Guest Host Motel
St. Louis, Missouri
“Kenny, wake up.”
Inside one of the many rooms in this lovely, lovely motel, we find Randall Schwartz attempting to nudge Kenny awake, doing well to keep something hidden from view as he goes. His attempts to whisper to his younger compatriot fall flat, so the Entertainer eventually goes the more brash approach.
“Kenny! Wake up, for the love of–”
Before Randall can finish his exclamation, Kenny jolts out of bed with a startle, his eyes widened in horror at some nightmare he may or may not have had just seconds prior. Quickly realizing what pulled him back into the realm of reality, however, Kenny immediately starts glaring at the Entertainer.
“What do you want, Randall? I’m tryna get some sleep here, I need to rest up before the trip to Louisville. I’m desperate to string together a few wins again, man, and this Almasy Invitational is gonna give me the chance to do just th–”
“Yeah, yeah, win a few matches, impress Stanislav when you win the whole thing, and so on,” interjects the Entertainer with a nod. “You know what else is gonna impress him?”
Kenny doesn’t have it in him to even respond to the question, but that doesn’t stop Randall from pressing on all the same.
“I’m gonna do something out of left field, just to show Stanislav and Ruslan how loyal we are to the cause. People think we’re a joke because we spawned out of some oddball pairing, so I’m going to do the seemingly impossible.”
Kenny finally starts to realize what Randall is proposing, and shakes his head as the Entertainer unveils a portal gun.
“I’m gonna go back in time and stop the Masters of the Multiverse from ever getting together in the first place. Without that goof Darin Zion teaming up with Xander Azula, we can finally be the Masters we should be…truly the Masters of the Moscowverse.”
“First of all, that’s not how that works,” interrupts Kenny, still shaking his head at the thought. “If those two don’t team up, then WE don’t team up. Second, you silly goose, that is not a time mach–”
But before Kenny can finish his sentence, Randall points the portal gun at the nearest wall, opening a shimmering blue portal that he hops into…much to the shock and horror of Kenny as the portal closes right behind the Entertainer. Kenny looks around, the panic settling in more and more as he tries to find another portal gun to chase after his foolish friend…but to no avail. Kenny leaps from his bed, walking over to his phone where he opens a curiously-named app called, well, AEON…and presses a big red button appearing on his screen.
In the blink of an eye, his old friend Aeon Khronos appears…wearing a sleep mask and snoring on the chair beside the bed. Kenny just stares at the slumbering dimension-traveler before shouting to wake him.
“Aeon! I need your help!”
Aeon wakes right the hell up with this call to action, quickly removing his sleep mask as he looks at the man who summoned him…giving him a smirk to say the least.
“Oh, I see, now you need my help. Isn’t that just conve–”
“It’s Randall, he…took the portal gun and ran off, something about trying to stop the Masters of the Multiverse from ever getting together in the first place.”
This just confuses Aeon, raising an eyebrow as he responds.
“He, uh…he knows that portal gun’s not a time machine, right?”
“That’s what I tried to tell him!”
Aeon just lets out a heavy sigh, shaking his head as he pulls out his Breacher. He points the device toward the hotel wall, opening a shimmering orange portal…a detail that does not go unnoticed by Freeman.
“Hey, Randall’s portal was blue, this one’s orange.”
“They’re the same thing,” replies Aeon with another smirk. “Think of it like the difference between an iPhone and an Android. Two different types of devices but they have the same basic purpose…such is the case between portal guns and Breachers.”
“Ah, I see…so which one has the better camera?”
Aeon just shoots a glare at Kenny, pulling him by the arm as they head into the portal, which disappears in a flash of light. We’re left with an empty hotel room, silent…but not for long, as a knock can be heard at the door, followed by a shout.
Darin Zion, you goof, you fiend…you silly goose.
I should’ve known the two of us would cross paths in a PRIME ring one of these days. After all, the moment the tag titles got deactivated I started drawing up a list of all the singles competitors I wanted to face, to take down a peg or two and prove that I deserve to be here…and you were right up there alongside the likes of champions and legends, Zion.
Wanna know why? Because champions and legends are the test of my physical fortitude, my mental capacity even…but you are the test of my emotional endurance. What I mean is, whereas men like Ivan Stanislav and Chandler Tsonda are the ultimate litmus test of what it means to truly be the best in this business…you are the assessment on how much bullshit I can tolerate. Mr. REAL LOVE, Mr. HOOONK, Mr. Lemme Talk Out My Ass A Little Longer And See Who Gets Tired Of My Nonsense.
The answer to that last one is everyone, by the way. Bobby Dean, Arthur Pleasant, Jared Sykes…these men all beat you, but I have the opportunity to do so with a little prize on the line. Last year’s Almasy Invitational was before I set foot in PRIME, but now that it’s come back around and I am not focused on tag team glory…I want the gold, sucka.
The gold of that Almasy Invitational, that is. I’m assuming it’s made of gold, trophies like that usually are. Anyway, you and I have a surprising amount in common…but unlike you, I actually won one of my last three matches, and in this, the fourth match for each of us? I plan on getting the same outcome, Darin. A notch in the damn win column for the true underdog of this company…of this whole entire business, really.
You’re the first step I need to take on route to the ultimate sign of respect. Beating you means I have what it takes to really prove myself against the best of this company…and unlike your buddy JCH, there will be NO LOVE for Darin Zion who sits the rest of this tournament out.
Better luck next year, Zion, you…you frequent flier of idiocy.
One Short Blog Post Later
The orange portal opens up, yeeting Kenny and Aeon to the ground. As the pair bring themselves back up to their feet, they start looking around to gather their bearings…and that’s when the nerves really kick in.
“What in the world is this, Aeon?”
