911, WHAT’S YOUR EMERGENCY II
The Slaughterhouse logo flickers in glowing neon.
“Shots fired; shots fired.”
Smoke wisps away from the officers drawn weapon as we see the barrel pointed directly at us. Slowly we pan backwards to see both The Butcher and Darby Sorrow led on the floor, a pool of blood and brain matter amongst their carnage.
The officer pulls himself through the broken window and approaches the bodies. He puts a couple of fingers to the throat of The Butcher.
“Get off me, you fuckin’ idiot,” he growls, turning himself over and pushing himself towards the wall, resting against it. In his slump, his forehead is bloodied from a huge gash delivered by Sorrow’s shovel.
He reaches into his pocket, pulling out a cigar.
“You’re a damn fine shot, kid,” The Butcher compliments him with a wry smile, looking down at Sorrow. Darby is flat out on the floor, a hole in the back of his head. “But give it a minute and he’ll be back with us.”
The officer frowns.
“Sir, you’ve taken a serious bang to the head and you’re not making any sense. You likely have a concussion,” he says, giving him the once over as The Butcher swats him away. “Officer Mackey to control. Please send an ambulance and coroner to my location.”
The Butcher laughs heartily.
“Oh son, you just wait. It’ll blow your tiny little mind.”
But nothing happens.
A look of panic quickly begins to show on the face of The Butcher; they needed Sorrow alive.
But… he’s dead?
Mirror Lake Asylum.
Sometime next week.
A human body is thrown up against the concrete wall like a sack of shit.
Another is tossed over a railing, his scream echoing down to the lower floor.
A voice echoes throughout the bleak walls.
“Good, give into the rage inside. Let go of the humanity that’s held you back.”
He’s speaking to the assailant of those men, who is waging war on the other patients.
He looks worse for wear, his clothes in shreds while cuts and bruises cover his body. But with each inmate down, Zero grows closer to wherever it is the Warden is leading him.
Another inmate rushes in, a hulking bruiser, but Patient Zero ducks his lariat, swinging around to break his jaw with a backhand. His viciousness is on full display as he kicks the inmate’s leg the wrong way, shattering his bone in the process. He turns around with a wordless roar, but all he’s greeted with are a pile of bodies.
“I underestimated you, Patient Zero.” The Warden offers. “Your record did not indicate the level of brutality you were capable of. Perhaps there’s a lesson there, in the truth not being as clear as we desire to to be.”
Zero spits out blood, maybe a tooth mixed in there. All of the fogginess is gone, and his steps are filled with purpose as he walks to the last door available to him.
“If you walk through that doorway, you will face your final test.”
With no hesitation, Patient Zero strides through the door.
The Town Hall.
An audience cheers loudly as on stage stands Monty Straight and Junkrat at their own respective podiums.
“MONTY! MONTY! MONTY! MONTY!”
Monty smiles and winks. The crowd is heavily in his favor.
Junkrat rolls his eyes and scratches his ass.
“Thank you, thank you!” Monty says. “I’m Monty Straight, and that’s exactly how I shoot it. As you all know, I will be your moderator of this debate, as it were, as well as one of the debaters tonight.”
“That’s bullshit but okay,” Junkrat interrupts.
Monty says. “I’m going to have to ask you to wait until your called on, Mr. Mayor.”
Junkrat fumes as Monty continues. “Let me begin by saying this. We all know Junkrat has tried his best to run this town. The problem, folks, is that he is, unequivocally, a moron. A buffoon. He cannot package an economic stimulus together. He doesn’t even know what those words mean.”
Monty continues, “The fact is, I can promise each and every one of you that not only will I make this town into a place we can be proud of, I can make this town into the new set for The Show That Never Ends. Isn’t that worth voting for good, old Monty Straight?”
The crowd roars in applause.
It is clear. This town hall is full of Monty’s game show audience.
“Now, Junkrat, on how you plan to stimulate Gary’s economy?”
Junkrat takes a deep breath and says, “So, here’s the thing. My opponent has accused me of not knowing what words mean. But guess what, ass wipe? I know words. Can I economy? You fucking bet I can. No one can economy like me. But to be honest, and I want to make this very clear, each and everyone of you are asking the wrong thing.”
Junkrat continues, “Ask now what your Junkrat can do for you. Ask what you can do for your Junkrat. And you know what you all can do for your Junkrat?”
Monty interrupts, “Time’s up, Mr. Mayor.”
“But I was gonna tell them all to suck my rig.”
“Time’s up,” Straight reiterates.
Suddenly, the door to the town hall bursts open.
PEW! PEW! PEW!
They disintegrated the town hall doors with their weapons.
Like a fucking action hero, Captain Spacerat steps forward and says, “I came here to chew ass, and kick bubblegum.”
He grins confidently, “And I’m all out of bubblegum.”
OBASI BOCAMO VS. ALTON WHITLOCK
Two politicians of absolutely different varieties are set to square off! It’s Obasi Bocomo vs Alton Whitlock!
The bell rings, and Whitlock is not quite prepared for the lightning quick savagery Bocomo moves in on him with!!! HEADBUTT FROM THE BLOOD KING!!! He grabs Whitlock by his hair and bends him backwards! With his free hand he pounds Whitlock across his chest! Once! Twice! Three times! Over and over and over again!!!!
He lets go of Whitlock and he drops to the ground! Bocomo drops boot after boot into Whitlock’s chest! But the politician sees what a dire position he is in! He catches Bocomo’s boot and twists his ankle in the most awful direction! He rises up! LOWBLOW!!!
Some underhanded politics there, but Whitlock is back to his feet and the fans love it! He lifts the Blood King to his feet and positions him for one of his big moves! SNAP ELECTION FROM WHITLOCK!!! WHITLOCK MAKES THE COVER!!! ONE!!! TWO!!! KICKOUT BY BOCOMO!!! It’s gonna take more than that!!!
