Nathan Paradine is shown pacing back and forth in the reception area of a large office building, anxiously wringing his hands before pausing to look out the window at the New York skyline. He’s still looking a little worse for wear after the last few weeks, although the swelling on his face has subsided and the bruising all but gone now. From behind him comes the sound of a woman clearing her throat, and he turns to find himself face to face with a receptionist.
Receptionist: “Mr Boetticher will see you now.”
Paradine nods and follows her through the office, ignoring the occasional stare from the other legal associates working at their cubicles. She leads him to a mid-sized office where his lawyer Leigh Boetticher is looking at a sheet of paper. He glances up as Paradine and the receptionist approach and waves for them to enter the office.
Leigh Boetticher: “Nathan, thanks for coming by! It’s good to see you in one piece.”
The door closes behind Paradine, and he fixes his lawyer with a scowl.
Nathan Paradine: “I haven’t heard from you for weeks, not since before Twilight of the Gods. Where the hell have you been?”
Boetticher manages an apologetic shrug and indicates around his office.
Leigh Boetticher: “I’m a lawyer, and you’re not my only client. I cleaned up your last mess and got you your match, and judging by the look of you you blew it. Am I correct?”
Paradine’s scowl deepens and he takes a step forward to point an accusing finger at Boetticher.
Nathan Paradine: “I should have won that damn match. But in case you haven’t noticed, there’s been some other stuff happening.”
Leigh Boetticher: “I’m aware, which is why you’re not sitting in a jail cell in Arkansas right now. Who the hell do you think got you released from jail after that little brawl, huh? I don’t much apart from my pay, but a little bit of appreciation every now and then wouldn’t hurt.”
Nathan Paradine: “Aw I’m sorry, I didn’t realise it was easy to hurt your feelings.”
Leigh Boetticher: “Go to hell. Or better yet, sign your name on this and get to Alabama.”
Nathan Paradine: “What is it?”
Leigh Boetticher: “It’s a match contract against some guy named Noah Hanson. He’s got some skill, but I figured after the last few weeks you’d want to get back to basics. He threw out an open challenge and I’ve accepted on your behalf.”
Paradine picks up the sheet of paper that Boetticher has been looking at and glances over it quickly.
Nathan Paradine: “You know I’m expecting to confront Xander Daniels earlier in the evening, right? There’s a very good chance that I’ll get kicked out of the arena because of that son of a bitch.”
Leigh Boetticher: “Uh, no. You see, I had that match contract you want him to sign sent over to me for a few amendments. This is why you don’t go signing things before I’ve had a chance to look at them.”
Nathan Paradine: “What did you do!?”
Leigh Boetticher: “Just added in a little clause that if either of you lay a hand on each other before Golden Intentions, you’ll waive your spot in the Golden Intentions Rumble.”
Paradine throws his arms up into the air and chokes out a wordless gasp of fury, holding himself back from grabbing Boetticher around the throat and choking the life out of him.
Nathan Paradine: “Why would you do that?!”
Leigh Boetticher: “Because in case you haven’t noticed, you’ve been getting your ass kicked every time you’ve run into this guy. Fuck me for trying to keep you in one piece until you have a match together, right?”
Paradine takes several deep breaths, calming himself down. Finally he nods to himself and sighs.
Nathan Paradine: “You’re right. You’re right, I’m sorry. It was a good idea, but I don’t think it’ll make a different. Xander Daniels is... something else. But if we manage to get through our contract signing, Noah Hanson will definitely be a good warm up for Golden Intentions.”
Paradine grabs the contract again and quickly scrawls his signature alone the bottom. Boetticher takes it back and nods as he reads over it, apparently satisfied.
Leigh Boetticher: “You really hate this guy, huh?”
Nathan Paradine: “Xander? What we have goes beyond hate. He is a cancer that needs to be cut away before I can heal. I can hold out for one more week. And as for Noah Hanson...”
Nathan Paradine: “If he wants a fight he’ll get a fight. I might be broken, but I'm sure as hell not beaten just yet. He's just a stepping stone on the road to Golden Intentions, and I'll tear through him if I have to... just like I'd tear through anyone else on the roster. It's his bad luck that I'm answering his challenge."
Leigh Boetticher: "What about after Xander Daniels? The Golden Intentions Rumble? Have you thought about that at all?"
Paradine turns to leave, speaking over his shoulder as he exits the office.
Nathan Paradine: "All I care about is Xander Daniels. After that... we'll see."
The scene comes to an end as Paradine exits the office and Boetticher returns to his work. As driven as he is to fight Xander Daniels... could The Australian Submission Machine be making a mistake in underestimating Noah Hanson?