his dancing routine and rises up from his knees with a broad smile on his face, pleased with his performance and how it was received by the crowd. He offers a bow to the fans and a thumbs up to Jay Kay, who heads out of sight in the same direction that Sixx:A.M. did. Peacock drops his cheerfulness for a split second to shoot an unsure look towards Ramon as he reaches down and grabs a couple of microphones from someone at ringside.

    He extends one out to Ramon, with a smile on his face now. Ramon furrows his brow momentarily and then snatches the mic out of Peacock’s hand. There is no reaction from Peacock to convey his internal frustration towards his friend, and he clears his throat and begins to address the crowd.

    “So, how are we doing tonight, New York City?” The shout out from the hometown boy gets a rousing cheer from inside of MSG, and Peacock grins before continuing. “We’ve got one hell of a show for you tonight, MSG. We being myself and the next FWA World Champion… “Rockstar” Randy Ramon!” There is another loud cheer as the attention shifts over to Ramon and he nods his head, graciously accepting the kind reception.

    Peacock points down at the wording on his chest. “As you can see, I’m Team Ramon… and you can be too! All you’ve got to do is head on over to one of the merch stands we’ve got here tonight and you can pick yourself up one of these bad boys. All profits will be going towards our charity partner. If you’re gonna buy one of these shirts, how about you show me what you got, New York?!”

    There are more cheers and Peacock leans back to usher in an even louder reaction from the crowd, who are eating out of the palm of his hand. “Fun fact, I tried to get this guy to put one on… he wasn’t having it! Not groovy man. I got these made for you!”

    Peacock is obviously hamming things up a bit for the crowd’s benefit, but the stoic look on Ramon’s face makes it clear that Randy suspected that there was a bit of seriousness in there too, despite the cheeky delivery. Why Peacock would throw that shade confuses him though - isn’t this supposed to be about him? So what if he doesn’t want to wear the shirt, he’d already politely declined the offer. It didn’t need to be brought up again. It was whilst these thoughts were crossing his mind that Randy realised that he needed to talk, noticing the autocue operator trying to get his attention.

    “Uhm… we’ve got a lot of great stuff in store tonight. Music, wrestling and some special guests. It is gonna be a good one, folks.” Out of Ramon’s eyeline, Peacock rolls his eyes. Whilst it would be suspected that a lot of the planning for this event would have been done by representatives from the charity, Peacock himself actually contributed a significant amount to the show. Be it arranging musical guests, the t-shirts, convincing FWA wrestlers to take part, Peacock poured a lot into it. Randy could have at least remembered his cues.

    “We’ve had some music, how about some wrestling, huh?” The crowd cheers as Peacock seamlessly reverts back into his upbeat show persona. He pauses before saying his next line, as he feels a vibration in his pocket and faintly hears the sound of his phone ringing. He reaches down and pulls out his phone, grinning as he sees who it is calling him. The autocue operator frantically waves in Peacock’s direction to get him to move on with the script, but Peacock waves him off. “In fact, scratch that! Let’s have a special guest instead!”

    Ramon watches on intrigued as Peacock holds his phone to the microphone and a slightly muffled voice can be heard…

    “Peacock, you there?”

    There is a cheer from the crowd as the wrestling fans in attendance recognise the voice immediately. Randy Ramon is speechless. It is Devin Golden. Ramon hasn’t heard from him at all since Lights Out, but he’s just calling up Peacock out of the blue?

    “Devin Golden, welcome to-”

    “No, stop. Listen and stop talking. I’m not sure what kind of game you’re trying to play. If you're trying to make me jealous, I don't give a shit, because you're in the dark. Plus, have I ever tried to stop you from hanging out before?

    I see you’re already trying to take my spot. I saw it coming for a while actually, but you wouldn't dare do something while I was around to confront you. Now I'm not, so good for you. Call yourselves Disco Rock or whatever. Nothing — and I mean nothing — will match Golden Rock. I don't feel a single ounce of insecurity towards you. If I did, I'd be at Fallout.

    You're trying to fill a void you're too damn small to fill. Let that be some advice for you. You're too small to fill my shoes. So you can try to be charismatic or talk Randy up and make him feel confident like I used to. Truth is, Randy doesn't need you. He doesn't need me. But if he did need someone, it wouldn't be you. You can't fill an empty space the size of the Hall of Fame. I’ve never liked you and I’ve never trusted you.

    So you listen to me very carefully. You even think about trying to screw him over, I’m gonna hunt you down. Don't ever contact this number again, got it?"


    Peacock is completely lost for words.

    "Good."

    The arena sits in almost silence as the call abruptly cuts out. In his shock, Peacock had neglected to lower the microphone, meaning that Golden’s outburst was heard by everyone in attendance. Peacock lowers his phone and looks over to Ramon, who is so clearly angry to the point where he could either burst into tears or an explosion of rage. Ramon leaves the ring swiftly, and he kicks the large doors open to enable himself into the backstage area.

    Peacock stands in the ring alone, stunned. ‘Formation’ by Beyonce plays, which gets the crowd back in a more positive mood and Sauce Man walks out from the back, dispensing sauce packets to the fans next to the aisle. Seeing that the show is continuing despite what happened, Peacock realises himself and leaves the ring. He inadvertently completely ignores Sauce Man - someone who he has a very defined shared history with - to route out Ramon in the backstage area.

    It doesn’t take long, and Ramon sits back atop the production crate as he was before the show began. He’s also somehow procured a beer, which he takes a deep swig from. Peacock pauses for a moment to compose himself and approaches Ramon with a half-smile, clearly trying to lighten the mood. “Do you just conjure those or something?”

    Peacock’s attempt at humour falls on unsurprisingly unimpressed ears. Ramon snaps his head up and looks at Peacock dead in the eyes, his own eyes still layered with several conflicted emotions. “What the fuck, man?”

    “What the fuck, ME? What did I do?” There is an instant shift in Peacock’s tone. “Devin was the one-”

    “You sent him a message?” Ramon drops from the crate and slowly walks in front of Peacock, taking another swig from the bottle. He’s so close that Peacock can smell the lager on his breath as he speaks. “You had no right, Chris! I’m all for pushing the boundaries a bit, but that was too far. Way, way too far.”

    “Wait, you’re angry with me about this? I sent him a message because I could tell that you needed him! I said that we were together and doing something pretty cool! I was trying to help you, man!” Peacock’s explanation doesn’t appease Ramon at all, as judged by Ramon’s unflinching expression. “This is bullshit, man. I get it okay, you guys went through a lot together. Who’s the one that’s here for you now, huh? Is it him? Who’s the one that put all of this together? For you! Made t-shirts-”

    “Will you shut up about the fucking t-shirts?” Ramon explodes at Peacock, stopping the former X-Division Champion in mid-sentence. “Don’t give me that crap, either, about doing all of this for me. You’re having the time of your life out there. Tonight isn’t about me at all. It is about your own ego. "Everyone come and watch Chris Peacock!" We’re in New York for fuck’s sake. You might be from here, but guess who else is?”

    Peacock’s eyes widen as what Ramon says dawns on him. “Yeah, so you brought me out to a city where my main rival is treated like a fucking king. Maybe Devin’s right and you don’t understand-”

    “I understand a lot more than you think! Look, you and I, we’re probably never going to match what you and Devin had. I’m okay with that. In fact, despite Devin having this huge problem with me because of what is a clear insecurity of his, I had no problem with you - a guy I always felt like I could depend on to have my back - being in the same spot for someone else. I’m just as pissed that you guys aren’t tag champions anymore as any one of those fans out there. I liked Golden Rock! I wanted you guys to win! You’re welcome for me keeping Alyster away from your match on Fallout, by the way.” Peacock pauses momentarily.

    “So, Devin’s gone and you don't understand why… and you don’t expect me to understand. But I do.” Chris pulls out his phone again and holds it up to Ramon as he opens his contacts, with Allen Price being at the top. Chris presses ‘Call’, but it doesn’t even ring, cutting out immediately. This visual causes Ramon to pause for thought now. “So yeah, I suppose I’m doing this a bit for me too… but you’re the one in the spotlight, not me. I’m not wearing this shirt because it looks good… it is because I want people to know that I believe in you, Randy. Even though I think the feeling is mutual now and I now think he’s a dick, I’m pretty sure that Devin believes in you too.”

    With a loud groan, Ramon clutches his hand around the bottle and tosses it against the wall. It smashes into many pieces and Ramon bursts forward and embraces Peacock for a hug. “I just don't...” Due to the clear level of emotion, Ramon's sentence fades into nothing.

    Peacock wraps his arms around his Ground Zero mentor and friend, bringing Ramon in tightly. “It's gonna be okay, man. It will.”

    They both just hug it out in silence for a moment and then let each other go, giving an appreciative nod to each other. Peacock wipes away a tear from his eye and loudly inhales through his nose. “So here’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to go out there and we’re going to fucking kill it, got it? Same deal on the ship too. Let’s get ourselves on the same page, because we’ve got to get you ready to become the next World Champion. Because if you don’t win the title, who else am I supposed to take it off? Fucking Kennedy?”

    That was a clear tester to see what kind of mood Ramon was in, and Randy knew it. He knows that Chris wants the same thing as him, ultimately. They both want to be the FWA World Champion and they both know that only one of them can be. Ramon has waited for seven years for the opportunity that he earned in Melbourne, compared to Peacock’s one. It wasn’t a competition, but if it was, Randy knew that he was winning. He was unsure whether Peacock views it as a competition though.

    He doesn’t. Seeing Ramon crack a slight smile at his comment, Peacock nods his head. He was honest with Randy completely, having no reason to hide the truth from him. It frustrated him that Devin chose to react that way towards him, but any issue that he has with Devin Golden is secondary to his responsibility to help Randy out of the hole that Devin left him in. “Now, are you ready to enjoy this show?”

    Ramon nods. “Let’s do it. Get some beer.”

    With the air and the tension cleared somewhat, Ramon turns to the screen nearby as Peacock walks away in search of beer, which is showing the events taking place in the ring. Just as they’d started watching, Sauce Man was celebrating his victory in his Exhibition Match over.

    Peacock hums along to Sauce Man’s theme music as he walks down a hallway towards the catering section backstage. Catering at a standard wrestling event would usually consist of rich and nutritious food, but tonight the stops had been pulled out as Chris had asked his brother to come and assist. Drew was busy working over a portable stove. The sauce recipe which was bequeathed to him by Sauce Man had done wonders for Dazzling Dave’s trade, and Drew seemed much more comfortable doing his work as a result. Given just a matter of months ago Drew had led a singular and bitter existence, seeing him thriving brought a great amount of joy to Chris. Knowing that he was partially responsible made it even better.

    Despite Drew being busy, Chris heads over to him and pats him on the back, almost causing a sauce spillage. “What the fuck, Chris?”

    Remembering that his heavy conversation with Randy started the exact same way, Peacock lets out a big puff of air. “Let’s not go there. How is it going?” Chris dips a finger into the sauce and tastes it, groaning with delight due to the amazing taste. Drew smacks his hand away.

    “Stop that! The next time, I’m smacking you in the face… but things are good. Everyone is into the food, turns out there are some things that Sauce Man can do right…” Drew trails off into a mumble at the end of that proclamation, and Chris spitefully dips his finger in the sauce again. He dodges the following attempt at a slap to the face by Drew.

    “Don’t be so hard on him. He’s clearly got his own shit going on and Allen asked a lot from him, and then did nothing to actually help during the match before disappearing. This isn’t on Sauce Man, Drew.” After defending Sauce Man, Chris screws his face up. “Why do you care so much about what happened to Allen, anyway?”

    “It’s not Allen I care about. Getting yourself involved in all of that got you another one in the loss column. Your record isn’t looking so hot at the moment, Chris.” It was true, and Chris knew it. “You’ve thrown yourself into this stuff with Randy now, but I think you should spend some time focusing on yourself. You want to be World Champion… helping Randy win isn't the way to do it.”

    “I think you’re overreacting. I’ve beaten Rondo and I’ve beaten Nova-”

    “But in Tokyo you lost to Danny again. What happens if he wins the title? You think you’ll have a shot at winning it then? Are you just helping out Randy because you know that you can beat him? You already pinned him once...” Again, Drew’s sentence trails off, a trait which occurs when he is telling someone what he believes to be a hard truth.

    Chris is agitated. “That’s not what this is, man. It’s nothing like that. I’m gonna be World Champion one day and it is going to be because I’ll beat whoever is in front of me. Randy, Danny, Kennedy, Parr, Summers, Konchu, Uncle - anyone. I’m helping Randy out because that’s what friends do, Drew. You’d know if you actually had any.” There is no tentative trail off by Chris, as that statement was as definitive as it could have been.

    Chris walks over to the cooler under one of the tables and pulls out a couple of beers. He looks at them in his hand, and puts them back into the cooler… and walks away with the full cooler instead. Drew shakes his head as he watches, “Asshole.”

    Peacock slams the cooler down on the production crate, next to Ramon, and he slumps himself up onto the crate too, with the cooler in between both of them. On the screen, Lizzie Rose is giving a rave tutorial along with The Vengaboyz. A production assistant sprints past, frazzled due to some sort of fault with the Vengabus. Ramon notices that Peacock is somewhat less chirpy than before he left. “What happened to you? Thought we just bro’ed out and chilled everything?”

    With a heavy breath and a sip of beer, Peacock looks across at Ramon. “You believe me, don’t you? That I want you to win?”

    Ramon pauses for thought. “I mean… you do have a bit of a track record for switching sides between me and Danny…” Ramon trailed his sentence off in the exact way that Drew does, causing Peacock to grit his teeth for a moment.

    “I’m allowed to have more than one friend… and they don’t have to like each other. We’ve been friends this whole time and Devin clearly didn’t like me, did he? I don’t see it as a competition and it shouldn’t matter. I’m not going to pretend that I won’t be happy for Danny if he does win - because I will be - but it is your time, man. Anyway, Ramon vs Peacock in the main event of Back in Business sells a lot more seats than either of us against Toner - those have been done to death now.” A small smile cracks in the corner of Peacock’s mouth, which is matched by Ramon.

    “There’s a lot to do before then,” Ramon thinks out loud, and he offers his beer bottle up to Peacock over the cooler, “but I'm down. To Back in Business.”

    Peacock raises his own bottle and clinks Ramon’s, “to Back in Business”. Both men take a large swig and see that the Vengaboyz performance with Lizzie has come to an end, meaning that it is time for some more wrestling to take place.

    A small blur passes in front of them as Joe Burr powerwalks his way towards the ring, generating a chuckle from both Peacock and Ramon. Burr’s opponent for the night, Jeremy Best, is a few paces behind. Best is clearly a bit nervous, and this is picked up by both members of Rock Around the ‘Cock. “Jeremy, right? Everything okay?”

    Best turns to them and his face brightens up immediately, and he enthusiastically shakes both Peacock and Ramon’s hands, Randy being taken slightly offguard by the instant peppiness of Fallout’s newest signing. “Hi! Thank you both for having me here tonight! I really appreciate the opportunity, guys. Just a bit nervous is all, I’ve never performed in a place like this before in America.” In Best’s nervousness, he fails to notice that he hadn’t let go of Ramon’s hand the entire time. “Now I’m shaking your hand too long, sorry about that!”

    “Don’t sweat it, man.” Ramon is predictably cool as ever, slunking back on the crate. “You’re wrestling the little guy, huh?”

    “Looks that way. He seems nice! I’m sure we can put on a good show out there, I’m getting ready for my first match on Fallout, too. This will be good practice!” Best’s positive outlook is infectious, and Peacock snaps his fingers and points at Best, making a connection.

    “You’re wrestling one of those bad boys on Fallout, right?” Best nods, and Peacock snickers. “Bit of advice, watch your back and definitely don't drink anything they give you. Although... I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Given Peacock’s history with The Bad Boys Boy Band and Best seemingly being a decent enough guy, Peacock felt it appropriate to give him a bit of a heads up.

    “Thank you, I’ll be sure to do that!” Best’s head turns as he hears his music play, the timeless ‘You’ve Got a Friend of Me’ by Randy Newman, and he motions that he needs to go. “Well, thanks for the time, gentlemen. It’s been great. Good luck in your match on Fallout!”

    Ramon raises his bottle as a thanks to Best, and turns his head back to the monitor in front of them. Peacock watches Best leave and enter the arena through the swinging doors. “I remember when you were like that.”

    That comment clearly confuses Peacock. “What do you mean? What’s wrong with being like him? I like him.”

    “That’s my point. There’s nothing wrong with that guy. You’re not like that anymore. You didn’t take yourself so seriously - I saw you have to turn it on earlier , when it just came more naturally before. You were more bearable back then, when you first started out.” Peacock shoots a look at Ramon, who raises his eyebrows and takes another beer from the cooler.

    “That’s because you were drunk most of the time when we hung out back then… and I drove you everywhere.” There is no argument from Ramon, and the two of them just shake their heads, laughing to themselves as they take another drink. Despite the niceties, Peacock wonders why things have changed so much since he first joined the FWA. Had he gotten too comfortable? Had he become too serious?

    The two sit and watch Best and Joe Burr battle in the ring, with Best having almost all of the offence, as is standard for any Joe Burr match. Best almost gets caught out by Joe’s signature Schoolboy, but he kicks out and hits Burr with the BFF to get the win. Peacock and Ramon watch as Best celebrates… but a commotion starts in the crowd as some figures begin walking through.

    “Are those guys supposed to be here?” Randy asks with a concerned tone, and Peacock catches the figures on the monitor - it is The Bad Boys Boy Band.

    “Absolutely fucking not.” Peacock jumps from the crate onto his feet as the three boy band members hop the ringside barricade and surround the ring, with Best and Burr still inside. “Let’s go.”

    Peacock storms towards the gorilla position, and Ramon groans as he’s morally forced to follow Peacock out there, beer bottle in hand and something else sticking out of his back pocket…

    In the ring, Best is trying to rouse Burr back to consciousness as The Backstreet Boy, In-Sync and Mike Stand stand on the apron and shout things towards him, eventually entering the ring and closing in on Best, who is bravely standing in front of Burr to protect him as he is in no state to help Best fight them off himself.

    However the doors swing open… AND CHRIS PEACOCK CHARGES OUT FROM THE BACK, WITH RANDY RAMON NOT TOO FAR BEHIND HIM!!!

    The crowd cheers wildly as Rock Around the ‘Cock slides into the ring and provides Best with some back up! Peacock motions for Best to get Burr out of there to safety. “We’ve got this. Good job, man.” Best nods his head in agreement, and he shuffles Burr out of harm’s way and back through the doors.

    The Backstreet Boy moves forward and gets in Peacock’s face. “You haven’t forgotten abou-”

    THE BACKSTREET BOY IS CUT OFF IN MID-SENTENCE BY RANDY RAMON SMASHING A BEER BOTTLE OVER HIS HEAD!!

    TBB drops like a stone and Peacock and Ramon then advance forward onto the other two, and start hammering away on them both! Rock Around the ‘Cock easily get the upper hand over the two hapless singers… and PEACOCK CHARGES IN-SYNC INTO THE TURNBUCKLE, AND THEN PLANTS HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING WITH A SPINEBUSTER!! Peacock rolls In-Sync out of the ring following The Roller Disco, and then decides to help Ramon with Stand.

    Randy Irish Whips Stand into the ropes and Peacock ducks out of the way, ALLOWING RAMON TO CATCH MIKE STAND WITH A HUGE REMIX STRAIGHT TO THE JAW!!

    There is a big cheer in the crowd as the boy band is dispatched by Peacock and Ramon, and Peacock mounts the turnbuckle to get the crowd support up. Peacock encourages Ramon to join him on another one of the turnbuckles, which Ramon does. Randy Ramon cannot believe it. He’s in New York - the home of Danny fucking Toner - and the crowd are chanting for him.

    This is noticed by Peacock too, and “Disco’s Last Warrior” motions his head to Ramon in the direction of the stage above the large doors. They see that the next performers are setting up and seem to be ready to go. Ramon holds out his hand and a microphone is passed up to him from ringside, and he taps it three times. “Is this thing on? Because I can’t hear you, New York!”

    More loud cheers from the crowd in attendance. “I SAID I CAN’T FUCKING HEAR YOU, NEW YORK CITY!” There is now chaos in the stands and Ramon nods his head from his position on the second rope. “We’ve got one more band ready to go… ah fuck the autocue. Ladies and gentlemen… please welcome FOO FIGHTERS!”

    There’s a massive cheer in the arena as the stage is lit up once more and Foo Fighters are standing in position, with Dave Grohl standing at the front. Ramon’s eyes light up at seeing the rock legend in the flesh in front of him. “Thank you, “Rockstar” Randy Ramon! Randy Ramon and Chris Peacock, everybody! Make some noise for these guys, huh?” When Dave Grohl asks you to do something, you listen. The fans cheer wildly for Ramon and Peacock, and Grohl nods his head.

    “You see, I’m a pretty big FWA fan. I know all about these guys, as I’m sure you do too. Randy, you’re gonna be the next World Champion, man. I know it, Peacock knows it and dare I say, New York City knows it too!” Again, despite this being Danny Toner’s home, the fans are cheering for his greatest rival. Grohl strums a few chords as he addresses the crowd.

    “We’re gonna play a few songs for y’all tonight, and the first one is dedicated to those two guys standing in the ring right now. Randy, I thought Golden Rock kicked ass, man. You guys were great. But, I like this a lot too. Rock Around the ‘Cock. What a fucking name... Randy, you walked alongside Devin Golden. Fuck, you guys ran… but with Chris Peacock on Fallout 006, you can LEARN… TO… FLY!”

    The crowd goes wild as Foo Fighters immediately break into ‘Learn to Fly’. Ramon and Peacock jump from the turnbuckles into the middle of the ring and stand side-by-side. A production assistant runs their cooler out to them, and both men take a fresh beer and clink their bottles in the middle of the ring.

    “Run and tell all of the angels,
    This could take all night.
    Think I need a devil to help me get things right.
    Hook me up a new revolution,
    Cause this one is a lie.
    We sat around laughin' and watched the last one die!

    Now, I'm lookin' to the sky to save me.
    Lookin' for a sign of life.
    Lookin' for somethin' to help me burn out bright.
    And I'm lookin' for a complication,
    Lookin' cause I'm tired of lyin'.
    Make my way back home when I learn to fly high!”

    Ramon looks across to Peacock, who is enjoying the music. This is surprising, given they’ve bickered about music more times than either can care to count. For Ramon, it is still a strange feeling looking over and not seeing Devin standing there.

    ”I think I'm dyin' nursing patience,
    It can wait one night.
    I'd give it all away if you give me one last try.
    We'll live happily ever trapped if you just save my life.
    Run and tell the angels that everything's alright.

    Now, I'm lookin' to the sky to save me.
    Lookin' for a sign of life.
    Lookin' for somethin' to help me burn out bright.
    And I'm lookin' for a complication,
    Lookin' cause I'm tired of lyin'.
    Make my way back home when I learn to fly high!
    Make my way back home when I learn to-”

    Chris Peacock isn’t Devin Golden though. Nor is he trying to be. Chris isn’t looking to create another Golden Rock; they have a shared goal of becoming the FWA World Champion and they both know that they can’t do it together. However, Peacock didn’t need to step in to help Randy out where Devin abandoned him. He’s not trying to take or even share the spotlight, as much as his rock-inspired dancing moves are suggesting that he is.

    "Fly along with me, I can't quite make it alone!
    Try to make this life my own!
    Fly along with me, I can't quite make it alone!
    Try to make this life my own!

    I'm lookin' to the sky to save me.
    Lookin' for a sign of life.
    Lookin' for somethin' to help me burn out bright.
    And I'm lookin' for a complication,
    Lookin' cause I'm tired of lyin'.
    Make my way back home when I learn to fly high!”

    For the first time since Lights Out, Ramon actually felt like everything was going to be okay. That it would work out in the end. Making a statement alongside Peacock on board The Slammer was the first step. Peacock was happy to step aside and let him take the lead, so he needed to do it.

    ”I'm lookin' to the sky to save me.
    Lookin' for a sign of life.
    Lookin' for somethin' to help me burn out bright.
    And I'm lookin' for a complication,
    Lookin' cause I'm tired of tryin'.
    Make my way back home when I learn to fly high!
    Make my way back home when I learn to fly!”

    The song ends and everyone cheers loudly, including Ramon and Peacock from inside of the ring. Dave Grohl leans forward into the microphone again. “Randy, I want you to get on up here, come on!”

    Ramon looks over to Peacock, as if to check that it is okay, and Chris actively encourages him to do it. There are more cheers inside MSG as Ramon exits the ring and then heads into the stands, so he can walk across to the stage. Grohl laughs and points in the ring “I guess performing with us is a big deal to this guy, he forgot the beer!” There is a split second among the joviality that Ramon internally kicks himself for leaving the alcohol in the ring with Peacock. Chris smirks as he pulls out a fresh beer and cracks the cap off.

    Joining Grohl and the rest of the band on the stage, Ramon shakes hands and bumps fists with the rest of them. “Randy, I’ll be honest with you. We are going to let you perform with us, which is gonna be pretty cool… but I wanted to get you out of the ring. You’ve got this World Title in the bag, we already know that… but there’s someone other than those two guys you're facing in Australia that you need to worry about for your next match. That would be Nova Diamond.” There is a mixed reaction at the mention of that name, and even Peacock waves it off. For Ramon, it does bring up a genuine concern that Nova Diamond does have the potential to rain on his parade should he win the FWA World Championship.

    “Nova… he’s a tricky one. He’s got that briefcase, but seems to me that on a level playing field he hasn’t got what it takes. My guy Chris Peacock just beat him a couple of weeks ago on Fallout! Who saw that, huh?” Peacock cracks a smile as the crowd cheers some more. “That briefcase won’t mean anything when he gets in the ring with the title on the line, because he’s out of practice. He’s not ready, which is why he’s waiting. But it seems like he can’t escape the two of you next time out… so this one is for Nova Diamond. Learn from the best guy in the business…”

    Grohl points to Peacock. “You know what to do, Chris. Nova, stop being such a pussy. Stop hiding in the shadows, you should be dancing!” Peacock’s face lights up as Foo Fighters quickly become Dee Gees and begin playing their cover of ‘You Should Be Dancing’. Immediately, Peacock downs the beer in his hand and begins cutting some shapes in the middle of the ring.

    "My baby moves at midnight,
    Goes right on 'til the dawn.
    My woman takes me higher,
    My woman keeps me warm!

    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!
    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!
    Dancing, yeah!"

    It is a full-on party atmosphere inside of MSG as Peacock dances for the masses watching him and cheering him. In the background, the donations counter ticks along at an increasing pace. Peacock is on his back in line with the words in the song, and Ramon shakes his head in disbelief at the strange sight.

    Even against Danny Toner, when he could barely walk, he still managed to almost beat him. Where Chris Peacock will dance, no matter the time or place, Nova picks his spots. Chris thought that probably made him a good Golden Opportunity winner, but it won’t make him a good champion. Especially if the spots he does pick (like against Peacock and Summers), don’t even work out.

    “She's juicy and she's trouble,
    She gets it to me good.
    My woman gives me power,
    Goes right down to my blood!

    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!
    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!
    Dancing, yeah!

    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!
    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!

    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah!”

    As Peacock dances, Dave Grohl’s words resonate with him. Despite coming up short against Diamond in the Golden Opportunity Elimination Chamber, Peacock does hold a one-on-one victory over Nova Diamond on Fallout. This is after a tumultuous start to life on Fallout for “Disco’s Last Warrior”. He spent half of ‘The First Chapter’ bandaged up following the Cosmic Playground, but he still managed to show up each and every time.

    “My baby moves at midnight,
    Goes right on 'til the dawn, yeah.
    My woman takes me higher,
    My woman keeps me warm!

    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!
    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah!

    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah

    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah
    What you doin' on your bed on your back? Ah

    You should be dancing, yeah
    Dancing, yeah!”

    The song begins to crescendo towards the end, and Peacock nips back up to his feet and starts dancing as quickly as he can, throwing out every shape imaginable. It becomes a complete out of body experience for Peacock. Everyone's eyes are on "Disco's Last Warrior" as his body seems to be moving even faster than his mind can to decide what to do next.

    "You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!

    You should be dancing, yeah!"


    The song ends and Peacock finishes on the classic 'Night Fever' pose in the middle of the ring. Everyone inside MSG is on their feet and Peacock, his breath extremely heavy, finds his conscious slipping back into his body as he soaks in the ovation. Perhaps what Randy said was right. If he just let go, stopped taking himself too seriously, he will just keep on pushing through. He would get what he wanted and dance his own path towards the FWA World Championship. His mouth curls into a satisfied grin as he thinks of this, and he slaps his hands together in excitement in the ring.

    He looks up to Ramon, standing mouth agape next to Dave Grohl - even one of Peacock's closest friends could not believe that he had those kind of moves in him - but what Peacock notices is that Ramon has slipped on one of the purple 'Team Ramon' shirts and the two of them are now matching. However in a surprising turn of events, Peacock takes his own sweat-stained top off. He points to Ramon and then lays the top down in the middle of the ring. Peacock points up to Ramon and Ramon just about deciphers the words "This is all you now, buddy. Go and get them."

    There is an understanding nod between Peacock and Ramon, and Peacock drops to the mat and rolls out of the ring. He shoots one final look of approval towards Ramon as the swinging doors open in front of him, and he returns backstage, allowing Ramon to finish this off on his own. Just like how he is going to win the FWA World Championship on Fallout 007.

    Grohl leans forward into the lead microphone. "That was New York City's very own Chris Peacock, y'all!" Another loud cheer follows, and Grohl motions to Randy with his guitar pick. "Now, there's a big ol' elephant in the room. We're here in New York. Us FWA fans know what that means..." Even just the brief acknowledgement of that piece of FWA meta is enough for a small, but loud, chant of "DANNY! DANNY! DANNY FUCKIN' TONER!" to start up. Ramon freezes as it becomes all he can hear, despite the thousands of others in attendance not chanting for his biggest rival. Grohl laughs.

    "That's what I was talkin' about. That right there. Well, there's something that you should know about Danny Toner. He might be Chris Peacock's boogeyman, but Danny Toner has a boogeyman off his own... and he's standin' right next to me, people!" Grohl motions at Ramon again, and despite that fact not usually going down well in New York, the crowd cheer once again. Ramon feels himself easing. It's true. Danny Toner usually had the crowd support, but Ramon had the advantage where it mattered. Desert Storm aside, Toner's loss column against "Rockstar" was as well stocked as his weed stash. "So Danny, if you're listening. This one is for you. Randy, grab a guitar, you'll pick it up as we go along I'm sure."

    "You make me dizzy
    Running circles in my head.

    One of these days I'll chase you down.
    Well, look who's going crazy now
    We're face to face, my friend?
    Better get out!
    Better get out!

    You know you make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!

    I don't wanna look like that!
    I don't wanna look like that!

    Know you make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!

    I don't wanna look like that!
    I don't wanna look like that!
    Know you make me breakout!"


    At first, Ramon found himself struggling to keep up with the rest of the band. However, much like wrestling and defeating Danny Toner, the feeling of playing a guitar was a familiar one and one that came almost naturally to Ramon. It is a feeling he was looking forward to having on both Fallout 006 and 007.

    "You can see this on my face,
    It's all for you.
    The more and more I take, I break right through.
    Therapy still scares me.
    Putting me on my back again.
    I may be crazy, little frayed around the ends.
    One of these days I'll phase you out!

    Burn it in the blast off!
    Burn it in the blast off!
    Watch me crawl away!

    Try to get out!
    Try to get out!

    You know you make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!

    I don't wanna look like that!
    I don't wanna look like that!

    Know you make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!

    I don't wanna look like that!
    I don't wanna look like that!
    Yeah, yeah!
    I don't wanna look like that!"


    Those two victories wouldn't be like the others, though. Those two victories would be Randy Ramon making a statement of intent. Just like the victories over Funanori, Grayson and Summers were.

    "Breakout!
    Breakout!
    Breakout!
    Breakout!

    Go, go, go!
    You know you make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!

    I don't wanna look like that!
    I don't wanna look like that!

    Know you make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!

    I don't wanna look like that!
    I don't wanna look like that!
    Yeah, yeah!

    I don't wanna look like that!
    I don't wanna look like that!

    Know you make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!
    Make me breakout!
    Yeah!"


    Danny Toner did make Randy Ramon break out. Every time that they faced, Ramon wanted to win even more than he would normally. The fact that the chant is now almost unanimous around Madison Square Garden causes Ramon to grimace at first, but then he listens closer and the chant gets progressively louder.

    "RANDY!

    RANDY!

    RANDY FUCKIN' RAMON!

    RANDY!

    RANDY!

    RANDY FUCKIN' RAMON!


    RANDY!

    RANDY!

    RANDY
    FUCKING
    RAMON!"


    The chant stops itself naturally and the fans inside MSG give themselves a loud cheer, and Ramon and Dave Grohl clap their hands, and Grohl laughs loudly into the mic. "They made it better, Randy. I like this version much more. Good shit, MSG. Good fucking shit."

    "Now, we've got one more song in us. Although, 'Breakout' always takes it out of me. My throat feels like sandpaper. So Randy, I'm gonna need you to run point on this one. Is that cool?" Grohl weakly coughs, clearly faking it, but Ramon smirks and nods his head, leaning into Dave's microphone.

    "I think I can manage it." Randy says with a grin. Grohl leans forward into the microphone as well.

    "Good. Good. Because this one is the most important. We've saved this one for last. Chris Kennedy... I want you to listen to every single word that comes out of Randy Ramon's mouth. You made your big return, kept your streak alive and won the World Title, well guess what? No one fucking cares." There is a ferociously loud cheer in the Garden for that one. "Chris Kennedy, you are 'The Pretender'."

    Another loud cheer rings around MSG as they find out what the final song of the night is going to be. Ramon is still buzzing from the high of the fans using his name in Danny Toner's chant. The calm opening notes of 'The Pretender' plays and Ramon leans into the microphone with his eyes closed before he begins singing.

    "Keep you in the dark,
    You know they all pretend.
    Keep you in the dark,
    And so it all began..."


    The song's pace picks up and Ramon's intensity increases with it. Every word is spat out with such conviction that it is undeniable to anyone that he truly believes the lyrics to the song.

    "Send in your skeletons,
    Sing as their bones go marching in again
    They need you buried deep
    The secrets that you keep are ever ready
    Are you ready?

    I'm finished making sense
    Done pleading ignorance
    That old defense.
    Spinning infinity, boy.
    The wheel is spinning me,
    It's never-ending, never-ending.

    Same old story...

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    You're the pretender!
    What if I say I will never surrender?

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    You're the pretender!
    What if I say that I never surrender?"


    Chris Kennedy has defended the FWA World Championship countless times against countless challengers. None of them were Randy Ramon.

    "In time, or so I'm told,
    I'm just another soul for sale, oh well!
    The page is out of print.
    We are not permanent.
    We're temporary, temporary.
    Same old story...

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    You're the pretender!
    What if I say I will never surrender?

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    You're the pretender!
    What if I say I will never surrender?"


    Randy Ramon was probably never even on Chris Kennedy's radar as a potential threat. It is his ignorance that is going to cost him the championship that he'd just almost murdered Michelle von Horrowitz to win at Lights Out.

    "I'm the voice inside your head you refuse to hear.
    I'm the face that you have to face mirrorin' your stare.
    I'm what's left; I'm what's right; I'm the enemy.
    I'm the hand that'll take you down and bring you to your knees.

    So, who are you?

    Yeah, who are you?

    Yeah, who are you?

    Yeah, who are you?"


    Who was Chris Kennedy? What were his real intentions for coming back? Is this nice guy stuff just an act? Randy Ramon doesn't give a fuck.

    "Keep you in the dark
    You know they all pretend...

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    You're the pretender!
    What if I say I will never surrender?

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    You're the pretender!
    What if I say that I'll never surrender?

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    (Keep you in the dark)
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    (You know they all)
    You're the pretender!
    (Pretend)
    What if I say I will never surrender?

    What if I say I'm not like the others?
    (Keep you in the dark)
    What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
    (You know they all)
    You're the pretender!
    (Pretend)
    What if I say I will never surrender?

    So, who are you?

    Yeah, who are you?

    Yeah, who are you?!"


    Randy Ramon knows who he is.

    Soon, Chris Kennedy and the rest of the world will too.

    "Rockstar" is ready.

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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread



    The Stars Come Out In New York, New York!
    E! Online reports live from the red carpet of Rupert Watkins’ latest exclusive gala for underprivileged children in Asia… find out what Tom Brady, Tom Hanks, and Tom Petty wore on the red carpet!
    By TRISHA SPINOLLI
    OCT 16, 2021 20:42 PM TAGS>



    Watch: Labron James, Wes Anderson, and Francesca DiMiaco amongst those on the red carpet.



    The stars were out bright and clear in New York City, New York last night as the 14th Annual Watkins Tibetan Orphan Foundation Gala attracted a veritable who's who of business, film, music, and - of course - wrestling. The charity event, which is believed to have raised upwards of four and a half million dollars, was closed off to the media, though E! was on the red carpet to watch all of your favourites arrive in Downtown Manhattan.

    “It’s always remarkable to see just how many people care about Tibetan Orphans,” Hans Henderhausen, Executive Vice President of the Watkins Group, told us on the red carpet. Henderhausen’s responsibilities lie in ‘Global Brand Management’ and ‘Altruism, Outreach, and Synergy’ for Rupert Watkins’ company, according to the organisation’s website. “When Rupert and I set this foundation up fourteen years ago, we had no idea that our little annual gala would blossom into something this grand and this beautiful.”

    The preparations for the gala were protracted and much delayed, but Henderhausen’s proclamations of this grand, beautiful event were well-founded. Well, at least that’s the way it looked from the outside. Reporters and vloggers lined the red carpet outside of the building to watch on as a huge amount of stars descended upon Manhattan. From Hollywood came Tom Hanks (along with wife Rita Wilson), George and Amal Clooney, Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan, producer Kevin Feige, directors Wes Anderson, Takeshi Kitano (who is believed to have flown in from Tokyo with Watkins on his personal jet) and Joel and Ethan Coen. From the world of business and technology, we spotted Mark Zuckerberg arriving with a large number of associates, alongside executives from ByteDance (which owns Tiktok) and Dèlon Musk, the French half-brother of Tesla owner Elon. Sport was also represented well at the gala, with three world heavyweight boxing champions, four superbowl winners, three NBA finals participants, two Wimbledon champions, a Ballon D’or recipient, and Rupert’s own son Jean-Luc Watkins, a figure from the world of professional wrestling, in attendance. The scientist Lawrence Krauss arrived as a personal guest of Rupert Watkins, and sat next to Kitano on the main table of the lavish dinner to follow.

    Check out our full gallery from the red carpet right here!

    We live tweeted our coverage of this exclusive event, with many of the night’s guests stopping for us to share what they’re wearing, praise for Rupert Watkins or the Watkins Group, and - very occasionally - their thoughts on Tibetan orphans.

    “It’s really great to be here,” Tom Brady said. Of course, the Tampa Bay QB stopped as soon as he saw the E! cameras on the red carpet. “You know, when Rupert asked me to come along tonight, Gisele and I were honoured to head out and help fight for that new orphanage. Rupert really is one of the good guys, you know? With all of that money, he could just as easily lock himself away in his ivory tower and watch the world burn. But here he is, throwing a gala. Great man!”

    Gisele Bündchen, Tom’s wife, whole-heartedly agreed.

    “I first met Rupert… God, twenty years ago now, I think? When Jean-Luc was just a child. I know that the Tibetan orphans are very close to Rupey’s heart.”

    When asked who was watching the kids, Brady smiled widely and told us his O-Line had that responsibility tonight. ”Go Bucs!” he added, before disappearing into the event.