Whitlock grabs Bocomo up and pulls him to his feet! A PUNCH TO THE CANDIDATE’S THROAT!!! JESUS CHRIST! BOCOMO GRABS THE ARM AND LOCKS IT IN!!! THE GUILLOTINE CHOKE!!! Alton Whitlock fights and screams, but there is nothing he can do!!! His body slowly falls unconscious!!! The ref lifts the arm! It drops! Bocomo wins!!!
Bocomo pushes Alton to the side and stands to his feet! His arm is raised in victory, proving the Blood King is an impressive newcomer!!!
The ground is shaking. Luke Storm’s world is collapsing, falling out from underneath him.
He’s alone in his daughter’s bedroom. The walls are falling down on themselves.
He’s trying to get out. But he can’t.
Luke Storm snaps awake from his vivid nightmare.
There’s a bright light above him; almost blinding. He’s in a bed, but it’s not his.
Where am I?
What’s that noise?
His vision is blurred. His mind is numb. His body feels broken. Every inch of it.
He looks to his left. He can barely make out the shape of his cell phone next to him on a bedside table. It’s vibrating. The noise. Grimacing, he moves his stiff arm to pick it up. Restricted number.
“…Hello?” Luke asks as he instinctively picks it up. It hurts to speak.
There is a split second of silence. Then, a gruff voice on the other end.
“The old warehouse. 57th and Providence,” it growls. “If you ever want to see Scarlett again, get here. Now, Storm. Before you miss your chance. Justice will be mine.”
The phone clicks off.
It is then that the past comes flooding back to Luke Storm: the coronation, the assault, the blood. Redwing.
It all falls into place.
He has my daughter.
The hospital room suddenly comes into sharp focus: the bandages surrounding his body, the bag of blood still being pumped into his veins.
But none of it matters.
Nothing matters but her.
There is not a moment of hesitation. Luke Storm rips himself free of the blood transfusion. He does not flinch. He does not feel the pain of his broken body; does not feel the mortal peril of getting up and moving in his condition.
Someone has piled a set of his clothes in the corner. He quickly puts them on and walks out the door.
As he exits, he nearly runs over a shocked nurse.
“Mr. Storm?” she asks. “You–you need to lie back down. You can’t be up in this condition…”
But he’s already walking away.
“Where are you going?!” she calls after him.
By this point, wounds have re-opened, and blood is slowly dripping down Luke Storm’s face when he turns around.
“I’m going to get my daughter.”
Six Days Before Red Snow.
Blood splatters across the cobblestone path of the mountain monastery followed soon by a poor unnamed man, his face crushed into his skull and dripping crimson onto the footpath. The many monks of the monastery are speechless as they look upon the man responsible.
The Judge is nowhere to be seen as the massive man drops yet another lifeless corpse, this one dressed the same as the last one. Both of them wear worker’s clothes, the likes of which bare the insignia of one of BEG’s many companies. Banzan wipes the blood from his hands as he looks out towards the monks, all of them stopped in their paths, eyes full of shock at what they see.
“I have failed you, my brethren. In my attempt to gain gold, I left your… our home to be desecrated by the hands of a greedy man in my own attempt to grab glory beyond our homeland.”
The monks watch as Banzan walks the path, leaving crimson footsteps in his path. He sighs stepping over the bodies, the monks following him as he enters the monastery’s main square. Surrounded by his men, he raises his head.
“We shall reclaim our home. Those machines have become unmanned thanks to my intervention. And now, with the promise of the armored man, we shall remove them from our home! But for me to do that, I need your help. My brothers, will you march into battle by my side, so that we may obtain the means of cleansing my sin from our sacred mountain?”
There is silence for a moment, and then, in unison, the monks bow to Banzan. The Mountain stands tall, and he smiles.
“Then follow me on the path I have paved! The captain shall fall to our might!”
The camera pans out as the monks walk the cobblestone path, revealing slowly…
Tens and twenties of men lay dead on the path, BEGs employees sundered by the hands of Banzan.
The Immovable Object has become an Unstoppable Force.
X VS. AESOP VS. REDWING
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
A man unhinged. A lethal weapon. A violent lesson in morality. All three men stand in the ring, ready for battle!
The bell rings, and immediately X and Aesop move in on the absolute loose cannon in Redwing! Between the brutal shots from Aesop and the measured, weaponized strikes from X, it takes no time at all for Redwing to fold like a chair. He hits the ground and Aesop mounts Redwing, continuing to lay into the unhinged former hero!
BUT A BIG MECHANIZED FIST FROM X DROPS AESOP LIKE A HAMMER! X makes the cover! One! Two! Kickout from the fabled storyteller! X drags Aesop to his feet! CROSSBODY BLOCK INTO THE BOTH OF THEM BY REDWING!!! DOUBLE PIN ATTEMPT!!! ONE!!! TWO!!! THRE– NO!!! Both men manage to kick out!
All three men move to their feet, but Redwing drops Aesop right away with RETURN TO ARKHAM!!! But X nails Redwing across the back as he stands up! Redwing turns around! TONGAN DEATH GRIP BY X!!! IT’S LOCKED IN TIGHT!!! Redwing punches X several times but its absolutely no use!!! Redwing is going to tap out!!!
BUT NO!!! Aesop breaks it up with a boot into X’s hip!!! He grabs hold of X and positions him!!! THE GIFT!!! GOOD GOD!!! THE CRUCIFIX POWERBOMB!!! X is out!!! Redwing charges at Aesop, but meets a Belly-to-belly Suplex!!! Aesop comes up from behind!!! HE LOCKS IN AESOP’S FABLE!!! REDWING HAS TO TAP!!! BUT X INTERRUPTS IT!!! EXOCUTION TO AESOP’S HEAD!!! X MAKES THE COVER!!! ONE!!! TWO!!! THREEEEEE!!!
