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The Between Two Worlds Saga #2: Playing God
Author Message
 ALIAS  Offline
Space Jesus
TITLE - Universal Champion



XWF FanBase:
The IWC

(gets varying reactions in the arenas, but will be worshiped like a god and defended until the end by internet fans; literally has thousands of online dorks logging on to complain anytime they lose a match or don't get pushed right)


Post: #1
06-22-2022 09:05 AM



                                                                                                                              

























































2A: Exile City

Spoiler :
The World of Otherworld:

http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=43203
ALIAS arrives in Otherworld and meets up with the resistance group The Exiles, fighting against the mysterious High Lord’s rule. Their base is assaulted and ALIAS is kidnapped by unknown assailants!

http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=43225
ALIAS’s kidnappers are revealed to be a mercenary group known as The Bastards. The Exiles arrive and do battle with The Bastards, saving ALIAS and capturing the mercenaries.

http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=43253
The Exiles infiltrate the High Lord’s Dark Tower, only to find Lance waiting for them! He’s been trying to take down the High Lord from within because the evil ruler is none other than a future version of ALIAS! It… doesn’t go well.

http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=43617

ALIAS returned to Otherworld and found himself in an underground lab, where vile experiments were conducted on prisoners. After a conflict, ALIAS wound up escaping alongside said prisoners, and on their recommendation, set off to find someone called the Oracle.

http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=43638

Alongside a misfit travelling party, ALIAS made his way to The Oracle’s sanctuary. Mysteriously being rendered asleep, ALIAS awoke to find The Exiles had also sought The Oracle. As it turned out, The Oracle was their M.I.A. former member, Dolly Waters. And she had the present-day Daughter of ALIAS with her!

http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=43638

The war was brought to the doorstep of The Oracle, and The High Lord did not come alone. Just as the battle seemed lost, The Witness arrived with The Bastards, whom had been convinced to save their compatriot Charlie Nickles. It cost The Witness his life, but saved both Charlie and ALIAS. But just before a final blow could be struck, ALIAS was called home…

http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=43868

Back in the present, Lance convinces ALIAS to return to Otherworld, as Paritegi - the Daughter of ALIAS - was still there. ALIAS reluctantly agrees, and a big revelation of the future occurs! There, the future version of Lance, had killed Charlie Nickles!


The People of Otherworld:
Space Jesus:
ALIAS

The Enemy:
The High Lord (Future ALIAS)

The Exiles:
North Korean War Queen (Paritegi, The Daughter of ALIAS)
Lance (?)
Frankie Duke
Vita Valenteen
The Bastards (Bobby Bourbon, Thunder Knuckles, Big Money Oswald, Charlie Nickles - deceased, Barney Green (?) - status unknown)
The Witness (Thaddeus Duke, deceased)
North Korean War Criminal (deceased)
Ruby (deceased)
Mark Flynn (deceased)
Corey Smith (deceased)

The Enemy's Forces:
The Salmon-Coloured Minotaur
Unknown Soldier
“The Nefarious Scientist” Ned Kaye
Jenny Myst
Franken-T.H.U.G. (Reggie Estrada, John Black - deceased, Tommy Wish - deceased)
Marf
Latina Submission Machina (Enslaved)

The Oracle’s Sanctuary:
The Oracle (Dolly Waters)
Paritegi, The Daughter of ALIAS (present day
Gator (deceased, zombified, then decapitated but alive)

The Freaks:
Dick Powers (status unknown)
Taco (status unknown)
Barney Green (?) (status unknown)

The First Resistance:
Vinnie Lane (deceased, zombified, then deceased again)
Theo Pryce (deceased, zombified, then deceased again)
Doctor Louis D’Ville (deceased, zombified, then deceased again)

Others:
Android version of Tyler Nickles (destroyed)
Android version of Emily Nickles (destroyed)
The Brand (deceased)
The Engineer (deceased)
Centurion (deceased)
Morbid Angel (deceased)


The year 2040.
Location unknown.
Otherworld.

The first thing that Space Jesus felt as his feet once again found themselves standing on Otherworld soil, was the sun. It breached over top of the treeline behind him, and caked him in its warmth. He turned back to get his bearings, shielding his eyes from its rays and squinting. The air was dense with the forest’s fragrance, and he scanned as best he could between the tree trunks looking for any sign of life - friend, or foe.

There was nothing to be seen. Satisfied (and relieved), he turned his attention elsewhere.

Trees stretched as far as the eye could see in either direction, but that only accounted for half of the plane around him. He himself was standing at the crossroads of two dusty paths. To his left, and to his right, the paths reached out over gently rolling hills. The left one ambled its way towards a high mountain range in the distance, while the right path puttered along, steadily more and more downhill, in the general direction of a large, unidentified, body of water. ALIAS couldn’t quite see the exact ending of either of the tracks, but he could see the fields of nameless crops that dotted the landscape in either direction along the way. Nothing stood out.

It was the other trail then, that ALIAS most focused his attention on.

It led to the wooded grounds behind him. And then… to a great walled city.

ALIAS never could quite figure out Otherworld’s geography. This was now his third visit to this future world, and each time he visited, he found the landscape to be in some sort of flux. This city was more baffling to him than almost any of his other experiences. The only other time he had seen any sort of sign of the ‘civilisation’ (though he hated that word) that he had come from, the buildings and streets had been in near total ruin. This city was different. It stood tall in the middle of lands more fertile than any ALIAS had seen in this world. A monument. To humanity! To survival!

He was always a sucker for those who were ‘different’. And thus, the city called to him, as if it spoke with the Universe’s own alluring voice.

He followed it’s call.

That humanity that the city represented was not to be seen outside of the city walls. Crows squawked overhead, cattle shuffled and mooed in the fields, and the occasional buzz of a bee or a fly sped past his ears as he walked. But not a man or woman was seen.

Reaching the mighty stone wall that ran around the entirety of the settlement, ALIAS found that the path was leading right towards a staunchly closed gate. It was made of a blueish steel and must have been twenty feet tall and double that across. It absolutely dominated the fortification, and the path petered out at its feet. He could see no way through it, though. There was no window, nor booth, nor lock, nor intercom. Just a giant door, in a giant wall, protecting a giant city against the giant horrors that might live outside it.

For just half a second, the Legend-Breaker thought about what he would need to do to find a way through. On his approach, however, the gears of the world were set into motion and the door began to separate alongside a diagonal line.

On the other side, ALIAS saw life.

A lot of it!

This was no rural, rustic settlement, but a fully functioning, high tech, city teaming with people, cars, and… ALIAS is pretty sure he sees a couple of hovercraft zipping through the air.

He followed that voice in his head, and entered.

