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Melee 4 - The Best Laid Plans
« on: December 30, 2017, 10:33:21 PM »
She seemed to tower there at the podium, looking over those in the audience.

"Thanks to the opportune employment of an insurance policy covering the premises and equipment destroyed in last month's hijacking by the Scientologists, as well as the lucky financial investment of some of our silent partners, Fight 2 Win officially has enough money to ensure that construction crews break ground on the first of December for what will be the Fight 2 Win specialty sports complex."

“And pause.”

Angelina Altamonte’s face suddenly froze in place, and slowly the camera pulled out to reveal her face paused on a large projector screen which was mounted on a wall.

“And there you have it, ladies and gentleman.”

Francis Ford Cuppola stood at the head of the long meeting table bathed in sterile bluish light emanating from high up in the ceiling, the oversized screen behind him stuck on the freeze frame of Ms. Altamonte, the room itself dark and ominous threatening just about anything hiding in the shadows, and Francis looked around at those seated with an expression of sinister potential.

A beat of him staring blankly at those around the table before Rodney, Francis’ perennially annoyed assistant, cleared his throat, summoning Francis back to wakefulness.

“And there you have it, Ladies and gentleman.” Francis nodded confidently, pressing up from the table to stand straight like he’d cracked the case wide open.

Another beat.

“What?”

Francis was startled by the voice at the other side of the table.

“Excuse me?”

“What do we have?” Thirteen eyed him from across the table.

“All right, that’s enough, Thirteen,” he pointed sternly at her. Thirteen frowned at the usual coarse discord of a Francis-led meeting. He began to pace with purpose.

“A true detective, like myself, knows the facts like the back of his hands, and it is the FACTS that will set us free, and help me get my company back.” Francis smirked condescendingly, stopping his pacing to eye the assembly gathered around the table as if ensuring they were following with him. And then he went back to pacing.

“So. This is what we know:  FACT.” He smacked his hands together loudly, the sound of skin on skin reverberating off the walls. “Fight 2 Win is in fact a company owned by my nemesis and former lover Angela Almondine.”

“Francis.” Rodney said with obvious annoyance.

“Not now, Rod,” Francis shot back quickly then continued, “FACT, Andalusia Altamonte does in fact own Fight 2 Win.”

You could hear Rodney inhaling sharply in disbelief. Another meeting, another Francis derailment. Francis continued.

 “FACT,” his hands smacked together triumphantly as his case-solving momentum grew, “If you take a close look at her picture behind me, or turn to page 17 of the handout, you will see that her HEAD is three times larger than it used to be.” He stopped and turned to the assembly like the teacher at the head of the class, “And that can’t be good for anybody.”

“Oh god.” Rodney cupped his head into his hand and inhaled a steady breath of unwillingness to halt Francis’ trajectory as Francis turned and surveyed the still-frame image of Angelina Altamonte with scientific scrutiny.

“It’s all out of proportion,” Francis decided to himself.

“Francis, can you just get to the--” Rodney interrupted, before Francis SMACKED his hands together once more, glaring at Rodney snidely.

“FACT: Ariadne Altavista, in conjunction with the people from the inner dimension, funded by the Rand Corporation, in concert with the fine folks at High Liner Fishsticks have kidnapped--”

“Francis?”

Startled, Francis looked above him for the voice of god.

“Francis!”

Francis stepped back toward the table with stunning efficiency, aiming his finger into Kassandrah’s face and barked officiously, “What’d you just say?”

Kassandrah shook her head with confusion. “I said, ‘Francis’.”

Francis eyed her suspiciously. A beat. Then spoke over his shoulder to Rodney. “Make a note of that, Rod.”

From the other side of the table, Rodney stared in deflated disbelief as Francis resumed his problem-solving pace.

“If I seem a little paranoid, friends, it's because, from the evidence I have listed, as well as some well-placed tips from my new number one guy, Jake,” Francis nodded to the innocent-looking Jake in the seat beside his as he sat down at the head of the table smiling warmly to everyone before continuing, “That our Ms. Albatross plans to remove me from the picture entirely, likely with a vat of hydrochloric acid and possibly snakes, in order to prevent me from taking my rightful control of Fight 2 Win. Isn’t that right, Jake?”

His warm smile directed the attention of the table to Jake who looked momentarily uncomfortable.

“Well, I--”

“That’s great, son.” Francis clapped him hard on the back and shook him. “Proud of you.”

 The other eyes around the table, Mister Mississagi, The French Mime Assassins, Rodney, Kassandrah and Thirteen, as well as two other individuals watched with confusion until,

“Francis?” Kassandrah’s voice startled Francis from his silent admiration from his new golden boy to eye her like he’d just noticed her for the first time.

A beat. Then Kassandrah added, “I’m afraid you could be right.”

“Really?” Francis softened, appreciating himself a moment.

“Afraid so. I have reason to believe that Angelina Altamonte has successfully infiltrated our little group in order to bring it down from the inside.”

“Amazing.” Francis shook his head, unable to contain his admiration of the skills of his opponent, “She’s always one step ahead, isn’t she?”

“Not if we know what her plans are before she, or her mole, gets the chance to--”

“That’s enough, Thirteen.” Francis pointed across the table at her sternly, then shook his head with a dismissive chuckle, preventing Thirteen from continuing her sentence. Francis continued instead. “I’m not worried in the slightest about Ms. Aldente, my friends. No sirreee, with my keen perception and deft skill at recognizing even the slightest changes in--who the hell are they!?”

Pull-out from Francis’ stunned and bewildered expression to a wide shot of the table, racking focus to the two as yet unintroduced members of the group.

“Uh, Francis this is someone who’s been helping me investigate Ms. Altamonte,” Kassandrah chimed in, presenting the mysterious masked man seated beside her with eyes gazing at him as though into Francis’ soul. “His name is Sybyl.”

Francis struck a contemplative philosopher's pose; hand on chin, one eyebrow raised while he scrutinized the newcomer.

A beat.

“Does he plan to keep his haircut like that?”

“Uhhhh--” Kass looked confused from Francis to Sybyl.

“Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter.” Francis waved it off. Kass frowned.

“Don’t you want to know why he wears a mask, or where you’ve seen him from, or--”

“I’d assume,” Francis added, half-annoyed, “he wears a mask to draw attention away from his haircut.”

Kass eyed Francis with a bewildered stare. Francis chuckled and shook his head, like how could she dare question his detective skills at this point.

“Oh my god who’s that?” Francis started once more, this time sighting the man seated beside Rodney.

Rodney sighed, “This is Reno Nevada.” Rodney presented the slick and cool-looking customer  beside him as Francis stared at him with wonder. “He’s agreed to help us with--”

“This is amazing…” Francis eyed Reno profoundly. “I… had a turtle named Reno Nevada.”

“I’m sorry?” Rodney blinked.

"He was a Red-Eared Slider..." Francis' voice trailed off into some sort of flashback, until--

A loud snore cut through the moment. All eyes turned to Reno. He was slumped in his chair, eyes hidden behind a pair of dark tinted Raybans.

Francis blinked away a tear and said, "He sleeps just like my turtle..."

Rodney added apologetically, "Of course he’s not sleeping, Francis," and shoved his elbow into Reno's arm.

Reno startled awake. He mumbled out, "Sheesa fawkin skeezah, guy," as he shot up into his chair. He was all awkward as he pushed his glasses up his nose and ran a hand through his hair.

"EXACTLY," Francis shouted and pointed at Reno. "This guy gets it." He looked around the room. "There’s a lot going on around here I don’t like, people. And it’s all, undoubtedly part of Ms. Arashadnay’s plans to destroy me so I can’t get my company back.”

“Francis--”

“No. Don't think for a second any of you will get away with me for I see everything. And yet... I see nothing.” Again he began pacing, his tone more calculated.  “So then this is what we know: People’s heads are growing three times the size of their bodies; moles are trying to destroy me; we have a man who wears a mask to cover his haircut; another man who has named himself after one of my dead turtles; and Thirteen keeps thinking she can contribute to the meeting. Have I missed anything?”

“Francis!”

“That’s enough, Thirteen.”

Francis glared at her as she half-pouted at the end of the table.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about.” Francis glared at those seated. Slowly, his eyes turned confident once more. “Don’t for a second think I don’t see what’s going on here with all these disruptions threatening to veer me from my stated goal. This sly minx Altagadadendo is trying to destroy me. Mark my words. One of you, perhaps ALL of you, has clearly turned to the dark side and is the mole working for my enemy, feeding her information in order to ruin my plans to ruin her plans. BUT! That’s why I have a fail-safe.”

Francis smirked. A motorized sound rose up from the table as slots opened in front of each individual and plates with loaves of baked bread appeared.

“Ladies and gentleman,” Francis connived, “try and lie to me now.”

They all looked down at their plates with a single loaf of uncut bread on it and blinked. Jake lifted a bread knife and fork and began to slice into his bread before Francis scolded him.

“Ut ut ut. No one may touch them. Well, maybe you, Jake, but NO ONE ELSE MAY TOUCH THE BREAD.”

“Francis, what is this?” Rodney asked. Francis rolled his eyes.

“Haven’t you ever been to communion?” Francis shook his head in disgusted annoyance with the lot of them. “Heathens, what you have before you is only the body of our lord and savior Jesus Christ thank you very much, ladies and gentleman. Is that so hard to understand?” He eyed them as they slowly exchanged glances, then eyed the loaves of bread before them. “Try and lie in its presence. You can’t. The bread won’t let you!”

“This is insane,” Rodney mumbled under his breath.

“What?! What did you just say?!” Francis stirred suddenly towards Rodney looking threatening.

“I said, ‘this is insane’.”

“So you say,” Francis looked at him suspiciously. “Make a note of that, Thirteen.” He began pacing.

“I--”

“That’s enough, Thirteen.” She looked flustered at him before Rodney cut through the bullshit.

“Look, Francis, we have a plan.”

“Oh really?” Francis’ suspicion grew. Rodney continued,

 “Yes. There’s a lot to be suspicious of, but we can’t allow ourselves to lose sight of the fact that Altamonte is clearly not on the level. Stadium’s cost a lot more money than she could get from an insurance settlement.”

“She said she's got outside backers.” Kass added.

“Of course, but who?” Thirteen chimed in.

“That’s what we need to find out. Follow the money. My bet is her financial backers aren’t above board. We can’t get bogged down in some mole hunt.” Rodney finished.

“Ut! Ut! Ut! I’m in charge here! This is exactly what happened back in 'nam. No one listened to me, and now everybody's dead!” Francis spoke up. Thirteen, Kass and Rodney eyed Francis bemusedly.

“Okay. So what do you think we should do?” Rodney asked, sarcastically.

Francis scratched his neck.

“I, uh… I think what you’re suggesting sounds fine. In fact, shortly before I had the mimes bake this Jesus bread, Jake was saying something about laundered money, isn’t that right, Jake?”

