“And basically that sums up why you’re just Lee Best’s attempt to brain washing me into being what he wants in a son, an obedient half-wit who will never challenge his authority.”
Max finished his near thirty minute rant directed at Max Best as to fully encompass all his personal failings during his time in control. For his part Max Best remains seated in his chair staring forward, his face a picture of dejection.
“I know, I know, it’s a harsh truth.” Max says in an attempt to appear compassionate though his words come across far more sarcastically. “Which is why we need to get me back up in the driver’s seat. This is your chance to be part of the winning team, Max Best.. it’s time for you to join the Max Kael team. It’s time to finalize My.. OUR.. Legacy.”
Max extended a hand toward Best as his lips rippled into a metal toothed smile. His more Michael inspired persona stared at the hand for a long moment before he gripped it tightly, pulling himself up to his feet.
“Brocseidon, let’s go make the Best.. Kael.” Max Best lifted a thumbs up toward Max as he threw his best pun at the LSD Champion. The LSD-MWK quickly withdrew his hand in disgust, his smile wavering into a soured snarl but he did his best to maintain some degree of civility.
“Great, wonderful! We’re all basically in agreement then! Now let’s get me back in control and out of this little broken down brain chamber so I can make sure we can make it to ICONIC!” Max said loudly as he clapped his hands together excitedly and looked up at the darkened horizons of the ash fields that surrounded the Council of Kael’s chamber.
“We have to all agree to send you back up.” The youngest of the Kael’s said in a helpful voice.
“Oh, that’s easy! Alright everybody, do we all agree that I should be in charge and leading us into ICONIC? I know I certainly believe so!” The Lord of Kaelsalvania said in a cheerful tone.
“The Minister also has to agree to give you control or otherwise experience some kind of trauma that drives him back down here, the same way he got up there in the first place.” Wilhelm’s voice cuts through Max’s enthusiasm. “We can’t force any changes down here without a crisis.”
Max’s expression darkened as he learned of the secondary requirements for him to reassert control over their fate. Once again his arms instinctively folded across his chest as his jaw jutted forward.
“The fires are no longer burning which means that we’re at least stabilized and no longer dying which is a good thing.” the dour looking Wilhelm said as he motioned to the lands surrounding the ruinous Council of Kael Chamber. “..but it’s the Minister so the chances of another crisis occurring are.. Well..”
“Right.” Max nodded solemnly before he began a slow pace.
For the moment he was stuck but Wilhelm had made an excellent point. The Minister was chaotic, destructive and relentless in the pursuit of his own deranged plans. Thankfully, like the rest of the Kaels this meant at least one of those plans was likely linked to High Octane Wrestling.
..the likelihood of a major life breaking crisis increased by the minute.
Well, that was the hope at least.
The Herald had explained to the Minister the nature of the operation he was about to endure. It seemed that they had been responsible for the metal eye patch and the set of teeth that filled his mouth. They had plans to upgrade him similarly to get him ready for ICONIC.
Who was the Minister to stand in the way of progress?
It appeared that these upgrades came at a cost which was that he would need to be awake for it. Pain medication interfered with the experimental drugs that were used during the healing processes and so he would need to be both awake and aware.
Max had somehow endured the tooth replacement and the eye patch without losing his mind.. The Minister believed he could push well beyond that pain threshold in preparation to face the man who had brought him back out into the world, High Flyer.
The days leading up to the operation were difficult for the Minister as he felt his body growing stronger. The burns were slowly vanishing thanks to regular treatments by his nurses while he felt his body regaining some of its lost strength. Even at this pace, however, he would not be ready to face a man as violent and dangerous as Jack Harmen.
He needed an edge.
This operation was the key if Maximillian Kael’s whimpering Herald was to be believed at least.
He had explained to the Minister in his boyish language what the upgrades were exactly but none of it made sense to him. His mind wasn’t well versed in technology or the creations of man, he was a creature of instinct, of terrifying faith.
So he waited and let his mind curl over what he could find out about his opponent.
The Herald had been useful in gathering video footage of High Flyer from his time in HOW including at least one match where Max faced him along with a young woman named MJF. In that engagement Max had managed to survive the two of them by pinning Jack Harmen after some extreme dirty fighting.
If the pipes hadn’t made it impossible to smile the Minister would have cheerfully displayed it.
The man had a reason to want to stop him.
The man had something to prove.
“Good” thought the Minister as he lay in his hospital bed. “They’re so much better when I beat them at their best.”
Of course he wasn’t there.
“[Max Kael, Max Kael! Are we ready for your repair?]” a thick faced doctor with gray hair and a thin mustache spoke in Korean as he approached the Minister’s side.
He slowly let his eye roll toward the man as he spoke, the language still lost on him. After a few moments he simply turned away and stared up at the ceiling.
