(FADE IN:...... to a noisy lockerroom where we see a multitude of reporters elbowing their way ever closer towards a figure sitting on bench with his back against the wall. We really can't make out who it is because of all the commotion from the reporters jockeying for position until that is, we see the figures silhouette suddenly jump from the bench, grab a nearby chair and shatter it against a nearby wall. The loud crash shocks everyone into silence as they stare wide-eyed at the man they came to interview. It's at that moment that the cameras zoom in and we find ourselves staring upon the angry, glaring eyes of the man known simply as.......)
MAELSTROM: If you A$$H(BLEEP)LES can't conduct yourselves in a professional manner, you're gonna make me lose my temper….. do we understand each other?
(a few mumble a soft yes while the rest simply nod)
MAELSTROM: Okay, now, since you can't seem to do this in an organized manner, we're gonna do it MY way.... Comprende?
(silence is heard but they all nod in understanding)
MAELSTROM: Okay now..... you have a question, raise your hand and when I point to you.... Ask it! Anyone that decides to break that flow has two choices, either leave by your own power, or by mine!
(Maelstrom glares at them momentarily before sliding himself back up upon the bench and leans up against the wall)
MAELSTROM: Alright, lets get this going…. YOU THERE! (pointing to a Pro Wrestling Illustrated reporter)
PWI: Maelstrom, your opponent Pulsar surprised a lot of people out there against you. Did he perhaps surprise you?
MAELSTROM: No. I knew what he was capable of, as did he. It's just a shame that in a match so well fought, that there has to be a loser. Regardless, Pulsar has NOTHING to be ashamed of. He gave it his best shot but unfortunately for him, it just wasn't his night. Next time it may be a different story. YOU THERE! (pointing to a Wrestle Wars Reporter)
WW: Maelstrom, for as dominant as you've been as of late, you're still sharing the spotlight with your nephew, Dakota Smith. How do you feel about that? Any animosities?
MAELSTROM: Animosities? (casts the WW reporter a sarcastically ridiculous look) Are you trying to imply I'm "jealous" of Dakota?
WW: Umm.... (reacts nervously), no! Not at all! I just wanted to know if you had any feelings regarding it since you did hand him his very first loss here in NWL in what many will say was a battle that could have easily gone either way.
MAELSTROM: There's no disputing that our match could have gone either way..... but it didn't! But that's neither here nor there. I was better than him on THAT particular day. It won't always be like that. As for sharing the spotlight with him? Hell, if it were up to me, he could have it all. I mean, he needs it more than I do. Afterall, he's the one trying to break out from under the shadows of the ghosts that plague him with each new day. Animosities you ask? Hell, if I were a (does the finger quote thingie) "wishing" sorta guy, I'd wish him only the best. Ya see, I don't "wish" misfortune on anyone.
WW: You mean you never feel such rage that you want to destroy an opponent?
MAELSTROM: Sure I do. That's not the same thing though. You see, I don't need to wish bad on anyone because that takes care of itself when we meet in the ring. (winks) Know what I mean? So there really is no need for wishing such things on anyone as my actions tend to convert it to reality. NEXT QUESTION! (points at Off The Ropes Reporter)
OTR: Maelstrom, I'd like to shift the focus away from NWL a bit. In a recent publication, The FW Torch, there was speculation about the identity of a mystery wrestler making his presence felt in the New Era of Wrestling promotion and your name came up. Acting President Marcus LaRoque was asked about the possible link and he replied “not on [his] life would [he] have that overrated piece of [bleep] on his roster” Would you care to comment or respond to that?
MAELSTROM: (begins laughing faintly) Well, first off, lets just say that Acting President Marcus LaRoque needs to learn how to deal with bitterness.
OTR: What do you mean?
MAELSTROM: Well, what President Marcus LaRoque "conveniently" left out was the FACT that he persistently hounded me for MONTHS to join NEW. At one point he even went out of his way to offer me "Special Considerations" to try to sweeten the deal. Hell, it almost reminded me of the time when that IDIOT Sean Edmunds not only took over the WWL after Medina retired, but destroyed it's reputation and integrity by running it into the ground in less than a month! The FACT of the matter is, is that LaRoque is just pissed because I wouldn't sign with his league.
