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Final Frontier Federation

Chapter Text

TOM folded his arms behind his back, his metallic digits twiddling on their own accord as he waited for the elevator. A resounding beep heralded its arrival and the doors slid open, allowing him entry. TOM hovered his index finger over the touch screen display, gliding it to a hologram of the top floor. The elevator shifted before a quiet hum signaled the compartment was now en route. Rectangular bars of lights skimmed over his pitch black visor as the elevator made its ascent.

A moment later, the doors parted open to the bridge where his captain's chair awaited. TOM slid into the seat, taking his place in front of a large screen. A small, feminine hologram with wings fluttered about the bridge, eventually stopping in front of the screen to face her visitor. 

"Welcome back, TOM." The avatar greeted warmly.

"Good to be back, SARA." TOM reciprocated with a nod. SARA had been his longtime companion, ever since he replaced Moltar as the host of Toonami. He couldn't imagine running the ship without her.

"I take it you've been watching those wrestling shows again?" SARA inquired with a curious tilt of her head.

"Guilty as charged," TOM shrugged, "How did you know?"

"Aside from fictional wrestling being one of the top trends, your browser history documents an enormous backlog of episodes from various wrestling shows."

"That's not creepy at all." said TOM as he awkwardly scratched the dome of his head, indicating a hint of embarrassment.

"Have I perturbed you? I am sorry. You've just been withdrawn and quiet the last few weeks. I wanted to ask what was wrong, but wasn't sure if you were keen on providing an answer." SARA confessed, clasping her hands and lowering her head.

Whatever the robot equivalent of a heart was, TOM felt it sink a little. He'd always trusted SARA, but he'd, indeed, been bothered as of late and had yet to disclose the details. He was hoping to keep a lid on it for a little longer, but there was no sense in avoiding it now.

"Don't apologize," he began, "I should have been more upfront. The truth is, Toonami's ratings are beginning to creep. The show still has its dedicated following, but it's nowhere near enough to keep us funded. We're forced to share our time block with these wrestling companies and they're beginning to siphon a significant portion of our viewership. If I don't secure an alternate means of funding soon, we could be facing another cancellation within a year."

SARA cupped a hand over her virtual mouth. "Oh, my, that is bad news. What do you intend to do about this?"

"I've been brainstorming a few ideas and have come to a conclusion, if we can't beat the wrestling industry as Toonami, then we'll have to beat them as our own wrestling fed."

"Start a wrestling company?" SARA's glowing eyes flickered, mimicking the act of blinking. "TOM, how do you intend to hire a roster and manage finances, let alone make a company that stands out from the rest? Didn't you just say our funds were depleting?"

TOM held up an assuring hand to quell her concerns. "I've already thought that through. Our funds are in dire straits, yes, and that's why our first show has to be a hit. All those companies are based down on Earth and are broadcasted on an international scale. They've practically divided the planet's audiences among each other. Us? We're going to go one step beyond. We'll be a program that's being broadcast across the entire galaxy, reach audiences they could only dream of, and we've got just the ship to do it. If the Vindication can transmit cartoons and anime, we can definitely outfit this bad boy to broadcast our show across the stars. We'll be an interstellar sensation."

SARA hummed, cupping her chin in thought. "While we have remote drones that can act as cameras, you'll need to hire other personnel, such as commentators, referees, announcers, and interviewers, to name a key few."

"You're right, we can't do this alone. I can manage the finances, travel, and broadcasting, but I'll need someone to oversee the roster in a more hands-on role, someone with an assertive personality and an aura of authority." TOM stroked his own chin contemplatively, before a light bulb went off in his head, illuminating an idea. "And I think I know just the man for the job."


Sergeant Arch Dornan sat at the counter of the Camp Navarro bar, one hand clutching a shot glass, the other resting atop his helmet, which rested on the adjacent stool beside him. His eyes were glued downward, fixed onto his reflection provided by the alcohol. He'd never considered himself an alcoholic, but the few times he indulged in this rare vice, it was to smother the hardships of a particularly stressful day, which were comprised of yelling at the incompetence of the higher ups or the complacency of his subordinates. With all the daily shouting, even Dornan was amazed he hadn't ravaged his vocal cords beyond repair.

With one gulp, Dornan downed the entire shot, then grimaced as he felt the alcohol sting his taste buds. A cough escaped his mouth, followed by an uncomfortable wheeze that left him winded. He pounded a fist against his chest to knock his lungs back into working order, then silently raised a hand, gesturing the bartender to refill the glass. The bartender complied, pouring a mini-waterfall of alcohol from a glass bottle, then left Dornan to his own devices.

Dornan's ears picked up the light hiss of the doors, indicating someone had entered. His mind wrote it off as another officer coming to rest from their fatigues, but that thought process was halted immediately when a familiar, metallic voice called out to him.

"Sergeant Arch Dornan drowning his frustrations in alcohol? I thought you'd be shouting them to death."

Dornan recognized that wisecracking tone anywhere.

"You'd be surprised how stubborn my vexations are." he muttered.

TOM walked into view and leaned on the counter, tilting his visor in Dornan's direction with a laid back cock to the side for added effect.

"Haven't you ever considered just leaving the Wasteland? The Multiverse has a plethora of lively realms you can visit."

"Haven't you considered leaving that ship of yours?" asked Dornan with a scrunched brow.

"Usually when a space slime is trying to kill me or I'm being robbed by space pirates, but I'd count this as a special occasion."

"Oh?" Dornan emitted a bemused snort. "And what brings you to a shit hole like Camp Navarro? Who the hell let you in, anyway? I swear we were only to allow entry to those with authorized pass codes!”

TOM produced a small pass code on his visor. "I've still got mine from the last time I visited."

Dornan rolled his eyes and removed his helmet from the stool, allowing TOM to sit beside him. "You didn't answer my other question."

"Glad you asked," TOM said, swiveling his stool to face Dornan. "I'll get straight to the point, Toonami's facing cancellation due to a lack of funds, which in turn is due to dwindling viewership. So, I need to an alternate means of income."

"Like getting a real job?"

"Kind of. We all know wrestling is the biggest industry in the Multiverse. I mean, they don't call it the Fiction Wrestling Multiverse for nothing, so I've decided to open, drum roll please…" TOM tapped his fingers along his knee to mimic said drum roll before dropping his bomb. "... a wrestling company!"

Dornan stared at TOM for what felt like several seconds, allowing an awkward silence to bloom between them. The silence was shattered as Dornan exploded with laughter.

"That's rich! You wanna hold a wrestling company!" he choked.

TOM said nothing, instead crossing his arms to show his sincerity.

"Hahaha," Dornan wiped a tear from his eye, before noticing the implications of TOM's body language. "Oh, you're serious." Another bout of silence followed… then Dornan erupted into another fit, guffawing loud enough for the guards outside to hear.

"Are you done?" TOM asked, his fingers tapping his forearm as a sign of his diminishing patience.

"In all seriousness," Dornan caught his breath. "If you haven't noticed, you've got your work cut out for you. The industry is littered with wrestling feds, all vying for viewership. It's gonna be hard to make your company unique when everyone's already done everything."

"Not everything," said TOM, "This company will be the first of its kind. All those other companies may have divided Earth's viewership, but we can go one step beyond. We're going interstellar and the Vindication can be our base."

"So wrestling in space?" Dornan asked.

"If you want to make it sound basic, sure."

Dornan looked like he was ready to crumble into another fit of laughter.

"Hear me out! So maybe one or two companies have gone to space for a special occasion, but we can be the first spacefaring wrestling federation! Everyone always talks about Madison Square Garden, the most sacred of performance centers. We could be performing at the Mass Effect Citadel for crying out loud! We'd make Madison Square Garden look like a fossil by comparison!"

"You realize how crazy this sounds, right?" asked Dornan. "If we go to space, we're on our own. We'd have to deal with aliens, space pirates, and God knows what other cosmic horrors await us."

"I've been in space for nearly two decades, Dornan. Moltar chose me, a Beta-Drone at the time, because I was a cut above the rest. I never made it to where I was by being like everyone else, and we have a chance to do something truly unheard of. Let the other companies squabble over Earth. We'll take the final frontier. But I need your help. You've got the discipline and authority to keep the roster in line. We need to run a tight ship if we're going to make this work and I don't know anyone more qualified than Sergeant Arch Dornan."

"Well, things have been somewhat dull around here." Dornan rapped his fist on the counter, his mind stewed over the proposition. He glanced at the bar, then back at TOM. "If I join you, my men join you, for security."

"Of course, it saves me the trouble of holding applications for that position," TOM nodded.

"Well, then," Dornan picked up his helmet and slid it over his face. "What are we waiting for?"

TOM held out his hand. "Welcome aboard, partner."

Dornan stared at the open palm, then grabbed it with a firm shake. "Partners."


TOM stood in the hangar bay, arms folded behind his back as he watched the Enclave men disembark their vertibirds and fall into military formation. He straightened his posture to convey an aura of confidence and professionalism, then made his way toward the men. Dornan stood at the forefront, greeting TOM with a handshake.

"I assume this is our new security force?" TOM asked.

Dornan nodded. "These are all the men I could gather from Camp Navarro."

"How many?"

"About fifty, give or take."

"That should be adequate," TOM said, "Do you want to address them or should I?"

"Leave this to me," Dornan turned to face the platoon. "Alright, listen up, you maggots! This here cruiser is the Vindication and the robot standing before you is TOM. He is the pilot and financier of our operation, making him one of your supervisors, the other obviously being me. Any order he gives, you will follow as if they came from my lips. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, sergeant!" the men replied.

Dornan looked back at TOM, making a subtle gesture for him to come forward. TOM took his place by Dornan's side, making sure to keep his posture straight.

"Dornan and I will be discussing our next course of action. In the meantime, you will be given a tour of the ship, so that you can memorize the layout, in order to quickly respond to disturbances, should something unexpected occur." As if on cue, SARA materialized near TOM's shoulder, enticing the men to exchange baffled looks. "This is SARA, she'll be your guide. Follow her, do not stray, and try not to touch anything."

"You heard him, men, follow the pixie! If I catch any of you wandering, I'll have your ass for dinner! Dismissed!" Dornan barked.

"Right this way, please." SARA led the men down a nearby corridor, leaving TOM and Dornan alone.

"You have a way of inspiring your men." TOM remarked.

"It gets the job done," Dornan replied, "Now, let's talk business."

TOM held out his hands. "Right this way, sergeant."


TOM leaned into his chair, holding a datapad in his hands, while Dornan leaned against the control panel, his arms crossed comfortably.

"Okay," said TOM, "Let's get the basics out of the way, we need a name to promote to the networks, something that'll give us our own identity."

"You got any ideas?" Dornan asked.

"Well, I've brainstormed a couple. Vindication Championship Wrestling, Interstellar Sports Entertainment, and Intergalactic Wrestling Association were among my best choices."

"I.S.E. doesn't roll off the tongue very well, so you can strike that one right off the bat." Dornan said. "IWA is decent, but not the most catchy. VCW, are you even trying anymore?"

TOM lowered the datapad to look up at Dornan. "Admittedly, it was the first one to come to mind." He sighed. "We're the first fed to reach the final frontier and we can't even come up with a halfway decent name."

Dornan blinked behind his helmet. "Say that again."

"Pardon?"

"Say what you just said again."

TOM repeated his sentence and Dornan felt the gears in his turning. His brain had hatched an idea.

"I've got it," he declared, "Final Frontier Federation. Triple F, F-3, F-Squared, or whatever you wanna call it, we're a triple threat."

"Final Frontier Federation," TOM mulled over the name, then nodded as he repeated it to himself. "Yeah, that doesn't sound half bad. Direct and easy to pronounce, I like it."

Dornan leaned over TOM and tapped his head, speaking in a tone laced with playful condescension. "Aren't you glad you brought me along?"

TOM swatted the hand away to move the meeting along. "I've already decided our basic schedule. Regular shows will be on the Vindication and pay-per-views will take place on different planets and stations. Like Coruscant, or Omega, or, hopefully, the Citadel. But in order to entice investors to host our pay-per-views, our regular shows need to bring in the ratings."

"We'll need a roster with charisma and talent," Dornan paced back and forth. "Preferably fresh talent to give us a unique edge over the competition. If they wanna see this person, they'll have to watch our show."

"But getting new guys over is going to be tough when no one knows who they are. A few familiar faces wouldn't hurt. In fact, they could help the rookies hone their craft and find their own identities, so long as we don't play favorites." said TOM.

"Perhaps," conceded Dornan. "But we cannot have our competition making outlandish superstitions like, 'Final Frontier is only popular because they have so-so on their roster!' I will not be accused of unoriginality!"

If TOM could sweat, he would have felt a drop slide down his forehead.

"Moving on, we should also deliberate on roster size."

"You want my advice? Don't shoot too big." Dornan stated bluntly. "Don't accept anymore than you can afford."

"Right, so we should keep it relatively moderate. Not too small to avoid repetition, not too big to avoid wrestlers falling into obscurity. When they're hired, they're in it for the long haul."

"That means we should have three divisions, each with their own belt-a world heavyweight title, a women's title, and tag team titles."

TOM's fingers danced on the datapad's keyboard, jotting down Dornan's advice. "Three championship belts. We can add more as we go along, but this is a good starting point. So, that should put us at about 30 males, 15 to 20 females, and 10 tag teams?"

"Roughly," Dornan tilted his hand, mimicking a seesaw. "We can be somewhat flexible, but I think 30, 20, and 10 are good cut-offs to avoid inflating the roster."

"So, we're looking at a rough total of 70 wrestlers." TOM's index finger scratched the side of his head as he sank into his chair, betraying a sense of unease.

"I know that sounds like a lot, but when you narrow it down by division, it'll be much more manageable." Dornan assured, leaning on TOM's chair as he peeked over the robot's shoulder to check his notes.

"Yes, of course," said TOM, sitting upright once more. "When you put it that way, I think we can handle a roster of that size."

"Now, let's decide on belt names," Dornan spun TOM's chair around to meet him face to face. "We ain't calling our big belt the 'World Heavyweight Title', since we're not really on a world. Instead, we'll call it the Frontier Championship, a perfect reflection of our dominance among the stars!”

"Not a bad ring to it," TOM nodded. "And for the tag-team championships, we can be a little more creative than that. Tag teams often have dynamics between members, so why don't we call them the Dynamic Duo Championships?"

"Outstanding, TOM, now those gears in your head are turning!" Dornan laughed.

"Technically, I'm a personality matrix occupying a robot shell-"

"Whatever, you're a metal man, therefore a gear head."

"Perhaps the radiation's eroded your patience." TOM cracked.

"Are you implying I'm a filthy mutant?!" Dornan got up in TOM's face, shoving an accusatory finger into his chassis.

TOM held up his arms defensively. "There was no implication, only a comment you took to heart, thus proving your patience is wafer thin."

"I do not tolerate games, son! This is a business meeting, so let's get back to the business side of this conversation!"

TOM could have sworn he felt a trickle of irritated oil running down his forehead, but raised the datapad to his visor to move forward with the meeting. "That just leaves the women's title. We could use something more catchy than the default women's championship, something to reflect that they're the woman at the top of the mountain."

"Matriarch!" Dornan declared.

"Pardon?"

"Matriarch," Dornan repeated. "It means a female at the head of a family or tribe, or in our case, the females locker room."

"You're just on fire with these names." TOM shook his head with a chuckle and wrote down the suggestion.

"When you're in charge of over three dozen cadets who like to slack off and cut corners, you tend to have a sharp mind that runs faster than a mama deathclaw chasing you across the Wasteland!"

"I don't know what that is, but something tells me I don't want to ask. Last thing we need to cover is advertising that we're accepting talent and additional staff. Your men are filling for security, while the ship's drones can act as cameras and maintenance. But we'll also need commentators, announcers, interviewers, and referees."

"That's easy," said Dornan. "Just make a website and aggressively advertise the hell out of it! There's always some poor sucker looking for work."

"Provided they're talented." TOM muttered. "But I suppose it's worth a shot. I've heard those Celebrity Deathmatch guys are looking for work ever since their show got cancelled, so maybe I'll reach out to them."

"I'll scrounge up some old contacts back in the Wasteland and see if I can pick up any potential persons of interest." said Dornan.

"In the meantime, my drones will be re-purposing one of the cargo holds into a stadium to hold our shows. With any luck, we should be able to have the ring installed within a few days."

"You do that, while I gather the rest of our staff." Dornan started for the exit.

"Just where are you going to find an entire staff in a hostile, radiation-filled Wasteland?" TOM called out.

Dornan stopped at the door, then glanced back over his shoulder. "The Enclave has its ways, TOM."

With that, he exited the bridge, leaving TOM alone. He swiveled his chair around to stare at the security feed of his drones installing barricades around a large wrestling ring. He relaxed, interlocking his fingers.

"Time to make some phone calls."

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The titantron above the entrance ramp flickered a screen of static, then dissipated into an image of the Toonami host sitting behind his desk with the Enclave sergeant standing beside him, arms folded behind his back.

"Good evening, wayfarers of all species and ages!" TOM said with a greeting wave. "Thank you all so much for attending our premiere show. Without you, this would be nothing. I know many of you are itching for some action, so we'll keep this brief."

Dornan stepped forward. "We have three vacant titles that need champions, and we aren't going to just hand them out. So, we've concocted three separate tournaments for competitors drawn blindly from each division to partake in."

"The Dynamic Duos will participate in a single elimination tournament," said TOM. "The contenders are the Akatsuki, Wyverns, the Normandy Warriors, RackaRacka, Botamo & Magetta, the Foot Clan, Lightspeed Rescue, and Lakewood Plaza Turbo. The rules are simple, each team will compete against one another in a series of matches, and the winners will face each other in consecutive rounds until one team's left standing."

"The Matriarchs tournament will be a little different," said Dornan. "Instead, this competition will be double elimination. Like the Dynamic Duos, eight competitors will face off, but the losers will relegated to a separate bracket with a chance to reach the finals. The contenders are as follows; Alyx Vance, Captain Phasma, Demencia, Enid, Kelsey Winslow, Lady Deathstrike, Mae Borowski, and Tracer."

"And last but not least, we have the Final Frontier Series," said TOM. "Like before, there will be eight competitors, but this time, it's a round robin. All competitors will face each other once, and their victories will accumulate points. There will be 10 points for a submission, 7 points for a pinfall, 5 points for a count out, 3 points for a DQ, and 2 points for a draw. In the event of a competitor disqualifying themselves, they will receive a 10 point deduction. This should remedy wrestlers tying their win-loss ratios. The contenders are, Agent Washington, Blinx the Time Sweeper, Carter Grayson, Darkstar, Doomfist, John Shepard, Kazuya Mishima, and Mercury Black."

"Now that we've laid out the ground rules, let's get to what you've all been clamoring for," Dornan said. "Who's ready for some wrestling?"

The audience roared in approval, their anticipation peaking.

"That's what I thought," TOM said with a laugh. "Let's get this show going!"


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Kazuya Mishima vs. Mercury Black 

A bit unorthodox, starting with heels facing off, but neither Kazuya nor Mercury seemed to care. Kazuya surprised everyone by incorporating his martial arts skills into his wrestling style, often employing grapples and throws to toss Mercury about like a rag doll. Mercury employed speed and agility and exploited opening when he could get them. Kazuya was also precise but in a different way. He wasn't going for a pin. He wanted a submission, as it would equate to a higher score. And he intended to go all the way top. The balance shifted, but when Kazuya's favor, it was firm. In Mercury's, it was a case of dodging and timing. By the conclusion of the match, Kazuya was just toying with Mercury. He let the match to carry on for as long as it did because he took a certain delight in watching Mercury just trying to survive him. But now that he'd grown bored, it was time to end the game. And end it he did, by forcing Mercury to submit the Gates of Hell (Strait Jacket Crossface), warning the first victory of the series with 10 points. Kazuya made it a point to step on Mercury as he left the ring, as it rubbing salt on the wound. He was making a statement, that he was going to the one on top.


DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH

The Akatsuki (Hidan & Kakuzu) vs. The Foot Clan

The Immortals of the Akatsuki were facing another band of ninjas, which wasn't too unfamiliar territory for them. Though Nick vocally wondered if the Foot's flame heads would pose a hazard, though Johnny noted emergency crews were on standby. No way they would let them burn down the stadium their first show. Hidan had started to pray to Jashin, visibly irritating Kakuzu who decided to start for his team. The Brute was sent in for the Foot. The bell rang and the Brute towered over Kakuzu, laughing in his face and asking what a pipsqueak like him could do to a hulking giant like him, poking his shoulder. Kakuzu didn't seem fazed, merely breaking the Brute's finger before roundhouse kicking him into the corner so hard, it knocked the Lieutenant from the apron. The Brute was surprised but seemed to delight in the challenge. He snapped his finger back in place and began trading blows with Kakuzu, the powerhouses going at it with all they had. But it was clear the Akatsuki member was the better of the two in brawling and used his superior skill to throw the Brute for a loop. From there, it became a real battle of the tag teams. The Lieutenant and Hidan often went at it, being the smaller of their respective pairs. The Lieutenant was quick but Hidan was like a rabid animal, often just raining punches on the occasion he trapped the Lieutenant in a corner. The Brute was physically bigger but Kakuzu was strong AND smart. On more than one occasion, Kakuzu would strike weak points like the stomach to bring him down, then focus on the head.

The Foot made a comeback by focusing on Hidan. Between the Immortals, it was apparent Hidan wasn't as good as Kakuzu. He was savage but ultimately prone to indulging in his sadism too much. The Brute easily tossed him around and the Lieutenant was savvy enough to use his lust for battle to lure him into their corner and keep him from Kakuzu. All the while, Kakuzu grew increasingly frustrated with Hidan's lack of common sense. He swore he'd kill Hidan if they got eliminated because of his incompetence, to which Hidan choked out that he doubted Kakuzu could even do it while struggling in a sleeper hold from the Brute. Hidan managed to jawbreaker the Brute and finally made the tag, allowing Kakuzu to jump in and put them back on track. Kakuzu finally won it for his team with an Earth Grudge Fear (Fireman's carry scoop powerslam) onto the Lieutenant. The Brute tried to break up the pin but Hidan literally threw himself onto the Brute to keep him out of the ring. The bell rang and the Akatsuki earned their place in the next round. Hidan was glad things worked out. Kakuzu, on the hand, looked like he wanted to strangle Hidan for nearly costing them, and would have done it, too had Mills Lane not raised their hands and announced them the victors. For now, the Akatsuki reigned victorious.


COMMERCIAL TIME

Dr. Flug appeared onscreen, asking, "Will it be destroyed? That is the question!"

THE BLACK HAT ORGANIZATION PRESENTS… WILL IT BE DESTROYED? WITH YOUR HOST, DR. FLUG!

Flug holds three gems, pearl, amethyst, and garnet. "Gems are known for being particularly hardy, but can they withstand the Destructor X of the Black Hat Organization?" Flug gestured to a blender in front of him. "Let's find out!" He deposited the three gems into the blender, sealing it shut with a lid. "I think I'll try the Merciless Shredder!"

Flug pressed a button and the blender began to shred the gems, all the while Flug smiled at the camera behind his mask. Upon reopening the blender, he dumps the contents onto the table, revealing only powder.

"Oh, crystal smoke! Don't breath it!" Flug warned. "But yes, it did destroy!"

YES! IT'S DESTROYED! 

"YAAAAAAAAY!" cheered a chorus of children in the audience.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Enid put her ninja skills to use, sneaking past the guards. She was on her way to the cargo hold, where TOM had "accidentally" leaked her the location of a small compartment to catch some Z's. She wasn't scheduled this evening, so she may as well have taken advantage of the opportunity. "Thank you, TOM." she muttered with a chuckle as she reached her quarry and opened the hatch... only for a pile of junk food to pour onto the floor and at her feet. Amidst the pile, a ball of fur unveiled itself; Mae Borowski.

"Sup?" Mae said with a dull expression.

Enid blinked. "What are you doing here?"

"If you must know, I'm incredibly stressed with work. I've clocked out early and decided to have a little me time. Yourself?"

"I WAS going to take a nap in there, until you decided to make it into your personal litter box."

"It's not a litter box!" Mae said. "I haven't even gone yet!"

"Gross."

"Besides, Dornan's looking for me."

"Why?"

"I'm scheduled for a match."

Enid stared at Mae for a minute. "You're hiding because you're lazy?"

Mae shook her head. "Nope. I'm hiding because I was paid to beat people up, not get mauled by a cyborg with a killer manicure."

"A what?"

"ENID!"

Both froze as Dornan's voice rang out from down the hall.

"Welp, good luck!" Mae winked, then slammed the hatch shut, leaving Enid to the wolf.

"Hey! Open this thing!" Enid yelled, trying to pry the hatch open by force, but... too late.

"Enid, what are you doing in the cargo hold?! THIS IS A RESTRICTED AREA, YOU MORON!" Dornan yelled, then eyed the junk food on the floor. "AND YOU'RE EATING FOOD IN HERE, TOO!"

"What?! No, it was the--!" Enid started to say but was cut off.

"BELAY THAT! You know what, I was GOING to issue a ship wide hunt for Mae Borowski, who has conveniently gone missing, but since you're so keen on breaking basic rules, maybe I'll just throw YOU into the ring instead! REPORT TO THE RING, NOW!"

"But she's-!"

"NOW!"

Enid's eye twitched and she quietly steamed but ultimately trudged toward the ring anyway, Dornan in tow... while Mae peeked out from the hatch and stuck her tongue out.

"Suckers."


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Lady Deathstrike vs. Enid

After being unceremoniously bumped onto the show's card, Enid was, suffice to say, not in the most pleasant of moods. Steam lines of frustration were visible on her head as she paced around the ring. But then her opponent showed herself to be the Marvel cyborg assassin, Lady Deathstrike, who brandished her claws as she descended the entrance ramp. Enid appeared to visibly sweat drop and remark, "Wow, that IS one killer manicure."

Deathstrike took the advantage early on, using her precision to keep Enid on the backfoot. She was agile enough to slip out of grapples and evade stiff kicks and elbows and was even able to land a hard kick of her own to Deathstrike's chin, nearly knocking her off her feet. It was clear that Enid was much more adept using her legs, as her move set consisted of kicks, throws, or submission holds that would involve the use of her legs in some capacity. She was fair with her fists but nowhere near as devastating as her legs. Deathstrike was able to catch onto this, so she did everything in her power to engage Enid in fist fights or grapples. From there, she gained ground, throwing her into the corner and kicking her abdomen, or kneeling her in the face. Despite both being fairly new, they were able to put on a decent showing, as their advantages and disadvantages were clear. The melee ended when Enid seizing a shot and taking out Deathstrike with a Counter Crunch (Scissor Kick) for the pinfall. Mills Lane went to raise Enid's arm, only to find himself holding onto a log. Enid had already left, probably to find that irritating feline and have a few choice words with her.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Hidan and Kakuzu were backstage, on their way to their respective locker rooms... and Kakuzu was evidently not happy.

"Come on, Kakuzu, we won, what's crawled up your asshole and died?"

"THIS time," Kakuzu said. "But if you don't get your head on straight, then we'll be knocked out of the second round. You shouldn't have let yourself get trapped like that, period."

"Oh, fuck off. I didn't see you do anything to help!" Hidan said.

Kakuzu glared. "You want me to help? Put down the shovel and stop burying yourself."

Hidan looked like he wanted to argue with more than words but before the pair could come to blows, they came to their door, only to find an envelope taped to it.

Wordlessly, Kakuzu tore it off and read it.

Hidan peeked over his shoulder. "What's it say?"

Kakuzu merely shoved him off and kept reading silently.

"Okay, fine, asshole. Why don't you give me the abridged version?" Hidan said with an annoyed glare.

"It's an invitation. Someone wants to see us next week."

"Who?"

"Doesn't say."

Hidan and Kakuzu looked at one another. Kakuzu shoved the note into his cloak's pocket. "Let's go."

"Hey, Kakuzu, you never said where we're going."

"I'll keep that to myself. But that was the first good question you've asked all day."

"Oh, thanks--hey, wait a minute. Fuck you."


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Agent Washington vs. John Shepard

Agent Washington and Commander Shepard, two veterans who've seen their fair share of shit. Now, they were here in the ring facing off against one another. There were few words exchanged, merely fists. Wash had a good amount of experience from the developmentals, so he put on a technical style mixed with brawling. Shepard? Well, he had a more brawling oriented style, evident by a stiff punch that knocked Wash flat on his ass at least once. A killer right hook that could take down snide reporters. Nevertheless, Wash had taken worse and kept coming back for more. It became a battle of grapples, both reversing and wrenching into new submission holds, then transitioned to a trade of blows. Wash emerged the victor after landing the Epsilon Drive, gaining 7 points. After having his arm raised, Wash offered Shepard a hand, which he accepted. They now had a small degree of respect for one another, both as soldiers and now wrestlers.


RESULTS

Final Frontier Series Match: Kazuya Mishima defeated Mercury Black via forcing him to submit to the Gates of Hell

Dynamic Duos Tournament Match: The Akatsuki defeated the Foot Clan via pinfall after Kakuzu inflicted the Earth Grudge Fear on the Lieutenant.

Matriarch Tournament Match: Enid defeated Lady Deathstrike via pinfall after landing the Counter Crunch.

Final Frontier Series Match: Agent Washington defeated John Shepard via pinfall after an Epsilon Drive.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 10 points

Agent Washington- 7 points

Mercury Black - 0 points

John Shepard - 0 points

Doomfist - 0 points

Carter Grayson - 0 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 0 points

Darkstar - 0 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The show opens in the cafeteria, where Mae Borowski is munching on some chips. The cafeteria doors open and a voice calls out to Mae, causing her ears to perk up.

“Eating on the clock, are we?” The camera panned along with Mae's eyes, showing Enid standing in the doorway, her brow furrowed into a bitter expression. 

Mae froze, her mouth open with a chip hovering a few inches from it. She slowly deposited the chip into her mouth, then chewed. “Hey, Enid,” she said in a tone that betrayed her nervousness. “What are you doing here?”

The smallest of vindictive smirks appeared on Enid's face. “If you must know, I won your match after I took the fall for your little stunt last week.” she cracked her neck, then stared down the cat. “Yourself?”

Sensing the irony of the situation, Mae began to sweat, then offered her bag. “You want some chips…?” Enid started to advance on Mae, prompting the cat to stand and back away. “Now, hold on! Just let me explain, I was going to go to Dornan, you see…!”

“Oh, why don't we go see him right now? It'll be a joy watching him chew you out.” Enid said sarcastically. “That is if there's anything for him to chew out after I'm finished with you.”

Mae started moving for the second pair of doors on the other side of the cafeteria. “Wait, hold on, we can talk this out. Y'know, like, lazy bum to lazy bum?”

The doors slide open behind Mae and she bumped into something. Her eyes widened and she touched the thing behind her, feeling something hard and smooth. “Dad?”

The camera panned upward, revealing Captain Phasma, flanked by two guards. She stared down at Mae, tightly gripping her blaster. “Mae Borowski, you have been summoned by TOM and Dornan.”

“Hey, I had dibs, chrome dome.” Enid said. 

Phasma glanced in Enid's direction. “They've requested your presence, as well. You will both come with me, now.”

Mae started to shudder like the walls were closing around her. Thinking fast, she grabbed a nearby tray and threw it at Phasma. She easily batted it aside, but it bought Mae the opening she needed to slide between her legs and make a break down the hall. Phasma fired her blaster, a stun ring barely missing the feline as she rounded a corner. 

“Get her!” Phasma ordered and chased after Mae with her guards. 

Enid grumbled. “You're not getting away from me that easily.” 

Mae darted down the wrestler quarters and pressed an alarm that prompted multiple roster mates to exit their rooms in a confused mob, creating a buffer between her and Phasma.

“What the hell is all this?” Jack yelled.

“Are we under attack?” Tracer asked.

Wrex came out with his shotgun. “Alright, where's the danger?” 

Jevil hopped out of his room, slamming a plate on his head to create a shiv. “Fun, fun, fun!”

Phasma shoved past the mob, yelling, “Move aside!” 

Mae skidded to a halt in front of an air duct. “Aha!” she pried open the lid, but her smile evaporated into a shocked gasp.

“And just where do you think you're going?” Enid asked, sitting in the air duct as if waiting for her. “We have unfinished business.”

Mae chuckled nervously. “Wait, wait! Let's talk about this!”

Enid emerged from the air duct. “No.”

Sensing danger, Mae turned to run again, but Enid seized her by the scruff of her neck. “Ow, ow! Stop! Okay, I'm sorry! Stop!”

“Funny,” said Enid. “You don't look the least bit sorry.”

Now in full panic mode, Mae clawed at Enid's hand, causing her to drop the feline out of reactionary pain. She tried to run, only for a stun ring to strike her back and she dropped to the floor like a sack of hammers, unconscious.

Enid held her wrist, looking down the hall. Phasma held her weapon, joined by her guards. “A stun round,” she said simply. “She'll be fine.”

“I had her, you know.” Enid said under her breath as she watched Phasma cuff the unconscious Mae.

“Come,” Phasma ordered. “We are seeing TOM and Dornan now.”


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Blinx the Time Sweeper vs. Darkstar

Blinx was anxious and ready to get started, while Darkstar merely folded his arms behind his back, calmly staring down the Time Sweeper. Blinx was a vet with years of experience, while Darkstar was new blood. They immediately clashed, locking up. Blinx’s experience allowed him to seize the upper hand early on. However, Darkstar was surprisingly strong. He wasn't quite as fast as Blinx but he hit like a Mac truck, his punches often knocking Blinx for a loop. Blinx put up a good showing, but he was ultimately unable to overcome Darkstar, who took him down with a surprise pop-up Spear for the pin.


DYNAMIC DUOS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Bota Magetta vs. Lakewood Plaza Turbo 

K.O., ever enthusiastic, started for his team, facing down Botamo. K.O. held out his hand, wishing for them to have a good, friendly match. Botamo smiled and took K.O.'s hand… only to pull him into a clothesline, earning the crowd's ire.

Rad pinched the brim of his nose, muttering, “Not again…”

“Botamo's not leaving any room for sportsmanship,” said Johnny. “That was just dirty.”

“I'll be honest, how did he not see that coming?” Nick asked, shaking his head. “A dirty move but not illegal.”

Botamo stomped out K.O. several times, then grabbed the boy by his hair and threw him into the ropes. K.O. rebounded into Botamo's chest, knocking him back into the ropes, which caused him to fly back toward the elastic bear again, who caught him and slammed him to the floor.

“Botamo's clearly more of a power type,” Johnny said. 

“He's a bit stiff but with strength like that, you don't need anything else,” Nick added.

“Stop laying around, K.O.!” Rad yelled. “Hit him already!”

K.O. climbed to his feet and punched Botamo in the gut… only for his fist to sink in as if he’d just punched a pillow. K.O. looked perplexed and tried punching him again, only to be met with the same result. Botamo didn't even budge. In fact, he laughed, saying, “That tickles.”

K.O. tried punching, kicking, shoving, anything . But Botamo absorbed each attack like a sponge. K.O. was tenacious and determined, always taking whatever Botamo threw at him and bouncing back with vigor. Botamo, however, could take just about anything K.O. threw at him and remain standing. That is, until K.O. swept his legs out from under him and nearly acquired a pinfall! Botamo got his shoulder up but just barely. K.O. had found his Achilles heel and the young hero focused on that, going for knee chops, sweeps, and clips to bring Botamo down. K.O. switched with Rad, who also focused on legs, even getting him into a submission hold. Botamo nearly gave but he reached the ropes to break it. Lakewood Plaza Turbo pressed their advantage… then Botamo tagged in Magetta and it became a different matter altogether. 

Magetta was faster and hit much harder than his partner. His first blow knocked Rad for a loop and he easily swatted K.O. aside like a gnat. It became a story of David vs. Goliath… only there were two Davids and Goliath was completely dominating them both. At one point, he even double choke slammed both so hard, the ring shuddered! 

Near the end, K.O. was ejected from the ring and being whaled on by Botamo, while Magetta was locked with Rad… and Magetta was winning, forcing Rad to one knee. Rad strained but Magetta was just too strong! But despite that, Rad… was willing himself back to his feet. His leg were shaking, his arms threatening to snap, but he was putting all of himself into standing against Magetta. 

“I didn't come all the way to space just to lose,” Rad said hoarsely. “So come on! Bring it, you scrap heap!”

Magetta's expression fell and his pupils dilated. Steam shot from his head and Magetta collapsed to the floor at Rad's feet, where he lay in a fetal position. 

KO and Botamo, still locked outside, stared in shock.

The crowd was dead silent.

Johnny and Nick were stunned.

Mills Lane gawked.

“What… what just happened?” Nick asked.

“It… It would appear Magetta has lost the will to fight!” said Johnny.

Rad looked around awkwardly, then just turned Magetta over and put his foot on the Metal Man's chest. Mills Lane counted it anyway; 1, 2, 3! It's over! K.O. wriggled free from Botamo, who was still frozen by the shock, and joined Rad in the ring… though he patted Magetta on the head, quietly trying to comfort the metal man, who was now crying. 

“That was the most anti-climactic ending to a match I've seen,” Nick said.

“We've seen a lot of weird matches in our time, and none were as anti-climactic as this since the Loch Ness Monster defeated Bigfoot.” Johnny muttered in disappointment. “Either way, Lakewood Plaza Turbo is moving to the next round.”


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Kazuya Mishima

The winners of last week’s opening bouts of the Final Frontier series had already come together. Wash and Kazuya were focused and determined to add another tally to their record in the series. Mills Lane called them to the middle of the ring, neither taking their eyes off the other. They were locked in a form of silent combat. They were sizing each other up, getting a read on how their opponent operated on a mental level. The bell rang and the two opened with a grapple lock. Rather than try to win through strength, Kazuya yanked Wash close and kneed him in the gut multiple times. He hurled Wash into the ropes and went for a clothesline, but Wash ducked, rebounded off the other side, and came back with a running bulldog! 

“Washington and Kazuya are going at it hard already,” said Johnny. “But only one will walk away with their record intact.”

Wash approached Kazuya, but the Devil King suddenly sprung his legs, kicking Wash in the chin, then wrapped his legs around his head before twisting his body like a corkscrew, throwing Wash into the turnbuckle! Kazuya kipped back to his feet and crushed the freelancer against corner with his own body. Wash staggered out of the corner and into a spinning backfist from Kazuya! 

Wash was down, but not out, kicking out at two. Kazuya frowned at this, but obliged Wash's stubbornness by kicking him while he was down. But Wash seized his leg and took him down to the mat, putting on an ankle lock. Kazuya struggled but was more than capable of crawling to the ropes and grabbing the ropes, forcing Wash off. The two return to standing positions, knowing this would be a long one.

Kazuya was a brutal adversary, for sure, utilizing his skills as a martial artist and brutality as a fighter to pummel Wash. But Wash was something of a glutton for punishment and his technical skills were impressive, able to hold his own against Kazuya when grappling. He even had a few aces up his sleeves, sometimes taking Kazuya by surprise with a jawbreaker or a hip toss. 

One thing was for sure, Kazuya was aiming for submissions, to maximize his gain. However, Wash just wouldn't submit, no matter how much pressure he applied. Wash just wouldn't give. Kazuya ultimately had to settle for a pinfall, putting Wash away with a Devil Twister (Twisting Brainbuster). Kazuya had won… but not quite the way he'd wanted. 

Wash, on the other hand, though hurt, had made a statement of his own, and that was that he wouldn't tap to someone like Kazuya. After collecting himself, Wash was able to stand, but his tenacity had won him the fans tonight.


 BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We come back to TOM and Dornan's office. TOM sat patiently behind his desk while Dornan paced back and forth, his own patience dwindling. Their heads snapped to the sound of the door opening. Phasma entered with Mae in hand, along with Enid. 

“Excellent job, Phasma,” said Dornan. “I can always count on a fellow soldier to get the job done.”

Enid rolled her eyes.

Phasma set Mae down in a chair and removed the cuffs. “She gave us a chase, sergeant, but she was apprehended.” 

“We'll take it from here,” TOM said. “You're dismissed."

Phasma and her guards left the office.

“I'll wake her up,” Dornan knelt in front of Mae and inhaled. “WAKE UP!” Mae yelped and jumped in her chair, instinctively slashing Dornan's helmet. Fortunately, it protected him from any real damage… but it appeared to make him angrier, sparking TOM to interject before he could bring the office down on their heads.

“Dornan, let me handle this.” TOM said. “Do you know why you're here, Mae?”

“More or less,” Mae said, rubbing her eyes. “You're pissed that I made Dornan look like a fool?”

TOM shook his head. “I'm not pissed, I'm disappointed.”

Mae frowned. “Oh, that's even worse.” 

“When we hired you, Mae, we expected you would, well, want to wrestle. We have a zero tolerance policy for employees who not only duck out on their duties but also set up their co-workers to take the fall. If you want to be on this ship, you need to work. There are plenty of other applicants who would love your spot right now and you've done little to cement your place. At least Enid went out there last week, and I'd say she more than earned her keep.” TOM's tone had taken a more stern inflection.

Mae twiddled her thumbs. “So, what are you going to do me?”

“Enid was going to face Demencia later tonight, but since you decided to make her face your intended opponent, it's only fair you do the same. You're to go out and wrestle Demencia in Enid's place. Should you refuse, I will have to terminate your contract for conduct unbecoming of an employee. Are we clear?”

Mae bit her lip, then nodded. “Yeah, I guess."

“You guess?”

Mae corrected herself. “Yes, sir.” 

TOM nodded. “Very well. Your match is up next. I don't want to have this conversation again. You can go now.”

With a sigh, Mae stood from her chair and headed for the door, glancing at Enid as she left. TOM sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I didn't think I'd have to do that so early on.”

“Too good for her if you ask me,” Dornan said bluntly, then addressed Enid. “Which brings us to you.”

Enid raised an eyebrow. “Yeah?”

Dornan glanced at TOM, who nodded. “I wanted to address what happened last week, the way I treated you. I know I was harsh and can be very… loud. I realize what happened last week wasn't your fault. And I'm… sorry.”

Enid blinked, then held a hand to her ear. “Say that again?”

Dornan grumbled. “I'm sorry.”

Enid smiled and held out a tape recorder. “One more time for me, I can't quite hear you.”

Dornan stared at the tape recorder, then at Enid. “I APOLOGIZE, DAMMIT!”

Enid pressed stop on the recorder and chuckled. “Okay, I definitely heard that.”

“Take the night off, Enid,” said TOM. “Dornan won't be bothering you. Hopefully, this makes up for last week's trouble?

Enid nodded. “Oh, believe me, it does.”

“In that case, you can go now.”

Enid left, leaving Dornan behind to fume. “You knew this would happen, didn't you?”

“You need to reel yourself in better,” TOM said. “There's strict and then there's just being an ass. Don't be an ass.”


COMMERCIAL

We come to a library where Barbie is trying to read a book, but an obnoxious library goer is talking on his phone. Despite Barbie's efforts to gently shush him, the man continues to talk, prompting Barbie to bury her head in her book.

“Have you ever been in a situation like this?” asked a typical commercial voice.  “Well, no more! Introducing the Next Gen Librarian, a Hush Sentry!”

Suddenly, Astaroth crashes through the ceiling, landing beside Barbie, prompting her to look up at the hole, then at Astaroth.

“Where's the talker?” Astaroth growled.

Barbie blinked. “There was a door…”

Ignoring her, Astaroth snapped his attention to the man on his phone.

The voice continued, “The Hush Sentry will ensure those who break the rules will be punished severely!”

Astaroth stomped towards the man, then snatched him by his neck. 

“SHUT UP!” he yelled in his face, then slammed him into the table. He dragged the man along the floor, then leapt into the air, holding him by his leg. “STOP MAKING NOISE!” Astaroth roared, flipping forward and burying the man through the table… and halfway through the floor. “Good. You're quiet now!”

Astaroth picked up his axe and left the library, nodding to Barbie as he did so… disregarding the damage he'd inflicted on the library. 

“Order the Hush Sentry for your library today! And remember, shush! Or else.”

Barbie looked around the library… then sighed as she started drawing repair blueprints as the commercial came to a close.


 MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Mae Borowski vs. Demencia

Demencia was accompanied to the ring by Black Hat, who wished to observe the carnage up close. He took a seat at ringside while Demencia confronted Mae. As soon as the bell rang, Demencia leapt forward like a rabid pitbull and clotheslined Mae inside out before she was ready! Demencia continued to turn Mae into her whipping mammal for the first few minutes, throwing her into the corner and rapidly kneeing her in the gut. Mae was knocked for a loop, unable to properly defend herself beyond holding her arms in front of her face to avoid receiving a concussion, but it availed her little as Demencia grabbed her legs, prompting Mae to cling to the ropes. Demencia pulled and Mae tightened her grip, as it hanging on for dear life. With one vicious pull, Demencia pried Mae from her lifeline, planting her face first into the mat. 

“Right off the bat, Demencia starts strong!” Johnny said 

“That’s the second feline tonight. You think PETA will sue?” Nick asked. 

“PETA will fuss about anything, Nick.” Johnny said with a shrug. “But they're about as threatening as a paper tiger.”

Demencia throws Mae into the ropes and she rebounds. Demencia goes for a clothesline but Mae ducks! She bounces off the ropes again and comes back, taking Demencia down with a front flip DDT, spiking the fangirl into the mat!

“And Mae makes a surprising comeback with a front flip DDT!” said Johnny. 

“I thought her application said she had no prior wrestling experience?” Nick asked.

“It does, Nick.”

“So how the hell did she do that?!” 

This wouldn't be the first time Mae shocked the commentary team. For a green talent, she appeared to have extensive knowledge of wrestling moves and just when to implement them. When Demencia tried to grab her from behind for a suplex, Mae would slip around and dropkick her into the corner or use the turnbuckle to kick herself backward, knocking Demencia over and allowing herself to roll free. Demencia was aggressive and spontaneous but her style was chaotic, unrefined, and somewhat sloppy. She definity packed a wallop and her blows would send the feline flying off her feet but Mae was deceptively quick and could weave around her attacks, which would allow her to reverse several grapples, even coming close to a roll up multiple times. All of this with a dull expression, like she wasn't really trying… or just didn't care, it was hard for anyone to tell.

Demencia, on the other hand, looked to be enjoying herself… a bit too much. Even though Mae was getting some good hits in, her grin never wavered. 

“What is she so happy about?” Johnny asked.

“I know that smile, Johnny,” Nick said with a grim expression. “That grin can only mean one thing. She's getting off on this, even if she's the one being knocked around.”

At one point, Mae was able to knock Demencia out of the ring, then demonstrated remarkable agility by tightrope walking along the ropes, balancing herself remarkably well, then jumped towards Demencia, going first a springboard… but Demencia catches her, stumbling backward, but ultimately remains standing. Demencia laughs and drives Mae onto her knee backfirst! 

“Holy cow, she just performed a Bane!” Nick said.

That, Mae didn't appear to recover from. She held her back and groaned in pain on the floor, unaware she was right beside Black Hat.

“Oh, that did not look pleasant.” Johnny said with a grimace.

Black Hat glanced at Mae, then shoved her head away with his cane. “Away with you, rodent.” 

Demencia throws Mae into the ring, then climbs the top rope. Mae struggles to stand, but can only get to all fours before the pain prevents her from going further. Demencia hops on the top rope and takes her back down with the Shadows Over Hell! Demencia appeared to take note of Mae's pain, tilting her head as she watched her writhe on the mat. She looked to Black Hat, silently seeking confirmation. Black Hat nodded, his mouth splitting into a toothy grin.

“Finish it.”

She then proceeded to put her in a Muta Lock, wrenching her body backward to further elevate her pain. Mae yelled out and tried to reach the ropes, but found them just out of reach, and Demencia merely pulled further, threatening to break her in two. Black Hat’s smile only grew, stretching ear to ear as he listened to Mae's screams, enjoying them in a similar manner one would listen to music. The torture was brought to an end when Mae finally submitted to the lock and Mills Lane called for the bell.

“Mae gave one hell of a first impression, but Demencia walks away with the victory while Borowski plummets to the losing bracket.” said Johnny.

“She has a chance to catch up,” said Nick. “But that blow to her spine may cause problems for her down the line.”

Demencia releases the hold and has her arm raised. Mills Lane goes to check on Mae, but Demencia didn't offer any sympathy, merely blowing a raspberry to add insult to injury before leaving the ring… and stepping on the cat's tail as she did so, prompting another shriek of pain from Mae. Black Hat left, Demencia tailing behind like a deranged poodle. As Mae was tended to, she began to shudder and her pupils dilated slightly, rapidly darting back and forth… but they returned to normal a few seconds later and her shuddering calmed down. She was led out by Mills and a few medical drones.


 FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Carter Grayson vs. Doomfist

The Red Ranger of Lightspeed Rescue against the Usurper. A great hero against a legendary villain. Carter had already morphed while Doomfist clenched his might gauntlet (which was replaced by a smaller one to keep things fair… and prevent masturbation jokes.) The match opened with Carter going for a roundhouse kick, but Doomfist simply caught the leg. With a small huff, Doomfist yanked Carter off his feet and slammed him into the mat!

“Holy CRAP, look at the power there!” Johnny yelled in amazement.

Doomfist swung Carter around and swung him into the mat, and again, and again! With each impact, the ring shuddered.

“Is he trying to make the Hulk and Broly blush?” Nick asked. “Because he’s doing a good job of that.

Doomfist throws Carter into corner where he bounced off the turnbuckle and collapsed to the floor. Doomfist wouldn’t let up, stomping on the ranger’s back and pummeling the back of his head into the mat! Mills started to count, forcing Doomfist to step off… only to seize Carter by the head and toss him clear across the ring! Carter grabbed the ropes and pulled himself up as Doomfist strode over, throwing a punch, but Carter ducked and caught the arm, arm dragging his larger opponent right over his shoulder! Doomfist struck the mat with a resonating slam!

Carter leapt onto the ropes and backflipped towards Doomfist, who rolled out of the way, but Carter was able to land on his feet, only to receive a stiff uppercut that knocked him for a loop. Grabbing his leg again, Doomfist slammed Carter onto the top rope, causing him to bounce back into a clothesline that knocked him down once again! Doomfist seized him by the throat and lifted him up, but Carter used both feet to kick Doomfist’s chest, forcing him to relinquish his hold, then took the Talon leader down with a rope assisted Tornado DDT! 

Still, Doomfist was able to recover quickly, proving he was a hardy opponent. So Carter had to rely more on skill, delivering a spinning elbow smash to the jaw, then kicked one of Doomfist’s legs out from under him, then ran into the ropes, coming back to try taking him down for a one handed bulldog, but Doomfist caught him once again by the neck and threw him towards the corner, but Carter recovered in mid-air, spinning around to catch himself on the turnbuckle, then come back with a backwards springboard that took Doomfist completely by surprise! He hadn’t expected Carter to be so quick to adapt.

In a wrestling ring, it became glaringly obvious Doomfist wasn't as adept a wrestler as he was a fighter. His style was very brawler-oriented, focusing mostly on throws, strikes, and slams. He could knock Carter around… when he actually hit him. Carter was clearly the more skilled, utilizing agility and high-flying maneuvers to keep Doomfist on the backfoot. But Doomfist was also quick to learn himself, being a warrior who adhered to the philosophy of adapting through combat. 

Carter's high-flying tactics weren't as effective anymore, for Doomfist had begun to catch him from the air, dodge and land an attack on his own, or knock Carter clean out of the sky entirely with a well-aimed strike. And it was taking a toll, evident by Carter's cracked visor. This was a real David vs. Goliath bout. 

Doomfist cracked his neck and rotated his shoulders as he approached Carter, who had been trying to climb to his feet, and grabbed his head.

“You’ve fought well,” he said. “But this match is mine!” 

Carter replied in the form of a hard knee to the face, sending Doomfist stumbling back! The Talon leader held his jaw while Carter returned to his feet.

“I've fought bigger,” he said between pants. “I can do this all day.”

But Carter's physical state said otherwise. His legs trembled and he was clearly fatigued from the prolonged bout. He wouldn't last much longer under this kind of duress. Doomfist knew it, Johnny and Nick knew it, and even the crowd had begun to notice.

“I applaud Carter's determination, but he's in a bad way.” Johnny said.

“If he's gonna beat this guy, he needs to do it now .” Nick added. “Or he can kiss this match goodbye.”

Carter and Doomfist clashed once again, locking their hands in a power struggle… one Doomfist was easily winning, pushing Carter to one knee. Carter strained under the pressure, his legs starting to buckle… and that was when rolled backward, taking Doomfist to the mat with him! He quickly locked in an STF submission hold and the crowd loses it!

“Carter just used Doomfist's own strength against him!” Johnny said. “He counted on him using power, so he was able to use it to his advantage and now he has a submission hold locked in!”

“And Carter's putting everything into this hold!” said Nick. “It's now or never here!”

Carter kept the hold in tight as Doomfist flailed in the hold, trying to get himself free… but Carter’s grip was cast iron, no way he was going to let him go! Doomfist reached for the ropes, extending his fingers the furthest they could… but it still wasn't enough, all the while Carter increased his grip! 

And Doomfist submits! Doomfist just tapped out!

Carter relinquishes his hold on Doomfist and rolls off him, coughing on the mat. Mills Lane assists Carter in standing and raises his arm.

“Carter did it! He managed to beat Doomfist, and acquire 10 points in the process via submission!” said Johnny.

“Quick thinking by Carter,” said Nick. “With ingenuity like that, he may go far in this tournament yet!”

As Carter celebrates his well-earned and hard fought victory, Doomfist leans on the barricade outside the ring. He was going to have to start properly training himself if he wanted to rebound from this. He clenched his mechanical fist, his resolve stronger than before. 


CLOSING SEGMENT

Static appeared onscreen for a moment before fading into an image of the Vindication engine room. The entrance door opens and Kakuzu walks in, followed by Hidan.

“How homey,” said Hidan, a hint of sarcasm in his tone. 

“Quiet,” said Kakuzu. “We're not alone.”

“Gentlemen,” said a voice, bringing the duo's attention to a dark space between the engines. Something in the shadows stirred and began approaching the Akatsuki pair, prompting Hidan to grip his scythe. “Oh, no need for hostilities… yet.”

Kakuzu held out his arm, keeping Hidan back. “I assume you're the author of the note. Who are you and what do you want?”

