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Post  Stan Daniels on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:29 pm

DETAILS: A match that has been building for months, Johnny Rude versus Jason Storm. Rude is, according to Storm, the embodiment of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Storm is, according to Rude, full of....... you know. For this match, we are bringing in a cage which originated in Mexico but was made popular by TNA - the Steel Asylum. Unlike the Elimination Chamber's log chain walls, the Asylum is a massive iron structure with a domed roof. The roof has a round hole about six feet across right in the center, waaaay up top. The match is simple. First, you have to either pin your opponent or make him submit. THEN you have to climb the walls, make your way across the domed roof, pull yourself through the opening in the top of the dome and then climb down to the floor. Got that? Score a fall, then escape the cage to win. Simple. Both of these men have sustained some pretty massive damage through the first two weeks of the tournament, so it might just be interesting to see if either man can pull himself up and out.

RP RULES: All King of the Cage tournament matches are seventy-two hours with a three posts per day hard cap. In addition, there is a two hour continuation rule, meaning that one wrestler may not post back-to-back flashes until at least two hours has passed from the posting time of the first flash.

RP JUDGES: Krusher/Cedrick Caesar - Tiebreaker - Grayson


Johnny Rude had stared into a lot of mirrors in his time. Not for the vain purposes of examining his appearance in some poor attempt to achieve physical perfection. No, when he looked at himself, he looked past the flesh into the man beneath. The battle with Carnage had changed everything. More than Johnny was willing to admit. Beating Carnage, and more importantly, finally physically annihilating John Steele, had been a freeing experience for him. That night Johnny felt years and years of repressed hatred and anger purged in an awesome wave.

What he felt after that was indescribable. It was beyond peace, beyond relief, to something that Johnny scarcely had words for. But whatever one would call it, the sensation was wonderful. He wanted it back. Rude would do anything to freeze the moment in time and live in it forever. When the match was over, when Johnny was alone with only his head to keep him company, he realized a terrible truth: Though he may have achieved a final, freeing victory over his “father,” the scars left in the wake of his being raised by that man were permanent.

He felt his very being in a sort of schism. One part of him wanted to crush, destroy, and set flames to everything in sight. It was this part of him which conspired against Hairy, which brutally hung Carnage, and, most relevantly, tore the lives of The Emerson Family to pieces again and again. The other wanted to abandon the shackles of hate which held him fast. It wanted to prove that he was more than shock and awe, that he had goodness within him. The problem lied in that Rude was so accustomed to listening to one side of himself that he barely heard the other when it whispered to him.

Was this to be his fate? To have himself forever tied to the wheel of wanton destruction and barbarism? Is that all he was? These questions and many more swirled inside of his mind as he looked at himself. Who was he, after all? In the darkness of the prison block, John Steele had taken credit for the man Rude had become. He even went so far as to claim ownership over every one of Johnny Rude’s achievements. In a way, Rude had to admit he was kind of right. Though a certain “wrongness” seemed to hover over him like a cloud from the moment he killed his true father, John Steele changed it. He took that wrongness and molded it into a boy who was bred to hate.

He trained Rude from day one to be a vessel of rage and pain. To cause sorrow to even the most innocent of beings and feel nothing. And much to Steele’s expectation, that is what he became. Johnny Rude’s history is well documented. The man’s name was synonymous with the outrageous, the insane, and the cruel. And yet, despite all this, had he not found love? He and Demonica, while not the most normal or stable of relationships, were indeed husband and wife. And it didn’t stop with her, either.

Eve Riley was one of Johnny’s best friends. She had been for quite some time. It was true that their relationship was often times one-sided in one way or another, but Eve Riley still held a firm place in his heart. Syren held a place as well. A place one would reserve for their child. She was the daughter Rude never had. And like real children she could disappoint. There was Holland, who understood him and had become one of his closest friends. Despite Rude’s ball-busting, he cared for the man. And Alan Scott, his supposed “TBFF” who had also been on shaky ground with him.

And therein lies the struggle for Johnathan. His entire life he had been bred to hate, to destroy. To take no prisoners, show no mercy, and be the best. But if that is the case….how did he have so many people around him who he loved, and who loved him in return? How did a man who called himself The Antichrist have such an intricate support group? It didn’t make any sense. But beyond that, the mere existence of the group suggested one thing: Johnny Rude was a man, no different from anyone else. Not a monster, not some bestial thing of rage, but a man with people who loved him.

But how? He didn’t understand. The support group suggested that he was able to love and be loved. But do beings of hate love? If so, what of the hate they were born with? Who was he? When did Johnny Rude end and Jonathan Wilson begin? The line had been blurred into non-existence for so long. So much time had passed where he had been his gimmick on and off camera. The experience with Steele changed all that. It was if destroying the man raised the bar of his morality above water and into the light. Johnny could see the line, but he didn’t know where he fit in. Two forces pulled at either side of him, each assuring him THEY were the way to go. And for the life of him, he didn’t know what choice was the right one.

There was a knock on his door. Rude turned his head and looked at it. He knew that standing would pain him due to his as of now not completely healed injuries. Rude winced and walked over to the door. The soreness which wrapped around him like a blanket made him wonder whether or not he even had enough gas in his tank to finish this. He opened the door and thought that he would find out soon enough whether or not he could handle this match. Either he would win, or he’d lose.

Shelly: So, are you ready for an interview?

Rude: You won’t believe me when I say this but…yes, I am.

Shelly did a double take. Was this the same man she had been working with for years?

Shelly: But…you never want an interview. You just want to talk without being asked any questions. Are you feeling okay?

Rude: Honestly, I’ve never felt more clear-headed in my life. I’ll wait until you’re ready.

And so, he did just that. Inside his head, The Rudeness was mulling over the right words to convey his message. It was difficult, because so much of him wanted to blast Storm and the IKI for being, as a friend once taught him, “sheeple.” At the same time, the true intent of this interview was whispering inside his brain. When the camera came on, his face on the tron, Shelly spoke.

Shelly: I am here with King of The Cage semi-finalist, creator, and King of Extreme, Johnny Rude. Tonight, he faces off against his long-time rival, Jason Storm. Now, for those of you not in the know, this is a match that is almost three years in the making. Rude and The Emerson family have been at each other’s throats for A LONG time. So, what are your thoughts on all this, Johnny?

Rude: I’ve faced Storm twice before. And both times, I lost my ass off. It hurts to admit it. To admit that someone I hate as much as I hate Storm has beaten me, cleanly, twice…but he did. The feeling is much akin to having acid-soaked needles rammed into my balls. But Shelly…that’s all in the past. Tonight will be different.

Shelly: Really now? I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers The Bad Blood Hell In The Cell match where Storm and yourself did battle. Your shoulder broke, your hand shattered, and some wondered if you’d ever wrestle again. What makes tonight different?

Rude: It’s true, my career nearly ended that night. It’s also true that Storm has gone nearly three months without a loss to his name. Hell, even his Superstar reign is longer than my own. And yet, none of this matters to me tonight. You asked me why things are going to be different, and I’ll tell you why: Tonight, when I beat Jason Storm, and I will beat him, I’m doing so cleanly.

Shelly: …Cleanly? What do you mean by that?

Rude: I mean that tonight Jason Storm isn’t facing Captain Shock and Awe. Not the man who pissed on him, the man who tortured his brother….but something else. That said, I’m NOT sorry for anything that’s transpired between us. Hell, I’m a little proud of most of it, but I’m not bringing THAT Johnny Rude into this. There won’t be handcuffs, pepperspray, brass knuckles, or any of my usual tricks. I am going to face Storm in the middle of that right…I’m going to beat him senseless…..and then I’m climbing out of the cage and into the finals.

Shelly: Wow, this is unlike you. Usually, your opponent would be trapped in a tube of terror by now. Do you mean to say you’re going to go in and wrestle a clean match and beat Storm?

Rude: As clean as these matches can be, yes. Does that mean I’ll be completely by the book? No. But there won’t be any lackeys jumping Storm, no one taking out IKI members, no Satanic rituals, none of that. This match will prove that I am the better wrestler, plain and simple.

Shelly: There is one x-factor, so to speak: Jason Storm suffered a terrible series of stabbings at the hands of Cian Mccormack last round. How will we be sure he even shows up to fight?

Rude: I’m not. But if I know Storm…he’ll find a way. He always does. Anyway, I have a date with the shittier Emerson brother…catch you later, Shells.

He left and made his way to the ramp. And with each step he took, he kicked himself for his brazen words. Because Rude knew, deep down, without his usual tricks…he wasn’t going to beat Storm.


Storm Warning had been underway a little less then an hour. As the show came back live from a commerical break, The Tron came on showing clips from last weeks King Of The Cage Round 2 Match between Jason Storm and Cian Maccormick. Several moments were revisited but none played and invoked such emotion as the clip of Cian stabbing Storm in the gut 4 times over. Each stab was shown in painful slow motion. Each twist could almost be felt like a ghost blade in thier own guts. Several people looked away. Others, who hated the very fabric of Storm's being actually shouted out such things as "Fucker deserved it!".

The final clip was perhaps the most painful of all. Storm sank to his knees clutching at his stomach, Blood seeping through his fingers like water seeps through breaks in a levy. Nathan rushing to his side as Cian exited the building limping badly. This was followed by a cut back to one of the onsite officals declaring Storm the winner while Nathan took the shirt off his back and applied pressure to the wounds. The tron fades with imagines of Paramedics rushing into the prison while Earl Cronkier spoke with local Detriot Police officials. The tron went off and the view quickly shifted back to John Paragon and Hank Proctor.

"There it is Fed X fanatics, The closing moments of last week's King Of The Cage Match between our Superstar Champion and Cian Maccorrmick. The big question that's been running through Fed X like a lethal virus is how will what we just saw impact tonight's big third round match up which is slated to see Jason Storm face off against arch rival Johnny Rude?"

"I Have plenty of rumors John." Hank said matter of factly. "The rumor mill has been churning overtime this week on just who might be in that ring across from Johnny Rude. The name I've heard most is that of Nathan. Right hand man of Karmic Legacy and the leader of the Instant Karma Initative. I've also heard we could very well see Dave Diamond step in again as well as one name that could really fan the flames of the fire burning between Genocide and Storm, that being James Miller."

"You can see advantages in each name as well Hank. Dave holds a victory of Rude. Nathan is a powerhouse who's bound to bring a ton of emotion to the table over Storm's stabbing. James Miller is a flat out wild card that could either fail due to his lack of experiance or....Catch Rude offgaurd and keep him reeling."

"Ah but I'm not quite done yet John. I've also heard some really off the wall names as well. Some say it could be Karissa Rain who as none of us have forgotten, still owes Rude for setting her on fire. I've also heard Brett Maverick's name mentioned and well....Despite how he walked away from Fed X a few months ago, He still must have plenty of old scores to settle. The final name I've heard tossed around comes as a complete shock to me. Part of me doesn't even want to mention it because it can't possibly be true."

"Karissa and Brett would be very viable options no doubt....but I'm curious as to who this last person is."

"I've heard a few rumors....a very few....that Storm is actually going to try and compete tonight."

"No way" John said in disbelief. "There is no possible way on Earth that Storm can compete tonight just a week from having his internal organs scrambled by Cian. That has to be wishful thinking at best. Let's forget for a moment that no one has seen or heard anything about Storm or his condition since that night a week ok. All inquries we've made to Karmic Legacy and the IKI have been returned with he's "Safe and resting." Even if he was in any shape to compete, what doctor would clear him?"

"I just tell you what I hear John." Hank replied. "I don't make this stuff up."

"Well I for one would have to think it's impossible. You recall Rude came out earlier this week and tried to tear into the very fabric of Karmic Legacy and the IKI's beliefs? Did Storm come out and debate Rude? No. Nathan did."

"To be honest, Since you brought it up. You know I like Rude.....But let's be honest for a minute. Would Storm even have needed to address Rude's speech on clashing religions? I'm sure we all know what Rude was trying to do but the truth is all he did was point out the obvious. Fanatics such as Karmic Legacy and the IKI are called fanatics because of thier skewed and twisted views of what they believe in. Rude pointing out that they're smashing together Karma with Christainity makes me reply with "Well Duh!" The whole reason these people are looked on the way they are is because they often smash things together to fit thier views of the world."

"First I have to admit I'm stunned. That was perhaps the most thought you ever put into anything....and while you're correct....and while I agree with you. I think had Storm been well enough to address Rude he would have. I have serious SERIOUS doubts that we'll see Storm later tonight."

"You're probably right John. If I was placing a bet for this one my money has to go to Nathan."

"And on that we can agree. We'll find out later tonight. Next up after the break, A review of the last weeks other King Of The Cage Matches as well as one hell of a tag team match up next on Storm Warning.


About An Hour Till Match Time.

Karmic Legacy Suite Office

Emissary sat at a long table with his crutches nearby. On his left hand sat James Miller. At the door stood two IKI members guarding the door. Emissary gave a nod and one of the IKI guards opened the door. Another IKI member had Isabel, The little sister of Haley by the arm. He shoved her roughly into the room and then slammed the door shut. She fell against the table but stood up quickly full of piss and vinegar.

"I don't know why the hell you're treating a fellow member like a prisoner but that shit needs to stop now. You people don't know who it is your messing with."

"Quite the opposite" Emissary said coldly. "You are NOT a member of Karmic Legacy or the IKI. You are in fact a sinner, A drug abuser, and a whore. The only reason Karmic Legacy gives you shelter is due to the possiblity that you carry Genocide's child inside you. That is the only reason Storm has us protecting you. Were it not for that, Karma would be demanding payment from you."

"Oh really? Well all of you can take a flying fuck......"

"ENOUGH!" James said standing up as he pounded both fists on the table. "What you did last week in the match with Genocide & Kieran was shameful enough. From this point forward you will NOT refer to yourself as a member of Karmic Legacy or the IKI.......and You had better hope the child you carry belongs to my father or I'll cleanse the world of you myself. Get this WHORE out of our sight and keep a watchful eye on her tonight."

The two IKI members guarding the door quickly grab hold of Isabel and drag her from the room kicking and screaming. Another IKI member looks inside the office and is given another nod by Emissary. The IKI member quickly shuts the door. Now alone, The real discussion can begin.

"I don't trust that little bitch as far as I can throw here even if she is carrying my half sister."

"Easy James" Emissary said with reassurance. "We'll make sure she's no factor tonight."

"We should be extra careful with her. We can ill afford her getting involved. Remember how easily she slipped the police last week?" James asked.

"Of course. We'll make sure to double her guard." Emissary said patting James's hand. "Now, with the issue of Isabel over with for the moment. I think it's time we cashed in on our ownership of The Network."

"This is not a road I think we should travel. Regardless of ownership we can't trust them. I know." James said with resolve.

"While I tend to agree, If Haley wants her precious Network back the way she turned it over to us....they'll do exactly what we say. They can come looking for payback later."

"I won't go against your wishes Emissary. Will Nathan make the call?"

"No James....You will." Emissary replied.

Perhaps this was suppose to be a test of the young man's loyalty. Perhaps this was a test of his willingness to contact the group his father was part of. It didn't matter, James would pass the test with flying colors. His heart, soul, and mind were completly behind Karmic Legacy.

"With pleasure...and if they fail to uphold thier end.....I'll deal with them myself. I just worry about what will happen if they don't."

Emissary smiled and leaned forward patted James on the shoulder.

"Don't worry James. We still have our ace in the hole. An ace mentioned before but paid little mind to by those around us. An ace in the hole no one will ever see coming. If The Network fails.....He won't."

James nodded and smiled as Emissary grabbed his crutches to stand.

"Then we're done here. James, make the call. I'll make sure everything and everyone one is in place."

With that said, The two men left the office.


About 30 Minutes To Match Time

Karmic Legacy Suite Locker room.

The lights in the back of the locker room were off. Only the light from under the door cast small shadows across the floor as Emissary shut the door behind him. He hobbled over to the only portion of the bench he could see and took a seat.

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"I have to" said the voice in the dark.

"I don't mean the match itself....I mean the other things. The people hate us now. Yes, I know it has to be this way because they still can't grasp what we're trying to do......but this? Are you sure this is the route we want to take?"

"Karma demands it."

"You know I back you fully but I don't think anyone can fathom the backlash that's going to come from this. You realize this could explode in our faces."

"If that's the price we must pay for doing Karma's will........so be it."

'Then the innocent will suffer."

"They have to my friend" The voice in the dark said full of conviction. "It is how Rude must be punished. Did we not humble Haley and her sin of pride by taking her face?" Did we not humble Cian's vanity by scarring his body? You know in your heart as I know in mine that the only way to humble Rude's sin of wrath lies on this road and this road alone."

"I do not doubt you my friend."

"We shall stay true to her course. Karma will reward us with a better world."

"I just want you there to see it brother. I worry that when this night ends, The world will scream to see your blood spilled....to see you die. Many will see you as the sinner when this night ends."

"To humble Rude, I nust walk a mile in his shoes. A small price to pay for what Karma asks of me. If it's my blood they want when this is over it's my blood they'll have. To be a martyr for the cause is an honor. If that's what Karma wants in return. She shall have it."

"We still have much work to do. The road ahead will get rougher but I think Karma has more in store for you."

"Perhaps she does...perhaps she does." The voice in the dark replied with soft wonder.

"It's almost time....I'll ask but one more question then I'll leave you be. Are you sure about all of this?"

"It's the way it has to be."

"So be it. We'll be waiting for you outside."

Emissary got back up and hobbled out the room on his crutches. The eyes in the dark watched as he left.

"I will become Wrath......and you will be humbled before this night is over Jonathan."



He sat leaned back in the recliner as the trainer checked the IV line in his arm. Lifting his head up slighlty he could see the fresh wrap of bandages around his waist & stomach. As the trainer continued to check him from head to toe, Jason closed his eyes for a moment of reflection. His mind went back a few days to the hospital bed where he had watched Rude's diatribe on Wicca, Karma, Paganism, the whole nine yards. Funny thing was, He'd have to remember to tell Rude he was right about one thing. Karma was about balance. Storm knew that first hand. While most people wouldn't realize it, While most couldn't grasp the concepts of what Karma Legacy and the IKI were doing. Jason understood it better then most.

The reason?

Karma didn't just demand a price from sinners. It demanded payment from him as well. In order to punish the sinners, Storm had to become one himself. Thus, at some point he had to reap what he sowed. Case in point, Cian stabbing him. Many had whispered backstage that "If Karmic Legacy is here to make a better world, If some divine power was really on thier side, How could Storm have been stabbed?" The answer was simple.

Karma is about balance and she can be very demanding.

"You have fresh bandages. Once this IV is done you should be good for a couple hours. Did you have any questions?"

"No. Thank you for your assistance."

"It's what I'm here for. I'll be back in a couple hours to clean those wounds and re-dress them. Take it easy."

The trainer left the room with a smile. As he walked out, James Miller walked in. He walked over to Storm and pulled up a folding chair next to him.

"How are you feeling?"

"I've felt worse. I'll be fine." Storm said taking a hard look at James. "Something is bothering you?"

"I....No...it's nothing. Everything is as it should be."

"That's good news but that still doesn't change the fact that something is on your mind. Speak my friend."

"I'm worried about tonight. About what's to come and I can't help but wonder if we need to go to such an extreme. Is there no other way to get the point across?"

Storm smiled at the youngest member of Karmic Legacy

"Do you believe in your heart I want things to be like this? Do you think it gives me joy to know what has to be done this night?"

"No, of course not."

"That's good because I don't. Even with the ill feelings we all harbor about it. Rude has left us little choice. Rude has left karma little choice. Through the years Rude has done unspeaking things to people. He's destroyed many familes, many lives. It's his time to suffer.....with interest."

"I understand."

"Stay the course my young friend. Many will suffer, many more will be punished, but our reward will be a better world to live in, to raise our children in. Balance will be restored."