A sign greeted him:


WELCOME TO EXILE CITY
Home of Hope



“Hope…” he muttered under his breath, unsure what to think of that. The suspicious eyes of Exile City’s citizens kept tabs on this nutjob talking to himself, as the faces they were attached to hurried past.


~~~



The year 2040.
Exile City.
Otherworld.

Lance figured his ‘BEST FRIEND’ must be confused. He wouldn’t know what to expect here in the ‘big city’. But he needed to know… this was the product of the movement. This is what it had become, eighteen years later.

He had kept his eye on ALIAS from the moment that ‘Space Jesus’ had passed through the city walls. He watched on as the wanderer-out-of-time made his way through the streets of the city, taking it all in: The butchers, the bakers, the candlestick-makers. Or whatever their future equivalents would be.

Rub-a-dub-dub.

Lance saw the way in which his ‘BEST FRIEND’ marvelled at the litter-free streets, and the wondrous shine of the glass and steel on every building. He saw ALIAS turn out of Lux Avenue onto Vaughn Street, and began to make his way down towards Miller Place. He figured the Anti-Venom would find it a relief if it was his face that he first saw, but that wasn’t the plan.

No, it wasn’t Lance that was due to meet ALIAS. He was just there to observe.

And so he did. He watched the figure, clad nearly entirely in black, step out of the shadows.

And even from this distance… he saw the hairs on the back of ALIAS’s neck prick up.


~~~



The year 2040.
Vaughn St, Exile City.
Otherworld.

ALIAS felt the eyes on the back of his head, long before the person intended him to. He tried not to make a big show of it. The technology here was appropriately advanced, and he knew nothing of the security protocols. His mind instantly suspected laser blasters, lightsabers, and/or some sort of relentless Terminator or RoboCop-like android, cyborg, or robot defence force. He’d take ‘em all, he was convinced. All the ray guns and beyond-human enemies that they would throw at him. But… he didn’t exactly want to. It wasn’t why he was here. So… he played it cool. ‘Restraint’, he thought.

He took time to lead his tailgate away from Joe Public. Any open shops he saw, he tried to put some distance between. A green-as-green-can-be park, encircled by cherry blossoms in bloom out-of-season, proved a suitable site, and he ducked under one particularly low hanging branch to position himself alone in the clearing. Well… alone except for…

“You came back.”

ALIAS turned.

The face that the voice belonged to was exactly the one that he expected. Tucked under the black hood pulled over their head, was a white, featureless mask.

It belonged to the North Korean War Queen.

Paritegi.

The Daughter of ALIAS.

Though not the version that he was there for.

“You knew I would.” The World-Beater tried to match the vacant expression of the War Queen’s mask. His head rotated on his neck, taking in this brave, new world. “This is… different. I wasn’t sure what I’d be coming back to after I had to leave you all on the battlefield. Am I… you know, the High Lord version of me… still around? Did you finish the sonofabitch off?”

“You should come with me.” The War Queen ignored his question.

“Where to?” ALIAS stood his ground. “Is the other version of you wherever it is you’re wanting to take me? My version? What about Lance? Dolly? Frankie? Vita? The Bastards?”

“Come.”

She turned on her heels and floated towards the edge of the natural arena they were in.

She didn’t look back.

But on her voice… ALIAS followed.







2B: The Lion, The Bitch, and The Bore-Drone

“This is the greatest challenge of your life, Raion. Your words. Translation: I am the greatest challenge in your life.

Newsflash:

Paperboy outfit or not…

You’re not the greatest challenge in mine.

You can be the saint of whatever fucking God you want, but if there’s twelve saints, twelve zodiacs, twelve fucking labours - Elysium or not - you need to know…

[Image: RYyBrQm.jpg]


Oh, sure I didn’t appeal to some fuckboi anime…

Spoiler :
Except… [http://xwf99.com/showthread.php?tid=41623]I did[/url]…

But I’ve sure as shit killed Aphrodite by now, so may as well add Athena to the list, eh? I picked up the gauntlet that you're fumbling a long ass time ago, pal. You’re right in that sense to see an echo between us, but as I said last time, my man… we’re not the fucking same. You’re doing your darndest to thump your chest and say how super amazing and excitingly fresh you are, but you’re forgetting the most base of all factors when figuring this here scuffle out…

You’re forgetting that I am ALIAS.

And all that it entails.

Lemme explain, like I said I would!

You want fucking Elysium, my guy? To get there, you need to do a hell of a lot better to understand that which motivates your opponents. Charlie Nickles has a lot wrong with him, but do you really think he’s not seeking the same immortality that you are? Dolly Waters is consistently underestimated, do you think she doesn’t have as good of a fucking hero’s story than you? With everything that she’s been through over the years? Fuck off, man. And me? The biggest fucking challenge that you - and Dolly and Charlie too - have ever faced? You think I got here on dick and fat jokes alone? This is what I was talking about, dude. You look at me now and act like you have some sort of fucking comprehension as to who or what I am.

You.

Don’t.

Know.

Shit.

I didn’t cash in a goddamn briefcase at Fire and Ice, you dumb bitch. I turned up to claim the shot that I was owed due to someone else cashing in a briefcase on me!

‘Cause my dominance goes well beyond six months, ‘kid’.

Do you even fucking know that’s how that briefcase works, Raion? Do you know fucking anything about the world that you’re stepping into? Nobody has fucking pinned me in a match without a briefcase EEEEVVVVVEEEERRRR, but you wanna try and turn that ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ line on me? As if Charlie Nickles isn’t right there?! TWICE?! How’s that doing work for me, dumbass? Get the fuck outta here.

You’ve lost to Chuck twice, and you’ve lost at March Madness too. Now, if you want to put yourself in the ‘I’ll keep coming back for more’ camp like Charlie, Lou, Atara, Reggie, and all of the fucking others before you, then be my guest. But make no mistake about it, you are just like all the others, Raion. You gas yourself up on a simple stroke of fortune, but when push comes to shove, you’;; fall flat on your fucking face against me. Charlie did it! He had all that alleged ‘momentum’ after being the Television Champion for so goddamn long - and beating you in the process! - but when he came up against the World Beater? He fucking lost. Doc did it too. You don’t know him, bud, but he was last year’s King. His very next match was against yours fucking truly, and any guesses how that ended? Me getting a briefcase, not through winning Leap of Faith, but through putting one of the most dangerous men - a bonafide Hall of Legends fella - to ever try their hand at this nonsense into the fucking ground.

But you did that to this year’s King, didn’t you?

Wait… what? Fucking when? At Leap of Faith? You uh… you know how you’re out here lambasting Charlie for running away from you while winning your second match against each other?

Didn’t run towards Michael McBride to fucking beat that douche? Or am I missing something there?

Well… last I checked all you did as far as beating Bobby Bourbon, was step on him mid-leap, after Mark Flynn was the one who took his helicopter out. Is that what passes for beating a motherfucker convincingly in your world? Shit, it must be, because all of a sudden you’re rattling off names of people who you’ve beaten–

Seriously, does Cage Coleman actually still go to school here?

Why do I never see him?!

–and now Mark Flynn’s name is popping up as you try to portray yourself like you’re up on my level!

Like I said though, Charlie Nickles is right there!

You know Mark though, right? The guy who until Leap of Faith had only lost to yours truly this year, and beyond even! And then at Leap of Faith, he suffered another loss when Raion Kido… ran… away… from… him… towards… the… briefcase.

Is that monotonous enough for you, dipshit?

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a ‘lean in’ kind of guy.

Yeah… something’s not tracking in your logic there, Kido. You fucking ran from Mark to win a match, just like Charlie did. But it’s different for you, right? It’s different because there was a prize involved! Oh my golly gosh, a prize!

Like there was the first time Charlie beat you?