“That’s right, Mister Cuppola. I know exactly where to locate proof that will blow this whole thing wide open.”

Francis smiled proudly at Jake. “Please… call me ‘Papa’.”

“O--Okay…” Jake stammered.

“Great, so it’s settled.” Francis clasped his hands together. “Jake and I, and--” His eyes hung on the expectant French Mime Assassins and Mister Mississagi before, “--that’s it. Just Jake and I will investigate this laundry money, good work Jake, while the rest of you stay here and try not to screw this up for me.”

Rodney inhaled pensively.

“Right,” he stated. “We’ll try not to get in the way.”

“And hopefully, if there is a mole,” Thirteen added eyeing Francis wary of another interruption, “they won’t tip Angelina Altamonte off about our plans.”

Francis was half way out the cavernous hall before he stopped. “Damn that’s right. We just gave our plans away to the mole.”

They watched as Francis wracked his brain.

“Alright. Everyone? Forget everything we just talked about, okay?”

Rodney glared at him.

“Done?” Francis asked innocently. “Good. You all have your tasks. Synchronize your watches. By the end of this episode of Melee conveniently being filmed over the span of time it’ll take Jake and I get to the laundry place, I shall have Fight 2 Win in my control!”

And with that Francis and his team stormed out leaving the rest there to eye one another conspiratorially.
Cue the most spectacularly exciting incidental music to open this episode of Melee!

Bum-Bum! Da-da-da-dum-dum-DINK! Bum-Bum! Da-da-da-dum-dum-DINK!

Underground, in the specially situated secret broadcast bunker furnished with state-of-the-art plasma television screens broadcasting images from trail cams and overhead drone shots from around the world, as well as the desk behind which sits Nate Hollis!

NATE HOLLIS: Good evening! Or Good morning! I can’t tell which! Welcome to Melee 4! We are broadcasting to you from our secret bomb shelter, and don’t let our extreme isolation lull you into believing we’re still not capable of bringing you the best fighting action the world over.

Brad Stokes wanders into the shot wearing a blue fleecy bathrobe, fuzzy slippers, mussed hair, and a toothbrush in his mouth He just woke up.

NATE HOLLIS: Whoa… Brad Stokes, ladies and gentleman!

Hazy Brad Stokes blinks the sleep from his eyes and looks at Nate and then at the camera whose red recording light is on.

BRAD STOKES: What the hell… What time is it…?

NATE HOLLIS: I have no idea, Brad, they took my watch, something about the magnets underground or something, but I do know it’s time for MELEE 4!

Tired Brad is unhappy.

BRAD STOKES: Where the hell is the sun? What’s going on? How long have we been in this bomb shelter?

NATE HOLLIS: Considering we are now taping Melee 4, after we were sequestered here in this bomb shelter on Melee 3 for our own safety to stave off a Scientology attack, I’d reckon we’ve been down here at least a month.

Brad spits toothpaste out of his mouth in shock.

BRAD STOKES: A month!? Has Christmas happened yet? What the hell year is this? What’s going on? Why hasn’t anyone come and gotten us out?

--Brief cut to the original Fight 2 Win broadcast booth on a soundstage in F2W office space in New York city where Barry, one of the show’s producers, is watching the feed from the bomb shelter and shakes his head.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: I knew we forgot something.

--Back to the underground bomb shelter--

BRAD STOKES: I can’t believe this.

Brad has sullenly slumped down in the broadcast chair next to Nate Hollis.

NATE HOLLIS: It’s not that bad. We’re alive, right? We still get to bring the F2W Faithful the matches they love, with the commentary they adore! We have enough food down here to last us and the crew at least five years.

BRAD STOKES: Five years?! What the fuck! It’s like we exist solely to do this stupid show? I just met my family, Nate. I have been missing from their lives for at least twenty years. And now since I’ve been in this bomb shelter, FORGOTTEN, I missed the first Stokes family Christmas. This is bullshit.

NATE HOLLIS: They’ll get over it. They’ve had years of experience of you not being around. Besides, we have a job to do. Fight fans tonight is no different regardless of the status of the commentary team.

BRAD STOKES: We’ve been trapped underground for a month, Nate. Isn't anyone looking for us?

NATE HOLLIS: No! And what a month it has been!

BRAD STOKES: Ah, dammit. I need to go get changed.

Brad wanders offscreen, his fuzzy slippers dragging along the floor. Now that you mention it, Nate does look a little strung out. He sips liberally from an oversized mug of coffee.

NATE HOLLIS:  After the events of Melee 3, on which it was announced that we now have enough cash to begin construction on a new stadium that promises to house all future F2W events, as well as a secret initiative to prevent further hijacking of our broadcasts by holing us up in an underground bomb shelter, I guess, for the foreseeable future, we are set to end the year with a bang! A bang… called Melee 4!

Brad wanders back onto the set wearing his trademark jeans and leather jacket and classic haircut and sunglasses, still wearing his fuzzy slippers. He sits down beside Nate Hollis.

BRAD STOKES: Gonna be huge, Nate. Like the new years ball falling in Times Square, which neither of us will get to see since we’re stuck underground like common rock trolls.

NATE HOLLIS: That’s right! Tonight we are going to witness two fresh-faced debuts to the Fight 2 Win roster, although neither could be truly declared to be rookies to this sport, when Gurgen Hovhanissian and Shane Clemmens square off in the wolf cage at the Yerevan Zoo in Armenia.

BRAD STOKES: Clemmens. Clemmens. I know that name. Wasn't there a Samuel Clemmens who used to write novels, Nate?

NATE HOLLIS: Possibly. But I'm talking about Shane Clemmens, the older brother to Dare Clemmens, former Resilience Champion of the AWE, and something of a hallowed name among those who recognize it. As well, his opponent is no stranger to the combat arts, either,nor to making a name for himself. The Canadian Champion of the UWE, The Armenian Beast, Gurgen Hovhanissian, will make our opening match a surefire barn burner guaranteed to establish two top-tier talents here in Fight 2 Win!

BRAD STOKES: Loving the fact you’re so chipper considering the circumstances.

NATE HOLLIS: I make the most of any circumstance, much like 5 members of the Fight 2 Win roster will have to do when Zack Fantana, Starlight, Brennan Devlin, Angelica Vaughn and Adam Wolfe fight at an undisclosed location in a Last Man Standing Match.

BRAD STOKES: Last ONE Standing Match. Says right here on the match card, idiot.

NATE HOLLIS: Fair enough! Any one of these five competitors could survive in what could be a straight-forward match venue… or something completely unorthodox and unexpected! We will find out later on!

BRAD STOKES: I’m hoping they fight underwater in a shark cage, Nate. I’ve been trapped underground too long. I’m going batty. Need to see someone die.

NATE HOLLIS: And you just might, Brad! To top off this night of astonishment we have Natalie King set to defend her Melee Championship once more in a match that brings her full circle right back to the first episode of Melee when she meets Alfie Tenner in his Carny Pro Warehouse!

BRAD STOKES: Gonna be a low-energy rager. On our end, I mean. I’ve been eating these lembas wafers to keep my strength up during this period of intense isolation, locked down here with a man I hate, and a film crew I despise, talking to the spirits of all the people who have died down here who are telling me to kill everyone.

NATE HOLLIS: What 'lembas wafer'?

BRAD STOKES: Aw, dammit. What have I been eating?

NATE HOLLIS: Given all you just said, I couldn’t hazard a guess! Without further fanfare or unfortunate early reveals, let’s go now to our first match!


Cue a stunning overhead drone shot of an Armenian countryside whizzing by till the drone’s pace slows to a lovely crane shot over the Yerevan Zoo where a rather immense crowd has gathered inside of a freshly constructed bleacher system.

The scene cuts to angles on the ground, with shots of the faces of excited attendees intercut with brief clips of animals inside the zoo. An elephant, then cut to Grygor from Garni, some snow leopards, then Marta and Olga all the way Gyumri.

BRAD STOKES: Where is this?

NATE HOLLIS: Armenia.

BRAD STOKES: Where is that?

NATE HOLLIS: Near Georgia.

BRAD STOKES: I love Georgia! Great vacation spot.

NATE HOLLIS: It’s also right next to Azerbaijan.

BRAD STOKES: What the fuck, Nate…

“Lapdance” by N.E.R.D starts in over the Zoo’s speaker systems. Clips of hyenas behind bars, orangutans uncertain of the music as Pharrell whispers “I’m a Dirty Dog” out over the opening riffs.

NATE HOLLIS: Here comes a bad man right here.

Shane Clemmens enters the main zoo area out of a double-door in a white tank top and black sweats, still smoking a cigarette. He makes his way past the crowd of fans who cheer to see him on his way to the wolf pen with a straw floor. A zookeeper plucks the cigarette from Shane’s lips as he rolls his neck and steps inside the wolf pen.

BRAD STOKES: Where are the wolves?

NATE HOLLIS: Likely set aside for this fight. Oh, wait, no they’ve just been moved to a seperate closed-off part of the cage. You can see them in another sealed off pen.

BRAD STOKES: If someone doesn’t get eaten in this zoo tonight, Nate, will any of this have been worth it?

The opening harmonics of “Suite Pee” by System of a Down interrupt the near-midpoint of N.E.R.D’s “Lapdance” and kick into overdrive to the excitement of the mostly Armenian-native crowd! Through nearby double doors in the wolf den comes Gurgen Hovhanissian without a shirt, eyeing Shane Clemmens intently as he joins him within the spacious wolf den cage.

NATE HOLLIS: And there, folks, comes another bad man.

BRAD STOKES: Did… did you see something crawl out of his beard?

NATE HOLLIS: I don’t think so.

BRAD STOKES: Oh god. What did I eat…?

There’s the sound of a ring bell reverberating across the open-space of the zoo, and a smile flashes on Gurgen’s lips partially obscured by his beard. Gurgen eyes Shane Clemmens who rolls his neck and Gurgen moves in swinging a strong right hand that Shane dodges and moves away from.

NATE HOLLIS: An interesting match up here, fight fans. The Beast has the height and weight advantage, but may lack some of the conditioning and technical skill of Shane Clemmens.

BRAD STOKES: One good hit is all it takes. Trust me, I know. Think I just dropped acid from the 1950s.

The Beast doesn’t seem discouraged at his missed punch. Clemmens moves his feet, and keeps on his toes through the straw floor of the wolf pen as Gurgen swings another fist that Clemmens dodges once more with a smirk.

BRAD STOKES: Boooooooring.

NATE HOLLIS: This is just the warm-ups, Brad.

BRAD STOKES: How about I warm-up your face, huh?

NATE HOLLIS: Gear down, big rig.

BRAD STOKES: What the hell does that even mean?

Gurgen swings another shot for Shane who dodges once more and gives a little sidekick into Gurgen’s ribs to taunt him. But Gurgen throws out all pretense and rushes Clemmens unexpectedly, suddenly cornering him in the cage and SLAMMING his shoulder into Shane’s midsection and ramming Clemmens’ back against the steel bars.