“[Okay, gonna assume that means yes. Alright, let’s get you down to the operation theater.]” the doctor said as he pulled a small clipboard off the wall near Max. Several nurses entered and pulled both his bed and his breathing machine out of his room.
This was the first time the Minister had seen the world beyond his small hospital room and he came to realize it wasn’t really a hospital he was in. The halls were darkened and covered in smooth concrete painted white. Guards were posted every few feet and the smell of fear and pain filled every gasp of sour air.
The operating theater he was brought into was filled with a vast array of strange pieces of equipment and devices that beeped and whistled with authority. The Minister’s dark brown eye fluttered around the room until it settled on a large balcony above the operating pit where the large man who had been introduced as Kim Jong Un sat with several other men and women who were dressed in military uniforms.
Apparently this man had been Max Kael’s number one fan and that he financially supported his absurd ventures..
..maybe Max had done better than he had expected in surviving this world.
“[Gentlemen and ladies, my esteemed Supreme Leader, I am Doctor Fu Yang. Today I hope to show you all the possibilities of my medical techniques at improving the durability, survivability and viability of your best soldiers. As you have requested, Supreme Leader, we will use Korean Super Star Maximillian Kael as our first official test subject.]” the gray haired doctor said as he introduced himself to the people seated on the balcony.
A few other doctors and nurses appeared around the Minister wearing strange medical gear that looked more like rain ponchos than something that might be used for appropriate medical procedures.
“[When we are done… he will be art.]” Dr. Yang said proudly before he began pulling on a medical poncho and safety glasses. The Minister’s eye narrowed as he noted the man’s slightly off putting tone. His body didn’t have much strength but what it did have he used to squirm and turn in his medical bed, second thoughts slowly filtering into his mind.
The sudden sound of a saw whirling to life snagged the Minister’s attention. Two nurses approach him with large leather belts which they use to strap his head down to the bed he is in. He desperately wants to resist but he simply lacks the energy to do as much. Left with nothing else he simply attempts to scream and rage though the pipes mute him considerably.
“[Alrighty everyone.. Let’s make a better man.]”
It’s something we all live with all our lives. At birth we feel it the moment we leave our mothers wombs. It follows us like a shadow until our very last day. We spend our entire lives fleeing it, trying to find ways to ignore it.
We take drugs to numb ourselves to it. We watch sports and shows to distract us from it. We drink alcohol to drown it. And while we might escape it for a short time pain always finds us again.
The Minister was familiar with pain, it had been a fact of his life since he crawled out of the twisted psyche of an abused sixteen year old boy. He had fed on the pain and the fear of that boy until he had grown strong enough to rip control from him, break him down into a quiet voice buried in a sea of rage.
And even he had underestimated the pain that awaited him in Doctor Fu Yang’s operation theater.
His flesh was rend, his body broken open, his veins pumped with a strange red fluid darker than blood that had a strange dark glow to it.
The Minister had managed to endure all those trials watching as the doctors and nurses worked on him. He didn’t understand any of it beyond that it looked like they were slowly tearing him open and putting him back together piece by piece. The images tore through his already deranged mind but left him still conscious, still in control.
Until it was time to operate on his mouth and throat.
Having the tubes ripped out of him jolted the Minister into full awareness as blood poured down his chin. His throat filled with his own vitae causing him to choke and gag as he fought to breath. Several of the doctors and nurses grabbed a hold of his head as he unleashed a ragged scream sending a spurt of blood up and over the doctors around him.
It was then that something was strapped down over his face as he felt his mouth being forced open.
A white hot blaze of pain washed over him as he felt a jet of cold stab the back of his throat and then rush into his lungs.
He couldn’t scream.
He couldn’t fight back.
And so he fell, despite all his rage and fury and his hate..
He awoke on the broken slab of stone he thought he had escaped from over a week ago, it’s cold chill causing his bones to ache. He scrambled up to his feet as his dark brown eyes scanned his surroundings as his lips pulled back into a savage snarl.
“This isn’t fair!.. It’s my time! MINE!” the Minister snarled as he balled his hands into tight fists, his voice echoing around the damaged Council of Kael chamber. He looked down at himself to see his hospital garb gone replaced with a dirty black clerical collar much as he used to wear years back.
“It’s never fair, buddy.” Max said in a dour tone as he stepped out of the shadows of a nearby ruined wall. “But it is the way life is! Okay, champ, time to give up the ghost, I’ve got an LSD championship to defend and I don’t need a little throwback 90ies psycho fucking all my shit up for me.”
The Minister turned to face Max, his face wet and contorted into a hideous leer.
“No! Even now our body is being remade by some fat Asian to grant me even greater power.. My time has finally come back around and I’m not letting some ego driven after thought ruin it!” the Minister roared as he stuck an accusing finger directly into the face of Maximillian Wilhelm Kael. “I’m our best chance at survival..”
