The violent crowd is eager for the big event to begin. As all of the participants make their respective ways to the ring, the crowd growing more and more bloodthirsty and savage as the last person, Mannequin, makes his way to the ring; and is immediately assaulted by all other members of the match. This brings the crowd up to a fever pitch and all hell breaks loose as the crowd brings weapons and all into an already chaotic field.
SSRI Strongman Pat Fullam starts tossing people into the fray, "The Ripper" Danny B, Alex Cain, Lionheart, and Chris Andrews, all go into the bloodthirsty crowd! All 4 men quickly become swallowed by the maelstrom as their grunts of frustration quickly turn into screams of pain and terror.
The rest of the competitors hesitate for only a second before bolting from the ring, eager to get out first and not last. Jarvis King is the first to make his way through the melee at the ring. He quickly dodges through the labyrinth of old hallways. He thinks he is home free until out of nowhere, Shane Donovan hits King with all of his momentum throwing him sideways into a nearby wall! Jarvis gets to his feet, only to be pelted with a beer bottle over his head! He staggers slightly and rights himself only to be pelted by a flurry of punches from Donovan! Jarvis slumps to the floor unmoving as Shane smiles and makes his way to the door King originally had his sights on.
Only to be blasted from the handle by a massive forearm from Pat Fullam! Donovan flies to the side and over a barricade into a crowd of particularly feisty crowd members who take pleasure in beating Shane with whatever was available, and on this particular evening everything is available. Pat smirks at the carnage before opening the door leading to the outside and a win for the SSRI. However, before he can make it through Jarvis leaps on Fullam’s back and forces him backwards! Pat howls with rage as he back peddles as fast as possible and sandwiching Jarvis in between the massive Fullam and a concrete wall. This time it’s Jarvis that howls in pain as he clenches at his back and lets go of the giant. Fullam, though, whips around and glares at Jarvis in rage. He picks King up by his throat and brutally slams him down to the ground. He repeats this again and once more for posterity’s sake before lifting Jarvis up high above his head and throws him across the room! Jarvis rolls as soon as he hits the ground.
Right out of the open exit door Pat Fullam had previously opened! The giant howls with rage as Jarvis celebrates his victory. As “The Phoenix” tries to make his way out of the door he is once again yanked backward, this time by Autumn Raven and a very battered Shane Donovan! Pat quickly thanks them for their efforts with a double clothesline! The giant grabs Autumn in one fluid motion and picks her up effortlessly to drop her on top of Donovan! Pat delivers boots to Autumn’s ribs before picking her up yet again and holding her high above his head. Autumn wiggles free at the last moment and takes the giant down with a modified arm drag! Pat quickly recovers and lands on his feet but just as quickly falls flat as Shane smashes him in the back of his head with a cinder block! Unbelievably “The Phoenix” lives up to his name and slowly rises to first his knee and finally back to his feet. He touches the back of his head and finds that he has been busted open. Shane and Autumn exchange worried glances and nod at each other, for in this instance survival meant working together to keep the big man down.
Pat smiles and tastes his own blood, a war cry fit for a viking coming from his lungs as he charges at Shane and Autumn. Only to take a steel chair in the face by Chef Atticus Rex! Pat flies backward and lands on his back and is immediately used as a landing pad for Dangerous Dan who comes flying in from, quite literally, out of nowhere. Pat once again makes it to a knee only to be met by yet another chair shot, this time to the part of Pat’s skull that was already oozing blood. Instead of going down Pat once again stands up and yanks the chair from The Chef’s hands! He grabs hold of Rex and tosses him into Autumn and Donovan. All three of them crash to the floor as Pat turns his attentions to Dangerous Dan. Dan issues a battle cry of his own as he runs full steam at the massive giant and goes for a dropkick that would make a hole in the hardest of stones!
Pat takes it right to the chest and the big man stumbles backwards a few steps before stabilizing himself. This time it’s the giant who runs at Dan who is able to dodge out of the way of a clothesline that would decapitate a normal man! Pat goes crashing into a stone column and bounces off effortlessly, breathing heavy and ready to charge for Dan again. Dan once again tries to dodge out of the way but this time Pat is ready for him and grabs the Dangerous one by one of his feet! Pat slams Dan to the ground with a sickening thud and then staggers out of the exit door.
Chef Atticus Rex is the first to recover after “The Phoenix’s” onslaught and runs for the same door Pat just walked through! He is stopped short by Shane Donovan who yanks him backward and escapes through the door before Rex can make it! Rex is beside himself with rage and once again tries to exit the massive arena. Before he can, though, he is once again yanked back by Autumn Raven! Raven smiles smartly and dropkicks Rex away from the door and pushing herself through it! Rex slams his hand against the ground in frustration and manages to run through the door before anyone else can stop him.
Dangerous Dan begins to stir as Mannequin stumbles into view. Dan shakes a couple cobwebs out of his head as he summons the rest of his willpower to sprint through the door before Mannequin! Mannequin stomps in frustration but before he can make it out of the door Billy Anderson comes out of the shadows and makes it out before him! The door slams in Mannequin’s face as the lights dim to complete blackness.
We are high above the Coliseum. It is enormous, round and open topped, filled with row after row of seats filled to capacity. As we descend, we see the crowd, bloodthirsty, armed, most drunk or high on designer drugs.
Row after row of seating, a large round clearing in its centre. And in the middle of the clearing, the ring, stained a dark crimson from past battles. A ramp leads from the ring up to the stage, an enormous screen looming high above the entrance way.
Lining the entrance ramp and surrounding the ring, men and women stand in perfect grey robes, their bowed heads branded with the atom-in-ouroboros. They speak quietly, incantations and riddles in languages long since dead, occult secrets whispered into the ether.
Drones fly through the Coliseum, delivering drinks and drugs, things to get you high or leave you dead - or both, depending on the dosage. The crowd are armed, tasers, spray, barbed wire - some already bloodied by pre-match conflicts.
Smaller screens fitted about the Coliseum depict condemned criminals, listing their crimes and their punishments - heresy, sedition, altruism, compassion.
A single man approaches the ring. He wears a grey robe made as a single piece of cloth, a hood over his head, face bowed. In his hand is a microphone.
Man: Ladies and gentlemen, one and all. This is a year like no other, and tonight is one that will not be forgotten. A night of blood sacrifice and ceremony, of condemned men sent to fight and heroes venting their rage. Tonight, we open a door on the great and terrible things to come, a taste of the looming devastation.
We have demonic beasts and a knight lost in time, condemned dissidents and officers of the law. Each to do battle, some to the death, some to a fate much worse.
Tonight, one and all - is Retribution!
The crowd cheers, deafening, joyless, a wordless howl baying for blood. The man stands still, soaking in the hatred, before turning to leave, making his way up the ramp.
We cut to the backstage area of the Coliseum, or more like the dungeon area. Rows of doors containing cells are lined up on both sides of the dingy hallway. The smell of dried blood, urine, feces, and death lingers in the air. The sounds of footsteps are heard echoing off the walls, mixed with the screams, pleas, and cries of prisoners captured.
Frederick Styles is seen being led by six SSRI guards, down the long hallway. Each one armed with assault rifles at their side. Frederick looks around cautiously at the guards as they continue down the long hallway.
Frederick Styles: Is all this necessary?
SSRI Representative: Zatknis'!
One of the guards exclaimed as they continued down the hallway. Suddenly the sounds of singing can be heard from a distance. The melodious voice seems to belong to Byson.
Byson Kaliban: Lookin' back over my years
I guessed, I've shed some tears
Byson Kaliban: Told myself time and time again
This time I'm gonna win
Byson Kaliban: But another fight, things ain't right
I'm losin' again
Takes a fool to lose twice
And start all over again
Byson Kaliban: Think I'd better let it go
Looks like another love T.K.O. (oh, oh, oh, )
As the guards make it to the cell, Frederick peers through the small window to see Byson, singing and punching the concrete wall of his cell.
Frederick Styles: Is he stable enough to fight.
The singing and sparring stops as Byson quickly rushed to the window, taking Frederick aback.
Byson Kaliban: Stable? I feel pretty stable… How bout you, ya ready Freddie!?
SSRI Representative: Step away from the door and place your hands against the wall!
Byson Kaliban: Pardon me Frederick, but I have to warm up before the match.
Byson steps back and places his hands on the wall. The cell opens up and two of the guards walk inside. When they get closer to Byson, he unleashes a violent assault on the two guards. Elbowing both men in the face, he quickly snaps one of their necks, as the rest of the men file in to restrain him. A wicked smile painted on his face as one of the men taze him, slightly knocking him unconscious.