    < Read More >

    -----

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    @ShakeMeltzer here for PWOutsider from the clumsily named ‘14th Annual Watkins Tibetan Orphan Foundation Gala’. It’s a crisp evening here in New York, and I’m out on the streets lining the red carpet, shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow intrepid journalists. And I'm ready to bring you news and interviews with any @FWAofficial stars who aren’t still in Japan…
    6:48 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    I’ve spotted the guys from the @TurnbuckleWeekly podcast and @DerekSilver is here somewhere, too. The event is gaining major mainstream attention also, with many A-Listers expected to answer Rupert’s call tonight. I’m currently standing between a young man reporting for the @Guardian in the UK and @TrishaSpinolli from @Eentertainment, who has an army of photographers behind her. I feel somewhat left behind with my iPhone.
    6:53 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    Only journalists from @Forbes are allowed inside the event. @RupertWatkins, of course, owns a large stake in Integrated Whale Media Investments, the main investor in the publication.
    6:54 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    Rupert Watkins just arrived in a limo. He emerged with a couple of his executives and Japanese film director @KitanofromBR. Rumour has it that Kitano is set to direct the next picture for @FWAFilms after the critical success at Cannes of @iamWesAnderson’s The Royal Turnbuckles last year. Rupert didn’t stop to speak with me, though did share a brief conversation with Silver, who reports for @MeltdownFWA in an official capacity, of course. One of Watkins’ suits made a b-line for the E! guys. They’ve been popular all night. @KingJames spent fifteen minutes with Spinolli talking about his suit.
    7:04 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    @BellConnelly arrived with @iamWesAnderson in a pink Cadillac, the pair engaging with the press only briefly on their way into the event. Bell’s bubblegum pink dress was heavily photographed as she shuffled up the red carpet, and she gave me only a brief moment before she went by. It looks like a third MvH match isn’t on the cards any time soon. “Over my dead body. Which is probably EXACTLY what Michelle wants”. Anderson confirmed that the rumoured Royal Turnbuckles sequel has been shelved indefinitely, but that he intended to return to it at some point in the future. Connelly spoke at length with Trisha about the Tibetan orphans that she’d met on-set on Everest for her motion picture ‘Mountain Woman’ (2017), explaining that tonight’s gala would raise funds for an issue very close to her heart.
    7:14 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    Rupert Watkins and one of his executives, who I’ve since been informed is @HansHenderhausen (whose responsibilities include the Watkins Group’s altruistic outreach), are still doing the press rounds on the red carpet. Watkins had a lengthy conversation with Mark Zuckerberg for reporters from the @FinancialTimes and Bloomberg @business. Watkins, of course, was featured on the cover of last week’s @Forbes magazine, and will be looking to capitalise on the buzz about his forthcoming deal with various social media giants. Zuckerberg has since disappeared into the gala along with his hefty entourage, whilst Watkins reunited with Henderhausen to talk to reporters from @lemondefr and @BILD.
    7:22 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    @CalRobinson arrived and spared a few minutes with us. He was mostly hyping the forthcoming #SecondChapter, and spoke at length about #Fallout006. “I take it you saw the first BWW show? The setting is going to be one of a kind, and I think we’ve got a great card. The main event is something else. The number one contendership match is ANYONE’S. And, of course, Alyster Black might win his shot at the X Division Championship. Jean-Luc is going to be here in New York City tonight, I’m led to believe. I’d have thought he’d want to be training. But I’m just an executive.” He shrugged, smiled, and fist bumped, and then he and his date were on their way.
    7:29 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    @DinorahRedgrave was dropped off in a yellow city cab and ignored everyone except for Rupert on her way along the red carpet. The two shared a brief, curt word before she disappeared up the steps and into the gala. Dinorah, of course, is expected to appear on the forthcoming @BWWofficial #LostTreasures 4 show in Papua New Guinea, though some sources are reporting that the Slammer is currently shipwrecked somewhere between Hong Kong and Singapore. PWOutsider, of course, is reporting on that situation alongside tonight’s charity gala, with a special @TheIrishGaijin report due later this evening (but probably will be late).
    7:34 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    Rupert Watkins has finally disappeared into the building, just moments before his son, @JLWofficial, arrived in a Mercedes with Italian model @FrancescaDiMiaco (no relation to CWA wrestlers Joey and Paul). The paparazzi went wild for Francesca, who just completed a season in Europe on the catwalks of Milan, Paris, and London. Jean-Luc affected a casual air whilst standing next to her, and within earshot his contributions to most of the journalists assembled on the red carpet pertained to the event and his father’s organisation thereof. He flipped Derek Silver the bird on his way past, but had a few words with the @TruroPuro on his way to me.
    7:45 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    Jean-Luc spent a few minutes with myself whilst his date posed for Trisha. Jean-Luc seemed to be in good spirits about the Alyster Black match, and said he’d been in training ever since he agreed to announce the Warehouse Trios tournament and his father’s involvement in the FWA became apparent. “The boy scouts taught me something and it was to always be prepared,” Jean-Luc said, his easy charm apparent and infectious…
    7:47 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    “I was pretty sure that this is what I wanted to do when I first agreed to come back to the FWA,” he said, looking as sharp as ever in a black @TOMFORD suit. “And the Warehouse Trios Tournament confirmed that. It’s a shame they never released that footage. Remarkable tournament. But I’ve been working with a team of trainers since I sat down at the Fallout booth. Added twelve kilograms so far. Not enough, but a start. One would have hoped for a gentler first challenge than Alyster Black, sure. But I’ve always taken things as they come, Shake.”
    7:49 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    I pointed to some respect for Black in his words. Jean-Luc nodded in agreement. “Look, I’ve watched the man every week since Paris. And I’ve REALLY watched the man. Called his holds, analysed what he does in the ring, identified his weaknesses. It may have only been in Berlin that I was truly alone, but with Price at the booth alongside me I’m doing the heavy lifting solo every week. There’s not a man or woman on the FWA roster who I don’t know like the back of my hand. I may be a little out of shape, and I think a thick layer of ring rust will be knocked off me by the first few forearms, but…” - here, JLW tapped his temple with an index finger, a wry smile appearing on his face - “... this hasn’t given up on me yet.”
    7:52 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    When asked whether this match was a one-off, and if he would be staking his own claim for an X Division Championship shot if he were to beat Black: “Well, I don’t think the X Division in its current condition is really for me. I was never really about the barbarism, Shake. But I would like more, of course. Win or lose. There is the fact that I am contracted to commentate on Fallout through to the New Year, and father has given me special dispensation from these duties for the Black match. He likes me at the booth. Hell, I like BEING at the booth. But I can’t do everything. We’ll have to wait and see. Non-committal, I know, but that’s where I’m at.”
    7:54 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.


    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    I pointed to a recent Twitter exchange between himself and @ChrisPeacock, where Disco’s Last Warrior challenged him to a match in Melbourne on #Fallout007. JLW laughed this off. “I know that Peacock and Price are sort of boys and he wants to protect him. But Price is a grown man! He shouldn’t need any protection. I understand things from Chris’ perspective. He’s probably never seen me wrestle, I’d wager. We’ll see what he’s saying AFTER the Black match. I laugh him off because that’s PRECISELY what he’s doing to me. He wants to pad his record, a DISMAL record I might add, by challenging announcers. But cripples and cravens are what he’s used to at the booth, and even then he lost.”
    7:56 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    With his date signalling that it was time to enter, and that the gala was about to begin, I asked Jean-Luc if he had anything to say directly to Black. He flashed me a devilish grin in return. “You know that’s never been how I operate. Pen mightier than the sword, Shake.”
    7:57 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    PWOutsider
    @PWOofficial
    So there you have it, ‘wrestling fans’! The doors are closed and, if the Watkins family’s renown for strict adherence to timekeeping and general good organisation is to be believed, the gala underway. The rumours that MvH’s absence from the Slammer could be explained by her attendance tonight in New York were unfounded, it seems, and a potential run-in with long-time rival Bell Connelly will have to wait. As for Jean-Luc Watkins, he seems in good spirits ahead of his battle with Alyster Black, but I worry that he’s in for a rude awakening with the new breed of X Division stars…
    8:03 PM. October 16, 2021. Twitter for iPhone.

    -----

    From the journal of Jean-Luc Watkins.
    Sunday 17th October, 2021.

    Arriving at the gala stirred re-ignited something in me that, I must admit, I’d thought died completely back in 2017. Henderhausen, one of father’s many, many much-trused employees stooges, had reliably informed me that this was the fourteenth such extravagant shindig for his pet project. Something about a Tibetan orphanage. You’d have thought that, after fourteen years, those Tibetan orphans would have had the finest palace west east of the Taj Mahal by now. Big orphan problem in Tibet. But enough about orphans. How depressing. This tale is dour and unfortunate enough without introducing that hot topic.

    Fortunately, Henderhausen had planned a gala that, though gathering funds for said orphans through media contracts, auctions, advertising, and - most importantly - donations from its wealthy attendees, made no real mention of the Himalayan childr boys and girls that we were ostensibly garrisoned here to speak up for. The flight to New York has been quite boring, and instantly forgettable uneventful, and I’d done little with my time when I got here other than sit inside my hotel room on the sixteenth floor of The Regis. Father was two floors above me and invited me out to dinner with him and a few of his friends but I had no interest in reminiscing with the old boys about the sixties or the seventies or, if I was lucky, the eighties the good old days. Instead I ordered room service, drank champagne, and picked out my outfit for the gala. I chose a black Tom Ford suit over a green Cavalli number which I deemed a tad too ostentatious for what was, after all, supposedly a serious and thoughtful event. I paid homage to Roberto regardless with a simple white shirt with a Mandarin collar along with a Moreno silk tie (dark red) and a three-button black waistcoat (also Tom Ford). I cut a dashing figure, and the clothes did a good job in hiding the weight loss that the whisperers continually harped on about.

    As for a date, I asked Jennifer but she was in Los Angeles, and Molly was stuck with family in Idaho. I didn’t even know she was from Idaho. Imagine dating a girl from Idaho. Part of me thought about asking Michelle, and a larger part of me thought she’d be up for it, but she was somewhere between Hong Kong and Papa New Guinea by now (note to self check spelling). Francesca, Ekaterina, and Feng were all in New York and Francesca seemed the best option of the bunch three, so we arrived together. Randolph, my driver in America the U.S., decided to take the Merc. I let Randolph choose which car we drive whenever I’m ‘home’, which I think is pretty great of me.

    Anyone reading this (which of course nobody is, considering this is my private journal, unless it is sold on after my death, in which case you should probably stop reading that’s quite disrespectful) would probably question the logic in flying from Tokyo to New York and then back to Brisbane in order to attend a charity gala. I believe in global warming I am aware of climate issues, of course, but my father asked me personally to be in attendance. It wasn’t often that he asked me to do anything, and now twice in the space of a month he’d made a request of me. Me: the black sheep of the Watkins family. Of course, I’m an only child, which makes this fact even more disheartening. But first it was the Alyster Black thing. Lord knows I’d asked him half a hundred times to book me in something. Anything. Your place, Jean-Pierre, he’d said (father was the only person who still used my birth name), is at the commentary booth now. He had no idea how difficult it was to sit a few metres from the action, to be able to smell the sweat, hear each and every blow… and to just talk. Itches need to be scratched. But, finally, he’d relented, and I was being installed as some sort of gatekeeper for the X Division Championship.

    As best as I could make it out myself (which is something I had to do, considering myself and the old man spoke infrequently), this was the idea. And it sort of made sense to me, given that my only real accomplishment in this company five years ago (five years ago God five years ago) was briefly holding the championship that Alyster desires today. But that championship is very different from the one that I possessed all those years in the past. Now, it is the home of the bloodthirsty, the unhinged, and the ill-balanced. Back then, when myself and Mike Parr and Thomas Jordan (and, I guess, Dave Sullivan) were making waves together, it was something else entirely.

    But look at me. I’m meandering. I was telling you about the gala.

    The reception room was a tall building with a white marble staircase, wooden floors, a high ceiling (adorned with five chandeliers arranged as if they were the vertices of a regular pentagon), and huge windows on the eastern and western wall. A host of attendants waited on the other side of the door, ready to take your coat and offer you a gla flute of champagne in return. All of the staff were smiling happily as they busied themselves in whatever tasks they had been assigned by Henderhausen or one of his underlings. As Francesca and I were approached by one such servant, I removed her coat from her shoulders and planted a gentle kiss on the back of her neck. Her skin, revealed in greater quantity by the removal of her sable fur jacket, was naturally bronze and immaculate and intoxicating. She smiled under the weight of my kiss and then took my hand, ready to be led into the ballroom.

    Dinner was astonishing. Whilst we waited for the meal to start and the guests to be seated, yet more servants attendants (the more handsome of which were kept for this task and the serving of dinner) brought around canapés on silver trays. The best of these was a small assortment of figs, goat’s cheese, and lavender honey that was as delicious as it was underwhelmingly portioned. There were also jellied red king crab, rabbit pate and black truffle, smoked duck fillet served with tomatoes, artichokes and parmesan, Kamchatka black crab, and beef tartare with avocado. I tried all of this except for the avocado-based dish, having just read an article in The Spectator this month about the amount of water used in the production of the fruit. Francesca ate very little all night despite being done with her catwalk season, and laughed at my excellent joke about us both requiring a bulking phase.

    It was only after we were seated that I first caught sight of my father, sitting in a central position upon a sort of dais in-between Henderhausen and Montgomery, the Watkins Group’s Head of North American Operations. He ate little, but spoke in a somewhat frantic hurried and urgent fashion with the two executives at his side. It seemed as though he’d had little chance to converse face-to-face with his staff state-side, given his involvement in the elongated European Fallout tour.

    The starters arrived. I had ordered octo squid with fried artichokes, Catalonian onions, and purple radish. I picked at it, allowing the delicate flavours to settle on my tongue slowly, whilst Francesca engaged me in small-talk designed to bridge the gap since we’d last been in each other’s company.

    “You’ve been gone a long time now,” she was saying, rather obviously. Francesca was beautiful but she invariably said really obvious things. I had met her at one of my book launches back in 2013 for Baku With a Bang, a self-help book that charted my story through the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Azerbaijan back in 2011. Her positivity was helpful. It wasn’t easy writing a motivational piece about an event that I myself considered a disappointment and a great professional (and personal) embarrassment. “I was beginning to doubt you’d ever come back. I’ve been watching you. Well, listened. Must have been strange being back in Berlin…”

    She wasn’t referring to the things I’d written on the internet half a decade ago. Only Michelle had such an eye for detail. But she knew I’d lived there, just after I’d left America and before I arrived in Moscow. 20178, or around then. That time is a blur. I do my best to blur that time. But it had been my time with Dreamer, and was noteworthy to me now only for this fact. The location of the memory could’ve been Berlin or Shanghai or Timbuktu. This was an insignificant point.

    “So you know what I’m doing in Brisbane?” I asked, after swallowing down a small amount of the tender squid. Francesca was pushing her food around her plate. She’d chosen the king crab ravioli but didn’t seem particularly enamoured by it.

    “Oh, I saw,” she said. The Italian girl had turned paler than me, if only for an instant. She closed her eyes and shook her head, frantically but briefly, as if trying to shun the thought of my Australian engagement. “I don’t know why you have to get involved with that savage.”

    “There are plenty like him,” I answered, noticing that I was smiling at the prospect. “Besides, it’s not an X Rules match. There’s only so much he can do to me. And I’m not bad at this myself, even if nobody else seems to remember that…”

    “Don’t be so sure,” Francesca said. She quickly realised the need to clarify. “I mean, I remember what you were. But these guys now… a lot has changed in five years. X Rules doesn’t need to be a thing for you to get hurt out there. It’s safer behind the commentary booth, if you ask me. Which, I know, you aren’t…”

    I was finished with my appetizer and, almost instantly, one of the help serv waitors arrived to take it away. I couldn’t remember what I’d chosen for the main but enjoyed being surprised. When it came out I was delighted to see fresh pike perch with fried chanterelles, a poached egg, and a rich white wine sauce. Every bite of it was heaven, and I neglected to even offer Francesca a bite of it. She didn’t seem to mind. She flitted between telling me about Milan, which was her favourite city along her recent and hugely successful tour of Europe, and talking across our table to Joel Coen about a small role in his next film that he thought she’d be perfect for. The film was called Fargo 2: Even Farther and production started on set in Missouri Minnesota in early 2022. Across the room I watched Bell Connelly talking with Wes Anderson, who she’d ostensibly been paired with for the evening, and remembered the argument that I’d had with Michelle about the woman three years earlier. Only snippets of it remained to me and I was happy about that fact. At the head of the room, my father sat with Henderhausen, Montgomery, Takeshi Kitano and Laurence Krauss. Krauss was explaining redshift to a thoroughly enraptured Kitano, who took notes on the concept on a napkin.

    For dessert I had a tangerine honey cake with sour cream but was essentially full by this point and just picked at each component for a hint of the flavours, each of which were different but sublime. I went into the smoking room for a cigar and spoke to Caroline Hyde for a short while. She was pleasant enough but I grew tired when she started speaking about crypto like she invariably did at these events. I made my excuses and moved out into the gardens, taking in the lilies and the hydrangea and the tulips, occasionally lowering myself towards a particularly vibrant plant to see if it smelled as good as it looked. Whilst I made one circuit of the perimeter of the gardens, Tom Brady passed by in the opposite direction with his toothy grin and wished me good luck for the Black match. He didn’t stop to talk and I was glad. He knew I was a Patriots fan and a sore one, at that. Nancy Pelosi and Tom Hanks were inspecting some plants that climbed up the walls of the white stone building itself. Nancy was sure they were Hoya Carnosa, whilst Tom laughed her off and proclaimed them to be Hindu Rope. As I was about to re-enter the gala, I saw Tyson Fury smoking a cigarette by the door. I’d met Tyson a few times whilst on the amateur tour and he remembered me, asked me if I’d like to call his next match, clasped me by the shoulders, and told me - with great clarity - that Alyster Black was a total dosser. He kissed me on the forehead and sent me on my way.

    When I got back to the ballroom I danced with Francesca for what felt like a long time. She was a good dancer. I used to be, but it had been a long time and I was clumsy and couldn’t really remember the steps.

    All-the-while, father was making rounds of the room a circuit of the room akin to that of a general surveying his troops. He was strategically attempting to keep all of his guests happy and successfully maintain all of the irons that he currently had in the fire. His biggest engagement of the night was with Zuckerberg and Chen Xao, an associate of Zhang Yiming, about a proposed partnership between the Watkins Group and the social media giants. Father’s original business was in infrastructure, and as the times had moved into a more technological age he, unlike many of the men he’d shared dinners cocktails and lapdances with on his initial rise, changed with them. I didn’t see Dorsey anywhere. I feared for FWA twitter accounts under the weight of my father’s belligerent hands. Alongside Zuckerberg and Xao, he spent a large part of the night with the writers journalists from Forbes, and also circulated amongst some of the other guests when the bulk of his business was done. It was after eleven, when dinner was behind us and the dancing was in full swing, that he called for me.

    I was escorted into a backroom by one of his assistants and found it to be a large library. It had been converted into an office thanks to the installation of a long, oak desk that looked remarkably similar to the one in father’s office across town. Part of me wondered if he’d had it transported across New York for tonight. I didn’t ask the question. Father probably had many desks for such occasions. He sat behind the desk and looked up from his work as I walked in. I nodded, and he begrudgingly reciprocated. I wondered what he could possibly be working on tonight, when his gaze and his kind heart should be turned squarely upon the orphans of Tibet.

    “Please, sit,” he instructed. A waitress brought me a whiskey - Japanese, both the girl and the drink - and placed two ice cubes into it before retreating into the ballroom. Father already had one for himself and had a bottle, a third gone but two thirds waiting hopefully, next to his glass. “Are you enjoying the gala?”

    I nodded again and sipped at my whiskey.

    “It is a good gala,” I answered. “The food was exquisite. Europe was something, culinary speaking, but it’s good to be home in New York.”

    He grunted, as if in agreement.

    “I hear that you are in training,” father said, returning his gaze to his papers. His pen brushed softly but deliberately against them as he absently continued the conversation. “Anything more than sparring yet?”

    “Tomorrow,” I told him. “Some old friends from NECW and MPW are coming to New York. Match drills. Stress-testing. That sort of thing. Otherwise, no. I had arranged for some aboard the Slammer, also, but…”

    “But what?” he asked, still staring down at his papers.

    “But then you asked me to come here,” I answered.

    Father nodded, as if bored utterly uninterested. He leant back in his chair and looked me up and down, and had a countenance in place that suggested he understood me thought he had the measure of me.

    “You know,” I started, shuffling in my chair. “It’s quite pleasing that, after all these years, you’re finally going to see me wrestle.”

    “Now come, Jean-Luc,” he answered, staring right through me. “You know I don’t watch the product.”

    I did know that. I guess I’d just forgotten.

    “Still,” I began, rotating my glass and watching the amber liquid swirl around in it. “It is odd that after all these months, all these years even, that you’re finally coming around.”

    “What do you mean?” my father asked absently whilst signing his initials at the bottom of a page. He turned to the next one and began to scan it. A second later he was underlining words or phrases, suggesting amendments.

    “Well...” I went on, carefully. The whiskey was good and I sipped it for courage. This man, of course, was my father. Is my father. But one should not glean some suggestion of familiarity from that. The bond between us was limited to a name and some blood. That I should feel nervous before him, like some underling in his company that had been summoned to the top floor to answer to the boss, was not a new state of affairs. I was used to it, but never comfortable.

    “... I boxed for four years, and then wrestled for three. Seven years, from 2010 until 2017. The rings might be different sizes, but the idea is the same, really. And, generally speaking, you wanted nothing to do with any of it. But now? You run the best brand in the biggest wrestling company in the world, and I work for you. Next week, I’ll wrestle on that brand.”

    I paused, smiling to myself as I perused the names of the books on the shelves. I hadn’t read any of them and had heard of very few. I leant back on my chair, some of the discomfort from earlier draining away as I sipped more of the whiskey.

    “I guess we have come a long way. I remember you chastising me at Christmas dinner, and at Thanksgiving dinner, and at Mother’s birthday dinner. Every year for, I don’t know… three, four, even five years? Until you finally just accepted it in begrudging silence. But now, I’m to go against Alyster Black, a man who has been undermining your authority here since you started… since we started building this thing…”

    Father stopped writing on his papers. His eyes ceased in their constant scanning from left to right.

    “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I won’t let you down, father.”

    The old man placed his pen down next to the contract in front of him and, for the first time in what felt like a long time, he looked up at me. He sat back, affecting the same casual air as myself, but with none of the warmth or candour. He was closed and superior. His face was almost a sneer.

    “Jean-Pierre,” he started, spitting out the second half of my birth name as if the memory of it stirred his scorn. “Do you know how long it has taken me to find a manner in which you can actually contribute to everything that I have built for you?”

    He let the question hang between us for a moment.

    “Do not misunderstand me. I am not talking about what you can do inside the ring. I am fully aware of the extent of this. Of your limitations. Cal’s report was quite comprehensive. I also know what you’ve been doing with that sociopath from Meltdown in the years since you last wrestled. I know quite a lot of things.”

    He shook his head, leaning forward again, but never once taking his eyes from my own whilst he was speaking.

    “But I have tried, Jean-Pierre. I gave you all of the opportunities that a boy could wish for. The best schooling. Contacts at the world’s top universities. Not to mention the donations. None of this was cheap. And yet you still insisted on having what few brain cells you had knocked from your head in a boxing ring. But I was sure that, with time, your place within the company… within my company… would be found. We just had to be patient. If it wasn’t in marketing it would be in research, and if not in research then in outreach. Whichever field you wanted to thrive in, I would have stacked the deck in your favour. But you went through your early years with apathy. Allowing yourself to be distracted by your dreams of lycra. And all-the-while, as you squandered away the last of your youth wrestling for a hundred people in Maryland, you failed to recognise this industry’s one redeeming feature: the profit to be scraped from the top of it.”

    He said this as if it was a simple truth, and everything else irrelevant.

    “And, at the booth, you can actually help me now, Jean-Pierre. As if by some happy accident, what was once a great personal shame has become your biggest asset. Your tenuous and short-lived foray into this world lends you legitimacy, and next to Price you look a world-beater. This is what you need to do, Jean-Pierre. Focus your thoughts and your attention on commentary. That is my advice to you.”

    I thought about the proposition. The contradiction weighed heavily.

    “Then why did you book me in this match?” I asked. “Don’t you care about the X Championship?”

    Father smiled.

    “Of course I do. But Mr. Black is as good a man for that belt as Mr. Savage. He’s quite marketable, in his own way. He does a lot for some key demographics. We picked him for a reason, Jean-Pierre. And as for your involvement? I am hoping that Mr. Black can do me a favour, just as I’ve done him one with this opportunity. It’s about time you put your childish dreams behind you, albeit decades too late. It’s time to grow up, Jean-Pierre. Perhaps Mr. Black will finally knock some sense into that thick skull of yours.”

    The whiskey was gone but I noticed that I was still holding the empty glass in my hand.

    “You expect me to lose?” I asked. My father couldn’t hold back a scoff. He picked up his pen and returned to his papers.

    “Please try to behave yourself, Jean-Pierre. “Do not expect me to visit you in the hospital. You’ve brought this on yourself.”

    Of course, after this I left. I didn’t even wait for Francesca. She was busy dancing with George Clooney whilst Amal looked on in disgust. I found Randolph and told him to drop me off at the hotel and then to come back and wait for Francesca. In the room I wanted to call Michelle but I remembered that she didn’t have a phone. I picked up a pen and, the city of New York waking up before me, began to write this.



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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    Pop. Pop.

    “Sorry, boss. I-I panicked," says a voice in a loud, unnecessary whisper.

    “Yeah, uh. Me too," says another in a similar volume.

    There was no sound of movement. It was mostly trepidation for those infinite-feeling 10 or so seconds. Then the Touka Organization boss stood up and slowly walked to the shot victim holding their stomach. Even his walk was pensive. He softly nestled his foot against the victim's body, but there was no retaliation. Then a whisper, a muffled one, with only a few words made out.

    “... me ... for ... reason...”

    He placed his hands a mask covering the face. There was no resistance as he yanked off the mask and his face shifted to confusion.

    “Any of you recognize her?” the big boss man blasted out to his crew.

    The rest is a quick-fire of questions and information pouring out into the scene.

    “Wait! Isn’t she… boss, I think she works at The Shop?” asks one.

    “The Shop?” blurts out another.

    “She works part-time. I think her name was," there's an audible snapping sound as whoever is talking seems to be lost in his memory bank, “Mary-Lynn?”

    “So… what is she?" asks another, and the concentration trails off.

    Wild Jerry pulls his head back from the small crack in the closet door on the side of Office 545 of the Touka Organization Headquarters building. His breathing slows a bit as he closes his eyes, grappling with the danger of the situation.

    Pop pop.

    And the breathing goes to a complete halt as Wild Jerry opens his eyes as wide as possible.

    The lights are now out in the office area as the Touka Organization members begin shooting their pistols in a loud, vocal panic. As every couple of seconds passed, one of the panicked voices changed to either a complete silence or a muffled gargling of pain and fear. Wild Jerry then looked through the crack yet again to see bodies — tons of them — sprawled on the floor, desks, and chairs throughout the room. One of the glass windows was shattered broken, with a hole large enough to fit a human body. One victim had a gunshot wound in the throat. One in the brain. One that looked like friendly fire to the midsection. A knife wound into the Adam's apple.

    There was only one man still mobile. It was a man with a mask. A man who remained completely ... Quiet.

    “W-w-why?” Mary-Lynn forced out of her mouth, to no avail as Quiet didn't even offer a passing glance of pity.

    When the other victims' groans faded and she was the last person clinging to life, she let out a soft, warm, inviting smile directed to Quiet. This was the final moment of her life, as even from the closet Wild Jerry could see life slowly dim from her eyes.

    There was nothing left, as Quiet grabbed one of the briefcases on the floor and collected it calmly and confidently. Wild Jerry then turned away from the small creak, sensing Quiet's eyes pointed in his direction. There was no way to be sure of Quiet glaring over towards the closet, and Wild Jerry certainly wouldn't risk checking on this hunch.

    He felt like he could hear footsteps moving closer towards him. Again, he couldn't be sure where they were headed exactly. So to be safe, Wild Jerry took a step towards the back wall of the closet. He had everything he needed, saw everything he needed to see. Rather than a sturdy wall greeting him, he approached complete darkness. Office 545 was behind him — figuratively and literally. It was in his past, in more ways than one.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Narrator (voice-over): “Boys ’n gals, the last time we checked in on ‘ole Sauce Man, he was in a kerfuffle with Allen Price ’n that crazy disco-dancin’ Chris Peacock. ‘Ole Sauce Man is still on a quest tryin’ ’n understandin’ just where he ended up after all these years. He wrappin’ his big southern head around livin’ in 2021 when the last thing he knew was 2006 and drivin’ that tank of a van down the road late in the hot summer night.But I’d be remiss if we didn’t bring up some of that ‘ole time travelin’ nonsense goin’ around. It seems Sauce missed his meetin’ with his friends on account of helpin’ out those fellas Peacock ’n Price. So he’s hitchin’ a ride back to where he was before, in Germany. Who else helpin’ him do this … than Jesus Christ himself.”

    "So where are we going again, Mister Jesus?"

    "We're going to Berlin, Germany."

    Jesus Christ, with a halo magically floating over his head, stands next to Sauce Man, who has a white v-neck T-shirt with a BBQ sauce stain right above his chest pocket. Sauce looks up favoringly at Jesus Christ with admiration and appreciation.

    Narrator (V/O): "Now ... you all's prolly wonderin' where 'ole Sauce be comin' from. If you remember, 'ole Sauce was just whisked away through a time warp to meet up with Allen Price 'n that dancin' hooligan Chris Peacock. It's been an adventurous and eventful last few days for 'ole Sauce. Just to recap all Sauce Man been up to ..."

    Jesus Christ has a white sheet covering his entire body from neck to toe, with birkenstock sandals showing off dirt-filled toenails. Jesus isn’t the caucasian fella pop culture makes him out to be. He’s got dark skin, appropriately brown for where he actually lived, and turns to Sauce Man as one of the time-travel windows forms in a nearby closet.

    "So let me get this straight. ... You got into a car crash in 2006. Then you woke up on June 29, 2020 in a hotel room in Orlando."

    "Yeah, according to Frank, Mister Jesus."

    "And everything was vacant."

    While Jesus Christ is making statements, they have a small hue of inquisitiveness attached to them. He says them as a matter-of-fact that he doesn't quite believe.

    "Yes sir, Mister Jesus."

    "Then Frank found you, took through through a closet, and you got to 2021. And you had a match against Josh Drake minutes after you got out of the hotel room."

    "And I won, Mr. Jesus."

    "And then you time traveled with Chris Peacock to fight Special Agent Jenkins."

    "Yes sir, Mister Jesus."

    "That's the wildest time travel story I've heard in about one week."

    "One week?"

    "Well, Saul had a good one with Peter a week ago where he time traveled back to 1910 and considered killing the guy who killed Franz Ferdinand. Just think of the possibilities. How different would our world be without World War One happening."

    Sauce Man is fairly stoic in his nonverbal response, and Jesus learns he doesn't have a history buff on his hands for the ride.

    "Anyways, yeah, your story is pretty wild."

    "I keep thinkin' I can pinch and wake up but this is real, huh?"

    "Oh yeah. Chris Peacock told you that y'all were the first to time travel but you're like the 12,494th person. Alright, where should I drop you off?"

    "Anywhere, Mister Jesus."

    There's a pause, and then Sauce speaks up for something specific.

    "Actually ... right out in front. That's where I'm supposed to meet Frank 'n everyone else. If that's 'aite, Mister Jesus."

    "Yeah, but I actually entered in the location right but not the time right. I have you arriving two hours after the show."

    "Umm ... oh. Well, is there any way to change it?"

    "Nope. Let's go. Hurry. I have to meet everyone for the anniversary of the Last Supper. We're having pot roast. Except for Bartholomew. He's a pescatarian now. So we have to find some mahi. And James, the son of Alphaeus, you know, he's doing this new flexatarian thing. So it might be a flex day. Might be a non-flex day. Flex. Non-flex. Back and forth. Back and forth. It drives James crazy. I turn body into bread and bring fish but Alphaeus can't eat fish. Then I try for veggie options and he asks where the fish is at. Who knows? So we need to have some Spaghettios just in case. Gotta find the dinosaur shape."

    Before Sauce Man can question about Spaghettios being a central item of the Last Supper meal, the time travel/warp entrance materializes in full — you can't go too early or you'll get incinerated — and Jesus Christ walks forward quickly. Sauce Man looks around frazzled at the scene around him and then dips a toe into the doorway before it pulls him in without his full commitment.

    Narrator (V/O): "Whether 'ole Sauce was ready or not, life was gonna continue takin' some twists 'n turns. Little did he know what would be waitin' for him on the other side of that doorway back in Berlin. Well, not Berlin, per se. It's just a figure 'o speech. Life is a linear process — or at least it was, and can be — and walkin' through that time travel door with Jesus Christ meant he was walkin' to a future full of chaos and uncertainty. Questions were already in his mind. Questions needin' answers, for sure, but those questions would continue pilin' on up.'Ole Sauce Man ... he always gettin' into a big 'ole mess, ain't he?"


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    "So, Wild Jerry, can you explain it for me again?"

    "Yo ... loco group here. Didn't Frank tell you?" Wild Jerry says with far more than a hint of judgement.

    "Yeah, but ..."

    "But he fucked it up, ain't he? Dumbass. He don't know nothin' about this sheet."

    Wild Jerry throws his hands in the air exasperatedly after finishing his statement. Frank gets defensive.

    "Explain it then. You're the time travel expert. Maybe I missed something."

    Wild Jerry smiles, winks at Frank, and points to each member of the group.

    "'Aite, listen, here's what went down."

    Wild Jerry, who is Mexican and must always be mentioned as such, once more explains to Sauce Man exactly what happened. He explains how the four of them — Sauce, Wild Jerry, PacMan Bert, and Frank — went into a coma following the serious car crash in 2006 in cajun Louisiana. He explains how they were all in a coma for approximately 14 years. He explains how three of them — everyone aside from Sauce — woke up in 2020.

    He describes Sauce Man staying in a coma, but seeming “frozen” in place. He describes the difference in pulse, heartbeat, and breathing from their hourly checks. Then he describes how the three of them stayed for months in the hotel in Orlando, Florida, but learned of a man named Sauce Man competing in a wrestling match back in May.

    Wild Jerry then goes through how they left and began following this hoax Sauce Man in the FWA while regularly coming back to check on Sauce Man in the “frozen” 2020. Then, when he finally woke up, Frank was able to bring him from 2020 to 2021 for his match with Josh Drake.

    “So … basically what Frank said?” Sauce asks with his own judgement.

    “Frank said all that? Why’d you have me do it then, gringo? Ayye, a waste of my damn time!"

    “I thought you were the time travel expert?!” Sauce shouts with his arms going into the air.

    “I am! Frank don’t know shit.”

    “I said everything you told me to!” Frank shouts in defense of his own attempt to clarify things for 'ole Sauce Man.

    “Ayyyye! You didn’t say it right. You did somethin’ wrong. I know it. Big oaf.”

    "Alright, well I have a few questions. Follow-ups, yeah? You can answer 'em, or should I go to Frank?”

    Sauce's question has a jaded weight to it as he smirks in the direction of Wild Jerry. Even with everything going on, he still finds comfort spending time with his three friends.

    “Ask Frank," retorts Wild Jerry, none too pleased with the way Sauce said it. "He can do it just fine. You don’t need me, gringo.”

    “Frank, how’d y’all find out about time travel in the first place?”

    Frank pauses after Sauce's question and collects himself for a second before answering. Wild Jerry pretends not to listen.

    PacMan Bert is legitimately not listening. He has a portable, handheld PacMan arcade game. They make it small enough to fit in your hands, and this amuses PacMan tremendously. But his hands are a bit too big for him to replicate the success he had for years at Pizza Hut.

    “PacMan over here walked through that closet at the hotel in Orlando. He disappeared. We had no idea where he went. So Wild Jerry decided to investigate, and then he was gone! I was right confused, but all the sudden they came back and explained they found a magical time travel port...!”

    “No, no, no! You big idiota patasucia!”

    Wild Jerry is beside himself listening to Frank fumble through the answer.

    “What? What did I say wrong?”

    Wild Jerry puts his hand up as if to pause Frank's defense of himself. Now Sauce Man is eagerly awaiting Wild Jerry's explanation.

    “Listen, Sauce. This is what went down. Alright …PacMan over here walked through that closet at the hotel in Orlando. He disappeared. We had no idea where he went. So I decided to investigate, and then I went to this other place! It was Berlin! Some hotel in Berlin! I was right confused, but I saw PacMan and we went right back through the same portal back to Frank!”

    Frank's mouth is agape as he looks to Sauce Man, who looks back and shrugs his shoulder knowing exactly what's to come.

    “You just said the same thing I did but from your perspective. How it be any more helpful?”

    “Ayyyyye. You don’t know. It’s NUANCE. NUANCE. I know it. You … you do NOT. Sorry. I cannot teach it.”

    Sauce Man just lets out an exasperated mouth-breathing motion as he leans back in the chair of his Berlin hostel room. It’s a nondescript location with off-white walls covering a pair of bunkbeds. There’s a small plastic table in between and enough room for luggage near the door. A one-bulb setup hangs from the ceiling with a pull switch hanging down. It’s the definition of a cheap hostel, but for these four, it’s enough.

    “Listen … listen … we have something more serious to deal with, gringo.”

    “More serious? How can something be more serious than learning I was in a coma for fourteen years?”

    “Fourteen. Maybe. Or fifteen. Maybe. It is dependent. On your views of linear time. Yes. Linear time,” chimes in PacMan Bert, randomly.

    “And then I come to grips with the existence of time travel, Jesus Christ, and portals?” Sauce Man continues, stressing just how much everything is wreaking his brain.

    “Jesus Ch … wait, listen, gringo," Wild Jerry says, sternly. "Stop interrupting me, everyone. Bunch’a comemierdas. This IS something serious. It’s about your next match, gringo.”

    “And who ... you are ... facing. Yes.”

    PacMan Bert apparently HAS been listening, evident by his second outburst of the last minute. But he never looks up from his handheld game.

    “Listen closely. You’re wrestling someone who is friends with a legitimate mass murderer, yo. I witnessed it with my own two eyes, gringo.”

    Sauce Man's eyes go wide as he suddenly changes his focus to the inevitable face-off with his next opponent.

    “Who? Quiet? How?”

    “Time travel. I got to see it all happen, yo.”

    Sauce Man leans back in his chair as he succumbs to this reality.

    “Really? Damn.Wait … that all wasn’t a metaphor? I thought all this stuff is a metaphor.”

    “A metaphor? What's a metaphor?" asks Frank, and well-read Sauce Man jumps in quickly with an answer.

    "A metaphor is a literary tool used to depict a situation with an entirely different situation that has a similar importance and outcome for the people involved."

    "So it's like an analogy," Frank says, thinking he understands.

    "No. They are different."

    "How?"

    "I dunno. Just different."

    "Is this situation with Quiet an analogy or a metaphor?"

    "NEITHER, YOU BIG OAF!" Wild Jerry screams, taking a second to calm down as Wild Jerry's feelings are visible affected. Sauce Man makes a hand motion for Jerry to "chill" and he takes two deep breaths, closes his eyes, and looks back to Sauce.

    "He really killed a bunch of people. Some in a market. More in a drug gang’s headquarters. He’s part of this group that even caused an entire planet to get swallowed by a black hole.”

    “Wait… they got a planet swallowed? Like … indirectly, right?”

    “No, gringo! Listen to me! They caused that shit! I’m telling you, Sauce. These dudes are ROUGH. No metaphors. No analogies. No indirect. They did it.”

    “Then we gotta turn them in," Sauce says with his idealistic side coming out now. "That’s what the right thing to do is, right? We gotta go to the police. That's what we did back in Louisiana when that one guy tried to cheat in the chili cook-off. Remember? We went to the police and it was front-page news! A damn shame, too, that the guy's business got shut down. But this is what happens when you try to cheat.”

    The whole group nods in agreement thinking back to simpler times.

    “NO!" shouts Wild Jerry. "No one cares about making sauce. This isn't cheatin' in some damn contest. This is murder. And no one trusts the police.”

    “For good reason,” pipes in Frank, understandably so considering his race.

    “How come? Come on. Let’s go! You said we can go there, right? With the portals? Let’s go. We’ll conduct an investigation.”

    Sauce Man feels a sense of purpose finally as he stands up, the first to do so.

    “I feel you should prepare. Be prepare for your wresting contest. Against Harry. Yes," PacMan Bert says in his broken English dialect. "Rather than conduct meaningless investigation. Yes."

    PacMan Bert again speaks up without lifting his head or focus from the handheld game.

    "Also ... make sauce for burger tonight. We have not had a Sauce Man burger in while. Germany. Does not know."

    It doesn't fly with the group. Burgers? At a time like this?

    “Well, I’m Sauce Man. THE Sauce Man, apparently. It’s time I made a decision around here, yeah? Is this still my company? Right. So let’s go. Where are we going to? Wild Jerry, what we got?”

    Wild Jerry motions towards a closet, one of those magical closets that was suspiciously yet also inconspicuously in the corner of the room. There’s nothing magical in appearance, but all four KNOW it’s going to lead them somewhere.

    “We’re going to Georgina.”

    “Georgia? Great! I love Georgia," Sauce says, obviously not hearing the nuance of the third syllable. "Which city? Atlanta? Athens? I love Savannah. I hope it isn’t known how amazing it is yet.”

    “No. Georgina."

    "And yes, Savannah is a well-known amazing travel destination now. It's unfortunate. All the racists from Jacksonville are ruining it with weekend getaways."

    "Let’s go, yo. We don’t have to time travel, gringo. We just have to go through a portal. It’ll be the same time there. But we don’t have much time before your match, yo."

    A pause.

    "Ayyye ... Everyone ready or am I just hablando mierda for the sake of it?”

    There are two head nods, one from Sauce Man and one from Frank. PacMan Bert grunts, a sign of approval, but that isn’t good enough.

