“Don’t know that I will but until I can find me, the girl who’ll stay and won’t play games behind me. I’ll be what I am, a solitary man. Solitary Man.” – Joe Ruby.. er.. Gary Gem.. no.. no.. Neil Diamond! That’s the one. Pretty sure at least.
The Minister’s mechanical red eye stared at the large double wide steel cage that housed two full wrestling rings. The cage had been pulled out of storage in Chicago and moved all the way across the Atlantic to be built in Normandy, at the sight of the famed World War Two landing of Allied Forces looking to retake Europe from the Axis Powers, specifically the Nazis.
There were no Nazis in Normandy today, at least none that would openly call themselves that.
And there were plenty of people who were happy to take up the mantle of Allies, after all we all think of ourselves as the good guys, right?
Well, most of us anyway.
The Minister didn’t trouble himself with the concepts of good and evil, not anymore at least.
Lifting a lit cigarette to his lips the Minister quietly puffed on the cigarette as his mind took in the cage before him. It was a cage that Max Kael and the Minister were familiar with, one that they had found victory and defeat in before. It was a simple enough design and yet with its hard edges and metal framework it was as dangerous a weapon as any could be dragged into the ring.
Well maybe except like, a sword or a gun. Remember when somebody got shot in the leg with a harpoon gun?
The Minister remembered as a smile crept across his face. A low chortle gurgled up from his chest as he took another puff of his cigarette. His thoughts were then interrupted as he heard the sound of vehicles pulling towards him. A pair of headlights fell on him, his strange white suit was now covered in brown, dried blood tarnishing his otherwise virgin appearance. The smile on his face grew a little larger as the first set of headlights were joined by a larger set, a large cargo truck of some sort.
The first headlights, a black SUV, parked as the freight truck pulled up next to it. EPU guards stepped out, the same group that had been on hand for securing the Warehouse, each still dressed in black tactical gear with a white mask and a red cross painted on it. Minister let out a jovial laugh as he stepped forward, his arms spread wide.
“Friends, please, please tell me you were successful?” he said with a slow drawl, sauntering toward the vehicles.
“Yes, sir, we managed to find him. Securing the package..” the massive EPU guard paused for a second. “..was a little harder than anticipated.”
Behind him several of the EPU guards looked a little worse for wear, one had his arm in a sling, the other looked to have crutches. He also noted that at least four other men were missing which caused the Minister’s twisted grin to grow.
“Oh no, I hope everybody’s booboos get to feeling better, does anyone need me to give it a little kissy so it feels better?” he said in a castizing, childish manner, his hateful stare washing over the EPU guards who more or less ignored him. “No? Well then show me what you got.”
With a dismissive wave of his hand the Minister slithered toward the back of the truck where a massive lock helped the door secured. The entire complement of guards retrieved stun batons and, despite wearing masks, Minister could feel their anxiety.
Good, he thought, a little fear helped keep the plebs in order. The largest of the guards retrieved a key and unlocked the door before letting the metal roller door slide up. Deep inside the darkness of the trucks trailer the Minister could hear heavy breathing, like an ox or a mule.
“..where.. Best Man?”
Spinning around the Minister stared at the EPU guards on hand with an excited expression. His hands rapidly clapped together before he hopped up into the back of the darkened truck fighting a fit of giggles.
“Best Man is gone.” the Minister chuckled as the light inside the back of the truck flickered on.
Chained against the far wall was a massive brute of a human, the former valet of Michael Lee Best, Durango. His tiny eyes, tiny in comparison to his eye, tracked immediately onto the Minister as he struggled against the chains holding him in place.
“Metal teeth man tell Durango where Best Man went!”
Durangos voice roared as his body twisted and struggled against the chains. The bruises and burns left behind by stun batons were clearly visible on Durangos arms and chest, a fact that was not lost on the Minister. The rest of the EPU retinue backed up as Durango bellowed and struggled however it appeared that the Minister was unmoved, stepping ever closer to the former prize fighter.