OTR: Any particular reason why? I mean, if he offered you special considerations, why not? Most wrestlers would take full advantage of that.
MAELSTROM: It's really very simple..... the man has no integrity and can't be trusted! And regardless of WHAT they promise me…. Regardless of HOW MUCH they offer me.... I won't compromise my principles like that. Sure others would jump at that chance..... But unlike them, I'm not a sellout!
OTR: Is that what happened between you and EPW management?
MAELSTROM: I won't cast any aspersions on EPW. While I would have preferred to keep the particulars of that subject strictly between EPW and myself, rumors and tabloids make that kinda impossible. So just to set the record straight once and for all, I'm gonna tell you what precipitated it all. What happened in EPW was unfortunate but could have very well been avoided. The terms of my contract were breached in order to accommodate other EPW acquisitions and goals. Their terms and attempts at resolving this breach were unacceptable to me, not to mention that their intentions were now suspect, so I took the only recourse "I" saw available, and that was to leave. Whether it's a move they'll regret later on remains to be seen, but it's really irrelevant since the chances of my signing with them again are about as good as signing with NEW.
OTR: And those chance are?
MAELSTROM: Virtually nonexistent. NEW is a promotion run by an insecure, vengeful, little pizzle whose integrity is suspect. While we parted with no animosities, EPW blatantly breached my contract so there's little chance if any of my signing with them again. NEXT! (points to Inside Wrestling reporter)
IW: Maelstrom, immediately following your match with Pulsar, you received, well, several thousand copies of an anonymous letter addressed directly to you, signed only with… Yours Truly. Do you have any idea who this may be?
MAELSTROM: (glares wordlessly at the Inside Wrestling reporter before answering) It doesn't really matter whether or not I know who he is. For whatever reason, this person obviously wants to remain a mystery until a time of HIS choosing. So I'll play along ...... for now! NEXT and LAST QUESTION! (points to a reporter from The Wrestler)
TW: Your next opponent in the LWS will be someone who's been quietly making his own presence known here, The Watcher. Little is known about him and I was wondering how you plan on handling him in your upcoming match?
MAELSTROM: Now, WHY would I tell you something like that? Hell, why not just go over to The Watcher and simply tell him what all my weaknesses are?
(glares stupidly at the reporter from The Wrestler)
TW: Well, um..... okay, well then do you think he has an advantage since he more than likely knows more about you than you do about him?
MAELSTROM: (smiles) Now THAT'S more like it! Chances are he probably knows more about me than I do of him considering my longevity and his seemingly out of nowhere appearance. But it's all good ya see. I kinda like it that way. It poses THAT much more of a challenge and for me..... THAT'S what it's all about! All I've got to go on him is from what I've seen from his brief action here in the NWL. There's no doubt in my mind that he WILL give as good as he GETS otherwise he wouldn't have made it this far. For now, all I can say is that it's gonna be a VERY interesting match up when we finally meet. Okay, that's it for now. I'm tired and I want to take shower and get outta here so this interview is now officially over. EVERYBODY OUT!
(Maelstrom quickly slides off the bench and begins walking straight towards them. Immediately the reporters back away until they're through the doorway, at which point Maelstrom smiles faintly before slamming the door shut in our face..... FADE OUT.....)
Fade in: on people running for cover as rain comes pouring down on city streets and sidewalks. Umbrellas have been drawn and opened, providing some cover but not enough to satisfy those who are caught up in this shower. A few people wear ponchos, having trusted the weather forecast or come out after the drops began to come down. Parents crowd their children under large umbrellas, while some individuals opt to bring the hoods of their jackets or sweatshirts over their heads. The cameraman quickly gets under a canopy of a store, where one person waves him over. There is nobody else around this marketplace, due to the rain fall, and so the figure goes inside with the cameraman following. Removing the hood of a poncho, the Watcher looks back at the camera while walking through the market aisle. He has black cloth wrapped around his head, leaving space for the eyes and mouth. In addition, the blue poncho covers his upper body, gloves on the hands, with black cargo pants and boots rounding out the attire. Watcher seems calm enough as he speaks, voice level.
