The waves roll slowly over Lake Bile, the most notable lake Ukraine has to offer. A teal Vibe Yellowfin 100 floats into the center of the Bile. The man in the center of the kayak looks like a drugged up version of Darin Zion. His long hair twists and frays through the calming wind on a bright sunny day. The blood shot eyes of the Zenith of Gen Z come into frame while he’s shaking visibly. The Vi-Zion-ary of Zi-ev mutters intangible clips and phrases to himself. Rocking back and forth in his kayak chair brings him his only peace. Before long, his incoherent babbling stops. The Leader of the Z Pack, the Z-Gangsta rustles around in a tattered knapsack. Zion extends his head to the Heavens, closing his eyes.
Extracting a concealed weapon, Zion’s actions are discreet. A giant gust of wind blows, rocking the boat, before the hidden weapon is revealed to be a giant, plastic banana. The zany eyes of Cool, Refreshing Iced Z light up before his delirious laughter fills the scene.
“Did you really fuckin’ think I’d do something so fucking stupid and selfish to offend people here? I bet every last one of you assholes lined up to crucify me. You didn’t do that shit when our glorious Commissioner tested the fucking lines. He aired something similar when facing off against my ex-best friend. Yet they herald this shit still to this day. They call it the best promo of all times because a corpse obliterated Brian Hollywood. They laugh and guffaw themselves straight to the goddamn bank. Apparently they earned the right to not make an ounce of logical sense. Like who on God’s green earth perverts a topic that offends their boss. Shit, I might hate the guy, but even I know there’s fuckin’ boundaries around this place. I’m not one of the gaslighters running around replacing the R-Word with the smells of burnt toast. I’m not looking to offend the man who gave me his seed like SOME people do. I don’t have that fake sense of altruism in my bones.”
Everything stops while Iced Z’s eyes lock with the viewers for an awkward amount of time. It’s clear he’s unimpressed with something. After a few moments, we get back to the point. Zion’s arms rise up to cut to our actual fucking scene: an abandoned warehouse converted into a movie set. Taking a moment to snap his fingers, a team of cosmetologists hit Zion up. After receiving a quick glow up from his team; Zion emerges in a #97Red suit coat. The velvet black collared shirt and pants highlight the dark motif he wants. Pulling in a silver-encrusted eagle cane into his shot, The 4Z Network Proprietor points to a picture of Stonk Godson.
“No, we here at the 4Z Network strive for coherent rationale with our stories. Let’s take for instance, HOW’s favorite meat-brained imbecile STONKY GAMESTONKS DADDY. When you look at this man’s duplicitous wrap sheet, it should blow your mind. He stands at 5 foot, 9 inches and weighs 307 pounds with that HOTV Championship around his waist. The last person I knew with a frame like his was a chonky boy. That poor fat man’s legs crumpled underneath him every time he ran after a McDonald’s Cheeseburger. Either Chonky Stonky’s got frail knee caps, or the poor bastard is a Weeble. Cross-compare his plastic ass to one of those 1980’s Playskool toys. Godson could pass Diddy Wishingwell in the Barn Dance Playset. Every time he issues a mating call towards Bobbinette Carey, he sounds like he’s mooing.
Let’s face it, when you crunch those numbers; Godson’s a walking, talking Oompa Loompa. If you follow his records; that man’s at war with high cholesterol. Once GameStonk decides to rush at his opponent; his heart will explode from all that fat he consumes. Hell, if he couples his fist up, I’m sure that man will have a stroke. Ain’t no way a short and fat man moves like a fuckin’ Olympian in real life. If Mr. Shelley’s a goddamn CPA; I’d audit his ass into oblivion. If we’re allowed to use our imaginaZIONs; I’m a 7 foot, 500 pound Universal Champion of HOW and all the surrounding feds. It’s a mere suspenZION of disbelief; I’m sure your pathetic brains can handle it.”
Winking at the camera, a smug grin appears in 1080Z on the Zenith’s face. Stroking his beard for a hot minute, the flash of genius strikes Zion from all 12 Zi-mensions.