The being emerged from the shadows and into view of the camera, revealing Black Hat. He leaned onto his cane, his mouth stretched into a wide grin that bore serrated fangs.

“You could call me a man of business,” he said. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am Black Hat, owner and CEO of Black Hat Incorporated. I saw your performance last week and I must say you put on an impressive display. But such talent deserves better than what this droll of a promotion is offering, no?”

“The pay's fine, I guess,” said Hidan.  

“But not as hefty as other promotions would offer,” Kakuzu said. 

“How right you are,” Black Hat said, tipping his hat upward. “But they aren't hiring, hence why you threw your lot with these… commoners. But there is a better way.”

Hidan raised an eyebrow. “You're offering a better pay rate?” 

“We're not interested in joining your promotion,” Kakuzu said flatly. “We just got here and won our first match. We have belts to win.”

Black Hat chuckled. “Oh, Kakuzu, you misunderstand. I don't want you to join my promotion, because I don't have one. Dr. Flug…”

Another man joined Black Hat's side, this one wearing a lab coat with a paper bag over his face. In his hands, he held a briefcase. He opened it, revealing multiple stacks of money.

“I want you to work for me,” Black Hat said. “You can continue wrestling here like a good tag team and I'll pay you for your performance. All you'd have to do is a few extra jobs on the side. Whatever job I choose, of course.”

There was a string of silence. Kakuzu stared at the money, then his eyes shut as he retreated into the recesses of his mind to think. 

Hidan scratched the back of his head. “Okay, I know this isn't important and all, but what the hell is up with him?” He pointed to Flug's mask. “Why is he wearing a paper bag over his head? He looks like a poor cosplayer!”

Flug's eye twitched behind his goggles in agitation. Nonetheless, he bit his tongue to avoid drawing his boss's ire. However, he smiled a bit when Kakuzu promptly elbowed Hidan in the stomach.

“Shut up,” he said, then turned to Black Hat. “Your offer is tempting. But what other strings come with this new job?”

Black Hat grinned wider. “I only ask for your loyalty when required and that you continue to perform well. Nothing more, nothing less. You don't have to answer right away. I know it's a big decision to make and requires the proper time to contemplate. But please, take the briefcase as a token of good faith. I believe we can do great things together.” Flug handed Kakuzu the briefcase before returning to Black Hat's side. “I await your decision, Akatsuki.”

With a snap of his fingers, Black Hat and Flug were gone in a puff of smoke, leaving the immortal ninjas standing alone with the ambient hum of engines. 

“What a weird guy,” Hidan said. 

Kakuzu said nothing, his eyes locked on the money inside the briefcase. Black Hat was right about one thing, for anyone else, contemplation was required for such a decision. But Kakuzu wasn't like a lot of people, and had already made his choice. Without a word, he shut the briefcase, the click signifying his final decision. “Let's go, Hidan.”

Both left the generator room and the cameras faded into another screen of static, signifying the end of the show.


RESULTS

Final Frontier Series Match: Darkstar defeated Blinx the Time Sweeper via pinfall, following a Spear.

Dynamic Duos Tournament Match: Lakewood Plaza Turbo defeats Bota Magetta via pinfall after Rad insulted Magetta.

Final Frontier Series Match: Kazuya Mishima defeated Agent Washington via pinfall with a Devil Twister.

Matriarch Tournament Match: Demencia defeated Mae Borowski via forcing her to submit to a Muta Lock.

Final Frontier Series Match: Carter Grayson defeated Doomfist via forcing him to submit to an STF hold.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 17 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

Agent Washington - 7 points

Darkstar - 7 points

Mercury Black - 0 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 0 points

Doomfist - 0 points

John Shepard - 0 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The show opens to K.O. practicing on a dummy in the gym. After his less than stellar performance against Botamo last week, he was hoping to improve his skills. He was beating on a practice dummy, starting with punches, then transitioning into kicks. Though he was beginning to feel frustrated when he started using more complex moves, like a diving leg drop or a triangle dropkick. The dummy would just absorb the blows, reminding him of how ineffectual he was against Botamo. He sighed and gave the dummy a pitiful a kick as he sat in the ring.

“Practicing, I see?”

K.O. looked over his shoulder to see TOM walking into the gym.

“Oh, Mr. TOM! I didn't know you were there--”

“Just TOM, kiddo. I may be your boss, but those kinds of formalities aren't necessary.” TOM said, looking at the dummy at K.O.'s feet. “I saw you on the security feed. You were looking a little down, which isn't like you. Feeling frustrated?”

K.O. shuffled his feet. “Maybe a little?”

TOM took grabbed some fold out chairs and set them up, inviting K.O. to sit beside him. “Care to share?”

K.O. slid out of the ring and joined TOM's side. 

“What's up?” TOM asked. “If you're having doubts, it always helps to voice them.”

K.O. sighed. “Last week, I feel like I didn't make a good first impression. I gave it my all, and I'm glad we won, but I didn't think I did as much as I could have.”

“I get it,” TOM said. “Botamo was like a sponge and you think he made you look ineffectual. It can be hard to make a mark when everyone else is aiming for the same thing. And it's even harder when there's little room for everyone at the top.”

K.O. leaned his head into his hands. “And that's why I'm not sure if I can make an impact. Enid is wrestling solo and Rad managed to catch a lot of eyes by winning the match for us, but I just felt like I was… there.”

“That's where you're wrong,” TOM said. “While it is true that your friends are making their own splashes, it comes down to their own feats. You have feats of your own, feats that only you possess. You're enthusiastic, eager to prove yourself, and exceptionally athletic for your age. Those will carry you to notoriety, you just have to focus on what you're good at and home in on them. You're a lot better than you may think, K.O.”

K.O. looked up. “You really think so?”

“I know so,” TOM affirmed. “You just need to take the initiative and forge ahead. There's always the next match to show what you're made of. Make it a goal to do better in every subsequent bout and you'll go far, believe it.”.

“Thank you, Mr--I mean, TOM.” K.O. smiled. 

TOM ruffled the boy's hair. “Anytime, kiddo. I'm always an open ear. If there's nothing else, I need to get back to my office. I’ve got some important calls to make.”

“Oh! There is one more thing!” K.O. dug into his pocket and held out a POW card. “I, uh, picked this up for you. I wanted you to have it.”

TOM took the card and looked at it, seeing an image of himself, as well as displaying his hero level. The robot chuckled and patted K.O.'s shoulder. “Thank you, K.O. I appreciate this.” TOM got up and left the gym, leaving K.O. with renewed confidence as he started going at the dummy again.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

John Shepard vs. Darkstar

Shepard, a hero of the galaxy, faced off against Darkstar, the energy vampire with a horrid complexion, fortunately concealed by a helmet for the kids at home. Shepard employed his brawling skills against Darkstar's more robust technical arsenal. Shepard would throw a punch, which Darkstar would avoid with a tilt of his head or sidestep, keeping his arms folded behind his back. He almost made it look easy. However, that smug posture didn't last long when Shepard caught him with a feint, only to switch it up with a fireman's carry that transitioned into a slam. Shepard was also an all-rounder, and he opened with a brawling style to psych Darkstar out, and surprise him by changing up styles. Darkstar, evidently, wasn't so assured anymore as he started fighting back with more ferocity. Blows were exchanged, which Darkstar won because of his helmet, which made Nick question the legality of such a thing when Shepard lacked a helmet himself. However, Shepard took the helmet out of the equation shortly after by a jawbreaker, followed by a running single high knee that knocked it clean off Darkstar's head, exposing his disheveled and decayed face to the entire arena!

“Good God, he's hideous!” Johnny said.

“I take back what I said!” Nick said, holding his mouth to keep his lunch down. “Someone put the helmet back on him!”

Darkstar's sunken eyes narrowed as they glared daggers at a taken back Shepard and took him down with a stiff clothesline. He grabbed Shepard by the shoulders and delivered several knee shots to the back of his head, before running to the ropes and curb stomping his skull into the mat! Darkstar pulled the commander to his feet and speared him for the three count, gaining another seven points in the series. Thankfully, he regained his helmet and put it back on as he stormed past Mills Lane and out of the ring, shaking his head with anger. Shepard was going to feel that stomp in the morning, but everyone was going to remember Michael Morningstar's ugly mug for weeks to come, and they hoped not to see it again anytime soon.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We come to K.O. on his way back to his locker room, his chipper demeanor back in full swing after TOM's pep talk. He stopped when he heard a commotion coming from around the corner.

“Hey-a fellas! Do you have time to talk about our Lord and ravager, Jashin?”

K.O. crept along the wall and peeked over the corner to see Hidan confronting a pair of guards standing in front of a door that led to the security room.

“For the fifth time, we don't want to hear about your stupid god.” said one of the guard, clearly exasperated.

“I think this guy's looking for trouble.” the second guard sighed.

“Did you just call Jashin stupid?” Hidan got into the guard's face, his tone taking an offended inflection. “I'm sorry, that was a cardinal sin. I can't forgive nor forget, so I'm afraid you're going to have to pay.” 

Hidan suddenly sucker punched the guard, then ran down the corridor.

“Hey! Get back here!” the first guard yelled, shaking off the blow as he and his partner gave chase.

K.O. scratched the back of his head. “Well, that was weird.” He turned to leave, but then he heard the sounds of the security door opening. “Huh?” K.O. turned back to see the door closing, as if someone had just slipped inside. K.O. stood there, contemplating what to do next. “... Take the initiative.” he finally muttered, then went in himself.

The room was dark, save for the faint glow of security monitors that cast the room is a light blue hue. The monitors outlined a silhouette standing in front of the console, attempting to access the mainframe. 

“Hey!” K.O. called out. “Stop right there!”

The silhouette's head snapped up, still obscured by shadow. In a blink, they disappeared in smoke, leaving only K.O. in the security room. 

“What the?! Where'd he go?” K.O. felt around the room for the light switch and flipped it on, but found nothing. It was just him. The culprit had just vanished. “Was I seeing things?” K.O. asked himself. “I'd better go before someone sees me, too…” K.O. left the security room and exhaled as he continued to his locker room. He'd have quite a tale for his friends.

Meanwhile, Kakuzu watched the boy leave from the shadows. He muttered a curse as he gripped his cloak’s collar and muttered, “Hidan, abort. We may have a problem.” 


DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH

Normandy Warriors vs. Lightspeed Rescue

Joel started for his team, Chad patting his back to wish him luck. Garrus and Wrex, however, appeared to have a dispute to who would enter first. Wrex, a krogan at heart, was anxious to start fighting while Garrus recommended a more tactical approach and scope out the competition. Finally, they compromised to settle the matter with a game of rock, paper, scissors. Garrus drew paper, while Wrex drew rock.

“Looks like I win.” Garrus said with a smirk.

Wrex, however, shook his head. “Nope, rock rips through paper.”

Garrus blinked. “What? No, it doesn't--”

Before Garrus could finish, Wrex vaulted the ropes, making himself the legal man. “Ring the bell, ref!” he declared, pounding his fists together.

“Oh, that was just low.” Garrus muttered, shaking his head as he realized Wrex's deception.

Mills Lane shrugged. “I'll allow it. Let's get it on!”

The bell rang and Joel opened with a series of right hooks to Wrex, who… wasn't phased at all. The krogan caught one of Joel's fist, then pulled him into a traditional headbutt that knocked the ranger right on his spandex ass. Joel shakes his head to regain his senses, but Wrex grabs him by his head and pulls him back up, only to smash him into a corner. Wrex shoulder rams Joel several times, bringing the green ranger down to a seated position. 

The Lightspeed duo were quicker and more on their feet, often employing high-flying maneuvers, but Wrex was a sturdy glacier, either catching them out of the air and planting them with a power bomb or simply using his vast size to tank their blows. Chad, being the bigger of the two rangers, tested his mettle against the krogan and often attacked Wrex's knees to bring him down. Chad would be the first to take Wrex down with a flying enzuigiri! However, Wrex powered out before one, kicking out with such authority, it knocked Chad off.

Wrex swapped out with Garrus, who was his own breed of tactical precision. Of course, being a sniper, he often went for weak points. Wrex had done a good job battering the rangers, so once Garrus found weak points in the torso and legs, he struck hard, employing leg takedowns, ankle locks, and other grapples to further enhance the pain. Chad, despite being stronger, had to swap out with Joel, who went to work with Garrus. The ranger again demonstrated remarkable stunts that awed the crowd, leading into a belly-to-back suplex or a jumping neckbreaker. But even when getting knocked around, Garrus was learning. The rangers were impressive when it came to high flying maneuvers, but Garrus was very much a function over form type, and he took advantage of these openings to sneak in a reversal. When Joel attempted a sunset flip from the corner, Garrus met him with a surprise double dropkick that took the ranger out of the air, like a well aimed sniper round. 

Both teams even got into some two on two action. At one point, Garrus was ejected from the ring by Joel, who was joined by Chad, and both suicide dived into the Turian and Krogan. Joel succeeded in taking down Garrus but Chad was caught by Wrex, who bulldozed him through the barricade and into the timekeeper zone, crushing the local drone like a tin can!

“There goes the timekeeper droid!” said Johnny.

“That was an expensive piece of hardware and Wrex just ran through it with Chad's body! I love it!” said Nick.

Joel, meanwhile, had thrown Garrus back into the ring and jumped from ropes, but was caught by Garrus with a sudden Archangel Snipe (running single leg dropkick), allowing the Normandy Warriors to pick up the pinfall and move on to the next round.

“An impressive showing from the rangers tonight, but Wrex and Garrus just proved it isn't all fancy flips and tricks.” said Johnny.

“Sometimes, the less flashy method is just the more practical one, and those two are now free to move into the second round. But doesn't paper cover rock?” asked Nick.

“Nick, paper always covers rock.” Johnny said.

“Unless it's a krogan rock.”


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Carter Grayson vs. Mercury Black

Hot from his victory against Doomfist, Carter Grayson was ready to vault his next obstacle, Mercury Black. Unlike Doomfist, who relied primarily on power and brawling, Mercury was agile and fast, able to keep up with Carter. The red ranger was still hurting from last week, Doomfist's beating had left a number on his body, which he hadn't recovered from yet, and Mercury took full advantage of that. Carter wasn't as mobile, for his whole body was sore and bruised. Whenever he would land a shooting star press or a suicide dive, he would hold his abdomen or arm as the injuries flared up. Still, he fought on with the determination only a ranger could muster. Mercury, on the hand, was dirty and pragmatic. He sneak blows to his injured regions, such as double foot stomp to a downed Carter's gut, a sidekick to the head, or attacking his arm through submission holds. But Carter would continue to fight on, executing surprise moves like a dropkick to take Mercury out of the air, a spinebuster for a near fall, or a sit out hip toss, all of which left him reeling in pain. The match finally came to an end when Mercury caught Carter in a roll up pin and, with a little rope assistance, acquired a surprise pinfall over the red ranger, gaining seven points. The crowd was clearly displeased with Mercury's dirty tactics, but he didn't quite care. He had moved up in the series, which was all that mattered to him, while Carter was left to mull over his injuries, leaving his future in the tournament uncertain.


COMMERCIAL

We see an all white background, with a can of coke on an all white pillar. Mae Borowski casually walks in with her bat and stands next to the small column.

"Hi, I'm Mae Borowski I'm the F3 wrestler chosen to talk about Coca-Cola. I'm here today to ask you to continue buying coke. Sure, it's a drink you've been drinking for years, and if you still enjoy it, I'd like to remind you to buy it again sometime soon. It's basically just brown sugar water, they haven't changed the ingredients much lately, so there's nothing new I can tell you about that. They changed the can around a little bit, though. See, the colors here are different there, and they added a polar bear so the kids like them. So that's cute I guess, in a manipulative corporate greed kind of way. Coke is very high in sugar and like any high calorie soda it can lead to obesity in children and adults who don't sustain a very healthy diet. Which is perfect for trash mammals like me. So that's it, it's coke. It's very famous, everyone knows it. I'm Mae, I'm from a video game, I'm a wrestler now, and I'm asking you to not stop buying coke. That's all."

Mae takes the bottle off the pillar and takes a drink of coke. Mae uses the tip of her bat to lightly push the column over, then looks offscreen.

"Can I get paid now?"

“Hey! Where did you get that soda?!”

“Oh, look at the time! Gotta go!” Mae said, running off while drinking from the bottle.

Dornan went after Mae, the camera panning with him as he chased her down the hall. 

“I kept a sticker on that saying it was for me only! FOR ME ONLY!”

Have a coke and a smile.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

The show returns to show Alyx looking at her reflection in the mirror, taking deep breaths. 

“Okay, Alyx,” she said. “This is it, your big moment. Time to show them what you're made of.”

“Indeed,” said a voice behind her. 

Alyx didn't need to turn around. She knew who it was. The camera pans to show the G-Man fastening his tie as he stood behind her. Alyx turned to face G-Man. “Do you always have to do that? A knock would have been preferable.”

“I do hope you're aware that the viewers are not the only ones who will be… evaluating your performance this evening.” G-Man said matter of factly. 

“Oh, goodie. I didn't know I was being graded.” Alyx said in a deadpan tone, rolling her eyes. 

“Mr. Freeman and Mr. Shepherd have proven their… efficiency in the ring. You remain untested. I do hope you can prove yourself as capable as them. It would be… unfortunate if I was mistaken in assisting you.”

Alyx narrowed her eyes. “Is that a threat?” 

G-Man didn’t directly acknowledge her inquiry, instead cryptically adding, “I will be watching, Ms. Vance, for your match… is nigh.”

The G-Man turned and left Alyx to her own devices. She rubbed her forehead and sighed with a mix of frustration… and a dose of worry.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Alyx Vance vs. Tracer

Alyx Vance, a key member of the Resistance against the Combine, was now a client to the enigmatic G-Man who accompanied her at ringside for her debut. Tonight, her skills would be put to the test against Overwatch's all-loving, hyperactive hero, Tracer, who was all too ready to prove herself, as well. Alyx was keeping her head together, maintaining a focused expression while Tracer was barely keeping still, her anxiousness to get going evident in her skipping in place.

“Hey, isn't that the guy we saw roaming the halls just before the show?” Nick asked, pointing to the G-Man sitting in his own chair, his features eerily tranquil.

“I would rather not think about it,” Johnny said with a shiver. “That guy is a walking uncanny valley. He can't be human."

Mills Lane brought Alyx and Tracer to the center of the ring.

“Alright, let's have a good, clean fight. I don't want any tricks from either of you, that means no rewinding on us.” Mills glanced at Tracer, who rubbed the back of her neck with a sheepish grin, before nodding and holding out a hand.

“Put ‘er there, luv! Let's give a good showing!”

Alyx looked at Tracer's hand, then at the G-Man… before accepting it with a nod. “Let's.”

“Then let’s get it on!” Mills said, calling for the bell.

Alyx and Tracer started off playing it safe, both keeping within relative reaching distance as they circled one another but neither made a move. Tracer would lunge forward in a feint, which made Vance flinch a few times. The third time, however, Alyx caught on and as Tracer tried another feint, she went for a spinning heel kick, but Tracer was faster, just barely bending backwards to evade a blow to the head. 

“Tracer's showing off some impressive flexibility and speed on her part.” said Johnny.

“Don't count Alyx out, either,” said Nick. “She seems quite adaptable, so Tracer is gonna have to keep on her toes.”

Tracer goes for a kick of her own, but Alyx catches it. However, Tracer jumps and lands a spinning kick with her free leg catching Alyx in the head! Alyx is knocked to mat and Tracer runs over her, then bounces off the ropes, landing a backflip shooting star press onto Alyx! Tracer covers, but only gets a two count. 

“Both have to play this carefully, Alyx may have a height and slight strength advantage, but Tracer has a little more experience, not to mention her remarkable speed and agility.” said Johnny.

“But Alyx has her head in the game more often,” Nick noted. “Tracer may be fast, but the girl can't keep a serious face, and that bubbly attitude may come back to bite her.”

“It's a battle of opposite temperaments and physical feats, so the winning edge goes to who can employ their advantages to their fullest.”

Tracer heads for the turnbuckle as Alyx stands up, holding her head. Tracer eyes Vance like a perched hawk, waiting for the right moment. Alyx turns and Tracer launches herself from the corner to take Alyx down with a hurricanrana that launches her into the middle rope! Tracer pops back to her feet and plays to the crowd with a playful bow. 

“Stunning athleticism on Tracer's parts and now she appears to be playing to the crowd.” Nick said.

“But Alyx appears to be stirring in the ropes!” Johnny said, directing the cameras to Alyx, who was holding her head.

Tracer glanced at Alyx and ran to the ropes to gain momentum, then sped for Alyx, going for a tiger kick, but Alyx caught her by the legs and pulled her away from the ropes, then laid her out with a facebuster! 

“It looks like Tracer's bad habits are biting her already,” said Nick. “She killed her own momentum with that little play to the crowd. Nice for the cameras, bad for practicality.”   

Alyx pulls Tracer to her feet and takes her down with a spinning backfist that knocks the Overwatch agent for a hard loop, nearly turning her inside out. Alyx covers herself, but Tracer kicks out at two. Alyx puts Tracer in an arm bar, wrenching the wrist. Tracer winces, but she's able to flip forward, unwrenching her arm, but Alyx is able to wrench it behind her back again. Tracer is struggling, before she twirls around, slipping behind Alyx and gets her arm in a leg scissor locks, then takes her down for another pin! But again, Alyx is able to kick out. Tracer gets to her feet faster, but Alyx sweeps at her ankles, however, Tracer backflips out of harm's way, retreating to the ropes. Alyx and Tracer lock eyes as they return to a standing position. Tracer's agility was proving to be quite difficult to deal with, but Alyx was also tougher, so she had to keep moving. She was rather fragile for her size, and thus relied on her speed to compensate. 

Alyx and Tracer lock up this time, the former pushing the latter into the ropes. Tracer gets her legs on Alyx's stomach and kicks her away. Tracer runs at Alyx, who goes for a clothesline, but Tracer ducks, goes into the ropes, then comes flipping back, only to be met with a spear out of the air by Alyx! Not finished, Alyx pulls Tracer up and tackles her into the corner, where she proceeds to just whale on her with several punches that takes Tracer to the mat.

“Alyx is opting to just open a can of whoop ass on Tracer.” said Nick.

“And every blow counts,” said Johnny. “I don't think Tracer is gonna last long if she keeps getting pinned like that.” 

Alyx backs off to let Tracer recover. Not waiting for long, Alyx bounces off the ropes and comes back with a jumping DDT that spikes Tracer into the mat yet again! Another cover, but Tracer is able to kick out just before three! Alyx is looking frustrated now. Tracer's difficulty to hit her was taxing enough, the fact that this wasn't enough was beginning to grate on her. She pulls Tracer to her feet by her hair and bends her over, placing her into a standing headscissors. 

“Oh, could we be seeing a pedigree?” Nick asked.

“I think we just might! Black Mesa Incident!” Johnny said.

Alyx goes to hook Tracer's arms, but Tracer grabbed her legs and wouldn't let go, holding on like it was her lifeline. Using Alyx's legs to leverage herself, Tracer caught her in a headscissors, then lifted herself into Alyx’s shoulders, where she landed a hurricanrana driver, which she called In a Blink! 

“And Tracer slips out of another tight spot!” said Nick.

Tracer rolls backwards, onto her feet, then runs to the corner, quickly scaling it, and landing the Pulse Bomb (630 Senton)!

“Tracer's not too hyper to learn from her mistakes! She capitalized on an opportunity!” Nick said.

Tracer hooks both legs and Mills counts; 1, 2, 3! Through quick wit, Tracer was able to turn the tide and pick up the victory, solidifying her spot in the second round. Now that the match was over, she was free to openly celebrate with the crowd. 

Alyx, however, was going to the loser bracket. She put on a good first impression for the audience, but was it good enough for the G-Man's standards? Considering how his other clients handled themselves, she was feeling the pressure of possibly being the black sheep. His blank expression at ringside didn't indicated any specific emotions, but Alyx was definitely uncertain to what he was thinking. And part of her wasn't sure she wanted to find out, either… 


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH 

Blinx the Time Sweeper vs. Doomfist

Blinx and Doomfist had both lost their first matches and the time had come for one of them to crawl out of the loser pit. Doomfist came out of his corner like a propelled torpedo, but Blinx hops over him in leapfrog fashion. He runs into the ropes and backflips toward Doomfist, only to be taken down with a well-aimed punch to the head! Blinx went down like a sack of potatoes, while Doomfist cocked his fist like the hammer of a gun. He grabs Blinx by the throat and tosses him across the ring, affirming his authority as the powerhouse of the ring. Doomfist pulls Blinx to his feet and hammers him in the back of his head, taking him back down! He stomps down on Blinx's head and grinds it into the mat while the cat flails beneath his boot! Doomfist gets off and grabs him by the scruff of his neck, throwing him into the corner. He delivers a hard chip to Blinx's collar bone with his gauntlet hand, collapsing the Time Sweeper to the mat in agony. 

Doomfist hauls Blinx to his feet again and throws him to the ropes, but Blinx catches himself just in time and comes back with a dropkick to Doomfist's chest, staggering the Talon leader! He rolls to his feet and executes a spinning bicycle kick to the head of Doomfist, sending him back further! But when Blinx tries go for a hurricanrana, Doomfist catches him and plants him with a power bomb! But Doomfist doesn't let go. He lifts Blinx again and another power bomb! Then another! He does another power bomb to the ropes! Then the turnbuckle! And then a final power bomb to the mat!

“Look at Doomfist! He's been hitting the gym, it would seem!” Johnny said.

“Poor Blinx hasn't been able to find his footing this match.” Nick said. 

Doomfist pins, but Blinx gets the shoulder up before three! Not allowing Blinx to rest, Doomfist seizes his throat and lifts him up, then choke slams him so hard, Blinx bounces! The Talon leader looks down at Blinx… then turns to the turnbuckle.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, what is going through Doomfist’s mind?” asked Johnny.

“Nothing good, that's for sure.” Nick answered. “Whether for Blinx or him, is to be decided.”

Doomfist starts climbing the corner. He's going to fly! He's preparing to jump! Doomfist raises his fist, the crowd going wild! Blinx is slowly getting up. 

“METEOR STRIIIKE!” Doomfist screamed as he dove towards Blinx… but Blinx is able to catch Doomfist on the way down to nail a Cutter!

“And Blinx turns it around at the last second! Caught him with a cutter!” Johnny yelled.

“And it ended well for Blinx! Who'd have thought?” said Nick.

Blinx tries to pin, but Doomfist shoves him off. Blinx sprints to the ropes and leaps for a Corkscrew Shooting Star Press onto Doomfist! Both wrestlers lay in the middle of the ring, panting. Both start to get up, with Blinx using the ropes for assistance. However, he feels something grip his leg, causing his ears to droop. “Aw, crap.”

Doomfist stands up and yanks him into a clothesline! Blinx holds his head and tries to stand. Good Lord, does he try. But Doomfist had other plans for him. He manhandled the Time Sweeper and throws him into the turnbuckle! Blinx staggers back on the rebound, only to be caught by Doomfist. He tries to throw him again, but Blinx reverse it and throws Doomfist into the corner! Doomfist catches himself with the ropes, but Blinx won't let him off that easy. He leaps onto the ropes and, with the balance only a cat can master, takes Doomfist down with a hurricanrana! This time, it connects and launches!

“And Blinx keeps coming back! Doomfist is pummeling the living daylights out of him, but he keeps on coming!” Nick said.

Blinx gets back to the corner and climbs the turnbuckle. He couldn't damage Doomfist in a straight fight, so he would use momentum and gravity to even the playing field. Doomfist started to sit up, but Blinx jumped, did a 360 flip, and double foot stomped Doomfist back into the mat! Blinx rolled up to his feet, feeling pumped! He stands behind Doomfist and prompts, no, demands that he get up! The Talon leader started to get to his feet, shaking the cobwebs from his head. He definitely felt that. Once he got to all fours, however, Blinx ran and did a rolling cutter to take Doomfist back down! Blinx was now having his turn, in control of the match! 

“Blinx using momentum and agility to finally get a foothold in the match, while Doomfist is getting beaten back!” said Johnny.

Blinx painted and circled the ring, glaring at Doomfist. He knew it was time to put Akande down for good, and he was going to need altitude. He went to the outside of the ropes behind Doomfist.

“Blinx is gonna fly again!” Johnny said, on the edge of his seat.

Blinx leaps off the top role and flies toward Doomfist, but that was Doomfist caught him! Just plucked him out of the sky! Blinx flailed and struggled, but Akande shook his head. “Not this time, or ever again!” 

Doomfist then put Blinx down with a Running Powerslam! The mat shuddered and the impact echoed throughout the arena!

“Oh, my God! Doomfist has turned the tables!” said Nick.

Doomfist puts his hands on Blinx's chest as Mills Lane drops to the mat and counts; 1, 2, 3!

“And Doomfist rebounds with his first win in the series!” said Johnny. 

Doomfist has his hand raised and he lets out a war cry, holding out his gauntlet hand for all to see. Doomfist had taken his first step towards ascending the Final Frontier Series scoreboard, leaving Blinx choking on his dust.


CLOSING SEGMENT

Static fills the screen before fading out to the image of Kakuzu approaching his locker room door. He looks around to make sure he isn't being followed, then enters. He wordlessly shuts it behind him, then locks it for good measure. The Akatsuki ninja withdrew a communicator from his pocket and pressed a button on the side. Seconds later, the device projected a holographic image of Dr. Flug, who was busy sorting through chemical compounds, before noticing Kakuzu.

“Ah, Kakuzu! I wasn't expecting to hear from you so soon.” Flug said, setting the beakers in his hands aside. 

“We have a problem,” Kakuzu said. “I need to speak to Black Hat.”

“Very well,” Flug nodded. “Stand by and I will patch you through.”

Flug’s image faded out, being replaced seconds later by an impatient Black Hat, whose arms were crossed, his fingers tapping his arm.

“This had better be good, Kakuzu. I expected the security grid to be disabled earlier today. What happened?”

Kakuzu began his report, “We did exactly as you said; Hidan distracted the guards and I slipped into the control room. However, another roster member spotted me before I could finish, forcing me to abort. Fortunately, I wasn't spotted.” 

“That does little to assuage my concerns,” Black Hat said. “Do you know who saw you?” 

“A boy named K.O. He's in a tag team with Rad, called Lakewood Plaza Turbo. They're also competitors in the Dynamic Duos tournament.”

“If he's cutting into my plans, then cut him out .” Black Hat slices his finger along his throat to drive his point home. “I will not let anyone stand in the way of my plans, least of all some child!”

“I can deal with him,” Kakuzu assured. “K.O. and his partner have moved onto the second round, so it's a matter of us facing them next to remove him from the equation.”

Black Hat hummed for a moment, then nodded. “Very well. I will ensure you face them in the next round. There can be no mistakes this time, Kakuzu.”

“Understood.” said Kakuzu as Black Hat's hologram faded. The camera cut to black as he clamped the communicator shut.


RESULTS

Final Frontier Series Match: Darkstar defeated John Shepard via pinfall after nailing a Spear.

Dynamic Duos Tournament Match: The Normandy Warriors defeated Lightspeed Rescue, with Garrus pinning Joel Rawlings, following an Archangel Snipe.

Final Frontier Series Match: Mercury Black defeated Carter Grayson via rollup pinfall.

Matriarch Tournament Match: Tracer defeated Alyx Vance via pinfall after landing a Pulse Bomb.

Final Frontier Series Match: Doomfist defeated Blinx the Time Sweeper via pinfall after planting a Running Powerslam.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 17 points

Darkstar - 14 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

Mercury Black - 7 points

Doomfist - 7 points

Agent Washington - 7 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 0 points

John Shepard - 0 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The show opens to Rad in the cafeteria, examining a table of refreshments. "Let's see, let's see. Soda, orange juice, purple stuff, oh, hey! A cheeseburger! I didn't know we had these!" Rad sat down and looked ready to take one bite… before just dropping the whole thing into his mouth and swallowing it. He let out a loud belch. "Ah, that hit the spot."

K.O. came through the cafeteria doors. "Hey, Rad! I thought you'd be here."

"Sup, squirt?"

"Have you seen Enid? I need to talk to you both about something."

Rad shrugged. "Who knows? She's off the clock today, so she's probably off napping in some vent."

K.O. sat across from Rad. "There's something weird going on. Last week, I saw someone trying to break into the security room. I asked what they were doing but I couldn't get a good look at them in the dark."

"And?"

"So, I think we should hold a stakeout!" K.O. said. "They're bound to try again sometime, and I want to catch them when they do!"

"I dunno," said Rad. "Maybe you were just seeing things?"

"I did! I saw a person! That wasn't all, though. One of those ninja guys seemed involved."

"The flame heads or the edgy guys?"

K.O., scratched the back of his head. "I think he was wearing a cloak?"

"Yep, edgy."

"He decked one of the guards to get them to chase him, then the guy I saw slipped inside. Rad, this could be serious! Maybe something nefarious is going on here, and we ought to know."

Rad rubbed his head. "Alright, fine. I guess I can spare some time."

"Great, let's go!"


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Doomfist vs. John Shepard

Shepard had his run-ins with terrorists before, notably Cerberus and Balak. Doomfist, the leader of a shadow organization, was little different in theory. In practice, however, he was a force to be reckoned with, which was well-established in his previous bouts with Carter and Blinx. Doomfist dominated the outset of the match by manhandling the commander with his brute strength, easily tossing him about the ring and overpowering him whenever they grappled. But Shepard managed to make a comeback by falling back on his hand to hand military training and probing Doomfist with punches and blows to find a sweet spot. He went for the joints, attacking Doomfist's legs to bring him down and misdirecting his arms to avoid the powerful strikes. Doomfist admired Shepard's tenacity, as it had reminded him of the Overwatch agents he engaged in the past, as well as Carter recently. Shepard was certainly no stranger to facing big guys, having tangled with krogans every so often, and even a yahg once. Doomfist was powerful, for sure, but it wasn't anything Shepard couldn't adapt to after the initial thrashing. And Doomfist, despite his training, was still facing an in-ring veteran who wasn't as fragile as Blinx, and had years of combat experience under his belt. Shepard almost had the match won, were it not for a last second interference from Darkstar, who distracted Shepard long enough for Doomfist to recover and nail him with a KO punch for the three count. Darkstar wasn't finished with Shepard after the whole helmet thing last week and leveled him with a spear afterward to get his point across. Doomfist gains another seven points while Shepard is left in the dust once again, thanks to Darkstar.


 BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We see Blinx the Time Sweeper in the office being examined by Baymax. 

“How bad is it?” Blinx asked.

“You are suffering from multiple bruises, but you are still cleared to compete.” Baymax said.

“That's good, I guess,” Blinx exhaled. 

Baymax offered an ice pack. “Apply this to your bruises and get plenty of rest to ensure maximum efficiency for your next match.”

Blinx took the pack with a nod. “Thanks.”

The Time Sweeper applied the ice pack with a wince, but noticed Baymax was standing there, silently staring at him. “Um, is there something else?”

“I cannot leave until you say you are satisfied with your care.”

“... I am satisfied with my care?” Blinx said, though it sounded more like an uncertain question than a statement. Nonetheless, this was enough for Baymax to leave. Blinx hopped off the bench and exited the infirmary. He went over to a large window that had a view of the vast black ocean known as space, with its stars twinkling in and out of sight. He leaned against the railing and let his mind wander, lost in the recesses of his own mind.

“Is there room for two?”

Blinx looked over his shoulder to see Carter joining his side. “Oh. Sure.”

“I saw how rough you had it against Doomfist. How are you holding up?”

Blinx looked down at the ice pack, then shrugged halfheartedly. “Enough to keep kicking. You?” 

“As long as I can move, I can still fight. Mercury was dirty, but I can't do anything about it now, except win the next match.” Carter said. “But you're looking pretty conflicted.” 

The red ranger flicked his thumb and an object flew towards Blinx. He caught it without looking, then held open his hand. In his palm, sat a penny.

“A penny for your thoughts?” Carter asked. 

Blinx snorted. “That was terrible.”

“I’m a work in progress.” Carter said with a shrug. “What's going on?”

Blinx gripped the railing. “I've been in the business for years, Carter. You and I, both, actually. I'm sure you know there's a bit of frustration that comes with getting knocked around by newcomers and treated like fodder when you've already proved your colors, you know?”

“I can relate. But there are plenty of vets outside just you and me. There's Wash, Kazuya, even that Mercury guy, though that doesn't lend well to how he won last week. But I get what you're trying to say.”

“I don't want to stop wrestling,” Blinx said. “It's been a passion of mine for years, and the idea of my time being up… it can hit you in the form of newcomers pounding you like nothing.”

Carter placed a hand on Blinx's shoulder. “Some newcomers have talent. But just because we lose to them doesn't mean we don't have anything left in the tank. And old dogs are never too old to learn new tricks, either. You just need to set your mind to the next match and give it your all. Even if you don't win, you can still show people that you have what it takes to stay in the business. We vets still have a place here, and we'll show them why.”

For a moment, Blinx was silent, his eyes staring into space. Then he turned to face Carter and nodded. “You're right. We will.”

“That's it, just keep your chin up and you'll find your groove again. Ring rust or not, you've still got it.”

Blinx extended his hand. “Thanks for the pep talk. It really helped.”

Carter shook his hand as a sign of solidarity. “Vets need to look out for another, just as any of the newcomers may.”

“Seeing at this is a round robin, I look forward to facing you soon.” Blinx said with a smirk.

Carter smiled. “I think it may come sooner than you think. Count on it.”


DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH

RackaRacka vs. The Wyverns

The Wyverns, the flirtatious Kagura Mutsuki and his dutiful Hibiki Kohaku, finally made their debut tonight. Most of the personality came from Kagura’s extroverted personality, given his not so subtle gestures and polite mannerisms to some of the female fans. Hibiki merely followed his master and ensure he didn’t get himself slapped by someone who could take his comments the wrong way. Their opponents, Danny and Michael Philippou of RackaRacka, however, lacked any nuance or subtlety. They were, in simple terms, batshit insane. Both came out with energy and vulgarity, saying curse words that had to be bleeped out and making the most ridiculous, cross-eyed faces imaginable. Kagura and Hibiki shared a sweat drop; they knew they were going to be a headache to deal with, figuratively and literally.

“I’m telling you, those boys aren’t right.” Nick said.

Kagura and Danny started off for their respective teams. Kagura went for a clothesline, but Danny ducked, ran to the ropes, then started backflipping back towards Kagura… only to screw up mid-flip and land right on his head. Kagura stared awkwardly, as did the rest of the audience.

“What kind of shit was that, mate?!” Michael called from the corner.

“Fuck you, this shit is harder than it looks!” Danny screamed back.

Kagura slapped the taste out of Danny’s mouth for that comment. “Language, young man. There are children here!”

Danny held his check, then slapped Kagura back. “They’re gonna learn in highschool anyway, what’s a few years early gonna hurt?”

Kagura slapped Danny back. “Because foul mouthed delinquents like yourself create a toxic environment!”

This went on for a few seconds, Kagura and Danny slapping and retorting each other. Mills was looking on, shaking his head in disbelief. Hibiki sighed, while Michael was cheering from his corner. 

“Yeah! Slap his teeth out, Dan!” 

Fortunately, the slap fest ended when Kagura faked a slap, only to uppercut Danny, then give him a belly to belly suplex that sent him flying. The match was now underway proper. Danny fought like a rabid animal, outright throwing himself on top of Kagura and failing his fists at him, which looked quite funny to some people. The YouTube brothers appeared to be treating this as another video than a wrestling match… though, to be fair, they’ve had wrestling videos before. The twins were brawlers, for certain, but also had a surprising degree of athleticism. They switched out often, taking turns shoulder ramming Kagura in the corner before suplexing him together. Kagura, though struggling, would not be beaten so easily, and was able to reverse the twins’ attempt to throw him into the ropes and merely yanked them both into a double clothesline and follow up with a double elbow drop to the two! Kagura switched out with Hibiki after that, who was quicker on his feet and capable of technical maneuvers. At one point, he had Michael in a leg scissor chokehold. Michael was overplaying the choking part to an insane degree, sticking his tongue out and bugging his eyes.

“You’re getting your ass kicked by a woman, man!” Dan said. “Hit her in the taco or something!”

“I’m MALE.” Hibiki corrected.

“WAIT, YOU’RE A GUY?! And this whole time, I considered giving you my number!” Michael choked out, which prompted Hibiki to squeeze harder in response. “That’s okay… we can take a rain check…!”

Michael wouldn’t yield so easily and he was able to escape, pushing Hibiki back and nailing a roundhouse kick to the head. Michael retreated to the corner with Danny.

“This isn’t working, mate. We gotta use the secret weapon.” Michael said.

“Right!” 

The brothers took out what appeared to be morphers and underwent a transformation.

“Tyrannosaurus!” Danny called out.

“Mastodon!” Michael proclaimed.

“Triceratops!” said a third man.

“Hey, who the fuck is that?!” Danny asked.

“Yeah, fuck off, mate!” Michael said to the third guy. “There’s no fucking asians in this match!”

Both were now wearing obviously fake Power Ranger costumes one could pick up at a costume store, which left the Wyverns, Mills, and the commentators jaw-dropped speechless.

“What the hell are we witnessing, Johnny?” Nick asked.

“I have no clue,” Johnny replied. “Even as a commentator, I have no words for this.”

The twins went at the Wyverns yet again, this time with more acrobatics. For a time, they held the advantage, imitating Power Ranger moves somewhat haphazardly, but still pulling them off. Though only briefly. Because Kagura eventually decided to condense the nonsense and was able to dislodge both the crazy brothers from the ring. Hibiki joined Kagura’s side and they both suicide dived onto the brothers outside the ring, knocking everyone down! The Wyverns singled out Danny and threw him into the ring, going in after him together. Danny rolled to his feet and held out his hand.

“STOP! You may think you’ve won, but I’ve got the power of the Megazord!” Danny said as he held out a power crystal and underwent another transformation… which left a tyrannosaurus megazord toy in the middle of the ring. “ALRIGHT!”

The Wyverns looked at one another, then just kicked the toy to pieces together, bringing Danny back. From there, they landed their team finisher, the Black Blaze (russian leg sweep / gamengiri combo). Kagura went for the pin while Hibiki launched himself over the ropes to take Michael out yet again! Mills counted and mercifully ended the ridiculousness when he reached three. 

“And after that descent into insanity, the Wyverns come out on top.” Johnny said. “Thank God that’s over.”

“I sure hope we don’t see anymore shenanigans like this anytime soon.” Nick said, rubbing his forehead. “I think I got a headache just trying to figure out how this even happened.”

“It’s probably best you don’t, Nick.”


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We come to K.O. and Rad sitting against the wall. Every few seconds, K.O. was peeking over the corner to check on the door, only to see the two guards standing there nonchalantly. Rad was busy playing some mobile game on his phone to pass the time.

"Um, what are you two doing?"

Both looked up to see Wash, who was in the middle of passing by when he spotted them.

"Oh! Nothing important, really. Just… hanging out." K.O. said, trying to sound convincing.

"Well, I am anyway." Rad said with a shrug.

"Uh huh," Wash muttered. "You really expect me to buy this?"

"... Yes?" K.O. asked.

"We're holding a stake out because K.O. saw someone try to break into the security room last week." Rad said simply.

"Rad!" K.O. said.

"What? It's not like he's the one you saw! He's too, what's the word, angsty looking?"

"Thank you for the dissertation, genius." Wash said with a deadpan delivery, then looked at K.O. "Why not just ask TOM to view the security footage?"

K.O. blinked. "Huh?"

"Don't you ever watch spy movies? There's no way they would have cameras everywhere except the security room. That'd be, like, the first place to install a camera."

"Huh," said Rad. "Why didn't I think of that?"

"Because you're too, what's the word, meatheaded?" Wash said.

Rad crossed his arms, looking off the side while muttering, "Touche."

"That's a great idea!" K.O. exclaimed. "Thanks a lot, mister!" K.O. took off down the hall. "Come on, Rad! There's no time to waste!"

"I'm coming, don't trip over yourself." Rad said, levitating himself after K.O.

Wash watched them go, then glanced at the security door himself. "Huh. Wonder why someone would want to break into the security room? There's some shit going on around here."


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Darkstar vs. Kazuya Mishima

Darkstar and Kazuya were the current top dogs of the Final Frontier series, with two wins each to their names. This evening would see one man's record blemished with their first loss. The two men seized each other up, with Mills trying to keep them from starting an early brawl before the bell. 

“I want a good, clean fight between you.” Mills said, then motioned for the bell. “Let's get it on!”

The bell rang, and the audience waited for both men to make a move. Darkstar and Kazuya circled each other, not breaking eye contact.

“Kazuya and Darkstar sizing each other up,” said Johnny. “Neither are making a move.”

“It's like two gunslingers in the west,” said Nick. “Question is, who will flinch first?”

Kazuya waits for Darkstar to circle so that he's positioned himself in front of a corner, then goes right in, tackling Darkstar and ramming him against the turnbuckle! He shoulder rams Darkstar several times, while Darkstar is delivering elbow shots to Kazuya's back! However, Kazuya's ramming takes the wind out of Darkstar and he doubles over, allowing Kazuya to take him down with a double axe handle to the back of the head! 

“Right from the outset, Kazuya is displaying keen awareness of the ring and his position.” Johnny said.

“He waited for Darkstar to back himself into a corner, literally!” Johnny said.

Kazuya goes to grab Darkstar, but Darkstar grabs hold of his head and hits a jawbreaker! Kazuya stumbles back and Darkstar follows up with a surprise dropkick to the chest that sends Kazuya flying! Darkstar wastes no time putting Kazuya in a sleeper hold. Kazuya flails his arms, then claws at Darkstar's gloved hands. He slowly rises to his knees, taking Darkstar up with him, then reaches his feet… and with one good jerk of his body, he throws Darkstar right off him! As Darkstar scrambles to his knees, Kazuya greets him with a European uppercut, then bashes his helmet in with a spinning backfist! Darkstar's helmet now has a noticeable dent! 

“Oh, please don't break the helmet, Kazuya!” Nick begged. “Nobody needs to see that face again!”

Kazuya looks at his fist, then flexes his fingers, gives it a little shake, and clenches it as he looks back down at Darkstar. He grabs him by the helmet and yanks him up. Darkstar staggers in place as Kazuya goes for a discus lariat… but Darkstar ducks at the last second, gets behind Kazuya, and takes him down with a suplex! Darkstar slams his fist against the mat, prompting Kazuya to get up. He runs to the ropes and comes back to curbstomp Kazuya's skull into the mat! Darkstar covers, only to receive a two count. Irritated, Darkstar shakes his head and drags Kazuya up, holding him in a headlock. He goes for a DDT, but Kazuya shoves him off and this time, the discus lariat connects! Kazuya isn't finished, delivering a forearm blow to the windpipe of Darkstar, leaving him gasping for breath!

“Damn, he may have collapsed Darkstar's trachea!” Nick said. 

“Kazuya is fighting with years of martial arts and wrestling experience, while Darkstar is like a brutal hound, just using whatever savage means he can to get the upper hand.” said Johnny. “It's veterancy versus savagery.”

“I think Kazuya's got both, in spades.” Nick commented. 

Kazuya grabs Darkstar's leg, ready to lock his ankle in… but Darkstar rolls onto his back and kicks Kazuya in the jaw! The Devil doesn't relent at first, so Darkstar fires another kick, then another, and another, before finally dislodging Mishima! Darkstar gets up and executes a jumping cutter! Darkstar runs to the ropes and comes back with a double leg drop to Kazuya! Darkstar covers again, but Kazuya still gets his shoulder up! Darkstar holds his head in shock and starts arguing with Mills, asserting it was a three count, but Mills shakes his head and tells him it was two. Darkstar fumes and gets behind Kazuya, leaning into the corner. The audience all knows what this means.

“Oh, I think Darkstar is looking to put Kazuya away with a spear!” said Johnny.

“Darkstar’s revving up, while Kazuya’s winding down!” yelled Nick.

But before Darkstar could seize upon the chance, John Shepard comes onto the ramp, glaring at Kazuya. He had cost him earlier, now he was looking to return the favor himself. Darkstar noticed Shepard and was unsure whether to focus on him or Kazuya. If he took his eyes off one, it would only leave him open to the other. All the while, Kazuya gets back up and realized Darkstar’s back to him as he’s busy staring down Shepard. He whirls the plumber’s son around and nails the Devil Twister (twisting brainbuster)! Kazuya then puts Darkstar in an ankle lock, twisting with all his might! Darkstar yells out and claws for the ropes, but Kazuya has him in a firm vice, right in the center of the ring. Darkstar ultimately has no choice but to submit, awarding Kazuya the victory and another ten points in the series!

“It would appear grudges have prevailed this evening,” said Johnny. “Darkstar cost Shepard, now Shepard cost him. An eye for an eye as they say.”

“Yeah, but Kazuya doesn’t look too happy about it.” Nick said, pointing to Kazuya, who noticed Shepard’s presence and pieced together what he happened. He snarled under his breath and shook his head; although he had ten points, he sure as hell didn’t need help obtaining them, and he wouldn’t forget this, for he had yet to face Shepard himself. He would take his complaints to the commander directly, come their inevitable confrontation. 


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

TOM is sitting at his desk, writing down some notes when he hears a knock at his door. "Come in."

K.O. popped his head in. "TOM! I've got something important! Last week, I saw someone try to break into the security room!"

"What?" TOM set down his pencil. "Did you see who?"

"Not really, it was too dark. But I was told that we could look at the security footage?"

Rad stuck his head in, above K.O. "Do you need me to stay out here, or…?"

TOM motioned for both to enter, then swiveled his chair around to face his control console. "SARA, access security files from last week's taping."

"One moment," SARA said, appearing beside TOM. "Accessing files. Error: security camera records missing."

"Missing?"

"There are three minutes of footage missing from the timeline. It's as if they were cut." SARA said.

TOM shook his head. "That's impossible, the only people who have access to the security files are you, me, and Dornan."

SARA continues, “While there was an authorized access last week, it came from an unknown source.”

“What kind?”

“Likely an external source. Someone could have hacked into the system and deleted footage.”

“Can you trace it?”

“No good. There's no source to trace, just scrambled data.” 

“Well, shit,” TOM turned to face K.O. and Rad. “I’ll have to look into this a little more. Thank you for telling me about this. Is there anything else I should know?”

"Yeah, I saw one of those ninja guys causing a ruckus. Talking about some weird god, then punched one of the guards before running away. That's when the guy broke in."

"You mean Hidan?" TOM asked. "That guy has been doing this for a while now. It could be a coincidence, but I'll question him all the same.”

“I'll keep an eye out, sir!” K.O. said with a salute. “If I see anything, I'll tell you!”

“I appreciate it.”

K.O. and Rad left the office, the door slid shut behind them.

“Well, that could have gone better.” Rad said. “Spy movies, a waste of time. Not that I thought it would work or anything, just that they didn't really help us.”

K.O. scratched his chin, appearing in deep thought. “If the footage was deleted, then someone had to have known we would try to check. I don't like this, Rad. Something fishy is going on here. Who knows what nefarious plan these guys have in mind, and what they intend to do next?!”


COMMERCIAL

We see a Chick-Fil-A restaurant going about its usual business… before Hidan suddenly comes on screen.

“Hi there, I'm Hidan. You may know me as a member of the Akatsuki. Well I'm here to share with you all a golden opportunity. Because now… Chick-Fil-A is proudly joining the Way of Jashin! And we're all so happy about it, they wanted me to tell you they're making deals and slashing prices like crazy!”

A scream is heard followed by metal hitting flesh, blood splatters over the menu. Hidan smacks his hand on the menu right next to a deal that's going on.

“For just $7.99 you can get 8 Chick-n-Strips and we'll throw in a medium size waffle fry absolutely free!”

Another scream followed by more blood on the menu. Hidan wipes the blood away to reveal another deal. “Or what about this? 2 Grilled Chicken Cool Wraps for the price of one! That's right 2 Grilled Chicken Cool Wraps for only $5.99. Oh and did I forget to mention it comes with a free soda? Because you'll be getting a free soda with your meal!”

Hidan licks the blood off his fingers and his skin turns black with white highlights that resembles a skeleton. Someone offscreen was begging for their life, but Hidan continued like normal. “As long as you buy from Chick-Fil-A, it's a win-win all around! We'll sell while you don't go to hell!”

Hidan stabs himself in the heart with a sharp metal rod, then lets out a moan of pleasure to the sounds of someone gurgling blood off screen. The camera pans to show the massacre inside the Chick-Fil-A restaurant as Hidan lets out a low chuckle before grinning like mad. 

“So come on down to Chick-Fil-A! Now Jashin approved! Hahaha!”

The camera then transitions to a nearby table that shows Kakuzu eating some chicken strips. Kakuzu notices the camera on him.

“What can I say? These prices are a steal.”


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Captain Phasma vs. Kelsey Winslow

This was the last match of the first round of the Matriarchs tournament, and the pressure was on. One of these women were joining the loser's bracket. Captain Phasma of the First Order against Kelsey Winslow of Lightspeed Rescue. The match opened with a lockup, Phasma shoving Kelsey into the corner and delivering several chops to her collar bone. Phasma backs up and runs toward Kelsey, but she's able to knocked Phasma away with a rope-assisted dropkick. She then hops onto the corner and blasts Phasma with a flying elbow smash! Kelsey covers, but only gets a two count. 

“Kelsey was going for a quick win, but Phasma won't have it.” said Johnny.

“When have these early pins ever won the match?” Nick asked.

Phasma kicks Kelsey off with a boot to her helmet and gets back to her feet. Kelsey rolls into the ropes and cartwheels back to catch Phasma in a headscissors, then takes her down with a hurricanrana transitioned into a pin, but Phasma gets out at one. Both returned to their feet, locking up, but Phasma was able to win out by hip tossing Kelsey. As soon as the ranger got back up, Phasma grabbed her from behind by the waist and suplexed her into the mat. 

Phasma and Kelsey went at it, fighting tooth and nail. They had an interesting dynamic, in that both were in peak physical shape but that translated into different styles. Kelsey was more into athletics, which provided a lot of stamina and speed. Phasma, however, grew up in a very hostile environment and was forced to put herself through rigorous training that only got more intense when she enlisted in the Stormtrooper Corps, so she was extremely tough and strong. Kelsey would hop off the turnbuckle, only to be caught by a pop-up powerbomb by Phasma. When Phasma would go for a clothesline, Kelsey would slip behind and take her down with a reverse frankensteiner. Disciplinary strength against persistent athleticism, as if they were two sides of the same coin. 