"And that will be a great day Jason." James said as he patted Storm on the hand.

"Indeed it will." Storm replied with a soft smile. "Were you able to contact The Network and tell them what we expect of them?"

"I was.......and they'll do what we say. I still worry they'll use it to try and screw us tonight."

"It is a chance we have to take. We must believe that the Network is too valuable to them. I doubt they'll want us to dismantle it. It's a chance I don't think they're willing to take. Now, help me up?"

James held out his hand as Storm took it. As he began to stand, James tried to reach over and assist him more but Storm pushed his hand away with a smile meant to mask the pain. As he got to his feet, Emissary came into the room as quickly as his crutches could carry him.

"He's coming isn't it" Storm said with no emotion on his face whatsoever.

"Yes." Emissary replied. "He's on his way here now."

"We expected this. It doesn't change a thing. We just need to make sure we stop him. he can't be allowed into the arena until our work is complete."

"I'll make sure he doesn't get in." Emissary said to Storm and then turned his attention to James. "Can you round up a few of the IKI guys James and have them wait for me in the meeting room?"

"I'm on it" James said leaving the room quickly.

"How far out is he? Do we have eyes on him?" Storm asked.

"We have a tail on him. Best guess is about 20 minutes out. 30 tops."

"That should give us the time we need."

"I'll make sure it does."

Emissary touched Storm's shoulder and gave him a nod before leaving his partner alone. One he was gone Storm moved slowly around the room holding his arm across his stomach in a protective manner. Tonight was going to be one of the most difficult nights Karmic Legacy and the IKI would face. As Storm pondered over what was to come. The next few minutes would prove the night was going to get much much worse.

The air in the room changed. A chill made Jason shudder. He stopped in his tracks and looked about the room. At first he saw nothing but then in the shadows of the far corner he saw the cowl.

"If you cross this line Jason.....The repercussions will be severe."

"You have alot of guts coming in here. With a snap of my fingers I could have the IKI in this room and your days playing Shepherd will be over."

"Heed my warning Jason. That which was given can be taken away."

"I don't know who you are and frankly I don't care. If I came out you right now and kncoked you out I wonder who I miught find under that cowl. Alan perhaps?"

"You have lost your way Jason. You have left the path turning what was taught to you into this preverse abomination you call Karmic Legacy.

"And your attempts to trick me have failed. I know for a fact that the REAL Shepherd understands what it is we're doing. He would approve if he was here. I'd wager he would join our fight...so "Preach" all you like false prophet. I WILL stay the course!"

"So Be it."

"I've had enough of you. Now you'll pay for your ruse."

Storm snapped his fingers and just like he said, No less then 4 IKI members came flying through the door.

"Get this idiot out of here and beat him within an inch of his life." Storm commanded.

"Get who sir?"


Storm looked around the room but the cowl was gone. He wqas in fact alone in the room. He began to question himself. Could that have really been the Shepherd? Could it.....No....No. The Shepherd was gone. Everyone knew it. This was some sort of trick. He quickly squashed his doubts.

"It's nothing. Nevermind."

With a wave of his hand he dismissed the IKI members who left as quickly as they came. He walked back over to the recliner and took a seat slowly. He had much to think about.


At The Announce Table

"That was an eye opening Interview with Rude wouldn't you say Hank?"

"I have my doubts. This is probably some sort of trick on Rude's part."

"He seemed honest enough. Perhaps he feels he has something to prove. You have to admit, If he can beat Storm clean in a straight up match his stock would rise through the roof....assuming it's Storm he faces."

"Please John. If Storm is crazy enough to show in his condition, Holly could beat him cleanly."

"Maybe so. I've just got word that Shelly is outside the Karmic Legacy Suite and maybe now we'll find out exactly who Rude is going to face. Shelly?"

The shot cuts back to the locker room area. Shelly smiles for the camera.

"Thanks John. I'm standing here in front of the Karmic Legacy suite in hopes of finding out just who will face Rude tonight. Any minute now Rude will make his entrance so at this point I'd have to think we can find out the the answer to this burning question."

Shellky knocks on the door and waits little more then 5 seconds before it's opened. On of the random IKI members Spies Shelly and then looks back into the room. Seconds later both Emissary and James come to the door. Right behind them coming out of a back room is Storm. Shelly looks at her camera man and then shakes her head slightly to the side. The camera gets a close up of the Superstar Champion bandages and all.

"What can we do for you Shelly?" Asked Emissary.

"Tonight is a another big night for Karmic Legacy and Storm. As we can see for ourselves behind you Storm is up and moving around. We're all glad he's ok."

James pulled the door closed enough to obscure the view of Storm. "We doubt that any of you are glad he's ok but thanks for pretending none the less."

"My concern was no false James but whatever. With only one match to go till the final and Storm looking like he's in no condition to compete. The world wants to know who's going to take Storm's place tonight. Perhaps you James?"

"It's really none of your business Shelly but suffice to James will not be taking Storm's spot."

"Well if that's the case, I know it's obviously not you Emissary. Perhaps we'll see Dave Diamond again?"

"Don't mention that traitor's name again" James mumbled with anger.

"Ok....Then as crazy as it sounds will Storm make the attempt himself?"

"I think you and the rest of the world can keep on waiting for a few more minutes. This interview is over."

"Where's Nathan?"

That was enough to stop Emissary from closing the door. James walked away shaking his head as Emissary stared at Shelly.

"I can't help but notice Nathan is nowhere to be found. As a matter of fact, Since his retort to Rude the other night, I hear tell no one has seen him at all. Care to comment?"

Emissary glared at Shelly and then closed the door in her face. Shelly turned her attention back to the camera behind here.

"I think we have a winner John. I expect to see Nathan make his in ring debut tonight. Back to you guys."

Back at the announce table.

"Thanks Shelly. Thoughts Hank?"

"Nathan makes the most sense. I still believe it's him we'll see later tonight."

"Well..we'll find out shortly. It's match time and Rude is set to make his entrance. Our answer is only minutes away. We'll be right back after this short break."



Johnny Rude waited for his entrance to start. As he did, all he could feel was fear. It wasn’t the cage which caused him terror. Nor was it the idea of pain which would surely cut a few years from his life. No, it was the fear of uncertainty. This match, more than any of the others, seemed rife with it. Part of it was uncertainty on his part. Could he get a win over Storm cleanly? Could he, as a wrestler, best a man who hadn’t seen the broad side of a loss in nearly three moths? He failed before, after all. Twice before, as Shelly felt the need to remind him. So what made him think that now, using normal tactics, he could win when his usual tactics failed twice before?

Nothing. He didn’t think he was going to win. In a way, it wasn’t about the win. Instead, he decided to go out there and prove that he was more than an insufferable bastard. He had tried this once before with Alan Scott, and the two brought each other to the brink and back, and ended in a tie. That didn’t satisfy Johnny. He wanted to be someone square in the middle of the ring just to prove that he was able to. And yet, there was the fear. That dark little imp which whispered in his ear. It cackled and hissed into his subconscious. The voice of fear made his skin crawl.

The entrance began. Marilyn Manson’s “The Fight Song,” roared through the speakers. Johnny barely noticed it. As he went down the ramp everyone noticed that his entrance was devoid of the usual pomp and circumstance. There were no fireworks, no obscenities flown by the man, or bravado of any kind. He kept his eye forward, to the cage and on the prize. Insecurity ran rampant within The Antichrist Superstar’s heart. Could he do this? Was he able? Or would he suffer loss number THREE? In his own event, of all times?

God, he couldn’t take this. It ate away at him piece by piece, moment by moment. And it was only worsened by the fact that he did not know if he’d actually face Storm or not. There were so many people connected with the man. Inferno, who hated Storm, could make himself known simply to take something away from Johnny. The two had a rocky relationship, to say the least. And then there was Karissa who Rude had horribly mutilated for his own amusement. True, she hated Storm, but could she set that aside for a chance to bury Johnny? It seemed a likely possibility. But so did Maverick, or Dave Diamond who poked his head into the last match Johnny had against the man.

None of these could be correct. He knew this much. The reason for this was that Rude knew that if he thought of it, Storm probably had as well. This meant that it was just obvious enough of a conclusion to draw. Nathan seemed a likely possibility, or James Miller. Both of which disliked Rude immensely. Miller had broken Rude’s jaw after all. As likely as they seemed, it didn’t seem quite right? Someone from his past, maybe? Storm had a long reach. Much longer than what would make Rude comfortable. Would he find a way to heal John Steele and march him out to the ring? Or, worse yet, what if somehow, Storm had found Trauma, that psycho-slut, and convinced her that a big match to end Rude would be fun?

Questions, questions, and not an answer in sight. So he spent his time inside the steel asylum and pondered the possible outcomes. Honestly, it didn’t matter exactly who he faced, insofar as planning goes. Unlike so many matches before, Rude had no plans. No schemes, no men in masks doing his dirty work. Whoever came down that ramp would fight Johnny in a “normal” match. The King of Extreme decided that the only thing he could do is examine his surroundings and make the best of the situation. He had never been in this kind of cage before, and he knew that it would present its own unique challenges and pitfalls. After all the thinking, worrying, and panicking…all he could do was wait. He hated it.

Elsewhere, in an abandoned warehouse not far from the arena, a group of people gathered inside. They all wore black flowing robes and strange masks. They were strange mainly because every mask resembled that of some kind of Wizard of Oz character. What made this more bizarre was that the walls were covered in Johnny Rude memorabilia. The entire building was lit with candles and torches. Faux Satanic-Panic imagery covered the floors. In a large meeting room there was a chair which was crafted out of imitation bone. A figure, cloaked in deep purple, sat on the throne. He watched a wall of television sets, all showing the current match.

A skinny figure cloaked in a robe which wore a Dorothy mask spoke to him.

Dorothy: Did you see The Prophet’s interview, Wizard?

Wizard: I did, yes. It seems as though his confrontation with his father shook our messiah more than we thought.

Dorothy: He said something about fighting Storm cleanly. I’m worried, Wizard. What if he can’t beat Storm this way? The Prophet is a master manipulator, a mind game player. What if-

Dorothy’s words were cut short. The massive gloved hand of The Wizard came across her face with all the force of a wave. She let out a whimper and hit the ground. The Wizard stood over her and spoke.

Wizard: Do not speak of The Prophet in such a manner! We have been watching him now, for years, in hopes that he would learn of his true role in Armageddon! Do you think we would simply stand by idly while a mere crisis of faith troubled Him?

Dorothy: I’m s-sorry W-w-wizard…D-do you have a plan?

He nodded. He the offered a hand to the young lady. She took it gently and the man pulled her to her feet. A pair of sparkled red slippers glinted in the candlelight under the hem of the robe. The man known simply as, “The Wizard” moved from his throne. He walked across the room, careful not to trip over any of the candles which were strewn about everywhere. From tiny the tiny slits in his mask his eyes gazed upon a man on his knees. A black bag was over his head. The man’s arms were handcuffed behind his back. The Wizard reached out and pulled the bag off. The man cursed and spat.

Maverick: YOU WON’T GET AWAY WITH THIS! I swear, if you don’t kill me now, I’ll make you regret it!

The Wizard let out a long, rolling laugh. It sent shivers down his spine and caused goose bumps to roll along his skin. Still, Brett Emerson resolved to show no fear.

Wizard: My poor, deluded fool of a friend. Do you not understand? You are but a mere cog in a much grander scheme. Though I will give you credit where it is due, you are partly responsible for The Prophet’s birth. For that, I must thank you.

Maverick: Prophet? What the hell are you talking about? One minute, I’m filing away in my office, trying to live a normal god damn existence, and YOU people storm in and jump me! If it’s money you want, fine.

Wizard: You understand so little. No matter, you are but a mere cog in The Doomsday Machine. The world has had it’s Sheppard…and now, it has it’s Antichrist….tonight will mark his re-birth…and you, good sir, will play an integral role. Feel flattered, truly.

Back in the ring, Rude was getting impatient. Time was moving too slowly. It ate away at him as if he was a fresh corpse left out for carrion. Whoever it was, why couldn’t they just COME OUT already!? He paced back and forth. When that grew tiresome, he walked around in circles. And when THAT grew boring, he shook the cage wall a few times. Finally, Rude stood in the center of the ring calling for a microphone. The only problem was, getting him one would be a teensy bit difficult.

And then it happened. The lights in the arena dropped. Rude panicked almost immediately and backed up against the cage. At least this way, no one could sneak attack him. His eye searched the entire ring area to try and find the source of the disturbance. It wasn’t until he looked above the cage that he saw it: A red spotlight. The crimson beam shone on a long, tube-shaped object covered in a tarp. A voice rang out over the loudspeaker.


And then the tarp fell. Everyone in the arena, including the members of the IKI, watched in horror as they saw Maverick bound, gagged, and trapped inside a Tube of Terror. This one had Brett Emerson standing waist-deep in a pile of broken glass and thumb tacks. Rude examined it and noticed that the walls of the tube were more thin than his variety: They were made of normal glass.

He kept his eyes on Maverick while a thousand questions rolled through his head. One of which was: Who the HELL was copying off of him!?!?


"I knew it. I just knew it. Rude was lying like he always does!" John exclaimed

"Ah yes" Hank said. "The dreaded Tube of Terror."

"I swear, I could have placed a bet that Rude would do something like this."

"Maybe....but I could point out that the look on Rude's face seems to make me think he's clueless as to how or why that thing is hanging up there."

"Will it matter? I have no doubt that this will fire up whoever comes out here for Storm. That's his brother up there and you can be sure Storm won't like this one bit."

Back by the entrance. Nathan stood by and waited for the tech to get everything ready. He was taking time to reflect on all the things that would transpire before this night was over. His thoughts were cut short however when the voice boomed over the PA. Nathan looked to the monitor as did most in the back. When the tarp fell revealing Maverick, Nathan's face never changed. His breathing never quickened. He simply turned away and looked at the tech. When the young man sitting there didn't pull his gaze away Nathan slammed a fist on the table. The kid scrambled givng Nathan the nod to go.

Out in the arena, The tron coming to life drew the attention of everyone away from the tube. When the "Dark Poet" began his verse on the tron. The crowd began to boo. Nathan stepped out of the back and walked slowly like a man with deliberate purpose. Rude watched from inside the steel deathtrap nodding his head and whispering under his breath.

"Nathan......so be it."

"Well Hank it looks like we'd both be getting paid as Nathan was the right call. Can't say I'm too shocked either. Nathan is one hell of a large specimen....and quite powerful. Rude will get all he can handle."

"Don't forget John. Rude is banged up, hurting. Nathan is fresh and in great health. This was perhaps the smartest move Karmic Legacy could make."

"While I agree....I'm wondering...why has Nathan totally ignored Maverick in that tube? You think he sent the IKI to get him down?"

"Maybe. Nathan appears to have a mic. Let's here what he has to say."

Halfway down the ramp Nathan stopped. He looked at Rude with the eyes of a man ready to dish out punishment. He raised the mic slowly and looked around the arena before speaking.

"Tonight you will bare witness. Tonight you will see the sinner of Wrath humbled before you. All your evil deeds are about to catch up with you Jonathan. You think you found some sort of salvation last week? Redemption perhaps? Think again sinner. I promise you that after tonight you won't be the same man ever again."

Knowing that Nathan was the man he would face. Rude seemed a bit more sure of himself. He motioned towards Nathan to come to the cage all the while casting glances at the tube.....wondering just who the hell pulled this off knowing full well he was going to take the blame. Nathan stared at Rude who waved him forward once more. Nathan shook his index finger no and raised the mic once more.

"No Rude.....I'm not fighting you.....He is."

Nathan keep his eyes on Rude while pointing back behind him up the ramp. The tron came back on as a voice announced for all to hear....

IN THIS RING.............YOU....CAN'T........TOUCH ME!"

As "Taking You Down" by Egypt Central began to play the crowd roared with thier hate making the music a mere background noise. From the curtain stepped Storm. He was slightly hunched over holding his arm across his stomach in protective fashion.

"You have to be KIDDING ME! How in the HELL is this man going to fight Rude inside that thing with stab wounds that have had one week to heal?"

"I don't know John....but the man has balls of brass if you ask me. That's making a statement."

Storm walked up next to Nathan. Both men spoke for a few seconds before Nathan pointed Storm in the direction of his brother high above in the tube. Storm then turned his attention back to Rude and through the pain, found a smirk. he took the mic from Nathan and then said something no one expected to hear.

"Go ahead Jonathan.....drop him."

"I'm sorry Hank...did Storm just tell Rude to drop his brother?"

"Yeah....yeah I think so."

In the ring, Rude and most of the fans did a double take.

"What are you waiting for Rude? Order whatever goon you have working for you to drop him. Believe it or not, You'd be doing me a favor."

Storm lowered the mic and waited. He even shrugged as if wondering why Rude was taking so long to give an order.

"I don't understand this. what the hell did Storm mean he'd be doing him a favor?"

"Like anyone has any idea what goes on in that head of his. When other people pull a rabbit out of thier hat, this guy pulls a rhino out."

Storm looked at Nathan and shrugged. Both men then looked up at the tube waiting for it to drop. When it didn't. They both looked back to Rude.

"Come on Rude...Don't play games. If you want to drop him just....."

Suddenly a loud pop and a scream of some fan drew all eyes upward. The cable holding the tube had been severed.

"OH NO!! OH GOD NO!! LOOK OUT!" Shouted John.

The tube fell and landed hard on a couple of tables holding cables and wires for the electrical equipment. On impact, the tube exploded sending shards of glass outward in about a 30 foot raduis. For the most part, none of the fans caught any shrapnel. Maverick slammed into the ground hard. Several pieces of glass piecered his legs and arms....but the fact was, whoever had tried to rip off Rude didn't quite understand how the laws of gravity or inertia worked. By packing the man inside the tube vertically with glass up to his waist. Whoever had arranged this little show must not have realized that although sharp and able to do damage...the glass cushioned the blow.

With the glass busted, Maverick rolled out of what was left of the tube as EMT's rushed to his side. Storm turned away and looked back at Rude raising the mic again.

"Excellent. Now we can get down to business. It's time to pay for you sin Rude....karma is calling in her payment."

Storm dropped the mic and walked down the ramp to ringside with Nathan by his side. At the announce table...John Paragon was practically speechless.

"Who would have saw this coming. Storm's brother could have broken legs and he doesn't seem to care John."

"Maybe he's been right all along...maybe none of us have understood how much belief Karmic Legacy has in this New world order. I still can't believe he told Rude to do that to his brother and he doesn't give a damn."

"Not only that but I'm still in shock that he plans to compete tonight in the condition he's in no less. The only problem Rude may have tonight is does he have enough left to climb out of this contraption."

While John and Hank continued to debate. Storm got to ringside and stopped. Rude watched from inside the cage as Storm removed his shirt. What he saw told him all he needed to know. Despite the pain and the life threatening wounds, Storm had come to fight. The heavy bandage job around his waist had been overlapped with what could have been a whole roll of duct tape. Then as an added measure. Nathan pulled a flak jacket out from under the ring. How and why it had been placed out here no one would know for now.

Nathan helped Storm slide the NFL Quarterback's best freind on and then made sure it was secure. Once it was in place, Storm put his shirt back on and walked up the steps into the ring. The door was slammed shut and padlocked. Benito looked at both men and called for the bell.

"I can't believe what we're seeing here folks. Maverick fell from at the very least 25 feet high in that hideous tube of Rude's. He's been carted to the back for medical attention. Storm, who's in no condition to fight is actually in that thing with Rude as we speak...and the bell just rang. Who knows what the hell we're in store for next?"

While John was shouting and while the crowd was screaming for blood, Storm and Rude stared at each other across the ring. To them, Silence was the order of the moment. Many times this exact scene had repeated itself. They we're almost draw to each other like moths to flame...and yet something in the air said tonight would be unlike any other.