    “Leave the PacMan game here, PacMan Bert," Sauce Man says, quietly.

    “Why? I’m helpful as just any of you. Even playing this.”

    “Leave it here, you stupid German idiota.”

    "You should be nicer to him."

    “No. He's German.”

    PacMan Bert, who is German and should always be stated as such, flings his game on one of the beds and begrudgingly joins the quartet near the closet. With a few more steps, they’re off … to Georgina.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Narrator (V/O): "Now ... I don't know much about no time travel and warpin', and neither does 'ole Sauce Man. But he's gotta trust his friends. His ... amigos ... if you will. Wild Jerry is well-read in the ideas of time travel, and Frank seems to be trustworthy in whatever Jerry chooses. You need a good posse for these sort of things, chasin' down a mass murderer 'n all. Without a good posse, you ain't got nothin'. It's like my granddaddy always said ... there ain't no good rabbit in the woods if the woods are covered in smoke.

    Seems like 'ole Sauce Man is relyin' on his friends to get him some good rabbit, even with all the smoke. Does he want the smoke? Well ... he's a'fixin' to find out."

    The four enter Georgina in a basic gas station, although there isn’t much activity here in the past year. It looks desolate and abandoned, but the four emerge as if they just got through bumping a little jackle in their veins. Sauce Man looks confused enough to be confused by anyone with a jackle-bumper, while neither Frank nor Wild Jerry really fit in well with the rest of the demographic here. Without any masks covering their faces, everyone passing on the dirt road give them odd looks.

    Finally, the quartet walk up on a horse carriage for rent. It has porky little man standing next to the carriage with a pen twirling through his fingers. He immediately comes to attention seeing a prospect for customers, which he’s struggling with these days in Georgina.

    The quartet huddle momentarily and then Wild Jerry takes the lead. He’s been here before, so he can talk.

    “Aye, we are needing to go to the police. Can you take?”

    “Heeeeey, amiiiigo. What's up? Police, eh? You know where you are?”

    The porky man has overalls on covering a white T-shirt with khaki pants.

    “Yeah. I know. But the boss man wants to.”

    There’s a pause before the carriage renter finally grunts and mumbles something to himself. The carriage driver looks over to Sauce Man, the apparent "boss man" from Jerry's finger pointing.

    “Hop on in. Gonna be … a few hours to get there.”

    “We short on time. Can we speed it up?”

    Silence, despite Sauce's request, and the four pile in behind the horse. Frank notices the animal just relieved himself on the dirt road right beneath their very feet and bodies. It smells right terrible.

    The first landmark Wild Jerry points out in Georgina is the thrift shop of Mary Lynn’s uncle. He then explains how Mary Lynn died in the headquarters of the Touka Organization.

    “Was that Quiet’s fault?”

    “Oh yeah. Stupid gringo. He gaslit this girl somehow into following him into a gunfight. Never gonna end well for her.”

    They pass the market, where Quiet killed multiple people and Mary Lynn killed one. Then they pass the Touka Organization headquarters.

    “I hope you know, gringo, the police here … they don’t really do anything. It's a shame what happened to the poor girl. No leads.”

    Sauce still has hope, though, as he leans back and takes in what he wants to say.

    “What you gonna say, Sauce?” asks Frank, who is more along for the ride than i any way helpful.

    “I’m gonna say what I’m feelin’. I think that’s best.”

    “You keep this old mindset from Louisiana, gringo. It’s a new world. It’s 2021. Nothin’ black and white anymore.”

    This miniature epilogue from Wild Jerry gets Sauce Man looking quite contemplative. He leans back in the carriage and stares off into the hot sun beating over his head. The carriage slowly moves along towards the destination, which is still hours away.

    Narrator (V/O): “This was the worst part of the world for ole Sauce, but it was somethin’ he was settlin’ into slowly. He is seein’ a grey world full’a clouds ’n thunderstorms. It ain’t the down-home feelin’ from back in Shreveport ’n Lafayette. Ain’t no southern hospitality anymore, evident by that Quiet fella’ goin’ off ’n killin’ all those poor gangsters.”


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    The quarter finally reaches the police station and flies through the doors with a flurry of energy from the people in the very front, with energy sapped towards the back. Sauce Man leads the way, followed by a similarly energetic Frank. PacMan Bert is sluggish and of course Wild Jerry is apathetic to this whole ordeal.
    However, there’s a complete void of energy in the station. No one is in the front room. No one is waiting.

    Sauce Man is able to push through the doors, door that should be locked from outside public for safety purposes. When he reaches the other side, he sees just how tiny the police operation is here in Georgina. He sees rows of empty jail cells, all with the doors open and inviting anyone — literally anyone — to enter.

    “Is anyone here?”

    Sauce Man seems to be giving up as he scoffs and turns around dejectedly.

    “Ayoooo ... amigo … who you wantin’?”

    A porky-looking guy — a guy who looks like the same as the person who drove them on the carriage — pops in from a back room with a mop and bucket. He is wearing a shirt that says, “Cleaner” across the chest. It’s a button-down blue collared shirt with khaki shorts.

    “Aren’t you the guy who drove us here?”

    “Who? Me? Naaah. That … that was my … my twin.”

    Maybe? Sauce Man isn’t convinced, because this guy really looks like the exact same person except for the outfit worn. The guy even has the same unkempt bit of facial hair with patches of fuzz around his chin as the guy before.

    “We uh … we closed for the day.”

    “Closed? Y’all the police. How you closed?” Sauce asks, worried of a dead end.

    “Well, we don’t work much ‘round here.”

    “Y’all heard ‘bout some murders at a Taka Organization?”

    "The Taka? That waffle house down the road?"

    "No. The gang. Taka Organization. Ain't that right?"

    "Oooooh ... TOOO-UKA ... You gotta stress that 'TOOO' at the start."

    "Like ... TWOOOO-KA?"

    "No. TOOO-UH-KA."

    "Got it."

    "Yes! Glad I could help," says the porky man, who turns his back and heads back to a room for more cleaning, thinking the conversation is over and he fulfilled the need for help.

    "Wait, I still need help. We wantin' to give some insight on the murders."

    “Murders? Oh yeah. Murders. I heard.”

    “Yeah? Any leads? I think I might know who did it all.”

    “Oh yeah? Who you think it was?”

    “This guy Quiet. He’s a … uh … wrestler.”

    “A wrestler? For who?”

    “Uh … F … FWA.”

    “Where out of?”

    “Where out of? What you mean?"

    "Where he out of?"

    "Well, all over.”

    “Earth?”

    “Yeah.”

    “What he doin’ hear murderin’ people?” asks the fella, less for investigation and more for curiosity.

    “I dunno but he was doin’ it.”

    “Well, you got any proof?"

    “My friend saw him," Sauce says, excitedly, as if this is all the proof he needs.

    “Great. I’ll let my boss know. Might need more than that, though. We usually need cameras. He took a pic with his phone?"

    "Umm ... I don't think so."

    "Yeah. Tough luck. You know he got the head of the Touka Organization. They’re big ‘round these parts. Real big. It’s a big deal. Kinda’ an eye-for-an-eye thing here so some people are wantin’ to make some payback.”

    “Why would you go tellin’ me that? You work for the police," Sauce says, frustratedly, as he feels this entire trip was for naught.

    “Well … I … uh …”

    “Alright. Anyways … there’s a tip for the Toukas or Takes or whatever they’re called. You might have to go to earth, though, to get Quiet. I am wrestlin' his friend at Fallout.”

    "Earth? Nah, that's beyond our domain. We can't be goin' to earth 'n arrestin' people. Sorry. Good luck in your wrestling match. I'll be watchin' from good 'ole Georgina."

    "You can watch from way out here?" Sauce says, with surprise inflected in his voice.

    "Oh yeah. The WC Network is streamin' now. I don't think you got much a chance of winnin' though. You know Quiet won the Gunfight Battle Royal at Lights Out. That's a huge deal."

    "Be a big deal for me to win, yeah?"

    "Oh yeah. But I doubt it happens," the fella says, looking back to his mop and bucket, a signal for Sauce to leave him be to his duties.

    Sauce Man gets the hint and walks out of the back area of the station and to the front lobby. He returns to meeting with his three friends, his close confidants. Frank, Wild Jerry, and PacMan Bert all wait for him in mostly silence. Finally, we see Wild Jerry perk up.

    “Anything?”

    “Nothin'.”

    “I told ya’, Sauce. Stupid gringos everywhere," Wild Jerry says, with his hand against the window of the police station and his face looking out to the dirt road in front. "All masks. Except for that porky fella’ who drove us here.”

    “So what now?”

    “Now? Now you get ready for the fight. You have Quite across the ring from you in a day. We gotta get to the match. Gotta get back to Berlin and then on a plane.”

    “Why can’t we just take a portal?”

    “We shouldn’t overdo it, gringo," Wild Jerry says, with Frank nodding his head and making a big-eyed expression like "overdoing it" could have grave consequences.

    As the four leave the police station, they see the same porky fella’ waiting for them near the horse carriage.

    “Hey, can you take us back to that same gas station, amigo?”

    “Same one as before? Abandoned one?”

    “That’s what I said, yeah?” Jerry barks back, agitated.

    "Of course, my amigo! Of course!"

    Wild Jerry changes his focus from the porky driver to the boss man.

    “Yo, Sauce … I got a question for ya’.”

    As the four pile in, Sauce turns to Wild Jerry with a look of inquisitiveness. He perks up despite the feeling of exhaustion and defeated ness over his face.

    “What ya’ got, Jerry?”

    “Sauce … what is your goal of staying and doing this wrestling thing?”

    Sauce takes a second to consider it for a bit. As the horse trudges along the dirt path past the Touka Organization headquarters, he ponders a little about his impending match with a mass murderer.

    "Do I have a shot to win this match?"

    Sauce's question gets some hesitation and mumbles from the other three.

    "Tell me the truth."

    "Not a great one," Frank offers, with a pity-offering frown at Sauce Man.

    "Not good. Not after we spend time doing pointless investigation. You should be prepare. This a waste," chimes in PacMan Bert.

    "Then I'm gonna try and win. He's a mass murderer. The least I can do is beat him in a wrestling match. If he isn't going to jail, I might as well do that. It's the least I can do, right?"

    "That's the spirit!" shouts Frank.

    "Who knows? Crazier shit happened."

    Wild Jerry's statement lingers for a second.

    "Like time travel?"

    "Yeah, like time travel. Also our horse carriage rider is the only employee at the police station. That seems kinda' wild, too, right? This world is full of loco shit now. So maybe Sauce over there can win. Maybe he can beat a mass murderer's friend. Maybe."

    Sauce lets out a small smile as he ponders back to the original question posed to him.

    “To answer your question, Jerry, I think I wanna be a champion. Wear one of those gold belts.”

    “How about the Gauntlet title?” asks Frank.

    "Gauntlet title is good. Good start championship," PacMan Bert says.

    “Yo, that Frank and PacMan been doing their research apparently. Who knew these idiotas had this in 'em?”

    “I read. I read.”

    Sauce Man smiles as he looks back at Frank in the carriage. Then he looks forward.

    “Gauntlet Champion. Yeah, maybe.”

    The scene pans out to the horse carriage passing the market where the first murders took place. All we can see is Wild Jerry making hand motions, likely explaining again what he saw on his solo trip here to watch Quiet. Sauce Man follows along intently, while PacMan Bert keeps his head pointed to the ground even though he doesn't have his game in hand. Frank looks out the other direction.

    After a while, their persons slowly become nothing more than specks amid a much larger frame of Georgina landscape. The carriage trudges along the dirt road with the gas station not even visible out in the distance.

    Narrator (V/O): "It seems like 'ole Sauce Man 'n the crew didn't find what they were searchin' for? Or maybe ... they found exactly what they needed. Sometimes you find your answers hidden far in the dirt road of a land you never knew existed. Sometimes your questions aren't the questions you need'a be askin' in the first place.

    Maybe 'ole Sauce Man has a shot, or maybe he'll be murdered in the ring by a man known for murderin'. Or maybe the whole group should'a focused more on Harry and less on Quiet. You know Harry is a wizard? Anyways, we'll find out on Fallout how 'ole Sauce Man does, I suppose.

    Until next time, boys 'n gals."
    Last edited by The Golden One; 10-17-2021 at 08:53 AM.



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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread





    At first, all we can see is a gray, impenetrable wall of fog rolling over the blackened ocean. Beyond the grey, the ocean goes on forever, a vast landscape of dead bodies lost in the deep black sea, never to be found. Through a crack in the fog, Moonlight shines down into the shallow waters, sparse coral, sparkling over the rippled sand floor. Suddenly all the fish scatter as a massive ship emerges from the grey, off in the distance. It's an España dreadnought, the SS Muerte Blanca. Dauntless and formidable, the ship boasts 40 gun ports on the side, and rail guns at both the head and stern. The ship has solid gold trim on all sides, making it the most valuable ship in all of the seven seas, a fact that in itself made it ship a target for plunderers foolish enough to try to claim it.

    On the ships main deck captain Cristóbal Asombroso, known to the rest of the world as the dreaded pirate Sharktooth, stands over the dead siren known as the Dream Weaver. He's well dressed for a pirate, his regal red attire matching the color of his trusted parrot that rests on his shoulder. Having spent 40 days and 40 nights seeking the fabled creature and her treasure, Sharktooth had finally located her and laid her to rest in a hellacious stand-off. Now, in his hands, he held the most coveted prize in all the world, The famed Golden Belt of Fantasía. Sharktooth smiles as he looks at the glistening golden artifact, shimmering under the moonlight, knowing good and well that obtaining it was no easy feat. Dream Weaver was the queen of sirens, a powerful, oversized mermaid with the ability to alter reality as she saw fit, and lesser sailors, such as Silverstreak Sullivan and the Madman Michelangelo Partridge had found themselves a shallow ocean grave when seeking her treasure as the sheer sight of her caused all who crossed her to fall into a state of delirium, oftentimes killing themselves under her own hypnotic command as her glowing golden eyes met their own and her shrill, deafening voice stabbed its way into their ears. One after another, Dream Weaver had claimed the lives of the bravest pirates who'd come after her treasure. But as the Dream Weaver had spent her final hours preparing for the telegraphed arrival of the infamous Pirate Diamond Hook and his famed Golden Cannon, she had sought council with the Octopus King for protection, knowing that Diamond Hook's mythical weapon would do her in with one shot. The Octopus King warned her that there was another threat looming in Cristóbal Asombroso's ship, but Dream Weaver insisted on dismissing the pirate Cristóbal "Sharktooth" Asombroso, keeping her focus on Diamond Hook, much to her detriment. And now, after a well-time harpoon to the neck of the unsuspecting Dream Weaver that significantly weakened her and kept her tethered to the SS Muerte Blanca, followed by 45 minute battle, Sharktooth stood over the giant siren's lifeless corpse, almost taunting it, as ran his fingers over the Golden Belt of Fantasía. As the majority of his crew clanked their tankards of ale and sang a shanty in celebration, a group of 7 men began to use their combined strength to push the giant mermaids body off of the ship's deck.

    "Oh, better far to live and die, under the brave black flag I fly, Than play a sanctimonious part, With a pirate head and a pirate heart." they all sing.

    Sharktooth pays no longer pays any mind to Dream Weaver or the men who pushed her off-board. As she rolls off the side of the ship, she makes a loud splash into the dark waters, sinking to the bottom, never to be seen again.

    "Away to the cheating world go you, Where pirates all are well-to-do, But I'll be true to the song I sing, and live and die for our Pirate King."

    Knowing that every looter in the ocean would seek the treasure in his hands, Sharktooth leaves his men and climbs the latter down to the ship hull to conceal it.

    "For he is the Pirate King! And it is, it is a glorious thing. To be a Pirate King! For he is the Pirate King!"

    He heads to the very end of the ship's hull and comes to a large, wooden chest. It's a very large chest, the size of a small fishing boat, and Shark Tooth struggles to pull it open as it's so large that it typically takes two or three men pull the upper lid open, but after a few moments, the strong Pirate King manages to lift it up, revealing a plethora of gold coins, diamonds, emeralds and rare artifacts. He carefully places the Golden Belt in there, among the rest of the treasure, and takes one last satisfied look at his bounty before closing the chest.

    Sharktooth retreats to his private quarters. When he arrives at his candle-lit room, he looks out of window and surveys the ocean waves, crashing violently under the night's storm. He knows that, come morning, he'll have another challenge ahead of him, but there was no time to think about that. He pours himself a celebratory tankard of rum, one last night cap before bed. He takes little time to enjoy the rum, simply downing it almost as quickly as he'd poured it, before retiring to bed, hoping that the rocking motion of the ocean waves swaying his ship will help carry him to sleep.

    In the distance, several hundred yards away from the SS Muerte Blanca, we see another ship. It's smaller, and for the most part a more modest vessel. However, on the ships broadside sticks out one huge golden cannon, indicating that this is, without a doubt, Diamond Hook's ship, The SS Opportunity. It was rumored throughout the seven seas that just one shot from that cannon can sink any ship, this was the most powerful weapon in all oceans, and one that caused the giant mermaid queen Dream Weaver to fear for her own life so much that she never saw Sharktooth coming from behind.

    Diamond Hook stands at the ship's head, eating an apple that's been pinned to his hook, as he watches the SS Muerte Blanca disappear once more into the thick fog ahead. Proven visually, it takes a lot of fog to hide such a grand craftsmanship of wood, dread, infamy, and gold. Everything a follower of the grandiose pirate ideals could ever dream of. His eyes lazily divert from the now-hidden ship of gold to his own wildcard made of the very same material. The justifiably feared cannon of his contrasted with its bland and unimposing environment very well. The Golden Cannon was the only object on the deck that was heavy and gold. Getting even that much was a whole another nightmare for the British captain. The sounds of unforgiving steel still rang in his ears to this day, even though he played smart throughout the battles to locate and eventually reach the legendary gunsmith that forged the deadliest weapon in the seven seas after being convinced just how much Diamond Hook wanted a weapon like that. He closes his eyes, and lets the dreadful sense of guilt creep. There was a reason Diamond was the only man in the possession of the ultimate weapon, the price of this advantageous exclusivity was paid with the corpse of one of the most brilliant minds of his generation. The guilt is quick to pass and his eyes once again find themselves open, staring at the usual mixture of brown and gray. SS Opportunity kept floating, she always found her way, one way or another, just like Diamond Hook.

    The ship was named after her captain’s belief that it only took one opportunity to break or make people on the each seven of the unforgiving, infamous seas. Their waves were unpredictable, rough, non-discriminating and when it came to the worst; decisively lethal. A young woman who once had been a part of his crew had told him that the seas were unconquerable, not even by the central governments that made a habit of dominating the land and that these endless blue domains were the only places where people could go and experience an ounce of freedom during their short lives. Diamond Hook disagreed, the whole pirate business was filthy, meaningless and unnecessarily brutal. He hated it, he hated the ship, he hated the seas. Yet, he still navigated them. He had nowhere else to go and he had more skills and experience in leading a crew of unruly men to riches than he had in anything else he remembers doing. Take enough choices away from a man and he will begrudgingly walk into the inferno. A wet inferno of bleak suffering with the demon they called Davy Jones cherishing the fact that his locker will claim even the most glorious ones after just one slip-up. A dangerous dance performed on a feather. But if he managed to complete his dance, use all the tools at his disposal and get the single most coveted treasure in the entire known world, then Diamond Hook would simply have no need to concern himself with a single fucking fish for the rest of his life.

    Finally, someone interrupts him and pulls him away from his own thought loop before it finds the opportunity to escalate even further. Diamond Hook turns to meet the member of his crew that thought his words to be important enough to justify bothering the captain when he was alone with his rambling thoughts.

    “What is the matter?” Diamond Hook asks the younger pirate, who lacked his usual optimism in his expressive eyes. If anything, he looked frightened and Diamond Hook didn’t need to be a master pirate to know this signalled bad news, which he unfortunately was so getting out of a possible bad situation was on his hands either way. Without saying anything, the youngling hands his captain a piece of paper. Diamond Hook wastes no time before raising it to his eye-view and reads the ingredients of this letter.

    “Well, fuck.” Diamond grits his teeth. A storm was brewing in Devil’s Doorway and Diamond Hook very well realizes the problem described in the report will call for drastic and unusual measures. A painful sigh makes its way out of his lips and the captain tells the bearer of the bad news to forward an order to the sailing master. Both him and Sharktooth were going to have eventful mornings…and chaotic days overall.



    In the morning, Sharktooth awakens to the sound of commotion as his men are all hollering indistinctly. He rolls out of bed to see what all the racket is about, looking out his window to see Diamond Hook's SS Opportunity is now sitting beside the Muerte Blanca. Sharktooth runs to the ship deck to see Diamond Hook's men boarding the Muerte Blanca, the Golden Canon pointed at Sharktooth's ship as Diamond Hook crosses the bridge that's been laid between the two ships.

    "What is this?!?" Sharktooth asks one of his crewmen, Eli Blackbeard.

    "It's exactly what you'd think, Captain. Diamond Hook has flagged us down, it's likely that he knows about the treasure."

    Sharktooth nods in disapproval before making his way past his men, towards Diamond Hook, who'd just boarded the ship.

    "Explain yourself, scoundrel, or you and you're men will be dead before you've had a chance to fire that preposterous weapon." Shark tooth says as he approaches Diamond Hook.

    "Captain Cristóbal Asombroso, I presume. Or, would you prefer Sharktooth?" Diamond Hook asks.

    "I'd prefer you state your business, before this gets ugly." Sharktooth replies.

    "Captain Sharktooth, as defensive as you are, one would think you were hiding something on this vessel. What do you have here?" He asks.

    "That's none of your concern. Now leave, before your curiosity carries you to the ocean floor and makes it your permanent residence." Sharktooth says.

    "I would ask that you relax, Sharktooth. I'm not here for what you have on-board. Not yet, anyway. I am simply here to talk to you."

    Sharktooth tilts his head in confusion, his curiosity piqued.

    "About what, Diamond Hook?"

    "I'm sure you are already aware, but that narrow passage a few hundred yards ahead is called The Devil's Doorway, and that passage opens to the broader part of the ocean known as Parrot Bay, a common spot for the congregation of pirate ships and naval vessels. Impossible for multiple ships to pass at once, you'll often find treacherous ne'er-do-wells waiting on the other side of the passage, waiting to pick off those who attempt to squeak through. On the other side of that passage, across Parrot Bay, there are many islands and ports. Loot and gold and booty and plunder, but no treasure on God's wet earth can compare to your ship, and what you have on it. They'll be waiting for you."

    "You aren't telling me anything I don't know, Diamond Hook. I'm not worried. My ship and my men are equipped to take on anyone foolish enough to cross me."

    "Well let me tell you something you may not know then. The same opposition that stands to loot your ship for every ounce of gold you have on-board, would gladly attempt to do the same to my modest vessel, for my storied Golden Cannon. And while the reality is that this canon can sink just about any ship in one shot, yours included, it would seem I'm significantly outnumbered. Toner Blackheart and Rondeaux Redbeard have allied their ships in their quest to take you down, as have Calico Peacock and Rotten-Son Ramon. Four of the most imposing ships in the whole ocean. By the time I'd be able to fire off a shot on one of them and take me down, the other three would turn my ship to driftwood before my men would have enough time to reload the cannon."

    "Toner Blackheart and Rondeaux Redbeard are in league with each other? And you're saying that the same is said of Calico Peacock and Rotten-Son? You're sure of this?" Sharktooth asks, concerned.

    "My information is always accurate, Sharktooth. The waves are all around us, they have ears and they spread everything to the ones who know how to listen. What's ahead for the both of us is nothing but trouble. I also, believe, that like me, you're not interested in plundering the treasures that lay beyond that passage, and we're both just trying to get to the other side of it. For the time being, you and I have common interests, and common enemies."

    "So what are you saying then, Diamond Hook? What do you want from me?"

    "I'm saying that, while you and I will no-doubt be clashing heads in the future, our only hope for survival at this current juncture is to work together. A temporary alliance, if you will. You can take on two of those ships at once, I've no doubt. But all four? Even the great Captain Sharktooth can't handle those numbers. I'm not proud to admit that I wouldn't fare much better. But together? Together we can survive, Sharktooth."

    Sharktooth ponders the situation for a moment, knowing that Diamond Hook makes some fair points, but he's still somewhat skeptical of Diamond Hook's motives.

    "Very well, Diamond Hook. We'll work together to cross The Devil's Doorway and provide each other with support once we hit Parrot Bay. Then once we are in the clear, we part ways. But I'll tell you this, now. If you double-cross me, Diamond Hook, the hell that awaits you in the afterlife will seem like a sweet release from the torture you'll be subject too at my hand. Are we clear?" Sharktooth asks.

    "As clear as diamonds, Sharktooth." Diamond Hook says with a grin. "As clear as diamonds."



    "So then, several minutes later, they come to The Devil's Doorway passage. On the horizon, they see the four ships, just as Diamond Hook said there would be, their canons aimed at our two heroes..." Jerry the Sailor says to the group of people sitting at his table, a group of other sailors and a few passengers.

    "Jerry?" another Sailor says as he walks into the ships bar.

    "You're needed at the helm, I need to take my break." The Sailor says.

    "Well, I'll have to continue this story some other time, folks." Jerry the Sailor says, which is met by a collective groan from the people sitting at his table.

    "But what happened of Sharktooth and Diamond Hook? Did they survive? Did they cross Parrot Bay?" One of the ships passengers, a heavyset tourist with a large Hawaiian shirt asks.

    "I'll leave you in suspense on that one, friend. I'll be back at this bar tomorrow at 7am for my morning coffee, come find me and I'll gladly tell you the rest." Jerry the Sailor says, getting up from the barroom table and heading off.

    "Wow, a bonafide Pirates tale told by a grizzled old sailor. This Sea Shanty Slammer tour was well worth the price of admission!" Another one of the tourists, a 40-something year old woman, says to the group.

    Our scene pans to the back of the bar, where we see FWA World Champion Chris Kennedy sitting at a table across from Golden Opportunity holder Nova Diamond. The golden briefcase on Nova's side sits across the Championship belt on Kennedy's side, and as the two men lock eyes there is an uneasy silence. Kennedy takes a drag from his cigarettes' as he sizes Nova up, before taking a big swig of his whiskey.

    A finger traverses the rim of a glass of mojito, both belonging to the man who is supposed to team up with the world champion in the shores of Melbourne. Nova stares back at Chris, although his gaze seems significantly less intense, but not very relaxed either. It isn’t hard to figure out why Kennedy gestured him to come close and share the table with him. It’s also not a hard choice to decide to entertain him.

    "I'm going to be fairly transparent with you, Nova. I respect you enough to see you for the threat that you are, without a doubt. But I'm not going to make same mistake Michelle von Horrowitz did and put all my focus on you when there is a long line of others chomping at the bits to get their hands on my championship. As of now, you and I are being tasked with an unfortunate reality, and that reality is that we have to work together. So for now, that's what we are going to do. Any idea you may have of someday cashing that briefcase in on me, that's a bridge we'll have to cross later." Kennedy says.

    "We'll cross that bridge when I decide we do, Kennedy. Not you." Nova says.

    "Fair enough, sure. But you'll have to forgive me for assuming you're a man of intelligence. You can cash that damn thing on me right after our tag team match, sure. But then you'll have to defend it against Toner, Ramon, the winner of Konchu, Summers and Parr, and then the Mile High Massacre. Good lord in heaven, you'd think management was doing everything in their power to get this belt off of me as soon as possible, huh? But no, Nova. I do think you're a smart man, and I think you're going to wait for me to run that gauntlet so you don't have to. Then, when I'm tired and weakened, and the championship horizon is little less muddied, you'll strike, mistakenly thinking you have me at some sort of advantage. So go ahead and make me a liar, prove how stupid you really are by crossing that bridge sooner than later, and see how that pans out for you, bubba. I don't think you will though, and that's why I think it was rather foolish of Michelle von Horrowitz to keep looking over her shoulder for you when she had series of much bigger threats standing in front of her. You don't watch where you're going, and you're going to crash. That's what happened to her. It's not going to happen to me. So, if you're ready to cut our dick measuring contest short, let's get down to brass tacks."

    Kennedy remains silent after finishing his last statement, yielding Nova the opportunity to speak his mind, which he takes after giving the champion an amused look.

    “It’s not really a dick measuring contest if it’s only you who gets to swing his dick around and pee all over the place so that you can immediately declare the contest over, is it, Chris? You say all the right things about not pestering me all the time like Michelle did while quote-on-quote still respecting me as a threat and you think I will appreciate it just because it sounds like a much tamer approach than our tragic dreamer took before her fall. Quite frankly, I find it hilarious Chris. I get it, you have all the reasons to be arrogant and I definitely do not blame you for doing so. You’ve done it all, you’ve beaten anybody and as a wrestler myself, there’s nothing that I can do but to respect it. Obviously that makes you think that everybody should follow your example or at least believe in your words just because you are one of the greatest at the essential core part of what we do in the ring. All that praise shower obviously enables you to believe your own bullshit because to me it’s very clear that you actually believe that the shit you are pulling right now with me is somewhat different from the approach that led Michelle to her demise. Let me tell you this much, La Muerte Blanca, you are doing the same shit that she did. You are coming up to me, whipping your dick out to intimidate me but let me tell you this much, you’re doing absolutely nothing for me. I would normally take all that hot air with apathy, but I believe your case will be the same either way. Pull all the tricks on your thick and extensive trick-book but you won’t be able to phase me, not one bit. But you won’t even get the chance to get through just one page of those. Why? You want to know what I think? You will drop that belt before I even start thinking about when to shoot my shot. That is why I just want to tell you to cut out all that dickery because you shouldn’t even have got it out of your pants in the first place. I’m only your tag team partner and until that match is over, that’s all I ever will be. So, no need for hostilities, champ, let’s just play our roles as we are supposed to.”

    "You done?"

    "I was just getting st--"

    "Because it sounds like you're done. And if you aren't, I'm am. I gotta say man, you went from 0 to 60 with the quickness. Hostilities? The first words out of my mouth came by the way of offering you respect but you know what? I'm actually glad we're being honest here. It's kind of refreshing. I told you I respected you enough to see you for the threat that you are, but that level of respect is the bare minimum I have for you, bud. In all honesty, I don't care what you think of me because I hardly think of you at all. I think that's the point I was trying to make by sugar coating the whole "I won't give you the same attention Michelle gave you" thing and maybe that's why you're starting to get riled up. I don't know. You don't think I'll make it past Mile High with the championship in tact? You sound like Toner and everyone else who said I wasn't going to beat The Dreamer at Lights Out and when the time comes, I'll be pleased as punch to prove you wrong just like I did them. I'm getting pretty tired of all these piss-ants who haven't achieved a fraction of what I have telling me what I can and can't do as if they've earned that right. Danny Toner hasn't. You damn sure haven't. But all of you clowns are more than welcome to keep pretending to be adults and running those mouths of yours as if your lives depended on it. In the meantime, can you and I work together or not? That's all I really need to know."

    Nova looks away and shrugs.

    "You will work, so will I. As for together … maybe, who knows? Remains to be seen." He says, nonchalantly.

    "Cool. Then we've nothing else to discuss, I guess. Enjoy your night." Kennedy says, throwing a $50 bill on the table for the bar tab before collecting his championship belt and retreating towards his quarters, before stopping and turning around.

    "One last thing to consider, though. I know Toner and Rondo are your buddies and all that, and you might be feeling conflicted about teaming with me against them. Here's what I'm going to say about that. When that bell rings, they aren't going to care that you are part of their neat little fan club or whatever the fuck that is. What's this, their first match together since Back in Business? Yeah man, they aren't trying to lose this match. They'll be coming for your throat, same as mine. And if you are cool with bending the knee in the name of friendship, that's your business, but in doing so you'll be showing me and the rest of the world that you're not ready for this." He says as he taps on the big golden belt on his shoulder.

    "Take care."

    Both men look visibly frustrated as they part ways after their magnetic egos have collided with one another. Kennedy's face is blank and expressionless as he leaves the bar, and as Nova Diamond looks out of the window overlooking the ocean, he takes he has every expletive under the sun reserved for Chris Kennedy. However, he couldn't help but keep his attention locked in on the dangling thread Kennedy left lingering, the elephant in the room that is TxR. He could think about it for a few seconds and draw a conclusion. He could then think about it some more and draw a different one. If any part of his wrestling business experience in 2021 was the most unpredictable, it was, no doubt, that wretched door left open by the world champion. Nova downs the rest of his cocktail before getting up from his seat, grabbing his golden briefcase by its handle and turning his gaze to the bartender.

    “Put it on Danny’s tab.” He says before getting responded with a raised eyebrow and a weird look from the man who was also simultaneously cleaning another glass. “Or Ryan’s. Or a shared one if they ha-. ”

    “Nevermind.” He cuts his sentence in the middle before reaching his wallet, taking a $50 bill of his own and slamming it down on the counter as he gave the bartender an insincere smile. “Have a safe trip.”



    Throughout the history of our world, there always had been people who had seen the concepts of death and opportunity as very close. On the rule-free zone people call seas, perhaps it was because of that, that it was fitting for SS Opportunity to trail just behind SS Muerte Blanca as the temporary and uneasy alliance between Diamond Hook and Sharktooth neared Devil’s Doorway with each passing moment, bringing the captains closer to the mayhem that awaited them. The thick fog they are accustomed to sailing under reveals something for the first time in a few hours, but they both know that it isn’t good news, not at all. Cannons pointed at them and each other and two different looking ships standing in a position that seemed more than ready to be a part of this weird Mexican stand-off between the trifecta of coalitions between some very infamous pirates. The narrow passage in their view, Parrot’s Bay very close, Diamond Hook and Sharktooth share a look. A look that can mean anything but also at the same time, nothing at all. Understanding, respect or maybe even a shared strategy to survive. Diamond Hook was nonethewiser to all of that. He just knew that he and Sharktooth were in this together until they didn’t need to be and hoped the sentiment was shared in the golden ship standing next to his own. The tension was even thicker than the fog they traversed and it all took a single war cry coming from Calico Peacock to set everything up. The fire has begun.

    SS Opportunity had a crew that was modest in size but each one of them was crafty enough for Diamond Hook to recognize their talents and hire them to be his crew. During the first moments of the open combat, they had done a pretty good job of effectively keeping the firepower coming. He had them utilize every single cannon in the ship….except for one. Standing at the helm himself, Diamond Hook also liked to think he was doing a pretty good job of dodging hits. His ship was quite possibly the less majestic ship in the whole battle so he clearly lacked the luxury to have his ship tank dozens of hits before it went down. For now, his ship, his *home* kept standing and firing. Sometimes, that was all that mattered. As long as Diamond Hook could account for everything, as he often did, he had a chance of getting out alive, with, or without Asombroso by his side. All he had to do was making sure Sharktooth took the brunt of the chaos between the two and handling the rest would at least be tenable in his eyes.

    What was not tenable, however, was the projectile that just hit the deck. Not only it left a huge hole, but also released a gas into the air that did not reach Diamond Hook yet. But the main engineer of the ship, another young man with intellect beyond his years, wasn’t so lucky. Diamond Hook saw the engineer cough and even vomit blood. Diamond Hook fancied himself as someone who knew his shit but honestly, this was the first time he was seeing something like this. And a gut feeling told him that his engineer was feeling the same way too, as in his last minutes, the poor guy tried to inspect the thing before getting his sense of balance completely destroyed his sense of balance before he found himself in the water, on his way to Davy Jones’ locker. Another shot would soon follow, a different type of ammunition that once again something Diamond Hook had never seen before. He only knew that those shots came from Peacock and Rotten-Son. They used their material in ways Diamond Hook only could dream about.

    Diamond Hook turned his gaze to see how Sharktooth has fared. His ship obviously looked less damaged but he looked like he and his crew were trapped between the ships captained by the deadly duo of Toner Blackheart and Rondeaux Redbeard. They were moving fast, surrounding SS Muerte Blanca with a pattern that Sharktooth seemed to have difficulties navigating around. Good thing was that Diamond Hook knew that pattern. He regularly went bar-hopping with Toner and Rondeaux whenever they bumped into each other in friendly terms so his memory easily recalled the drunk captains explain to him how their genius tactics worked. It all stood on perfect coordination, achieved by perfect chemistry between two captains. It was not an unsolvable problem, however.

    “SHARKTOOTH!” He shouted, hoping that the decorated pirate heard him. “I KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING RIGHT NOW, THE SECRET TO BREAK FREE I-“

    “SHUT UP, DIAMOND! I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!” Sharktooth shouted back. “PISS-ANTS LIKE YOU SHOULD STOP TRYING TO TELL ME WHAT I CAN OR CANNOT DO.”

    “CURSE YOUR SEVENTH GRANDFATHER YOU PIECE OF SH-”

    “Let’s dance, Diamond Hook!”

    Appropriately, Diamond Hook turned around and was greeted with a left hook from Calico Peacock. The eccentric captain was on the deck of SS Opportunity, taking on Diamond Hook mano-a-mano for some reason. Calico goes for another punch but Diamond Hook dodges, grabs Peacock’s arm with his hook and pulls him close to headbutt the man. As Peacock went on his flat ass, Diamond Hook’s gaze briefly turned to Rotten-Son’s ship and her captain. The man with the bandana looked frustrated as it looked like his next offensive came to a halt now that Peacock was also on the ship Rotten-Son wanted to sink. Diamond Hook was not an expert on lip-reading but he felt confident that Rotten-Son was mouthing a pretty interesting curse at his coalition partner. Peacock got up again and continued with his relentless efforts to take the fight to Diamond Hook. He was doing a pretty good job of that too. DH found himself close to the edge and Peacock prepared himself for one last charge to drop the captain from his own ship. Calico ran, Calico got tripped and Calico found himself nearly falling into the sea. Trying to balance himself, Peacock took the safer option to just jump into his own ship again. Diamond sighed in relief, but there was no relief to be had as his ship continued to get gunned down. Begrudgingly, Diamond Hook left his position, he knew he had to take the ultimate drastic measure to save his own ass at the moment. He ran until he stopped in his destination. The perfection of craftsmanship and engineering was standing in front of him. The Golden Cannon. His hands raced with time as his ship continued to get absolutely peppered. He had just one shot, only one. He had to use it carefully. Even more careful than he initially thought and hoped. He aimed his perfect weapon to the line where Calico Peacock and Rotten-Son was going to be tangent to. Best case scenario, he would take two of them out at once. Worst case, only one would go down but that would still give Diamond Hook some room to breathe. He thought of many cases.

    None of them involved SS Muerte Blanca to make its way to that specific line in pace to meet Peacock and Rotten-Son. Looking back at Rondeaux and Toner’s ships, Diamond Hook observed that their ships didn’t look damaged enough for Sharktooth to break their barrier. The very same moment, Toner’s gaze met Diamond’s own and the man about to shoot his biggest shot of his life saw Toner Blackheart wink at him with a smile on his face. With thoughts too intense, Diamond Hook then saw Sharktooth, Peacock and Rotten-Son align perfectly at the same line, even though his so-called ally was the closest. In his mind, thousands of options were vanished and there were only two left. One of them was hesitation and then: death. Diamond Hook knew he would always choose the other.

    With an ear-piercing sound, a world-breaking sphere just left The Golden Cannon. Its first collusion was with fellow gold as SS Muerte Blanca crashed. Diamond Hook did not check if the shot met its actual targets, he was too busy trying to escape his own sinking ship. Golden Cannon was going to be lost, his crew was already lost but he was going to live to fight another day. He smiled as Toner Blackheart’s ship drew close. His hand was reaching for Diamond Hook. Toner was shouting but Diamond was barely hearing him. He made his leap of faith and the hand caught him. Diamond Hook was safe on Toner’s ship now. The men smiled at each other. Sharktooth was sinking to his death and the other coalition was too broken to stand a chance against Rondeaux and Toner. For a second, Diamond Hook felt…great.

    The next second, he felt a sharp pain in his back. He barely found it in himself to look back and see that Toner has stabbed him. Too weak to fight back, he felt a strong kick in his back and he was on the sea, just like many others. As he was drowning, his eyes meet Sharktooth’s own. Both men would soon find out that Davy Jones’ locker was just a myth and they were the biggest fools on the seven seas for not trusting each other even when it was their only hope for survival.



    Two pairs of eyes would simultaneously open and two men would wake up at the very same time in Yuna Funanori’s Sea Shanty Slammer. One of them is Nova, who checks the clock and sees that it isn’t even morning yet. It is close to sunrise though. Diamond reaches and grabs the water bottle standing at the edge of his bed. He takes a sip but as water usually does, it has no taste so Nova throws it on the ground again and lazily gets up from his own bed. He thought he was used to seeing nightmares but this one hit somewhat different. Felt realer too, real enough to awake him in the dead hours of the night like this, at least. He puts a jacket on and throws himself outside his cramped room. Fresh air greets him, and cold wind slaps his body despite the jacket. He takes a few steps and sees no human activity. So far, everybody seems to be in their rooms, either sleeping or doing who knows what. Well, there is one exception but Nova doubts it actually classifies as ‘human activity’ as THE POWER!!! stands motionless just outside Luna Piper’s room, guarding her…mistress? Was that the proper word for it?

