Ravenhearst Manor, Calgary.
21 November 2018
The picture fades in to a corridor at Ravenhearst Manor, which is mostly dark, save for a thin sliver of light passing through a cracked open door, specks of dust floating in the otherwise still air. Coming from said door are voices, some more agitated than others. Slowly the camera creeps closer and as the door opens, we see The Shadow sitting behind the desk in the study, his chin resting on the tips of his fingers intently observing the discussion in front of him, where three men have drawn up chairs, Sanford Thibodaux, Christian Fagermo and Francis Walcott, with Myfanwy sitting to the side of The Shadow.
Thibodaux: So thanks a lot for keeping us in the loop about Loki. NOT! Since when did you know and how and what and anything??
The Shadow: Remember when I asked you for that HD picture of Loki’s arm?
Thibodaux: Yeah, so?
The Shadow: Well, when she had ambushed me, I had been able to get a closer look at her arm, which triggered some memories.
Everybody is turning around to look at a blown up picture.
Thibodaux: And there’s a secret code in there, like morse or something?
The Shadow: No, you dingbat, as you can see on her arm, there are a whole bunch of scars from cuts. In my life I had only ever seen one person with cuts like these, even though she always kept them covered up, almost. I saw parts of them twice and the patterns matched exactly what Loki sports on her arm.
Fagermo: But Mia disappeared from the hospital, right?
The Shadow: Yes and no. In a way she signed herself out and left, but even though it was the same, at a lack of a better word, body walking out of that hospital, it was not the same person per se.
Walcott: I would rather call it conditioning. You see, for a long time there has been this discussion about subliminal messages and how they can affect you. Some people swear that by playing tapes with academic information while they sleep, their subconscious absorbs said information and they can learn without actually having to study. The same goes for messages of different kinds.
Thibodaux: Well, we established that Milenko had been visiting Mia every night for quite a while, but we could not find out why, do you think that he somehow played subliminal messages to her and with that somehow transformed her psyche into Loki?
Walcott: Well, I spoke with Alastair and he said that while it is not something that is commonly known or done, it IS possible, even though the outcome is highly unpredictable. Given the frequency that these messages have been applied, though, it dramatically increases the chance, especially if the subject’s mind could be weakened by different factors.
Fagermo: Like being beaten half to death.
Walcott: Precisely. I mean, it is all conjecture at the moment, but it all makes sense right now. Now the game changer could be, if we could get our hands on that tape, assuming it is a tape, and hear for ourselves.
Thibodaux: So the same tape could reverse the whole thing?
After having sat to the side for the whole time, not saying a word, Myfanwy surprisingly interjects.
Myfanwy: It is unlikely that the same tape would be able to bring Mia back, but there should be some sort of release version of it to undo the damage.
Thibodaux: Oh hello, missy--
Myfanwy’s eyes narrow.
Thibodaux: Uh, I mean madam.
With an eyeroll she motions for him to continue.
Thibodaux: Since when are you a specialist in mind manipulation?
Myfanwy: If you would have paid attention, then you would know that I was originally hired on for the, hm, incapacitation of Doctor Golobayev from the Institute as specialist for anesthesia and narcology. While this case would not necessarily be of any chemical nature, the two fields are still close together and there is some crossover in studies.
Thibodaux nods in agreement and looks at the redhead with newly found respect.
Thibodaux: So anybody could do this with anyone?
Myfanwy: Yes and no. In theory yes, but there are a couple of factors that come into play, it can be either a particularly strong message that is being conveyed or a vulnerability that can be exploited. Watching back on older episodes of Evolution I noticed that around Mia there also has been an Amelia.
Myfanwy: Well, if someone he an issue with multiple personalities already, they are more susceptible to these subliminal messages, especially if administered over a longer period of time and, in the case of Mia, while she already was in a coma, so her conscious mind would not interfere.
The Shadow: Thank you, doc.
Despite the seriousness of the situation Myfanwy blows a raspberry in his direction.
Thibodaux: Now the only question is, where would this tape, or tapes, be?