Fuck man, that’s the gift that keeps on giving. I didn’t even go that hard on it last time, but now that you’ve actually kicked this shit off by comparing fucking lists, it just makes it too damn easy! You fucked up, Raion. Multiple times, even.

See, we’re not actually headlining this shindig, no matter what you or Charlie say, Rai-Rai. This isn’t the most important match of the cup, because everyone and their mama knows exactly how it’s going to fucking end.

LOLALIASWINS!

Yeah… I’m the kind of guy who says ‘LOL’ too.

But you say a lot of stupid things though, don’tcha buddy? Might wanna chill on saying you’ve beaten all the Bastards other than Charlie until you’ve at least tangoed with TK, Ozzy, Jim, and Barney, though, you know? But you probably don’t even realise that they’re in BOB, do you? You’re showing your fucking ass. You’re showing your ignorance of the bigger picture that you find yourself in, and a complete lack of awareness of everyone else’s circumstances. Dude… Dolly aside, I think, ALL of the rest us received a top flight championship shot within our first year. Shit, Charlie even got that Universal shot within like two months! Mine was the World Championship, back in 2008 when I was only here for a hot second, wasn’t even half of the man that I am today, and then was taken against my will again for another ten fucking years of misery.

Also only my second month!

Dude… what’s taken you so long?

To top it off on my personal front, when I fell back out of the Universe’s womb in 2020… I got a Universal shot within a year as well. Six months, even. Sound familiar? Point is: You’re not fucking special, man! Shit, how many times have you eaten that L, Raion? Three? In what, six months? Way to show that YOU DON’T KNOW WHO THE FUCK YOU’RE DEALING WITH. You’re on fucking track to drop as many Ls in eight months as I have FUCKING EVER!!!

And that, my dear, is why I don’t even need to worry about the prospect of the briefcase holder taking possession of The Universe without needing to use their hot little contract. Because this does not end that way. You’re asking ‘what ifs’; I’m telling you what’s what. I’m treating you like your Charlie fucking Nickles, and we know how that plays out when I start slapping him about, don’t we? Really… I should be treating you less.

So what’s less than saying his parents are inbred and that I have a gigantic dick?

You smell like poop and I bet you have cooties.

How’s that sound? Is that sophomoric enough? I probably went a bit too juvenile with it, admittedly. But just who the fuck do you think you are, Raion? You’re coming into a story that’s been going for fucking years, and acting like you get to cast judgement about my choice of words? Put aside the BIG FUCKING DEAL that I made of pointing out how I was being sophomoric just to fuck with Charlie, SO FUCKING WHAT if I want to talk about cocks and cunts? Every single fucking word out of my mouth is RIFE with the life that I’ve lived. You want to look down on me for that? FUCK YOU! Challenging the status quo is what I do on the daily, so thank you, you stupid motherfucker, for giving me another reason to keep fucking swinging on you when we finally fucking get to do this.

I’mma pull that stick out of your ass, Raion.

But first, I’mma shove it fucking up there to begin with, ‘Mr. Japanese Lad.’

See how fucking patronising that shit sounds? You’re the worst kind of person, Raion. The one who looks down on people for having been dealt a different hand than him. Honestly man… with that kind of attitude, that stick up your ass isn’t just gonna be pulled out. It’s gonna bereplaced with three metaphorical cocks from each of the rest of us as we just pound the fuck outta whatever bullshit sensibility you try to enforce on us.

Rest assured, bitchtits, we will be in touch soon.

Did you see what I did there? HA!”








2C: Moot

The year 2040.
Exile City.
Otherworld.

“Take a seat.” The North Korean War Queen gestured to a stool around an old round table. Both seat and surface appeared to be made out of the very material that the room itself was. They seamlessly sprouted out of the white marble floor like some sort of organic growth.

This was familiar to the Wolf-Skinner. A table similar to this was constructed out of the cave that ‘The Oracle’, Dolly Waters, had used as a sanctuary on ALIAS’s last visit to Otherworld. He assumed that the presence of this imitation was a sign that Dolly was still here too. There seemed to be far more spaces at this one, however. Some thirty-odd people could potentially sit here. That only naturally led him to wonder who else might be joining them.

He noticed the War Queen heading towards the exit.

“Wait…” At his word, she stopped just at the edge of the door to the room and turned that masked face back towards him. Few had seen the vision underneath. The Witness version of Thaddeus Duke, maybe the North Korean War Criminal, and then… him. But both the War Criminal and The Witness were dead now. ALIAS wondered if she now ever even exposed her real face to the world these days. “Are you… are you doing okay?”

She regarded him with silence. For a short moment, anyway.

“Why do you ask?” she said, eventually breaking her own moment of consideration.

“You’ve been through a lot. I’m… just worried, is all.” She had been through a lot. Frankie Duke may still be around, but the rest of The Exiles had perished. The War-Winner thought that she must feel so… alone.

“The world is as it should be.” He felt as though underneath her veil, she drifted off somewhat. “Que será, será.”

That phrase…

The hairs rose on ALIAS’s neck once more, but this time, it was for all the wrong reasons.

He expected evil to follow.

“You’re back!”

The joy in the words took him off guard, as the younger version of Paritegi - his Paritegi - came bounding into the room. She sprinted across the floor, her runners squeaking with each step, as bright pink lights blinked at their side. ALIAS barely had a chance to rise before she was leaping through the air towards him. He grunted a little as he caught her. She squeezed him tight, with every ounce of strength in her small body. As soon as he steadied himself from her impact, he lowered her down to the ground until those blinky shoes were holding her weight again, and leaned right into the hug.

“I’ve missed you,” the Daughter of ALIAS told her ‘father’.

“I’ve missed you too.”

She was the reason that he came back. He needed to make sure the world was safe for her.

Was it?

He looked up to where her older counterpart stood. She hadn’t answered any of his questions back in the park. Nor here.

“What’s going on?” he tried once more, still clutching the younger girl in his arms. “How have you guys gone from a super secret base, to having a whole freaking city? How did you get away from the High Lord and his forces? What are you keeping from me?”

It was the young version of Paritegi that answered, pushing back from her ‘father’ so that she could speak to him more directly.

“You’re not the only visitor today.” She said it so chirpily. That just caused that other question to resurface: Who else was here then? “We’re going to have a big meeting!”

ALIAS wasn’t sure that he had ever seen anybody be so excited about a ‘big meeting’ in his entire life - not that he was invited to many. It did explain the table though. But the last ‘big meeting’ that he was a part of in Otherworld was interrupted by the High Lord sending Jenny Myst and some fucking Franken-T.H.U.G. monster to rip through innocent civilians. And from the impression that he had gotten walking through the streets of Exile City, there were a lot of innocents that could be put in harm’s way.

“Who else is here?” He aimed it to the youngster, hoping to get a different response.

He did not need to wait for a reply. The guest had arrived.

“It is strange to see you here…”

ALIAS looked up.

Raion Kido stood in the doorway next to the North Korean War Queen.

A golden pelt hung over his shoulders, draping down over his back until it hung down at the height of his knees, like a tail flapping behind him. He moved through, making sure to not block the door, as others began filing in.