    “Whatever.” Nova mumbles before moving on, continuing his walk and a gazillion thoughts accompanying him. Too occupied with them, Nova doesn’t watch where he is going and immediately is stopped after a firm bump. Nova looks at the person in the eyes, who looks like he is equally confused.

    “The fuck, Kennedy? Why aren’t you asleep?” Nova asks, not out of curiosity, but more out of courtesy.

    “I can ask the same to you, Diamond.” Kennedy replies.

    “Would you believe me if I said that it was a nightmare?” Nova lets out an absurd chuckle, because he knows the situation is exactly that. Absurd. “It was like that sailor’s story but we both died at the end. Felt very real too. Is this ship fucking haunted or something like that?”

    Nova fully expects to be mocked at this point but much to his surprise, Kennedy's expression seems anything but mocking. His head slightly tilted in confusion, Kennedy begins to chuckle to himself.

    "Oh, shut the fuck up."

    "Excuse me?"

    "No, no, I don't mean it like that. I mean, you gotta be pulling my leg, right? That was MY dream that I had last night."

    Nova pauses, and there is a brief silence between the two as they try to work this out in their minds, as if they'd been handed a puzzle to complete knowing full well that they didn't have all the pieces.

    "How would I have known that you had that dream?" Nova asks.

    "Yeah. Yeah, that's fair. Shit man, this is weird."

    "Yeah, man. There's finally something you and I can agree on." Nova replies.

    "I don't know what it means, but that's not all-to-important at this juncture. What's important here is that our subconscious states told us both the same thing. If you and I don't figure out how to work together, we are going to fail. I'll be honest with you, man. Even before the dream, I was already feeling pretty disappointed with how you and I left things. Not disappointed in you, but in myself. I could have handled things better, for sure I thought I was being diplomatic but in retrospect, there were definitely areas of opportunity where I could have approached things differently."

    “You are Chris Kennedy. Diplomacy was never your thing. I didn’t even need you to come to me and say that you respect me in the first place. I hated the fact that you felt obligated to tell me all that you did. In case I haven’t made it clear during my current run in the company: I never cared if people respected me or not. It’s not something I’m going to beg for nor I’m going to work extra hard to earn. So, I agree that we definitely couldn’t have gotten off on a more wrong foot. Don’t feel like this is all on you either because I am also man enough to accept blame and responsibility when it comes to shit like this. I’m supposed to be the wielder of the golden briefcase, the thorn in every throne, the creator of paranoia but ironically enough, ever since I won that, I’m seeing pairs of eyes everywhere, enemies, people trying to take advantage of me, manipulate me. Even when it was not the case at all. Most of the time, I feel like I’m justified in doing everything I do or saying everything I say, which I guess is a feeling you also have…but for now, it is beneficial to stop pissing in each other’s cereals and focus on the task at hand.”

    "Okay, good. This feels good, we got this. Let's talk strategy. This could go several different ways depending on who they start us with. Whether it's you or me starting the match off, our best scenario is at Toner and Ramon are kicking things off for their respected teams first. Those two have on-sight beef that is never going to get any semblance of closure so whenever they are in a match together, they just pick off where they left off. We can leverage that rivalry to our advantage, makes things really easy on whichever one of us is in the ring with them. And Toner? He's a scrappy son of a bitch. Hell of a fighter, very aggressive and unrelenting. He isn't afraid to fight dirty, either. There's a lot of leeway in a triple thread match for fighting dirty, but if the odds are in our favor and I suspect they might be, I think he'll have those tactics reserved for Randy Ramon. Just make sure that you, Toner and a steel chair aren't within the same proximity without Randy Ramon being nearby and then you're good to go. Randy Ramon is no joke, let's get that straight. Big ol' 6'5 beast of a man, a technical striker who zips around that ring faster than a man of his size should. We'd be wise to work his legs. Just go hard on his shins and knees and limit the big man's mobility. His finisher is very poor knock-off of the Bittersweet Chin Symphony but even if it lacks the grace and panache of the OG Superkick, it's still devastating when coming from a big ass, 6'5 dude who's all leg. Avoid that, not that you need me to tell you that, that's common sense, I'm just thinking out loud."

    Chris Kennedy says all this before taking a drag from his cigarette. They watch the sun rise in the distance. The sky is various shades of blue, pink, purple and orange as the light from the rising sun shines down over the rippling waters.

    "So that works, for sure. But we're operating under the assumption that Toner and Ramon are just going to start things off. It's just as likely that they don't. More likely, actually, when you consider the amount of heads in this. There could be a scenario where Toner and Ramon don't even get tagged in to be in the match at the same time, they'd just go the whole match without laying a finger on each other."

    "Alight, yeah, so that brings us to scenario two. So, say we have Ryan Rondo kicking things off instead of Toner. I've been in the ring with him a bunch. The thing about Ryan Rondo is that he always starts out strong but then gets gassed out pretty quickly. Dude just gives up really easily, he loses a lot of fucking matches. Guy has more championships than anyone in FWA history, you know why that is?"

    "Haven't ever given it any thought." Nova says calmly, listening as Chris talks his shit about one of Nova’s best friends. A semblance of tension between the champion and his future challenger remains in the air, but right now they know they have no choice but to not let it bother them.

    "It's because he's lost more championships than anyone in FWA history. See, he needs Danny Toner just as much as he needed Devin Golden, Ryan Rondo is a fucking Bugatti Veyron with a leaky gas tank. He'll go zero to 60 in 2 seconds but he's out of gas before he ever comes close to hitting top speed and he needs a tow truck to hitch himself to when that tank hits empty. That's where Danny Toner comes in. I never thought I'd live to see the day where I'd say this but in that pairing, Rondo is the weak link. If he goes in first, We'll want to break him down and end him before he ever has a chance to tag Toner in. We do that? We're as golden as the neat little briefcase of yours. It's still preferable that we bring the ruckus to Danny Toner first, but if that's the case then I'm super kicking Rondo's narrow ass off the side of the ring every few minutes so Toner can't tag out either."

    “First of all, I really didn’t expected you to sit down and think and analyse all that shit because to me, you don’t seem the type to watch and follow any shit but your own. No offense.“

    “…none taken…”
    Chris replies, it’s not for certain that if he’s lying or not but he lets his temporary partner continue anyway.

    “Well, second, I know you’re kind of the old guard in this new era of FWA and unlike Michelle, I don’t have that much of a problem with that. But you might have outdated information or at least, wrong assumptions about how some things work nowadays. If you’re going to talk about TxR, you can’t utter the words ‘weak link’ at all. Take my word on that as I know them both more than anyone else here in today’s FWA. When it comes to them, your poison will be always the one you underestimate. They looked down on Donny Toner and Donny Toner murdered them. Then they looked down and Danny and Danny murdered them. TxR will run on pure chemistry, they are both very strong characters who do everything with perfect harmony. They can change strategies on the fly and still make it look like they had been practising that for fucking centuries. They didn’t beat Golden Rock at their prime for no reason. They didn’t carry a tag team feud to Back In Business main event for no reason. You underestimate Rondo and he’s going to kill you, man. If Danny needs Ryan to maintain his engine for the whole thing, then you can bet your ass The Last Star In The Sky will outlast and outwork everyone. So, I don’t know what gave you the impression that Ryan was going to stink it up, maybe it was his recent losses but if you ask my personal opinion, he faced some of the best Fallout has to offer and I would expect you to agree given how Alyster Black spoiled your return. Plus, if you ask me, if Rondo was motivated enough, I have no doubt he would’ve eaten them raw. But like you said back in the bar, this is their first match together since BIB, this is the biggest source of motivation they are ever going to get.”

    Nova takes a moment before spitting into the sea, then turns to Kennedy again.

    “Sorry, I tend to get defensive of people I consider friends. Don’t take it personal. Either way, I’m telling you all this like their tandem is the greatest thing since sliced bread and this is an unwinnable situation for us. You may very well look at me and ask me if I consider our chances to be zero and I’m being defeatist here. No, not really. It’s a very, very tough situation to be in for anyone in the company but it’s not impossible. Danny Toner is a killer and Ryan Rondo is a machine. They can back us into a wall pretty easily and I imagine it will not be pretty, especially for you as you are going to go up against Danny pretty soon. But lucky for you, your partner knows both of them more than any partner they could’ve given you. When it comes to dealing with them, let me call most of the shots. And lucky for you, your partner also has a track record of coming out on top when his back is against the wall. I’ve done impossible, possible in the past. I didn’t call myself ‘The Man of Miracles’ back in the day for no reason, you know, even though that nickname didn’t take off and they still call me ‘24K’ to this day.”

    A cocky smirk fades quickly, the good memories also bring bitter ones.

    “Oh, Randy Ramon himself, I feel somewhat more confident about. Unlike you and me, Danny had the luxury to choose his own partner and he made his choice perfectly. Ramon had that same luxury too, but his reliance on Devin Golden in the past months hadn’t made him a lot of friends, especially not here in Fallout. The only eligible connection he had was a damaged one with Chris Peacock and he had no choice but to pick him as his partner. In the triple threat itself, you have all the reason to fear The Rockstar, but here, I believe that he and Peacock are more dysfunctional that they let on.”

    "Speaking of Chris Peacock, he might be the wildcard of the match for me. I've never wrestled the dude, but I'm always impressed with him when I watch him work. You're a little bit more familiar with him, seeing as how he he beat you recently on Fallout. I'm not bringing that up to throw shade on you, I'm just mentioning it because it's relevant and if you're anything like me, you'd have come away from that loss with an understanding of how he works in the ring and what mistakes you won't make the 2nd time around, and that's useful to us. Like Toner, Chris Peacock is a brawler and a striker, but unlike Toner, Peacock is unpredictable. The outsider looking in would look at Chris Peacock and say that, compared to the names in this match, that one of these things was not like the other and that he was the ultimate underdog here. I don't see it that way, though. I know for certain you don't. So then let me ask you, Nova. What's the play for Peacock?"

    “Oh, yes, Peacock certainly impresses everyone every time he’s in that ring. He beat me fair and square too, I can’t make excuses about that even if I wanted to. Some people may inquiry about my motivations because it was an exhibition match or whatever but I never go out there to lose. That’s fucking stupid. That match might not mean anything in the grand picture, for me, at least. But anyone using that reason to discredit Chris is an idiot. I know how that sounds and I know that raises a lot of questions about this match. What the main event of Fallout 006 means to me? Will I go all out? Do I need to concern myself with it in the first place? What would I lose by just bailing on you mid-match and letting the others feast on you? I’m not going to insult your intelligence and lie to you about this, Chris. I thought about all of that. I could just phone it in, TxR winning doesn’t make any change for me … or Rock Around The Cock … can’t believe I just said that. Whatever, it’s just another loss added to my column but as long as I have that briefcase, those are just arbitrary numbers to me.”

    After an eyebrow raise from Kennedy, Nova continues.

    “But then I realized that I wanted to go because essentially, the one thing I hate the most in the world is not actually Dave Sullivan, it’s being dead weight to other people. For years, I have been exactly that for the people I love the most in this world. I hate to feel that way, I truly do, but I just feel this responsibility to show up and fight, not just to the people, but to you as well. Or Michelle, if she had been the one to come out of Tokyo with the belt. Call it fucking instincts dude, I don’t care. I would prefer if this match wasn’t made at all but now that it is made and I’m going to go out and fight, I want to do it to the best of my ability. Just like in Paris, at Back In Business, I could’ve just laid down in front of Gabrielle and let her have her moment. But no, I can’t do that. If I’m going to be there, then I’m going to go for the win.

    Plus, everyone in the match can be the world champion before I cash my briefcase in. I know that if I consider half-assing for a single second, they will be more than willing to kill me and take out the briefcase-man before he even becomes a threat. Even Danny. Especially Danny. That’s mostly why we are friends, after all. We know how to get shit done.”
    Nova concludes, with a glimpse of determination in his eyes. It lasts for a single second.

    “Fuck, I got carried away, haven’t I?” Nova groans.

    “It’s okay, man, it actually means I won’t have to worry about the shit you just mentioned.” Kennedy says, rather cheerfully, now that he got the explicit confirmation that Nova didn’t intend to throw.

    “Anyway, Chris Peacock. I agree that he is the very definition of wildcard and quite probably the hardest person to strategise around. Both he and Ramon has so many different things under their sleeve, most of them they will unveil for the very first time too. They don’t know what limitations are, they don’t care about what makes an acceptable wrestling move, they will think so outside of the box that they won’t even remember there was supposed to be a box in the first place. Those are like that. Especially Chris Peacock. But that’s okay. Peacock is unpredictable, not just to us, to Danny, to Ryan…but to Randy as well.

    It all comes back to that. I remember it as clear as the day it happened. I’m in that chamber, I’m sitting on my ass and I watch Peacock and Ramon tower over me, discussing among themselves what they are going to do with me. Ramon was Peacock’s mentor in Ground Zero and they always had a great relationship when Peacock swam his way to the shores of the main roster. In that Chamber, I was left two-on-one. You probably know what happened then. They fucked each other. Did they even address what happened after that? No, Peacock continued to do his business like nothing happened between them and Ramon just fell deeper into his enabler. They can tell otherwise but I know those two men won’t trust each other because Ramon, especially after losing Golden, won’t care about this pairing shit. He will want to kick your head off and rip Toner apart. Peacock will realize sooner or later that Ramon's determination is going to be leave him in his huge shadow and Chris will want to hog the spotlight for himself. They are like that. Their rift will grow apart and we will get in like it’s SS Muerte Blanca and SS Opportunity entering Devil’s Doorway, you know what I mean?”


    "Good shit, yeah. This could work, man. You know, in another world out there in that great big multiverse, maybe you and I would make a hell of a tag team. Maybe even in this universe too, one day." Chris says.

    "You still gonna feel that way if I cash this damn briefcase in and take that belt from you?" Nova asks, prompting a smirk from Kennedy.

    "Don't know, man. Maybe. What was it you said earlier? 'Remains to be seen."

    The two men share a laugh as they head into the bar for some coffee. In the future, they may be adversaries, but for now, in this moment, Chris Kennedy and Nova Diamond were partners, and between now and Fallout 006, that's they energy they'd be maintaining.

    Upon entering the bar, Chris and Nova see that the sailor sitting at the table where he'd said he would be, a small crowd beginning to gather around him. Chris and Nova pull up a pair of chairs and sit at the table, eager to hear how the story ends.

    "Where was it that I'd left off?" The sailor asks himself before the crowd.

    "Oh, that's right..."




    The SS Muerte Blanca and the SS Opportunity enter the passage known as The Devils' Doorway. Diamond Hook's ship is leading in front, the Golden Cannon readied for the first ship they see with their cannons pointed at them. On Diamond Hook's ship, all 40 side-guns are manned, and both cannons are loaded, the ship having fire power support on the ready at all sides. Anyone who dared oppose these two ships would be met with certain doom.

    The trek through The Devil's Doorway went off without a hitch and both Sharktooth and Diamond Hook were relieved to make it to the passage's exit without any trouble along the way, although they both knew good and well that this wouldn't be the case once they came out the other side. And they were right, as Diamond Hook's ship emerged from the passage, the first thing they saw were four other ships, 100 yards away, with Diamond Hook and Sharktooth in their sights. Of the four ships, two ships belonging to Calico Peacock and Rondeaux Redbeard sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the center of the formation. To the left and slightly behind Peacock's ship was Rotten-Son and his crew. To the right and slightly behind Rondeaux Redbeard was Toner Blackheart. On all four ships, the crewmen grow anxious at the sight of The SS Muerte Blanca and the SS Opportunity.

    Diamond Hook doesn't hesitate. This is what they'd planned for, and he was going to follow that plan.

    "FIRE THE CANNON!" Diamond Hook yells.

    The Golden Cannon unleashes a sound heard all the way up in the heavens. A crack through the sky that leaves every man aboard all 6 ships dead silent. As the cannonball cuts through the air with speed and precision unlike anything they'd ever seen, the last thoughts that run through Calico Peacock's head were that the rumors were true, this was the most magnificent weapon on God's green earth, and him and his men were about to learn that the hard way.

    The cannonball rips through the hull of Calico Peacock's ship with ferocious impact and the explosion of shrapnel and wood takes out a fair share of the men on Rondeaux Redbeard's nearby ship, killing them instantly. Sharktooth follows through with his end of the plan, instructing his men to fire the cannons as well. They take aim at Rotten-Son's ship, and while the explosion isn't nearly as impressive as the one given to us by Diamond Hook's Golden Cannon, it's still a direct hit that causes every man on board to go into survival mode, abandoning their cannons and gun mounts in an effort to flee their soon-to-be sinking ship. Rotten-Son Ramon, on the other hand, was not about to abandon ship. As his men flee to their emergency escape boats, the 2nd generation pirate son of Captain Golden Rot was going to go down with his ship if it meant taking Sharktooth and Diamond Hook with him. As the front half of his ship completely separates itself from the rest of the vessel, sinking into the murky depths below, Rotten-Son rushes to the ships side cannon in a last ditch effort to take out one of the two approaching ships. A futile effort, as Rotten-Son would meet a quick yet violent death when the second cannonball from the SS Muerte Blanca hits him dead on, splattering his blood and guts all over the last remnants of the ship that still remain above water.

    The Muerte Blanca and The Opportunity inch closer to the two remaining ships held by Rondeaux Redbeard and Toner Blackheart. The crewmen on Rondeaux and Toner's ships are panicking, as both ships suffered collateral damage in the midst of the chaos.

    Sharktooth wondered what Toner Blackheart must have thought of his "partner" Rondeaux Redbeard when Redbeard instructed his men to turn their ship around. The moment it became apparent that Rondeaux Redbeard was trying to flee, chaos immediately ensued on Toner's ship. Toner Blackheart would hardly have time to consider his next move as the Muerte Blanca pulled up to his ship's side and all 40 gunmen began raining down a hail of bullets on Toner Blackheart's ship and picking off his men life fish in a barrel. The men that managed to find cover wouldn't hold that cover for too long as the bullets pierced through the wooden crates and barrels like a hot knife through butter. A few other men had opted to jump ship, leaving their fates to Neptune and praying that the sharks weren't hungry at the moment. After a few moments, Toner Blackheart looks around at the dead bodies lining the wooden planks around him and realizes he's the last man standing on his ship. He stands tall and takes a deep breath, his arms wide open, welcoming the imminent death that he was due.

    That's when we heard that loud crack again. Diamond Hook had loaded and shot his 2nd cannonball from the Golden Canon. Incredibly, the large cannonball flew right past Toner Blackheart, en route to the Rondeaux Redbeard's evading ship. When it collides with Redbeard's vessel, the explosion is just as glorious as the one that took out Peacock's ship. Redbeard goes down instantly, and a scared, defeated Toner Blackheart watches in horror. When Toner turns around, he's immediately hit with the 2nd wave of bullets from the Muerte Blanca's 40 gun mounts. It was overkill after the 2nd shot, but after the 20th shot, it was clear that Sharktooth's men were simply working out their frustrations.

    ________________________________

    Several minutes pass as the two remaining ships sit side by side, waiting for the smoke to clear as their men work together to plunder Blackheart's ship. Sharktooth and Diamond Hook stand side by side at the front of the Muerte Blanca, watching the sun set as they both sip from their celebratory tankards of ale.

    "Well fought, Diamond Hook. I wasn't sure we'd be able to pull this off, and I can't say that I would have been able to without you." Sharktooth says.

    "I'd be lying if I didn't agree with the sentiment, Sharktooth. So what now then?" Diamond Hook says.

    "On this day, you've earned my respect. After tonight, you and I will go our separate ways, and perhaps when we cross paths next time, it will be as enemies. But tonight? Tonight we drink. Tonight we celebrate. Tonight, we are friends."


    what exactly is a dream?
    what exactly is a joke?


  8. #8
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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    "Kayden Knox Goes On A Hike"

    Day 1

    Kayden Knox would be seen standing outside overlooking the vast woods that were in front of him. He was pretty sure of what he was about to do. Kayden had decided that he needed to figure some things out on his own that he needed to move on with his life without the safety net of Dr. Grimes. Kayden was alone and he was ok with that.

    Nate Savage and him had went to war one of which has been going on for so long now that Kayden didn't even know who he was without the lingering reminder of The Undisputed Alliance and The Affliction.

    Kayden felt down for a little while after he lost X Championship to Nate however he felt pride in the fact that he could face his demons and didn't just run away from it. Knox decided that he needed a weekend to go off the grid. He was going to be alone with his thoughts and for the first time in a long time that didn't scare him.

    Knox was in the woods and begin the walk through it as he took in the fresh air he found himself at peace. Knox felt the pressure of the world just drift away as the sound of birds and the stream on either side of him. Knox took the hike in stride as he pulled the map out from his backpack. He was starting at Boulder's Rock and was going to make his way to Orion's Overpass.

    The Overpass which was about a day and a half hike to it. Knox would place the map back into his backpack and make his way. Knox was in his thoughts watching as the leaves would fly on by.

    Kayden Knox: I know for a long time I have live my life going from hot to cold one of which I put myself in dire straits I let myself get so emotional that it would drain everything out of me.

    I let Nate get in my head and it cost me. I put so much stock into the X Championship and what did it do it cost me. I lived my life going from zero to one hundred miles per hour without thought of the wreckage I was going to cause to myself.

    I didn't just cause that wreckage to myself I did it to Grimes too. I used him as a crutch that if I was going to be needed to be saved that no matter what I did he be there.

    I don't think it is going to help me because in the end I will still be the same man just not able to make my own choices in life. I mean it wasn't just him though. I used Mike, Blackbird, Gabrielle, AJ, and Nate as a crutch as well thinking that if I made them happy that they would always be there for me in the end.

    Nate didn't give a damn about me. He offered me a hand with one and a knife with a other. I should of seen that coming too. I should of saw that he was never going to change. I allowed myself too. I mean look at me now still in my own head even though I promised myself I would try and just take a break.

    Kayden would stop thinking to himself about Nate and everyone as he would find himself about two or three miles in and staring up at a giant tree whose leaves fell like raindrops. The sun was starting to slowly come down and Knox thought that here was a good place to make camp for the night. He started to put up his tent and gathered some firewood before the sun finally set. Knox would watch as the stars started to form and light up in the night sky to which he would get a smile on his face.


    Night 1

    Knox would stare at the stars for hours just trying to find some inner peace however the sound of something coming from the darkness of the woods would startle him. He would scan over the area not seeing anything when the sound of footsteps would be heard coming from his right side. Knox would turn to see a older man appear with a long white beard and bald head as he begin to speak.

    Old Man: Sorry didn't mean to scare you. My name is Joshua I am ranger here and saw your campfire was a little close to the tree here. You might want to put that campfire a little bit further out.

    Kayden Knox: Oh I am sorry just came out here too clear my head guess I wasn't thinking.

    Knox would put out the fire and then turn on his lantern as the white light would shine over the area. The ranger would give him a nod and continue to go on talking.

    Ranger Joshua: This your first time camping?

    Kayden Knox: Yeah.

    Ranger Joshua: You are out here alone too huh. I guess you must be going through something.

    Kayden Knox: I guess you could say that. I just needed to be alone you know. I just needed to self reflect maybe.

    Ranger Joshua: Yeah this place is good for that. We all need some time to ourselves.

    Kayden Knox: I guess apart of me is seeing what kind of man I could be on my own.

    Ranger Joshua: I can see up here where you could find that. I mean look up at those stars living off the land just getting away from everything.

    Kayden Knox: I know it sounds cliché I just think if I can find myself that everything else will come together. I just need to know that I can.

    Ranger Joshua: Do you think that maybe the problem in itself? Why do you think that being alone solves?

    Kayden Knox: You sound like someone I know. I just wish that I could do it. I just wish that I didn't feel the pressure to live up to everyone.

    Ranger Joshua would take those words in for awhile before speaking again.

    Ranger Joshua: You really think you are better off on your own?

    Kayden would ponder the statement for a second realizing that this was the thing he was asking himself most days.

    Kayden Knox: I guess I will find out. I am sorry I don't mean to be rude though I am gonna go get some sleep.

    Ranger Joshua would say his goodbyes as Kayden would head off into his tent for the night. The thing was is that Kayden keep thinking about what he said before finally drifting off to sleep later on.


    Day 2

    The sun would start to peak in from the tent as Knox awaken. Knox though would come out of the tent only to look and see that around him his camp had been completely destroyed. He would see trash all over and find himself thinking back to Nate Savage and Jackson Fenix and what they had done. This seem to upset Knox to the point he would his fist and punch the tree. Knox would fall to one knee clinching his fist and let out scream. The scream would scattered a few birds around the area.

    Kayden Knox: F*** You Nate.

    Knox outburst of anger would make him feel ashamed for good while as he could no matter how hard he tried get over his anger. He has tried for awhile to live on both ends of the subject when it came to it. He used his anger as fuel and now he was burying it deep in himself. Knox would stand up finally and clean up the area seeing that his backpack was inside some bushes few feet away. Knox would walk over and search the area as well to see what caused the chaos and saw what looked like to be two sets of bear tracks.

    Knox would then begin to gather his stuff before taking back off up to Orion's Overpass. The thing is though was that Orion's Overpass was still about a day's hike and he had no food. He decided to find the animal to see if he could somehow get it back. Knox would craft himself a makeshift bow out of a tree branch and some supplies he had. Knox would follow the tracks as it lead in the same direction of Orion's Overpass. Knox would finally a few hours later come along to see some fresh tracks as well as pieces of food across the ground.

    He was hiding behind some bushes as a brown bear came out from a black cave that was about fifteen feet in front of him. Knox pulled out his bow and aimed with some makeshift arrows.

    He was about to let go of it as a flurry of thoughts came into his head all at once. He was being haunted by Nate Savage and he just couldn't focus. Knox would have this anger start to manifest in him to the point he was gritting his teeth.

    Knox was ready his body was shaking he was about to get his payback as a young cub came out from the cave. The cub was young and was skinny especially given the size of a normal cub. Knox couldn't do it and would walk away still with anger in his heart.

    Knox would go on walking and start to think about the events that just happen. He was hungry and he was upset that he couldn't do anything about it. He would then sigh to himself and start talking out loud.

    Kayden Knox: Maybe JJJ was right. I can't just let this anger be cast aside. I understand that it may get the better of me. I just don't know how long I can really go holding stuff in anymore I am going to snap. I am, and I know the moment I do people will go back to judge me go back and tell me that I am the same guy as before. Nate was right too I hate to admit it. I maybe selfish. I am it. I just wish I could find that balance that I could have the best of both worlds. I won't find those answers if I have to have my hand held.

    Kayden would somberly walk up the path. He would feel a little better as he started to see the sign that said Orion's Overpass up ahead. Knox would run up too it as he tried to catch his breath. He would overlook the overpass and see the vast amount of trees that seemed to never end. He could hear the sound of a running water at a stream as well. He would sit on a rock and stare down at his knuckles from earlier.

    Kayden Knox: This was worth it. I know that it's not exactly what I had planned. I know that it was a long hard journey I got here though. No one can take that away from me. You can't take that away from me Nate.

    Knox would pause for a moment and let out a little smile.

    Kayden Knox: I guess that what I thought this was about wasn't really what it was actually about. I guess I thought this was about me doing it on my own when in reality this is about me not feeling worthy yet again. I mean Nate took the X Championship from me he took away something I worked so hard for in my first defense. I hate that.

    I hate that I don't feel an worth because I couldn't get passed him. I couldn't get the job done that everything that I had done to get to that point was taken away from me. I know that I shouldn't feel that way. I know that I should be proud of what I done. I got further then anyone thought I could. I won a championship. I got this chip on my shoulder and no matter how hard I try to chip away at it still holds weight. The thing is though if it isn't one thing then it will be another and I find myself in this endless nightmare.

    How is that fair?

    How am I suppose to live with that?

    I suppose that maybe why I told Grimes to go. I can say it was one thing when it was another. I just don't want to bring him down when all I do is fail. I got to get another chance to prove my worth. I have to get another chance at redemption. I have to beat Nate. I have to regain the X Championship.


    Knox would stop talking as a buzz would come from his jacket pocket. He would unlock his phone and see the message that was in front of him. Undisputed Alliance vs. Kayden Knox & Kleio. Knox would then let out a grin.

    Kayden Knox: I get my chance. I get to stand across the ring and stare back at him again. I am going to prove my worth. Nate you may have won the battle, I am going to win the war.


    Knox would walk back down to the bottom of the woods. Kayden knew he had gotten to the top before and he will get back to it again.

    Spoiler:





  9. #9
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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread


    This Is An RP About Being Happy!





    My God that song is perky. Doesn’t it just make you want to leap out of bed and tackle the day head-on?

    Yeah.

    Me too.

    (Not really.)

    But seriously. What a song! It definitely puts a jig in my step!



    As his alarm continues to play “Mr. Blue Sky” Alyster Black can’t help but smile. And why shouldn’t he? This song just inspired happiness. And even if it wasn’t playing, Alyster is laying in bed beside two gorgeous prizes. Two shining pieces of gold on leather. The CWA World Tag Team Championship, and her cousin the FWA World Tag Team Championship.

    Yes, things are finally looking up in the world of our masked hero. He’s able to embrace the day with a smile. With a song in his heart. With a skip in his step. Without all the doubt, second-guessing and almost crippling anxiety that would normally plague him.

    He’s not alone anymore! He has championship gold.

    He’s also home, in Melbourne, for the first time in nearly fifteen years. That’s a long time to spend away from the city you were born in. Even for someone who isn’t as sentimental about that sort of thing as Alyster Black. Still, it was nice waking up in his childhood bedroom. In a familiar double bed, with a familiar bedspread, beside a familiar bedside table with a familiar alarm clock looking back at him. Staring out at a familiar window pane with a familiar set of floral pattern blinds, and a familiar set of decorations. Posters for The Offspring, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses adorn the walls, right beside a wall-mounted guitar stand where Alyster’s very first guitar still hangs from. A very old Epiphone Les Paul, all black, with a slightly bent neck and a dead 12th fret on the high e string. Miraculously it was just as he’d left it.

    The song finished playing and the voices of two obnoxious morning radio jockeys threatened to dampen the dual world tag team champion’s mood. Alyster simply hit the top button and shut them up. Nothing would ruin this feeling of pure nostalgic joy he was experiencing.

    Alyster sat up in bed, moving a pillow behind his back to support himself. He grabbed both tag belts by the strap and pulled them up beside him. He couldn’t help but admire them, to stare at the gold plating. Especially at the nameplate on the bottom, “Alyster Black”, it was his name all right. No misspellings, no mistake, these were his belts, and if he had his way they would be his forevermore. He traced his fingers over the belts, over their many scratches and blemishes. They’d gone through some wear and tear over the years, especially the CWA title. The FWA title was still new and not broken in like its CWA counterpart, Alyster anguished the fact that he would inadvertently damage this beautiful piece of gold.


    “I promise both of you that I’ll die defending you.”


    Does anthropomorphise wrestling belts make you crazy?


    The thought ran through his head and was quickly dismissed as he caught his own reflection in the gold of the FWA title.

    “Al, breakfast!”

    An almost excruciatingly loud voice broke Alyster’s trance. He looked up from the belt and shouted in response, “Aight ma!”

    As Alyster screamed, for a brief moment, he was transported back to age 13. The turn of the millennium. He stood in front of a full-length mirror in this bedroom. In his hands, he held a homemade title belt. Constructed out of tin foil and cardboard. He clutched the homemade belt to his chest and was panting heavily. In his mind, he had just successfully won this belt in a brutal match inside the Tokyo Dome. After years of toiling away and trying to make it as a wrestler. He imagined himself going through an extended strike exchange, throwing forearms with all his might and receiving a barrage right back. Sweat flying off of his forehead, and a small trickle of blood pouring from his lip. Until finally he managed to duck a wayward strike and deliver his One Shot Kill finishing move.

    He imagined standing on the turnbuckle with his homemade belt held high as thousands of fans cheered for him, appreciating his stellar performance in the ring and his accomplishment. He would then find himself backstage, with a camera pointed at him and an interviewer holding a microphone to him, giving him an opportunity to speak about his victory.

    “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on.” He started, putting on the deepest voice that his 13-year-old throat could muster. He spoke with a sing-song cadence that persists to this day. “Look at it. Look how it shines. And it’s mine, all mine. Ma, Dad, I finally did it. I’ve climbed to the top of the mountain and I now look down below at the Earth. There’s nothing grander, there’s nothing as important. This is it. This is what I’ve sweated, bled and cried for all my life. This is why I woke up bright and early every morning and trained until the sun set and it was dark. This is the reason I was put on this Earth.” He held the title up high, incredibly proud of himself. “This is the reason why I fight, this championship is-”

    “Al, breakfast!”

    Teenage Alyster Black turned his head away from the mirror and screamed back, his voice breaking as he spoke “Alright I’m coming!”

    Modern-day Alyster Black smirked. He’d come a long way from standing in front of the mirror and cutting promos. The fantasy had become a reality. He had won world championship gold in the Tokyo Dome. Though the reality was different to the fantasy, in reality, he didn’t have to do it alone. As a teenager, Alyster felt alone. There was no one to share his love of wrestling with. He was often ridiculed and shunned for it. As he grew that loneliness started to fade. He was embraced in a world he desperately wanted to escape to. He found friends who shared the same dreams as him. And to walk into the Tokyo Dome with a partner by his side who was the same meant the world to Alyster Black.

    The dining table was absolutely immaculate. Covered in a checkered table cloth, with two dining sets. The smell of pancakes, bacon and eggs filled the room. Alyster pulled out a chair and sat down, he was overlooking the backyard patio. The sun shone down into the dining room, the grass outside was perfectly green, even the wooden fence was somehow enchanting. It was probably because he hadn’t laid eyes on his childhood home’s backyard in so long that made him feel like it was absolutely perfect.

    Alyster’s mother entered with a bottle of orange juice and two glasses. She looked good for her age. Barely showing signs of being in her early 60s. She was a thin woman with dyed blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, and a smile that matched her son’s. She was thrilled that Alyster had come home, she missed him dearly. Every day he was gone over the last 15 years filled her with dread. Her mind often wandered to thoughts of him, freshly beaten, laying in a ditch bleeding with no money and no friends.

    She hated wrestling. She hated that it took her son away from her. She hated the damage it had done to him. And she wished more than anything that he’d give it up.

    ”Mornin’ ma.” Alyster gave his mother a kiss on the cheek as she set down a glass for him. He then reached out and started to serve himself, grabbing a few pancakes, a bunch of bacon and some eggs from their serving trays. As he stuffed his mouth he spoke, spitting out a little food, “You didn’t have to do to this trouble for me.”

    “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” She sat down and began to serve herself. “I should make a fuss over your first meal home in God knows how long. I wouldn’t want you thinking I’m a bad mum.”

    Alyster rolled his eyes. It was a typical point of contention between them. That she thought of herself as a terrible parent because of the way Alyster had turned out. No amount of reassuring her that she did everything right and that there was nothing wrong with him would convince her otherwise. So he took snide comments like that in stride. What more could be done?

    The sound of birds chirping outside caught Alyster’s attention. His eyes scanned the backyard and he spotted a pair of sulphur-crested cockatoos perched up on the fence.

    ”Bloody annoying birds.” Alyster’s mother shook her head as she spotted them. ”Gonna be hearing them squawk all day.”

    ”They’re fine ma. Don’t get worked up about them.”

    ”That’s easy for you to say, you don’t have to hear them every day.”


    ”We have annoying birds in the states too ma.”

    Breakfast got weirdly silent after that exchange. Mrs. Black played with her fork, moving her food from side to side over her plate. The scratching of the utensil over the ceramic was starting to get to Alyster. But this beautiful day still would not be ruined. He still found a way to smile. Here he was enjoying a meal with his mother. He hadn’t done that in a while, and he was begging to think that wasn’t such a bad thing.

    No...no...no negative thoughts. You’re Blacky Dos Belts, you’re happy. You’ve got everything you want in life. You’re home. You missed your family. Even though half of them couldn’t be bothered sticking around to have breakfast with you…

    ”So...dad couldn’t take a few days off to hang out with me?”

    ”You know he’s busy with work. He’ll see you tonight.”

    ”I have to fly to Brisbane in the afternoon.” Alyster’s perky attitude faltered for just a moment, he lost his smile and his sing-song voice was dower and muted.

    ”He’ll see you when you come back then, you’re flying right back after the show right?”

    ”Yeah, yeah. It just would have been nice to see him before that. It’s a big match for me.”

    This time his mother rolled her eyes. ”They’re all big matches aren’t they?”

    Alyster exhaled heavily through his nose. He crossed his fork and knife over his plate then stood up out of his chair. ”Yeah, but these next two shows a different ma. I’m home, I get to play the role of the hometown hero. I’ve never been able to do that before.” He started to clear the plates as his mother took a sip of juice.

    ”Maybe if you stayed here instead of leaving again you could be a hero full-time?”

    Alyster felt his heart breaking as his mother so easily dismissed his dreams. “I’m gonna take a quick walk ma. I’ll be back soon.”

    He dropped the dishes off in the kitchen then made his way toward the door. When he opened it he was unexpectedly greeted by the face of a man and his son. The man had his arm held out, he was about to knock on the door.

    There was an awkward silence as Alyster cocked an eyebrow at the pair. He broke the silence by clearing his throat, ”Can I help you?

    The man reached up to scratch the back of his head. He stammered for a moment and his son had to speak for him. ”Are you really Alyster Black?”

    Sans mask it was hard to identify Alyster. He’d never been recognised without it before, and he refused to make a habit of it. ”Nah mate.

    The boy’s father finally interjected. He leaned forward and cupped a hand by the side of his mouth, whispering to Alyster. The man had a heavy bogan accent, which is by far the worst accent in the world. Imagine the sound of nails on a chalkboard being projected through broken speakers at a volume that makes each syllable clip. You’ve just imagined a sound that’s one-tenth as irritating as the bogan accent. ”Oi, it’s James Dericks. Been a while mate.”

    Alyster gave the man a stare that made it clear that he did not recognise the name.

    ”We went to highschool together Al, we were mates.” The man leaned in closer, he made sure to keep his son just out of earshot. ”My son’s a huge fan, can you put on the mask and take a picture with him?”

    ”Sorry mate, you’ve got the wrong guy.”

    James and Jr. were unamused. Jr. tugged on his father’s arm. [/color=blue]”Are you sure that’s him dad? He looks smaller than he does on TV.”[/color]

    ”Yeah it is. What’s your deal Al, we were mates at school. Don’t be a dick.

    ”That was over twenty years ago chief. I’m not the guy. Move on.” Alyster patted the guy on the shoulder, aggressively. The man visible winced. Alyster then slammed the front door shut and strolled past the man and his son. He put his hands in his pockets as he began to venture out into the suburban streets.

    The boy began to arc up and his father quickly shushed him. The pair followed Alyster as he started to walk along the sidewalk.

    ”Hey mate, that’s really fucked. My kid has all your t-shirts and maks at home. Don’t be a cunt.”

    Alyster suddenly stopped, the father-son pair nearly walked into him. ”Excuse me cunt?” Alyster was much taller than the man, looking down on him with pure disdain. He didn’t much care for his brat either. ”Listen here dickhead, I’m not the one showing up at random stranger’s parent’s houses first thing in the morning to harass them. Now listen and listen good. I’m not whoever the fuck you’re looking for, and if I was him, I’d stomp your fuckin’ face in for being such a cunt. Now you and your brat can fuck off, and if you ever show up at that house again I’m gonna break your fuckin’ legs.”

    And with that Alyster turned and kept walking. He could hear the man and his boy exchanging words about how much of a dick Alyster was but he didn’t much care for what they had to say. What he did care about was what the kid screamed out next, “Hope Watkins kills ya cunt!”

    Fucking bastard…


    Alyster grumbled under his breath. He debated turning back around and curbstomping that man right in front of his son but missing a Fallout due to serving jail time didn’t appeal to him. Besides, he had to beat another brat in Jean-Luc Watkins to get his much-coveted third belt.


    Fuck that kid, he didn’t need that brat’s support. And fuck Australia, he doesn’t need some hometown hero fairy tale bullshit either. And…

    Fuck calm down.


    He gritted his teeth for a moment then started to sing “Mr. Blue Sky” to himself. He immediately began to calm down.

    Much better. Nothing can ruin this beautiful day for you. You’re gonna talk a nice brisk walk. You’re gonna go home, you’re gonna chill out then you’re gonna fly to Brisbane, catch some Zs and then you’re going to rip Jean-Luc Watkins’ stupidly handsome face off.

    His fading smile quickly returned. There was a hop to his step. Almost like he was in a groove. He swayed with a confident swagger and hummed along to the tune that buzzed through his mind.

    The rest of his walk was enjoyable. He ventured around the block. Took is some old familiar sights, was filled with that nostalgic joy that had been circulating through his blood since that morning.