The Shadow: I think wherever Milenko is. This whole thing is so intricately woven that I really don’t believe that he would just deposit the tapes anywhere, but would want them within his reach at all times.
Fagermo: So Fort Wayne it is.
Walcott: Yes, it’s time for a road trip, gentlemen.
The Shadow: Who’s going?
Thibodaux: I was thinking us three here. Should still give you enough people around in case the Jarvis is looking for revenge or Loki gets any funny ideas.
The Shadow: Sounds good, let me know, if there is anything happening you’d need help with.
Thibodaux: Meeting adjourned!
Executive Hotel and Suites, Fort Wayne, IN.
22 November 2018
A van in front of the Executive Hotel and Suites, night has fallen, the parking lot of the hotel barely half full. Walcott, Fagermo and Thibodaux are inside, Fagermo with a laptop on his knees, the other two impatiently looking at him.
Fagermo: Yes, I can confirm that Milenko is in the penthouse. Well, he is booked into the penthouse, but from what I could make out from the nice lady at the reception, him and his entourage are out for dinner somewhere on the edge of town in the most expensive steak restaurant money can buy around here.
Thibodaux: I’d like to have that luxury.
Fagermo: You and me both, check the bag in the front, there are some subs, if you’re interested, best our money can buy right now.
Thibodaux grunts, but immediately reaches for the bag.
Walcott: So how can we do this?
Fagermo: Well, we can either go in the front together and risk people remembering us or do it separately, there is another entrance in the back.
Thibodaux: Let’s separate, play it safe.
Fagermo looks up from his laptop and holds up a card.
Fagermo: Who wants this?
Thibodaux looks at him suspiciously.
Thibodaux: What, you’re buying?
Fagermo: No, silly, we might want to use this to get in instead of trying the hard way.
Walcott’s jaw drops open.
Walcott: How did you…?
Fagermo: The girl at reception is Norwegian…
Ravenhearst Manor, Calgary.
22 November 2018
The picture fades in to The Shadow’s study again, the same participants as two days earlier, everybody seems to have just sat down, Thibodaux yawning into a large coffee mug, looking exhausted, just like the others, as the clock on the mantle shows 2 am in the morning.
The Shadow: So you guys are funny, tell me that you found something good, but wouldn’t tell me!
Thibodaux: Just heightens the suspense.
The Shadow: Yeah right, as if I need more suspense. So what did you find?
Fagermo rummages through a bag slouched around his shoulder until he holds up a plain little tape.
Myfanwy: So there really is a tape! How did you find it?
Fagermo: Well, it was surprisingly simple for someone who has managed to concoct such an elaborate scheme.
Thibodaux: It was in the bathroom.
The Shadow: And that makes it simple how?
Thibodaux: Because if you have to use the bathroom first thing when you get in and accidentally open a drawer and see a tape there marked “Loki”, it is not hard or long to find.
Myfanwy: You have got to be kidding me!
Thibodaux: I never kid.
The Shadow: Sanford!
Thibodaux: OK, ok, I do kid, but seriously. You can thank those oversized slush drinks for us to be in and out within not even ten minutes.
Myfanwy: Did you listen to it?
Thibodaux: No, these new-fangled cars don’t come with tape decks anymore and it wouldn’t fit into the laptop, no matter how much Chris tried.
Walcott: But in the sleeve it gives instructions how and for how long it has to be administered for different effects, so unless he plays a game of bait, this is it.
Myfanwy eagerly jumps up and walks over to the Norwegian, snatching the tape out of his hands.
Myfanwy: Thank you, gentlemen, I’ll take this. Who wants to test this out over the next few nights? A trip into the mind of McLean is up for grabs!
All three men suddenly seem very interested in the floor and their shoes. As Myfanwy leaves the room with an urgency in her step, The Shadow turns back to the Druids.
The Shadow: Yes, thank you immensely, how can I repay you?
Without a moment’s hesitation Thibodaux shoots out.
Thibodaux: Gaucho, table for three.
Fagermo facepalms as The Shadow starts to laugh.
The Shadow: I must say that I am not surprised, go!