X shows once again why he is the Lethal Weapon! His bionic arm is raised in victory!
DIRTY WORK 2
We find Alton Whitlock, phone pressed to his ear inside an office adorned with his campaign posters and slogans. The Alton Whitlock candidate headquarters.
“Fine. I get it. Yes, yes…. You’re pulling the strings and I’m just a damned puppet. You’ve made it perfectly clear.”
The pause in conversation as the voice on the other line speaks gives Whitlock time to sigh silently, the look of a man defeated.
“I’m there now so you can consider it done.”
With that, he hangs up and frustratedly puts his phone back into his jacket pocket. Then, Whitlock pushes open a door into a more secluded office where a figure awaits. His campaign manager, Steven.
“Mr Whitlock. I wasn’t expecting you tonight. What brings you here?”
“We need to talk. There are going to be some… changes… to our policies. Most specifically the financial portfolio.”
Whitlock reaches inside his briefcase and takes out a report. He thrusts it across the table to his campaign manager, who eagerly snaps it up and begins reading. Before long, his expression changes again, looking more and more concerned as he continues reading.
“Alton… Do you realize what this will do?”
Alton simply nods. But this is not enough to keep Steven happy.
“I thought this portfolio was a done deal months ago. We all agreed, we all thought that our policy was in the best interest of every stakeholder. Why the change now? Why… this?”
Alton shakes his head, wiping the cold sweat from his brow. He turns away from Steven, gazing out at the snow falling outside the window.
“All you need to know is that we are changing it. That is the new policy. Effective immediately.”
Steven approaches behind him.
“I’m not sure I can continue to support you if our core policies are going to keep changing. This is no small thing. This is not the Alton Whitlock I dedicated myself to supporting.”
Whitlock turns, the pain in his eyes clear.
“There is more.”
His campaign manager stops, mouth open. As if the policy changes weren’t enough.
“Yes. It concerns this list of people.”
Another file is taken from the briefcase and passed to Steven. The Campaign manager’s eyes widen instantly.
“This is the name of each of your major opponents…”
Whitlock snaps back.
“I know exactly who is on that list. You don’t need to tell me. What you do need to do is find the dirt on them. Each and every one of them. And quickly. I need every resource on this. We find the Achilles heel of every name on that list… By the end of tonight.”
Steven looks at the list, then back to Whitlock.
“This is not you, Alton. This is not the man you are. What are you planning on doing with the information?”
Alton does not reply instantly, just looks out the window at the snow.
“Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer for, Steven. Just bring me the information and hopefully this will all be over.”
Steven takes both files and quietly turns and leaves without another word, his loyalty hanging by a mere thread. Alton, in turn, flops down at the desk, taking out a bottle of whiskey and a tumbler. He pours himself a large glass and takes one hell of a draw. His face is dejected, for he has just become the man he swore he’d never be… his eyes, the eyes of a broken man.
After receiving that nasty blow last week, The Butcher could be forgiven for being somewhat out of it.
However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In the Meat Locker, looking at his own breath in the cold, he stands next to Sigil awaiting a certain visitor.
A visitor that turns out to be Berkshire Ellison Green.
“I have to say, I really hate meeting in this place,” BEG complains, adjusting his World Championship that sits prettily over his shoulder. “Wouldn’t it be better to meet over a fine glass of chardonnay next to a warm fire in a beautiful locale? It’s winter out there, gentlemen; it’s snowing.”
The Butcher grimaces, his head wound stitches wrinkly with his forehead frown.
“When you created Imperium, we paid you for your services, did we not?” He asks aggressively. “Yet here I am with eight stitches and a fucking headache.”
BEG wisely doesn’t say a word.
His eyes dart around the room.
“Looking for something?” Sigil asks.
“I’m just making sure there isn’t a meat hook with my name on it,” Green replies cautiously.
The Butcher shake his head, moving a plastic curtain aside. Behind it, a figure bloodied sack hangs.
“You can thank Darby Sorrow for my lack of room,” he retorts. “But there will be repercussions for your pathetic performance last week.”
“Now, let’s hold on a moment, shall we?” BEG asks politely. “I’ve funded three dig sites over the past couple of months. I’ve given to your cause willingly.”
“And that’s the only reason you’re not on a hook,” Sigil chimes in. “That’s also the only reason you’re being allowed to ‘defend’ your title against Alton Whitlock in a match, that let’s face it, is a farce.”
Green snorts at him.
“It was the aforementioned Alton Whitlock that failed in stopping Sorrow from gaining access to the building last week,” Green responds arrogantly. “Let’s not forget that.”
“Enough!” The Butcher booms. “Tonight, you two will step into the ring against one another and fight. If he beats you, then he earns a shot at your Championship; if you beat him, consider us even.”
“Now, if you don’t mind,” The Butcher says looking back towards his bagged victim. “I have some red meat to prepare.”
Static fades to a droning voice playing on a television.
“Here in Egypt lies the last remaining ancient wonder, the Great Pyramid of Giza.”
Smash! SeeSaw chucked a sledgehammer at the screen! It’s another video for all who will watch!
“Why learn about the seven wonders when we can make them, right kids?”
The camera pans to Legos spilled out on the floor, in the center is SeeSaw’s recreation of the pyramid.
“With this, Freeman will get the point!”
SeeSaw powerbombs a Stretch Armstrong on to the pyramid! The camera pans to some flowers with the Legos as hanging pots.
“In the gardens of Babylon, Kenny’s mind can grow!”
SeeSaw shoves the Stretch Armstrong’s head in the dirt! The camera pans to a giant man made out of Legos.
“At the Colossus of Rhodes, you can see the man you could become!”
SeeSaw places the Stretch Armstrong next to the Colossus of Rhodes.
“Ah…accurate to scale!”
The camera pans to the rest of the seven wonders, The Temple of Artemis, The Lighthouse of Alexandria, The Statue of Zeus, and lastly The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.”