By the tail end, Phasma and Kelsey were left beat, opposite from one another, on one knee as they panted. They got up and locked up one final time. The exchange to decide the victor. Phasma delivered a hard elbow to Kelsey, who retaliated with a forearm strike. The two would trade blows, each hit staggering but ultimately unable to knock them down. But Kelsey got a spring of energy and overwhelmed Phasma with a series of quick blows to her head. Even with a helmet, Phasma felt each strike and was shoved into the corner. Kelsey hopped onto Phasma’s shoulders and went for a hurricanrana, but her launch was cancelled by Phasma holding onto her legs! Kelsey flailed about trying to escape but Phasma powered her back onto her shoulders and power bombed her onto the turnbuckle! Kelsey bounced off, staggering back into Phasma's arms, who took her right back down with a Star Destroyer (Lars Sullivan's Freak Accident)! Phasma picked up the pinfall right after that, advancing into the second round while leaving Kelsey to dwell in the loser's bracket. Phasma was determined to go all the way to the top and the Lightspeed ranger was just the first pedestal.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

The cameras show what Enid has been up to while KO and Rad were occupied. She had retrofitted the hidden compartment with some bedsheets, a few snacks, and a pillow to help her nap off the clock. It had become her makeshift room while in space. She rested her head against the pillow.

“Finally,” she sighed. “Peace and quiet. Gotta hand it to TOM, he sure knows how to pick the best areas to settle down.”

Enid shut her eyes and started to drift off with the quiet hum of the engines in the background lulling her into slumber. But then Mae Borowski stealthily climbed into the compartment with her and sat beside her.

“Psst,” she said. “Hey. Hey, Enid. Hey.”

“Mmf, what is it?” Enid asked, dazed.

“Mind if I share this space? I'm tired.”

Enid muttered incoherently as she hugged her pillow, but managed to say, “Yeah, sure whatever.”

“Neat-o,” Mae said, laying down in the opposite corner. “Thanks, Enid.”

“You’re welcome, Mae…” Enid replied.

Then the realization hit, and Enid's eyes snapped open. She slowly looked at Mae. “... What are you doing here?” she asked, trying to keep calm.

“I told you, I'm tired,” Mae said stretching her arms out.

“Get. Out. Now.” she said through gritted teeth.

“But you said I could sleep here.” Mae whined.

“Yeah, when I was half asleep and unaware! Don't think I'm just going to forget what you did.”

“Yeah, and I fought your match and got my ass handed to me, so we're square now, right?” Enid’s glare didn't lessen. Mae changed tactics and put on a cute face. “Please? You wouldn't shut out a kitty cat, would you?”

“I'd shut out an annoying animal that made my first week here a pain in the ass. You can either hit the road or I'll put you there myself.” Enid said, holding up her foot.

Mae slumped and hung her head. “Okay. I'll just find some cold, harsh air duct somewhere, all alone.”

“I don't care where you go,” Enid laid back down and turned away from Mae. “So long as it's anywhere but here.”

Mae dropped the act and deadpanned. “Oh, come on.” 

Enid held up her foot again.

“Okay, I get the message! I'm going!” Mae said quickly and scrambled out of the compartment, leaving Enid alone. 

“Jeez,” Enid muttered.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Mercury Black

Wash was back and looking to get his Final Frontier series record back on track. Mercury Black, on the other hand, had just swerved his own in a favorable direction, albeit through underhanded means, and was looking to keep it that way, and would go through the freelancer to do it. The fates would decided in the main event as Mills Lane called them to the center of the ring. 

“Listen up, keep it clean and entertaining for the audience. I emphasize that, because we just endured a headache of a tag team match earlier. Now, let’s get it on!” Mills said, calling for the bell.

Wash and Mercury opened with a locked up. Mercury, sensing he wouldn’t win a power struggle, maneuvered Wash into a headlock. The freelancer clawed at Mercury’s hands, then elbowed his gut a few times to get him to let go. Wash grabbed his arm and wrenched it. Mercury winced and tried for a backflip kick to dislodge Wash, but the freelancer ducked his head and pulled Mercury into a clothesline in retaliation!

“Wash anticipating Mercury’s moves,” said Johnny. “Mercury’s got a lot of cunning, but it would seem Wash is two steps ahead.”

“That’s the key in this sport, always be a step ahead of your opponent,” said Nick. “And if your opponent is a step ahead, think three steps ahead!”

Wash picks up Mercury and throws him into the ropes and bends over, waiting for him to bounce back, but Mercury catches himself and runs back, delivering a big boot to Wash! The freelancer doesn’t go down immediately, so Mercury adds a spinning wheel kick for good measure, finally downing Wash. He tries to cover, but Wash gets the shoulder up. Both rise to their feet, with Mercury making it first. He kicks Wash in the back, prompting him to stand up, then runs to take him down with a spinning DDT! Wash is spiked into the mat and Mercury is left on his back panting.

“The athleticism from Mercury is astounding!” said Johnny.

“Hey, looks like he’s thinking three steps ahead now.” said Nick.

Mercury ascends the turnbuckle and jumps for a diving elbow, but Wash rolls out of the way just in time, leaving Mercury to crash and burn. As Mercury nurses his elbow, Wash picks him up throws him into the corner. He rushes Mercury, but that’s when Mercury raises both legs… however, Wash stops just in time and stares at Mercury, shaking his head. “Nope.”

He grabbed Mercury’s extended legs and yanked him out of the corner, bouncing his head off the mat. Mercury rolls out of the ring to escape Wash and holds the back of his head. But Wash isn’t finished with him as he jumps over the ropes and takes Mercury down with a springboard!

“And Wash isn’t letting Mercury get away that easily!” said Johnny.

Wash threw Mercury back into the ring and rolls in after him for a cover, but only gets a two count. Wash pulls Mercury up and tries to throw him into the ropes, but Mercury reverse and tosses Wash into the ropes instead. Wash bounces back and Mercury leapfrogs over him, then lands a hurricanrana driver onto the freelancer when he comes back again! Mercury dashes to the ropes and backflips towards Wash, only to land on the freelancer’s knees! Mercury rolls off, clutching his abdomen while Wash gets up and hits Mercury with a running knee smash to the face!

“And Mercury gets a mouthful of knee encased in freelancer armor! That had to hurt!” said Nick.

“Both are trying to stay ahead of each other, but they’re pretty even. I can’t even tell who’s going to come out on top!”

Wash gets to his feet again, taking Mercury with him and bends him back for a scorpion death drop, but that’s when Mercury springs to life, grabbing Wash’s head and hitting a jawbreaker! Mercury gets out the hold and starts striking Wash with forearm smashes and knee shots to the abdomen. He continues to strike Wash until he’s down to one knee, then throws him to the mat headfirst. Wash is left writhing on the mat, leaving Mercury free to do as he pleases. He scales the corner once again, eyeing Wash like a hawk as he starts to stand. Mercury is waiting for Wash to turn around. He does and Mercury goes for a 360 shooting star press, but Wash dives out of the way! Mercury is able to save himself by landing on his feet, but Wash whirls him around and levels him with the Washington Bomb (vertical suplex powerbomb)! Wash covers from there; 1, 2, 3!

“And Agent Washington defeats Mercury Black, and is now back on track!” said Johnny.

“Hey, that rhymed, Johnny!” Nick pointed out. “But yes, Wash has gained seven points and won tonight’s main event. But he’s still got a long road ahead of him, as do the rest of the competitors, so he’d best be ready for what’s to come.”

Wash gets his hand raised as he in the center of the ring. Though he was glad to have won, he was also aware that there was more going on backstage if KO’s words rang true. He’d be keeping an eye open, for sure, but for now, this was his moment to celebrate.


CLOSING SEGMENT

Hidan and Kakuzu entered the cafeteria, the former running his mouth and the latter reading a book with an expression that indicated he was pretending to care about what Hidan had to say.

“Enjoy your lunch, Kakuzu?” Hidan asked.

“Would have been better without you mouthing off to the camera.” Kakuzu muttered as his eyes skimmed the pages.

“Oh, ha,” Hidan stuck his tongue out. “I, however, skipped out on lunch because I had something better in mind. Jashin himself came before me, Kakuzu, and blessed me with the most delicious cheeseburger you could imagine. It was a divine meal worthy of a God, and he passed it down to his most devoted disciple! See, faith has its rewards, Kakuzu.”

“Money has more possibilities.”

“You know what, Kakuzu, you can take your money and shove it,” Hidan hissed under his breath, then reached for his burger… only to feel the wrinkling of wrapping paper. Hidan's eyes widened as he held up the wrapper in his hands, noticing the absence of his meal.

“Looks like your dear Jashin has forsaken you,” Kakuzu said cheekily.

“SHUT UP! YOU BE QUIET!” Hidan screamed, his face taking an angry anime expression. “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY FUCKING BURGER?! WITH JASHIN AS MY WITNESS, I WILL FIND THE PERPETRATOR BEHIND THIS ACT OF BLASPHEMY AND INFLICT RIGHTEOUS VENGEANCE UPON THEM! I SWEAR IT!”


RESULTS

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Doomfist defeated John Shepard via pinfall, following a knockout punch.

DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH: The Wyverns defeated RackaRacka when Kagura Mutsuki pinned Danny Philippou, following the Black Blaze.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Kazuya Mishima defeated Darkstar via forcing him.to submit to an ankle lock.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Phasma defeated Kelsey Winslow via pinfall after leveling her with the Death Star Destroyer.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Agent Washington defeated Mercury Black via pinfall after executing the Washington Bomb.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 27 points

Darkstar - 14 points

Doomfist - 14 points

Agent Washington - 14 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

Mercury Black - 7 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 0 points

John Shepard - 0 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The show opens in the manager's office. TOM was sitting in his chair facing Dornan, whose arms were crossed as he faced the window, staring into space.

"I don't like this, TOM," Dornan said. "If someone was trying to get into the security room, that means the suspect is among our staff. And what's more, we don't know why."

"It's fortunate KO got to them before they could finish," said TOM. "They're bound to try again sometime, but we'll be ready for when they do. I've set up some extra security and they're not to leave the door unattended unless it's an absolute emergency."

Dornan turned from the window to face TOM. "Do we have any suspects?"

"Only one," TOM said, then sighed. "Unfortunately, their role, as far we know, could purely be circumstantial."

"We question them anyway," Dornan said firmly. "Maybe they were involved, maybe they weren't. We won't know unless we investigate. Where's our suspect now?"

TOM turned to the console. "SARA?"

"They've just arrived." SARA affirmed.

TOM nodded. "Alright, send them in."

The office doors opened, revealing Hidan and Kakuzu.

"You wanted to see us, bosses?" Hidan asked casually.

"Gentlemen, please come in and sit." TOM said, maintaining a professional tone, so as not to sound too accusatory.

The Akatsuki entered and sat across from TOM's desk. Dornan watched them intently but did left the floor to TOM for now.

"What's this about?" Kakuzu asked, wanting to get to the point. "Hidan and I have a match to prepare for tonight."

"I understand, Kakuzu," said TOM. "I assure you, this won't take long at all. I just wanted to ask some questions, then I'll let you go."

"Alright, shoot," said Hidan, leaning in his chair while resting his hands behind his head.

"Two weeks ago, the security room had a break in. KO spotted you assaulting one of the guards to the door right before someone attempted to access the console. Seeing as how you two have always been seen together, it seems a bit odd that Hidan is suddenly alone for this one instance, then someone breaks into the security room right after the guards chase him away."

Kakuzu narrowed his eyes. "Your point?"

"Well, that leads me into my first question. Hidan, were you aware of the security room break in?"

Hidan's response was quick and firm. "Nope. I was only spreading the Way of Jashin, as I've always done."

TOM hummed. "Yes, that's not abnormal behavior for you."

Dornan stepped in, looking over Hidan. "In fact, we've gotten several complaints from guards and other staff asking you to stop."

Hidan shrugged. "Spreading the Way of Jashin is one of the commandments. I can't just stop, it goes against my principles!"

Kakuzu huffed at his partner's rebuke, which caught TOM's attention.

"Which brings me to you, Kakuzu. Where were you while Hidan was doing this?"

"Hidan's activities are of no concern to me," Kakuzu said bluntly. "I have better things to do than listen to him preach about his inane religion."

Hidan furrowed his brow at the callous disrespect. "You know what, Kakuzu? Eat a dick."

Unfazed, Kakuzu continued, "I was reading in my quarters."

"You read?" Dornan prodded further, his tone indicating suspicion.

"We all have our hobbies," Kakuzu said, looking Dornan in the eye. "Reading old books is one of mine."

"Can anyone confirm your alibi?" TOM asked.

"Ask the Turian or the Lemur. They saw."

"Oh, we will," Dornan said, returning his gaze to Hidan. "It's awfully fishy that someone broke into the security right after Hidan's little stunt."

Hidan rolled his eyes. "It's happenstance. That may be difficult for some desperate conspiracy theorists to comprehend, but it's a thing, you know."

"Do you have any footage to confirm either of us did it?" Kakuzu abruptly asked.

"Well, no, the footage was-" TOM began but was cut off.

"So you just have one eyewitness account to go on?"

"Yes, but-"

"And that warrants grilling us like we're on trial? For all you know, the kid could just be looking for attention or thought he saw something and started connecting imaginary dots." Kakuzu said, his voice growing sharper. "We don't need this tonight. Get some concrete evidence that we're involved, then we'll talk. Until then, this meeting is just a waste of your time, and ours."

"You've got a lot of nerve to talk to us like that, maggot," Dornan growled, clenching his fist.

"What's wrong with speaking the truth?" Kakuzu challenged. "You have no evidence beyond the account of a child, which is hardly compelling proof. As far as we're concerned, this interrogation is over."

"Why you-!"

"Let them go, Dornan." TOM said.

"Excuse me?!"

"He has a point, we really can't grill them like this. If this is just coincidence, then we're accusing two innocent people, which isn't an example we should be setting as managers. Hidan, Kakuzu, you're free to go. Sorry for the trouble."

The Akatsuki promptly left the office upon their dismissal. Dornan turned to TOM, then rested his hands on the desk.

"Goddammit!"

"We'll figure something out," TOM said, hoping to assure his co-manager. "We always have. Until then, we'll keep an eye on the security room."

Hidan and Kakuzu stood side by side as the elevator took them away from the bridge.

"Took some nuts to talk to the bosses like that," Hidan said. "Not that I'm complaining. Got them off our backs."

"We have a job to do tonight," Kakuzu said, glancing at Hidan. "We don't need these two breathing down our necks."

"Same old Kakuzu, all work and no play."


PRE-MATCH SEGMENT

Mae Borowski was standing in her locker room, staring at her reflection in a handheld mirror.

"Okay, Mae, you can do this," she said to herself. "You've got another match coming up. Don't worry, it's not like you've already got people rooting for you to fail for being an inconsiderate jerk. Maybe I can say, 'Hi, guys! I'm Mae, and I'm about to get shredded by an assassin with a killer manicure!' Or how about, 'I'm a total trash mammal who's going to get kicked around for your enjoyment!'."

Mae sighed and facepalmed.

"Yeah, sure, that'll win you the match. Good pep talk, Mae."

There was a knock at the door.

"Hey, Borowski! Are you ready?"

"Yeah, just give me a minute," Mae said, then looked into the mirror one more time. "Wow, I have a lot of people to disappoint… welp, let's get this over with."


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Lady Deathstrike vs. Mae Borowski

The first round of the Matriarchs tournament had concluded with Enid, Demencia, Tracer, and Phasma moving onto the next round, while Lady Deathstrike, Mae Borowski, Alyx Vance, and Kelsey Winslow were bumped to the loser's bracket for a last chance to work their way back up to the finals. But one more loss and they were eliminated for good.

Karma had a way of coming back like a boomerang, because Mae not only found herself in the loser's bracket after her stint with Enid, but now she was facing the very opponent she sought to avoid, Lady Deathstrike. The assassin was looking forward to the championship and the feline she would gut before the crowd. Mae's whiskers twitched as she tried to keep her mind on positive things… like annoying Dornan. That was always fun. Until he sets her up against Deathstrike. Then it became bad.

"Alright, let's get it on!" Mills Lane said, then called for the bell.

Mae and Deathstrike lock up but the cyborg assassin easily shoves Mae to the mat. She urges the cat to get back up and fight. For a moment, Mae remains on her rump, staring up at Deathstrike, then slowly returned to her feet and entered another lock up. Deathstrike pushes Mae into the ropes, then threw her into the other side. Mae slipped back the top and middle rope, clinging to them with her arms and feet a la TJ Perkins.

Deathstrike tilted her head at this, then ran at Mae, looking to boot her in the face, but Mae suddenly released herself, leaving Deathstrike's leg to kick air! Mae sweeps the other of Deathstrike right from under her, tripping her to the floor. Mae ran to the other side of the ring, bounced off the ropes, then hit the exposed Deathstrike with a running knee strike to the head, sending her careening into the corner. Mae runs for a dropkick, but Deathstrike evades to the side, so Mae splats onto the mat. She pops back up in time to get a spinning heel kick from Deathstrike! Mae slowly rises to her knees, so Deathstrike runs into the ropes, then comes back to give Mae a face full of her boots in the style of a double dropkick! The force of the blow is enough to send Mae rolling to the outside of the ring, where she bumps the back of her head against the barricade.

As Mae braces herself against the barricade, Deathstrike runs to the ropes, then launches herself over the top, striking Mae head on with a suicide dive! The lady assassin gets to her feet, pulling Mae up with her by the scruff of her neck, then throws her back into the ring, before climbing the apron. Mae shakes her head, trying to regain her senses. Deathstrike jumps off the top rope and goes for a flying forearm smash, but Mae suddenly counters by catching Deathstrike on the way down a with pop up stunner! Mae quickly goes for the pin, but only gets a two count.

Mae pulls Deathstrike up in a headlock, then demonstrated surprising strength by lifting her and propping her on the ropes, then hits a rope-assisted DDT! Deathstrike rolls back outside the ring and away from harm. Mae, however, won't let her get away and jumps to the outside of the apron and runs for a hurricanrana, but gets caught by Deathstrike!

Mae's expression wasn't of shock but of deja vu as she sighed. "Not again."

Deathstrike powerbombed Mae onto the floor, leaving the cat winded and writhing in pain. She kicks the downed Mae a few times, then throws her into the ring before a climbing in after her. She grabs Mae by her collar and forces her to stand, the cat's oversized pupils swirling in a cartoonish manner. Deathstrike got behind Mae and planted her with a German suplex! She lifted her back up and performed another suplex! Then another! Deathstrike finished the assault with a brainbuster that laid out Mae like a pancake.

Deathstrike smirks and covers, Mills getting down to count; 1, 2, Mae suddenly kicks out! Deathstrike looked down bewildered and shook her head, unable to process this. She pulled her up by the hard and shoved her against the ropes, then delivered a stiff chop to the collarbone. Mae doubled over, wheezing. Deathstrike tossed her to the ropes again, but Mae was able to rebound with a springboard forearm smash, then kip up to her feet. She follows up with a standing moonsault, crushing Deathstrike beneath her, then unleashed a barrage of quick punches to her head.

Mae circled around behind Deathstrike and waited for her to stand. Deathstrike got to her feet, and that's when Mae ran at her, sliding between her legs and coming out the other side.

"Hi," she said, prompting Deathstrike to try for a clothesline, but Mae ducked, ran to the ropes, bounced off and came back for a hurricanrana driver, throwing Deathstrike to the ropes! Mae took arm and hopped onto the top rope, balancing easily. "Check this out, I call this walk the cat!"

Mae tightrope walked along the top rope, pulling a dazed Deathstrike along with her, until she reached the corner, then launched herself into the air, flinging Deathstrike with an arm drag! Mae stood back to her feet and beckoned Deathstrike to get back up and fight, throwing her words back at her face. She lifted Deathstrike onto her shoulders, then hit a Go To Sleep, but before Deathstrike fell, she added a roundhouse kick for good measure, calling this combo the Bandit Queen Supreme. She covered Deathstrike and Mills counted; 1, 2, 3!

Mae Borowski, despite a rough start, has picked up her first victory against Deathstrike and will continue to the next round, while Deathstrike is eliminated entirely.


POST-MATCH SEGMENT

TOM watched from his office, tapping his chin area. He looked at Dornan.

"Not bad, huh? The kid's got talent." he said.

"Guess she at least had a decent trainer," Dornan begrudgingly conceded.

"Actually, she has no formal training."

"Oh, that's nice-WHAT?!"

"Didn't you read her application? I double checked, no wrestling background whatsoever."

"I thought the brat was joking!" Dornan said, looking back at the screen. "If she can do that… imagine if she actually did train."


INTERVIEW SEGMENT

We come backstage where a smiling skeleton in armor is holding a microphone.

"Good evening, spacefaring fans from across the stars! I, the Great Papyrus, have been granted an interview with one of the competitors of the prestigious Final Frontier series!" Papyrus proudly declared, as bombastic as ever. "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Morningstar!"

The camera panned to the right, revealing Darkstar, whose gaze was hidden by the blank visage of his helmet. Though his eyes were greatly concealed beneath the darkness, they narrowed into irritated slits, clearly indicating he wasn't happy with the interviewer he was saddled with.

"Darkstar," he corrected sternly. "The name is Darkstar."

"Ooh, is that a heavy metal band? I'd love to hear an album!" Papyrus fawned. "Oh, focus, Papyrus. This man's time is short! Okay, first question! You currently stand as one of the top competitors in the Final Frontier series. How does it feel to be among these formidable warriors?"

"To say that I am prideful would be a lie," Darkstar said, his self-assurance unwavering. "The simple fact of the matter is, that I belong on top. Everyone else is merely a stair for me to climb to my rightful place as the champion and face of this promotion."

"Ah, yes, but it would seem you've run into a bit of a snag last week. You assaulted the great Commander Shepard, hero of the galaxy and bane of the dreaded Reapers! But why? You defeated him early on, did you not?"

Darkstar's tone grew harsher and more cold. "Being a walking set of bones, you clearly don't understand what it's like to have your perfection stolen from you, so allow me to clue you in. I had everything going for me; good looks, the reputation of the son of a Plumber… many girls fawning over me. And all of that was stolen in one fell swoop, leaving me a shriveled husk of my former self. As such, I desire to keep Michael Morningstar separate from Darkstar, because Michael Morningstar could never be this walking carrion. But Shepard? Shepard removed my helmet and exposed this horrendous face in front of thousands across the galaxy! A humiliation like that cannot be forgiven. And I made sure he repaid that debt with his match last week. But I should have known better than to believe he would simply take the hint and back down. Apparently, battling ancient machines makes you thick-headed. I could have struck down Kazuya with my own hands, continued my path to greatness, until he decided to insert himself and cost me ten points in the series. That is why I have a beef with your so-called 'hero of the galaxy'. And that is why I will continue to win in the Final Frontier series by defeating the freelancer tonight."

"I see," Papyrus said, tapping his chin. "But you need not absorb the energy of those around you to restore your youth! I hear the human world has other means of curing your condition! Although the League of Shadows wouldn't allow you to use the Lazarus Pit, perhaps you can consider what humans call plastic surgery?"

Darkstar was quiet for a moment, his icy glare now thick as the air around him. Then he angrily grabbed Papyrus by his collar and hauled him off his feet.

"You insolent fool!"

A hand clamped on Darkstar's shoulder.

"Let him go."

The camera zoomed out to reveal Commander Shepard was the one behind Darkstar.

"More heroics, I see?" Darkstar asked, dropping Papyrus to the floor. "You should have left it alone last week."

"I've had enough of your smug assertions." Shepard said, before he hit Darkstar with a sucker punch that knocked him to the wall. Darkstar growled and stood up, ready to go at Shepard, until security came in to keep the two separated. Phasma entered the scene, flanked by her stormtrooper escort, TR-8R.

"Enough," she said, standing between the two. "There will be no brawling back here, especially when Darkstar has a match to prepare for. Any further incidents this evening will result in both of you being confined to your quarters without pay. Am I clear?"

Shepard and Darkstar glared past the guards, their eyes locked and breeding further rancor between them.

"Am I clear?" Phasma reiterated, slowly but more fiercely this time.

"... Transparently." Darkstar hissed.

"Understood," Shepard said.

Phasma turned to Darkstar. "Your match is next. Leave, now."

Darkstar clenched his fists, but left as ordered. Phasma then turned to Shepard.

"Back to your quarters."

Shepard left briskly. Things clearly weren't over between them, their mutual dislike slowly spiraling into an embittered hatred for one another. But for now, Darkstar had a match to focus on.

"The Great Papyrus is okay!" called Papyrus from the floor, giving a thumbs up to the camera.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Darkstar

Darkstar was on edge after his physical altercation with Shepard, which was made apparent as he descended the ramp with bigger strides. He had a lot to work out this evening, so it was fortunate he had a match this evening. This was going to be one intense therapy session for him. Agent Washington, on the other hand, had his eyes set on adding another victory to his belt, regardless of Darkstar's grudge.

Wash had skill and veterancy behind him, like many of Darkstar's previous opponents. However, Wash a bit more intuitive in how he fought. The opening engagements made it clear Wash wasn't going to get anywhere taking Darkstar in a head-on fight, so he switched from brawling to technical, using more old-fashioned wrestling takedowns, like the armdrag, or a German Suplex. Darkstar, however, didn't quite have his head in the game. He seemed more paranoid, constantly checking the ramp or gazing into the crowd, as if searching for Shepard, uncertain if he would be screwed out of yet another match. It was this paranoia that Wash took full advantage of, and he was able to bring down Darkstar with an Epsilon Drive to gain the victory.

When Darkstar regained consciousness and realized what had happened, one did not need to peek under his helmet to tell that he was absolutely livid at this turn of events. Things were boiling between Darkstar and Shepard, and there would come a reckoning.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

The camera opens in the cafeteria, where the Akatsuki and Lakewood Plaza Turbo were gathered around a table. Hidan and Rad sat across from another, apparently exchanging some heated words. Kakuzu leaned against the wall, intently watching K.O., who was merrily sitting beside Rad resting his chin in his palms. Enid was also there, but was updating her social media on the absurd situation unfolding before her.

"Bullshit!" Hidan said, shooting to his feet, then addressed the camera. "Did he not just-Did he not just say that he was the only one in the cafeteria?!"

"Now, wait just a minute!" Rad yelled, getting to his feet, as well.

Hidan pointed at Rad, his voice rising in volume, as well as conviction. "This blue fucker was the only one in the cafeteria!"

"I don't know what you're talking about!" Rad said, his pride preventing him from owning up to the fact that he ate the burger that was left out last week. "I didn't eat your stupid burger! People frequent the cafeteria every week!"

"You just said you were the only one in the cafeteria last week! I left my cheeseburger right here!" Hidan yelled, smashing his index finger against the table to emphasize his point. The camera focused on Hidan's hand, but the Akatsuki fanatic physically grabbed the camera and made it look back up. "Get this on camera! I want this documented for posterity that this xeno is a hamburglar!"

"There's no proof that I ate your burger! It's about as existent as you and Kakuzu being involved in the security room break in!" Rad spat back.

"You think you can hide your guilt from Jashin?" Hidan snarled. "It's written all over your face! I left it on the table to eat later, then you go into the cafeteria, and when I come back it's gone! Coincidence? I think NOT!"

There was a lingering silence after that.

"Hidan," Kakuzu said.

"Don't 'Hidan' me, Kakuzu!" Hidan snapped. "This blueberry fuck is guilty!"

"What's that word he keeps saying?" K.O. asked.

"Nothing you need to know." Enid said, covering the young boy's ears. "And nothing I need to get in trouble for allowing you to hear."

"He's guilty, I say! Guilty, guilty, guilty!" Hidan asserted, slamming his fist on the table with growing emphasis on each "guilty".

Having heard enough, Kakuzu just grabbed Hidan by his hair and hauled him away from the table.

"Ow, ow, ow! Let go of me, Kakuzu! This sinner has to pay for his blasphemy!" Hidan screamed.

"We have a match to prepare for," Kakuzu growled. "For five minutes. Can you not be yourself for five lousy minutes?"

Kakuzu dragged Hidan out the door, allowing Wash to enter, the freelancer watching in comical silence as the zombie duo took their leave.

"Blueskins are always trying to eat somebody's burger!" Hidan's voice echoed from down the hall.

Wash looked over the Lakewood Plaza heroes, uttering a simple, "Wow."

"Hey, Mr. Washington!" K.O. greeted with a wave. "Nice job on your win!"

"Thanks," Wash said, approaching the table. "Um, what was that all about?"

"Apparently, Rad here ate that guy's cheeseburger." Enid said, jerking a thumb to Rad.

"I did not!" Rad denied. "I ate a cheeseburger, but it couldn't have been his! If it was, he should have left a label on it."

Wash stared at Rad. "You eat other people's lunches? That's not cool, man. Now you've got that nutcase all riled up."

"Is there a reason you're here?" Rad asked, dodging the subject.

"Yes," Wash passed by the table and opened the fridge. "I came to get my own lunch. Hopefully you didn't help yourself to mine, either."

"Heheh," Rad chuckled nervously. "Whatever gave you that idea?"

"Rad, I swear to God if there's so much as a slice of ham missing…" Wash withdrew a thermos from the fridge, along with a sandwich bag. He examined it closely, then sighed with relief. "You are so lucky this wasn't opened."

"Enjoy your lunch, Mr. Washington!" K.O. said.

"Erm, just call me Wash, kid." The freelancer made his way to the doors, but stopped. "Hey, K.O.?"

"Yeah?"

"Take care of yourself out there, alright?"

K.O. smiled and gave a thumbs up. "You bet, Wash! Rad and I can handle these guys, no problem!"

Wash nodded and left the cafeteria. Secretly, he wished he could share K.O.'s optimism.


DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH

The Akatsuki vs. Lakewood Plaza Turbo

The second round of the Dynamic Duos tournament had begun, with the first bout between the Zombie Combo of the Akatsuki and the heroes of Lakewood Plaza. But there was an added twist; round two's matches would consist of tornado tag matches.

"There's clearly tension brewing between the contestants," said Johnny. "Though, more between Rad and Hidan, apparently because of a cheeseburger."

"I'm sure you'd be more than a little ticked if someone ate your food, Johnny," said Nick. "I feel his pain."

"What are you… oh, right. Highschool." Johnny conceded. "Let's just go to the ring."

In one corner, the Lakewood heroes were accompanied by Enid at ringside. Rad was popping his fingers and dared the Jashin fanatic to come get some, while K.O. was hopping in place, giving a small wave to the camera. The Akatsuki immortals stood side by side. Hidan was clutching the ropes, squatting in anticipation as he uttered a quiet prayer, and Kakuzu merely removed his cloak, staring down his opponents… K.O., especially.

"Let's get it on!" said Mills Lane, calling for the bell.

Rad and Hidan started off exchanging blows, while K.O. ran for a flying kick to Kakuzu, but was caught in the bigger ninja's arms and dropped onto his knee. Kakuzu bent K.O. over his knee, compressing his body into a lowercase "n", eliciting pain screams from the aspiring hero. Rad, on the other hand, was making some headway with Hidan, backing him into a corner by getting in some finger pokes. Rad shoulder-rammed Hidan's gut and started to kick him afterward. Seeing his partner's predicament, Kakuzu clutched K.O. by the hair and discarded him outside the ring. He seized Rad from behind and tossed him aside with an overhead suplex.

"Kakuzu has quickly removed K.O. from the ring and now, he's tilting the odds in his and Hidan's favor. Rad could be in serious trouble now." said Johnny.

Hidan and Kakuzu pulled Rad up and threw him into the ropes. Rad was able to catch himself, prompting Hidan to rush him! Rad went for a dropkick, but Hidan suddenly slid beneath Rad at the last second, and went outside the ring. Confused, Rad glanced over his shoulder… which left an opening for Kakuzu to clothesline him over the top rope and to the outside of the ring… where he landed right on the waiting Hidan's shoulders, who powerbombed him onto the floor!

"Look at the teamwork by Hidan and Kakuzu!" said Johnny.

"Misdirection at its finest. I think the zombie combo may have found their niche." said Nick.

K.O., meanwhile, has recovered and he jumps onto the barricade. Using his remarkable agility, he runs along the barricade, hops onto Hidan's shoulders, and takes him down with a hurricanrana! Just as soon as KO stands up, he's struck down by a suicide diving Kakuzu!

"K.O. takes down Hidan, but gets taken out himself again by Kakuzu!" said Johnny. "Everyone is down outside the ring!"

Mills Lane begins counting, while everyone starts to stir. Kakuzu, the least hurt, gets to his feet first and hauls Hidan up by his arm. They each grab a hero and toss them back into the ring. The Akatsuki scale the apron, then jumped off the top ropes to take both heroes down with their own DDT's! Both cover their opponents but K.O. and Rad manage to kick out before three.

Hidan just starts raining punches on Rad while Kakuzu focuses on K.O., delivering stiff elbow strikes to the face that leaves the boy with a pretty nasty black eye. They both pick up their victims and toss them into each other… but K.O. slides under Rad and pops up to take out Hidan with a jawbreaker while Rad uses this to opening spear down Kakuzu! Both sides regroup to adjacent corners, panting from the increasing intensity of the match.

"This guy's really quick," said Rad, gesturing to Hidan.

"And he's like a stone wall," K.O. added, pointing at Kakuzu. "Wanna switch?"

"Oh, I get it," Rad nodded. "Flip things around. Let's do it."

K.O. ran for the ropes and leaps off to clock Hidan with a springboard superman punch! Rad locks up with Kakuzu… or at least tries to, because he immediately gets punched in the nose, breaking it. As he reels back, Kakuzu proceeds to take several aimed shots to his stomach, chest, and throat, before upper cutting him so hard, he actually flips out of the ring and lands right beside Enid.

"You good?" she asked.

"... Th-That… That went so much better in my head…" Rad choked out through the pain.

Rolling his eyes, Kakuzu muttered, "Weak."

Meanwhile, K.O. fared better against Hidan. Though the cultist fought like a rabid animal, K.O. was bright and resourceful. He was able to block Hidan's punches with his forearms, then countered with one good elbow to the chest before grabbing Hidan in a headlock. He spotted Kakuzu coming his way, so he ran with Hidan in tow and drop kicked Kakuzu while at the same time planting Hidan with a bulldog!

"That kid's holding his own pretty well!" Nick said. "Dropkick-bulldog combo!"

"But it's two against one, and Rad seems to be in a pretty bad way right now." Johnny mentioned.

K.O.'s momentum was cut to size when Kakuzu kicked him in the gut and struck him with a bicycle kick that sent him into the corner. Kakuzu grabs Hidan by the arm and throws him at the cornered K.O., squashing him against the turnbuckle! Hidan grabs K.O. by the head and throws him to Kakuzu, who takes him down with a big boot to the head, causing him to flip backwards and land on his neck! Hidan and Kakuzu each grab K.O. by an arm and pull him to his feet, until Rad makes the save, running in with a double clothesline to take down both ninjas! Rad throws Hidan into the corner, then ducks a big boot by Kakuzu, running towards the downed Hidan and shoulder ramming him! Hidan rolls to the outside as Kakuzu comes back for another attack, but Rad ducks once again and allows K.O. to leapfrog over his shoulders, then toss Kakuzu out of the ring with a dragonrana! K.O. and Rad exchange a nod and Rad tosses K.O. over the ropes at Hidan and Kakuzu… but he's caught by the duo! Rad, however, begs to differ when he suicide dives through the middle rope and blasts everyone to the mat!

"Rad and K.O. using their own brand of teamwork to turn the tables on the Akatsuki!" said Johnny.

"It's bodies everywhere," said Nick. "Let the bodies hit the floor!"

"You okay, little buddy?" Rad asked.

KO held out a thumbs up amidst the bodies. "Dandy!"

Rad pulled Kakuzu to his feet and threw him back into the ring. Rad circled around while K.O. climbed the turnbuckle. Kakuzu rose to his feet, shaking off his daze. He turned around, only to be met with a flying dropkick by K.O.! Kakuzu staggered right into Rad, who spun him around and planted him with a sitout powerbomb, holding it there for the pin; 1, 2, HIDAN SUDDENLY FLIES IN FROM ANOTHER CORNER, LANDING A SPRINGBOARD SPLASH TO BREAK UP THE PIN!

"What?! Hidan?!" Johnny yelled. "Where did he come from?!"

"From the sky and back into the match to keep the Akatsuki in it." said Nick.

Hidan popped up, beating his fist against his chest, but his boasting was interrupted by K.O. feeding him a superkick! Hidan stumbled back, but wasn't down. Rad and K.O. combined their might to bring down Hidan with a Superman Punch/Superkick combo!

K.O. and Rad high-fived, but the young hero stopped.

"Wait, where's the other one?!"

That question was answered when Kakuzu blasted them both with a double-clothesline! Kakuzu lifted Rad onto her shoulders as Hidan regained his senses. The Akatsuki dropped Rad with a Diamond Cutter! Hidan kicked Rad out of the ring, then delivered a spiteful spit before returning to assist Kakuzu, who was holding K.O. aloft by his hair. K.O. kicked his feet and tried to pry his way free, but Kakuzu's grip was ironclad. Hidan punched K.O. in the gut several times, knocking the wind out of him. Kakuzu took his turn by powerslamming K.O. to the mat, then curb stomping his skull! K.O.'s struggling lessened considerably after that. He looks knocked for a loop, merely waving his arms and twitching on the mat. Enid had stood up from her chair in concern.

"Oh, my," Johnny said, his voice a bit lower now.

K.O. tried to rise to his feet, but Kakuzu pulled his head up and delivered several sharp elbow strikes, then turned him over to Hidan, who planted him with a Chickenwing Facebuster right onto Kakuzu's knee! K.O. wasn't moving after that… there was a crimson pool of blood from on the mat. He was busted open!

"K.O. is bleeding!" Nick said. "He's busted open!"

Rad was still incapacitated outside the ring and Enid could only watch in growing horror as the Akatsuki continued to have their way with him, mercilessly dragging the limp boy up and double-chokeslamming him to the mat, then landing a double leg drop to his body.

Mills Lane had grown disgusted and was insisting the Akatsuki just pin K.O. already.

"Finally," Hidan moaned in pleasure. "This is what I was looking for when I signed! Now, I savor both your pain… and hers." Hidan glanced at Enid, whose eyes widened.

Kakuzu lifted K.O. vertically as Hidan cackled like a mad man and ran towards him… and they planted the hero with Immortal Suffering (Vertical Suplex/Front Powerslam combo)!

The Akatsuki finally pinned K.O. and Mills dropped to count; 1, 2, 3!

It was finally over… and the Akatsuki stood tall. Enid rushed into the ring to check on K.O. while Mills called for medical officials, then tried to stop the bleeding.

"Hidan and Kakuzu finally pick up the victory, but K.O. is left with severe head trauma, most likely a concussion." Johnny said.

"We've seen our fair share of child-on-child violence back on Deathmatch, but what they did to K.O. was nothing short of… uncomfortable to watch. I didn't even think that was possible!"

Kakuzu slipped his cloak back on, then left the ring, his work (and secret task) done. Hidan licked his lips and left, much more satisfied than he had any right to be.

Rad finally recovered and climbed to the apron, only to realize he was far too late and that K.O. was in bad condition. A look of guilt crossed his face, as he joined Enid in trying to wake K.O. up. But he wouldn't. Not when he was loaded onto the gurney, or when he was wheeled to the back. K.O. didn't wake, with his friends concerned… and angry with the Akatsuki's actions.


COMMERCIAL

Static fills the screen before fading to show Black Hat sitting behind his desk, his fingers tented in a dastardly manner.

"Greetings, evil-doers! Black Hat here with an exclusive product to destroy those pesky heroes plaguing your plans for domination! Presenting, the Screams of Silence!"

Dr. Flug entered the frame, wielding a raygun.

"This raygun can turn your most hated enemy into a gelatinous blob." Flug said.

"Bring forth the test subject," Black Hat ordered.

Two Hat Sentinels entered the office, shoving a random hero to the floor. The young boy was bound and gagged, looking to be no older than sixteen-years old.

"Ah, Aerosphere," Black Hat said. "Sidekick to the High Altitude! He's going to be missing you very soon."

Flug handed Black Hat the ray, then stepped back to avoid the crossfire.

The young hero tried to speak, but his voice was muffled.

"Observe," Black Hat said, raising the raygun to Aerosphere, then pulled the trigger.

ZAP!

Aerosphere's body appeared to melt away, as if his bones had spontaneously liquefied and he melted into a blob of flesh.

Flug chimed in, "As you can see, the ray has reduced him to an immobile blob, effectively rendering him harmless, both to you and himself."

Black Hat's lips parted into a wide grin, revealing his serrated teal fangs.

"Perfect for turning your biggest headache into your biggest stress reliever, only with the Screams of Silence!" Black Hat dropped the professional tone, his voice taking a darker inflection as he bared down on the helpless blob as it quivered with fear. "Now… where were we? Oh, yes. Flug, get High Altitude on the phone. He's not going to want to miss this!"

"Yes, sir." Flug complied.

The camera cut to static as the commercial ended.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

K.O. and Rad were in the infirmary being checked on by Baymax and the rest of the medical team, leaving Enid in the hall, anxiously waiting word on their conditions, particularly K.O.'s.

"Uh, hey," came a voice from the down the hall.

Mae Borowski came on screen, much to Enid's personal displeasure.

"Go away," she said sharply. "I don't have time to deal with you right now."

"I wasn't here to bother you, if that's what you're wondering," Mae said. "Look, I just… I saw what happened to your friends out there and I just wanted to see how things were going."

"Why do you care all of a sudden?" Enid asked. "You don't even know them!"

"No, but I wouldn't wish that on them." Mae said. "What happened to the blue fellow had to suck. Maybe not as much as what the little guy when through, but..."

"Don't," Enid said, turning away from Mae and crossing her arms. "Just don't."

"Hey, take it easy," Mae said, rubbing the back of her head awkwardly. "I'm sure they'll be fine. I'm sure they're thick enough to recover from a blow like that. I mean, they don't look like the type to quit, so-HOLY CRAP!"

Mae ducked as a piece of metal flew right over her head. Enid's arm was outstretched, her usual cool-headed demeanor now replaced by burning fury that was barely contained by her heavy breathing.

"Okay, okay, I get the idea," Mae said quietly. "I'll go! Way to make things worse, Mae..."

Before Mae could leave, she bumped into someone, causing her to fall.

Demencia stood there, with the scrap of metal Enid threw sticking out of her overgrown hair.

"Who threw this?" she asked, masking her malice behind a smile. Her eyes shifted to Enid. "Oh, was it you?"

"Oh, great," Enid muttered under her breath.

Mae suddenly spoke up. "I did it!"

Demencia snapped her head down at Mae.

"I was the one who threw that metal scrap. You startled me, so I just reacted, y'know?"

"Is that so?" Demencia asked, kneeling so she was face to face with Mae. "Well, in that case…"

"Is there a problem here?"

Dornan came into view, staring down all three women.

"Oh, nothing, sergeant!" Mae quickly sputtered. "Just a little backstage drama, nothing too big."

"Mae, Demencia, get out of here. Enid already has enough to deal with without you two dragging her into your problems."

Demencia narrowed her eyes, then smiled again, glancing at Mae. "Catch you later, kitty," she said, then slinked off into the shadows.

Mae stood up, dusted herself off, then left without another word.

Enid almost called out to Mae, even half raising a hand to stop her, but she bit her tongue and just crossed her arms, glancing off to the side.

"Enid," Dornan said. His voice had lost its militaristic edge, sounding more normal, albeit still a tad gravelly. "K.O. will be alright. He's a tough kid. Way too determined to let this keep him down."

At first, Enid was a bit taken back by Dornan's sudden change in temperament… but she nodded. "Thank you… sergeant."

Dornan left Enid alone again. She didn't know what to say or do. Mae had just taken the fall for her, but it also put her in Demencia's crosshairs. She didn't know why Mae did this… but for now, she needed to be there for her friends.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Doomfist vs. Kazuya Mishima

Kazuya had been an unstoppable force in the Final Frontier series, racking up victory after victory, and maximizing his gain for the best lead possible. Doomfist had been on a roll since the second episode, becoming a freight train of power and aggression. So, what happens when these two dominant forces collide?

Doomfist used his power and size to easily overpower Kazuya in the outset of the match, effortlessly tossing Mishima about and thrashing him like a rag doll. It had become something of a tradition for Doomfist to thrash his opponents so thoroughly, and Kazuya was no exception. But Kazuya was a martial artist and with his skill, came wisdom. He started employing throws, submission holds, and takedowns to counter Doomfist's ruthless aggression. The ring shuddered rumbled with every slam, every stomp, every Suplex. It was an absolute slugfest at times, but Kazuya was able to barely edge out by catching Doomfist and putting him in a desperate, last-ditch ankle lock to force the leader of Talon to submit. Kazuya was aching all over, but he had maintained his dominance tonight, still going undefeated.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Blinx was in the locker room, preparing for his match. He took a breath to relax his nerves when Carter Grayson came into the room.

"You ready?" he asked.

Blinx nodded, "As can be. Guess you were right about one thing, our match came soon after all."

"I just had a hunch," Carter said. "Whatever happens out there, let's give them a good show tonight and show the new blood back here what we vets can still do, and what they can look forward to in the future should they face us."

"On that, we're agreed." Blinx said., extending his hand. "Let's show them how it's done."

Carter shook it and the two left the locker room together, expressing solidarity as veterans, for when they met in the ring, it would be as opponents.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES

Blinx the Time Sweeper vs. Carter Grayson

Blinx was in a bit of a rut at this time in the Final Frontier series. He'd lost all prior matches, so he was understandably feeling frustrated over his position. Fortunately, Carter had some encouraging words for him, and Blinx's spirits were lifted enough for him to look forward to his match with the Red Ranger. But tonight, only one could walk away with the points.

The match opened with Carter and Blinx exchanging a handshake as a sign of sportsmanship, the locked up. Carted slipped behind Blinx and grabbed him by the waist, but Blinx elbowed himself free, then spun around behind Carter and dropkicked him in the back, knocking him to the ropes. Carter rebounds and backflips towards Blinx, taking him back down with a flying elbow smash. Carter gets to his feet, runs to the ropes, and leaps off the top for a Shooting Star Press, but does not make the landing when Blinx gets his knees up. Both manage to scramble to the feet and now carefully considering their next move.

"These two are high-flyers, so it comes down to speed and agility," said Johnny. "I think Carter has the size and maybe strength advantage, and he's just as quick as Blinx."

"But Blinx is a cat, so agility is a natural thing for him," said Nick. "You could say Carter merely adopted agility, but Blinx was born in it."

They lock up once again, with Blinx surprising Carter with a sudden Hip Toss. Blinx quickly follows up and lands a Hurricanrana Driver that sends Carter through the ropes and to the outside! Carter is able to brace himself against the barricade, keeping him from fully being laid out. Blinx runs to the ropes and goes for a Suicide Dive, but Carter hopes onto the apron, and nails him with a high kick to the head that knocks him for a loop. Carter gets on the top rope and jumps off, catching Blinx on his way down and putting him down with a Spinning DDT! Carter covers, but it's only a two-count.

"Impressive athleticism by both men, but this match isn't over just yet." Johnny said. "Blinx has proven himself stubborn against Doomfist, and he won't let Carter put him out so easily, either."

Carter picks up Blinx, delivering several forearm strikes before he runs to the ropes. Blinx, expecting Carter to rebound, goes for a dropkick, but the Red Ranger stops himself just in time, leaving Blinx to crash and burn. Carter goes for a big boot, but Blinx lays down to evade, so Carter runs to the ropes on the other side, then comes back to land a dropkick to the back of Blinx's head! Carter pulls Blinx to his feet, then looks at the corner. He gets an idea and props Blinx on the top turnbuckle, then climbs to the top with him.

"Hold on, hold on, it looks like Carter's taking Blinx onto the turnbuckle with him!" said Johnny. "He could be going big!"

Carter puts Blinx in a German Suplex position and throws him off…

… BUT BLINX FLIPS AND LANDS ON HIS FEET!

"Oh, my God!" Johnny yelled. "Blinx just managed to land on his feet after getting thrown off the turnbuckle!"

"I guess what they say is true, Johnny," Nick chimed in. "Cats do land on their feet!"

The crowd gives a standing ovation as Carter looks on in surprise. Blinx just smirked and gave the Ranger a shrug.

"Gonna take more than that to put me down."

Carter and Blinx lock up once more, but Blinx staggers the Red Ranger with a jawbreaker. He follows with a Spin Kick to the abdomen, then hits an Axe Kick to the head, knocking Carter down! Blinx runs to the ropes, then leaps off for a Corkscrew Shooting Star Press! Blinx covers, but it's just a two count. Blinx tries for a Standing Moonsault, but Carter gets his feet up in time and kicks him right out of the air! Carter picks Blinx up and puts him in a headlock. Blinx struggles and manages to shove Carter away, then nails a Helicopter Enzuigiri to the back of the head! Both competitors struggle back to their feet, clearly feeling fatigued from their match.

"These two have been putting their bodies through the ringer this evening, and it's very apparent that they're tiring out." said Johnny.

"You don't get to see much high-flying action like this in the galaxy, spacefaring fans!" said Nick.

Blinx goes for a clothesline, but Carter ducks, runs to the ropes, then comes back for a bicycle kick, but Blinx is able to bend all the back to avoid it. Blinx stands up straight, but receives another bicycle kick from Carter. The Red Ranger puts Blinx on his shoulders, the Time Sweeper kicking and flailing to escape. Carter is struggling to keep Blinx under control, but receives an elbow to the head. Blinx is able to get free, then put him down with a Superkick! Blinx ascends the corner and waits for Carter stand up. The Lightspeed Ranger starts to recover, albeit dazed as he staggers to his feet. Blinx jumps and successfully hits the Time Crash (Diving Corkscrew Stunner)!

"Look at that! Diving Corkscrew Stunner from Blinx!" said Johnny.

Blinx covers, hooking the legs tight as Mills Lane counts; 1, 2, 3!

"Blinx did it! He got his first victory in the Final Frontier series!" called out Nick.

Blinx gets his arm raised by Mills as he's on one knee, panting from exhaustion. He'd managed to acquire his first win, and impress the live audience this evening. He approached Carter and offered a hand to help him up. Carter accepted it and the two exchanged another handshake, much to the pleasure of the crowd. The match came to a close as Carter raised Blinx's arm, displaying mutual respect between the two.


CLOSING SEGMENT

Hidan and Kakuzu were on their way back to the roster's quarters.

"That was a rush, Kakuzu." Hidan said, a big grin adorning his face. "All in all, tonight was a huge win. I beat the crap out of that idiot who ate my burger and got a lively taste of youngblood. If only the match were No DQ, then I'd have really had some fun!"

Kakuzu pulled out a book and opened it to his bookmark.

"Come on, are you still ignoring me over the cafeteria incident? We won again, and I saved your sorry ass to boot. I think that makes us square, if not slightly in my favor."

Kakuzu stopped walking. "Someone's here."

"Nice night for a walk, huh?" Wash asked, leaning against the wall, his helmet tilted in the Akatsuki's direction.

Kakuzu shut his book. "What do you want?"

"I think you know why I'm here." Wash approached the two. "Everyone saw what you did to the kid out there. I've been wrestling for a while and I can tell the difference between beating someone and making an example. And you two made a very clear showing of the latter."

"He was our opponent. We're here to win. The boy knew what he was getting into when he signed," Kakuzu said. "If you expected us to go easy on him, then you're in the wrong business."

"You sure didn't go easy on the Foot Clan, either, and I didn't see you brutalizing them the way you did KO." Wash pointed out. "Do you think I'm stupid? I don't know what the hell's going on with you two, but you'd better start talking."

There was a tense beat of silence as the three exchanged glances.

Finally, Hidan spoke. "Kakuzu, I think he really is stupid."

"Who do you think you're talking to right now?" Kakuzu asked, as if he thought the same thing. "Hidan is an open psychopath, I kill for money. Do we look like the kind of people who wouldn't make a child bleed for pleasure? The boy proved stubborn. So we made sure he didn't kick out again. It's simple. Even with my lifespan, I find this to be a waste of time."

Kakuzu shouldered past Wash, Hidan following close behind while blowing a raspberry.

"Hey," Wash called out. "I'm not done talking to you."

"We are," Kakuzu replied. "KO is out of the picture, freelancer. If you care about him, you'll keep him out."

Wash clenched his fist. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Kakuzu stopped, then look over his shoulder. "Stay out of our business and maybe you'll last long enough to finish the Final Frontier series."

"Yeah, we went through this song and dance earlier tonight, not doing it again." Hidan said. "Back off and all is well. Piss us off, and KO won't be the only one in a hospital bed if you catch our drift. So be nice."

The Akatsuki continued down the hall, leaving Wash to silently fume.

"Damn them both…"


RESULTS

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Mae Borowski defeated Lady Deathstrike via pinfall, following the Bandit Queen Supreme.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Agent Washington defeated Darkstar via pinfall after laying him out with the Epsilon Drive.

DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH: The Akatsuki defeated Lakewood Plaza Turbo when Hidan and Kakuzu pinned K.O. together after executing the Immortal Suffering.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Kazuya Mishima defeated Doomfist via forcing him to submit to the ankle lock.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Blinx the Time Sweeper defeated Carter Grayson after landing the Time Crash.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 37 points

Agent Washington - 21 points

Darkstar - 14 points

Doomfist - 14 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 7 points

Mercury Black - 7 points

John Shepard - 0 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The camera opens to a room lit only by a bright sun through the glass. Kazuya Mishima is sitting in his desk, wearing his purple business suit, facing the sun while resting his chin against his knuckles. He notices the camera and lays his hands against the armrest.

"By now, the people of Earth know who I am; it's time the galaxy did, too," Kazuya said with a slight smirk. "This is for the poor fools who've yet to face me in the Final Frontier series."

Kazuya stood from the chair and rolled up his sleeves as he approached a punching bag.