    He was a champion in the FWA.

    He was back home in Australia.

    All was right in the world.

    There’s no need to be angry.

    He arrived home without a worry in his mind. Stepping through the sunlit house with a jolly hop in his step. He found his mother washing the dishes and took a seat by the island breakfast bar. His mother perked up at the sound of him returning home. She looked back at him over her shoulder and smiled.

    ”How was your walk?

    ”Uplifting. I swear every house here still looks the same.”

    Mrs. Black paused, her shoulder sunk and her demeanour was solemn. ”Have you put any thought into retiring Al?

    This conversation again…


    Alyster stayed calm as he replied, ”I just won a world title ma, why would I retire?”

    ”It’s just, you’re getting up there in age. You’ve been doing this for a long time. Aren’t you sick and tired of getting hurt?”

    ”Sick and tired? I love it. I’m at the top of my game. This...it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.” Alyster’s voice dropped, ”Why can’t you just be proud of me and encourage me?”

    ”I do encourage you Al. It’s just, you’ve been at this long enough.”
    As she spoke she slowly turned around to look her son in the eye. ”When’s enough going to be enough for you? I’m sick of watching you get hurt…”

    ”Come on ma, we both know you’ve never watched one of my matches.”

    "No...but I saw what happened…" Her voice was filled with pain, she walked over to Alyster and tapped him on the chest. ”I saw that...before they did the right thing and removed that video. I saw what they did to you.”

    The silence was palpable. It never occurred to Alyster that his mother might see the footage of Devin Golden carving his chest. She’s never watched him wrestle after all. But she saw this horrible atrocity.

    ”I can’t stand by and just watch you give your life away for nothing.”
    Her voice broke as she spoke and tears started to well up in the corners of her eyes. ”Please Al, I’m asking as your mother. Please, it’s killing me knowing that you’re being mutilated out there.”

    How do you respond to that?


    Alyster didn’t know how to. That’s why he just sat there in silence, feeling useless, as his mother broke down in tears. It’s why he felt paralyzed and refused to comfort her. It’s why when she looked at him with nothing but pain in his eyes, all he could do was look away.

    Neither of them could take it anymore. She shook her head and ran off to her room, leaving him alone to wallow. His smile was killed. His good feelings were gone. There was no “Mr. Blue Sky” playing on repeat in his mind. All he had was the feeling you get when you disappoint your parent.

    He returned to his room and sat down on his bed. He stared at himself in the mirror and sighed. Looking back at him was a man who made his mother cry. How could he be proud of himself?

    The pair of tag team titles were neatly folded and decorated his pillows. He reached out and picked both up, staring down at them.

    It’s not enough.


    No...it wasn’t enough gold. Not enough to make it worthwhile. He didn’t even win these belts on his own. How could she be proud of him when these accomplishments weren’t his alone?

    He needed more.

    More belts, more accomplishments. Just something that he could show her that he could say “Hey ma, I did this on my own. Are you proud of me now?” and she could look back and give him that big thumbs up of approval.

    And he can do that. All he needs to do is beat Jean-Luc Watkins! Then he will finally get a shot at that X title he’s wanted for so long. Finally, go to war against Nate Savage. It’s all he’s wanted. And surely if he can just make his mother come to the show and see him win…surely she’ll understand then.

    And surely she’ll forgive him.

    She has to.

    There’s nothing more heartbreaking than disappointing a parent. Alyster let his mother down and the feelings that come with that will haunt him forever.

    The same feelings that Jean-Luc will feel when he lets daddy Rupert down in Brisbane. As much as it pains him to have to force those feelings on another person, Alyster isn’t about to lie down and let the chance of a lifetime slip away.


    Blacky 3 Belts will make her proud.
    Last edited by Rawr is War; 10-18-2021 at 01:48 AM.

    Spoiler:






  10. #10
    Huggin' and Kissin'
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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread


    The hulking mass of the Yuna Funanori-crafted ship casts a shadow out on the bustling port in which it was docked in Brisbane. The ship – The Slammer – had no doubt caused an uptick in custom for the dozen or so cafes and bars that plied their trade in this particular port in Brisbane. As mighty a sight as The Slammer was to behold, it was the wayward hope of catching a glimpse of the men and women aboard the vessel that really drew the crowds. Men, women, and children alike lined the tables set outside the front of the various eateries and drinkeries, brought here in the hope of meeting one of the FWA wrestlers that were stationed on The Slammer for the upcoming Fallout 006 offering. Thought the talent had, for the most part, opted to stay aboard the ship, it was a exceptionally warm day for October in Brisbane, the early-summer temperature certainly high enough to tempt one of the pseudo-shipmates to take it upon himself to bask in the sun while enjoying an ice-cold beverage from one of the bars. A baby-blue Nike training top was eye-catching enough but when the wearer of said apparel is Danny fucking Toner… it was going to get attention. Quickly.

    Danny runs a hand through his hair. He’d recently had it shaved tightly at the back and sides and in the heat of Brisbane he was happy it was only the messy mop atop his crown that added to the sweltering warmth. A tightly rolled joint hangs haphazardly from his lips and Danny leans back in the cushioned chair, patting his shorts in search of his lighter. He pulls out a small yellow Bic lighter and lights the twisted end of his favorite vice. He tokes hard and sharply inhales the smoke, holding it for a few seconds before slowly exhaling. Danny stretches his arms up, so much so that you could be mistaken for thinking his arms were trying to extend into the blistering sun above. He sighs in a content manner and smiles to himself before speaking aloud to nobody in particular.

    “If you got me a nice, cold beer right now… hell… I don’t think I’d ever get my lazy ass back outta this seat.”

    “Is that so?”

    Danny quickly whips his head around and sees a rather strange looking man standing before him. He is wearing a tank top, worn combat trousers and a pair of weathered boots that somehow seem too big for the feet upon which they enclose. The man smiles and for some reason, as his mustached lip curls upwards, Danny feels an immediate resonation with the man. It’s an unexplainable happening but Danny was quite instant in deciding he likes this man. Likes his aura.

    “It’s just as well I have two then, hey pal?”

    It’s Danny’s turn to crack a smile as his new companion helps himself to the adjacent seat beside Danny and plops two green bottles of Heineken on the table. Danny looks at the bottle and then at the grinning man.

    “Go on – don’t just look at it!”

    Danny needs no further instruction and swipes the bottle from the table, greedily glugging half the bottle. The man laughs aloud while Danny wipes the beer droplets from his mouth. He slams the bottle back down and turns to face the man who had provided him with the drink. Danny picks up the joint he dropped in his wild dash for the beer.

    “I ain’t really used to this Australian shit, so there’s a chance I may be trippin’ out here but… is that a freakin’ New York accent?

    “You picked it up? I’ve been out here so long I thought I’d lost it! Of course, you obviously ain’t been here that long! As soon as I heard you open your mouth, I knew you were a New Yorker! Couldn’t help myself – I ain’t talked to somebody like me in too long.”

    “Yeah… yeah I feel that. I ain’t talked to somebody like me in a bit…”


    Danny trails off as his mind flickers to his partner Ryan Rondo. His fellow New Yorker, however, nearly typically given his hometown, is quick to fill any dead air.

    “So, what has you out here, pal? Just visiting? Or you got something to do with that ship?”

    Danny can’t help but smile. This guy is a New Yorker, tried and tested. There was no two ways about that. Danny again feels affection towards the man he just met, his unique manner allowing him to be readily intrusive because of the charm he exudes. Just like a lot of the guys Danny knew from back home.

    “Yeah, you could say I have somethin’ to do with the ship. I’m stayin’ on it in any case. Won’t be here for long though. What about you? What has you on the other side of the planet? New York to Brisbane… it doesn’t quite fit, does it?”

    “You’re damn right! I didn’t come here to be holed up in Brisbane all this time! I came for the island.”

    “The island? What are you talkin’ about?”


    The man leans back in his chair and shakes his head wistfully.

    “Maaaaan… you should see it. It’s incredible. See that over there?”

    The man points into the distance, towards the glistening blue ocean. Danny squints and looks in the general direction the man is pointing. He can just about make out a shape atop the water.

    “Is that…?”

    The island.

    “And what’s so special about this island, huh? It got a crop of grade A growin’ on it or some shit?


    The man chortles loudly, clearly amused at Danny.

    “It hasn’t got any kush from what I’ve found on my expeditions but man… it’s a freaking paradise. It’s incredible. Golden sands, crystal-clear bodies of water, every juicy and delicious fruit you could think of… I’m telling you, it’s the closest god-damn thing to heaven I’ve ever seen!”

    “Aight – come on, man… relax a little… a freakin’ island that good? It sounds like just about every other island on the seven seas! What am I missing here?”

    “You just haven’t experienced it yet. Ask around – anybody here will tell you that island is special. There’s something about it… as soon as people get near it or get a taste for it… they just don’t want to leave. Ever.”

    “Then why would they?”

    “They have no choice. See… the island is uninhabitable… there’s a lion. Not just any old lion but one afflicted with rabies and driven crazy-”

    “A lion? A freakin’ lion?


    Danny is incredulous at the man’s story and can’t help but interject.

    “You’re telling me there’s some sort of glorious oasis just right there across the water that everybody wants to be on, but they can’t… because there’s some lion prowling around protectin’ it?”

    “A crazed lion. I ain’t ever seeing anything like it before. It defends the island as if it is his very own cub. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. I’ve seen him rip apart the carcass of any beast that treads upon his island. I foolishly thought I could hunt the lion down and finally be able to live upon the island… but I quickly figured out… that I couldn’t do it on my own.”

    “No, no, no, no, NO! Uh-uh! No way, pal. I’m sorry but look, I got mine. You best believe I’ve fuckin’ shit goin’ on like you wouldn’t believe! That’s not sayin’ I believe this freakin’ fable about this island paradise and this freakin’ skits lion BUT even if I did and I’m pickin’ up what I think your putting down the answer would still be no. Look man, I don’t wanna be the guy to break it to you, but I’ve been to paradise…”

    A stinging memory of swinging thirty feet above a wrestling ring in the middle of Paris flashes in Danny’s mind.

    “And it ain’t what you think it’s going to be. I don’t wanna crush dreams and I hate to leave one of my own in the lurch but… this ain’t my race. I’m not gettin’ involved with this.”

    The man’s expression changes to a more somber one as he produces a folded piece of parchment from his pocket and places it on the table. His eyes flicker up to Danny.

    “Of course… there is the treasure.”

    “What treasure?”

    “Rumor has it that there is a wonderful treasure to be found in the very center of the island… and this map here can lead us to it. Lead you to it. Help me slay the lion and-”

    “Alright, enough!”


    Danny stands up from the table, his hands held up and still laughing to show he’s not getting aggressive with the man, he’s just… he’s just not interested in what the man has to say.

    “Slay a god-damn lion… you think I am? Pal, thanks for the beer but I gotta get going. Good luck with your uh, your lion! Names Danny by the way. Nice to meet ya, Hunter!”

    “My names not-”

    Danny turns his back on the man and waves him off, still laughing at the whole encounter. Striding towards The Slammer, Danny pulls out his phone and thumbs down until he finds the number he’s looking for. He takes a deep breath and hits dial.

    BZZZZZZZZ! BZZZZZZZZ!

    A man in the shroud of a building jumps and is quick to fish the phone out of his denim shorts pocket. He hits the power button to reject the call before ducking around the corner and pressing himself up against the wall. Countless hours of Metal Gear Solid meant that Ryan Rondo fancied himself as something of a stealthy bastard but still… he wasn’t about to have his cover blown by a phone call. In classic Rondo fashion, despite… or maybe in spite of the heat, he wore a black hoodie and cap. Incognito. He peers around the corner and can see Danny walking in the distance towards The Slammer, his phone against his ear. So… Danny was still trying to get in touch with him. The last time Danny was with him was in the aftermath of the Michelle von Horrowitz and Chris Kennedy match at Lights Out. Danny had taken off rather quickly and hadn’t sought him out until he showed up in Brisbane. Now Rondo was avoiding him. To be perfectly honest, the interlude suited Rondo. He had found, that like most things these last few months… he didn’t really care. Rondo watches the strange man who had approached Danny take his leave and he briefly muses over the same tired thoughts that ravage his mind. Why was he here? What was the point? What did he have to prove? Why should he care? Pushing the thoughts deeper into the recesses of his brain, he wades past tables until he reaches the one where Danny had sat with his new friend. Danny was always quick to warm up to people - a real crowd-pleaser – that was for sure. Rondo shakes his head, the emotional intention of it undetectable as he looks at a folded piece of parchment on the table. He flicks it open and figures it for some kind of map. Maybe it belonged to Danny. Ryan subconsciously pockets the map, and his eyes are drawn to the still smoldering joint in the ashtray. He picks it up and takes a deep drag, the feeling immediately relaxing him.

    “I don’t know where we fucking stand but shit… at least you still got some decent taste, D.”

    ===TxR===

    For Danny Toner, the night-time air of Brisbane comes as a welcome relief from the days soaring temperature. The cool sea-breeze eases the sting that came with his slightly reddened cheeks and Danny looks out at the waves softly crashing against the exterior of the boat. He smokes a joint and leans against the barrier that prevents him from falling into the vast ocean below. The sheer size of the ocean always amazed Danny. How could one ever know all there was to know about something so big? Then, if Danny was being truly honest – he didn’t really know jack about anything. Take the FWA, the thing most associated with Danny, the thing he was a part of; the thing that was part of him… and he still didn’t know anything about it. Seven years was a long time to be a part of anything and to still have that feeling of helplessness, that feeling of not knowing what to do next or what path to take? That’s something Danny needs to sort. That’s something Danny needs Ryan for. And that’s something that didn’t seem likely to be happening. Ryan was avoiding Danny; he was sure of it. Danny knew they hadn’t talked in a while. Sure, they spoke regularly but they hadn’t really talked. This was TxR’s first match since… Danny let’s his thoughts trail off as his eye catches something in the distance. He focuses on the shape and then glances towards the port where he spoke to Hunter earlier. He stands in silence for a few moments before lowly uttering two words.

    “Fuck it.”

    He was going to speak to Rondo. They needed to have this chat. Danny takes one last drag and stubs the joint out on a sea-water droplet upon the barrier.

    HISSSSSSSSSS! HISSSSSSSSSS!

    Rondo always enjoyed the sound of a joint extinguishing upon hitting liquid and he watches the end of his joint float in a half-drank bottle of beer on his bed-side desk with a satisfied smirk on his face. It’s soon wiped off however, when his thoughts stray to the questions he’d buried deep down earlier. Each line of thought was one worth chasing down and pursuing at some point for Ryan but right now, he just needed to get some clarity on one - why should he care? Worryingly, this was the question Ryan found himself asking about every match since Back in Business. Peacock, Alyster, hell… even Danny if he was being completely truthful. He simply didn’t care about the matches. Not even enough to somewhat try, let alone put in the effort required to compete at the highest level in FWA. He could do it. Everybody knew it. Every single person in the locker-room knew that if Ryan Rondo decides to show up – he’s going to win. Ryan Rondo is the most successful wrestler in the history of FWA and crops up on the “Greatest Of All Time” and “Mount Rushmore” lists of nearly anybody that matters in this game. So, again, why should he care? What could possibly motivate him when he knows he’s already done it all and it’s likely nobody will ever eclipse him in the eyes of the fans. Nobody except… Ryan feels a twinge of guilt in his stomach. He can’t lie there and with all sincerity say he doesn’t care about anything. There were very few things he did find himself caring about but… despite recent appearances… he did care about Danny. Rondo wasn’t sure that level of care extended to the Fallout 006 match, but he definitely cared about Danny. Danny chose him to be his partner in the match against Ramon and Peacock. Against Kennedy and Diamond. Danny chose to try and give TxR a jumpstart… but what if Ryan didn’t want to put the key in the engine? Rondo sits up on the bed and rubs his fingers against his temples, attempting to literally massage the stress out. If Rondo doesn’t know what he wants… how the hell could Danny? Danny has no idea how things are. He doesn’t know what the state of TxR is. They still hadn’t addressed Back in Business; it was brought up when they were in Brighton but… they shelved it for another time. Ryan kisses his teeth and shakes his head, internally attempting to coming to terms with something. He is drawn to the map that lies idly on the floor of his room. Suddenly, he stiffens up.

    “It’s time.”

    Ryan hops up from the bed. He wasn’t sure what he felt, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do but he had decided one thing – he was going to see Danny. A hundred thoughts a second race through Rondo’s mind and he pulls on a grey Under Armour training top before picking up the map and running out the door… right into an oncoming, dashing Danny. The two collide and immediately fall on their asses. There is a moment of silence then hysterical laughter as the two roll about on the floor. Trying to catch their breath and talk, they run their sentences into each other.

    “Were you-”

    “I was-”

    The two pause and share another chuckle. Danny shakes his head and speaks first.

    “I was just coming to see you.”

    “Go figure… me too.”

    Danny stands up and offers Ryan a hand. As Ryan claps his and Danny pulls him upwards, Danny begins speaking.

    “I wanted to come see you. I’ve been wanting to see you for a while now… and I don’t just mean these last few days. Let’s talk.”

    “Let’s do something.”

    Ryan glances down towards the map clutched tightly in his hand and Danny slowly nods. Their eyes meet and Danny flashes a smile.

    “Bud… let’s do both.

    Ryan smiles and Danny leads the way down to the lower outer deck of The Slammer. The tandem walk in silence, there’s plenty of time for talking and when they reach the port Danny quickly hands over a few notes to a weather-beaten local who directs them to a small rowboat in the near distance. Danny nods his head in thanks and soon, Danny and Ryan find themselves sitting facing each other on the rowboat, still in silence. There’s nothing but the rhythmic sloshing of water as oars work their way in and out of the Brisbane sea’s surface line. A small wooden rowboat bobs across the water and we can see that Danny is rowing. Directly facing him, Rondo is absent-mindedly looking out at the starry night sky and Danny finds his own peepers training in on the shining lights in the darkness. After a moment or two Danny stops rowing and the boat comes to a standstill in the middle of the water, his mind lost in the glittering maze that lined the sky. Rondo catches the look of wonder and gently teases Danny.

    “Pretty, huh?”

    Danny looks down at Rondo, or rather, he looks beyond Rondo and back towards The Slammer.

    “Just thinkin’… there’s a lot of them, ain’t there?”

    Ryan arches his eyebrow at Danny. Were they doing this?

    “Sure is… not that it matters.”

    “And why is that?”

    “Because one star has shined brighter than any of those could ever possibly hope to.”

    Any of us?”

    “Of us? I thought we were talking about the stars, Danny-boy. What do you mean of us?

    “You know what I mean, G.”

    Rondo shrugs his shoulders in apparent uncertainty, but his body language is telling, at least to Danny.

    “Is that what it’s all about then? Nobody will ever be as good as you and it’s beneath you to even have to try against them? Against Peacock? Against Alyster?”

    “Against you.”

    Danny looks taken back as Rondo coldly delivers his sentence. His eyes pierce through the darkness of the night. Danny couldn’t help but feel unnerved. Ryan didn’t intend to hurt Danny or offend him but if Danny was so hell-bent on figuring things out, figuring Rondo out… then Rondo was going to play hard.

    “What? Now who think’s he’s above other people?”

    “It ain’t like that.”

    “No? Because your face tells quite a different story. I’ve been in this game for years, man. Watching. Assessing. Sizing people up. These are the things you need to be able to do to thrive at this shit, man. And right now? You look like an eight-year-old who just got told Santa isn’t real. What? Cat got your tongue? What do you think this is Danny? I mean you know I like you; I like you a lot, but I’ve never lied to you and I’m not going to start now; you think I can just turn it off and on? You think I tried against you but then wasn’t assed for Peacock and Alyster? That’s not how it works man, I don’t know what else to say. When you don’t care there isn’t much more to it than that.”

    “You don’t care? You don’t freakin’ care? BULLSHIT! I call bullshit. You care just as much as me. More than me. You always have. You think that I’m going to sit here and believe that you’ve pulled me up out of the doghouse so many god-damn times - for longer than anyone even realizes – to just give up now? Right before-”

    Your World Championship match? ‘Your’ is the key word there, Danny.”

    “Oh, fuck you!”

    Something about the tone of Danny’s voice causes Ryan to cease a little. Danny shifts on the bench of the rowboat and speaks lowly.

    “Seriously… fuck you. I was going to say that you were giving up… right before we got to ride again.”

    Ryan’s mouth opens a little in genuine shock. Ryan looks at Danny and is thankful for the darkness as he struggles to contain his own emotions on his face.

    “D… man… what is wrong with you, dude? How are you thinking about this? You’ve got a World Championship match the show after next… and you’re sitting here worried about an exhibition tag? It means nothing.”

    “It means everything.”

    Danny looks at Ryan in earnest.

    “You and me. That’s what freakin’ matters in this game. Rondo and Toner. That’s the best thing to ever hit the FWA. You know we have something special. Other teams would literally kill to have our chemistry. Our understanding. Our bond. You can hide all you want – hell, you looked right at home when you put the mask back on in Tokyo – and you can cower behind this sorry, fuckin’ excuse of ‘Oh, I don’t care if I lose’. You know who fuckin’ says that? Fuckin’ losers. Not fuckin’ Ryan Rondo. Not one half of the greatest tag team to ever grace this Earth.”

    “That must be easy for you to say. Sitting over there calling people losers because what? You won a couple of matches? Who’d you beat man? Konchu? Truth’s little buddy? Please. If you’re such a god-damn winner, then how come it’s you and Ramon going at Kennedy?”

    “You’ve got to be freakin’ kiddin’ me man! Who did I beat? I beat YOU!”

    “No, you didn’t. I told you already.”

    “Why? Why the fuck not? Because you were checked out? Because you didn’t care?”

    “Aight then, consider it a win if you want.”


    Rondo shrugs his shoulders, presumably to further show his lack of caring but it only serves to drive Danny over the edge.

    “Fine! You want to know who I fucking beat? I fucking beat Chris Peacock from pillar to fucking post. I cleaned his ass in seven fucking minutes and left him a bloody mess. That’s the same Chris Peacock who dragged his sorry ass out there the very next show and pinned YOU in the middle of the ring. You don’t care? Give me a break. A 50% Ryan Rondo takes out an injured Peacock. It’s not that you don’t care… you just don’t know what to fucking do anymore. You ain’t got what it takes no more.”

    “And I don’t know if you’ll ever have what it takes.”

    “Is that what the end of Fallout 005 was all about? You hedgin’ your bets between Nova and me? Haven’t quite decided who your ace is going to be?”

    “I ain’t Devin Golden.”


    Danny shakes his head and resumes rowing. They row in silence for a minute or so before Danny’s voice breaks through the lack of light.

    “Sure are actin’ like him.”

    ===TxR===

    A large, golden eagle is perched atop a small wooden pole jutting out of an endless amount of silky sand. Danny and Ryan eye the creature as they drag their boat onto the solid ground. They keep their distance even when the eagle spreads it’s wings and flies off over the densely packed trees in the nearby woodlands that seemed to go for as far as the eye could see along the sandy shores. It is still night, but the island seemed to glow with the brightness of the sand. The stars illuminate the ocean, and the light reflects onto the strand. Danny and Ryan are slack-jawed and looking around. It is paradise. Fruit grows in bountiful amounts on the trees nearest the beach and Danny swiftly decides to himself that the sand was as close to white as it could possibly be. Ryan feels his muscles loosen and his tensions lessen. He couldn’t explain it but as soon as he stepped foot on the island, it began coursing through his veins. It was strange though, Ryan recognized the feeling, it was a familiar one to him, but he couldn’t quite finger it. He goes to speak to Danny, wanting to try and describe the sensation to him and he even got as far as opening his mouth but the two words that were next heard, weren’t his own. Nor Danny’s.

    “WATCH OUT!”

    BANG!!!

    Danny bundles over Ryan and the two flip around on the sand and see smoke rising a few inches to the left of them. Before comprehension can set in Danny points a shaky finger at a rattlesnake slithering through the sand – thankfully, away from them – and towards the woodland. Ryan’s chest is heaving up and down and Danny is so flush, you can even see it through his sunburn.

    “Lucky escape, fellas. Coral reef snake. Nasty business.”

    “Wait a minute, I know that fuckin-”

    Danny looks up at their would-be savior.

    “It’s you!!!”

    “Damn right it’s me, pal! I told ya I’d be here after all! I knew you couldn’t resist!”

    An old shotgun held in his palm, the barrel resting against his shoulder, TxR’s interloper was a welcome sight – given the circumstances. The New York man – christened Hunter by Danny – stands proudly before the duo.

    “Who the fuck is this guy? And the fuck happened your arm?”

    Rondo’s first question is directed at Danny, a jut of his head at Hunter’s bloody arm suggests the second was for him.

    “This is Hunter. He told me about this island and it’s treasure.”

    Treasure? So that’s what this is for!”

    Rondo rifles in his pocket and produces the map he picked up from the table earlier.

    “You have it! I thought I lost it! I ran back to the bar, but it was already gone, thanks a million-”

    “Thanks for what?”

    Rondo pulls back as Hunter outstretches his hand and tucks the map back in his pocket. The distrust is immediate on Rondo’s face.

    “Ehhh… I think I’ll hold on to this.”

    “Awh Ryan, give him his freakin’ map. We don’t need it – we came here for somethin’ else!”

    “The lion?”

    Hunter seems rather hopeful as his eyes light up. Danny turns to Ryan.

    “Oh yeah… apparently there’s a tripped-out lion that’s running around slaughtering everything that moves. Hunter here is fixin’ to kill it.”

    Rondo eyes the gash on Hunter’s arm and looks at him skeptically.

    “Yeah, that seems to be going real well.”

    “It wasn’t the lion; I nearly had the lion! Honestly – he was right where I wanted him.”

    “And?”

    “And that huge fuckin’ golden eagle came swooping down just as I was about to take my shot and… well… yeah… talons.”

    Danny and Ryan both screw up their faces and wince. Any sort of “shredding” brought back unwanted thoughts of Ramon and Golden dipping their hands into buckets of glass. More recently, the duo had watched Michelle and Kennedy do something similar in a Deathmatch.

    “But I nearly had him! If you two help, I can get him for sure.”

    “And the treasure?”

    “You two keep it! Ask Danny, I just want to live here. I just want to stay on the island.”


    Danny and Ryan glance at each other, some vintage side-eye.

    “You reckon, G? You up for it?”

    “Fuck it. We need to do something to align our chi or some crap-”

    “You know you really are starting to sound like Dev-”

    “Shut it. Do we trust this weirdo?”


    “Uh… I’m right here guys.”

    Danny and Ryan, in sync, raise their hands and wave them dismissively at Hunter.

    “I dunno, G, I dunno… I think I do, you know? I kinda trust this guy for some reason.”

    “And what about the treasure? The lion?”


    Danny shrugs.

    “Seems a bit far-fetched, I guess but that just means we’ve nothin’ to worry about, right?”

    Rondo glances at the bloodied arm of Hunter. His face contorts as he tries to figure out something.

    “I guess he saved us from the snake… but nothing to worry about? I dunno. He didn’t do that to himself. Look, it’s on you. I’ll do what you want.”

    Danny sizes up the situation. He had really wanted to just come out here and talk to Rondo. He didn’t really know what he was planning. Usually, the two of them just talk and something happens. Something clicks. Danny wasn’t sure that going hunting a rabid lion in search of some buried treasure on some seemingly magical island was exactly what the doctor has prescribed but nonetheless, they were both here and really… that was all that mattered.

    “Aight, we’re in.”

    Rondo bows his head, not betraying any inner emotions Danny might have hoped to glimpse with his decision. Hunter, however, is ecstatic and claps his hands together gleefully.

    “Excellent! I’ve set up camp just a little way into the woodland! Apparently, the lion doesn’t tend to come around the perimeter so it’s pretty safe!”

    Hunter leads the way towards the woodland, Danny and Ryan in tow. They pass the first of the trees and the New York native – not our boy but Hunter – begins speaking.

    “Danny, ya said that you were staying aboard that great big ship docked in the port and I’m to presume your friend is too?”

    “His names Ryan and yeah, we’re travelling together.”

    “You’re both wrestlers then?”


    Danny pauses. He didn’t mention wrestling earlier. Hunter turns and fixes them a smile.

    “I asked around after you took off earlier, the FWA, I believe? You two any good?”

    Danny laughs aloud.

    “Any good? Are Danny Toner and Ryan Rondo any good? Together!? Awh man, you don’t even know the half of it. We’re the best freakin’ tag team ever. And I mean that! I’m bein’ serious, I’m not blowing smoke – there is no tandem in the world of wrestling, past or present that is better than us two. We’re freakin’ tag gods. We rekindled a dying art and brought it right to the main stage at the biggest show of the year. People tried for years – APAB, Vodka and Venom, The Kennedy-Carter Administration – they were all great teams but none of them could do what we did. We legitimized the whole damn division, we made it a success, we made it a draw. We showed the whole damn world that ceilings are meant to be burst through and that the game is meant to be changed. You see with pro wrestling there are barriers. There’s always somebody tellin’ you that you can’t be as good as Chris Kennedy. That nobody will be as successful a tag wrestler as Randy Ramon. There’s a hierarchy and you have your place. There’s a system and it can’t be changed. There’s lines you can’t color outside of.”

    “And let me guess; you and Ryan colored outside them?”

    “The only line I’ve ever seen is the one I’m about to snort up my nose. We do what we want. We say what we want. Don’t get me wrong – we ain’t dictators or some shit – we think everybody should do and say what they want. The only difference between all the rest of them and us? We just do. We don’t even think. We don’t plan. We don’t plot. This shit is the most natural thing in the entire business. There are very few things in life that make sense but TxR? We’re fuckin’ one of them. We just fit. We work. We’re the fuckin’ best there ever was and we’re always going to be. You run us against any freakin’ team you can think of, and we’ll prove that. Day in. Day out. Doesn’t matter when, doesn’t matter where – you’re fuckin’ shootin’ some crazy ice if you think differently. Anyone will tell ya that!”

    Hunter whistles lowly.

    “Damn… so you guys ain’t ever been beaten? What you say, Ryan? You two as good as Danny here says?”

    “We’ve been beat. No. No, we’re not.”

    Danny stares after Rondo who simply continues pushing through the trees, not even offering a gaze back towards Danny.

    “Sheesh! Guy is cold! Sounds like a pretty one-sided relationship if you ask me, Danny!”

    Danny grits his teeth. What was wrong with Ryan? It’s like he nearly didn’t want this to work. Danny was still trying to process his thoughts when they came upon Hunter’s make-shift camp. He quickly sets about getting a fire going while instructing Ryan on how to pitch the spare tents he has in a nearby rucksack. He produces two flasks from the rucksack and pushes them on Danny.

    “If you go back just a little and veer off to the right of the y-shaped tree, you’ll find a stream. Fill these up for us?”

    Danny doesn’t fancy being an errand-boy but he’s still seething over Ryan’s dismissal of their accomplishments as a team. His dismissal of him. Being alone suddenly seemed very appealing.

    “You got it, man. Be back in a bit.”

    “Hold up! Take this – you might need it.”

    Hunter hands Danny a small revolver, one he graciously accepts and tucks into the waistband of his shorts. He nods curtly at Hunter, doesn’t give Rondo so much as a glance, and pounds off into the woodland. Why was Ryan so bitter about things recently? They’d achieved a hell of a lot as a team and for him to just “meh” it hurt a hell of a lot more than anything anybody could do in the ring to him at Fallout 006. Well… that he knows of. He’s better than Peacock and despite what the record may state, he’s now better than Randy Ramon. He’s bounced Peacock two, three, four times. It stopped being a contest at The Warehouse. That’s not to say Chris Peacock hasn’t lit the wrestling world up for the last ten months but against Danny Toner? He’s even further behind than he was before. That’s nothing to do with Peacock – it’s all to do with Danny. Danny just keeps getting better and better, his potential never-ending and the ceiling always rising. Peacock’s great and likeable. Danny’s a whole other level. Ramon knows it too. He can’t keep clinging onto wins in fights with an ecstasy-popping, lazy, sloppy Danny from a few years ago. Ramon knows if he looks in the mirror that he won’t see the reflection of a man that can beat 2021 Danny Toner. If he does – Danny wants what he’s taking because that’s one hell of an illusion to be seeing. Nova Diamond was a friend of his and would not hesitate to strike and bring down Danny… if it meant anything to him. If Danny was the World Champion? Okay, yes. We have a Nova-shaped problem. But now? In this match? Danny knows Nova’s M.O., and Danny secretly thought that Nova was a bigger threat to his own team than TxR. Danny reaches the stream and begins filling the first of the two flasks. As for Chris Kennedy? Well… Danny doesn’t really know. Kennedy and Toner hadn’t clashed in any sort of note-worthy fashion. However, Danny had no reason to believe that Kennedy could rise up to his level. Hadn’t seen anything to suggest that. Oh, he was aware of what Kennedy had done and even very recently Kennedy had put out a performance that Danny couldn’t help but admit was world-class but still it wasn’t anything that would rattle his cage. In fact, the more Danny thought about it, the more he was getting a little bit tired of this idea that he should have any reason to fear The Astonishing One. Danny giggles a little at the thought of showing fear to Kennedy. He puts the cap on the flask and looks across the stream… before instantly freezing on the spot.

    “Oh, shit…”

    Standing directly across the stream, eyes trained directly on Danny, is a hulking, beast of a lion with an impossibly black mane. Though the creature froths at the mouth, it remains unmoving. He looks right into Danny’s eyes and try as he might, Danny cannot muster the words to scream out for help. The lion stands there, tempting Danny to make the first move, tempting Danny to just try and take his island. With a trembling hand, Danny slowly removes the gun and points it at the lion. He was facing down the king of the jungle and he wasn’t sure what to do. He wishes Rondo was with him, to help him, to tell him what to do. A small voice whispers in Danny’s mind.

    You already know what to do.

    Danny nods his head and steadies his arm. A calm wave washes over him and as he eyes up the lion, he swears he sees some hesitance. The lion looked like it was about to move forward but froze itself.

    “I fuckin’ knew it. You ain’t so tough.”

    Danny, gently – confidently! but gently – steps forward and places one foot into the shallow stream, inching towards the ruling lion, explicitly clear in his intention. The lion growls. It’s a guttural sound, one that comes deep from his belly, but Danny is unflinching, though he is holding his breath. The lion places a paw in the stream, he seems to be accepting the challenge. Danny thinks about just shooting but before he does, a golden eagle comes swooping down, directly in front of the face of the lion. The lion swings a paw at it, but the eagle immediately makes a beeline away from the stream, the lion turning on it’s hind legs and giving chase. Danny breathes a huge sigh of relief and quickly fills the second flask. He doesn’t know how to feel. He was taking it to the lion… but he had no idea how it was going to pan out. He plays the stare-down over in his mind as he makes his way back to the camp. He was sure it wasn’t going to be the last between the two. He comes into the clearing and is not surprised to see that Hunter and Ryan aren’t talking. Danny breaks into a singsong voice.

    “Honey, I’m hoooome and boy, have I a story for you two!”

    Hunter and Ryan eagerly turn towards Danny, both thankful he was back at the camp and no longer having to put up with each other’s company.

    “I saw the freakin’ lion! This guys, one-hundred percent Ryan, legit. Guys bonafide. He was standin’ there right across the stream, man I swear, this thing was staring me down! But I took this out!”

    Danny holds the gun aloft.

    “And man, I was going to pop one right between it’s eyes but that damn eagle got involved and he went chasin’ the eagle!”

    “Better than chasing the dragon!”

    Danny laughs aloud at Hunter’s wise-crack and turns to see what Ryan’s reaction was. He’s surprised to find Ryan has already retreated towards his tent. Danny looks at Hunter in puzzlement.

    “Eh… Ryan? Hello? Earth to my fuckin’ buddy? I just had a god-damn stare-down with the king of the jungle, this islands protector a big, fuck off, freakin’ lion, man! You know what a lion is, right? Your boy just stared one in the face, gave it the aul fuck you, and lived to tell the tale! I’m startin’ to get why everybody chants my name – that’s fuckin’ gangster!”

    Ryan turns and lets his gaze rest on Danny for a moment. It is a look of sheer disappointment. Unzipping his tent provided by Hunter, Rondo doesn’t even look at Danny as he enters his temporary lodging, but his words ring clear.

    “Sounds to me like you had a clear shot… and you weren’t able to take it.”

    ===TxR===

    He still doesn’t get it. This was the sole thought that replayed itself in Rondo’s mind over and over again as he veers off to the right at the y-shaped tree and heads towards the stream to refill his water bottle in the early hours of the morning. He’d woken early, to the sounds of birds chirping and realizing nobody else was awake, he’d taken it upon himself to get up and have a walk around, try and clear his head. Try and get things straight. He’d been a little harsh on Danny last night but what he said remained as true as the thought running through his head. Danny doesn’t get it. He’s somehow got it mixed up in his head that TxR is more important than the FWA World Championship. The belt Rondo had to scratch and claw to even get near. A long, arduous fight that bore many similarities to Toner’s slow rise up the ranks – sure, Rondo’s ascent was littered with gold and maybe Toner hadn’t amassed as many accolades as Rondo had but there could be no mistake made about it. Toner was Rondo version 2.0. Not even 2.0, a completely new model. An improved version of what Rondo was, or at least, he would be. But he doesn’t get it. Danny’s got a sparkle in his eye and it’s simultaneously the best and worst thing about him. Ryan appreciates Danny for who he is but it’s hard to not admit that a big part of who Danny is… is a head-strong idiot. He has a chance ahead of him now. A chance to take down Chris Kennedy and his own personal demon, Randy Ramon. A chance to silence the nay-sayers and win the big one. To shut everyone up for good. But all Danny was concerned with was TxR and how they were. He was obsessed with trying to get Rondo out of his so-called funk rather than focusing on how he was going to win the World Championship. Rondo wants for Danny to win it more than he even wanted to win it for himself, but the doubts just wouldn’t go away.

    Danny Toner doesn’t get it.

    Ryan screws the tap on the second flask and gets the ominous feeling that somebody – or something – is watching him. He gets his breathing other control and calmly look out across the stream… but there’s nothing on the other side. There’s no lion waiting for him on the other side of the river. Not anymore. Ryan weakly smiles and sits down on the ground. There never was going to be a lion on the other side of the stream for him, was there? Ryan had been in many fights. With lions and sharks and demons and switchblades. With friends and foes and rivals and enemies. But who does he fight now? He catches his rippling reflection in the banks of the stream and lightly smirks.

    “Seems about right.”

    Ryan looks at the scar that runs the length of his palm. It was a new one. Well, newish. It happened during the Taipei deathmatch. He can’t remember how. There’s only one thing worth remembering from that night, no matter what way anyone tries to swing it, and that’s the result. Riding this wave of honesty that seems to be overcoming him, he decides to delve a little deeper with it. Be a little more honest with himself. There are things he cares about in the FWA. There are happenings that have his interest, attention, and devotion and in a moment of clarity, he realizes that most, if not all of them things… run through Danny. He cares about Danny, even beyond himself, but if Danny cares so much about Ryan… does that in a roundabout way mean that by caring for Danny… Ryan does care about himself? Ryan scoffs a little. He’s doing a Danny. Looping it all back to them. To the us. To TxR. TxR was the last great thing Ryan would be known for, he was sure of it. He was never going to really do anything worth talking about again, at least, he didn’t plan to. Danny appeared to have other designs, yet Rondo couldn’t help but feel that somebody needs to pull the plug and just tell Danny straight-up how it is. How is it? TxR is dead. Danny is wondering why he can’t light a fire under Rondo and really the answer is very, very simple; the last thing he cared about in the wrestling world… was killed stone-dead in Paris. At the hands of Ryan’s greatest rival, Devin Golden and Danny’s greatest rival, Randy Ramon. Open and shut. Ryan could even live with the fact that it had been Golden. Really, he could, they’d been through so much tic for tac that it only seemed fitting but Ramon? Ramon boiled his blood. He despised it was Ramon, not because he doesn’t rate him – he did, he’s a good worker – but because everybody else over-rates him so much. The six-foot odd lanky string of Rockstar piss that gets Devin Golden to do all his talking… because he doesn’t know what to say himself. He doesn’t know what to do. Ryan had never bought the Ramon over Toner crap. Ever. Even when Ramon was beating Toner, Ryan thought Toner was better. Ryan thinks Ramon is talented but he’s not special. Rondo is special. Toner is special. It killed him to even think it but… Golden was special. Ramon is a dime a dozen when held up to Danny and really the only reason he’s relevant in 2021 is because Golden took a shining to him and tagged up with him. Rondo knows some people might not agree with his assessment, but he doesn’t care, he’s not trying to convince anybody. He’s long past caring what people think of his thoughts and besides, he’d spent the first half of the year calling Golden Rock’s every move, every play and only now, people were truly coming around to his way of thinking. He was right about Golden, and he was right about Ramon. Again, that feeling of being watched creeps over Rondo and as he whips his head around, he thinks he sees a figure out of the corner of his eye, crouching in the trees. He thinks about shouting out to confront the stalker, but his eyes are suddenly drawn to a much more immediate threat – a snake hissing and slowly slinking towards him through the grass. Ryan begins to back up, panic setting in as he moves backwards in his seated position. His hand pushes hard against a wayward stick in the grass and it loudly breaks in two.