“Oh Kenny, don’t you get it, these wonders are your fate! You will pray for safety, you will sail to my shore, you will bow at my feet and then you will perish and get discarded like the rest of my old toys! hahahahaha!”
The camera pans one last time and we see underneath all the Legos, Stretch Armstrong versions of all the men SeeSaw has vanquished in the Slaughterhouse.
“You’ve seen my army, now you’ve seen the setting. I can’t wait to show you what’s left for our last playdate!
JUNKRAT, FREEMAN & JUDGE VS. STRAIGHT, SEESAW & SCRIMSHAW
Tonight we have trios action between six of our top superstars! It’s Junkrat, Freeman, and The Judge vs. Scrimshaw, SeeSaw, and Straight!
The bell rings, and its Freeman and Scrimshaw who kick things off. Freeman charges across the ring and nails Scrimshaw with a moonsault dropkick! Scrimshaw stumbles backwards into the turnbuckle! BIG SPLASH from Freeman! Or is it a little splash!?! It doesn’t matter! Because Scrimshaw grabs him by his head, calls him a little shit, and headbutts him! Scrimshaw tags SeeSaw!
Freeman stares SeeSaw in the eyes, but catches a knee from the lanky clown in his chest! He whips Freeman into the ropes, and Junkrat tags him as he bounces off! Freeman slides between SeeSaw’s legs and out of the ring, only so Junkrat can catch SeeSaw across the neck with a clothesline! Junkrat jumps in the air and drops BOTH KNEES across SeeSaw’s face and neck!
Junkrat lifts SeeSaw and whips him into SeeSaw’s own corner. A twinkle in Straight’s eye leads him to tag SeeSaw and step into the ring! Junkrat licks his chops and charges Straight, but the Straight Shooter drops him with a hip toss! Junkrat is back up! Another hip toss! As Junkrat sits up, SMACK! He catches a STIFF kick across his back from Straight! Monty tries to lock in STRAIGHT SHOOTING!!! BUT JUNKRAT SCRAMBLES ON HIS ELBOWS AND TAGS IN THE JUDGE!!!
Straight shoots on the Judge’s leg, but the Judge stomps him! THE JUDGE GORILLA PRESSES STRAIGHT AND THROWS HIM INTO HIS CORNER!!! He beckons Scrimshaw to make the tag, and Scrim does so with little hesitation! SPARTA KICK BY THE JUDGE!!! Scrimshaw sinks to the mat like an anchor!! He lifts Scrimshaw up and into position! RESTORATION!!! THE POWERBOMB!!! HE MAKES THE COVER!!! ONE!!! TWO!!! THREE!!!
With the Judge finishing off the bout, the team of himself, Freeman, and Junkrat pick up the victory!
The sounds of wires sparking and metal clanging against metal introduce the scene.
Standing in the center of a room full of robot parts all torn from their respective bodies. And in the center of the massacre is X, the nameless mercenary using his robotic arm to demolish a seeming inferior model of robot, dropping it to the ground before turning around to face Mark Gouldern.
“Isn’t this enough, Mark?”
Gouldern, the tech mogul, stands behind a wall of bulletproof glass. This piece of the Slaughterhouse seemingly converted into a testing room of his own volition. He smirks, shaking his head.
“Of course it isn’t, X. What am I if not thorough? No no no, I require more from you, X. More data, more devotion. Certainly not more sass.”
Gouldern leans back in his chair, clicking a button on his gauntlet. A door on the far wall of the chamber opens, another drone walking out and rushing X, this one quickly joining the others on the ground. X looks almost annoyed with what’s going on.
“I don’t feel any different, Gouldern. You claimed you changed me, but I feel nothing.”
Gouldern simply chuckles that smug chuckle of his as he clicks the same button a plethora of times, watching as the room fills with robots. X begins taking them out left and right, seemingly growing weary as the seemingly endless stream pours in.
“Oh, did I say that? Well, I’m no liar, X. We just have to see what the tests say, now won’t we?”
A devilish laugh escapes from Mark’s mouth as the scene fades out, X fighting the growing horde with all of his might, the cyborg looking back towards his captor, a flash drive held mockingly against the glass, forever out of X’s reach.
Kenny Freeman is waiting outside of The Slaughterhouse for his Uber driver, he is just ready to go home after his grueling match. A black Ford Mustang pulls up to the curb. The driver rolls down the window and yells out his window!
Kenny walks to the car gingerly.
Kenny gets into the car.
“A lifetime ago.”
Kenny looks at the driver’s angled features and realizes it’s SeeSaw without the makeup! He’s trying to get out of the car but the doors are already locked and SeeSaw is peeling out of the parking lot!
“Stop doing this, I’ll play in your stupid toy box at Red Snow but let me go home!”
SeeSaw wags his finger and laughs!
“No can do, once a toy leaves the toybox, I have to keep my eyes on it, I can’t stop playing with it until I’ve exhausted every ounce of pleasure from it.”
“Good thing this isn’t one of your videos or it would get demonetized real quick from that sentence alone.”
“Good thing, I don’t rely on Ads then, huh?”
SeeSaw stares at Freeman with his trademark sinister smile and Freeman with fear in his eyes is shaking his head! SeeSaw grabs the back of Kenny’s hair and starts smashing his head into the car window! He keeps smashing until the window cracks!
“Now the car’s broken as me and Kenny can go where a kid can truly be a kid.
SeeSaw is uncontrollably laughing as Kenny is knocked out.
Mirror Lake Asylum.
Sometime next week.
Patient Zero has entered the place where the Warden says his final treatment will take place.
The windowless cell is larger than the others we’ve seen, with a single metal slab in the center, with restraints dangling down. Shadows frame the walls, but behind the bed is a table, with several effects on it.
“Tread carefully, Patient Zero.” The Warden warns. “In the last week, you have become a new man, one unburdened by your past. You must choose.”