"I am Kazuya Mishima, I am a veteran of the King of Iron Fist tournament, as well as professional wrestling." Kazuya unleashed a series of thunderous blows to the punching bag as he continued, "I sought to start my career anew, hence why I signed with F3 as it was beginning. I care about one thing and one thing only; being the man on top. I've already accrued four total victories. Losses? Zero." The bag was beginning to wrinkle under Kazuya's blows. "I hold all the cards now. This series' competitors will fall like dominos, doomed to be little more than pawns that I've already in checkmate." With one resonating blow, the bag exploded under Kazuya's weight, dripping sand onto the floor. He looked over his shoulder at the camera, one of his eyes giving off a malevolent crimson hue.

"That is who I am."


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Carter Grayson vs. John Shepard

John Shepard has had a rough time finding his footing in the Final Frontier series, being the only contestant without a win to his name. And it would get harder as he faced down Carter of Lightspeed Rescue, who was also looking to stake his claim. The two had mutual respect for their past acts of heroism, and communicated this by opening the match with a handshake. At the start, Carter had outclassed Shepard in speed, agility, and even strength. But Shepard was also very disciplined and capable of reading his opponents. Shepard has dealt with agile hard-hitters before, so Carter wasn't necessarily anything new. He had to fall back on timing and waiting for openings to present themselves and counter effectively. Though Carter was the one landing most blows, if one took a close look, Shepard was safeguarding his body and limbs, to keep them ready for a counterattack. A moonsault would be caught by knees, a running high knee would be snatched out of the air and transitioned into a power bomb, and a DDT would be shoved away, allowing for a big boot. Shepard was landing hits where they mattered. The defensive strategy worked in the commander's favor and once he whittled down Carter sufficiently, he went on the attack himself, backing him into corners for hard punches, shoulders ramming, and pop up powerbombs. Shepard's payoff finally came when he planted Carter with the Commander's Shot (Colt Cabana's Colt .45) for the three count, gaining him seven points and his first victory in the Final Frontier series.

Backstage, Darkstar watched Shepard's victory intently. And from the tight gripping of his crossed arms, he was evidently unhappy with the outcome.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Shepard was on his way to the locker room, rubbing his shoulder. When he entered, he came across a mob. Wrex waa surrounded by Phasma and her guards, who were acting as a buffer between him and Sans. Garrus and Papyrus were also present, though they kept to the side, their expressions indicating exhaustion.

"Urdnot Wrex, for endangering the life of one of Final Frontier's staff, you are to relinquish your firearms at once," Phasma said.

"I don't take orders from you."

"Wrex, you shot up entire the Eastern corridor," Garrus said.

"Bag of bones over there should have shut his mouth!" Wrex said, pointing at the short skeleton, who gave a cheeky shrug.

"I will handle Sans," Papyrus declared. "He will get no spaghetti tonight!"

"Um, what's going on back here?" Shepard asked, making himself known to the group.

"This does not concern you, Commander Shepard, this is a matter of security" Phasma said, then turned back to Wrex. "If you won't turn over your firearms, then I will forcefully relieve you of them."

"You can try," Wrex said. "I've been itching for a fight all night, so you and your cronies would make a good warm up before our match."

"Wrex, just hand over your weapons," Shepard said.

Wrex glanced past the guards and at Shepard. "Seriously? I thought you'd be on my side here."

"I am, but firing a shotgun in the corridors is way too dangerous when you've got co-workers to watch out for. What if someone got injured? Or gets injured? Chances are, TOM and Dornan wouldn't take kindly to that. So, if you want to continue fighting, you got to give up the guns. We'll get them back if there's an emergency." Shepard looked to Phasma for confirmation. "Right?"

"Yes, but only in the event of a shipwide emergency." Phasma said.

Shepard looked to Wrex. "The ball's in your park, Wrex. I'm trying to keep you from getting suspended here."

Wrex paused, taking a moment to consider it. Then he finally shoved his gun into Phasma's arms. "Alright, Shepard, point made. But I don't want that short round anywhere near me. His puns are painful."

Sans began, "Hey, I'm just-"

Papyrus covered his brother's mouth. "Nope! We're leaving now!"

The skeleton brothers took their leave, shortly followed by Phasma and her guards, leaving just the three Normandy crew members.

"Perfect timing, Shepard," Garrus said. "Good to see you haven't lost your persuasive touch."

"What did I miss, exactly?"

"Wrex and I were looking for an interview when we ran into Sans and Papyrus back there. It started out fine, until Sans pressed too many of Wrex's buttons with his puns, which resulted in twenty minutes of Wrex trying-and failing-to shoot him. Security caught up to us, and you know the rest." Garrus said.

"I warned him," Wrex simply said. "Too bad his ears didn't work as well as his mouth."

"Putting that little incident aside," Garrus trailed off. "Good work out there, Shepard. How's it feel to finally crawl out of the losing rut?"

"Reinvigorating," Shepard said. "I can finally get on track.

"Always knew you'd bounce back, Shepard." Wrex sais. "If I know one thing from personal experience, it's that nothing ever keeps you down for long, just ask the Reapers."

"Or the Collectors." Garrus added.

"Or more recently, Darkstar." Wrex finished.

"What about you guys? How's the tournament coming along?"

"Smoothly, we've got our second round match coming up against the Wyverns. All goes well, we'll be facing the Akatsuki in the finals." Garrus said with a smirk.

"Those two deserve to be knocked down a peg," Wrex said, rotating his shoulder. "But for now, the Wyverns will have to do."

Garrus checked the time. "Speaking of which, we're up next. Wouldn't want to keep Wrex waiting now."

"Good, because I was starting to regret not crushing Phasma's helmet like a tin can. Catch you later, Shepard."

Shepard smiled. "Best of luck, you two."

The Normandy Warriors left the locker room, while Shepard headed for the rec room… only to find the entire hallway decimated by what looked like a hurricane. Loose cables dripped streams of wiring, the walls were utterly pummeled with shotgun slugs, and repair drones were darting to and fro, trying to repair the damage.

Shepard just shook his head, trying to stifle a laugh. "Oh, Wrex…"


DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH

Normandy Warriors vs. The Wyverns

The Normandy Warriors, namely Wrex, were in some hot water backstage after an interview gone wrong that resulted in the Krogan nearly shooting up an entire corridor just because Sans made some unsavory puns. Fortunately, the issue was resolved by the timely arrival of Shepard, though Wrex wasn't exactly satisfied. He was going to work out his frustrations in the ring against Kagura and Hibiki, who were also looking to cement their place in the finals. Both teams weren't fans of the Akatsuki, either, and were clamoring for a piece of them. But the spoils could only go to one.

The bell rang and the ring exploded into chaos. Garrus and Hibiki locked up, while Wrex ran right through Kagura, plowing him into the corner. Wrex headbutted Kagura multiple times, sending him to a seated position on the mat. Hibiki, meanwhile, was on relatively even terms with Garrus. Both were in prime physical conditions for their respective species, so it came down to agility, which Hibiki had in spades. He was able to work around Garrus and nail and enzuigiri to the Turian's head. Hibiki got grabbed from behind by Wrex, who tossed him overhead with a German Suplex. Hibiki started to rise… only to be grabbed and held in place by Wrex while Garrus delivered a few chops to the collarbone, then finish it off with a Jumping Cutter.

"Nice Jumping Cutter, the Normandy Warriors have taken the early lead," Johnny surveyed.

The Normandy Warriors turned around, only for both to be taken down by Kagura, who leapt off the turnbuckle to take them down with a double dropkick, one boot for each of their heads! Garrus got taken down, but Wrex was a sturdy one, merely staggered. Kagura wouldn't give him an inch, running to the ropes and rebounding for a tilt-a-whirl DDT that brings down the massive Krogan. Kagura goes to cover, but doesn't even get one, as Wrex grabs him by the back of his head and throws him off. Before Wrex can get up, Hibiki has already climbed the ropes and jumps for a shooting star press, only for Garrus to snatch him out of the air and hit a backbreaker onto his knee!

Wrex clotheslines Kagura over the ropes, while Garrus picks up Hibiki. He tosses Hibiki towards Wrex, who hip tosses him over the ropes and onto the floor outside. Garrus runs towards Wrex, who gives him a little momentum, throwing him over the ropes and onto the Wyverns outside just as they started to recover!

"Wrex using his strength to give Garrus a little more momentum and now we've got three bodies strewn outside the ring!" Nick called out.

Garrus and the Wyverns were both down, but Wrex slid outside the ring and hammered his fists onto Kagura's back. He tossed Mutsuki into the barricade, causing it to shudder. Garrus, meanwhile, was climbing to his knees alongside Hibiki. They exchanged blows as they started to stand, going back and forth. Hibiki eventually ducked a fist and tackled him into the steel post! Even with his armor, Garrus was feeling that! Hibiki goes onto the apron as Wrex is busy with Kagura and runs for a Suicide Somersault Senton onto the Krogan Battlemaster! Both are laid out, giving Kagura some much needed breathing space. Kagura assists Hibiki in getting to his feet as they surveyed their situation.

"I say we take the Turian," Kagura panted.

"The Krogan is way too dangerous, we should get rid of him first." Hibiki proposed.

Kagura sweat dropped, knowing that was a tall order. "Oy vey."

The Wyverns tossed Wrex into the ring and each climbed a corner. Wrex started to stand, Kagura to jump, but Wrex catches him! Hibiki jumps and hits Wrex with a flying double dropkick to the face! Hibiki manages to backflip off the kick and land on his feet. Wrex drops Kagura, who follows up with a Stunner! Again, Wrex does NOT fall. The Wyverns regroup and rush Wrex together, bulldozing the Krogan with a discus lariat/big bot combo. They try to cover Wrex together, but that's when Garrus appears to break the pin.

"And here comes Garrus," said Johnny. "We might have seen them pin a Krogan, but he has a Turian partner watching out for him."

Wrex was down, leaving the Wyverns to take on Garrus. Hibiki goes for a high knee, but Garrus takes him down with a high kick. Kagura grabs Garrus from behind, but the Turian backs up, slamming him into a corner. Hibiki stands up and runs for a clothesline, but Garrus evades, leaving Hibiki to almost Kagura! Hibiki is able to stop himself just in time, but it allows the Turian to creep up from behind and take him down with a German Suplex. Kagura hops onto the ropes and jumps just as Garrus begins to stand, bringing him down with a flying spin kick!

"Garrus is relying on his wits, but the Wyverns just work too well in sync," said Nick.

Kagura and Hibiki return to their feet. Hibiki jumps, landing on Kagura's shoulders. Kagura goes to Garrus and plants Hibiki right onto Garrus! Hibiki rolls off, letting Kagura hit 360 star press! Kagura covers; 1, 2, Wrex grabs Kagura by the leg, dragging him off Garrus and outside the ring!

"What the?! It's Wrex! He's back!" Johnny yelled.

"Remember me?" Wrex asked, cracking his neck menacingly.

"Oh, dear." Kagura muttered.

Seeing this, Hibiki jumps onto the top rope, but Garrus disrupts the ropes, causing him to fall back into the ring! Wrex uppercut Kagura, sending him into the steel steps. Garrus jumps, through the ropes and takes down Kagura with a suicide dive!

"And there goes Wrex's menacing aura," Nick sighed. "That's like kill stealing."

Wrex just looked at Garrus, unamused. "Really? I was this close to making him wet himself."

"I prefer to get the job done," Garrus said with a shrug. "But here, let me make it up to you."

Garrus grabs Kagura and throws him at Wrex, who scoops him up and slams him onto the barricade, nearly bending him in two! Kagura collapses into the arms of the audience, specifically a female quarian.

Kagura, though pained, remarks, "Pardon me, ma'am…"

"Oh, that has to be awkward," Johnny said, rubbing the back of his neck.

"I've been through worse," Nick said.

Garrus ascends the steel steps and goes onto the corner while Wrex slides into the ring and grabs Hibiki, propping him on his shoulders. He runs toward Garrus, and the Turian jumps for a flying leg drop, hitting their team finisher, the Mass Effect (War Machine's Fallout)! Garrus stays on Hibiki as he covers; 1, 2, 3!

"And the Normandy Warriors have done it!" Said Johnny. "They will be the ones to face the Akatsuki in the finals!"

Garrus and Wrex have their arms raised by Mills Lane as they look forward to the finals. They just hoped they wouldn't be sitting down for an interview with Sans anytime soon.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

The camera shows Mae Borowski in the hidden compartment, stretching her arms out as she settles down.

"Looks like I've got the place to myself," she said to herself. "The vents were way too narrow anyway."

Mae began to shut her eyes, until the compartment hatch opened, bringing light onto her face.

"Oh, God! Light!" Mae cried out, trying to shield herself. When her eyes adjusted, she had a clear view of the person standing there.

Enid.

"Oh," Mae muttered. "I guess I spoke too soon. Alright, I know the drill. I'm leaving."

Mae got out to leave, but Enid held out an arm to stop her.

"Wait," she said.

"Not the face!" Mae interrupted, shielding her face with her arms.

Enid rolled her eyes. "Relax, I just want to talk."

Mae blinked and lowered her arms. "Yeah?"

Enid rubbed the back of her head. "Um, look, what you did last week…" she paused, as if unsure how to word herself, before settling on, "Thanks."

"Wow," Mae said. "That looked uncomfortable to say."

"Don't make it more awkward," Enid said, crossing her arms. "But, why?"

"You probably wouldn't believe me even if I told you."

Enid crossed her arms. "Oh, yeah? Try me."

Mae sighed. "Last week, I wasn't trying to make fun of your friends after what happened," she said while absently picking her ear. "I'm not very good at this whole socializing with others. I know things have been tense between us, but your friends didn't deserve that. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Besides, things are already tense enough, don't you think?"

"But you know Demencia's going to come after you for this, right?"

Mae shrugged. "I was bound to make enemies sometime, may as well start early and figure out who to watch for." Mae walked past Enid, but stopped after a few paces. "Oh, and Enid?"

Enid looked over her shoulder. "Yeah?"

It was Mae's turn to feel awkward as she looked at the floor, scratching her head. "I'm sorry for what I did to you, at the beginning, I mean. It was a jerk move on my part."

The smallest of smiles appeared on Enid's face. "Wow, that looked uncomfortable to say," she echoed.

Mae looked up, realizing the irony. Then her whiskers twitched upright, as if she were smiling herself. "Oh, don't make it awkward."

That got a slight chuckle out of Enid.

"Alright," she said. "No hard feelings."

"So does this mean I can use the compartment in the future?" Mae asked innocently.

Enid paused. "I'll… think about considering it."

"You're such a tease," Mae huffed. "Alright, I'm out of here. I got places to be and things to do, like… playing video games in the rec room."

Enid nodded. "I'll see you around, then."

Mae skirted down the hall and rounded the corner, leaving Enid to her own thoughts.

"That was actually kind of nice," she said to herself. "Maybe she's not so bad after all. I'd better get back to Rad and see how KO's doing."

Suddenly, Mae let out a startled scream, followed by a loud crash that caught Enid's attention.

"The heck was that?" Enid asked herself. There was another bang, followed by another shout from Mae. Enid rushed toward the sound and when she rounded the corner, Enid came to a stop, her eyes wide.

Demencia was pounding on Mae's back furiously!

"You think you're so funny, don't you?!" Demencia screamed in Mae's ripped ear before throwing her against the wall hard enough the make the metal shudder. "Well, who's laughing now, kitty cat?!"

Mae attempted to get up, but Demencia put her back down with a stiff kick to the ribcage, throwing her into a violent coughing fit. Demencia grinned wide as she stalked her ailing victim. Enid finally shook the surprise off and decided to make herself known.

"Hey! Leave her alone! What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Enid screamed, but Demencia either wasn't paying attention or just didn't care.

Demencia backed up to the other end of the corridor, and used her hands to frame a clear shot of Mae's head. Demencia began to charge forward and went to kick Mae's head against the wall… only for Enid to block it with a kick of her own! Using her leg, Enid shoved Demencia away, putting herself between Mae and the lunatic fangirl.

"I said, leave her alone!"

"Stay out of this, brat! This is between me and the soon to be dead kitten!"

"Enough," said stern voice.

Sergeant Dornan approached the three, flanked by Phasma and TR-8R.

"First, Wrex nearly shoots up the ship, now you three almost get into a brawl?" Dornan said with growing irritation. "You'd better have a good explanation."

"Nothing," Enid said in a low voice. "Just a disagreement among co-workers."

"Quite the disagreement," Phasma said in a straight, cheeky tone as she noted the dazed Mae on the floor.

"I was willing to give you some leeway last week, Enid, but hot off the heels of Wrex's collateral damage, I'm starting to get pissed now." Dornan warned, trying to keep his temper from boiling over.

Stepping forward, Phasma spoke up, "You two seem fixated on taking each other out, for something so small," Phasma's gaze shifted to Mae, before continuing. "And seeing as how you're both contestants in the tournaments, why not settle this conflict as contestants?"

"That doesn't sound like a bad idea at all, Phasma," Dornan said. "If you want to beat each other up, then I'll make it official. Second round of the winners bracket begins next week, and you two are going to settle it there. If I see you fighting anytime before your match next week, there's going to be some serious hell to pay, do you understand?"

Enid and Demencia glared at each other, then muttered, "Yes, sergeant."

"Good," Dornan looked at Demencia. "You, get out."

Demencia slowly backed off, then briskly turned before scampering away, crawling on the walls.

Dornan looked to Mae. "How bad are you hurt?"

Mae groaned as she rubbed her head. "Nothing too bad, thanks to Enid here."

"Then get up. I'll take you to get checked out." Dornan said.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming," Mae said, standing up. She followed Dornan, giving Enid a small wave on the way out.

Phasma watched them go, then looked back at Enid, who was turning to head for the infirmary.

"So you're helping the cat now?"

Enid stopped. "What's it matter to you?"

"After all that's happened between you two, I believed you would have let Demencia have her way with her."

That got Enid to turn all the way around. "You knew?"

"I was the one who called Dornan. I have quite an eye on what happens onboard this ship." Phasma said.

"You knew she was getting assaulted and you did nothing!" Enid finally accused. "Some security guard you are."

"If she were a better fighter, she would have had no problem fending Demencia off. If I stepped in, would she have learned anything? You must always be alert. She's too complacent for her own good. Wrestling is a dangerous industry. Only the strong will reign, while the weak exist to feed them, not unlike a food chain."

"You're going to spout philosophy at me now?" Enid asked, crossing her arms. "What does that have to do with doing your job when something like this happens?"

"If a fight breaks out between those who have proven their strength, then I will step in, because they're too valuable as assets for the ring to squander their efforts in some petty brawl," Phasma conceded. "But for those that lounge around, like Borowski, I make a few… exceptions to prove the rule. If you can't fend for yourself, then they should be left to the sharks."

"Then why did you call Dornan?"

"Because you got involved," Phasma said simply. "It would be such a shame to let your talents go to waste."

"Oh, so that's how it is," Enid muttered, then started leaving again. "Whatever, I don't need to hear this from you. I have other places to be right now."

"Like watching over that weak boy?"

That comment made Enid stop again, this time, she got sharp. "Don't you dare go there."

"I am curious," Phasma prodded as she approached Enid. "You stopped to help Mae, but why not K.O.? I was under the impression he meant something to you."

Enid's fingers were clawing at her crossed arms, her hair shadowing her eyes as she lowered her head.

Unafraid, Phasma continued, "Yet, you froze up. Hidan and Kakuzu tore that boy apart and you did nothing. I wonder why that is? I think I have a good guess." Phasma's head shifted to TR-8R, who was holding his stun baton tight. She hit the final nail. "Because you knew he would lose."

Everything happened in an instant. Enid spun around and launched herself at Phasma, but TR-8R had been ready and struck her with his stun baton, sending her into the wall with a resounding slam. Enid slid to the floor, groaning as she held her head.

"I wouldn't try that again if I were you," Phasma mocked. "TR-8R is quite proficient in close quarters combat." She kneeled to Enid's level. "Don't let your compassion blind you to what's important. You came here to win, just like everyone else, yet you squander that opportunity sleeping in some hatch, being coddled by TOM. It's time you and everyone one else had a wake up call: If you will not be one of the faces of this promotion, you will be squashed under its heel."

Phasma stood up and left with TR-8R. Enid watched her go and only looked more conflicted than ever before. Deep down, Phasma had hit a chord, and it was making itself known through her body's trembling.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Blinx the Time Sweeper vs. Mercury Black

Hot off his first victory, Blinx was fully prepared to add another to his belt. Problem was, his next opponent was Mercury Black, and he was a wily one. Evident from his match with Carter, Mercury wasn't afraid to use underhanded means of acquiring victory and now that his record was in the negatives, he'd be more inclined to use dirty tactics. And try, he did, as he quickly went for a rollup, but Blinx was able to kick out. That didn't sit well at all with the Time Sweeper, as he decided to forgo the opening lock up and just start beating Mercury to the mat. The match was a back and forth between the two, falling back on their athleticism and agility to evade around each other's moves. The bout was finished by Blinx picking up the victory with the Time Crash.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Alyx Vance is preparing for her match in the locker room. She was tense but maintaining focus. This was her second and last chance to get back in the game and prove her worth to the G-Man, who was willing to let her first loss slide as she was trying to find her footing. But in the back of her mind, she wondered what would happen if she continued to fail. That would be a first for the G-Man's clientele. A first she was hoping to not be. But what could she be next to someone like Freeman or Shepherd? There was a lot of pressure on her shoulders. Even without G-Man's presence, she could feel the weight of his eyes always observing her.

Her train of thought was interrupted by a knock at the door. She opened it to find Tracer leaning against the door frame.

"'Ello there!"

"Um, hi?" Alyx said, her face scrunching in confusion. "What are you doing here?"

"I just heard you had a match coming up and wanted to drop by to wish you good luck," Tracer said. "After our match, I think you've got some good talent! It could have gone either way."

Alyx rubbed the back of her neck. "Thanks, but I don't really need luck. I've been used to accepting the odds and working around them."

"But it never hurts to know you've got someone rooting for ya!" Tracer beamed. "Doesn't that make you a little more confident when confronting the odds?"

"I'd know that from personal experience," Alyx said, reminiscing on the old Resistance days when they found Dr. Freeman himself. "Still, I appreciate the thought."

"Knock 'em dead!" Tracer said, delivering a light to Alyx's arm before blinking away.

"Making new acquaintances, Ms. Vance?" G-Man asked, making Alyx jump.

"Can you stop appearing like that?"

"There is little time to dither," G-Man continued. "I would recommend heading to the ring. Your social interaction can wait."

"I haven't forgotten," Alyx said as she started for the door.

"I will be watching your progress, Ms. Vance," G-Man said.


COMMERCIAL

Hidan was in a room lit only by candles with a table full of sharp weapons and a metal chalice filled with a red liquid. Hidan's head is bent down in prayer, the light from the candles illuminating the black skin and white highlights of his skeletal form.

"Oh, Lord Jashin, I thank you for this time to spread your message to the masses," he says as he lifts his head up to look toward the heavens, "Truly, you honor me with such an opportunity. Thank you, Jashin."

Hidan stands out and spreads his arms out wide, a twisted grin on his face.

"Ladies And Gentleman, I would like to welcome you to the way of-!" just as Hidan was starting his preaching a drumming sound is heard that gets louder and louder.

"What the hell!?" Hidan turned his head to the side to see a pink bunny wearing sunglasses and a big drum with "Energizer" written on the side. The bunny is continuously pounding on the drum as it moves across the table, knocking everything on the table over.

"Still going," said the announcer.

"YOU BASTARD! HOW DARE YOU RUIN MY SERMON FOR LORD JASHIN!?" Hidan screamed as he grabbed his scythe and began to chase the bunny, "GET BACK HERE, YOU FILTHY HEATHEN! THIS SIN CANNOT GO UNPUNISHED!"

Hidan chases the rabbit but the rabbit manages to outpace him with relative ease.

The announcer's voice piped in again, "Energizer, still the longest lasting batteries in the world."

"YOU WILL KNOW THE WRATH OF JASHIN!" Hidan roared in rage as he knocked over everything in his way to catch the elusive bunny.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Alyx Vance vs. Kelsey Winslow

The second match of the losers bracket had begun. Alyx Vance and Kelsey Winslow would decide who was eliminated through combat in the ring. The pressure was on for both, Alyx having to prove her worth to the G-Man observing from ringside and herself, while Kelsey needed to keep herself in the game for her fellow Lightspeed rangers. The fates would fall where they may.

The bell rang, prompting Kelsey to run to the ropes and come back to attempt a running DDT, but gets shoved off by Alyx. Kelsey lands on her feet and ducks a clothesline by Alyx, running for the ropes again and back flipping off the middle rope to execute a hurricanrana driver. Alyx is able to work with the momentum and get back to her feet in short order, winded but not grievously harmed. Kelsey goes after her for a diving double foot stomp, though Alyx rolls out of the way to avoid it and Kelsey crashes to the mat. Alyx goes to the ropes and comes back for a leg drop, but Kelsey rolls away, just barely evading. Both returned to their feet, circling each other.

"And the opening engagement is like a pendulum," said Johnny. "It's swaying back and forth, but neither has gained a substantial advantage."

"This could go either way, Johnny, and it's matches like this that you need to pay attention to, because one wrong move could cost you, and these women both know it," said Nick.

Alyx and Kelsey lock up, but the yellow ranger maneuvers Alyx into an arm bar. Alyx rolls to unwrench her arm and goes for a high kick, but Kelsey ducks it and trips her with a leg sweep! Kelsey follows up by grabbing Alyx by the legs and starts to physically swing her around the ring, showing off an impressive display of physical strength!

"Look at that, Kelsey's strength is coming into play!" said Johnny.

"All of that mountain climbing pays off," said Nick. "If only I had her work ethic."

"You vomited less than half an hour into the hike."

"I know, I was there, Johnny!"

Kelsey tosses Alyx across the ring, runs over her head, scales the turnbuckle, and lands a backwards somersault senton! Kelsey hooks the legs, Mills drops to count, but only gets to two before Alyx kicks out. Kelsey goes to pull Alyx up by the arms, but Vance kips up and takes Kelsey down with a pop up Cutter! She doesn't relinquish her grip, rolling up into a Dragon Sleeper. Kelsey struggles in the hold, reaching for the ropes, but is too far away for them to save her! She claws at the arm, realizing she's going to have to save herself. And that fitness comes into play again as she slowly forces herself to stand against Alyx's efforts and reverses the hold into an arm bar. Kelsey takes Alyx to the ropes, where she leaps onto the top rope, but Alyx kicks it from under her, causing the ranger to rack herself on the top and fall to the mat!

"Ooh, that could not have been pleasant," Johnny winced.

"Manhood or not, those ropes will hurt," Nick said.

Alyx pulls Kelsey up and decks her with a spinning backfist that knocks her into the corner. Alyx clotheslines the ranger, squashing her against the corner. She lifts Kelsey into a fireman's carry and takes her to the center of the ring, where she drops her with a backbreaker! Alyx covers but Kelsey just barely gets the shoulder up, but only barely. Alyx pants as she puts her hands on her hips, trying to figure out where to go from here. Kelsey was proving difficult. She was faster, arguably stronger than her, and she needed a permanent solution to this. She drags Kelsey to her feet, but the yellow ranger shoved her away, delivering a series of kicks to the side. Alyx manages to catch one, but that just gives Kelsey the opportunity to land a spinning kick with her free leg. Alyx staggers but doesn't go down, vaulting over from the blow. Kelsey kips up to her feet and takes her down fully with a scissor kick to the back of the head!

"What a shot to the back of the head!" Johnny said.

"Alyx has gotta be seeing stars after that." Nick shook his head.

Kelsey starts to rise to her feet while Alyx is writhing on the mat, holding the back of her head. The G-Man was as stoic as ever, not betraying any emotion, if he was feeling anything at all. Kelsey wouldn't make the same mistake twice, she was going to forgo the theatrics and just end it now. She hauled Alyx onto her shoulders, prepared for a Death Valley Driver! She goes to the middle of the ring and prepares to go for it, but that was when Alyx had a spring of life, she elbows her in the back of the head several times to get her to relinquish the hold. Alyx is able to free herself and land behind Kelsey. She bends her back and hits a Scorpion Death Drop! Alyx doesn't let up, she pulls the dazed Kelsey to her feet and plants the Black Mesa Incident for good measure! She hooks both legs tight as Mills Lane counts; 1, 2, 3!

"And it's over! Alyx Vance overcomes the yellow ranger is is moving onto the next round!" said Johnny.

"I've gotta give Kelsey credit, she pulled out all her stops tonight, but Alyx edged out this time. I think this could have gone both ways." Nick said.

Alyx rises to her knees and has her hand raised. She'd successfully won her first match in F3, and her gaze gravitated to the G-Man, who appeared… pleased wouldn't be the proper word, more satisfied and assured. He'd concluded Alyx had found some of her potential. But only some. And Alyx, too, believed this was just the tip of the iceberg for her.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

TOM was on the bridge, speaking to someone on the phone. From his tense body language, he was getting a severe tongue lashing from the receiver.

"I understand your concern," TOM said. "We're doing everything we can to take care of him. K.O. is in good hands, we have an excellent healthcare specialist. Baymax said he'll be back on his feet by next week, he just needs rest."

The door opened and Dornan stormed into the room. He casually grabbed the phone is tossed it aside

"What the heck, Dornan?" TOM asked. "I was on the phone with K.O.'s guardians!"

"We need to talk."

"What is so important that you had to interrupt my call?"

"About Mae Borowski."

"Oh, my God," TOM muttered, rubbing his head. "What did she do to piss you off now?"

Dornan paced as he huffed. "She nearly incited a brawl. That's the second incident this evening, first one being Wrex. That cat has been a pain in our asses since day one!"

"Are you really still going on about this?" TOM sighed. "Dornan, it sounds like you're just being bitter."

"Do I really need to go over her rap sheet?" Dornan said. "I didn't think so. She may have some good ring work, but she's starting to become more trouble than she's worth backstage."

TOM didn't say anything at first. He leaned back in his chair and said, "Then fire her."

Dornan stopped. "What?"

"Since day one, you've disapproved of Mae being here. You've ranted and rave but hardly taken any disciplinary measures. But I did, without your input. If you really have that much of a problem with her being here, then fire her. I'm not going to be the one to do your dirty work and frankly, I'm sick of hearing you complain about someone you haven't even given a proper chance. So either you put on your best Vince McMahon impression and tell her to her face she's fired, or just shut up and let her do her thing."

"Fine, I'll do it!"

TOM pressed a button on his armrest. "Mae Borowski, please report to the bridge."

Dornan froze for a second. He didn't expect TOM to call her up to the office.

"The floor is yours, sergeant, have at it."

The elevator doors opened and Mae entered, looking confused.

"You wanted to see me?"

Dornan didn't say anything at first. TOM spoke up for him.

"Yes, in fact, Dornan called this meeting. He had something he wanted to say to you, but I insisted he say it to your face." TOM looked at Dornan, gesturing for him to get on with it.

"Mae Borowski," Dornan started, but stopped again. He appeared to be struggling. "As of this moment, you're… you're…"

"I'm what?" Mae asked.

Dornan lowered his head as he tried to think of what to say.

Mae's ears lowered slightly. "Am I being fired-?"

Dornan finally slammed his hands on TOM's desk, catching everyone off guard. The sergeant exploded in his usual, loud voice, "MAE BOROWSKI, AS OF THIS VERY DAY, AS OF THIS VERY MOMENT, AS OF THIS VERY SECOND, YOU ARE… STARTING ADVANCED WRESTLING TRAINING, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!"

Mae blinked. "Uh… okay? But why?"

"DID I STUTTER, MORON?! YOU ARE NOT TO QUESTION ME! TOMORROW, YOU BEGIN YOUR NEW TRAINING REGIMENT! DO YOU UNDERSTAND!"

Mae held up her arms. "Okay, okay, jeez! You're like a chihuahua on steroids! Who's my coach?"

"Until we can find a suitable coach for your sorry ass, I will be overseeing your training! I want you in the gym at 0600, SHARP!"

Mae didn't appear to understand, only raising an eyebrow.

"6:00 AM, YOU IDIOT!"

"Oh," Mae groaned. "This is like college all over again."

Dornan turned away from Mae. "You're dismissed, young lady!"

"Fine," Mae said, throwing up her arms.

"What was that?"

"Yes, sir."

"EXCUSE ME?"

Mae rolled her eyes and finally yelled, "YES, SERGEANT!"

"That's what I thought, now get out of my sight!"

Mae grumbled as she stomped out of the office. A long silence followed between TOM and Dornan. When the sergeant finally looked at the robot, he noticed a look of satisfaction in the way he folded his arms.

"Wipe that smug look off your visor," Dornan said as he left.

TOM picked the phone off the ground. "Hello? Yes, I'm sorry about that. Business tends to force itself on me."


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Doomfist

Wash and Doomfist were to cap the night off with the main event. But Doomfist came in with a lot of pent up frustration and baggage. His record wasn't terrible, per say, but not the dominant force he believed he should be viewed as. With his submission to Kazuya, he was proven to be as much of a man as anyone else. But Akande would not be viewed as a man tonight, but a warrior and he would make that known through Agent Washington. Wash had irked him somewhat. Where he submitted, this freelancer didn't. What was it about him that made him so resilient? Doomfist was determined to find, and he would beat it out of him.

"Alright, let's have a good, clean fight," Mills said, then called for the bell. "Let's get it on!"

Doomfist goes for a lock up, but Wash already knows how bad of an idea that would be, so he ducks and slips behind Doomfist and grabs his waist. Doomfist doesn't react much, instead grabbing Wash's hands and ripping them away. Using his gauntlet hand, he starts to crush the freelancer's hand and wrenches his arm, forcing Wash to a knee.

"This is exactly where you belong in the face of a warrior," Doomfist said. "On your knees."

Doomfist yanks Wash up, pulling him in for a clothesline, but Wash able to duck and kicks Doomfist's leg out from behind. Doomfist goes to a knee, releasing Wash in the process. Wash goes for a high kick to Doomfist's head, but it's blocked by his gauntlet hand, causing a loud clang to ring out!

"Ohhhhhh!" Nick covered his mouth as he cringed.

Wash fell to the mat, holding his leg as it looked like he may have bruised a bone. His armor was actually dented! Doomfist grabbed his other leg and from Wash's tone of voice, he could tell what this meant. And so did the audience.

"Oh, son of a BITCH…!"

Doomfist slams Wash into the mat several times, thrashing him about like a rag doll.

"Here we go again!" Nick said.

"Doomfist must have really loved that Avengers scene," Johnny mused.

Doomfist finally throws Wash into the turnbuckle, and we do mean throw, because the freelancer collided with the turnbuckle, bouncing off and holding his chest in clear pain. Doomfist stomps on Wash's chest, only irritating the injury further! He goes to one knee and starts pummeling his head with his gauntlet, leaving visible cracks in his visor! A shard is even chipped away!

"Doomfist is dismantling Wash, just taking him apart!" said Nick. "Look at all the armor bits!"

Doomfist picks up Wash and throws him into the corner. He charges, but Wash musters the strength to leapfrog over him and deliver a kick to the jaw as soon as Akande turned around! Doomfist held his jaw, then merely narrowed his eyes at Wash, shaking his head. He delivers a stiff punch that knocks Wash for a loop, then German Suplexes him into the corner! Wash bounces off and into a discus clothesline from Doomfist!

"This is just a mauling," Johnny said.

Doomfist does not go for the cover, instead picking him back up. He throws Wash to the ropes, but the freelancer catches himself. Doomfist runs, only to receive a kick to the gut. Wash pulls him into a headlock and jumps off the ropes for a DDT, but Doomfist shoves him off, runs to the ropes himself, and hits a Superman Punch to the back of the head. Wash goes down hard, struggling to get back up. Doomfist runs at Wash and curb stomps his head, damaging the helmet further!

Doomfist drives an elbow into the back of Wash's skull, pressing him against the mat as he taunts him, "Is this what a freelancer can do? If the others are anything like you, no wonder most of them are dead!"

Wash presses his hands against the mat and starts pushing himself upward, against Doomfist's elbow. Undeterred, Doomfist applies more pressure, which works… for a moment. Wash tries again, this time making it to a knee, where he elbows Doomfist in the gut, then hits a jawbreaker! Doomfist stumbles back and Wash headbutts him! Despite the dents in his helmet, Wash off a lot better than Doomfist, indicated by the Talon leader's skull starting to drip with blood!

"Doomfist is busted open!" Johnny yelled.

"Wash isn't out of this just yet!"

"No," Wash said, holding his neck. "A lot of them were nothing like me. Guess that's why I'm still alive."

Doomfist rubbed his head and stared at the blood. He seemed… to smirk a bit. This, the thrill of a fight, was what he lived for. Doomfist climbed to his feet while Wash braced himself. The Talon leader went for a lock up, but Wash again evades a direct confrontation, instead opting for a kick to the gut. Doomfist bent over and Wash ran to the ropes, coming back with a scissor leg drop to the back of Doomfist's head. Doomfist goes down, so Wash climbs the turnbuckle and waits behind Doomfist. Akande gets to a knee and turns around… and Wash flies, going for a flying kick, but Doomfist also throws a Superman punch, and both connect! Wash is knocked out of the sky and Doomfist is taken down! Both are laid out in the middle of the ring.

"Doomfist, a powerhouse, and Wash, a determined survivor, are both down, maybe even out!" Johnny said.

Mills starts to count when he realizes neither was moving. They begin to stir around three, both trying to get to their knees. By six, they're using the ropes to slowly stand. Doomfist sees Wash and rushed him, but Wash is able to use his momentum against him, instead vaulting Doomfist over the top rope and onto the outside. Doomfist lands on his feet, but doesn't remain standing for long when Wash suicide dives into him! Wash stands up and kicks Doomfist in the head as he begins to stand. He grabs him and takes him to the steel steps, slamming the Talon leader onto them. Doomfist, not to be outdone, grabs the entire steel steps and THROWS them at Wash, knocking him down!

"Oh, my God, these two are just tearing the arena apart," said Nick.

Doomfist picks up Wash by the neck and throws him over the ropes and back into the ring. He climbs in, but stops, holding his head. His injury was beginning to compromise him. Hard. Wash and Doomfist exchanged a series of blows, which Doomfist won handedly when he used his gauntlet hand to lay out Wash. He grabs him by the legs and swung him into the corner again, his head bouncing off the turnbuckle. Wash looked held his head, writhing on the mat. Doomfist dragged him away from the corner by his leg and propped him up. He sized Wash up, pumped his fist, then went for one good punch to end it… and Wash, amazingly, regains enough of himself to duck and he winds up behind Doomfist! Doomfist turns around, only to get a hard discus lariat from the freelancer! Wash quickly follows up with by hitting a surprise Epsilon Drive, dropping Doomfist right onto his bleeding skull! Wash drapes an arm over Doomfist to cover; 1, 2, 3!

"It's over! Thank God, it's finally over!" Johnny said.

"A match hard fought and won by Wash tonight… and both are left absolutely battered and beaten." Nick said.

Wash rises to his knees as he gets his hand raised.

"Well, well, well," A voice rang out from the ramp via microphone. The cameras show Kazuya Mishima standing at the top of the ramp, clapping sarcastically. "You managed to defeat Doomfist. Congratulations, you have my everlasting admiration," he said. "Oh, but wait, I already best him. Made him submit like a bitch while I walked away a little winded. Meanwhile, you could barely survive him. Look at you, barely able to stand."

Wash braces himself against the ropes, glaring at Kazuya through the web of cracks in his visor.

"That puts you, where, second place?" Kazuya asked. "Not a bad place for you. But second isn't exactly the top. That spot has been reserved for me alone. If I'm supposed to feel threatened, I don't see what's to be afraid of from you. At the rate you're going, I may as well be wrestling a carcass. In fact, I'd get a better main event from an actual carcass than you."

Wash held out a hand and Mills handed him his own mic. "I'm sorry, were you saying something? I can't really hear you over all the hot air you're blowing. So you're undefeated, big round of applause to you. The series isn't quite over yet, so I wouldn't go counting your victories before you've actually won."

"I've already cemented my place with the head start I've acquired. Submissions can be quite a helpful tool."

"Except for the one time it didn't," Wash said.

That seemed to wipe away Kazuya's smug grin.

"Honestly, you out here shit talking me just confirms my suspicions. It wasn't enough to pin me, was it? You had to win your way, to make me yield, make me admit that you were just too much. But I didn't. And I know that bothers you, because you now know there's someone in this competition who's just as determined to win the Final Frontier series as you are. And if it doesn't bother you, why are you out here talking? I thought you let your actions speak for you?"

Kazuya was silent for a moment. The he let out a chuckle. "Okay, I see how it is. You want me to speak with my actions, you've got it. I'll give you a night to catch your breath, after all, I wouldn't want to be labeled a coward. It would be rather… unsporting to beat someone in your state. But I'll be seeing you around the ring, freelancer."

Kazuya tosses the mic aside and heads to the back as Wash stood in the ring. Things were sparked and it could only escalate from there.


CLOSING SEGMENT

The camera opens to Black Hat calmly walking down a darkened corridor with his cane in hand. His antennae twitch as a gust of air brushes him from behind. He stops in the middle of the hall and merely smirks, turning around.

"I knew I'd find you here."

Two figures emerged from the shadows, one a haggard woman in a gown with various needles and nails piercing her body and her face covered by a brown mask, the other a decayed lich draped in a red cloak with massive horns protruding from his head and sinister red pupils gazing out from black, sunken chasms where his eyes would be.

"Horned King," Black Hat said. "I see you've brought your maiden."

"She never leaves my side." The Horned King said, petting Painwheel's head. "I take it there's been a complication?"

"Yes," Black Hat admitted. "The security room will remain functional for a while longer. Hidan and Kakuzu are laying low until suspicion dies down. I will allow it, but it still complicates matters. Children can be such a pestilence."

The Horned King growled, "I know."

Black Hat tapped his finger along his cane and examined his knuckles. "No one has been exposed to Painwheel?"

"None of the roster know of our involvement. She will perform adequately, I assure you."

"Good, then we shall proceed as planned," Black Hat said. "Our schedule may move along at a slower pace, but we can afford to wait. The only problem is keeping the other half of this equation satisfied. His lust for revenge is beginning to overtake his love for money, and it's growing irksome."

"He best remembers who holds his leash," Horned King said. "After all, it was you who brought him back. How goes the recruitment?"

Black Hat smiled. "Smoothly. I've quite a few on my payroll already. When the time comes, we'll have enough on our side to take this place by force if we have to, but only if necessary. I wouldn't want to start a civil war when I could take this ship through means as a businessman. There's a new order coming to the wrestling industry, and Final Frontier will usher it, under our thumb, of course."

"I've already devoted my resources to our cause," Horned King said. "My agents will side with us."

"Very good, then we are still in agreement. When the time comes, I will send for Painwheel. But keep to the shadows for now. It is imperative this plan proceeds without further complications."

"We will be in touch," Horned King said.

With a flicker of the lights, Horned King and Painwheel were gone.

Black Hat's grin widened as the camera cut to black.

"Everything is falling into place."


RESULTS

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: John Shepard defeated Carter Grayson via pinfall, following a successful Commander's Shot.

DYNAMIC DUOS TOURNAMENT MATCH: The Normandy Warriors defeated the Wyverns when Garrus pinned Hibiki Kohaku, following the Mass Effect.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Blinx the Time Sweeper defeated Mercury Black via pinfall, following the Time Crash.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Alyx Vance pinned Kelsey Winslow after hitting the Black Mesa Incident.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Agent Washington pinned Doomfist, following the Epsilon Drive.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 37 points

Agent Washington - 28 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 14 points

Darkstar - 14 points

Doomfist - 14 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

John Shepard - 7 points

Mercury Black - 7 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

 The show opens to a man standing in front of the camera, blowing into a microphone in his hand. 

“Is this thing on?” He asked. “Okay, good. Good evening people from across this galaxy and welcome to Final Frontier. My name is Eddie Brock and I'm here today with finalists of the Dynamic Duos tournament, the zombie duo of the Akatsuki, Hidan and Kakuzu.”

The camera zooms out to reveal Hidan and Kakuzu standing beside Brock. The religious fanatic maintained a relaxed posture while Kakuzu appeared indifferent with his arms crossed.

“Hidan, Kakuzu, thanks for sitting down with me this evening,” Brock said formally. “You're both the finalists in the Dynamic Duos tournament, having defeated the Foot Clan and Lakewood Plaza Turbo to get this far. Have you any thoughts on your progress?”

“Pfft, as if there was any doubt we'd be anywhere but the finals,” Hidan said with a smirk. “If there's any naysayers who believe we won't walk away from the championship match with the belts, we'll put those thoughts to rest soon enough.”

“The belts belong in capable hands,” Kakuzu said plainly. “As detestable as Hidan is, he and I have a history that translates well into ring work. The belts belong with us.”

“There's been some dissent among the roster and fanbase for your actions against K.O. a few weeks ago,” Brock said, pointing out the elephant in the room. “Many people have been…”

“Many people? Who are these people?” Hidan asked, his eyes drifting the handle of his scythe. 

“Well, I'm not inclined to give away my sources to a psychopath,” Brock replied dryly. “But what was behind your vicious assault on K.O.? It seemed a bit excessive.”

“He was our opponent,” Kakuzu said. “We're here to win. The boy knew what he was getting into when he signed.”

“We kick the shit out of each other for people's entertainment weekly,” Hidan added. “But when we give the boy a little cut on his head, people are suddenly up and arms about it? It's just stupid shit.”

“You continued to beat on K.O. for several minutes after the fact,” Brock said. “What stopped you from getting the pin? I can see you doing it for pleasure, Hidan but Kakuzu's been all business. Why would a consummate professional like yourself take the time to inflict such trauma on an opponent who can't even defend himself? And coming hot off the heels of the security room break in, it all looks pretty suspicious.”

Kakuzu's eyes narrowed. Brock could tell the ninja was getting irritated but he didn't seem to care. 

Hidan groaned. “Are we really still on that? Jashin, I thought we were done hearing about this shit.”

“We were sending a message,” Kakuzu finally said. “We wouldn't let anyone stand in our way of becoming the first Dynamic Duos champions. Given the grilling we received last week and tonight, that message was received… but it seems the context was garbled. It was all business.”

Brock rubbed his chin for a bit, then finally asked, “Some of K.O.’s friends would be inclined to disagree.”

“Well, that's just how kids are in this day and age,” Hidan said with a scoff. “They're always looking for something to be outraged over.”

“I don't care about the opinions of a couple brats. Now are you going to do your job and ask questions related to business or just waste our time with another interrogation?”

Brock glared at Kakuzu for that remark, then said, “Yeah. Any finals words for your upcoming title match with the Normandy Warriors?”

“I hope they've got insurance, because they're going to need full coverage by the time we're finished with them.” Hidan said with a sick smile.

“They're just another obstacle to be overcome,” Kakuzu said. “We specialize in teamwork, and we'll show them that we're the best team in this division.”

Hidan and Kakuzu took their leave, making their intent clear. They were on the fasttrack to stardom and wouldn't let anyone deter them from their rightful place at the top.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Blinx the Time Sweeper vs. John Shepard

Blinx was on a roll, hot off two victories in a row, and he was aiming to make it three. Shepard had finally crawled out of the losers rut by gaining his first win. In a sense, he had more at stake than Blinx, but neither would back down with their records at stake. Blinx was maneuverable, relying on his feline agility to wrest himself from Shepard's technical arsenal. He was quicker and more aware, and above all, determined. Shepard, meanwhile, was hardy and capable of taking a beating. He wasn't going down easily despite the amount of punishment Blinx dished out. It was certainly a case of death by a thousand cuts, as Shepard was slowly taken back by Blinx's high flying skill, and ultimately the win went to the Time Sweeper, who gained the pinfall after the Time Crash. Shepard was back in the losing rut, which was evident by his frustrated expression… frustration that was compounded by a sudden attack by Darkstar, who leveled him with a spear. He wouldn't stop there, delivering a curbstomp for good measure, to ensure he wouldn't be interfering in his match later that evening. The mutant wasn't going to let go of his grudge so easily, and he made sure Shepard got the message in the one wrestlers understand.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We see Captain Phasma suiting up in her locker room. The camera merely shows Phasma's reflection as she equipped her armor, but her face remained in shadow. Phasma's chrome gauntlets grasped the helmet and put it on, a faint hiss could be heard as the helmet locked into place. The camera panned upward to show Phasma in her full body armor, rotating her wrist as she got a feel for it. 

The door to the locker room opened and TR-8R entered

“Captain Phasma, you have a visitor.”

Without looking, Phasma asked, “Who?”

“Your opponent, Tracer.”

Phasma didn't respond immediately. She appeared puzzled, unsure as to why Tracer would pay her a visit before they were scheduled to compete. Finally, she turned to face her subordinate.

“Very well. Let her pass.”

“Yes, captain.”

TR-8R departed and Tracer blinked in his place.

“Hiya,” Tracer beamed with a small wave. “Thought you'd be patrolling the halls, I've been looking all over for you.”

“You can dispense with the pleasantries,” Phasma said, dismissing the cordial greeting. “State your business.”

“Relax, tall, dark, and chrome, I'm not here to cause trouble. I just wanted to wish you luck before we met in the ring!” Tracer said, extending her hand.

Phasma stared at the outstretched hand, then looked up at Tracer. “I do not need luck, nor your charity.”

Tracer frowned. “What's got you so uppity?”

“I am not here to make cordial conversation,” Phasma said, stepping toward Tracer so that her height would emphasize her words. “I care only for winning that belt.”

Not one to let size intimidate her, Tracer returned the glare in kind. “If all you care about is winning, it's going to be awfully lonely at the top.”

“I've defined my life by choosing my own path. If you wish to walk off the cliff with your flock under the guise of companionship, it is of no consequence to me. Now, I have to match to prepare for. If you are smart, you will do the same,” Phasma walked by Tracer, but stopped at the door. She continued, “When we meet in that ring, I will not stop until you are a supine carcass on the mat. Whatever luck you wish to impart on me, you will need it more.”

Phasma exited the room, leaving an irked Tracer behind.

“Try to be nice to some people,” she muttered.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Captain Phasma vs. Tracer

The second match of the winners bracket had begun between the cold Captain Phasma and the time-jumping Tracer. Phasma had already rejected a gesture of sportsmanship earlier, so Tracer made no effort to extend a second. The winner would be decided here.

The bell rings and Phasma and Tracer circle the ring, eyes locked. Phasma is relaxed and confident, while Tracer is tense and scoping her options. Phasma had a size, strength, and reach advantage, but Tracer was notorious for being difficult to catch in the field, so her speed would be put to the test against Phasma's disciplined precision. Tracer makes the first move, running to the ropes and bouncing toward Phasma. The captain goes for a clothesline but Tracer ducks, flips into the other ropes, then launches for a flying back elbow that knocks Phasma back. Tracer grabs Phasma's arm, twisting the wrist. Phasma easily wrenches her way out of it and reverses the hold, but Tracer, ever so quick-witted, flips forward to unwrench her arms then deliver a high kick to Phasma's head.

“Tracer's got the speed and agility advantage, but all these fancy moves attributed to high flyers can be very taxing to the body and draining for stamina, so you have to wonder if Tracer's style will work against a stone wall like Phasma,” said Nick.

Tracer starts nailing multiple forearms to Phasma but Phasma catches one of her strikes and pulls her into a clothesline to take her down, though Tracer ducks! Tracer goes for a leg sweep, but Phasma jumps over the leg. Tracer tries for a high kick but Phasma ducks and rams her into the corner. She starts pounding on Tracer's head, then pulls her in for a German Suplex. 

“Phasma's displaying her own athleticism here and uses it to leverage herself over Tracer,” said Johnny.

Phasma stomps on Tracer's back, then targets her leg, delivering a vicious stomp to her calf. She doesn't stop there, grinding her foot into the beg of Tracer's leg, eliciting cries of pain from the Overwatch agent. She pulls Tracer up by her hair and throws into the ropes, then takes her down with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Phasma covers but only gets a two count. Unfazed, Phasma takes Tracer to her feet by her head and jacks her jaw with a jawbreaker, the force sending Tracer flying back.

Johnny winced. “Ooh, a vicious jawbreaker by Phasma. She's gotten an early grip on Tracer and hindered her mobility by targeting the leg.”

“Tracer's speed and mobility is her biggest asset and Phasma may have just taken it out of commission,” said Nick. “Tracer isn't a hard hitter without momentum and now she's forced to play by Phasma's rules.”

Phasma continues her dissection of Tracer, stomping out her calves, then putting her into an ankle lock. Phasma drags Tracer to the center of the ring and twists Tracer's foot. Tracer is screaming and trying to reach for the ropes, but she's coming up short. The blank expression on Phasma's helmet only demonstrates her cold, calculating approach as she continues to punish Tracer's legs. She throws Tracer foot against the ground, leaving her to writhe on the mat.

“Phasma appears to be taking her time, trying to decide the best course of action,” said Johnny.

“There's only one course of action, Johnny,” said Nick. “Destroy your opponent's biggest strength by targeting their greatest weakness; in this case, it's Tracer's fragile body.”

Phasma stalks Tracer as she tries to stand, then Big Boots her jaw just as she rises to all-fours. The stormtrooper captain picks Tracer up and rests her against the corner. She backs up, then runs to squash Tracer with a jumping clothesline, applying all her weight and momentum onto her smaller opponent. Tracer collapses from the corner, but Phasma catches her by the hair to keep her standing. She twists Tracer around and drops her with a neck breaker. 

“Phasma continues breaking down Tracer, remaining dominant in this match,” Johnny said.

“Could we even call this a match anymore?” Nick asked. “This is just a beatdown.”

Phasma doesn't go for the pin just yet, instead opting to make Tracer suffer just a little more, to make the eventual pinfall academic and absolute. She picks her again but gets an uppercut by Tracer. Phasma is staggered but remains standing. She returns a blow of her own that nearly sends Tracer back down… but Tracer rebounds with own punch and finally starts to lay down a barrage of blows to Phasma. She hobbles to the ropes and comes back with enough momentum to take her down with a Hurricanrana Driver. Tracer tries to hold for a pin Phasma kicks out with authority before Mills can even begin to count.

“Tracer gets a small second wind, but Phasma isn't about to let this match slip from her,” said Johnny.

“Tracer appears to realize that a direct confrontation won't end well for her and is trying to subvert her opponent,” said Nick. 