Watcher: And Krusher fell, just as the other two. He may not have been overconfident. He had gotten a good deal from wrestling, and the industry treated him well. But he experienced hardship beyond what he could handle at Combat. I may not have been at my best, due to some...extenuating circumstances. I may have had a rougher time than with my other two opponents. Yet, what would be the challenge of having the same level of competition in each round of this tournament? Battles are meant to be tougher with each layer that is penetrated. There is no use in defending something with the strongest foes first, and the weaker ones closer to the prize. The weaker should be weeded out with each stage. The strongest should be the ones who advance to the next phase. Otherwise, there is a flaw in the process. However, after seeing the goal from afar, months ago...after battling for weeks...I have finally reached the final phase. I have proven to be one of the strongest; one of five advancing to the Round Robin stage of this Wrestling League Series. Now..comes a twist....
Watcher turns and faces the camera, leaning against a beam. His eyes are an icy blue color.
Watcher: ...but a twist that I expected. According to the way that this Round Robin is supposed to work, I will face each of the finalists, one by one. And while it would be ideal for each of us to be the same, that is not the case. There is a favorite to win the NWL World Heavyweight Championship, and that is Maelstrom. So if one is to go by what reports say, then I am facing a twist here. Because while this is the last stage of the tournament, there are sublevels...four to be exact. In each, I will face one finalist, and by the end we will see which one of us five advances from the final stage. The twist, however, comes in that this is my first match...and I am to be facing the one deemed favorite to win. I saw this coming, though. After all, it only makes sense. Because there has been a change in reports, as well, of late. It is true, before this tournament got started, there was one favorite. But now, as the NWL enters its final lap to determine its first World Champion...there is a second possible favorite to win. That second one is myself.
Watcher takes out a small tin from a pocket. He opens it and takes out what looks like a mint, placing it in his mouth and closing the tin, then replacing it. Watcher takes a moment to move the mint around in his mouth.
Watcher: Yes....from seemingly out of nowhere I came, that's what Maelstrom and others have been saying, here and there, around the circuit. We are both undefeated here, and that's why this match was more likely to happen now. It's only fitting that the NWLs two best face one another to kick off the Round Robin. I have seen Maelstrom in the ring before the NWL, while I was failing at achieving my independence. He has had an impressive streak of success, and a reputation that has garnerned both positive and negative reviews. He knows how to get to the top, what it takes, and that there is always the potential for the...unexpected to occur.
Watcher walks back towards the entrance of the marketplace as a few others come walking in and looking around. He stands just inside the entrance, as the rain can be heard still tapping at the ground.
Watcher: In this case, the unexpected comes in more than one form for Maelstrom, or so it would seem. He has a little note to think over, and also a somewhat unexpected opponent to face. I don't know what people expected of me when things got under way in the NWL. One might get the impression I am not 'cut out' to be in a ring, what with my look. Honestly, I don't buy into that talk. And I don't buy into what the magazines project, either. While they are a source of information, all must be taken into perspective. Sometimes people hear about the reputation of a wrestler, and they become intimidated. They don't find that challenge one they want to face, and so shy away from a promotion. There are wrestlers who want to take an easier road to opportunity and titles, fame and fortune. In other words, they don't want to face the best. But the NWL is one of the places where some might shy away. After all, Maelstrom is heralded as 'one of the best,' and then there are unknowns such as myself who are shaking things up a bit. The point is that I do not look at those things for my criteria. I am not afraid of anyone, after what I have gone through. I am here because the NWL was a new promotion that I could enter unnoticed. I heard Maelstrom was going to be around, but it did not affect my decision. I only care about gaining the top prize here, and if Maelstrom is involved, then I will have to get past him. No easy task...but what is heard over the wire is not what I believe. Seeing me going through the ranks here should be proof enough that all is not written in stone. Maelstrom is not the only one who can win the World Heavyweight Championship. The Watcher has not been left out of the talk, but I suppose that was just a dream. A hope of mine at the beginning. Since coming here I have learned to not cling to my hopes. Only what I know. And I know I am capable of defeating Maelstrom.
The rain has become a lighter patter on the ground, and Watcher moves out of the market, though still stands under the canopy. He reaches into his pockets, and takes out the three black diamonds that are usually found on his mask.