Zero stops, looking confused.
“If you turn and walk from this cell, your treatment will be complete. I will give you an identity, and release you into the world.”
“Or?” Patient Zero asks.
“You can step forward and shackle yourself to the truth of your past.”
Zero pointedly looks at the restraining table, then shakes his head. He takes a step forward, his eyes looking upon his belongings. A small smile covers his face.
“You didn’t want me to remember, did you?” Zero says, stepping forward, reaching out to his belongings. “My name was damaging to you, so you wanted to kill it.”
He picks an object up, but the shadows obscure it.
“I have to decline your offer of asylum, Warden Johnson.”
Zero lowers his head.
“I choose what I’ve always chosen.”
He places a black helmet over his face.
“I choose truth.”
He raises his head up.
Veritas. He wasn’t dead after all!
“Very well.” The Warden sadly states. “I cannot let you leave this place, not after you’ve seen what takes place here.”
A roar echoes in the cell as the door slams shut. Veritas is not alone.
Mez is here.
“Mez will take care of you. If you can somehow manage to defeat him, then there will be no one to stop you from leaving this place. But he’s had his eyes on you for some time now, and he’s not likely to go down as easily as the other inmates.”
With a screech of static, Warden Johnson cuts out.
Veritas looks across the room at Mez. The Asylum is their playground.
Either Veritas slays the beast and walks free, or Mez crushes truth here and now.
The battle is on!
BANZAN VS. MEZ
It’s a battle of disciplines as the Madman takes on the Indestructible Mountain!
The bell rings and Mez charges at Banzan, who sidesteps the Madman and delivers a swift kick to his right leg, bringing Mez down to one knee. This only seems to anger Mez as he goes after the man from the Monastery, who immediately takes a seat into mountain stance!
Mez starts wailing on the Indestructible Mountain, who lives up to his moniker by taking plenty of damage before switching to tiger stance, slamming Mez hard with some brutal palm strikes that wear him down. Mez is rattled by this, but he catches Banzan off guard with a nasty headbutt!
The impact is made worse by Mez’s helmet, and Banzan is thrown for a loop as the Madman fights back with some hard punches–ANARCHY! Mez just dropped Banzan to the canvas with a Lou Thesz, continuing his attack with some more punches and even a headbutt for good measure!
Mez refuses to let up on the attack, but Banzan manages to shove him off before getting to his feet. Mez charges headfirst at Banzan, who sets up his tiger stance–TIGER CLAW! That five point palm strike just took Mez down hard! Banzan with the cover: ONE! TWO! THREE!!!
Banzan proves just why he is the Indestructible Mountain, pulling off a major win against Mez in the process!
GODS OF WAR II
In the past
The hot, humid jungle of Somalia is flooded with the sounds of echoing machine gun fire and the distant, frequent explosions of mortar shells. The army of Obasi Bocamo has been retreating at pace now for several hours.
Taking cover behind the thick trunk of a tree, Obasi wipes his brow with the cuff of his dark military uniform and takes a swig from the canister hanging around his shoulder.
Bark splinters a few trees behind him. He risks a glance to look for the enemy firing in his direction but the sweat in his eyes has blurred his vision. The density of the trees makes it almost impossible to see anything under the best of circumstances. He fires shots in the direction of the gunfire and charges forward, taking shelter again behind another thick tree trunk.
In years to come he will rule this land from a comfortable, air-conditioned office. His hands wouldn’t be dirty, his thick thighs wouldn’t be chafed. But here, and now, he is running through an unfamiliar jungle; scared, poor and sweating.
He takes a few seconds to catch his breath. Gunfire again splinters a nearby tree. Closer this time. And by the sound of it his would-be assassin is closer, too. Gaining on him.
He won’t go quietly. He certainly, he decides, won’t go without a fight.
He glugs the last of his water from his canteen and swings himself around the tree, his AK-47 trained at eye-level.
Immediately the barrel of the gun presses against the forehead of a white, spotlessly clean man. He vaguely recognises him.
“Good brother, Obasi. It is I, Luke Marshall. The Lord has sent me here to save you. Quickly. There isn’t much ti—“
A mortar shell explodes at the side of the unlikely duo, a blinding flash of light fills the jungle. Tree explode and light from the hot summer sky floods in as the ground opens up.
Obasi flies through the air, his head hitting the ground hard.
With a gasp of air, Obasi sits up in a silent, cold, and dark jungle. Flecks of flames flicker around him as the undergrowth smoulders from the blast. He surveys the scene and realised that he is utterly, entirely, alone.
We cut backstage to the offices of Imperium just moments before BEG is due to be in action. He and Mark Gouldern are going over a few finer details at their table. At this moment, Alton Whitlock bursts in, unannounced.
“Who the hell do you think you are?”
His comment is directed at BEG, and does not catch the financial mogul off guard in the slightest. The hurt in his voice even brings a sly grin to BEG’s face.
“What have I told you about knocking Alton? Honestly, Mark… You’d think that a political puppet could muster up some bloody manners.”
Whitlock approaches the table, slamming his fists down on the rich mahogany.
“I should never have reached out for your assistance in the first place. I knew how this would end the moment I made that call.”
BEG simply stares at him, a show of power that he will not be moved. Finally, he speaks.
“Did you bring me what I asked?”
Whitlock puts the briefcase on the table and pulls out a stack of files. Each file has the photo of a different candidate and a collection of different pieces of information inside. Clearly, the dirt that he had asked his Campaign manager to organise.
“I have it. But…”
“There is no but. You know the deals of our term. Undying loyalty. Anything else and I pull my funding. Then you’ll never find the one who gave you that scar. Let’s be clear here. You need me. I know it and you know it. So hand over the files.”
Whitlock slams his fists into the table again, clearly torn to pieces inside at what he has become.
“No. I cannot.” He tears at his hair, growling in frustration. “I’m done. Done with your crap, done being the one who hands you the world on a silver platter. This is not me.”