Phasma gets to a knee and is met with a Spinning Heel Kick to the face from Tracer! Phasma rolls out of the ring, inciting Tracer to run and vault over the ropes for a Suicide Dive onto Phasma, taking her down! Both contestants are down on the floor, both struggling to stand. Tracer starts to get to her feet first but her leg grounds her to one knee. Phasma began to stir and started moving herself. Tracer spotted Phasma and climbed the stairs to get back into the ring… but Phasma grabs her by the ankle and pulls it out from under her, causing Tracer to belly flop onto the steel steps! Phasma tosses Tracer into the ring herself, then slides in after her.

“That had to have hurt,” Johnny said.

“I feel her pain, it reminds me of when I belly flopped at that pool party,” Nick reminisced. “It was really messy.”

Johnny slowly looked at Nick, then returned his gaze to the ring. “... I don't want to know where the messy part came from.” 

Phasma approaches the downed Tracer and beckons her to get up. Tracer tries to meet the challenge, but her injuries have worn away her body and stamina and she's barely able to get a knee before Phasma pulls her to her feet by the hair and puts her head between her legs. She lifts Tracer onto her shoulders and drops her right onto her head with a Canadian Rack Piledriver. Tracer's body had gone still, then limply dropped from Phasma's arms onto the mat. Phasma rolled Tracer's body over and hooked the leg; 1, 2, 3!

“This match was almost entirely in Phasma's favor,” said Johnny. “With this victory, she's earned her place in the next round, while Tracer is bumped into the losers bracket.”

“If her neck will permit it,” Nick added. 

Phasma stands tall in the ring as her arm is raised by Mills Lane. She glances down at Tracer, then makes a belt gesture to her waist. Her mission was to win the Matriarchs Belt, and she was now one step closer to accomplishing it.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Commander Shepard was in the infirmary, being checked out by Baymax. 

“How bad is it?” Shepard asked.

Baymax offered an ice pack. “I detect no long-lasting damage. You are suffering from a concussion. I recommend rest and the prescribed pain killers.”

“Thanks,” Shepard said, taking the ice bag and applying it to his head. He left the infirmary, to find Garrus and Wrex waiting for him outside.

“How bad is it?” Garrus asked.

“Minor concussion,” Shepard said. “Nothing a little rest won't fix.”

Wrex pressed his knuckles against palm, creating an audible pop. “You want me to pay Darkstar a little visit for you?”

Shepard shook his head. “Tempting, but no. You guys need to focus on preparing for the finals. I can handle Darkstar myself.”

“Not to sound negative, Shepard, but Darkstar had been taking this whole thing farther and farther,” Garrus said. “He's obviously trying to take you out of the Final Frontier series.”

“He's yet to take me down for good,” Shepard said. “I may down this week but I'm not out. Still, it doesn't make my loss feel any better.”

“That's pretty rough,” Wrex said. “You're going to have to really pull out all the stops in your remaining matches to make an impression.”

Shepard rotated his neck. “I've learned a thing or two about how to fight in the face of overwhelming odds. We did it quite often, after all. What about you guys? The Akatsuki had some choice words for you earlier tonight.”

“We know,” Garrus replied. “I had to keep Wrex from starting another fight, save it for the finals.”

“Now I have to wait to get my hands on them,” Wrex grumbled. “Again.”

“The wait will be worthwhile,” Shepard assured. “Patience has its virtues.”

“It did wonders for the Krogan.” Garrus added.

“Not that they went along willingly,” Wrex said. “Practically had to hold them back kicking and screaming. Some old timers just don't appreciate what you do for them. Either way, I have a little bit of them in me. I'm looking for the next fight. And these long waits just leave me anxious and irritable.”

“We know,” Garrus repeated tersely. “The eastern corridor can attest to that.”

Shepard chuckled. “They still have that entire section sealed off for repairs.”

“I'll wear that as a badge of pride,” Wrex said. “That skeleton had no shame.”

“We're about to hit the bar, Shepard. You feel like tagging along?” Garrus offered.

“Why not? I could use a drink or two to dull this headache.” Shepard said while rubbing his cranium.

“You sure, Shepard?” Wrex asked as the trio made their way down the hall. “You were a bit of a lightweight.” 

“You should've seen him on the Citadel,” Garrus said with a smirk. 


FINAL FRONTIER MATCH

Darkstar vs. Mercury Black

With Shepard out of commission, Darkstar was confident he could finish his match without complication, and since his opponent was Mercury Black, he was more self-assured. Darkstar adopted a mighty glacier style of fighting when it came to Mercury's acrobatics. He may not have been able to catch him, but he could stonewall him. Darkstar was fairly analytical and put his power to good use, and though he was slower, a few well-aimed hits and reversals had Mercury much more cautious. He thought twice before trying anything risky, for fear of Darkstar anticipating and countering. Darkstar gained the upper hand and laid out Mercury with a Spear to acquire the pinfall and seven points. Victory, as expected.


COMMERCIAL

The camera shows a man in a suit walking along a pier.

“Can Geico really save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance?” He asked. “Does Rad like kittens?”

Rad began to sweat as he crossed his arms and averted looking at the camera. “Uh, uh, no, I don't!”

“Has Hidan been stealing money from Kakuzu to fund the church of Jashin?”

Kakuzu turned to glare at Hidan. “You WHAT?!”

“Don't look at me, like that,” Hidan said, “You weren't spending that money anyway!”

Kakuzu seized Hidan's throat as the camera cut to another shot of SARA looking at a monitor.

“Can SARA see my browsing history?”

SARA closed the browser. “Disgusting.”

The scene changes to K.O. laying in the infirmary.

“Is K.O. completely oblivious to what pork is?”

“Why is that woman licking a deformed worm?” K.O. ignorantly asked as the scene returned to the man in the suit.

“Am I going to hell for exposing K.O. to porn?”

Black Hat appeared from behind the man, resting his hands on his shoulders. 

“Oh, believe me,” he said with a smile. “You're already there.”

The scene cuts to show the Geico logo as the man's screams ring out in the background.

“Geico, fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.”


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

The show returns to Enid sitting alone in the private compartment, her eyes glued to the floor as she played back Phasma's words over and over while reminiscing on K.O.’s injuries. She winced at the thought of K.O. bleeding in the ring… and how she did nothing. That ate away at her more than anything. 

The compartment hatch was opened from the outside. Enid's eyes instinctively looked upward to see Mae Borowski squirm her way in and shut herself in.

“What do you want?” Enid asked with little emotion.

“Well, your match with Demencia was coming up and nobody's seen you all evening,” Mae said. “You don't look well.”

Mae's words rung true. Enid's hair was a bit unkempt in some areas and she looked clammy. Enid looked away, rubbing the back of her neck.

“It's nothing,” she muttered halfheartedly. 

“That's got to be the worst lie I've ever heard,” Mae said. “Do you even believe it?”

Enid's silence was all Mae needed.

“Is this about K.O.?”

Instinctively, Enid tucked her legs against her chest, as if the question had been a threat. She silently nodded once.

“Well, what's got you beating yourself up so bad?” 

“Isn't it obvious?” Enid asked sharply. “Those Akatsuki guys tore him apart in the ring and I did nothing! I just stood there like an idiot! He was already going to lose by that point anyway…” Enid's voice trailed off as she said that last part.

Mae noticed this and prodded, “What do you mean?” 

Enid fell back on her earlier answer, “... It's nothing.”

Mae shook her head. “Bullshit. You know very well it's something. A big something.”

Enid shut her eyes and pinched her nose. “Last week, Phasma told me that I knew he would lose.”

“And you actually believe her?” 

“I knew he was going to lose when he was busted open,” Enid said. “But what was I going to say when K.O., ‘Sorry I got you disqualified because you were gonna lose anyway!’? It would have put him down hard, and he was already having doubts about himself. So I just froze up. I didn't know what to do, and it makes me feel like I should have. Am I just… Am I just a shit friend if I can't even…?”

Enid's eyes grew misty as her speech devolved into stuttering.

Mae cut her off, “Hey, hey, you're alright. You're good, okay?” 

Enid was looking up at Mae now, which was a start.

“K.O. will be fine,” Mae continued. “I know how it is to beat yourself up over what you could have done. I also know that what you do now matters more. So you didn't do something then, why not do something now?”

“And what would that be?” Enid asked shakily.

“Win,” Mae said simply. “Win for him. I'm sure he'd want you to. Have you visited him?”

“Once or twice.”

“Just a visit can mean a lot. Maybe if you came with a belt around your waist, it would make it better. But talk to him sometime. I would know from Mom, communication is a pretty big deal.”

Enid inhaled and took a minute to reel herself in, then nodded. “Yeah, okay.”

“That's it,” Mae assured. “Why don't you go out there and show that psycho fan girl what for?”

Enid managed a small laugh. “I guess it's funny, she was going to be my first opponent, now here we are anyway."

“Yeah, well, let's just say she didn't coast there,” Mae said, rubbing her back.

“I'll kick her once for you, then.”

Mae shrugged. “If you beat her, I'd be delighted.”

“Well,” Enid said, clearing her throat. “Guess I'd better get going. Thanks for the talk. I… appreciate it.”

“I've been there, believe me.” Mae said, nudging her shoulder.

Enid exited the compartment and headed for the ring. It was going to be a rough patch, but she was going in feeling better than earlier.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Demencia vs. Enid

Enid had gone into the ring looking unkempt but focused. Mae suggested a goal, and she was determined to obtain it. But she had to overcome Black Hat's psychotic fangirl, who was quite the wily one in the ring. In a way, it was fitting. Two CN characters in the ring, one a hero, the other villain. A classic case of good and evil. But who would come out on top this evening?

Mills called for the bell, “Let's get it on!”

Demencia launched from her corner like a slingshot, running for a clothesline, though Enid ducked. Demencia turns right into kick to the jaw that knocked her into the corner. Enid grabbed Demencia's head and unleashed a barrage of strikes to the fan girl's forehead. Demencia winced but didn't go down. With each blow, her grin only stretched wider, as if she was getting off on it. She caught one of Enid's fists, then grabbed the arm holding her down. Demencia tackled Enid's abdomen and rammed her into the corner. She delivered several rapid knee strikes to Enid's gut, then switched to straight up punching to force her into a seated position. Demencia shoved her boot into Enid's neck, grinding it into her windpipe before Mills is able to prompt her off by counting. 

“Demencia has firmly taken control of this match, just pounding away at Enid to wear her down,” said Johnny.

“That's how she was with Mae. Demencia's about chaotic aggression. Enid will have to watch herself because beneath that smile is a frightening individual that has killed heroes,” said Nick.

Demencia grabbed Enid by the hair and pulled her to her feet, only to drive her face into the turnbuckle. Demencia lifted Enid in her arms, then slammed her onto the mat in the middle of the ring. She ran to the ropes and came back to land a dropping elbow to Enid's collar bone. Pressing her advantage, Demencia mounted Enid and opened another can of whoop ass by pummeling her in a chaotic fashion, just flailing her fists against the skull, then throttled her head against the mat. 

“What's wrong?” Demencia teased. “Where's the fight? Did I take it out of you already? Or did you lose it after beating yourself up over that half pint?”

Demencia picks Enid up and throws her to the ropes. Enid catches herself just as Demencia runs toward her and she reverses with a drop toe hold that trips Demencia into the middle rope. Enid hops onto the outside of the ropes and runs to nail a kick to Demencia's head. Enid hops onto the ropes and launches to take Demencia down with a flying dropkick to the face and lands on her feet. Enid grabs hold of Demencia's legs and puts her in a Boston Crab submission. Demencia yells out from the sharp pain in her spine as she claws at the mat, hoping to reach the ropes while Mills is watching for a submission.

Black Hat, meanwhile, was observing the match from the ringside, his face contorted into a disapproving glare that could puncture a soul like a scalpel. 

“You tap out and so help me, you'll scream louder than that when I'm finished with you.”

“Enid has a submission hold locked in, but Black Hat seems to be giving her incentive to not tap out!” Johnny said.

“Not sure if I'd call that incentive, seeing as Demencia could very well be under threat of death right now, and it seems to be working!” Nick said.

Demencia was balling her hands into fists as she bit her tongue, literally. Enid leaned back on the hold further, which Demencia was hoping for. She was able to twist her waist just far enough to grab Enid's hair and yanked her to the mat, thus freeing herself from the hold. Demencia and Enid rolled away from each other and got to their feet. 

“How's that for a fight?” Enid asked. 

Demencia grinned in response. “This should be fun.”

They locked up again to reignite the match. Enid was fighting with more vigor this time. She had a fire going, she was fighting with purpose. Demencia was fighting under threat of punishment, and though she kind of got off on the agony inflicted on her, she’d still rather win than risk Black Hat's wrath. Demencia's chaotic style meshed well to her brawling skills, making her a difficult opponent to predict. 

But Enid displayed quite a bit of cunning herself. She was a ninja, after all; subversion came with the title, and she proved herself to be rather unpredictable in her own right. But unlike Demencia's more hectic style, Enid’s was more calculated. While she relied more on her leg, employing kicks and the like, that's not to say she was lacking in throwing a good haymaker. In fact, she would switch things up by using her arms, like employing a hip toss or an arm drag, then using her legs to deliver a kick to the back of the head or a backbreaker onto her knee. She would set things up to where it appeared she would use her legs, Demencia would try to counter, only to be floored by Enid switching up with her arms, then follow through with the legs. Misdirection and subversion as its finest.

It was this that allowed Enid to pick up the victory, earning her a spot in the next round with the Counter Crunch, while Demencia dropped to the losers bracket.

Black Hat had been growing increasingly annoyed with Demencia's inability to keep up and the threats, he could tell, weren't enough. So, he did the one thing to ensure Demencia knew how displeased he was. 

He got up from his chair and left.

Demencia's eyes widened as she called out to him, “No! No, I can do better! I promise I can do better!”

Black Hat would have none of it. He continued walking up the ramp, brushing off her pleas. “If you can't defeat a teenager, then you're clearly insufficient for my needs.” 

Having been spurned and effectively abandoned by her idol, Demencia's thin mask of sanity shattered. She shoved Mills Lane aside and jumped onto Enid, then began to viciously assault her! She slammed Enid's head against the mat, her mouth frothing in absolute, unrestrained fury.

“THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!” she roared in Enid's face. “HE THINKS I'M NO GOOD TO HIM NOW! HE THINKS I'M NO GOOD TO HIM!

Enid had been exhausted from the match and this surprise had left her vulnerable to the psychotic fan girl's onslaught. Demencia grabbed a chair from under the ring and raised it, prepared to bring it down on Enid's skull.

“IF I CAN'T PLEASE MY BELOVED, THEN I'LL MAKE SURE YOUR LITTLE BRAT DOESN'T SEE YOU, EITHER!”

Demencia felt a tap on her shoulder.

“Excuse me?”

Demencia looked, only to be whacked upside the head with a bat… wielded by Mae Borowski!

Mae struck Demencia in the gut, then brought the bat down on the back of her head. She approached Enid and offered a hand.

“Need a hand?”

Enid looked up, rubbing her neck, then managed a small smile as she accepted the hand.

“What took you so long?”

“Traffic,” Mae said, looking over at Demencia, who was beginning to stir. “You want to do the honors?”

“It'd be my pleasure!” 

Enid ran at Demencia and kicked her right in the chin, sending her right through the ceiling of the stadium and into another level of the ship.

Mae whistled. “Blinx is gonna be having a Demencia-shaped hole in his floor for the next few weeks.”

Mae raised Enid's arm for the crowd, giving a thumbs up. They exchanged a smile, finally putting their differences behind them.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Carter Grayson was on his way to the ring, fully morphed and prepared to go.

“Hey, Carter!”

Looking over his shoulder, Carter spotted Blinx the Time Sweeper catching up to him.

“Blinx?”

“Hey, I heard you were going up against Kazuya,” Blinx said. “I just wanted to wish you luck. Kazuya's been a hard hitter so far.”

Carter nodded. “I'm fully aware. But it hasn't stopped me before. It wouldn't be the first time I dealt with someone like him. He'll see that I'm rather stubborn.”

“Is that right?”

Both turned to see Agent Washington passing by. He stopped by the pair, glancing at Carter.

“I figured I'd stop by and wish you luck, too,” he said. “But I think you should be careful out there. I know from first-hand experience that Kazuya isn't one to take stubborn opponents lightly.”

“Then I'll just have to make him cope,” Carter said, assuring with a nod.

“Just saying, be careful out there,” Wash reiterated. “I already had to watch a kid get brutalized, I wouldn't want another one of our guys getting taken out so early on, either.”

Blinx stepped in. “We've got his back in case Kazuya tries anything, right?” 

“Guys,” Carter said, holding up his hands. “I'll be fine, trust me. I appreciate the concern, but this is something I need to do on my own.”

Carter made his way past Wash and Blinx, leaving them to watch him go.

“I think he can do it,” Blinx said. “If anyone can show Kazuya a thing or two, it's be him.”

Wash crossed his arms. He didn't reply, but he wished he could share Blinx's confidence. He wished he could be more assured about a lot of things these days. But his jaded self knew otherwise.

Meanwhile, Kazuya was leaning against the wall, listening in from around the corner. His right eye flickers a shade of crimson as a sinister smirk stretched along his face.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Carter Grayson vs. Kazuya Mishima

Kazuya Mishima has proven himself to be the most formidable contestant in the Final Frontier series, with a streak of four wins and zero losses. He's head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of points, having acquired most of his victories through submissions. And he was looking to chalk up another win to his record. It would be easier said than done, however, for his opponent was the Red Ranger of Lightspeed Rescue, Carter Grayson. Though Carter has had a few rough spots, he was still one of the better ring performers and proved his colors by forcing Doomfist to submit. Of course, Kazuya didn't find this feat very impressive, having done the same thing himself. But would Carter's indomitable will carry him through and inflict Kazuya's first loss?

Mills Lane called the Devil and the Red Ranger to the center of the ring.

“Okay, let's have a good, clean fight,” Mills said, going through the motions as he called for the bell. “Let's get it on!”

Kazuya started off with a backhand to Carter that sent him spinning into the ropes. Kazuya ran at Carter, attempting to clothesline him over, but Carter propped his legs up and kicked him back. He ran after Kazuya and executed a Hurricanrana Driver, but Kazuya used the momentum to roll back to his feet. Kazuya went for a Discus Lariat, but Carter ducked and threw a high kick to the back of Kazuya's head, sending him staggering forward. Carter pulled Kazuya into a headlock, but Mishima shoved him into the ropes. Carter catches himself and backflips off the ropes towards Kazuya, only to be caught in the Devil's clutches and taken down with a backbreaker onto Kazuya's knee!

“Kazuya Mishima and Carter Grayson were roughly evenly matched at the start, trading and reversing blows, but it seems Kazuya has taken control now,” Johnny said.

“Kazuya knows he's got a fight on his hands now,” Nick said. “The look in Kazuya's eyes, that's the glare of the Devil!”

The camera focuses on Kazuya's eyes and his pupils were secreting a vapor trail of crimson. He drags Carter up by the head and shoves him against the ropes. He rears back and delivers a stiff backfist to Carter’s chest, generating a loud smack that causes the crowd to cringe. Carter staggers forward, holding his ailing collar bone. Kazuya then sweeps Carter’s legs from under him, sending him crashing onto his head. Kazuya puts Carter into a camel clutch and starts applying pressure to the head and neck. Mills keeps an eye on Carter to see if he’ll submit. But Carter hangs tough, refusing to give in!

“Kazuya has the hold locked in, again aiming for a submission victory, but Carter doesn’t appear to be having it,” said Johnny.

“And we all know how Kazuya gets when someone starts showing defiance,” Nick added. “Wash already gets to him enough, so imagine how he would feel if there were two people who defied him like this?”

Kazuya frowns and releases the hold on Carter. He picks him up, but Carter shoves him back and lands a Bicycle Kick to the head. He runs to the ropes and come back for a hurricanrana that launches Kazuya through the ropes and to the outside of the ring. Kazuya lands on his feet, staggering until he catches himself on the barricade. Carter runs to the ropes again and jumps off the rope rope for a Tornado DDT onto the floor outside! 

“Amazing!” Johnny yelled. “Carter just spiked Kazuya with a Tornado DDT from the top rope onto the outside!”

“If that didn’t break Kazuya’s neck, I’ll be semi-speechless!” Nick exclaimed.

Carter picks up Kazuya and throws him back into the ring, then ascends the turnbuckle. Kazuya is struggling to get up, still thrown for a loop after that spike onto the floor. Carter jumps for a 360 Shooting Star Press, but Kazuya manages to raise his knees just in time to deflect the Red Ranger! Carter bounces off, clutching his ribs in agony while Kazuya tries to sit up. Both slowly manage to get to their feet. Carter tries for an Elbow Smash, but gets bumped off by Kazuya, whose superior strength lends well to this kind of defense. He places Carter onto his shoulders and delivers a Powerbomb right onto his knee! Carter writhes on the mat in pain, clutching his back. Seeing an opportunity, Kazuya picks Carter up and puts him a Gory Special, bending his back further!

“Yet again, Kazuya is going for a submission, aiming for the already ailing back of Carter!” said Johnny.

But, like before, Carter would not yield. Kazuya was beginning to grow agitated with the Red Ranger’s resistance, so he dropped him with a Facebuster Takedown. Carter’s helmet visor had cracked from the impact. Kazuya starts to pick up Carter again, only to receive a defiant blow to the jaw. Kazuya holds his jaw for a moment, then delivers an axe handle to the back of Carter’s head, taking him back down and knocking the fight out of him. Kazuya leans Carter against the corner, then walks to the center of the ring. He charges back at Carter, only for the Red Ranger to duck out of the way at the last minute! Once Kazuya turns around, Carter kicks him in the gut, then hits a Sitout Hip Toss that plants Kazuya back in the center of the ring! As Kazuya rises to his knees, Carter runs to the ropes, then comes back to land a Cutter! Carter covers; 1, 2, Kazuya kicks out!

“Carter nearly had it!” Johnny said.

“But nearly doesn’t get the job done,” Nick surmised. “But he got very close; that’s more than most.”

Kazuya sits up, holding his head while Carter standing behind him, then nails him in the back with a multitude of kicks. He throws Kazuya into the corner and runs toward him for a Flying Elbow Smash to the face. Carter follows up with multiple shoulder rams, but Kazuya catches him mid-ram and delivers several elbow strikes to the back and his head that send him to a knee. Kazuya props Carter onto his shoulders, but Carter fights back with forearm shots to the head. This allows Carter to free himself and goes for a Spinning Heel Kick, but Kazuya ducks and slips behind Carter, allowing him to nail a Spinning Backfist once the Ranger turns around! 

“Amazing back and forth between these two,” said Johnny. “It could go either way, this has been a rare instance where Kazuya is facing some real challenge.”

But Kazuya was clearly having none of this anymore. He grabbed Carter’s leg and pulled him to the center of the ring, putting him in the dread ankle lock that forced so many others to submit. Carter cried out, trying to reach the ropes, but Kazuya would give him no quarter. Mills asked if Carter would give up, but the Red Ranger shakes his head. Kazuya’s frown deepened as he twisted even further, trying to force Carter to yield, but when no such words came, the Devil grew furious. How dare this Red Ranger act so defiant against him? How dare he try to emulate the example of someone he’d thoroughly beaten already? He was beginning to remind him a LOT of Washington. And Kazuya wasn’t going to have it. 

“Fine then,” Kazuya said. “If you won’t submit, I’ll just break your fucking leg, instead!”

With one good twist, Kazuya began contorting Carter’s foot, causing the Red Ranger to scream in agony, unable to bear the pain… yet, he STILL wouldn’t submit. Kazuya had no problem twisting even further, to the point his foot was making unnatural popping noises. 

“Kazuya’s just torturing Carter; he’s fed up with his resistance!” Johnny called out.

“This is inhumane! Carter, just quit already! Save your career!” Nick pleaded.

Before Kazuya could follow through with his intent, Blinx and Wash came running down the ramp to stop this from escalating any further. Kazuya threw Carter’s foot aside and slid out of the ring just as the two entered and formed a barrier between him and the wounded Red Ranger. Mills, of course, called for the bell. Kazuya had won the match the moment they stepped in to stop him. It only awarded him three points in the long run, but it was still a victory nonetheless, and his record remained intact.

Wash checked on Carter, glaring at Kazuya, who only grinned nefariously at him.

“You son of a bitch!” Blinx yelled at Kazuya. 

“It’s over,” Johnny said. “They may have saved Carter’s foot from potentially being torn off, but it gave Kazuya the DQ win.”

“Kazuya still walks away the victor, while Carter’s future is even more uncertain than it was after barely defeating Doomfist. Thanks for tuning into F3, everyone,” Nick said somberly. “We’ll be keeping you updated on Carter’s condition.”

The show ended as Kazuya backed up the ramp, smirking fiendishly while Wash clenched his fist, clearly bearing a lot of baggage for what had just happened. For once, he wished his gut was wrong. 


CLOSING SEGMENT

Static filled the camera before settling to show Black Hat stowed away in his quarters. He places a communicator on his desk, which displays a fizzled hologram of a mechanical golem with a squid-like head attached to the torso. The being’s eyes were narrowed with impatience.

“Black Hat,” he said in a low, booming voice. “You said the power would be down weeks ago, yet the Vindication’s security grid is still online. I’m growing impatient.”

Black Hat’s eyes twitched as he tapped his fingers together in a slight effort to maintain his composure, This wouldn’t be the first conversation he’s had with this client, and he wanted it to be the last. 

With an exhale, he finally said, “We’re working on it. Matters have been complicated, but we will be back on schedule soon enough.”

The golem’s tendrils writhed before growling, “You should have thought ahead, Black Hat. I’ve waited over a decade for my revenge, and your money is beginning to lose its value to me.”

“Do not presume to give me orders,” Black Hat said, slamming a clenched fist against the armrest of his chair. “I can take you apart as easily as I reassembled you. In addition, think of what your reputation would be like if word got out about the fork incident.”

The client uttered a low, animalistic snarl in response.

“That’s what I thought,” Black Hat said, leaning back in his chair. “You’re lucky I’m even paying you this much to hold you over until the grid goes down. So shut up and wait.”

The golem shook his head, clearly disapproving of this outcome, but he acquiesced all the same and the hologram went offline.

“Short-sighted brute,” Black Hat muttered, his tone laced with contempt. He pressed the communicator again and the image of Kakuzu appeared.

“Yes?”

“My client grows impatient. This stall tactic of yours must end soon.”

“If we act now, we’ll be under further suspicion,” Kakuzu said.

“Yes, I know. But I doubt money will keep my client satisfied for much longer. You have one week, make it happen.”

Kakuzu found this request difficult to fulfill, considering the circumstances. But if he wanted to continue getting paid, he knew there was only one viable option. “Understood.”

The communicator fizzled out, leaving Black Hat in his chamber. The villain then brought up a scroll and laid it out on his table. At the top were three labels; wrestling industry, supply, and demand. Black Hat grinned fiendishly. 

“Oh, what great things we’ll do together.”


 RESULTS

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Blinx the Time Sweeper pinned John Shepard after landing the Time Crash.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Captain Phasma pinned Tracer, following the Canadian Rack Pikedriver.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Darkstar pinned Mercury Black, following a Spear.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Enid pinned Demencia after the Counter Crunch.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Kazuya won via DQ after Agent Washington and Blinx the Time Sweeper ran down to stop him from breaking Carter's ankle.


 FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 40 points

Darkstar - 28 points

Agent Washington - 28 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 21 points

Doomfist - 14 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

John Shepard - 7 points

Mercury Black - 7 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The show opens to TOM in his office, jotting down his signature on a datapad contract.

SARA's avatar appeared beside him, fluttering her miniature wings. "TOM, you have visitors."

TOM looked up and nodded. "Thank you, SARA. Let them in."

The door to the bridge opened, allowing Agent Washington and Blinx the Time Sweeper to enter the office, both hosting displeased expressions, or body language in Wash's case.

"Is something wrong, gentlemen?" TOM asked.

"Not something, someone," Wash sharply said.

Blinx leaned his hands on the desk, bearing his fangs. "Kazuya's officially lost it! Did you see what he tried to do Carter last week?! He could have broken his leg or ended his career!"

TOM held up his hands. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey, ease up. I know what Kazuya did last week was pushing the boundaries, but there's little I can do about it."

"What do you mean?" Wash asked. "You can't dock him any points or suspend him? He clearly intended to break Carter's ankle and only stopped when we interfered."

"If I did either of those things, it would only make things worse," TOM said. "In fact, we would be putting the rest of the roster at risk."

Blinx backed up, raising an eyebrow. "What does the rest of the roster have to do with this?"

TOM rented his fingers, leaning back in his chair. "Wash, I'm sure you know from first-hand experience that Kazuya hates losing in any shape or form."

Wash nodded silently.

"But he still won," Blinx chimed in.

TOM continued, "Indeed, he did, but not in the way he wanted to. Kazuya's arrogant and hates being defied because it damages the image he's crafted for himself. Now, what do you think would happen if I were to dock his points or suspend him from the ring? 'If it isn't the Final Frontier contestants, I'll go after the rest of the roster until I'm the only one left to challenge for the belt. Who's it going to be?' I have no doubt that's how Kazuya thinks. But there are other ways to help get back at Kazuya."

"Then let me face him," Wash said, stepping forward. "Kazuya did what he did because Carter reminded him of me. "I'm already in his head and have faced him before."

"That's where I have to object," TOM said. "You've already faced him, and lost."

"Then let me," Blinx said. "Carter and I are on good terms, and I haven't faced him yet, so I have more ground to stand on, right?"

"That, I can arrange," TOM said with a nod. "If a wrestler starts to step out of line, another wrestler steps in to stop him. That's how it usually goes, right?"

"Unless they outright murder someone, but yeah," Blinx said. "You won't regret this, sir. I'll make sure he pays twofold."

Wash didn't appear comfortable with that idea. He already had to witness Kazuya brutalize Carter, he wasn't sure he could witness another.

"Blinx, I don't know if…"

"I can do this," Blinx said, firmly. "I've been getting back into the swing of things, and I have a shot to cut Kazuya down to size before his ego gets more inflated than it already is. Do you trust me?"

Wash stared for a minute, then sighed. "Yeah. I trust you."

"It's settled, then," said TOM. "Blinx will face Kazuya tonight. You best prepare for it, because it's the main event."

Blinx nodded with a smirk and left with confidence in his stride.

Wash watched him go, then turned to TOM once the door shut. "I have a bad feeling about this, TOM."

"Blinx is stronger than he looks," TOM assured. "Like it or not, these are the rules of the tournament. I can't just change them. But here's my advice, if you really want to stick it to Kazuya, stay in the series and continue to do what you do best. If all goes well, Kazuya will have to deal with both his first loss and the knowledge that the one to defy him is still racking up points. You may even surpass him. That would really stick in his craw something fierce."

Wash thought about it for a moment, then silently nodded.

"Alright, you best be getting ready for your match, as well," TOM said. "Provided if Baymax clears Carter to compete again."

"What if he can't?"

TOM sighed. "Then, you'd be given a bye and thus, the victory by default. It wouldn't be fair to withhold your advancement without an opponent. I already offered Carter some time off to rest, but he's determined to see the series through. The decision lies with Baymax and him."

No words were further exchanged as Wash left the office, but as he waited in the elevator, he clenched his fist at the thought of Kazuya. Someone had to rein him in. For now, it seems Blinx would have to be that person.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

John Shepard vs. Mercury Black

No one likes being at the bottom, least of all Mercury Black. His performance had been somewhat underwhelming at best, and now, he was facing another who had similar luck, and was also looking to climb out of the bottom. Mercury had the benefit of not pissing anyone else off, while Shepard had a clear enemy in Darkstar, who wanted nothing more than to see him fail. Tonight, one of them had to stay in the loser rut, and neither had any intention of letting the other keep them there.

Like a pendulum, the balance of power shifted back and forth as they put their strengths to good use. Shepard's discipline helped him through Mercury's onslaught; Mercury's speed allowed him to maneuver around Shepard and reverse holds. Both had their degrees of veterancy, so they were on relatively even footing when it came to in-ring action. But weeks of losses had gotten to Mercury's head way more than it did Shepard. He was hot-headed and with that, came anger. Mercury was tired of losing, and he wasn't coming behind an old man, either.

But Shepard wasn't about to let Mercury walk all over him. He'd accumulated a decorated career, and he wasn't going to see it go down with a whimper. This was more than just a match to him, it needed to be a statement that he could still hang with the new blood, and excel at what he does. Two very hungry men battling to make their own points, but only one got the message across… and that man was Shepard, who brought Mercury down with the Commander's Shot for the three-count, adding another win to his tally and making himself clear; he was in the industry to stay for a good long while.

Darkstar had slipped into the ring, wielding a chair and went to smash Shepard over the head, but the commander actually saw this coming and whirled around, kicking the chair right into Darkstar's face, then slammed Darkstar onto the chair with the Critical Mission Failure. He'd also made it clear to Darkstar that he wasn't going to play his game anymore. This was Shepard's evening, and he was going to savor it this time.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We come to the mid-deck's gymnasium, where Mae Borowski and Dornan are in the middle of a sparring ring. Dornan was holding a large practice dummy, while Mae just had a dreary expression.

"Can we do this, like, later?" Mae asked. "I'm not used to getting less than ten hours of sleep."

"Ten hours sleeping isn't ten hours practicing," Dornan said. "And you've made that excuse twice already, and twice I've had to drag you here by the scruff of your neck. If I were you, I'd quit yammering and start practicing."

Mae rubbed her eyes, then raised a fist… only to strike the dummy half-heartedly.

"Really?" Dornan asked. "Are you even trying?"

Mae yawned, "Only in an actual match."

"Is that right?"

Without warning, Dornan grabbed the arm and swung it, striking the half-asleep Mae with it and knocking her into the corner. Mae shot upright, her eyes wide. She was definitely awake now.

"What the hell was that?!"

"A wake-up call," Dornan said. "You said you try in a real match? Then start trying! If you won't defend yourself, I'll smear your ass on this mat. Get up!"

Dornan tossed the dummy right onto Mae, nearly crushing the cat under its weight. Mae wheezed and clawed at the mat, trying to get out from under it.

"What is this thing full of rocks?!" Mae brandished her claws and slashed the dummy, spilling several rocks onto the mat. "Wait, these are rocks!"

Dornan crossed his arms."That's coming out of your pay, Borowski."

"Oh, that's bullshit!" Mae yelled.

"No, you wanna know what is bullshit?" Dornan retorted, ripping the dummy off Mae's body. "Dragging your sorry ass into this gym every morning just for you to waste both of our time."

Mae sat up with a glare. "Well, what I've got to say, you really don't want to hear, because screaming at others seems to be your priority over listening, understanding or heck even honesty."

"Oh, oh, I see it is now," Dornan growled. "You want honesty? Alright, honestly, I think you're nothing! Nothing but a pure waste of God-given talent. You don't listen to anybody! You barely listen to TOM and you NEVER listen to me! You have the potential to be a headliner for this company! But instead of training or doing anything remotely productive, you work your way out of it and choose to let all that talent rot!"

Mae stood up and was now pressing up against Dornan.

"Why should I give a damn about what you have to say, huh? You want to have a one on one? Okay, let's have a one on one. You're one of the owners of this place right?"

"What do you fucking think, genius?"

"Then you've got a job?"

"Do you have a brain to comprehend that being an owner is having a job?"

"I dunno, because it seems like this is beyond your job description!" Mae yelled, pointing her finger at Dornan's chest. "Why am I always singled out? I'm not the only slacker here! I'm not the only one with attitude problems! And I sure as hell am not the only one with issues! But point to the one person on this stupid ship who doesn't? You think you're the perfect person? A class act? The ideal individual? Well let's take that head out of your ass so I can inform you that you are not the perfect person! In fact, I'd say you're the most flawed guy here! BEYOND FLAWED IN FACT! I resent the fact that you criticize and judge me yet ignore everyone else who shows the exact same problems I do! Here's an idea old man, maybe I'd pay attention to you if you stopped being such a goddamn asshole to everybody!"

Dornan finally grabbed Mae's collar and hauled her off her feet so he could look her in her oversized pupils, snarling, "You've got a lot of attitude to go mouthing off to me like that, you little shit. I singled you out because of your natural talent, and when given a push, you could become something better. That is the only reason I haven't fired your ass, but you're doing a damn good job making me regret it!"

"Well, attitude reflects leadership, 'sergeant'," Mae said lowly. "How do you think everyone else sees you? Is this what TOM has to deal with all the time?! I feel bad for him!"

Dornan finally shoved Mae to the mat, merely saying, "Get out."

"Out of the company or…?"

"JUST GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!"

A tense silence that hung in the air, nothing but the faint hum of the ship's engines. Mae got to her feet, Dornan's visor tracking her as she made her way out. She slammed the door behind her, in sync with Dornan slamming his fist into the steel post of the ring.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Tracer vs. Mae Borowski

Mae wasn't in the best of moods to wrestle tonight, but her obligations prevented her from skipping out. She briskly entered the ring and impatiently waited for the match to begin. Tracer, on the other hand, was as excited to get started as always. Fortunately, her neck wasn't too badly damaged from her match, and was cleared to compete in the next round. But who would move on and who would be eliminated? That would be decided now.

The match began with Tracer offering a handshake, looking to keep things sporting. Mae hesitantly accepted, which was enough to earn Tracer's early respect, a smiling nod. Tracer went for a kick, but Mae caught it and spun Tracer away, but the time jumper easily used it to her advantage, transitioning into a spinning kick with her other leg that took Mae down, sending her rolling to the outside. Tracer raised a hand, pointed to the crowd, then ran to the ropes, bouncing off to execute a Suicide Dive onto Mae!

"And Tracer takes the early advantage, using his speed and agility to her advantage," said Johnny.

"Y'know, Mae is no slouch in athleticism herself, but Tracer's just more nimble and her entire style is built around mobility, so it'll be interesting to see Mae's response to that, if she has any." Nick added.

Tracer kipped up, asking if the crowd wanted one more. They affirmed with cheers, and Tracer was happy to oblige. She slid into the ring and ran for the ropes to gain momentum, while Mae was beginning to stand. Tracer ran for the middle ropes, only for Mae to deliver a kick to the face! That stopped Tracer in her tracks, leaving her momentarily stunned halfway through the ropes, affording Mae the time window to hop onto the canvas and deliver a running kick to the face that knocked her back into the ring. Mae leapt onto the top rope, balancing effortlessly, thanks to her own feline agility, then jumped, executing a Tilt-a-Whirl DDT that brought Tracer down. Mae covers; 1, 2, Tracer gets the shoulder up.

"Once again, Tracer tries to put on a show, and it just allowed Mae to wrest control from her," said Johnny.

"Showmanship is all fine and good, but when you're in a tournament, sometimes it's best to just be practical and go for the pin," said Nick.

Mae pulls Tracer up, but the Overwatch agent jawbreakers her on the way up. Mae staggers, then tries to sweep the legs, buy Tracer not only jumps over, but she catches Mae in a headscissors and takes her down with a Hurricanrana Driver. Mae begins to rise, but Tracer sweeps her legs from under her, then backflips onto Mae with a Shooting Star Press. Tracer covers, but Mae kicks out at two.

"Once again, Tracer is in the lead. Whenever she's focused, she's a true force to be reckoned with in the ring," Johnny noted.

"Now if she can keep those urges to cater to the crowd under control, she may just win this one," said Nick.

Tracer picks up Mae and runs to the ropes, coming back to jump onto Mae's shoulders, but Mae is shoves her off. Tracer lands on her feet and ducks a clothesline attempt by Mae, slipping behind her and delivering a Headscissors Takedown. Tracer is holding the torch firm and with pride. She goes for the pin again, but only gets a two-count. She picks up Mae and runs to the ropes, backflipping off the middle rope, only to be caught by Mae, who rams her backfirst into the corner, then lays her out with a body slam. She then delivers a Standing Moonsault onto Tracer, squishing her smaller, more nimble opponent. Mae picks up Tracer and throws her back into the corner. She rushes Tracer, but is caught and thrown over the top rope. Mae lands just outside the apron and jawbreakers Tracer onto the ropes, bouncing her back. It's then that Mae quickly ascends the corner and takes Tracer down with a Corkscrew Moonsault!

"Now that Mae's grounded Tracer, she just needs to press the advantage," said Johnny."

"If she can get up first," Nick pointed out.

Mae and Tracer are both down, panting from the prolonged skirmish. They slowly start to rise at the same time, both reaching their feet. Tracer punches Mae, sending her back… but Mae rebounds and strikes Tracer, who returns with a hook of her own, which spurns Mae to respond in kind. They trade several blows until Mae ducks to run to the ropes, coming back for a Flying Knee Strike to Tracer's head! Mae quickly scoops Tracer onto her shoulders, then drops her with a Bandit Queen Supreme (GTS), then capped it off with a Roundhouse Kick to the head! Down goes Tracer like a bag of hammers and Mae quickly hooks the legs; 1, 2, 3! Mae gets it!

"And Mae Borowski is moving to the next round, while Tracer is eliminated," said Johnny.

"A real shame, because Tracer has a lot of crowd appeal," said Nick. "In fact, maybe too much. Maybe with some adjustment, she'll be back and better than before. But for now, Mae Borowski is advancing."

Mae has her arm raised by Mills, then yawns slightly. She'd missed the opportunity to have a nap and wrestling only increased the feeling of drowsiness. She was definitely going to crawl off somewhere to sleep once she got to the back.


COMMERCIAL

Static filled the screen, then faded to show the nefarious Black Hat standing a lab, sporting his signature slimy grin.

"Hello, inferior beings of evil! Black Hat here, once again to demonstrate the newest addition to our catalogue."

Black Hat reached offscreen and yanked Dr. Flug into view, clutching him by the wrist in a vice, causing the scientist visible pain from the quivering of his body and the way his goggles scrunched in a silent display of agony. In Flug's hand, was a bowler hat.

"Th-This is the Hat Probe," Flug struggled to say as Black Hat's hold stopped the blood flow to his hand. "It's designed for multiple purposes; spying, sabotage, and even mind control, provided the target wears it!"

Black Hat plucked the bowler from Flug's hands and shoved the hapless doctor out of frame, an audible crash heard offscreen. The bowler sprouted four mechanical legs with a red eye opening in the center of the hat, flickering as it looked around the room.

"With this, you can bring those pesky heroes to their knees! But no demonstration is complete without a test subject!" He said, then looked offscreen with a nefarious smirk. "Bring him in."

Two Hat Sentinels came into the lab, throwing a battered superhero at Black Hat's feet. He looked up, glaring through swollen black eyes.

"Y-You…"

"High Altitude," Black Hat greeted with a faux air of politeness. "It would seem your attempt to rescue your sidekick has hit a little turbulence."

High Altitude tried to push himself to his feet, but Black Hat stomped on his back, forcing him back down. He grabbed the hero by his hair and yanked his head up to whisper into his ear, "I am going to enjoy every moment of this."

Black Hat held out his hand and the bowler lunged upon High Altitude, forcing itself upon its head to the point it appeared to swallow it whole. High Altitude let out muffled cries as it sounded like the process dealt him great pain, but his spasms eventually ceased and the red eye blinked. The hero's body grew docile and he remained still. Black Hat returned his gaze to the camera. "You see, he will now obey my every command. And my first command…"

Dr. Flug brought in a familiar blob that shuddered like jello in his hands.

Black Hat's smile widened, threatening to tear his face in half. "... Destroy your sidekick."

There was no hesitation or resistance. High Altitude plunged at the gelatinous form of Aerosphere. Thankfully, the camera returned to Black Hat, who was laughing mad to the point froth fell from his mouth.

The camera cut to static and returned to show Black Hat wielding a new bowler hat. "So what are you waiting for? Buy the Hat Probe today and make your greatest foes kneel before you! The sale is open."


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We come to the infirmary, where K.O. was being examined by Baymax. The healthcare robot carefully removed his bandages, revealing the wound to have largely healed, save for a scab… which was easily covered by his headband.

"So am I good?" K.O. asked, anxiously kicking his legs over the side of his bed.

Baymax nodded. "Yes, your health checks out and you should be fully ready to compete again."

"Yes!" K.O. exclaimed with glee as he leapt off his chair. "Thanks for the help, Baymax. I was worried I wouldn't be able to compete again, it's so early in my career."

"You have visitors waiting for you outside," Baymax said. "Before you leave, I must ask if you are satisfied with your care?"

K.O. beamed happily. "I am satisfied with my care!"

Baymax extended his arm, depositing a lollipop into K.O.'s hand. "For good behavior."

"Ooh," K.O. stuck the lollipop in his mouth and waved as he left the infirmary. "Thanks again, Baymax!"

The second K.O. walked out of the infirmary, he was greeted by the sight of his friends, as well as TOM, all waiting for him outside.

"K.O., you're out!" Rad scooped K.O. into his arms, giving playfully messing with his hair.

"It's good to see you back, kiddo," TOM said. "I knew you'd pull through."

"Sorry if I caused a scare, guys," K.O. said, sheepishly scratching his cheek.

"Oh, you totally did," Rad said, nonchalantly.

"Especially your mother," TOM added. "I got quite an earful that night and it took a lot to convince her you were in good hands. Speaking of, she wanted you to call her the minute you go out."

"Oh, I can do that!" K.O. said, but paused. "Wait, where's Enid?"

"Here," Enid came into view, rubbing her arm, though looking a bit anxious. She knew what she was going to have to tackle, but braced herself for it. She smiled softly. "Hey, brush-head."

"Enid, is something wrong?" K.O. asked.

"K.O., what the Akatsuki did to you got to a lot of people, especially Enid, and she's been holding a lot of baggage that she wants to get off her chest," TOM said to try and ease the conversation forward. He glanced at Enid and gently ushered her to speak her mind.

Enid swallowed and inhaled deeply. "K.O., I'm… I'm really sorry…"

K.O. blinked, raising an eyebrow. "About what?"

"For what happened to you. What Hidan and Kakuzu did, and I just… stood there. I didn't know what to do, I wanted to help, I wasn't sure if you could win after you nearly getting your head caved in, but… I didn't know how you react if I told you that I had to disqualify you guys. It seemed like a lose-lose at the time. I should have done something, but I didn't, and you had to spend weeks in the infirmary because of it." She glanced to the side. "Because of me."

"Hey, it's okay," K.O. said, his pleasant attitude unwavering. "It was a pretty heated moment for everyone. But I'm okay now! And I'm cleared to compete again, so Rad and I can train harder and come back to show those Akatsuki guys what we can really do! I mean, isn't wrestling about losing and learning from it, so you can win next time?"

Enid managed a light laugh. "Yeah, I guess it is."

"They got lucky last time," Rad said. "We'll come back twice as strong when we have our rematch! Just they wait and see!"

"In fact, why don't we go train right now?" K.O. suggested. "I am cleared to compete again, after all."

"Way ahead of ya, little buddy," Rad levitated himself and K.O. and hovered down the hall, leaving TOM and Enid to watch them go.

"I still could have done something," Enid muttered.

TOM looked over at her. "Don't dwell too much on what you could have done. Instead, think about what you can do now because of it. K.O. likes having you around. After all, who's going to keep Rad in line?"

Enid chuckled a bit. "Alright, I'd better go after them and make sure he doesn't throw K.O. too hard in a tag team move or something."

"That's more like it," TOM said. "You're doing fine, Enid. Just keep your chin up."

"Will do. Later, TOM."

Enid went after Rad and K.O., feeling like a tremendous weight was lifted off her chest. Things could start getting back to relative normalcy. And then some.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Carter Grayson

This was a match that many didn't expect. After the damage that Kazuya had inflicted on Carter last week, nobody expected him to come out and wrestle. Though Baymax declared him cleared to compete, it was only just barely, and even then, he recommended Carter get some rest. Even the rest of the Lightspeed Rangers urged Carter to just forfeit and focus on healing. But that wasn't an option for him. He had to see it through, show that Kazuya wouldn't keep him down, that he would keep trying. The entire situation didn't sit well with anyone, least of all his opponent, Wash.

Despite Wash's apprehension, he was willing to give the Red Ranger a chance to show him he could keep going. But Carter was nowhere near as fast as he was when the tournament began. He wouldn't use the high-flying maneuvers he'd become known for, it was just too taxing on his injuries. The few times he did, he suffered for it very quickly, flaring up his ribs and reducing him to hobbling on his injured leg. Wash held the advantage for most of the match because of this, but it was obvious he wasn't taking pleasure in it. Whenever Carter would struggle just to get his shoulder up from a pin, Wash would quietly plea for him to not get up, or he would have to hurt him more. Carter had more than solidified his resolve, but he didn't need to be a fool about it.

Carter, however, wouldn't cave. He kept trying, even when the match mostly consisted of him either struggling to stand or getting manhandled by the freelancer. For the briefest of moments, Carter had a spark where he tried to lock in a cross face and force Wash to submit, but the freelancer had withstood Kazuya, and he wasn't going to tap easily. Carter tried, he gave it his all, but Wash was able to make it to the ropes and break the hold. After that, Carter's strength had been fully expended. He'd put all of himself into that one hold as a last ditch effort to nudge out a victory… but it was reduced to nothing in a few seconds. Wash ended it with a Washington Bomb and held him down for the pin, earning another seven points. But they were a very bittersweet seven points. Wash assisted Carter to his feet and helped him limp to the back. The Red Ranger deserved that much. It was an act of courtesy that was welcomed by the audience and the commentators. But it only served to fuel Wash's desire to see Kazuya pay for what he'd done.


INTERVIEW SEGMENT

Papyrus shuffled on screen, mic in hand, and putting on his game face.

"Greetings, spacefaring fans, monsters, humans, and aliens of all ages! It is, I the Great Papyrus, once again! I am joined today by the other finalists in the Dynamic Duos tournament! Please welcome Garrus Vakarian and Urdnot Wrex, the Normandy Warriors!"

Papyrus was joined by the Turian and Krogan in question. Garrus was more lax than Wrex, who was looking bored and apathetic.

"Garrus, Wrex, first, I wish to extend my gratitude for accepting my interview!"

"So long as your brother isn't around, I'd say the pleasure belongs to us," said Garrus.

better hurry up and ask your questions before he decides to show up," Wrex said.

"I assure you, Sans won't be derailing our interview this time! We can conduct professionally and cohesively! First, you two have made quite an impact defeating Lightspeed Rescue and the Wyverns. Have you anything to say regarding your place in the finals?"

"I'd say it's been a good run," Garrus said. "Lightspeed Rescue didn't do too bad, but I don't think a Krogan is exactly equivalent to a demon."

"Try fighting ancient killing machines and maybe you'll be on my level," Wrex said with a shrug. "But they did okay, I guess. So far, we've only had two matches, and the wait is starting to take the shape of a rash. I'm getting antsy."

"We've made good use of our rather limited airtime," Garrus continued. "But we certainly look forward to facing the Akatsuki in the finals."

"Damn right, those two need a proper ass-kicking. And if they're as good as everyone hypes them up to be, then this should be worth the wait. Because we'll be kicking their teeth down their throat and walk out the Dynamic Duos champions. That'll be a damn good night."

"Speaking of the Akatsuki," Papyrus said. "They have made similar claims of becoming the first champions."

"I just hear bullshit," Wrex said. "Never a miscommunication."

"They're good, I'll admit that. It's weird how they openly hate each other, yet work so well. But I think they'll meet their match when they face off against a team who can pull off teamwork and maintain a degree of friendship."

"Come the championship, everyone will find out if a Krogan can best an immortal zealot. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but Garrus and I have this easily."

"Have you any final words for your opponents?" Papyrus asked.

"We don't need insurance, we have a Krogan," Garrus said, jetting a thumb at Wrex.

"And I'll be sure to provide full coverage when I lay your sorry asses out for the three count."

"Ooh, clever word play!" Papyrus said.

"Yeah," said a voice belonging tone certain skeleton rising from behind Garrus and Wrex, placing his hands on their shoulders. "What a humerus sendoff, am I right?"

Wrex shut his eyes and inhaled deeply… then suddenly grabbed Sans by the neck as he stood up.

"Shit! Wrex, stop!" Garrus yelled as he shot up and tried to wrestle Sans away. The camera was knocked over as Papyrus jumped in to help.

"What did I tell you, Sans?! I said to stay away! Now look what you've done!"

"C'mon," Sans choked. "Have a funny bone!"

"I'll laugh when I use your ribs to pick my damn teeth!" Wrex shouted as the camera cut out.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Demencia vs. Alyx Vance

Demencia hasn't been in the best of head spaces, not that she ever was in the first place, but the idea of failing Black Hat had stuck, and if she was being the cold shoulder now, who knows what how bad it would be if she was eliminated. On Alyx's side, she, too, had a higher up to please in the form of the G-Man. Though he was benevolent compared to Black Hat, he still had a clear preference that Alyx win, and she desired the same; both out of obligation to him and herself, for she still hadn't quite figured out her place in G-Man's employ. Now, came the moment these two women collided. One would walk away self-assured with their boss reasonably pleased… with the other facing disappointment… or in Black Hat's case, utter wrath.

Demencia and Alyx faced off in the ring, with Black Hat and G-Man attending ringside. The only reason Black Hat was even there, was because of G-Man, who appeared to recognize this. They spent more time watching each other than their clients in the ring, as if intrigued by the other. What they thought, remained unknown to the audience and commentators. They weren't the central focus anyway.

Mills Lane called for the bell, "Let's get it on!"

Alyx and Demencia circle each other, like they revolving around the eye of a storm. Closing in, they locked up, but Alyx is able to maneuver Demencia into an armbar. The psychotic fangirl winced ever so slightly, then ducked behind Alyx to seize her in a headlock. Demencia shoved Alyx to the ropes, then clotheslines her down once she came back. She went to the ropes and bounced off, but Alyx was quick to recover, catching Demencia with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. She stays for the cover but barely gets a one count before Demencia kicks out. Alyx gets up just as Demencia sits upright and goes to the ropes, coming back for a Big Boot, but Demencia evades by laying back down, then snatches Alyx into a rollup pin, but only gets one herself!

"Both tried to go for an early win, but as we all know, that rarely ever works," said Johnny.

"It'll be very embarrassing for the first person it happens to, though," Nick added.

Demencia stands up and kicks Alyx in the face as she starts to stand, then pushes her into a corner. She kicks her in the abdomen multiple times, then follows it up a manic series of shoulder rams that cause Alyx to collapse from the damage to the abdominal region. She picks Alyx back up and throws her into the corner, Vance's back striking the turnbuckle and knocking the wind out of her. Demencia cartwheels toward Alyx and kicks a hard elbow shot to the neck. Demencia backs up as Alyx staggers from the corner, then bounces off the middle rope for a flying springboard! Demencia covers; 1, 2, Alyx kicks out yet again.

