The Crazy Eight

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The Crazy Eight

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:49 am

Genocide

Alan: I don't like this, Geno... I really don't like this.

[His jaws now free of the wires that had held them in place for three weeks, Alan Scott was now free to talk. Which was good... Geno had a lot to talk to him about.]

Geno: I don't like it either... but I don't see what choice I have.

Alan: Tell Trauma to go fuck herself.

Geno: I can't do that.

Alan: Can't? Or won't?

Geno: Both... I told you, she had a hidden camera the locker room... the night with Kitty.

Alan: You also told me that nothing happened.

Geno: I told you that "it" didn't happen... not nothing. What happened in that room... well, if Haley saw it, saw what happened in that room... I don't think she'd care that it wasn't... "it"...

Alan: Damnit Geno...

[Alan was beginning to wonder if the stress of leading a stable, along with the wrestling career at his advanced age was starting to be a bit much for his grampa to handle.]

Alan: How could you cheat on Gramma?

Geno: I didn't cheat on my wife, Alan. I couldn't.

Alan: From what you're telling me, you might as well have... wait. What do you mean... "you couldn't?"

[Geno sighed, not knowing whether to feel guilt mixed with embarrasment, or guilt mixed with pride. If there was anyone he could talk to about it though, it would be Alan.]

Geno: I mean... that I couldn't.

[Alan raises an eyebrow.]

Alan: You couldn't... or IT couldn't?

[Alan nods, getting his answer in the form of Geno's silence.]

Geno: I just... couldn't get Haley's face out of my head. I kept trying to leave, but... Kitty wouldn't take no for an answer.

Alan: I can imagine...

Geno: I eventually had to physically fight her off... but it was so weird. I'd knock her down, and she'd get right back up and come after me... after awhile, she stopped hitting back. She was having fun... I think she might've even been getting off.

Alan: She's fucking nuts... her and Trauma both.

Geno: Yeah... certifiable.

Alan: And you're telling me these two have blackmailed their way into The Network?

Geno: Well... kinda.

Alan: What the hell do you mean... "kinda"?

Geno: Well, the more I thought about it, the better the idea seemed. Trauma and Kitty as a part of The Network.

Alan: You'll have to explain that thought process to me.

Geno: Well, first... the obvious impact them being on our side has in the Crazy-8. Four of the eight competitors would be Network.

Alan: Yeah... but "how can we trust these insane bitches?" Network. You saw what happened last time we were in the ring together. Trauma was trying to bring The Animal back out... on purpose.

Geno: I know, but wouldn't you rather have that working for us, than against us?

Alan: I guess... but what about Chance?

Geno: I guess we'll see just how much Chance wants to be a part of this stable again, won't we.

[For the first time in the conversation, Alan cracks a smile... a short lived one, however.]

Alan: I still don't trust them.

Geno: I know... and I wouldn't either if I didn't have a little leverage myself.

[Alan sits up in his chair, clearly interested in what Geno had to say now.]

Alan: What kind of leverage?

[Geno smirks.]

Geno: I have a recording of my psychiatrist blackmailing me during a session... I'm sure the medical board would LOVE to hear that one. That should keep the bitch in line a little.

[Alan purses his lips and gives Geno a nod. Maybe they had something after all... a voice from the doorway sends chills down both men's spines as they turn to get a look at Trauma. How long had she been standing there?]

Trauma: Bravo, Jason. It never occured to me that you might have your own recorder. Very clever...

[The "Good" Doctor confidently waltzes into the room and takes a chair in the conference room alongside Alan. Geno was creeped out by the way she barely knew him, yet called him by his real name... Alan was more concerned with practical matters.]

Alan: What are you doing here? And how did you get in?

Trauma: I was just having a little chat with my new stablemates... and has for how I got in, I used the front door.

Geno: Probably shoulda mentioned that I already gave her a keycard.

[Geno gives Trauma a look, trying to regain a little of the confidence he found during their last session. That was on her turf... this was his.]

Geno: Well, I was going to tell you about the recording anyway... you can't exactly use something for leverage if the other person doesn't know it exists.

Trauma: True... so, you're gonna turn me in to the medical board, eh?

Geno: Not if I don't have to... I just don't want you to hold that footage you have over my head. That's a card you only get to play once, OK? And besides, you show that footage, and Hurricane Haley will be back to fuck me up... derail your medical experiment gravy train... oh, and by the way, probably gut your little girl friend to boot.

Trauma: You make a fine argument there.

Geno: Good... just so we're clear here... I'm the Leader of this stable... I'm not saying I'm a dictator, but I need you to be on the same page as Alan and I.

Trauma: That is the plan... one big happy family.

Geno: And Kitty... she's OK with this?

Trauma: Let me worry about Kitty.

Alan: We don't have that luxury... I'm not unleashing Kitty on this stable unless you tell us that you're willing and able to keep her under control.

Trauma: Under control?

Geno: OK... maybe contained is a better word.

Trauma: I'll handle Kitty... now, if you'll excuse me, Chance and Eve are planning to kidnap Kitty and I in about an hour.

Geno: WHAT? What are you going to do?

Trauma: I'm going to get kidnapped, of course. They're so cute at that age.

Homicide

Homicide sits in the doctor's office. His ribs are being taped up for the millionth time. Surprisingly, despite the damage he has endured, they actually seemed to be healing somewhat. This proved to be somewhat of a relief for the youngster. It was bittersweet though, as he knew as soon as he went out for the match that they would be damaged all over again. It was why he had asked for extra padding with this new tape job. It would help for when people struck him in the sensitive spot, but it wouldn't do much when it came to slamming people, landing, and other activities which would cause a shock to the rib area.

Still, some assistance was better than none. The doctor proceeded to tell him a lot of what he already knew. The stereotypical warning about not pushing one's self too hard was also present. Homicide didn't hear any of it. How could he? His mind wasn't in the here and the now. No, he was already thinking about the match itself. It would be, without a doubt, his GREATEST moment. Either in loss or in success, people would remember that Homicide was one of The Eight. If he had his way, he'd be known as one of the most important members of The Eight, the winner. If not, he would do his damnedest to leave a mark.

There were several unpredictable factors in the match. The tables and chairs which littered ringside would definitely favor Aaron Action. His Bloodsport roots run deep. So not only could he take a lot of pain, he could dish it out as well. While he was quite mobile for his size, even he would have difficulty with the trampolines, scaffolding, and swing ropes of the match. The Sack Man was a constant underachiever. Homicide didn't see that changing here. Kitty Hawke and Trauma were complete mysteries. Trauma had a way of affecting the mind and getting inside your head. Kitty was just fucking brutal.

Then there was Alan and Genocide. Both men whose shit lists Homicide had firmly placed himself. Genocide for his feelings for the man's wife, a few backstage attacks, and nearly breaking the man's leg. Alan Scott for simply being the most legitimate threat that Alan Scott has ever faced to his reign as supreme wrestler in the industry. The two had once been friends, but a misunderstanding had ruined everything. From there on it was a matter of tit for tat. Every time Alan opened his mouth, Jeff saw to shut it with a firm attack. Even going so far as to break the man's jaw, which didn't go forgotten by The Honest One himself.

With the restraining order now lifted, Homicide had free reign to do what he felt needed doing. He would have asked Nate Daniels along, but this was something he needed to do himself. Besides, Nate had told him that basically, he was only in The Eight to increase Jeff's chances of winning. Nate knew, as most people did, that Jeff McCarthy was a naturally born X-Factor Champion. All he needed was a shot, and this was it. When the doctor was finished, Homicide rose from his seat and left the trainer's office. He had his own business to attend to. As soon as he was outside, he checked his watch.

Team SBFF would be entering the parking lot in their own private limo any moment now. He reached at his belt and found two items: A walkie talkie and a Hawaiian Throwing Axe. The very same axe that Nate Daniels had given him. He took both in hand and spoke into the talkie.

Homicide: Are the targets on site yet?

Maori Warrior: Yes sir. They're leaving now.

Homicide: Stay concealed until I give the signal.

Homicide rushed as quickly as he could to the Network suite. He hit by a trash can not far from the entrance. The doors opened and out of them came Alan Scott and Genocide. Even working against each other tonight, they were determined to come in as a team. It was something that Homicide could respect, as he could see he and Nate doing much the same. Once they were out of the vehicle, Homicide spoke into the talkie. He then watched as the first two Maori charged Genocide and Alan Scott. Normally, they would perform a war dance before striking, but today was a special occasion.

The first warrior swung his shark-toothed club. Alan ducked and delivered an uppercut that knocked him firmly on his ass. Genocide dodged a swing of the jade club and drove an elbow into the face of the warrior. The members of team SBFF turned their backs on the fallen foes, thinking a sneak attack was inevitable. They were right, only not in the way they had expected. Two more warriors came up from behind them. Had they remained as they were, they wouldn't have been caught off guard. Such as it was now though, they were sitting ducks. The Maori struck from behind and dropped both members of Team SBFF. One warrior held onto Geno and pummeled while the other checked on the fallen warriors.

Homicide stepped out from behind the trash can with his axe. He watched as the two warriors who had hit the ground started to rise. Three of them held Genocide, while Homicide drove a boot into Alan's stomach.

Homicide: You Alan...will NEVER be better than me!

Alan: Ugh...seriously kid, this wea-

Homicide grabbed Alan by the head and slammed it into the suite door. Not once, but twice. The warrior released Alan and Homicide began laying boots into him. Homicide focused on the neck and head of Alan. Anything to throw the man off of his game. He spat on Alan, rage and hatred, yes, HATRED filling his heart.

Homicide: I will be the one to lead Fed X! Me! I have the brains...I have the body...and I have the TALENT that you just DON'T have anymore! Pick his sorry ass up!

They did as their lord instructed.

Alan: Go ahead Jeff, kick my ass. Do it. Do it with people holding me. With people blindsiding me. That's the ONLY way you'd ever become champ.

Homicide crouched down and looked Alan dead in the eye.

Homicide: I do what needs doing. Your TBFF taught me that. Oh, what's the matter....you don't like him anymore? Hell, did you even shed a tear when he was pronounced dead? Probably not. Unless it's Genocide, who matters? Anyway....I want to leave you a little something to remember me by.

And with that, Homicide drug the shark teeth covered edge across the forehead of Alan Scott. It wasn't a huge gash, but it would need stitches. He then commanded the warriors to release them both. Geno tended to his friend while Homicide and the warriors left.

Aaron Action

The hallway was bustling with activity. Techs were running form place to place. Gaffers were supervising the running of cable. The referees were carrying parts of the ring out into the arena. There were sound tests going on. Cameras being checked. And a lot of people speaking in French.

Awesome Aaron Action strode confidently down the hallway with his partner The Chaos bringer, Adam Draven at his side. The two men had the kind of determined look on their faces that caused crowds to part and stragglers to get out of the way fast. The two men turned a corner and Aaron came to a stop outside the door. He paused for a moment.

ADAM DRAVEN: Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, how do you know you can trust this guy?

The Son of the South turned to the man who had become his best friend. He wondered for a moment how that happened. Aaron was a good old boy from the South. He loved to laugh and joke and eat deep fried food. Adam Draven was an enigma. His lifestyle included S&M clubs, tailored suits and a healthy diet that caused Aaron to look for the taste. And yet, the two men had bonded – in Disneyworld of all places – and had formed a team. But tonight, Aaron needed back up from another partner.

AARON ACTION: Yeah. I know you’re nervouth about him, but he’th worked with me before in an unoffitial capathity. Hell, we dethroyed Ov Terror together.

Draven gave a nod. He knew that Aaron’s open, friendly demeanor and slight naiveté could leave the man open for sabotage and swerves. But Adam also knew that Aaron seemed to be one of the best judges of character around. He was somehow able to see which men were inherently good despite outside appearances. Adam nodded at his partner.

ADAM DRAVEN: Go for it then.

The balled up fist rapped just below the nameplate on the door. There was a slight pause and then the door opened just a crack.

THE SACK MAN: What is it?

He squinted to see who was at the door. All he saw was a wide swath of purple and yellow.

Aaron took a step back from the door so that The Sack Man could see who was standing there.

AARON ACTION: Thacky, baby! Good to thee you!

The door slammed shut. Adam Draven looked at Aaron and then back at the door. The two men shrugged at each other.

ADAM DRAVEN: I guess he didn’t want to see you.

AARON ACTION: I thought we were at least palth if not buddieth.

The two men turned to walk away when the door swung back open. The Sack Man was adjusting the zipper on his pants.

THE SACK MAN: Aaron! Hey! Good to see you, chum. How have you been?

Aaron and Adam turned back around. They took a step toward The Sack Man who was holding out at hand. Before Aaron could shake the hand of the man with the bag on his head, the door was pulled open wider and a woman scurried out of the locker room. The woman kissed The Sack Man on the … paper bag that covered his head and then ran down the hallway carrying her shoes.

WOMAN: Vous me devez deux cents dollars. Veuillez payer Bruno.

The Sack Man looked at Aaron Action. He looked a bit nervous.

THE SACK MAN: Did you … understand that?

AARON ACTION: Don’t parleth de vouth. But that was a right pretty girl.

The Sack Man let out a sigh of relief.

THE SACK MAN: Good. Good.

ADAM DRAVEN: I speak French.

If The Sack Man’s face was exposed, you would have seen a combination of crest-fallen and embarrassment. But as it was, the paper bag betrayed no expression.

THE SACK MAN: Well … good for you!

The Sack Man patted Adam Draven on the shoulder and then backed away. Draven was half a head taller and about 50 pounds heavier than The Sack Man.

AARON ACTION: What did The Sack Man’s girl thay?

ADAM DRAVEN: Well, she said that he owe her—

THE SACK MAN: Hey! Did you guys want something? I mean I was in the middle of my prematch ritual.

ADAM DRAVEN: I gotta get me a ritual like that one.

AARON ACTION: But with whipth and chainths?

Draven raised an eyebrow.

ADAM DRAVEN: Not really your bidnethth. Do I ask when you show up with a girl and three buckets of KFC?

AARON ACTION: That was one time and I hadn’t had mah dinner. When you’re a Thexy Beatht like me, you need your thuthtenanthe.

Draven was about to reply when The Sack Man held up a hand.

THE SACK MAN: Seriously, did you guys need something? I have an errand to run before the card starts.

ADAM DRAVEN: Yeah, you have see a man about a “whores?”

AARON ACTION: You buyin’ a horthe dere Thacky? Cauthe I kin give you thome good advithe on buyin’ a horthe. Mah daddy uthed ta raithe appaloothath.

Draven shook his head. The Sack Man bounced back and forth nervously. Aaron just smiled.

THE SACK MAN: Look, I … need to go make a payment on something.

AARON ACTION: That’th why ah have a manager. He payth all mah billth for me. You should look inta that.

THE SACK MAN: I should. But right now, I need to get going. What can I do for you.

Taking a step back, Aaron Action gestured to the monitor set up in the hallway. There was a graphic featuring the participants in the Crazy Eight.

AARON ACTION: You notice anything about that group?

THE SACK MAN: They’re all pretty ugly … except for me.

AARON ACTION:But you wear a thack – Nevermind. No. They’re all tag teamth. Homithide and Nate. Geno and Alan. Trauma and Kitty. You and me are the only oneth out dere without a partner.

THE SACK MAN: I guess that’s true.

AARON ACTION: That’th why I think we need ta partner up for the Crazy Eight tonight. Watch each other’th back … eef you weel.

The Sack Man rubbed his chin. Well, honestly, he rubbed the bottom of his paper bag.

THE SACK MAN: Hmmm. You have a good point. … Let me think about it.

CONTINUED

Nate Daniels

With the Superstar championship match over, Nate drags himself back to The Bromance locker room. Every muscle is on fire and the broken arm is throbbing. Truth be told he was a fool for wrestling with an arm broken in three places. But Daniels isn't the first wrestler to push through an injury that should have sidelined him, and there's no need to stop now.

Just as he plops down to rest, Jeff walks in, big smile on his face.

Homicide: Bro, it was AWESOME!

Nate: What was awesome, Junior?

Homicide: The way I just took care of Alan and Geno.

Nate: The way you what? Junior, you didn't attack them, did you?

Homicide: Yeah, why? Something wrong with that?

Nate: Well, look at it this way, bro. This match is already going to be more about luck than talent. The only person in the match with no fuckin' shot is Aaron Action, and if that fat ass can climb up into the rafters to get the belt, I'll french kiss that fat bitch in the cafeteria.

Homicide: That's disgusting, bro, but what are you getting at?

Nate: Just this. No matter who wins, Alan Scott is going to claim that it was the format that cost him the title and not that anyone in the match was better than him. You attacking him before the match only gives him one more piece of ammunition.

Homicide: But I'll still be the X-Factor Champion, right?

Nate: Sure, if you win the match. But you know yourself that Alan Scott's best talent is flapping his lips. The more shit you give him to shovel, the more he's going to sling when he gets a microphone in his hand. And he's had three weeks to think about what he's going to say.

Homicide: So you're mad at me?

Nate: Hell no, Junior. I'm proud of you. I just want you to be the best you can be. Part of that is being smart. Your brain can be your greatest weapon, or your biggest liability.

Homicide: Like those stupid ass HOT Girls.

Nate: No. The HOT Girls use that stupidity to get under your skin, to make you underestimate them.

Homicide: You really think that's an act? DAMN!

Nate: See what I mean? You have a good head on your shoulders, Jeff. Use it.

Homicide: Damn, bro, there's more little wrinkles to this business than anything I've ever seen. You have to be on top of everything.

Nate: True. Now, you ready to head to the ring?

Homicide: You thinking we should be the first ones out there?

Nate: Well, I've never seen one of these set-ups before. Getting to know the little nuances of the battlefield is always a tactical advantage. You can't defend the high ground if you don't know where it is.

Homicide: True. How long will it take you to get ready?

Nate: Ten, fifteen minutes tops. I just need to clean up and put on a fresh singlet.

Homie nods and takes a seat on the sofa, stretching out for a few minutes' rest while Nate heads to the bathroom to clean up and towel off. A fresh ice blue and black singlet later and Nate motions for his Bro-mate that he's ready. A double self-high five gets them to the door and out they head. Just before the Gorilla Position, in her usual "ready spot" stands Shelly Simmons, baby starting to show through the thick, bulky sweaters she'd started wearing.

She smiles at Nate, the worst of the hormone surge gone now that she's into her second trimester.

Shelly: Thank you, John! I'm here with The Bromance, both members of which have qualified for tonight's Main Event, the Crazy 8 Finals. Nate, are you two going to enter together?

Nate: Shelly, darling, you're looking radiant tonight, but to answer your question, yes. We're The Bromance, Shelly. We're the future of this business, and the future is NOW.

Shelly: So, you believe that one of the two of you will win this match then?

Nate: There's no doubt in my mind, Shelly, not one single doubt! You see, Shelly, it doesn't matter if there were eight people in this match or eighty. On the big stage, in the main event, men like Homicide and myself elevate our game to a whole new level. And quite frankly, Shells, the level you're going to see from The Bromance tonight, nobody in Federation X can come close to duplicating.

Shelly: So you're just dismissing X-Factor Champion Alan Scott, 24 time world champion and dual hall-of-famer Genocide? Someone you're close to in Kitty Hawke?

Nate: I take nothing away from any of them, Shelly. Everyone in this match has talent and drive. Anyone out there could win on any given night. But The Bromance is the best thing going today, Shelly, and the smart money is going to be on us. Tell 'em bro.

Homicide

This felt good. Hell, it felt right. It had been too damn long since The Bromance was together. Circumstances had been wreaking havoc on the duo as of late. Homicide battled with ribs that would never heal after his tag match. Meanwhile, Nate was juggling two women, one of which was completely insane. The next card came and Homicide was banned from the arena while Nate had his hands full with Ethan and Kitty. A paranoid person might think that some kind of conspiracy was amiss. Some kind of plot to keep The Bromance apart.

Homicide was ready to put all of that behind them, though. He slapped Nate Daniel's back and leaned into the microphone.