Thibodaux jumps up and rushes out of the room, calling over his shoulder as he crosses the threshold.
Thibodaux: I will not wait for anyone!
The other two jump up just as fast and run after him.
Fagermo: Thanks boss! Hey, wait up!
The Shadow just stares after them as the picture fades.
Ravenhearst Manor, Calgary.
23 November 2018
The sun is just rising over the horizon, its rays slowly encroaching into the shadows of the night, giving the little river in the back of Ravenhearst Manor and the trees and bushes along its edges an even more serene feel. A light mist lingers in the air and little dewdrops shimmer on the remaining leaves of the plants, reflecting the sunlight. A few little birds chatter amongst each other at the edge of the river. Suddenly the sound of a bagpipe shatters the serenity, sending the birds flying in panic. Whirling around the camera shows Alistair McLean, despite the cold only clad in his kilt, and a bagpipe, blowing up a storm in a hair-rousing manner. After two minutes of full blown bagpipe assault Myfanwy appears on the porch, her red hair unrulier than ever, emerald eyes blazing and with a big knife in her hand. Holding a blanket haphazardly wrapped around her shoulders with her other, she storms down the steps into the grass racing over to the oblivious Scot, then skidding when trying to stop, losing balance and landing unceremoniously on her rump. Despite this rather in-advantageous position, she brandishes the knife like a sword.
Myfanwy: Do you have ANY idea what time it is?
McLean: Aye, 7:30.
Myfanwy: I am pretty sure it is against the law to play bagpipes at this time!!
McLean: Ay nae think so.
Myfanwy: Well, it should be. Anyways. I am giving you two options right now. Either you stop this racket immediately or I shall introduce your bagpipe to my little friend here.
McLean looks down at the knife and the look on her face and without another word turns around and walks off, leaving Myfanwy sitting there. With an exasperated sigh she lets herself fall backwards into the wet grass, ignoring the humid chill it spreads.
The Shadow: I don’t want to ruin your morning meditation, but I can think of a few more comfortable and most of all dry spots to do that.
She lifts her head and with one hand raises a strand of hair in front of her face and smiles before raising her hand to meet his.
The Shadow: I’d prefer the one without the knife.
Immediately she lowers the knife and extends her other one, allowing him to pull her to her feet.
Myfanwy: Does he do this often?
The Shadow: No, only on special occasions.
Myfanwy furrows her brow.
Myfanwy: What’s the occasion?
The Shadow: It’s Friday.
He opens the blanket around his shoulders and puts it around hers as well as the walk back to the Manor, Myfanwy shaking her head in disbelief.
The kitchen of the Manor, Myfanwy is sitting at the counter, the blanket tight around her, her red mane still untamed. The Shadow is putting a large cup of steaming hot tea in front of her before taking his spot next to her.
The Shadow: Feeling better?
Myfanwy: Warmer, but not any more awake…
The Shadow: I’m sorry for Alastair and his thing there.
Myfanwy: Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like bagpipes and he is good, but he is NOT a good alarm clock.
The Shadow: Yeah, he runs on his own clock sometimes, I am actually surprised that none of the neighbours has called the police on him yet.
Myfanwy: I hope for you that they won’t… But how are you feeling?
The Shadow: What do you mean?
Myfanwy: The new champ, Autumn.
The Shadow: Autumn?
Myfanwy: Yes, you’re defending your title against her next week.
The Shadow (groans): Oh you’ve got to be kidding me.
Myfanwy: Why? What’s wrong?
The Shadow: Well, her and I are kind of coming full circle here. But let’s go somewhere a little more comfortable.
He picks up his cup and motions for Myfanwy to do the same. She gathers up her blanket around her, grabs her cup and follows him into the sitting room, where he takes up a spot on the seat of the bay window overlooking the sunrise in the backyard, her sitting down next to him, with an expectant look on her face.
The Shadow: OK. See, she was my first opponent here in CWF almost exactly one year ago. It feels like it has been an eternity, not just mere 12 months and who would have thought that we would be meeting again battling for a title…
Myfanwy: Oh, I did not know that you’ve been around for the same time. You wouldn’t believe that, if you see you guys now!