    SNNNNAP! SNNNNAP!

    Danny yawns loudly and rubs the sleep from his eyes. The boys must be up. As he lies on the hard ground underneath his tent, he marvels at how somebody standing on a twig is what wakes him up. No doubt there’d been all manner of noise and activity from various creatures outside his little set-up but it’s the simple snapping of a small branch that wakes him from his stupor. He pulls on his black Nike top and thinks ahead to the match at Fallout 006. He really wants to win. He wants to prove TxR are as good as he says they are – and if you’ve been listening to Danny, then you know that’s… well, he thinks they’re the best ever. But more than anything, he just wants things to be alright between him and Ryan. He wasn’t even sure why they weren’t, but he’d been feeling for a few weeks – months, even – that things weren’t right between the pair. His thoughts don’t get much further as he steps out into a completely empty campsite. Danny glances around and sees no fire burning or breakfast cooking. Nobody around at all. They may have just gone to get water but… something felt off for Danny. Suddenly, he hears an unmistakable voice shout from the distance.

    “DANNY!!!”

    He quickly darts into his tent to grab his gun and begins charging towards the source of the shout. It was Rondo. 100%. He’d pick his voice out anywhere and besides, it wasn’t like there was a lot of options for it to be anybody else on the damn island. It had to be that lion, it just had to be. Danny swears under his breath as he pounds the ground beneath him, taking the right turn at the y-shaped tree. The lion! It must be the lion.

    “I swear to whatever fuckin’ deity is up there; if Rondo’s in trouble, I’m poppin’ that fuckin’ thing!”

    Confidence, adrenaline, who knows? All Danny knows is that he isn’t afraid of the king. He isn’t afraid of the ruler of the jungle. His grip tightens on the gun as he comes into the clearing where the stream is. He sees Rondo backed up against a tree… with seemingly nobody around him. Danny skids to a halt a few meters from Ryan.

    “Uh… is he gone?”

    Rondo spits through his teeth, his jaw clenched tightly, not wanting to make any sudden or startling movements.

    “The. Fucking. Snake.”

    Danny gasps as he sees the coral reef snake from when they arrived during the night, its head poised and ready to strike. One shot was enough. Even Danny knew that. He quickly takes aim and squeezes the trigger of the gun… but nothing happens. Danny looks perplexed and again tries to pull the trigger. He can cock it and pull it but then nothing happens, it just jams. Rondo’s face goes a ghostly shade of white as he realizes the gun is useless and that the snake is inching ever closer to him. Danny closes his eyes and takes a sharp breath before eliciting a roar and charging right towards the snake. The snake is swift to coil its head back around towards Danny but it’s the last thing he does as Danny’s size 10 runner comes stamping right down atop of its head, crushing it into the ground. Danny viciously and repeatedly stamps over and over, snake blood and guts spraying the ground around him as his frenzied stampede finally peters out. Danny collapses to the ground, catching his breath and regaining his composure. A bit of color has returned to Rondo’s face, and he even manages a weak smile.

    “Sheesh… did somebody tell you the snake’s name was Randy?”

    “You’re fuckin’ welcome, you jack-off. Where the fuck is your gun?”

    “I left it at the camp, I only came down for some water. Fat lot of good yours did anyway!”

    “Just as well as I can think on my feet, ain’t it? Fuckin’ Hunter man, givin’ me a piece of shit gun. The fuck was I supposed to do if it was the lion?”


    Rondo suddenly shoots right to his feet and hauls Danny to his.

    “Come on! Get up!”

    Danny runs (kind of, Rondo’s doing a lot of dragging) back towards the camp, unable to get a word through to Rondo. He dives straight into his tent and re-emerges with the gun. The Last Star in the Sky points the gun directly at the ground in front of him and pulls the trigger… but nothing happens. He looks up at Danny, his eyes widening, and dives back into the tent and begins rustling around.

    “It’s gone! He set us up Danny, this Hunter guy took the map back and gave us dud guns!”

    Rondo looks furious as he climbs back out of the tent.

    “Danny, that fucker could have had me killed. Or worse, he could have had you killed.”

    Danny arches an eyebrow.

    “What?”

    “Or worse… he could’ve had me killed?”

    Danny breaks into a massive Cheshire-like smile as he wags a finger at Ryan, a pleased look on his face.

    “Don’t you fuckin’ tell me you don’t care about me, Mr. Rondo. The evidence very much so says otherwise!”

    “Danny… listen to me very, very carefully; I don’t give a solitary FUCK about anything other than putting my first down this fuckin’ Hunter’s throat. He could be anywhere, D, absolutely anywhere and it’s not like we know this place.”

    “I dunno…”


    Danny looks up at highest point of the island, the only raises surface he had seen so far. The land steadily slopes upwards as it continues on to its highest point, seemingly flattening out high above the treetops. It was like a mini mountain situated in the middle of the woodland and even higher above that… a golden eagle circled it constantly.

    “I think I know where our boy is.”

    ===TxR===

    The ascent towards the highest point of the island, far above the canopy of trees, is done in silence. Ryan and Danny trudge towards the top and although they do not exchange words, the atmosphere between the two is different. The tension is still simmering away but as they hike upwards, nearly in unison with their steps, the silence feels a lot more accepted. It’s not that they don’t want to talk, in fact, it seems like they might just be ready to have that conversation but now? Now there’s something else they have to do. They might be ready but there’s still somebody standing in their way. Sure, they could have taken their leave there and then at the campsite when the unspoken realization that they were ready to talk dawned on them, but somebody has posed a very real threat to them. Somebody threatened TxR. Somebody threatened them. So, they were going to do something about it. Ryan and Danny reach the top of their trek, the point where the land flattens out again, high in the sky. Hunter is crouched down, pouring over the map, a couple of holes and a shovel nearby indicating he was digging up the earth.

    “You miss us, you prick?”

    Hunter gasps and throws his arms up as he quickly pivots around, sure to keep his distance from the two men.

    “D-D-Danny! Ryan! I was just-”

    “Stupid enough to think you could get one over on us?”

    “D-D-Don’t be silly! I just… just came scouting ahead! I wanted to get up here and-”


    “Shut your fuckin’ mouth, man.”

    Danny is cold in delivery and shakes his head in disgust at Hunter.

    “I fuckin’ liked you, man. I honestly don’t know what you get out of this, what was the gain? Why the fuck would you give us two bum burners when you know that fuckin’ lion is out there? Man, you were somebody I thought I was gonna have a beer with, not some fuckin’ creep around! What gives?”

    “You should crush his head like you did that fucking snake, D.”

    A horrified expression falls over Hunter’s face and in a startled tone rather uncontrollably cries out.

    “What did you do to my-”

    Like a flash, Rondo is on the man and has him by the scruff of his top and has him dangling over the edge of the cliff. He thinks he can hear Danny calling out his name, sheer terror in his voice but Rondo just drowned it out. Rondo was sick of it. Sick of chumps like Alyster Black and Chris Peacock walking around like they were the cock of the walk because they beat him. As true as it was that Rondo’s heart hadn’t been in it… he was still Ryan Rondo and letting these men beat him was a tarnish on the career he’d built and held in such high esteem that he’d found himself saying “It doesn’t matter” when things didn’t go his way. They all poke and prod when they know the dragon is sleeping in his cave but as soon as he flicks one eye open, they all go scarpering. He’s seen hundreds of Chris Peacocks and even those lucky few that manage to get a lick in on Rondo all end up falling. But he’s here. He’s still revered and talked about as the best of all time. He’s still here. Stack it up in what ever sort of fantastical setting you like but the fact still remains – these fucking shmucks couldn’t lace Rondo’s boots. Back in Business was nearly half a year ago and it was high time Rondo snapped out of the stupor he put himself in. And he’d start by tearing Peacock limb from limb in the main event of Fallout 006. Well… he’d start with this fucking asshole dangling in front of him. Rondo bares his teeth and shouts at Hunter.

    “Your what? Why did we do what? To your FUCKING WHAT!?”

    Rondo loosens the grip slightly and Hunter pleas with Rondo as he becomes all the more aware of the fact that there is no ground beneath his drooping feet.

    “Please, Ryan! Please! I didn’t mean to-”

    “I’ll ask one more time; your what?

    Hunter, rather impressively given his current predicament, manages to gulp. He looks at Ryan and then at Danny, before closing his eyes and whispering.

    “My snake.”

    “The fuck he say?!”

    “Speak up Hunter, I don’t think my partner quite hard you… why don’t you repeat who your partner is?

    Hunter glances at Danny and looks slightly remorseful.

    “It was… it was my snake.”

    “The fuck, man? You’re serious? You and the snake?”

    “Yeah, that’s right, D. This piece of shit set the snake on me down at the stream, I fucking knew I seen someone slinking around the trees. Slithering around like the fuckin’ snake he’s with.”

    “The fuck is goin’ on here? Get talkin’. Fast. I thought you just wanted to kill the lion? The fuck you bring me into it for? What’s with the blanks?”

    “Cause… he didn’t know there was a lion. He didn’t fight no lion; he’s never even gotten close to it. Look at this guy, he couldn’t get his hand on some real heat if his life depended on it. Nawh, this con-artist just wanted an escort to the top. Fast-tracked and guaranteed. He knows he wouldn’t be able to do it himself. This happy to just be here bullshit? That’s an act, D. A convincing one, sure, but an act all the same. This motherfucker’s just like everyone else at the end of the day… ain’t ya? You just wanted the big score.”

    Hunter is sobbing now, nodding his head and confessing to Rondo’s words.

    “Okay, it’s true! It’s true! I set you up. I wanted protection hunting for the treasure! I never even knew there was a lion! I thought it was a rumor! The only thing I thought was on the island was that god-forsaken eagle! I swear – I never intended for you to get hurt, I swear!”

    Ryan cocks his head around at Danny.

    “What do you think, D?”

    Danny moves towards the map that had been strewn beside the shovel and discovers a tattered, purple knapsack. He ruffles it with the toe of his runner and detecting a weight, bends down and picks it up. He reaches into the bag and his face falls as he looks up at Hunter.

    “You didn’t intend to hurt us?”

    Danny slowly produces a gun from the knapsack and Rondo’s face tightens. Danny aims at the ground in front of him and pulls the trigger.

    BANG!!!

    Danny’s eyes don’t leave the ground in front of him where the bullet had been lodged. Hunter shouts out.

    “No! It’s not what it looks like!”

    “Funny you should say that I bet this isn’t what you thought the top would look like.

    “What do you me-”

    “Get fucked.”

    Rondo releases the grip on Hunter just as Danny whips his head around.

    “Ryan, no!!!”

    Danny charges to the edge over which Hunter had just been dropped.

    “Oh, relax you fucking pussy. I didn’t actually kill the guy.”

    Danny feels relief course through his body as he looks over the edge of the clearing to see a pool of water several feet below. He can just about make out the splash of Hunter swimming towards land and he laughs aloud.

    “Fuckin’ hell, talk about giving him something to remember you by!”

    Danny turns around, wondering why Rondo isn’t getting in on the jokes and immediately sees why. Standing deathly still and staring down Ryan, is the black-maned, rabid lion. There is no hesitation or stand-off like Danny and the lion, it would be fair to say that somehow, there was an air of familiarity between the lion and Ryan. Like they’d done this dance before. Rondo braces himself, the lion growls once and then pounces towards Rondo, jumping through the air, claws drawn and teeth gnashing. It’s nearly instinct. Danny’s whole life flashes before his eyes, even though he’s not in immediate danger and before he knows what’s happened, he’s drawn the gun to eye-level and put two bullets square in the lion’s head, stopping the alpha-predator dead in his tracks. It’s Danny’s turn to be frozen on the spot as Rondo turns to him in complete and utter disbelief.

    “Aight; let’s get the fuck outta here! This is fuckin’ wild.”

    “But-”

    “Danny, come on, man! Fuck me, we’ve had a fucking snake, a lion and some lunatic who befriended you try to kill us in the last twelve hours. Surely, SURELY, whatever you have to say can wait until we’re back on The Slammer?”


    Danny drops the gun to the side and steps towards Rondo.

    “No. It can’t wait. We’ve been waiting since Back in Business.”

    Rondo mutters some discontent under his breath but when he audibly speaks up, it’s a resigned yet agreeing voice that meets Danny.

    “I guess we have. Aight… let’s do it. Let’s get it all out there. The big talk.”

    “We’ve talked about pretty much everything.”

    Danny glances at the giant carcass of the lion that roamed the island, preventing anybody from ever maximizing the island to it’s full potential. He steals a look back at the spot where Rondo dropped Hunter.

    “I think we’re back on the same page… I think TxR are ready to go.”

    Rondo curtly nods.

    “I wasn’t sure… but we are.”

    “Nearly.”

    “Nearly?”

    “Aye. There’s still one thing we’ve got to put in the past and move on from. If TxR are goin’ to ride again… and I mean really ride again… then there’s something we’ve got to admit. There’s something we’ve got to say.”

    “What? What do we have to say?”


    Danny is now standing about four feet in front of Rondo, both men have their eyes trained on each other. Danny smiles and Rondo returns it.

    “We have to say; I got beaten at Back in Business… and I wasn’t the better man.

    A beat, then a steely expression falls over Ryan Rondo’s face, all smiles being dropped in the blink of an eye.

    “I don’t accept that.”

    Danny is mid-way through taking off his top. He flings it on the ground and cracks his knuckles, his muscled chest heaving up and down. His smile has also faded.

    “Neither do I.”

    Ryan looks puzzled. Firstly, at Danny taking his top off and secondly, at his words. What was he getting at? What was he trying to show him? If they both think they should have won at Back in Business and Danny didn’t think he was the reason that they didn’t and if Ryan himself didn’t feel that he had put a foot wrong… then who was to blame? Danny wanted to trash out Back in Business but had landed right on the fence. It was neither of their fault? The anger Rondo felt at the result of Back in Business was unnatural. That was their fucking moment. He knew Danny felt the same and somebody had to pay, had to get the brunt of the TxR anger and frustrations that stemmed from an event back in May… but had built all the way up, festering, turning slowly more cancerous with each passing day until the duo found themselves half-way through the month of October… still no closer to banishing the hatred that had grown in them since Danny came crashing down off the top of the ladder in the third fall. Danny and Ryan didn’t need to talk, they needed to crack some heads together and show everybody that one result doesn’t define a team. Actions speak louder than words, that’s what Ryan always told Danny. Now seemed an apt time to remind him as Danny had assumedly taken to speaking in riddles and walking around topless. Ryan goes to speak but suddenly he gets it. Actions do speak louder than words and while TxR were cribbing and crying, looking for anybody to blame, they lost sight of what made TxR so special and allowed it to be replaced with deep-lying disappointment.

    “It’s just you and me… isn’t it?”

    Rondo doesn’t even wait for a response as he peels off his own tee-shirt. Danny allows a quick flicker of a grin to cross his face.

    “It’s always just you and me.”

    Rondo clenches his hands into fists.

    “Well then let’s put an end to this... for good.”

    Danny balls his own fists up and before Rondo can even get his guard up, he’s smashed him square in the face.

    “I’ve been waitin’ to do that since the alleyway before Back in Business, you fucker!”

    ===TxR===

    Danny and Ryan are sitting right beside each other, nursing their injuries. Ryan gingerly touches the red welts that are forming on his face and Danny holds his balled-up tee-shirt to his bleeding nose. Both men’s chests are covered in red marks. They catch each other’s eyes, and both start laughing, then both begin groaning as they clutch their bodies in pain… which inevitably leads them into another fit of giggles.

    “Some team, huh?”

    “One of a kind, G, one of a kind.”

    “You reckon Peacock and Randy are beating the shit out of each other on top of some mountain in the middle of an island?”

    “Pfft… I’d say that’s more likely to be Kennedy and our pal, Nova, wouldn’t you say, man?”

    “Maybe… but I really try and not care about what Chris Kennedy does. Yo, you wanna try look for that treasure?”


    Danny punches Ryan softly on the arm.

    “Maaaaan… I don’t give a fuck about that treasure. I got what I needed out of comin’ here, I don’t give a fuck about anybody or anything that isn’t sittin’ right here.”

    Danny gets up and stretches his very tired limbs, trying to ease out some of the pain from his action-packed night and morning.

    “Not even Nova?”

    “Well… he ain’t here, is he?”

    Ferociously and without warning, the golden eagle swoops down and drives its talons into Danny’s chest forcing him onto his back. The eagle quickly places a sharp claw at the base of Danny’s throat and the weakened Rondo scrambles to find a weapon.

    “Don’t…”

    Danny meekly calls out, stopping Rondo. The beady eyes of the eagle stare deep past Danny’s eyes, down into his soul. Danny treads very cautiously, but there is a backdrop of confidence to his voice.

    “He won’t hurt me. He doesn’t want to. He’s just… he’s just showing that he can.”

    Showing either an unnatural connection or an incredible coincidence – you pick – the eagle flutters it’s wings twice and rises from Danny’s throat. It circles Rondo and Danny once before flying into the distance and resuming it’s circling of the island. Ryan is bug-eyed as he looks at Danny and offers him a hand up.

    “You’re a crazy son of a bitch, Danny Toner. I don’t know why you do to such a crazy extent… but I’m fucking glad you have my back.”

    “You don’t know why? Really? Dude… I fucking love you. I would kill for you. I will be killed for you. You have had my back from the very start. The very freaking start. Nobody knows it except me and you but that’s why we know nobody else can touch what we have. They can’t even come close. This isn’t forced. This isn’t even chosen. This is fucking destiny man. TxR ain’t no Johnny-come-latelys. We’re fuckin’ day one, G.”

    Danny holds out a hand to shake but Rondo quickly slaps it away and wraps Danny in a bear hug.

    “I fucking love you too, man.”

    He pulls back and puts his fist out which Dany duly bumps.

    “TxR ride again… of course they do. We always will. Day one, D. Day fucking one.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Tig View Post
    Posted in the Fight Night 11/15/2014 Promo Thread

    We abruptly cut to an unkempt hotel room. Danny Toner is sitting on the edge of the double-bed wearing only his boxers. His head is buried in his hands and as the camera swings around the room we can see empty beer bottles and pizza boxes strewn about the room. Lying face-down on the bed is a naked woman. She is so still it would be believable if one were to claim she was dead. However, a slight snore puts this theory to bed. Toner seems on edge, his right foot bouncing up and down on the hotel room floor uncontrollably. The shrill sound of a mobile phone ringing proverbially knocks Danny out of his reprieve. His head jerks up and his messy hair and bloodshot eyes lends weight to the idea that Toner is a dishevelled mess. He frantically scans the room for the mobile and sees it lying in the middle of the floor. The name displayed is clear to all – ‘Harry Baxter’. Toner picks up the phone and answers it.



    Danny Toner – “Uh . . . hello?”


    Harry Baxter – “Danny is that you? Are you there?”


    Danny Toner – “Eh, yeah sure. What’s up Harry?”


    Harry Baxter – “WHAT’S UP HARRY!? Are you freaking kidding me right now Danny? Nobody has seen hide nor tail of you since the last Fight Night and YOU are asking ME what’s up? I think it’s fairly clear what’s up Danny! Where the hell are you? You do know you’ve to be in Baton Rouge for Fight Night in three days . . . right?”


    Danny Toner – “Oh yeah . . . about that Harry . . . I was kind of thinking of taking a break. Is there any way you can get me out of it?”


    Silence. Then in a soft voice;



    Harry Baxter – “Danny . . . please tell me you’re joking. You’re kidding around yeah?”


    Danny Toner – “Uh . . . nope . . . I could really use the time, Harry.”


    Harry Baxter – “Just what the hell has gotten into you Danny? You have a goddamn Tag Team Championship match this week and you’re asking for time off?! You need a wake-up call kid. Just because your life went the way you wanted it, and everything panned out for you in the business world doesn’t mean it’s going to happen for you like that in FWA. You had two chances to become the X-Division Champion and you blew it. You haven’t showed up to promo for FWA.com in weeks. Nobody even knew you were alive until you picked up the phone today. You wanna know something Danny? Most of the management wanted to let you go. Fire you. But I convinced them to let you stay because I believed in you. I said give him until the end of the carousel and you are blessed that Marcus Thane brought his A-game against Sovereign Force because you certainly weren’t going to beat them the condition you were in. Then they wanted to pull you from the Tag Team Championship match and give Thane a mystery partner and once again one person saved your hide.”


    Danny Toner – “Harry thanks, I appreciate it. I promise you I won’t let you down-”


    Harry Baxter – “Don’t give me that crap Danny. The amount of times I’ve had to call you and tell you to get your act together is ridiculous. You apologize come back and show your stuff for a few weeks and then begin half-assing it all over again. You’re never going to learn. Anyway, it wasn’t me who saved you your spot in the match.”


    Danny Toner – “What then who?”


    Harry Baxter – “Ryan Rondo. Don’t ask me why but for some reason he stood up for you and told G-Rich it wasn’t right to take the shot away from you and luckily, he listened. A vet put his neck out for you and what do you go and do? Shoot off to God knows where to do God knows what and you don’t tell a damn soul about it. You’re a disgrace Danny.”


    Danny glances slightly to his left as the naked girl in the bed begins to stir. The camera gets a frontal shot of his face and Toner looks crestfallen. It looks like something has begun to sink in with the millionaire. Toner sheepishly questions Baxter.



    Danny Toner – “Rondo . . . Rondo vouched for me?”


    Harry Baxter – “Yeah and I sure as hell don’t know why. Get to Baton Rouge kid. Randy, Ayla, Marcus, and Rondo. Show them a bit of respect. Just because you’re in the gutter doesn’t mean they should have to suffer. Get your damn act together.”


    3X World Tag Team Champion (w/Christian Quinn, w/Randy Ramon & w/Ryan Rondo)
    1X Gauntlet Champion



    JOIN THE FWA!

  11. #11
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    Bad Blood Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    Run From Me Darling



    Alone.

    That's been the case for Kleio De Santos for the last few months now as she sits along in her hotel room. At the moment she is laying in her bed enjoying a mystery novel by James Patterson. But she finds herself rereading each sentence due to being distracted by other thoughts. Thoughts like her tag team match against The Undisputed Alliance, thoughts about her partner Kayden Knox.

    Suddenly, Kleio is interrupted by a phone ringing on the night stand next to her. It startles her and causes her to jump up. She reaches over to answer the phone, and the voice can be heard from the other side.


    Front Desk: Hi, we're just calling to let you know that housekeeping won't be coming by until noon tomorrow instead of 11.

    Kleio De Santos: Oh...okay, no problem.


    Kleio hangs up the phone. She decides to take a walk and get some ice, and grabs the ice bucket from her room as the thoughts still go over in her head. She mulls over every idea of this match, and every match prior. Specifically the X Championship match from a couple shows ago...how she wished she had the energy at the time. She chuckles, wishing that she still even had the energy right now. She still isn't quite there yet. Practicing for her GED exam and preparing for a wrestling match all at the same time as been overwhelming.

    Feeling cold, she walks over to the window and pulls it shut with her free hand, the ice bucket still in the other. She then opens her door, and turns over the deadbolt so that she doesn't have to use her key to get back inside.

    Kleio begins to walk down the pristine hallway of the high class hotel. The walls are clean and the wallpaper is formal. There are some people walking in the hallway, and they look dressed like they're going to a business meeting. The FWA really went all out in making sure she was in a nice place. To Kleio it didn't matter...there were points in her life where she was sleeping under bridges and in dumpsters. As long as she had a bed and a roof she was happy.

    She gets to the ice machine, but the thoughts keep on coming in.

    The thoughts alone begin to make Kleio angry. The thought about Kayden Knox specifically...Kleio had tried to reach out to Kayden Knox in an effort to work together and train together before the match. She had done so well with Lizzie Rose early in the year when they had prepared together, and she thought her and Kayden would be able to do the same. The two of them are just so eerily similar. Both have had more trauma than anyone on the roster, both have had hardship. Both of them are broken...Kleio thought that they could be broken together. But Kayden was uninterested.

    He brushed her off.

    Her phone call attempts.

    Her text messages.

    Kayden was uninterested.

    Was he mad at her?

    What did she do to make him upset?

    Was it because of Saint Sulley?

    Kayden seemed to have some strange obsession over Saint Sulley. And maybe he is taking it out on her...but would he really go that far?

    It was to the point where Kleio started to become afraid of Kayden. If he is this cold now, what is he going to be like during the match?

    She gets so lost in her thoughts that the ice bucket she's filling up overflows. The ice falls down onto her bare toes and she jumps back quickly. She shakes her head and then quickly walks back to her room and closes the door. Instead of using the ice for a drink, she sticks her hand in the bucket instead. She lets out a long sigh of relief as she lays on her bed and closes her eyes.

    But quickly soon after she's once again startled by the ringing of the hotel phone. The light on her nightstand is flickering too, and the wind blows angrily through the now open window. She groggily reaches over to grab the phone.

    Kleio De Santos: Hello?

    But there's no response on the other end.

    Just heavy breathing.

    Kleio quickly hangs up the phone. Maybe it was the front desk again, and they got disconnected. She doesn't have any time for games though, she needs to get a good night sleep.

    Kleio thinks to herself that she had thought she closed that window earlier, but perhaps she is mistaken. She shivers as she gets out of bed to close it for real this time.

    As soon as she does however...

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    Kleio looks back to the phone, and immediately feels uneasy in her stomach.

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    She slowly walks over to the phone that still keeps ringing.

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    She takes a deep breath and quickly picks up the phone and holds it to her ear.

    Kleio De Santos: ..Hello?

    Again the heavy breathing.

    Kleio is about to hang up the phone, before she finally hears a voice.

    A very distinct and distorted voice.

    The Caller: How are you?

    Kleio De Santos: Tired. You're calling me in the middle of the night and waking me up. What's so important that it couldn't wait?

    The Caller: I just had to know...

    Kleio De Santos: You had to know what?

    The Caller: What's your favorite scary movie?

    Kleio immediately hangs up the phone.

    What the hell was that?

    Before she can even get a chance to think....

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    Kleio picks it up.

    Kleio De Santos: I don't know what kind of people they have working at that desk down there, but I can tell you I am going to be telling the manager in the morning that you're calling me and asking me ridiculous questions, and I'll be telling my company too. The FWA, have you heard of us?

    The Caller: I don't work for the hotel.


    Kleio's stomach sinks.

    She gets scared for a moment, but her anger takes over quickly after.

    Kleio De Santos: Who is this? It is three in the morning, and I don't know why you are calling me! What is this some sort of pra-

    The Caller: I asked you a question. What's your favorite scary movie?

    Kleio De Santos: The one that ends with me going to sleep.

    The Caller: I can make that happen.


    Kleio again gets scared and hangs up the phone.

    *Ring*

    It almost calls back instantly.

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    Kleio answers it but before she can even say anything...

    The Caller: If you hang up on me again you little bitch I'm going to show you what your insides look like.

    Kleio drops the phone in fear. She quickly hangs it up again and then runs over to the door to make sure it's unlocked. She pulls her window curtains shut, taking away the view from the 17th floor.

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    Kleio doesn't even think about answering it this time.

    And the ringing stops.

    Kleio De Santos: It's just a prank caller...probably someone from the roster. Probably Jackson Fenix, that asshole! He thinks he is so funny pulling pranks like that...probably trying to play mind games. Well I'm not falling for them...

    Or is it Knox? Is he doing something to me? Hazing?

    I don't find it funny at all.

    And I can promise I'll be speaking to Watkins about it if that's the case. I won't tolerate this kind of harassment...I'll even get Sulley involved.


    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    Kleio decides to angrily answer the phone.


    Kleio De Santos: Go screw yourself!

    The Caller: You go ahead and get Sulley involved, I'll stab his eyes out and feed them to you! Then I'll gut you life a fish!

    Kleio drops the phone.

    How did he hear what she said about Sulley?

    Before she can even think...

    *BANG* *BANG* *BANG*

    Comes from the door. Kleio lets out a small shriek before looking for a weapon in her room. She has nothing. She usually carries around a pocket knife when she's at home, but she couldn't take it on the plane. She instead grabs the lamp off the nightstand, and postures towards the door.

    That's when...

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    Kleio looks towards the phone, when suddenly a loud

    *SMASH*


    Is heard as a rock is thrown through the window. Kleio screams now as she drops the lamp on the floor and opens the door in a panic.

    She runs out in the hallway which is now pitch black and tattered. No longer bright and formal, the walls are covered in blood and the carpet is torn.

    Kleio quickly runs down the hallway making her way to the stairs. She makes it to the part of the hallway where the ice machine is, and suddenly a hooded figure with a ghost like mask pops out and attacks her.

    Kleio screams as she struggles with the figure.

    Somehow all her martial arts training doesn't matter. She's quickly overpowered as the figure holds a large butcher knife over her. He lifts it up to stab her with it, but she quickly hits him with an upper cut and he falls to the ground.

    She quickly gets up and runs towards the stair case. She's wearing no shoes, and is in a sports bra and a short pair of shorts, but that doesn't seem to deter her from getting the hell out of there. She goes down the stairs as fast as she can to the bottom.

    She makes it to just about the 8th floor, when she gasps at what she sees around the next flight of stairs...the same hooded figure. She quickly turns around back the other way and goes to open the door for Floor 9. But it's locked and won't budge! She keeps going up, and Floor 10 is locked too!

    She goes up another floor and tries Floor 11, just as the hooded figure comes right behind her.

    She quickly slams the stair door shut in the figure's face and does her best to hold it tight. The figure bangs on the door trying to push past her, and then breaks the glass for the door. She shrieks as the figure puts it's knife through the window. She moves out of the way and continues to hold the door shut.

    Finally the banging stops.

    She turns around to see the same dark powerless hallway. Still dirty and covered with blood.

    She begins to bang on the doors of some rooms on Floor 11, but nobody opens up.


    Kleio De Santos: I swear to god if it's Fenix and Savage I will sue...this is not funny...this goes beyond wrestling...I mean I know that they do some pretty messed up shit, but this?


    The adrenaline is in full force now as she begins to look for a way out. She heads to the elevator and tries to press the call button, but there's no power.

    She decides to make it to the other end of the hallway and go down the other set of stairs.

    She makes it to the stairwell and begins to go down to the lobby, but before she gets there a thought comes to her head. Her cellphone! She was in such a panic that she left it in the room. If she could get it, she could call for help. Against her better judgement, she decides to turn around and go back to Floor 17.

    On her way up, she begins to curse again about Kayden Knox.


    Kleio De Santos: If Knox didn't refuse to train with me, would could've shared a room together. And he'd be there to help me with this. But he doesn't have my back, clearly. No, it's just like it always is...I'm on my own. It doesn't matter that Knox and I both have trauma...

    And then the paranoia sets in.

    Kleio De Santos: What if this is Knox? This is exactly something that sick bastard would do. I mean all that messed up shit he did to Jason Randall...

    Kleio makes it back up to Floor 17. She opens the door slowly, checking for the masked figure.

    She's relieved that there's nothing there as she quickly scurries back to her room. But her heart sinks when she gets to the door, and finds the deadbolt over and the door open like how she left it earlier when she went to get ice...

    Kleio De Santos: No...no I shut this. I swear I did...or did I?

    Kleio shakes her head as she slowly enters the room.

    There's nothing there she sees as she lets out a huge breath. Yet she naively walks past the bathroom door which is now closed. She goes straight to her phone which she had zipped away in her backpack.

    She pulls it out and looks defeated when she sees it...


    Kleio De Santos: No service...

    Suddenly...

    *Ring*

    *Ring*

    Kleio walks over to the phone, and then quickly picks it up and hangs it up.

    She then very slowly turns around, and looks back at the closed bathroom door that she walked past earlier.

    She picks up the lamp she dropped way earlier, and walks towards the bathroom.

    She slowly steps closer and closer, and gets to the door...

    AND SHE FLINGS IT OPEN.

    But there's no one inside.

    Suddenly, the closet door opens behind her and the figure appears. She turns around, and she's stabbed in the shoulder by the figure. She drops the lamp and the two go to the ground and begin to wrestle for control.

    The figure is on top of her yet again trying to stab her with the knife.

    Despite all her training, she's getting weaker and weaker...she loses control as the figure stabs her again this time in the stomach.

    She lets out a gasp and a plea.


    Kleio De Santos: Please...please don't do this...I've been through so much...this can't be how it ends. All my trauma....

    The figure raises the knife up for one final stab, as Kleio with the last bit of strength she has left reaches up her hand...and tugs at the mask. She pulls it off and she's shocked at what she sees above her.

    It's...herself.

    The now unmasked Kleio smiles down at her victim.


    Kleio De Santos: When won't you get it? I am your trauma. And you will never stop running from me. Because that's who you are Kleio. I am all you have been and all you ever will be. Ever since you were a little girl and I murdered your parents, I've been chasing you...and you've never stopped running have you?

    Every single fight you have...whether it's against Lizzie Rose, or Elliot Harvey Huttlestone...or whether you're fighting The Undisputed Alliance. You just can't help yourself from making me the vocal point of you. That's why you and Kayden make the perfect team. He's the same way...


    Kleio coughs up blood as she tries to speak back.

    Kleio De Santos: No...

    Kleio De Santos: Yes. You can keep running from me all you want. I won't stop chasing you...because you let me. You keep coming back.

    I am what defines you Kleio.

    I am all you are, and all you ever will be.

    With that, she stabs the bleeding Kleio one last time.

    Suddenly, she's startled awake. She quickly sits up in her bed. The power is back on, the window is closed, and she's all alone.

    It was all just a dream.

    As if she didn't have enough distractions ahead of this fight.

    Kleio is still gasping for air...but she seems to have understood the message.


    Kleio De Santos: It won't be what defines me...I won't let it be. I'm going to define myself. I won't live in the past. I hope Kayden can do the same, and together...together we can those two idiots.

    She pulls her blanket up and wipes the sweat on her forehead.

    She looks over one last time at the window, thankful it really is still closed.

    But her peace only lasts a moment when suddenly....



    *RING*

    *RING*

    *RING*







    Last edited by Sulley; 10-18-2021 at 02:57 AM. Reason: Formatting

  12. #12
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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    Devious Productions Presents:

    Konchu Hao in...


    "Three Warriors Clash! The Struggle of Would-Be Kings!!!"

    Our story begins in the land of Reverie, a kingdom that, despite its name, finds itself constantly at war.

    Reverie is a land controlled and dominated by Warlords, powerful warriors constantly struggling for land, prestige, gold and glory. The battles between these Warlords have become the stuff of legends over the years, as their clashes have shaped the nation and shook the foundations of rule and control countless times.

    Recently, Reverie has been split into two separate nations after a titanic clash led to a reorganization by the Warlords and other various power brokers. The kingdom of Meltia boasted some of Reverie's most established and dominating Warlords, whereas Fallan became the haven for Warlords who may not have had the same track record of Meltia's Warlords, but boasted a lot of youth and hunger for power and glory.

    Despite the ferocity of Fallan's warriors, the ancestral crown of the High King of Reverie resided in Meltia, having been won in a tumultuous battle by a female Warlord known as the Witch of Terror against the Great Saint. And for a while, Meltia remained unified against incursions from Fallan...but not united under their new Queen.

    She, too, would fall in battle early on in her reign during the Battle of Bloody Vengeance, where a man who reigned as King five times in the past earned his sixth reign.

    And while there were cheers from the common folk for the return of one of their legendary kings, the reality of the situation was not lost on Meltia's Warlords.

    The climatic battle left the nation weaker, with none of its Warlords able to mount a defense or, for some Warlords, take their own shot at the crown.

    But for the Warlords of Fallan? Many of them have been biding their time, waiting for this opportunity.

    We turn our focus to a keep deep in Fallan's mountain ranges, a rocky and harsh demesne far removed from most of Reverie. Jagged peaks, dark clouds that create a very overcast environment, and barren rocky landscapes paint the picture of a rugged, dark land fit only for tyrants and despots.

    However, past the bleak landscape and into the stony fortress built into the side of the mountain range, we see that not is all as it appears to be. Massive hearths with roaring fires, a very cozy collection of furniture and antiques, and a small but content contingent of soldiers, acolytes, and devotees resting and biding their time for their Warlord's command.

    Still, there's a certain sense of macabre in this keep, as there's the random bleached-white skull here and there, and the large banners of black and silver with the emblem of a mantis-like insect on them. But the contrasting atmosphere and aesthetic does lend this keep some charm as our focus shifts to the throne room.

    Sitting on a oaken chair carved in the shape of a robe-wearing skeleton, we see a thin, but commanding figure wearing black armor accented with pointy-fingered gauntlets and black iron greaves over a dark grey brigantine. His face is obscured by a dark helm with antennae-like protusions at the top, showing only his lower, clean-shaven jawline. His lips are pursed, his demeanor suggesting he's deep in deliberation as he reviews scouting reports on his rival Warlords' armies and their positioning on a map. Two in particular look to be destined for a clash with the current High King, but they're currently not in position to strike.

    This Shadow Lord is interrupted by the pitter-patter of tiny feet on the hard stone floor. He looks up to see a dwarf approaching, clad in a thick hooded cloak to obscure his features. He presents the Shadow Lord with a scroll, who unfurls it and reads it, rolling his eyes as he finishes.


    "Oh, bloody hell. Him again? Fine, send him in. Have the guards ready to remove his head if he does anything worth executing him for."

    The hooded dwarf nods as he scampers off. The Shadow Lord snaps his gauntleted fingers as his servants and staff clear the table of anything that may give this visitor insight into plans that the Shadow Lord doesn't want him to be privy to. There, the Shadow Lord stands still, poised and composed as his "guest" walks in.

    With short cut brown hair and dressed in what were at one time fine robes that now had been tattered and soiled through years and years of hardship and mistakes, the rival Warlord still strolls in as if he owns the place, as if the Shadow Lord's keep is well and truly beneath him. His arrogance is heavy and palpable, almost oppressively so as the Shadow Lord nonetheless maintains his civility as he greets this newcomer.

    "Phenomenon...I must say, it is an unexpected surprised to see you come all the way out to visit me. I didn't even extend you an invitation this time."

    The Warlord known as Phenomenon smirks at this as he places a hand on the Shadow Lord's map table, tapping his fingers on it.

    "That's a rude thing to say to me after I took time out of my busy schedule of putting down bastards and pretenders. Aren't we friends, Shadow?"

    "Oh, now you want to be friends, hmm? After that vicious battle we had just on the border of my demesne? The one you decided to wage because you felt like you needed to defeat me in order to reclaim...what, exactly? Your strength, your vigor...regardless of the inane reasons, you ended up on the losing side of that particular conflict. So, yes...I'm quite surprised as to what you're doing here."

    The Shadow Lord's biting and annoyed tone seems to grate Phenomenon's nerves as his fingers stop tapping the map table and curl, as if trying to dig into it. The hard wood does not yield nor stratch, as Phenomenon attempts to brush it off as he looks directly at the Shadow Lord.

    "I'm here because I know you've been watching what's happening in Meltia, and what just went down a few weeks ago."

    "What of it?"

    "The forces of Meltia are in chaos at the moment. Not only did the Witch lose the crown, but one of the larger Warlords also lost a lot of ground after that three-way battle. Those of us in Fallan have been waiting for this moment...the time to strike at the heart of those Meltia is here and now. And while other Warlords bicker amongst themselves, now is the time to launch a surprise attack and take a shot at the crown."

    "Yes, this is all fascinating and I'm sure you've given a LOT of thought to this, but that still hasn't answered my question. WHY are you here? I doubt you've made the wise decision to relinquish your claims to the throne and have decided to swear vassalage to me. So what IS the point of your visit? And do be quick about it. I have far better uses of my time than listening to you prattle on about things I already know about."

    "Fine...I'll get straight to the point. I want your help in obtaining the crown."

    There's a long, almost uncomfortable silence that follows Phenomenon's blunt statement. But the silence is eventually broken by the loud, uproarious laughter as the Shadow Lord belts out a full-chested guffaw that echoes throughout his keep.

    "KEHAHAHA! That is a good one, Phenomenon! I never expected you to have such comedic timing! Ahh, oh...that was a fantastic joke! Honestly, I never thought you'd have the moxie to suggest such a ridiculous suggestion, especially here in my own domain..."

    "You're not worthy of the crown, Shadow."

    The Shadow Lord's laughter is immediately cut short, as the helmed Warlord glares at Phenomenon with eyes that burn like red coals. Phenomenon, for his part, doesn't look intimidated by the deathly stare as he simply shrugs.

    "What? You act as if I just insulted you, Shadow. Why would it be an insult if it was true? Sure, you've definitely had your string of victories over the last couple of months in skirmishes with fellow Fallan warlords, even defeating me in a rather petty battle that ultimately meant nothing...but you cracked at a pivotal battle. And besides...you can't stand there and tell me that you were starting to lose your mind in the pursuit of power and the crown. Everyone saw what a maniac you became. You just...aren't the kind of person destined to be High King. That's just the cold hard truth."