“Oh he’s moved on, you know how Mike is. He found a few family, new toys to keep him occupied and well, he told me personally to send you back to where he found you. See.. that’s what Mike does with things. He collects them, plays with them for a little while then gets bored and kicks them to the curb.” he said in a nonchalant manner.
Durango might have had a peculiar manner of speaking however he wasn’t dumb. Something about what the metal toothed man was saying didn’t fit right with the big man.
“Best Man NEVER Abandon Durango!” He roared again as he pushed his body forward against the chains once again. The whole truck seemed to shake and rumble as he did so causing the Minister to let loose an excited giggle while trying to keep his balance.
“If Mike wasn’t abandoning you.. Then where is he? Hm? Or Cecilworth? Hm? They’ve abandoned you, Durango, they’ve moved on. Cecilworth got his World Championship that he’s been very diligent about keeping safe. Mike got his precious ICON Championship and a new three way team with Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy, two people just not quite good enough to beat him so they aren’t a threat.. Not like you. See. I think Mike doesn’t like you because he knows if you actually applied yourself.” The Minister hissed as he reached out with a finger, tapping Durango on his forehead. “..you’d outshine him. And Mike.. oh he can’t stand someone who can outshine him. So buh-bye Durango! Back to a little cage and a shit bucket.”
Durango went to roar again only to get kicked square in the testicles by the Minister. The roar turned into a meek groan as the air was kicked out of his lungs. The cruel Minister laughed in the pained Durango’s face before scampering out of the back of the trunk before casting one last look down the long trailer at the beaten and suffering Durango.
“Have a Blessed Day.”
The last thing Durango saw was the vindictive smile and burning head eye of the Minister before the trailer door slid back down and darkness washed over the big man.
“Did it work?”
The deep, rumbling voice of Wilhelm Kael filled the silence of the Doctor’s office. The Doctor nervously tugged at his collar as he seemed somewhat lost in his search for an answer.
“We were successful in the implantment of the Administer.” the Doctor said nervously, his nearly perfect German broken with an unsteady inflection. “..there were, as I had warned, some side effects unfortunately.”
“Such as, Doctor?” Wilhelm narrowed his eyes while leaning to the side in the chair he was in. The Doctor fidgeted nervously in his seat before standing.
“It seems that while it has expunged his memories the implant has caused a schism in his personality. Uh.. he’s still fundamentally who he is however the implant isn’t simply suppressing his memories, it’s attempting to wrestle full control over him.” the old man in the white lap coat looked impressed for a moment as he stared through the window of his office to the World outside. “..I’ve never seen anything like it before, it’s extraordinary. Uh, but terrible, of course.”
Wilhelm stared at the Doctor for a few seconds before he stood.
“Bring the boy in, I’ll make the final decision on this.” Wilhelm grunted, slowly unbuttoning the cuffs to his shirt.
The Doctor turned, slightly surprised by Wilhelm’s command.
“He.. he isn’t ready to see anyone ye-”
Before he could finish Wilhelm slammed both fists down hard across the desk with a loud booming sound that caused the Doctor to jump back.
“Bring the boy, now.”
The Doctor scampered away, eager to be free of Wilhelm’s menacing, seething glare. In the absence of the Doctor, Wilhelm moved to the window, slowly untying his tie before removing his coat and vest. He carefully folded each and placed it on the seat before the desk.
The door opened as the Doctor led a young boy with brown eyes and curly, shaggy brown hair with alabaster white skin and a vacant, distant look. Wilhelm frowned as he looked down at the young boy.
“What is your name, boy?” Wilhelm asked in a gruff voice, a scowl stretched over his face.
“The.. Administer.” the boy said in a low voice.
“No, boy, your name is Maximillian.” the elder Kael replied in a sharp, harsh reply. Young Max’s brow eyes slowly rolled up, fire and defiance burning there.
“My name.. Is the Admini-”
Wilhelm’s massive, calloused hand came down sharp across Max’s ear, hard enough to knock him to the ground. The World became a dizzy fog of pain and confusion. He felt a warm stream of blood leak from the ear he was struck as he crawled on the office’s floor trying to figure out what had just happened.