BRAD STOKES: That’s more like it!

Gurgen sends a series of shoulder thrusts into Shane’s midsection before The Dirty Dog gathers his fists together in a double axe-handle and brings it down into Gurgen’s back with enough force to reel Gurgen back up to his full height and quickly encircle Clemmens in both arms and belly-to-belly Clemmens suddenly across the pen into a pile of straw!

NATE HOLLIS: A lot of strength at play there!

Clemmens gathers his knees under him in time to watch Gurgen move for him and grasp him by the throat to lift him up to his feet and CHOKESLAM Clemmens back down into the straw and concrete floor of the wolf pen!

BRAD STOKES: And the crowd goes wild!

NATE HOLLIS: Gurgen Hovhanissian is making the hometown crowd proud!

BRAD STOKES: You mean the wolves or the people?

NATE HOLLIS: All of them. I consider all animals people.

BRAD STOKES: Get your democratic hippie bullshit out of here! I won’t stand for it.

Gurgen reaches down once more only to get a fist to his jaw for his trouble. Clemmens rises to his feet and spits out onto the floor before slamming a spinning heel kick into Gurgen’s jaw that knocks the Armenian Beast sideways! Shane doesn’t miss a beat knocking a standing thrust kick up into Gurgen’s throat the Beast was not expecting and it knocks him back against the bars of the wolf pen. Shane follows up with a knee thrust but finds his momentum halted with Gurgen blocking the knee with his forearms and thrusting Shane backwards, gains enough distance then slams a fierce headbutt off Shane’s jaw that knocks Clemmens backward and Gurgen impresses as he rushes a few feet then slams a dropkick that drops Clemmens to the ground!

NATE HOLLIS: Things are heating up inside that wolf pen!

BRAD STOKES: I just want to see them break through the wolf pen into the den of wolves and see someone eaten, is that asking too much?

NATE HOLLIS: Yes. Yes it is. It doesn’t work that way.

BRAD STOKES: Where are those Lembas wafers.

NATE HOLLIS: No, Brad.

BRAD STOKES: Hell yes. If it’s not going to happen for real, at least let it happen in my mind.

Gurgen grips Clemmens up by the scruff of the neck expecting to pull him up easily, instead winds up with a face full of straw and nothing in his grasp.

NATE HOLLIS: Clemmens is by no means easy pickings.

BRAD STOKES: Remember Slim Pickens?

NATE HOLLIS: Actor, right?

BRAD STOKES: You damn right.

NATE HOLLIS: Excellent contribution to the match, Brad.

BRAD STOKES: That’s what I’m here for.

Clemmens has set to work slamming a series of punches to back Gurgen into the lone concrete backed wall in the pen, then gripped a set of the bars overhead and swung his feet into Gurgen’s chest only for the Beast to duck and Clemmens’ feet stop against the wall and Gurgen to get in behind Clemmens and once more wrap his arms around Clemmens’ midsection and SLAM him down into the ground with a belly to back!

NATE HOLLIS: A slight bridge there, but I’m not so sure a pin is going to happen here.

BRAD STOKES: They couldn’t even get a referee into that zoo, Nate. You know what that means, don’t you?!

NATE HOLLIS: It means this isn’t going to be moderated by a properly trained and licensed official?

BRAD STOKES: No. It means SOMEONE’S GOTTA DIE FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO WIN AHAHAHAHAHAHAH! KILL HIM GORGON!

NATE HOLLIS: Gurgen.

BRAD STOKES: I don’t care.

Gurgen heaves Clemmens back up, still clenching his arms around his midsection only Shane slams the back of his head into the bridge of Gurgen’s nose and that’s enough for the big man to relinquish his grasp and stagger backward. Clemmens turns to face him with a smirk that implies it’ll take an awful lot more to take the veteran down, and lets loose a stunning crane kick that blasts Gurgen backwards into the closed door to the Wolf Pen! Clemmens grits his teeth, squares his stance and rushes Gurgen with a high impact gore that SLAMS the wolf pen door right off its hinges and the two men skid out onto the concrete pathway of the zoo proper! And the crowd is on its feet!

BRAD STOKES: That’s shoddy construction. ONLY IN ARMENIA AM I RIGHT FIGHT FANS?!

NATE HOLLIS: That was a lot of force, Brad. That would happen anywhere.

BRAD STOKES: Somebodies getting sued. They better hope none of the other animals are taking notes or this won’t be an isolated incident.

Gurgen attempts to rise up but Shane goes for some mounted punches, slamming blow after blow into Gurgen’s face, even slamming some elbows down into Gurgen’s face and chest before The Beast locks Shane’s arms and slams another headbutt into Clemmens!

BRAD STOKES: I see blood, Nate!

NATE HOLLIS: Indeed you do, but we’re not sure whose!

Gurgen takes control as he rises up, still trapping Clemmens’ arms and slamming another headbutt into Shane’s face before sending him flying with a painful looking skid across the zoo concrete!

NATE HOLLIS: This match has taken an unexpected turn, folks! They’re out of the wolf pen and--

BRAD STOKES: On their way to fight among the Zebra!

NATE HOLLIS: Hard to say where this will end, or how.

BRAD STOKES: Don’t spoil my fantasy, Nate.

Gurgen stalks Shane Clemmens who’s seen the wrong side of those suplexes and is slow to rise to all fours. Gurgen reaches him and drops an axe-handle down into Shane’s spine, planting Shane back to the ground. Gurgen once more grips Clemmens around the midsection and heaves him up with a toss back towards the wolf pen that Shane manages counter by gaining his footing. Gurgen rushes him again but this time Shane drops backward and monkey flips Gurgen up and over sending The Beast sliding back towards the opening to the wolf pen! As Gurgen drives himself back to his feet Clemmens impressively charges, leaps, and SLAMS a jumping spin kick that slams into Gurgen’s chest and knocks him into the outside bars of the wolf pen.

BRAD STOKES: This kung fu bullshit needs to stop.

NATE HOLLIS: Shane Clemmens is one of the best there is, and you’re ragging on his fighting style?

BRAD STOKES: Give me Dare Clemmens, or go to hell. Shane Clemmens is like… your mother’s Clemmens. The lesser Clemmens.

Shane has Gurgen against the bars and is slamming rights and lefts into Gurgen’s chest with enough force and tenacity to down the Beast. But not for long! Much to Shane’s surprise, Gurgen is up to his feet, deflecting on of Clemmens’ blows and using his momentum to drive Shane’s face hard off the bars, stunning Clemmens! Gurgen angrily knees Shane in the ribs and whips back into the wolf pen!

NATE HOLLIS: The Beast indeed!

Gurgen follows Shane in to the wolf pen.

NATE HOLLIS: Not looking good for Shane Clemmens here.

BRAD STOKES: If he dies, another Clemmens takes his place, right?

NATE HOLLIS: I’m not sure…

Gurgen affixes the pen door back onto its hinges, finding it doesn’t stay, and opts to instead lean it in the doorway then turns back to Shane who is slow to stir laying face down on the straw and cement. Gurgen cracks his knuckles and gives his beard a casual stroke before being met with a back kick from Clemmens that doubles Gurgen over.

NATE HOLLIS: Nice stiff kick to the midsection from Shane Clemmens, and he is not done yet!

Gurgen recovers, standing up straight only to be met with another kick to the midsection, that one enough the stagger the Beast backward and give Shane room to get back to his feet sporting a bloody lip and a bloody nose, blood staining a portion of Gurgen’s beard as Shane zeroes in, looking to be getting a second wind only to be met with a stiff kick to his sternum from Gurgen!

NATE HOLLIS: Gurgen’s illustrating a level of endurance and resilience I don’t think anyone expected out of him.

BRAD STOKES: Probably on drugs.

NATE HOLLIS: I think the term you’re referring to is ‘wodka’.

Both men are doubled over, stunned and attempting a recuperation. Shane, clearly winded, rises up and slams a rising knee into Gurgen’s chin and knocks him backward. Gurgen retaliates with an elbow and soon they’re trading blows Clemmens comes out the better of after blocking one of Gurgen’s hard rights and spinning into a backfist that sends Gurgen straining into the propped up, busted cell door. Clemmens moves in only to find Gurgen wrenching the door up and swinging it back to slam into his side and knocking him across the straw floor. Gurgen relentlessly rushes Clemmens, wielding the barred door and pinning Clemmens’ back against one set of bars, and pressing the door against him!

NATE HOLLIS: Gurgen has Clemmens pinned now!

Gurgen presses his weight into the pen door in a crushing display of power that has Clemmens looking ready to drop and then Gurgen slams kicks into the door to apply further pressure and sandwich Shane painfully between the two sets of bars to the point of collapse!

BRAD STOKES: He’s going to kill him! FINALLY!

Gurgen peels the metal bar door away from Shane and watches Clemmens drop nigh-lifelessly to the ground.

CLANG goes the pen door. Gurgen towers over the fallen Clemmens and drops down to his knees, linking his fingers through his beard, setting up the mandible claw only to be met with a fierce elbow from Shane Clemmens right into Gurgen’s jaw!

NATE HOLLIS: Stunning elbow right there! Somehow Shane Clemmens is not done!

BRAD STOKES: This is the time when any other commentator would call out with exasperation, ‘WHAT’S IT GOING TO TAKE’? WELL NOT ME, NATE! NOT TODAY!

NATE HOLLIS: What is wrong with you?

BRAD STOKES: I’m high on something and I’ve been trapped underground for a month and I REALLY want to go to the Yerevan Zoo right now, dammit.

Shane Clemmens still wields that shit-eating grin as he lifts his face to glare at Gurgen who, though stunned, recognizes the fight still left in his opponent. It’s a brief moment of exchanged glares before Shane Clemmens turtles over onto his back, collects his feet and SLAMS them into Gurgen’s jaw, knocking The Beast backward onto his back.

NATE HOLLIS: That’s one of the few times Gurgen’s actually been downed.

BRAD STOKES: He IS the Beast, Nate.

Shane Clemmens roars to angry life sending a series of kicks into Gurgen’s side to keep the beast grounded before Clemmens grips the barred door he was previously being crushed with and begins to slam it down hard into Gurgen’s midsection!

NATE HOLLIS: This fight has defied all convention from the minute it was booked! A man from Armenia returns home to a heroes welcome only to demand to fight in the zoo against a man who’s legend has clearly not betrayed him!

BRAD STOKES: Your hard-on is showing, dick.

Clemmens violently slams the cell door down onto Gurgen before The Beast stuns Clemmens by gripping the door before it connects once more and FORCES the door upwards off him with surprising might. Gurgen uses all that strength to slam the door off Shane and send Clemmens staggering once more!

NATE HOLLIS: Brutal array of force there from Gurgen Hovhanissian!

The Beast stumbles back up to his feet and shakes off the pain in his ribcage and approaches Clemmens, swinging a fierce lariat Shane catches and swings into a gory bomb clutch, inverts it, and then SLAMS Gurgen down with a scoop brain buster!