Frederick Styles: I think you will suffice in combat.
Byson laughs hysterically as the remaining guards now have him handcuffed. Shackles are placed on his ankles and neck, as they finally have him under control.
SSRI Representative: Fuck! That's the eighth guard he's killed. Just take them to the Coliseum!
The remaining four guards drag Byson along by his restraints as Frederick Styles follows closely behind nodding his head.
I saw her over an hour before I spoke to her.
The sun is setting, and I could see, with my orbital, the figure sitting on a rock near the summit. She isn't moving - I mean, she is moving... she adjusts her seat, moves her head, etc etc - but she shows no sign of running. Even after it was clear that she heard me approaching, she's just... waiting.
"I saw you coming yesterday," she says, quietly - her voice carrying on the wind, "I saw you coming before you even started up here. The question is, do you know why you're here?"
I pause. Do I know?
“I heard you existed before the Institute,” I say, “and I was hoping you could help me figure out how I can take them down.”
No reason to dance around it, right? But she laughs, which doesn't bode well.
"You wanna destroy the Institute?" she asks me, "D'you even know what the Institute is?"
She's throwing me off.
“I know that it wants to destroy free thought,” I say. “I know that it wants to dominate the world with its vision, which eliminates personal freedoms. I know that it would just as soon destroy the world than lose it.”
"You don't have any free thought," she says.
“Yes,” I reply. “I do.“
"Why do you want to destroy the Institute?" she asks.
“They killed my family,” I tell her. “They destroyed my childhood and ruined my life, and they need to pay for their crimes. “
She nods. "And what did your family do?"
I hesitate. “They were outspoken critics of both the Institute and the Traditionalists. They wanted things to go back to before.”
"And you're picking up right where they left off," she says, "so like I said, you didn't do this of your own free will. You have none."
She turns around and faces me for the first time, and my breath sticks in my throat: Angelica's eyes are both missing, and in their place, some primitive orbitals that are clearly mechanical.
"That's why you're not gonna make it off this mountaintop," she continues, "if you don't even know why you're fighting... you're gonna die up here."
“...Angelica?” I ask, tentatively.
She starts to laugh.
"Angelica died years ago," she replies, "she used to live up here, but I removed her."
She taps the side of her head, and continues to laugh that horrible laugh.
“Wait,” I say. “What?“
"It's just me now," she continues.
“Cute,” I say.
"Cute?" asks AnHellica, "How cute will your entrails look splattered on this rock?"
That's the first time I see the knife in her hand.
The raucous crowd inside the Coliseum are on their feet, awaiting the first contest. Loud beating of drums are heard as they begin to play in a ritualistic melody as four Guardsmen lead Byson Kaliban, who is shackled by his feet and neck. Byson looks around at the crowd giving a vicious smile, which makes the fans chant his name.
Doug Raylas: This bout is a Two Man Fight Til The Death! First, being led to the ring, charged with plots terminal towards ending Amorality! Sentenced to fight till his death! Prisoner BK - 68310… BYSON KALIBAN!
Jim Runt: Rarely do we get to see this man fight inside the ring, when he does, the bodies just keep adding up.
Mike Goulash: He's sentenced to fight till he dies, with that kind of motivation, he's not really having much of a choice
The Guardsmen unlock his shackles, Byson quickly headbutts one of the guards before sliding in the ring. A small trickle of blood falls down Byson's face as he wipes it off and licks his hand, bringing more cheers from the bloodthirsty, drug influenced fans. The drums continue to be beaten as Frederick Styles soon makes his way out into the stage area. He looks around to the rabid crowd, then begins to make his way to the ring.
Doug Raylas: His partner, here to vent some frustration! DETECTIVE FREDERICK STYLES!
Jim Runt: Interesting pair these two seem to be, a detective and a prisoner..
Mike Goulash: During the 21st century that would have been a great movie..
Frederick makes his way down to the ring as some of the fans boo him, just for the fact of being a detective. Screaming insults at him, one man even hurling a beer bottle at his head which he instinctively dodges, the bottle nailing another patron in the crowd. Sounds of the great Outback intertwine with the drums as Sam slides out onto the stage. He remains on his knees and waits for Dean to march onto the stage, standing behind him. Together they look around the arena and to the ring before Sam leaps to his feet, throws back the hood of his jacket and sprints down to ringside.
Doug Raylas: Their opponents, ready to defend their Independent values, they are the legendary team of Dean Coulter and Sam Braxton! THE LOST BOYS!
Jim Runt: It was said that the search was far and wide in getting these two to show up tonight.
Mike Goulash: When you have the type of status this duo does, there's no lengths that wouldn't be taken.
He waits, kneeling on the apron for Dean, who strides down the ramp to join his partner, kneeling on the apron. Together they look once again around the arena then enter the ring and ascend neighbouring turnbuckles. They raise their hands in front of their faces, fingers interlocked for a moment then descend back to the ring.
Byson motions to Freddie that he can start out and Dean steps up for his team. The bell rings, as both men crazily run towards each other. Meeting in the center with a slugfest, rights and lefts connecting back and forth as neither man shows signs of letting up. Coulter gains the upper hand, blocking a right hand, nailing a low kick to Freddie’s left leg, then blasts a spinning sole kick that sends Freddie rolling out of the ring. Coulter goes to follow Freddie but he is quickly blindsided by Byson!
Jim Runt: If anyone knows the rules inside out, it would be Byson Kaliban.
Mike Goulash: You would be correct, tags are no longer needed for a person to enter the ring. As long as your partner exits, you can enter.
Byson viciously stomps on the body of Coulter with no signs of letting up. He is soon blindsided himself by a incoming Braxton knocking him off his partner and through the ropes. Byson lands on the floor next to Freddie as they both help each other up. Meanwhile inside of the ring, Sam helps Dean up and tells him to get his arse in gear. Dean shakes off the stomps as he and Sam run the ropes and on their return connect with unison SUICIDE DIVES ONTO FREDDIE AND BYSON!
Jim Runt: The Lost Boys looking to price why they were highly sought after.
Mike Goulash: That may be true but I don't think they are well aware of the consequences of losing this match.
Sam begins to brawl with Byson as Dean attacks Freddie. Dean rolls Freddie back into the ring as Byson and Sam fight into the crowd. Knocking out random fans as they go at it. Back inside the ring Dean has Freddie leaning against the ropes as he stings the chest of Freddie with a knife edge chop. He instantly whips him to the opposite set of ropes, taking Freddie down with a Spin Heel Kick! In the stands Sam and Byson continue to slug it out as a few of the savage fans try to get in shots themselves. Byson headbutts one fan as Sam forearms another one. Byson grabs a bottle from a crazed fan and smashes it over the head of Braxton, sending him crumbling to a heap within the fans.
Jim Runt: That's gonna leave a mark.
Inside of the ring, Dean has Freddie down inside of the corner, choking him with his boot. He let's up on the choke, bringing Freddie to his feet. Dean grabs Freddie from behind, hooking his leg, and spiking him on his neck into the canvas. Dean is quickly back to his feet heading to the corner and climbing to the top rope. He steadies himself on the steel wires. He is suddenly is caught by surprise as a steel chair comes flying in at him, knocking him off and down to the floor! A drone hovers around to see a bloody faced Byson, the culprit, smiling as he slides into the ring.
Mike Goulash: Holy fuck, he might be dead!
Byson wipes some of the flowing blood off his face, wiping it across his chest as he pulls Freddie to his feet.
Byson: For fuck sakes Freddie! I thought you were ready!?!
Byson unleashes with a hard slap across the face that sends Frederick off into a trance.
Jim Runt: That's one way to motivate your partner!
Mike Goulash: He slapped the piss out of him.
Byson continues to give Freddie a pep talk, slapping Freddie once more.
Byson Kaliban: You came here for violence, c’mon let's have fun.
A sick smile soon forms across the face of Styles as he slides out of the ring. His eyes fixated on Coulter, Byson rolls out on the other side of the ring, pulling back the apron skirt and searching under the ring and retrieving a table wrapped in barbed wire, bringing more cheers from the crowd. Freddie has brought Dean back to his feet, yelling at some fans to move out the way. They do so as Freddie whips Coulter hard into the empty chairs sending them sprawling everywhere. On the other side of the ring, Byson finally has the barbwire table set up as a bloody faced Braxton surprises Kaliban with a Dropkick, that sends Byson flying into the apron.
Jim Runt: Sam able to make his way back into the match!
Mike Goulash: Just in time too, because it was only Byson’s clue what he had planned with that table!