Dick Powers, with a bit more meat on him than last ALIAS had seen, carried the decapitated, but still ‘living’ head of zombie-Gator, as Vita Valenteen followed him in, as pallid and youthful as vampiric state kept her. Frankie Duke entered soon after, a few tufts of facial hair now growing in splotches around his chin. Thunder Knuckles soon followed after, and with him came Bobby Bourbon, Big Money Oswald, and a robotic being that, based on the visual screen on its chest, ALIAS surmised to be whatever was left of Barney Green. Back when the Bastard-Tamer had first visited this world, Vita and Bobby had both remarked about how Barney went ‘full robot’, but all ALIAS had seen was a computer screen at that time. This was… impressive.

“ONK!” Taco came barrelling through as well. The tumours ALIAS remembered that covered his body had seemingly completely cleared up. The pig found a cosy corner to curl up in while the others settled onto seats at the table. Frankie smiled when he saw ALIAS, and took one of the seats closer to him.

“It’s good to see you,” he said quietly. ALIAS returned his expression.

Dolly Waters entered too. She and the North Korean War Queen whispered something to one another, and the man out of time could tell that it was definitely about him. The long, white tail of her dress dragged along the ground behind her. They both waited a bit, as if they were expecting someone else.

ALIAS was growing impatient.

“Will someone tell me what the hell is going on?” He rose, and the Daughter of ALIAS took a step back, making sure that her ‘father’ was between herself and any of the others. Even Frankie.

“You’ve come at an interesting time,” the final voice said, as the speaker entered the room.

Lance.

He was greying around the temples, and the red scar around his neck seemed to have faded a fair bit over the years. The World-Eater was kind of proud at how comfortable he seemed showing it off. That gave him some solace as to where Lance - his Lance, whom he left with Dani back in Maine - would be able to get to with the right kind of help.

“We’d appreciate your opinion on something. Our friend here…” Lance gestured to Raion, who flicked the pelt he wore to the side to make sure his arms could be seen. ‘What a fucking poseur’, ALIAS thought. “...has a proposition for us, and if what we have been told is true, it could change everything.”

ALIAS’s BEST FRIEND led Dolly and the War Queen towards the table. The way the others seemed to regard them gave the impression that they were some sort of triumvirate of leadership here in the city.

But ALIAS - this ALIAS - always had an issue with anyone trying to tell someone else what to do.

“What’s the proposition?” He turned towards where Raion Kido proudly sat. Every other pair of eyes did the same.

“I can bring people back from the dead.”







2D: Good Witch or Bad Witch?

“The problem with being a self-righteous asshole like Raion Kido, is that he sees the world in such black and white terms. Raion, good; Charlie, bad. Dolly, good; ALIAS bad. But that’s not the way the world is. There’s a whole lot of grey up in this bitch, and the very moment that you try and position yourself as some kind of fucking ‘saint’ or something, it starts to get reeeaaal easy to find instances where someone is being the complete antithesis to whatever image of themselves they’re trying to shill.

That’s another reason why you fail, Raion.

Now before you get your knickers in a twist, I know that I already said that you seemed like a fairly nice guy last time. But how are you gonna act like some sort of hero on Savage, popping out like that to save Dolly like that - as if she were even in danger from me? Or as if she couldn’t fucking do it herself? Jesus white-knighting Christ, how patronising can you fucking get, man? Or is that just your version of telling Dolly what she’s now told you? That she can’t stop me by herself, just like you can’t?

Well, hey, you wanna know why she’s here? Haven’t I fucking told you, already? It’s because the ol’ X-Dub agrees with me, man. Sending appetisers to me one-by-one just ain’t gonna fucking cut it, so they’re trying to piece three starters together into a main.

And they can sell the story of asking if Charlie Nickles can get the job done when I’m not bearing all my weight down on him exclusively.

If he were smart he’d be able to call that back into a fat joke in my direction.

But Charlie Nickles has never been ‘smart’.

Spoiler: Of course he can’t.

They can sell the story of you too, Rai-Rai! You’ve got that briefcase, and you could bitch out of this whole ordeal and just try to coast on in at the end. Or, as you pointed out, you could even make history holding the briefcase and the Universal Championship at the same time!

Spoiler: You won’t.

But Dolly’s here because her story is something that I haven’t ever really had to face before. Just listen to the way that she’s speaking about me, my guy. That is MUCH different than the way that anybody else has spoken about me before a feeding. And THAT… that can sell. And the very fact that you doubt that, bud, just gives even more evidence to the fact that you are A) coming into this woefully under-researched - stay away from the buzzwords and look for the fucking meaning, yeah?, and B) that you’re a smug little cunt looking down your nose at how someone else could dare to try to take your moment from you? Pot-kettles, motherfucker. They ain’t white.

Shit, Dol’, get a load of me, eh? Talking about what ‘sells’, and yet I’m the two-time Universal Champion and 2021 Star of the Year…

Through official channels, rather than appealing to a fucking rag magazine like I’m Thad Duke.

Get fucked, Denzel.

Unless you’re gonna name me the best World Universal Champ again…

All that, and I still don’t even have any merch available on the XWF website!

It’s almost like I’m actually not here for the paycheck, Charlie.

Like… I’ve explained a million times why I’m here before and the fact that you still can’t grasp that only further serves to show how far below me you are.

But hey, just ‘cause I don’t partake, it doesn’t mean that I don’t understand, you know? I’ve kind of had to learn a thing or two just to be able to point out how fucking stupid most of it is. That’s what I think you were trying to get at, Dolly, when you called me out on my views on the egomaniacs of our little shared universe here. Of course I twisted that all up last time though. Because… well, if you ask enough people, that’s all I do!

Other than just keep fucking winning, that is.

But yeah, I don’t see the need for people to flaunt their success in the face of others; to splurge on luxury yachts while people are starving in Charlie Nickles’s house!

Starving for success.

There’s a difference though, between all of that, and what I’m doing. Charlie had a cute line one of the times I romped him, that I’ve gone and twisted all up a few times now - as I am allegedly wont to do - but it was about spitting straight facts or something. After going around the block a couple of times, it’s pretty clear now that between he and I, I’m the one doing that, right? And there’s a part of you that knows that, Dolly! All I’m doing is spitting facts. That’s why you tell Charlie that he can’t get the job done. That’s why you turn that shit on Raion too! Because you know what I’m saying is true.

Unbeatable?

I mean… my glove still fits.

If you want to test that theory, be my guest. I love that you’re stepping up to the plate. I mean, it’s pretty topical that you brought up War Games since it’s looming on the horizon once again, and Charlie and I even went back and forth on the topic pretty recently. And when we look at how that played out, at least when you say that it took a two-on-one against Corey and I to put you down, you’re actually telling the fucking truth. Unlike that other dickbag member of your trifecta, Thad.

I suppose when we eventually did this thing, there had to be a couple of shots against that dumbass, no?

Paul Heyman’s gonna make that a lot easier going forward, too.

The point is, in that very moment we did see what you could do! The whole damn world did! That was Dolly Waters at her finest! And ALIAS - the all-powerful War-Winner - he had to survive her! Neat frame there, pal. Well survive ALIAS did. But Dolly Waters didn’t survive at all, did she? That was it. Dolly. That was your moment. And it’s taken you almost a year to get another one.