Homicide: Good evening, Shells. How are you, lotus blossum?

Shelly: Lotus blossum?

Homicide: Well, yeah. Cute girl like you, definitely a lotus blossom.

Shelly: Why, thank you. I was just wondering what your thoughts are on The Crazy Eight.

Homicide: What are my thoughts Shelly? Well, for one thing....I have to be honest with you. I had Alan and Genocide attacked before the match.

Shelly: Wh-what? Why?

Homicide: Think about it Shelly: How many times has Genocide wiggled his way out of a match? How many times did he avoid defending his titles? Then we look at Alan. How many times have we seen him verbally attack someone by twisting the truth? The way he and Geno conspired to get Chance fired? Tell me, are these people that DON'T deserve to be attacked?

Shelly: You make a good point, I guess.

Homicide: I already know what Alan has to say to me. He'll say that I've never beaten him. That all I've been able to do are cheap attacks on him. That in a normal match, I wouldn't be able to beat him. But you know, as much as he likes to talk about how cowardly my attacks were, he did something similar in a hospital, of all places. Now, sure, I may have....misjudged and sent the law after him. That was a mistake.

Shelly: You mean you're sorry you did it.

Homicide: I was. You have to understand, I had just had pieces of my ribcage dug out of my lung. The damage was insane. The fact that I'm still standing now is a miracle. I was afraid that Alan could have caused me to have to endure another life threatening surgery. So I overreacted. I can admit this. But the order has been lifted. As soon as I got the call, I arranged to have him attacked. Because I care about humbling Honest Alan than I do about winning.

Shelly: You don't want to become X-Factor Champion?


Homicide: Of course I do. It would mean more to me than anything. I'm new to this business. I also have a bit of a temper. But no matter how annoyed I've been at people besmirching my looks, how angry certain individuals have made me...I've never HATED anyone in this business. Never, not until Honest Alan Scott. I can say, with HONESTY, that I FUCKING HATE HIM!! If I lose while stopping Alan from getting to the belt before someone else, I can lose with a smile on my face. You see, I know he'll call me a pisser. He'll try and throw the restraining order in the issue, my attacks, even my ability to wrestle all into question. Sowing seeds of doubt is what he's good at. The thing of it though, is this: I'm one of The Eight. I made it to the Semi-Finals, lost, and still made it here. It took me throwing Pernicious Joe Power and The HOT Girls over the ropes, but I did it. No one, not even Alan, can take that away from me. I belong here tonight, and I'm going to beat the ever living SHIT out of Alan. Do you hear me Scott!? Are you listening, FAGGOT!? I am going to BREAK you! Your legs, arms, whatever I can hurt. This thing between me and you, it's not about winning a belt for me anymore. I just want to end you. Now Alan....can you say you feel the same? I think not. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have to make an entrance.

Homicide and Nate Daniels walked away from Shelly. As “Simply The Best” began to play, Nate Daniels looked at his bro-mate.

Nate: Junior, are you feeling okay?

Homicide: Yeah Nate, I'm fine.

Nate: The hell you say, Junior. You're on fire.

Homicide: I meant every word I said Nate. Tonight is about hurting Alan. I don't care about winning anymore.

Nate: Really? What changed?

Homicide: I did, I guess. It's just...every time I see him...every time I heard him spout off at the mouth about his “achievements,” it makes my blood boil. The King of The Cage was bullshit. He beat a guy with four near-lethal stab wounds on him, and may have lead to his death. That's not something to be proud of. Alan backstabs his own SBFF in the KoTC, ends his career, and then BRAGS about it. Oh, he lobbied to get Geno re-instated, but not before bragging to me and EVERYONE within ear shot that he was..”The Man Who Retired Genocide.” The fucker is clueless. And I never....EVER...EVER...want to be like him. He's everything I despise.

Nate Daniels doesn't say anything. He simply observes the intensity, the fury in the eyes of his bro-mate. The interesting thing about it was that while Homicide was clearly in a rage, it seemed a controlled one. It was as if somehow Jeff had taken a hold of his anger and finely tuned it to a sharpened blade. The time apart had changed Jeff McCarthy, and Nate Daniels was only seeing the beginnings of that change. The Bromance stepped past the curtain and put on their game faces. Homicide dropped to a knee and posed as usual, while Nate raised his arms in the air and gestured to himself.

After this, they each stood up and walked to the ring together.

Alan Scott

**Earlier in the day**

Alan: He’s alright guys. Obviously.

There was a tone in Alan’s voice as he let security know that Genocide could be permitted access to the ringside area at the same time as he had it. It bordered on frustration, and probably stemmed from the number of times in recent weeks that Alan had been subjected to the mounting stupidity of the ordinary people of the industry. Alan watched as Geno made his way down the runway towards him, and gave his adopted godfather a brief smile before he turned his attention back to the set-up he was examining.

They always went through the set-ups in the afternoon of the event. Production needed to have everything down to a science so that it went off completely without any technical interruptions on the broadcast. One of the perks of being the X-Factor World Champion was that Alan was always given access to the area and an opportunity to have a few minutes of quiet time examining the ring, or whatever other construct would be his home as he defended the most coveted championship in all of wrestling.

He felt, more than saw, Geno come to a stop beside him as he stood staring up at one of the ropes that hung from the rafters. Reaching up Alan wrapped a hand around it and pulled as though to test the tensile strength of the fibers. When he let go, he couldn’t help but comment.

Alan: This is going to be one enormous clusterfuck.

Geno chuckled and nodded his head. He had known coming into the event that the recipe was for injury and pain more than it was for entertainment and wrestling. He had told Alan that on a number of occasions, but his SBFF had only half understood the full scope of what he had meant until the moment when he stood at ringside and looked at the instruments of the match laid out around him. There was little doubt that people who relished the hardcore brawling style of the Bloodsport division would be at home in the match for as long as it was fixed to the arena floor.

Geno: It’s going to take one of the biggest efforts of your life to walk out of this match with that belt.

Alan nodded, agreeing with Geno even though he had yet to make eye contact with him. The two men had parted company after they had gotten some medical attention. Geno’s hadn’t required nearly as much time as Alan’s had and he had gone off to try and get in touch with Haley. He was still preparing for the inevitable moment when Trauma fucked him over and showed Haley the footage with Kitty. Alan had had to stay around longer and let them put some stitches into his head, courtesy of Johnny Rude light.

Alan: It’s going to be a war. But we’ll find a way.

That was when Alan finally looked at Geno. The two men had met in competition only once since Geno had signed with Federation X in May, and that had been in what was easily the greatest of the King of The Cage showdowns. There had been so much on the line that night, as Alan had agreed to put his X-Factor Championship on the line and Geno had already put his career on the line. Both of those things would have been more than enough on any other night, but there had also been the issue of a berth in the finals of wrestling’s greatest tournament.

Alan had won. It had been a bittersweet moment, and he had done what he could with it, using it to springboard to the championship itself. Alan looked at Geno and he could see that his best friend in the world was thinking about the exact same thing. Alan owed Geno a bigger thank-you than he could ever vocalize too. The greatest world champion in wrestling’s history had overtly avoided a confrontation with his best friend, and had left Alan alone to pursue his time at the top. He could have pressed for a match on numerous occasions. But he didn’t.

Geno: Fifty percent of the people in the fight will be Network Alan. It will work out.

Alan bit his tongue. They could say what they wanted, but Trauma and Kitty weren’t Network. Hell, Chance was just barely clinging and she had finally realized what it meant to truly be a member. No, he wouldn’t tell his best friend the truth, but Alan knew that once they got to the ring later on in the evening it would be a case of the two of them against everyone else. He smiled. They had done that dance once before though, and Alan had helped Geno secure the NGPW World Heavyweight Championship that night.

Alan: I mean it when I say ‘we’ old man. I’m not sure if you’re strong enough to lift it anymore, but it’s a win if either of us leaves with that belt. EITHER. OF. US.

Alan didn’t need to be so blunt with what he was saying, but he did it anyways. Geno had waited so very patiently, for such a long time to come after the biggest belt in the industry. Alan owed it to him to make it clear; if he had the chance he was going to put the belt on Geno. It had to be tonight. After all, Alan didn’t know how long Geno was going to be able to keep wrestling for. He was old. Time was threatening to pass him by.

Geno: I know kid. Thanks.

A whistle from the head of security let them know that they didn’t have much longer. Together wrestling’s greatest team walked around the landscape that would be transformed into carnage and anarchy in only a couple of hours. Alan pointed out a few tactical opportunities, while Geno looked at ways that he could exploit the notorious lack of rules in the match. Unlike Alan, he was more than willing to embrace the nature of the match and smash somebody with a table.

Alan: Geno?

Alan broke the silence while they studied in their brief remaining moments.

Geno: Yeah kid?

Alan looked up from the chain link he was checking and looked right at his mentor.

Alan: If…….if the Animal comes out…..you’ll need to put me down.

Geno frowned.

Geno: It won’t come to that.

Alan didn’t look convinced.

Alan: It might.

And at that moment Alan wasn’t sure he didn’t want it to.

Trauma

From The Journal of Dr. Kate Moran:

I watched as Genocide and Alan shared a man moment. As some may say it was kind of...e-gay. I know, I know, I shouldn't use such terms. I'm a professional, after all. Still, a spade is a spade and a case of raging e-faggotry was just that, e-faggotry. Anyway, they looked at one another with a degree of respect and understanding. That is, until I chimed in.

“Hello boys.” I said cheerily.

They both jumped. “How long have you been standing there!?” Alan asked.

“Umm...two minutes. Actually, I came to speak to you, Alan.”

He shook his head, “Forget it. Save your head shrinking for someone who-”

“I can help you control The Animal.”

He paused. He looked at Genocide. Jason shrugged his shoulders. He didn't know what I was talking about. Of course he didn't. I grabbed Alan's chin and turned it to face me. He looked down into my eyes, his own full of distrust.

“Now Alan, have I given you a reason to dislike me, sweetie?”

He shoved my hand aside. “You only blackmailed by SBFF for a spot in a stable. Why would I hold a grudge?” He played along, acting puzzled.

The sarcasm was note and ignored. “Look, I gave solid arguments BESIDES the blackmailing. And I can't really use it anyway, because he'll see to it that I lose my license. So really, the whole blackmailing issue is null and void.”

His eyes turned intense. He glared at me and spoke, “And there's the issue of your fixation with The Animal.”

Another sweet smile from me as I nodded. “I do. I'm a therapist, Alan. It's my job to be fixated on such things.”

“Yeah, well, shrink my head later. I have a match to prepare for. So do you.”

I shook my head. “No, no, no, no. That's unacceptable. I guess Genocide didn't tell you, did he?”

“Tell me what?” Alan's eyes moved from me to Genocide.

He sighed, shook his head, and spoke, “Mandatory therapy sessions. She can tell The Powerbase we're not mentally capable of competing if we don't cooperate.”

“Bullshit!” Alan stated. I nodded.

“It is, but what can you do? All I want to do is help, my sweet. Just give me that chance, okay?”

The champion didn't like this. Not at all. It was so CUTE! He sat in my office with the most agitated look on his face. Little did he know that this was part of my plan. I needed him angry. It was important to what would happen next.

“Would you say that you have a rage problem, Alan?”

He shrugged and said, “Sometimes, yes.”

“Sometimes...don't you think that's a bit of an exaggeration?”

“I get...pushed past a certain point and I lose myself. I become The Animal and I...hurt people.”

I jotted notes down. Silence stood in the room for a bit. I looked up and continued.

“So...how does knowing this make you feel?”

“Look Kate, I don't have time for-”

I interrupted him. “Then you don't have time to defend your title.”

He began to grind his teeth. His temper was beginning to get the best of him.

“This is such bullshit!”

“I know, and I'm sorry, but really this is for your best interest. Now, have you ever been hypnotized before?”

“No.” His answer was short and stern. He was almost there.

“All right. We're going to try some. What I want to do is bring the Animal out an-”

“Absolutely not.” He started to stand.

“And commune with him so that you can control him.”

He paused. The Animal wasn't sentient. It didn't think or feel. It simply destroyed. He looked at me with confused eyes.

“What are you talking about?”

“Just trust me Alan, I know what I'm doing.” No I didn't.

Eventually, he managed to agree. It was hard to convince him.

“All right, I want you to close your eyes and think of the worst possible thing you can imagine.”

Another confused look. Damn, didn't he trust me?

“Just do it, Alan.”

He did so, but reluctantly. As he did, I continued.

“Focus on it. Keep your mind on it. Imagine every little detail, every sight, sound, smell. Think of how it angers you. Now I want you to breathe in and out.”

He did so, and the more he concentrated, the angrier he became. His breaths became harder, more rage fueled.

“Now I'm going to count. When I reach One, I will be talking to Animal Alan Scott. Ten...nine...eight...seven...six...five...four...three...two....one.” I snapped my fingers.

His eyes opened. He looked at me as if he'd murder me. A sadistic grin curved his lips.

“I...can talk. Why?” He said in a voice much deeper, more gravelly than his own.

“Because right now, you and Alan's consciousness are on even level. You're not merged, but you're in balance. So long as you stay this way, you can think and plot as well as he can.”

He studied me, looking for weaknesses. He had the instinct of a predatory animal, but the intelligence of a man. In this state, he had the drives and motivations of a wolf but the knowledge of a man to achieve those ends.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because Animal...I think I'm in love with you.”

He did a double take.

“That's not important. Tonight...you will fight, alongside Alan, as one. But you have to USE your anger, not become it's slave. The moment you do...you'll lose the power I've given you.”

He goes to speak again, but I snap my fingers. Alan blinks several times and speaks...

“Wh-what happened?”

“We just made progress Alan...we just made progress.”

I smirked.

I was now the leash holder of The Animal.

Aaron Action

Adam Draven and Awesome Aaron Action walked down the halls again. They looked to the monitor and saw that Alan Scott and Genocide were speaking to Trauma at ringside.

ADAM DRAVEN: That can’t be good.

Aaron shook his head no. He tipped his cowboy hat back and sighed.

AARON ACTION: It surely isn’t. That’th why we have ta go thee da Bromanthe.

Adam stopped short. He turned and stared at his partner.

ADAM DRAVEN: Are you nuts? Those guys will screw you over as soon as look at you!

Aaron pulled his hat back down. He started walking. Adam fell into step with him.

AARON ACTION: Homithide is a loothe cannon. But Nate Danielth hath a good head on his shoulderth. What we need ta do is convinthe him dat it’th in his betht interetht ta work with me and The Thack Man ta take out Genothide, Alan Thcott, Trauma and Mithth Kitty.

ADAM DRAVEN: Of course you still don’t even know if Sack Man –

AARON ACTION: Da Thack Man.

ADAM DRAVEN: What?

Aaron gave a small shrug.

AARON ACTION: Don’t know. I guethth hith mama named him The. Thack is his middle name.

ADAM DRAVEN: No, it’s not he –

Adam Draven looked at his partner. Aaron Action was grinning at him from ear to ear. His tremendous tummy was bouncing up and down as The Son of the South was holding in the laughter.

ADAM DRAVEN: I can’t believe I jut let you work me on that.

AARON ACTION: Ah get one in every onthe in a while.

Draven laughed his short barking laugh. He shook his head.

ADAM DRAVEN: I still think trying to get Bromance to work with you is a mistake.

AARON ACTION: Guess we’ll find out. Dere dey are.

The A-Team strode confidently up to Nate Daniels and Homicide. But before they could get there, a Maori warrior was in front of Adam and Aaron with a Hawaiian throwing axe. He grunted at the two men.

ADAM DRAVEN: Pal, unless you want that thing shoved up your ass, I’d get it out of my face.

AARON ACTION: Thtay calm. I gotta work with dethe fellath.

Draven eyes narrowed. Aaron knew that he was sizing up the warrior in front of him. If the man made one false move, Adam would do exactly what he threatened too. Triple A hoped that Homicide’s bodyguards were on a complete hair trigger. He glanced over to see that Bromance had just completed an interview with a reporter from The Montreal Gazette.

AARON ACTION: Hey, Nate … Jeff. Can you call off your attack dog?

Nate Daniels and Homicide looked at each other. They leaned in for a Bro-conference. Every few seconds, Homicide looked back at Aaron and Adam and then back to Nate. He nodded quite a bit. Finally they stepped back, touched fists and yelled, “BREAK!”

The two men walked slowly over to the A-Team. The warrior didn’t move and they made not sign or signal to get him to move.

AARON ACTION: Ah politely athked ya ta call off your dogth.

NATE DANIELS: And we’re still not sure you’re not here to try something funny to take us out of the match.

Homicide smirked at Aaron. Triple A focused on Nate.

AARON ACTION: You have mah word dat Adam and I ain’t gonna come after you …tonight.

The two men looked at each other. They stepped back for another conference. As they huddled up, there was a loud sound of a scuffle. A zipping sound went by Homicide’s head. Then there was a clang and a buzz. The two men looked back to see the Maori warrior on the ground. They followed the sound and saw that the throwing axe had been used as designed. Draven had thrown it past Bromance and it was sticking in the wall next to them, the handle still vibrating.

HOMICIDE: You son of a –

Nate Daniels put his good hand on his partner’s shoulder. Aaron stepped in front of Adam even though Adam Draven didn’t seem to be moving forward.

AARON ACTION: Let’th keep thingth cool here, boyth. We jutht need ta talk.

NATE DANIELS: That’s how you talk? You nearly took my head off.

Draven grinned. The lights caught his fangs. The shadows came over his eyes.

ADAM DRAVEN: If I wanted that axe to take your head off, you can be damned sure it would have.

Aaron heard the cold dead tone in Adam Draven’s voice. It was a tone Triple A didn’t like much. It made him nervous. He cleared his throat and stepped forward.

AARON ACTION: Look. All Ah wanted ta do was thpeak ta the two of you about working tagether a little during the Crazy Eight tonight.

HOMICIDE: Why in Hell would we want to do that?

AARON ACTION: Cauthe I was jutht looking out at the ring. Theemth dat dem Network boyth is cookin’ thomethin’ up with Trauma.

HOMICIDE: Dammit.

ADAM DRAVEN: And you know if Trauma’s involved with SBFF then so is Kitty.

NATE DANIELS: Great. Alan is the only sane one.

ADAM DRAVEN: And that isn’t saying much.

AARON ACTION: Tho, I already talked ta The Thack Man and he’th willin’ ta work with me ta thtop dem Networkerth or crazy girlth from winnin’ da belt. You boyth want a join in?

HOMICIDE: Are you kidding? I’m gonna win no matter what? We don’t –
NATE DANIELS: – want any of them winning the belt. Of course we’ll work with you.

Nathan held out the hand that wasn’t in a sling. He smiled at Aaron. The Son of the South grinned and shook. He held out his hand again for Homicide, who hesitated until Nathan elbowed him in the ribs. They shook.

AARON ACTION: Great. Thee you in the ring.

NATE DANIELS: Bet on it.

When Aaron and Adam were out of earshot, Homicide spun on his partner.

HOMICIDE: Dude, what the Hell?

Nate Daniels smiled and patted his younger partner on the shoulder.

NATE DANIELS: This is a good thing. Fatty there will watch our backs and even if he gets an advantage he’ll never make it up to the belts. We work with him to take out the real competition and then you climb up to your destiny.

Nate held out a fist. Homicide bumped it.

HOMICIDE: Works for me.

Genocide

Geno: Chaos... carnage... bedlam. A complete and total mess.

[Relaxing from the comfort of a leather recliner, but still dressed in his tights and boots, ready for action, Genocide continues with his pre-Main Event promo.]

Geno: Or... in terms more applicable to this business... clusterfuck. One of the most feared words a wrestler can hear. Only, this isn't just ANY clusterfuck. Most matches start out fine, and then gradually progress into what it becomes. By the time you know you're in a clusterfuck, you're adapted to the environment... you're already in the heat of battle.

[Genocide smirks, a look of extreme confidence on his face... and he had every reason to be. He was Genocide... 24 Time World Champion. In fact, Genocide had more World Championship reigns than his seven opponents combined... and it wasn't even close.]