The look on Rude's face said it all as he looked into the eyes of Jason Storm. Here was a man who fought so hard for his family, Who had come after Rude like a relentless animal in a quest for vengence. A man who wanted Rude's blood for what he had done to his brother, His wife, To Kitty Hawke....But all that took a backseat to the one thought rolling around in Rude's head.

The fact that Storm wanted, Demanded, and almost begged to see his brother fall.

In those 60 seconds, Theology be damned, Rude knew Storm and the rest of Karmic Legacy believed EVERY word they spoke.

As the crowd screamed on. The silence was broken between the two rivals when Storm took a step towards Rude.

"Part of me wants nothing to do with this. Storm may have signed his own death warrant coming out here."

"And you John of all people should know the power of belief....the power of faith. Storm has that in spades. It could make all the difference in the world. Let's not forget Nathan is still out here with him at the side of this cage as well."

At that moment, Rude fired off a kick right into Storm's stomach. The blow dropped Storm to his knees...then his face.

"Holy crap....Rude drops him and goes for a ....1...2....3! My god...that has to be a record! Rude just pinned Storm out of nowhere with one move!"

"Indeed he did....But it's not over yet. He still has to drag his broken body up to that hole and get out of the cage. Not an easy task for him either John."

Rude stood over Storm for a second in total disbelief. Part of him couldn't believe he had pinned Storm so quickly. The other part of him screamed to get on the move and out of the cage.

The debate raged inside. Would Johnny Rude allow this chance to go by the way side, A chance to rip his mortal enemy limb from limb or would Jonathan Wilson get what he wanted by trying to escape the cage with the cleanest victory he may ever have?



Storm was down. Johnny Rude couldn’t believe it. In a way, it was almost a let down. He turned his head and saw Nathan standing on the outside. The expression on his face was that of a winner. He had nothing to fear. As far as Nathan was concerned, he was on the side of the angels. As for Johnny Rude himself, he was struggling. It didn’t make sense, none of it did. Despite all the bad blood between Maverick and Storm, absolutely NOTHING severed their blood bond when the chips were seriously down. Not during Johnny Rude’s trial when Maverick’s credibility was torn to pieces by his now ex-wife. Not even after Storm slept with Maverick’s next love interest did that bond fade. Until now. Johnny stared at Storm with a look of disbelief on his face.

The winner in him told him to start climbing. He had the win in the bag. No long, drawn out, overblown battle to the death. No epic battle which would only cause him unneeded pain, none of it. He could just climb out. Of course, the idea that Nathan would climb the cage and knock Rude back down did seem a distinct possibility. The King of Extreme looked to the outside and saw the IKI member still standing there. He didn’t even look to be concerned. Nor did Nathan even make the slightest of motions to suggest that he was about to climb the cage and save his leader. He…just…stood…there. Rude didn’t understand it. And sadly, his need to know outweighed his need to win.

While deep down inside, he knew that this was a mistake, Johnny approached Storm. The one half of the IKI leadership didn’t move. His body heaved up and down from breathing heavy. Rude grabbed him by his hair and pulled him up. He whipped Storm into the turnbuckle. The shock of the impact rocked through Jason and caused his stomach wounds pain. The Antichrist Superstar brought a heavy arm across Storm’s chest and shouted.

Rude: Why!? Why did you just let him fall!?

Storm didn’t answer. He simply smiled. It was a knowing smile. Rude absolutely hated it. He chopped Storm again. Again he groaned as air was forced from his body.

Rude: I asked you a fucking question, you slore! Now, you answer me!

He didn’t. Rude went to swing again but this time Storm lifted a leg into HIS gut. Rude groaned and began to double over. Though it pained him to do so, Jason grabbed his opponent by the hair and tossed Rude head first into the very turnbuckle he was just in. The sound of pain which came from Rude was like a sweet symphony to Jason Storm. One which he wanted to hear a lot more of. The hand of The Superstar champion coiled around his opponent’s hair. He then bashed Johnny’s face into the turnbuckle again and again.

Storm: You’ll never understand, Johnny. You’ll never understand because you don’t believe in ANYTHING!

He pulled Rude’s head back, turned him around, and set him up for a DDT. Instead of doing that, he brought his arm across Johnny’s back. It was one of his softer spots, and Storm knew it. Quite honestly, there wasn’t much either of these two men didn’t know about each other. Such was the way when two people were so closely intertwined for so long. Rude winced as the needle-like pain danced along his back. Several more of these strikes and Johnny was left face first onto the mat. In his head, he was kicking himself for being so damn foolish. Fuck curiosity, he thought. He should have tried to climb out when he had the chance.

Hank: Johnny Rude is a god damn idiot! Why didn’t he just climb out and take the easy win!? He said he wanted a clean pin, he got it!

John: I’m no psychology expert, but I think Rude was thrown for a loop. Whether or not he was responsible for the tube is one thing, but to watch a man throw his own brother to the wolves is an entirely different matter. Rude just didn’t expect that.
Hank: Yeah, well, I would have climbed out. Screw psychology, it’s all about the win!

John: Not everyone thinks that way, it seems. And while we’ve known Rude to be that type of person, the words he spoke earlier said something else of his character. Whatever really happened in that prison against Carnage, it stayed with him, I think.

As they debated this, Storm was on the attack. The blood was running hot in his body. He was feeling more confident than ever before. And why shouldn’t he? He had things in the works which Rude knew nothing about. Not only that, but the act of sacrificing his flesh and blood had gotten deep into his opponent’s head. He liked that. He enjoyed seeing someone as cruel and as calculated as Johnny Rude squirm. Jason lifted Rude up to his feet. He drove a few chops into his opponent’s throat to try and keep the wind off of him. He then grabbed Johnny’s arm and pulled him close. A short-arm clothesline from Storm sent The Antichrist Superstar back down to the mat.

Not content with giving his opponent a breather, The Superstar champion lifted his opponent up off of the mat so that he could stand. He then whipped Johnny toward the ropes. The mind of The Antichrist Superstar was spinning. So many questions loomed in the air, and it was made even muddier by the fact that his body was being worked over. He saw the ropes and heard Storm’s thunderous foot steps behind him. Johnny leaped into the air and landed on the middle rope. He did a backflip which placed him behind his opponent. Storm was no fool though. He turned around and drove a knee lift into The Rudeness’ ribs. Johnny cried out as he was doubled over once again. Storm grabbed a hold of him and dropped the man with a pedigree.

John: It looks like we’re about to see our first cover for the night!

Hank: And it only gets to a two count! Hah! Rude won’t be taken down as easily as Jason Sto-

John: Storm goes for a second cover, and he manages to just barely keep The Antichrist Superstar’s shoulders down! The falls are out of the way and now it’s up to one of them to escape the cage!

It’s true. The playing field had been evened. And The Wizard absolutely loathed it. He had hoped The Prophet would have had enough sense to simply escape the cage. Sadly it seemed as though he hadn’t quite grown into his role. That would change. The Wizard looked behind him and saw most of his congregation watching the match in earnest. With a wave of his hand one of his disciples approached. This one wore a Toto mask.

Toto: What shall I do for thee, Wizard?

Wizard: Make a call to The Others. Tell them it is time to execute Operation 13.

Toto: A-are you sure, sir? Once we do this…

Wizard: It means all out war against The Instant Karma Initiative. I am aware. Now, do as I bid, cretin.

That was all that need be said. The man in the Toto mask ran off to do as he was told. Meanwhile, Emissary was watching the match from the IKI suite office. James and several other members were inside with him. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen. It seemed as though their leader was poised to win this there and then. He walked toward the wall of the cage and began to climb.

Emissary: Come on Storm…you can do this. Finish it now before it gets too insane.

The cell phone of an IKI member vibrated. His eyes shifted from side to side to see if anyone was paying attention. Once he saw that they weren’t he walked over to the corner and answered it.

Wizard: The time is now…The Sleepers shalt awaken and blighten the earth….

He smiled and hung up the phone. A sound system rested in the corner of the room. He walked over to it while everyone else’s eyes were on the match. The member reached into his back pocket and pulled out a disc. It had taken a long time to track these people down in their homes and begin programming them in their sleep. It was made even more difficult at the rate at which the IKI grew and traveled. That said, it was but a setback for The Doomsday Machine. The IKI member put the disc in the stereo and hit, “play.”

Stereo: Soooooommmmedaaaaaaay over the raaaaaaaiiiinboooooowwww!!

Emissary was annoyed. He turned to the lackey and shouted.

Emissary: Hey! Cut that off!

IKI Member: Nothing will stop The Doomsday Machine from awakening The Prophet….

Emissary: Wait, what are you talking about?

James and Emo looked at one another. The members in the room twitched slightly. It was only for a moment. And then they opened their eyes. They looked at the duo with searing hatred. It was the kind of look a band of jackals give a wounded animal. James and Emissary stood back to back as they were surrounded.

Later, Johnny watched as Storm was climbing the cage. He couldn’t allow this. He had come to far. Johnny’s body felt like it had been rolled in glass. Though not much of any particular noteworthiness had happened move wise, what did occur hurt even more than it normally would have. Still, he had to press on. Johnny walked over to the cage wall and began to climb. His hand reached up and yanked on Storm’s leg. The IKI co-leader nearly fell from that alone, but he managed to keep his balance. Each man knew they had no business fighting. Rude climbed until he was about even with Storm. The two began to exchange punches with one hand while the other clung to the cage.

Rude: Just give it up! This is mine, god damn you!

Storm: I am doing Karma’s bidding! Time and time again it tried to dissuade you, only for you to keep on your wicked path! No more!

Rude: And what about you? Throwing your own flesh and blood to the wolves, PATHETIC!

They continued to trade blows for a while. Rude managed to avoid one of them. He grabs a hold of Storm’s hair and slams him face-first into the steel. He then pulls back with every intention of tossing Jason Storm off of the cage wall. Which was what happened as The Manipulative Bastard soared through the air and landed on the ground. As he fell, Johnny noticed that something was wrong. Storm had landed more on his neck then he should have. He swore he heard some kind of crunching sound when the man landed. The Antichrist Superstar blinked several times and examined his foe.

Storm wasn’t moving. He was in sheer agony, by the look on his face, but he wasn’t moving. Against his better nature, Johnny dropped from the cage wall. He walked over to Storm and grabbed his leg. Storm’s face expressed the desire to kick him, roll away, anything to get distance between them. But he didn’t move. Johnny squeezed Storm’s leg and saw no reaction. As this happened, Jason writhed from the impact of the fall. It was then that a stunning realization came over Rude..

Rude: I…I think I broke his neck….

Stan Daniels
Stan Daniels

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Post  Stan Daniels on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:30 pm


Karmic Legacy Suite Back Office.

While Storm lay motionless inside the steel contraption, Emissary and James Miller were having thier own problems. Niether man was sure how or why but when the soft sounds of Judy Garland's voice singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" began the 4 IKI members in the room suddenly stopped smiling. Then started looking at Emissary and James like big pieces of Beef with them in the spot of 4 hungry lions. As they closed in James stood with his back to Emissary as The Legacy To Be held up one of his crutches like a bat.

"I order you to stand down!" Emissary shouted.

"The sleeper has awaken.....Soon the Prophet shall rise!" One of the goons said monotoned

"This sleeper is going to bust you in your ass if you don't back the fuck off!" James said with venom.

The shouting drew the attention of other IKI members outside the office. The knob was turned but one of the brainwashed goons must have locked it. Knocking and shouts could be heard. For the two Karmic Legacy members, Safety and salavation lay but a few feet away blocked by 3 inches of wood.

*Knock knock knock* "Sir? Sir are you ok? Let us in" The muffled voice pleaded.

"Do you hear that? You better back off now before they break in here or you'll be in a world of hurt" Emissary said swinging his crutch at the nearest goon.

"You can't stop the Prophet's rise!"

"Then you better bring an ass whipping of epic proportions!" James shouted as he leapt at the closest IKI goon.

It was nothing short of a whirlwind, An out of control brawl. As James leapt at one goon Emissary swung at another catching him on the jaw. The swing left him open to the second goon who stepped in spearing Emissary and drilling him into the nearby wall. Outside the office, The other Non-brainwashed IKI members were doing all they could to break through the door.


At The Announce Table.

"It's been at least a minute since Storm went down at that akward angle on his neck. Benito is checking him out and to everyone's suprise, Rude hasn't even made a move to escape the cage."

"You remember this moment John as vital mistake #2. The first one was when Rude pinned Storm and went back after him instead of trying to escape. Now he has the man down with what could be a broken neck and there he stands."

"I'm just as baffled as you are Hank."

In the ring, Benito held Storm's left hand and asked him again if he could feel anything. Storm sputtered out air as each breath felt like molten steel in his wounded stomach. Unable to get Storm to speak, Benito was about to stand up and call this match over but Storm's left hand shot up and grabbed the referee's shirt pulling him back down towards the mat.

"I'll......be.......fine. Don't.......don't end it."

Storm's neck was not broken. As much as Rude may have wished it to be so he could call it a night and get the hell out of dodge, There was plenty of other reasons Storm wasn't so quick to move. The main reason he remained motionless was from a stinger. A stinger occurs when a nerve gets pinched in between two bones. In this case the spinal bones of his neck. When Storm hit the mat his nerve got pinched ever so slightly....but that was enough to make him lose momentary feeling from his neck down. The effects of a stinger last only a minute or two. The other reason Storm was not so quick to try and get up was the breakneck pace he had set in his fight with Rude. All of that had taken a severe toll on his already badly damaged body.

Benito Stood up and was going to call for the bell anyway when Storm pushed himself over onto his back. Benito looked down and then waved the call for the bell off much to the dismay of Johnny. Looking up at Rude from the mat, Storm had a quick conversation in his head that basically said "Slow down". As Rude looked on, Storm rolled onto his elbow and sat up.

"He sat up. That's great. At least he's not paralized."

"Not yet anyway. Rude is still standing and I don't think Storm wants to be where he is right now."

Rude still had the option to climb out. There was a very good chance that Storm wouldn't be able to catch him.....Then again, Rude wasn't at his best either so rather then break for the escape, He grabbed Storm by the hair and pulled him up. Wrapping one hand around his neck and the other around his leg, Rude picked up Storm and dropped him gut first over his knee.

Storm did the only thing he could do.....screamed once and then began to turn blue as the air was driven out of him.

"As painful as it is to watch you can't place blame on Rude for going after that wounded stomach. That was devastating. I can't recall hearing Storm scream like that ever."

"Like I said....Brass balls John....Big Brass ones....and a brain made out of mush to go with it. The man has no business in this ring."


Inside A Black Nissan Ultima About 15 minutes from the arena.

"Well what's the hold up Frank?"

"I have no idea. Emissary isn't answering."

"Well try again....He needs to know we're going to be there sooner then expected unless we hit some traffic."

"I'm trying Sid....I can't make Emissary pick up the phone you know."

"Well then call James. Call someone...just get through!"

Frank watched the Limo in front of them turn right. He looked over to Sid who tried James's cell with the same result.

No one answered.


Karmic Legacy Suite Back Office.

With the help of a few kicks, the IKI members outside the office managed to bust down the door. What they rushed into was a bloodbath. One of the IKI goons inside the room lay with blood pumping from his shattered jaw courtesy of Emissary's crutch. Another lay nearby trying to get up....his jaw swollen and purple. Across the far side of the office the 3rd IKI goon had Emissary's crutch across the co-leader's throat trying his hardest to crush the his windpipe....the wall next to them had a big gaping hole where Emissary had been rammed sideways into it. Lastly, James Miller had the final IKI goon down beating him to a pulp with a flurry of rights and lefts.

The non-brainwashed IKI members quickly came in and took charge. Two of them pulled The goon off Emissary and tossed him into the corner. He crashed hard into the sound system cutting off the music. Two more of the IKI members had to fight with all they had to pull James free. When they did, James looked around the room and saw Emissary out cold.

"YOU! GO GET THE EMT'S NOW!" James Barked.

"What should we do with this one sir?" One of the member asked as they pulled the goon from the wreckage of the sound system.

"I should let you tear him apart." James growled.

"Sir? Please sir? What happened? What the hell happened??" The confused Goon asked with fear dripping off his tongue.

"What happened?" James blurted amazed at what the goon asked. "I'll tell you what happened. You and your three idiot friends attacked us!"

"But Sir we.....I mean I......I don't remember sir.....I don't remember."

"Get this filth out of here and take him to the back room. We're going to let him reap it." Said one of the IKI members.

"Hold on." James said as he walked over to the man who had started this whole affair. "What the hell do you mean you don't remember?"

"I don't sir. I remember us watching the match and then I got a call....the next thing I know I'm laying in a heap over here and everyone is shouting at me."

James had to resist the urge to pummel the goon.....But then he took a breath. In that instant he remembered how easily The Network had infiltrated the IKI. The son of Genocide began to pace the floor thinking. Could this be the Network? This type of thing wasn't there style....and the chance they'd risk having thier stable dismantled was too great. It had to be the work of someone else but who? Rude? No, this REALLY wasn't his style. He looked at the two IKI members holding the goon.

"Take him to the back room and hold him there....but don't tear him apart just yet. He's going to answer a few questions for me first."

The IKI members nodded and drug the traitor off and out of the office. The EMT's arrived at the same moment and rushed in to help Emissary. As James watched, He realized that now he was in charge. Nathan was with Storm at ringside so leadership had fallen into his lap. He would of course embrace it despite his fears because judging by the looks of Emissary....he wasn't going to be upright any time soon.


Inside the Ring.

With Storm down on the ground clutching at his stomach, Rude had taken the chance to flip him rather then escape. With intent to do more damge, Rude dropped a few elbows right into his foe's stomach. It was all Storm could do to draw a minor breath without screaming in agony.

"Rude is merciless in his attacks but you can't deny he's going about it in a clean fashion."

"Which really shocks me. It makes you wonder what the hell happened last week that would snap this man into such a direction as this. Normally we'd see Rude tearing Storm apart. In fact, I believe the old Rude would have had this victory in the bag."

"Well whatever the reason. Storm just might survive to tell this tail to his grandchildren because of this change in Rude."

Back inside the ring, Rude reached down and picked Storm up. The Real Deal almost fell right back to his knees but Rude hauled him up again. With Storm back on his feet, Rude ripped him around and from behind, locked in an Abdominal Stretch. The screaming coming from deep inside Storm was enough to curl the toes of the most diehard fan.

"Dear God would you listen to that?"

"Clean or dirty, Rude is no dummy. He has Storm in no man's land."

"Storm is tapping on Rude's leg like mad but it's all for not. A pinfall has occured for both men. Benito can't force Rude to break the hold!"

"Like I said John....No Man's Land."

Rude held his hated rival like this in what seemed like an eternity for Storm. In reality Rude held it for a minute before finally letting go. When he did, Storm fell over on his face and went fetal holding both arms close to his wounded stomach. Now Johnny could exit the cage. He'd have all the time in the world. He would climb up, work his way to the hole, Climb out, deal with Nathan if he had to, and get the win. This would be one of the biggest of his life too. He would gain victory over Storm clean...with no cheap tactics or parlor tricks.

"And this is all she wrote folks. I don't see how Rude can't win at this point as he starts to climb that cage."

"Our Superstar Champion...as confused and fanatical as he might be had an awesome run. Nothing to be ashamed of here in what I have to call a valant effort."

"You have your moments Hank and that was one of them. I couldn't have said it better. Rude is on the side now and....whoa whoa....what the hell is this? The lights are out and it's blacker then midnight in here!"

Less then 10 seconds after the lights went out a loud clanging was heard as if metal had struck metal. Another 10 seconds after that the lights came back up to find Rude flat on his back and the fingers on his left hand jutting in directions they shouldn't be jutting in.

"Holy Christ! What the hell happened to Rude? It looks like the fingers on his left hand might be broken...or at the very least sprain and jammed to the point of sheer pain."