The Shadow: No, not at all, I mean, sure, I have the Paramount title right now, but if you look at the paths we’ve taken to get here. I’ve had the Impact title and the tag team titles, even if I lost them after a week both times, but all I need now is the Heavyweight title for the grand slam. Autumn…
He takes a sip of his tea.
The Shadow: Well, she had Silas.
Myfanwy can’t help but giggle.
The Shadow: Well, it’s true, I’m not trying to gloat, but she’s been in the Harbingers and the Coalition and got pretty much stuck in there for months, no matter what antics Silas tried and then after the break-up they’ve been like magnets, repelling each other, but at the same time ending up in the same spot time and again.
She managed to get one shot at the Heavyweight title, against MJ Flair, but that was in a week or month, where it was all about the empowerment of the lady wrestlers and she ended up in it, with an unfortunately very predictable ending.
Myfanwy: Yes, I did not see any mention of her in any record books as a title holder.
The Shadow: Exactly. She didn’t get a lot of chances and the ones that she got she squandered away. Not that being associated with Silas for so long really gave her many choices, since he used to use the whole Coalition thing just to further his own agenda under the pretense of helping the group.
Myfanwy: But didn’t she have a chance to break out of that cycle and try to get something going on her own? I mean, this federation looks pretty much like a place, where you can build something, if you put your mind to it.
He looks at her over the cup of tea, a smile playing around his eyes.
The Shadow: Well observed. Yes, in the end she would repeat the same thing over and over again, that she is a psychopath, that she is walking her own way, doing her own thing, but...she would say that time and time again as if trying to convince herself that she actually was going somewhere. Which is sad in a way.
Myfanwy: It is, but it sounds as if she’s stuck somehow. And in a way she is or am I wrong?
The Shadow: No, you are not. It does feel like she’s been treading water. Or being stuck in…
He pauses for a moment, trying to find a fitting metaphor. Myfanwy tilts her head a little, trying to look into his eyes.
Myfanwy: Groundhog Day?
He looks up and into her eyes and has to crack up.
The Shadow: Yes, in a way she is living CWF’s Groundhog Day. Just with the difference that it does not feel like she is actually trying to solve the puzzle.
Myfanwy: So you don’t think that potentially winning the belt could shake her out of her slumber?
The Shadow: Well, me not being able to hold on to any of these things for longer than a week should technically give her plenty of confidence, but unfortunately no, I don’t think so. I mean, I won’t underestimate her and go into this thinking that I already have won it, because with that I would pretty much doom myself from the get go, but as much as everybody expects it, you just never know. I’ll go into that ring with the same focus that I would against any other opponent, you know that I don’t like surprises.
A slightly doubtful look creeps onto Myfanwy’s face.
Myfanwy: Are you sure you don’t?
The Shadow opens his mouth as if to answer, but then briefly hangs his head in defeat. He sighs.
The Shadow: If you just try hard enough, you can misunderstand anything… You know what I mean. I want to keep this belt for at least two weeks at this time.
Myfanwy: You are getting really ambitious here.
The Shadow: Yeah, I know, right? But seriously. As sympathetic as I am to her cause and her past with Silas, as unforgiving will I be in that ring. And if Jarvis has any intentions of trying any crap, then he’ll get more of the same. I’m sick and tired of people trying to use the number advantage to get to what they want instead of just taking a loss like a man, but then again, he might have set his sights a bit higher now that he doesn’t worry about the title anymore.
The Shadow: By default her, yes, but it would not matter who would be holding that belt, he’d go after any of them. But I’ll worry about that when it comes to it. For now it’s all Autumn.
Myfanwy scooches a little closer and rests her head against his shoulder, looking out at the sunset.
Myfanwy: Indeed it is and a particularly nice specimen we have here this morning.
The Shadow: Not that--
She raises her hand and puts a finger on his lips.
Myfanwy: Shhh. Switch that brain off for a few moments.
Slowly the camera retreats while the picture fades.