NATE HOLLIS: OH MAN HE DID IT! CLEMMENS HIT GURGEN WITH THE EAT A DICK!

BRAD STOKES: *snorts* That's what I just called you *snickers* 'Dick'. *chortle*

Clemmens stumbles, backward, eyeing Gurgen with all the energy of a stone at this point as Gurgen barely moves.

NATE HOLLIS: That’s it! GURGEN IS FINISHED!

BRAD STOKES: Quit yelling!

There’s no official present, at least not one Fight 2 Win sanctioned, but the impact alone seems to have downed Gurgen for the long-term. The Beast is breathing but not stirring as Shane Clemmens spits out blood onto the straw floor and eyes around clearly winded, still ready, but optimistic.

NATE HOLLIS: This could be our first knock out!

Clemmens exhales relief but not before seeing Gurgen lift a shoulder, and slowly crane his head up to eye Clemmens.

BRAD STOKES: He’s not done!

Gurgen has blood trailing down his beard from his nose, clearly stunned but by no means finished. Clemmens eyes him with a mixture of exhaustion of his own and a desire to put an end to The Beast. As Gurgen wrestles back to his knees, Clemmens isn’t standing on ceremony. He rushes Gurgen and slams a knee right up into Gurgen’s chin that once more downs the Beast to the straw floor!

NATE HOLLIS: Clemmens needs to end this!

Clemmens mounts him where he lays and begins slamming fist after fist into Gurgen before The Beast slams a meaty hand into Shane’s head and plows him off of him!

BRAD STOKES: Amazing. Unbelievable!

NATE HOLLIS: Truly! The Beast is clinging to an inch of his life and STILL continues!

BRAD STOKES: What? Oh. Yeah. That’s great. Talking about the tracers I’m seeing with my hand right now.

NATE HOLLIS: Your contributions are invaluable, Brad.

BRAD STOKES: Thanks, Nature Boy.

NATE HOLLIS: What did you call me?

BRAD STOKES: I dunno.

Clemmens rises to his feet, Gurgen is climbing up to his as well and the crowd in the Yerevan Zoo is pumped with excitement to see their hometown hero rising once more to the occasion. He and Clemmens stare down, both men looking exhausted, both teetering and wobbling, read to collapse, both worse for wear, but ready to trade blows once more before Gurgen stumbles and drops into the straw.

NATE HOLLIS: Uh oh…

Gurgen wallows a minute before laying on his back breathing heavy. In rushes fight commissioners and standby physicians who carefully signal Gurgen may not be able to continue.

NATE HOLLIS: A technical knock out!

BRAD STOKES: Not quite a knock out!

NATE HOLLIS: But definitely something.

Clemmens rolls his jaw, not wanting to test the outcome much as Gurgen is sat up and looked at by the physician. Light in eyes, visual tracking, etcetera. Clemmens lights a cigarette and steps from the wolf pen.

NATE HOLLIS: There you have it, fight fans. A technical knockout!

Over the zoo speaker system an announcer calls the fight.

ANNOUNCER: And your winner… by technical knock out…. SHANE…. CLEMMENS!!!!

The crowd is a mixed bag. Not the outcome anyone would want, but in through the door comes an official wearing a F2W bomber jacket, who extends a hand holding a t-shirt to Gurgen whose eyes remain downcast.

BRAD STOKES: Gurgen gets the shirt! Thatta dude!

NATE HOLLIS: Gurgen is not happy with that outcome!

BRAD STOKES: They don't hand those t-shirts out for no reason, Nate.

The F2W official eventually, and carefully drapes the t-shirt onto Gurgen's shoulder in spite of the Beast looking less than enthused.
BRAD STOKES: I guess those t-shirts aren't as gaudy as they could be...

NATE HOLLIS: Still an achievement. In his first match in Fight 2 Win against one of the toughest competitors to ever set foot in a ring, or other wrestling apparatus, I don't feel Gurgen wanted to stop the fight, but--

BRAD STOKES: He'll get another shot.

NATE HOLLIS: And with that, Clemmens got out of that by sheer endurance and resilience alone! He outlasted Gurgen, but barely.

BRAD STOKES: Check out my hand, dude? There's two of them.

NATE HOLLIS: While my announce partner trips out on god knows what, and the rest of us wrestle with what this match outcome means, I’m sure there’s something going on elswhere on this episode of Melee that we can cut to and come back from.
BLACKNESS: A void of grainy, dark picture noise. And yet, there was sound—subtle scrapes and groans of movement, metal flexing and bending under weight, and laboured breathing intermixed with effort-filled grunts.

Then another noise. A vibration.

Buzz buzz. Buzz buzz.

A man’s voice called out.

MAN: REALLY? NOW he calls me? Ya gotta be fucking kidding me.

After a series of strained sounds, a source of light cut through the darkness and filled the screen. It was a cell phone, and it lit up the narrow air conditioner duct that was barely large enough for the man precariously trying to crawl his way through it.

Sweat ran down his face as he got the phone to his ear. FREEZE ON THE MAN’s face.

SUPERIMPOSE
NAME: RENO NEVADA.
AGE: TOO FUCKING OLD.
HOMETOWN: BOSTON FUCKING MASS.
OCCUPATION: FACE PUNCHER.
LIFE EXPECTANCY: SHORT.

Reno shouted into the phone.

RENO: WHAT?

RODNEY (V.O.): Did you get it yet?

RENO: Are you fucking insane? You told me this fucking thing was big enough.

RODNEY (V.O.): You’re a skinny guy! I’m sure there’s plenty of room.

RENO: Skinny? The Olsen twins would be getting claustrophobic in here and they don’t have my shoulders.

RODNEY (V.O.): Listen, it’s all set. All you gotta do is get to the office, download the data, and you’re done. In and out, like the wind.

RENO: (gettin’ faaaaakin ANGRY) FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. I told you I don’t do this bullshit. I’m a fucking mixed martial artist, not some James Bond mother fucker. I don’t even wear suits.

RODNEY (V.O.): Listen to me, Reno. Before James Bond was a world-renowned super spy, he was a simple actor named Daniel Craig who used his acting skills to save the world twenty four times. And that’s only counting the EON films.

RENO: Those are fucking movies. Daniel Craig has stuntmen. This is real life!

RODNEY (V.O.): Is it? Or is it just fantasy? All you have to do is believe in yourself and you can do do anything.

RENO: I’m hanging up now.

He ended the call, but flipped the flashlight on and used it to look ahead. He gave a long, tired sigh and slowly shook his head.

RENO: Come up to New York, we’ll eat some bread, have a few laughs.

He shut off the phone light, plunging the SCREEN TO BLACK, and started crawling. He shimmied his way through the narrow ac duct toward a large vent. Soft light glowed up through the grates, illuminating his face as he peeked his head over the grating.

BELOW: A small office. From the vent, Reno saw part of a desk with two empty chairs sat before it. The flooring was a dark carpet and the only light came from a large fish tank built into the north wall. From his vantage point, it appeared to be at least seven feet long, and approximately 4 feet deep.

Reno carefully lifted the vent out of its housing and pushed it ahead in the crawlspace, then dropped down into the room. He landed in a crouched position with his face full of surprise that he didn’t fall on his stupid ass.

He slowly stood, listening for sounds of movement. The floor seemed quiet. He turned to look around. The office was surprisingly luxurious considering the owner’s position in the company was merely the Head of Security.

He said to himself, “In and out, Reno. Like the wind.” He took a step toward the desk and reached into his pocket for the USB drive Rodney gave him.

SUDDENLY the chair behind the desk spun around.

HEAD OF SECURITY: MR. NEVADA. Welcome. I’ve been expecting you.

The Head of Security was a man, fifties, with a head devoid of hair, and an angry scar running across his dead left eye.

RENO: (awkward laugh) This isn’t what you think.

Reno started to back up toward the door when two men in F2W security uniforms entered the office behind him. They were armed with assault rifles.

HOS: You aren’t trying to steal files off my secure computer?

RENO: Okay, so maybe it is—Wait. Why were you expecting me?

HOS: An hour ago, I received a tip from our mole. YES, Mr. Nevada, we know everything.

RENO: Everything?

HOS: (smirking) EVERYTHING.

RENO: You don’t understand. I didn’t have a choice.

HOS: There’s always a choice, Mr. Nevada. You chose to break into my office. Now I have a choice to make.

RENO: Let me go?

HOS: No, Mr. Nevada. I want you to die!

The two henchmen seized Nevada by the arms.

HOS: Do you see my fish tank, Mr. Nevada? It is filled with a dozen red-bellied piranha. They can strip a man to the bone in thirty seconds.

The two guards started to drag Reno toward the door. He panicked and tried to get away, but then something came over him. Maybe Rodney was right. Maybe he just had to believe.

RENO: FUCK THIS.

Reno planted his feet, turned, and headbutted one of the guards in the face. The man let go of his arm and flops to the ground.

HOS: STOP HIM!

The second guard raised his rifle to fire. Reno turned with surprising speed and took hold of the gun, aiming it past him it went off, firing a burst of bullets into the first guard as he was trying to stand. The blast blew him back five feet, bursting into a bookshelf. It broke apart and books cascaded down over top of the guard.

Reno twisted his body, judo tossed the second guard over his hip, and followed him to the ground. He spun around the man’s arm and snapped it at the elbow. The guard dropped his rifle and screamed in agony. White bone jutted through the fabric of his sleeve.

The Head of Security stumbled out of his chair and hurried around his desk. He reached with his fingers outstretched for the assault rifle.

Reno got to it first. He picked the rifle up and aimed it at the Head of Security.

RENO: What’s your name?

The scarred man cowered to his knees.

HOS: My name is Ansel. I am Head of Security for Fight 2 Win.

The scarred man’s features tightened.

HOS: And if you think I am going to tell you anything else, you are GREATLY mistaken, Mr. Nevada.

He jumped to his feet. Reno raised the rifle, ready to defend himself, but Ansel, Head of Security, turned and ran head first into the fish tank. His forehead smacked against the thick glass and he flopped back onto the ground. A red imprint of his face was left smeared in blood on the cracked, but not shattered glass tank.

RENO: What the fuck…

The Boston MMA fighter surveyed the carnage. One dead guard. Another passed out from the pain of his fractured arm. The Head of Security flopping around on the floor like a dying fish from the head trauma.

Reno placed the gun on the desk and booted up the computer. He inserted the USB drive into the mainframe and executed the hack by entering a few quick keystrokes. Lines of code rained down the computer screen for several tense moments as Reno kept an eye on the door.

After the hack completed and the files were copied, Reno took the drive and the rifle on his way out. He snagged a keycard off one of the guards and exited the office.


The steady whup-whup-whup of a helicopter propeller coupled with ominous, impending music.

Fade-in to Angelica Vaughn’s face, blindfolded.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: Can someone please tell us where we’re going?