Geno: This match... tonight... the bastard child of a steel cage match, a scaffold match, and the damnedest ladder match you've ever seen... this is different. This match is a clusterfuck from the word go. Tables, chairs, trampolines... bodies flying everywhere. The Crazy-8 match is wild... unpredictable... insane. Never has a match been more aptly named.

[It wasn't just the fact that Genocide was one of the greatest World Champions of his, or any generation that gave him confidence stepping into this match... he was coming into this match with a swagger... the swagger of a man who isn't fighting alone. Not only would Genocide have his SBFF watching his back... despite Alan's misgivings, Geno had no reason the believe that Trauma and Kitty wouldn't live up to their part of the bargain... other than the fact that they were nuts, of course.]

Geno: I guarantee you... despite the sneak preview that's been running on heavy rotation all over Fed-X programming... despite all of your experience, your training... despite the fact that you've probably been watching a lot of tape on Crazy-8 matches... you are not ready. You are not ready for this match... and you are not prepared to do what it takes to win.

[The lion's share of Geno's confidence, however, comes from one simple fact. A fact that he knows... and a fact that anyone that's done their reasearch on this match knows. With this fact firmly in mind, Genocide sits up in the chair and gives the kind of smile that's allowed him to score with two-thirds of the HOT Girls, as well as getting to second base with Max Entropy's fiance.]

Geno: I am... I am prepared to win this match. I'm prepared to bash you with a hundred chairs... to put you through a table... to bounce your skull off the cage... to throw you off the top of that scaffold. I am prepared to climb up that rope, and grab the World Championship.

Because I've done it before. I did the impossible. I stepped inside the Crazy-8 match against seven of the best in the industry... and I successfully defended my World Championship. I'm sure most of you have watched the footage of me from that night... God I was magnificent. I was handing out mouths full of Genos like Mickey-D's serves up hamburgers... and if you've seen that footage, you know by now that you have no chance tonight. And you're exactly right.

You have absolutely zero chance of winning this match... you see, last year on the night of that Crazy-8 match, something amazing happened. More amazing than me Geno Kicking Rasputin off of the scaffold and him landing on Carnage and a table. More amazing than Alan Scott breaking the world record* for the highest ever high-flying bulldog on Brute Bernard.

[*Not officially recognized... get with it Guiness... not the beer guys... the World Record Book guys.]

Geno: Even more amazing, more momentus, more important than me retaining my World Championship... you see, on that night, Alan Scott and I... we became SBFF's. Not only that, we wrote the book on what being an SBFF is all about. On that night, I wasn't defending my championship against seven opponents... it was six. One of the challengers gave his word that he would put his own aspirations on the shelf and fight alongside me instead of against me. That man, of course, was "Honest" Alan Scott.

Tonight, none of you have a chance in hell... because I owe my SBFF a Crazy-8 match. Any if anyone has anything to say about it... I'll be there to give them a mouth full of Geno as the greatest X-Factor Champ of all Time climbs that rope... something Aaron Action wasn't able to do in high school gym class, and won't be able to do tonight... and climbs back down as STILL the X-Factor World Champion.

[Geno leans forward to hit a button on a remote control, ending the recording and sending it directly to the truck to be edited and broadcasted. He stands, smoothing on the green and dark green Geno-logo t-shirt on his chest, and pre-empts Alan Scott's argument.]

Geno: I know what we talked about... but I owe you.

Alan: You don't have to do that... I don't even wa...

[Geno holds up his hand and cuts his SBFF off.]

Geno: THAT being said... my goal may be to help you retain... but we can't risk letting the title fall out of Network hands...

Alan: You're not counting Kitty and Trauma in that group, are you?

Geno: Of course not. I'm going to do all I can to help you win, but if you're down, and I see an opening, I'll take it... OK?

[Alan shrugs. He'd rather have Geno go all out for his 25th World Championship from the bell, but he knew it wasn't worth arguing over. His grampa was pretty stubborn when he had his mind made up.]

Alan: Fair enough...

Geno: So... how'd the session with Dr. Whack-job go?

[Alan gets a worried look on his face.]

Alan: Honestly... I'm not sure... I don't remember much of it.

Geno: What do you mean?

[Geno leans in, a look of concern on his face. Alan didn't want to tell him... but he had to.]

Alan: She... she brought The Animal out...

Geno: SHE DID WHAT?!?

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Stan Daniels

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The Crazy Eight Part 2

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:50 am

Alan Scott



Genocide: She did what?!? You need to tell me about it!

Alan had been quiet since the private session that Trauma had leveraged her way in to, and that silence had Geno on edge. The truth was that neither man trusted Trauma, and both of them were probably better off with that instinct. Especially given her apparent fascination with The Animal. Genocide had seen firsthand how dangerous that aspect of his partner could be, and he knew how important to his friend it was to keep it buried. He was not confident that he could count on Trauma showing the same good sense.

Alan Scott: Nothing to tell. What time is Shelly coming for my sit-down?

Geno watched the way Alan was moving around the room, looking for some sign of anything being out of the ordinary. If his adopted godson was going in to the match with his mind fractured, distracted or in any way functioning below peak capacity, Geno needed to know it. Nothing in his friend’s movement or body language seemed out of the ordinary though, so unless Alan decided to open up and share what had been said, Geno was just going to have to trust that things would be alright.

Geno: You’ve got her in about six minutes. You’re going to do it in the twin leathers in the conference room annex.

Alan nodded. He liked the annex because it was always built the same way; with lots of natural light coming in through a large window and with large plants growing everywhere. The plan was simple and they had gone over it a dozen times. Shelly wanted some time with Alan before Geno joined them, to discuss his silence over the course of the month and build some heat from her prematch with Homicide. Once Alan had said everything he planned to say, Geno would casually walk onto the set and they would knock out the greatest catch phrase in wrestling history before heading to the ring.

Alan: Perfect.

Alan turned and started for his dressing room, intent on making sure he had everything ready as soon as Shelly walked in, but Geno caught him on the arm as he walked by and spun him around. Alan knew the look. Geno was worried.

Geno: Just tell me that the bitch didn’t do anything Alan.

Alan shrugged.

Alan: A quick hypnotism, none of which I remember. And let’s be clear about something…..she’s not my doctor and she doesn’t strong arm me into sessions ever again Geno. Sort it out before I do.

Alan had been oddly calm and deathly quiet on the topic, but the last little outburst made it clear to Geno that he hadn’t been happy by the impromptu cornering that had gone on. Had Geno not been there to keep the peace he knew exactly how it would have gone; Alan would have challenged Trauma to block his access to the match. And he would have told the Powerbase that if they sided with the bitch, he would take the belt and walk right back to Wrassle. He would have been much, much more agitated than he was.

Which strangely would have been MORE comforting to Geno. Because now he could only guess what exactly Trauma had done.



Shelly was sitting across from Alan, and the small table between them held drinks for both of them. They looked like they were sitting in a lavish waiting area at one of the finer restaurants in Montreal instead of in the Megasuite, which was probably why Geno had arranged it. Alan was already dressed for the match, and the X-Factor Championship belt was hanging on the wall behind him.

When the light indicated that they were live, Shelly started.

Shelly Simmons: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here in the Network’s Megasuite to speak to one of tonight’s competitors in The Crazy 8. You know him best as half of Team SBFF!

She paused, because while she couldn’t hear the crowd, she knew that there would be a reaction. As she did the camera man panned backwards which allowed Alan to be caught in the same wide angle shot that she was now caught in. A few extra seconds for the reaction that that achieved and then she started in again.

Shelly: Before his partner joins us though, we’re taking a moment with the reigning X-Factor World Champion who is breaking out of an imposed month long silence for the first time since he had the wiring on his jaw removed yesterday. Alan…..how does it feel to finally be able to share your thoughts?

Alan smiled at Shelly, despite the stupid question she chose to open with.

Alan: How does it feel Shelly? It feels a lot better than listening to a bunch of barely educated simpletons trying to discredit me and being unable to at least shed the light of TRUTH on them. It’s been a long, frustrating month.

Shelly adjusted herself and smiled. It looked fake. She wasn’t on top of her game.

Shelly: Alan I think what most fans really want to hear is what your plan is for the man who forced you into that silence; Homicide.

Alan shrugged and everything about his body language showed a general apathy to the question being asked. There was no tension in his face, no flushing of his skin. His blood was clearly not boiling. And why would it be? After all, he was ALAN SCOTT. Who the fuck was Jeff McCarthy?

Alan: My plan? Why in god’s name would I have a plan?

Shelly: Alan…..the man attacked you and broke your jaw! That gash on your forehead? That’s from earlier today when he had some of his Maori Tribseman attack you and Genocide in the parking area and then joined in once you had been restrained. Heck, not five minutes before I got here he unleashed a serious verbal tirade about you on national television. He promised to break your bones. To make you suffer.

Alan just smiled while she recounted all of those things. When she was done he asked a simple question.

Alan: Shelly…..do you know what the New York Yankees do when the Kansas City Royals talk shit about them?

Shelly frowned. She wasn’t making the connection.

Shelly: Nothing?

She was tentative in her answer, but Alan nodded. She had gotten it correct.

Alan: And do you know why that is Shelly?

She shook her head, still not following.

Alan: Because Shelly…..they’re the New York fuckin’ Yankees…..and no matter what they do....those other nine guys aren’t. They could attack them in the clubhouse before the game and kick the living shit out of them, but after that series was over and the Yankees moved on……those fuckin’ losers would still be the Kansas City Royals. Baseball’s version of Jeff McCarthy. Shelly, everyone wants a piece of the greatest thing going in the world today. If I paid special attention to one of the nobodies just because he managed to use his daddy’s money to hire somebody to get the jump on me……what kind of champion would I be?

Alan shook his head.

Alan: No, Shelly…..the New York Yankees don’t spend any time thinking about the Kansas City Royals. They spend their time thinking about the Boston Red Sox. But the Royals? They spend all their time thinking about The Yankees. Because……let’s be HONEST……they would give their left nut to be that good…..even just for a day.

Alan smiled.

Alan: Do you understand what I’m saying Shelly?

She did.

And so did everyone listening. The timing was perfect, as Geno walked on to the set.

Geno: Hello Shelly! When did you get here?

Kitty

It was quiet...

High overhead, a huge mass of humanity swayed and shouted and shoved cheap, greasy food into the gullets. Music blared at precise intervals though high-tech, state-of-the-art speakers, and controlled explosions erupted on cue, their deep flashpots sending both complement and noise echoing through every ear. Bells rang, and one by one primadonnas strutted forth, cackling their plastic accomplishments to any who'd pay attention. It was a loud, flamboyant, stinking affair and its very presence sent shudders throughout The Bell Center and the surrounding areas.

But deep down below, it was quiet...

She sat underneath a dingy, rusted stairwell, leaning against the dank, dirty walls. Slowly, she rocked back and forth - a calming exercise - and hummed softly, her chin tucked into her knees. Her clothes were tattered and torn, her pale, not-so delicate frame littered with all manners of scars and bruises, and the freshly clotted slices on her scalpline glistened in the dim light of the basement shelter. Kitty was alone...more or less.

A plume of smoke wafted through the air. It swam, waved, and danced about as various symbols and designs molded and faded within its form. From the steps above Kitty's head, its originator, Johnny Rude exhaled his acrid breath once more and laughed as the poisoned jet flooded downward into the SLAVE to the GAME's face. She ignored him, save a tiny cough, and for the moment it was enough to satisfy.

*And is this your new ritual? Sitting down here, all alone, in the fucking basement?* The now-deceased ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR chided. His gravely warble drifted into Kitty's ears, stinging and pleasing in unison. *Not exactly original, you know. Hell, I think I've done this a time or two. Didn't we fuck down here once? No, wait...that was someone else. Some other pathetic slut I attempted to mold into the perfect slave.*

The ANGELIC ANARCHIST continued her song, the deliciously sweet sing-song of her soft tones echoing out into the silence. Occasionally, she would clench her teeth over her tongue and grind her sharpened fingernails into her calves and ankles. When her tune halted, something stirred within her stomach, her lips quivered, and forcing her eyes shut, Kitty would begin again. Even the puddle of water, leaking drip-drip-drip from high over head didn't sway her to move. She simply sat, rocked, and sang.

*This is it, eh? Your triumphant ascension into the upper ranks. The climax of your miraculous climb through the bowels of mediocrity to take a rightful place atop the very highest of mountains. Oh, you don't disapoint - do you? Just when pretty Kitty, crazy Kitty, slutty Kitty is about to make an impact, she falters...falling down, down, down back into the muck from whence she came. Pathetic, yes?*

Again, she ignored his verbal prodding. Briefly, she glanced upward and caught sight of her Dark Guardian grabbing his package with a grin. He squeezed it, and she quickly averted her gaze. Resuming her song, the Kitten's eyes misted over and tears stained her cheeks. She buried her face once again into her knees.

Now he was standing beside her. The tip of his leather shoe moved underneath her, invading her obscenely. Kitty shifted and Johnny reacted with a laugh. Her behavior only doubled his efforts. Running a hand through her hair, the fallen ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR lit another cigarette and picked up the melody of her song. Together, they formed a sweet sound, sweet and clear and terrible.

*All this...over a fucking girl.*

Kitty crumbled, breaking into hysterics and collapsing forward against the dank, dirty floor. She shook violently, her body convulsing in sorrow and emotional torment, so much so the palms of her fingers bled from being scratched along the concrete. As the last wave hit her, the fomerly FORGOTTEN PRINCESS heaved and vomited, spilling her contents. It swirled aglow in shadow, swam with maggots and worms, and carried the last remnants of her innocence. Again, she sobbed, and tired of the display, Johnny pushed downward and shoved her face into it.

*All of this over a FUCKING GIRL!*

His scream thundered over her, around her, and through her. It buckled stone and caused the floor to give way. Kitty screamed and latched herself to his strong, tone leg. He held her by her hair and the invisible leash which bound them - her MASTER would not let her fall. She was too valuable...too loyal...the mother of his wicked brood and his apprentice in DARKNESS. Eventually, she would make him PROUD.

A jerk brought her back and the room snapped into place, locking around them, sewn together correctly by unseen hands and powerful forces. Pulling her face upward to meet his glare, the ghastly apparition bent forward and kissed her. Time stopped along with Kitty's heart, and once their lips parted, the fallen master of SHOCK and AWE spat in her face. The SLAVE to the GAME savored the attention.

*Do you believe in ME?*

"Y-yes..." She said, and after his hand smacked her hard in the face, she said again, "Yes, master."

*Then stop sniveling down here like a coward and do what I fashioned you to do.* His finger grazed her cheek. *My dearest Kitten, you are the sliver in my paw, the seed in my teeth, and the grit in my naughty places...You have it in you - if not, I'd chose another.*

"B-but...she said she...loved him."

Kitty's pained, pathetic voice drowned in another deluge of sobs. Her Dark Guardian wiped a tear away from her cheek with a thumb and lifted it to his lips. Johnny savored the taste, eyes closed and a smile spread across his lips. She was still so sweet.

*Forget Kate,* he said, and slowly the warmth spread through her like microwaved syrup. *She's an addled-brained, deluded twat who doesn't realize how lucky she is with such a weapon at her disposal. So, she fucks Alan, or Animal, or whatever the fuck the nancy wants to call himself - what have you lost, really?*

"But I love her."

The fallen ANTICHRIST SUPERSTAR looked down into his damaged slave's pretty eyes, caressed her cheek, and slapped her again. The blow sent Kitty toppling over, and when she rose, Johnny sat above her once again with another cigarette in his mouth. Inhaling deeply, Kitty felt her world expand and blur in a sea of fractured framework and warped images; exhaling, the poison discharged into the air and she finally felt at peace. From his seat - as usual above her - Johnny spoke:

*Love is a lie, my dear,* he said, *And when all is said and done, the only hearts that truly matter are the bloody ones you hold in your own hand. Be with her, enjoy her, fuck her if she lets you - or take her if she doesn't - but whatever you do, don't kid yourself...you CAN'T love ANYONE...*

And her sobbing stopped...

*...You're just not made that way.*

The Sack Man

Just after Geno's interview

Shelly: Thanks guys, that was great. Good luck tonight!

Geno and Alan both smiled and thanked Shelly for her time. She was a good woman once you got to know her outside of her interviewer personality. She and Alan had even dated for a while, though he was not the one responsible for the life currently growing inside of her. Opening the MegaSuite door, she stopped in her tracks.

Shelly: Oh no.

TSM: Now, Shelly. Is that any way to talk to a friend?

Shelly: We're not friends.

TSM: Sadly Oh. brightening Then I guess these flowers are for you Genocide.

Alan: He brought you flowers.

Geno: You might have been right about him.

TSM: Now now, secrets don't make friends.

Alan: We're not your friend Sack Man.

TSM: ... .... ....

Geno: I think you hurt his feel-

TSM: *ahem* The.

Alan: *sigh* We're not your friend The Sack Man.

Geno: Really? That just sounds retarded.

Alan: What are you doing here?

Looking around the room, The Sack Man takes in the site of the suite. He knows Alan and Geno won't attack him unless physically provoked. He's not enough of a threat at the moment. At least not a threat like Homocide, Nate Daniels, Kitty and Trauma are.

TSM: I was looking to do an interview with Shelly. I saw on the monitor she was already here so I thought-

Leaning his head out the door, The Sack Man watches Shelly and her camera man hurry down the hallway.

TSM: Well, scratch that idea. She came on to me once, you know. Begging for it. And by "it", I mean coitus. Now she won't give me the time of day. It's true what they say about a woman scorned I guess.

Geno: I guess there's no other reason for you to be here then. And we're on our way to the ring so if you wouldn't find getting-

TSM: *snaps fingers* Gimmick!

Geno: Gimmick?

Alan: Dammit.

TSM: Alan, I'm sorry it slipped my mind to get you a gimmick. When you couldn't talk for the entire month I was workign on a whole Mime gimmick for you, but then Malice popped up and he's already got the Mime make-up and you're both in The Network... but here.

Snatching the flowers from Genocide, The Sack Man shoves them into Alan's hands.

TSM: You can be The Fighting Florist.

Alan: FLORIST?

Geno: *snicker* That's pretty good, actually.

Alan: Don't encourage him Gramps.

Geno: Your finisher could be The Daisy Cutter.

TSM: Your valet could be Black Eye Susan.

Geno: You could enter to "Every Rose Has It's Thorn"

TSM: And your catch phrase could be "Flower Power!"

Alan: looking to slug them both You're both so helpful. But I HONESTLY can say that I HONESTLY prefer being just HONEST Alan Scott. So take these flowers and take your gimmick some where else.

Taking the flowers back from Alan, The Sack Man cocks his head to the side and stares at Honest Alan.

TSM: Hello.

Alan: Excuse me?

Alan stares into the ice blue eyes of The Sack Man as The Enigmatic Englishman leans in closer. Geno prepares to step in as The Sack Man is now standing uncomfortably close to his SBFF.

TSM: hushed and questioning who's in there with you?

Alan: What are you talking about?

TSM: tapping by his own eye Just back behind you, there's someone else moving around in there. Big fellow too. Joe?

Geno: What is he talking about? Look, ***hole, enough of the mumbo jumbo **** all right?

TSM: shaking his head No, not Joe. Huh, guess that would have been too easy.

Shaking his head again, The Sack Man blinks, looking at Alan and Genocide. Handing the flowers back to Genocide, The Sack Man clears his throat.

TSM: Yes, well. Good luck to the both of you, especially you pointing at Geno if ...whatever... that is back there gets out.

Giving both men the "tremble fingers" The Sack Man shows himself out of the room. Genocide tosses the flowers in the garbage and looks at Alan.

Geno: peering I don't see anything.

Alan: That idiot's just trying to play mind games. There's nothing "inside" of me. I'm fine.

Geno: There's The Animal.

Alan: I said I. Am. Fine. Let's not discuss it again, okay Gramps?

Geno: Don't give me a reason to want to, junior.