“Don’t fret, Stonk Baby. I’m 1000% sure I’ll give those flimsy knees some reconstrucZION. I’ll make sure to bring a handful of lead pipes for the teammates. They’ll chisel your complexZION out perfectly. Can’t have that 307 pounds of pure beef crumpling your superior knees. The 4Z Network promises the most intense leg day of your entire life. We’ll make sure those buns of steel get some steel they deserve. Hell, I’ll give my patented satisfacZION guarantee I’ll do great work. And I won’t have to become Richard Zi-mmons to do it! But enough toying around with HOW’s resident bone brained wrestler. He’s not the reason everyone’s blowing off the Zi-al to my Zi-Phone 13 Pro.”
While the camera fades out, The Zeitgeist of MSZ in NYZ stands up. Almost floating to his director’s chair, the 5 Star General of World War Z Games plants his ass down and gives us a cheeky grin. Clapping his hands together, the Vi-Zion-ary reminisces about his next victim. On our screens, an iconographic of Scott Stevens appears. You’d think Darin Zion would vex about Stevens getting another chance. But it’s almost like The Zealot for World War Z’s gushing. His cheeks glow a soft red color.
“Yes, people flocked to their Wi-Zi connection on the 4Z Network in droves. All to chatter my ears off about Scott Stevens incluZION into War Games. Oh how tantalizing the concept of Stevens clashing with The Zephyr of 4Z. It’s the Zillionth time, but who counts these things anymore! Two social pariahs aligned with different sides of the spectrum. Both men are pissed off that the Best Family treats them like outcasts. I bet Lee dangled a #97Red carrot above that pathetic Texans’ head, teasing him. It’s Z-lightful to see the suffering and torture of my good pal Stevens again. Especially after the bastard snuck his first HOW win against me nearly a year ago.
Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room. All his teammates stormed the backroom bitching. Management replaced one Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V guy replaced another one. And it’s the racist, bigotted one too! They spent all their precious free time alienating their newest teammate. In fact, they spent the better part of the last 3 months getting him fired. Instead of preparing to battle in World War Z games. Bet everyone on that ‘Best’ Team wishes they held a Ctrl-Z button like I do. HA! HA! I kill myself with the jokes. I’ll make sure to address the remainder of Team Best’s short-sightedness at a later time. Right now, let’s fucking focus on the man of the 11th hour himself.”
Gyrating his cane in place, the man living in the 4th Zi-mension strolls up to the photo, recollecting fond memories. Rather battling against one another or teaming up, the memories fill Zion’s head. A small tear rolls down his cheek before he wipes it away.
“I’ll give Stevens credit where it’s due. Stevens shows! Stevens wrestles! Stevens gets the job done. Stevens fits the bill of a War Games teammate, regardless of what his discounters say. That Feckless, Feigning Hall of Famer doesn’t leave you with a bad aftertaste when you select him. Stop lying to yourselves and face reality. The only other person the bald old bastard could select would automatically lose the game. When I went to bat for good Ole BH, he shit the bed. I lobbed the poor cantankerous fart the easiest pitch of his life. Everyone in their right mind knew Sektor had one foot out the door. Yet Hollywood decided to drop a shit on the bed. It’s so bad I heard Amber Turd got jealous. That was your pool, yet you squawk about why you loathe him.
Now, I won’t lie and say I’d rather see Bo Stevens fighting in War Games. Between him and Ultratron 6.1’s babbling; at least the two have a direction. And they didn’t even need a compass to guide them to their purpose. The Odd Couple of the Cowboy and Robot clicked. Hand Scott Stevens a compass, and well; it’ll take him 3 fuckin’ years to settle on a direction. Let’s face it, Stoovins jumped the shark 5 seasons ago. Once the poor old bastard won the World Championship; no one cared to hear his bragging. The deed was done and the story ended. His steak was botched at a crispy well-done. People got enough of the Stevens story.
It’s a sad state of affairs when your own team members don’t want you there. Look at Christopher America. The Rock of Team Best can’t focus on his fuckin’ purpose. Their tower of American Strength craves nothing more than imploding Stevens’ skull. He begs his fellow countryman to act like cannon fodder. That sums up the same ole’ tale we’ll see from Stevens. The personal human sacrifice to Lee Best will enjoy being their submissive.”
The Zenith of Gen Z places his hand over his heart for a moment, ultimately giving a salute.