Wide-out to the airborne Helicopter flying over an ocean at dusk. Inside are two pilots. Seated in the back, similarly blindfolded alongside Angelica are Zack Fantana, Starlight, Brennan Devlin and Adam Wolfe. They are being watched over by two men each wielding an assault rifle and donning army fatigues.

ARMED GUARD 1: Monster Island.

ZACK FANTANA: Monster island?

ARMED GUARD 2: But don’t worry. It’s just a name.

Angelica is only vaguely relieved.

ARMED GUARD 1: It’s actually a peninsula.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: What?

A cheeky smirk creeps onto Brennan Devlin’s face. One of the pilots is overheard.

PILOT: Reached the drop zone.

A buzzer sounds. The helicopter hovers in place. You can hear This is tense. Without much fanfare, the armed guards rip Starlight and Adam Wolfe up out of their seats and set them out either side of the helicopter equipped with parachutes. Angie can hear Adam and Starlight holler in surprise and shock on their way down.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: Wait.

ARMED GUARD 1: Sorry. You all have an engagement to meet.

And she is tugged unceremoniously from her seat and pushed out of the helicopter just as quickly!

ZACK FANTANA: Guys, I just remembered, I have an inner thigh injury to attend--

ARMED GUARD 2: Not today, pretty boy.

And he, too, is booted out of the helicopter to plummet into uncertainty below. Devlin’s smirk remains as the guards wrench him from his seat and set him up to be also kicked from the helicopter. One of the guard holds him a moment.

ARMED GUARD 1: Big fan, Devlin.

BRENNAN DEVLIN: Why thank you, I--

ARMED GUARD 2: A shame someone doesn’t feel the same.

And then a swift boot to the stomach and Devlin is kicked from the helicopter!

The wind throttles past him as Devlin frees the blindfold from his face to look around at the other 4 members of the match hitting their parachutes and floating down to a dense-looking jungle below. Devlin feels for it, and slowly it dawns on him as he plummets.

BRENNAN DEVLIN: I don’t have a parachute...

WHOOSH he freefalls.

BRENNAN DEVLIN: Oh… SHI-----

Devlin tries to grab a rapidly approaching tree branch, instead he slams off a tree branch as he falls through leaves, slams off another and finally manages to grab a branch, halting the nasty freefall.

The others have removed their blindfolds in the calamity have had the chance to at least view the island into which they are parachuting. A dense tree line, a high mountain peak in the distance, and mysterious jungle getting darker as the sun sets.

BRAD STOKES: It’s ma boy, Zack Fantana!

Zack Fantana’s moment to gather his bearings is interrupted by a drone that hovers into view.

NATE HOLLIS: You’re not supposed to broadcast OUT the Drone's speaker, you fool.

BRAD STOKES: It’s my drone. I’ll do what I want!

ZACK FANTANA: Uh.

The drone flits in and around him like an incredibly oversized mosquito. Another drone hovers calmly nearby.

ZACK FANTANA: You must be the Nate Hollis drone.

Starlight, Adam Wolfe, and Angie Vaughn come to a secure landing in a small clearing surrounded by trees, and the rest is darkness. They are joined by Zack who doesn’t get an answer from the drones who are filming them. There’s a tiny fleet of them moving in and amongst the trees seeking out angles.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: So… what do we do now?

Something moves in the jungle, catching Angie’s attention. Starlight snickers mischievously.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: Do we, like, stick together or something?

It’s not at all what any of them would expect to have happen in any kind of wrestling match. There’s a moment of glances being exchanged.

ZACK FANTANA: We could employ the buddy system.

Adam Wolfe glares at Starlight, ignoring the others.

ADAM WOLFE: You took him.

She hisses at him with a wicked grin and an ominously creepy giggle. Adam faces her and imposes over her.

ADAM WOLFE: WHERE’S FRANCHINGER!

And from the woods rushes something barely visible, a shadow of something none of them can make out, that slams into Starlight with enough force to carry her crashing into the woods.

ADAM WOLFE: FRANCHINGER?

Angelica Vaughn and Zack Fantana eye one another with sudden incredulity and concern.

ZACK FANTANA: That wasn’t Franchinger.

ADAM WOLFE: IT WAS HIM!

Wolfe’s excitement is impossible to contain. Zack Fantana, who arguably knows Wolfe the best between he and Angie, is about to inform Wolfe of the truth before Adam’s grin and enthusiasm at finding his missing puppet pal carries him into the woods after Starlight.

BRAD STOKES: And then there were two!

The sudden sound of Brad Stokes’ voice emanating from the hovering drone startles Fantana and Vaughn to glance up at the hovering camera.

NATE HOLLIS: I told you, turn off the broadcast speakers!

BRAD STOKES: Fun-ruiner.

The drone goes silent, with Fantana and Vaughn both eyeing the small party of drones peering at them from overhead, and the glint off the lenses from the jungle.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: I thought he said it was just a name. “Monster Island”.

Zack eyes Angelica Vaughn curiously.

And then,

: LAST ONE STANDING, BABIES!

Brennan Devlin flies out from the jungle with some bruises and scrapes marring his features and slams a forearm off Fantana’s chin sending Zack sprawling across grass towards the jungle’s edge. Angelica Vaughn readies herself at the sight of him but isn’t quick enough to defend against a sudden Devlin kick that stuns her. Devlin follows up with a gut-wrench suplex that slams her back off the ground!

NATE HOLLIS: Apologies for the confusion there, fans. Brad Stokes and I are using our remote controls to help cover the fight, but SOMEONE is trying to communicate with the combatants.

BRAD STOKES: Everyone needs a father, Nate.

NATE HOLLIS: Maybe so, but we’re back to our standard commentary now, folks, though we are focused on ensuring the fight is captured in high definition.

BRAD STOKES: I’m a drone pilot! WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!

The camera angle swoops and soars to dizzying degree, as if flown by a first time pilot on mind-altering hallucinogens. Cut to a better angle as Devlin scoops Angelica Vaughn up to her feet only to get crushed by an unexpected Zack Fantana spear that sends both men tumbling into the jungle. Zack gets the upper hand, resting atop Devlin and slamming a series of mounted punches into Devlin before something stirs in the jungle darkness, catching his attention.

ZACK FANTANA: ….?

Devlin follows Zack’s glance into the dark brush of the jungle only a moment before taking advantage of Zack’s distraction and slams a fierce elbow up into Zack’s chin!

BRAD STOKES: That’ll teach him to take his eyes off the fight!

NATE HOLLIS: What do we know about that island, Brad?

BRAD STOKES: I think it’s an isthmus. But I have no idea what that means.

NATE HOLLIS: Something’s not right here.

BRAD STOKES: Eat some of that Lembas wafer. It’ll make everything a-ok.

Devlin rolls Fantana over and gains leverage, trapping Fantana’s arm and locking on a punishing crossface. Fantana winces and struggles for air, reaching and digging his fingers through grass and dirt to find something to free himself. Devlin sneers, wrenching back hard on Fantana’s head.

NATE HOLLIS: Not a good place to be. This fight was designed to be a brutal test of each of these competitors. No ring. No official. Knockouts or removal from the field of battle are the only way to eliminate your opponents.

BRAD STOKES: So, what… does that mean Starlight and Adam Wolfe are out of this thing?

NATE HOLLIS: I’m not sure, Brad. Anything can happen here.

Devlin has Fantana locked in tight with the crossface. Zack struggles against it, but you can see strain setting in. Devlin’s sneer turns into an evil, pending victory grin. Then he sees the bushes move. And a shadow looms in the darkness as Devlin looks on in surprise. Zack can feel Devlin’s grip loosen at the sight of the looming shadow and then WHAM! It is Angelica Vaughn slamming a stiff kick into Devlin’s jaw that sends the Foundation of Fight 2 Win onto his back.

BRAD STOKES: HA! That was no monster lurking in the shadows! It’s just Angie Vaughn! Devlin’s such a wuss!

The Vaughnemous one doesn’t let up. Sending a flurry of stiff kicks into Devlin’s side that has Brennan struggling to get away. Vaughn sends another hurried kick into Devlin’s head that whips Brennan over!

NATE HOLLIS: Angelica Vaughn is by no means a mean girl, but when it comes to Brennan Devlin she’s definitely not a fan.

BRAD STOKES: Why, cause he inferred she can’t wrestle on account of her gender? You can’t argue with science, Nate.

NATE HOLLIS: You’re on thin ice, Brad.

BRAD STOKES: Usually.

With Devlin seemingly stunned into submission, Angie turns to help Zack up to his feet.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: Buddy system.

Zack braces his neck and glances into the woods, confused.

ANGELICA VAUGHN: I’m pretty certain there actually is a monster out there. And I think it got Starlight.

She’s serious. Zack considers what he’s just been told, weighing the facts with the opinions, the knowledge with the intuition and then surprises Angie with a fireman’s carry that sends all 5’9 of her skidding down an incline! Fantana is about to follow after her but finds Devlin’s hand gripping his leg and tugging back on him. Fantana drops back with an elbow into Devlin’s shoulder blade, then wrenches Devlin up to his feet and sends him running with velocity towards a tree trunk where Devlin slams into it.

NATE HOLLIS: Fantana isn’t dumb. He’s not about to lose sight of this match on account of no monsters.

BRAD STOKES: Yes, but what if THAT is dumb, Nate? What if the monsters inhabiting that island are the real threat?

NATE HOLLIS: Are you crazy?

BRAD STOKES: Yes, I am. I’m high on something. We’ve been over this.

NATE HOLLIS: Touche.

Fantana heaves Devlin up to his feet and slams a dropkick into Devlin that bursts the Face of Wrestling into the brush to collapse into a flowing stream! Angie rushes Zack before he can proceed, she leaps and slams Fantana down with a headscissor takedown that sends Fantana into the stream with Devlin! Angie rises to her feet and eyes the two opponents struggling to rise in the mere foot of water. Behind her the grass moves. Slowly, Angie turns…

A drone follows Adam Wolfe as he walks with purpose through the jungle.

ADAM WOLFE: FRANCHINGER?!

It’s dark. Cicadas buzz softly. Adam is crying.

ADAM WOLFE: FRANCHINGER?! BUDDY?! COME BACK TO ME!

Adam stops his trek to wipe his nose and gather his bearings. He’s in a strange jungle, clearly lost, his eyes unable to fully adjust to the darkness. Something moves in the underbrush. He can see a leaf swaying.

ADAM WOLFE: It’s the wind.

The cicadas have stopped their buzzing.

ADAM WOLFE: Franchinger…?

He can sense eyes on him. Up ahead a branch snaps.

ADAM WOLFE: Franchinger!

Adam picks up his pace and heads towards the sound!

Back at the stream, Zack Fantana is stunned, rising up from the stream fending off a Brennan Devlin strike and knocking him backwards with an elbow.

ZACK FANTANA: Didn’t you see that? It’s like the forest just came alive and took Angie!

BRENNAN DEVLIN: And I don’t care!