That’s why I was out there on Savage. To see what you would do. To see if you were ready. Maybe it’s not my place to judge! Maybe it’s patronising in its own way to look down on you and even think that question is one that I - your supposed-friend - should ask. But if I’m not looking out for you, who will? Heyman? Ha! Besides, aren’t you spinning a similar tale? Not to test me, per se, but to hold me accountable or some shit? To make sure I don’t dive off the deep end?

Do you know how ‘patronising’ that sounds to me? How controlling?

Cast your mind back then, dear ‘friend’, to Mayday, and see what I fucking think of being ‘controlled’.

So what do you think, Dolly? What do you think my assessment of your readiness would be, when your coming at me with the kind of shit that I’ve made my entire life’s fucking mission to resist against?!

You know my story, Dolly.

And you should fucking know better than that.

Sure, it’s true that you don’t have to pin me to win. But to really win, you kinda do, right? To be fair, you’re probably in the best position to weather the torrent of shit that’d be thrown the way of anybody who would dare puff out their chest and suggest they beat the World-Beater without actually putting MY shoulders down. After all, what’s another round of Dolly being looked down on, right?

But if we were to imagine - as hard as it is - a world where that happens, and you take my Universe from me without actually stopping me in my tracks… how do you think that ends? Who do you think would be the very next person that you’d be served on a platter to?

The world would want to see if you could do it one-on-one, wouldn’t they?

Do you think you’d be ready for that?

Do I think you would be?

Tell ya what. I’ll write my assessment in an envelope for you and you can open it after I fucking wreck you. If my fire doesn’t burn it first…”








2E: De-cock-racy

The year 2040.
A meeting room somewhere in Exile City.
Otherworld.

“Hold up!” ALIAS threw his hands in the air, and picked his voice up over the cacophony. “Can we just back the fun bus the fuck up here for a second?”

His young ‘daughter’ didn’t even bat an eye at him cursing.

“You can’t be all seriously considering this?”

"We signed on to be a part of this little ass-grab to get our Bastard back. Now I’m no science bitch, but there should be five of us around the table here and I only count four.” Thunder Knuckles, still intact mullet and all, pointed to Bobby, Ozzy, and the Barn-Bot. He almost forgot to point to himself, but caught it at the last minute before leaning forward over the table.

It certainly wasn’t a point without merit. ALIAS had noticed that Charlie Nickles was absent.

“What happened to Charlie?” he asked. His eyes drifted from TK to the other Bastards, and then, opened it up to the whole table to answer.

“He was found dead in his hospital room a couple of weeks ago,” Vita answered.

“A couple of weeks…” ALIAS muttered under his breath. He hadn’t realised that it had been so long. Now he wished he had shown more urgency in getting back here quicker, but… the red marks around Lance’s neck caught his attention.

He had his reasons.

“We still haven’t found out what happened,” Frankie added. “Lance and I are leading the investigation.”

“I’m…” he looked back towards the Bastards. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

“But that’s the point here, isn’t it?” Bobby jumped in. “It doesn’t have to be our loss. We can bring Charlie back like it never even happened. Hell, he could probably even tell us what happened, which could help dumb and dumber’s investigation.”

“There is one caveat,” Raion Kido interrupted. He was the newcomer to this group, though from the brief introduction that was given, it seemed that some of the ‘leadership group’, namely Lance and the North Korean War Queen, were already aware of him. The story was that he was nomadic, apparently. Drifting from city to city, helping whomever was needed.

Like a poor imitation, with none of the nuance.

Burn those fucking cosmos all the way down.

“And what’s that?” Big Money Oswald asked.

“I need the body,” Raion said. “I cannot bring anybody back without their physical body. Which means that if it is missing or destroyed somehow, then I am unable to return them to this universe.”

“Which means no Ruby.” Vita Valenteen stared directly at Frankie Duke, before following on to the North Korean War Queen - this timeline’s version of the Daughter of ALIAS. Given Ruby’s role in the Exiles, the two of them would feel the loss as much as Vita would.

“No Mark or NK either,” Frankie acknowledged. The War Queen was typically unreadable.

Mark Flynn’s body had been burned by Unknown Soldier. It had been protocol, when on field missions, but the fact that it was Soldier himself - while still under his cover as an Exile himself - who had killed Flynn, was still unknown to the group. They did know that Soldier had killed Ruby, however. Her body was left atop the Dark Tower after ALIAS had led them to the top, only for Soldier to betray them. The High Lord then attacked, riding atop The Salmon-Coloured Minotaur. In the same battle, the very same minotaur ate the North Korean War Criminal.

“Nor Thad…” Frankie and Vita’s sombre tone spread to Dolly Waters. She didn’t mean to say that, not when Frankie was clearly struggling. But the memory of the High Lord tearing Thad’s head from his body was still seared into her mind. The words just… fell out.

“But…” Frankie’s eyes lit up, puzzling Dolly. “We do have The Witness’s body still. That’s a version of Thad, right? And could we bring Corey’s body back from your world?”

He turned to ALIAS, hopefully.

The supposed Master of the Universe shook his head.

“It was cremated,” he said. “We didn’t think the prospect of anybody discovering a body that matched someone from our own timeline was a risk worth taking.”

As sensible as the explanation was, it still deflated Frankie a bit.

“There’s still Charlie,” TK reminded them.

“And the gimp-mask version of Thad,” Ozzy added, seemingly agreeing with his Bastard companions.

“And then there’s the future…” Eyes fall back to Raion. “Think of a world where we one never has to worry about death again.”

“Yeah, well… I’m fucking living that, thank you very much.” The head of zombie-Gator’s jaw flapped as he spoke. “No body, no hands, no dick… hell, I can’t even take a shit! Do you know how much you’d miss taking a shit if you couldn’t do it?”

“That sounds horrible!” Bobby felt genuine pity at the thought.

“Right?!”

“I wouldn’t wish eternal life on anybody,” Vita said, continuing Gator’s line of thinking. “You just see all of your friends die.”

“ZzzzZBUT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD NOT DIE EITHERZzzzZ” The Barn-Bot buzzed.

“Yeah!” TK shouted. “And Barney’s a fucking computer now, so he’s basically the smartest motherfucker here.”

“ONK!” Taco snorted.

“ZzzzZTACO SAYS THAT HE HOPES ALL THE BITCHES HE FUCKED DON’T COME BACK TO LIFE AND ASK FOR CHILD SUPPORTZzzzZ,” the Barn-Bot translated.

“He’s right,” ALIAS confirms. It had been well established that alongside the many human languages he inexplicably knew, ALIAS was also versed in dialects of cow and bird. Apparently pig too.

“Did Vinnie not get him neutered?” Bobby wondered. Nobody had that particular answer.

“Dick?” Frankie through to Dick Powers, who had been largely silent.

“Huh?” he said. It was though hearing his name stunned him back into reality.

“Aren’t you like… immortal or something?” Frankie asked. “Do you tend to think the same as Vita and Gator?”

“I uh… I’m still stuck on the fact that Gator doesn’t have a cock…”

“Of course I don’t have one! Where the fuck would I put it?!” the zombie-head shouted.

“In a butt?” Dick asked. “Or a mouth. Or a pussy. Or like… just anywhere?”

“I didn’t mean it like that!” he rocked back and forth on the table. “I meant where would I put it on me?! You think I’m just gonna roll around with a dick on my nose or something?”