Strolling down the hallway, The Sack Man made his way to Aaron Action's locker room. If they were going to be partners, they better solidify the deal before the fight started.

TSM: *snapping fingers* I should have saved the flowers for Him!

Homicide

Homicide was getting impatient. He and Nate Daniels were the only two wrestlers actually at the match site. What was irritating was that everyone, especially Alan, was content to run around backstage and play grab ass instead of actually take any steps toward starting the match. He watched as Alan Scott went on about baseball, and couldn't help but laugh. For one thing, as far as Jeff was concerned, baseball was completely homo and weak. So being insulted with a sucky baseball team really didn't matter to him. Nor did it really matter to anyone who isn't a baseball fan.

And since the general crowd reaction was a mix of murmurs and silence, it was clear that Alan Scott's rant fell flat. Jeff understood though, he had taken away MOST of what Alan had to say in his own promo. With a lack of material, Alan grasped at straws. Nate and Homie looked at each other and then back at the entrance way. Homicide began to move toward the ropes. Nate placed a hand on his shoulder.

Homie: What's up, bro?

Nate: Where are you going?

Homie: I'm starting the match.

Nate: Bro, you've already attacked them, don't you think we should-

Homie: I'm starting the match, Nate.

Homie ignored his bro-mate. This wasn't something he did lightly. Nor was it something he had been known to do. Still, in his mind, it was about time someone manned up. Since Homicide couldn't rely on the champion himself to come out here and take charge, he would. Homicide grabbed one of the many chairs which lay on the ground and began walking backstage. Nate watched as his partner strode halfway up the ramp. He sighed and climbed out of the ring. Better to follow the kid and back him up then watch as he gets his ass handed to him. So it was then that The Bromance were now searching for Team SBFF.

The halls of the arena weren't quite as maze like as most arenas. In fact, Homicide made sure to take a longer route to where The Network Suite would be located. When they got there, they saw Alan and Genocide walking down the hall. No doubt they were probably talking about backing each other up, semi arguing over who would be claiming the belt, so on and so forth. Jeff ran up and slammed the chair into Alan's back. Genocide turned around and tried to fire off a Genokick at his SBFF's attacker. It was blocked by the chair, which was quickly cast aside. Before Geno could try another, Alan Scott had leveled Jeff with a clothesline. Not wanting to see his friend get double teamed, Nate Daniels leaped into the fray.

So it was that both teams managed to brawl all the way to the entrance. Alan tried for a right hook which would have blasted Homicide through the curtains and onto the ramp. Homicide ducked it, wrapped his arms around Scott's waist, and performed a belly to back suplex which sent him through the curtain and onto the ramp. The fans popped as the body of Alan Scott hit the steel and began to roll down. Homicide strode through the curtain and gave chase. Genocide and Nate were in the midst of a brawl, as each were trying to stop the other from getting to their friends. Sometimes it was hard being an SBFF. Homicide lifted Alan Scott up and whipped him into the steel guard rail.

When he ran at The Best There Is, to try and clothesline him over the rail, Alan drove an elbow into his head. This caused a blur of color and pain to stab at Homicide's head. The momentum he had been gathering from running had been ended abruptly when the elbow hit him, causing all of that force to make the strike even worse than it normally would have been. Alan Scott grabbed Homicide and prepared to drag him to the ring. Homicide elbowed Alan in the ribs and tried to whip him into the cage wall which surrounded the ring. Alan managed to reverse it, sending his would be usurper into the unforgiving steel.

Honest Alan Scott shook his head. This wasn't his way. He walked over to the ring and climbed in. Homicide pushed himself off of the cage wall and looked at Scott. Alan smirked and gestured for him to come in. Jeff McCarthy climbed up the steel steps and walked through the ropes. As soon as he's in the ring, Alan slams his body into his opponent's. The King of Abs hits the ground on impact.

John: Alan Scott is fighting like a man possessed! He's just pummeling Jeff with lefts and rights now!

Hank: The man broke his jaw. He attacked him twice before that. Just what do you expect him to do? As far as I'm concerned, he's getting what he deserves.

John: Ah, so you're on the champion's side. For now. We know if Homicide has a chance of winning, you'll change your mind.

Hank: Say what you will, partner. But what you CAN'T say is that I back losing horses!

Alan Scott pulled his foe to his feet and whipped him toward the ropes. Homicide saw a chance to try and turn the tides a bit. He did a handspring which launched himself into the ropes. Upon bouncing off, he drove a heavy elbow into the chest of The Last Honest Man. Scott's eyes bulged as the air was ripped from his lungs. Both men fell to the ground, but only Alan stayed there. Homicide stood up and looked to the outside where he saw Geno and Nate still going at it. At the present moment, Genocide had the advantage as he doled out several chair shots to the back of Daniels. Jeff saw an opportunity and bounced off of the ropes. One baseball slide later and Genocide was on the ground. One half of The Bromance stood up and looked at the other on the outside.

Homie: Don't worry, I got your back, bro!

Nate: Homie, LOOK OUT!

Homie: Oh Shi-

As Homicide turned around, he was greeted to Alan Scott slamming a double axe handle into his head. The former Superstar Champion hit the ground from the impact. His head spun in a slight daze from the force of the move. Alan Scott wasn't finished, though, not by a long shot.

Aaron Action

The door to the A-Team dressing room slammed open. Aaron Action, Adam Draven, and Eleazer the Prophet were on their feet in a second. Even Marlowe was up on his feet. He looked down to see a bat was in his hand. Old habits die hard.

The group looked to the door and saw that Shelly Simmons was leaning against it. Her camera man was standing next to her. He was breathing hard. Of course had just chased Shelly down the hallway carrying a 50-pound camera. Shelly opened the door and peered out. She closed the door a let out a sigh of relief.

SHELLY SIMMONS I think I lost him.

Shelly closed the door and turned around. She jumped when she realized there were four men in the room. The long-legged announcer hadn’t bothered to look to see what room she was entering. She just wanted to get away from that weird guy with the paper bag on his head. He gave her the Willies.

Aaron Action smiled at the announcer. He lifted the pizza box off the couch and moved over next to Shelly. The Son of the South took the blonde beauty by the arm and led her to the overstuffed leather divan.

AARON ACTION: Take a theat Shelly Thimmonth, a lady in your condition should be off her feet.

Shelly sank into the couch. She felt the pressure come off of her feet. She glanced down at her swollen ankles and thought about how big her feet would be when she took off her shoes. She let out a slight sigh of pleasure as she got herself situated on the couch.

SHELLY SIMMONS The is one comfy couch.

MARLOWE: Had it specially made for per Aaron’s … specification.

Marlowe was frantically tossing food wrappers, lengths of dull barbed wire and … balled up sheets of paper with what seemed to be poetry on them out of what would be the camera shot. He wondered when he became a den mother.

AARON ACTION: Well, I thuppothe you’re here for an interview about de Crazy Eight.

Shelly’s eyes shifted left and right. She fluffed up her hair and reached for her bag.

SHELLY SIMMONS Umm … yeah. That’s why I came in here.

The group waited a few more minutes as Bill the cameraman finally caught his breath. He thanked Adam Draven for the bottle of water and downed it in three gulps. He was sweating profusely. He repeatedly took out a handkerchief and wipes his brow with it. Aaron Action looked at the man.

AARON ACTION: Bill, you really need ta get in shape. Workin’ out is good for you.

There was a loud coughing sound. Aaron looked to his left and saw that Eleazer seemed to be choking on the water he had just drunk. Well, actually mostly spit all over a rather annoyed looking Draven. Aaron slapped his teammate on his back until the choking spell passed.

AARON ACTION: You need ta be careful dere. I had an Uncle dat choked ta death on his drink … courthe it was Shine fresh from hith thtill, but he did die.

That little comment brought the room to halt for just a moment. And then Aaron slapped his hands together and rubbed them profusely.

AARON ACTION: Let’th get down to it.

Shelly pulled the pocket mirror from her bag. She grabbed some lipstick and put it on. She checked her concealer and saw that the pregnancy induced pimples were still covered. She stared into the mirror. Her face was looking heavy. She wondered how much longer Living Dead Girl would let her stay on the air before forcing a Maternity leave. Shelly was fully aware that Liv didn’t want a pregnant woman on the air. But then, Shelly wasn’t sure she wanted to be around these roid ragers. One false move and the baby could be gone. She felt tears well up, but she pushed them back. She had a job to do.

SHELLY SIMMONS All right, Aaron, let’s do this.

She smiled at the Son of the South. Shelly had nothing but good feelings for the man. He treated her with nothing but polite respect. She wished a man like that was the father of her child, not –

BILL: In three … two … one! …

SHELLY SIMMONS Shelly Simmons here with The Awesome Aaron Action and The A-Team. And tonight, Aaron Action will be defending his X-Ecutioner title against Phoenix Risen. But more importantly, you have your first match for the X-Factor title in the Crazy Eight. How does that make you feel?

AARON ACTION: Shelly Thimmonth, Ah am honored ta be in da main event and Ah have da fans ta thank for it. Every time Ah go out dere in front of dem. I can feel da power dey are givin’ off and it driveth me ta do better.

SHELLY SIMMONS And what about the match itself? Some have claimed that you are at a disadvantage due to your size.

AARON ACTION: Shelly, it’s not the thize of da dog in de fight, it’th da thize of da fight in da dog.

Shelly blinked.

SHELLY SIMMONS Well, that may be true. But in this case size does matter.

Draven whispered to Eleazer.

ADAM DRAVEN: Bet that’s not the first time she’s used that phrase.

Eleazer snickered. Shelly shot a dirty look his way.

SHELLY SIMMONS What I mean is, you are a … much larger man than your opponents. It will be more difficult to get up into the rafters and win the belt don’t you think?

AARON ACTION: I’ll tell you what, Shelly Thimmonth, I heard a tell dat Genothide and Alan Thcott thay dey have an advantage in dith match becauthe dey been in it before. But dem two egg thucking dogth done forgot one thing about da Crazt Eight.

SHELLY SIMMONS What’s that?

AARON ACTION: They forgot, mah manager was one of da men who co-created da match and won da first one ever.

SHELLY SIMMONS That’s right. Marlowe did help Maverick … back when he was sane … create the match in Japan. And he did win the inaugural Crazy Eight. … But how does that help you win?

AARON ACTION: Shelly Thimmonth, Marlowe knowth dith match in and out. He knowth what workth and what doethn’t. In fact, if not for hith early retirement, Marlowe would be in dith match and probably win it. … Instead he done given me hith thecretth and I plan on uthing dem to win dat belt for de A-Team. Den we’re gonna go out inta da Montreal night and git Funky like a Monkey … eff you weel.

Shelly nodded.

SHELLY SIMMONS Well, thank you for your time. And good luck in the ring.

Shelly motioned for a cut. She tried to stand up and fell back. Draven and Eleazer pulled her out of the couch. She nodded thanks and turned toward the door. As her hand hit the knob there was a knock. Out of habit Shelly pulled the door open.

And stared into the … paper bag … of The Sack Man.

CONTINUED

The Sack Man

Shelly let out a little "yipe!" before her lips slammed shut. The Sack Man looked at her and the corners of his bag crinkled in a grin.

TSM: Ahhh, the reverse stalk. Very clever Shelly. Point to you.

Shelly: Stop following me!

TSM: *blink* Came here on my own accord my dear. Came to see Aaron.

AA: The Thack Man! Ath I live and breath. What can I do for ya'll?

Marlowe: You could probably help him hurry to the ring.

AA: Thorry?

Pointing at the TV on mute, everyone in the room watching Alan Scott slam an axehandle into the back of Homicide. The Honest one had been dragged into the match and so far was cleaning house. Pullig Nate Daniels back to his feet he and Genocide snap suplexed him back to the unforgiving floor of the arena.

Marlowe: So you guys should probably GET go-

Marlowe trailed off as he realized The Sack Man was already gone. They could hear his footsteps pounding down the hallway as he sprinted for the ring. Looking at Aaron, Marlowe smiled slightly.

Marlowe: Well.... he'll keep both sides busy for a bit. But Aaron you've got to get to the ring. Trust me, it takes a little while to get your bearings inside that warzone.

Aaron: Let me jutht grab mythelf a Thnicka's for the road.

With Genocide still stomping a mudhole in Nate Daniels, the champion turned his attention back to Homicide. Grabbing him by the back of the neck, The Honest One slammed his month long rival headfirst into the steel cage wall.

Alan: This is why you don't talk ****, K.C. Because you can't back it up.

"Bring 'em Out" by T.I. started playing over the p.a. and at the announce table Hank threw his hands in the air as the Canadian faithful cheered.

Hank: A perfectly nice match and now this clown is out here.

Paragon: The Sack Man is one of the participants tonight Hank, he's earned his spot in this championship Main Event.

Hank: But who wants to watch the biggest belt in the industry be defended on the dark card?

Racing down the rampway, The Sack Man ignored the fans as he ran. Dirty secessionists. Alan turned just in time to see The Sack Man leave his feet at the bottom of the ramp, and barely avoided the 5'11" human missle that slammed both Alan and Homicide into the cage wall again. Enough of Sacky clipped Alan, banging him against the wall as well, but he shook off the damage first.

Looking over from the wall, Alan saw that Nate had gotten the upper hand on Genocide. Rushing to his SBFF's rescue, Alan caught a hard elbow from Nate that snapped his head back. Grabbing Alan by the back of the head, the leader of IKI smashed Alan's head into the guard rail. Satisfied that both men were down, Nate headed back over to the cage wall to help out his Bromance partner.

Paragon: Nate Daniels has The Sack Man back on his feet, hard whip into the steel cage.

Hank: He better hope he doesn't knock that wall over, it's only steel cage on two sides. This thing is a madhouse and it's STILL not enough to contain these five men!

Paragon: Nate and Homicide linking arms now... double closeline- DUCKED! The Sack Man narrowly avoi- DUCKS AGAIN!

SMASH!!

Paragon: I don't know if Alan was trying to hit The Sack Man, but the British Brawler ducked under the forearm and Nate and Homicide took the brunt of the blow! Alan finally unhooking the championship title and tossing it over the top of the cage wall.

Hank: Good, the sooner we can get that thing hanging from the ceiling the sooner Alan can take it back and we can call it a night!

Aaron Action

The Sack Man turned around and was met by a Geno kick that sent him tumbling from the ring. Geno turned to Alan who was breathing rather heavily. Geno felt a slight flop of worry in his stomach.

Alan Scott pulled Homicide up. He whipped him into the ropes. Homicide hit and bounced back. Alan hit him with a clothesline that sent Jeff McCarthy flying. He picked Homicide up in a gorilla press and threw him over the top rope clearing the ring.

Alan felt a hand on his shoulder and spun. His spinning back fist just missed Genocide who pulled back quickly for a man of his advanced age. He put up his hands.

GENOCIDE: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

Alan pulled back with a look of horror on his face. He leaned in to his partner as he watched Homicide and Nate regroup.

ALAN SCOTT: You need to buy me some time.

GENOCIDE: What?

ALAN SCOTT: I … need … to … get … control.

Genocide looked into his partner’s eyes. He could see the red around the rims growing and he understood. The last thing that Geno needed was Alan going all Beast on him this early in the match. He knew that the Beast was uncontrollable. But he also knew that it took a toll on Alan. And when it was over, Alan was useless for several hours. Kind of like Geno himself after a round with the missus. He gave Alan a nod.

GENOCIDE: Got it.

Geno turned and ran across the ring. He dove over the ropes. Nate and Homicide prepared to catch him. But he didn’t come down.

PARAGON: And there you see one of the many unique parts of this match, Hank. Genocide dove out of the ring and grabbed one of those ropes.

PROCTNER: That’s right. He’s swinging right by the Bromance. And … Ohhh! He hit them from behind. That’s the high-level thinking you depend on from the leader of The Network.

Nate and Jef sprawled forward and Geno landed lightly on the ring apron. He jumpd off and hit one of the mini-tramps the springs sent him into the air and he landed an elbow on Nate Daniels broken arm. Nate screamed in pain.

PARAGON: Now that was uncalled for. Nate Daniels is out here working with a broken arm. There is no need to attack it.

PROCTNER: Unless you want him out of the match so you can … I don’t know… WIN!

Nate was on the floor writhing in pain. Geno jumped up and rolled into the ring. He watched as Homicide ran over to check on his Bro. Jeff glared at Geno, but needed to check on his partner first.

GENOCIDE: That work?

Alan felt himself regaining control. He nodded

ALAN SCOTT: How did you know Homie would cmake sure Nate was okay?

Geno patted is adopted grandson and SBFF on the shoulder.

GENOCIDE: Cause that’s what I would have done.

Just as Alan was going in for the manly hug, the drums started. The fans rose to their feet as the Theme to The A-Team began to play. Aaron Action charged through the curtains and tore into the ring. He slid under the ropes and popped back up before Geno or Alan could react.

PARAGON: And here comes participant number 5 in this outlandish match and the one the fans seem to favor … Awesome Aaron Action.

PROCTNER: You mean the one guaranteed not to win? How in the name of my sweet Aunt Fanny will Aaron get his giant … uh … fanny up to that belt up there?

PARAGON: I guess we’ll just have to see. In the meantime, Aaron is a house on fire. He’s throwing lefts and rights at Alan and Geno and they seem to stunned to have an answer for it.

Aaron was on a roll. He hit Alan with a left. He hit Geno with right. He turned back to Alan and scooped him up and body slammed him to the mat. As Alan scrambled to get back up, Aaron scooped up Geno and slammed him as well. The fans were going crazy.

PARAGON: Say all you want about Aaron’s size. He moves as fast any big man in the ring. Right now he’s dominating two of Federation X’s best.

PROCTNER: The key there is right now. Aaron may be fast. He may be talented. And he may have a slight advantage with all of his Bloodsprot experience. But he does not have the stamina of the rest of these guys out here. Or even the women … and The Sack Man … who will be out any moment. If this match goes any length of time, you can bet the Ton of the South will fade away.

Alan was back up and Aaron was ready. He hit the X-Factor champ with a Bionic Elbow on the top of the head. Alan fell back to the mat holding his cranium. Aaron turned back to Geno and received a rake to the eyes.

PARAGON: And there’s the great equalizer. No man can work a match if he can’t see.

PROCTNER: I knew a guy named Murdock once. He was totally blind, but could work with anyone.

PARAGON: Sounds like a real Daredevil.

Triple A staggered back holding his eyes. He wiped at his face trying to clear his vision. Alan was back on his feet. He charged past Aaron going for the far ropes. Genocide went for the near ropes. Alan came back behind Aaron and dove low. Geno came form the front and went for a flying clothesline. Like the well-oiled team they were, the SBFFs hit the moves simultaneously sending Aaron Action crashing to the ground. They popped up and started laying the boots to The Awesome One.

PROCTNER: And Team SBFF is back in control. What did I tell you, John.

PARAGON: I never argued with you. There are eight talented participants in this match tonight and any one of them could win. But the way Team SBFF looks, they may be the early favorites.

PROCTNER: Come on, John. It’s a lock.

Homicide jumped off of the top turnbuckle. He hit Alan in the back with a dropkick that sent him into Genocide. Geno stagger away as Alan fell to the mat next to Aaron. When Geno reached the corner he was hit with a chair by Nate Daniels who was still obviously in severe pain.

Bromance got into the ring to the cheers of the crowd.

PARAGON: Looks like we have another momentum swing, Hank.

CONTINUED

Genocide

[With Alan's solo portion of the interview completed, Genocide saunters on to the screen and takes his chair, alongside his waiting SBFF. Geno flashes Shelly a smile, but it's returned only with an icy glare... not as icy as Rylan Hearn's orbs, of course, but still icy nonetheless.]

Shelly: Well here he is... the man who, I'm sure, just can't wait to get his hands all over Kitty Hawke again.

[Genocide shakes his head in disappointment and answers Shelly with a stern glare.]

Geno: Listen, Shelly. I don't know how many times I have to say this, but let me be clear...

[Geno punctuates each word with a provacative thrust of his thumb.]