“Your name is Maximilli-”
It was now Wilhelm’s chance to be caught off guard as the young boy lept from the ground, lips pulled back as white teeth aimed to sink themselves into the elder Kael’s face. Fortunately for Wilhelm he was larger and far more powerful, grabbing his son by the neck before driving him hard against the nearby wall, the soft gasp coming from the tiny young Max’s lips as the air was driven out of him. Grinding his teeth together Wilhelm Kael tightened his grip as Max’s face went from bright scarlet to purple to blue. His eyes bulged as the veins of his face pulsed as Wilhelm choked the life out of him.
“Your. Name. is. MAX.”
He turned and tossed the small boy across the room, his body tumbling over the chair that Wilhelm had been seated in earlier. Max gasped for breath as he clawed at his though, his feet scrambling weakly to push him away from Wilhelm and the Doctor who simply looked on in horror. As the boy slowly pulled himself up to his feet he turned his eyes toward Wilhelm, the capillaries in his eyes had burst under the pressure of the elder Kael’s cruel grasp. He sucked in deep breaths of air that burned his oxygen starved lungs.
“My name.. Is.. the.. A..a..” He turned, coughing violently as a small blob of saliva and blood dripped down his lip and onto the carpet. Dragging his hand across his lip he returned that blood stained glare at Wilhelm, a resentful grin stretching across his face.
“So here we are, finally.”
The Minister set his hands on his hips as he stared up at a broken, burnt out stain glass window. Around him burnt wood and scorched stone make up the remaining ruins of the Notre-Dame de Paris fire. While much of the church had avoided burning the spire and central roof of the mighty Cathedral had burned and collapsed. Even now a steel framework of scaffolding secured much of the ancient stone walls around the center of the church while white tarps covered the holes in the roof.
Though much of the debris had been removed the wound was still fresh, the scent of ash still clung to the air like the sickly smell of a festering wound.
“You know it’s funny how we work. How our brains decide what’s important and what isn’t. My entire existence I just thought people were out to get me, out to get us. I truly believed there was a malignant force out there that turned good men bad and chipped away at society threatening anarchy and destruction.”
He turned to stare toward the camera, the cross on his forehead once again freshly opened as blood slowly oozed from the wound, dripping down his face. The #97Red eye glowed sinisterly as it seemed to spin and refocus in the darkened socket.
“..when this historic Cathedral burned the world mourned. Money was pledged for this Church’s reconstruction before the fucking fire had even finished it’s work. In a chaotic World people looked at this church as a symbol of culture, of faith.. Of normalcy. They were desperate to see it again, they poured their hearts out for the stone and the wood and the glass. They wanted to rebuild this thing in order to erase the fire that happened here.”
He held his hands aloft as he looked up into the tarp covered ceiling, the light of the distant moon pouring down over him.
“That’s not the point of a fire. A fire cleanses, it washes away what was so what can be can replace it. That’s what all this is about, all of it. We’re all stuck, in High Octane Wrestling, stuck where we are. We’re caged by our fear, by our inability to change.. It’s broken. It’s sick.. It’s.. it’s..” He seemed lost for a moment as he tapped the cross cut into his forehead, his lip twitching in pain. “..it’s fucking boring.”
He looked at his hand smearing the blood between his fingers as if examining it’s qualities for the first time.
“Last year War Games was fought to decide the fate of High Octane Wrestling. By all accounts Team Mike won and High Octane Wrestling was finally free of Lee Best. One fucking year later and guess what? Lee Best controls High Octane Wrestling, the Minister is working for him and Mike Best is reliving Project Ego also starring Cecilworth Farthington. Heh-heh.. Despite everything you promised nothing has really changed. We’re all just playing the same, stupid game, we’ve just shuffled the players around.” Minister spat the last words out with disgust. “Fucking Boring.”
He slowly moved toward a simple black podium with a red cross painted on it. Laying over the top of it was the LSD Championship which the Minister stared at for a moment before looking up once again, a scowl on his face.