"I got a better question...Who the hell turned out the lights?"

Rude lay looking at his hand with tears in his eyes from the pain. Only one finger was broken...the rest had been jammed by the impact of a chair no one had seen swung. One could easily guess the person with said chair was Nathan....But the real question was who turned out the lights....because at last check....

All of Karmic Legacy and the IKI had been accounted for.



He was on the ground. So was Storm. Neither man made any motions that would suggest either of them would be getting up anytime soon. Johnny looked at his left hand and shook a little The pain was excruciating, but what was worse was the image of it. The sight of one of his fingers bent in a way it should not have made him somewhat queasy. The rest of them were beginning to swell from the chair shot. Now while Rude is right handed, he still needed his left hand if he wanted to hold out any hope of climbing out of here and winning the match. With a hand somewhat incapacitated, it made the task that much more difficult. He should have just left the cage.

Rude looked over at Storm. He was down, but he certainly was not out. He could see the fire in Jason’s eyes. He wanted to win this every bit as badly as The Rudeness. The difference between them was that one was driven by conviction. By a cause bigger than himself, by a fervor for a higher power that seemed unrelenting. Johnny was fighting for himself. As he lied there in agony he wondered if what he felt now was something similar to what the soldiers staring down the Taliban in the Middle East felt. A deep seeded doubt because you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that who you’re facing is a True Believer. And they were dangerous, because they’d gladly die for the cause.

He began to crawl toward one side of the cage. Storm was crawling to the other. Each man’s movements were slow. This was due to the injuries they had sustained and due to the fact that each of them wanted a few minutes of breathing time. Eventually they reached their perspective sides and began to pull themselves up. At least, they did so somewhat. Both Storm and Rude were on a knee a piece. They glared at one another with furious hatred from across the ring. The looks in their eyes could melt steel, or so it seemed. In the beginning of this match, Johnny Rude had laid out a declaration of intent. Despite the very strange happenings thus far in the match, he fully planned on making good on his words.

They each stood up. Not once did either man take his eye off the other. Nathan watched outside with great interest. The lights going out when they did had proved to be damned useful. Whoever had been responsible would have to be thanked at some point. In the meantime, all Nathan could do was pray and hope that his leader had the strength needed to carry on.

Johnny Rude and Jason Storm met in the center of the ring. They didn’t move to attack yet. Instead, they sized one another up. And perhaps a last ditch attempt on both men’s roles to try and steal just a few more moments of relief.

In the back room of the IKI Suite Office, one of the loyal servants was tied to a chair. This was mainly because James and Emissary didn’t quite understand what had happened to their troops. As such, they didn’t want to take any chances of it happening again. Emissary concentrated on checking on the condition of the members who were harmed, as well as other affairs. This left James Miller alone with the supposed defector. James was the first to speak.

James: So…can you tell me what happened back there?

IKI Lackey: I’m telling you, I don’t remember. Not really.

James: You remembered enough to attack us after whoever it was called you. Now, we checked the phone…and we couldn’t get a bead on the number. So it’s back to you.

IKI Lackey: Do you really think I’d betray the cause willingly? I believe in Karma, sir. It’s changed my life.

James: I’d like to believe that, you know. I really would. But you can see why I’d have reservations. Now, I’d like you to try and think back on what you can remember. Karma demands justice for whoever is trying to corrupt our house.

He nodded. His eyes were red from crying. The poor boy was actually ashamed and physically pained by what he had done. It was worsened by the simple fact that he couldn’t understand why. He wanted so desperately to. The boy closed his eyes and thought back. He reached deep within the recesses of his mind. Finally, he began to speak.

IKI Lackey: I…I remember…the sound of falling rain. It must have been the evening. I was having coffee at this little café not far from the hotel we were all staying at. It seemed normal enough.

James: There has to be more than that…think.

IKI Lackey: A man came to me. At least…I think it was a man. It’s hard to say, his face, the skin seemed…artificial, somehow. In any case, he looked to be about sixty or so. His cup was placed beside mine and he took a seat. The man talked on and on about how much he believed in Instant Karma. He had all sorts of questions.

James: What kind of questions were they? What did you tell him?

IKI Lackey: All sorts of things, really. He said he had a son who wanted to join our cause. He seemed so sincere. So I answered any question he asked of me. Our beliefs, ideology, our numbers, so on and so forth. I don’t remember what happened, but I looked away for a second. When I turned around, the man told me he had to leave. So he did and I took a sip of my drink. And after that…

James leaned in closer. This may have been key. He listened more carefully.

IKI Lackey: ..I’m sorry…I…I don’t remember.

He sighed. Great. Elsewhere, inside a Black Nissan ten minutes away from the arena, all was not going well. While they were indeed ten minutes away, the rub was that they were stuck in some serious traffic. Sid tapped their fingers against the glass as they waited. Rain fell from the sky and splattered against the window. Sid let out a sigh.

Sid: Is it getting any clearer, Frank?

Frank: Almost, just a few more minutes, I’d say.

Sid: What about the cell? Any answers?

Frank: No, not yet. Crap!

Sid: What is it now!?

Frank: I just lost battery power! Hold on a sec…

And so Frank began fiddling with the glove compartment. As he did this, the light turned green. Frank saw it out the corner of his eye and stepped on the gas pedal. He resumed fooling with his cell phone charger. After a very difficult time, he managed to get it working. Right around the time that the car was blind-sided by a large truck. The car skidded across the road and did several flips. As for the passengers themselves, well…only time will tell.

Inside the ring, Rude and Storm were locked up. Storm shoved Rude to one side. With Johnny’s arm now down he grabbed a hold of his foe and dropped him with a spinning neck breaker. The fans popped from the move and that energy gave Storm something to work with. Granted, he knew he shouldn’t be here, but he was past the point of no return. A place he had been quite a few times in his career. Some would say he lived there. Storm rose to his feet as best he could. Johnny lied on the ground and reeled from the experience. Jason lifted him up again and whipped him toward the ropes. The Rudeness bounced off and when he did, Storm executed a drop toe hold. Johnny hit the mat face-first with a terrible thud. Storm knew he had to act quickly. He crawled up his foe’s body and applied a Crippler Crossface. Johnny let out a stream of curses as his foe applied more pressure to the hold. It was true that this wouldn’t give him the win, but what he hoped it would do was take Rude out of the fight altogether. Johnny cursed as he tried reaching for the ropes. Not that it would help him per se, but out of instinct.

This time, instinct failed him.

John: And it looks like Storm has finally re-gained some serious control in this one! It’s about time!

Hank: Hey now, just whose side are you on? Storm is a piece of shit. He’s done some hellishly bad things, and you’re pulling for him?

John: Honestly, this is a match of lesser evils. And given the choice between Storm, who at LEAST has good intent, and Rude, who hurts people for pleasure, I’ll go for Storm!

Hank: Yeah, you do that. In any case, it doesn’t matter what Storm does, because Rude isn’t given in! This is his match, and he’ll win it. Unless he does something stupid and blows yet ANOTHER shot at putting this one to bed.

Rude cried out again and again. Storm’s grip was unrelenting. What would he do now?


On 12th Street And Union Drive.

Frank looked around as the sounds of sirens approached. The truck had come out of nowhere. He never saw it coming. Now as he hung upside down he looked over at Sid who appeared to be in bad shape. Help was on the way, that much he could hear. Reaching up he found the latch to his seatbelt and pressed it. Tumbling to the roof of the truck Frank let out a scream. His left leg was broken. Still he had a mission to carry out. Biting his lip hard enough to draw blood, Frank pulled himself out the window of the truck and looked down the road. He could barely make out the limo that was still stuck in traffic.

As the pain ripped through his leg, Frank fumbled for the nearby phone. HE grapsed it and quickly flipped it open to see it was still working. Biting his lip hard again, he dialed James's number one last time.


Inside The Ring.

Storm wasn't sure how much longer he could hold this Crossface on Rude. Each time he pulled back on Rude's neck, His stomach protested ripping through him with some of the most intense pain he'd ever felt. Now that Rude had the ropes it was only a matter of time. With great effort, Storm pulled back one last time and felt a rip in his abdomen. Rude cried out but it was nothing compared to the scream of agony Storm let loose as he let the hold go. The Real Deal rolled onto his side clutching at his stomach again.

"This has to be a serious no win scernario for Storm. Every move he pulls off hurts him almost as much if not more then what he's doing to Rude."

"Well Rude is no spring chicken himself. He was already going to have a rough go of getting out of this domed cage. Getting his hand flattened by....whatever....didn't help."

Using the ropes to his advantage, Rude slowly pulled himself up. Once he was vertical he rubbed his neck and tried to get the blood flow going again. Looking down, Rude saw Storm roll up on his knees hunched over with that left arm covering his stomach again. The "King of Exterme" was well versed in Storm's amazing pain threshold. He knew full well that if he tried to escape, somehow his hated rival would find away to come after him. With that in mind he reached down and took a handful of Storm's hair. As he pulled his foe back to his feet he wasn't prepared for Storm to nail him with a right uppercut that jammed Rude's jaws together with force.

"What a shot by Storm and.......DOWN goes Rude from that uppercut!"

"That was a solid blow John but once again Storm has hurt himself."

"The Superstar Champion is down on one knee. How he ever expects to win this one is beyond me."

Rude rolled over on his stomach holding his jaw. The punch itself didn't have that much behind it but because it came at him from below his chin his jaws clamped together hard and that was enough to rattle him. Pushing his way up to his hands and knees, He vowed not to make that mistake again. Behind him, Storm had stood back up but was still hunched over. He wobbled on his feet. Took a few steps back.....and waited for Rude to get vertical again. When Rude did get up he shook his head and turned just in time to see Storm plant his left foot.

The sound of shoe leather smacking flesh echoed through the arena. Rude flew back into the cage and then bouced off it landing face first on the mat.

"Lightning Strike!! Lightning Strike!!" Shouted John.

"He caught Rude flush on the chin with that one but again he's done more harm to himself then good!"

Throughout his 10 year plus career, Storm rarely ever fell after dropping someone with his infamous finisher.....But tonight He went down to the mat hard as more screams escaped his throat. Every breath, every movement, was like the ripple effect on the surface of a pond. Much like the Karma he stood for, for ever action he made, the wounds to his stomach reacted....violently.

"Storm is fetal again screaming as he holds his stomach. He could have this match won right here if he could just get off the mat."

"You know the majority of the crowd doesn't want to see that happen but Nathan is doing a hell of a job with what has to be close to 200 rabid IKI fans at ringside John. They have a pro Storm chant going."

"Now the rest of the fans are trying to drown them out!"

As both men lay inside the ring unable to do anything, the crowd seemingly took over the fight for them as the majority of the fans did all they could to out chant the IKI contigent at ringside.


Karmic Legacy Suite

James was quickly losing his composure. He had little doubt that this loyal IKI follower had done this dirty deed of his own accord. Someone or something was behind this suprise attack but with the follower saying he couldn't remember things were going nowhere.

"Let's go through this again. You say this man approached you in this cafe and asked all sorts of questions about the IKI?"

"Yes.....yes sir."

"And you said he looked strange?"

"It's hard to say....His face almost looked.....well.....plastic sir."

"Like a mask?"

"Yes....now that I think about it.....That's what it seemed like to me."

"And was this some random mask or did it look like someone you may have seen before?" James asked leaning in closer.

"It looked familiar but......I can't be sure." The lackey said as his own frustration grew.

James paced back and forth trying to picture what had happened in his head again. As he turned to pace back across the room something clicked. He looked at the lackey remembering the way he suddenly "Came around" when the music stopped.

"Could it be?" he asked himself

"Could it be what sir?"

James wasn't going to join the cast of American Idol anytime soon but that didn't stop him from testing his theory.

"Soooooooooomewhere......Oooover The Rainbow!"

James sang the immortal classic watching the IKI member as he did. The goon's worried look of fear faded and was replaced with a blank expression.

"The sleeper will wake!"

That was enough for James. The second he stopped singing the Goon looked at him with questioning eyes.

"What? What just happened?"

"I'll explain in a second....I need you to think...concentrate....The mask...what was it?"

"I.....I don't...."


The goon closed his eyes and thought as hard as he could. James waited on edge hoping this would give him the answer he needed so badly. The goons eyes snapped back open.

"The old man! The old man who pretended to be the wizard!"

"Wizard? What the hell are you talking about?" James said looking at the lackey like he was insane.

"The Wizard Of Oz....the old man who pretended to be the wizard...That's who he looked like."

James stood up and began to pace the floor again. What the hell did the Wizard of Oz have to do with the price of tea and China? How the hell did it relate to Karmic Legacy and the IKI? While he believed what the goon said he was now more confused then ever. That confusion would have to wait though as his cellphone vibrated in his pocket. He pulled it out and saw who was calling.

"Frank! Where are you guys? Is he close?"

"Accident......I think my leg.....is broke....Sid is hurt...badly."

"What the hell happened!?"

"Truck.....Blindsided....us.........Limo......Caught in....traffic........15 minutes out.......maybe more."


"Don't worry sir.......rescue is.....here."

The phone line went dead. James looked at the goon and decided he could wait to grill him further. He had to get this message from Frank to Emissary.


At The Announce Table

"When you get right down to it Hank, We haven't seen a ton of major offense from either man and yet here they both lay. A testement to how much they've already put on the line for this King Of The Cage Tournament. At this point God should be merciful and allow a draw so that both men can take a month off to heal."

"You know that won't happen. It doesn't matter if you support either man or wish death on them. They're warriors. A special breed of man set apart from the rest. They don't know the meaning of the word quit or give up. I fear before this day is over one of them may have to die for the other to win."

Although he had hit his finisher, Rude was the first to move. He reached out a hand and found purchase on the second rope. As his head began to clear he looked up expecting to see Storm above him on the way out of the structure if not climbing down on the outside. When he didn't see his foe his heart sank. He'd lost again.

As he lowered his head a slight movement caught his attention. He glanced over to the middle of the ring and his heart almost skipped a beat. There was Storm...struggling to get up. Maybe Storm's Karma had turned a blind eye again this week. Whatever the reason Rude didn't care. He was just happy to still be in the race.

"When is the last time you remember a victim of the Lightning Strike getting back to his feet before Storm Hank?"

"The word never comes to mind."

"Hardly ever. Storm just sits back up. He's trying to get up and get's an assist from Rude!"

Rude staggered over and with his good right hand he pulled Storm to his feet but this time from behind. He wasn't in the mood to catch another stiff shot to his jaw. When he had Storm up he spun him around quickly and then brought his knee up hard into Storm's wounded gut......Not just once either.

"One! Two! Three! Four! Five! I can't even imagine how bad the pain must be for Storm as Rude just hammers his gut with 5 consecutive knee lifts!"

"I've seen Storm take some of the most brutal beatings of anyone in our sport with possibly the exception of the man in the ring with him now but this goes beyond pathetic. As much as I profess to love blood and violence I'm starting to think this needs to be stopped. Look at Storm......Dear God."

For Hank to speak those words was amazing in and of itself....But one look at Storm made you understand why he said it. Rude stood over his foe...his eyes wide. Storm was on his hands and knees....puking up dark red blood in the center of the ring. Be it the pain in his stomach or the blood spilling from his mouth, Storm couldn't even draw a single breath. To see a grown man vomiting blood while turning a light shade of blue was a sight that most had to turn away from.

Standing on the outside of the cage, Nathan watched, his face remarkably devoid of feeling as he watched one of his leaders perhaps on the verge of death. That very fact unnerved quite alot of people. Including John Paragon and Johnny Rude. As Storm finally stopped puking he collapsed into his own bloody vomit. Rude looked at him, then to Nathan, then back to Storm before making his way to the side of the cage.

"I can't believe how calm Nathan is right now.....and look at Rude...he has no idea what the hell is happening."

"All Rude needs to be concerned about now is climbing out of the cage. He's done what he set out to do....and that was to beat Storm clean. Knee Lifts are perfectly legal so I say Nathan be damned. He better start climbing."

Almost as if Rude heard him. He started the slow climb keeping a watchful eye on Nathan who had yet to move or show any emotion. He wouldn't set any records with this climb thanks to the bad hand but Storm didn't look as if he'd get up anytime soon. With the use of the ropes, Rude got up on the side of the cage. That's when Nathan simply looked over his shoulder.

"I guess we should be thankful that Rude is going to win. Storm isn't going to get up and maybe they'll both suriv.....Ok what's this now?"

The Tron suddenly came on pulling all eyes up the ramp.

"Is Genocide coming out here or is this some sort of ploy?" Hank asked.

"It IS Genocide!" John Exclaimed. "Maybe With Rude on the verge of a win he's come out here to settle the score with Storm for what he did to Haley?'

The crowd popped as Geno came running down the ramp with a chair in his hand. Most thought what John did, That Geno was going to come get a little payback on Storm. As he got to ringside with the chair, Geno looked up at Rude who was directly in front of him. He pulled back the chair to the dismay of Mr Paragon.

"Oh no no what the hell? Don't tell me he's out here to help these bastards!"

"Maybe not....Look...he's hesitating!"

Geno held the chair cocked back staring at Rude but then let the chair fall slightly, evident that he didn't want to hit Rude....That is till he looked over at Nathan who nodded his head once. Geno pulled back again and let fly with the chair. Metal clanged against metal as Rude dropped off the cage just shy of getting his good hand smashed.

"You know what this is John? Storm and Karmic Legacy own the Network! They're making him do this! Did you see the nod Nathan gave Geno just before he swung the chair?"

"You're right...Maybe he's the same person who turned out the lights when Rude tried to get away the first time!"

Rude glanced over to Storm and saw that there was still no sign of movement from him. He then looked back at Geno who stood his ground with the chair at the ready. You could tell by the look on his face he wasn't doing this by choice. Now, with victory so close, Rude looked over at Nathan and for the first time tonight, Nathan smiled.

Rude was literally caught between the Scylla and Charybdis.



Rude: What the FUCK, man?!

[Genocide looks up through the cage at Johnny Rude, not really sure how to answer his question. Not sure how to explain to a fellow Network member that he was out there to screw him over to preserve The Network as it is... to stop Storm from running it into the ground. Genocide replies only with a sigh, dropping his head.]

Paragon: Look at that! It's obvious that Genocide isn't out here on his own accord. So much for Storm's promises of non-interference with The Network... forcing Genocide to interfere against a fellow Network member?

[Rude tears his eyes away from Geno and heads to the opposite side of the cage, giving Storm a stomp to the abdomen on the way by, drawing a scream of agony from the Superstar Champ.]

Proctner: Rude heading for the other side to try another escape... Storm isn't moving, but let's see what Nathan and Genocide do...

[Genocide seemed content to stay where he was, but a stern look from Nathan sends him around to Rude's side of the cage. Geno steps by the head IKI goon, barely resisting the urge to hit him... but he knew what the cost would be... his stable, and the organization his wife had worked years on... would never be the same.]

Paragon: Genocide is heading over to cut Rude off again!

[Genocide walks into Rude's eyesight and deliberately pulls the chair back. A shot to the already injured hand, or better yet, the healthy one, would make it nearly impossible for Johnny to climb the cage... but once again, Genocide hesitates, and Rude leaps back down from the cage. He shoots Genocide a threatening glare before turning back to his downed opponent.]

Proctner: He's cutting him off, but he doesn't seem like he's in a hurry to actually swing that chair at him.

Paragon: And I think Nathan is over there to give Genocide an earful about it!

Proctner: If I know Geno as well as I think I do, this isn't going to end well for Nathan...

[Geno sneers up into Nathan's eyes as Storm's right hand man wags a finger in his face, chastising him for not taking the shot on Rude when he had the chance. Genocide isn't the type to take orders very well... he's already being forced to interfere in a match, when he should be preparing for his own big KotC match later in the evening... I mean, it's only his career on the line. Not to mention the thought of helping Storm with anything at the moment made him sick. When Nathan jams his finger into Geno's chest, the Network Executive Captain tosses his chair down and replies with a double palmed push to Nathan's chest, knocking the big man back a few steps.]