Byson is slowly up to one knee as Braxton drops him back down with a Roundhouse Kick to the head. He slides into the ring only to take a running start and comes flipping out into Freddie with a TOPE CON HILO! Sam screams out in anger as he makes it back to his feet, causing an uproar from the fans. Sam brings Freddie back up only to send him back down to the concrete with a hard clubbing blow to his back with his cybernetic arm! He continues to pound on Freddie like a gorilla beating his chest. Freddie screams out in pain as the beating of starting to become unbearable.
Jim Runt: Looks like Sam has gotten a new drum set..
Mike Goulash: Well he better look out behind him!
His warning falls on deaf ears though, as Byson blasts Sam across the back with a steel chair! Byson then becomes unleashed as he continuously slams the chair down into the head of Braxton. Relentlessly he sends shot after shot into the skull of Sam! The hysterical laughter of Byson can be heard as carnage ravage fans cheer him on. A pool of blood soon forms under the head of Braxton as the dented chair shares the stained blood. Braxton lies on the concrete unconscious as Byson continues to laugh.
Doug Raylas: Here are your winners. BYSON KALIBAN AND FREDERICK STYLES!
Jim Runt: I guess we can chalk another victim in the book of Kaliban…
Mike Goulash: He literally has nothing else to live for. This is his life now and when you step inside the ring with him.
Dean Coulter rushes over to the corpse of his fallen comrade, pain and anger embedded deep with his eyes. Byson drops the chair next to the two men still chuckling to himself a bit. Frederick feeling that his thrill ride was over heads towards the back. Byson and Freddie nod at each other, Byson slowly walking around the ring as the rowdy crowd jeers.
Byson Kaliban: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!? Does that not get your emasculated dicks on hard? HOW MANY WILL DIE? HOW MUCH BLOOD WILL BE SPILLED FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT? HOW MANY…..
During his rant, he is attacked by Dean Coulter, who knocks him down to the ground, yelling obscenities at him. Byson tries to retreat to cover, crawling towards the ring as Coulter continues to strike and kick at Byson. Byson manages a few giggles here and there as he reaches under the ring to grab something. During the release of his frustrations, Dean is blind to the fact until he is struck across the neck with a lead pipe, knocking him out!
Byson Kaliban: You can't contain me, I will not allow myself to become a broken man. You see it's people like this, who don't understand that it's never personal! Business is business! But Coulter, you just made it personal.
Byson deadlifts Dean to his feet lifting him into his shoulder with a Gut wrench! He carries the body over towards the barbwire table and slams Coulter face first. The sharp points, penetrating the skin of Coulter as he screams out in agony.
Byson Kaliban: I leave you with your life, because I'm an honorable man. I don't do this for the thrill of it. Well maybe I do, but tonight this all comes to an end! NO LONGER WILL I FIGHT FOR UNJUSTIFIED CAUSES! NO LONGER WILL I FIGHT BECAUSE THESE SCUM BAGS DON'T HAVE SHIT BETTER TO DO WITH THEIR LIVES BUT WATCH PEOPLE DIE ON A CONSISTENT BASIS!
Byson pauses as he sees the man in the grey robe.
Byson Kaliban: TONIGHT IT ALL ENDS!!
Byson cries out a war cry as he runs full speed at the robed man. Before he can even get close to him, a shot rings off throughout the Coliseum, dropping Byson in his steps. A hush falls over the crowd, suddenly turning into cheers as the death toll keeps adding members to it's list.
Jim Runt: It's just sickening how these fans just responded.
Mike Goulash: It's the way of the world my friend.
As his music plays, Kaden Vossk makes his strides down the ramp and towards the ring, having choice words and some pointed shoves for those of the audience who get to close or say something he clearly doesn’t like. He only makes it a few steps down the ramp before he pitches forward, the form of Autumn Raven seen standing behind him, having kicked Kaden in the back of the head with the Claw of Night. She looks back towards the stage area and from the back appears a bloodied Dean Coulter, the surviving member of the Lost Boys. Silas smiles gleefully and motions for them to bring the downed form of his opponent to the ring.
Mike Goulash: Well this could very well be the shortest match of the night, if not known history.
Autumn and Dean make way for a wave of people from the audience who surge forward, laying into Kaden Vossk and assisting the competitors as they carry/drag him towards the ring. As they get near, Dean and Autumn stake their claim on Kaden and part the growing crowd. Autumn irish whips Kaden into the waiting grasp of Dean, who deftly pops him up into the air. As Kaden inevitably descends he cops double the punishment; a stiff side kick to the gut from Autumn and a jarring collision with the apron, jaw first. Finally Kaden is rolled into the ring. The referee is unsure of what to do, but the chants of the crowd demand he commence the match. Under such peer pressure the referee relents and signals for the bell to start the match.
Jim Runt: There is like no sign of a fight in Kaden Vossk! This was over before it even began!
At the sound of the bell, Silas has Kaden up on his shoulders and connects with the Fall of Man, draping across his opponent back first for the pin and counting along with the referee and the massed crowd.
Douglas Raylas: And your winner...SILAS ARTORIA!!
Mike Goulash: Well I guess that was a thing.
Dean had long retreated to the back and Silas Artoria joins Autumn Raven at ringside, together they slowly venture up the ramp, motioning for the blood-hungry audience to do with the unmoving form of Kaden as they will. The referee is quick to exit the scene as the crowd converges on the ring and continues to lay into Kaden Vossk.
You don't need to do this.
No. No you don't.
"Either I kill you now, or they find you, catch you, torture you, and kill you."
"You know who."
They need to find me first. They need to know who I even am.
"Oh, they know. And they're coming."
I'm not looking away. As soon as I do, you'll stab me, Angelica.
Whatever. I'm not turning around.
"It doesn't matter, they're coming anyway."
If that's true, you need to tell me how to stop them.
"You can't. Nobody can. Besides, why bother? The Institute goes down, the Traditionalists take over, everything changes, nothing gets better."
I have no loyalty to the Traditionalists.
"It doesn't matter. It's one or the other. Individuals aren't individuals anymore. You don't matter. I don't matter. When they come for us, and they will, the best you can hope for is a quick death in the Coliseum."
The Coliseum is hundreds of miles away. Besides, I'm not a convicted criminal.
"Everything you've done here today is a crime. Talking about overthrowing the Institute. Thinking about it. Talking about overthrowing the Traditionalists. Thinking about it. All punishable by death in the wrong community."
That's... my problem.
"And mine, when they find us."
They won't find us.
"They've found us already. Look: they're coming already."
"I'm ready to die: are you?"
Why do either of us have to die?
"Because life's not fair. But I'll make you a deal, if you can beat me, I'll tell you what you want to know."
"That's why they're sending the drones. They want to see a fight. I'm prepared to go out in a blaze of glory. Are you?"
You want to die?
"Either you kill me, or I kill you."
How are you gonna tell me what I need to know if I kill you?
"Hah. That's up to you to figure out."
The bloodthirsty fandoms of fanatics continue to cheer for blood as...
Doug Raylas: For the honor of the celebration we continue with a challenge from one of the most ancient fools who dares to still fight against us...Behold...We await the arrival of “The Messiah Pariah”...Who shall challenge him?
???: I will!!!
We pan down to see a man entering the arena. He stands wearing a poncho over his attire. Beard unkempt, but it is no doubt to those that know their history that it is Dorian Hawkhurst.
Jim Runt: This is...this is Dorian Hawkhurst!
Mike Goulash: How can that be? And he looks in better shape than ever!
Dorian Hawkhurst: Where is he?! I want him!
Doug Raylas: And whom are you...
Dorian Hawkhurst: I am Dorian Hawkhurst... “The Demon Of Sobriety” and I am not here for your petty in fighting. I want justice! I want revenge! I want Ataxia!!
Doug Raylas: Seal all the exits! It is him!
Darkness swells up in the middle of the arena as guards start firing upon the darkness. From out of the crowds come skull masked tuxedo wearing warriors who start fighting the guards. Out of the darkness comes a form wearing a black top hat, black feathered cloak, black tuxedo, black opera gloves, and that mask...Dorian charges for him.
Dorian Hawkhurst: You!
Ataxia Prime: Frand...it's been a while.
Dorian Hawkhurst: Friend? You dare. You locked me in a fucking freezer for three hundred years...
Ataxia Prime: I did no such thing.
Dorian whips off his poncho and we see he is armed to teeth as he pulls out a laser bazooka and fires it blasting Ataxia, those who are ignoring the violence in the stands cheer out as the evil anti-Elisha has been blasted.
Dorian Hawkhurst: YOU TOOK MY DAUGHTER FROM ME YOU SON OF A BITCH!!...