Max stared down into the dark eyes of the Minister with his own imperious blue eye, his mind mulling over the madman’s words.
“While.. I am sure you’d do very well against Jack Harmen it’s more what comes after that I can’t really trust you wi.. Wait did you say a fat Asian is rebuilding you” Max’s face grows pale his brain finally catches up on that detail.
“Yeah, he had a lot of guys in fancy uniforms working on me. Said I had to be awake for the operation.. Well, that’s what that numbnut your Herald Benton silly name something or another said..” the Minister growled, his fists still balled up tightly.
That wasn’t go. He had hoped he could avoid Kim Jong Un putting any more pieces of metal or drugs into his system, especially since he didn’t know what half of it was. He scratched his chin with his hand as his mind raced as to what to do.
“..Okay, okay. How about this.. I have a plan..”
The screen crackles to life as the VHS tape’s magnetic strip begins to pass through the reader. The proud North Korean flag slowly waves across the screen as proud North Koreans sing their national anthem while heavy brass horns blare.
The image and song quickly fade away as we are left in a darkened stage with a single pillar of white light shining down in the center of it.
“As a wise man once said if you come at the King, you best not miss.”
Max’s voice had a tiny quality, as though the audio had somehow become distorted. Beyond the pale light something in the darkness stirs.
“You took a shot at me at Reloaded, Jack Harmen, but I’m not dead yet. Maybe that pleases you.. Maybe that is upsetting.. I don’t really care because while before beating you was just going to be one of those fun things I did while Cecilworth Farthington and Michael Lee Best have actually matches at ICONIC..Now? Now you’ve gone and made this the worst possible wrestling match of your professional career.”
The heavy foot falls of whatever was skulking around in the darkness echo across the stage as it draws closer to the darkness. Something seems to be glowing red though it is obscured by what seems to be a rolling fog that rolls over the lonely stage.
“Not worse for the fans.. No, they’ll have a spectacle to see. I’m going to destroy you on live television. I’m going to break you on a national stage, shatter any HOPE that you’ve got of turning a new leaf and getting ahead here in High Octane Wrestling. You know why? Because I don’t die when I should.. And I change when I need too.. For survival because, you know, sometimes in High Octane Wrestling it’s not about winning.. It’s about not dying. And I’ll NEVER die.”
Heavy black boots step into the light as the looming figure of Maximillian Wilhelm Kael steps into view. He appears to be wearing a new black uniform with a series of silver markers across it. Nearly his entire body appears to be covered including a pair of black leather gloves that hide away his hands. Staring out at the camera was no longer a blue eye but now a hateful glowing red eye that burned darkness of his sunken socket.
Still more noticeable than the red eye was what looked to be some kind of strange rebreather mask that covered the lower portion of his face which granted Max’s voice it’s strange, distorted quality.
“At ICONIC you will face the Lord Supreme Dictator Maximillian Wilhelm Kael.. And I’m sure you are ready for that. I’m sure you’ve got some kind of hair brained plan to defeat me, to come at me like the crazy little twit that you are.. And I, realistically, am not dumb enough to think of all the cockamamey ideas you could throw at me… but.. Here’s the thing..”
Max lowered his head for a moment before lifting it again, his red eye narrowed into a furious glare. His breathing became far more raspy through the mask as his posture changed.
“..you’re not ready for us. The most violent matches in High Octane Wrestling were perpetrated by these hands..” His voice became even more distorted as it filled with more bass and cruelty. “.. I’ve left both Shane Reynolds and Graystone buried alive.. If you don’t know who they are.. Google it. I’ve nearly killed Michael Lee Best with a saw, nearly cut him completely in two.. I’m not the affection brotherly sort..”
He turned his head to the side as his eye widened, pulling himself up to his full height as he looked back toward the camera.
“..please don’t take me as lightly as I mistook you. This is for the LSD Championship after all.. In case you might have forgotten.” Max’s voice returned to normal, or at least as normal as having a distorted voice can be. With a snap of his finger Little Lady Sutler Kael appeared with the LSD Championship once again dressed in a North Kaelrean uniform. Holding it above her head she stands next to Max as he gently pats her on the head.
“At ICONIC you face the new and improved Lord Supreme Dictator.. And the Minister.. And to ensure there is no funny business with the EPU.. I’m bringing a few friends..”
The camera slowly pans back as more lights snap to life behind the stage. A warehouse with North Kaelrean flags hanging from the ceiling appear behind the stage Max stands on. On the ground are tight formations of North Kaelrean Soldiers, each saluting Max.
“..See you soon Jack. I’m the Lord Supreme Dictator Maximillian Wilhelm Kael, The Minister.. First of my Name..”
Together his army replies with the only possible answer.
LONG MAY HE MAIM.