Mechanical whirring cut through the argument, as Bobby Bourbon’s cybernetic nose - courtesy of modifications from the Nefarious Scientist Ned Kaye - transformed into…

A penis.

“Well that’s an idea for later,” Bobby nods approvingly. His nose quickly transforms back.

“Enough!” ALIAS felt like this was going nowhere, but the reminder of Bobby’s nose implant got the gears churning in his own mind. He jutted his finger in Bobby’s direction. “Look at that shit!”

“Don’t you know that it’s rude to point?” Bobby said. There was an underlying threat to his words. The Bastard-Tamer ignored it.

“He got that shit, just like Ozzy here got some cyber-legs, TK got a cyber-cock, Charlie had some cyber-titties, and Barney got a full fucking robot body, all through one source! Ned Kaye! A.K.A. the evil fucking ‘scientist supreme’ of the High Lord himself!” A few of the faces around the table started to see where he was going with that before he even got there. “It’s the same place Ruby got her super speed and Unknown Soldier got his super strength. Ned turned Jenny Myst into some sort of blind freak who sees through her hearing like she’s Daredevil or something, but like, the Ben Affleck version. He sewed the T.H.U.G.s together like Frankenstein’s monster and made their skin into fucking rubber. He made Marf lose his mind, and he gave you, Dols’, the power to see the future through someone’s dreams.”

Dolly Waters was the first to understand what that meant.

“How can we trust you?” Dolly asked to Raion. “When were you captured, and how did you escape?”

“I saved him.” The Daughter of ALIAS’s voice was so small, but it was enough to control a room. “Didn’t I?”

She looked to her older self for answers.

As ever when the North Korean War Queen was concerned, there was a pause.

“I did,” she said.

“Which one of you?” ALIAS asked. The rest of the table was thankful that he had, with both of them using the first person pronoun like that.

“I… I don’t remember,” the younger Paritegi admitted.

“That’s okay, little one,” her older equivalent reassured her. “I remember for the both of us. It was me. Alongside Captain Smith and Sergeant Flynn.”

“And you didn’t bring him back here with that kind of power?” Frankie asked, his mind instantly wandering to the comrades they’ve lost along the way. If Raion Kido had been with them for the past few months, then maybe some of his friends would still be here today.

“He opted not to.” She looked over to Raion, who nodded, confirming her recollection. “It is not the way of the movement to push people to do what they don’t want to do. We have only ever welcomed people into our fold who chose to be here. I would have thought you would have remembered that, Officer Duke.”

“Oh can it with that movement bullshit!” That might be the first time that ALIAS had heard the adult Frankie Duke swear. “Can’t you see that it was all a lie? The High Lord set us all up! He ‘inspired’ us to fight in his name, while he was the fucking villain all along!”

Frankie kept thumbing at ALIAS while he spoke.

“No offence,” he quickly added.

“None taken!” the King-Slayer said, with aplomb. “I actually agree! Whatever version of the movement you’ve been following has taken you off course!”

“Wait…” Dolly caught something. “What do you mean by ‘version’? Have you not shut this fuckin’ movement down in yer own world yet?”

“I–”

“We should vote.” Lance’s interruption didn’t give ALIAS a chance to defend himself. Or even just to explain that he had been a bit busy making sure that Lance - his Lance, not this one - was okay.

The suggestion took all the attention instead.

“Vote?” Vita repeated. “This is crazy! Dead needs to mean dead! How are you guys even considering this?”

“What other option do you have, Vita?” Lance put the onus back on her. “Overrule the voices of others here because of the thoughts of one person?”

“It’s not just one person though!” she pleaded.

“Then let’s vote and find out.”

“This is WRONG,” Vita said. But the table had decided. ‘Democracy’ would prevail. She sighed, and dropped her head. “I vote ‘no’.”

Yes: 0
No: 1


“Well I vote ‘yes’!” Thunder Knuckles announced. “Time to bring Charlie back from the dead!”

Yes: 1
No: 1


“I’m with TK,” Bobby said. “Yes.”

Yes: 2
No: 1


“ZzzzZYESZzzzZ” the Barn-Bot hummed, falling in line with the other Bastards.

Yes: 3
No: 1


“No,” Oswald said.

“What the fuck Ozzy?!” TK punched the big guy in the arm.

“Fuck Charlie Nickles,” Ozzy affirmed.

Bobby Bourbon shrugged.

“He’s got a point.”

Yes: 3
No: 2


“Hard no,” Gator said, taking his turn. He and Vita shared a knowing glance, that only someone cursed with eternal life already would understand.

Yes: 3
No: 3


The next person seated at the table was Raion Kido. The Saint of Athena raised his hands.

“I do not feel it is appropriate for me to cast a vote in this ballot,” he said. “I am here to serve, not to rule.”

To ALIAS, that sounded like a stupid black-or-white mentality.

“ONK!” Taco grunted from away from the table, completely breaking the orderly process that had been in place prior.

“What’d he say?” Bobby looked to the Barn-Bot.

“ZzzzZNoZzzzZ” the Barn-Bot translated again.

“Goddamnit, Barn, you should’ve lied for us…”

Yes: 3
No: 4


“Dick?” Vita asked, looking over to where Powers still sat, mouth agape, trying to figure out the anatomy of the body-less zombie-Gator.

“No…” he said under his breath.

“Thank you,” she said, smiling. They had been through a lot together, as former members of The Bastards’ Freak Show.

Dick still seemed distracted.

“No… cock…”

The vote still counts.

Yes: 3
No: 5


“Frankie?” she turned her attention to the young Duke.

“I…” he stammered, thinking hard about the answer. “I… I vote ‘yes’.”

“Frankie?!” Dolly gasped.

“We can bring people back, Dolly,” he tried to explain himself. “We can bring back The Witness version of Dad, and then… we can save so many more people!”

Yes: 4
No: 5


“It’s not right.” She shook her head. “No.”

Yes: 4
No: 6


“I’m surprised…” Lance said, looking at his fellow ‘leader’. “I thought you knew better.”

“What do you mean?” Dolly asked.

“Yes,” the North Korean War Queen said.

Yes: 5
No: 6



“Hang on…” Dolly tried to slow the tide.

“Yes,” Lance said.

Yes: 6
No: 6


“What are you two not telling me?” she asked. Something didn’t feel right.

At least there were still two more votes to come…

“I vote–”

“I already did, young one,” the North Korean War Queen interrupted her younger self.

“No fair!”

“It’s okay,” ALIAS placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. He was the tie breaker. Of course it was going to end up that way. “What were you thinking?”

A star twinkled in her brown eyes as she looked up at him.

“You’ll vote how I would?” she asked.

“If it makes sense,” he smiled.

“Good.” She returned his smile. “There’s lots to think about! But mostly… mostly I think about all the friends who aren’t here. And I think about the ones that nobody else is thinking of.”

“What do you mean?” ALIAS pressed.

“I think about Frankie’s brother and sister.”

“What brother and sister?” Frankie asked, poking his head over ALIAS’s shoulder. This wasn’t the first time that the Legend-Breaker had heard Frankie’s confusion at the mention of Talon and Caitlyn.

Paritegi continued.

“I think about Dolly’s cousin too.”

“...Cousin…?”