He’s up to his feet and slams an elbow into Zack’s midsection to double him over then drives Fantana down into the stream with an axe handle. Devlin wipes his hair from his eyes and collects Fantana up, and swings a fierce punch into Zack’s chest that sends Fantana stumbling backwards over a tiny waterfall into a pool below! Devlin laughs to himself and follows him, leaping the distance down to face Zack only for Zack to lock his ankles around Devlin’s neck and slam his head off the nearby rock face! Zack rises and slams a fist into Devlin’s stomach, one eye looking towards the nearby treeline, well aware there’s danger lurking out there as he fights Devlin. Devlin returns fire, slamming an elbow into Zack’s throat and staggers Fantana backward.

NATE HOLLIS: No, but seriously, where did Angelica Vaughn go?

BRAD STOKES: What’s so hard to understand, Nate? The forest came alive and took her. That’s it.

NATE HOLLIS: Uh….

BRAD STOKES: Dammit Mister Science. ACCEPT FACTS. We’re down to Zack Fantana and Brennan Devlin in this match and my drone seems to have lost one of it’s propellers.

NATE HOLLIS: And it’s signal. Your drone isn’t even filming, dude.

BRAD STOKES: Yeah, I know. Something in the forest took it out. Must’ve smashed against a rock or something.

NATE HOLLIS: WHAT?! What took it out?

BRAD STOKES: I don’t know, man. I’m tripping balls here. It was something creepy looking. I thought it was one of my many hallucinations.

NATE HOLLIS: We gotta get them out of there. That island is not safe. Something’s stalking our wrestlers.

BRAD STOKES: It’s a Peninsula, dick.

Adam Wolfe steps into a clearing and looks around. All is calm save for a slow drip of what sounds like water. Moss and lichens gather on stones. It’s the perfect clearing to set up camp. Adam smiles to himself.

ADAM WOLFE: Hmm. Peaceful.

He looks around. No Franchinger. The dripping sound puzzles him a moment. He peers around but sees no water. He steps to the side and nearly slips on something on the rock! That’s where the drip is landing. Adam peers up, his jaw slackening as he does to see his sworn enemy, Starlight, hanging upside down from a tree, unconscious with drips of blood falling from her nose and mouth onto the rock Adam almost slipped on.

ADAM WOLFE: …

He hears something.

ADAM WOLFE: Franchinger?

The entire jungle is quiet around him. Adam frowns in the darkness, and then sees a three beams of red light appear on his chest. He looks down at them, looking like a targeting reticle.

ADAM WOLFE: Uh oh…

His eyes peer up to follow them into the jungle, where something he can’t see has him caught in its crosshairs. And then it all goes dark for Adam Wolfe.

NATE HOLLIS: What just happened?! What’s going on?!

BRAD STOKES: It’s obvious that Brennan Devlin is taking out the competitors in this match one by one using elaborate space-age technology, Nate. Why is this so complicated for you to understand?

Back at the waterfall, and in the little pool in which Devlin and Fantana continue to duke it out, Devlin has Fantana in a headlock only for Fantana to back-body drop Devlin into the water! Fantana is up as Devlin flails his arms to get back to the surface of the water. Fantana lifts a foot, ready to stomp Devlin back down ruthlessly only for Angie Vaughn to surprise swing out of the jungle on a vine and slam a kick into Fantana that sends him flying onto the rocks at the shore of the pool!

NATE HOLLIS: Angie Vaughn is back!

BRAD STOKES: And you thought she was dead!

Vaughn sticks the landing off the vine and meets Fantana head on, blocking one of his punches, hooking his arms and slams Zack into the rocks with an impressive arm-trap suplex! From the water, Devlin is up and choking out water as he wades to shore up to his knees in water. Angie has Zack down and slams fist after fist into Zack, clearly upset at not being listened to earlier, and wanting to win this match. Devlin grips her hair and tugs her off Zack, tipping Angie off balance and then surprising her with a codebreaker!

NATE HOLLIS: The cosmic facecrusher! Devlin hit Angie Vaughn with the Cosmic Facecrusher!

BRAD STOKES: Vaughn is down!

NATE HOLLIS: Not out, though!

Angie clutches her jaw and rolls onto her side, watching as Zack Fantana slams a double knee facebreaker into an unsuspecting Brennan Devlin!

NATE HOLLIS: The Reverie!!! Zack Fantana hit Devlin with the Reverie!

BRAD STOKES: ...Am I hallucinating or do those moves seem remarkably similar?

NATE HOLLIS: Hallucinating.

Fantana is the only one up, looking from Angie Vaughn who is panting and struggling to climb up onto her haunches as Devlin is sitting up slowly, clearly in pain.

NATE HOLLIS: They’re not done!

Fantana goes for Devlin first, reaching down to grab Devlin only to be met with a large stone Devlin clutched in his hand! Fantana collapses like a ton of bricks.

NATE HOLLIS: Fantana’s out cold!

BRAD STOKES: Clever use of the environment by Devlin there. That’s exactly what I would have done.

NATE HOLLIS: No you wouldn’t. You’re too high to fly a drone.

BRAD STOKES: I said ‘WOULD’ have, Nate. Past tense. Obviously not now. I’m too high to fly a drone. Plus I’m seeing shit.

As Devlin staggers to his feet still clutching the rock with a smear of Zack’s blood on its face he is surprised by a scissor kick from Angelica Vaughn that knocks Devlin into the tree line, his back coming to be braced against the trunk of a tree. Angie rushes him and Devlin swings the rock once more only for Angie to duck it and begin mounting a furious assault of right and left knee strikes into Devlin’s sides, keeping Devlin stunned before he manages to sidestep one of Angie’s knees, letting her strike the tree trunk itself!

NATE HOLLIS: That had to hurt!

Devlin grips Angie’s head and slams her against the tree, panting and clutching his side, all cut up, watching as Angie slides down to the ground clearly knocked unconscious.

BRAD STOKES: Devlin’s done it!

NATE HOLLIS: It sure looks like it, but now what?

The drones hover around Devlin as he limps away from his downed opponents and follows the stream downhill. It’s a staggered march in which Devlin routinely comes to brace himself against trees and rocks, barely clinging to his own consciousness before he comes into a clearing where a landed helicopter awaits, its propeller spinning at the ready.

ARMED GUARD 1: Nice work, Devlin. Congratulations. You made it.

Devlin’s out of breath, staggering toward the makeshift landing field. He sniffles in blood from his nose, clutching his side where ribs are likely bruised or worse.

ARMED GUARD 2: I’m sure your dogs will be most pleased you survived this little test.

He says it snidely. Devlin almost misses it as he braces against the helicopter.

BRENNAN DEVLIN: What’d you say?

Only a smirk is the response. One of the armed guards motions with a nod of his head for Devlin to board the helicopter. He does. And it takes off, leaving Monster Island….


Walking straight into the Lion’s Den, Kassandrah couldn’t stop thinking that this was a terrible idea. Since stepping inside the building hosting miss Altamonte office, she didn't meet a soul, except for the overweight doorman at the entrance who lazily told her where to find the F2W owner. She has been sitting outside the closed door for a good five minutes now, and she didn’t see a soul walking in that awfully quiet empty hallway. The piano music softly playing out of the speakers, meant to be relaxing and making the wait less heavy was instead, making her feel uncomfortable. Or perhaps, it was just the thought of what she was about to do.

“The plan is simple. You ask for a meeting with miss Altamonte, to discuss the contract for one of your clients, me. And make sure to keep the WiFi connection on your phone open.”

Instinctively she checked her phone, for the fifth time since stepping inside the building. And just like the previous times, the icon was showing an available network. Protected. He was right, the plan was indeed simple, elementary. But that didn't mean it was going to be easy to realize. What if Altamonte recognized her as one of the AWE stakeholders? What if she didn't buy the cover story? So many questions, so many doubts. And the biggest one, who kept surfacing through all the thoughts filling her mind. Could she really trust Sybyl?

In his nonsensical speech, the always clueless Francis raised a good point. A point that he obviously missed, but not Kassandrah. Why was she trusting a man who was keeping his identity concealed, a man that popped out from nowhere offering his help to expose Angelina Altamonte? What were his reasons? Could he be the mole Angelina infiltrated in their group? His presence certainly raised more than an eyebrow. He never talked to anyone but Kassandrah, and even with her, he always seemed to be walking on eggshells, measuring each and every words. Kassandrah always had the feeling that he knew more than he was sharing, but, for some reason, he didn't trust her enough. Then why she was trusting him so blindly? Why she couldn't help but to do what he told her?

The truth was she couldn't really figure him out. And it stung. HIS identity, his past, his motives… Everything about him was secret, and because of that, intriguing. Sybyl was a mystery, one Kassandrah was determined to solve, well aware but uncaring of the risks.

The door finally opened, and a young brunette invited her in. Kass walked to the next room finding herself in front of the F2W owner.

“Kassandrah” Angelina said with an ambiguous smile. “Please have a seat”

“Thanks miss Altamonte” She was trying to hide her nervousness, reaching out and shaking her extended hand. A strong grip for such a small woman.

“I understand you are here to talk about business. I’m glad to see you gave up on the bad company of that old lunatic obsessed with taking away MY company”

She stressed out the word “mine” way more than she should have. That, and the smirk on her face, confirmed Kassandrah’s suspicions. Despite what was transpiring from her professional approach, Angelina knew everything about their small group. “You know the good old Francis. Half of what he says makes no sense at all, and the other half is him talking about his mogwai.”

Angelina nodded, grabbing one of the standard pre-printed contracts from a drawer. “So what's your client's name and, most importantly, where is he?”

Legit questions, to which Kassandrah had no answers. “His name is Sybyl.”

“I don't think that’s his birth name”

“He wants his identity to remain a secret. That's why he wears a mask, and that's why he hired me as his agent”

Angelina shrugged, unimpressed. “Just get him to sign those papers. You can fax them back, there's no need for you to bother coming back here. Have a nice day Kassandrah.”

This went better than I expected. Kassandrah thought to herself. But, there was a problem. She still didn't hear back from Sybyl, whatever he was doing, he needed more time.

“You can go now, Kassandrah.” She said with a fake smile, concealing a growing discomfort.

“Actually, there's one more thing I would like to discuss with you.” Kassandrah quickly replied, hoping to buy herself some more time.

“Of course.” This time it took her a little more effort to keep the facade up. “Just make it quick please. Running a successful company keeps you quite busy.”

Kass caught the gibe. “What would I know, right?” The smirk on Angelina's face left no doubts. She was having a dig at her. Before she could reply, her phone vibrated in her pocket. An unknown number sent her a short clip of miss Altamonte, caught from the webcam on her laptop. Sybyl was in. “Look, I'm only here to look after my client’s interest.” She quickly browsed the document, finding the fighter's payment. Without even looking at the amount, she taunted the F2W owner. “I’m sure you can do better than this.”

“Or I could just tell you to get out of my office and send you back to your client empty handed.” Angelina said without batting an eyelid, showing Kassandrah who was in charge. The fortune teller answer caught her off-guard.