Geno: I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman.

[Shelly rolls her eyes as Alan shifts uncomfortably. He was hoping Shelly wouldn't press the issue and ask Alan if he was buying Geno's story. He would have to answer honestly, of course... and honestly, he wasn't sure if he believed his grampa or not.]

Shelly: So you're telling me that you spent three hours in the middle of the night with a naked woman, and NOTHING happened?

Geno: Shelly, I suggest we move along to a new line of questioning.

Shelly: And why is that?

[Geno shifts forward and covers the mic clipped onto his shirt. Shelly wisely follows suit.]

Geno: Because if you don't, maybe I start talking about the father of your kid. Does he know yet, by the way?

[Shelly stiffles a gulp and calmly sits back up, restarting the intervew with the most sincere smile she can muster.]

Shelly: Tonight, each of you head into this match with a target on your back. Alan Scott, you're obviously coming into the match as the X-Factor World Champion... and Genocide, I watched your winning Crazy-8 performance last year. How do you think you'll be able to overcome six other athletes giving their all to make sure you two don't win?

Alan: It's simple, Shelly. We're SBFF's...

Geno: And we're the ORIGINAL SBFF's... not like the female SBFF's... and not the homosexual SBFF's we're going to run through tonight. I won the first Crazy-8 by tapping into the power of SBFF. Tonight, we're going to do the same thing to help Alan hang on to his championship.

Shelly: And it's really just going to happen like that? Team SBFF goes out, kicks ass, takes names... and then, you... Genocide, 24 Time World Heavyweight Champ... you just step aside and let Alan Scott retain in your first ever World Championship shot in Federation X?

Geno: Yup... that's exactly what I'm saying... this man beside me is already the greatest X-Factor Champ of all Time... tonight, that legacy is only cemented.

Shelly: I still have a hard time believing that... among other things.

Alan: Hey... is my grampa the most honest man that ever lived? No. But if Geno tells you that he'll have my back tonight... and if he tells you that he didn't cheat on his wife... that's good enough for me.

Geno: That's right... I've waited this long for an X-Factor Title shot... and I'm prepared to wait even longer.

Shelly: Have you really waited that long? I seem to recall before the King of the Cage semi-finals, you went behind the back of your own partner to get the Powerbase to agree to put Alan's World Championship on the line during your match... isn't that the exact thing you two accused Chance of doing before firing her from The Network?

[Geno and Alan shoot each other a glance before turning back towards Shelly. She may be a few weeks away from maternity leave with hormones coursing through her veins, but she was still the best broadcast journalist in the business. Geno was stumped, but luckily, Alan was there to pick up the slack.]

Alan: Completely different circumstances.

Shelly: How?

Alan: Simple... Grampa Geno and I are SBFF's. The bond between SBFF's is unbreakable.

Shelly: So?

Alan: *sigh* Chance isn't my SBFF. She isn't Geno's SBFF. She doesn't have the luxury of that bond. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Chance isn't a part of this match... but luckily for the fans tonight... Team SBFF is.

[Genocide and Alan stand, revealing their matching I'm Somebody's SBFF t-shirts, adopting similar poses of confidence.]

Alan: So go ahead... feel free to drink us in.

Geno: But please... drink responsibly.

[This is about the time that The Sack Man shows up, giving Genocide flowers and chasing Shelly Simmons away.]

Geno: Good interview, eh?

Alan: With that epic catch phrase, how couldn't it be?

[Geno and Alan step out into the hallway, going over last minute tactics.]

Alan: Obviously, we'll have to watch everyone in this environment... but as far as actually climbing the rope...

Geno: Right... Aaron has no shot hauling that fat ass up... Daniels has the broken arm, so he's out.

Alan: And Homicide will probably have trouble gripping onto the rope because it's not another man's penis.

Geno: Heh... good one... OOOOF!

[It's about this time that Team Gay SBFF (Bromance) attack Genocide and Alan from behind and drag them out to the ring, starting the fight, if not the match. The Sack Man and Aaron Action have susequently joined the fray.]

Paragon: Looks like we have another momentum shift, Hank...

[All of the momentum would be stopped, however, as a gang of yellow-shirted security guards file from the backstage area and into the ring.]

Paragon: Woah woah woah... what is this?

Proctner: It appears as if The Powerbase is stopping this match...

Paragon: But why?

Proctner: Perhaps because it hasn't even started yet?

Paragon: You're right, partner... we still haven't heard a bell here.

[The fans erupt in boos as the yellow shirts sacrifice themselves to stop the action. They keep going down, but more just keep coming. Genocide, meanwhile, has managed to crawl out to the floor, regaining his composure and procuring a live microphone.]

Geno: Hold on... hold on. I don't think so. I'm Genocide... this is Alan Scott. We're Team SBFF... the greatest tag team EVER, and two of the greatest world champions to have the honor of strapping on a gold and leather belt. We fight for glory, for championships, for our legacy. We don't fight for free... and we didn't sign on to a Crazy-6 Match. We're not going to risk our careers in an environment like this for no reason, when the match hasn't even started. We're not insane.

But I know someone who IS insane... who ARE willing to inflict punishment on you four for just the thrill of it... ladies and gentlemen... the two newest members of The Network...

TRAUMA and KITTY!!!

Paragon: WHAT!?!?

Kitty

Those gathered faithful stood shocked by the 24-time World Champion's announcement. Even the broadcasters were flustered and sat mouths agape and sputtering. An unusual silence fell across the Bell Center, and center stage Genocide grinned as another NETWORK trump card slammed with authority down upon the playing table. At his side, HONEST Alan Scott seemed, more or less, calm and together - inside, however, he was fuming.

From their position across the ring, the BROMANCE appeared concerned, but only slightly so, as looking weak was clearly a violation of the BRO CODE. Homicide mumbled into his partner's ear, asking if it was true. Nate shrugged and looked irate - he hadn't seen Kitty since POLARITY and the never-ending Rumble, but the idea of her joining the NETWORK seemed...well, insane. Surely, she'd mention something like that to him...right?

On the outside of the ring admist the clutter, weaponry, trampolines, and cage sides, Aaron Action was on his feet once more and favoring his neck. The SON of the SOUTH stood a few paces away from his proposed ally, the Sack Man, and watched as the last of the security detail trailed back up the aisle. While the contest wasn't officially started yet, they weren't hanging around ringside.

And they waited...and seconds turned into minutes, which continued to collect. The fanbase surrounding them began firing boos in their direction, clearly annoyed by the stop in the action. The BROMANCE nodded and pointed at Genocide, which caused a brief negative ovation. The NETWORK Captain pulled an aggravated face and mouthed, *Nice* in their direction.

"I told you this was a mistake," Alan whispered into his partner's ear. Geno played it off as if they were discussing strategy; the LAST HONEST MAN didn't feel like pretending. "They can't be trusted."

"Of course they can't be trusted," Geno replied, "But that's expected. Just trust ME. This was a good decision, even if that nutso shrink thinks she has something to hold over my head. And Kitty, don't worry about her."

"Don't worry? She's insane - I doubt she even knows what a stable is..."

"Trust me." Geno flashed a grin. "She'll fall right in line once the proper leverage is applied."

"Leverage?" Alan leaned in closer, his voice rising in a manner unsual toward his adopted grandfather and partner. "What did you do?"

"I had our legal team send a letter to her lawyers. Let's just say Miss Emerson-Hawke has been stockpiling arms to start a war over the custody of her son with her dear, nutjob hubby. She's got one hell of a legal team - a surprise really - but she'll need more help...Network help." He patted Alan on the back. "Like I said, once I play that card, she'll settle in nicely...and it'll be cool to have a psycho chick we can just sic on people."

"Sure you're thinking with the right head?"

Before Genocide could reply, he was interrupted.

"Wanna play?"


The house lights dimmed and the entrance stage flashed to life to the opening bassline of MOUNTAIN SONG by Jane's Addiction. A cascade of pink, crimson, and black sparks fell from the top of the stage, and behind it a silhouette appeared, though without the usual provocative poses. Slowly, Kitty walked through the electrical waterfall, face raised, as if trying to catch sparks on her tongue like falling snowflakes. Then her gaze shot forward, locking on the center of the ring.

"You have talked to her about this already, right?" Alan said, but Geno wasn't paying attention. His eyes were more focused on the I'VE BEEN ICONOCLASMED shirt pulled tightly over the ANGELIC ANARCHIST's curvy frame.

Kitty made her way down the aisle slowly. She looked an absolute mess, clothes dirty and ragged and hair a mess. Even her mascara had ran, giving her eyes a sunken look. The Dirty Angel was in full effect, and passing Action and TSM by, she slid through the ropes and fell to her knees before her new stablemates.

Across the ring, Nate Daniels flinched, but his partner held him in check. "Focus, bro," he heard his partner say, "This is NOT the time."

Geno and Alan stared down at the formerly FORGOTTEN PRINCESS, a little surprised and a lot puzzled by her behavior. Kitty's face hung down, hair obscuring her vision, and she remained silent. It was odd and creepy.

"Um...maybe she's gonna blow 'em." Hank Proctner was heard to say, his voice followed by the sound of John Paragon's hand smacking him across the back of the skull. "What? It IS Kitty."

"Uh, Kitty," Geno finally said after some nudging from his SBFF, "Glad you're finally out here. Um...where's Trauma? And about that shirt..."

"She's not here," Kitty replied, her voice flat and hoarse. She sighed. "She's not here."

Alan shot Geno a glare. "See..."

"Kitty, what do you mean she isn't here? We had a plan, damn it! An agreement!"

Kitty looked up at Team SBFF scowling and lips curled into the makings of a snarl. A feral glimmer flittered in her eyes, across her features, and then it relaxed, dying away as fast as it came. Blankly, she stared at them and shrugged:

"I figured you'd know where she was," she said directing her gaze to Alan, "After all, she's in love with YOU, isn't she?"

And before Alan could respond, the ANGELIC ANARCHIST popped to her feet, turned, and dove through the ropes crashlanding across the frames of the SON of the SOUTH and the Sacked Wonder.

Lights...cameras...action.

Trauma

From The Journal of Dr. Kate Moran:

Glory. Victory. For a long time, I pondered over just what that meant. For some, it was winning the largest title in one of the greatest stages in our industry. For others, it’s simply an act. One grandiose deed that people speak of for ages. Sometimes it’s a tremendous act of kindness. Such as helping someone in need or protecting the innocent. And sometimes it’s an act of sheer cruelty. Be it setting a young woman’s head on fire, or beating down the most hated many in the fed with a tire iron. The line between infamy and fame was thin. Each were strongly desired by someone, even if it wasn’t the same kind of person.

But what did these words mean to me? What did I want out of life. For so long, I had spent my time here looking outward. So focused on experimenting on others that I failed to see myself. To be honest, I was afraid to. Every time my dark eyes gazed into the abyss of my mind, all that could be seen was rot. Festering red rust, dark brown clouds of soot and smoke, and hordes of flies buzzing overhead. I hated it, feared it, and needed it all the same.

It’s a strange sort of feeling, to know you’re mad. To logically understand that what you see and think is not real, but to be helpless to stop it from happening. It was much akin to being a puppet who can see the strings. Just because you know they’re present doesn’t mean you can cut yourself free from them. And even if you did, what would you do? If all your life is spent dancing to the tune and moving to the strings of others, what would you do if they were taken from you? Who would you be? Would you stand fast and stride into a new day? Or would you fall flat, boneless, and be unable to climb back up again.

The Crazy Eight match, for me, was nothing more than a mere experiment. At least, at first. That is, until I looked at myself in the mirror. My flesh was rotted. Worms, maggots, and spider babies crawled in my festering wounds. And yet, I did not feel fear. Instead, I felt a certain morbid fascination over it. I was a walking corpse. The dead given sentience and purpose. For so long I had preached to Kitty to embrace her madness and accept the power that insanity could give you. And yet was I practicing such advice? No.

I was deluded myself. Jogging from one pet project to another. Constantly staying busy, constantly keeping my mind occupied so that the visions wouldn’t harass my mind. After my last sin, with Kitty in the shower, I had been so afraid to enrage the insects which animated me. But a woman can’t ignore that which comprises their being. Ignoring the insects and arachnids was much akin to ignoring the bones and sinew of a normal person. They were essential parts of my being, creatures which would always be there, and I’d be a fool to deny them.

Kitty had entered first. My eyes watched as she dove between the ropes and landed on Sack Man and Aaron Action. She was angry. Had she heard what was said during the session with Alan Scott? Possibly, and perhaps it would need some explaining. Once I myself figured it all out myself, that is. In the meantime, there was a match to win. Yes, to win. It seemed a lofty goal, considering the many disadvantages I was faced with. Most of the competitors were twice my size. They also were far more experienced than I. With all of my chemicals and tricks having been exhausted earlier in the card, what was I to do?

Standing behind the curtain, I realized that tonight would be a trial for me. Could I wrestle my demons to the ground? Or would they run my mind into dust? Could I walk alongside my devils, dance with them to the zombie quartet which played in the background? Or would they turn on me and eat me alive? Tonight was about testing myself in much the same way I had tested so many others. It was my I wore a simple pair of wrestling tights, a matching corset, and a pair of wrestling gloves. No other attire seemed necessary.

“I speak in verses,
Prophecies and curses…
I speak in verses,
Prophecies and curses….
I hate my life…”

The first lines of Otep’s “Buried Alive” began to play. The arena lights changed from bright white to dark, grainy brown. Aged footage of my past exploits played across the screen as I came out from the ramp way. The fans jeered for me, for they dislike how I had handled The HOT Girls earlier. So be it. I winked at Genocide and Alan as I glided down the ramp. Genocide shuddered slightly while Alan never took his eyes off me. There was fear behind those eyes, and I so wanted to explore it.

Tonight would be a night about battling demons, my peers, and achieving a goal. In a wrestling company which viewed women as inferior, the fact that I was even in the final Eight for this event with only two matches to my credit spoke volumes. Someone in the Home Office didn’t like it. Of that much, I was certain. Kitty stood up and tried to get my attention. My eyes gave her a look which simply said, “We’ll talk later.” I then slid into the ring and walked over to my two Network companions.

They started to say something, but then it happened. The maggots and worms and insects and demons inside of me began to take sway. The ring began to peel away and decompose. Instead of canvas, steel mesh was in it’s place. The ring ropes were replaced with barbed wire. The trampolines remained roughly the same, but the ropes were replaced with chains. A crucified body clung to the cage wall. And above me? Above me hung a beautiful beacon of light. Every one of my opponents changed. They grew fangs, hair, red eyes, and they wanted to devour me.

Every instinct inside me told me to run. My eyes welled with tears. My body shook and my stomach quivered. Still, I held fast. My resolve would not be shaken. The light sung to me. It whispered sweet melodies in my ear and promised salvation if only I could touch it.

That night, in the eye of hell, beset by demons, I made a promise:

I would find salvation.


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Stan Daniels

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The Crazy Eight Part 3

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:54 am

The Sack Man

Now that Trauma had joined the action, the bell sounded again, Officially starting the match. Not that it mattered much to Aaron Action and The Sack Man, they were busy trying to pry a rabid Kitty off of them. She may have been a slip of a girl who looked like she hadn't eaten or slept in 48 hours, but she came at the men like a bazooka. She'd leveled The Sack Man was a furious flurry of fists, then turned and jumped into Aaron Action's arms, wrapping her legs as best as she could around his waist and just began clawing at his face.

AA: Thith ith no way fer a lady to ahct!

Rushing forward, Aaron pancaked Kitty against the ring post, the impact slamming her chest into his face. He would have enjoyed the contact if Kitty hadn't moved on to pulling his hair and clubbing him in the skull. Hopping off his body, Kitty smashed a boot into his gut and prepared to DDT him to the floor when The Sack Man came flying off a trampoline and caught her fullbore with a drop kick.

Paragon: The trampolines coming into play yet again as Aaron, Kitty and The Sack Man fight on the outside of the ring.

Hank: I see that Nate and Homicide still don't have the balls to get back into the ring.

Paragon: It's a 2 on 3 situation they're facing Hank. Trauma AND Kitty are both now part of The Network. This has shifted the entire balance of the fight!

Hank: Bromance had no trouble attacking the SBFFs on the way to the ring a few minutes ago! And you heard Genocide, that wasn't even legal! But now that there's a girl in the ring.... do you think they're worried they'll get cooties?

Covering the mic with his hand, Hank screamed at Bromance who was still talking strategy on the outside.

Hank: YOU WON'T GET COOTIES!!!

Homicide flipped Hank the bird before Bromance made their way to the ring. Sprinting in, Jeff slid under the bottom rope, only to be immediately set upon by Geno and Alan. Nate hopped up on the ring apron, lept onto the trampoline and flipped over the top rope, slamming his cast into the face of Genocide. It hurt like hell for Nate, but a solid cast to the mouth didn't do Geno any favors either. Genocide could taste blood on his tongue as he and Nate rolled on the floor.

Looking at his downed SBFF and then at Trauma, Alan was ticked to see that she was still just standing there, her eyes fixed on the belt above the ring.

Alan: Trauma! Help us out here!

Trauma snapped out of her daze, looking around the ring at the downed men. She felt her skin crawl looking at the demons laying on the steel mesh. Kicking at one, she did her best to keep it down. Alan watched her stomp at Nate's injured arm and shook his head. Alan was a tag team specialist, and he had no time for people that couldn't work as a unit in the ring. Unfortunately that moment of disgust cost him, as Homicide reached up and pulled Alan by the tights. Thrown off balance the X-Ecutioner Champ went sailing between the ropes and crashed to the outside of the ring.

Still battling on the outside of the ring, The Sack Man slipped around a punch from Kitty and quickly locked The Forgotten Princess into a Million Dollar Dream. Instead of flailing as the air was cut off from her body, Kitty began moaning and grinding against The Sack Man. The Enigmatic Englishman's eyes narrowed as she did it again.

TSM: Hold on... are you enjoying this?

Kitty's answer was a low whimper followed by a cracking headbutt that made The Sack Man's vision go snow white for a moment. This time Kitty did hit her DDT, but as she mounted The Sack Man to do more punishment, Aaron Action came rumbling up and drove a, let's say 200 pound, knee into her skull.

Paragon: Aaron Action returning the favor and saving The Sack Man from Kitty's claws. Oh! A hard boot to Trauma's head and now Homicide is helping Nate Daniels back to his feet. You have to wonder how effective Nate is going to be as this match goes on. That arm is already a major target, can you imagine if The Sack Man gets a hold of it? An injury like that is enough to make a technical specialist drool.

Hank: I bet The Sack Man just starts drooling when he thinks about men. Bromance has gotten over their cootie fear, both of them pounding away at Trauma. Where Genocide?

Geno was doing as he promised he would, checking on his adopted grandson Alan. Helping Alan back to his feet, Geno's eyes fell on the scaffolding across the ring. Sooner or later he was going to get up there, and he hoped everyone had their cameras ready.

Because NOBODY gets higher than Genocide.

Trauma


From The Journal of Dr. Kate Moran:

I was being double teamed. Homicide and Nate Daniels were doing their best to keep me in the corner. Thunder cracked overhead. It was followed shortly by a soft rain of blood. Of course it was blood. What else would it rain in Hell? They each grabbed one of my arms and threw me toward the ring ropes. My legs moved quickly, almost without me thinking on it. My ear caught the sound of both men charging after me. So I leaped onto the ropes, jumped again, took hold of one of the chains, and used the momentum to turn and kick both of my would be destroyers. The Bromance hit the canvas with a thud which shook the ring.

My hands released the rope and my feet quickly found the steel mesh of the ring. Two of the demonic figures who called themselves stablemates looked at me. They weren't sure what to make of my presence at the moment, based on the expressions on their twisted faces. That said, it really is hard to determine emotion from a gaping maw of twisted fangs. My eyes turned to the outside where one very large beast, covered in hair and boils, drove his heavy hooves into my Kitten's ribs. I recognized him to be Aaron Action.