Ataxia Prime:...You are ill informed...However...if you seek immortal kombat...
Chunks of what is left of Ataxia starts to become liquid and come back together. Dorian scowls as Ataxia Prime reforms. This time without the hat and cloak, but now a face appears onto the front of the mask. It looks like Chaolin Sahn save for a paler face with red eyes, black lips, and red teeth.
Ataxia Sahn: Your soul is mine! AHAHAHHAHAHAHHA
Dorian drops the bazooka and grabs twin laser pistols from his sides and starts firing them at Ataxia who quickly dodges the blasts. Ataxia Prime lunges his arms forward and they extend farther than any normal human's to the point where it punches Dorian in the face twice. Ataxia then combines his legs together and stretches up high. More arms coming out of his back and thus coming down with a variety of punches to Dorian's face. Dorian goes down to the ground, but then the arms go thru the arena floor. One hand comes up and hits Dorian with two fingers to the eyes ala “Three Stooges”. Then all the hands line up and bitch slap Dorian across the arena.
Ataxia Prime: I will bitch slap you like Shiva.
As Dorian flies back he suddenly flips mid air and lands. He reaches into his belt and tosses out thousands of caltrips that explode upon contact actually blowing Ataxia back into the walls. Ataxia is disassembled for a moment and pops back up as two figures.
Ataxia Butthead: Uhhh huh huh...that was a blow job we didn't want...
Ataxia Beavis: Hehehheeh...you said blowwww...
Dorian Hawkhurst: You will fucking take me serious baghead!
Dorian holds up a sphere that flattens out and he tosses it like a frisbee and it ignites...
Ataxia Beavis: FIREEEEEEEEEEE!!!
...and then it decapites both of the cartoonish Ataxias who quickly merge back together! Ataxia Prime comes back into his full form and brushes off the dust from his suit.
Ataxia Prime: If I didn't know any better I'd say you were slightly upset with me frand...
Dorian Hawkhurst: You left me in a fucking freezer with only a computer program to keep me company for three hundred years.
Ataxia Prime: Would you prefer I left you there with the cast of Jersey Shore?
The audience looks taken aback by that reference.
Ataxia Prime: You people really have no fucking culture...
Dorian has had enough of this and rushes up and hits Ataxia with one of Ataxia's own moves...The double knee shot to the collarbones, but Ataxia just splatters onto the wall. Going flat Ataxia slides up and down the side of the arena wall and lands back down. Dorian reaches into his belt and slaps two metal bars onto his gloves. They start to glow. While all of this is going on for every skull tuxedo warrior the SSRI kill, they shoot out this black ichor and the SSRI agents start changing into the skull masked tuxedo warriors.
Ataxia Prime: I didn't put you anywhere. You vanished frand! I looked everywhere for you!
Dorian Hawkhurst: I saw you with my own eyes.
Ataxia suddenly duplicates into about six of himself each wearing a variation of the traditional Ataxia costume.
Ataxia Uno: You saw what someone wanted you to see then because why would I...
A punch to the face from Dorian wearing these power gauntlets sends Ataxia Uno screaming in pain as steam comes off of him from the punch.
Ataxia Dos: I do believe you figured out our frequency.
All the Ataxias fuse back together and we still see part of the mask burning a bit from Uno's injuries.
Dorian Hawkhurst: My AI friend has kept up with modern tech. You aren't so fucking powerful now asshole!
Ataxia Prime: Hmmm...you've picked up some tricks, frand, I will give you that. Since our last encounter...
Dorian Hawkhurst: Don't fucking compliment me. Where is my daughter?
Ataxia Prime: Um...well she's probably dead I mean.
Wrong fucking thing to say as Dorian lunges forward and slams his two gauntleted fists into Ataxia and slams him into the wall. The battle above them in the stands keeps going on with more and more SSRI getting taken over from the ichor being spewed out by the Skull Tuxedoes. Ataxia screams out in pain for the first time in probably three hundred years as ichor flows out of him onto Dorian. Dorian keeps his hands inside of Ataxia and pulls slamming Ataxia into the wall again.
Dorian Hawkhurst: WHERE'S CHLOE???!!!
Ataxia Prime: (Coughing up black ichor) You sure you want to know...father...
Dorian's eyes grow wide as the face of Ataxia changes to that of a grown up Chloe.
Ataxia Chloe: Daddy...you're alive!
Dorian Hawkhurst: No...It can't be...How are you...
Ataxia Chloe: When you vanished the bag man took care of us. When the SSRI came he sacrificed himself to the dark dimension for us. He came back. Eventually I bore the mask after fighting the SSRI for years...Daddy. I knew someday I'd see you again.
Dorian Hawkhurst: You...You can't be...How...How is this...WHO DID THIS!!!
Ataxia Chloe:...If you wish to blame someone look up on high.
Dorian Hawkhurst: Who put me in an icebox where I couldn't save you.
Ataxia Chloe: I don't know, but I am glad you are here...
Chloe's face and voice changes back to Ataxia Prime who coughs up more ichor onto Dorian and suddenly his body reconstitutes leaving Dorian's hands trapped inside of Ataxia's body. Ataxia's eyes glow red...
Ataxia Prime: Reboot the system!
Dorian Hawkhurst: AHHHH!!!!
Ataxia Prime explodes outward with red energy that sends Dorian flying back. The ichor from the explosion quickly forms the runes of the druids around the arena. SSRI are not firing into the arena and the bullets bounce off of what looks like a force shield. The takeovers are still happening in the crowd as Dorian gets up pulling off his gauntlets. Ataxia reforms and takes off his own gloves.
Ataxia Prime: Selfish...
He punches Dorian in the face sending him flying down to the mat. Ataxia runs up and kicks him in the ribs.
Ataxia Prime: Self Righteous...
Ataxia stands over Dorian and motions for him to get up.
Ataxia Prime: You lost your life? Boo fucking hoo. Look the fuck around you Dorian! Look at the bigger picture! All of these people lost...You lost your daughter...I lost my beloved....I lost my frands...I LOST MY HOME AGAIN AND I SWORE IT WOULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN!!! YOU WANT PAIN GOD DAMN IT!!! I'm going to give you pain...
The tuxedo starts to shred as more and more magical energy starts to come out of Ataxia.
Ataxia Prime: I fused with the darkness of human emotions. I tapped into a unification force that would make even Elisha jealous! I tapped into the very thought process of the cosmos and I'd trade it all just to have a fucking match with The Andersons. You goddamn son of a...
Dorian leaps up and grabs Ataxia's arm and hip tosses him onto the floor of the arena...
Dorian Hawkhurst: You talk too damn much!
Ataxia Prime: Heh...EHhehehe...AHAHAHHAHAHA I'VE MISSED YOU FRAND!!
Ataxia leaps up into the air and comes down with a dropkick, but Dorian grabs Ataxia by the legs and slams him into the floor of the arena. Dorian grabs Ataxia by the collar of his tuxedo and kicks him in the gut. He sits him up for the “DUI” and leaps up high to the top of the forcefield. He kicks off of it and flies down the whole while Ataxia howls with laughter as they smash into the arena floor leaving a explosion. Out of the smoke stands Dorian who stands holding over Ataxia and takes off Ataxia's mask. A hush falls over the arena...
Mike Goulash: Oh my God, it finally happened!
Jim Runt: THE MASK IS OFF!
Dorian Hawkhurst: So...there is no face under there.
The face of Ataxia is literally blank. No eyes, no nose, no mouth. The body starts to dissolve as we hear around the arena the sound of the Skull Tuxedos starts to disintegrate and teleport away. The runes quit glowing as Dorian looks down at the mask and the burning corpse of Ataxia. The mask's lips start to move...
Ataxia Prime: You won...was it worth it?
Dorian Hawkhurst: No. No it wasn't. I've lost everything, even revenge...What do I do now?
Ataxia Prime: What is the one way to know your enemy...
Dorian looks at the mask and smiles as he looks up towards Elisha.
Dorian Hawkhurst: You want this...Come and take it!!!
Dorian reaches up and puts on the mask of Ataxia! The corpse quickly merges with Dorian's body and now Dorian Hawkhurst is no more. He stands up as the magic continues to dissipate. All the SSRI who were possessed vanish leaving only those who were able to survive from becoming infected.
Dorian Ataxia: AHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAH!!!! We'll be back...this is our home...and you will fall at the hands of those united as one. We are Ataxia...We are Forsaken...We are the light in the dark!
With that everything vanishes...The arena is restored as the powers of the magic fade.
Mike Goulash: What did we just witness?