"Near fall," said Nick. "Don't look away, folks, because this could end anytime now! And we're not sure who's walking away with the win here!"

Demencia runs to the turnbuckle as Alyx began to rise, scaling the corner before jumping! Alyx sees this and takes Demencia out of the sky with a well-aimed Dropkick that knocks her into halfway across the ring! Alyx kips up and tails Demencia, pulling her up by her reptilian hood, then started dishing a series of right hooks to the head. She followed up with an armdrag, then ran to the ropes, coming back with a Big Boot to the face of Demencia. Alyx caps it off with a Double Leg Drop to the neck, then hooks the legs, but once again only gets a two count. Alyx bends down to grab Demencia, but receives a knee to the face. Demencia rolls to her feet and tackles Alyx, ramming her into the corner. Alyx tries to kick back, Demencia catches her foot with a toothy smirk, then grabs Alyx's other leg. Vance grips the ropes, trying to hang on, but Demencia heaves her away with one great tug… and Alyx manages to backflip to her feet right as she does, then knocks Demencia away with a forearm smash. She goes for another shoulder ram, but Demencia Bicycle Kicks her in the head, then pulls her into a DDT!

"Nasty DDT there," said Johnny. "They looked evenly matched, but Demencia was just a bit quicker."

Demencia doesn't go for the pin this time, instead dragging Alyx to the center of the ring, then putting her into a Muta Lock! Alyx tries to reach for the ropes, but they're too far from her grasp. She struggles to escape, but Demencia bends her body more, accentuating the pain. Alyx tries scratching Demencia's fingers, clawing to get her to relinquish the hold, but Demencia won't give! She's driven to win tonight! Finally, Alyx doesn't have a choice and submits! She taps out and Mills Lane calls for the bell!

"Once again, Alyx demonstrates a solid effort, but tonight, Demencia is moving to the next round," said Johnny.

"I just hope the G-Man takes it better than her, because she's going to be feeling this a while," said Nick.

As the loss settles in with the pain, Alyx's face falls with an expression of disappointment in herself. Whether the G-Man felt the same way is uncertain, for his expression was, like usual, unreadable. Black Hat had already taken his leave, Demencia tailing after him. What the future held for Alyx was uncertain, but she still had a way to go before she could realize her place in F3 and under G-Man's employ.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Blinx was on his way to the ring, pumped and ready to face off against the most fierce competitor in the Final Frontier series. There was a lot on his shoulders, and he had more reason to want to pummel Kazuya into a pulp after what he did to Carter. Watching him try to compete earlier was an extra bitter pill to swallow. If anything, he would win for him.

"Look what the literal cat dragged in."

Blinx stopped walking, glaring as Kazuya came into frame, staring down at the Time Sweeper.

"Shouldn't you be preparing for our match?" Blinx asked.

Kazuya smirked. "I am always prepared. Question is, are you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"What do you think it means?" Kazuya retorted. "After all, your record hasn't been the best. You may have had a nice string of victories lately… but it'll only leave you feeling crushed when I have to dash that newfound confidence of yours."

"Wins and losses aren't everything," Blinx said, stepping up to Kazuya, staring right into his eyes. "But if you keep looking down on everyone else, you never know when one of them may pop that inflated ego of yours."

"I only hear the popping of my opponent's ankles. Like your spandex-clad friend's ankle last week."

Blinx clenched his fist, but didn't bite Kazuya's obvious baiting. The Devil knew he'd touched a nerve, indicated by his growing smile.

He shouldered past Blinx, walking a short distance, then stopped. He looked over his shoulder, directly at Blinx. "Let's make a bet. What will deflate first, my streak… or your self-esteem?"

Kazuya left Blinx to linger on that question. The Time Sweeper growled and shook his head, before continuing to the ring.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Blinx the Time Sweeper vs. Kazuya Mishima

Blinx was fighting with a purpose this evening, to bring down Kazuya and avenge his friend. It was arguably his most important match in the series. To Kazuya, it was another opponent to run over for his ambitions. He didn't take Blinx's resolve anywhere near as seriously as the Time Sweeper. In fact, he laughed in his face about it. It was all just an amusing jest to him. Blinx was determined to wipe that smug look off his face with a good kick or punch.

Mills Lane brought both the center of the ring, then read them the usual opening before calling for the bell, "Let's get it on!"

The bell rang, and both locked up. Blinx tried to muscle Kazuya into a corner, but the Devil wouldn't budge. He just smirked, then shrugged playfully as he shoved Blinx back, then tackled him into the corner. Kazuya backed away, turning his back on Blinx as he chuckled. He made it clear that he wasn't treating Blinx very seriously. This moment of hubris, however, allowed Blinx to hop climb the turnbuckle, then leap at Kazuya as he turned around, and managed to bring him down with a Hurricanrana driver.

"Oh, and Kazuya's pride allowed Blinx to make up for the early misstep," said Johnny.

"It looks like all that winning has gotten to Kazuya's head," said Nick. "He doesn't seem to think there's a chance he could lose."

"But we all know pride comes before the fall, but the question is, will it be this match where Kazuya pays the price?" asked Johnny.

Both rolled to their feet. Kazuya ran toward Blinx, going for a clothesline, but Blinx ducked, ran to the ropes, then bounced for a springboard, only to be dropkicked in the face by Kazuya! Blinx was knocked right out of the sky and landed right on his head in a heap. He dragged Blinx up by the scruff of his neck, then catapulted him into the corner. Blinx struck the corner with such force, the ropes shook heavily. Blinx fell to the mat, winded and coughing violently. Kazuya pulled him right back up by the head, but Blinx have a surprise uppercut. Kazuya held his jaw, but that smirk didn't falter in the slightest. In fact, he seemed even more amused. He scooped Blinx up in his arms, then brought him down on his knee for a backbreaker, again knocking the wind out of him.

"Kazuya's just toying with Blinx now," said Nick. "Remember, he wants to utterly destroy Blinx's newfound confidence, so him not taking this match very seriously, and winning could prove detrimental to Blinx's confidence."

Blinx arched his back, trying to gets to all fours… but Kazuya merely kicked him in the head, sending him down again. He just lines Blinx up, then knocks him back down like he were a domino. He sits Blinx up, grabs him by the arms and pulls them back while applying his knee into his back. Blinx yells out, gritting his teeth and shaking his head when Mills asks if he wants to submit. Kazuya digs his knee in further and pulls on the arms again, but Blinx holds out, slowly bring his arms forward as he begins to stand. Kazuya quirks an eyebrow, slightly taken aback by the cat's burst of strength. He gets to his feet and manages to whirl himself around to face Kazuya, then land a double Dropkick to the face, knocking him away! Blinx backflips onto his feet, then hits a Spinning Heel Kick that sends Kazuya to the ropes. Blinx runs to the other side, bounces of the ropes, them comes back to nail a Flying Elbow Smash that sends Kazuya tumbling to the outside! Kazuya manages to land on his feet, though he staggers and has to brace himself against the barricade. He looks up, only to be taken down with a Moonsault Plancha by Blinx, laying both out!

"How the tables have turned! Blinx has just laid himself and Kazuya out on the floor!" Johnny yelled.

"Pride before the fall, literally." Nick jabbed.

Blinx gets to his feet. Kazuya looks thrown for a loop, holding his head. He likely doesn't even know where he is right now. Blinx picks Kazuya up and slams his face onto the canvas, then hurls him under the roles. Blinx climbs the turnbuckle, then jumps, sticking a Springboard Crossbody! Blinx covers; 1, 2, Kazuya gets the shoulder up! He got close. So close. He picked up Kazuya and pulled him into a headlock. He went for a running face buster, but Kazuya shoved him away. Blinx turned to eat a Spinning Backfist by Kazuya! Kazuya wouldn't let Blinx go so easily, catching his arm to prevent him from falling the way, then planted him with a Devil Buster (Lifting DDT)!

"Kazuya is right back at it, and has taken back control," said Johnny.

"I don't think he's going to be treating this lightly anymore," Nick said. "Not when it almost cost him."

Kazuya drapes Blinx onto the middle rope, his head sticking outside. Kazuya goes to the outside of the ropes, runs, and lands a leg drop that presses Blinx's throat onto the ropes! Blinx rolls off, coughing and holding his windpipe while Kazuya climbs back in after him. Blinx is trying to stand back up, while Kazuya takes the time to taunt him.

"What happened to all that talk? I thought you were going to make me pay? Looks to me, like you're the one footing the bill!"

Kazuya sacks Blinx over his shoulder, but Blinx gets a spring of life and executes a Spinning DDT that spikes Kazuya into the mat headfirst! Blinx smacks his hands into the mat as he slinks behind Kazuya, waiting for him to stand, stalking him like a big cat preparing to go in for the kill. Kazuya starts to climb the ropes, and Blinx acts, charging Kazuya and ramming him into the corner. He slips outside, delivers a high kick to the head that sends him forward. Blinx hops onto the ropes and goes for a 450 Corkscrew Splash, but he instead gets a Dragon Uppercut out of the air by Kazuya, turning him inside out, while Kazuya dropped to a knee, shaking his fist.

"Oh, my God! Did you hear the impact of that blow?!" Johnny yelled.

"That had to have broken a jaw," said Nick. "I'm surprised his head's still on his shoulders."

Kazuya approaches the downed Blinx and drags him to the center of the ring by his arm. He stops, then looks down at Blinx's arm… then he grins as an idea came to him. He then put Blinx in a Cross Armbreaker submission hold! Blinx's eyes shot wide as he feels a sharp spike of pain coursing through his arm! Kazuya nearly destroyed Carter's leg, he would now do the same to Blinx unless he submitted here and now! Blinx struggles in the hold but is far too far away from any ropes to save himself. Kazuya only wrenches the arm harder, threatening to create a joint in Blinx's elbow! Eventually, Blinx is unable to bear it any longer and he submits, tapping his free hand against the mat! Mills Lane calls for the bell!

"And Kazuya gets it! Once again, he earns victory by submission!" Johnny called.

"Blinx tried, he really tried, but in the end… well, you know the rest." Nick said.

Kazuya throws Blinx's arm aside and gets to his feet, leaving his opponent writhing in agony on the mat. He glares down at him as he gets his hand raised, then scoffs.

"You thought you could get one over me? This is my damn ring! You just work in it!" He yelled down at Blinx, then stepped over him on his way out of the ring. As he went up the ramp, Wash met him on the stage and the two just stood there, glaring at each other. There was a tense period, the audience unsure if there would be a brawl… but Wash headed for the ring to assist Blinx, leaving Kazuya to look on with a smirk before turning to head to the back.

It would seem their confrontation would have to wait a while longer.

Meanwhile, Blinx had sat up in the ring, his expression notably crestfallen and full of doubt. All that effort reduced to ash in one match. And now, he merely felt like another stepping stone between Wash and Kazuya's seemingly inevitable rematch.


CLOSING SEGMENT

Dornan skulked down the hall, making his way to the bridge. Gone was his upright, confident demeanor, replaced with a slouched posture that was indicative of his uncertain mental state. He stopped, then began pacing back and forth, his mind ruminating on multiple things, all of them centered around one crucial factor. But how would he word it?

"Dornan?"

The sergeant froze, then looked around. "Who is it?"

The pixelated form of SARA hovered around to face him. "I've noticed you're a little down today. Is something wrong?"

"Shouldn't you be on the bridge with TOM?" Dornan asked. "And have you been following me?"

"TOM is handling business on the bridge. I thought I'd get out for a bit and explore what the roster is up to. I got a few glimpses of you looking upset, and figured you needed an ear."

Dornan paused, then looked down. "I was heading thinking on talking with TOM on the bridge after the show."

"Oh? What about?"

"About my place here."

SARA tilted her head quizzically. "Your place?"

Dornan sighed, then decided to lay his cards on the table. "I don't know if I'm cut out for this co-manager stuff. In fact, I've come to realize that I've been the worst choice for this job. When I signed, I thought I'd be helping keep the roster in line, preventing them from growing complacent, but I've only succeeded in uniting them on the front that they despise me. And not in the helpful kind of way, I mean, they all hate. Hell, the Babylon Rogues break the rules just to spite me! I haven't kept anyone in line. I've just alienated them and made myself the biggest asshole on the ship, which is fucking remarkable when you look at who we've signed."

"Oh, I see," SARA said, nodding faintly. "Well, do you remember what TOM said to you a few weeks again, when you threatened to fire Mae?"

Dornan paused again, then finally said, "There's a difference between being strict and being an ass."

"Precisely, and I won't lie, you've been more often…"

"Which is why I am more of a burden to you than an asset," Dornan continue. "TOM has run the company just fine on his own. Hell, the roster practically adores him, I can't think of many who don't like how he's been running things. Maybe F3 would be better off without me."

SARA folded her hands behind her back, humming. What would TOM say in this situation? Dornan began to walk again, but SARA zipped back in front of him.

"Dornan, everyone has the capacity to change, but only you can change yourself. And you know what? You just made the first step."

Dornan paused, then asked, "What do you mean?"

"Admitting when you're wrong is a good first step. It's a sign that you've acknowledged your faults. Now you have to make a conscious effort to be better than that. TOM hired you because he knows you can be more than Dornan, the Loud Drill-Sergeant, and so do I. You just need to work toward bettering yourself. Never be afraid to listen to your critics, because they may want to see you be better. And you can be better. You've already showed the capacity for it. You just need to-"

The room was suddenly drowned in blackness as the lights cut out, leaving SARA's avatar as the sole source of light, emanating a faint blue glow.

"What the hell?!" Dornan yelled, instinctively drawing his plasma pistol. "SARA, what just happened?!"

"We've just lost the majority of power to the ship!" SARA said urgently. "Stand by, I am activating the emergency generators now."

Seconds passed and emergency lights flickered online, bathing the hall in a red hue.

"Fortunately, Oxygen is still cycling, but… this can't be right," SARA trailer off in shock.

"What is it?"

"The security grid, I can't get it back up!"

A voice came in through Dornan's comm, yelling through static and white noise, "Sir! Sir, we have a situation down here in the security room!"

Dornan immediately answered, "Go ahead, what's wrong?"

"All the guards are injured! Several are suffering severe burns. We've got medics treating them right now, but the entire security grid is fried!"

"Shit!" Dornan hissed through his teeth.

Suddenly, a loud bang resonated throughout the ship, staggering Dornan. "Fuck! What the hell just happened?!"

"I don't know, it sounds like something's struck our outer hull!" SARA said. "We need to report this to TOM right away, we could be in serious trouble!"

"Then we'd better get to the bridge, and fast," Dornan said, taking for the elevator. He patched himself to the open channel. "All security teams, be on high alert, we've just been struck by an unknown object. Keep the roster calm and don't let them out of your sight."

Dornan sprinted into the elevator and smashed his index finger against the button to take him to the bridge. "SARA, I could use a boost here!"

"A moment," SARA said. "I am routing some power to the elevator now."

"Dornan?! SARA?!" TOM's voice came through the comms. "What's happening down there?! We just lost primary power!"

"Your guess is as good as mine," Dornan said. "I'll bet those Akatsuki bastards were up to no good like we thought! If we get through this, we're going to have words with them!"

"The Akatsuki have been in their quarters all evening!" TOM said.

"What?!"

"I saw them in the quarters earlier tonight and no one has reported them leaving the lower deck. They couldn't have done this!"

"Then… who the hell attacked my men?!"

A loud crash rang out over the comm and a deep, mechanical chuckle came over the other end.

"Hello again, TOM. Miss me?"

The comm was flooded with the sounds of clanging metal, followed by pained noises from TOM.

"TOM?! What's going on up there?!" Dornan demanded. "TOM! SARA, I need that elevator, now!"

"Almost… got it!" SARA said as the doors slid shut and the elevator made its ascent to the bridge.

"Come on, can't this damn thing go any faster?!"

When the elevator finally reached the top, the doors slid open… and Dornan was greeted with the sight of the bridge in shambles. The desk was smashed, the chair knocked over the monitor shattered, and the control consoles broken beyond repair. The walls were covered in dents, as if something had been thrown into it.

Dornan raised his pistol and cautiously entered. SARA, however, flew onto the bridge and desperately scanned the area.

"TOM?! TOM, where are you?!"

Dornan's foot hit something, gaining his attention. He looked down and lowered his gun in shock, almost dropping it.

"SARA…"

The AI looked to the Enclave sergeant, hoping for good news. But that hope was shattered by the sight of Dornan holding TOM's severed arm in his hands.

"No… oh, no…"

"Who the hell could have done this?"

The cracked monitor fizzled and filled with static before displaying the notification of an incoming transmission. Dornan quietly made his way over and pressed the button to accept the call.

The screen fizzled, before settling on a grainy image of a mechanical squid-like creature sitting atop a mighty golden's body.

"Well, well, well, I see you've noticed the souvenir I left you?"

Dornan clenched his fist. "Where's TOM?"

"Don't worry, your robot friend isn't dead… yet."

SARA's voice quivered, "It's him…"

Dornan whipped his head around to face SARA. "Him? Who's him?"

"I remember him. He goes by the name Orcelot Rex. He was a space pirate that tried to use me to conquer the universe until TOM stopped him. We thought he was destroyed…"

"Ah, you do remember me!" Orcelot Rex chuckled darkly. "Well, rest assured, there will be no conquering from me. In fact, there's no grand plan here. I'm only interested in revenge. After what was taken from me, my dignity, do you honestly think I care about taking over the universe when your robot friend reduced me to a laughing stock among the mercenaries?! This time, I'll be the one who has the last laugh. This time, retribution belongs to me! So, say your goodbyes, because this is the last you're going to see of TOM. Pursue me and you invite your demise!"

The screen cut to black, leaving Dornan and SARA alone on the bridge, a mixture of shock and horror dawning on them. Just outside the window of the bridge, a small starship flew by. Dornan stared out into space.

"TOM…" SARA said quietly. "We're losing him, Dornan! What are we going to do?!"

Dornan said nothing. What could he say? He used to have always an answer for something. Now, he was just… at a loss. What could he do now?

"I don't know."


 Hidan and Kakuzu sat in the quarters, bathed in the red light. Hidan was laying on the bed, hands folded behind his bed, while Kakuzu leaned against the wall, his eyes shut patiently.

"I can't believe those idiots bought it," Hidan said. "They're so easily misled!"

The vent to the room popped open and two creatures comprised of black stitches crawled out.

"Looks like the job is done," Kakuzu said as the creature withdrew into his back, leaving only the lightning and wind masks sticking out, which was easily covered by his cloak. "And I doubt the soldiers will remember what hit them anytime soon. If they even saw it."

"It would have been easier to just kill them," Hidan said with a shrug.

"Too messy," Kakuzu said simply. "We don't need to leave a trail."

Kakuzu withdrew his communicator and activated it. The image of the Horned King appeared within seconds.

"Is the job done?"

"Yes," Kakuzu affirmed. "I dispatched two masks, one to attack the security room, the other to plant a trace on the pirate's ship, so your other client can do her work."

"And since we've been lounging here most of the evening, no one is going to suspect us. Heck, they might even start to get paranoid." Hidan added with a smirk.

The lich's decayed lips stretched into a grin. "Good, then we can proceed. My… servant will take it from here. For now, keep yourselves out of trouble."

"Understood," Kakuzu said

The Horned King said with a menacing chortle. "And now, with the ideal leader gone… let us see what kind of leader the sergeant proves himself to be. I can't imagine the sudden stress that must be on his shoulders. Controlling an entire roster without anyone to monitor his temper? Ohh, yes, he will be quite useful. This is just the beginning…"


RESULTS

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: John Shepard pinned Mercury Black after hitting a Commander's Shot.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Mae Borowski pinned Tracer upon nailing the Bandit Queen Supreme

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Agent Washington pinned Carter Grayson via Washington Bomb

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Demencia forces Alyx Vance to submit to the Muta Lock.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Kazuya forces Blinx the Time Sweeper to submit to the Cross Armbreaker.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 50 points

Agent Washington - 35 points

Darkstar - 28 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 21 points

Doomfist - 14 points

John Shepard - 14 points

Carter Grayson- 10 points

Mercury Black - 7 points

Chapter Text

EPISODE 9

OPENING SEGMENT


The show opens in the arena, with Dornan heading down the ramp. He retrieves a microphone from one of the drones, then enters the ring to address the audience. He raised the microphone, but didn't actually say anything. Lowering the mic, Dornan looked into the crowd, as if contemplating whether to go through with this.

Finally, he spoke, "Good evening, spacefaring ladies and gentlemen of all species and ages. I come to you all with unfortunate news. This pertains to everyone here; the fans, the roster, and our staff. Last week, shortly after the show concluded, we suffered a break-in at the security room and briefly lost power to the ship. An intruder breached our hull and… our founder and joint-owner, TOM, was kidnapped."

The crowd broke into various states of shock. Some gasped, others started murmuring questions, and a select few started formulating theories on whether or not this was a work.

Dornan continued, "This is not a work, this is real. We are doing everything in my power to ensure his safe return; I've seen some… talented individuals from the roster to undertake this assignment," Dornan gagged off mic after saying that, like he had to. He resumed, "Until then, I will assume full control of the company, as indicated by our joint ownership. To the live audience, don't worry, I still intend to give you your money's worth. Therefore, the show will continue as planned. Thank you for taking the time to come aboard this evening, and enjoy the rest of the show."

Dornan exited the ring amidst lukewarm reactions from a concerned and uncertain crowd. Backstage cameras revealed the roster watching the live broadcast from the quarters and other backstage areas. Many were anxious at the idea of Dornan running things, others were baffled to why they're just now hearing about this, and a select few remained indifferent, so long as it didn't interfere with their ambitions. Regardless of how the revelation sat with them, Dornan had made it clear; the show must go on.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Darkstar vs. Doomfist

Darkstar was a powerful opponent, known for utilizing his crafty, underhanded wit to edge out against his opponents. Doomfist was a true powerhouse who often dominated his opponents through savage might but has been coming up a little on the short sight with his record. What happens when subversion meets collision?

Early on, the match swung in Doomfist's favor, like usual for his matches. His physicality outstripped Darkstar, who was no slouch himself but not quite on the level of the Talon leader. For once, Doomfist did not smash his opponent into the ring like a rag doll. Instead, he went for more precise attacks. From the initial lock up, not only did he overpower Darkstar, he shoved him away and delivered a jab to the throat. He unleashed a series of well-aimed strikes to the abdomen, chest, and sides, then hauled Darkstar overhead, only to throw him back down with a resounding body slam, demonstrating his physical authority.

Darkstar was able to make a comeback by feigning unconsciousness to lure Doomfist in, only to pop up at the last second to bring him down with a Jumping Cutter. He would retaliate against the Talon leader with his own displays of power. He would go for practical moves, like a Curbstomp, a Rope-assisted Tilt-a-Whirl DDT, and Twist of Fate. But when it came down to the finish, Doomfist physically bumped Darkstar away when he attempted a Spear. With a war cry, Doomfist readied his gauntlet and stood behind Darkstar, waiting for him to turn around. Upon doing so, Doomfist cleaned his clock with a Superman Punch, now referred to as the Meteor Strike, and picked up the three count for the victory.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Black Hat glared out the window, hungrily eyeing the stars that peppered the black canvas of space like he would his own lawn; his property, his territory that he would assert his authority over. The galaxy's stars, planets, and cosmic wonders all belonged to him. The rest of the galaxy just didn't know it.

A knock came at his door, eliciting an low hum from Black Hat. He didn't need to look to realize who it was.

"Enter."

Through the reflection of the glass, Black Hat watched the Horned King enter his quarters. His eye shifted partially in his direction but otherwise didn't turn to meet him.

"Is this important?"

"It would seem your minion, Demencia, is about to have her match next," the Horned King said. "You will not be accompanying her this time?"

Black Hat rolled his eyes. "That doesn't answer my question. I said, 'important'."

The Horned King chuckled slightly at the flippant response. "Very well, then. My maiden has already left the ship to 'save' the beloved captain. Dornan's motley crew of volunteers have yet to leave the ship. She will deal with Orcelot Rex for us."

Black Hat snorted. "That brute was just a pawn to further my own ends, nothing more. Like I could ever work long-term with an amateur who let himself be defeated with a blasted fork."

"Be that as it may, he served his purpose quite well. TOM will be grateful for Painwheel's assistance and give her… opportunities in the future. If not, then she will at the very least be in his good graces."

"I wanted this done sooner," Black Hat said, fastening the gloves on his hands. "But that pest, K.O., complicated things. And it seemed cutting him out only laid further pressure. Kakuzu's resourcefulness was most fortunate."

"Your agents' alibis are secured," the Horned King assured, walking across the room to join Black Hat's side at the window. "And soon, I will have a more public piece to maneuver. Two, in fact."

Black Hat quirked an eyebrow, looking at the necromancer. "So you've found another?"

Horned King merely smirked. "One I think will serve us well in the singles division. He was looking for some worthy souls to add to his collection. I merely offered him the chance to acquire them. He has no issue aiding us, provided we keep him satisfied. Given the abundance of talent, I doubt he'll run out of material anytime soon." For a moment, the Horned King chuckled as he ominously noted, "The Chain Warden will come for all."

Both villains continued to stare into space as the screen cut to black… followed the shrill scraping of chains…


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Demencia vs. Mae Borowski

Demencia and Mae Borowski had history going all the way back to the first episode, involving Mae's stunt against Enid that ultimately ended with her facing the redhead fan girl in Enid's place. The result was painful for Mae, which was accentuated when she stood up for Enid after a brief altercation backstage. Then, she came to Enid's aid after Demencia attacked her in a fit of rage. Demencia was looking to get back into the finals, and Black Hat's good graces, by defeating this persistent cat a second time, even if she had to deprive her all nine lives in the process.

The match started with Demencia lunging at Mae, who skedaddled to the side to avoid her. Mae circled around, keeping her eyes on Demencia, not wanting to be caught from behind. Demencia was crouched down on all-fours, in a position reminiscent of a reptilian. Slowly, she rose to a biped position. There was a tense period as neither was tempted to make a move just yet. Mae and Demencia circled each other once more, then closed in to lock up.

"Demencia was looking to start on the offensive, but Mae's a little faster than her stout frame would indicate," Johnny said. "It looks like they'll have to play it slow for now and see who can slip up."

"But Demencia's highly unstable and unpredictable," Nick pointed out. "You all saw how she snapped on Enid and could have done some serious damage, if not for Mae. She may be playing the slow game right now, but who knows for how long?"

Demencia slipped Mae into a headlock, wrenching her arm around the neck of Borowski. Mae winced and clawed at Demencia's arms in an effort to break the hold. Unable to brute force her way out, Mae changes tactics and shoves Demencia into the ropes, attempting to throw her off, but Demencia reverses mid-throw and brings her back into the headlock. Mae clenches her fists as Demencia starts wrenching her hold in harder. Mae elbows Demencia in the gut once, twice, three times to get Demencia to release her. She runs to the ropes, coming back for a clothesline, but Demencia catches her with a flying dropkick. She grins down at Mae, then runs to the ropes, intending to go for a leg drop, but Mae rolls out of the way. Demencia keeps going, bouncing off the ropes on the other side, then runs back to Mae, who slides between Demencia's legs, coming out on the other side. Mae delivers a dropkick to Demencia's back, knocking her into the ropes, but Demencia bounces off again, using them to bounce back to her feet, only to be taken down with a Running Crossbody by Mae!

"Amazing set of reversals by these two, they're using the momentum of each other's moves to try and get a leg up, but it comes down to who's more quick-witted," said Johnny.

"If I were a betting man, I'd say Mae's learned a thing or two about Demencia's fighting style," Nick observed. "She's a lot faster on her feet than the last time they did this."

Mae follows up with multiple strikes to Demencia's head, looking get in some good hits while she can. She picks Demencia up and kicks her in the gut, then punches her her right in the kisser to send her staggering. Mae goes after her, only for Demencia to lunge at her, tackling the cat all the way across the ring and into the corner! Demencia unleashes the Panic Attack, a series of consecutive knee strikes to the gut and chest. She switches up for shoulder rams to keep Mae pinned, striking hard and fast. Once that's done, she chops Mae in the collarbone, continually winding her opponent. Demencia pulls Mae from the corner by arm and sends a stiff kick to the abdomen to get her to bend over. Demencia puts her leg over the head of Borowski and spikes her face into the mat with a Scissor DDT!

"Demencia regains control, pinning Mae down and just whaling on her with everything she has!" Johnny yelled. "The impact of at that Scissor DDT may have shuddered the ring!"

"That's what I like to call chaos style, Johnny," said Nick. "Quick, erratic, and surprisingly effective against stationary opponents."

Demencia hooks the leg and covers; 1, 2, Mae kicks out. Demencia doesn't seem too bothered, however. After all, it was ample opportunity to put this nosy cat in her place. She hauls Mae to her feet, the cat staggering in a daze. Demencia grabs her hand and jumps onto the ropes. In a mock display of Mae's own agility, Demencia tightrope walks along them, then jumps to fling Mae with a Hurricanrana Driver. Mae lands against the middle rope, kneeling. Demencia tilts her head as she goes after Mae, then grabs the top rope before jumping onto Mae's back, applying her throat onto the second rope! Mae struggles breath as Demencia uses her back as a makeshift trampoline, jumping and down. Mills Lane starts counting, warning Demencia to stop. His word is heeded, as Demencia leaps over the top rope, and delivers a running big boot to the head of Borowski, knocking her back to the center of the ring.

"Demencia is still maintaining control," Johnny said. "She's aiming to keep Mae winded, make sure she doesn't have time to breath."

"Literally," Nick added. "She's been aiming for the throat and abdomen, very good targets if you want to knock the wind out of somebody."

Demencia watches Mae rise to a knee, the cat shaking her head in an effort to regain her senses. Once Mae turns around, Demencia jumps off the top rope, only to be caught in Mae's arms and given a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker on the knee for her troubles! Demencia pops into an upright position, arching her back as the sting of pain coursed up her spine. Mae runs past Demencia, goes to the ropes, then comes back to dish a Running Knee Strike to the head of Demencia! With Demencia laid out, Mae takes the opportunity to initiate a Standing Shooting Press! Mae stays on top, hooking both legs for the pin; 1, 2, Demencia just barely kicks out!

"Mae managed to turn the tide of the match in her favor with a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker, but Demencia isn't going down that easily," said Johnny.

"I think both now realize they can't let be taken off-guard like that, because when you put two quick-witted wrestlers together in a ring, it comes down to the second, who's faster and more precise?" Nick asked.

Mae backs up, then comes back for a Running Knee Drop, but Demencia rolls to the side, leaving Borowski's kneecap to connect with the mat. Demencia kips up, then lands a kick to the jaw, taking Mae down. She climbs the top rope, eyeing Mae as she starts to recover. Unlike her last attempt, she adjusts her timing and jumps right as she's turning to face her, executing a Dragonrana that sends Mae to the outside of the ring!

"Dragonrana by Demencia and Mae has been ejected from the ring!" Johnny shouted.

"She's learned from last time," Nick said. "A slight adjustment and she managed to prevent Mae from reversing in time."

Demencia watches Mae from inside the ring, observing how she's trying to recover her wits. She decides to go take a risky maneuver, climbing the top turnbuckle.

"Oh, Demencia's going to fly!" Nick yelled.

Mae get to a knee and her eyes shifted over her shoulder. Demencia jumps and Mae counters immediately with a killer European Uppercut that nearly pops her head off like a wine cork! Demencia just splats on the floor!

"What an uppercut!" Johnny exclaimed.

"That had to have broken a wrist!" Nick shouted.

Mae shakes her hand, wincing as she sucks air through her teeth. She massages her wrist for a few seconds, before looking down at Demencia, who looked pretty out of it from that sucker punch. She grabbed her by the hair and picks her up in her arms. Mae looked to the steel post… and got an idea.

"An eye for an eye," she said, then ran to the post, ramming Demencia's spine against it, not unlike what was done to her!

"And Mae just got some payback against Demencia for the pain she suffered in their first match!" Johnny said.

"Now, they're gonna have matching sores," said Nick. "But a well-earned dose of revenge."

Mae rolls Demencia into the ring, then went in after her. She pulled Demencia to her feet and dropped her with a Trash Driver (Cradle belly-to-back piledriver)! Mae holds the legs as Mills Lane drops to count; 1, 2, 3!

"Mae Borowski has done it! Victory has been achieved!" Johnny announced.

Mills Lane raises Mae's arm as she stands tall above Demencia, moving to the next round. Her opponent would be decided later this evening. But whoever she faced, Mae was ready for them, and she'd more than proved it tonight.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

Dornan paced back and forth on the bridge, trying to consider where he was going to go next. He hadn't expected to become the sole owner, but until TOM was recovered, he was going to have to manage it. Even though he had little business sense, he could at least keep the roster from ripping each other apart.

"Dornan, you have a visitor," SARA said.

"Fine," Dornan said with a sigh. "Let them in."

The doors opened and Agent Washington entered the office.

"Dornan."

"Wash. Is there something you need?"

"Yeah, first off, why are we just now hearing about this?" Wash asked. "You know what I'm talking about."

"The last thing I need is the entire roster going on some hunt across the galaxy; a small group of volunteers would keep things more discreet," Dornan said, trying to be reasonable. "I don't need the active talent getting injured."

"TOM is our boss," Wash said.

"So am I," Dornan retorted with a tinge of irritation. "I may not be as business savvy as he is, but I can sure as hell keep you and the roster in line long enough until we get him back! Don't think I'm not doing anything about this! We have a schedule to keep and if we push it back, it'll cost the promotion a hefty sum!"

"Are you more concerned with TOM's well-being or the profits?"

"Okay, I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that, so I don't have to start making a disciplinary folder, because you're already pissing me off enough to write a fucking novel! Don't you dare insinuate I don't care about him! I'm doing what I can for both the company and him! Now you can either let me handle this and do your damn job or you can get the hell off the ship!"

There was a tense period of silence between the two, neither exactly in the best of moods… but Wash backed out of the office and left Dornan to his own devices. He wasn't finished with this by a long shot; he'd focus on tonight, but he may need to have some words with the boys in the back and get some clear answers.

Dornan sat in his chair and held his head. What would TOM in this situation? He wasn't sure… his first week and he's already put a wedge between himself and the roster… or widened that existent wedge.

"Oh, God, I don't know if I can do this…"


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Blinx the Time Sweeper

Wash had been on a private warpath for the last several weeks, looking to get another shot at Kazuya Mishima by succeeding in the Final Frontier series. For too long, Kazuya had been making examples of other competitors, all stemming from Wash's one act of refusal to submit. And now, he had to face Blinx the Time Sweeper, another victim to Kazuya's might. Blinx was fighting to get back the steam that was lost last week, and he wasn't simply going to let Wash acquire victory over him. Not without a fight.

Blinx starts by running to the ropes to gain some momentum, then comes back at Wash, who meets him head on with a kick to the abdomen. He pulls Blinx in and goes for a suplex, but Blinx won't let him launch easily, managing to keep himself grounded. Blinx tries to fight his way out, but Wash leverages his strength advantage and applies more muscle behind his hold and lifts Blinx off his feet, then brings him down for a brainbuster. Wash picks up Blinx and starts laying into him with punches to knock him toward the corner. Once he has Blinx pinned, Wash goes at him with a series of kicks to the chest, clutching the rope. He pulls Blinx out and throws him to the other side, but Blinx is able to reverse it, throwing Wash into the corner instead. Blinx runs at Wash, but the freelancer throws him over the ropes. The Time Sweeper manages to land on his feet outside the apron and deal a high kick to Wash's head. He jumps off the top rope and executes a Hurricanrana, transitioning into a pin; 1, 2, Wash kicks out.

"The early game appears to favor Wash for his strength advantage, but Blinx isn't to be underestimated himself," Johnny said. "The Time Sweeper is rather stubborn."

"But so is Wash," said Nick. "I think there's a bit of a respect there, for their willingness to forge ahead, damn the odds. But when they're facing each other here, it's a matter of who can put the other down for good, because I don't think we'll be seeing any submissions from either of these fellas."

Blinx stands up, heading across the ring to put some distance between him and Wash. He charges the freelancer as he stands; Wash attempts to meet him again with a Big Boot, but Blinx ducks, goes into the ropes, then comes out with a Handspring Enzuigiri. Blinx pulls Wash to his feet, peppering his back with punches. He attempts a Cutter, but Wash shoves him away, sending Blinx crashing to the mat. As he tries to get up, Wash grabs him from behind and tosses him overhead with a German Suplex! Wash presses the attack, yanking Blinx in and laying him out with an STO. The freelancer covers; 1, 2, Blinx gets the shoulder up. As Wash pulls Blinx to his feet, he receives a surprise uppercut by Blinx. The cat runs to the ropes, Wash giving chase, but rather than bounce off, Blinx slides between the top and middle ropes, kicking Wash back with a Tiger Feint Kick! From there, Blinx jumps off the top rope and takes Wash down with a Flying Dropkick to the chest!

"Blinx, again demonstrating his proficiency for high-flying maneuvers," Johnny said. "It's a physically taxing style, requiring a lot of momentum and space to be effective, but it doesn't seem to be a problem for Blinx."

"Maneuvers like that require, which cats fortunately have in abundance," Nick said. "But Wash is more on the, how do I put it without sounding bias, pragmatic spectrum? He's not exactly a master at all styles, but he's good enough to be versatile when needed, and right now, he's taking a more grounded approach."

"Right, he's relying on more traditional wrestling moves, like the Suplex to set him up for that STO we've just witnessed."

Wash rolls out of the ring off the impact of the Dropkick, which works just as well for Blinx, who follows him out with an over the top rope Moonsault Plancha! Wash is laid out hard on the outside, Blinx bracing himself against the barricade. He grabs Wash and pelts the back of his head with a few elbows to keep her disoriented, then throws him back into the ring. He climbs in to meet Wash, who's beginning to stir as he rises to his knees. Blinx jumps onto the ropes, launching at Wash for a Springboard Cutter, but Wash takes him right out of the air with a Superkick of his own! He heads to the ropes as Blinx tries to stand, then comes out with a Discuss Lariat that knocks Blinx flat on his back. Wash covers; 1, 2, Blinx kicks out yet again. The freelancer pulls Blinx to his feet, throwing him into the corner. Blinx catches himself before he can get a facefull of turnbuckle. Wash charges, but Blinx uses the ropes to leverage himself above Wash's head, leaving him to miss! He lands behind Wash, then hits a Double-Knee Backbreaker! Blinx covers himself; 1, 2, Wash kicks out!

"We've been having a good showing from both competitors this match, both desperately want to win and prove their own points, but only one is going to make that statement loud and clear," Johnny said.

"Even if one loses, they're still putting out one hell of a message, which is something few people appreciate," Nick said. "They tend to gloss over the effort, instead focusing on the result. While the result is important, one can't downplay the efforts of the individual, because this match has been pretty close so far."

Blinx decides to try for a submission and goes to lock in an STFU armbar, but Wash catches onto it quickly and shoves him off. Blinx uses the momentum off that to go to the ropes and come back, only to eat a killer Meat Clothesline from Wash, flipping him right onto his head. Wash pulls Blinx up and slams him down with a Powerbomb! He then runs to the ropes and comes back for an Elbow Drop to the collar bone. Wash covers, but Blinx is able to raise his shoulder. He lifts Blinx onto his shoulders, going for an Alabama Slam, but Blinx is able to use it to his advantage and go for a rollup pin; 1, 2, Wash kicks out! Blinx kips up as Wash is sitting upright, then gives him a Double Dropkick to the face. Blinx puts in a headlock, pulling Wash to his feet. He starts dragging Wash over to the ropes, but the freelancer begins fighting back, again grounding his feet and utilizing his size and strength advantage to keep Blinx from using the ropes to employ his speed. He wraps his arms around Blinx and lands a Suplex! Both contestants are down, panting from their extended match.

"Look at this here, Wash and Blinx are fully aware of the other's comfort zones and are doing their damndest to keep them out of it," Nick said.

"Blinx wants to hug those ropes to give himself momentum, while Wash wants to keep him closer to the center of the ring, so he can ground him quickly," Johnny added. "No ropes, no leverage."

Wash and Blinx begin to rise to their feet, trading forearm shots and punches. But Wash is able to lay into Blinx harder and starts pummeling him with blow after blow. He then brings Blinx's head down on his head, then kicks him in the side. Blinx tries to fight back, but Wash is far more comfortable in brawling and easily beats him with multiple punches. With one good roundhouse kick, Blinx is knocked into the ropes, then staggers back into Wash's grasp, who lifts him vertically and plants him with the Epsilon Drive! Wash hooks both legs for the pin; 1, 2, 3!

"Agent Washington wins!" Nick announced.

"That final exchange did it," said Johnny. "Blinx really couldn't match Wash blow for blow in the center of the ring; if he'd managed to stay near the ropes, this may have ended differently, but Wash wasn't going to let it happen so easily. And now, he's earned another seven points, rounding his total record to seven wins and one loss; 49 points total."


INTERVIEW SEGMENT

Wash held his sides as he headed for the roster quarters on the lower deck. He was still aching all over from his physically taxing match against Blinx, but the victory left him with a good impression of his chances. All that remained now was Kazuya.

"Agent Washington?" A voice beckoned, stopping the freelancer. Looking behind him, Wash was approached by Eddie Brock, carrying a pen and notepad in hand. Accompanying him, was a camera drone. "Mind if I ask a few questions while you're hot?"

Wash paused for a moment, contemplating the inquiry. Finally, he shrugged. "Alright, sure."

"Great, I won't take up too much of your time," Brock said, then cued for the drone to start recording. "This is Eddie Brock, coming to you live from backstage and I'm standing here with Agent Washington."

The camera adjusted itself to have both Wash and Brock in the frame.

Brock continued, "Agent Washington, you're hot off your victory against Blinx the Time Sweeper, capping off your Final Frontier series record with a total of 49 points. This would make you, at the very least, the runner up of the competition. How are you feeling right now?"

"Validated," Wash simply said. "Blinx is a great competitor, so I appreciate that he brought out all the stops. It forced me to push myself, so that I can get better for the next challenge."

"I'd assumed that challenge is Kazuya?" Brock asked.

"That obvious, huh?"

"Well, there appeared some bad blood brewing between you over the last few weeks," Brock said, skimming over his notes.

"It goes further than the last few weeks," Wash corrected. "Way back to the second episode, in fact. It may not have been as overt as it is now, but the seed was planted there. Kazuya runs on an inflated ego of dominance and he hates when it's threatened. To him, submissions are more than a means to maximize his points, it forces his opponent to admit they can't take what he's dishing, a conscious defeat that serves to fuel his ego. The fact that he couldn't get me to admit it really bothers him. It bothers him so much, anyone doing the same is going to invoke that same imagery. That's why he nearly broke Carter's ankle. He's a dangerous opponent, no doubt about it, and he's going to be my biggest challenge yet, but I've never let the odds dissuade me from overcoming them anyway."

"Is that so?"

Wash and Brock looked off-screen to the source of another voice. Wash clenched his fist at the identity of the person. The camera followed their heads to show Kazuya Mishima leaning against the walls with his arms crossed, the upper half of his body obscured in shadow with only that malevolent crimson hue drifting from his eye.

"Eavesdropping?" Brock asked, dryly. "I would have scheduled you both if you'd just asked."

"Don't bother scheduling, Mr. Brock, I'm sure someone of your talent can adapt on the fly," Kazuya said with a chuckle as he approached the two. "I see the runt of Project Freelancer is running his mouth about me?"

"And I've got no problem saying it to your face, either," Wash retorted.

Kazuya waved his hand dismissively. "I care not whether you speak ill of me directly. I care for action over idle words."

"Look in the mirror and you'll see your ego staring back." Wash said, stepping closer to Kazuya.

Amused, Kazuya came closed himself, enough to see his own reflection in Wash's visor. "The difference between you and I, freelancer, is that my bite is as fierce as my bark. You want to hype yourself up as the one defeat me, yet you've already lost once. It may not have been the way I liked, but you seem almost fixated on this idea of you being the one who has to stop me. Do I detect a savior complex?"

"This goes beyond just me, Kazuya. You know damn well I'm talking about. You nearly ended a man's career two weeks ago, because he wouldn't tap to you, just like I didn't back in episode 2. Because I was the first one to do it, I've been stuck in your head. Maybe you're fixated on me. For someone so self-assured of his superiority, your ego bruises easily."

"Okay, let's just take it down a notch or two," Brock said, placing his hands on both men's shoulders. "We're here for an interview, not a brawl."

"Oh, I assure you, Mr. Brock, there will be no problems on my end," Kazuya said, a smirk prominently etched onto his face. "I'm simply speaking truth, but how the runt takes it is in his hands."

"Talk about a warped perception of the truth," Wash said. "I'm putting a stop to you because someone has to. Right now, I'm next to you as one of the two top competitors in the Final Frontier series, and if anyone has shown the qualifications for it, it would be me. And I'm not afraid to go through another wave of competitors to back it up."

"Big words, indeed," Kazuya said. "Keep a close eye in the main event tonight. There, I shall defeat that old-timer, Shepard, and rounding out the Final Frontier series with eight consecutive wins. No one has defeated me on my journey to the top, Shepard will be no different. Tonight, you will know the difference between pretension and the King of Devil Fist."

Kazuya strode away, leaving Brock to write that quote down and Wash glaring at him as he left. The blood was simmering between the two, but simmering came before boiling. How long before it boiled over?


COMMERCIAL

Blinx walked into the bathroom, still reeling from his loss. His final record left something to be desired, but his small streak showed him fairly capable, so it wasn't too big a loss. He'd hoped to clear his head in the relaxing steam of a shower.

"A cat willingly taking a shower," Blinx muttered humorlessly as he grabbed a towel. "Who would have guessed?

"Ever wonder what they mean by Zestfully clean?"

Blinx stopped in his tracks, looking around the bathroom to find the source of the disembodied voice.

"Who's there?"

Silence was his reply. Blinx waited it out for a few seconds, then pick his ear with his thumb. "I must be hearing things."

He hung the towel over the shower curtain, then reached for a bar of soap. The box bore the Zest logo, which Blinx casually tossed aside after withdrawing the soap bar. He stepped into the shower, shutting the door behind him.

The voice rang out again, "Please hold onto the bar." That was an instruction.

Blinx looked around, his whiskers flaring in irritation. "Okay, seriously, who the hell is in here?! Can't a cat get some privacy here?!"

The voice did not pay his words any mind, only repeating the instruction, "Please hold onto the bar."

The Time Sweeper grumbled, his patience wearing thin. "Fine, I'll play along."

Blinx gripped the soap in his hands, triggering a raging wave of waters to smash into Blinx from the shower faucet, catapulting him into an ocean.

"Holy crap! What the hell is happening?!" Blinx cried out, trying to stay afloat in the unstable waters.

A melodic voice chanted in tune, "Zestfully clean!"

Blinx looked up to see a gargantuan wave bearing down at him, prepared to crush him with all its might.

"I just wanted to take a nice, quick shower!" Blinx screamed as the big one collapsed onto him.

"Zestfully clean," the singing voice chanted again, indifferent to Blinx's predicament.

Moment pass and Blinx is brought the shower room floor, relatively fine but soaking wet, his fur drenched… but spotless.

"Zestfully, Zestfully, Zestfully clean!"

Blinx groaned, rubbing his head but too shaken to actually lift himself off the cold, tiled floor. "What the hell is going on?"

A towel with the phrase "Zestfully clean!" abruptly slapped itself onto Blinx's head.

"You're not fully clean, unless you're Zestfully clean!" the singers chanted.

"Freaking product placement," Blinx muttered beneath the towel.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Captain Phasma vs. Enid

Phasma was laser-focused on her goal to become the first Matriarch champion. She wasn't one for idle talk, preferring to stay on task. Her all-business approach left her with a cold, disconnected attitude to those around her, and the few she interacted with were left with unpleasant opinions. Enid was one of those people, still having a chip on her shoulder from the last time they spoke directly, ending with Phasma pushing her buttons and getting laid out by her enforcer. Though Phasma didn't view the matter as personal, Enid thought otherwise, and now that she had Phasma to herself in the ring, it was high time she got some payback.

The bell rung to initiate the match. Phasma and Enid circled each other, the stormtrooper captain's expression hidden behind her expressionless helmet, but her body language maintained its confident posture. There was a brief but vicious lock up as they vied for initial control. Enid was able to shove Phasma into the corner, but it wasn't long before Phasma had reversed positions, now shoving Enid against the turnbuckle. Not to be outdone, Enid grabbed the ropes to double dropkick Phasma away from her. Phasma somersaulted backward, but was able to utilize the momentum to get back to her feet. There was a tense moment as the two stared each other down, neither gaining a definitive edge in the match. Slowly, they made their way back to the center of the ring, both wary of making a sudden move.

"So far, they've been relatively even," said Johnny. "Now they're trying to figure out what the other will do, in order to counter."

"Like two gunfighters in the west, who's going to twitch first?" asked Nick.

Phasma made a feint step forward, getting a flinch out of Enid, who tense her body into a more defensive posture.

"Your technique is impressive," she remarked. "A shame it's wasted on a counter clerk."

"Meaning it'll be all the more embarrassing when this counter clerk lays you out," Enid replied, dryly.

"A little verbal exchange going on, that's a bit new," said Johnny.

"It looks like Phasma's trying to get into Enid's head, dominate her psychologically so she can dominate physically, a real war tactic," Nick added.

Captain Phasma went for another feint, prompting Enid to try cutting her off before she could pull back, going for a bicycle kick, which Phasma ducked, allowing her to close in and pull Enid into a headlock from behind. Using her legs, Enid launched herself and Phasma backward into the ropes. Phasma's grip lessened slightly, but just enough for Enid to initiate a series of elbow strikes to the abdomen to force her to relinquish the hold entirely. She ran to the ropes, then came back, only to be shoulder bumped by the more physically imposing Phasma. Phasma pulled Enid up for her hair and yanked her in for a clothesline, only for Enid to duck under it, then nail a kick to the back that sent Phasma stumbling forward. She dashed for the ropes again, coming back towards Phasma as she turned around. Phasma ducked a clothesline, but this was merely a feint, as Enid ran to the other side, then leapt off the middle ropes to take down Phasma with a Hurricanrana right as she turned around.

"Enid's exhibiting a little cunning on her end, too, by using a feint to set up a Hurricanrana!" Johnny said.

Enid holds onto the legs for a pin, but Phasma kicks out. Not wanting to let up, Enid picks Phasma up and props her in the middle of the ring. She runs to the ropes to gain momentum, but right as she does, Phasma runs after her and sends her over the top rope with a Lariat Clothesline! Enid topples onto the mat outside the ring as Phasma slides out after her. She picks up Enid by the head and tosses her shoulder first into the steel post! Enid writhes on the floor, clutching her shoulder in pain as Phasma continues after her. She kicks Enid in the head as she tried to stand, then held it against the floor with her hand.

Phasma leaned down to Enid's ear, saying, "K.O. may have forgiven you, but the real question is, have you forgiven yourself? After all, with your lazy streak, are you certain you didn't help him because it would take too much effort?"

"Shut it!" Enid hissed through gritted teeth as she tried to forced her way back up.

Undeterred, Phasma prodded at Enid's insecurities further, "You barely take your own responsibilities seriously, it appalls me to think that you would do the same for others. If he can't defend himself, then he was weak and merely served his place in the pecking order."

Whether she wanted to admit it or not, Enid did, indeed, still have those doubts in her mind. The entire thing stuck with her and it merely brought those insecurities back to the forefront of her mind. She clenched her fists with an angered yell, Enid swung her elbow into Phasma's visor, striking with enough force to knock her off. Enid spun onto her back and launched both feet into Phasma's chin, nearly taking off her helmet had it not been locked in place. The force was enough to send Phasma flying off her feet and into the barricade. She went after Phasma, pummeling her helmet with her fists, uncaring for the pain that it caused her own knuckles as they collided with the metal exterior. But she was making a mark, Phasma recoiling with every blow. Enid then threw Phasma into the ring and headed for the stairs.

"It looks like Phasma hit a nerve," Johnny said. "The incident of episode 5 still weighs on Enid's mind and it gave her just enough fire to retake control."

"Has she?" Nick asked. "Phasma provoked her; she's already in Enid's head."

As Phasma stood, Enid leapt off the top, only to be caught and planted with a Pop-Up Powerslam. Phasma held on, lifting Enid back up for another Pop-Up Powerslam! She hauled Enid up and gave her one more for good measure, before holding her down for the pin; 1, 2, Enid just barely kicks out in time!

Phasma pulls Enid up, then shoves her into the corner. She clenches her fist, then strikes Enid's chest. Enid held her chest, coughing from the blow, but Phasma held her still for another clenched fist strike to the chest, then a third! Phasma pulls Enid from the corner and takes her down with a belly-to-belly suplex. Phasma goes to the runs and comes back for a leg drop to the neck! Phasma covers; 1, 2, Enid kicks out yet again!

"Phasma's going on hard offensive, but Enid's still holding strong," Johnny said.

"If Enid can edge out, she'll be stronger than she was when she walked into the ring, and I mean on a mental level, not just physical," said Nick.

Enid starts to rise, but Phasma grabs her head… only for Enid come up with an uppercut! This knocks Phasma back and Enid follows with a roundhouse kick to the head! Enid grabs Phasma from behind and bends her back, locking in a Dragon Sleeper! Phasma grips Enid's arms, trying to fight her way out, but Enid wasn't letting her go so easily. She was putting all her frustration into this hold, wanting make sure Phasma would shut up. But Phasma wasn't showing any signs of submitting. Though she was struggling to breath, her will to continue was going strong. But Enid wasn't quite finished as she transition the hold into a Rolling Cutter!

"Dragon Sleeper transitioned into a Rolling Cutter!" Johnny yelled.

Enid scrambles onto Phasma for the pinx hooking the legs tight; 1, 2, Phasma kicks out! It was so close, but she just kicked out before three! Enid ran her hands down her face, clearly frustrated with this. She went behind Phasma and stomped her foot, revving up to give her one good kick, full throttle, everything she had to put the First Order captain away. Phasma started to stand, reaching one knee, which was Enid's signal to run forward and go for Counter Crunch (Scissor Kick), but Phasma had suddenly launched herself at Enid right as she jumped and leveled her with a surprise Spear!