BEG stands tall, up above Whitlock.
“You make this choice and I will ruin you.”
Whitlock closes the briefcase.
“I’m done. Done with you. Done with this place, OSW has only brought out the worst in me… I’ll be there at Red Snow, but only so I can get my hands around your throat. Then, you’ll have to find somebody else to be your lapdog. I’ll find another way to get my funding. A way where I don’t need to sell my soul to the devil.”
Whitlock takes his briefcase, along with the dirt on his opponents and leaves the office. BEG, in turn, picks up a glass from the table and throws it against the wall. The glass smashes into a million pieces, the contents of which drip down the wall from the peak of the OSW logo.
“I’ll deal with this crap later. For now, I’ve got a match against Sigil to get to.”
SIGIL VS. BEG
Having been dominated by their mutual enemy through their own transgressions, these two combatants are looking to settle the score!
Both warriors stalk one another. BEG knows he can’t take Sigil when it comes to striking. Likewise, The Collector is outclassed by the billionaire for grappling – which the stipulation favours. Greene darts behind with a waistlock, from which he slams Sigil chest-first to the canvas. He grapevines the arm for an early FINANCIAL CRISIS – but Sigil rolls out of the crossface attempt!
The Realm Walker kicks BEG in the hamstring with a low kick. He hits the ropes and cuts Berkshire down to size with a chopblock. Sigil drags him, drapes his leg over the middle rope, then jumps up and smashes the knee! Sigil pulls Greene out and has him ON WOUNDED LEGS, but the fatcat elbows him in the side of the head, escaping the calf-crusher!
Sigil goes for FINITE, but BEG ducks under the leaping roundhouse, then catches him with the BILLION DOLLAR DREAM! Sigil struggles in the hold, the circulation to his brain being cut off. He’s fading fast, centre-ring, with nowhere to go… or has he? One flash of light later, Sigil COSMIC LEAPS between pathways and emerges BEHIND a dumbfounded Greene! He finally has him ON WOUNDED LEGS!
We all know Berkshire can take pain, but even he screams in the calf-crusher! He drags both of them closer to the ropes, scratching and clawing his way towards a rope break. Sigil cranks back and ups the torque, thrashing his head as he does. BEG REACHES THE ROPES! The referee forces a break. Sigil advances on a downed BEG, discounting the crossface – but forgetting the PYRAMID SCHEME! Berkshire traps him in the triangle choke, and Sigil is unable to cosmic leap his way out of this one! He taps out!
The sadist endures a submission match, relishing making somebody tap out!
Six Days Before Red Snow.
Moonlight shines down upon the ashen earth.
The sounds of howling fill the air as we fade into the cave of the Wolf’s Mouth. We however, are not inside of the cave for once, but on top of the mountain it is built into! And we finally see the source of the howling.
The Captain stands at the edge of the mountain, a murderous, feral growl erupting from his mouth. However, as he keeps howling…
Another howl joins his.
A chorus of booming, ravenous howling fills the air, and as Scrimshaw finishes his call, he turns around, coming face to face with hundred of sailors, war vets, homeless vagabonds. All of them, despite their age, show immense vigor as they surround Scrimshaw. One of the crowd speaks out.
“You sounded the call, Captain. All of us, every single one, is starving. Has Zerath called for us once more? What does the serpent want?”
Scrimshaw shakes his head, chuckling a bit.
“Not the serpent, boy. It was a man who promised to save us from our deal with the beast. He said he had the key to redeem us of our sin, we just have to go on one more raid.”
There is talking amongst the crowd when another pipes up.
“Are you sure it’ll break our contract with the beast? What if it doesn’t work?”
“Oh it will, boy.”
“How are you so sure?”
“Well, I asked him myself.”
There is a collective gasp and a silence as Scrimshaw stands fully upright, cracking his neck.
“The Serpent will give us freedom from our contract, the artifact we were promised must become his once more. And to ensure we are victorious. Well…”
He howls. But not like before. This one is primordial, almost eldritch in nature.
And from beneath the waves, a creature rises, its own howl, a terrifying screech into the night, pierces the air.
The beast is silhouetted against the moonlight. But its gift is obvious. One by one, the decrepit old men of the crew grow younger where they stand.
And finally, standing in front of them, hair red, teeth sharp, is the blood thirsty captain of old.
Scrimshaw Joins the Hunt.
MASTER DEBATER, PART 2: ELECTRIC BUGALOO
PEW PEW PEW!!!
The Spacerats are firing their guns and disintegrating every last audience member as Straight watches in horror, as people run and scream and try to escape.
But by the end of the ordeal, every last person in the audience is turned to ash.
With no one to impress, Monty turns to Junkrat and sneers. “You son of a bitch.”
“I told you,” Junkrat replies. “I’m a Master Debater. And now you and your game show can go kick rocks, and get the FUCK out of my town!”
And reveals underneath his jacket, he himself is wired with enough explosives kill himself, and everyone in the room.
Junkrat lifts an eyebrow.
“You have… Embarrassed me… For the last time,” Monty says. “Now you may win this debate, Junkrat, but this debate? It’s not over. It’s just delayed.”
“Hey whatever you say mother fucker,” Junkrat replies, his and every pair of Spacerat’s eyes wide as flying saucers. “Just… Just don’t kill us.”
“So,” Monty says. That twinkle in his eye looking a lot more demonic with endless explosives strapped to his body. “At Red Snow, it’s you and me. And the ring will be wired just like I am now. An exploding ring match. And the winner is going to get this town. Do you understand me, Junkrat?”
“Yeah,” Junkrat says. “I do.”
“Good,” Monty says with a grin on his face. “Finally, some compliance.”
Monty steps away from the podium, past the ashes of his former audience, and out of the doorway.
And Junkrat? Well, he has a peculiar look in his eye.