Watcher: Before coming here, I believed there would be three parts to gaining my freedom. Three phases that I would have to endure. I have since had to modify my plan, but I am almost upon my goal. Although I am still in the dark forest, ever-ready to consume me, I can now see the light leading out. My spirit is only further driven by this, and I am only going to work harder...fight harder in order to get out of this as the NWL World Champion. It would be nice to think that, after this match, I will have less difficult competition to face. That is what the talk indicates, from outside. But I will not believe it. I will be just as ready for each of these Round Robin matches until I am finished with them all. I don't know if Maelstrom believes he is the favorite, or if he believes he is facing his toughest opponent of the Round Robin with this match. But if nothing else, this match will not follow the same trend as his previous two. I will not wait for my hand to be forced. There is too much at stake to wait. This will be a match worthy of a Championship...and more.....
Watcher pulls the hood of the poncho over his head, and walks off down the sidewalk, as the rain comes down harder and heavier once again. Fade out.
(SCENE OPENS:...... and we see Maelstrom laying down on a bed in his hotel room. At first glance, he appears to be asleep, but upon closer scrutiny, we see that his sleep is anything but restful as he tosses and turns, muttering to himself inaudibly until the moment where he bolts upright! Eyes glaring as he looks suspiciously around....... sweating profusely as he tries to calm his heavy breathing. It's at that moment that he notices the cameras on him, invading his privacy....... with narrowed eyes and a faint snarl he approaches, an outstretched arm reaching out to us, until all we see is the palm of his massive hand descending upon the camera, right before it grabs the camera's lens, leading to an abrupt fade out.....)
CUTTO:....... moments later, the same hotel room but from a different angle. We're out on the terrace, once again with Maelstrom. This time however, he seems more reserved, more relaxed as he stands by the railing, drinking coffee out of a large mug. He tosses us a brief glance and motions us over as he leans against the railing, offering us a spectacular view of Yankee Stadium. He points to it with his mug and nods in approval, saying nothing however as he continues to admire the view. He takes a long sip from the mug, and with his attention still immersed on the view, he begins to speak to no one in particular.......)
MAELSTROM: Helluva view isn't it? A modern day Roman Coliseum. The pennants, the championships..... THE HISTORY?! Just about as close to the perfect team as there can be, if such a thing actually were to exist that is. Suppose it all depends on a person's point of view...... atrocities and milestones...... sincerity and denial..... favorites and underdogs..... each set of thoughts projected upon the same view, rarely unanimous though. So WHO is the final authority on such things? We can't all be right or wrong...... or can we? I've been regarded by some as the perfect wrestling machine...... rarely ever losing. To date, the record books will indicate I have one of the best, if not the best win/loss percentage around. The media and analysts usually hint at my being favored to capture titles in just about every league I set foot in...... all by virtue of a reputation not spoken of by me, but rather, fueled by my peers, promotions and the media, even propaganda some would say. I get the red-carpet treatment nearly everywhere I go..... some promotions even offer "questionable" promises behind closed doors as an incentive to sign with them. It all seems rather perfect from the outside.......
(pauses as he loses himself in thought)
MAELSTROM: But no one seems to quite know what the view is from the inside! Perfect has a price and it weighs heavy. It did for the Yankees in their last run for the championship just as it did for me earlier this morning. Nothing's for free you see. Perfect exacts its toll on me every time I step into the ring. It has an insatiable appetite, appeased mostly by the Mortal Sin..... and even that is only a temporary resolve.
(turns and faces us for the first time, a very faint smile on his face)
MAELSTROM: Watcher, you question whether or not I consider myself the favorite? I don't really believe such a thing exists Watcher. You see, in my view ANYONE can be taken down on ANY given night! Some considerably less than others, but it still happens nonetheless. Hell, just look at the Yankees. They are the WINNINGEST team in the history of professional sports, yet even they've been toppled by seemingly inferior teams..... against insurmountable odds. Does that make them any less of a team, and by the same token, does it mean confidence wavers? Hell no! They're STILL regarded as the team to beat year after year and as for me, well, I can take down nearly EVERYONE I come across, not simply because I say so, but more because I just about have! I know, it's a paradox of sorts...... much like the premise of perfect is. It exists only through the eyes of perception, at times only for a fleeting moment, offering that flash-in-the pan perception. At other times, considerably longer..... the stuff that legends are made of. Regardless, it's just a reminder that given time, we're all human. Granted I know little of you Watcher, but I've been observing you all the same...... and I like what I see.