“How typical that America’s Imperialism sacrifices the weakest in times of distress. Maybe ole Christopher deserves a medal for his fraudulent duty to his team. Bet he lied about his credentials! But that isn’t the biggest crock of horse shit on that Best Team.”
Darin Zion snaps his fingers, turning off the lights behind him. A quick replay of the end of Sektor’s career airs. Panning back to Darin’s face, he’s grinding down on his teeth. Clenching his first to his side, Darin’s eyes roll back. His blood boils to the surface, showing off his veins. His bright smile fades while he elaborates. We see David Noble, sweeping off the scraps of Sektor to earn his spot.
“No, it takes the depths of the imaginaZION for someone to steal the scraps of my work. This gross misrepresentaZION of the end of Sektor’s career will not stand. Once again David Ignoble comes along. That ruthless bastard tries to steal my adoraZION. He couldn’t once earn his own clout without leeching off the 4Z Network. Don’t lie to your teammates, David. You beat the lowly Brian Hollywood to luck your way into War Games. Don’t toot your own horn like you deserve MY spotlight. The era of NFZ’s put an end to the Gold Standard. I wrestled him and embarrassed him in front of millions at MSZ. Yet Lee has you play janitor, hoping to rub MY clout off onto your namesake.
You got a ladder match nod two PPZ’s ago because of me. Every which way you turn, you try barging into my business. The irritaZION I feel because of you pales into comparison. You irrelevant, unmerited slime ball. It’s people like you who give my people, the people of NYZ, a terrible name. You’re always using that Konami Code Conor gave you. Hell you couldn’t lift a finger to all the shit I’ve done here. No one gives a shit about all your accomplishments from DEFIANCE. FUCK ‘EM! Leave them behind you. Use some inspiraZION to come up with a better reason why you deserve #97Red around your fuckin’ waist. All you do is reflect on the good ole’ days and let the present forsake your damn name.
You’re the biggest damn thorn in my side in the match. Don’t you fret, David; I’m gonna smash your brain into that cage. The degradaZION from the fractures will end your pathetic run here in HOW. I’ll use your pathetic excuse of a career as cannon fodder. I’ll have you join Sektor in the old folks home where I PUT HIM. The MutilaZION will become too much that Mary Lynn will leave your ass to rot in hell.”
Zion cracks his neck before the camera pulls into him at a closer angle. The man looks poised to strike.
“If you haven’t quite figured it out, the 4Z Network isn’t interested in playing up any facades. The goal is to tear them all down, watch them all burn. I want to plunge the tail end of the Refueled era into CHAOS. It’s time for the 4Z network to ascend to the throne to get the best coverage. We aren’t targeting a simple, reliable tagline anymore. We lookin’ to become the BEST carrier within all the #97Red landscape. We wanna earn YOUR trust. This is your invitaZION to invest in the future. Before the 4Z Network burns down the competition. World War Z ends where it all begins: AT World War Z Games!!!! The plight and quandary of 4Z’s golden dry spell ends in his new home. Zi-ev, Zi-Krane! The Vi-Zion-ary will no longer deny HIS PEOPLE their champion. Bring me all your treasures, for I will reward you with NFZs. Your peril will ends. PerspecZION becomes reality soon. And I promise you, the world will all finally see in crystal clear 1080z.”
The bold, pink 4Z logo comes up while you can hear an audible laughter in the background. Zion’s chilling cackle sends the scene to black.
Chives: Excellent job today at filming, Master Zion. You’ll have the investors eating out of the palms of your hands!
The exclamaZION from Chives mouth gave me a sense of confidence. The producZION team nailed a home run with all their hard work. Their efforts could truly warm a cold, hardened heart like mine. A true inspiraZION to all up-and-coming film directors. Nodding in agreement before disrobing out of sight, I continue my evening routine. Between brushing my teeth and putting on my #97Red silk pajamas, I felt exhausted from a hard day’s work. However, one thing stood out like a sore thumb on my To-Do list.
Darin Zion: Chives, before I can rest; what time will my package arrive tomorrow? It’s a critical part of my administraZION getting established here in Zi-ev. The 4Z network must build a sound infrastructure for my coronation.
Chives’ eyebrows peak up as he responds to me.