“I think about all of your friends that you don’t seem to remember.” She looked around the table at every person there. Even Taco. Even ALIAS. Except… “You remember though, right? You remember your friend. You remember–”

“What’s your vote?” Lance asked, not letting the Daughter of ALIAS finished.

But the ‘father’ remembered.

“Dani…”

As ghostly white as Lance usually looked, he somehow became more pale. Even the red in the scar around his neck seems to be sapped of colour.

“Lance…” ALIAS locked eyes on his ‘BEST FRIEND’. “What happened to Dani here?”

“What’s your vote?” Lance tried to ask again. But ALIAS looked at him as would a snack served up in the wrestling ring.

“WHAT HAPPENED TO DANI?”

Lance shut his eyes.

When he opened them, they were black.

ALIAS noticed a ring on his finger that he had never seen before.

He slid his chair back.

“If you won’t cast your vote, then the others will instead,” Lance… or what should be Lance said. His words had grown hoarse and chaotic, like a thousand other voices were speaking through his mouth.

“What others?” the War-Winner asked. The others had all voted, right? He turned to the rest of the table.

All save for the two versions of Paritegi were gone.

“Our extra guests,” Lance said. He rose from the table, taller than ALIAS ever remembered him to be.

Two figures emerged next to him and the North Korean War Queen.

“What have you done…?” The poor little patient balled his fists, wishing he had something with a sharper fucking blade. Like the War Queen’s sword.

He knew the faces of the ‘guests’ the moment that he saw them.

They wore matching rings to Lance.

His ‘Angel Doctor’, from whom he had fled just before returning to the XWF, eighteen month ago.

“I vote yes.”

Yes: 7
No: 6


And Paritegi’s grandmother, to whom he handed his ‘daughter’ too, thinking she would be safe.

“I vote yes.”

Yes: 8
No: 6


Last he saw of both of the women, was when he freed Paritegi from captivity in North Korea. She was going to be subjected to the same thing that he had been for so long. She was going to be made into something like he was! Whatever that was.

He couldn’t let that happen to anybody else.

And he wouldn’t now.

It didn’t matter how he voted now. The die were cast.

But his Universe was not a democracy.

“Where’s Dani, Lance?” he asked one more time.

“Where she belongs,” what once was Lance, hissed.


“She followed the voice…”








2F: Once More With Feeling

“My fire has already burned one of you though, hasn’t it? Hey Charlie, if your favourite stories are the ones where the strong abuse the weak, you must love getting your ass beat by me every time you try to step up.

If you ask me, it actually feels like rehashing that shit about pinning me FIFTEEN MONTHS AGO is one of your favourite stories. You know, the thing that happened before Demos when you tried to label all of that shit I said about that bozo as ancient history? Weird, huh? Does it help your shit make sense if I say that I was a different person back then too? I mean, it was pre-ascension for me. Pre- the rebirth. Pre- becoming the World-Eater. That’d be too easy though, wouldn’t it? That’d shit all over whatever fucking logic Chuckleberry tries to throw up. Oops, guess I kind of went and shat on it anyway, didn’t I? Yet… Charlie still throws up and a bunch of fucking words come out as vomit that we’re, I think, supposed to take seriously? Maybe try specifying that it was for a championship again bud! That’s a good line, right? Since you know… you’ve never done it in a match?

Oh…

You did spin it like that.

Awkward…

This is getting less fun, Charlie. You make it too easy. For example, if Dolly Waters never beating you is grounds for her not being the next Universal Champion… and if Raion Kido never beating you is too… well do I need to fucking spell it out for you?

You pinned me for the Heavymetalweight Championship… hooray! In that ring? YOU FUCKING NEVER HAVE. And guess what, cunt? Our last throw down was for a championship too. AND WHO FUCKING WON?

Yeah… you’re cooked, mate. Your only argument is ‘I know I can beat ALIAS’, but Charlie… you said that last time! And the time before that too! And Raion Kido’s fucking saying it about you now, but you’re saying it’s not enough for him. I don’t know how Rai-Rai’s math works out, so I can’t help you there, but I do know that yours just isn’t adding up! Because the real answer weighs up a hell of a lot more than any heavy metals. It’s the weight of the whole fucking Universe CA-RUSHING you.

And yeah, you’ve come back for more. Bully for you. I’ll put a slight twist on what you said and say that my second dance with the Universe here has been built around ME FUCKING BEATING YOU rather than just being about you, but I won’t deny that you’ve certainly been apart of the story so far. It’s not exactly the brag that you’re making it out to be when you keep falling on you fucking ass though. But what? Because I haven't sent you packing for good that it somehow invalidates me shoving your head up your own ass? Is that it? Well so, and that's truly the bar to clear for you to chalk a mark up in the win column, doesn't that actually invalidate everything for YOU? You may as well just come out and say that the best you can fucking hope for is a loss that doesn't end your career! But make no mistake about it, I have absolutely shredded your reputation, Charlie. And my proof? Sure you've been handed another title shot here, but it's not one-on-one is it? No. That question has been well and truly answered! So instead, you're in the position for the exact reason that I've already said.

To make up numbers.

Because there's nobody else left.

Because the people you beat for the Television Championship aren’t up to scratch to step up to me. After all, you beat ‘em. Peter Vaughn is now the Super-Continental Champion, and we’ve all seen how that played out too. SO WHO THE FUCK ELSE IS THERE?

Mark Flynn? Been there, done that.

Bobby Bourbon? Been there, done that.

The way I see it, the only people who really could be fed to me on the XWF roster that could be remotely interesting are the North Korean War Criminal, and Thunder Knuckles. But you told us all how you’ve already beaten TK, right? I guess that scratches him off the list. And NK? Well actually… he’s literally never lost a singles match. So… maybe?

But shit, since you got pissy at RL Edgar being on your telly when he’s not even fighting anymore, you may as well roll out Jim Jimson, ‘cause has that motherfucker had a match since he ‘returned’? You know… I tend to avoid this word most of the time, but since I used it last time too, I reckon now would be a good time to call you a fucking hypocrite again.

Go ahead, call me one too. Lycana did it, and she was right!

This is the way of the world though, Charlie. This is the way of the Universe now. There’s damn near nobody left to eat, so unless there’s half a fucking meal put in front of me - such as Thaddeus Duke was - then yep, I ain’t doing it. Want to know how I can get away with that? Because I win. I. Keep. Winning. And don’t get me wrong, I’m still all about the fight! It’s just… none of you can fucking offer it. Not by yourselves. And that’s why we’re here. With three of you fuckers just trying to keep up with me.

I mean, come on Charlie. Marf hitting me from behind? Jim hitting me from behind? First of all, let’s just take a second here to point out that WE’VE ALREADY GONE THROUGH ALL THIS and that people like Reggie Estrada and Ash Quinn have both jumped me from behind too. This is the company you keep, Chuck. Remember? This is your fucking Baphomet moment. And yet… even with all that for the entirety of the last eighteen months, it never seems to pay off during the match! You listed off all those buddies of yours, but still YOU couldn’t get the job done. Who’s the guy who hasn’t put me down for the count - metaphorically speaking, LOL (there it is again, Raion!) - and stood over my body during this Universal Championship reign? CHARLIE FUCKING NICKLES. Hey, here's a novel idea! How about you don't just keep doing the same old shit that doesn't work for you?