“My stomach hurts, Spacerats. I think it might be diarrhea.”
“It’s not diarrhea. That’s the way we feel every time…”
“Every time what!?!” Junkrat demands.
“Every time we…” Captain Spacerat nearly throws up.
“Every time we feel respect towards another man.”
“OH GOD!” Junkrat screams.
He throws up.
The Captain throws up.
The rest of the Spacerats throw up.
It’s the middle of a blizzard, and Scarlett Snow is shivering on the roof of a run-down warehouse. She’s handcuffed to an old, rusty air conditioner. A few feet away, Redwing crouches on the edge of the roof, staring out. He can barely see the city around him through the thick curtain of falling snow.
Then, cutting through the silence of the night, a siren.
Stealing an ambulance was easier than Luke Storm would have thought. The EMTs had just pulled some poor bastard out on a stretcher and left the vehicle running. He hopped right in and floored it.
He’d driven fast as lightning across town in the blinding white snow ever since.
Luke drifts the ambulance around a corner. He grunts and slams on the gas.
Finally, he sees his destination. The warehouse.
On the building’s rooftop, Redwing hears the silence, sees the pulsating red light. He knows what’s coming.
The Red Knight rises.
As the ambulance hurls down the road, siren blaring, Luke sees the dark silhouette of his tormentor on the rooftop. A demon waiting for him amongst the downpour of snow.
Scarlett doesn’t understand what’s happening: why this man in a mask would want to hurt her or her dad. But she believes her father will come for her. She knows it. And she has a feeling the siren has something to do with him.
Suddenly, Redwing is next to her. He removes the handcuffs, then pulls her toward the edge of the roof.
The ambulance comes skidding to a halt in front of the warehouse. In an instant, Luke Storm is outside of it.
He looks up.
Far above him looms the imposing shape of Redwing.
An instant later, he sees his daughter’s face and blonde hair, just barely, through the snow.
“SCARLETT!!!” he screams. “I’M COMING!!”
Scarlett wants to scream back–desperately–but she’s petrified by fear.
Redwing says nothing.
Luke Storm sprints to the warehouse door and flings it open.
DARBY SORROW VS. MARK GOULDERN
The Grave Digger isn’t dead after all! He arrives looking as good as new tonight, and looks to fill another hole with another soul, as he meets a man whose life nears immortality through technology!
Darby wastes no time in sprinting across the dirt floor, yanking the shovel from the mound of earth, and coming for Gouldern’s head! Telaris, having analysed Sorrow’s recent rampage, predicts this approach, and the Combat 2.0 suit hurls its occupant out of harm’s way. Darby swings with such force that he spins a full 360°, coming to face Mark once more.
Telegon’s founder doubles Sorrow over with a knee lift to the ribs, then grabs hold of the shovel which he still clings to. They struggle back and forth, wrestling for control of the improvised weapon. He may be immortal, but Darby doesn’t possess super strength; the power of the TeleGauntlet pushes him back in the loose soil. He nearly LOSES his footing at the edge of the open grave, and has no choice but to relinquish the digging tool to Gouldern.
Mark wields the primitive tech over his head and cleaves it through the air – but Darby dives out of the way, and sparks fly as the shovel strikes the headstone! The Grave Digger digs deep—literally—and throws a handful of dirt into Gouldern’s eyes. The visionary, however, smiles and wags his finger disapprovingly – the Combat 2.0 suit sports sealed optics!
Sorrow shakes his head as Mark bears down on him with the shovel. He won’t die to blunt-force trauma, but he sure as shit can’t grow a new head. Darby looks to the Slaughterhouse crowd, then shrugs… he charges towards Gouldern and NAILS him with a running dropkick! Mark stumbles back and TEETERS over the edge of the gravesite, but the TeleBoot ramps up its traction and clamps down, saving its inventor!
Darby doesn’t let up, however, and follows up with a baseball slide through Mark’s legs – winding up INSIDE THE GRAVE! Quicker than lightning, he pulls Gouldern’s legs from under him, tripping him up face-first into the soil and causing him to drop the shovel. Sorrow tries to drag Mark six feet under, but the TeleGauntlet claws at the edge of the grave, its fingertips clinging on for dear life. Darby grabs the nearby shovel and SWINGS it at the metallic glove!
Sparks fly once more as the steel shovelhead BENDS against the rare-earth metal hand – but it seems to do the trick! Gouldern convulses as the malfunctioning TeleGauntlet sends a shock through his body. His grip slackens, and Darby pulls him inside the grave. Mark is a fearless leader in any boardroom, or when redefining what technology can be, but the claustrophobic confines of the grave awaken something primal in him.
GOULDERN TEARS OFF THE TELEGAUNTLET!
He puts up his dukes, and he and Darby start throwin’ bombs! Lips swell, eyes blacken, and teeth chip as fiery lefts and rights find their mark in this ultra close-quarters scrap. Mark ROCKS Sorrow with a haymaker, then grabs a handful of his hair and SLAMS his head into the hard earth! Over and over he MASHES his face, showing the same aggression that earned him the InVasion briefcase.
The Immortal cuts Gouldern off with a rib-cracking elbow. He turns round awkwardly, clubs Mark over the back, then pulls him by his balding head and CRACKS HIS SKULL OFF THE GRAVESTONE! Mark staggers back, seeing stars. Darby spins him round, just as awkwardly, then puts his head between his thighs. Surely not!?
DARBY SORROW HITS THE SIT-OUT PILEDRIVER INSIDE THE GRAVE!
Mark’s neck compresses as his head hits compacted clay, and he’s out for the count. So suffocating are these confines, that Gouldern’s limp body lies on top of Darby. The graveyard shift worker struggles out from underneath him, and tries to get a foothold to push himself up and out of the grave. A particularly gnarly root gives him the leverage he needs, and he succeeds in freeing himself.
He picks up the shovel, but before he can start digging, he casts a look over his shoulder.