Jim Runt: I have no bloody idea, but Ataxia is not done, so it seems…
In opposite sections of the massive Coliseum, the Monster known as Nerezza is brought inside just as the woman portraying herself to be Caledonia is forced out of a portal with chains and cuffs linked to each of her arms. Her eyes flicker from left to right, her ears hearing nothing but the raucous crowd cheering and screaming for her bloodshed. Caledonia turns from the crowd to Nerezza himself, placing her hands in the air for an associate of the SSRI to unlock the chain links. She shows absolutely no fear in her eyes as she stares a hole through the drooling monster, barking for her to meet him in the open center for a fight to the death.
Douglas Raylas: Ladies and gentlemen, the following match is a First Blood Match. The first to bleed themselves out in the eyes of the Institute will be defeated. Now that we have both competitors ready to go, let’s begin!
A roar from the crowd follows the announcement of Douglas Raylas, and Nerezza doesn’t waste a single second advancing towards his adversary. The beast leaps high into the air, far higher than any human in 2018 could ever reach, but in this world anything and everything is more than possible. Nerezza comes down, slashing his hands down across the face of Caledonia, the large nails protruding from his fingers attempting to break open the symbol of the Resistance.
Jim Runt: Is it over, Goulash!? The mighty Nerezza could have the match won with one single swipe of his mighty hands, but Caledonia is covering up her face!
Mike Goulash: Can you blame her, Runty? I wouldn’t want to show that face to the world either!
Jim Runt: Three hundred years later, still the same douchebag.
The official, a flying drone wearing a black and white striped shirt across it, comes flying across the scene to check on the competitor. Caledonia finally removes her hands from her face, smiling wickedly as her forehead is perfectly clean. She attacks, leaping into the air and spinning heel kicking Nerezza. The kick catches the beast off-guard but as she leaps up for another one he is ready, swiping her down to the concrete floor below with ease!
The crowd lets out a mixture of cheers and boos, obviously some of the Independents and/or Traditionalists have broken their way into the crowd this evening. The Institute’s security quickly scurry the crowd looking for any one who is not one of their own. Meanwhile back in the center of the Coliseum Caledonia has pulled herself to her feet, wiping a chunk of dirt away from her eyes as she calls Nerezza in for some more. The beast looks somewhat surprised that she is so willing to take his punishment, but when he charges towards her, he realizes too late that it was a trick- HURRICANRANA RIGHT ONTO THE DIRTY CONCRETE GROUND!
Jim Runt: Is Nerezza bleeding?
The drone checks on the beast. Has he been busted open!?
Mike Goulash: NOO!!
Indeed Nerezza is still somehow free of blood flow falling from his scarred and distorted face. But Caledonia sees something out of the corner of her eye, a double edged sword laying in the corner behind the beast. She dodges a rising clothesline attempt from him, scurrying behind him to grab ahold of the weapon. Unlike the man known as Dan Highlander who married the original Caledonia, this woman does not hesitate to take that weapon back to attack Nerezza. But as she swings the weaponry right at his face his bulky right arm rises towards her, stopping the weapon from blasting his face!
Jim Runt: This Nerezza is one strong puppy!
Mike Goulash: He’s a rabid dog? That would explain a lot!
Using his strength to his utmost advantage, Nerezza pulls back on the weapon before pushing back hard, sending Caledonia tumbling into a rock pile. He spins the sword in his hands, the blades twirling in the wind as the crowd once again goes wild for blood. Nerezza swings the weapon but Caledonia scurries away just in time, the blade getting stuck in the concrete. Nerezza attempts to pull the sword out of the ground but it is too late as Caledonia is on his shoulders, biting the cheek and ear of the Beast!
Mike Goulash: Oh no, what is this crazy woman doing! There is no biting allowed in these fights!
Jim Runt: In 2318, anything and everything is allowed, Goulash. Were you born yester-year?
Mike Goulash: Apparently so!
Nerezza lets go of the sword, turning his attention to Caledonia who swings back and forth from his back as he grabs ahold of her, doing his best to muscle her off his shoulders. But the bites of Caledonia have begun to cut open the flesh of the monster, making the flying drone have to fly down to check on the Institute’s beast of destruction. NO! Nerezza is somehow still not bleeding! Caledonia springs into the air- TWISTING BACK ELBOW RIGHT TO THE JAW OF NEREZZA!
Jim Runt: It’s over! Nerezza is on the ground and bleeding!
Mike Goulash: No he’s not little Runt, get yer eyes checked!
Jim Runt: Hard for me to tell when his face is as mangled as it is…
Nerezza holds onto his jaw checking for blood, but there remains to be none. Caledonia leaps up into the air to take him down with a headscissors takedown, but he catches her midrise! Nerezza holds the symbol of the resistance with one hand, his other raising into the air as his fingers flick back and forth to get the crowd in a ruckus. The beast runs with Caledonia in hand- RUNNING SIT-OUT POWERBOMB! ON THE CONCRETE!
But somehow, although the back of her head nearly shattered onto the dirty concrete floor, Caledonia still does not bleed!
Jim Runt: What are these people made out of! They just will not bleed tonight!
Mike Goulash: And this cannot be making the eyes of the Institute happy. These two were assigned to tear each other apart this evening.
Jim Runt: Well they are doing just that, it’s just that neither one has been busted open as of now. But if Nerezza has anything to say about it, this one could be just about over!
The beast Nerezza breathes heavily as he stalks over Caledonia, raising her off the ground by her long hair. He looks at the crowd for approval before blasting her with a right hand to the face, sending her flying several feet. He raises his arms in the air once again, getting a mixed response but mostly cheers from those that just want to see blood spilt this evening. Nerezza makes a cutthroat motion, signaling the end, but it is Caledonia who surprises him. SPEAR THROUGH A SMALL FUTURISTIC TELEVISION RECORDING SET! FLYING DRONES AND CAMERAS FLY EVERYWHERE!
The back of Nerezza’s head is busted open!
Jim Runt: It’s over, Mikey!
Mike Goulash: NOO!
Douglas Raylas: And the winner of this match by cause of First Blood...CALED-
Before the announcement can even be finished a number of SSRI officials come through the portal, snatching ahold of the victorious Caledonia as she tries to rise through the wreckage of the television set and the bloodied Nerezza. She screams, dragging her feet as they pull her to the back.
There is a disturbance in the crowd. Two men, both drunk, brawling over some grievance. A small group has formed around them, cheering, getting in the odd punch and kick where they can.
One man shoves the other out of the circle, stumbling into the entrance ramp, brushing past the monks as they continue to chant. As the fight continues, the chanting grows louder, more fervent.
One man, older, lashes out at the younger with a boot to the stomach, smashing him on the back with his elbow, bending him double then raising his knee, nailing him in the chin. The younger man stumbles back, blood pouring from his mouth. He snarls, lunges forward, tackles the older man to the ground, pinning him down. He sinks his teeth into the older man's shoulder, piercing skin, opening veins, the man's blood spraying over his face.
The younger man stands, throws his head back, an expression of ecstasy on his bloodstained face. The chanting of the monks grows ever louder.
Suddenly, he falls to his knees, a knife embedded in his stomach, the older man clutching hard to the handle as he lies bleeding on the floor. The younger man collapses, the colour draining from his face, a death rattle gurgling in his mouth as life starts to fade.
The crowd shifts, spitting on the younger man as he bleeds out, hurling out curses and contempt. The older man is pulled to his feet, a bandage placed on his wounded shoulder. He is welcomed back into the crowd, cheering, holding the knife high.
The camera shows Sir Ocelot together with his squire hopping in the catacombs of the Dis Coliseum, apparently on their way to the ring, the clatter of the coconuts echoing off the stark walls.
Doug Raylas: Ladies and gentlemen, the next match is a Canterlot Death Match, no disqualification, weapons allowed, a winner can only be crowned by pinfall, submission or death. First contender to the ring, from the Queendom of Equestria, the Bane of Caerbannog: SIIIR OCELOOOOT!
Nothing happens. No music, no movement. The fans are already starting to boo. Doug Raylas is starting to look a little uncomfortable among the fans’ reaction turning sour this early into the match.
Mike Goulash: What is a Canterlot Death Match?
Jim Runt: I have no idea...
Doug Raylas: Alright then, first contender to the ring, from Canterlot, Equestria, the Canterlot Nightmare: Raynebow Dash!
The opening arpeggio of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” starts to sound. A blue flash flies over the Dis Coliseum. At every drumbeat and “THUNDER” the lights in the coliseum flash and as the song fully sets in, pyros go off and Raynebow Dash comes flying through the shooting sparks and lands in the ring, with an intense, bloodthirsty look on her face, at first eying up Doug Raylas and then switching her attention to the commentators Jim Runt and Mike Goulash.