    "And you are, I suppose?"

    "Of course I am."

    Phenomenon's tone gets darker, sharper, and more pointed as he walks around the table, getting right up in the Shadow Lord's face. There's no more playful banter, no more taunting. Phenomenon is deadly serious as he dresses down the eccentric Warlord.

    "I deserve to be High King. I've deserved to be High King for YEARS. And I've come so close...SO CLOSE only to have it ripped away from me, to be cheated out of achieving what I DESERVE. Everybody in Reverie knows that I should've been High King a long time ago, and would have been had the rest of the Warlords not robbed me of my destiny. The crown is mine, Shadow. You were too weak to bear the weight of it. You cracked when you came within striking distance of amassing the largest army in Fallan. And you can't possibly think that you're any real challenge to the current High King...the guy who's worn the crown more times than any?

    "You're a joke among the Warlords, Shadow. You may get a victory here and there, you might drum up a bit of a following...but men like you aren't the ones who get to wear the crown or reign as King. That's reserved for serious Warlords, properly capable Warlords who can truly command the respect and fear of the people of Reverie. That's not you...and you know it. I'm the guy to get the job done and bring the crown home to Fallan."


    Shadow is clearly livid by Phenomenon's arrogance. The sheer temerity of this Warlord, a Warlord Shadow has just recently defeated in battle, to come into his keep and have the NERVE to question his worthiness.

    However, through gritted teeth, the Shadow Lord restrains himself from just beating the ever-loving piss out of Phenomenon. Such an action could lead to an unnecessary battle, one that the always scheming Warlord wasn't prepared to fight just yet. Instead, he angrily replies:


    "So...if you're the one who should be and will be High King...then I have to ask. Why even bother suggesting that I help you? After all, based on what you're saying, you should be more than capable of handling this yourself. You know...despite what previous evidence contradicts."

    "It's simple, really. I'm not one to overlook an advantage when it suits me. Besides...one of my rivals is marshalling their forces for a run at the High King. I believe you're familiar with the Reprobate, aren't you?"

    "I am."

    "He's likely going to see any actions by me as an opportunity to strike at me, even after I beat back his armies the last time we faced off. I can clearly beat him again if I want, but it'd be a major pain in the ass for me to do that and would exhaust my forces before I take my shot at the High King. But with your forces bolstering mine...well, we can kill the Reprobate and pave the way to Meltia while preserving my strength for the confrontation with the current High King."

    "And why would I ever consider this?"

    "Because the only way someone like you will ever do anything meaningful is if you are remembered for being useful to the future High King. It's honestly the best offer someone could give you, Shadow. Ultimately, I'm going to beat the Reprobate and become the High King. The only question you have to ask yourself is if you're content with being left behind or if you're smart enough to do something worthwhile while better men march forward to glory.

    "Look...take a day or two to think it over, Shadow. It's a better offer than you probably deserve, and your only real opportunity to make your mark on Reverie history. Seriously! I think if you just cool off and really think about it...it'll be the best option for you and your...people. Anyways, I have to go. My armies are amassing in my territory, and we march in the morning. I hope to see you there, old friend..."


    Phenomenon gives Shadow an overly disingenuous friendly pat on the shoulder and a clearly condescending pat on the cheek of the Warlord's helm before turning on his heel and strutting out of the keep. Once Phenomenon is out of sight and earshot, the Shadow Lord growls as he picks up a nearby goblet and tosses it in frustration at the stone wall.

    The goblet clatters to the ground, creating a echo throughout the chamber. But that echo eventually silences...and is replaced by the sound of heavy iron footsteps clattering on the stone floors from behind the Shadow Lord.

    The Warlord turns, not giving much thought as to who it could be...but as he sees the interloper, he immediately tenses up, as if preparing for a fight.

    The figure emerges from the darkness, wearing a white hooded cloak over shining armor. We see sharp yellow eyes and a head of pure white hair. He looks like the archetypical heroic knight, but his expression is one of entitled arrogance and devious intent.

    "Scheming your petty schemes again, Shadow? Isn't this tiresome at this point?"

    "Reprobate...how long have you been there? And how did you get past my guards?"

    "See, the answer to the second question doesn't really matter. As for the first? Long enough to hear you plotting with that scrub of a Warlord against me."

    The Reprobate approaches the Shadow Lord, taking a nearby chair and dragging it on the stone floor. It makes a horrid scratching sound, like nails on a chalkboard as the chair leg leaves deep gouges into the stone. Eventually, the Reprobate has a seat on the chair and kicks his feet up disrespectfully on the map table. The clenched gauntleted fist of the Shadow Lord is enough to tell us that the master of this keep is not amused in the slightest.

    "I believe you need to get your hearing checked, Reprobate. I don't recall ever agreeing to Phenomenon's asinine plans."

    "Nah, that you didn't. You were at least smart enough to realize that hitching your wagon to that loser was the absolute stupidest thing you could possibly do. Phenomenon might be a halfway decent Warlord, but he's damaged goods. He's had more than enough chances to become the High King and he's blown every last one of them. Not to mention his track record of being kind of a backstabbing bastard. Yeah, definitely not the guy you want to associate yourself with."


    "And I suppose this is where you tell me that you're the kind of man I should associate with, instead?"

    "Exactly! See, I knew you were smarter than your stupid bug-face looked!"

    The Reprobate gives Shadow a very overly-animated, condescending clap, mockingly congratulating him on reaching this conclusion.

    The Shadow Lord is not amused in the slightest.


    "Why in the hell would I ever consider associating myself with you? And what gives you such confidence that I would even be remotely interested in seeing you become the High King?"

    "Honestly? Probably nothing. But then again, it's going to happen regardless of whether you help me or not."

    The Reprobate leans back in his chair, casually just sitting there with that smarmy, arrogant look on his face. This is a man who's far too comfortable being a complete piece of shit, and being rewarded for his shittiness.

    "Thing is...Reverie's a place that rewards people who aren't afraid to be hated. The history of this land is full of what decent people call 'scumbags' who, because they were willing to do things others weren't, were able to achieve fame, fortune...even the crown of the High King. And the people tolerate it, because they aren't strong enough to do anything about it. They don't have the stomach to actually revolt against men like me. Because no matter what I do, no matter whether I'm fighting every day or just pick and choose my fights? I'll always find my way to the top of the heap. You might hate men like me, but we always end up getting what we want in the end because we're not afraid to be hated for it.

    "Phenomenon can be just as much of a bastard as I am, but there's still a part of him that wants to be loved, wants to be a good guy. It's the reason why he's always going to eventually fall short of his ambitions. He can't commit. He's a perennial 'second place finisher' that hasn't got the stomach to take the next step..."


    "Isn't that just a touch of revisionist history, Reprobate? Unlike you, Phenomenon has his fair share of victories and glories in Reverie. You have none. And last time you fought Phenomenon, YOU were the one who ended up on the losing end."

    The smarmy confidence in Reprobate's face cracks ever so slightly as the Shadow Lord reminds him of his most recent battle against Phenomenon, as evident by Reprobate's tightly clenched fist and jaw. However, it's a brief look into Reprobate's insecurity and failings as the mask of unearned confidence returns.

    "A fluke. Every so often, these things happen. But it took a lot out of him. And his obsession with me is going to end with him getting crushed. The same's gonna happen to you if you get the wild idea to step up to me, Shadow. Since you're so against revisionist history, I'm sure you're more than happy to talk about the last time you and I fought. How did that end up, hmm?

    "That's right, I fucking embarrassed you. I hadn't fought a serious battle in years, and I ended up stomping you. You stand there with your chest puffed out and your fists clenched all you want, but unlike Phenomenon? There's no question that I'm simply stronger than you. If you think you can make a run at the crown and get past me to do it? You have to be dreaming. You're just not strong enough or vicious enough to be the High King. The crown's mine. So you might as well get in line early to pay your respects.

    "I guess what I'm trying to say is...you and your petty excuse for an army would be better served helping mine crush Phenomenon and whatever other shitty Warlords happen to pop up in Fallan. I'm going to be the next High King. It's going to happen. And if you're as smart as you think you are? You'll realize that and make yourself useful as my vassal."


    The Reprobate stands up as he walks past the Shadow Lord, a shit-eating grin on his face as he walks past Shadow, not even stopping to look him in the eye as he speaks.

    "Let me know if you see reason and are ready to fall in line. And know that, if you choose to fight me? You'll get your ass kicked harder than last time. See you around, Shadow."

    The heavy footfalls on the stone floor quiet as the Reprobate vanishes into the darkness of the Shadow Lord's keep. The white knight is gone, now shrouded in darkness and silence. The Shadow Lord stands there in his sanctum, seething at the arrogance of both Phenomenon and Reprobate to waltz into his domain and belittle him.

    But what bothered Shadow the most was this idea that both of his unwanted guests had. The idea that he, the Shadow Lord, wasn't strong enough to be the High King. That he cracked under the pressure of pursuing it, and as a result proved that he wasn't ready or able to finish what he started.

    The dwarven servant returns, face still obscured by his hood as he walks up to his liege lord, standing at attention. Without saying a word, he tugs at Shadow's sleeve, as if asking if there's anything he can do.


    "No, I don't require anything at the moment. I'm still debating how best to make those miserable cretins pay for their arrogance. Their sheer meaningless pride, and both of them think I'd lower myself to aid them in the upcoming battles..."


    As Shadow says this, he stops and mulls over what just escaped his lips. The irritated scowl is replaced by a clever, sneering grin, as a wicked glee shines from his eyes. He turns to his servant and says in an excited tone.

    "My dear minion, I do believe I have a task for you! I need you to write a missive saying that I agree to assist in the battles to come, and throw my entire support behind their campaign against Meltia and the new High King. I wish to meet with them at the Battlefield of Broken Blades to discuss terms and unite our armies for the march towards the future battle."

    The dwarf looks incredibly confused by this sudden change in Shadow's demeanor, but is nonetheless dutiful as he nods. However, he makes a few gestures, as if asking a question.

    "'Who do I send this to?' My dear friend...isn't that obvious? Kehahaha..."

    *****

    The Battlefield of Broken Blades is a name that is well-earned.

    A barren, bleak landscape, bearing the scars of countless battles from Reverie's past, and littered with the shattered shards of thousands of broken swords and weapons, this battleground is a haunting and constant reminder of the dangers of pursuing one's ambition in Reverie. It's here that many of Reverie's strongest and most promising Warlords have found their fortunes, or met their grisly ends.

    It is here where we join a battle that has already been met, as the armies of the Phenomenon are locked in deadly combat against the forces of the Reprobate, in a rematch of their previous encounter.

    It is a bloody affair, as countless men and women meet their ends by the swords, axes, and spears of their counterparts on the other side of the fight. The bodies start to fall as both sides fight relentlessly...

    ...however, something becomes very clear as we witness the battle continue. Despite the declarations and prodding of their liege lords, neither side seems to be particularly invested in this. It's as if the armies of the Phenomenon and the Reprobate have seen this all before, seen how these battles have played out time and time again and how utterly fruitless the conflicts have been.

    Both sides know that their commanding officers have tried, time and again, to become the High King.

    But neither man has ever truly come close to making that goal a reality.

    These battles are fierce, yes. And they are quite the spectacle.

    But that's all they are.

    And there's one other noteworthy thing about this particular battle.

    There are no standard banners for the armies of the Shadow Lord among them.

    Our focus zooms in towards the center of the battle, where a small circle of open space has been made around the two commanding Warlords, who themselves are covered in blood from having cut down many of the opposing lord's forces. Both men have cut a bloody path to finally meet in the middle of the fracas, where they finally lock eyes with one another.

    It's a look of absolute hatred and disgust.

    But also one of confusion. As if neither man expected this battle to have occurred here and now.

    Regardless, the two rush each other, as Phenomenon's greatsword clashes with Reprobate's twin shortswords. The echoing sound of steel striking one another cuts through the noise as the armies pause, turning to watch the battle between the two Warlords.

    The battle looks fierce, at first...but the longer the fight drags out, the more it looks as if both Warlords are stalling, waiting for something or someone to come in and help them secure the kill. But if they were waiting on their armies to do something, they're left waiting. Neither army is budging, as if subtly judging the Warlords they had chosen to follow to see if either of them are strong enough or clever enough to make good on their boasts and their arrogant claims of superiority.

    The clash continues, with neither man gaining much ground. But it's clear that the fight is exhausting both men of their energy, especially since neither man's soldiers are even remotely interested in interjecting to help tip the balance. One final clash leaves both men utterly drained, as they back off one another, gaining enough distance to catch their breaths.

    Before either Phenomenon or Reprobate can even think about their next move, a very familiar laugh cuts through the throngs of soldiers, piercing the atmosphere of the battle like a dagger in the chest...


    "KEHAHAHA!"

    Both Phenomenon and Reprobate's eyes go wide as black and silver banners cut through the throngs of soldiers.

    The Shadow Lord has arrived, with his own contingent.

    The armies part ways, too exhausted to mount a proper defense...or perhaps more curious as to what the Shadow Lord is actually doing here. The path becomes clear as Shadow enters the circle, standing between his fellow Warlords, all bloodied and battered while he remains fresh and strong.

    It's Phenomenon who speaks up first, pointing at Shadow and angrily demanding:


    "Shadow!!! What the hell is this? What took you so long? You said to meet you here, and while I was waiting, this asshole shows up and..."

    "Hold it! What are you talking about, you little piece of shit? The only reason I'm out here is because Shadow said he was going to join forces with me and..."

    The two of them stop, their eyes widening as if they just realized something. Realized that they have been deceived. Both of the Warlords glare at the Shadow Lord, who looks very pleased with himself.

    "Oh, come now! It's a true testament to the depths of your arrogance that you thought for a second that I would lower myself to being one of your flunkies. That I would debase myself and become like you! Honestly, if either of you would've given it just a bit of thought, you'd have realized that this was always meant to be a trap. But no...you two just blindly strolled up to the Battlefield of Broken Blades with your armies thinking that you had cowed me into submission. How utterly conceited must you be, to do something like this?

    "But I should be thanking the both of you. When you decided to visit me at my keep to broach this asinine proposition of alliance, and belittle me in my own demesne...it got me thinking. Got me pondering the future of Fallan and Reverie as a whole and what that would look like if either of you were to actually stumble into becoming the High King. And would you like to know what I realized?"


    The Shadow Lord raises his arm, drawing all attention to himself. Not just the Warlords or his own army, but the armies of Phenomenon and Reprobate as well. Shadow's voice seems to get unnaturally loud, as if being enhanced by some otherworldly power.

    "You two may despise one another, but you're same person. The same breed of arrogant try-hards who so many people had pegged as future kings in your own right. But where are your crowns, boys? Why haven't either of you been able to achieve your goals...or as you probably believe, your rights...to wear the crown of the High King? It's not as if either of you haven't had your opportunities to. Care to guess what I think?

    "I think it's because, in a nation full of arrogant, self-absorbed assholes who fancy themselves to be the most talented warriors who ever lived...you two are utterly and pathetically weak. You've allowed yourselves to believe in all the hype you've built for yourselves and what others have heaped upon you to the point that you actually believe that you're destined for something greater than what you have. And it bothers you that someone like me exists who may well be on his way to achieving the glory that neither of you have been strong enough or clever enough to achieve."

    "What's that? You can't be serious. Men like you aren't good enough to be the High King. And besides..."

    "I know what you're going to say, you miserable bastard."

    The Shadow Lord's voice turns cold, biting, sharper than any spear.

    "You're going to remind me that the last time I pursue the crown, I cracked. I became twisted by my failures, obsessed with the pursuit to the point where I was destined to fail. But what you've failed to realize is that I was so close...SO CLOSE to becoming just like you two horrid cretins. I was about ready to cast aside my self-pride and let my failures turn me into a pathetic facsimile of you. But...I was stopped before that came to pass. And I'm eternally grateful for that, because having seen what miserable little creatures you two are? I know that Reverie would've been made all the worse for it.

    "The true realization I had after you two approached me, insisting that my only worth was as a vehicle for your ascension, is that this land doesn't need more arrogant, self-absorbed pricks who buy into their hype and talent and think that makes them special. Special? I can look out over the vast landscapes of both Fallan and Meltia and find a hundred Warlords just like you! Hells, even our current High King isn't any that much different in temperament from you lot, and he at least was a bit original and self-aware when he first arrived in Reverie! You honestly believe replacing him with one of you changes ANYTHING for the better?

    "It's long past time we cast aside our preconceptions on what makes a good High King and see someone other than the usual dreck rise to take the crown. That's why I brought the two of you here, to the Battlefield of Broken Blades. In order to clear the path for a new, different future...relics and attitudes that have long infected these lands must be eradicated..."

    Before Shadow can finish, Phenomenon rushes him with a bloodthirsty scream, angry that this insect has dared to defy him yet again. He brings his greatsword down hard onto Shadow...but to his shock, Shadow is faster and able to block his cleave with a dagger he produced from his cloak sleeve. Before Phenomenon can even react, he chokes as a spray of blood spurts from his throat. We see in Shadow's other hand yet another dagger, dripping in blood from carving into the Warlord's neck.

    The onlookers are shocked at how easily Shadow had dispatched of Phenomenon...and are even more shocked as Reprobate screams in pain, clutching at a dagger that had managed to pierce his breastplate and embed itself into his heart. Shadow's aim was true, as Reprobate falls dead just as Phenomenon breathes his last.

    The silence across the battlefield is deafening. Both Phenomenon and Reprobate's armies are in shock, and even the armies of the Shadow Lord are silent in the wake of this crushing display of skill. Shadow wipes the blood off the dagger in his left on the body of Phenomenon before sheathing it and retrieving his other dagger from the body of the Reprobate. After flicking the blood from that knife and sheathing it, the Shadow Lord stands in the middle of the three armies, speaking with a commanding tone.


    "Aren't you all tired of rooting for and pledging your support to the same kind of arrogant blowhards who believe that their talents define them? Can you honestly stand there and tell me that you want another one of these types to rule over you as High King? Haven't we had enough of the same, have had to eat our fill of the same swill for so long?

    "I wasn't ready to pursue the crown when I last challenged for it. I know that now. Because I, like these corpses, obsessed over the prize instead of strengthening my heart and my will to be able to bear it. I was afraid to fail, meaning that I would never succeed. I would've become just another never-was like these two cretins that now lie dead at my feet.

    "But I am NOT like them! I am who I am. I revel in what makes me different, and I think it's long past time that Reverie have a different High King! One who isn't defined simply by their talent, who isn't afraid to be something stranger, something different, and something far more FUN than we've been able to have! Reverie has become a homogenous mess that continues to have High Kings who are obsessed with their strength, instead of having the courage to be who they really are! I embrace my madness! I revel in my quirks! And as High King, I will bring about a new era of kings and queens who are both strong and smart, but are unabashedly weird and strange and WONDERFUL! Those who follow me, who have lent me the strength to fight through my darkness and slay my demons, believe in me to see these ambitions through to the end.

    "I ask you...will you join my army? Will you lend me your strength as well?"


    There's a slight pause, as the words of the Shadow Lord echo through the barren battlefield. Shadow is tense, but never even thinks for a second about letting despair and disappointment creep into him as it had before.

    His faith is rewarded.

    The banners and standards of Phenomenon and Reprobate are cast down, as the once rival armies let out an uproarious cheer, inspired to follow a different leader into battle for the right to challenge the High King for the crown. They've had their fill of the same arrogant, prideful blowhards. Tired of having their support be mocked and their energies wasted in bolstering men and women who have constantly disappointed them.

    They're ready for a new Warlord to inspire them.

    A Warlord unlike any other.

    A stranger Warlord, but one who isn't ashamed of being something weird.

    The armies rally to their new Warlord, chanting his name and lifting him up, giving him a view of his new massive throng of followers and devotees.

    The Shadow Lord smiles. The time is now.

    And he's ready for the challenge ahead...
    Something Witty!

    Cyrus Truth
    4x FWA World Heavyweight Champion
    1x FWA North American Champion
    2x CWA World Heavyweight Champion
    1x PnH International Champion

    Konchu Hao
    1x FWA X Division Champion
    Ground Zero Winner (Season 2)

  13. #13
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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    Mike Parr
    in
    the six year war

    Battle after battle. Siege upon siege. War. Six years is a long time to spend doing anything, but to spend it constantly chasing and fighting to capture what you believe is rightly yours would test the patience of even the patron saint of calm. Nonetheless, here we find ourselves in the position where that patience is about to be rewarded, at least if you were to listen to the commander in chief as he stands about to address his men. Commander Parr stands atop a ledge overlooking his troops in the valley below, his face withered by the years spent in the elements and telling every second of the hours of sleep he has lost trying to maneuver his way to victory. When they first left their home base in 2015 to restore liberate the kingdom that had be strangled by a succession of dictators for years and years on end, they were sold on the fact that the people wanted change, wanted some new blood and not the same old line of succession that had never brought the kingdom to the heights where they could achieve their full potential. However, as that day long mission turned to weeks and those weeks turned to months, the Commander and his troops could only look on from afar as the people overturned dictator after dictator in the name of something better, whether it be Montgomery, Cyrus, Sullivan, Garc- he who must not be named, all they found was that each one was worse than the last. The promise of greater days from each person in succession turned out to be a hollow one, the kingdom still has not prospered to the extent that it could and SHOULD as one by one they all choked the life out of the potential that it had. Word had reached Commander Parr and his mean from sources inside state that there is now a real appetite for change. People on the ground are now hearing tales of the battles that Commander Parr and his people have won in the preceding six years, in the hope that the Commander will be able to storm the city and at the helm, take it to the heights that it should have already achieved, to let the kingdom breathe.

    “Gentlemen…”

    You can hear the croak in Parr’s voice as he tries to bellow as far back as his voice would allow it to carry.

    “Gentlemen…we stand on the cusp of victory. We stand on the cusp of glory. Six years…six years we have fought and scratched and clawed our way to this point, this point where we are only two short battles away from finally storming the kingdom, taking the keys and ending the von Horrowitz reign of terror. Finally, they will be able to be lead to prosper and won’t have the ambition strangled out of th-“

    One of his lieutenant’s approaches from his right hand shoulder and whispers not more than a few seconds worth of information to the Commander.

    “Why wasn’t I informed of this development?”

    Another short pause for a hurried explanation, as the Commander shakes his head as if it were possible to shake the frustration about of his mind, before returning his focus back to his army below.

    “It appears that Kennedy has indeed overthrown von Horrowitz, under the illusion that his sixth reign atop this kingdom is going to allow them to prosper. You know what I say to that? I say we’ve seen it all before. I say we’ve heard it all before. I say that if once was enough, six times is an abuse. It doesn’t matter, gentlemen. It doesn’t matter because whomever is there with the proverbial keys to that kingdom when we march down upon them will feel our frustration! They will feel our anger! And the people? The people will cheer us as we breathe life into the kingdom that they never knew was possible. They will prosper under my leadership and I will prosper as I lead them. Are we all together on this?”

    There is a relatively muted response from the weary battle force.

    “I said, ARE WE ALL TOGETHER FOR THIS?”

    The thousands of men outstretch the arms and cheer with considerably more vigor than just a couple of minutes prior.

    “F**KING SHOW ME THAT WE ARE READY FOR THIS.”

    There it is, that is the rally call that was needed. Soldiers begin to push and gesticulate at each other to get pumped, as their collective voices raise and start to echo from the valley in which they stand to the peaks of the mountains that surround them. Commander Parr raises both his hands in the air, waving them back and forth to generate an even more raucous response. In spite of his raspy broken voice, he manages to elevate his level so at least some of the men at the front can hear him.

    “STARTING TOMORROW. TWO MORE BATTLES AND WE’VE GOT THIS.”

    Parr flings his arms back in the air for one final time, before retreating from the ‘stage’ on which he found himself, back into the hastily erected war room that had become their temporary base of operations as they finalize their plans for their last assault. As he enters the war room, his subordinates shuffle in behind them with the heads slightly bowed, almost as if they knew what was coming.

    “Why the f**k did nobody tell me that Kennedy was now the primary target? There’s plenty of you in here, and not one of you could? Hughes, get the materials back out we need to make sure this doesn’t change anything.”

    Brigadier Hughes hops towards the side of the room and begins to unfurl a number of scrolls, which from a distance each appear to be makings of a strategic plan for any resistance they may still yet encounter on their way to liberate the kingdom. Parr wipes his hair out of his eyes, his hair dark brown and unkempt given the length of time they had been at war. Parr’s eyes dart from side to side as he examines the plans that are now laying in front of him, trying to desperately identify any little detail that could spell disaster for he and his men over the coming days. He pinches his nose between his forefinger and his thumb and as he does so he brushes over one of his most recently healed scars, one from a battle with Summers which was as barbaric an encounter as he had in years. Still pains Parr that Summers might have sustained great damages, plenty of his men were killed, but Summers managed to escape with detection or being permanently neutralized.

    “Unless you cut of the head of the snake….”

    Parr mumbles to himself, certainly to nobody in particular, but the low volume at which he spoke was just enough to catch the attention of those surrounding them.

    “Sorry, sir? Could you..eh….repeat please?” asked one of braver few to stick their head out from above the parapet and say what they were all thinking. Mike, instead, doesn’t respond, but shakes his head as he traces his finger along the outline of the scar that he took in battle that day, almost like it was a badge of honor. Summers was known in passing to Parr but never really served as a threat until recently he started to make noises about moving in on territory that wasn’t his, noises that became an unavoidable wail recently when it became clear that he had eyes on the kingdom too. Multiple cat and mouse type battles later left Summers reeling but, crucially for Parr, still in the game.
    Parr’s eyes then dart from the dossier on Summers to the other threat to the liberation of the kingdom, Hao. There was the battle of 005 that had left Parr forced to take Hao as more of a threat as he had somehow managed to build up a solid power base under the radar. 005 was a rough night for Parr, as he incurred some losses also. One could argue on face value, that Hao is best positioned to be making a move for the kingdom out of the three, but what has become abundantly clear is that it is one of these three that will be beating down on the gates of Kennedy provided one of them survives each other. Intelligence states that both men and their forces have been spotted on the outskirts of Brisbane. Exactly why is yet to be determined but that is why Parr brought his men here. To ‘cut off the head of the snake’ as he so eloquently put it.

    “Hao hurt us, hurt me you know. I don’t like to think that I’m over confident in my abilities but that battle at 005 highlighted a few things to me that I never really considered before. When the dust has settled here, I think it’s important that we go back and examine how we ever let Hao develop into the force he is? Have we been too preoccupied with seizing the kingdom that we took our eyes off of any of the other upstarts who have amassed a strong enough following to cause us a problem? Not a mistake that I am going to be making again in a hurry. What I do well, though? What I do well is that I learn from my mistakes, from our mistakes, and I don’t think that marching in a head on confrontation is the way to go this one…I think it requires a more delicate touch.”

    With that, the brigadier with D.Lynch stitched unto his shirt shifts off to draw up the plans for whatever a delicate touch might look like. One of those remaining walks up, and leans into Commander Parr’s ear and whispers something which draws a grin from him.

    “Summers is a different story. Summers is the devious sort, where he wouldn’t march up to you in battle but more slip some poison in whilst sharing a drink with you. All of our intelligence tells us that he is going to make a move on Hao, a panic move if you ask me, made from a position of weakness to try and portray a position of strength. Summers is hurt, and you know what, the best time to make any sort of move is to make it when the both have half an eye on each other and their own forces. I’m aware that there probably is a more direct path to the kingdom, the one that Kennedy rules at present, but if we take that direct path all we are leaving behind is enemy combatants who will grow stronger and become more equipped to present a challenge to us further down the road. No, this is six years in the making I can take one extra fight before getting what we deserve.”

    Commander Parr’s position is pretty clear in this situation, better to take the challenge head on than to try and skirt around it and avoid it. Many times in the past number of years, with Jackson and Maximus is 2019, he tried to play it so clever he ended up setting himself back by a number of years. However, the counter to any argument to blindly follow his judgement in this regard is in the fact that along with his facial features, his mind just might be a bit weary after so long plotting, planning and fighting. Is his decision making based on the best advice available or is his judgement of what is the best advice clouded? Parr has built a reputation as being a solid hand, a great commander who can lead and motivate to a certain standard but in every major battle that could draw an end to his now six year struggle that he has had, a misstep or an under appreciation of the difficulty of his circumstances has inevitably cost him and set him back some time. With that in mind, having learned those lessons from the past, he takes a hard look at his counsel, staring each one of them down before opening the floor.

    “I’ve said my piece, what way do you think we should play it?”




    Option A
    Attack Hao before Summers
    Spoiler:

    The generals have spoken, and Commander Parr found himself perched outside of Hao’s territory, having made moves in the evening to close up ground based on the most recent intelligence received. The plan is simple, eliminate Hao and leave the seemingly damaged Summers as the last domino to fall in the pursuit of a free shot at the kingdom. Here are the closing moments of how that choice panned out:

    Commander Parr holds up two fingers, and makes a looping motion, directing two of his small team of four to seemingly loop around to approach the Hao residence from another vantage point. This leaves Parr and one his trusted lieutenants on their own, a fact not lost on Parr as he whispers to his comrade.

    “No room for mistakes, get in and eliminate Hao before anyone notices we are there.”

    Commander Parr adjusts his weapon slightly, although still not releasing the clutch on the handle until such a point where he feels more confident in his surroundings. The perimeter of enemy camp certainly isn’t that. Parr keeps an eye out for his other two team members to have made it to the other side of the encampment, when there is a slight rustle behind him, a bit harder than the wind rattling a bush.

    “Would you keep it down!”

    Parr whispers as loudly as he dares to his lieutenants, who irritatingly to Parr is seemingly doing his best to blow their cover. This plan only works if stealth works.

    Another rustle. That’s it…Parr unclasps his hand from the handle and turns around to berate his lieutenant only to come face to face with Commander Summers! Summers smiles and waves with his left hand as he plunges the weapon into Parr, who falls to his knees, before even they won’t support him anymore and he falls to his back.

    His surroundings are fading, his focus his shifting, and his six year war isn’t going to turn into a seventh. His hand shifts to his midriff as he suddenly becomes warm, his eyes fade shut before the last thing he hears are Summers’ footsteps retreating back from where they came.

    END
    Option B
    Attack Summers before Hao
    Spoiler:

    A weakened Summers is still a dangerous one, that was the dilemma facing Commander Parr as he approached the Summers camp. It must be said, he approached it with relative ease which isn’t not surprising given how their recent intelligence not only indicated that he was chastened by some recent losses in battle but also found his numbers significant depleted. Parr still found himself cursing the fact that Summers managed to escape the last battle at all, never mind with some of his forces in tact. A thoroughly unwelcome distraction from the goal of overthrowing Kennedy and taking the keys to the kingdom. The relevant closing moments of how that choice panned out are as follows:

    “Summers resides there at night, usually keeps himself to himself. They say he hates people being around him.”

    Parr whispers hurriedly to his team, as he his crouched just on the outskirts of Commander Summers residence. A team of four, a surgical assault on the building the plan to eliminate Summers at source. The head of the snake, as Commander Parr always claimed to be of the utmost importance.

    “On my count in 3…2…”

    The ‘1’ remains unsaid, but Parr motions it before all four men pounce on the chambers, crouched down as they navigate across the soft turf that thankfully of them helps mask the sound of them moving from any of his forces that would be offering security around him. The four men reach the rather simple temporary tent, as its opening flails in the light breeze. Parr grasps his weapon by the handle and motions back to his team, not daring to whisper this time but using his hands to count down.

    “3….2….1”

    Parr bursts into the tent and removes his weapon from his side pouch, raising it above his head in preparation of pinning Summers to his bed like you would the photo of someone you had to a dartboard….except….there is nobody in there. You can hear the slight rustle of a unfurled paper being moved by the breeze, as Parr cocks his head sideways and picks up the piece of paper that has seven words inked in the middle.

    Better luck next time, Kennedy is mine.

    END

    Option C
    Battle both Summers and Hao
    Spoiler:

    The battle of 006 was one that went down for the ages. Three forces, each of varying currently strength lead by men of various strengths, all vying for the victory and the clear shot at the kingdom. Hao and Summers were on a collision course ever since their earlier interaction and Commander Par decided to face the challenge of both head on, in the knowledge that inaction against his competition was almost as damaging as any other choice that he could make. Below are the final moments known of the battle of 006, as their troops continue to battle in the shadow the kingdom casts, their leaders have each become isolated:

    All three men have made it to the precipice, the kingdom looms in the background as Parr pushes himself back to his feet, blood seeping from his forehead and down his face. Commander Hao stands about 30 meters away from him, and waves his arm in a motion that sends one of Parr’s trusted swords swirling through the air away from his body.

    “Little mad shit” he mutters to himself, before spitting out a significant amount of blood in from his mouth.

    Hao throws his hands forward, as Parr ducks whatever was coming his way by dropping to his knees and rolling sideways one rotation, before charging at him once more. Hao throws on. Heavy rain begins to land, dropping heavily on the turf making keeping your balance an improbability for both men. Somehow, Parr manages to reach and having only his fist at preset as a weapon manages to connect with Hao, who takes a step back stunned. In retaliation, he tries to throw another with a swoosh of his hand but Parr again manages to stumble before…

    The kingdom bells start to ring, signaling an impending attack.

    “Summers” Parr shouts, as he turns his attention from Hao to try and locate Summers, who with both Commander’s distracted has managed to move from his last known position without detection. Hao lifts both his arms out before cupping them together above his head, and directing them in the direction of the one bridge that is responsible for quick passage to the kingdom, as it overlooks the sizable moat protecting the kingdom from its outer lands. A ball of fire shoots out of Hao’s cupped fists and brings the bridge crumpling down from the middle, leaving just on the side of the object formerly known as a bridge exactly where he didn’t want to be, Commander Summers.

    Filled with rage, Commander Summers charges towards Hao and Parr. Hao winds back just as Summers picks up the nearest spear nearby. Just before becoming the most unfortunate meat in a sandwich, Parr manages to duck the spear which consequently allows for him to dodge Hao’s attack, leaving both men taken out by each other’s shot. Parr is face down in the muddy turf, before raising his head gingerly to survey the still bodies of Hao and Summers. Bringing himself to his knees, he wipes some of the rain and blood out of his eyes and holds his hands in the air – the head of the respective snakes finally laid to rest as he stares over at the kingdom in anticipation of the battles that lie ahead.

    END
    Option D
    The left field 'Dallas' ending
    Spoiler:

    “The Prodigy” Mike Parr’s head shoots up from its pillow, his palms clench his bedsheets far too tightly as his breathing could more accurately be described as panting.

    “What in the blue f**k….”

    Having still got a grasp of the bedding, he throws it off of him and swivels in an upright position, planting his feet on the cold floor as if to try and ground himself. He uses one hand to ruffle his hair, as if trying to grab anything that will regulate his current situation, and as his hand grazes by the last of the temporary paper stitches as a present from Shawn Summers, it helps again bring him back to reality. This isn’t how it should be, he won at Lights Out after all. It took pretty much everything that he had, but he was the winner, so why he is sitting here in the middle of the night and waking up like THIS.

    Feeling steady enough to chance it, he makes his way to his feet and stares at his reflection in the mirror, extending his right hand out towards the mirror almost as if he is trying touch it or to at least make sure it’s moving as he does and there is none of that freaky shit going on. Thankfully, his reflection does indeed confirm that he is very much back in the present, but his mind his racing. Racing not only with the adrenaline of what he feels like he just lived through in his dream, but racing with anger at being put back in this position. Shawn Summers should be in his rear view mirror at this point, but unfortunately for him Fallout has found a way to keep them intertwined just for that tiny bit longer past their best before date. Nonetheless, Parr has been in a similar situation on a few occasions, whilst maybe not just this exact one, as he navigates towards his bedside desk and grabs his cell phone. Taking a few moments to size up angles, making sure there is a flattering angle of his topless self against the backdrop of Brisbane behind him, he presses record in the hope that a racing mind and an unrestricted medium to express himself is about to equal some gold.

    “I don’t think I need to sit here and speak to any of you listening about my last triple threat experience, it didn’t work out so well for me. However, I cannot help but find it fitting that we’ve been brought back here, another triple threat match where I had to prove myself as worthy again. Prove myself……what a joke.”

    Parr does have the uncanny knack of managing to irritate himself with his own words, as if they come as a surprise to him when they leave his mouth.

    “I know what I did wrong, you know. I know where it went wrong for me a Back in Business and it’s not what all of you think. It’s not because I was obsessed with Michelle and it’s not because I was disregarding Sullivan’s skills, it was because I was too wrapped up in my own head. Too focused on what it would’ve meant to me. That’s not something that I’ll often ever readily admit to anyone because, truth be told, it’s something that I don’t want to admit to myself. It took me 6 years to get to the point of a wrestling match for the World Championship. For five of those, I’ve been touted as the next big thing or the next star or whatever other bullshit platitude that they want to throw at me that, in the end, means nothing unless I get presented with the opportunity to prove them right. Mile High isn’t a match, it’s a lottery. It’s open season, as proven when Michael Garcia and his band of hopeless cronies stole the championship this year. All I ever wanted was the opportunity to prove myself as the best in a wrestling match and, at Back in Business, that was a match that was 6 years in the making for me. It might be the fact that its 2am here and it might be the fact that I’m staring into a cell phone and not speaking to an arena full of people as you boo or cheer, but I can admit that I blew that chance.”

    Regret would be the predominant adjective you could use to describe his tone and demeanor at present, as he shakes his head again but this time in a more slow and considered manner.

    “Saying that out loud, saying that I blew it isn’t an easy thing to do because I haven’t had the chance to really look too deep into the rationale behind it. You want to know why? Why is because of Shawn Summers. The funny thing about that is I don’t know whether to be furious at him for it or thank him, because the distraction he provided is probably exactly what I needed to distance myself from not taking my best shot when the pressure was on at the biggest stage that I had. I’m not going to thank him for the attacks, the blood, the stitches, but I will thank him for the opportunity to remind everyone that The Prodigy isn’t the guy that got pinned first at Back in Business but The Prodigy is the guy that turned up at Lights Out and made Shawn Summers submit. He is the guy that took the best Shawn Summers that he could find, the dark and demented Shawn Summers, and I showed him and the world that he isn’t my equal. Not only that….but I showed the world that the rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated. Summers might have got in there first but I have no doubt that there were vultures circling, hoping to pick off the bones of the remains of Mike Parr post Back in Business but what happened at Lights Out should serve as a reminder that not only are these bones not here to pick, but this fist is here to knock your teeth straight back down your throat for even considering it.”

    Mike reaches over to a tumbler of whiskey, and takes a small sip just out of sight of the cell camera.

    “This time around in this triple threat, I know that I need to do everything in my power to not think about the 6 years that I’ve worked to get here, but think about what I need to do to get back my shot. I would be tempted to state that I need to try and avoid thinking about how I’m sharing a ring with two people who have gotten an opportunity so early in their FWA career that I would’ve killed for, but I think the opposite. As much as I don’t need the Mike Parr from Back in Business to show up, the one that is concerned about his legacy and the rest of it, what I definitely don’t need is the Mike Parr that everyone kind of doesn’t hate to show up – what I need is the new Mike Parr. The one that learned from his experience in Back in Business and the one that uses the fuel of how bitter he feels about the opportunity being afforded to these two people to drive him to make sure that this opportunity belongs to him. You can cheer me because Summers is a dick, you can boo me because I sometimes might cross the line, but you should respect the fact that I have put in significant time and effort into being the best. My actions can certainly be questioned, I question them too along the way in my quieter moments, but my motives are pure. I want to be the best, I’ve wanted to be the best from the day I walked in that door and down that ramp. If I didn’t want to be the best, I’m wasting your time. Boo me for retiring PAJ, boo me for attacking Michelle, boo me for doing whatever I deem necessary to get a shot at holding the one thing that shows I am the best because some of my choices definitely deserve it, but cheer for the motives and the desire….unless you want somebody here who doesn’t care? Or do you want somebody who will do absolutely anything to get to where he wants to be and stay there? I can say it out loud now and I don’t really mind who knows it, I care. I care about my legacy and I care about progression but, unlike Back in Business, I’m not going to get blinded by it.”

    Parr reaches out of sight once more to his whiskey tumbler, before pausing, and bringing it into full view of the camera and taking a swig.

    “I’m not afraid to hide who I am, I could just never be bothered showing you before. But this is it…one man who will do whatever it takes to get to where he has always wanted to be. Sure, if I’m actually facing you and listening to you in an arena, I might sit and tell you about how Summers and Konchu are beneath me or any other type of crap that I sometimes peddle for either my own entertainment or your reaction but you know what? Not this time. I’m bitter that they’ve got this opportunity, particularly so in the case of Summers in that he only earned it by attacking me, but what type of hypocrite would I be, given what I just said, to take offence at what he did? He did what needed to be done as means to his own end. He’s good. And Konchu, I watched from afar as he built up this unstoppable momentum and progressed past people in the eliminator that you wouldn’t have thought possible, he’s good too. Hell, I know from a couple weeks ago that he has enough about it him to be a problem. Here’s the difference though, good gets you a few wins on the bounce. Good gets you the VIP treatment on some commercial airplanes. Good can cause a few upsets from time to time. I’m good too, but I’m also great. I’m better than great. Konchu and Shawn could beat me at my worst when they are at my best but if I am at my best then they cannot touch me.”