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I’m sure Jack taught you this.” Angelina was left with no choice but to concede, getting to work on her computer and printing a new contract. She showed Kass the new terms and the psychic simply nodded. “I’m glad we could seal this deal. See you around miss Altamonte.” Kassandrah stood up, offering her hand to the young boss of F2W. After a small hesitation, Angelina shook it. When Kass tried to walk away, Angelina didn’t let her hand go.

“I hope you had fun playing detectives.” She said with a sneer, staring right in Kass’ eyes. “Because none of this will matter after tonight.You guys have already lost.”

Kass quickly left the building, driving slowly through the traffic to get back to the the hotel room Sybyl asked her to book. The idea that Angelina was just bluffing crossed her mind, but her eyes were telling a different story. The way she made it sound, all hope was gone, the war was over before the battle even started. That dreadful feeling that this was all her mistake, that she welcomed in their group the mole was starting to slither through her mind. Maybe Sybyl was really working for Angelina Altomonte, that would explain a lot of things... Kassandrah didn't wait for the elevator, rushing upstairs the three floors starting to picture in her mind the moment when she would open the door and find an empty room. The ultimate proof of Sybyl’s betrayal. She stopped in front of the door, taking a deep breath and holding it before pushing the door open.

He was there.

“Are you ok Kassandrah? It looks like you saw a ghost.”

“Something like that” She said sighing in relief. “What do we have?” Sybyl could hear the disheartenment in her voice.

“Nothing in her emails, or in any folders. Her browser history tells us a lot about her taste in clothes, but nothing we can use against her.” He said, confirming her fears.

“She was right. We have nothing.”

“What do you mean saying that she was right?” He asked, massaging his temples.

“Angelina knows we are up to something. She was kind enough to let me know that all our efforts are futile, that she already won. And you pretty much just confirmed.”

“She cleaned up everything. There’s nothing I can do without a physical access to the hard disk. And her phone is another dead end, she literally bought it this morning. Someone tipped her off. We’re back to square one.”
Alfie Tenner stares at the Tunnel of Love. He closes his eyes and breathes in slowly then exhales. Repeating this focus he begins the process of…

A$HLEY QUID: Getting your fucking mode on, buv. This is what Gully does. I’ll just help by getting you started.

A$hley Quid walks around him, sizing him up. She points at the tunnel like he can see her.

A$HLEY QUID: That there is the tunnel of love. She must of loved it in there. Talks about it like you gave her a blooming tumble, she does. Talks about it all the time, really. It’s like she’s infatuated, bruv. That was the point. You took the future champ on and you held your own. That’s something the people will remember.

ALFIE TENNER: Do you really think she-

A$hley jumps up and smacks him on the back of the head. He immediately gets back into attention and closes his eyes.

A$HLEY QUID: Focus you minger. I am not doing this because I want to hear myself talk. Which I do but this is for your own good, yeah? Now. If we ‘ad known that the first match was going to lead to a title then you would have fought even ‘arder, right? That match made you seem well ‘ard and a threat to anyone in here.

Now is the time to cash in on that threat, bruv. You are like a spastic fucking warhead ready to blow and I got the ‘ammer. Now is the time to strike. I got you this shot at the title because you ‘ave earned it. Doesn’t matter what ‘appened before with Blackstar. He couldn’t take the beating you gave him apparently. That’s the stuff I need now. I want you to beat this bird up like you did the first time. Now I want you to win. You always bring the fight but you never finish like a bloody Cinderella that has a slow watch. I’m your sister, mate, and I don’t want to see you anymore. Go get that good life, bruv.

Alfie nods. He’s feeling it and be bobs from side to side. Then he whispers.

ALFIE TENNER: What about the robots, then?

A$HLEY QUID: Oh fucking ‘ell. Believe what you want to believe. We’ve stash the ting in there. If you feel any freak strength or see sparks flying out of her fucking eyes you go for it. Otherwise you stick to the game plan. I know something the whole world knows. Everyone, yeah, we don’t go jumping to conclusions like you do, right? So please just follow that simple gameplan of knocking that head off her shoulders or twisting one of her limbs off her manly body. If you do that, bruv, you’ll be guaranteed a victory because I don’t know how many more opportunities you are going to get at this point.

We are at the turning point in this company. We are getting well situated and I want your name to be right there on top of the whole fucking thing. Imagine this face on the poster outside of a big tall building. Top draw. That is what I got in mind for you, bruv. All you have to do, right, is go a little further than you did the first time. Just by a bit, yeah? You took her to the limit now break the bitch in. You get me? Now go on, son. Give us a yell and to the fucking slaughter.

Alfie opens his eyes wide. He roars out a war cry and runs into the ruins of the carnival.


“Looking for this?” Alfie’s eyes narrow on the sound of Natalie King’s voice as it echoes off the metal sides of a beaten up and worn down old kiddie roller coaster. Alfie catches a glimpse of her shadow moving down a pathway, holding the Melee Championship up like an invitation. Alfie’s eyes narrow, watching at a distance as she enters into the Funhouse. He takes off running after her.

NATE HOLLIS: And we’re off, fight fans, for the last fight of the night. And this one’s for the Melee Championship.

BRAD STOKES: How long has Natalie King held that belt?

NATE HOLLIS: This will be her third title defense, I believe.

BRAD STOKES: That’s crazy. It’s almost like all that science I was quoting earlier about women not being very good at fighting is being disproved whenever Natalie King fights some dude and wins.

NATE HOLLIS: Alfie Tenner may have her number tonight. But I hardly think your “science” is accurate. Natalie King is a shining example of more than just her gender, but also every competitor on this roster who hopes to one day earn the right to hold that Melee Championship.

Alfie bursts into the darkened funhouse and immediately starts at the sight of his distorted reflection shining back at him down a hallway lined with mirrors.

NATALIE KING: It only makes sense it’d be you challenging for this belt, Alfie. This is where it started.

Alfie growls, stalking silently down the hallway with his wits about him.

ALFIE TENNER: And it’s where it ends.

Nat’s reflection appearing suddenly beside him spurs Alfie to action, slamming his fist into the mirror, shattering it into shards. Alfie growls angrily, hearing Nat snickering somewhere deeper in the funhouse.

NATALIE KING: Hope you’re properly medicated, Alfie. A man with your condition in a setting like this is liable to lose his mind.

Alfie’s breathing is tense. She’s right. He’s not on his meds, a standard byproduct of his sister’s expert managerial skills, undoubtedly. Alfie stalks down the hallway carefully, mindful of the reflections shifting and changing under what little light there is before spying Nat and rushing her, and slamming a dropkick into her!

SMASH!

Another mirror crumbles into pieces on the floor, with Alfie gritting his teeth and climbing back up to his feet, wiping some broken mirror glass off his bare torso.

NATE HOLLIS: This is just like Enter the Dragon.

BRAD STOKES: Dragons aren’t real, dude.

NATE HOLLIS: No, it’s a movie.

BRAD STOKES: Not even in the movies. Dragons aren’t real. Don’t make me bust out more science.

Alfie stands still, eyeing down the long hallway of mirrors looking like a maze where he’s standing. Wall-to-wall reflections of himself until he hears something move close beside him, and without wasting a second he swivels his bodies, grips a silently rushing Natalie King and scoop slams her into a nearby funhouse mirror with a loud, bewildering crash!

BRAD STOKES: Got her!

Alfie grips Nat, about to lift her to her feet ony for Nat to slam a knee off Alfie’s head and kickflip herself up to a stand and connect a spinning roundhouse kick that sends Alfie stumbling right into one of the upright mirrors. She rushes him but Alfie dodges out of the way letting Natalie King slam into the mirror with another loud CRASH as she collects on the ground amid a pool of broken mirror shards! Alfie slams a stiff kick into her exposed midsection half punting her across the floor!

NATE HOLLIS: Alfie Tenner is a notorious loose cannon. Hard to entirely know what to expect from him, but one thing is never in doubt, he’s one of the toughest customers on the Fight 2 Win roster.

Alfie charges the downed Nat, leaps, and SLAMS an elbow drop into her back to keep her grounded, then proceeds onto Nat’s back to lock on a triangle choke. But Nat is too quick to let Alfie get much leverage. She has her feet under her and is lifting up before Alfie can secure much more than a partial sleeper hold.

NATE HOLLIS: Alfie Tenner is trying to get control of Natalie King and keep it.

Nat rears her elbow back into Alfie’s midsection and ribs repeatedly, knocking Alfie off her and giving her enough room to turn and drop Alfie down headfirst onto the funhouse concrete floor with a DDT, and Nat doesn’t let go, leveraging her grip on Alfie’s head and neck to bring him up once more and then snap suplex him into another of the upright mirrors with a loud SMASH!

BRAD STOKES: So much bad luck.

NATE HOLLIS: What happened to all the science you’ve been preaching?

BRAD STOKES: Even science can’t stand in the face of mojo, karma, hexes and wizardry, Nate. Keep up.

Nat transfers over quickly into a mount and slams a series of punches into Alfie Tenner who grits his teeth, grabs Nat’s head and slams his own off the bridge of her nose, stunning the Melee champion and forcing her off of him. Alfie rises to his feet as Nat clutches her nose in pain, blood spilling onto the funhouse floor. Alfie wastes no time rushing her and slamming a shoulder tackle into Nat’s spine, taking her feet off the floor and driving her facefirst into another upright mirror!

NATE HOLLIS: Spared that mirror. Not enough impact to break it.

BRAD STOKES: No one still attends this carnival, right?

NATE HOLLIS: I highly doubt it.

BRAD STOKES: Good, cause the way these two are trashing the place, I was worried about all the pissed off kids who paid to go through the funhouse.

Alfie slams a series of vicious kidney shots and Nat winces and tries to block and cover up only for Alfie to slam a knee right into her spine before gripping her wrist and sending her flying down the long mirrored hallway with enough force to break her out into the open carnival through the front door!

NATE HOLLIS: Alfie’s hungry for that belt! The only way to get it is through Natalie King, and that’s precisely what he intends to do.

Outside the funhouse, Natalie King staggers to a stand and watches Alfie stalk down the funhouse hallway towards her, then break into a rush, leaping out at her only for her to clutch him and spin his momentum into a powerslam into the dusty ground of the old carnival!

NATE HOLLIS: Nat looks busted up, but she’s giving it right back to Alfie now!

Brutal punches rain down from Nat’s fist to Alfie’s face before Alfie snags Nat’s arm between his legs and forces her down onto the ground, giving him enough room to lean up and drive an elbow down into Nat’s face only for Nat to block the elbow and trap Alfie’s head in a headscissor of her own, tying each of them into a knot on the ground!

BRAD STOKES: Nice transitions here. I may be tripping balls on antique acid, but even I can appreciate quality chain wrestling when I see it.

NATE HOLLIS: You’re not wrong. The violence itself won’t deter Alfie or Nat from displaying some of their hard-won in-ring skills.