"Spear from Phasma! Just intercepted Enid right out of the air!" said Johnny.

"She launched herself like a damn rocket!" Nick yelled.

Phasma stood, nursing her neck as she eyed Enid on the mat, commenting, "Your resilience is most impressive."

She yanked Enid to her feet by the hair, bending her over for several knee strikes to the face. Phasma hurled Enid back to the mat head first. As Enid held the back of her head, Phasma turned her over, then locked in the Submit for Stun (Texas Cloverleaf)! Enid's eyes widened as her body surged with pain. She clawed at the mat, trying to reach whatever ropes were close for salvation. But Phasma held onto the legs, tearing back to inject another sting of affliction to the spine.

"Submit," she said plainly. "After all, it's the easy way out, something very tantalizing to indolent employees like yourself."

Enid gritted her teeth and kept reaching, beads of sweat pouring down her face as her body and mental fortitude were put through the ringer. She extended her arm, flexed her hand, even stretched her fingers as hard as she could, as far as they would go, but the ropes we just out of her reach! Only by a few centimeters, but not enough to gain a grip! All the while, Phasma continues wrenching Enid in the hold, provoking loud yells of pain. Enid's arm shakes… and she finally taps! She submits! Mills Lane calls for the bell and Phasma releases the hold to have her arm raised.

"And Enid's tapped! Captain Phasma is victorious meaning she will be going to the finals!" Johnny said.

"But Enid isn't out entirely," Nick reminded. "She still has a chance to get back in the game from the losers bracket, where she will face Mae Borowski to decide who will become Phasma's opponent for the Matriarch championship."

Phasma glared at Enid, who was panting and writhing in exhaustion on the mat. She huffed in amusement and exited the ring, leaving Enid to reflect on her loss and how she would get back into the game next week… if she was even sure she could.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

John Shepard was in the locker room, strapping on his N7 armor to prepare for his upcoming match against the dreaded Kazuya Mishima. He took a breath, then exited his quarters to make his way to the ring. Passing through the concessions, Shepard was intercepted by Garrus and Wrex.

"Shepard, glad we caught you," Garrus said. "Just wanted to wish you luck out there."

"Ah, you can keep your charity Garrus," Wrex said. "We both know Shepard makes his own luck."

Shepard nodded. "I appreciate it, you two."

"You feeling good?"

The commander crossed his arms. "Admittedly, I'm feeling the pressure. Kazuya's undefeated, meanwhile, I've got a bumpy record. Needless to say, I don't think many people have much confidence in my ability to win."

"So?" Wrex asked bluntly. "To hell with them. Kazuya's an arrogant ass."

"I'd have put it more tactfully, but…" Garrus trailed off. "Yeah, I really have no nice way to put it. When have you ever let people telling you, 'you can't' stop you from doing it anyway? Remember when they thought you were crazy for trying to take on the Reapers? I sure do, because I was there."

"I'm standing here, too, you know," Wrex added.

"If I know one thing, it's that Kazuya's ego has been overblown. The guy seems to think he's untouchable. Use that, I'd say it's a good window of opportunity." Garrus suggested.

"You're right," Shepard said. "Kazuya needs to be knocked down a few pegs."

"A couple of bullets would certainly deflate that ego, but your punches would do the job just fine. Or a classic headbutt." Wrex chuckled.

"I'll keep that in mind, Wrex," Shepard said as he heard his music playing. "That's my cue to leave. I'll catch up with you guys after the show, thanks again."

Shepard headed for the ring, ready to go in swinging and walk out as a winner.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

John Shepard vs. Kazuya Mishima

John Shepard's Final Frontier series record was, to put it mildly, spotty. With only two wins to his name, it was vital that he win his last match in this round robin to salvage his record. Unfortunately, his last opponent was none other that the King of Devil Fist himself, Kazuya Mishima, whose undefeated streak was as vast as his ego. Even with his vanity, Kazuya was a vicious opponent to watch out for. Shepard's been through his ups and downs, but as far as this tournament his concerned, he truly had his work cut out for him. But would his reputation of defeating the impossible factor into this match? Would he be the one to inflict the first loss of Kazuya's career in Final Frontier?

Before the match could properly begin, Kazuya asked for a microphone, then addressed his opponent, "Evening, Shepard. You look a little weary. The Final Frontier series hasn't served you well."

Shepard just glared, which only encouraged Kazuya to keep going.

"You know, I still remember your little interference in my match with Darkstar a few weeks back. I sure didn't like that. I was planning to pay you back for it in kind, but my success in the Final Frontier has me in a good mood. I'm feeling generous this evening. So why don't you do me, yourself, and these fans a favor, and turn around and walk out of this ring. We all know you're not going to win this, so I'm offering you the painless way out."

The fans voiced their distaste with thunderous boos. They weren't fond of the idea of the main event ending so anticlimactically and were itching for Shepard to stay and put his fist through Kazuya's teeth.

"Is he really going to walk out?" Johnny asked.

"He sure as hell better not," Nick said. "This isn't what the live audience paid to see."

"Really think about it," Kazuya said. "You'd only be risking your body for your pride."

Shepard didn't say anything at first. He appeared to be thinking it over. Then, he turned away and grabbed the ropes, as if he was going to leave. Kazuya just grinned, which only incited louder disapproval from the audience.

"Hey, I get that you're all upset!" Kazuya said, addressing the crowd. "But believe me, this is far better than me beating down on another has-been like that spandex-wearing old-timer in the back."

If the fans weren't booing, they were spewing outright venom at Kazuya for that diss. Shepard kept his back turned to Kazuya, but he appeared to say something off mic. It wasn't very audible to the audience, but Kazuya barely picked it up.

"What was that?"

Shepard repeated his sentence, but again, it wasn't quite loud enough. He turned to face Kazuya, then spoke, "I said, you talk too much."

Then, Shepard clocked Kazuya right across the jaw, sending him to the mat! The audience erupted with applause and cheers!

"And Shepard came out with a killer hook that makes news reporters shiver!" Nick shouted.

Kazuya held his jaw, then pulled back his hand to find… a small stream of blood dripping from his lip. He clenched his fist, his smug demeanor hardening into a glare. He growled, "Alright. Hard way it is, then."

"Let's get it on!" Mills said, motioning for the bell.

Shepard goes toward Kazuya, who tackles him into the ropes. He throws Shepard to the other side of the ropes, but the commander rebounds off the ropes, runs back at Kazuya, ducks and comes back for a Northern Lariat. Kazuya ducks that, so Shepard goes to the ropes once more, then comes back to strike Kazuya with a Target Hit (Running Single Leg High Knee)! Shepard covers, but Kazuya kicks out at one. Shepard and Kazuya quickly get to their feet. Shepard charges Kazuya, who sweeps his legs from underneath him. Kazuya lands a Standing Moonsault and stays for the pin, but Shepard gets the shoulder up before one.

"It looks like the crowd will get what they wanted after all," said Nick. "Good thing, too, or Dornan would have really blown his top."

"He doesn't need an anticlimactic match to blow his top," said Johnny. "But Shepard's already got the crowd behind him. They want him to shut Kazuya's mouth, and he was off to a good start with that killer right hook."

Kazuya and Shepard return to their feet, both exchanging blows. Kazuya delivers a spinning kick to the chest that sends Shepard reeling. He then nails a roundhouse kick to stagger him, which gives Kazuya the window to lift him into the air and take him down with a European Uppercut! Kazuya covers; 1, 2, Shepard kicks out. Kazuya pulls Shepard to his feet and swings for a Spinning Backfist, but Shepard ducks and slips behind Kazuya to put him in a Full Nelson. He starts pressing down on Kazuya's head, making the King of Devil Fist wince in pain as he fights to free himself. He grabs Shepard's head and jawbreakers him to break the hold. He pops up, goes to the ropes and comes out with a Flying Side Kick that sends Shepard to the outside of the ring!

"Kazuya's channeling his inner Karate Kid and sends Shepard flying out of the ring!" Nick shouted.

Kazuya follows him to the outside and lifts him into a Fireman's Carry. Shepard starts to elbow Kazuya in the face several times, eventually forcing Kazuya to let go. He lands on his feet and Hip Tosses Kazuya onto the steel steps, backfirst! He pulls Kazuya off the steps, then throws him into the ring. Shepard climbs the turnbuckle and jumps to flatten Kazuya with a Diving Senton! Shepard covers; 1, 2, Kazuya kicks out. Shepard picks up Kazuya and leans him against the turnbuckle, back up, then sprints at Kazuya, laying into him with a Flying Forearm Smash! Shepard grabs Kazuya by the arm and throws him out of the corner, but Kazuya uses that momentum to roll forward, then comes right back at Shepard with a Somersault Kick!

"Somersault Kick by Kazuya Mishima!" Johnny yelled.

"He's probably seen more than a few Bruce Lee movies, using the momentum to gain the advantage, to flow like water as the man would say," said Nick.

Kazuya drags Shepard to the corner, sitting him against it. He goes to the center of the ring and returns the favor by nailing him with a Face Wash! Kazuya continues to beat down on Shepard by kicking him against the turnbuckle, then picks him up. He throws Shepard to the other corner, then rushes him, but Shepard kicks him away. Shepard then throws Kazuya down with a Pumphandle Neckbreaker! Shepard goes for the cover; 1, 2, Kazuya kicks out. Shepard picks up Kazuya and sets him up for a DDT. He runs to the corner, taking Kazuya with him, then goes for a Tilt-a-Whirl, but Kazuya physically shoves Shepard away, sending him flying to the mat. Shepard rolls to his knees, but eats a Running Big Boot by Kazuya. He grabs Shepard by his legs and pulls them apart to start stomping his gut several times. Kazuya hooks Shepard's legs, then powers him upward… and drives him down with an Alabama Slam! Kazuya grabs Shepard's ankle and puts it in the Ankle Lock!

"Ankle Lock has been achieved! Kazuya's going for the submission!" Johnny said.

"Shepard's in some serious trouble if he can't reach the ropes!" Nick exclaimed.

Shepard tries to reach for the ropes, but Kazuya pulls him back to the center of the ring. The commander is struggling to reach them, but the King of Devil Fist won't let him escape so easily. Shepard is crying out as he shakes his head, trying to stay in the game. Kazuya shouts for Shepard to submit or he'll end up worse than Carter. Shepard raises his hand, as if about to tap… but then he rolls onto his back and uses both feet to kick Kazuya away!

"Shepard just escaped the ankle lock! He managed to get free!" Johnny said.

"He might have a shot, Shepard's gotta make it count!" Nick yelled.

Shepard rolls to his feet, spotting Kazuya in disbelief, who quickly charges him to prevent a counter, but Shepard's got his number and catches him to lay him out with an STO! Shepard picks up Kazuya and leans him against the ropes. He pulls Kazuya in, not for a clothesline, but the classic Headbutt that sends Kazuya back to the mat! Kazuya's nose starts to bleed off the shot to his face! Shepard picks up Kazuya and levels him with the Critical Mission Failure! Shepard quickly covers; 1, 2, KAZUYA KICKS OUT!

"And he gets-NO! HE DOESN'T! KAZUYA'S STILL THERE!" Johnny shouted.

"Even with a bloodied nose, he still kicked out of that?!" Nick yelled in shock.

Shepard looks down at Kazuya, his face a look of bewilderment. Just what would it take to put this guy away?! He glances at Mills, who motions it was a two-count. A close one, but a two-count nonetheless. Shepard pulls Kazuya to his feet and tries for a Commander's Shot this time, but Kazuya gets out of it and gives him a Spinning Backfist. Kazuya's eye flashes crimson as he lays into the commander with a series of fast, hard-hitting strikes to the face, chest, and abdomen! He yanks Shepard in, striking his stomach with multiple knees, then retaliates with a Stonehead (Single-arm head-clinch headbutt)! Kazuya goes for a Roundhouse Kick, but it turns out to be a feint, setting up Shepard to put him in a new hold, a Reverse Cross Armbreaker! Kazuya pours all his strength into the hold, demanding Shepard give up, screaming for him to submit! Shepard yells, trying to reach for something, anything to hold onto, but there's no ropes within reach!

"Kazuya's got Shepard isolated in the center of the ring, a terrible place to be if you're put in a submission hold!" Johnny said.

Shepard holds out for a moment, trying to find a way out… but he finds none and ultimately taps out! Kazuya earns his final ten points, ending his seven matches in victory! Kazuya releases the hold and rubs the blood from his nose as he gets his hand raised.

"Shepard came so close, SO CLOSE to beating him!" Johnny said.

"But that last exchange may have awakened the Devil, because Kazuya came out hard and vicious," Nick said.

Kazuya stands over Shepard as he motions for the belt around his waist. He waved off the angry crowd, glaring down at the commander as he writhed on the mat, holding his arm. He shook his, looking down at his own blood in his hand.

He yelled down at Shepard, "You should've taken my advice! Now, you pay the price."

Then, Kazuya curbstomped Shepard's head into the mat!

"What the hell?!" Nick yelled.

"Kazuya's not finished with Shepard yet! But the match is over!" Johnny said.

"I don't think he liked Shepard making him bleed…" Nick muttered.

Kazuya starts viciously beating down on Shepard. How dare someone like him make the King of Devil Fist bleed? He throws Shepard's head against the mat and picks him for a Devil Twister (Twisting Brainbuster)... only to throw Shepard aside when Wash came down to the ring! Wash slid in and clotheslined Kazuya down! Kazuya got back up, only to eat another clothesline! Deciding this wasn't worth the hassle, Kazuya rolled out of the ring, backing up the ramp, holding his mouth.

"Agent Washington came down and thankfully spared Shepard further harm, but I'd say this was the tipping point," Johnny said.

"If it wasn't war then, it is now." Nick added.

Wash keeps himself between Shepard and Kazuya, then backs up to check on him. He just knew something like this would have happened and he wasn't going to let it go any further. Something needed to be done, and Wash was going to put Kazuya down himself. Meanwhile, the King of Devil Fist stood atop the ramp, glaring at the freelancer. For a moment, they locked glares; there would be a reckoning, and neither would stop until the other was down for the count.


CLOSING SEGMENT

A commotion erupted from the hangar bay, the rumbles of a mechanic at work on one of the VertiBirds.

Wave the Swallow withdrew her head from the engines, wiping thin streams of sweat from her brow. She held out her hand, absently declaring, "Ratchet."

Seconds passed and she felt nothing being deposited into her hand. She flexed her fingers, calling more irritably, "Ratchet!"

Wave stepped back from the engine, looking for her crew. She found her teammates, Jet the Hawk and Storm the Albatross, huddled in the VertiBird with Shard the Metal Sonic and Tangle the Lemur.

"Okay, so here's our plan," Jet began. "We swoop in, you jump on Space Jerk-Off, we snatch TOM, and…"

Jet noticed the shadow of Wave fall on them and he looked up at her. "Aren't you supposed to be modifying the engine?"

Wave inhaled in a thinly veiled effort to keep from choking Jet then and there. "Things would be going a bit faster if you would pass me my tools, and you're discussing strategy now? You can't wait until we're en route?!"

"Hey, this plan needs to be executed to the letter if we're to get TOM back and airtime! And we don't need bolt for brains and prehensile tail over here mucking things up!" Jet said, sticking his index finger at Shard and Tangle. He then pointed Wave. "Because you were the one who decided to let them fly with us!"

"Don't go trying to pin on this me! We'll need whatever help we can get, and you know it!" Wave shouted, getting in Jet's face.

"The Babylon Rogues fly alone, always have and always will! We didn't need a fourth or fifth wing!" Jet spat back, getting in Wave's face.

"Yeah! We're a three-man band!" Storm concurred.

Shard and Tangle just glanced at one another, the former shrugging.

"Can you make it six?" K.O. asked, peeking into the VertiBird's passenger compartment.

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Jet screeched.

"What are you doing here, kid?" Wave asked.

"Well, I heard what happened with TOM," K.O. said, rubbing his foot along the ground, his hands behind his back. "I don't have anything scheduled, so I wanted to join you guys in saving him. He needs our help! And arguing won't get us any closer to finding him!"

"Who does this little snot think he is, coming in here, telling us how to run our own rescue operation that, need we remind you, we ourselves came up with?! You've had your shot! This is our moment, kid! Our ticket to stardom next season and I ain't letting you steal it from under our beaks!"

"Yeah, you tell him, Jet!" Storm cheered.

"For once, can you keep your ego in check?!" Wave growled, slamming Jet's beak shut. "Now you listen here, as much as I hate being lectured by some kid, he actually has a point! We're just arguing when we could be doing something! If we want that airtime next season, then we'd better hustle and get this done! If you wanna go over strategy, fine. Maybe the kid will be a better assistant than you!"

She shoved Jet back, then walked out of the passenger compartment, passing by K.O. "Come on," she said. "You're gonna help me finish this thing and get it space worthy."

"I can do that! I can do anything you need!" K.O. happily said, following after Wave.

"Just pass me the tools when I need them."

Jet merely stared at Wave, processing what had just happened.

"So, we aren't gonna vote on this?" he finally asked.

Shard snorted, "Oh, now you wanna vote?"

"Kid already had my endorsement by virtue of actually helping me fix this thing!" Wave's voice echoed outside.

"Ugh, fine! I'm coming!" Jet yelled, throwing his arms up as he went outside. "If any of these three screw up the plan, I'm gonna tell ya, I told you so!"

"Airtime, here we come!" Storm exclaimed, pumping his fist in the air.

Shard stood up. "Let's get our hands dirty, too, Tangle. Quicker we do this, the quicker we get the cool boss back."

"Right behind ya!" Tangle beamed.

The crew finally, albeit loosely, came together on the same page. How they would fare on the mission itself, however, remained to be seen. But this was a start.


RESULTS

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Doomfist pinned Darkstar after taking him down with the Meteor Strike.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Mae Borowski pinned Demencia, following the Trash Driver.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Agent Washington pinned Blinx the Time Sweeper after executing the Epsilon Drive.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Captain Phasma forced Enid to submit to the Submit for Stun.

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Kazuya Mishima forced John Shepard to submit to the Reverse Cross Armbreaker.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 60 points

Agent Washington - 49 points

Darkstar - 28 points

Doomfist - 21 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 21 points

John Shepard - 14 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

Mercury Black - 7 points

Chapter Text

OPENING SEGMENT

The show opens to Sergeant Dornan briskly pacing back and forth in his office while the holographic image of Baymax flickered on the desk. Dornan was clawing at his helmet in what appeared to be panic.

"What do you mean he can't wrestle tonight?!" he yelled.

"Carter Grayson's condition is severe," said Baymax. "I strongly advised against him wrestling last time but he ultimately made the decision to continue. However, his injuries were further exacerbated. He will recover but requires rest. I cannot clear him to compete for the rest of the season, at least."

"He had one more match tonight! That leaves us with just two scheduled matches! We can't just hold a show with only two matches for a live audience!"

"I am sorry, but as a personal healthcare companion, it is my responsibility to ensure the well-being of the employees. Carter cannot wrestle tonight. That is my final diagnosis."

Dornan stopped and ran his hand down the faceplate of his helmet, emitting a resigned exhale.

"Very well," he sighed. "Thank you, Baymax. Tell Carter I wish him the best."

"Acknowledged."

The image of Baymax fizzled out, leaving Dornan to his own devices. He leaned against the desk, bowing his head in frustration. SARA's avatar fluttered from the control panel, sheepishly patting Dornan on the shoulder in a thin effort to comfort him.

"Don't worry, Dornan. We'll figure something out."

Dornan didn't look at her immediately, but he acknowledged her with a sigh. "This is our last contracted episode of the season, SARA. If every episode isn't satisfactory, then we can kiss our long-term television deals goodbye. And here we are, on our last episode and what do we have to show for it? The security room has been trashed, TOM is gone, the roster is skeptical of me at best, and now we're down a major player in the Final Frontier series."

SARA said nothing at first. Dornan wasn't exactly wrong; all of those things had happened and exposed some glaring flaws. TOM was always the most business oriented of F3's power duo, leaving Dornan, at best, clueless as to how to run the company, something that is quite different from managing the roster itself. Evidently, this additional baggage had been taking its toll on Dornan for the past few weeks.

Finally, she spoke, "Dornan, maybe you shouldn't try to be TOM. Although he's the better businessman, you're more willing to assert yourself. That being said, regardless of whether the roster likes you or not, you have the authority to take immediate action. So why not play to what you're good at and just manage the roster for now?"

Dornan raised his head. "Manage the roster… yes. Yes, of course! I may not be a businessman but I can sure as hell get the roster under control! I'll find a way to fix the match card. In fact, I may have a few ideas already. When the show is over, I want a roster meeting in the hangar bay."

"What are you going to do, Dornan?"

"Why ruin the surprise?" Dornan teased, headed for the elevator. "You let me worry about the details. For now, why don't you cue for the show to begin?"

SARA watched Dornan disappear behind the sliding elevator doors, fluttering in place. What idea had she just planted in the Enclave sergeant's head? It was a question she was eager to find out, yet dreaded the revelation at the same time. But they still had a show to run, and she would just have to trust Dornan knew what he was doing.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH

Doomfist vs. Mercury Black

Mercury Black was dead last in the Final Frontier series with only one win to his name. His only win came over Carter, who was ironically ahead by three points after gaining his submission victory over Doomfist. Speaking of the devil, Doomfist was Mercury's last scheduled opponent in the series, and he was just as hungry to add another tally to his own record. This would be their final match of the season and thus, aimed to make a lasting impression.

At the start of the match, Doomfist leveraged his size and strength to out-wrestle Mercury, and manhandled the smaller wrestler with ease. But Mercury wouldn't be steamrolled, quickly realizing that it wasn't a good idea to go head to head with the Talon leader and opted to play the defensive game, using his smaller, more agile physique to escape a bear hug or evade a knockout punch. He peppered Doomfist with a fast Bicycle Kick and even take him off-guard with an Inverted Hurricanrana. But Doomfist was no fool; he quickly caught on to Mercury's game and adjusted his style accordingly, from bulldozing aggression to stone wall.

This time, Mercury would bumped off as he attempted a Flying Clothesline or snatched out of the air when he tried a Monkey Flip, then transitioned into a body slam. Over time, this game of defense succeeded in wearing Mercury down enough for Doomfist to switch back to his brawling style and absolutely pummeled Black into the mat. As Mercury staggered to his feet in a daze, Doomfist knocked his lights out with a Meteor Strike and picked up the victory, ending his Final Frontier series run with a record of four wins and three losses. While not the record Akande Ogundimu desired, it was more preferable than being negative. The competition had highlighted the flaws in his style and technique, and with proper adjustment, he could blossom into a truly destructive force in the ring.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

In the bar, Garrus Vakarian and Urdnot Wrex were sitting at the counter, each holding a glass of their species' brand liquor as they watched the closing moments of the opening match. Garrus carefully observed the demeanor of Mercury as he exited the ring, internally noting his poor record probably wasn't going to bode well for his attitude backstage. Wrex, on the other hand, was more focused on the power displayed by Doomfist.

"Doomfist's looking pretty strong," said Wrex. "I'd like to fight him one day, warrior to warrior. It'd be a real event; more eventful than sitting on my ass all week, that's for damn sure."

"Your mind's been on fighting all season," Garrus replied, dryly. "Haven't you thought about anything else?"

"Nothing that'd be relevant to you, Vakarian."

"Oh, I'm sure there's a few interesting thoughts you've got swimming around in your head and I may be willing to offer a credit to hear them."

Wrex leaned his head back and drank his entire glass. "I signed here to fight. It's what a Krogan does best. But if there's one thing that irritates a Krogan more than anything, it's being told to wait while everyone else kicks each other's asses in the next room over."

Garrus shrugged. "Sometimes, you've got to be patient. You ever hear the old saying, patience is a virtue? Sometimes, it can reward you when you least expect it."

"Hey good looking, you wanna join the Way of Jashin?"

The Normandy Warriors looked over to see Hidan standing at one of the tables, talking to Tracer as she was trying to have a night out herself. Kakuzu was sitting in a nearby booth, looking over his recent paycheck. He didn't seem to notice or care about what Hidan was doing.

Garrus glanced at Wrex. "What did I tell you?" Wrex growled as he squeezed his beverage, nearly breaking the glass. Garrus noticed it and immediately realized what was brewing. "Well, shit."

"The Way of Jashin? I dunno if I'm familiar with that," Tracer said, awkwardly. "Other than hearing you talk about it so much."

"It's a great religion where you can kill anyone you want and not get punished, and it even pleases Lord Jashin."

"Erm, no thanks," Tracer said, tugging at her collar, uncomfortable just being in Hidan's crosshairs. "Not my type of religion."

Hidan sighed, "Everytime I try to spread the Way of Jashin, you all say the same thing."

Wrex finally spoke up, "She said no, so why don't you just do the lady a favor and mosey your ass out of here?"

Hidan glared at Wrex. "Why don't you mind your own business?"

"Hard to mind it when you're spouting religious bullshit everywhere you go."

By now, Kakuzu had stopped counting his money, his eyes now shifted to observe the brewing war of words between his partner and Wrex. Garrus had noticed, too. If things escalated between Hidan and Wrex, it was only inevitable that their partners got involved, too. Tracer, meanwhile, took the time to shoot Wrex a wave as a sign of thanks before blinking out of the bar to avoid the coming storm.

"I'm spreading the word in His name," Hidan argued. "But if it makes you feel better, Jashin wouldn't want overgrown toads in His service."

Wrex stood from his chair. "Call me toad one more time."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Hidan said, feigning regret with a dramatic hand to his forehead. "I must have used the wrong term. It makes more sense to call you a toadie."

Garrus recognized the grin that had formed on his partner's face. It was one not uncommon amongst Krogan he'd encountered in his lifetime, most notably in bars. Some poor schmuck would say the wrong thing out loud and there would always be that look in the eyes, followed by a grin. It was the kind a Krogan gets when they've found an excuse to start a fight.

Wrex and Hidan lunged at each other and started exchanging punches. The larger Krogan put more power into his blows and knocked Hidan back. He grabbed him by his hair and slammed his face against one of the tables, catapulting plates and silverware flying into the air. Kakuzu and Garrus immediately jumped in to aid their partners, the former tackling the latter into the counter, knocking over the row of chairs. Kakuzu went after Garrus, but the Turian had grabbed a nearby bottle and slammed it against Kakuzu's head, to disorient him enough to be tackled onto a booth table. Kakuzu overpowered Garrus, launching him across the bar and into the wall. Meanwhile, Hidan was able to put Wrex into an Octopus Clutch, but the Urdnot Battlemaster backed into the wall, crushing Hidan under his massive size. Hidan's grip loosened enough for Wrex to flip the Jashin Fanatic over his shoulder and onto a table. Wrex brought down an elbow on Hidan's face, nearly breaking his neck. Hidan brought his knee up against Wrex's head to send him staggering back. He stood on the table and leapt into the air, taking him down with a Diving Crossbody.

As Wrex and Hidan wrestled on the floor, Kakuzu was at work trying to kick the downed Garrus' head off. Garrus just barely avoided having his head caved in by Kakuzu's foot, evident by the hole in the wall made by the strike. He tried to sweep Kakuzu's other leg from beneath him, only for his leg to connect with no visible effect. Kakuzu knocked Garrus back with one backfist, then yanked his foot out of the wall. Garrus slid along the floor from the force of Kakuzu's hit but he was able to get back up in short order as Kakuzu strode towards him. Hidan was thrown at Kakuzu's feet by Wrex, who joined Garrus' side. The Akatsuki and the Normandy Warriors were quick to regroup and looked ready to go back at it again.

Just then, the bar doors slid open and several Enclave security personnel poured in to make a circle around both teams, ready to pry them apart if they made an effort to restart the brawl. Dornan entered the kitchen, looking over the mess that was once a neat and orderly bar room. His gaze eventually fell on the teams.

"Evening, gentlemen," Dornan said with uncharacteristic tranquility. "I see your evening's been eventful so far. Care to explain why the bar looks like a Deathclaw just ran through it?"

"Fat fuck over there wouldn't mind his own business!" Hidan shouted, pointing an accusatory finger at Wrex.

"He won't shut up about his shit religion and his preaching is pissing me off!" Wrex yelled back.

"Fuck off, heathen!"

"You first, you death worshipping kook!"

"Enough," Dornan ordered sternly, though not enough to be considered yelling. "You four have an important title match coming up soon and you're wasting your energy on each other in some petty bar brawl. The live audience didn't come here to see that. They came for action in the ring." Dornan moved past his guard and placed himself between both teams, his head bouncing back and forth as he continued to address them, "But I understand challengers are prone to getting anxious. Since we're short a match this evening, I'm looking for some employees willing to work this evening. So, here's my proposal; the four of you can take a black mark tonight for destruction of property, brawling backstage, and endangering your fellow workers, or… you can face off in singles action and work off a little bit of steam while giving the fans an appetizer what to expect you face off the belts. A difficult choice?"

The four men exchanged looks.

"Works for me," Wrex finally said.

Garrus nodded, "Easiest decision we've had all night."

"Jashin's never had the blood of a Krogan before," Hidan mused. "There's a first time for everything, even for Him. I'm in!"

"Airtime is money," Kakuzu said, simply.

"Good," Dornan said, satisfied. "Because your matches are up next. Hidan, you'll be facing Urdnot Wrex; Kakuzu, you're facing Garrus Vakarian. Get yourselves ready, you're on in five." Dornan turned snapped his fingers and his soldiers stood down. They filed out of the bar with Dornan trailing behind them, but he stopped at the door. He looked over his shoulder at the demolished bar, before simply saying, "Clean up this mess."

The sergeant departed the bar, leaving the Akatsuki and the Normandy Warriors to stew in their rancor for one another. There would come a reckoning of tag-team proportions… but not tonight. Tonight, they would sort out their differences, one on one.


SINGLES MATCH

Hidan vs. Urdnot Wrex

In some respects, Hidan and Urdnot Wrex shared quite a few similarities; they were the battle-loving blood knights of their respective teams, with little regard for strategy beyond beating the hell out of their opponents. They had a primal thirst for battle and needed their more level-headed partners to keep them in check, with varying degrees of success. It only made sense that they face off in singles action. Wrex utterly despised Hidan's religious demeanor, deeming it both irritating and nonsensical. Hidan viewed Wrex as a savage heathen only good for sacrifice, and he was all too happy to provide Jashin the taste of Krogan blood.

Their dynamic showed itself right out of the gate, with Hidan rushing Wrex and wildly throwing rabid punches. Wrex was bigger, stronger, and capable of taking the hits… but Hidan was undoubtedly more ferocious and his masochism allowed him to shrug off anything Wrex would throw at him. No matter how many times Wrex knocked him down or laid him out, Hidan would bounce back with a bloodthirsty grin, asking, no, demanding more. Wrex may have held the advantage by virtue of being able to knock Hidan around but even that was debatable as he didn't appear to be doing any lasting damage. Hidan was even able to kick out of a Krogan Battlebomb… before a one count! Wrex was… actually taken aback. He'd fought plenty of Biotics, monsters, and Mechs in his time, but he hadn't come across someone like Hidan, who could take what he could dish and still get back up.

The match swung into Hidan's favor as he Throat Thrusted Wrex to knocked him back, then dropped him with a Cutter. Hidan demonstrated his own surprising strength with a Rolling Release Suplex. The Jashin fanatic continued to beat on Wrex with a mad look in his eyes. Hidan reared his head back and met Wrex with his own headbutt! The blow split Hidan's forehead open but he didn't appear faze as his blood streaked down his face. Wrex managed to come back with his own headbutt that sent Hidan down, rubbing his neck afterward. He'd still felt it, even if he wasn't the one with a crimson mask. Wrex was able to wear down Hidan enough to just barely win the bout with I Am Krogan (The Pounce)! It wasn't enough to keep him down for long as he kicked out just after three but Wrex had still picked up the victory. Most of Wrex's opponents thus far had been laid out, utterly demolished by the Krogan's power… but Hidan? He sat right up after the bell was called.

Despite the loss, Hidan didn't seem too mad. In fact, he looked more excited than ever! Wrex just barely beat him and he could still move on his own power. The brief look of shock on Wrex's face just sealed it for him. But the initial surprise wore off as Wrex himself seemed to register what this meant. If Hidan would get up, then he could beat him down again and again. He wondered just how high Hidan's pain tolerance was, because he had plenty of ideas in mind to test the limits of that talent when their title bout finally came.


COMMERCIAL

We come to the Vindication floating through space as a narrator speaks, "At J.G. Wentworth, we say get cash now for your structural settlement."

"Wait, I can get cash now?" Rad asked.

"Of course, it's your money and you should be able to use it however you want."

"You know what? J.G. Wentworth is right," Rad said. "It's my money and I need it now!"

RackaRacka suddenly came on screen, waving stacks of cash in their hands.

"It's our money and we need it now!"

Papyrus came on screen, beaming, "It's my money and I need it now!"

The narrator continued, "If you need structural settlement and you need cash now, J.G. Wentworth can help. We'll buy most of your structural settlement for a lump sum cash amount. So you can pay off… hey, wait!" The narrator started talking off mic, but he was still audible. "What are you doing in the recording booth?!"

"It's like you said," came the voice of Kakuzu. "It's my money and I need it now."

"No, wait! WAIT! WE DON'T-!"

Multiple loud crashes are heard, followed by screams of pain before they drift into silence.

A choir voice finished the commercial for him, "Call J.G. Wentworth! 877-CASH-NOW!"


SINGLES MATCH

Kakuzu vs. Garrus Vakarian

If Hidan and Wrex were the brawn of their respective teams, Garrus and Kakuzu were definitely the brains. They were much less temperamental and possessed a keen tactical mind. Garrus knew what shots to call, had a sharp eye to catch weak spots, and his impeccable aim allowed him to strike with master precision. Kakuzu was an intelligent juggernaut who would create his own shatterpoints, then strike with all his might. It was almost too perfect that Dornan pit these two against each other in the ring. But who would administer the kill shot faster, the Archangel of Omega or the Treasurer of the Akatsuki?

The match started slow, Garrus and Kakuzu circling each other, eyes locked with intensity behind their gazes. They scanned one another, getting an idea for what kind of opponent they were up against, then locked up. The opening portions of the match consisted of Garrus and Kakuzu trading holds, only to escape and transition into a hold of their own; a headlock would be forced into a full nelson, an arm bar was reversed on the aggressor, and sidelocks were turned into face locks. The tempo remained steady, with neither gaining a decisive edge, both playing a cautious game. Both were well aware of the drawbacks of showing your hand too early, so they had to get a read on one another to decipher any potential chinks in the armor. Kakuzu started applying his strength, which Garrus had little answer to in direct combat. The Akatsuki Treasurer simply had him beat in pure physicality, easily forcing him into submission holds. But Garrus was crafty, able escape with an elbow or a well-placed knee to the stomach. Kakuzu wasn't phased but it was enough to make him let up. As it stands, Kakuzu had a clear advantage in power.

Garrus knew he would have to play his cards carefully; Kakuzu was strong and smart, and if he couldn't compete with him directly, he would have to outwit him. Garrus employed various methods of misdirection. A Roundhouse Kick would turn out to be a feint, allowing Garrus an opening for a Lariat Clothesline. If Kakuzu caught a leg, Garrus would land a Spinning Heel Kick with his free leg. Kakuzu didn't remain behind for long, quickly catching on to Garrus' baiting and employed his own subterfuge by stepping in just enough to trigger Garrus' counter. But Kakuzu was ready this time and would interrupt him with a sudden Big Boot or a Hip Toss. It became a battle of wits in the ring, Garrus and Kakuzu taking care to not overstep their boundaries. The pace of the match started to escalate when Kakuzu started playing a little too aggressively, giving Garrus the opening to initiate his own attack. Garrus seized the advantage with his technical prowess, looking to keep Kakuzu on the back foot. The Akatsuki Treasurer seemed to be lagging behind as Garrus continued to apply pressure, so that he couldn't recover. But the match was suddenly swerved in the Akatsuki Treasurer's favor when he was able to catch an Archangel Snipe (Running Single Leg Dropkick) and pull him in for a Chokeslam. Kakuzu had employed his own feint. He didn't look the slightest bit winded. He'd let Garrus have a few free shots to get him to think he was empty when he was far from it. Kakuzu continued to break down Garrus, ending it with an Earth Grudge Fear (Fireman's Carry Scoop Powerslam) to pick up the victory for his team, tying up the singles competition.

Kakuzu slid out of the ring and made his way up the ramp, making note of Garrus' style for the championship match. Garrus had been beaten this time but he wasn't looking to repeat this mistake when gold was on the line.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

We come backstage to Mae Borowski laying on a concession table backstage with a bowl of potato chips sitting atop her plump stomach. She lazily inserted a chip into her mouth, chewing loudly with little care for the world around her.

"Why am I not surprised?" came a deadpan voice.

Mae lifted her head to see Enid standing just a short distance away, holding a can of soda.

"Hey, Enid. How's the night treating you?"

"Decent. Looks like you're keeping busy."

"Yeah, laying around while eating takes a lot out of you," Mae said, eating another chip.

Enid snorted, "Yeah, well, I hope you're not too out of shape for our match."

"Oh, that was tonight?" Mae asked, her eyes widening. Enid just looked at Enid with a raised eyebrow. "Just kidding. Of course I remember. I'll be fine, I'm a lot more athletic than I look."

Mae set aside the chips and slid off the table.

"Y'know, I've been thinking, maybe this a good chance to really start over."

"What do you mean?" Enid asked.

"Beating the crap out of each other, then moving on. Let's face it, things sucked early on. So, any issues we've got, let's work them out in the ring and move on from them."

"I was under the impression we already did when you helped me with Demencia," Enid said, playfully sticking out her tongue.

"Well, okay, fair," Mae conceded. "But that shouldn't deter us from having a good match, right?"

"Yeah, I guess not," Enid said with a shrug.

"Mae Borowski, Enid, your match is on in five," came a voice.

The duo looked over to see Captain Phasma standing a few feet away. She was likely doing her rounds when she came across them.

"Oof, the fun police has arrived," Mae whispered.

Enid didn't reply but the last thing she wanted was to be dealing with Phasma this evening.

"Best not to keep the fans waiting," Phasma said as she walked past the two… only to stop near Enid. "It would be beneficial to both your careers to put on a good show. But we can't help our careers if we're standing idle while the other suffers… won't we?"

Phasma left the two alone on that note… but Enid was notably growling under her breath.

"Man, that is… that is just a mean lady." Mae said, shaking her head.

"Let's just get this over with," Enid muttered and headed for the ring.


MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH

Enid vs. Mae Borowski

Enid and Mae's relationship has been complicated. Despite getting off to a rocky start, they appeared to have grown a little close over the preceding weeks after K.O.'s injury at the hands of the Akatsuki. It hadn't become clear to either of them at the time, but they had a bit in common. They preferred to slack off and didn't have time to deal with people but they had good hearts when it came to their friends. Now, they had to face off in the semi-finals to decide who would be Phasma's opponent for the Matriarch championship. To show a bit of solidarity and put their pasts behind them for good, the two shared a handshake before the bell.

Enid's spry strength showed itself once again as she employed her ninja speed and agility in conjunction with her powerful legs. A Superkick would send Mae clear across the ring. But Mae had her own tricks up her sleeve, being deceptively fast despite what her plump belly would indicate. At times, she would snatch Enid out of the air with a Springboard Stunner, followed by a Running Knee Drop. For two self-admitted slackers, they displayed a surprising degree of tenacity and will to continue fighting. Both had come so far and weren't willing to just lay down without a fight. The match finally ended when Enid struck Mae with the Counter Crunch (Scissor Kick) to pick up the three-count and earn her spot in the finals against Captain Phasma.

After the match, Enid and Mae shared a handshake, with the feline raising Enid's arm… well, as far as she could raise it, given the size difference. But there was definitely a degree of respect between them now… maybe a little spark of a friendship, too. Backstage, Phasma was watching the match unfold. She would be facing Enid once again and was willing to teach the counter-hugging heroine another lesson; and this time, she would leave with the belt around her waist.


CLOSING SEGMENT

The entire staff of Final Frontier was assembled in the hangar bay; wrestlers, interviewers, commentators, referee, medical officials, security, everyone. Murmurs inquiring about the purpose of the meeting rippled through the crowd as they yearned for answers.

"Ladies and gentlemen," SARA said, gaining the staff's attention. "Thank you for coming on such short notice. Dornan had something important to say, and he was adamant that he address all of you. I'll hand over the floor to him now."

SARA fluttered aside as Dornan took center stage to address the crowd.

"Thank you, SARA. First things first, congratulations on finishing our first ten episodes. You've all performed well and for that, we're honored to have you all signed with us. But the season is not yet done. We still have to decide on our first champions and such an event deserves a more grand setting beyond the Vindication, which brings me to a very special announcement."

Dornan beckoned for a drone to join his side. The machine projected a holographic image of a planet.

"Some of you may recognize this planet, but for those who don't, this is Coruscant, the capital of the Galactic Republic. We've just reached a deal with the authorities and have been granted permission to perform our first pay-per-view event, which has been titled Capital Punishment!"

Many in the crowd look at one another in disbelief. Coruscant, of all places? A bustling metropolis with great infrastructure and skies full of traffic, this planet had a massive population. Exposure here would go a long way for Final Frontier.

"I've already begun the advertising campaign and tickets are on sale. However, we will be having some special stipulations to spice things up. For the Dynamic Duos championships, we've got the Normandy Warriors squaring off against the Akatsuki in a Tables, Ladders, and Chair match. The Matriarch championship is up for grabs between Captain Phasma and Enid in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. Last, but certainly not least, is the Final Frontier championship. Now, the Final Frontier series has been an arduous process for all involved. As such, the Final Frontier series will reach its conclusion at the event with the top four competitors facing off in a singles elimination tournament over the course of the evening, with the two victors competing for the championship itself in the main event; an Ironman Match. The top four competitors are Kazuya Mishima with 67 points, Agent Washington with 49 points, and Doomfist and Darkstar tied for third place with 28 points. That makes five scheduled matches for Capital Punishment, so it's imperative that all involved put on their best performances to maximize our chances for renewal. We set for Coruscant in a few weeks, so you all have time to pack your bags. Housing will be provided, as well as access to recreational activities."

Dornan inhaled as he transitioned to the next subject of the meeting, "Now that we've got all that squared away, I believe it's time I address the elephant in the room. Or the absent elephant. I know you're all aware of TOM's unfortunate kidnapping a few weeks back and I've assumed full ownership of the company until his safe return. Now, I know that many of you haven't had the best impressions of me, and I don't blame you for being skeptical. I've been overly strict and uptight with many of you, and I've come to realize that that's not the attitude of a leader. I was wrong; I promise that I'll do my damndest to make up my behavior to each of you, especially those I've personally wronged."

That particular bit made Mae's ears twitch as she remembered their argument a few weeks ago.

Dornan continued, "I'll be open, I'm not the best businessman. TOM always had that covered. But one thing I was good at was managing people and making sure they were an efficient fighting force. That is why I have sent a small team of volunteers to infiltrate Orcelot Rex's cruiser. Their job is simple, to get in, extract TOM, and get out. But it's going to be a difficult mission to accomplish. So… how about we give them a hand?"

"Are you proposing that we fight some space pirates?" Darkstar asked. "I don't recall that being in my contract."

"You are correct," said Dornan. "I know this is a matter that should be left in the hands of security but they're not super soldiers; they're not superhumans; they don't have quite as much as power as the lot of you."

Dornan took out a marker and drew a black line along the floor. He continued, "This is the metaphorical line in the sand. Anyone who wishes to join me in rescuing TOM is welcome to step over the line. I don't blame anyone who doesn't join. It's going to be dangerous and it'll be a fight, I won't lie. But TOM's done a lot to bring us together. I think it's time we do the same for him."

A wave of contemplative silence fell over the roster. Dornan took the lead by stepping over the line. His security were already with him out of loyalty to their commanding officer.

"Why not?" Wash said, standing up. "I'll lend a hand."

The freelancer was the first to emerge step forward and join Dornan on the other side.

"Who am I to resist a good fight?" Wrex grinned as he headed over. "Means I get my weapons back."

"Wherever Wrex goes, I'll have to follow," Garrus said. "Someone's got to watch the big guy's back."

"I'll join, as well," said Shepard. "I could go for another mission with my old squadmates and my veterancy could come in handy."

Tracer blinked by Dornan's side, saying, "You can count on me to lend a hand!"

Soldier: 76 wordlessly stepped forward, an action that gained a nod from Wash.

In a surprising display, Hidan and Kakuzu join Dornan's side, as well.

"Since when did you get struck with altruism?" Garrus asked.

"TOM writes the paychecks," Kakuzu said, bluntly.

"I'm just in it to rip to shreds," Hidan said with a cocky grin.

"Can't have too much muscle," Eddie Brock said, stepping forward himself.

"Muscle?" Wrex asked.

In seconds, Brock was covered in the black symbiote that increased his size and muscle mass, leaving the fanged visage of Venom.

"... You don't look so tough."

"TR-8R and I will join you," Phasma said.

"I guess I can help in some way," Mae said, sheepishly scooting over. "Maybe if someone throws stuff, I can use my bat?"

"Who am I to say no to a little murder?" Hidan cricked his neck, removing his scythe.

"K.O. could use a hand when they get in there, so I guess I'll help out, too," Enid said.

Without a word, Kazuya Mishima joined the group. Wash kept his eyes on him but the Devil Fist didn't care to meet his gaze.

More roster members stepped forward; Rad, Botamo, Magetta, Hiro Hamada, Alyx Vance, the Lightspeed Rescue Rangers, and so on. Just about everyone had eventually gone over to Dornan's side, many out of care for their boss, others for more self-serving reasons.

Whatever the case, Dornan didn't complain. "Thank you, all of you. SARA, follow Orcelot Rex's signal."

"Already locked on course," SARA said with a nod.

"Let battle be joined, huh?" Kagura cheekily asked.

Dornan looked over his shoulder. "Oh, this is more than battle, Kagura. We're going to give Orcelot Rex a war."


RESULTS

FINAL FRONTIER SERIES MATCH: Doomfist pinned Mercury Black, following the Meteor Strike.

SINGLES MATCH: Urdnot Wrex pinned Hidan after landing I Am Krogan.

SINGLES MATCH: Kakuzu pinned Garrus Vakarian, following the Earth Grudge Fear.

MATRIARCH TOURNAMENT MATCH: Enid pinned Mae after landing the Counter Crunch.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES RANKINGS

Kazuya Mishima - 60 points

Agent Washington - 49 points

Doomfist - 28 points

Darkstar - 28 points

Blinx the Time Sweeper - 21 points

John Shepard - 14 points

Carter Grayson - 10 points

Mercury Black - 7 points


CAPITAL PUNISHMENT CARD

FINAL FRONTIER SEMI-FINALS MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Darkstar

FINAL FRONTIER SEMI-FINALS MATCH

Kazuya Mishima vs. Doomfist

TABLES, LADDERS, AND CHAIRS MATCH FOR THE DYNAMIC DUOS CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Akatsuki (Hidan & Kakuzu) vs. The Normandy Warriors (Garrus & Wrex)

2-OUT-OF-3 FALLS MATCH FOR THE MATRIARCH CHAMPIONSHIP

Captain Phasma vs. Enid

IRONMAN MATCH FOR THE FINAL FRONTIER CHAMPIONSHIP

TBD

Chapter Text

Dornan stood alone on the bridge of the Vindication, staring out the window into space. His arms were folded behind his back, his hands gripped into fists. He hadn't moved his gaze off the starship just a few miles away. When they'd found it, it was but a speck in the void. Now, it was large enough that Dornan could almost reach out and crush it with his bare hands. He'd been waiting for this moment.

"Dornan?" SARA asked, her avatar flickering into view beside him.

The sergeant didn't turn his head to look at her, but acknowledged her presence, asking, "Is he still there?"

"He is," SARA confirmed with a nod. "His tracking signature allows me to home in on his location in the event he got lost. But his signal's weak. I fear he won't last much longer. We'll have to act fast."

Dornan finally turned, striding past SARA and toward the elevator.

"Then let's prepare the boarding party. We're going to storm that son of a bitch's cruiser and make enough noise for the infiltration team to slip in undetected and extract TOM."

"I will notify the roster immediately," SARA said as she fluttered to meet Dornan at the elevator. "Are you sure you want to personally partake in the attack? It could get dicey down there."

"Damn straight," Dornan simply replied as the doors slid shut.


The roster had been preparing for the past few hours since the tenth episode went off air. John Shepard and the Normandy Warriors gravitated to one another out of camaraderie, the Lightspeed Rescue Rangers had morphed and prepared their best weapons for the job, Doomguy was packing his full arsenal, and others prepared their gear for the coming attack.

Soldier: 76 slid biotic field capsules into his pocket slots, then checked his ammunition. Everything was in order, and ready to go. The aging soldier looked over his shoulder to see Agent Washington skimming over his own weapons, examining his rifles closely. Quietly, he joined the freelancer's side.

"Anxious?" was all Soldier asked.

Wash gazed down the scope of his rifle. "What makes you say that?"

"Because there's nothing wrong with the rifle."

That statement got Wash to lower the gun and face him.

"Well, maybe a little. Just got a lot going on right now."

Soldier tilted his head. "I'm guessing it doesn't pertain to this?"

"Oh, I can run into a firefight any day," Wash said as he rested the rifle on the table. "It's who I'm running into it with that's got me shifty. I've got bad experiences with untrustworthy teammates, and going into a fight with a bunch of people I don't know is where I'm anxious. No offense."

"I don't blame you," Soldier said. "I'm not much of a people person myself."

"Can't be by yourself all the time, either," Wash pulled out his pistol and checked the mag to make sure it was full. "You can be one of the best soldiers in the world, and still lose if you don't have anyone to watch your back. Believe me when I say, I know people like that."

"Maybe," Soldier said quietly. "I thought I knew my old team well enough. But sometimes, trust backfires."

"You, too, huh? Guess we both have shit luck."

"Attention," SARA's voiced echoed through the Vindication's intercom system. "All volunteers, report to the hangar bay immediately for boarding."

The two operatives exchanged knowing looks. They would be walking into the fire once again, but their burden was somewhat alleviated by the presence of like-minded colleagues. Both gathered their weapons and departed for the hangar.

"Alright, here's the plan," Jet said. "Dornan will stir the hornet's nest, allowing us to slip in, get TOM, and get out before Jerks-a-lot Rex even knows what hit him."

"And we smash whoever gets in our way!" Storm proudly declared, slamming a fist into his palm.

"Remember that we're not going in to fight, Storm," Wave called out from the cockpit. "We've got to be quick."

"Speed is my middle name," Shard boasted proudly. "I was made to contend with Sonic once, and I haven't lost my touch."

"And if he does get in our way, we can always give him the old one-two to keep him occupied while you guys grab the boss," Tangle said with a smirk.

K.O. anxiously raised his hand like he was in a classroom. "Oh, oh! Can I be the one to rescue TOM?"

"Oh, no you don't!" Jet said with a frown. "We volunteered first! This is our mission, our rescue! If anyone's going to be rescuing him and reaping the benefits of airtime next season, it's going to be us!"

"Yeah!" Storm parroted, crossing his arms.

Shard stood from his eat and placed himself between K.O. and the Rogues to mediate. "Hey now, we're all on the same side here. It doesn't matter who rescues TOM, so long as the job gets done."

"Alright, boys, buckle up," Wave said. "I just received word from SARA that Dornan's about to board. Make sure you're ready."

Jet leaned back in his seat, resting his hands behind his head. "Wave, we're always ready."


Another fist collided with TOM's visor, spraying sparks across the floor. His head slumped against his chest as his vision faded in and out of fits of static like a television with poor reception. A large hand grabbed TOM by his dented head and roughly raised his face to meet the glare of his captor. The hate-filled gaze of the mechanical cephalopod-like creature sitting atop a new, muscular body also had a gleam of pleasure in the torture he was inflicting.

"Don't tell me you're spent already after a mere few weeks," he mocked. "Because the indignity I've suffered is nowhere near repaid!"

TOM was in no condition to get mouthy, but he himself wasn't sure what possessed him to reply, "Then I guess we're in for a long night, because I don't think anyone comes back from getting beat with a fork."

He received another blow for that comment, this time to his abdomen, shaking the chains that coiled around his torso to keep him aloft. A grunt was forced from his voice box as he could feel his chassis crumpling under the physical trauma.

"Were you an organic, I'd have torn out your tongue first," Orcelot Rex said with a growling undertone.

The hissing of mechanical doors parting drew Orcelot's attention away from his prisoner. A duo of green colored robots scuttled into the cell on four spider-like limbs. Atop the insectoid legs, sat a humanoid torso with their left arms possessing four clawed digits; their right arms were equipped with weapons, one possessing a chainsaw and the other a flamethrower.

"What is it?" Orcelot asked, annoyance dripping with every word.

"We have detected an incoming vessel," said the chainsaw-wielding droid.

"They are fast approaching," added the flamethrower-wielding droid. "It is likely they are poised to attack."

Orcelot Rex said nothing at first, but it was evident from the narrowing of his eyes that this was an unwelcome development. He turned to refocus his gaze on TOM, but he did not divert his attention from his lieutenants' report.

"Prepare the welcoming party," he finally said. "If TOM's friends want to save him so badly, they can share his fate."


Sparks poured from the main access port as the metal was eroded from the other side. Multiple red-colored sentry robots took up positions on both sides of the hallway, leveling their arm-mounted blasters at the door, with a few blue-colored droids bringing up the center of the hall, prepared to greet the invaders head-on with their arm-mounted chainsaws.

"We have our orders," said one of the melee droids. "No one gets through. Shoot to kill."

The sparks slowly drew a red outline around the door, stopping at the ground before fading. The droids readied themselves. Something stirred on the other side of the door. Then, came a voice.

"Wind Style: Pressure Damage!"

The door was propelled through the hallway by a furious tempest of wind, crushing the melee drones in its immediate vicinity, and the ranged troopers were blown away and completely torn apart by the unrelenting pressure, leaving the hallway clear.

"Now! Move in!" Dornan ordered. Shepard, Wrex, and Garrus took point, flanked by the Enclave soldiers.

Dornan addressed the rest of the roster, "Split into groups and draw them out. We have to buy the infiltration team as much time as possible! You have your assignments, now go!"

Everyone broke off into multiple cells that took a different hallway as they traversed the main hall.

"We've got incoming hostiles," Shepard said, pointing at a horde of approaching melee drones. "Take them out!"