Darin Zion: Yes! Once I win the HOW World Championship on the holiest of Zion’s lands, Zi-Kraine; we must upgrade. No one will talk about 5Z anymore. The Zi-krainian will line up begging for their upgrades. New Zi-Phones must become 5Z ready after World War Z ends at War Games. The people must see their beloved vi-ZION-ary usher in a chaotic era in HOW.
Thumbing through his notes in a blitz, Chives flounders across an Amazon ZI-RIME notification. 25 separate boxes are in transit to Brovary. Their trek should end tomorrow afternoon outside a specific locaZION I chose. Tapping my foot, I wait to hear pleasant news ringing across my ears. But no such feat occurs. All your future ZI-con sees is sweat rolling down my servant’s beard.
Darin Zion: Chives?! Please relay this message. Your future HOW World Champion demands at least 10 hours of sleep! Early to bed, early to ZI-Rise, make Darin Zion the happiest Zeitgeist.
My arms cross while Chives incompetence is on full display. Strutting over to the helpless manservant, I smacked him across his face full force. A glowing, bright red mark shines over his plumb face as Chives’ taken back.
Chives: I’m sorry, master Zion. Looks like everything’s…fine?!
A few nasty taps later, a new notification comes across his screen. His look of relief gives me the reassurance I desire. We both averted a situaZION of epic proportions. Little did Chives know, I hammered out a complaint to one of the higher ups I knew. If my deal fell through, it’d cause a ripple effect down the chain. Leaders assured me cooperaZION to ensure the 5Z upgrade gets completed.
Darin Zion: It’s fine, Chives. Stop fretting over spilled milk. There’s measures upon measure in play to assure our conquest’s compleZION. These people…my people…demand success! Their liberaZION at my hands is at stake!!! If I gain the one belt that’s alluded my grasps; we strike a gold mine. All my aspirations come to FRUIZION! The only man these people will worship is their future president ZION-lensky!
Chives: That’s true. But what’s tomorrow got to do with it all? You’re clearly not bringing tanks, missiles, or troops.
A conniving smile swrls across my face while I fold my hands down. For a split second, I let off a sinister belly laugh before regaining composure.
Darin Zion: It’s the crux to EVERYTHING about to go down.
The long journey to Brovary has ended. After a 9 hour grueling train ride with 25 separate boxes, nothing felt better than this stop. Arriving outside a small, quaint forest, I deploy my team. Each one of them strips back the cardboard boxes, revealing my most precious cargo. Lifting one of my gold belts to the sky, Chives couldn’t help but exclaim.
Chives: YOUR REPLICA BELTS?!
I pause for a brief moment to admire them for the final time. The melancholy look overtakes my pale face as my hand drops the gold trinket towards the brush. My neck snaps away from a once prized possession.
Darin Zion: They’re merely memories holding me back from my potential. These trinkets keep me attached to the mortal plain of existence. Every chance I get, I’ll brood over these false idols. You’ve heard me brag about my robust 25 accomplishments over 5 companies. For the last 15 years; these championships made me feel mortal. But almost 3 weeks ago, I slayed one of the HOW immortals. As I choked the life out of Sektor’s body, I felt the weakness fading from my own.
Hoisting up a second belt, I lust over once fallen memories. Desperately clinging to what optimism I have left, I gaze upon the PWX World Championship one last time. The glow in my eyes reassures me what I must do.
Darin Zion: In my viZIONs, I watched everything in my world pass away. I feigned about how these all mattered. For 15 years I used them as the definiZION to my vessel. But all they contain are meaningless memories. It’s only memories I choose to linger on to validate myself. HEHEHE! How foolish is this Vi-Zion-ary for grasping at straws.
Snapping my fingers, I watch a bunch of people in pink polos jump off a train. One by one, they dismantle the belts for scrap. Every one of my 1 for 1 exact replicas got torn apart. Diamonds and jewels got separated from the gold and silver plates. The tattered leather gets separated into another pile. All the replicas of my life accomplishments fade away into obscurity. As they fell apart, my fist clenched tighter to my body.
Chives creeps back while a malicious sneer forges on my face. Marching around the jungle area, I let out a boastful cry.
Darin Zion: Everyone last one of these memories mean NOTHING compared to the triumph the 4Z Network will bring forth.
Chives’ eyes bulge while the crazed look in my eyes swells. Scratching his chin, the proud manservant chimes in with a question.