“Let us be very clear, just because you don’t know who the fuck I am or how long I’ve been around I can promise you one fucking thing. Max Kael didn’t win the LSD Championship, the Minister did, I did. If you think that Max was the vicious side of this arrangement you’d be wrong. I defeated MJF and High Flyer to win this Championship. I followed that up with eight more title defenses leading what will be one of the most legendary runs with the LSD Championship in the History of High Octane Wrestling. I didn’t do this because I wanted the bragging rights, I didn’t do it out of some respect for the legacy of Lee’s Special Division, I did it to erase it. Who gives a fuck that it’s called Lee’s Special Division now? You know what it is now? My personal bitch division, it belongs to me now. It’s not Lee’s Special anything because I took it, I changed it and I will keep it until I see fit to remake it once again.”
He snarled the last words as he yanked the title off the podium and stared at the blood stained faceplate.
“This Championship is my fucking bitch and I will treat this fucking division however the fuck I please and that includes withs War Games. I know there are at least three drooling pieces of shit that want this title, at least one of them is on my own team. Andy Murray doesn’t do consolation prizes and Perfection is ranting about whatever the fuck he talks about. Besides I think their target is centered on you, Mike, and you Cecilworth. You guys got it.”
Winking his red eye the Minister tossed the LSD Championship down onto the ground where it landed in a heap.
“Does that piss anyone off, me throwing that title on the ground like that? As I said, that title is my fucking bitch and I’ll treat it however I please. If you think I care any less about keeping any of you pieces of shit from taking it you’re sorely mistaken. You thinking of taking another fucking go at it, Lindsay? Tuck that fucking mooseknuckle you ancient, tiresome hag, and put on the big.. Bigger girl pants to take this title off me. Unlike Mike, I don’t give away wins to get my very average sized dick wet. Dan Ryan, tired of coming up short against Cecilworth and Mike so you want to test your luck against me? You’ll have your chance at War Games, big man. Say something funny about it, tweet something clever then check with Mike to make sure you did a good job you fucking lapdog. I noticed you got rid of your shades after people started shitting on them, you mollycoddle personification of Elmer’s glue on steroids.”
Holding up a hand he retrieved a small journal, flipping it open as he read a page.
“Dan Ryan you gollumpus grumbletoian, cow-handed animated lump of Texas long-horn shit, you dunderheaded, weird nipple, puss colored slab of grade-z pig belly. And I have a few more words about Lindsay Troy’s creepy, wrinkled face but I think everybody gets the point by now.”
Closing the book the Minister tucked it away before leaning on the podium.
“Listen.. War Games is gonna happen. I’m going to stand across the ring from two men that called themselves Max’s brother. I’ll be standing across the ring from Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy, two people I survived past last War Games who will be looking to do Mike proud and survive this year. On my side I’ve got Andy Murray, Perfection and MJF. I’ve never faced or know anything about two of those people and the third is a tremendous cunt who hope gets hit by a car and dies. Preferably after War Games if she is useful in securing victory but.. But here’s the thing.. Change..”
He signed as he motioned around the burnt remains of Notre Dame with a frown, sadness soaking his expression.
“Nothing changes if we just keep rebuilding. Nothing moves if we don’t allow things to die, to burn, to fall away. There are some things we shouldn’t remember, things we shouldn’t have the chance to do again. It starts at War Games, and Mike, it’s not about winning or losing this War Games. The victor may get the World Championship, might get the ICON Championship, might even finally pry this LSD Championship from being my fucking bitch.. But it’s only the beginning. It started eight years ago, Mike. A slow burn.. A little spark. At War Games the spark becomes a flame and the flame becomes a Fire and the Fire will burn High Octane Wrestling and it will be Changed. It will be changed.”
Slowly sauntering back toward the LSD Championship the Minister reached down and snatched it back up. He eyed it for a moment before snorted, disgusted and dejected by his bitch. A very fake smile stretched over his face as his red eye glowed ominously.
“Have a Blessed Day.”