Nah… that’s too hard for ol' Charlie Nickles isn't it?

Play the sneak attack card again, you dumb bitch. Continue to flail against the fucking wind and come up short. That's your M.O. by now. Charlie Nickles… same as you ever were.

And yeah man, you’re main eventing Warfare after Warfare! Except… the one Warfare that I did compete on. Where I was in the main event. And you weren’t.

WHOOOOOOSH.

When the man comes back around, Charlie Nickles gets bumped. One hundred percent of the time. And to think, all that hot air let outta the Charlie Nickles balloon with one simple statement. Man, who would’ve thought that it’d be so easy to shit all over half of what Charlie says?

Well… pretty much everyone who has seen this play out by now I guess. Thanks for trying to catch the newcomers up on that front, but as always, when it comes to you and I…? I’ve got this. Because the history can be summed up much more simply by saying: ALIAS wins, and Charlie loses.

Oh, and your little Warfare callout? Dude… you’re forgetting how this goes. You can scream to the fucking sky about calling me a fucking coward all you want. But you also literally celebrate attacks from behind and consistently get your ass beat when you come at me from the front, so it’s pretty easy just to piss all over whatever you want to claim.

You want me? You know where to find me. The Velvet Rabbit, July 24. I suggest you do yourself a favour and take the time to actually get better between now and then though. Because, you had me last Warfare. And you - not Marf, but you! - didn’t do shit. So hey, bring your butt buddies to the Rabbit too, since you clearly can’t fucking touch me without ‘em. I don’t fucking care. Shit, I haven’t tried to get ‘revenge’ on Marf or Jim for crying out loud! Because they’re pathetic pieces of shit who don’t even warrant me putting on pants for. This is gonna be Falls Count Anywhere though. If they want my attention so bad, they can come get involved! And we can go and take this soiree anywhere in the Velvet Rabbit that we’d like, such as, say… the kitchen. Where there can be a fork for you to try and come rip us all open. Like you said you would.

Go and fucking get it, my man! Do it! Use it! Bring it to the party, and watch how I prove the old adage true of people being more likely to be attacked with their own weapon. Watch as I take the fucking fork from you, just like in those stories you love.

And then watch as I use it for what it was made for.

Fork, to mouth.

I don’t even need to say the verb.”








2G: Revelations


(The following occurred in #1: Open, from Shove-It: Mayday.)

They bring me into another room. You step in behind and hover back in the corner. There were two chairs there, each with leather straps and metal chains hanging loosely from their arms and legs. The nurses muscle me into one and strap me in. A metal table in front of me had a variety of ‘toys’ laid out on top of it. One of the nurses scans them and you follow their eyes as they take in the clamps, hammers, screwdrivers, and other, similar playthings. They run their hand over a chainsaw and then pick up a friend I had become intimately familiar with over the preceding months: a blowtorch. The flame flickers on the nurses face, causing their eyes to glow demonically.

“Put that down,” the other nurse tells them, subtly flicking their eyes towards the mirror behind the desk. The ‘head honchos’, you presume. With a look of disappointment, the blowtorch is placed back upon the desk. The iron door then creaks open and flat footsteps briskly cross the room.

“Tsk, tsk,” the source says. The meddling nurse steps away and joins their brethren next to you by the door. The source pushes some of the tools to the side and emphatically drops a clipboard onto the table. The clip that gave the board its name sends a ringing sound reverberating around the room as it slaps the metal surface, pinging off overhead pipes and causing the whole room to sing for a few melodious seconds. A face turns towards me. You can’t place it, but I can. A familiar doctor.

Her hat sits comically on her head. You spy a bird’s nest of greying brown hair underneath it and suspect that it’s the only thing keeping the hat in place. The fluorescent lighting catches the greys in her hair to create a shimmering halo effect. She looks like an angel.


“Wait a minute…” ALIAS pleaded, trying to figure out what was going on.

Everything was moving far too fast for him to keep up. Reality swirled! It blinked! It burned.






(The following occurred in #3: Imprisoned, from Leap of Faith 2021. With one small change…)

BANG! BANG! BANG!

BANG! BANG!

BANG!


The door behind me flings off its hinges and smacks me in the back, spilling me to the ground.

CLINK!

What was that?

I look to my right and see it. Of course! Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

Noone else has noticed. Good! I just need to keep it that way. Hang on... what are they all looking at?

Dazed, I roll onto my back - moving in the direction I need to go. In the opening where the (dread) oak door was once latched to the stone wall, two figures stand. One is short and plump, with three chins and eyes as sullen as Kieran’s. A short white cap sits upon her head.

I know her.

I don’t understand!

“You’re supposed to be dead!” I cry out, as the doctor I call ‘angel’ comes into full view. Once more she comes to me in captivity. “Not again! Not again!”

Then the light hits the second figure. His face is unfamiliar, but something about the way he stands… oh… his ring. Wait… she has one too!



His face is unfamiliar…



His face is…


“LANCE!” ALIAS shouted, from nineteen years in the future. It ripped through the fabric of FUCKING EVERYTHING, and stopped the slender man in his tracks.

The Universe hummed. The darker parts of reality somehow glowed, like an absurd negative photograph! Shadowy waves of nothing crashed against him with unforgiving force. He raised his hands to shield his eyes or face or fucking anything he could, but still the waves keep barrelling down upon, blinding him from everything!

And then…






(The following occurred in The Alias Saga #3: Me 4, from Relentless 2021. With one small change…)

Everything is made worse by the rain beating down from on high. With a determined attack, it adds itself to a rushing flow of water that floods a thin, indented gutter hugging the nearby stone building as it runs down the edge of the alley behind the dumpster. I press tight against the building, trying to find any hint of shelter. There is none to be found.

From where I hide, what I’m sure is only a few minutes feels like almost an hour under the unrelenting downpour. Over the sound of the water pounding the pavement, the sound of squealing car brakes catches my attention. Braving the rain, I poke my head out past the dumpster and spy a dark car parked at the end of the alley, puffed steam emanating from its engine does its best to fight against the weather. With a clunk, the car opens and a portly woman emerges, drawing an umbrella over her head to protect herself. She turns back towards the vehicle, and I strain my ears to hear her.

“He’ll be a fantastic fit,” I hear her say to someone inside. She turns back towards the alley and begins to approach. A leering street light from above catches her face.

It’s her! Again! My Angel!

And she’s coming right towards me!

I go to duck into the shadows once again, but something catches my eye in the car. The light shines just right and I see…


“LANCE!” Again he called to the past. Feet to wet pavement, ALIAS heeded the ‘call of the Universe’. He sprung out from behind the dumpster and charged. Past the ‘Angel Doctor’! Past whatever version of himself she was allegedly bringing ‘into the fold’! He made a beeline straight for the car! Straight for Lance!




































































3



1“He said it, so it must be true.” 2Thus the liar said to the shepherd. 3He lay with the shepherd, upon his back. 4Together they watched the stars. 5The liar pointed and named them as he went. 6He told to the shepherd that the light that they saw was from aeons lost.7 The fire had surely claimed that upon which they gazed. 8The shepherd thought on this a moment. 9He now had no flock, no field, and no house. 10Each was lost to the fire as well. 11Still, the lie persisted. 12And so to, did the liar.


Do you have a light?

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