BRAD STOKES: Yea, but we’re in a carnival surrounded by giant thirty foot twinkies.

NATE HOLLIS: The acid talking?

BRAD STOKES: Think I need a doctor.

They wrench themselves free and race to a stand, and it’s Nat who drives a lariat into Alfie’s chest first, driving him backward with enough momentum to slam him backfirst into the “You Must Be This Tall to Ride” Kiddie Coaster sign.

BRAD STOKES: Good thing Alfie made the cut.

Nat aims a stiff fist for Alfie’s face but Alfie shifts to one side and let’s Nat’s fist slam off the plywood board, breaking a hole into the painted cartoon measuring stick cowboy’s face. Alfie grips her and swings her through Coaster entryway, letting Nat’s back slam against the lead car of the coaster and he follows her in.

NATE HOLLIS: In a night of intense firsts, I think we’re about to become the first wrestling promotion to witness a fight take place on a roller coaster.

BRAD STOKES: Used to do this all the time back in the day. No big deal.

Alfie glances blows off Nat’s midsection and face before dumping her into the lead car of the coaster. He moves to the lever and tugs at it. It’s a little rusted from lack of use, but with some doing he flips the switch and some rundown coaster music starts up, as lights flash on the cars. Alfie snickers and returns to Nat only to have grab hold of him, slam his head off the car and pull him in just as the roller coaster cars get moving.

NATE HOLLIS: Now would be a good time to mention I’m afraid of roller coasters.

BRAD STOKES: Well, I’m afraid of clowns, so--

NATE HOLLIS: What clowns? There are no clowns.

BRAD STOKES: Acid, remember? You don’t want to see what I’m seeing right now.

The roller coaster kicks off and starts to climb an ascent with Natalie King and Alfie Tenner exchanging blows in the lead car of the coaster. Nat slams an elbow off Alfie’s collar bone and has the Hero of the Estate reeling before Alfie slaps a backhanded chop across Nat’s neck that sends the Melee Champ halfway out of the car, clinging to safety. Alfie climbs up the seat and grabs hold of Nat, standing her up and slams a fist into her jaw and clutches her throat readying another blow, the two now perched precariously on the front car of the coaster. And then Alfie and Nat notice the steep drop about to hit them.

NATE HOLLIS: I can’t watch!

Down the coaster roars with the inertia sending Alfie flailing backwards with his back slamming into the seat of one of the middle cars and Natalie King plummeting downward.

BRAD STOKES: She just fell! Natalie King fell off the roller coaster!

NATE HOLLIS: Oh man, a fall from that height…

It is a kiddie coaster, after all. The first drop is the worst, and Alfie goes around the track wincing in pain and bracing his spine spying out of the car for Nat but can’t find her. The coaster comes to a stop and Alfie limps his way out of the car. The coaster roars off, still operational.

NATE HOLLIS: I’m sure med crews are standing by. Natalie King is nowhere to be seen, fans. This doesn’t look good.

Alfie braces his back, and limps his way down the corridor of carnival rides to find an imprint in the ground where Nat’s body must’ve landed. Some blood remains, but no body. He frowns and looks around for his opponent, seeing only the busted entry to the funhouse and a lot of run down rides. And then Nat appears out of nowhere and slams him with a mallet from one of those strength test games! Alfie careens into the wooden wall of a shooting game and watches Nat angrily gripping the oversized mallet then swinging it for the fences right at him once more!

WHAM! Alfie collapses just in time and Nat slams the mallet through the shoddy wooden wall. It takes some strength but Alfie slams his foot up into Nat’s midsection and she staggers back, forced to let go of the mallet.

NATE HOLLIS: These two have been through hell and back and they’re still going!

BRAD STOKES: Yes, but have they ever flown a drone? Cause I have. It’s not easy.

NATE HOLLIS: Your list of accomplishments is truly awesome, Brad.

Alfie surges back to his feet and charges a lariat for Nat’s head only for her to duck and slam another elbow into his back that drops an exhausted Alfie Tenner to his knees. Natalie King can barely stand, but she musters enough strength to collect Alfie up and SLAM him down with a sudden snap piledriver!

NATE HOLLIS: NAT KING MAY HAVE DONE IT!

Natalie King instinctively goes for a cover, but there’s no official. Instead, with Alfie seemingly out cold, she taps her own hand fairly and evenly off the ground!

1…

2..

3!

Alfie wouldn’t have gotten up anyway. Knocked out after his head hit the ground, Nat can barely stand up after that successful defense.

NATE HOLLIS: And she did. Natalie King retains the Melee Championship!

BRAD STOKES: Alfie Tenner might be dead. That’s definitely boosting my spirits.

NATE HOLLIS: Nat King is almost dead.

BRAD STOKES: Yea, but she’s still moving. It’s just not the same, you know?

Nat King stumbles and props herself up with the help of rundown buildings in the old carnival, searching for her way out.

NATE HOLLIS: Right…. From Crazy Brad Stokes, and myself Nate Hollis… thanks for watching fight fans. We hope you enjoyed Melee number 4! Please join us for number 5 when things are bound to be at least equally as bizarre as they were this go around.

BRAD STOKES: Less acid, I’m hoping.

NATE HOLLIS: So are we all.

And the scene fades.

Barry the producer back in New York City at the central Fight 2 Win office space and broadcast headquarters stretches his arms looking satisfied.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: Now THAT, my friends, is a show!

Claps on the back, huzzahs all around from the small team in the editing booth working with him. Barry is proud. Together they raise glasses of egg nog and clink them together in celebration of not only another show down, but an approaching 2018 full of optimism, and a brand new stadium on the way. Smiles all around.

And then the doors to the studio open and in walks a suited individual.

DARRYL THE INTERN: Sorry, we’re closed.

The newcomer barely receives a passing glance until Barry, ever the attentive producer, gets a look at the arrival’s face and almost falls out of his chair, falling over himself in fact, to greet the man.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: R-reed Hastings?

: Yes?

Barry’s hand is half extended as he approaches the man with reverence.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: Reed Hastings the CEO of Netflix?

REED HASTINGS: Yes. That’s correct.

A hush falls over the studio as they recognize this is indeed the man they’ve seen in news conferences, or in newspaper headlines, the CEO of Netflix, here in their studio. Barry shakes his hand, though later Barry would remark that it seemed a little limp for his liking.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: My gosh, it is an incredible honor, sir. What can I do for you.

His voice sounds hollow as Reed Hastings looks about the studio lifelessly before adding.

REED HASTINGS: I have… word… from on high.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: Oh… Oh great! Awesome. What can we do for you guys? Anything. Name it!

Reed Hastings hasn’t let go of Barry’s hand. He pulls Barry in close to himself and looks him straight in the eyes.

REED HASTINGS: I want you…. To give the Blackstar… his entitled rematch for the Melee Championship at Melee number 5.

Barry is incredulous and stammers.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: I-I…. I’m not in charge of the actual booking of the shows. I just make sure that--

Reed Hastings speaks with more force and authority.

REED HASTINGS: Give him… the rematch… at Melee… number 5.

It’s not a suggestion. Barry the Producer eyes Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, and reluctantly nods his head, which turns quickly into an enthusiastic agreement.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: Okay! Will do! Anything for you fine folks who have been broadcasting our show for--

REED HASTINGS: I have to go now.

Barry blinks, watching as Reed Hastings lets go of his hand, turns and exits the studio as strangely as he came. They all watch him leave before Barry turns to the team all giving mutual shrugs of incredulity. Barry eyes his hand with amazement and reverence.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: Can’t believe it. Reed Hastings shook my hand.

It’ll be a story he tells for years to come. As he rejoins the team, picks up his glass of egg nog he frowns and muses out loud.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: Anyone else notice his pupils were purple?

Shrugs all around. None of them noticed. Barry shrugs it off as well.

BARRY THE PRODUCER: Must be the egg nog.

A chuckle amongst them… and thge strange encounter becomes a part of office lore.
FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: This is amazing.

Francis strolls into the laundromat looking around in wonderment with Jake following in behind him.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: Laundered money… stored… in an actual laundromat.

JAKE: It does seem kind of fool--

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: It’s brilliant. No one would ever think to look here.

Jake can only watch as Francis leads the way heading right to the back, just like Jake told him, there behind the counter is a tiny button that, when pushed, opens the back wall revealing a horde of cash, loads of documents, everything Francis could possibly want or need to blow Angelina Altamonte’s illicit operations wide open!

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: Egads! It was true! The Mother lode! You were right, Jake! No wonder Annalese Artendale had a mole infiltrate us to keep us from finding her horde! She'll go down faster than Nixon!

Jake stands uncomfortably aside watching Francis slide his fingers along the cash.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: This is great work, son!

JAKE: T-Thanks, sir!

Francis eyes him sternly.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: What did I tell you?

JAKE: You said to call you ‘papa’.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: That’s right. After we get my company back I’m filing the court documents for legal adoption and you’ll be heir, Jake. My heir. To the Cuppola candy bar fortune!

JAKE: The what?

Francis is two steps ahead, leafing through the documents with a slow-growing frown.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: Wait a minute….

JAKE: What?

Jake shifts uncomfortably.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: These documents…

JAKE: What about them?

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: They have my name on them.

JAKE: That doesn’t make any sense. I thought this was Angelina Altamonte’s money laundering operation.

Francis is confused, looking from the documents to the cash, and back having a hard time understanding what’s just happened.

Suddenly, red and blue flashing lights shine into the laundromat through the glass. The sound of police car sirens. By the time Francis has looked up he’s staring down flashlights held by police officers training their weapons on him.

POLICE OFFICERS: Don’t move!

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: What?

POLICE OFFICERS: Hands where we can see them.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: It’s not what it looks like.

Francis stammers as his arms raise, money in either of his raised hands.

POLICE OFFICERS: Drop the money.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: It’s not mine… This is all a misunderstanding. My soon-to-be-adoptive son Jake can explain--

Francis looks around but doesn’t see Jake. Instead, the police officers encircle him, guns trained on him, while one brings his arms down and locks on handcuffs.

POLICE OFFICERS: We got an anonymous tip about your operation here.

One of the officers investigates the documents.

POLICE OFFICER 2: Quite the little nest egg you’ve accumulated here, Mr. Cuppola.

FRANCIS FORD CUPPOLA: What? No. No. This belongs to someone else. I’m a detective.

POLICE OFFICER 2: Sure. Sure you are. We have it here in writing. Money transfers to known mobsters in New York and the outlying area all coming directly from your little safe bank account here.

Francis remains bewildered.

Outside, almost in slow motion Jake’s slipped into the back alley and breathes heavily. He can hear them dragging Francis out of the laundromat in handcuffs. Jake braces himself against the wall inhaling… and exhaling. He can hear them.

: You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to have an attorney present during questioning--”

Jake clings to the wall in shock, watching them slip Francis into one of the cars. This is really happening…. 

JAKE: Oh my god what have I done…

Fade.