Paragon: Uh oh... looks like Storm's plan of using Genocide to do his dirty work is backfiring here!

Proctner: Nathan is getting right back into his face here... and look out, Rude is using the distraction to go for the escape again!

[The cheering of the crowd is enough to bring Nathan's attention away from Genocide. Geno smirks as Nathan leaps onto the cage and starts to climb.]

Paragon: There goes Rude... and Nathan is trying to cut him off, but Rude has too big of a head start...

[Nathan curses to himself and leaps down... he was hoping to save this trick for later, but if Rude wasn't stopped immediately, there would be no "later" for this match. Nathan gives a hand signal, and the entire cage starts to lift...]

Paragon: Woah woah woah...

Proctner: Is the cage moving?!

[Was it a mechanical issue, or another of Storm's tricks... Rude wasn't sure, but he knew it didn't really matter why, the fact was, he was travelling up with the cage, and a lot higher than he'd prefer to be at the moment.]

Paragon: It sure is, partner, and Johnny Rude is going up along with it!

[Suddenly, the upward movement stops, replaced by a rapid decent. The giant red steel structure slams into the outside mats, and the impact of the huge structure slamming into the ground is enough to break Johnny Rude's grip on the cage, even with two healthy hands.]

Proctner: HOLY SHIT!

Paragon: The cage is sent crashing back to the ground! Is everyone OK?

[The camera gets a quick look at Geno's face. He surely wasn't expecting the cage to hit the ground so close to him.]

Proctner: Yeah... I don't think anyone is hurt... except for Rude, that is.

Paragon: Indeed, partner... another mysterious incident comes back to hurt Rude. First it was the lights, and now the cage.

Proctner: Yeah, I assumed the lights were Genocide... but he's obviously not the one behind the cage dropping like that.

Paragon: The question is, though... who is?

[Back in the ring, Storm and Rude are still both down, each man trying to recover.]


James Miller had received a gem of information. He also needed to inform Emissary of Frank’s situation. So much had been going on that the boy scarcely had time to see just what was happening in the match. If he had though, then he would have seen the crime scenes which were once the bodies of Jason Emerson and Johnathan Wilson. As strange as it seemed, that was the furthest thing in his mind. He went back to the main room of the Karmic Legacy Suite. There, he saw Emissary sitting in a chair across from a man in a black robe. He wore a tin man mask.

James: What…the hell is going on? Who is this?

Emissary: One of our “prophets of doom.” I saw him lurking outside the Karma suite while I was dealing with the others.

James: Oh, really? Well, this is just convenient. Because I was talking with one of our infected members and he had a bit to say about the man behind all this.

Emissary: Did he? Good. Honestly, I don’t get what the wizard of Oz stuff is about but-

James: I also have some news about Frank.

Emissary turned away from the cultist. His face was painted with a look of concern. James walked over to him and gave him the details. The Legacy To Be nodded and turned his attention back to the cultist. At the moment, there really wasn’t much that could be done. Ambulances were on their way, and in a matter of moments the limo which Frank and Sid were following would arrive at it’s destination. Once it did, then everything would take care of itself.

Now there was the matter of this supposed, “tin man” to deal with. James grabbed the man by the scruff of his robe and shouted.

James: Listen here, asshole! I don’t have time for your stupid games, so tell us who the HELL sent you!?

Tin Man: You’re a fool….The Prophet will rise…and Armageddon shall bathe the earth.

James backhanded him. The Tin Man mask fell off. Miller took a step back and saw that he was looking at one of the technicians who controlled the entrances, tron feeds, so on and so forth. He smiled with bloodied lips and spoke again.

Tin Man: Your Karma is a lie, blasphemer! Only Armageddon is certain! Ragnarok shall be upon us all!

James: I don’t think you understand your position, sir. You’re surrounded by enemies. You’ve screwed with people I care about, which pisses me off all that much more. You’re BEYOND walking on thin ice, pal. You’re under the god damn ice, drowning to death. Now, I could throw you a life preserver, or I could let you rot in an icy, watery grave. The choice is yours.

James looked into the man’s eyes. All he saw was the pure, fanatical look of a man who was a true believer. James growled and prepared to hit him when Emissary spoke.

Emissary: You’re talking a lot about The End of The World…care to fill us in?

Tin Man: Why should I? You’ll experience it soon enough!

Emissary: Take a look at my associate. He’s having a very bad day. Now I can stop him from unleashing an ungodly can of whoop ass on you, but only if you help. If not, I’m afraid my friend will be wiping his ass with what’s left of your face.

Tin Man: Very well…sheep. The Prophet, the one you call Johnny Rude…is The Antichrist. He is not a mere man, he has never been. Before we thought it just a mere gimmick. That is…until we learned of his connection to HIM…

James and Emissary looked at each other. Were they talking about NightHawk?

James: How are they connected?

Tin Man: Why, they share the same blood, of course. Johnny is The Shephard’s half-brother. Based upon this, and the very symbol that HE lives and breathes, his brother must be the very antithesis of that. The ultimate evil to counterbalance the ultimate good. The difference is…evil will win.

They had heard enough. James walked over to the man and was about to lay into him with a punch that would knock out a horse when he heard something hit the ground. The young man looked down and saw a small pin lying there.

James: WH-what the….

Tim Man: Let Chaos Reign….

And just like that, thick gas began to fill the room from the Tin Man’s robes. Miller yanked the robe away and saw that he had been wired with some kind of smoke bomb. His eyes watered, his senses burned and he could feel his eyes beginning to swell. Emissary and other IKI members were experiencing the same thing. And so they did what most would do, and they ran to the exit. Only to find that it had been jammed by something or someone. Tried as they might, even together, they couldn’t bring the doors down. And then each man fell to the ground and into a state of unconsciousness.

The ring resembled something right out of CSI. Blood and bodies littered the ring. Based on the condition of both opponents, The Powerbase had very little choice. They sent the message to call EMTs to the ringside area. Genocide and Nathan stared one another down. At this moment, Geno felt like a whore. He felt unclean, soiled by following the whims of his friend. He looked to the cage and saw the body of Johnny B. Rude lying motionlessly on the ground. Yes, he felt shame. Rude had, even when they “feuded,” been one of Genocide’s biggest fans. Someone who, even when attacking him verbally, still worshipped the ground The Hall of Famer walked on. And this was how he repaid such loyalty.

It was dirty business, the lot of it. The worst was that there really was nothing else he could do. Storm opened his eyes first. He turned his head and saw his hated rival lying beside him. For years, Rude had gloated and reveled in the things he had done to Brett. He was the most deliberately amoral being Storm had ever met. The hate was still strong within him, and it would be the emotion which drove him to crawl over to his downed foe. The young Emerson climbed on top of Rude and began punching him.

Storm: KARMA…*punch* HAS…*punch* FOUND *punch* YOU!!! *punch, punch, punch.*

John: My god, look at Storm laying into Rude! His fists are covered in blood! He’s like an animal possessed!

Hank: Maybe Rude really is reaping what he’s sown. But…but…this is HIS event! He…he can’t go out like this? How could Geno do this!? Rude BELIEVED IN HIM!

John: I suppose that, given the choice between The Network and his number one fan…he chose what meant most to him.

Storm stopped hitting him. His own body was teetering on the brink. Still, even through all this, he noticed something. It wasn’t the bloody hamburger which was now the face of Johnny Rude. Nor was it his own bleeding wounds. No, he noticed something else: Johnny Rude wasn’t breathing. Storm placed an ear to his chest. Nothing. No heart beat. Panic began to fill the place of the hatred. So many times, in the privacy of his own home, where there would be no one to judge him, did he think of killing Rude in this very ring. The bastard deserved it, didn’t he? And yet now, it didn’t seem right. Storm stared at the seemingly lifeless body of Johnny Rude lying beneath him and felt…fear. What had he done? Was Rude actually gone? When had it happened? Storm checked his pulse. Still nothing. The EMTs finally made it to the ring.

Jason didn’t have the strength to resist. He didn’t have the strength to stop them from pulling him off of his long time hated rival. All he could do was watch as they tried to resuscitate Johnny. A separate team began to work on him, but he didn’t seem to notice. Storm watched as they tried CPR. No reaction. His eyes widened in horror as they tried again and again. And with each attempt the light seemed to be getting more and more dim. Finally, they agreed to place him on a stretcher and cart him toward one of the waiting ambulances. Storm was well on his way to one when he finally lost consciousness.

The last thought that crossed his mind was this: Johnny Rude was dead….

Elsewhere, it was James Miller who opened his eyes. The smell of burning incense and spices assaulted his nostrils. It was so intense that it made his other senses harder to use. Miller shook his head again and again to try and clear the haze from his brain. It seemed though, that it would all be for naught. He began to become more aware of the rest of his body. It was then that he realized that his arms and legs were bound. And that he was naked. Panic raced throughout his being as he began to flail and struggle against his binds. It seemed to do very little good though.

The one positive was that his body did brush up against another waking person. The room was completely dark save for the smell. And that scent made everything harder. It seemed to somehow cloud his mind and made him think more slowly. The body he brushed up against made noise before speaking.

Voice: J-james…where are you..?

James: Emissary, is that you? I can’t see you.

Emissary: I can’t see you either…where are we? And why the HELL are we naked?

Just then, a blinding white light hit their eyes. It was the light of static from a television. White noise screeched across their ears and while static danced painfully across their eyes. Everyone in the room, all of the IKI and KL were beginning to stir. After several minutes, the screen became more clear. On it now was an old man wearing a deep purple robe. He stood in a throne with a grin on his “face.” James recognized it as some kind of mask.

Wizard: James…Emissary…I hope you’re not too uncomfortable.

James: Who the HELL are you!?

Emissary: Let us go, or so help us, The Instant Karma Initiative will-

Wizard: Look around you, my foolish friend, that IS the IKI, as you so stupidly call it, all around you. Everyone we could find, anyway. Like roaches, I am certain there are more of you lurking about. It matters not, for I have the heads of the twin snakes before me. And gentlemen, you have been slammed against the chopping block.

James: Karma will find you, whoever you are. Even if we fall here, you cannot escape Karma!

Wizard: Oh, pish-tosh. I fear not Karma. After all, what can it do in the face of Armageddon? I am The Wizard. And you, gentlemen…have stepped into Oz.


Location Unknown.

The Wizard shut down the monitors with the push of a button and turned to his minons. The "Scarecrow" had been waiting and now approached the Wizard from his left. He leaned in close to whisper to his leader.

"Code name "Save Your Servent" was succesful."

"I was hoping we wouldn't need to use that but this Storm fellow seems more resourceful then I planned. Are you sure it had to be done? We didn't act prematurly?"

"It was needed."

"And the prophet is safe with our own?"

"Yes sir."

The Wizard waved his hand and the Scarecrow left his side quickly. He had hoped that Storm wouldn't be able to do enough damage in his condition but apparently he had. This changed things and the Wizard didn't like change.


Loading Dock Of The Arena, Next To An Ambulance.

"That's right" Said the man in the Cowardly Lion mask. "Wipe that blood from his face."

"He doesn't look so bad. Alot of blood but his face isn't really that bad off." Said one of the Oz Clan dressed as an EMT.

"I'm not suprised. In Storm's present condition, I doubt anything he's done has had alot behind it. In his case the bark is worse then the bite."

"I think he's coming around" Said another Oz member dressed like an EMT.

Rude lay on the stretcher looking about as dead as a doornail when suddenly his eyes fluttered open. He sat bolt upright on the stretcher and began to swing unsure of where he was. As far as he knew he was still in the ring. Arms grabbed at him and he tried to fight but he was still to woozy. As his eyes focused he began to settle down. Rude looked around at the two "EMT's. He then glanced to the right to see a man in a lion mask and a woman with a witch mask on. He shook his head and did a double take just to make sure.

"Who in the FUCK are you people and what the FUCK am I doing back here??"

"It's ok prophet" The man in the lion mask said. "We saved you from that heathen Storm."

"YOU WHAT?!?!"

"It's ok....You are the sleeper. We had to save you from the man wishing to punish you. He was doing great harm to you in the ring."

"Wait one fucking second....do you mean to tell me you pulled me out of the match?"

"Yes sir" Said the lion.


Rude tried to get off the stretcher but the second his feet hit the concrete he teetered and fell. The OZ clan dressed as EMT's moved to assist him back up.

"Why the fuck am I so out of it? What the hell did you people do to me?" Rude demanded.

"It was the Wicked Witch of the West Prophet. She was high above in the rafters. When you fell off the side of the cage she shot you with one of these." The man in the lion mask held out a very small dart and handed it to Rude. "It was filled with an exotic drug that puts a person in a near death like state. It was the only way we could save you."

"And why on EARTH would I need to be fucking saved??"

"Because Prophet" The Witch spoke up. "You are the Antichrist"

Rude's jaw fell open.


About 50 Yards Away From The Ambulance.

Kieran Crowe and Accolade had been waiting on the dock per order of Emissary. They would be the welcoming party for the limo when it arrived. As they had been out here since the match started, they had no clue what was going on inside the ring nor did they know about Emissary, James Miller, and half the IKI being taken hostage. One can only imagine thier suprise when they caught wind of all the shouting Rude was doing down at the other end of the loading dock. Up until then they hadn't noticed what was going on. An Ambulance parked outside an arena during a show was standard procedure. of course now that they caught wind of all the shouting, Kieran shoved Accolade back behind a dumpster so they could watch from the shadows.

"Dayum man....why you be pushin a brutha."

"Look over by that ambulance man. Is that Rude?"

Accolade leaned out a bit. "Yea....dat be Rude. You tink da match be over?"

"Judging by what Rude is shouting....No."

"So what we gonna do den?"

"Watch and listen."


Back Over Next To The Ambulance.

"So let me get this straight" Rude said as he tried to stand back up. "You assholes think I'm the antichrist....a "Prophet" of some kind....so while I'm in the ring...this bitch shoots me with a dart like this....*Rude tosses it over his shoulder*....and it makes me look like I'm dead. Then you fucking idiots dressed like EMT's haul me out here because everyone thinks I'm dead.......which means you cost me my fucking match?"

"Lord....The wizard said you are far to important to us then this petty match. You shall bring forth the apocalpyse!"

"The Wizard?......And you're the Lion....and this bitch is suppose to be the Wicked Witch of the West right?"

"Yes my lord."

"And here I thought Karmic Legacy and the IKI was fucking stupid.....but you morons take the fucking cake. I'm outta here."

"But sir....we can't allow that."


At The Announce Table

"The best we can say folks is the mood is very somber. We're waiting for any word on Johnny Rude's condition while EMT's and Nathan tend to Storm in the ring." John said sadly.

"Although at this point it doesn't seem to matter but it should be said that Von Braun and Malcolm Reynolds have come out. They're speaking to the officals about this match. Obviously the only outcome is that Storm will likely be awarded the victory."

In the ring, Storm was now seated in the corner leaning on the ropes. One of the EMT's went about checking his blood pressure while another one was trying to figure out how to get past the incredible duct tape job over the bandages on Storm's stomach. Nathan stood over them all as if supervising the job.

Storm sat motionless as the EMT's did thier work...a small grin on his face. At first he was upset that he may have actually killed Rude....But Karma works in strange ways. If Karma's price for Rude's sins was death...so be it. He was still a tad upset thought as he had so many wonderful things to show Rude before this night ended. Of course he had no clue about what had happened to Emissary, James or several members of the IKI....But if he did he would not fret. For if thier time came. If they shuffled off this mortal coil. It would be an honorable way to go. All martyr's for the cause.

Meanwhile, Nathan looked down on his leader. He knew this wasn't exactly how either of them thought things would go but suffice to say if that's how it had to be that's how it had to be. The large man's attention was suddenly cut short when his cellphone rang. He pulled it out and saw Kieran's name. He quickly flipped it open.

"The Limo is here?"

"No, But Accolade and I are watching something REALLY weird out back."

"Define weird"

"Weird as in Rude shouting at a couple EMT's and a couple other people in masks. Weird as in shouting about the Wizard Of Oz, the Antichrist......Them save him and costing him the match. It's fucking bizarre."

"Let me get this straight Kieran....You and Accolade are watching Rude talking to a bunch of people in the back?"

"Yeah.....this is some seriously screwed up shit right here."

"Hold on."

Nathan leaned down and whispered into Storm's ear shoving the EMT aside to do it. When he stood back up Storm was grinning from ear to ear. Nathan turned his attention back to the phone.

"Can you still see them?" Nathan asked.

"Yeah....and I don't think these Oz folks are going to like what's about to happen."


Back By The Ambulance.

"You must understand Prophet. The Wizard has ordered us to bring you back to Oz."

"First off your wizard can blow me. Secondly, I'm alot of things but I'm not the fucking Antichrist....It's a fucking nickname....and finally....You guys fucked with the wrong man."

Before one of the Oz EMT's could react, Rude nailed him flush with a right hook that knocked the smaller man out cold. The Witch tried to subdue thier prophet for his own good but got an elbow to her jaw that sent her sprawling to the ground. The other Oz EMT and the Lion tried to grab hold of Rude but that was futile at best. Rude flat out knocked the other EMT into "La La Land" as the Lion lived up to his name while deciding it was best to turn tale and run. With the others down and "Cowardly Lion" sprinting for the hills, Rude turned to the Witch.

"I don't give a fuck who you are and what your "Wizard" wants but you come near me again...If you cost me this match...I'll hunt down every single one of you and get a collection of donor eyes from all of you...cause I damn sure could use a few!"

With that said, Rude kicked the woman in the face putting her out for a good hour long nap. With a huff, Rude grabbed the wet rag they had used to wipe the blood from his face and pressed it to his forehead. He then turned to head back into the arena still using the rag to wipe away the blood.


In The Ring.

"So Rude just beat the hell out of three of them and if I heard you correctly....the "Cowardly Lion" Ran away?"

"That's what happened. It looks like Rude is going to head back inside. You want us to follow?"

"No...stay where you are. Wait for the package to arrive."

"You got it."

Nathan flipped the phone closed and once again leaned down to whisper to Storm. At ringside, John and Hank watched as the group meeting between Von and the Officals was breaking up.

"It seems we're about to get a ruling here."

"Maybe so....One question though Hank. Any idea what's going on with Storm and Nathan? Nathan got a call, said something to Storm...and now the Real Deal is all smiles. You think Rude is actually dead?"

"He may very well be. The ring announcer is about to speak. Let's listen in."

"After careful debate and discussion by Powerbase Members Von Braun, Malcolm Reynolds, and the officals. It has been determined that a winner must be crowned. Therefore, As Johnny Rude's condition is still unknown. The referee has been ordered to make a 10 count. If Rude isn't back inside the ring by the count of 10...Storm is awarded the win."

John Shook his head and said "Kinda not worth the effort here but what else can you do. We all known Rude isn't coming back."

Benito began to count in the ring as Storm was helped to his feet by Nathan. The EMT's left the ring and Nathan followed suit. Genocide had been sitting in the same chair he had swung at Rude shaking his head. He couldn't believe Storm was about to waltz out a winner.

Benito reached 5 causing the IKI contigent of fans to cheer. When he hit 7 the crowd began to boo trying to drown out the IKI fans. When he hit 9, Nathan grinned while Geno continued to shake his head.


Backstage, 50 Feet From The Curtain.

Rude hobbled as fast as he could. He had to get back out there and pray the match wasn't over already. He was almost to the curtain when the monitor near the tech table said words that Rude might dread forever.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. Your winner by countout and finalist for the King Of The Cage Tournament.....JAAAAASOOOON STOOOOOOOORM!!"