Doug Raylas: And her opponent, hailing from the Queendom of Equestria, the Bane of Caerbannog: SIIIR OCELOOOOT!
Still nothing is happening. The picture on the Distron switches to the catacombs once more, where Sir Ocelot is still hopping along, looking as if he is at the same spot as before. With a deafening screech, Raynebow Dash flies off towards the backstage area, tearing through the curtain like a bat out of hell, trying to find her opponent. The picture on the tron shows Sir Ocelot turn a corner and Dash flies right by, without Sir Ocelot even noticing. As he walks on, Dash yells:
Raynebow Dash: Sir Ocelot - YOU ARE MIIIIIINE!
Sir Ocelot just keeps on “riding”, completely ignorant of the flying fury behind him. Just as she is about to sink her claws into his back, he stops and bends down, sending Raynebow Dash flying over him, clawing into thin air and crashing into a stack of tables and chairs. Sir Ocelot gets back up and walks right past her, without even looking at her.
Jim Runt: This is a remarkable display of determination here…
Finally he comes through the curtain to both cheers and jeers of the crowd. As he makes his way to the ring, a few of the attendants are trying to grab him and jostle him, but the moment he draws his sword, people suddenly back away with fear in their eyes, seemingly having underestimated the forgetful man.
Mike Goulash: Now where’s that pony?
He quickly gets his answer as bricks and mortar go flying as it tears through a wall instead of the curtains, flying debris hitting some of the spectators, leading to some of their comrades to jump in and finish off the wounded. Just as Ocelot raises his sword to fend off the crowd, Raynebow Dash has to make a last-moment effort to avoid the blade and veers to the side, right over the commentators’ table, clipping Mike Goulash in the head with her wingtop, causing him to topple off his chair.
Mike Goulash: This pony is a menace! Someone should check her licence!
Jim Runt: Uhm, as far as I know, ponies do not have licences, especially animated ones…
Sir Ocelot has made it to the ring, still oblivious of his opponent as he yells out: BRING ME THE PONY!
He does not have to wait long, as Raynebow Dash lands next to him in the ring with a resounding thud, scaring the hell out of the knight, who jumps against the ring corner. Doug Raylas motions to the timekeeper and the bell rings to officially start the fight now. The Canterlot Nightmare jumps right at her opponent, claws extended, but they ineffectively bounce off the knight’s chainmail, who brings down both elbows right into the pony’s neck. Not wasting any time, he jumps onto her back, wrapping his legs around her neck and then holding on to her wings pulls back in a very odd looking, yet seemingly efficient move.
Mike Goulash: You go, Ocelot, show that pony who’s the boss!
Jim Runt: Shouldn’t we be at least somewhat objective?
Mike Goulash: Hell no! I want to see this thing bleed!
Meanwhile in the ring Raynebow Dash is to her feet with Ocelot still having his odd stranglehold on her and she lets herself fall to the side, sending Ocelot into the rope, which forces him to let go. The pony stretches her wings before turning to pounce on the knight, but instead she is faced with a flying shoulder block by the Knight of the Round Square, hitting her square into the chest, the weight of the chainmail giving it this extra oomph.
Jim Runt: So far Ocelot has been doing well keeping Raynebow Dash on the ground.
Mike Goulash: Yes, break those wings!
Jim Runt: Mike, you are worrying me.
Mike Goulash: Why? Just getting caught up in the atmosphere here, I can smell the blood!
Jim Runt: That is because you are bleeding…
Mike Goulash (jumping up): What? Where? How?
As Mike dabs his temple, the handkerchief comes back with a thin line of blood from when Raynebow Dash had hit him with her wing earlier. He looks at it and we can see all colour drain from his face before he slides to the ground. As medics rush to his aid, Raynebow Dash has taken to the air and is circling above the ring before suddenly diving down and hitting Ocelot, who cannot keep up with the circling in the side, wiping him off his feet.
Jim Runt: Whoa, the first big hit for the Canterlot Nightmare and she really hit home! What is happening up there?
The camera moves towards the stage just next to the entrance, where the squire has erected Sir Ocelot’s tent for some reason. Quickly we go back to the ring, though, where Raynebow Dash is stomping on Ocelot with all four legs, all the while yelling expletives at the ever-flattening knight.
Jim Runt: Oh, the Starlight Stampede, this must hurt!
She flaps her wings and hovers above her prone opponent with a cruel smile on her face. She flies off, all the way to the highest point of the coliseum, laughing maniacally.
Mike Goulash: There comes the squire!
Squire: Sire, the Holy Hand Grenade!
Sir Ocelot’s faithful squire is next to the ring and throws something to his master. He slowly gets back to his feet and looks around for the pony, which is getting ready for attack, swooping down and gaining speed. Sir Ocelot takes aim and launches a coconut at his opponent, hitting her square between the eyes in full flight.
Jim Runt: Whoa! She is hit!
Like a plane out of control she is sent into a spiral and crashes into the audience, cutting a swath of devastation through the tightly packed fans, dozens of which are on the ground, some of them not moving. Who is moving, though, is Raynebow Dash, who slowly is getting back on her feet.
Jim Runt: Ooh, someone is really mad now!
Shaking and stretching her wings, she marches through the crowds, which are parting like the Red Sea before Moses, blood trickling from where the coconut impacted her head, whoever is not moving fast enough getting trampled into the concrete floor. Sir Ocelot is busy bowing to the fans, not even realizing that his opponent refuses to stay down. He notices, though, when she rams him into the spine and into the ropes. As he bounces back into the ring, she hits him with a mighty mule kick that sends him back into the ropes and coming back into another mule kick. This repeats three more times until Sir Ocelot manages to barely hold on to the ropes to keep himself upright.
Mike Goulash: This is not going to end well…
Raynebow Dash once more takes to the air in a circling flight path, gaining speed. Suddenly a unicorn horn sprouts from her forehead.
Jim Runt: She is- No, she isn’t!
Mike Goulash: Yes, she is going for the Gore!
Again Raynebow Dash is swooping in in full flight, aiming for Sir Ocelot’s head, but the knight manages to swerve, grab her leg and using her momentum bring her down in an earth shattering leg drag power slam kind of move, sending the pony THROUGH THE RING!
Mike Goulash: Woo, now we’re talking!
Jim Runt: That was an incredible reversal and I wonder how much pony is left underneath there!
Sir Ocelot jumps down through the hole and drags Raynebow Dash back into what is left of the ring. She is barely moving as he climbs to the top rope!
Mike Goulash: He is going for the Albatross!
He jumps off and is lucky that due to the hole in the ring he had positioned Raynebow Dash closer than normal, because pulled down by the sheer weight of his chainmail his big splash almost turns into a lead duck, as he plummets down, but whatever damage was not done yet, is now handed out.
Doug Raylas: And the winner is - SIIIR OCEELOOOOT!
Jim Runt: This was a hard fought match, but the crowd is still baying for blood, they want Ocelot to finish off Raynebow Dash with his sword!
In this moment, Raynebow Dash coughs and looks like she is choking! Ocelot is right there, lifts her up and positions her for a Heimlich manoeuvre! With a quick yank he pulls back and a white ball flies out of her throat.
Mike Goulash: Whoa, what is THAT?
As the ball hits the ring, a cloud of smoke comes up and a nasty old troll is standing in the corner, terror in his eyes.
Raynebow Dash: YOU! You did this to me! You made me kill my friends! You Will PAY!
With that she charges at the Tormented Troll, driving her head right against his chest, sending the troll through the ropes to the ground outside and the bloodthirsty crowd descends upon him with all kinds of weapons, leaving behind a mangled mess of flesh, bones and green blood. Sir Ocelot and Raynebow Dash stand in the ring with a horrified look on their faces. As the blood-crazed mob moves towards the ring, Sir Ocelot jumps on Raynebow Dash’s back and as she takes to the air to escape, Sir Ocelot uses his sword to slice through everybody in their way on their flight into the sunset.
The Coliseum lights dim. A group of Guardsmen step onto the entrance ramp. In their midst are J. Rish and Jaiden Rishel, Rish looking up at the Coliseum in awe.
Douglas Raylas: Introducing first,our travellers from a far off land, guilty of Infiltration, Irreverence and disrespect to Spirit Science itself - J. Rish and Jaiden Rishel!
The audience rain down boos and abuse, a few fans throwing bottles and coins at the two. Rish ducks.