The last beast, a helper to the large one, had a thick black cage over his head. Underneath was a black and stained executioner's mask. The letters, “TSM” were tattoo'd into his chest. He was The Sack Man. With Kitty helpless at the mercy of beasts, I bounced off of the ropes, did a front flip, and soared through them. My body crashed into both men as we all landed on the hard, cold floor. The barbed wire of the ropes hadn't scraped my skin away, for some reason. The outside ring area was a mess of bodies. Myself, Sack Man, Aaron, and Kitty were on all on the ground. Kitty lied beside me at least. Her hand found mine and squeezed.

“I'minhell i'minhell i'minhell i'minhell i'minhell” I shouted. You had to spit your curses to Satan, so that he might protect you from his children.

“Kate...what's happening to you?” Her distorted voice whispered to me. Something didn't seem right. I sat up and examined her normally gorgeous face. What I saw there was enough to make my stomach turn. Her teeth had been replaced by nails. The skin of her face tight, worn, and leathery. Her eyes were filled with maggots and when they saw me, they smiled.

“No! Get away!” I screamed. A forearm from me sent Kitty back onto the ground. I had to get control. They were winning. God fucking damn it, they were winning, they were-

Suddenly, I found myself being lifted up by someone very strong. Looking down, my attacker was none other than Aaron Action. He carried me in his massive arms until we weren't far from the scaffolding. He then executed a Samoan Drop which sent me right into it. Pain snaked it's way almost unbearable along my back. Tears ran down my face from the sensation. As they slid down, they mocked me. They told me I wasn't good enough, strong enough, or smart enough. The tears were right. They were always right.

My eyes opened and saw Kitty and Aaron fighting now. Apparently, she took some exception to what Aaron had done to me. If that really WAS Kitty. Honestly, to this day I can't accurately tell you where I was in the moment. The memory is slightly fuzzy, slightly muddled with the delusions. The Sack Man picked me up off of the ground and sent me back down with a short arm clothesline. He lifted me up again and whipped me toward the stairs of the ring. As I ran, I took note of the trampoline within my line of sight. Using the momentum his toss had given me, I jumped onto it and performed a Moonsault which sent me crashing right into him. Our bodies fell to the ground in a magnificent heap. My eyes were blurry for the moment. Through the fog I could see Team SBFF battling The Bromance in the ring.

I had thought they all wanted my flesh? Were they having communication problems? Perhaps they were fighting over who would pick my raisin first. The monsters. Hate and bile crawled up my throat and whispered to me.

“Don't give in to them, Kate.” It said to me.

“I'm trying...but there's so many of them...so many...and I'm so weak...” I whispered through sobs.

The Sack Man was up again. He grabbed me by my head and drug me towards the ring steps. My head slammed into them not once, but twice, causing a sweet daze to sneak into my brain. He wasn't finished though, not by a long shot. Sack slid me into the ring and followed behind. Once we were inside, he lifted me up to my feet. A few chops from him later and I found myself on a knee. When he walked over to me to try and pick me up again, I fired back with an uppercut that knocked him onto the mat with a thud.

The crowd, they were cheering. My head turned to see where they were coming from. Strange as it sounds, they weren't there. The noise was there. The smells were there, but all I could see where flames. The thunderous sounds of hooves broke me from my reverie. Homicide, clad in leather, needles, with a child's mask over his face, came running toward me. Apparently either Genocide or Alan had whipped him toward the ropes. So, in the interest of team work and for my own (in)sanity, I grabbed onto the ropes and pulled them down. Homicide screamed a monstrous roar as he fell out of the ring and through one of the tables which stood on the outside.

Love Always,
Trauma

Alan Scott

Alan watched as Jeff fell over the top rope, his body flailing helplessly and clutching at air as he realized his situation, but it didn’t take him very long to find his eyes drawn to Trauma’s. Something about the sight of her held him transfixed for a moment, and then he felt it. A cold, desperate hunger that was clawing at him from the inside. He felt like he had swallowed something alive, and it was still struggling, his body churning from the stomach outwards.

Alan gave his head a light shake and took his eyes off of Trauma. He blinked a couple of times, and then he felt the cold, clammy tinge of perspiration dripping down his forehead and into his eyes. There was a sting from the salt, but he ignored it and gather his thoughts. It was a dangerous place for him to find himself distracted, on what could be the biggest night of his life. Something about the woman had made him feel……

Shit.

Alan: I know what she did Geno!

His tag team partner was in the far corner, struggling to keep Nate Daniels from using his cast to choke him into submission. He wanted to answer, but it was just a little bit too difficult with Nate’s weight pressing the hardened plaster and plastic concoction onto his windpipe. Alan snapped his head around and saw the predicament that his adopted godfather was in. He had to make a quick decision, especially knowing that Jeff would shake off the tumble through the table much, much too quickly to be ignored for long.

It really wasn’t a decision at all.

Alan charged across the ring and flung himself into the air, his knee slamming into Nate’s back, and focusing the impact right between his shoulder blades. The sudden weight drove Nate forward and actually choked Geno out for a moment, but then the pressure subsided and Nate stumbled backwards into the ring, while Geno sunk to a knee and tried to force oxygen into his lungs. Alan took a quick look at his SBFF and then spun and looked around for Jeff.

He was gone.

He no longer lay amidst the wreckage where the table had once been, replaced by a panic stricken and confused Trauma. Alan tried not to make eye contact with her, having figured out what had happened during those moments he couldn’t account for earlier. She had pre-arranged the arrival of The Animal. He didn’t want that. He couldn’t have that. Alan ran across the ring and slid under the bottom rope, landing on his feet he looked around for the target. Where was Jeff?

John Paragon: Running clothesline by THE Sack Man and Alan didn’t even see him coming! This thing is quickly breaking down into absolute chaos Hank!

Hank Proctner: Yeah, isn’t it great? Sack Man laying some boots into our champion, and completely unaware that Kitty is on her feet and seems to be stalking him again! You know I heard a rumor about this guy!

John: You’re not going to start that up again are you?

Hank: What? Again? What are you talking about? I’m just saying that Chance told me last week that she had proof he was actually Royal Ryan Scott.

John: And you believed her? Would Ryan Scott be stomping Alan Scott?

Hank: For the X-Factor Championship? I’d like to think he’d be willing to stomp his grandma! I know I would! The miserable bitch.

John: Kitty looking pretty quick there Hank, as Sack turned towards her at the last minute, she used the trampoline to propel herself up and over him, catching him in the back with a dropkick! The woman can fly with the best of them!

Hank: This is why The Network will leave with that belt John. Four members in the match, all looking out for one another? You can’t stop that!

Looking out for one another might have been a bit of a stretch. Kitty had attacked because that was what Kitty did. Had she realized that The Sack Man was laying a beating on Alan Scott she might well have been inclined to let him suffer. Especially since he was the man who had stolen Kate’s heart from her! As she stood over top of both her and the Bagged Brit, the crowd could almost feel her tension as she decided which one to unleash herself on. She started to reach down, and it certainly looked like she was going to pull Alan to his feet, but Aaron slammed into her from the side and crushed her up against the ring apron before she could.

Alan rolled onto his stomach and used his upper body strength to fight his way back to a vertical base. Aaron Action had just picked up Kitty and whipped her into the ringside barricade, before charging off after her, and Alan knew that an attack could be preparing to hit him from anywhere. Then he heard a voice.

Geno: DUCK!

Alan followed orders on instinct and ducked low, narrowly missing a swinging kick aimed at his head by Homicide. The little shit had climbed onto the top turnbuckle and used the rope to swing out and aim a shot at Alan’s barely recovered jaw. Alan stood back up, but Homi had let go of the rope when he hit the apron, and he was waiting. He caught Alan with a sweeping kick flush across the back of the neck, and sent the champion collapsing to the concrete face first.

Homicide: Fuck yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Jeff had started to cheer, but Alan’s grampa had hit a Geno Kick to the back of his head and sent him flying off of the apron out of control. He brought up his hands to protect his face, the most prized of his possessions, but that didn’t help him as he landed awkwardly against the back of a steel chair that was just sitting randomly amidst the chaos. Jeff screamed as pain shot through his hand, and his first thought was that he had broken it.

Geno’s first thought was to turn around and check on Nate.

The thought came a moment too late!

Aaron Action

PARAGON: Nate Daniels drives the cast into the back of Genocide’s head. The leader of the Network didn’t see that coming.

PROCTNER: Who can see anything coming in this fiasco. There’s chaos everywhere.

At that moment, The Sack Man rolled to the outside of the ring. He had just seen something disturbing. And no, it wasn’t the sight of Aaron Action bent over Kitty as he pulled her back to her feet. The Sack Man saw that Trauma was scaling the cage wall in an attempt to get up to the belt. The Bagged Wonder charged over and jumped up. His hands clung to the steel mesh as his boots found a toehold. When he was stable, he reached up and grabbed onto Trauma’s ankle.

PARAGON: It looks like we have our first attempt to get to the belt. Trauma used the distractions caused by Alan Scott and Genocide to climb most of the way up the wall. Too bad that The Sack Man caught her.

PROCTNER: Caught may be a relative term, John. Look at Trauma holding on with her hands as she kicks The Sack Man in his bag.

PARAGON: Watch your language. We still have FCC issues.

PROCTNER: Not his BAG … the paper bag on the top of his head.

PARAGON: Sorry, my bad. But you do have a history.

Trauma kicked at The Sack Man. Several shots landed right in the middle of his forehead. The Power in a Poke’s grip loosened. He tried to get it again and his boot slipped out of his toehold. The Sack Man fell back to the ground. Trauma smiled and began climbing again.

In the ring, Alan Scott saw what Trauma was doing. But he was busy fighting off Homicide. The guy just wouldn’t quit. For ever punch Alan landed, Homicide landed one of his own. He was matching the current X-Factor champ move for move … and it was starting to piss Alan off. … Perhaps a little too much. Alan could feel the pressure building. He had toe break free of this. He had to stop the Animal from getting out because if it did, Alan lost all control. In a desperate attempt, Alan Scott dove at Homicide and tackled him to the mat. The move surprised Homicide as it was an unorthodox move for The Honest One. Even more surprising, Alan rolled out of the ring leaving Homicide lying on the mat.

Genocide tried to stand up. But Nat Daniels was on his back. Geno felt Nate’s hand on the back of his head. Nate lifted hit up and then began running Geno’s face back and forth across the canvas. Geno felt panic rising. He couldn’t get rug burns on his face, Haley would think he had been up to something kinky. He summoned all his strength and pushed with his hands and knees. Geno’s body rose with Nate Daniels still on his back like he was on a horsey ride.

GENO: Little help?

Geno’s eyes had caught his partner’s. Geno wondered what Alan was doing outside the ring with his hands on his knees. The Network leader knew for a fact that Alan was one of the best conditioned athletes in Federation X. There was no way he was winded. But then Geno was distracted again as Nate wrapped the cast around his throat from behind. Geno felt his airway being blocked.

PARAGON: Nate Daniels is choking Genocide out. The Sack Man, Homicide and Kitty are down. That leaves Awesome Aaron Action to stop Trauma from stealing this match. Look she’s already at the top of that cage.

PROCTNER: And she might as well have X-Factor champion cards printed up because there is no way Aaron Action can get up there to stop her from jumping to the belt.

Whether Aaron Action could get to the top of the cage wasn’t the point at the moment. What was the point was Trauma reaching the top of the cage and trying to balance on the thin metal cross bar. She looked out and saw the belt in front of her. She knew that shiny object was her escape from the underworld where she was currently trapped. But the jump was a long way. She calculated it in her head.

On the ground, Aaron Action saw what was happening. He took a step toward the cage, but Kitty grabbed his ankle. Aaron turned and kicked the small woman in the side of the head. She fell back and released him.

Aaron ran forward. He jumped into the air and hit one of the minitramps. The springs groaned as they took on Aaron’s weight. The slowly lowered him to the floor and then sprung back in slow motion as well. Aaron got very little lift. But it was enough. He flew into the air and grabbed one of the ropes. The Son of the South swung toward the cage.

PROCTNER: Come on there is no way Aaron is going to jump off that rope and grab the cage. He’s just too heavy.

PARAGON: I don’t think he’s going to grab it.

With both feet extended in front of him, Aaron Action saw himself heading toward the cage. He glanced up and saw that Trauma was standing on the top bar of the cage. He knees were bent. She was about to jump.

And then Aaron Action crashed into the chain link monstrosity. It was good that the techs had secured the two sides of the cage to the ground or Aaron’s mass would have knocked it over into the crowd. As it was the cage shook like it had been in a giant earthquake. And at the top, Trauma lost her balance. As Aaron Action swung back he looked to the top of the cage. Trauma pinwheeled her arms forward and back.

And then she fell.

CONTINUED

Trauma

From The Journal of Kate Moran:

When I was a young girl, I broke my arm. It seems silly to talk about it now, but it is relevant. Back then, I was brave. I had to be. I did what few others would be willing to do. Be it get into the faces of bullies and intimidate them into backing off, or climbing the highest points of trees, whatever seemed dangerous and fun, I did it. My best friend at the time was a girl named Claire. She and I were practically inseparable. Whenever we were together, things seemed happier.

We’d spend rainy summer afternoons huddled under the covers. We’d swap ghost stories, or we’d color, or we’d talk about how icky boys were. One of the most distinctive things about Claire was that she had a penchant for cats. As a matter of fact, her clothes were always caked in cat hair. The kids used to make fun of her about it. Not me, though. I thought that the hair simply made all of her clothes resemble sweaters, and for a reason unknown to me even to this day, that was appealing. Anytime I would go to her house, I would be greeted by an array of different kinds of cats.

She had one black female, two Siamese females, and one gray kitty. My favorite was the gray one, because she had the prettiest blue eyes. That, and our personalities seemed to match. She would always break something. If she wasn’t knocking something off a table or chair, she was crawling into places she simply couldn’t fit. It was always one of those situations where she could climb INTO a place, but never back out again. Whenever this would happen, Claire would call me and I would find a way to free her. Her name was Jasmine. Such a pretty name.

One day, Jasmine was stuck in a tree. A fairly stereotypical scenario, to be sure, but it does happen. Since Jasmine and I were kindred spirits of sorts, I understood her need to climb as high as she could. Claire was the owner of a massive oak tree in her front lawn. Jasmine cried and cried for someone to come and save her from it’s highest and most elongated branch. Claire called and as usual, I came to the rescue. Climbing the tree wasn’t particularly difficult. Actually, it was kind of fun. Until I reached the branch where Jasmine was, in any case.

There the poor thing was, standing in a bird’s nest. Her furr was matted in bird’s blood and fathers. She was the very picture of gore, but she was my Jasmine. Yes, I had secretly claimed spiritual ownership of the cat. In any case, I climbed onto the branch and stood up to my full height. Extending my arms outward, I began to walk along the branch in a tightrope sort of style. With each step I took, the branch became thinner and thinner. It wasn’t long until I simply couldn’t climb it anymore. So I dropped to all fours and tried to reach her. At some point, I lost my balance, or I slipped on something, I can’t be sure.

What I can be sure of is that I fell. The fall itself was strangely…comforting. My body felt absolutely wonderful. Instead of the terror one usually feels when falling, I felt…glee. That is, until I hit the ground and broke my arm in several places. They took me to the hospital, put Jasmine to sleep, and I never saw Claire again.

So this was what I thought of when balancing on top of the cage wall. A rope wasn’t far from where I stood. One could conceivably leap from it and catch the rope. The problem was the height. Staring down at the ground below me, everyone looked like a grinning demon. The acrid smell of sulfur and shit assaulted my nostrils. So fierce was it that my eyes began to tear up. Or perhaps it was the fear doing that to me. In any case…I had to make a decision.

Every instinct inside of me told me to run. It told me to flee. To climb back down the wall and run away into the darkness. The darkness was where I could be safe. It wouldn’t judge me. Wouldn’t ask things of me. Instead, it would simply keep my ugliness concealed from the world. It would wrap me in it’s blackened arms and shield me from the horrors of my own mind. But I wasn’t in the dark. I was blinded by the hot lights above.

Something happened. Had the demons been enraged? The cage shook with massive force. My arms waved back and forth shortly before I lost my balance. A shriek escaped my mouth that was so violent and loud that I had hardly registered it as my own. This fall, unlike the one before it, didn’t feel freeing at all. No, it was all terror and screams and the crushing weight of gravity dragging me back to my proper place in Hell. And then it all stopped. Suddenly, fiercely, the world turned to pain as my body crashed through a table which had been placed not far from the ring.

The table actually softened the blow of the fall. Had my body landed on the ground below, no doubt there would have been a few bones broken. My head spun in a torrent of dizziness and pain. As I lied there on my back and stared at the ceiling, all I could think of what Jasmine. My mind drifted back to the last time I had seen her. Blood spattered and covered in the remains of her last victims. Her beautiful eyes crippled in fear as she knew that the fall would be her punishment for acting on her natural instincts. My fall felt a lot like that, too.

Someone shook me. I didn’t know who it was. My eyes flickered a few times before settling again. Over me stood none other than Honest Alan. Whether it be for chivalry or stable duty or plain concern for another human being, he was there. My angel. A smile curved my lips before I could stop it.

“Hold on Kate…I got you.” He began to pull me up. Once I was on my feet, I looked him in the eyes and then I snapped my fingers.

His body tensed and his demeanor changed. I pecked him on the cheek and pointed at Homicide who was just beginning to stand.

“Have fun, Animal. My reward to you for being such a gentleman.”

Oh, the carnage…

Trauma

Aaron Action

Aaron sung back and forth until the rope stopped swinging. He had hoped that Trauma would angle for the table. He knew that she was used to the flying maneuvers and had some skill. He let out a sigh of relief when she actually hit though. After all, Aaron was fully aware that this was a sporting competition, not an insane way to kill people. Sometimes Aaron wondered if the Powerbase remembered the same thing.

The sound of the table breaking brought Aaron back the here and now. He slid down the rope and touched down on the floor. The Son of the South took a moment to survey the carnage.

PARAGON: What a fall! Trauma is lucky she’s able to sit up. Alan Scott seems genuinely concerned.

PROCTNER: Didn’t you hear earlier? Trauma is Network now. Chance, not withstanding, The Network takes care of their own.

PARAGON: Well, Alan is helping Trauma up while the other two Network members seem to have found an uneasy relationship taking on Bromance. Kitty and Geno are working side by side to stop Homicide and Nate Daniels.

PROCTNER: Again. Network unity. That is why The Network rules Federation X.

Aaron caught his breath. He felt someone tap his shoulder. Triple A spun ready to hit. He stopped when he saw The Sack Man with a large O where his mouth should be on his bag. There were also raised eyebrows drawn in.

Aaron stopped the punch. The Sack Man pulled the surprised bag off of his head replacing it with the standard bag that was underneath. Awesome Aaron Action had been in the ring with The Sack Man many times now. But in none of those times did he ever figure out how The Sack Man pulled that trick off.

There was a loud scream and then laughter. Aaron and The Sack Man spun to see what was happening. They saw Trauma backing away from Alan Scott. She was laughing maniacally. Alan wasn’t laughing. In fact he was bent over a small thin woman in a Homicide t-shirt. It looked like Alan had pulled the fan over the ring barrier and was choking the life out of her.

AARON ACTION: Hey Geno! Check you partner!

Aaron was bellowing as he ran toward Alan Scott. The Sack Man was right behind Aaron. The two men reached the X-Factor champ and each grabbed an arm. They managed to pull Alan’s hands off the fan’s throat. As they did, Security yanked the woman back over the barrier.

In the ring, Geno took a quick look. He knew he shouldn’t but what could he do? It was his SBFF. The 23 time world champ saw Alan Scott pull his arms in and then throw them out. Aaron Action and The Sack Man went flying in opposite directions. He saw the look on his partner’s face.

GENOCIDE: Oh, ****! Kitty, what did Trauma d—

Homicide’s foot hit the side of Geno’s head. Geno fell like a rock. He landed hard on the mat. Kitty’s hand flashed out. Her nails ran down Homicide’s face. Jeff McCarthy grabbed his cheek and fell the open wounds where Kitty’s sharp claws had just hit. He backed away.