Stan Daniels
Stan Daniels

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Post  Stan Daniels on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:31 pm


The human mind could only take so much trauma. And the mind of Johnathan Wilson had seen much of it already. Between the buried memory of his real father’s brains and skull matter spread across his sister’s bedroom floor, to the first time Steele forcefully entered young Johnathan…and so many other horrors, His life was not one for the story books. Through all of the shame and hate and pain, Johnny Rude had found meaning. It was attaching meaning to the abuse which made it more psychologically palpable. He wasn’t a victim if all of a it served a purpose. And now, of all times…there was nothing he could do. The Rudeness watched on the monitor as Jason Storm was declared the winner.

Normally he would run out to the ringside area anyway. He’d charge down the ramp and destroy anyone and anything which got in his way. Not this time. What point did it serve? Jason Storm had won. He didn’t just win a simple match. No, he won THE match. The biggest and most crucial of Johnny Rude’s career. In The King of The Cage, Jonathan Wilson saw a chance to re-build himself. He had given so much of his very being to the event, in hopes that sacrifice would carry him to the biggest victory he’d ever known.

And now it was all spiraling down the drain. The worst of it was that all of his natural instincts were subverted. His eye welled with tears as Storm’s arm was raised in victory. The fans were jeering and tossing trash into the ring. The cage was beginning to lift. Johnny Rude simply watched as his bottom lip began to quiver. No longer was he a man anymore. Abandoned by his wife, his “friends,” and now losing his very own event had proved too much for him. Rude dropped to his knees and punched the ground with surprising force. It was almost enough to crack the floor completely. His body shivered and shook from the force of sobs which came from him.

He had lost. It was all over. There was nothing he could do. Storm would advance and maybe even win HIS event! This was, quite possibly, the best way the Emerson could have defeated his oldest ally. Johnny buried his face in his hands. He let out long, loud sobs of agony. His teeth chattered, his skin was covered in goosebumps, and Johnny very much felt like a boy left in the rain. In this moment, he wasn’t in the arena anymore. He wasn’t a member of the Federation X roster. No, he was gone. The Antichrist Superstar’s mind had completely retreated into itself. His tears were halted and replaced with absolute silence. Johnny Rude looked up at the sky and saw nothing. He felt nothing. Rude was but a fleshly body and a brain keeping that body alive, nothing more.

Jason Storm however, was completely elated. He hadn’t expected to get this far. As confident as he seemed on the outside, the man had subtle doubts as to whether or not he could go the distance. Karma though, once again proved to work for him. She had recognized the sacrifices he was making and was ready to reward he devoted disciple. Nathan grabbed a hold of his mentor and began assisting him up the ramp. Neither man knew of James Miller or Emissary’s current predicament. No, all they could see was the massive celebratory party which would transpire. Well, that’s what Nathan saw. Storm on the other hand, needed more medical attention.

The duo stopped at the top of the ramp. They each turned and took a look at the ring. It was finally over. And neither one could be more happy about it. The good guys had truly won this time. And so they each passed the curtain and made their way backstage. The next round would be a busy one for the IKI and if Storm won, he would finally have all the proof he needed of why the IKI works. After all, who would question them in the wake of all those Storm had defeated?

And that’s when something happened. Something that no one could have foreseen. A bottle of Jameson flew through the air. It was assisted in it’s trajectory by a super kick. The bottle was hit by the kick and shattered, sending alcohol and thousands of glass shards directly into the eyes of Nathan. The young IKI member let out a cry of pain and fell onto his back. He clutched his eyes and screamed as the glass and alcohol burned his vision. He may be blinded forever. That was one of Storm’s thoughts. The second was about just who threw the aforementioned bottle.

And that is when he looked up and saw the pierced, tattoo’d, and angered visage of his wife, The Whiskey Fueled Bitch, Faith.

Faith: ‘Ello, luv! Didja miss me?

Storm: F-Faith…wh-what are yo-

His speech was interrupted as she brought the side of her trusty axe, known the world over as Al, across his face. His nose broke from the blow, blood spraying magnificently through the air. The man who could barely stand was now on his back beside his protégé. Faith took her axe and slammed the back of it into the head of Nathan for good measure, knocking him out completely. She spat upon him before turning her attention back to her “better half,” Storm.

Faith: Storm…did ye really tink ye’d nevah suffer…Oi, whot you call it then? The whims of Karma? Yeah, that’s it.

Storm: K-Karma…th-this isn’t Karma. Faith, what are you-

She brought the axe across his jaw. The force of which knocked several of his teeth out. He wasn’t in much of a condition to fight the good fight, as it were. She walloped him again and in doing so, knocked him unconscious. Faith stood over him for a second and smirked. The poor bastard thought that his suffering was over. Little did he know just how deeply he had hurt her. But he would know soon enough, of that much, Faith was certain. She reached into a bag which she had at her side. Producing a dog collar out from it, The Whiskey Fueled Bitch attached it to her husband’s neck. She then began to drag him past the curtain and down the ramp.

Elsewhere, the shaking body of Johnny Rude was seen. He was a withering mass of flesh. Lifeless, at least in spirit. In this case, the flesh was willing but the spirit was weak. The shame of losing now after coming so far had been too much for him. All of it, not just this match. The confrontation with his father against Carnage had also played with his head. It caused him to feel two different ways about one topic. It took him off his game, out of focus, and right into where he was now. How foolish he had been. Wanting to win based on some kind of notion of rightness and to make a point. What did it matter now? Was it ever really that important in the first place?

A shadow cast over him. Johnny didn’t look up. He simply stared off into the nothingness. The shadow belonged to a robed figure known only as The Wizard. He reached into his robe and pulled out a tape recorder. The man pressed, “play” and placed it by The Antichrist Superstar’s ear. Slowly at first, a song began to play.

Wizard: The battle is not over yet, Johnathan…for you both still breathe. And my Master does not abide by this.

This was quite the revelation. That is, if it had been heard by anyone else save for The Wizard himself. He saw a re-play of Storm and Nathan’s celebration play on the monitor. He pressed a button on the monitor and froze the image. The song, “We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Ooooooozzzz!” rang out loudly from the tape recorder. The longer the song went on, the more Johnny twitched. He blinked several times, as if being awoken from some kind of coma. Finally, after the song had played once, he was awake. And he was…different. Johnny Rude sat up and looked at the screen. Drool ran down his chin. His chest heaved up and down as his body shook with rage. The Rudeness ran his tongue along his canines until he tasted his own blood. It felt good. So very, very, good….

Wizard: The man you see before you…he is the one you must destroy. Now go, Jonathan. Be a winner in spirit, if nothing else.

And then, like some kind of feral beast, Johnny Rude stood to his full height and charged toward the entrance area. God help who stood in his way.

And speaking of ringside, we now see Faith and Storm inside of it. The cage which was in the process of being raised was now lowered once more. Genocide considered involving himself, but the match was over, wasn’t it? As far as he was concerned, his obligation was fulfilled. And so he took a back seat to what would transpire next. Faith took the chain to the collar and attached it to one of the links of the cage. She tested it for strength before kicking Storm hard in the ribs.

John: Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re just now joining us, words cannot describe what we’re witnessing here. I honestly never saw something like this coming. For whatever reason, Faith has turned her back on her own husband, Jason Storm.

Hank: I don’t get it, I’ll be honest. That said, It’s good to see her back. This place was seriously getting soft without her.

John: PLEASE tell me you’re joking.

Hank: I’m really not, Faith rules. If only Ed were here to see this day…

Jason Storm awoke with a start. His body was engulfed in agony. But more than that, his heart ached. Faith, the love of his life, the woman who carried a vial of his blood around her neck, had betrayed him. The first sign of tears began to form as she picked up a discarded microphone. The cage was almost touching the mat now. It left just enough space for someone to slide in if they were so inclined to do so.

Faith: Aww, whot’s th’ mattah, Storm? Did ye not see this comin’, luv? Ye poor, sad, soul. Y’know Storm, I’ve been unhappy in this marriage o’ ours fer quiote some time now. And yet still, I thought I moight troi and salvage whot we ‘ad. But ye scarcely showed an interest!

Storm: Wh-what are you talking about!? You’re the mother of my child, god damn it! Don’t you see? Don’t you see that I was trying to build a corruption free world for our son? I was just trying to-

Faith: Man ‘as always ‘ad sin, luv. It’s whot makes us sodding piles ‘o flesh and mess interestin’. If I knew ye wanted t’be pure and all that shite, I would ‘ave done this all a long toime ago. Jason Storm…

She paused and reached into her bag again. This time she pulled out a staple gun and some papers. Storm’s eyes widened. She approached him and when she did, he tried to take a swing. The Whiskey Fueled Bitch moved out of the way and slammed the stapler into his head. She then stapled the papers into his face.


John: Did you hear what she just said, Hank!?

Hank: I hear it…but I don’t believe it…I still remember when Ed gave her over to Storm during the wedding…

John: That was a long time ago friend and clearly, things change.

Storm was in pain. Phyiscally, emotionally, everything hurt. He was full out weeping now as his heart felt as though it had been slashed to ribbons. She had turned her back on him, and why? Because she didn’t agree with Instant Karma? Didn’t she see all the sacrifices he made? To build a better world for their child and for everyone else? He was the hero, god damn it! Why was she doing this? Faith raised the mic to her lips and spoke.
Faith: As they say luv…the worst spot in ‘Ell is reserved for those who betray. And you turned yer back on me, and me flesh an blood in Chance. That I could neva forgive. Ye did it to yerself, mate.

And that was right about the time Johnny Rude came charging down the ramp. Faith saw this and knew that this was her cue to exit. This was what she was hired for, anyway. A secret weapon which would dismantle Storm in much the same way he had dismantled others. Her job done, she rolled out of the ring just as Rude rolled in. The cage came down again. There was no referee. No rules at all. Just Johnny, a bound Storm, and walls of steel.

Storm looked at Rude through pain filled eyes and saw that something was definitely different. Johnny ran at him like some kind of deranged animal. Storm prepared himself for a dodge of a wrestling move. The collar which bound him to the cage wall would make this somewhat difficult, though. And that’s when Rude did something he didn’t expect: He dropped down to all fours, charging like some kind of animal, and bit deeply and hard into Jason Storm’s leg. Blood filled his mouth and made him bite down even harder. This wasn't about a match anymore, it was about survival.


In The Ring

There comes a point when the human body can no longer feel pain. It is possible to take so much trauma that the nervous system shuts down the pathways leading to pain receptors. Some say just before a violent death, Those about to depart are overcome with a calming feeling from deep inside. This was the place Storm was in now. As Rude ripped at his leg with teeth embedded deep into his flesh, Storm was elsewhere. He yanked the divorce papers from his face pulling out the staple along with it. He never even blinked as he did it. Tossing them aside he saw Rude still gnawing on his leg like a rabid dog. With his remaining good leg he pulled back and kicked Rude right in his one good eye. The heel of his boot driving deep into the socket. Not deep enough to take the eye out....but Rude wasn't going to be seeing very well for the next few minutes.

The Boot to the eye wasn't enough to break his hold so Storm kicked him again, This time his boot found Rude's nose and crushed it to the side of his face. Blood began to pour out of both nostrils as He finally let go tearing a decent size chunk of Storm's calf as he went. Rude's hands flew up to his face as he rolled around in agony. Through all this, Somehow, Storm found a way to smile. He reflected back on what had just happened only moments ago. Karma was a demanding mistress and sometimes the price she demanded of a person was very very high. In this case his dark mistress had required his beloved Faith. It must be her desire to take Faith from him for the sins he had to commit to cleanse the world. After all...Karma is about balance.

If Faith was to be payment.....Storm accepted it. That was the price he had to pay for his beliefs. From this moment forward he all but erased Faith from his mind. There would be time to heal.....and time to humble the sinner who was going to be his former wife.

Then again, All these thoughts could be the product of a battered mind. Time would tell


By The Curtains Near The Tech Table.

Nathan started to come around. He rolled over and had to use the table for support just to sit up. He touched the back of his head only to feel the warmth of his own sticky blood. Thanks to Jameson & shards of glass to his eyes It took him another minute to regain his focus. Luckly it was more whiskey in his eyes then glass. When his vision and head did begin to clear, he stood up on wobbly legs. He scanned the area quickly trying to find Storm. When he couldn't find him he feared the worst. That was until he heard Paragon's voice coming from the monitor. Staggering a bit as he turned around, The leader of the IKI saw what had happened since he was taken down. Storm was in the ring chained to the cage looking like he was on death's doorstep. Rude was holding his face rolling around on the mat.

As the big man watched he staggered again and this time felt his foot step on something. Looking down he saw at least 4 teeth and alot of blood. There was no doubt in his mind that the teeth and blood belonged to Storm. Now almost in panic, Nathan went towards the entrance intent on saving Storm from Rude...but through the divide in the curtain he saw what had to be the shape of a woman coming towards him up the ramp. turning quickly, he grabbed a monitor off the tech table and backed up next to the curtain. Faith walked into the back.

"Oy luv." She said to the tech. "Now 'here did tha big fella...."

Before the tech could say a word or point, Nathan came around and swung the monitor hitting Faith flush in the face. The Whiskey Fueled Bitch went down hard...blood flying from her mouth, nose, and a large gash over her right eye. Nathan looked down....surveyed the damage...and then dropped the monitor on Faith's chest adding insult to injury. Once again he thought about going to save Storm but it was obvious the playing field had been altered. Now was the time for cooler heads to prevail. Thinking as fast as his woozy brain would allow. Nathan pulled out his cell phone and hit speed dial on the entry marked "?".

"I need you again."

"I've already done quite a bit.....and still have yet to play the final card....So why are you calling me asking for yet another favor?"

"Because if you don't do it all you have worked for will fail."

"............What do you need?"

"Send one of your ring working lackeys to the ring with bolt cutters and tell them to cut that chain holding Storm to the side of the cage."

"I've been watching. You don't think I haven't done that already? Too much is invested in this to let it slip away now."

"Good...then we can count on you for this one last favor of the night?"

"When the time comes I'll take care of it."

"Thank you."

Nathan hung up the phone and then quickly hit another speed dial button.

"Yes Sir?" The voice on the other end said.

"It's time. You know what to do."

"Yes Sir. we're ready."

"And you did a little work beforehand yes?"

"Of course sir."

"Good....then do it."


Unknown Location.

While everything was going down in the arena, The Wizard sat on his thone smiling. Bumps in the road had almost sidetracked this whole affair but Storm was not the only one who could be quick on his feet. He reached over and pressed a button switching the monitor over in the room where Emissary, James, and the IKI members were being held. To this point they had been watching as Storm got dismantled. Now they saw the Wizard's smiling face.

"So, it appears Karma has shunned you."

"And it appears to us that your head is wedged firmly up your ass." Emissary barked back.

"Oh how cute you are when you get angry. I however am not the one with his head "wedged" in his ass. It may pain you to admit it but can't you see that your friend is coming to his end at the hands of the Prophet?"

"And do you REALLY think this is over?" James asked with a confidence.

The resolve in James's voice bothered the Wizard who thumbed the button back to the feed from the arena. The young fool was speaking empty words...nothing more.

or so the Wizard thought.


By The Curtain Near The Tech Table.

Nathan was just getting read to head to the ring when a young man pasted him with bolt cutters. He quickly snatched them from the man and then turned to the tech.

"Any minute now you're going to get a feed from outside the arena pumped in here. You make sure you do whatever you have to so it stays on the air or so help me I will kill you."

The terrified tech shook his head rapidly in an up and down motion to let Nathan know he understood. Content that his point had been made, Nathan headed back to the ring.


At The Announce Table.

"This is no longer about wrestling. This has broken down into nothing but who can survive. Storm is all but done. How a man with so many injures can possibly defend himself is beyond me. Add to the fact that Rude seems to have gone rabid, Storm is chained to the cage wall, his wife Faith kicked the hell out of him while asking for a divorce, and I think Karmic Legacy's days are over."

"Never say never around here John because I see one pissed off giant in Nathan coming back down the ramp!"

"You know what Hank? Screw this. This match is over...why hasn't anyone come out here and put a stop to this? Did they not declare Storm the winner? Did Rude come out and ask for the match to be restarted? I don't think so. Rude is back here for the sole purpose of ripping Storm limb from limb...acting like a rabid pitbull no less."

"Well for the moment the "Pitbull" as you call Rude is busy "Licking his wounds" from those two boots to his face. My question is what is that Nathan has in his hands?"

Almost on que, Nathan answered Hank's inquire by using the bolt cutters to clip the chain from the cage. Storm was now free. Nathan took a step back and then slide the bolt cutters to Storm. He pushed it under Storm's leg in such a fashion when Rude came at Storm...he would not see them. The leader of the IKI leaned in close to the cage and whispered into Storm's ear.

"It's time."

Storm smiled and nodded slightly as Nathan walked over, took a mic off the announcer's table, and slid it under the cage into Storm's hand. Rude was getting back on his hands and knees when Storm found a way to lift the mic and speak.

"Behold........asth the sthinner of wrath.......beginths histh journey.....down the road.......to being......Humbled."

Storm's arm dropped back to the canvas as Rude looked up at him ready to rip him apart. It was then that the tron lit up.

Two men with IKI armbands on and black hoods over thier head stood next to a pool of water. Between them was what looked to be some sort of contraption like a table or a stetcher.....but unlike a normal stretcher this one didn't bend up at the top...it bent down. Someone had been strapped to the board face down. No one could tell who this person might be as thier face was obscured from sight under the water.

"Oh My Lord.....What is this? What are they doing??" John yelled out of shock.

The two men on either side of the board lifted the upper part of it out of the water. Rude hadn't been paying any attenion to it till he heard a female voice scream his name.

"OH GOD!!.......*Cough*....*Sputter*.....JOHNNY PLEASE!!.....*Cough*......MAKE THEM STOP!!"

Hank was the first to identify the female strapped to the board. "THAT'S SYREN!! MY GOD LOOK AT HER FACE!!"

The voice was enough to make Rude look up. At first in his rabid state he didn't realize just what he wa looking at....But as her face came into focus he could see it was the one person in the world he looked upon like a daughter. He stared at the screen as Syren begged and pleaded with him for help. Her face was bruised....Battered and obvously bloody as the water that dripped off her face was stained crimsom.

"This is Sick!! Just sick...All these people we work with are just demented and sick!" John shouted.

"They may be but it makes perfect sense. How do you humble a man of wrath? Buy doing the vile things he's done to others....to someone he really care about."

Rude got up off all fours and stood up looking at the screenas the two men dunked the young woman back into the water. Whatever spell had been cast over him was slowly starting to fade as he watched Syren's body thrash on the board from lack of oxygen. He watched as her head swung from side to side in the water.....and the rabid anger that overtook him faded.

Storm raised the mic back up....sounding somethng like Aaron action thanks to some missing teeth..

"Look Sthinner......watch....as thosthe who you sthinned againsth.....had to watch you do thisth....to thier loved onesth."

Anger began to boil up inside Rude again but this time it wasn't some brainwashed plant. This was very much his own. Before He could control his urges he rushed at Storm again ready to do his worst. At that moment, Storm pushed up the side of the cage using it for support and then swung the bolt cutter around with his left hand. It caught Rude flush on the jaw sending him sprawling.

"This is but a tasthe...." Storm said slowly".....Of what'sth sthill to come......And it getsth much.....much....worsthe....Jonathan."

Storm slid back down the side of the cage dropping the cutters. Nathan reached in and yanked them back out.

On the mat....Rude pulled his head up bleeding from the corner of his mouth. He looked up at the screen as they dunked Syren again....and all Rude could do...for perhaps the first time his his life........Was feel pain...The kind of pain he had inflicted on others for so many years.



Johnny Rude stared at the image on the screen. It was enough to send him out of his rabid state and back to the world above. His nose bled profusely, covering his face in the crimson mask. His lip was bloodied as well, but none of that registered. Though his body was in intense agony, he simply couldn’t process it all. And this was because the closest thing he ever had to a daughter was being tortured before his very eyes. His heart raced beneath his chest. Blood and adrenaline charged through his veins. And yet, none of that seemed to matter. All that matter was that Syren was in pain. Syren needed him, needed her Master, and where was he?