“You mean what in the multiverse is th–”
Kenny just glares at Aeon, stopping him dead in his tracks as they survey the scene around them. On every building, street sign, and even fire hydrant, there is a face that looks an awful lot like Darin Zion…and the pair quickly find the reason why, as an electronic sign above them reveals just where they are.
“WELCOME, TRAVELERS, TO DARINVILLE”
Aeon reads the sign out loud, prompting nothing more than a primal scream from Kenny Freeman. When he gets that out of his system, he looks at Aeon with a face full of fear.
“We have to get the hell out of here, Aeon. This city, town, or whatever we’ve landed in, is not a world I want to be in. If there’s a Darin Zion in charge of this place, I’d much rather be anywhere else, so go use that Breacher of yours and–”
Kenny is interrupted by a shout from the distance, one that he recognizes instantly as Randall Schwartz.
“Heeeeeyyy yoooooou guuuuuuuuuyyyyys!”
The Entertainer gives his best impression of Sloth from The Goonies as he approaches, wearing a t-shirt with the Zionesque face that reads “IT’S ALL LOVE IN DARINVILLE”…much to Kenny’s horror, a snarl on his face that Randall is surprised by.
“Aw, come on…I thought you’d be happy to see me again!”
Kenny just looks at Randall, then at his shirt, and then back at the Entertainer before responding.
“What exactly have you been up to, Randall?”
“Well, I stumbled into this ol’ town, where the natives took kindly to me,” replies Randall as he waves hello to a denizen nearby, who looks suspiciously the same as the face on his t-shirt. “Turns out, even though everyone here looks like Darin Zion, they don’t mind meeting people who don’t. After all, it’s all love in Dar–”
“Don’t you dare recite the tagline,” interrupts Kenny, reaching out with his hand. “Give me back the portal gun, it’s time to go home.”
Randall lets out a heavy sigh, pulling the gun out of his pocket as he hands it back to Kenny before chiming in with a factoid.
“Did you know that thing isn’t a time machine?”
Kenny puts the gun somewhere safe as he and Aeon respond in exasperated unison.
With that, Aeon points his Breacher device out in the open, revealing a shimmering orange portal for the trio to make their escape.
“Hey, that portal’s orange, why’s th–”
Randall doesn’t have a chance to finish his question as he is pulled by Kenny into the portal, the three disappearing with a flash as the regular business of Darinville resumes as normal…whatever version of normal that is. Less than a jiffy (not the popcorn) later, we return to some sense of our normal reality as Aeon and the Masters reappear inside the hotel room…which gives the housekeeping quite the fright as Randall lands right on top of one of the staff, both of them falling to the floor.
Kenny and Aeon, however, have a much smoother landing as they help Randall and the staffer back to their feet. Randall apologizes to the young lady for the trouble, and as housekeeping take their leave the Entertainer is met with a glare from Kenny and Aeon. Randall shifts his eyes between the two of them before shrugging with a look of confusion.
“What? I said I was sorry.”
“What did we learn today, Randall?” asks Aeon, his hands on his shoulders like a disappointed school teacher waiting for his student to admit to wrongdoing. “What was the lesson?”
Randall rolls his eyes, letting out a heavy sigh before responding.
“Don’t go mucking around in the multiverse without a buddy.”
After some hesitation, Aeon finds this reply satisfactory as he nods with a smile.
“Good. You two need to really sort yourselves out. I can’t have either of you just roaming the multiverse, especially if you’re gonna be working for Ivan Stanislav. Despite what he might try and tell you, the whole plane of existence does not need to be covered in Soviet red, thank you very much.”
Aeon looks at Kenny with that last remark, his smirk turning into a glare as he continues.
“And you? You especially need to sort it out. You’re the one who has a chance to change things by winning that Almasy Invitational…but nothing will change if you decide to lay down for Ivan when the time comes. Don’t be a dingus. Use your brain.”
Kenny starts to respond to this, but Aeon disappears from view with another flash of light. Kenny just shakes his head with a sigh when suddenly, his phone alerts him to a new text message. Kenny reaches into his pocket, pulling the phone out to glance at the message…and it’s from Alexei Ruslan.
“See you in Louisville, comrades! Your great first-round victory awaits you!”
Kenny lets out another sigh, shaking his head as he puts the phone back in his pocket.The nerves are starting to get to him as he lightly scratches his eyebrow, pondering the directive Aeon has just given him and what his next move has to be…when Randall interrupts his train of thought with an inquiry.
“You okay, Kenny?”
Kenny shakes his head as he looks to his friend, a mixture of concern and frustration still evident on his face as he responds with a query of his own.
“What made you think it was a good idea to try and mess around with time anyway, Randall? Why did you think stopping the Masters of the Mutiverse from forming would’ve fixed anything?”
“Well,” replies Randall with a light shrug. “It was either that or try and stop a wedding, but as soon as the thought even entered my brain I swore I could hear the distinct sound of fluttering. You know what that means, right?”
Kenny shakes his head, oblivious to whatever it is Randall is implying…and if you think the Entertainer’s next statement is for the birds, you would be correct, but not for the reason one might assume right away.
“Crows, man. A bad omen. So, I went with the next best idea.”
Kenny just rolls his eyes at this, plopping himself down on the bed as he thinks ahead to PRIME 37, the opportunity ahead of him…and the inevitable situation of dealing with Ivan Stanislav, win or lose. Eventually, he turns to Randall with a small smirk in an effort to lighten the mood.
“Fair enough, Randall…but you’re cutting the promo against Glue Man Group.”
Kenny slaps his hand on the pillow before laying down on the bed.
“As for me, I’m taking another nap. We leave tomorrow for Louisville.”
Randall nods in agreement to the terms, as Kenny closes his eyes, and he drifts off into slumber once more before we fade to bl–zzz…