Kitty dropped down to check on Geno. Nate Daniels did the same for his partner.

PARAGON: And we seem to have a momentary pause in the action. Everyone is down or checking on a fallen colleague, except Trauma – who is obviously deranged and … what the Hell is wrong with Alan Scott?

Alan was screaming like a wild beast. He had grabbed a chair that was lying next to him. He hammered the chair over and over against The Sack Man’s back. The Bagged Wonder tried to roll away, but Alan Scott was not letting that happen. He just hit The Sack Man over and over.

PROCTNER: Look at his eyes. There’s something not right. And why does he keep screaming?

PARAGON: Something has snapped in Alan. We’ve seen this before and it’s not good.

Aaron Action rolled over he heard the screams. They reminded him of the screams the hogs made as they entered the slaughterhouse back home. What many didn’t realize was that hogs are pretty intelligent creatures. And when they were being led to the slaughter, they realized it and began to let out a cry that could curdle your blood. Aaron felt a shiver down his spine. He saw what Alan was doing to The Sack Man.

PARAGON: And Aaron Action dives on top of Alan Scott sending him face first to the floor. Alan is struggling to get out from under Aaron.

PROCTNER: Wow, Alan must really be hyped up if he can still struggle while under all that weight.

PARAGON: Would you cut out the jokes? Something is really wrong out there.

Genocide was back up. He shoved Kitty away and rolled out of the ring. He glanced at Aaron who was losing the battle to keep Alan down. He ran straight past The Son of the South and the Honest Man. Geno headed straight for Trauma who was still laughing as she climbed up the scaffolding. Geno hit the leg of the scaffold in a leap and started to scramble up after Trauma.

GENOCIDE: Kate! Tell me what you did to Alan. NOW!

As the chaos continued, Nate Daniels stepped back from his partner.

NATE DANIELS: Jeff! Now’s your chance. Climb up the rope and head for the belt!

Homicide gave a nod. He looked up at the belt high over head. He grabbed a rope and began to climb.

CONTINUED

Alan Scott

Genocide: Kate!

She smield at him, but one look into her eyes made it very clear to Geno that whatever else was going on, Trauma wasn’t exactly ‘home’ at the moment. The curve at the edge of her smile arced and Geno twisted his head around to see Alan with A thumb dug deep into the side of Aaron Action’s eye socket. Blood was already seeping from the corner, and Aaron was firing off with a left and a right, as he tried to retreat from the enormous strength of The Animal.

Only when Aaron slammed a fist into his throat did Alan release the grip and let the X-Ecutioner Champion stumble away from him. The eye wasn’t damaged, but the flesh around the socket would be deeply bruised, even after the bleeding was stopped. On the outside of the action Marlowe’s face whitened a little. He had never seen such flagrant viciousness in Alan before, and he sensed something else. The Animal had been unleashed in the past, and the raging, unrestrained side of Alan had exploded on some opponent. Tonight though, there was something different.

Marlowe lifted a hand to cover his mouth was he realized what it was.

Marlowe: He’s……thinking.

It was one thing to have a raging, unthinking beast coming straight at you, and attempting to ignore all pain. Hell, reveling in the suffering you found the strength to unleash. It was an entirely different beast to deal with when the strength and the ferocity remained, but they were guided by some kind of sadistic cunning. The Animal was no longer a blunt, dull instrument that battered away at a helpless opponent; it had become a true weapon.

Marlowe had seen that kind of danger before.

Marlowe: It’s like watching the old bastard all over again…

Alan slammed bent knuckles into the throat of The Sack Man as the Enigmatic Englishman tried to come to Aaron’s defense, and the blow took him off of his feet. Alan’s head snapped around frantically and it became evident very quickly that he was looking for somebody very specific. Nate Daniels knew who, too! He looked up the rope, where Jeff was doing his best to climb without losing sight of the situation going on below him. The rope was tougher than it looked though, and with the pain in his hand from earlier in the night he wasn’t moving at the speed that he should have been.

Alan spotted Jeff, and instantly his focus became more intense. Nate immediately started moving, thinking that he wouldn’t have to deal with Alan for long; just long enough to buy his Bro enough time to get to the rafters. Once there, he was a lock to leave with the X-Factor Championship and fulfill his destiny. Nate vaulted the ropes and landed on the apron, where he leapt into the air and slammed down across Alan’s back, riding the raging Wildman into the concrete floor.

Paragon: Homicide is the only one who’s making an effort to get up the ropes Hank, and if Nate can keep the others busy for just abother minute or two, this whole thing might be over.

Proctner: Nate needs to worry about still being alive in another minute or two! He smashed Alan’s face into the concrete, and I’m pretty sure he broke Alan’s nose. What was he thinking? He’s just pissing off The Animal!

Paragon: He’s trying to hold Alan down, but the way Alan’s moving and the pain doesn’t even seem to be distracting him. It’s madness!

Proctner: Geno to the rescue, as he catches Nate with a knee to the side of the head and……oh WOW! Geno stomping on Nate’s broken arm! I love Geno!

Paragon: Doctors did NOT approve Nate Daniels to be in this match tonight Hank, but he wouldn’t be kept away. He knew what kind of odds were stacked up against his BFF and…..

Proctner: You mean Homosexual SBFF.

Paragon: Where did you hear that?

Proctner: I heard it from a reliable source.

Paragon: Was it Geno?

Proctner: Like I said…..a reliable source.

Alan got back to his feet as the weight lifted from him, but he didn’t even look back to see why. His mind had become singularly focused and he moved deflt through the carnage to the scaffolding, where he started climbing in leaps and bounds. The strength that flushed his body as The Animal was not unlike that of a man being shot full of adrenaline. It could only last for so long, but as long as it was enough to prevent Homicide from reaching the top, then it would serve its purpose.

Of course Alan wasn’t thinking like that. All he was thinking about at the moment was how he could cause Homicide the greatest amount of pain in the shortest amount of time. It was a different experience for The Animal; to be able to rationalize the most effective way to cause suffering. Make no mistake though, it was absolutely The Animal in control, not Alan. It was simply a more cunning and precise Animal. It still lacked the normal self-preservation instinct that any other person would show, with the possible exception of Eleazer The Prophet.

A growl started to build low in his abdomen and rose into his throat, echoing its way up as though it was trapped in a long, damp cave. High above the ring, where Jeff McCarthy now clung to the rope, hoping to summong the last vestiges of his strength and pull himself up the final four feet, the noise was reduced. Even the loud, raucous screaming of the fans seemed almost to fade to white. What he could hear was a rumble that sounded distinctly like the noise a predator makes. He looked up, and his face turned ashen.

Paragon: Alan Scott perched atop the scaffolding……he jumped! My god he jumped!

Proctner: SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR!

Nothing further was heard from the announce table, because two things pushed it into the background. The first was the moment of dead air as everyone in the building saw Alan Scott slam into Homicide high above the ringside area and spear him off of the rope. The two men became entangled as Alan’s momentum carried them out over the ring, until gravity asserted its control and pulled them down square in the middle of the ring.

When they hit and the ring broke underneath the force of their impact, yielding to their inertia and cracking open to swallow them up as the building exploded into noise.

The Animal had just torn victory from Homicide’s grasp, and now the two lay in an indistinguishable heap, somewhere underneath the ring.

Neither was moving.

Genocide


[Genocide stops his pursuit of Dr. Trauma up the scaffolding for a moment as Alan bounds up the cage wall like a leopard up a tree. Why would The Animal climb up the cage when there were still potential victims on the ground? The Animal Geno knew wouldn't have stopped going after Aaron and TSM until he was forced to. He wouldn't have cared that Homicide was going for the belt... he wouldn't even know who the hell Homicide was. Something was wrong.]

Geno: What the fuck did you do to him you crazy bitch?

[As Geno resumed his ascent, he hoped that this new, less feral, more calculating Animal would cause less stress to Alan's body. The doctors had warned he and Alan about what could happen if he didn't learn to control his inner beast. At least the seemingly more intelligent Animal should be a little more careful with Alan's body while he's in control. That hope went out the window as Alan leaps with a perfect spear, taking Homicide and himself down to, and then through the ring.]

Paragon: OH GOOD LORD!

[The crowd is a mix of blood-thirsty cheers and shocked silence. The impact of two full grown men crashing through the ring also brings the match to a halt, the competitors having turned into spectators. The thought that it could've been them makes them wonder just what they'd gotten themselves into. Nate Daniels is the first to snap out of it, running to the hole in the canvas to check on his BBFF (butt-buddy fag forever). Genocide, meanwhile, looks on in mixed emotion. He felt bad that Alan had probably just taken himself out of the match and ended the greatest X-Factor Championship reign of all-time... but it saved him from having to do it himself. He promised Alan that he'd put him down if The Animal came out... and SBFF's don't break promises. At least heterosexual ones don't.]

Proctner: OH NO! Someone needs to make sure they're breathing!

[Genocide takes a peek up to the top level of the scaffolding, currently occupied by Trauma. Geno swears he hears the bitch talking to herself as he climbs up towards her.]

Trauma: It's Jasmine!

[Geno shakes his head as he approaches.]

Geno: Who the FUCK is Jasmine?

[Trauma's head jerks to the left, and Geno knows from the look on her face that she doesn't recognize him. A scary thought made terrifying by the fact that they were over 30 feet in the air. He relaxes as a look of recognition flashes on her face... but just a little. It was still Trauma, after all.]

Trauma: Claire? Is that you?

[Geno has the words "crazy bitch" almost out of her mouth before he takes a glance down at the floor. Better to let her think what would make her least likely to attack.]

Geno: Uhh... yeah. It's me... Claire.

Trauma: Look! It's Jasmine.

[Geno tries to hide his confusion as Trauma points to a spot about 6 feet off the edge of the scaffolding.]

Trauma: She looks scared.

Geno: Yeah... sure does.

Trauma: Don't worry... I'll get her down.

[Geno takes a look down at the ring. Kitty, Aaron, and The Sack Man had since joined Nate Daniels in the ring, staring down through the hole at a still motionless Homicide... Alan Scott must've fallen out of view, further away from the hole in the wood and canvas. He knew that they wouldn't stay distracted for long.]

Geno: That sounds... good. You do that.

Paragon: I think we need some medical help out here...

[As Trauma leans out towards an imaginary cat, Geno leans out with a different goal in mind. This one very real. With a step back and a deep breath, Genocide takes a leap, grasping onto the rope and hanging.]

Proctner: Hey! Look at Geno! What's he doing?

Paragon: I don't know... but if he's doing what I think he is... he's not being a very good SBFF.

[Then again, Paragon didn't have an SBFF. He didn't realize that Geno was doing exactly what Alan wanted him to do. Alan was down, and Geno had an open shot for the belt. Alan wanted him to take it.]

Paragon: He is! Genocide is going for the belt!

Proctner: Wow, I agree. That doesn't seem very SBFFly... but what do I know, I don't have an SBFF. One thing I do know about Alan though... he's the biggest Geno Junkie I know. If he was conscious, he'd probably be pumped Geno was about to win his 25th World Title.

[Down in the ring, something catches The Sack Man's attention.]

TSM: Hey! Look at that!

[Aaron Action and Kitty both look to the sky. Aaron and Sacky spot Geno climbing for the belt, but Kitty was more interested in Trauma. Kitty quickly heads over to the scaffolding and scampers up while Aaron and TSM formulate a plan.]

TSM: And you're sure about this now?

Aaron: Trutht me, Thacky... thith ith our latht shot!

[TSM shrugs and quickly heads out to the floor and takes his position on one of the trampolines. Aaron steps out onto the ring apron and looks down at his bagged ally.]

Aaron: You ready?

TSM: I... I suppose. I'd better get my bag with X's over my eyes ready in case this doesn't work.

Aaron: Now that'th commitment to a gimmick...

Paragon: It looks like Geno is going to take this one...

[And it did... but The Son of the South and the Bagged Brit had other ideas. Aaron leaps off the apron towards the trampoline occupied by TSM and launches him into the air... WAAAY into the air, half-way up one of the ropes.]

Proctner: HOLY CRAP!

[The fans gasp as TSM soars through the air and grasps onto the rope, a stunt made only more dangerous by the limited visibility issues.]

Paragon: I might've spoken too soon! The Sack Man launched into the air, and Genocide has company!

Proctner: It's almost neck and neck going for the belt!

[As most of the arena watches the climb for the title, a few fans notice movement in the ring... someone was emerging from the hole.]

Paragon: My god! It's Alan Scott!

[The question was... was it Alan... or The Animal... or some combination of the two who climbs back into the ring?]

Alan Scott

Nate Daniels was still staring into the gaping hole in the ring, although if asked for his honest impression in that moment he would likely have described it as a blackened abyss. Something about it, and the way that his BBFF lay sprawled awkwardly below sickened him, and scared him just a little bit. He almost didn’t even focus enough to recognize that Alan was clawing his way back up out of the darkness until the man was practically in his face. Then he recoiled.

It took a serious effort on Nate’s part not to swivel his head away and vomit when he spotted the piece of Alan’s rib that was protruding from his chest. He reached out, not to help, but to move The Animal out of the pit and off of his partner, who had yet to show any sign of life. What happened instead was that Alan suddenly leapt out of the darkness and started clawing at his face, sending him staggering backwards away. Alan landed in a crouched position, and coiled letting his thighs tense and prepare to launch him once again.

Paragon: Look out Nate!

The shout couldn’t be heard over the roar that the crowd’s reaction had turned in to, but it didn’t matter. As Alan released the energy stored in his thighs and launched himself towards the recoiling Nate Daniels, a hand reached out of the darkness and wrapped around his ankle. His momentum yanked Jeff McCarthy into a standing position, but it wasn’t enough to let him reach his target. Alan landed flat on his stomach, and the impact sent waves of pain rolling through the beast. His arms immediately wrapped around his torso and his legs pulled in, taking a protective position as he fought with his suffering.

Nate didn’t care.

Nate Daniels: Jeff!

He was elated to see his BBFF back on his feet, and looking surprisingly alive considering what had happened to him. Nate immediately started looking to see if there was any terrible gash that might turn into a scar and mar Jeff’s perfection. He didn’t see one, but he could already tell that Jeff’s eyes were going to look like the Lone Ranger by tomorrow. Blood ran from his left ear as well, which wasn’t a good sign, but for the moment he seemed better than Nate had expected.

Nate: How?

Jeff shrugged, although even that little act hurt.

Jeff: Fucknut’s body took the biggest part of the impact. It hurt like hell…..but it could have been worse.

Jeff didn’t have to ask what the situation was. He could see that the chaos hadn’t abated. A quick look around showed him Kitty trying to communicate with Trauma, and the raging loony tune making random gestures. Aaron was trying to detangle himself from the remains of a trampoline, which probably would have been funny to get an explanation on if there was time. There wasn’t. High overhead Genocide and The Sack Man were locked in a race up to the rafters.

Nate: We’ve got to stop them and get you up there!

Jeff nodded. That was exactly what they needed to do. But first…

Jeff: Fuck you shithead!

Jeff kicked Alan in the back and caused the balled up man to whimper in pain. It actually sounded a little bit like a beaten animal’s cry as it endured more suffering and abuse. Jeff would have noticed that if he had taken the time to. Instead he turned with Nate and they started moving quickly. Jeff pointed at the cage, which could be climbed faster than the ropes could be, and would give them access to two of the different ropes. If they climbed quickly enough they could make it a four man race to the rop.

Nate shook a head and pointed at two pieces of metal lying along the guard rail. Ladders! That would be their fastest route to the top, and judging by the speed at which the others were moving, they would need the boost. Homicide smiled, and reached for the one closest to him. It was unfolded and set up in seconds, while Nate’s was set up only a split second later. The climbing began, and quickly the gap between the men on the ropes and The Bromace narrowed.

Paragon: Hank I don’t know what to tell you. I’m watching this, and I’m almost at a loss for words. The sheer…..chaos!

Proctner: Yeah, isn’t it great? Nate and Homie are closing the distance with Geno and The Sack Man, but the other two are almost at the top of the ropes now!

Paragon: Kitty’s having a hard time trying to calm Trauma down, but Aaron’s up and around! He’s sizing up the situation and I think……I think he’s going to try and stop Homicide from getting to The Sack Man! Don’t do it Aaron! Don’t….

Proctner: He did it……he pushed over the ladder! But Homie jumped! He jumped onto the rope…..and he caught Sack’s ankle!

Paragon: The Sack Man just slipped about four feet, and now he and Homicide are fighting to see which of them is going to make it to the top! It’s a fight on the rope!

Proctner: Nate’s caught up to Geno too! Man…..if one of them slips up, he’s got a long way to fall!

Paragon: Folks…..this is what it’s all about. Four of the best and brightest of Federation X are only feet away from becoming the X-Factor Champion, and it could be any of them!

Proctner: I’ll tell you who it won’t be! It won’t be the former champion. Alan isn’t even moving!

When the adrenaline crashed, The Animal’s strength was gone. All he could feel was the burning pain that was ripping through his chest every time that he fought to bring oxygen into his lungs. Something was wrong. It couldn’t think though. That wasn’t what it did. True, it could calculate more now. Focus its attacks with a purpose, but that wasn’t thinking. So it had no way of knowing that the changes that Trauma made also hampered it feral nature.

Unless something changed, The Animal was finished.

Trauma

From The Journal of Dr. Kate Moran:

It is said that in times of high stress, the paranoid schizophrenic will hallucinate. Ever since the fall, my mind hadn't been working the way it was supposed to. True, my mind has never really worked the way it's supposed to, but on this night it was particularly bad. Before, I was vaguely aware of my presence in The Crazy Eight match. Now...now I didn't know where I was. Or I did, but didn't know how I had gotten there. Jasmine looked at me with those fear filled cat eyes again. Her fur was matted with blood and feathers, just as before.

The sun beat down on my skin from above. The sky was clear blue without a cloud in sight. Sweat rolled down my skin from the heat above. Somewhere in the distance, I could hear people screaming. It was all muddled, though. The cat cried and begged for me to save it. With each step I took, the branch became thinner and thinner. Everything was playing out as I had remembered it, but something wasn't right. My eyes darted down to the ground below. There wasn't grass. Claire wasn't standing in the lawn.

Instead, there was an empty void of nothingness. My eyes moved back up and there, on the branch was Jasmine. But the voice which came out of her mouth wasn't that of a mere feline. No, it was Kitty's voice. My Kitty. But wait...who is Kitty? I'm 12 years old and I'm trying to save my friend's cat. My heart thudded in my chest as I took another step forward. The branch shook under my weight. Still, she needed me to save her. I HAD...TO...SAVE...HER. The branch snaps. I feel myself falling. The wind whistles and turns around me. It moves so quickly that it sounds like laughing.

As I started to fall, something grabbed me. My body was pulled back from the abyss and slammed onto the ground. It felt cold, hard, metallic under me. My eyes opened and I was on top of a scaffolding in the Federation X arena. There was a large hole in the center of the ring. Alan Scott lied beside it, a rib poking from his side. Homicide dangled from a rope where he could be seen fighting with Sack Man. Genocide was trying to climb up and rope and Aaron Action was struck on a trampoline. I moved my head and saw Kitty looking at me.

“Where am I?” I asked.

She caressed my face and whispered against my lips. “You're in the arena. You're safe, and you're with me.”

Slowly, I stood up and examined the mess before me. Several people dangled from ropes, all of them fighting for The Federation X-Factor title. “I'm in a match....for that belt.”

My memories began to slip back into place. Everything was starting to make sense again. A few seconds passed before my heart stopped threatening to beat out of my chest. It was then that I realized that if someone didn't do something, Genocide would get the belt. Nate Daniels tugged away at his leg, but he was losing strength. The Sack Man couldn't fight off Homicide and Genocide, could he? There was a whisper in the corner of my head. A subtle cackling which made me nauseous. I turned to Kitty.

“Someone has to stop them, Kitten.” I said.