(gives an appreciative grin)
MAELSTROM: Does that mean I think you'll prevail against me? (grins) Not in the least! I still plan on beating the living SH!T outta ya...... but right now, it's just a plan set in motion and doesn't necessarily mean it'll happen. Ya see Watcher, while I've gone on record many times stating that gold and titles mean less to me than most, I DO plan on capturing that NWL title all the same..... for my own PERSONAL reasons that is. My agenda varies from most, but the end goal is basically still the same. I'm not seduced by perfect you see, rather, we have an arrangement of sorts and in the interim it offers me the ultimate prize...... the means for respite, a reprieve if only for the moment......
(walks towards then past us and back into the room, stopping only when he reaches the far wall at which point he places down the coffee mug and opens the front door......)
MAELSTROM: Ya see Watcher, I realized long ago that perfect craves the color gold even more than the color red.....
(A malicious grin and a wink emphasizes Maelstrom's point as he steps through the door and out of sight....... FADE OUT......)
Fade in: to a camera angle that appears to be upside down. The picture swings up and down, showing the night sky, filled with clouds that block the moon's full light from reaching down. The ground is covered with a thin, slick sheet of clear ice. Some areas have white snow covering the ice. The camera continues moving in this upside-down fashion, as it seems the cameraman doesn't realize. The footsteps stop, however, and the shot remains still, focused on a building on the opposite side of the street; it seems a standard city apartment complex. After a minute a small, momentary hissing sound can be heard, but it then disappears. Suddenly a force of some sort pulls the cameraman into an alley, causing the shot to rock around for a few seconds. When it settles, we can still see the corner of the building across the street, but hear low voices speaking where the camera is. A man comes out from around the corner of the building across the street, lighting up a cigarette it seems, concealed within a black trenchcoat and fedora, tipped down. The camera then shoots up at once, showing Watcher standing in a black hooded sweatshirt, the hood down, and black sweatpants. He has a black ski mask on.
Watcher: How long has this camera been on....
CM: I didn't even realize it was! Sorry...my finger must have slipped the switch over to start it.
CM: I swear, man....no need to get paranoid.
Watcher pauses and tilts his head, taking a step towards the cameraman and speaking in venemous tone.
Watcher: Why would you say a thing like that....
CM: Hey, yo man....I...I'm just here to shoot a promo, that's all. You're freaking me out here! Come on, man...just...let's get this done, okay? I've heard things about this part of town....
Watcher: Really...and how often have you come around here to find out?
CM: I...never said I came here, man. Yo come on...what is this, hey? I'm just for promos....
Watcher again pauses, then sounds less volatile.
Watcher: Yes, I know. But I have to be sure....it's this part of town, after all, right?
CM: Y-yeah....right...so let's get out of here and do this somewhere else. There's a diner not far out of this area...
Watcher: No. I'll say what I have to here, then you can go.
There's a brief pause.
CM: Uh....alright, then. I guess I'll just....follow your lead, then.
Watcher backs off a little into the alley, his figure being slightly mixed with the shadows, but still discernable.
Watcher: Good. There's little time to waste and we've already wasted some. Maelstrom has spoken once more, and this time he opens up every so slightly with some of the man's thoughts. In this case, there is a man, and a beast, as I see it. That is because Maelstrom, you do have that beast inside of you. I think you explained it well, with your thoughts on 'perfect'...I simply am giving it a form. Perhaps not physically..but a beast within, that will hunger 'til you appease it. I find your analogy a bit off, as the Yankees are a team, and you are an individual. Part of the reason they are not hindered so much by loss is for the fact that they have a luxury that all of us in this sport do not. We cannot be given a substitute to fill our spot for a given match. We are each unique, and if someone is to face us, then substituting another in our place is not the same. That doesn't matter so much for the Yankees...especially the Yankees....because they are free to exchange players in positions, during a season, even during a game. But in wrestling, we must bare our burdens no matter what. So losing can have a more adverse affect on others' perceptions of us. But it is still perception, and that is subjective. However, as one of my mentors told me...perception is only as strong as the believer.