Douglas Raylas: And their opponents in this, tonight's fight to the bloody death. Two members of the forbidden movement known as the Academy, inheritors of the names of heretics from years gone by. They are guilty of the crimes of Altruism, Compassion, Deviance and Insubordination. Tonight, we may see their demise. One and all, I give you….Princess and Prodigy!
The audience hurls down abuse as Princess and Prodigy are escorted to the ring, arms in shackles, a group of Guardsmen pushing them down the aisle as members of the crowd spit at them and scream profanity.
Prodigy and Jaiden begin in the ring, facing off uncertainly. Both men are accustomed to violence, but normally for survival, against those they hate. Neither hates the man he faces.
But this is still a matter of survival.
The crowd bays for blood as Guardsmen advance angrily on the ring. It is Prodigy who strikes first, slamming his tightly clenched fist into Jaiden’s jawbone. The younger Rishel keels backwards, and Prodigy is ruthless in his advance. He powers through Jaiden’s guard, grabbing him by the throat and throwing him to the ground, punching him in the throat for good measure.
Jim Runt: Raw brutality by the Apostate here!
Prodigy mounts Jaiden and begins raining down punches, but Jaiden grabs him by the back of the head and bites his earlobe clean off. Prodigy howls in anguish, retreating to his corner and tagging in Princess before collapsing outside of the ring, a trail of blood left in the ring behind him.
Jim Runt: I’ve heard of chewing someone’s ear off, but this is ridiculous!
Mike Goulash: Really? The whole world of ear-related humor available to you, and that’s what you go with?
Jaiden has made the tag to his father, who now squares off with Princess in the ring. Justin seems to get the upper hand, whipping Princess into the corner and charging in with a big splash. He begins stomping a mudhole in Princess, eventually hauling her to her feet and whipping her over to the other side of the ring. This time, though, she is able to get her boot up as Justin charges in, catching him in the throat. He staggers backwards and she pounces, attacking like a wild animal, punching and clawing and tearing.
The crowd roars with delight at the brutality on display, and J.Rish is able to throw her off him with an eye poke. He staggers over to his corner and tags in Jaiden, who vaults over the ropes and catches Princess with a Big Boot. Hauling her to her feet in one movement, Jaiden grabs Princess by her hair, pulling her head backwards to expose her throat, which he punches. Hard.
Jim Runt: I think I felt that all the way over here!
Princess coughs violently, but Jaiden strikes again, hitting her once again in the throat. She collapses to the ground, now coughing up blood. As Jaiden advances, though, she punches him directly in the crotch, causing him to double over briefly. Just as Princess looks to make her escape, though, Jaiden grabs her by the hair once again and throws her to the ground.
Prodigy staggers to the ring apron, still clearly in pain, but having stapled his ear back together so he is no longer actively bleeding. He watches in horror as Jaiden proceeds to stomp on the back of Princess’ head, back, and knees. She sees her beloved and tries desperately to fight her way free, but Jaiden’s onslaught is relentless. Finally he picks her up and throws her bodily to his corner, tagging in Justin to continue the attack. J.Rish enters the ring and launches Princess up in a series of vertical suplexes… one, then another. On the third, though, she is able to counter, nailing a DDT and spiking J.Rish’s head onto the floor. She herself collapses, and the two each start making their way back to their respective corners. J.Rish makes the tag before Princess does, but Princess is just barely able to get the tag to Prodigy before Jaiden catches her.
Prodigy flies into Jaiden with a mad crash-tackle, raining down hard rights and left in a Thesz Press, breaking Jaiden’s cheekbone and knocking several teeth out. In desperation, Jaiden manages an eye poke to get Prodigy off him, and manages to tag in J.Rish, who enters the ring very reluctantly. Prodigy does not hesitate before attacking him too, faking out with a right hook and nailing a big left uppercut, laying J.Rish out.
Jim Runt: Huh. Didn’t take Prodigy for a follower of the left-hand path.
Mike Goulash: Oh shut up, Jim, no-one’s going to get that.
As Rish lies on the ground, clutching his jaw, Prodigy walks up to the Traveler’s right arm and pins the crook of J.Rish’s elbow under his left boot. As the crowd bays for brutality, Prodigy closes his eyes and brings down his right boot hard on J.Rish’s arm, shattering it. Pieces of bone protrude from the arm as J.Rish howls in agony. He looks for Jaiden to make the tag, but the younger Rishel is outside the ring, still recovering from his freshly-broken face. J.Rish then looks to the referee to stop the conflict, but there is no referee, only an impassive drone there to administer counts.
Justin Rishel is alone, at the mercy of the Prodigy.
Prodigy hauls J.Rish to his feet, dragging him to the corner and slamming Rish’s arm into the post. How J.Rish does not pass out from the pain, no-one knows, but one can only assume some sort of drug is involved. Rish collapses to the ground, and Prodigy looks to finish him off - but J.Rish is playing possum, launching a palm strike directly into Prodigy’s nose, shattering it and causing blood to gush over his face and the ring. With his last burst of strength, J.Rish strikes at Prodigy’s throat, hitting him directly in the larynx.
Prodigy staggers over to tag in Princess, who leaps into the ring, powering through the pain in her back. She is able to grab J.Rish before he tags in Jaiden, and viciously savages him for breaking her beloved’s nose. By the time Jaiden comes to the rescue, J.Rish’s face resembles a piece of meat, raw and bloody and swollen. Jaiden kicks Princess off Justin, punting her in the side of the head, but he is hit by a tasing dart from the drone hovering overhead. He shudders with electrical convulsions and falls outside of the ring, the shocks stopping as he does.
Princess rolls over to her side of the ring, tagging in Prodigy, who gingerly moves into the ring, waiting for J.Rish to rise. The Traveler does so slowly, his arm and face causing him utter agony. As J.Rish reaches his feet, Prodigy grabs him around the neck and runs up the ropes, bringing J.Rish down in a springboard Bulldog!
Jaiden breaks up the pin, powering through the electrical torture that laces through his body.
Better torture than death.
It takes a lot out of him, though, and he’s able only to deliver one punch to Prodigy’s face before the convulsions begin and he is forced to roll out of the ring, still twitching. One punch seems to be enough, though, and Prodigy falls hard. A barely-conscious J.Rish goes for the cover…
Jaiden is down for the count, but Princess is back on the apron. Ordinarily the crowd would cheer Prodigy’s efforts to reach her - but he is a traitor to the state, and cheering him would likely be met with death. Despite the boos, he succeeds, and Princess gets into the ring. J.Rish has risen to his feet, swaying, and she crash-tackles him, taking both of them outside the ring. It seems like a poor strategic move on her part, for Jaiden is waiting to counter-attack her - but he was her target! As Jaiden charges her, she uses the momentum from his charge to throw him into the stairs outside the ring, his already-broken face planting into the unmoving metal. At this, Jaiden falls to the ground in utter agony, clutching his face.
But Princess has left herself open too long - J.Rish, with a critical burst of strength, slams Princess directly into the hard steel ring post, back-first - her back, already worked over, is now fractured. Both of them fall, collapsing outside of the ring.
Jim Runt: The utter brutality of this! The depravity!
Mike Goulash: Eh, we’ve seen worse. Remember the other week, the guy who actually got impaled on one of the posts?
Jim Runt: I’ve been told we’re not to discuss the Desfait Incident anymore.
A furious Prodigy limps over to the scene of carnage, and stomps hard on J.Rish’s shattered arm. As Rish howls in agony, Prodigy stomps once again, this time on Rish’s ankle. He stomps over and over, until he hears a CRACK. At that point, Jaiden uses his last burst of strength to knock Prodigy down and roll Justin back into the ring. Princess similarly limps back inside, seeing Jaiden and Prodigy both down. J.Rish is able to rise to his feet, just barely, and he and Princess meet in a desperate charge, clashing in the center of the ring and both falling hard. It is several seconds before they rise, and J.Rish staggers over to set Princess up for a Superplex.
Jim Runt: This could be the end!
But as he begins the superplex, his knee buckles - and Princess is able to strike his battered face with a back-fist strike, knocking him down. She launches skywards and, despite the agony in her back, nails a Corkscrew 450 Splash.
Doug Rayless: Here are your winners - PRINCESS AND PRODIGY!!
Jaiden and his father lay on the mat, unconscious, bloodied and beaten, unable to continue. The Prodigy and Princess stands above them, poised, ready to strike the death blow.
They pause, then slowly they start to relax. The Prodigy shakes their head and turns away. The audience rains down abuse, denouncing them as a coward and a moralist.