Chives: What will become of your vast collection?
Darin Zion: Their sacrifice will bring a reign of terror not seen before the #97Red lands. The late Max Kael himself turns over in his grave right now. Looking into the 4th Zi-mension; I can feel his bones shivering. The Great Vi-Zion-ary and 5 Star General of World War Z is about to fulfill his great prophecy. The chaos I unleash in Zi-ev will burn down the great pillars of HOW. It’ll end the North Kaelrean reign of terror. I’ll become the scourge of the earth. All because these pieces will fund the project.
Chives: So…you’re gonna…pay off the politicians?!
Darin Zion: You’re Goddamn right I am! I’m not above that shit anymore! Every last one of the Zi-krainian elite will step in line and properly fund this new network. I’m fuckin’ around with this. I’ll bring tanks, ballistics, the whole damn army will ENSURE their futures are financially secure. After ending the Gold Standard, the NFZ must reign supreme.
In a slow motion, I raise my fist into the air before clamping down hard.
Darin Zion: Every ounce of my influence, these people feel. From every mouth I’ve fed on my dime to every piece of clothing I donated. My slow game to win over these people is working. The best part is, no one suspects a damn thing. They don’t realize I’m usurping control from all corners of the world to end this decade long war against me. They don’t suspect their little naive brother isn’t playing his usual part.
Other boxes and crates get opened up to reveal a shit ton of weapons. The team continues to make a battle ready strategy so I can use a plethora of weapons. From thumb tacks, fire balls, C4 Explosives, everything for a strategic, barbaric war is here. The spark in my eyes gives away my depraved intentions. Of course, a vile smile spirals across my face.
Chives: Excellent! Hopefully the rest of the locker room supports your cause…
Pausing for a moment, I pop my refined manservant across the face. It almost causes his bowtie to go flying off into the distance.
Darin Zion: Who gives a shit what they think. None of them could act in cohesion. WorldWar Z is in a tragic state of affairs. The Best Team wants to haze Stevens all day long. The Locker Room wants to bicker about who controls it. No one seems to give two shits about #97Red at all. Hell, even the glory of War Games comes second to all this fucking division. They’ve lost sight of the assignment.
Snapping my fingers, I summon the last piece of the puzzle. My lackeys rush to bring me the one fond memory plaguing me during this war. Like machines they rush off into the background while Chives reminisces about the past.
Chives: Yet here you stand with an unbreakable bond with 2 other team mates. Simon and Conor. They’re the only glue holding this thing together.
Darin Zion: You’re fuckin’ right about that. They aren’t jilted lovers begging for the scraps of Lee’s love. They understood the motherfuckin’ assignment…
Out of nowhere, one of the soldiers brings me the last piece. Dangling from my right hand, you can see the Barbed Wire NES control I’ve held onto since the last War Games. I drive the barbs straight into my hands like a madman. The blood trickles down the side of my right hand. A firepit gets started. I recollect my best friend giving me this gift. Once again, the sinister sneer returns while my eyes glow from the blaze of the pit.
Darin Zion: And while I’ll establish Sir Simon Sparrow as the right hand of my operations…even if the circumstances get rough. I know he’ll understand what I must do to protect our chances at winning these War Games.
Wasting no time, I chuck Conor’s present into the fire, watching it incinerate in front of my eyes.
Darin Zion: But if it comes down to it; I’ll fuckin’ merc him. And I definitely won’t hesitate to merc that fuckin’ Video Game Kid either. I don’t care who steps in my way, I’ll merc the entire team to win this year. It’s obvious Conor nor Clay have garnered any respect from the team. They’re too busy participating in a dick swinging contest. Meanwhile the veteran 5 Star General of World War Z’s over here ready to kick ass and take names.
I take a moment to clear my throat before looking in Chives’ direction.
Darin Zion: It’s clear this team needs a Vi-Zion-ary who’s survived in these conditions. One that’s brought back gold 75% of the time he’s competed in these conditions. Hell, let’s face it; they need someone who won his very first War Games match to guide them to the promised land. Rather these fools wanna listen or tune me out. They’ll fuckin’ see soon enough. I’m in it to win it. Or I’ll die a martyr trying!
Chives laughs before patting me on the back. Both of us admiring the rising flames as the night sky fades to black.