    Parr takes one last swig of the whiskey, before zeroing in on the phone to the point where you can see the whites of his eyes so clearly as he stares down the lens.

    “At Fallout, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure my best shows up. You both can bring whatever you can to the table because frankly, I’m not waiting until year 7 to get what I deserve.”

    END


  14. #14
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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    He first felt the cold of his chain metal undershirt against his skin, bringing a slight reprieve to his body from the built-up heat he had generated as he swayed in and out of danger in the once peaceful green prairie field that had been dyed red with the blood of man. The cold reprieve soon became a warm pain. His abdomen felt as though a swarm of hornets coordinated an assault in one spot - slowly opening him up with their stings. As quickly as the stinging sensation had come, it had subsided only to be replaced by the feeling of expanding warmth. Almost out of instinct, he moved his hand to the spot of warmth. At this moment, he began to understand his mortality. He understood that at this moment, his meeting with Christ was imminent. The sins committed would be read to him soon, and he would have to face the consequences for them. Just as the Lord had guided him to victory, the Lord could lead him to glory.

    "I am not ready...to join you in glory, heavenly father," he mustered the strength to say. "There is still much for me to do. Grant me strength to continue to do your bidding. Through your blessings, I can do all things, my Lord. Bless me with the will to continue. Bless me with the strength to continue, my Lord."

    Although his vision was blurry, he was able to identify the individual that had delivered this neal fatal strike to him. His brown hair was wet, creating bangs that beads of sweat dripped down. The dirt on his face accentuated his blue eyes - at this moment, they appeared as though they were glowing. Streaks of blood hugged the contours of his face. It was hard to determine if it were his own or that of one of the countless men that had fallen in this prairie.

    "RETREAT," he yelled as the individual smirked and slowly backed away as the cheers of his comrades rang out around him. He fell to a knee as he watched the individual stab his sword into the ground and smirk at him. The individual's comrades attempt to run after the retreating troops, but he signals for them not to. Their victory, written in blood on the prairie lands of Wessex, was secured with the submission and call for retreat from the commanding officer.

    As the men lift him onto his horse, he takes one more look at the invading pagans of Ireland celebrating their victory. A bearded man rushes to the horse, hops onto the saddle - wrapping his arm around the abdomen of the commanding officer. He winces in pain as he feels the pressure of the officer's grip around him but is grateful that he is there.

    "Shawn, we need to leave. NOW!" the man yells as he snaps the reigns of the horse - leading the army towards trees in the distance. Shawn continues starring at the individual that forced him into submission and retreat. "The Lord smiled upon you today, Michael. But, he showers me with His blessings every day. Today, the Lord blesses me with clarity and life. He provides me the clarity to understand my mistakes in this battle so that I do not repeat them in our climax. He gifts me with continued life so that my destiny may manifest. My blessings are your curse, Michael. My blessings. Are your curse."

    The clouds above begin to weep and wash away stains of loss that had colored the prairie field red. Shawn finally turns his attention away from the Irish pagan, Michael, and his troops as they enter the forest.
    Shawn Summers in
    RAGNAROK

    Torches stuck into the ground light the eclipsed forest. The bearded man walks through the men being tended to by the maidans of their army. The groans and screams of men having bones reset or limbs removed were unfamiliar to the man. The defeated looks on the men's faces greeted him as he continued his way through the makeshift camp. Upon their retreat into the forest, the men were ordered to dig a mass grave for their fallen comrades. A Holy Mass would be held to honor those who had fallen in their attempt to stop the pagan invasion. The bearded man stopped to assess the bodies placed into the grave. The bodies of individuals he grew up with and fought beside. They lay atop one another - awaiting their final blessing into salvation.

    "Once Bishop Summers finishes his grief counseling session, he will provide a blessing for our fallen brothers, Lord Stocke," a soldier reassures.

    "Please, just Noah. I am no Lord. I am but a follower of Christ and council to our Bishop. Speaking of which, I must deliver urgent news to him. Is he performing his grief counseling in his tent?"

    The soldier nods his head as Noah places his hand on his shoulder and walks towards the large tent housing Bishop Summers. In his approach, he can't help but hear the sound of a woman passionately calling out towards God. The sound of flesh slapping against one another and groans fill the air in between the woman's continued calls for the Lord. Noah turns his attention to the wounded and defeated army in the camp and sighs before turning his attention back towards the tent.

    "Shawn...they're waiting for you," he says with frustration. The calls for the Lord cease and are replaced by heavy breathing. A few moments pass, and the cloth leading into the tent divides as a maidan walks out, followed by Bishop Summers. He stops the maidan, places his hands on her shoulders, and smiles at her.

    "Your husband was a good friend of mine. I promise that through my final blessing, he will enjoy the kingdom of the Lord soon. Should you feel any grief in the coming days, weeks, or months, please do not hesitate to seek me out for...further counseling."

    She smiles at Bishop Summers and makes her way back towards the camp. He motions for Noah to follow him into the tent, where he takes a seat on the makeshift bed.

    "It's good to see that you are feeling better and able to provide your blessings and counseling, Bishop."

    "The Lord had other plans for me, and death was not a part of them," he says with a smirk. "I pray you to bring good news my way. This defeat was unexpected. This pagan sinner has proven to be one that we should not underestimate further. We've done much to stop him from getting closer to the Queen and challenging for her crown. A man of his character and ambitions cannot be allowed anywhere near the God-given right to rule."

    "The Queen has fallen, Bishop. Her crown, taken and unified with that of the Crown of Mercia held by the Christian King, Kennedy."

    Bishop Shawn Summers sits in silence as he allows for the words of his council to sink in. The Queen dethroned and the pagan armies of Ireland, Norway, and lands to the west invading. The land of Wessex was in turmoil. The likes of which have not been seen in years.

    "It's as if the Lord is illuminating to my manifest destiny, Noah. He removed the Queen from her throne, removing the chains of loyalty from around me. It's as was prophesized! Through the Lord's blessings and guidance, what was stolen from us will be returned, and I will lead be crowned the rightful leader of these lands."

    "The prophecy wasn't that clear, Shawn. It stated that to have what was stolen from you returned; you must be willing to give up something of equivalent value also stated that you would suffer immensely."

    "Have I not suffered immensely by submitting to the pagan Celtic Warrior, Michael? I've given up my life for the life of devotion to Christ. Is that not equivalent enough," he questions Noah as he raises to his feet.

    "I am as close to the Lord as you. However, I cannot see the Lord's vision for others any more than you can. You must again consult the God's of the pagans for those answers."

    Shawn scoffs at the thought as he gingerly walks towards his robes hanging in the corner. The white robes are adorned with gold accents and crucifixes. Shawn had dedicated his life to the Lord after the death of his parents left him alone in the world. The Lord knew of his vices and the sins that he committed but continued to bless him. Unconditional love was foreign to Shawn but something that the Lord showed him - reaffirming his dedication to his teachings.

    He removes his shirt revealing the bandages covering the pierced hole in his skin from his battle with Michael. He places his hand over the dressing and winces at the touch. The area was still tender but healing as well as one could expect. He opens a box and removes a crucifix, placing it around his neck and praying silently to himself.


    "The pagan Michael travels with a Seer that dabbles in dark arts and magic. I believe that this Seer could help further interpret the prophecy and provide us with clarity."

    Shawn finishes his prayer and slowly turns his attention to Noah, who sits stone-faced staring back at him. It was a sin to worship or seek guidance from false prophets. But, the Lord had forgiven Shawn for previous sins that he had committed. Could he forgive him for seeking answers from another, again?

    "While I provide a final blessing for our fallen, meet with the council of the pagan, and inform them of the fall of the Queen. Let them know that I would like to work together to unseat Kennedy."

    Noah nods as Shawn takes a deep breath and exits through the curtain of his tent. The soldiers and maidens of the camp make their way to the grave filled with the bodies of the fallen. A path is made as Shawn makes his way to the head of the mass grave. He reaches out his hand and offers condolences to those who weep in despair at their loss. He stands at the head of the grave and extends his arms outwards.

    "My brothers and sisters, we have experienced significant loss today. The Lord has called homes the spirits of some of our mightiest and strongest warriors. It is in these times of sorrow that the devil is at his strongest. He knows that seeds of doubt have been planted within your mind. He knows that at this moment, you question the path that the Lord has placed you on. He knows that you question why the Lord has made the decisions that he did. The devil knows that you question why the Lord would make you endure this immense pain. He knows that you are in a state where even the slightest glimmer of an answer will suffice, but you must resist his temptation. You mustn't question the Lord's will. You must accept it and thank him for the continued blessings that he gives you.

    I notice that you weep at the loss of your loved ones but know that you will be reunited with them in the Kingdom of Heaven when the Lord calls upon you, just as the Lord called upon our Queen."

    Gasps and murmurs of shock and uncertainty echo throughout the crowd as Shawn looks upon them. He raises his hand to bring their attention so that he may begin again.

    "I was informed by my council that Queen was dethroned by the Christian King, Kennedy, during our battle with the Pagans from Ireland. The Queen deserved the throne, and it was a joyous moment when she finally ascended, but now an invader has taken our crown, and we must reclaim it in the name of our Lord. Though he may be a Christian like us, he is not the divine chosen ruler of Wessex."

    Shawn looks over the crowd as they hold on to his every word. His words and calm demeanor reassure them and bring the calm that they seek.

    "As I laid, mortally wounded, the Lord spoke to me. He informed me that it was my manifest destiny to free our people from the false Christian King. He showed me the glory and life he has planned for our people with me as your King. I want to show you this life that he presented to me. I want you to live in the world that the Lord has planned for you. I want the sacr..."

    Shawn pauses in his words as he notices Noah has returned and joined the ranks of those in the crowd. Noah nods at him -informing him that Michael has agreed to the parlay at dawn. Shawn smiles and closes his eyes. He tilts his head up towards the sky and can be seen mouthing the words 'thank you, Lord".

    "I want the lives of those who we lost in the battle with the pagans to have not been in vain. Will you march into battle with me once again as we aim to fulfill the destiny that the Lord has bestowed upon us?"

    The crowd roars with shouts of "yes" as Shawn nods his head with a smile. He bends to one knee and mouths a silent prayer over the grave before raising to his feet again, turning to walk towards his tent. Noah pushes through the crowd of fired-up warriors and maidens to get to Shawn's tent.

    "Michael will meet with you at dawn. He's requested that you two meet in the middle of the prairie field."

    Shawn chuckles to himself as he turns his attention to Noah with a smirk.

    "Get some rest, Noah. Tomorrow is a day we've dreamed of for months."
    _____________________
    The grass bows beneath the stallions' hooves that Bishop Summers and Noah ride into the clearing just outside of the forest. The rays of the sun impair Shawn's vision as he cups his right hand over his eyes. In the clearing, the Celtic Warrior, Michael, sits atop his horse. Shawn smiles at the site as he whips the reigns of his horse, who begins a steady trollop towards the meeting spot. As the two approach Michael, they notice a hooded and masked individual standing at his side. Shawn turns to look at Noah, who nods his head. They stop in front of the two and dismount their horses.

    "It is through the Lord's blessing that we were brought here today for this occasion. An occasion of peace, Michael. The time for sneak attacks and insults is at a cease. When our armies battled one another head-on, I was forced to submit and retreat with my troops. In our head-to-head battle, you were, in fact, the better of us. There are no ifs and or buts about it. And because you were the better of us, I would like to negotiate peace. As you are probably aware, the Queen has been dethroned, and Kennedy has assumed the throne. I want to work together with you to take him down."

    Michaels laughs to himself and stares at Shawn with an amused smirk before beginning.

    "You are a coward, Bishop. You attacked my men and me from behind multiple times, insulted my character, drew blood from me, and did everything in your power to ensure that I didn't get close to the throne again. You'll forgive me if I fail to see your angle here with now wanting to work together with me to take down Kennedy."

    "It's all the Lord's will, Michael. The Lord spoke to me after our battle, after you wounded me. He spoke to me and informed me that you were not my enemy. The enemy is the false Christian that sits upon the throne. He showed me visions of us living in harmony, exchanging goods and services in a kingdom of dual faiths. He showed me that although we worship in different ways, our supreme God is the same. In our teachings, Christ believed in turning the other cheek when done wrong by his neighbor. I simply ask that you take it under consideration. As a show of my good faith, I send my most trusted advisor, Noah, to you until nightfall."

    Noah removes his sword and body armor as he makes his way over to Michael, who instinctively raises his sword. Noah raises his hands to show that he means no harm and places his hands in front of himself. Michael looks at Shawn, who is praying to himself. He removes a rope from a satchel bag and bounds Noah's hands. Shawn finishes his prayer with a smile and opens his eyes as Noah stands alongside Michael and the hooded, masked individual.

    "The man you have brought with you, Michael. He is your Seer, no?" "Might he join me until nightfall as a guest? If I return to my people without one of your men as a sign of good faith, it will hinder our possible alliance. Surely, you understand?"

    "I will confer with my council and return to this spot at nightfall with your advisor. If you do not return with my Seer, I will slit his throat and will hunt you and your men and maidens down until you find salvation with your...God."

    "You have my word that we will return, Guardian, Michael. I pray that your council sees the good in an alliance between our sides to take down King Kennedy."

    Michael instructs the hooded, masked man to join Shawn. The hooded man cautiously approaches Shawn, who smiles at him. The man attempts to mount the horse, but Shawn laughs and waves him down.

    "Let us walk and get to know one another, Seer. The horses will follow behind. Come."

    Shawn motions for the Seer to walk with him as he turns to see Noah and Michael riding off into the distance. The two walk through the prairie in silence, with the occasional neigh from the horse breaking it.

    "What is it you want, Bishop Summers," says the Seer, his voice muffled by the mask.

    "Shouldn't you already know, Hao?" Shawn says with a smirk. His words stop the Seer in his place. Shawn turns his attention back to the Seer as the two stares at one another in the field.

    "The mad wizard, Hao of a distant land. It was with luck that I would find you...again. It is through the Lord's grace that you managed to survive and find your way back to me again. When I first met you at the altar of Saint Valentine, you prophesized that we would meet again through sheer luck and my determination to see the future you told come true."

    "The future I prophesized for you was set in stone by the God's. We were destined to meet again, Bishop. I told you that you would see great success and great pain and experience loss that would break you mentally. Tell me about your loss and pain, Shawn."

    "Why do I need to speak it aloud? You've seen the pain and loss. You know what I'm going through."

    "I only see what the God's allow for me to see. They do not allow me to see your pain. They do not allow me to see your loss. They only allow me glimpses into the path that they have set forth for you."

    Shawn clinches his fist and taps his foot on the ground. He attempts to figure out how to put his loss and pain into words, but they do not come to his mind.

    "I should have killed you when I met you at the altar of Saint Valentine. I should have sent you straight to hell with the other pagan invaders. You're the devil."

    "I am not."

    "YES, YOU ARE! You are the devil attempting to deceive me with your actions and your words."

    "Much like yourself, attempting to deceive Michael with your actions and words of peace and unity? Much like yourself, attempting to deceive your people into believing that your God had wants you to rule? Much like yourself, attempting to deceive yourself into believing that you deserve a chance to rule. If I am the devil, then you are my twin in sin, Bishop."

    Shawn charges at Hao but stops himself. Hao doesn't flinch or move as the Bishop backs away and curses himself. He falls to his knees and closes his eyes in prayer.

    "Your prayers cannot save you from the plan that my God's have in store for you, Bishop. You know what you must do to bring him back. You know that the crown is not meant for you yet."

    "And who is it meant for? Is it meant for Michael?"

    "Michael will get close to the crown, but the God's have no plans for him ever to rule. He lacks passion, and he lacks the fight to rule. The crown is not in his future."

    Shawn laughs to himself as Hao speaks. He opens his eyes and turns to the mad wizard.

    "So, the crown is meant for you? They call you the mad wizard, but you would rather be called the mad King, right?"

    "If the God's have that in their plan, then that is what will happen, Bishop. But what of the prophecy I gave to you back at Saint Valentine's altar? You want clarity on the prophecy, right? Tell me what you have lost and what pain you have felt, Bishop."

    "He's gone, and I need him back. I need him beside me. I need to know that he is safe. I need to know that he is not lost. I need him to balance me out. I need to talk with him one more time. Without him in my life, I have nothing but pain and sorrow. You said that I could bring him back..."

    "If you offer something of equivalent value, Bishop."

    "I've given my life! I've given my claim to the throne. What more do I need to give?"

    "You know what you must give to bring him back. There is only one thing in your life that is of equivalent value. If you offer that, he will return to you."

    "How do I know that that's true? How do I know that you aren't just telling me this as a way to get you closer to the crown?"

    "You don't."

    The two sit in silence as the day grows old and the sun begins to set. Bishop Summers walks into the forest, leaving Hao to himself as time continues to pass. Bishop Summers returns from the forest dressed in his battle armor as the moon crawls across the sky. He motions for Hao to follow him as he approaches the middle of the prairie where Michael and Noah stand.

    "Michael, have you conferred with your council? Do we have an alliance to dethrone the King?"

    "We have an alliance, Bishop."

    Shawn smiles as he motions for Hao to rejoin Michael. Noah and Hao walk past one another, and Shawn holds his arms open. He embraces Noah with a hug and whispers, "I'm sorry," as he penetrates his side with a dagger and slowly brings the blade upwards.

    "Shhhhhhhhhhh, don't make a scene. Please. You knew. You've always known. You've always known that for me to get him back, I had to sacrifice you. You're the most equivalent thing to him. You're the darkness to his light. I've sat in the darkness for long enough, Noah...I need him to sit in the light."

    Shawn raises the dagger in the air as arrows come from either side, raining down towards Shawn and Michael. Shawn opens his arms, welcoming the arrows as the scene slowly fades to black.

    Shawn opens his eyes as the credits for the movie "Ragnarok" begin to play. He reaches over towards the nightstand and grabs the remote, turning off the television filling his hotel room with darkness.

  15. #15
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    Re: Fallout 006 | Yuna's Sea Shanty Slammer | Promo Thread

    Meet Your Maker…



    Yes…
    we’re doing this.

    “Are you sure this is such a good idea?” Harry the Sane Wizard said.

    At the very least he wasn’t angry. It seemed most people can’t decide between being horrified and being pissed the fuck off that they’ve come face to face with the person who… well… made you. I’ll admit, given the chance to meet with my maker, I might also start it off by asking them what the fuck is wrong with them. But I, unlike others, am a benevolent man, and have gifted upon my creations enjoyable lives. It’s no surprise they might be a bit more equanimous in a fateful meeting with their maker.

    “Okay, okay. I’ll admit that I’ve got a pretty cool life. I’m a wizard in a universe without wizards so I’m pretty special. Well. There’s Konchu. But there’s not the sort of wizards like the wizards in the world I come from.”

    Right, because you come from a rip off universe of Harry Potter.

    “Right.”

    And Konchu’s actually got a unique lore behind him.

    “Konchu’s also got a lot more time to build his world out. This is my first promo and instead of telling a story about me, you made this all about you.”

    That’s not fair. The truth of the matter is, we don’t have much time to get anything done, so we might as well wing it and see where that brings us. Steam of consciousness. You know that’s basically how you first came about anyways. In a way, this is basically the most optimal way to continue your narrative. I could rush a story I had in mind out, of course, but I feel like I need to give that story the time it deserves. So this is what we’ve got.

    “What are the odds I ever get another match again for you to even delve into that story you’re saving?”



    “I’m not saying I want to be out there every week, I’m a pretty bad wrestler, no thanks to you.”

    Quiet’s already bad ass. Thomas is a power house. Uncle’s fucking Uncle. You stand out more because you’re weak and don’t know how to wrestle. It’s a good thing!

    “The point being, I might be a bad wrestler, but I’m willing to go out there and get hurt if it means I get a bit of spotlight. So come on, at least get me another match!”

    I get that, but this thing we do here, this efedding thing. It’s like a once every two week affair. The way it maths out, I get like twenty four promos a year max with the Nephews. I know I keep telling people Chtlhu’s Nephews has no leader but Uncle’s still basically the main character, I can’t really give you more than one promo a year. You’ll be really lucky to get two.

    “Then at least you could’ve treated this like the special occasion it was!”

    I wanted to, I swear. But Back 4 Blood came out on gamepass and my friend kept asking me to play it. I wasn’t going to say no. What, so I could write about Harry the Sane Wizard? I’d have to explain the whole efedding concept to them. You know the promo this is based off, the guy explained the whole efedding concept there. I could’ve done my own take on it but I’m not doing it because that’s kinda wasted effort. In fact, I’d say it’d be mostly fluff and wouldn’t add to anything so instead of devoting our precious few minutes to that, I’m keeping the focus all on you. Wait where was I going with this? Right. So if I’m not willing to explain efedding here in this promo where at least the people I’m explaining it to would get it, why would I tell my friend who barely even knows wrestling is a thing. So instead of explaining all of that, I just played Back 4 Blood with him. I love you Harry, but you had to take a back seat.

    “When you say it like that, you kind of make me feel worth less than.”

    I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be rude. Look, I didn’t play it today. I’m here devoting my time to you.

    “What’s your plan here, then? You’ve got a plan, right? This isn’t the same Sauce Man Uncle faced. He’s on a roll now. He was on the pay-per-view, and Uncle wasn’t.”

    Politics, what can you do! Don’t worry too much about Sauce Man.

    “What do you mean ‘don’t worry’? I’ve got to fight him.”

    Some people don’t think you should call it fighting. It’s wrestling.

    “We need a plan!”

    I’ve got a plan. Piss you off enough to make you dislike me. Then somehow sway you with words of passion that make you reconsider how you viewed this whole situation thereafter growing to learn the proper means of dealing with whatever issue you had. Call that character development.

    “You know, I wonder if my wand works in your universe.”

    Harry! Focus! Sauce Man match is coming up and you’re trying to test out your wizardry stuff? You think wizardry is allowed in the ring? It’s not. Konchu Hao would be FWA World Champion by now if wizardry was allowed. He can force choke and shit. You need to focus on the only skillset that wins you a match in the FWA… cutting a sick promo.

    “Is that what we’re going to do? We’re going to cut a sick promo now? Let’s do it. That’s all I wanted! Let’s cut a sick promo!”

    Yeah, let’s do it. I’ve helped you guys win a ton of titles. I can teach you how to do a promo good enough to beat Sauce Man, easy. Here’s a tip for you. This one is an oldie but a goldie. Just shit talk Sauce Man.

    “Just shit talk Sauce Man?”

    Yeah, insult him. Think about all the shitty stuff you can think about him.

    “This kinda sounds like that one Dame Salleyvan class from CC. The dream thing.”

    You only remember that because I made you remember that. Talking trash is at the core of this thing we call promos. You don’t have to be straight up about it. You don’t have to vomit out insults nonstop but most promos, even the vague ones, are basically extended trash talk sessions. I’m just saying, you know, pump out those insults gets that quality of content ticking upwards. You know all those jokes I make you guys do about grades?

    “Yeah. Hey, if I can offer some criticism. Don’t you think you’ve done it a bit much with that whole fourth wall break to talk about grading criteria?”

    Oh, yeah, totally. But my whole gimmick is I’m too cool to care about wins and losses so I can keep overdoing it as long as I want to.

    “But you care about this win against Sauce Man right, it’s my debut.”

    One hundred percent. Sauce Man’s the biggest jobber in all of Fallout. It would be a personal shot to me if I let you lose to him. No, we’re one hundred percent in it to win it. Alright, so shit talk Sauce Man time, GO!

    “Okay. Okay. Okay. Sauce Man, you know, he’s a bit of an idiot. He’s kind of slow. I feel like he never has any idea what’s going on around him. He’s just constantly asking dumb questions and everyone around him is looking at him like ‘do we need to explain this shit again’. I think the people that keep him around, you know his three friends there, they only keep him around because they don’t want to be the dumbest guy in the room. Like, generally speaking, when those three are in a room with most other people, it’s usually a competition between those three for who is the dumbest. But Sauce Man ends that discussion immediately because he is absolutely the stupidest of them all. If there was a really good system for measuring people’s intelligence, Sauce Man would probably reinvent how low you could measure on that system.”

    Nice, nice. Let me just break that paragraph up so it doesn’t look too overwhelming. Okay hit him with the next stuff.

    “I don’t usually have an issue with idiots. I’ve met a lot of idiots. But the worst kinds of idiots are the idiots that are also mean. And you know what Sauce Man is… he’s a mean guy.”

    And you’re a good guy. You’re a Nephew. You’re all good guys! Like me!

    “I am a good guy, but Sauce Man, he’s not a good guy.”

    His profile says cheer but it’s bullshit.

    “I agree. I don’t know how he keeps getting huge pops. Do people really love Beyonce that much globally?”

    Beyonce is a mega star. Maybe we should get you a theme song that’s more pop-ish. That might get people to love you more.

    “You’re the one that picked Black Sabbath.”

    I had no idea you were actually going to get your own entrance at some point. I would’ve thought through your theme song some more if I had. There’s nothing wrong with Black Sabbath though. Let me put it on right now.



    So, back to what you were saying about Sauce Man! Are those harmonicas in that song? Sick stuff. Sorry. Keep getting distracted. Sauce Man! Yeah. He’s not a good guy but you are a good guy. You can let him use cheap tricks like Beyonce theme songs, that’s not going to change who he is though. It doesn’t change the things he does.

    “Sauce Man is just a total ass. He’s a gatekeeper, you know that. He goes around telling people what qualifies as sauce and what doesn’t qualify as sauce. And he just spites people if they say a sauce he doesn’t think qualifies as sauce is sauce. He’s the type of guy who is going to tell you what counts as real cinema and what’s junk food. The other thing is, I don’t even think he has a real system for it. It’s all off a whim. So it’s pretty shitty of him to make other people feel bad about something that’s totally subjective.”

    He doesn’t have a system for it! I’m sure he doesn’t! You know Sauce Man, he’s not a well thought out guy, not like you. You’re layered. You got things going on. Sauce Man, he ain’t got none of that. That’s why he had to try and become interesting like you are and started doing all of that time traveling stuff.

    “You know what else I heard about this guy? He discriminates based on sauce taste. You don’t like the kind of sauce he approves of and likes, he’s not going to treat you well. He rejected giving a kid an autograph because he was eating… or drinking apple sauce.”

    That’s why he’s doing the time traveling stuff! People were starting to figure his shit out. I think Josh Drake was the real game changer. He came in here, he wasn’t really a cheer guy but he spoke real shit. That’s why I made you quote him.

    “Yeah that didn’t get over.”

    You swing and you miss. But Josh Drake, he had concrete actual things to say. And that’s basically when Sauce Man realized he needed to have more to himself than the fact that he sells sauces or that he can come up with funny misunderstandings centered around the various other meanings of the word sauce. So he busted out this weird time traveling stuff. You know, I was actually half-tempted to do a Tenet kinda thing as a reference to it. You’ve seen Tenet?

    “You decide what I watch.”

    Okay, let’s say you didn’t. Well it’s this convoluted ass Nolan movie-

    “Oh, great. Another Nolan rip off promo. It’s either that, Community, or Rick & Morty. Come up with an original idea.”

    Now you’re kind of hurting my feelings, Harry.

    “I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t like those ideas, it’s that, I would rather participate in them than talk about them.”

    I get it, Harry. You get another match, I promise we get a full adventure promo. But you said it yourself, we can’t look past Sauce Man so let’s keep working on what we got here. Forget about Tenet, I didn’t want to talk about that anyways. You know what I want to talk about, you remember Fallout zero zero four?

    “When Uncle murdered all those people?”

    Yeah. He killed Stop Sign, he killed his friend there whose name I forget… the FBI agent guy, he killed Val who turned into a masquerading assassin-

    “You really killed Val off too fast. I thought they were going to become a re-occuring character.”

    I’m god, Harry. I can revive Val if I want. Anyways. We killed… god I’m going to have to look this up. I know there’s two more guys we killed and I know one of them specifically because that’s who I’m leading up to, but I gotta figure out the name of the other one first since they’re less important. Give me a second.

    “Take your time. Oh, shit. What should I call you?”

    People call me Jon. You can call me Commie Jobber.

    “Commie Jobber?”

    Communist Jobber. The jobber part is meant to be self-deprecating. I GOT IT! The name was Jamal, he was the guy with the Gerald Grayson mask from Uncle’s first championship win. Okay. He’s not who I want to talk about, I want to talk about Aiden McGuire. So, context, for those of you who are completely lost, Aiden McGuire is the FWA universe’s version of Harry the Sane Wizard. As you know, Harry isn’t Harry’s original name, it’s the name Uncle came up with (and by proxy, me, I guess), but it’s his name now.

    “I’ve accepted it. I know the whole name is just a dumb gag for you, but I like the name Harry now so it’s not a big deal.”

    Aiden’s an ugly name anyways. I wouldn’t want that as my actual name. I wouldn’t want Harry either though, come to think of it.

    “…”

    So yeah, Aiden McGuire, original version of you in the FWA universe. You were so successful and popular that it basically made him feel completely insignificant by comparison. Like, imagine meeting a version of yourself that’s immensely successful in ways you could never be. Honestly, you’re pretty lucky I decided to make you the cool one. So how do you feel about me killing off Aiden McGuire?

    “It’s basically like you had Uncle kill me.”

    Sure, but he would never kill you specifically. I would never kill you either. Though now that I think about it since, we’ve all crossed the line into murder in our stories… maybe I should do a big ass tragic death in one of mine… would you be interested in a tragic death, Harry?

    “Kill Thomas! Kill Quiet! Why me?!”

    You’re already selling the other Nephews out? Damn, Harry. No chill. You’re like the most innocent guy. And the weakest guy. It’ll be bigger feels if I kill you off. And you know, Uncle’s been in need of a big character development arc, he keeps getting shit scores there. If we kill you off, maybe we can give him some actual emotional beats to play off of.

    “YOU’RE GOING TO KILL ME OFF FOR HIS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT?”

    You’re right. That’s boring shit. I should just kill you off because we live in an absurd world and random shit happens sometimes. The Nephews will just have to accept it as they live by the absurd philosophy anyhow.

    “Commie Jobber, I’m begging you to steer this conversation AWAY from killing me off.”

    Fine, fine. The point I was trying to make is that Aiden McGuire’s death is actually going to have certain consequences for you. It’s going to be a good character development arc, I think.

    “Do you ever think about the stuff you inflict on us for the sake of character development?”

    Me? I wouldn’t say much. I think I usually just put you guys in elaborate situations for the sake of gigantic metaphors because as we all know, metaphors are the name of the game and the key to winning championships. And really, you guys are so overpowered, you’re basically out of harm’s way most of the time. Honestly, I mostly feel sorry for the guys you meet. I’ve made you ruin the lives of so many people. I feel like they would have more reason to be pissed off with me than any of you Nephews. Holy shit, I just thought about if you were Snowmantashi instead. I let his school get blown up, I wonder how pissed he is.

    “If you’re smart you’ll write out a promo ahead of time so you’re not stuck doing this gimmicky stuff to make it by deadline.”

    Harry, please stop expecting so much from me.

    “I’d get it if you had a lot of other responsibilities…”

    I’m not sure what you want me to say, I’m a lazy guy. Hey, Harry, can I ask you something. I guess it’s a bit silly to ask you if I can ask you any question, I don’t think it’s up to you.

    “Technically I’m next to you right. So do I have free will at this point or do I still just do whatever you tell me to say?”

    I don’t think my predecessors thought that far into the whole meta-nature of this work. I’ll just ask you my question. What are your plans, Harry? What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish?

    “My plans?”

    You’re not working on anything? Why are you doing this match with Sauce Man?

    “Well, because I fancy professional wrestling a bit. I know I’m small, and a wimp, but that doesn’t mean anything. Uncle is the same height as me! Joe Burr is the same height as me! Uncle’s willing to fight anyone and Joe Burr calls himself The Giant Killer. So I know you made me a shitty wrestler but that doesn’t mean I have to be shitty forever right? If I keep wrestling, I can learn, and get better. And I’m pretty young too. I have my whole future ahead of me. If I actually got a lot of opportunities, I could make something of myself as a wrestler. Heck, can you imagine, five years from now, maybe I’m somehow the main guy you like to write about, maybe I’m World Champion?”

    If you asked me if I knew I’d still be efedding five years ago, I wouldn’t have thought so but here I am. So shit, maybe you could be World Champion five years from now if I don’t kill you.

    “Don’t kill me off.”

    I won’t. Probably.

    “Well, I’d like to win a championship one day.”

    You won the 24/7 Championship, I think.

    “If you don’t remember, I won’t remember.”

    I feel like you probably did. The Leviathans did.

    “But I want a real championship.”

    You don’t have a lot of options here. I’m not letting you go for the Gauntlet Championship and no way anyone is giving you a shot at the X Championship.

    “What about the tag team championships?”

    Hmm. I have been thinking about doing a whole Freebird Rules thing and I wouldn’t be against letting you defend it once.

    “Then that’s what I want! I want to be a tag team champion! I’ve got a lot of other hobbies, a lot of other things I’m into. But wrestling is what I share with Uncle, and Quiet, and Thomas, and all the other Nephews. I want to show that I can belong with them. And it’s not just that, the better I get, the more I’ll be able to deal with the sort of people that try to bully me because I hang out with Uncle. He doesn’t have a great reputation and that means people get at those closest to him. I need to be able to handle myself!”

    Oh yeah, that Owen the Nephew Hunter really did a number on you. You know I drafted him for BattleCard?

    “What?”

    Fantasy draft for all the FWA guys and their friends. Anyways, I drafted Owen the Nephew Hunter and I’m putting him up against Traffic Cone #2. NTR vs. NTR baby!

    “You lost me.”

    It’s okay. If you know, you know. Owen the Nephew Hunter is just a comedy guy, Harry, I wouldn’t worry about him. Sure he’s got that mean flip piledriver, but that’s all he’s got.

    “That’s still more than I have. You asked me what I want, and what I want is to for sure be better than Owen the Nephew Hunter. I want to fuck him up if he tries to attack me again.”

    Hey, I gave you a mean moveset. You’ve got brass knuckle shot, eye pokes, low blows, shin kicks.

    “You’re going to get me disqualified!”

    Nonsense! You’ve got diving crossbodies.

    “I’m one hundred percent sure that ends with me getting caught and YEETed out of there.”

    Sliced Bread #2

    “Okay, that’s one good move. You couldn’t even be bothered to name it. But you named The Sleeping Charm, a move, which by the way, you explicitly said I’m never able to successfully use.”

    Harry, it’s funny. It’s a gag.

    “If I get one match a year, it’s barely a gag. No one is going to remember it. Just edit my profile and say that I am now proficient at it. I’ve been with the guys for four whole months now, surely one of them taught me how to properly use the full nelson. Captain Fantasy uses it now, let’s say he taught me.”

    FINE! Fine! There’s your character development, you talked your maker into letting you use your submission finisher. No one in the history of efedding has ever convinced their creator to make such a drastic change. Now you’re able to use The Sleeping Charm which you weren’t able to before, certainly not when we first began this conversation.

    “YAY! PROGRESS!”

    You know, Harry, it’s been great talking to you, but it looks like our time is coming to an end. The clock will strike midnight (pacific time, I’m an eastern standard time so it’ll be three am) and I will have to release you back into the wild. It’s been nice talking to you. I’m pretty sure I didn’t take enough elements from our predecessors to make it feel like a faithful adaption but that’s fine because we will end it in the perfect way. With a monologue. Your very own monologue. Good luck, Harry.

    “What? Hey, where are you going? … Huh. He really left. Okay. Monologue… monologue… monologue. Hrmm. You know, when I first met Uncle, I was unbelievably terrified. This professional wrestler came out of nowhere to kidnap me. Then I found out, this professional wrestler, Uncle J.J. JAY!… he wasn’t even the Uncle I saw on TV, that was a different Uncle. I wonder if that Uncle stole a different Harry. I’m going to get a headache just thinking about it. So, Uncle kidnapped me all for a promo. But by the end of it, there was something about him that sucked me in. I think it might’ve been that Uncle was giving me a path to a more interesting life than the one I had before. Sure, being a wizard at a secret wizarding school is still pretty special by most standards but Uncle was a professional wrestler, and a bounty hunter, and an interstellar thief. He showed me that I could be everything I want to be too. And I’ve gotten to try a lot of different things since I’ve gotten aboard his Octopi. The most interesting thing I’ve gotten to try is this pro wrestling thing. I know I’ve had some bad luck so far. I was useless in the Cosmic Playground! No, wait. It’s like Uncle said. I wasn’t useless. I played my role and it was role only I could play. It might not have been the biggest role but without me, that match still could’ve gone completely differently. It’s because I played my part that we won. But I’m still working out excuses for the Gunfight Battle Royal. I was scared. And defenseless. And completely reliant on Big Mack, and Quiet, and Thomas to help me out. I had no chance of winning. If you ask Uncle though, the problem wasn’t that I was weak and defenseless, the problem was that I didn’t believe in myself. I think he’s right. I’m still green as grass but I’m ready to face Sauce Man. I’m not going to shy away. I’m not going to be scared. This would be an easy match for most people, but I know I’m basically Sauce Man’s easy match. After Josh Drake. And to me, Sauce Man is basically a big boss type. He might be an idiot. He might be an asshole. But that’s never stopped anyone from being pretty good wrestlers. That’s not to say Sauce Man is a pretty good wrestler. He’s really not, I’m just trying to make him look a little bit tough because I know I’m completely untough. But if I was being really honest, the only guy he beat is Josh Drake, and sure he got a match at Lights Out but that’s because Allen Price couldn’t find anyone dumb enough to want to fight for his honor. Sauce Man clearly has no self-respect which is why he said yes, and it’s also why he said yes to working with the CIA during that big ass final fight where he threw sauce packets. But he was mostly a bit player during the entire time travels. And he’s a full time wrestler. I’m a part time wrestler and yes I’m willing to call myself a wrestler now because I’m tired of being humble. I’m a part time wrestler and most of my appearances have a bigger impact than anything Sauce Man had at Lights House. I mean, that match finished in like seven minutes right? Chris would’ve been better off calling either Drew or heck Max Peacock to help him out. But that would require them to be as dumb as Sauce Man to accept, and no one is as dumb as that man. So Sauce Man may be a slightly knowledgeable wrestler, a lower midcarder, but that won’t scare me. I’m ready to fight Sauce Man. Uncle taught me a ton of tricks. Plus, I’ve been watching wrestling since I was a kid, and I know everything the heels and the underdogs use to win and I’m ready to put all that up against you Sauce Man! I’m going to expose you for what you truly are, a dry, tasteless, bland, generic man. I’ve got the real sauce between the two of us.”

    Time to yell!

    “Yell? Wait I thought you were gone? AH, WHATEVER! SAUCE MAN, AT FALLOUT ZERO ZERO SIX, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH A HARRY THE SANE WIZARD THAT IS DONE PLAYING AROUND AND BEING OVERLOOKED. I’M NOT GOING TO BE THE PUSHOVER ANYMORE. I’M NOT GOING TO BE THE JOKE OF THE NEPHEWS. I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU THAT I’M JUST AS SCARY AS THE REST OF THEM. SO IF YOU DON’T BRING YOUR A-GAME, IF YOU DON’T BRING THE STUFF UNCLE BROUGHT TO YOU WHEN YOU FACED OFF, THEN TRUST ME SAUCE MAN. I WILL WRING YOU COMPLETELY DRY! I WILL TWIST YOU UP SO BAD, YOU WON’T HAVE ANYMORE FLUID IN YOU AND ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT TO CALL YOURSELF THE SAUCE MAN ANYMORE. ARE YOU READY FOR THAT SAUCE MAN! I DON’T THINK YOU ARE! AND AFTER I’M DONE TWISTING YOU DRY! I WILL DRIZZLE APPLE SAUCE DOWN YOUR THROAT UNTIL YOU ADMIT THAT APPLE SAUCE IS A REAL SAUCE AND IT’S A GOOD SAUCE. THEN I’LL FORCE YOU TO SIGN AN AUTOGRAPH FOR THAT LITTLE KID YOU DISRESPECT. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I’M HARRY THE SANE WIZARD! AVADA KEDAVRA! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU AND MURDER YOU AND TAKE YOU APART AND DESTROY EVERY BONE IN YOUR BODY AND INCINERATE YOU AND EVISCERATE AND DESTROY YOU AND NUKE YOU AND BLOW YOU UP AND SHRED YOU AND DECAPITATE YOU AND GIVE YOU PAPERCUTS AND SCRATCH YOU AND SMACK YOUR FUNNY BONE AND POKE YOU IN THE THROAT! I'M HARRY THE SANE WIZARD! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
    Last edited by Commie Uncle; 10-19-2021 at 03:08 AM.



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