He turned to Storm. The man could barely stand. Despite this and his many injuries, his posture spoke of nothing but complete and utter confidence. The smile he wore was that of a man who was reveling in the suffering of another. Johnny Rude knew that look all to well. He had worn it himself time and time again. As quick as he could muster, The Rudeness pushed himself up to his feet and went to run at his mortal enemy. His feet were halted when his protégé was dunked under the water yet again. This time, she wasn’t lifted up. Bubbles churned around her shiny red hair.

Rude looked to Storm and knew exactly what was happening. Johnny couldn’t touch him. If he did, then Syren’s head would STAY submerged. The Antichrist Superstar backed away slowly. Every fiber of his being wanted to lash out and tear his foe to pieces. To rid himself once and for all of the curse that was Emerson blood. But desire wasn’t enough. The Rudeness backed away and kept his eye squarely on his opponent. He spoke as calmly as he could.

Rude: Jason….what do you want? The match is over, isn’t it? What do you want?

Storm: You don’t get it, do you? It’s not about wants. You think I WANT to harm her? I barely know her, Johnny. But you do. You do and you care for her. All I’m doing is enforcing what Karma demands of me.

Rude: Bullshit! You want something, god damn it! Just tell me what it is so we can be done with this horse shit!

Storm smirked. He did so without realizing it. It was so much fun to see his old rival squirm. After all the people he had put in similar situations, now he was suffering. Now he was the weak one, the helpless one without options or a hope. Johnny was about to speak again when she was dunked once more. Rude’s eye stayed glued to the screen. The more he watched, the more his eye began to well with tears. He turned to Storm and shouted as a single tear ran down his cheek.

Rude: JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT! Whatever it is, I’m good for it! Just leave her alone!

Jason: “Leave her alone?” Since when has the “mighty” Johnny fucking Rude cared about the well-being of a woman? What about Kate, huh? How many times did you HUMILIATE her in front of thousands of people? How many times did you BEAT her black and blue, and then FUCK her when she barely had the strength to fight you off? Huh, Rude?

He winced. Johnny didn’t answer him because the words he spoke were true. They were true, and for the first time he was beginning to realize just how big of a bastard he had been. Storm continued on.

Storm: What about Eve? How many times did she call you a friend only to have you screw her over? When you weren’t talking shit about her, you were stalking her and making a fucking shrine….and when that wasn’t enough for you…you tried PIMPING her out! And you did this WHILE MARRIED to Demonica, who you cheated on. So why her, John? Why should I show her the mercy you’ve never cared to show anyone else?

Rude choked back a sob. The full weight and scale of the things he had done in his career had come crashing home. That, plus his last ordeal with Steele was enough to break him. Storm was loving every minute of this even while rage burned through his heart. He watched as his foe took a few deliberately slow, cautious steps forward. Syren was about to be dunked again when Rude did something unexpected…he dropped to a knee.

Rude: Look at me, Storm…look into my eye. You’re right. I did all of those things. And with a few exceptions, I’m really not sorry about it. But Syren has nothing to do with it, any of this. Let her go, please.

The Manipulative Bastard looked to the big screen. He nodded and when he did she was dunked again. Rude cringed and sobbed a little as she flailed somewhat. She was brought up again and the sight of her face slightly blue from suffocation, her make up running, broke his heart.

Rude: Storm, stop it! Stop it right now…please. Please Storm…please…I’m begging you…me, Johnny B. Fucking Rude…begging you, to stop this.

Storm: “Please?” “Stop.” “Don’t!” “I’m begging you…” I’m sure you’ve heard all of that quite a bit in your career, haven’t you? Tell me Johnny, did you ever listen to them?

Rude: Fuck you!

Storm: Is that all? Okay.

He motions to have her dunked again when Rude interrupted.

Rude: W-wait…we can work something out, Storm. We can make a deal.

Storm: A deal? Deals are for the devil.

Rude: Jason…I’ll do anything…ANYTHING…if you let her go.

The smile widened. He looked to the outside. Nathan had caught wind of some of it. He walked over to the announcer’s table. Storm and Nathan, on occasion, seemed to think the same. The IKI member takes a microphone from the table and slides it into the cage. Storm takes it and speaks.

Storm: You said anything, right? Okay Johnny….I want you to repeat to the world what you told me. Your…plea for Syren’s safety. Yes, I think they need to hear it.

Johnny glares at him with a look which could burn through steel. He mouths the words, “you motherfucker…”

Storm: You said anything. Now make good on your word. Or she gets dunked again. You haven’t felt the full weight of Karma yet, Johnny Boy.

The Antichrist Superstar took the microphone from his rival. He stared at it for a few seconds. Repeating what he said wasn’t an easy matter for him. As a matter of fact, it went against everything he believed in. Rude was taught to be strong. To show no mercy. To take no prisoners. Somehow, Syren had caused him to cast all that aside and because of that, he was where he was now. He timidly lifted the microphone to his lips. Johnny muttered into it…

Rude: Jason…I beg you to release Syren…

Storm: *shouting* I DIDN’T HEAR YOU! Say it again! Louder.

Rude paused again. He took several deep breaths and swallowed. Syren began to teeter toward the pool. When she did, Rude lifted the mic much faster and spoke again.

His body shook with the emotion which was rocking through him. He had never felt so helpless, so powerless, not even when he was in John Steele’s care. At least then he could retreat into his own subconscious. This was different. There was nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. No way to escape Karma. Johnny dropped the mic and began to break down. He was out and out crying now, part from shame and part because of how exhausted he was with all of this. Storm picked it up and spoke again.

Storm: That was beautiful, Johnny, really. But you know what? I think…it would sound a BIT better….on your knees.

Rude jumped and looked at his foe with shock across his visage. He blinked several times because he couldn’t believe what was asked of him. Storm looked to the screen again. Syren was about to be dunked when Johnny dropped to a knee. The fans cried out in surprise from this. Storm pointed to his other leg, insisting that he drop to the other one as well. Johnny complied and in doing so, made himself somewhat nauseous. He spoke again.

Rude: Jason…please…please…I deserve to be punished…fine. Do whatever you want, but please….let Syren go.

Storm: I didn’t quite catch that. Maybe you should come closer?

Rude knew what he wanted. Storm wanted him to crawl across the mat toward him. Much in the same way he made Kate crawl all those years. Inside the poisoned mind of The Antichrist Superstar, the very fabric of his being was screaming in rage. He wanted to rip Storm in half and stab Nathan to death with the remains. He wanted to breathe fire and soak the arena in flames. But the reality of the situation was that there was nothing he could do. And so, Johnny Rude crawled toward him.

Once there, he spoke again.

Rude: What do you want from me, Jason? Here I am…prostrated before you….I…I don’t h-have anything luh-left…you win. You win, okay? You win! Now please, for the love of Satan, let her go!

Storm: Remember when you said you’d do anything? Well, I think I have in mind just what I want you to do.

Storm placed his boot against Rude’s face. Johnny moved his head back a little. He looked at it and then at Storm. Blood dripped from his nose and landed on the toe of the boot. Storm chuckled and mouthed the words, “Clean it.” The King of Extreme’s heart sank. His body shook with revulsion over what Storm was asking of him. And still…he stuck his tongue out. Johnny Rude began to lick the boot of Jason Storm, trying to catch up the blood which spilled onto it.

Storm: That’s right, Johnny. Get it nice and clean, you filthy piece of shit! Lick my boot like the miserable dog you are! In fact…if you’re a dog, you should bark like one. Go on, bark for me Johnny!

Rude stopped and looked up at his enemy. His eye was sore and swollen from crying. He whispered weakly, a knot formed tightly in his throat.

Rude: No….no, please…don’t m-make me….don’t make me do it…

Storm: Do it, you bastard! Do it or I swear the next time she hits water she doesn’t come up!

And just like that, Rude was crying all over again. His stomach twisted and he felt ill. More than anything, Rude wanted to crawl out of his own skin and be elsewhere. Be anywhere than inside this ring. He moved toward the microphone and spoke softly…

Rude: Woof…

Storm wasn’t satisfied. He drove a kick into Rude’s ribs and shouted.

Storm: With feeling, damn you!

Rude: WOOF! WOOF, WOOF, ARF! ARF! ARRF! Gaaaahhhh!!

He couldn’t keep his composure any longer. Storm watched as his long time rival broke down before him. Though Storm somewhat despised just how low he was going, he also knew that this was what Karma wanted. And so long as he serviced her, then the ends justified the means. This didn’t really help Johnny though, who curled into a ball and sobbed uncontrollably.


Storm leaned against the cage wearing a smile as Rude broke down in front of him. On the tron Syren lay on the board taking in great gulps of air. The two hooded IKI members held thier ground but did not move to dunk the poor girl again. Like the man he looked up to, Nathan stood outside the cage smiling. While both of them shared a smile, They smiled for different reasons. Nathan was smiling because in his mind Karma had made Rude pay his price. There he sat in the ring in front of the world humbled and broken by the very thing he had made a career doing to others. He shed tears, he had begged, pleaded, and bowed before Storm to make him stop. To Nathan, victory was complete.

The smile on Storm's face told a different story, several in fact. He smiled because after all the years he'd watched Rude do this to other people. He had finally fallen victim to his sick ways. Part of him smiled because it was a sheer joy to see this man grovel and bark at his feet. To see him plead for the safety of another. In fact, He was so pleased with the way Rude had reacted he took liberties that his mistress Karma wouldn't care for. The last reason he wore a smile was because he perhaps more then anyone in this business knew exactly how Rude thought and functioned. The night Maverick attacked him and damn near killed him, Rude had begged for his own life, He had told Brett how sorry he was. Of course he meant none of it.....Just like he meant none of it now.

Jason knew he was full of shit. He was going to prove it to the world right now as he struggled to bring the mic back up to his mouth.


Rude looked up at Storm with tears in his eyes and it made Storm sick to look at him. He knew this was all an act but for now he'd play the game because Rude had yet to face the worst.

"I sthaid enough!"

Rude could see Storm looking up at the tron. That was when he realized Storm wasn't talking to him but to the IKI lackeys on the tron.

"Let her go"

Both IKI members bowed slightly towards the camera then quickly went about untying the girl from the table.

"Oh thank God this man has come to his senses." John said.

"I keep saying it over and over again....you people keep thinking this is some kinda mind game Storm is playing but him and his followers are fanatics. I honestly think he would have drown that young girl."

"I won't doubt that again but someone in the powerbase needs to do something about Karmic Legacy and the IKI....these people are completely insane!"

Rude continued to watch the tron as the two goons untied Syren from the table. When she was free she tried to scramble away but fell off the table instead. The goons looked down on her as she gagged and coughed. Storm weakly pulled the mic back up to his busted up mouth.

"Help her up......and let her go."

Rude glanced back at Storm quickly then looked back up to the tron. The two IKI members didn't yank her up or toss her about. They handled her in an almost gentle fashion. As they moved towards the door of what had to be a warehouse the camera that had been stationary started to move along with them.

"It looks as if Storm is going to uphold his part of the deal."

"Maybe so John......But don't think this is over. I got a feeling...a gut feeling....I'll just leave it at that."

Rude continued to watch as one of the IKI members opened the warehouse door and let the girl walk out into the street. She turned and looked back at them half expecting this to be a trick. They would surely come and yank her back inside. They didn't move however and just watched as she walked down the street. When she was about 100 yards away they closed the door. The two men nodded and then the feed was cut off.

Storm was no longer smiling.....Knowing that this little show on Rude's part was about to end. He raised the mic once more.

"There Rude. Sthe iths free. I upheld my end of the deal. Have you been......humbled?"

Rude's sad face quickly changed to that of a vile smirk. Funny thing was, Storm gave him a smirk back to match.

"I'll show you humble fucker!"

Read suddenly leapt forward and began to choke Storm with both hands. The broken and jammed fingers on his left had were all but forgotten.


"I told you I had a gut feeling."

"Gut feeling hell! Storm tried to drown the only person Rude would consider a daughter. He wants revenge!"

"As do alot of his victims I imagine but you still don't get it do you John?"

"What's there to get?"

"That was a test and I'm betting the bank Rude just failed miserably."

Rude continued to choke the life out of Storm till the Real Deal raised his hand and poked Rude in his good eye. Knowing Rude, If he had two good eyes he'd keep going but when you only have one, You had to protect it. Rude rolled away quickly as Nathan moved in close to the cage next to Storm.

"I'm coming in there and putting this animal down for good."

"NO!" Storm managed to get out of his burning throat.

With a wave of his hand Storm motioned Nathan to back off. The big man did as he was told. Storm then looked at Nathan and made a T shape with his index fingers. Nathan nodded and understood the message he had just been sent. That done, Storm had to use all he had left just to stand up. He used the cage as leverage to push up to his feet just as Rude got done rubbing his eye. He to stood up and looked to see Storm standing.

The Real deal had that ever present cocky smirk as he waved Rude forward.

"The lessthon isth not complete. Come forward and be received Jonathan."


Stan Daniels
Stan Daniels

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Post  Stan Daniels on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:32 pm


James Miller and Emissary were blinded again. This time by bright lights which filled the room. It took some time for them to adjust. Once they did, they found themselves in a simple plain room. The walls were lined with varying costumes. They looked to one another and then to the rest of the IKI in the room. They were all bound and, much to their embarrassment, all nude. James stood up as best he could. As it turns out, only his arms were shackled. His eyes scanned the room for some kind of way out. While he searched, a clicking noise was sounded. All of the shackles which bound the IKI were released. James moved his arms when he could and looked at them somewhat puzzled. Just what kind of game were they playing?

It wasn’t long until the voice of The Wizard spoke. Little did they know that it was all pre-recorded.

The Wizard: As I said before…welcome to Oz. A little maze of sorts, before you reach me and my flock. You are all such staunch defenders of Karma. Little do any of you realize the folly of your ways. It is of no consequence right now though, as you have much bigger problems. I have released your shackles. On the walls you fill find clothing. Behind each outfit is a door. Only two at a time may enter before the door locks behind them automatically. And then…your journey begins.

The laughter of the omnipotent Wizard rang out throughout the room. The feed was killed and the IKI was left wondering just what they should do. As always, all eyes were on James and Emissary. The two men looked to one another and spoke.

James: Well…this is unexpected.

Emissary: No shit. Look, I don’t think we should play along.

James: What choice do we have? Without our clothes, we don’t even have our cell phones or any other way of contacting anyone.

Emissary: And if we refuse? What could he possibly do?

James: Umm…leave us here to starve to death?

Emissary: ….Good point. Okay, so we’re divided by twos. We may as well select the teams then, don’t you think?

James: I guess you’re right. God, I hate this! We don’t know what happened to Storm, or Frank, or anyone!

Emissary placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder. He gave him a look of concern and spoke calmly.

Emissary: Stay the course. It would be what Storm would want. In the end, Karma will see to it that all those guilty will be punished.

James nodded and the two began the difficult duty of assigning pairs. It hurt them because they knew that The IKI worked best as a unit. Clearly, The Wizard knew this as well, whoever he was. Once the selections were made each pair went their separate ways. Emissary and James stuck together. They changed into their attire. Emissary wore the guise of The Scarecrow where as James Miller was stuck wearing the outfit of a flying monkey.

Emissary: Why James, you look so…cute.

James: Shut up, jerk. We still need to find our way out of this, don’t we?

The door opened. They walked through and as soon as they did, it slammed shut behind them. Before them they saw a very narrow hall. The floor was made of yellow bricks. And in the distance, they heard a ticking sound…

Back in the ring, Johnny Rude looked at Jason Storm. The man had gotten over on him, and in a very big way. Johnny Rude was livid, ready to tear The Emerson brother apart. He charged toward him with all the rage of a furious beast. Storm anticipated this and simply moved out of the way. This caused Johnny to bash into the steel cage wall. Rude cried out and hit the mat. His legs flopped in the air a bit as he held his body.

John: I think the cage almost shook with the impact of that one, Hank!

Hank: I don’t see why either of them are even bothering? The match is over. Storm was declared the winner.

John: It’s simple Hank, this is about hatred. Hatred and survival. Neither man wants to accept a simple win here. No, they won’t stop until one of them is dead.

It certainly seemed that way. Johnny pushed himself up and looked at Storm. He still grinned from ear toe ear. It was meant to taunt Rude into another foolish charge. Instead of obliging the whims of his foe, he stood up to his full, shaky height. He examined his foe and could see that Storm was barely on his last leg. He would fall at any moment, that much was sure. Storm knew that Rude was in a very similar boat. For awhile, neither man moved. They simply looked at one another like two posturing predators.

Storm: I’m ready when you are, asshole.

Rude: Says the man…willing to torture an innocent girl…to hurt me.

Storm: And you’re better? How?

Rude: Well…

He paused a moment. Johnny stepped outside of himself for the moment. How he managed to cling to any of his sanity at all was a miracle. He was all but ready to give in, but as soon as Syren was freed he thought he might try and take Storm out once and for all. But now, viewing himself and Jason Storm…he came to a stunning realization: Storm really was his twin. The only thing which separated them was WHO they did their vile deeds too. Rude targeted the innocent, the weak, and women. Storm targeted those who would prey on the weak. It was like The Punisher staring down in the face of The Joker. The only difference between them being their targets.

That’s how he saw it, anyway. And so he spoke to Jason Storm.

Rude: I bet you think you’ve won….don’t you?

Storm: See that stain on the mat? That’s from your crocodile tears, Johnny. You admitted defeat. Of course I won. But that wasn’t what this was about. It was-

Rude: Blah, blah, blah. Fuck Karma. YOU enjoyed every bit of what happened….and I can’t blame you. It feels good, doesn’t it? Tearing someone apart and having them reduced to a gibbering mess before you…

Storm: What happened to Syren didn’t feel good, it-

Rude: No, but what happened to me because of her DID feel fucking fantastic, didn’t it? I saw it in your eyes, Jason. They were filled with the joy one can only gain through someone else’s misery. It’s okay to admit it…it’s okay to admit you’re a fucking monster…

Storm: I’m not! What I do, I do for good. Look at my body, Johnny. Five stab wounds, a broken nose, and god knows what else. I pay for everything I do. Unlike you. You escaped prison, escaped The Shephard, but you couldn’t escape Karma now, could you?

Rude: Karma is the bed time story you tell yourself at night so you can sleep. Its your flimsy excuse for letting the REAL Storm out. That’s why you always hated me…because I am a MIRROR image of you…if you only let the beast out. That’s why you can’t stand the sight of me. Because I am everything you are if you weren’t so ASHAMED of feeling the way you do…

Storm: You’re full of shit. And I’m sick of debating.

Storm took a step forward. It pained him, but that was a sensation he was quickly getting accustomed to. He threw a right hook toward The Rudeness. Johnny grabbed the arm and, (while this normally didn’t take a large amount of strength), used all the force he had left in him to toss Jason Storm into the cage wall. The fans cried out in awe as his body slammed against it. Nathan ran to Storm whose body leaned against the wall. He tried to rouse his leader from his daze.

As for Johnny…he was tired. His body had been pushed past its limits way back in round one. Now there weren’t any fumes left. His mind had been forever damaged by what had happened. If the identity crisis he suffered earlier wasn’t bad enough, as soon as his tongue touched the boot of Jason Storm, The Antichrist Superstar died. All that was left was Johnathan Wilson. And he was tired. So very, very tired. He didn’t care anymore. Not about beating Jason Storm. Not about The King of The Cage. Not even about his own career. All he wanted was to escape and hide somewhere dark and dank forever.