Suddenly, a squad of eight Guardsmen make their way down the ramp to the ring, led by the man in the grey robe, his head bowed, face obscured from view. On either side of the ramp, the monks start to chant ever louder, their voices growing more urgent, eager.
They reach the ring. The man in grey steps forward, addressing The Prodigy.
Man: The fight is over. Your enemies have been beaten into submission. Do what you must do.
The Prodigy stands still, the Princess beside him, neither refusing to move.
Man: Petty sentiment and compassion will do you no good here. Do what you must do.
Man: If you refuse, may the blood be on your hands. Do what you must do.
Nothing. The man nods to the Guardsmen, who grab the Prodigy and Princess and pull the Rishels to their feet, bringing them back to a drowsy consciousness. The Guardsmen shackle all four’s arms behind their backs, forcing them to their knees.
The man reaches into his robes. The chanting monks reach fever pitch as he withdraws dagger, small, sharp, glistening under the spotlights of the Coliseum.
The man raises the dagger to the sky, then brings it down with deadly precision, striking Jaiden Rishel through the heart. Jaiden lets out a dull moan, blood rushing up his throat, gurgling in his mouth. He slumps, falls to one side as J. Rish looks on terrified.
The man raises the dagger high once more, preparing to continue. He paused, returns the dagger to his robes, nods to the Guardsmen.
Man: Not yet. Return them to the cells. I have big plans in mind for these three.
The man turns, making his way out of the ring. The Guardsmen pull Princess, Prodigy and J. Rish to their feet, marching them down the ramp back to the cells. As they go, J. Rish mutters under his breath.
J. Rish: That voice….I swear I've heard it before.
Anhellica swipes with her knife, and MJF blocks with her artificial arm. She's able to dodge the next two, and she grabs Anhellica's wrist on the third, straight - arms her elbow, and the knife clatters away.
MJF: You need to calm down.
HELL: You need to set one of us free.
Anhellica takes another swing, this time catching MJF on the chin. MJF staggers backwards, and Anhellica tackles her, punching her repeatedly in the face. She wraps her hands around MJF's neck and starts to squeeze, but MJF is able to power her way free with her artificial arm. She twists Anhellica's arm around, and her body follows - and holds her in a modified choke.
MJF: I don't want to kill you.
Anhellica smirks; she reaches up with her free hand and jabs into MJF's real eye, which is enough for her to break. They roll away from each other, and MJF gets up in a defensive stance, all the while Anhellica runs at her again. MJF sidesteps, hooks her around the waist, and slams her into the ground, knocking the air out of her. MJF backs up, her hands up again, defensively, while Anhellica rolls to her side.
MJF: Calm down, I just want to talk.
HELL: Talking won't save you.
She laughs again.
HELL: Nothing will save you except for your death.
And she throws a rock. It misses her intended target of MJF's head, but catches her on the shoulder, just enough of an impact and distraction for Anhellica to rise and tackle her again. She grabs two hands full of MJF's hair and pounds her head against the ground: the only thing saving her from a cracked skull is the fact that this is on grass and dirt, not one of the many protruding rock faces. Still, MJF's vision begins to blur around the edges due to the moderate head trauma.
MJF grabs Anhellica's right hand with her own right hand, and pounds her artificial left fist into her wrist. The audible snap is punctuated only by Anhellica's growl of pain. MJF shoves her away and pulls her up.
MJF: Do we need to keep doing thi--
She's cut off by a sharp pain in her side. MJF looks down and sees a smaller blade than the one previously knocked away, stabbed just below her ribcage.
HELL: I told you... this is the only way.
MJF backs up, and Anhellica does not pursue. She falls to her knees and pulls the knife out - the blade is just an inch or two long, it doesn't seem to have punctured anything vital - but MJF feels her body go into shock at the suddenness of it.
Anhellica does not follow up, but she does casually walk over to where her longer knife had dropped and she picks it up.
HELL: In the long run, you'll thank me.
She brandishes the knife in her good hand, while letting the broken hang limp. MJF watches her, still apparently in shock - her good eye hazy and vacant. It's only now that she notices the drones hovering: Anhellica was correct in saying that the Institute was coming.
HELL: How do you want it?
Anhellica holds the knife to MJF's throat.
And to her chest.
HELL: Or here? Be a shame to ruin that pretty face; you'll make a beautiful martyr.
In a grand, sweeping gesture, Anhellica pulls her knife backwards, preparing to stab. In that same space of time, in a much less grand gesture, MJF fires forward.
The knife falls from Anhellica's grip as she looks down. MJF has stabbed her in the stomach with the tiny blade. She did so, however, with her artificial arm - and the incision was apparently enough of an opening for her entire arm to penetrate Anhellica's abdomen, halfway up her forearm.
Blood immediately pours from Anhellica's mouth as she sinks to her knees.
MJF: Tell me. Please tell me, how do we stop the Institute?
Anhellica laughs, spraying MJF in the face with blood. MJF does not seem to notice.
HELL: There is no stopping the Institute. There is no stopping the Traditionalists. They'll destroy the world if they can't destroy each other, and there's no room for any dissention.
MJF: No... no, that can't be true. I killed the Moonchild, I've killed so many of them... I just need to keep doing it.
HELL: You killed the Moonchild... there will always be a Moonchild. There will always be an Institute.
She laughs again.
HELL: The only way to save the world is to destroy it.
With that, Anhellica finally falls to the ground.
MJF looks out amongst the sea of drones. In the distance, she sees both Institute and Traditionalist foot soldiers approaching. She rises to her feet and staggers down the mountain, taking the CWF plate with her.
It can't be true. There has to be a way to stop them.
If only MJF had, oh... three hundred extra years?
The arena falls to a hushed silence. Suddenly, a single trumpet sounds.
The man in the grey robe who opened the show returns to the ring. The entrance ramp is now sticky with blood, from broken bodies dragged up from the ring or out from the crowd.
The lights dim, a spotlight focusing on the man as he stands, head bowed.
Man: And there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
And a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water - the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.
And the door to the Abyss was opened.
The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes.
And the spirits who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths.
The chanting of the monks grows louder, echoing through the arena, as a team of armed security make their way down the entrance ramp. In their midst, held in shackles, are Prodigy, Princess and J. Rish.
They enter the ring, the three prisoners on their knees. He gazes down at them in contempt.
Man: Such a pitiful sight, two would-be dissidents and one traveller from a far off land. Tonight, you play your role in history. Any last words?
Prodigy: You will never win.
Man: We already have.
Princess: If you're going to sacrifice us, at least have the honour to show your face.
He steps back, taking in the trio. He raises his head, throwing back the hood to reveal…
Elisha. He is aged, in his mid seventies. Eyes still filled with the same mix of defiance and pride and unrelenting hatred as ever. Prodigy stares at him in confusion.
J. Rish: You!
Prodigy: But…you were there at the turning point, hundreds of years ago. I've seen it in the Teachings. How can -
Elisha: The wonders of the Institute's medical science kept me alive and fighting into old age. Rather than watch as my body grew weak and feeble, I had myself frozen, kept deep beneath the Epicentre, to be woken in times of great need or importance. And what could be greater than this?
He reaches into his robes, withdrawing a large, curved dagger. He glances from the dagger to the trio and back. The chanting grows deafening, mixing with the noise of the crowd, filled with lust for suffering and death.
Elisha: Three souls. Two to act as a sacrifice. And one to bear witness.
He steps forward, swinging the dagger in one swift motion, slicing through the throats of the two lovers as they kneel in chains. They collapse, blood spraying from their necks, covering the ring as Rish looks on in horror.
There is a crack of thunder high above. A bolt of lightning strikes down, igniting the ring, setting the ropes ablaze. Out of the smoke, tiny beasts start to form, grotesque and disturbing, their bodies made of flame.
The beasts swarm together as a single mass, then explode, dispersing through the crowd, into the sky and out into the world. Around the Coliseum, the crowd begins to scream as the beasts devour their flesh, reducing humans to skeletons in a heartbeat. Jets of fire rain down from on high, incinerating men and women where they sit, leaving those on either side intact.
The big screen lights up, showing footage from all over the world. In Tokyo, people run coughing and stumbling in terror as smoke fills the air, choking and deadly. In Lagos, whole buildings sink into the ground, dissolved into a lake of burning sulfur.
As J. Rish watches the big screen, we see Philadelphia ablaze, crowds of people burned alive, flesh scorched and melting off their bodies. Buildings collapse, crushing all those within, hordes of ungodly beasts filling the air and feasting on the dead.
Elisha watches the screen with rapt attention, an express of ecstatic awe on his face. He withdraws a hip flask from his pocket and raises it to Rish in a mock toast, drinking deeply.
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