“Why? We could just leave, Kate, we could-” Her eyes pleaded with me.

“No.” I said. My finger found her lips. “I'm going to win this match. I have to.”

“Why? You never cared about titles before.” A fair counter argument.

“Because Kitty...if I don't, then THEY win.” I wasn't sure if she knew what I was talking about.

But already I could feel the madness returning. It had abated for a moment, but in a situation as intense and extreme as The Crazy Eight, I would stay under constant stress. Which means the voices wouldn't stop. The visions wouldn't cease. The sights and smells and feelings that felt real but weren't would not relent. The only way my battered mind would find respite is if I somehow claimed that title. In doing so, the match would end. The adrenaline would subside and I would find a measure of peace.

Even if it was momentary. One good jump would be all it took to grab a hold of one of the ropes. I gauged the jump carefully. This had to be timed perfectly. Should Aaron waddle his fat ass toward the scaffolding and try to shake it, my jump would be thrown off. If that happened, I could have very well found myself back where I was before. Kitty looked down from the scaffolding and saw that Aaron had almost freed himself from his particular predicament. Her eyes turned and met mine.

“I'll handle him, Kate. Just do what you need to do.” She said just before climbing down.

I nodded. My eyes turned, ever focused, on the task at hand. My lungs pulled in air until my chest was expanded as far as it could go. The oxygen stayed in my chest for some time. When I was ready to release it, I did so and then leaped off of the scaffolding toward the last rope which had not been occupied. When I soared through the air, a feeling of weightlessness came over me. It reminded me a lot of when I fell all those years ago, but I tried to tune it out. My hands hungrily found the rope. They clung to the thick strand as if it were the very thing sustaining my existence.

The momentum of the jump sent me swinging forward. With the proper adjusting of my weight, I could change where the rope carried me. In doing so, it was now possible for my foot to find the face of Genocide. It landed beautifully. The 24 Time World Champion's face cried out in pain as he began to fall. Sensing that his descent was inevitable, he grabbed onto Sack Man as he fell. This cased TSM to fall and with him, Homicide. The only two people who weren't falling were myself and Nate Daniels.

They all crashed to the ground, and how they landed could have been anyone's guess. My head tilted upward at The X-Factor Title. It was time to try and finish this.

XOXO,
Trauma

Nate Daniels

Sometimes you look around and you wonder how in the hell you got yourself into this shit.

For instance, right about now it's raining bodies. Genocide, THE Sack Man and Homicide just … precipitated down to, well, the wreckage of the ring. The huge, gaping hole in the center of it yawns up at Nate like the maw of some ravenous monster, waiting for him to fall.

Trauma looks from the X-Factor belt dangling on its hook to Nate, back and forth as if deciding which way to go. Her eyes narrow when she turns her gaze to Nate… she hasn't forgotten their dealings, and some day… she's going to have a slice of his brain in her freezer, alongside Jazelle's.

Idly, she wonders if Nate and Jazelle might have made a good couple… Marcus had certainly never been able to tame the bitch. Maybe she'd have purred for Nate the way Kitty did. That thought snaps her back to the present and makes her decision for her. Leaping, she lands on Nate's back, clawing and kicking at the man who had tried to take her Kitty away from her.

Nate grits his teeth and holds on tightly to the ladder, doing all he can to hang on with his one good arm. This isn't going to work, and if he doesn't get her under control, they're both going to do their best Humpty Dumpty imitation. And THIS big a fall… is not cool.

Nate: Kate, listen to me… you need to stop this.

Trauma: Shut up! I should gut you right here.

Nate: Okay, look, I'm sure I deserve gutting, but if you don't stop fighting me, we're both going to fall, and that concrete is harder than either of our heads.

Trauma: I'm not talking to you, traitor! You said you were going to help me, and where have you been?

Nate: I thought I did everything you asked… but that doesn't matter now. I'm trying to keep you from getting injured.

Trauma: You're trying to keep me from WINNING!

Nate: No, I'm not. You can climb up if you want, just stop fighting me. I only have one arm to hold on with, and if I lose my grip, it's a long way down.

Dr. Moran looks down and her grip on Nate's shoulders tightens almost imperceptibly before she relaxes once more. Then she looks up for a long moment before drawing a deep breath.

Nate breathes a sigh of relief when he feels her slowly starting to climb up, using his body as her ladder. He holds still, gritting his teeth as Trauma's boots scrape patches of skin the size of baseballs off his thighs, then his back, then his shoulders.

When the last ounce of Trauma's weight removes itself from Nate's shoulder, he breathes a sigh of relief. A chuckle from above makes him look up to see Kate looking down on him, smiling - not a friendly smile.

Her boot connects with his broken nose and Nate yelps in pain, barely managing to hold onto the ladder. Kate dangles from the rafter above, shifting her hands to a more secure grip, then she kicks again. This time, one foot slams into Nate's face, the other into the side of the ladder, toppling it.

Nate hangs in midair for just a second, looking for all the world like a character from Looney Tunes, then he follows the ladder. The thinly padded ground rushes up to greet him and Daniels braces for the impact, knowing that if he doesn't time this roll just right, he's in for a world of hurt.

Down below, Kitty sees HER Nate plummeting towards the concrete and her mind goes into overdrive. Spinning around, she finds Aaron Action, who had been checking on The Sack Man after his own great fall. Kitty kicks Aaron in the crotch, then kicks him again in the head, sending him sprawling back just in time to pad Nate's fall.

The Ton of the South groans loudly as Nate rolls off of him to the concrete floor. The fall had hurt like hell, but at least he wasn't Crepes Nate… hell, Aaron probably would have tried to eat him if he was. Speaking of Aaron, the big man is looking a little green after taking most of Nate's mass squarely in his oversized midsection. Even with that much padding, the blow to his stomach was massive, causing some spasms and an attack of nausea.

Hearing the gurgle, Nate's eyes go wide and he pulls himself to his feet as fast as he can, grabbing Kitty and taking off at a dead run.

Kitty: Ooooohh… Nate, I thought I told you this had to wait until later!

Nate: LOOK OUT! HE'S GONNA BLOW!

Nate's shout stops all the action and all eyes turn toward the sound. The rumbling in Aaron's stomach gets louder, his eyes grow wide and an enormous belch escapes his lips. The Awesome One smiles, thinking the crisis has been averted.

Then, all in a rush, a huge gout of steaming, foul-smelling, half-digested food gushes from his mouth, covering everything close by with the disgusting stew.

Aaron: Oopth! I guethth mixin' Noodle Kugel, french frieth, chocolate frothty, and thpithy chicken thandwicheth wath a bad idea. Eef you weel.

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Stan Daniels

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The Crazy Eight Part 4

Post  Stan Daniels on Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:54 am

Trauma

From The Journal of Dr. Kate Moran:

Watching Nate Daniels fall was pretty amusing. He was a man, and was made for suffering. I loathed him as much as any other man. His kind was particularly devastating to our tender sex. They swayed into rooms on the notes of seductive music. They flashed their cheap smiles and tear down our defenses with a thousand lies. Before long, even the strongest willed woman can succumb to their charms. In the garden of Eden, Satan was a snake. The serpent who tempted woman to commit original sin. Even in those days, it was man who corrupted woman. Nate Daniels was no different. My only regret was that he hadn’t snapped his neck on the way down.

My attention turned away from him and to the task at hand. My hands burned from clinging to the rope. As my body dangled from the high space, I couldn’t help but curse myself for not wearing a pair of gloves. They would have been useful at that point. Sweat rolled down my aching body. Ever action, even blinking and thinking caused me some degree of pain. The damage that my body had sustained was beginning to take it’s toll. On a good day, lifting my own weight wasn’t a problem at all. When my muscles felt like they were swelling to the size of useless grapefruits however, it was a different story. Deep down, all I wanted to do was sleep.

Fortune favors the brave, or so the saying goes. I can’t remember where I had heard that from, but it always seemed to ring fairly true to me. The saying echoed in my brain as I grunted from the strain of trying to pull myself up. My legs flailed a bit in the air as they tried to clasp the rope between them. If I could have gotten my legs somehow pressed on either side of the tether, it would have allowed me to use both leg and arm power to reach the title. As it was now though, arm power, which was one of my admitted weaknesses, would have to suffice.

Sweat poured from my hands. It was if I had been doused in several hundred buckets of it. The bright lights coming from the rafters made it difficult to see. And then my hand slipped. It seemed such a stupid thing to do. A bead of sweat slipped into my eye. When I went to wipe it away, one of my hands moved from the rope. It wasn’t something I consciously thought of. No, it was a simple knee-jerk reaction to getting something in my eye. My one arm wasn’t enough to support me. So it became my turn to fall from the heavens and plummet toward hell.

The ringside area was littered with bodies. Homicide lied semi-conscious beside the hole. Alan Scott himself was starting to stand, but one could tell it was hard for him. Genocide was also down. The only ones who seemed to be semi-standing was Aaron Action, Nate Daniels, and of course, my Kitten.

“Son of a-” Aaron shouted. The Son of The South moved out of the way just in time for me to crash right into Kitty Hawke and Nate Daniels. The smell of vomit assaulted my nostrils.

And then it was dark. This next part I didn’t so much witness myself, as it was told to me after the fact. The champion, Honest Alan Scott, managed to crawl away from the debris of his previous fall and used the ropes to hand. Every breath he took felt like a red hot knife stabbing away at his chest. Well, one can imagine it would. The Champion stood in the ring and took a moment to survey his surroundings. Everyone, save for himself, was down.

The plus side was that he had obtained a sort of clarity. The anger, the rage, the driving force and desire to hurt, maim, and destroy seemed to have vanished for the time being. He swallowed hard and looked at himself. His body quivered from pain, from not feeling the ever present rage anymore, and from surviving a near fatal fall.

“Oh shit…” He said to no one in particular. Alan Scott looked up and saw that the title wasn’t far from his grasp. He slowly climbed out of the ring and approached the scaffolding. No one moved to try and stop him. No one tried to get up. It wasn’t until Alan Scott was halfway up the scaffolding that my own eyes opened.

Pain was my world at the moment. It surpassed even my tolerance. Everything inside of me wanted to curl up into a ball and cry forever. To hide, to hibernate in my own little abyss. But then there was Alan Scott. He was in every bit as much pain as I was. And yet still, he climbed on. It was almost inspiring. So I began to crawl toward the scaffolding. The fans were most likely on their feet from this. They cheered and “popped” and did whatever else sheep do when excited. By the time I had reached the bottom of the scaffolding on hands and knees, he was about half way. My hands slid up the steel and shook it as hard as my aching limbs would allow.

It shook, slightly, but it shook. It was enough to throw Alan off his balance a few steps. Not much, because his reflexes were as fast as ever, but it was something. My arms threatened to go numb on me as I pulled myself up to my feet and started to climb.

“Alan Scott!” I shouted.

He winced, his ribs pushing even his pain threshold. He looked down, but said nothing.

“Alan Scott…you and I have a date to finish…just hold on…I’ll be with you in a moment!”

And with that, I used the last of my reserves to climb the scaffolding. My only hope at the time was that Alan was every bit as damaged as I was.

Trauma

Alan stared down at the woman who had called out to him, and whether anyone else could see it or not, he wavered on his feet as he tried to focus on her. It was like staring at somebody through glasses with the wrong prescription. People talk about pain, and how it overcomes the normal senses and takes on a life of its own, but unless they have ever pushed their body beyond its normal limits, they simply don’t have a clue what it actually means. For instance, Alan never knew that his forehead could sweat as much as it was, just from the exertion of his willpower to fight through the agony he was in. He had never known before what being nearly blind was like, and yet anything beyond a simple blurred impression required too much concentration for him to properly achieve.

Alan swallowed and it felt like sandpaper in his throat. How long had it been since he had last had anything to drink? He caught himself, and recognized that his mind was wandering in the pain once again. He furrowed his brow and leaned over the edge to see a shape moving towards him. It was not moving quickly, but that was hardly an issue, since Alan was no longer moving at all. Instead he was trying desperately to force his mind into focus; to drive himself onwards.

Paragon: There are bodies lying everywhere Hank, but it starting to look like this is coming down to a race between two people……Trauma and the reigning champion. Both of whom are badly hurt. Folks, if you’re watching this at home, I have to caution you that this footage may not be suitable for younger viewers. We believe that Alan Scott has a rib that is protruding through his side.

Proctner: Are you kidding John, you’re talking to the same parents who let their kids watch Blade, or 300. Keep ‘em in the room and tell ‘em this is what they’ll look like the next time they sass you folks! That’s my advice!

Paragon: Eloquent as ever Hank. Trauma’s not moving quickly, but she’s making ground on our champion, who is still on his feet despite some of the worst bumps I think I’ve ever seen in a match. I don’t know how he keeps on fighting.

Proctner: Sheer willpower. I’ve been telling you all night that nobody can beat THE BEST THERE IS, and I meant it. Alan’s not stalling out up there, he’s just waiting so he can smack Trauma around a little bit. I hear it’s everyone’s new hobby!

Paragon: Folks, I can assure you that that is not true! Nobody associated with Federation X endorses the physical abuse of a woman.

Proctner: Unless you pay for it. Like I do. Then it’s legal.

Paragon: Trauma has one more set of rungs to climb, and Alan looks like he’s barely managing to keep himself in an upright position. Whatever energy he burned climbing as high as he did, I think he’s run out of gas. Honestly folks, I don’t know how he’s even keeping himself moving.

There was a secret that Alan didn’t share with anyone. A few people had caught sight of it, and there were murmurs that went around after the King of The Cage, but nobody really understood the big picture. At least nobody in Federation X. It was possible that Ryan Scott could tell people, but he had retired and moved away, leaving Alan to fend for himself and to deal with the crushing need to succeed that he could never escape from. It was a terrible moment in his childhood and it continued to define every moment of Alan’s professional life.

He coughed and blood sprayed out across his arm as he lifted it instinctively to control the spray of mucus that followed.

Alan was afraid of failure more than anything else in the entire world. More than death. All of the accomplishments he had achieved in his career seemed in his mind to amount to very little, and each new challenge that loomed in front of him seemed like it might finally be the achievement that would lift that burden from his shoulders. It was why he never let up, never gave up ground, never accepted anything less than everything he had to give. It was why being the youngest King of Karma Champion ever wasn’t good enough. It was why setting the records for the longest NGPW Brass Knuckles, Fed X X-Ecutioner or X-Factor championship reigns was not enough. Being the first and only King of The Cage wasn’t enough.

Trauma: Nothing is ever enough is it Alan?

The words caught the marose champion and he gave his head a shake in an effort to focus his vision and make the blurring fade. It worked, although only slightly. He brought up a hand and wiped at the sweat that was stinging his eyes with salt, but all that did was leave the smeared path of blood across his face. Trauma blanched just a touch as the blood reminded her of the pain she was fighting through herself. Still, she had a plan with Alan and she wasn’t going to change it.

If it came to a physical confrontation, even in his injured state, she knew what that would mean. No, she had done her homework. She had done it better than anyone who had ever crossed paths with the icon in the making. She knew what made Alan Scott tick, and she knew the words that would finally break his spirit. Like Alan though, she was fighting with her own demons. He staggered towards her, and she brought up her hands. Alan had simply lost his strength and remaining upright was taking everything out of him, but that hadn’t stopped Trauma from recoiling.

For a moment Alan had had the head of a giant wolf.

Then it was gone. She knew what was happening, and she knew that she needed to push them back. She needed to win. It was the only way to push them back and show them that she was stronger than they were. To win though, she had to break the greatest champion the company had ever seen. And she knew exactly the words to use.

Trauma: Because no matter…..

She took a deep breath as she was Alan’s legs shaking, and the expression on his face wavering. It was the moment of truth. She had accepted a spot in the match with a plan that nobody else would ever dare to mimic; she would destroy her opponents minds if she thought she could win. If she was right…..if she knew what drove him…..she would break Alan Scott.

If she was wrong?

He would almost certainly break her.

Trauma: ……how much you do……your father…….he’s never he’s never coming back for you.


Alan Scott’s world was spinning.

The Crazy 8 had been going on for longer than he had thought possible, and something had happened while he was fighting, because there was a blank spot in his memory and an agony coming from his ribcage that was beyond description. He had only just gathered his wits, at least so well as he could, when he had heard Trauma’s voice breaking through the thundering pounding in his head.

Trauma: ...he’s never coming back for you.

Alan frowned and tried to focus on what she was saying, but it was hard. He could feel a ravenous anger building in the pit of his stomach and he knew the feeling far too well to ignore it. The pain was the problem. Trauma was still speaking, but she was also moving, and something in the back of his mind was screaming at him; trying to remind him that she too was in competition for his X-Factor Championship. Focus was becoming more and more difficult though.

Trauma: This isn’t the way to do it Alan. You should...

She was still talking, but Alan was still trying to understand what she was talking about. Had she mentioned his father at some point? Why was she talking to him instead of trying to get to the.....wait! They were on the scaffolding. Trauma was actually trying to stop Alan from...

...a sudden lurch shook the scaffolding, and threw both Alan and Trauma off balance. Alan was actually flung sideways with enough force that he slid off of the top level of the construction, and was barely clinging to the support bar as he dangled over the edge. The act was an exercise of strength and willpower. At the end of a long match Alan’s otherwise impressive strength was straining just to keep him from falling to the arena floor, but it was his willpower that was straining the worst.

Pain was washing over Alan and twice his eyes threatened to roll back in his head, but he knew that that would either lead to an unconscious and dangerous fall, or the unleashing of something much, much worse. There was a strange noise that would not go away as well, almost like a constant buzzing in his ear. Alan redoubled his focus, and tried to pull himself up, but then agony exploded in his fingers and he looked up, with eyes that were wide and tinged with blood.

Trauma was standing on them.

Trauma: We can continue this later Alan.....and remember......I’m doing this to free you...

Alan fell.

Trauma watched while Alan fell backwards, before she turned her attention towards the rafters above. The X-Factor Championship hung some seven feet away, the enticing prize in the greatest battle the company had seen in a long, long time. The smile that was growing over her face dimmed though when she caught a movement amongst the shadows above the ring. Was.....somebody trying to steal the prize from her?

She looked down.

Aaron and Nate Daniels were splayed out on the floor, and it was obvious from their position that they had broken the fall of the soon to be former champion. Alan appeared to have survived the fall with very little further injury, although that was not saying much given the amount he had already suffered. Kitty was at the base of the scaffold, trying to fight her way through Homicide and get to Trauma, but the battle was going poorly. Kitty had almost gotten through to the scaffolding when The Sack Man slammed into her and sent her sprawling out across the concrete.

Trauma took a second to process it all, and then she looked up again.

Trauma: Geno.

Against all odds, the twenty-four time World Champion had managed to use one of the ropes while everyone else was distracted by the confrontation between Alan and Trauma. The old man with the injured fibia had somehow defied his age and ascended to the rafters. Trauma moved as quickly as she could, leaping up and grabbing the rafters overhead. Her foot caught the top support rail of the scaffold and scrambled up onto the top beam.

Above the lights, in the darkness she could see him clearly.

Geno: Sorry Trauma. Not this time.

Trauma could see that Geno was a good four feet closer to the title than she was. That wasn’t the part that concerned her, or confused her, though. What she didn’t understand was that Geno had a four foot piece of ¼” copper pipe, and he was using it......to....her eyes went wide.

Trauma: NO!

Geno smiled. There were some things you just didn’t explain.

Geno: Sorry Trauma. It’s SBFF karma.

Geno flicked his wrist and the belt unlatched. Trauma dove, her arms extending, but it slipped between her fingers as she landed on the beam where it had been secured. She watched as the belt fell....

....none of them even saw it....

......and then she realized where it was going to land....

Trauma: ...................how................but...................he..........!

Geno smiled as the belt landed squarely across Alan’s chest. He looked at Trauma. She couldn’t believe what she had just seen.

Geno: How did I do it?

She nodded, arms wrapped around the beam to keep her secure.

He shrugged.

Geno: I’m Genocide.


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