Watcher backs off some more, shadow eclipsing him completely, covering his form in darkness. His voice sounds a bit more muffled.
Watcher: But the more subjective perceptions can be cracked. Accurate perceptions have something to stand on. The latter has foundation, whatever it may be. Something to validate it. For instance, you may perceive me to be gone, if I simply ceased to speak. But because you can hear me, I am still here, am I not? That is the perception one might have, and it seems concrete....
Suddenly the cameraman spins around, showing Watcher standing behind him.
Watcher: ....but in actuality, that perception is more deceiving than one might think.
Watcher walks back into the alley and reaches down, picking up a tape recorder and stopping it.
Watcher: My point is, no matter how strong you may believe your perception to be true, it can be falsified. That was a simple example, and I don't mean to pin you with it, but I think you get my point. In wrestling terms, it means to never assume the unknown. Fact sheets and media reports would seem to be a credible source of information on you, Maelstrom, and perhaps even me, if there is any out there. But as we both seem to agree on, those reports don't mean so much as a nickel's worth. There is always the chance that information has been manipulated. I've quickly learned the past few years...always believed, since the first time I learned the lesson...that the best way to obtain information, is first hand. In this case, it would be to actually wrestle you, Maelstrom, and learn through that, rather than trusting any 'scouting report' the media has.
Watcher walks out towards the end of the alley, looking up at the cloud-filled night sky.
Watcher: You don't give yourself enough credit, Maelstrom. At least, from what your 'peers' say, and from what I've seen of you, there's more fact and less perception to your percentage than you'd have people believe. And given people's willingness to believe statistics and percentages...I think that's a deceiving perception of yours, that borders on advantage if not looked at more closely. I'm not saying you are as good as everyone says, but I don't think I'd trust your words as much as most. You have a way with words, the man does...and I'd rather be overprepared, than underprepared. Because as the days get closer, I can imagine the beast inside of you becoming more impatient. You cannot battle time, but it does not operate on time. It operates on lust...lust for gold, more than blood, correct? I think another deception you instantly provide for people...fans and opposition...is that you win with guts and brawn alone. Clearly, that is not the case. Because even when the man succumbs to the beast, it is not a complete consummation is it...the man still thinks for the beast. In that ring, even your greatest rage has a degree of calculation. That is something I've noticed about you...that sets you apart. And while I don't know to trust it completely, as it isn't from the preferred first hand source...my perception is that you are capable of such a feat. And so I should prepare for it.
Watcher crosses his arms, still looking skyway, and tilts his body to lean against a brick building. From the camera's angle, we can just make out the trenchcoat-clad man, who is looking in the camera's direction, but backing off slightly towards a building corner.
Watcher: I'll let you form your own perceptions of me, Maelstrom, if you choose to. But I'll tell you this...I have something of a beast inside of me, as well. It is not lusting for gold, however. It's desire is for release. For freedom. I have learned to control it; restraining it from coming out and controlling me. But not a moment passes when I do not feel it inside of me. It has all the fuel it needs to continuously press against my innards, trying to find some way to escape, because it fuels off of me. However, it does not only fight me. I have what might be called a symbiotic relationship with the beast in me. This beast has also, at times, helped me gain the strength and courage to go on. It has allowed me to continue living, rather than stopping dead in my tracks...or even more literally ending everything. That is why I am here...it is why I am here. For that continuing search for release, freedom. Except this time, there is very little chance that failure will be acceptable. This time I am playing a very dangerous game, and walking a paper-thin line. Before the matches, I have been torn at from within by the beast, the urge, the desire to achieve my goal. It almost haunts me, wherever I find myself, similar to your own beast. But when I step into the ring, there is a harmony between my internal and external. There is no doubt a coexistence during that time, because I am able to let the beast out, then. It can aid me in achieving my goal, and so I have no reason to fight it when I have the chance to get one step closer to the 'light' at the end of my misery. But the beast comes out in my will to go on, my striving to keep chance alive. I do for the beast, and it does for me. It is a symbiotic attachment when we unite in the ring. And when it is over with, I must contain it again, or it will try to think on its own. That can lead to horrible failure. Acting purely on desire, without thought to solidify the actions taken, is a foolish thing that almost asks for repercussions to come with it. So I control it, contain it until the next time I have a chance to move still closer...and closer....and you are the next chance I get, Maelstrom. Your beast and mine, they will clash as we will, in the ring...and only one can be satisfied for the moment.