And so he began to climb. The fans were on their feet and literally pushing the guard rail back a bit. Jason began to stir. He sat up slowly and saw his rival begin his ascent. He had to think quickly. Part of him wanted to run over there and yank Johnny off. But he knew that he may not even make it that far. There was still Nathan, who would easily keep Rude off of the cage. At least, that’s what Storm thought until someone wearing a Wicked Witch of the West mask leaped over the rail and slammed a pipe into the back of Nathan’s head. The large man was stunned, about to drop, but before he did he turned around and punched the witches’ lights out. And then his own lights went out.

Storm looked at Johnny. He hadn’t gotten very far at all. Jason still had time. The Manipulative Bastard took a deep breath. This was going to hurt him intensely, but its what needed to be done. Jason grabbed onto the cage wall and pulled himself up to his uneasy feet. The co-leader of the IKI began to climb up the wall. Surprisingly enough, both men were making about the same progress.

Hank: What in the HELL are those crazy bastards doing!? They should both be dead right now!

John: I can’t help but agree with you, partner. And yet still, they climb! Though they may be polar opposites, each man is driven by a desire to win!

Hank: And a desire to prove they’re better than the next guy.

John: This is also true. My god, every step they take must be like walking on glass! How are they doing this!?

It was a good question. Sadly, an answer wouldn’t be found. John was right about one thing: Every rung up the cage felt like having their bodies dragged across hot glass. Many times, each man’s physical being threatened to quit on them. It was only hatred and their need to beat the other which drove them on. The opening of the Steel Asylum was six feet long. Just barely enough for both of them to squeeze through. Which was what happened. Rude and Storm pulled themselves out of the hole about half way each. Slowly, they pulled their legs up.

Rude: I’m not gonna…let you….win.

Storm: Karma isn’t…finished with you…yet.

And so each man stood up. And then they turned to face one another. The fans were actually silent. This is a rarity in American wrestling. The two of them began to exchange lefts and rights back and forth. Each hit landed, because neither man had the strength to dodge. Blood flew from Rude’s mouth as Storm’s fist widened the wound he had made on Johnny’s mouth. Rude snarled and punched Storm in his wounded nose. The Real Deal winced, tears forming in his eyes before returning Johnny in kind.

For a moment, they stopped. And then each man struck each other. They each took a step back as they world began to go black. Both Storm and Rude were about to pass out on their feet. And then they lost their balance. Both Johnny and Storm fell off of the cage and all the way down to the announcer’s table below. Hank and John backed away just in time before the cage shattered beneath them. The fans screamed, the entire arena vibrating with the force of it.



And then the lights dropped. The sweet smell of incense filled the air as, “Symphony of the Night” began to play. A spot lined shined on he ramp and standing there was none other than The Shephard of Man, NightHawk….


Both men lay in the wreckage of the announce table like two corpses. The fall from the top of the cage would likely be the last offense anyone would see tonight. “Symphony of the Night” began to play as all eyes looked up to the top of the ramp to see Nighthawk standing there. The Shepherd Of Men began to make his way down the ramp as the crowd remained silent. When he got to ringside he slowly walked over to the announce table and looked down on the two men. Jonathan Wilson. His half brother by blood. A man who stood for everything Nighthawk was against. A man Nighthawk had considered ridding the world of on more then one occasion. He then turned his head to look at Storm.

Jason Emerson, A man who had known The Shepherd throughout his life. A man who destiny had chosen to do a great thing. A man who had for several years fought the Shepherd tooth and nail to avoid that destiny. In this man lay one of the most vital things the Shepherd fought for.....that being the Faithchild. There was much confusion in the soul of Jason Emerson. So much confusion through his life. It had ended freidnships, broken up relationships, and alienated his own son Shaun Justice from him. All of that paled in comparison to the path Jason now walked.

Nighthawk bent down between the two men and placed a hand on each man's chest. He bowed his head and spoke in whispering tones of aramaic. After only a few moments he rose to his feet once again and watched as both men's eyes fluttered open. Both men sat bolt upright not healed of all wounds but healed enough to be coherent. They both looked up to see Nighthawk standing above them.

He stared at Rude for a moment and then looked away from him to Storm. Before Jason could say or do anything Nighthawk reached down and yanked him off the floor. The Shepherd pulled him in close so that Storm's nose almost touched the cowl.

"Many times have I warned you Jason but you do not listen. You insist on traveling this path made of lies."

Storm reached his hands up and grabbed the wrist of Nighthawk. He struggled to free himself but in his current condition he was no match for the Shepherd. Giving up quickly he looked into the cowl before him.


"I told you the hammer would come to fall upon you. To right the things that you have spoiled with your twisted beliefs. You may not have Faith in what's right brother but "Faith" has belief in you."

Jason struggled and tried to pull free of the grip. The Shepherd let him go and Storm landed hard on his ass.

"With each minute that passes you write your own fate. I say to you one last time. Stop what you are doing and repent or the fate you write will swallow you whole."

"Yeah...Right....Nice try Alan....or Geno...Or whoever the fuck you are! The Sthepherd knowsth that my work is righteousth....that Karmic Legacy and the IKI are needed to cleansthe this world of evil....to resthore balance! Get the hell away from me falsthe Prophet!"

The Shepherd looked down on Jason and shook his head. Before another word could be said by anyone the Crimson mist obscured him from view. When it lifted Nighthawk was gone. Had the Shepherd stayed a bit longer he may not have ever left. So angry was Storm by the prescene of what he thought to be someone playing a mind game with him that his anger covered his true intentions for this evening. If Nighthawk had even senses a portion of what was about to happen he might have taken back the very gift he gave Storm some 5 years ago.

"I gotta tell ya John....This has been the most bizzare night in wrestling I've ever been witness to."

"I'm as stunned as you are. Thank god this is finally over."

John barely finished his sentance when out of nowhere a foot came flying across the side of the head of Storm. Rude had gotten back to his feet and thanks to the brief interlude by his brother....Not to mention a slight bit of healing at his hand, the fuel to ignite his fire had come back.

"Now I make you pay for what you did to Syren!"

Before Jason could even sit up, Rude pulled him up by the hair and then flung him hard in to the side of the cage. Storm slumped down to the floor. He too had got a bit of a healing jolt but it was enough to get him coherent.....and that was about it. Rude came at him again yanking him off the floor by his hair and then slammed him head first into the cage wall.

"Just when you think these two have finally had enough Rude is on the offensive again and he's beating the TAR out of Storm!"

"Can't say that I blame him. Can you?"

"No Hank...I really can't and that suprises me."

Rude held Storm with his head pulled back and spoke into his ear.

"You better be glad I don't have any water around or I'd drowned you in it right now....but maybe if I spill enough of your blood that will work."

Somehow Storm found a way to smirk one final time. "Now you are ready to be humbled." he said as he held up his free right hand and waved it in the air once.

The tron came back on and Rude dropped Storm expecting to see Syren tied to that board again with her head under water. Instead what he saw was an empty room. Shadows began to move across the floor as Rude watched. Behind him, Storm began to crawl towards the broken announce table. He could see a mic laying on the floor nearby and he was going to need it in a very short couple of seconds. As he reached for it another hand came into view. Storm looked up to see Nathan. The large man looke dazed and confused almost barely able to stand. HEetook the mic and handed it to Storm then fell to his knees.

Storm patted him on the back before turning back to see Rude. He sat up and then held the mic to his lips.

"Jonathan......I have a......Friend I want you to.......meet."

Rude whirled back around to see Storm pointing at the tron. He couldn't help himself. He had to look. When he turned back around he saw a large bearded man in the center of the tron. He was motionless with the exception of his right arm that seemed to be holding something or someone who was trying to get away from his grip.

"Sthay hello to my friend Jebediah."

Rude wasn't sure how to react. This man on the screen didn't look familiar to him at all. He turned back to Storm and took a step towards him to finish the job but Storm held his hand up.

"Not a wisthe move Jonathan...My friend hasth sthomeone you might really want to meet."

Rude turned to the tron knowing that this bearded giant was going to pull Syren up off the floor. Jebediah did pull someone up off the floor but it wasn't Syren....it was a young boy......and the boy's name was Tristan.

"I believe mostht of you know tristham......you sthould.....he's my nephew."

Rude did a double take as did most of the crowd. John and Hank we're just as confused as everyone else.

"That's his nephew?" John asked

"Damn John think. You know exactly who that kid is and why he's Storm's nephew."

"Oh my god your right...That's Maverick and Kitty's son!"

"Right you are!"

"But what does that have to do with Rude of all people?"

Storm waited for the murmur to run through the crowd before raising the mic back to his lips.

"You look confusthed Jonathan. Don't you recognize the sthon of Kitty and my brother Brett?"

Rude turned back to Strorm ready to say more but Storm cut him off.

"No no, Don't look at me.....look at the boy....take a really good look....and tell me....do you sthee anything.....familair?"

Storm paused and watched as Rude studied the boy who was trying to wriggle free from the large man's grasp.

"You sthould Jonathan.....becausthe Tristham.....is YOUR STHON!"

The crowd let out a collective gasp. Rude looked upon the face of the child as his jaw hung open.

"WHOOOOOOAA!! SAY WHAT?" John said in utter shock.


It was true. You could see almost every feature of Rude's face on the small child's face save the eyes.....His eyes were that of his mother's.

"You're right Hank....Good God what a bombshell!"

"Man.....Damn John.....You know what this means?"

"Oh God no....he wouldn't....Storm didn't bring this 3 year old child on the tron to torture him in front of Rude did he?"

"It's the ONLY reason to bring him out or tell the world at all John."

Storm watched Rude with a smile as the realization spread over his face that there was no denying it.....the kid was Rude's little boy. Storm raised the mic back to his lips.

"Why Brett took thiths little sthain on humanity asth histh own I'll never know. Why Kitty never told you....well...that isth her busthiness. The questhion isth Jonathan....Will you now be humbled.....or sthould the child be made to sthuffer?"

Storm gave a nod of his head. Jebediah lifted the small child up and then backhanded him hard across the face. The child's wailing was enough to bring tears to the eyes of quite a few fans.....with the exception of the IKI fans who cheered the slap like an angry mob looking for blood.

Rude turned away and looked at Storm hoping and praying this was all a big lie....another mind game. Storm just kept on smirking at Rude.

"No Jonathan....Thisth isth no game. Tristham isth Your sthon. Perhapsth if you are finally humbled.....you may even get a chance to meet him."

Storm nodded again and this time Jebediah threw the small child into the sofa hard. He took two steps foward and all that could be heard was another loud smack....Jebediah's large shoulders blocking the view.

Again the child cried out in a mixture of terror and pain making Rude's knees buckle.

"Sthuffer the little Children......oh yesth.....To humble you."



Johnny Rude dropped to his knees and looked at the screen. The little boy’s screams struck a deep chord within him. They were the same screams he made when he was at the mercy of Steele. This boy’s voice sounded a HELL of a lot like his own. As a matter of fact, everything about him seemed the same. Rude’s mind worked frantically to try and rationalize this. He and Kitty had used protection…hadn’t they? He couldn’t remember. It was all getting so damn confusing. Rude growled in frustration. His eye never left the screen. From behind him, Storm spoke…

Storm: Well Rude…what will you do…?

He didn’t answer. The straw had broken the camel’s back, as it were. Johnny Rude wasn’t there anymore. He stared at the screen, but he wasn’t looking at it. He looked past it, past the images, and into absolute nothingness. Johnathan Wilson found himself inside a white room. There were no doors, no windows, no signs on the wall, nothing. Just an endless void of white. On one side of him was a small boy not too dissimilar from Tristan. On the other was himself, as he looked now.

Jonathan looked at each of them in a mix of fear and confusion. The boy walked to him and spoke first.

Little Johnny: Are you okay, Mister?

Jonathan: I…I d-don’t…

Rude: Shut the fuck up, you little shit!

Jonathan winced as the “Rude” persona shouted at the boy. He made a motion as if he were going to hit him. Instead, he lowered his arm. The kid winced anyway. He took a step back and spoke again.

Little Johnny: He’s a bad man, mister. You’d best stay away from him.

Rude: Stay away from me? Kid, I OWN this funny fucker right now.

Jonathan didn’t answer. He looked at his arm which was now outstretched. He saw that his fist was closed, but he couldn’t remember how it had gotten that way. Slowly, he opened his palm and when he did, he saw a coin in the center of it. It shone beautifully on one side. The other was covered in rust and scratch marks. He remembered this from when he was in NGPW. In that time, the Rude persona and the good man he was trying to be continuously clashed. The coin was the final arbiter between them. Jonathan held the coin in his fist and looked at each of them.

Jonathan: I…I have a son….

Rude: You MIGHT have a son. Storm’s probably full of shit. Besides, last time we had this problem, what did we do?

Jonathan: Chloe…she was pregnant….she fell down the stairs and-

Rude: Fell? You shoved her. Now you can dress it up as an accident if you like, but I think we both know the god damn truth: You wanted her out of the way. Hey, I can’t blame you. It worked out for us in the end, didn’t it?

The boy walked over to Johnathan. He placed his tiny hand on Wilson’s back and spoke.

Little Johnny: She cried, you know. She held her stomach and cried and wondered where you had gone. Now she’s all alone in a hospital.

Jonathan: I know…she’s one of the many lives I’ve ruined.
Rude: Ruined is SUCH an ugly term, bucko. I’d like to think of it as a…freeing experience, for the little lady. Besides, how the FUCK would either of you have taken care of it anyway? Love? What the fuck ever, kid.

Rude looked at the coin. As he did, he thought of Tristan. Little Tristan who had once planned on stealing from Maverick. The same boy who he began to steal, but was thwarted by Gavin Alexander. Rude planned on taking the kid and luring Maverick into a trap. One which would culminate in tossing the baby over a ledge and watching as Brett failed to save it. At the time, it seemed like absolute GOLD.

Rude: Hey, it WAS absolute gold, damn it.

Jonathan: How did you know what I was thinking?

Little Johnny: We’re you, mister. But the bad man here, he doesn’t want us to be together. He wants you all to himself. He’s afraid that-

Rude: You shut the fuck up, you mouthy bitch! I’m not afraid of anything! Unlike this sorry sap of a human being, I have a functional pair of testicles. Now listen Johnny, I know you’re broken up over this kid nonsense. But let me make it all very simple for you: Not far from where you’re kneeling is a piece of shrapnel from the table that broke. Take it and drive it into Storm’s heart!

Little Johnny: No! Don’t do that! It’ll hurt him, mister!

Rude: So?

Little Johnny: Hasn’t there been enough hurt? Can’t we just be friends? I’m so tired, mister. I just want to play.

Jonathan looked at the child version of himself. He examined it slowly, carefully. And what he saw was all Tristan, in his mind’s eye. He never really realized just how beautiful a child could be. For some time, Rude examined his features. He saw his own icy blue eyes, but he also saw Kitty’s cheek bones. And a little bit of her in the nose, too. It seemed strange when one considers how Kitty and Rude came to be. It was an act of pure bestial lust and hatred for Brett. But what came from it seemed to be pure love.

Wilson wanted to hold him. To wrap his arms around the child and tell him that everything was okay. Christ, he had a son. A real, live baby boy who called him Dad. Did he call him Dad? Wilson wasn’t sure. He had never been in the boy’s life, not really. It was then that Wilson grew sad. He hadn’t been in his life. Jonathan knew all too well what that was like. To be missing his biological father. Surrogates were fine, but nothing could compare to a genuine father and his flesh and blood.

Rude lit cigarette. He took in a deep breath and exhaled.

Rude: You still have work to do, Johnny. Now, if we do what I sugge-

Jonathan: NO!! I’m not going to hurt anyone else!

Rude blinked several times. The cigarette dropped from his mouth. Jonathan slugged him in the face and dropped him to the ground. The Antichrist Superstar spat blood from his mouth and looked up at Wilson. He smirked.

Rude: Ballsy….but what exactly do you think you’re doing?

Jonathan: I’m tired….I’m so fucking tired….I can’t do it anymore..

Rude: Can’t do what anymore? Can’t win? Can’t be a fucking bad ass?

Jonathan: I can’t hate anymore! I can’t walk around and be a miserable piece of shit twenty four seven anymore! My god…Kate…Eve….Chloe…Demonica…Holland…Alan…every one of them fell into my own FUCKED UP orbit and each of them suffered in some way. And I know why…

Rude: Oh, so now you’re detective dips hit? Go ahead, Captain, lay some truth on me.

Jonathan: My entire life has been me doing what I THOUGHT I was supposed to do. What I was bred by a loser asshole to do. I’ve never once…not once….actually considered what *I* wanted. I only did what I thought I wanted. But at the end of the day…every title I won…every opponent I beat…I was empty. At first, I thought it was because I lacked companions. So I made friends, even got married. And yet despite that, I was still alone, still empty.

Rude: Oh, B-O-O H-O-O faggo-

Jonathan slammed his fist into the gut of Rude. He then drove a knee into the man’s eye. He fell backwards and landed onto the ground. He then spoke again.

Jonathan: I was empty because I was living a lie…And I’ve paid for every lie I told, haven’t I? I let YOU….a monster….a THING my Dad created…run my life. And because of it I fucking KILLED a man…I tortured people….set a girl’s head on fire…my hands are so stained I’m afraid I’ll never be clean. You know what I’ve been wondering, lately? Why? Why do I do what I do? Why do I keep running around in the same bullshit psycho circles? And I understand now: …I’m afraid. I’m afraid of who Jonathan is without you, without Rude.

Rude: Ugh….fuck you…

Jonathan: But I don’t need you anymore. I’ve outgrown you. I mean, fuck…look at me. I’ve lost an eye….I have burn scars on my chest and back…I’m held together in this very tournament with duct tape, staples, bandages, and a god damn prayer….and for what? What was the FUCKING point!?

He took a step forward. When he did, Rude cowered.

Jonathan: I’m done. It’s over. Hate isn’t enough. It’s great when you’re young. It even can impress some people. But it has no staying power. No substance. But I’ve realized something…and of all fucking people…..I have Storm to thank for it.

Little Johnny: What did you realize, mister?

Jonathan: That I have something else to live for besides Hate.

Rude: And what’s that, huh? A childhood you can never get back? How fucking weak.

Jonathan: Partially…but now I have a son. Someone who will need me. Someone who I can teach to do the exact opposite of everything I’ve ever done with my life. Fuck..I don’t think there’s a single mistake in this world I HAVEN’T made. Who would be most qualified to guide a boy through the horrors of the world than someone who embodied them? I understand now. Rude…it’s been real, it’s even been sweet…but it ain’t been real sweet.

He turned his back on Rude. He then stooped down and picked Little Johnny up. Giving the boy a hug, he began to walk into the endless whiteness. Rude stood up. He was livid. Who the FUCK did Wilson think he was? Did he know who he was talking to!? Where would Wilson be without Rude!? Nowhere. And he thought he could just walk away? No. Fuck no. Rude ran at Wilson. He threw a punch with everything in him…and his fist went through Jonathan. Rude screamed as he fell forward and then evaporated.

Johnny blinked several times. He was in the arena again. The noise of the crowd, the fans, it all brought him back. He turned around and looked at Storm. The man was beside himself with joy over what he has done. That is, until he saw Jonathan stand. Until he saw the man walk toward him. Until, my god, the fucker started smiling.

Rude: Jason…I want to thank you for what you did for me, tonight.

Jason: Wh-what do you mean?

Rude: You cured me….you REALLY cured me. I…I let it go. He’s gone, Jason. I’m free.

Jason: I…don’t underthtand.

Rude: I’m not Rude anymore. I’m just Johnny, and I have YOU to thank for it. So, guess how I’m going to do that?

Jason: Careful…the boy will thuffer if-

Rude: It’s okay….because Karma will protect him. And it will punish you. Thank you Storm, because now I finally understand. You have given me the greatest gift anyone ever has….inner peace. So, here we are now…entertain us.

Rude continued walking toward Jason, placing his trust in Karma and in the new door which has opened for him.


Stan Daniels
Stan Daniels

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