After everything that The Butcher and Imperium have put him through…
Snarling, he tosses the shovel down and stands at the mouth of the grave. Then he gazes across at the headstone. The rabid Slaughterhouse crowd sense what’s running through the suicidal anti-hero’s mind, and they grow louder as he walks around the grave.
HE CLAMBERS UP ON TOP OF THE GRAVESTONE…
He turns around and CROSSES HIS ARMS—
SORROW LEAPS BACK FROM THE TOP OF THE STONE AND INTO THE GRAVE!
The crowd explode as Darby lands in a heap on top of Gouldern.
Having extracted a sweet measure of revenge against Mark, Darby decides it’s time to end things. He can never die, but he still feels pain, and he feels it in spades as he drags his broken body. He expends the last ounce of strength to pull himself out of the grave – wait a minute… A similarly battered Gouldern is barely standing, but the TeleBoot literally vaults him back to terra firma!
Both men look at each other, their breathing ragged.
This is it.
Whoever goes back in that grave now isn’t getting up.
And the shovel lies at Gouldern’s feet. Darby shakes his head as Mark snatches it from the ground. Sorrow tries to get up, but Mark stands over him and WAILS on him with the bent shovel – over and over and over again. Darby writhes in agony as the cold steel blasts every inch of his body repeatedly, as though Gouldern were trying to literally pound him into the earth. After what must be 2 or even 3 dozen shots, Mark looks to deliver the final blow.
HE WINDS UP…
Darby grabs something—
THE SHOVELHEAD CONNECTS WITH THE DISCARDED TELEGAUNTLET!
Gouldern drops the shovel as his wrists almost SHATTER from the impact!
Before Darby can take advantage, however, Mark is 2 steps ahead – literally.
He closes the gap between them and, as Sorrow goes to stand…
A TELEBOOT-POWERED KICK CRUSHES DARBY’S SKULL AGAINST THE GRAVESTONE!
Sorrow slumps down into the grave. Mark grabs the warped shovel and starts heaping dirt onto Darby. He soon tosses the useless tool away and resorts to using the broken TeleGauntlet to scoop the earth instead – ultimately covering Sorrow!
Mark Gouldern has beaten The Grave Digger, Darby Sorrow, at his own game!
THE DAY OF RECKONING
Five Days Before Red Snow.
Clouded in purple, we are thrust into pure darkness for a moment, only the plumes of smoke to keep us company.
And then, from out of the darkness, walks The Judge. The armored equalizer clears away the smoke to reveal a stone room, one we have not seen since Ring King. And placed in the middle of it, that obsidian orb he fought so hard to obtain. The Judge places a hand on it, sighing.
The orb radiates with a purplish energy. The Judge traces his finger into the air, a slew of smaller orbs appearing in front of him, each one like a vision of the world. To one side the orbs are filled with the images of Banzan. The Mountain killing BEG’s men, slamming their heads into machinery, caving their heads in, and leading his men off of the mountain.
To the right shows many of Scrimshaw’s men, all of them walking, driving, and sailing until they get to the cave. We are also treated to the view of Scrimshaw’s howling, and his one on one meeting with the serpent within the cave. And to all of this, The Judge can only laugh.
“With a few choice words, I was able to convince those two that they were chosen for this. And with this orb, I was able to ensure I could be wherever they were and more.”
The visions disappear, the Judge placing two hands on the orb.
“The Eye of the Jury. Ancient, powerful. I was destined to have this to watch over the world and decide what must be done. Now two armies will clash, and I shall be the one to end them both so that balance may be reached.”
He looks on as the eye shows him the armies amassed, and he nods his head.
“And of course, I can recruit no one for this.”
Suddenly, from plumes of smoke, a clone of the Judge is created.
Then another clone.
All of them created by the eye, looking identical to The Judge we have been seeing all month with his purplish sheen on his armor.
“No one that is, but myself.”
The Judge has Assembled his jury, The Day of Reckoning is nigh.
THE MEAT LOCKER
The Meat Locker.
Sometime after the show.
The Butcher and Sigil stand blocking the view of what’s in front of them, their backs to us is all we can see.
But when the sound of a door opening can be heard, that’s when they both share a look, turn around and walk towards us.
Who do they meet inside this ice box? None other than Darby Sorrow.
“I knew you’d be back,” The Butcher smugly noted, nodding at Sigil with an apparent sense of gratification. “Shot in the head, check. Buried alive, check. Nothing keeps you in the ground, quite literally, does it?”
“That’s why it’s called immortality, fuck-wit,” Sorrow replies angrily. “And I’m through playing games. If you think that pretty little scar I left you with is a reminder of who the fuck I am, you’re gonna hate what I do next. Tell me, where’s my son?”
He pulls a gun from within the waistband of his jeans, looking at it. The Butcher and Sigil, they don’t even flinch – they aren’t in the slightest bit scared.
The Butcher turns around, looking towards what we can now see is a figure tied to a meat hook.
“You’re not gonna use that,” he confidently announces. “After all, I’ve only cut a few pieces off of him and frankly, he’s still a person – at the moment.”
That changes the dynamic.
Darby barges past The Butcher to see his son, now a man in his fifties, grey hair and beard, hung by tied wrists on a meat hook.
He’s missing fingers, to prove a point.
The rage boils in Sorrow’s blood stream. You can sense it; you can feel it.
“You sick fucks,” he growls.
“We need to know where you’ve hidden it, Darby,” Sigil interrupts. “And if you don’t tell us, we’ll keep cutting pieces off him until there’s nothing left. You might not care about yourself, but what about him? He has a family; you have grandchildren, hell, you have great grandchildren.”
Sorrow doesn’t know what to say. He grabs Sigil by the throat and slams him up against a wall.
“Why, tell me fucking why!?” He demands to know.
“You really want to know?” Sigil says, tilting his head. “Fine.”
To be continued…