Watcher pauses for a long moment, and peers out of the alley, towards where the trenchcoat-clad man was standing. He is nowhere to be seen. Watcher turns to the cameraman.
Watcher: Did you see anyone?
CM: Where..? Nobody's around that I know of....
Watcher: This is over.
Watcher snatches the camera from the startled cameraman, and as it points out of the alley, just for a second or two we catch a glimpse of the man in black trenchcoat and fedora, entering a taxi and closing the door. Black out.
(FADE IN:....... to an empty arena. The cameras pan about until it settles upon a silhouetted figure sitting in one of the seats about 4 rows back from the ring apron. His features are obscured, only allowing his massive size to be discernible. His head occasionally lulls forward a bit only to suddenly jerk back up, much like a person who's dosing off would do. The cameras then begin to steadily creep forward and just when it's close enough to reveal this person's identity, a sudden burst of yelling is heard coming from the ring. The cameras instantly whirl about and zeroes in on the source. Standing in the middle of the ring, looking directly at the sleeping silhouetted man in the seat is none other than the man we know simply as......)
MAELSTROM: IT'S ALMOST HERE! CAN YOU FEEL IT?!
(looks around as if expecting a reaction from someone...... )
MAELSTROM: It's all around us...... observing...... preparing to feed. It knows my next impasse is looming and it watches...... watches with an unbridled enthusiasm. Ya see Watcher, it has absolutely nothing to lose…. Regardless of what happens in the aftermath...... it collects its due.
(falls silent as he glares at the silhouetted figure...... after a few moments, Maelstrom resumes in whispering tones as his gaze falters towards his clenched fists, losing himself in thought in the process.....)
MAELSTROM: ...... it collects its due......
(with a sudden shake of his head he seems to snap out of his momentary trance and resumes speaking in normal tones...... all the while glaring at the silhouetted figure dozing off in the seat......)
MAELSTROM: ..... AS DO I!
(smacks a large fist into the palm of his hand and begins to smile faintly as he listens to the echoes reverberate loudly throughout the empty arena)
MAELSTROM: .... as do you as well, Watcher. (smile widens a bit) You see Watcher, you're not like most opponents I've come across. No, not in the least. I saw hints of that as I watched you in your matches..... and realized its confirmation when I heard you speak. It doesn't happen often, but every now and then someone comes along who......
(sighs heavily as he smiles faintly and nods his head)
MAELSTROM: ..... understands! Someone who's in tune with the rhythm of his flow...... someone who sees things as they are as opposed to how they'd like it to be...... someone who can pierce perception...... someone like you Watcher......
(whispers almost inaudibly as he glances at the sleeping silhouette in the seat.....)
MAELSTROM:...... someone like me....
(falls momentarily silent as he raises his arms in the air and suddenly yells out in a booming voice.....)
MAELSTROM: WELCOME TO MY IMPASSE WATCHER!!
(raises a finger to his lips in a "sssshhhing" fashion as he steps over the ring ropes, drops down to the ground and walks straight towards the sleeping silhouette until he's standing right over him)
MAELSTROM: Welcome to the point of no return.....
(at that moment, the silhouette begins to stir uneasily.... moaning inaudibly until he bolts up and out of his seat...... his back is to us, effectively masking his identity. He pushes his long black hair aside and looks around expecting to find someone, but finds only the solitude of the empty arena. He sighs almost imperceptively as he makes his way to the aisle and begins walking up the ramp. Suddenly he stops and whirls around..... his narrowed eyes looking around suspiciously as he wipes the sweat away from his brow. As he turns and continues up the aisle, he can be heard muttering to himself. The empty arena magnifies his mutterings, growing in crescendo, and it's only after he's completely gone from our view, that we finally make out what he was muttering......... ".....it collects its due....." ....... FADE OUT......)
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