IRON AND COPPER
In the wake of their match with the Masters of the Multiverse, the camera catches King Blueberry saying something to his partner, but not the content. She offers little in the way of reaction short of shaking her head. Despite the battle they just went through, the schism between them is palpable, and it seems to be the only thing that they can focus on at the moment.
This is why they don’t notice the commotion in the crowd. This is why the rising noise doesn’t seem to reach them.
Richard Parker: Nick, I think we’ve got another situation happening here.
Nick Stuart: Oh god, what now?
For the second week in a row, the pair are caught unaware as the trio of Darin Zion, Jonathan-Christopher Hall, and his cousin Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy hit the ring with ill intent.
Nick Stuart: You’ve got to be kidding me! Again? AGAIN?!
It’s the additional vibrations in the ring that catch the Kings’ attention. Justine Calvin, the former Reina Raspberry, turns just in time to see the wild grin of Darin Zion as he lunges towards her partner with a steering wheel in hand.
Darin Zion: HOOOOOOOOOOONK!!!
He connects with a hard shot, strong enough to take him off his feet and knock the wheel from his hand. The Blueberry crashes back, landing in the corner with a thud.
Richard Parker: After what we saw two weeks ago, I have no idea what we’re about to see, but I’ve got a gut feeling that says I’m not going to like it.
Nick Stuart: Dammit, can we get someone out here?! Two weeks ago they waterboarded this man, for goodness’ sake!!
Calvin’s reaction is primal, instinctual. With a quick moment to compose herself, she lashes out at the first person she sees. In this case, that’s Jonathan-Christopher Hall.
Nick Stuart: Yes! Take your shot, J-
A blindside shot from Gladhappy’s crowbar ends her moment before it begins.
Hall, now incensed, begins putting the boots to the fallen former berry. Every shot targeting the taped ribs of hers.
While this unfolds, Vickie Hall, the mastermind of the operation, saunters towards the ring and up the steps in her pink wedding gown. Her Hallmark Journey has been ruined, and despite the trauma her crew inflicted two weeks ago, the price has not yet been paid. There is still a debt to collect, and the cost will be paid in blood.
The steering wheel has skidded to a halt under one of the turnbuckles, and in moving to collect it Darin Zion has given the Blueberry a chance to regain some of his composure. Despite the shot he just suffered, despite the match he endured, he channels all of his energy into a single burst. His target – the man with the crowbar, and the rusted nail affixed to the end.
Vickie Hall has other things in mind, and she calls out to her cousin. Gladhappy wheels, brandishing the crowbar like a blade. The nail finds purchase in the chest of King Blueberry, digging into the right side of his chest and gouging a slash three inches across. Blood drips from the wound; a new scar added to his collection.
Richard Parker: Holy…
Nick Stuart: Fans, if you’re watching at home, I need to apologize for what just happened. This is… I don’t even know what this is anymore.
Gladhappy dives on the downed Blueberry, pressing the length of his weapon across his throat to drive the last air from his body. Jonathan-Christopher continues his attack on Justine. And Darin Zion, well…
Darin Zion: HOOOOOONK!! HONK HOOOOONK HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONK!!!!
What remains of the Enemigo crew in the wake of Paxton Ray’s break-in hit the scene, pouring through the arena entrance in an attempt to stave off the violence.
Nick Stuart: Finally some – OH SHIT!
It’s a cliche in professional wrestling that when something dire occurs, that the folks in production make sure to queue up the entrance for anyone brave enough to make the save. In this case there is no music, just five spoken words to signal that a different level of violence is about to take place.
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD
In the fiction from which that phrase is drawn exists the Eye Of Terror, a tear in reality in the depths of space between the real world – the matterium – and the Warp, a domain of pure chaos where demons are born through thoughts of malice, of lust, of excess. There are no horrors on par with what the Eye births into the universe, but the three figures charging the ring would give pause to even the most sinister child of the Warp.
The Enemigos part to allow them easy passage, because the alternative means getting trampled underfoot.
Brandon Youngblood. Coral Avalon. Nate Colton.
The cavalry has arrived.
Richard Parker: Something tells me we’re about to set a new distance record for how far one human can throw another one, and I am HERE FOR IT!
The color drains from Vickie’s face as she commands her boys to withdraw. Zion, Hall, and Gladhappy all bail in turn before vengeance hits the ring. Vickie herself is not so fortunate. The dress she wears makes getting into and out of the ring a bit unwieldy, and she’s just stepping out onto the ring apron when a massive paw clamps down around her wrist.
Nick Stuart: Don’t do it, Brandon…
She struggles against his grip, like a vice on her arm. With her free hand she reaches for her love, and the Timid Tiger moves toward his love, desperate to see her freed. She calls to him, pleads for him to rescue her from this monster, but It’s only through the virtue of Nate Colton that no harm comes to Vickie Hall.
The cameras don’t catch what The Next Diamond says – the anxious cries of Pretty Pink drowning him out, but his tone is calm and measured as he strategically positions his corn-fed Hoosier frame in between Youngblood and his target. With a snarl, the Pariah relents, releasing his grip and letting his quarry fall free from the ring apron into the waiting arms of her love.
And then, they run. Severely outnumbered by the combined force of roster and Enemigos alike, the Love Convoy retreats back through the crowd.
Nick Stuart: Fans, I have to be honest… I don’t know what’s happening, I can’t speak to anyone’s motivations behind the things we’ve seen tonight, all I know is that I hope we can find a way to restore order.
Richard Parker: I’d bet dollars to donuts that Lindsay Troy is getting a guided missile ready, and it’s about to be shot directly at Darin Zion and the Hall family. This is… I don’t even have words for this, Nick.
Inside the ring, Justine is the first to stand, aided to her feet by Avalon. Despite having given up the costumes that being a berry brings with it, the kinship remains strong. Her footing is unsure, and she’s forced to lean against the corner for support, but she stands nonetheless.
Her partner sits in an opposite corner, attended by members of the medical staff. The blood that poured from the wound on his chest has left trails down the length of his side, staining the white of his gear a pale crimson. Justine stumbles towards him, collapsing to her knees at his side and pressing a hand on the gauze already in place there until an EMT can replace it with a clean sheet.
For now at least, the tide has turned.
Nick Stuart: Paxton Ray… The Love Convoy… This is unlike anything I could have imagined when PRIME came back.
But this is not a triumph.
Nick Stuart: I have no idea what comes next.
This is not a victory.
Nick Stuart: Fans, for Richard Parker, I’m Nick Stuart. We’ll see you all again in two weeks. God help us.
THIS IS PRIME