Shepard fired a volley of assault rifle rounds that shredded the first incoming wave, overheating his weapon. Garrus' sniper rifle cracked, shredding through multiple targets at once before they could close the distance. Wrex fired his shotgun, blowing one robot's torso clean off its spindly spider legs, which scuttled forward a few feet before collapsing. The Krogan roared as he smashed another with his forearm, then crushed a third against the wall.

"Vakarian, I've got three already!" Wrex called out.

"You're getting slow," Garrus teased. "I'm on thirteen."

Wrex paused, before batting his fist to crush a droid attempting to sneak up on him, then simply said, "You're going down, Turian."

"WOO HOO!" Hidan cheered with glee as he leapt over Wrex, landing on a drone to cut it in half with his scythe. He rushed down the corridor, cutting down every robot he came across.

"All units, target that scythe-toting maniac!" called a drone before Hidan relieved it of its head. Several melee droids rushed Hidan, attempting to overwhelm him with sheer numbers, but with each rotation of the missing-nin's scythe, another robot fell into pieces on the ground.

Kakuzu pushed past the Normandy crew, with Wind Mask breaking off from his back.

"Okay, that's just disgusting." Garrus dryly remarked.

Ignoring them, Kakuzu made a motion with his hands.

"Wind Style!"

Shepard's eyes widened. "Kakuzu, what are you doing?! Hidan is still down there!"

"Pressure Damage!"

"Kakuzu, wait!" Shepard tried to stop him, but it was too late.

Another gust of powerful winds shredded the mob of sentry robots, clearing the hall once again and leaving behind a screen of smoke. Everyone silently stared at the damage, then all eyes fell on Kakuzu. Wrex was the first to lay into Kakuzu's lack of care for his partner's seeming demise.

"What the hell were you thinking?!" Wrex angrily yelled.

"Did you just kill your own partner?!" Garrus asked, a bit taken back.

"I wish," Kakuzu muttered.

Hidan walked through the smoke, his clothes looking a bit shredded but he was largely unscathed.

"I dunno why you're all so concerned about me, but I'm touched!" Hidan said with a mocking smile.

The Normandy Warriors exchanged baffled expressions. That attack looked like it wiped Hidan out of existence, yet he just walked away from it without any lasting damage. The Akatsuki continued forward, but noticed they were the only ones walking and stopped.

"What are you gawking at?" Kakuzu asked, plainly.

"Yeah, the fighting's this way," Hidan said, pointing down the hall. "Come on, we don't have all day!"

The immortal duo continued down the corridor.

"I really don't like those two," Wrex muttered with annoyance.

"I can't name many who would, Wrex," said Garrus.

"Come on," Shepard said, adjusting his rifle. "We don't want to get left behind."


Enid flipped over a barrage of blaster fire, landing behind three ranged drones. With one kick, she knocked all of their heads clean off their shoulders. Rad caught all the heads with his telekinetic beam.

"Heads up!" he called out as he hurled the heads over to Mae, who whacked each one like baseballs, each one striking another droid in the chest, destroying them.

"Strike three, you're all out!" Mae said.

"FN-2199," Phasma said prompting her ward to step forward. "Search and destroy, do not let any of them escape."

"Yes, captain," TR-8R nodded as he discarded his blaster and shield, then whipped out his stun baton.

With a sick spin, TR-8R leapt into the fray and began to decimate the droids before him. Using sheer brute force, the stormtrooper battered and beat through his foes' defenses, allowing Phasma to pick off the ranged enemies with her blaster rifle. TR-8R beheaded one drone, then utterly annihilated the chest of another. When a few ranged drones attempted to fire upon him, TR-8R spun his riot baton in the same vein as a helicopter blade, which deflected the blaster bolts back at them, taking them out.

Phasma blew apart one ranged droid, then spun around to slammed the back of her rifle into an approaching melee drone, then blew its face apart. Whipping out her side arm, Phasma quickly made a series of quick headshots that took out more robots, then fired in conjunction with her regular blaster.

As one melee drone attempting to pounce on Phasma from the ceiling, it was intercepted by a ball of flame, reducing it to pieces. Phasma looked over her shoulder to see Enid with her leg outstretched, a wisp of smoke dripping from her toes.

"You're welcome?" Enid said, at least expecting some form of thanks.

Phasma just huffed, then fired a shot at Enid. She flinched, only to realize the bolt had zoomed over her shoulder, striking another drone that attempted to seize her.

"You're welcome," Phasma said, matter of factly as she brushed past Enid.

"What the heck?! You could have hit me!"

Phasma stopped. "But I didn't. Your point?"

"My point?! A heads up would have been nice!"

"A second is all it takes to lose your head," Phasma said, pointing the disabled robot's chainsaw arm. "You let your guard down. I shouldn't have needed to save you. But what can I expect from someone who spends their shift napping in some cubby hole?"

Enid blinked, then clenched her fists at Phasma's gall.

"Excuse me?! I just saved your life first! I shouldn't have needed to do that if you're so damn perfect!"

Phasma ignored her visible anger, and continued, "I can handle myself fine. You merely did me a favor, then let down your guard. I didn't. If you don't shape up, you know what will happen? All of your friends will die." The captain roughly shoved her finger into Enid's chest to emphasize her final point. "And you'll be the first to go."

Phasma brushed past Enid and continued down the hall after TR-8R. Enid growled through gritted teeth, feeling a strong temptation to kick Phasma's head off.

"Uh, are you okay?" Mae asked, joining Enid's side.

"Don't worry about her," Rad said. "Enid always keeps her cool."

While the words may have been to mask, albeit thinly, the clear frustration brewing, Enid just pinched her nose and inhaled to calm down.

"Yeah, let's just go."


Jevil was busy shanking an already destroyed melee robot without a care in the world. When another attempted to execute him from behind, Jevil whipped around and decapitated it with his scythe in one swift motion.

Doomfist uppercutted one drone into the air, then grabbed it by the neck to chokeslam it into one of its comrades. He charged up his fist, then propelled himself through a horde of the machines before imbedding it in the wall. The Talon leader ripped his spiked knuckles from the wall, leaving a demolished robot's torso to slump to the ground.

Venom lashed out multiple tendrils that tore off the arm-mounted guns of several ranged machines, then leapt into the fray, crushing two under his feet. He seized one of the drones by their spider legs, then proceeded to use it as a makeshift weapon, batting away multiple charging drones, reducing its body to just the legs. Venom tore off each limb, then threw it like a knife, impaling a few ranged drones, before using the final to stab a melee drone through the head. Venom let out a skyward roar as he stood above a mound of dismantled robot corpses.

Tracer zipped to and fro, blasting several droids at short-range with her twin pistols, then blinking to the next before they could react, which left a trail of robot heaps. Several ranged droids fired upon the Time Jumper, prompting her to make good use of her blink ability to close the distance, then reappear behind them.

"Got a present for ya!" she said, planting her Pulse Bomb one of the machine's shoulders, then winking before recalling.

The other drones backed away… then started running away in an attempt to outrun the blast.

"What? No! No! Get it off me! Get it off!" cried the poor drone as it chased its companions, until an explosion destroyed the entire group.

Darkstar walked down his own corridor at a casual pace, his hands outstretched and rapid-firing magic blasts that mowed down any and all who attempted to take him. If he could take on the Highbreed, he was powerful enough to stand against these machines by himself.

The Foot Clan had provided their own army to assist the roster in the form of their Origami Ninjas. Although they were fragile and popped into confetti with one blast or swiped, they were good at absorbing damage for the Brute to get into position to take them out, and the Ninjas were capable of tossing the machines a beating themselves when they were able to close the distance. But the Brute was more or less all the Clan needed, as he was built like a monster truck, and hit with enough force to destroy entire swaths of their smaller enemies.

Botamo and Auta Magetta undertook a combo approach, their Bota Magetta "fusion". While Botamo acted as a bullet sponge and blocked out any possible insults, Magetta crushed the sentry robots with his large fists, and his size would allow him to simply step on them if he desired.

Doomguy blew apart several machines with his super shotgun, quickly loading and firing in rapid succession. He ran through the droids, his sheer size and velocity flattening all in his path like tin cans. He skidded to a halt, then switched to his plasma rifle, firing a steady stream of projectiles to destroy the ranged droids.

"Shut the doors! Lock down the second level!" said a melee droid as he quickly ushered retreating droids through, then scuttled behind them as the thick blast doors slammed shut and locked with a resounding thud.

Doomguy tilted his head at the door, then holstered his plasma rifle. He unhooked his mother of all weapons, the weapon that would make demons tremble where they stood, the BFG 9000. He didn't need to be precise, he just aimed in the general direction of the door and squeezed the trigger. A green mass of energy was catapulted from the barrel and smashed through the doors, decimating a swath of security robots that were unlucky enough to be in the corridor. The force was enough to send tremors through the entire ship.


Agent Washington and Soldier: 76 pressed their backs against the walls as they exchanged fire with ranged droids on the other side of the corridor. The ship violently shuddered, nearly knocking the two off their feet.

"What the hell? Did you feel that?" Wash asked.

"Yeah," Soldier replied as he blasted a few hostiles trying to move in. "May have been one of our guys getting a bit excessive. You got a smoke grenade?"

Wash tossed one up and down in his hand with a nod.

"Toss it."

The freelancer pulled the pin and rolled it down the hall, where it landed at their enemies' feet. Smoke sprayed from the canister, obscuring their vision. Soldier stepped out from cover and tapped the side of his Tactical Visor. He could see the outlines of his targets, then fired several short bursts of his Pulse Rifle, and one by one, their enemies stopped returning fire.

"Nice," Wash commented.

"Child's play," Soldier said. "Takes me back to the King's Row uprising."

The duo overheard a commotion down the hall and raised their weapons for whatever would greet them.

"Run away," screamed a frightened melee robot as it tried to flee from an unseen enemy, only for a severed leg to be thrown through its chest, resulting in an explosion.

Kazuya Mishima walked into view, dusting off his suit, before casually flicking a loose strand of circuitry from his shoulder. He noticed Wash and Soldier's presence, then smirked.

"Took you two long enough," he said.

"We got a little sidetracked," Wash replied dismissively.

"I sure hope not, because it doesn't reflect well on your ability to stay focused on the task at hand."

"Then maybe you should move along," Soldier said, moving past the two. "We're wasting time with banter, and I'd rather not stay here any longer than we need to."

Kazuya hummed as he followed Soldier's lead. "See, Washington? Your friend knows what's important. You could take a page or two from his book."

Wash wasn't in the best of moods to engage in an argument with Kazuya at this time, but he was doing a good job at prodding him. But that needed to be saved for later. For now, he would have to put up with him… though, that's easier said than done, given his luck.


Wave the Swallow leaned back in her seat as she received an update from SARA.

"They're in," she said. "Sit tight, because once we're inside, we're going straight for the holding cells."

"How do we know where he's being held?" Shard asked.

"SARA uploaded a detailed scanned the ship's interior. I'll get us as close as we can, but we'd better move fast. Taking us down now," Wave descended the VertiBird onto the side of the ship, then locked down the transport. She stood from her seat to look at the team. "And by the way, you'll be needing these."

Wave gestured to a storage container sitting on the side of the passenger compartment. Jet opened the lid to find several breathing masks for space survival.

"Alright, let's suit up!"


Orcelot Rex's lieutenants ushered forward the remainder of their troops to meet the attackers head-on. As they watched their red and blue-shaded brethren disappear into the dark confines of the ship, they could hear the fighting going on around them in various sections and corridors.

The chainsaw lieutenant's internal comm buzzed as Orcelot Rex's voice came through.

"Report."

"Our forces have engaged the attackers," said the chainsaw lieutenant. "But I fear their abilities far surpass than what our troops can handle. I predict the invaders will be upon us shortly."

"Let me explain how this works, you are supposed to take them out! Not the other way around!"

"We are security droids," the flamethrower droid said. "We were meant to battle space pirates, thieves, or criminals, not a throng of angry wrestlers."

"I don't care if you have to fight one or a hundred, just get those pests off my ship! No one leaves with my prisoner!" Orcelot Rex said, sternly as he shut off the comm on an angry note.

The head droids shook their heads, exasperated.

"We're not getting paid enough for this," the flamethrower lieutenant muttered.

The pair then heard the sounds of rustling echo above them. A bright orange circle was drawn into the ceiling with plasma cutters, then popped an opening to allow entry.

A green Mobian hawk zoomed through on his extreme gear, levitating above the lieutenants.

"Mind if we drop in?! Storm!"

"I hear ya, Jet!" Storm happily said, whizzing past Jet on his own gear, then leapt off to body slam onto the chainsaw guard.

The flamethrower guard readied his weapon and sprayed a blaze stream of fire, only for his weapon to find itself caught by a prehensile tail.

"Gotcha!" Tangle said, gripping her tail tight. "He's all yours, guys!"

"It'll be our pleasure," said Shard as he flew I with K.O. on his back.

Shard fired his arm cannon, which severed the drone's flamethrower arm. Shard dive bombed toward the lieutenant as it staggered back, clutching its stump.

"Have at him, kiddo!"

K.O. leapt off Shard's back to collide his fist with the lieutenant's head, knocking it across the room.

Storm was busy pounding the chainsaw robot with both fists, denting its chassis with every blow. The green robot was able to land a punch of its own to knock Storm back, then slashed at him with its saw.

The second robot had regained its footing in time grab K.O. in its claws, and slammed him into the floor. It reared back its spider-like limbs and brought them down in an attempt to impale the boy, but was knocked over by Jet on his extreme gear. Wave followed suit, rushing towards the chainsaw-toting drone and striking it from behind.

The drone was sent flying towards Storm, who delivered a fierce uppercut that sent its head into the ceiling. Storm hoisted the headless body over his head and threw it toward the armless lieutenant, crushing it like a tin can.

"Anymore?! Come on!" Storm roared as he happily raised his arms in victory.

Shard grabbed K.O. by the hand and helped him up.

"Everyone alright?"

"Nary a scratch," Tangle replied.

"Alright, that was fun," Jet said. "Is this the detention block?"

"Looks like it," Wave said, sarcastically pointing to the sign that read "DETENTION BLOCK".

Jet looked at the sign, then back at the frowning Wave. "What? It was a heated moment."

Wave rolled her eyes, then went to the control panel. She removed the panel, and started fiddling with the web of wires.

"This may take a minute, so…"

Storm smashed his fist through the door and ripped it off its hinges, throwing it to the ground.

"Got it!"

Wave blinked, then pinched her beak. "That works, too, I guess."

Dornan's voice crackled through Wave's communicator.

"Wave, this is Dornan. Are you inside?"

"Yeah, we're in the detention block now."

"Good, we're finishing off these last few drones, then we'll make our way to your position."

Wave nodded. "Sounds good. We'll keep you updated if we run into anything."

Orcelot Rex slammed his fist into the arm of his chair in a bout of frustration.

"Useless machines," he snarled. The space pirate input a command into the console and a holographic image crackled into view.

"Something the matter, Orcelot Rex?" Black Hat asked, almost expectantly.

Orcelot pointed at the hologram with an accusatory finger. "Do not toy with me, Black Hat! My troops are worthless junk! Where is your agent? They should have been here already!"

"Oh, exhibit a little patience and faith," Black Hat said, absently adjusting the cufflinks on his suit. "They will be there, I assure you. They'll take very good care of you."

Orcelot's eyes narrowed with suspicion. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Obviously, if you can't handle a few measly wrestlers on your own, then perhaps our agent should handle the problem for you. Though, it would be… quite a shame if word got out that the mighty Orcelot Rex cowered behind a lackey."

"You dare to imply cowardice on my part?!"

"I never said that," Black Hat replied with a quaint smile. "Take it as… a suggestion. If someone were to come knocking down my door, I'd make sure they got a proper welcome, if you catch my drift?"

"But your agent," Orcelot started.

"Will be there to lend a hand should you require it," Black Hat finished. "But someone as powerful as yourself shouldn't need it. I'm confident you can emerge victorious. There's a small team headed to the detention block now. You should take care of that."

Orcelot's eyes widened. "What?! How did they slip past?! I would have detected them!"

"Apparently, you underestimated them."

Orcelot growled, then hung up the call.

"Fine," he declared. "If they want to free their beloved boss, they're going to have to go through me!"

Black Hat's smile did not leave him, even as the raging image of Orcelot Rex fizzled from view. He straightened the collar of his suit, then looked to the Horned King.

"Is she in position?"

The lich nodded with a smile. "All she needs is the word."

"I believe Orcelot Rex is about to fulfill his usefulness. Unfortunately, this is where his place in our plan ends. He will become a loose end… tell her to tie it up."


Dornan spoke in the open channel of his communicator, "What's everyone's status?"

"We're clearing the subdecks," Shepard replied. "We should be on our way up shortly."

"Engine room is under control," said Phasma.

"The middecks are clear, we're making our way to you now," Soldier reported.

"Uh, we kind of have a problem here," said Danny.

Dornan sighed. "What?"

"I think we pissed them off, 'cause there's a whole fuck load of these guys coming at us now!"

"What's your position?"

"Uhh, the cafeteria, I think?"

Dornan had to do a double take. "What strategic importance does a cafeteria hold?!"

"It's got food, dammit! No way we're taking this place on an empty stomach!" Danny yelled. "Hey Michael, you'd better not be camping!"

"I'm not camping!" Michael retorted… sitting underneath a makeshift tent with a sniper rifle, then took a shot at the charging robots down the hall. He then chowed down a donut, before unloading another round.

Dornan had to pause to absorb this. "Sit tight, I'm sending some help your way now. Soldier, get your group to the bridge and help those two idiots. I'm going for the detention block. I think the infiltration team may be in some trouble."

Soldier shut off the channel, then addressed his group.

"We're going to the bridge next. Let's move."

The team began to move out, but Soldier stopped when his tactical visor picked up movement down the hall. He glanced to his right, noticing a spry shadow sprinting across the corridor, before disappearing into the vents. He tilted his head in confusion, almost tempted to investigate.

"Soldier," Wash said, bringing his attention back to his group, which was already moving ahead. "Something wrong?"

Soldier looked to the corridor again. "I thought I saw something."

"Saw what?"

"Looked like a shadow. I can't tell if it was friendly or one of those robots," Soldier stopped, then shook his head. "Nevermind, let's just go. Those two idiots need a hand."

The team started to move out again, though Soldier was looking over his shoulder, knowing that he saw something... and it left a foreboding feeling of unease.

Orcelot Rex stormed down the main corridor of the detention block, clenching his fists in barely restrained rage. He wasn't going to let the roster take his prisoner. He'd waited for too long, just to be foiled like this. He'd kill TOM now and deny them the opportunity if he had to. It wasn't the vengeance he planned but he was going to have to settle for this.

However, someone was waiting for him at the entrance of TOM's cell. It was a thin, monstrous-looking female with a mask that bore bright red eyes. The most distinguishing feature was the bladed pinwheel on her back.

Orcelot recognized her immediately and his rage simmered somewhat.

"Ah, you must be Black Hat and Horned King's agent, Painwheel."

The young woman said nothing, but nodded once.

"It's about time you showed up," Orcelot said, moving past Painwheel to input the commands to unlock the cell door. "These security droids are worthless, and the roster is going to be swarming the detention block any minute now. I best kill TOM while I still can and deny them their precious boss."

Painwheel turned to face Orcelot Rex's back, her eyes moving to his exposed head. The space pirate didn't suspect anything. Slowly, Painwheel procured a sharpened blade from her arm, taking careful aim for Orcelot Rex's head… one thrust was all she needed.


Wave looked back and forth as the infiltration team traversed the detention block, passing by multiple cells, each one eerily empty.

"For a prison ship, this guy's short on prisoners," Shard remarked.

"So, Wave, which cell is TOM in, exactly?" K.O. asked, tapping his chin.

"It should be around the corner, and straight ahead," said Wave.

The team rounded the corner and all were stopped in their tracks. At the end of the corridor, was the lifeless body of Orcelot Rex, a large spike impaling him through the head.

"What the?!" Jet squawked in shock. "Is that him?!"

"I… I think so!" Wave blinked. "But who the heck could have done this? We were the only ones meant to be here!"

The infiltration team heard the hiss of a cell door, and saw the form of Painwheel emerge, TOM slumped against her body as she assisted him.

"Who's that?" K.O. asked, curiously.

"Your guess is as good as mine," Shard shrugged.

"Hey, she's got TOM!" Tangle pointed out.

Jet remained silent. He stared at Painwheel for a long moment… then clenched his fists. He started grinding his teeth, his beak quivering as it slowly fell into a frown.

"What?" was all he managed to ask at first. "What?! What… What the hell are you…?! NO! NOOOO! NO!"

Jet shoved his way past the group, then started approaching Painwheel, putting himself in her path.

"HEY! LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU!"

Painwheel stopped but did not say a word.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?! HOW DID YOU GET HERE?! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! THIS WAS SUPPOSED OUR MOMENT, DAMMIT! OUR RESCUE!"

TOM weakly raised his head to look at Jet.

"What's going on…? Jet…?"

"NOW YOU HOLD ON A MINUTE," Jet said, shushing TOM, before looking back at Painwheel. "HOW DARE YOU?! WE WENT THROUGH ALL OF THIS, JUST FOR YOU TO SWEEP IN UNDER OUR NOSES AND DO OUR JOB FOR US?! NO! I WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS!"

Jet picked up a hunk of metal, then went over to the corpse of Orcelot Rex.

"GET UP! GET YOUR ASS UP! IF YOU'RE ALIVE, YOU'D BETTER GET UP RIGHT NOW SO I CAN BEAT YOU MYSELF! IF YOU'RE ALIVE, GET UP RIGHT NOW!" That last exclamation was less of a demand and more of a plea, some last-ditch bargaining to finally fulfill his end of the deal… of course, the space pirate did not rise.

Jet threw the metal rod at Orcelot's body, screaming, "DAMMIT, MAN! JUST DAMMIT ALL!"

"TOM, you're alright!" K.O. said, just happy to see him in working order. "We all came to help you!"

"I appreciate that, K.O," TOM replied, ruffling K.O.'s hair with his remaining arm. "But Painwheel here took care of Rex for us. I don't know what exactly has got Jet so worked up, but Dornan will get me up to speed later… for now, why don't we get out of this death trap?"

Storm was sadly patting Jet on back in a vain effort to comfort the green hawk as he pounded his fists on the floor in outrage.

"THIS ISN'T FAIR!" Jet cried.

Wave just pried at her hair, completely frustrated and not feeling in the best of moods, now that Painwheel just did their job for them. She wasn't going to forget this.

"Huh, how convenient you got here first, Painwheel," said Shard.

"Guess she's quicker than we thought," Tangle added

"Yeah," Wave muttered, glaring at Painwheel in her peripheral vision. "I'll bet."


"And then we went after you," Dornan said, concluding the tale of bringing TOM up to speed on everything that transpired in his absence.

TOM sheepishly rubbed the back of his head as his damages were tended to by Hiro Hamada. "Wow, I… didn't think I missed so much. Time flies by when you're captive, huh?" A small spark shot from TOM's elbow, prompting a startled grunt.

"Sorry," Hiro said with a wince.

"It was a long three weeks. What happened back there?" SARA asked.

TOM sighed. "From what Orcelot Rex told me, he's been preparing to strike back at me for a while now. He must have called in some favors to receive a new body, then paid off someone to take down the security grid so he could break in and take me without having to wade through security and the roster."

"Then that would mean someone was working with Rex," Dornan growled. "He probably offered a shiny coin, and someone here sold you out. Whoever the rat is, I'll find them and have their ass for dinner!"

"That would explain some of the strange occurrences," SARA said. "Orcelot Rex was the mastermind behind this whole thing just to get back at you."

TOM nodded. "Yeah, and I don't think we'll be seeing him anymore, thanks to you."

"Really, we owe the roster our thanks," Dornan said, gesturing to the gathered wrestlers around them. "Without their help, we might not have been able to get you out of there. That goes especially for the volunteers."

TOM looked over at the roster, addressing them, "Thank you, all of you. This is far above what any of you signed on for. This is a debt I really can't repay enough."

"Actually, there is one way you could repay some of them," Dornan conceded.

The Babylon Rogues perked up at this.

"Jet and his crew would like a little exposure next season. It's the least they deserve after all that effort."

TOM flashed a thumbs up. "I think we can arrange that."

"YES!" Jet cheered. "SEASON 2, HERE WE COME!"

"Oh, yeah!" bellowed Storm. "Babylon Rogues for Dynamic Duos champions!"

"Gonna have to get through us first, big bird," Hidan said, sticking out his tongue.

"Don't count your blessings," Garrus said.

"What do you know? I guess things worked out fine after all." Wave said, looking over at Painwheel, who was crouched on the floor, listening intently.

"It's so good to have you back, TOM," SARA cheerfully greeted her longtime friend and co host.

"Glad to be back, SARA, and I'll be even better when I get some proper repairs," TOM said, holding his abdomen. "But first, we should all get some much needed rest. We still have a show to do on Coruscant, after all."

"We're still relatively on schedule," Dornan said. "That means, everyone is to head to their quarters immediately!"

"What about Painwheel, TOM?" SARA asked.

TOM looked over at the quiet, masked girl. "She helped save my life. I think we can work something out with her."

Wave hummed at that comment, eyeing Painwheel with suspicion at the convenience of her arrival. But she decided to shelf the issue for now. After all, she and her team had managed to acquire their airtime, so it wasn't a total loss.

"Roster, dismissed!"


Black Hat and the Horned King sat across from one another, the wicked business tycoon drinking from a wine glass and the undead necromancer sipping from a cauldron in quiet celebration of their successful venture.

"Your agent performed well," said Black Hat.

A low chuckle rumbled from the Horned King's throat. "You flatter me. This was far too easy for Painwheel to accomplish."

"Orcelot Rex was a short-sighted fool, blinded by revenge. Still, he served his purpose, allowing us to slip our fingers around their throats even further."

The Horned King raised his cauldron. "For now, we turn our attention to Capital Punishment."

Black Hat met the cauldron with his wine glass. "To our grand ambitions."

Chapter Text

OPENING

[Elevated!

El, Elevate me to the sky!

Waoh!

We're so elevated!

Elevated!

El, Elevated me to the sky!

Waoh!

We're so elevated!]

"Elevated" by It Lives, It Breathes pulses through the speakers as various pyrotechnics go off like thunder to signify the start of the show, sparking the attending Coruscant audience to erupt with anxious cheers. The seats were packed to the brim with various species from across the galaxy, ranging from space faring humans to alien races like Rodians, Duros, and Zabraks.

"Good evening viewers, ladies and gentlemen of all ages and species! Welcome to Final Frontier Federation's first Pay-Per-View event, Capital Punishment!" Johnny Gomez proudly said as the cameras cut to the announce table. "Coming to you live from the planet Coruscant, I'm Johnny Gomez!"

"And I'm Nick Diamond!" Nick said. "Boy do we have an event in store for you tonight! Five matches to crown our first champions!"

"To start, the Final Frontier series decides its final competitors in a four-man single elimination Tournament. The determined freelancer, Agent Washington does battle with the relentless Talon leader, Doomfist. After that, we have a battle of ruthless aggression between the undefeated Kazuya Mishima and the cunning Darkstar. The winners of these opening bouts will then compete in the main event, a 30-minute Iron Man Match for the Final Frontier championship!" said Johnny.

"But before the main event, Captain Phasma takes on Enid in a 2-out-of-3 falls match for the Matriarch championship! And after that, we have a chaotic Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the Dynamic Duos championships between the Zombie Duo of the Akatsuki, Hidan and Kakuzu, and the Normandy Warriors, Garrus Vakarian and Urdnot Wrex!" Nick added.

"We've a lot to get through this evening, so without further ado, let the show begin!"


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES SEMI-FINALS MATCH

Kazuya Mishima vs. Doomfist

The King of Devil Fist, Kazuya Mishima, was sitting comfortably on top of the leaderboards for the Final Frontier series with 67 points. He was, for all intents and purposes, the MVP of the competition, no doubt helped by his veterancy. His prize, the Final Frontier championship, was just within reach. However, in his way, was the leader of Talon, Doomfist, whose own middling record of 28 points placed him comfortably in third place with Darkstar. Doomfist had power but wasn't as comfortable in the ring his Kazuya, a flaw he'd been working to rectify in the final stages of the tournament. Now that he was in the semi-finals, he was ready to make his name known to the galaxy at large, and make a comeback by defeating the indomitable Kazuya.

Once the bell rang, Kazuya expected Doomfist to come charging out of the gate, where he would use his own momentum against the brute. But Doomfist opted not for fast aggression, rather a more calculated approach. He came out to grapple with the martial arts master and scope out his openings. Kazuya's veterancy in grappling gave him the early advantage, transitioning into headlocks and arm bars. However, Doomfist was no brute. He was also cunning and tactical. Kazuya may have the immediate upper hand when it came to pure grapples but that allowed Doomfist to get close enough to use his strength to its fullest. When Kazuya would bring him in for a headlock, Doomfist countered with a Suplex. He was tough enough to brave an arm bar, and yanked Kazuya into a clothesline. Once he had Kazuya down on the man, Doomfist got to work by seizing the legs and trying for a swing, though Kazuya's quick-thinking allowed him to grab the ropes and kick Doomfist away.

Physically speaking, Kazuya wasn't as big as the gauntlet-toting terrorist, and he soon realized that grappling with Doomfist head-on was only going allowing him to leverage his strength. So Kazuya changed tactics, opting instead for a more brawler-oriented style. Engaging Doomfist in old fashioned fisticuffs proved to be an effective move on Kazuya's part, as he moved with lightning speed, unleashing powerful punches to the face, jaw, and gut. Once Doomfist was adequately dazed, only then did Kazuya go back into grappling, easily dragging his larger opponent over his arm and putting him into a Cross Armbreaker. As Kazuya wrenched the arm, attempting to bend it out of its socket, Doomfist was yelling out in pain-fueled rage. His gauntlet arm still free, Doomfist smashed it into the mat, then started to roll towards Kazuya, slowly climbing back to his feet and taking Kazuya up with him, where he would lay out Mishima with a makeshift powerbomb.

Doomfist would grab Kazuya by the head, but Kazuya tackled him down and unleashed a flurry of punches straight to the face. Doomfist dislodged him with an uppercut, then grabbed his leg. This time, Kazuya couldn't grab the ropes in time, as Doomfist gave him a very familiar treatment. He would thrash Kazuya around the ring, shaking and shuddering the ring with each slam. Doomfist then hurled Kazuya into the ropes and when he rebounded, caught him for a scooping Sidewalk Slam. The Talon leader drags Kazuya by the hair and threw him into the turnbuckle, following up with a body slam. But that only scored him a near-fall, with Kazuya kicking out just before three.

Exasperated with Kazuya's resistance, he stood behind his opponent, waiting for him to stand and prepping his gauntlet for the Meteor Strike. As Kazuya stood, his head remained lowered. He turned… and Doomfist charge, throwing his fist… only for it to be caught by Kazuya's hand! Kazuya skidded back but remained standing. Raising his head, the audience, the commentators, and referee could see a crimson hue in Kazuya's eyes. Nearly everything he'd worked for had almost been undone in that one moment, and to lose at the hands of someone he'd once dispatched before? Such a concept was infuriating to even consider. But Kazuya was a sporting type, so he would spare Doomfist's dignity by ending it quickly.

Kazuya threw Doomfist's, well, fist back and delivered a shot to the jaw. He followed up with a Stonehead (Single-arm head-clinch headbutt), then grabbed his head and slammed it into his knee before running to the ropes and taking him right down with a Hell Lancer (Flying Side Kick). But as Doomfist fell back, Kazuya caught his arm and yanked him into a European Uppercut, followed by a vicious Spinning Backfist that send the giant tumbling down in a heap. From the blood trickling from Doomfist's mouth, the head shots had done their damage. He hauled Doomfist to his feet and laid him back out with a Devil Twister (Twisting Brainbuster) for the three-count.

As Kazuya's arm was raised, the red hue in his eyes dissipated. He'd achieved his goal and was headed to the finals where he would face his destiny. Kazuya leaned over the ropes, pointing to the camera as he said, "Let this be an omen to he who faces me! When you go to war with the Devil, you will fall like the angels!"

Kazuya motioned for the belt around his waist as he stood over the fallen Doomfist.


FINAL FRONTIER SERIES SEMI-FINALS MATCH

Agent Washington vs. Darkstar

With 49 points to his name, Agent Washington had more than earned his keep in second place of the Final Frontier series. With the semi-finals posing his final obstacles, Wash was poised to overcome his opposition, Darkstar, in order to secure his place in the main event, where he knew Kazuya Mishima would be waiting for him. Darkstar, on the other hand, shared third place with the recently eliminated Doomfist and was dead set on not being bumped off like the Talon leader. Not when he was so close. Though Wash defeated him once before, it only fueled his desire to snatch the final spot for himself.

The match opened with Wash coming out for a lockup, but Darkstar merely slipped outside the ring to avoid the freelancer. Wash was quite obviously irritated with this, but Darkstar merely remarked that the match would get underway when he was ready. Of course, Wash didn't have any intention of waiting and slid under the ropes after him, prompting Darkstar to avoid Wash yet again by sliding back into the ring. Wash slides right back after in, only to get jumped by Darkstar before he fully stand. Darkstar was dead set on being in the finals, and he was going to use any dirty trick he could think of to put himself over the freelancer. Wash was a versatile wrestler, but he couldn't match up to Darkstar's tougher, hard-hitting style, and his willingness to be a little underhanded also worked against him, and led to him initially being thrown for a loop and knocked around.

Wash was, however, faster and much more versatile. Rather than engage with Darkstar in a knock-out, drag-out fight, he instead opted to tap into the technical side by employing reversals, such as arm drags or arm bars followed by an elbow to the joints. As Darkstar recoiled in pain, Wash would go on the offensive, employing his own brawler style from his accumulated years of combat experience. Darkstar wasn't on Wash's level of brawling and thus ejected himself from the ring when back into the ropes. But Wash was sure to be faster this time by jumping over the top rope, onto the apron, and running to take down Darkstar with a flying Superman punch.

But outside the ring was where Darkstar's brutality was on full display. Despite Wash initially holding the upper hand over him, he made sure to keep Wash outside for as long as he could, using Jawbreaker to stagger the freelancers, then tossing him into the steel steps with an Irish whip. He would relentlessly slam Wash's head against the apron and throw him into the steel post, and finally Big Boot his skull against the steps. With Wash seemingly out, Darkstar threw him back into the ring and went for a pin, but Wash was able to kick out. Darkstar was stunned, completely flabbergasted by the freelancer's unwillingness to just lie down and eat the pin.

He glared down at Wash through his helmet and struck an idea. If Wash didn't want to go down, then he'll just have to make sure he stays down. Darkstar went outside the ring and withdrew a steel chair. Mills Lane saw this immediately and yelled for Darkstar to drop it but the metahuman disregarded his warning, even when threatened with disqualification.

"Disqualify me and you have no main event," he said. "Which would be very disappointing for all the fine people who paid to be here."

F3 was already trying to find its footing and the fact Darkstar was holding the main event over their heads was nothing short of despicable on his part. But Mills Lane was fully ready to disqualify him on principle, until the chair was yanked from his hands by John Shepard! Shepard leapt off the apron as Darkstar lunged for him, backing up the ramp. As Darkstar cursed the N7 operative, he failed to realize Wash had recovered and was leveled with the Epsilon Drive, which awarded Wash the pinfall, allowing him to move on to the finals. As Wash's arm was raised, he and Shepard shared a brief glance. No words needed to be shared, as he was clearly thankful for the timely intervention. But Shepard left Wash with a simple request to repay the favor.

"Kick his ass."

Wash nodded, a done deal he would happily uphold. One step closer to the Final Frontier championship, but Wash's final obstacle would be the man he's been gunning for all season: Kazuya Mishima. With the final players set, the main event of Capital Punishment was shaping up to be a true spectacle, and Wash intended to bring Kazuya's warpath to an end.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT

For once, Enid wasn't cooped up in the crawlspace, rather in the locker room, getting in some last minute warmup stretches on her leg to prepare for her upcoming match. It was her first big title shot in F3, after all, so she may as well take it with a modicum of seriousness.

"Enid!"

Looking over her shoulder, Enid was greeted by the beaming smile of K.O., who was being looked after by Rad. After the Akatsuki affair, he was keeping an extra close eye on the kid now.

"What's up, you two?"

"We heard your match was up next, so we wanted to wish you luck and let you know that you've got our support!" K.O. warmly said.

"It was mostly my idea," Rad added.

"I'll be it was, Rad," Enid teased. "But I appreciate it."

"How do you feel?" K.O. asked.

Enid scratched the back of her head. "To be honest, I don't know, really. I guess I'm not used to competing on a big stage like this with such high stakes."

"So long as you go out there and give it your all, I know you'll do great!" K.O. encouraged, flashing a thumbs up.

Enid ruffled the boy's hair with a light smile. "Thanks, K.O. I'll be sure to land a few hits for you, maybe come back with a belt and let you hold it for a while."

K.O.'s eyes nearly exploded into stars.

"You'd really let me hold it?!"

"I don't think it could hurt," Enid chuckled.

There was a loud, audible slurping that drew everyone's attention off-camera. The shot panned slightly to reveal Mae Borowski was drinking from a Nuka-Cola bottle through a straw. She slurped loudly until nothing but air filled her mouth.

"Are you quite finished?" Enid asked.

Mae paused… then slurped one more time before removing the straw from her mouth.

"Yeah. I'm done."

Rad's eyebrow shot up. "Who's this?"

"Oh, right. I don't think I've ever introduced you. Guys, this is Mae. Mae, these are my friends, K.O. and Rad."

"Aww, it's a cat!" K.O. fawned, moving to pet her notched ear.

Mae blinked and held out her hand to stop K.O. from getting close.

"Please don't touch me."

"Sorry," K.O. muffled from beneath her hand.

"You come to wish me luck, too?" Enid asked, resting her hand on her hip.

"What gave it away?"

Enid rolled her eyes. "Well, my match is next, K.O. and Rad just came to do the same, and you and I have been on pretty okay terms, so it's an educated guess on my part."

Mae blinked. "Oh. Right. Yeah, I wanted to say, best of luck out there. Kick chrome dome once for me."

"I think I'll kick her enough times for everyone in the stadium," Enid said with a wink as she rested her hands behind her head. "Well, I'm off for my match. Thanks for the luck, guys. Mae, try not to scratch anyone."

As Enid went off-camera, Mae was left to stand there awkwardly with K.O. and Rad.

"So," Rad trailed off. "You've been hanging with Enid, huh?"

"Yep," Mae said.

"For weeks?"

"Mhm."

"How's that been?"

"Pretty okay, I guess."

K.O. piped in. "You've really big eyes!"

"Yeah, I've noticed," Mae replied through narrowed her narrowed, oversized eyes… as her pupils only grew to nearly encompass her entire sclera.

Rad blinked. "Freaky…"


TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS MATCH FOR THE MATRIARCH CHAMPIONSHIP

Captain Phasma vs. Enid

We return to the ring where Mills Lane is standing in the center of the mat, brandishing the Matriarch championship for all to see. The bell rings to signal the beginning of the next bout as Yes-Man speaks into the microphone, "Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is a two out of three falls match for the Matriarch Championship!"

The orchestra riffs of "Imperial March" by John Williams begin to play throughout the stadium, heralding the arrival of its first competitor.

"Introducing first, she is the commander of the First Order Stormtrooper Corps, Captain Phasma!" Yes-Man announced.

A retinue of six First Order Stormtroopers emerge from the gorilla position, splitting into two groups of three on each side as they descended the ramp. Captain Phasma herself comes on stage, accompanied by FN-2199, or as pop culture knows him, TR-8R. Phasma's upright, confident posture indicated she was focused and certain of her goal. She traversed the ramp, passing by each row of Stormtroopers, her presence cueing them to stand at attention.

"Captain Phasma, chief of security of the Vindication, has established herself as one of, if not the most dominant competitor in the Matriarchs tournament," said Nick.

"Phasma debuted in the ring, defeating yellow Lightspeed Rescue Ranger Kelsey Winslow in the first round, then went on to plow through Tracer in the second, before cementing her place in the finals by forcing Enid to submit with a Texas Cloverleaf, which she's taken to calling, Submit for Stun," said Johnny. "Phasma's ring prowess thus far remains unmatched."

Phasma climbed the steps and entered the ring where she locked her eyes with the Matriarch championship belt in Mills Lane's grasp. Phasma waited in the corner, her head slowly turning to the ramp, silently waiting for her opponent's arrival.

"Phasma's a woman on a mission, and her prize is in sight and within reach, but she must first overcome one, final opponent," said Johnny.

[I'm alive, a revolution, lies inside.

I'm alive, no longer, will this hate, divide and I'll stand.

I will fight, just to survive, I won't be denied, I'm a warrior, inside.]

"Warrior Inside" by Leader plays as Enid arrives to the crowd before her. For the briefest of moments, she wore the expression of someone who wasn't sure how to feel, whether she could play to the rows of spectators trained on her. She took a breath and headed down the ramp, trying to play it cool.

"And her opponent, from Lakewood Plaza Turbo, we have the authority behind the counter, the ninja of mystic arts, Enid!" Yes-Man announced in his ever-enthusiastic tone.

"Enid's had her ups and downs since signing on with Final Frontier," said Johnny. "She got off to a rocky start with Mae Borowski, which forced her to face Lady Deathstrike in Borowski's place. Though she went on to defeat Deathstrike, Enid didn't forget what Mae did, and returned the favor the very next week."

"And just when things started to look up, the Akatsuki injured her young friend K.O. in a horrific display in the second round of the Dynamic Duos tournament, but with a little help from Mae of all people, Enid was able to rebound and defeat Demencia in the second round." said Nick. "But that stroke of luck seemingly ran out when Enid was forced to submit to Phasma, forcing her to wrestle Mae in the loser's bracket, which she was able to win and earn another shot at the championship."

"Enid and Phasma have a bit of bad blood brewing between them," Johnny noted. "Phasma is a woman of discipline and protocole, while Enid is very laid-back and doesn't hold protocole very high on her list of priorities. But if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that Phasma has no respect for those she deems to be slackers, and she got that point across by prodding Enid for her inaction during the Akatsuki's assault on her friend, something that no doubt stings even now."

"But Enid has a chance to get back at Phasma, and if she can pick up the victory tonight, it will be one heck of a finale to her journey," Nick added.

Enid stood in the corner, gripping the ropes as she glared and fumed at Phasma. The Stormtrooper captain removed her cape, handing it off to TR-8R.

"Leave us," Phasma ordered.

TR-8R nodded and motioned for the rest of the troopers to take their leave alongside him, and they ascended the ramp to ensure matters were settled between Phasma and Enid alone.

"The die has been cast," Nick said with a hint of grandeur. "The Final Frontier's first Matriarch champion will be decided right here, right now!"

"Laying it a little heavy there, aren't you, Nick?" Johnny asked with a noticeable sweatdrop.

Mills Lane raises the belt for all to see, then addresses the competitors, "Listen up, I don't want any tricks or bullshit. I want a good, clean fight and a show for the audience. Let's get it on!"

The bell rings, and Phasma goes for a grapple but Enid ducks and slips behind Phasma's defenses, grabbing her by the waist. Knowing the danger, Phasma backs into the corner, sandwiching Enid against the turnbuckle. Phasma elbows Enid several times in the head, forcing her to relinquish her grip on the waist, then starts to unleash a flurry of quick punches to Enid. Phasma backs up to the center of the ring, then rushes Enid to clothesline her, but Enid grabs the ropes and repels Phasma with a well-timed rope-assisted double dropkick that sends the Stormtrooper commander back. Thinking fast, Enid jumps onto the top rope and launches herself at Phasma, connecting with a Hurricanrana.

"Nice counter by Enid, again falling back on her lower body to most of the leg work," said Johnny. "See what I did there, Nick?"

"Leave the comedic beats to me, Johnny, because you're just embarrassing yourself," Nick groaned as he buried his face behind a hand.

Enid kips up to her feet and puts Phasma into a side headlock. Phasma grabs hold of Enid in turn and uses her impressive physique to lift Enid off her feet, but the counter clerk used that momentum to backflip out of Phasma's grip, landing behind her. Phasma whirls around into Superkick by Enid that sends her down! Enid is quick to hook the leg and Mills counts; 1, 2, Phasma kicks out with authority!

"Enid was looking to get the first pinfall, but Phasma denies her early on," said Nick.

"Keep in mind, ladies and gentlemen, they need two pins to win this match, so every attempt needs to count," Johnny added.

Enid stands up and circles behind Phasma to grab her shoulders. She leaps upward and digs both knees into Phasma's spine, then falls back, bringing Phasma down for a Backstabber! Phasma rolls to the outside of the ring, doubling over from the sharp pain coursing up her spine. Enid eyed Phasma from the ring. She jumps onto the turnbuckle and jumps toward Phasma… only to be snatched out of the air by Phasma, who lays her out with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker! Whatever pain Phasma was feeling could not have compared to what Enid was going through, evident by her coughing and wheezing on the floor from the wind being knocked out of her.

"And Enid just got RACKED on Phasma's knee with a Tilt-a-whirl Backbreaker!" Nick said. "What a reversal! Just snatched her out of the air!"

"Phasma's style may not be as flashy or athletic as Enid's but she's got a good eye for openings, as well as power behind her." said Johnny.

Phasma pulls Enid up by her hair and slams her face against the apron. Enid collapsed to her knees, holding her face and trying to regain her breathing faculties, still suffering from the backbreaker. Phasma doesn't allow her reprieve, snatching her by the hair again and throwing her back into the ring. Phasma slides in after her and lifts her for an uppercut that knocks Enid into the ropes, where she slumps against them. Phasma pulls Enid away and throws her into the ropes again; Enid comes back this time and Phasma puts her down with a Pop-Up Powerslam! Phasma covers; 1, 2, Enid manages to get the shoulder up!

"Another near-fall, but again no dice," Johnny said with a shake of his head.

Phasma glares down at Enid, then pulls her up by the hair. Using both hands, she flings Enid into the corner, sending the ninja crashing into the turnbuckle. She bounces off, right into a Discus Clothesline by Phasma. Phasma grabs Enid's legs, preparing to lock in Submit for Stun, but Enid is quick to grab the ropes before the hold can be fully applied. Phasma is forced to opt out of the submission at Mills' behest, instead stomping on the back of Enid's head, forcing her throat against the ropes. Mills starts counting against Phasma as she applies more pressure to Enid's neck for several seconds, before finally letting up. Enid massages her throat in the midst of a coughing fit, but Phasma wasn't finished with her. Hauling Enid to her feet, Phasma grabs her waist and puts her over with a German Suplex. Phasma turns, still maintaining her hold on Enid to land another German Suplex! Phasma still doesn't release the hold, bringing Enid up with her… she pulls Enid to the ropes, eyeing the outside of the ring.

"Wait, what is Phasma doing?" Johnny asked… then realization set in. "Oh… OH NO…"

"Phasma's got an idea! She's taking Enid for a ride!" Nick yelled.

With one more display of power, Phasma German Suplexes Enid OVER THE TOP ROPE… BUT ENID BACKFLIPS AND LANDS ON HER FEET! THE CROWD POPS AS ENID REMAINS STANDING!

"PHASMA JUST SENT ENID OVER THE TOP ROPE, BUT WAIT! ENID LANDED! SHE STUCK IT!" Johnny called out in amazement.

"DID SHE JUST PULL A BLINX?! SHE PULLED A BLINX!" Nick yelled. "THOSE MUSCLE LEGS OF HERS MUST MAKE HER A CONE OR SOMETHING!"

Phasma almost did a double take of sheer bewilderment. She'd expected Enid to be sprawled on the floor, dead to rights. Yet there she was, on her feet and well… and she could see the tiniest of smirks appearing on the counter clerk's face.

"Look at that, even Phasma's a bit taken back!" Nick said.

Enid starts climbing the ropes and Phasma charges at her, but ducks an attempted forearm smash, retaliating with a quick to the head, knocking Phasma back. Enid jumps onto the top rope and leaps at Phasma, going for a Hurricanrana, but Phasma is able to hang on to the legs! Enid thinks fast and wraps her legs around Phasma's neck and twists her body like a corkscrew to take down Phasma!

"A reversal of a reversal!" Nick yelled.

"Enid showing off stunning wit and athleticism by taking Phasma down with a corkscrew!"

Phasma's crawling on all fours, thrown for a loop as she clutches the ropes to stabilize herself. Enid backs up and rushes Phasma, and the Stormtrooper commander leapfrog over Phasma, landing on the other side! Phasma catches herself on the ropes, and turns to catch a Superkick to the chest by Enid! Phasma drops to the mat, and Enid scales the turnbuckle. She looks over her shoulder, then backflips into a Shooting Star Press on Phasma! Enid hooks both legs for a cover; 1, 2, Phasma kicks out AGAIN!

"Oh, so close!" Johnny called out, holding the sides of his head.

"But close isn't a pinfall, sadly," Nick said.

Enid pinched the brim of her nose, exhaling sharply in clear frustration. It was obvious that she was confident this would have been enough to score a pinfall. She picks up Phasma and goes to throw her into the ropes, but Phasma roots her feet to the mat. Using her own strength, Phasma hurls Enid into the ropes instead. Enid rebounds, ducking a big boot by Phasma and slingshotting off the ropes on the other side, but Phasma catches her with in an Irish Whip onto the knee!

"The tables have turned back in Phasma's favor as she appears to be seizing on whatever opening she can, to leverage her strength," said Johnny.

"Enid's back is going to be awfully sore before this match is over," said Nick.

Phasma digs her knee into Enid's back and pulls back on her chin for a modified Camel Clutch, which only further accentuates the pain. Enid yells out as she claws at Phasma's hands, even trying to throwing punches up at Phasma, but they lack enough force to deter the hold. After a few seconds, Phasma concludes she's not getting anywhere and drops Enid, opting for a change in tactics. She drags Enid up by her hair and lifts her vertically. Phasma drops Enid's legs along the ropes, then spikes her with a rope-assisted DDT!

"DDT! That's gotta be it this time!" Nick said.

Phasma is quick to turn Enid over for another cover as Mills counts; 1, 2, 3!

"And Phasma scores the first pinfall over Enid!" Johnny says.

"And this was just the first one! Phasma's still got one more pin to go, while Enid's going to have to bust everything just to catch up," Nick added.

PHASMA - 1 | ENID - 0

Phasma rises to one knee and takes a moment to catch her breath, while Enid is panting on the mat as she begins coming to. Phasma drags Enid to her feet and throws her into the corner. Phasma then chops Enid in her chest, making her double over. Phasma roughly grabs Enid again and lays her out with a Running Facebuster! Phasma rolls Enid over and hooks the leg; 1, 2, Enid kicks out with defiance!

"Phasma's rapid succession pin doesn't pan out as Enid manages to retain enough consciousness to kick out," Johnny said.

Phasma snaps her head at Mills, who asserts that it a two count. Shaking her head, she pulls Enid up and sticks her head between her legs. She hoists Enid onto her shoulders and runs to the ropes, proceeding to throw her back first onto the turnbuckle!

"OOH!" Johnny winced. "That's GOTTA hurt!"

"Enid's back damn near EXPLODED off the turnbuckle!" Nick shouted. "Phasma again shows off her already extensive power!"

Enid lays on the mat in a heap, coughing and instinctively holding her back. Phasma drags her to the center of the ring and starts to apply the Submit For Stun, but partway through, Enid is able to fight back and kick Phasma away with both feet! Enid kips up, wiping her forehead and spots Phasma running toward her, but Enid is able to trip her so that she gets tangled in the middle rope! Enid runs to the ropes and kicks Phasma with a Tiger Feint, knocking her to the center of the ring. Enid takes a breath, watching Phasma climb to all-fours… before she jumps off the top rope and lands a Double Dropkick to the face of Phasma, sending her into the corner where she slides into a seated position!

"Enid just gave Phasma a double dropkick to the FACE!" Nick exclaimed.

"Enid's strength lies in those legs, and the more momentum they have, the more power she can output," said Johnny.

With Phasma incapacitated in the corner, Enid takes the opportunity to move and land another Double Dropkick to Phasma's face, crushing her skull against the turnbuckle! Phasma rolls out of the ring, where she collapses onto the floor outside. Enid goes through the ropes, standing on the apron, and having full view of Phasma below her. As Phasma begins to stand, Enid runs across the apron and jumps for a Crossbody, but Phasma catches her at the last second and SPINS HER INTO A POWERBOMB ON THE FLOOR!"

"SWEET MOTHER OF JESUS!" Johnny cried out. "PHASMA'S TAKEN ENID DOWN WITH A POWERBOMB!"

"FROM THE LOOKS OF IT, SHE'S DOWN AND OUT!" Nick screamed.

Enid is moving her head slightly in a daze but is otherwise motionless on the floor. Phasma drags her up to slide her back into the ring. She climbs in and puts Enid on her shoulders in a Fireman's Carry. She spins Enid and spikes her with a Cutter! Phasma covers; 1, 2, Enid just BARELY gets the shoulder up RIGHT before three!

"AND THREE-WHAT?!" Nick gasped. "SHE KICKED OUT?!"

"SHE DID, NICK! SHE'S STILL ALIVE!" Johnny shouted.

Phasma glares at Enid… and actually slams her fist into the mat out of frustration. This girl just wouldn't stay down! By this point, Phasma aims to bring the match to a close and drags Enid up, preparing for the Star Destroyer.

"Phasma's looking to end it all now!" Johnny said. "We could be looking at a Star Destroyer!"

Phasma prepares to lift Enid off her feet, but Enid starts elbowing Phasma in the head to prevent her from being lifted. Enid follows with several elbow shots to the gut and Phasma bends over. Enid runs to the ropes and jumps off to kick Phasma with a Flying Corkscrew to the head! Phasma drops like a bag of hammers! Both wrestlers are left panting on the mat as the fans are just eating up the show.

"And Enid not only escapes but takes Phasma down with a Flying Corkscrew!" Johnny yelled.

"Wait, hold up, Johnny," said Nick. "I think something's up with Phasma!"

Phasma was beginning to get to all fours… but as she raised her head, the camera spotted her visor was cracked! Tiny shards trickled from the helmet and onto the mat as Phasma's helmet had been damaged!

"We're seeing some battle damage on Phasma! Looks like all those shits to the face finally took their toll! If that broke her visor, then she's gotta be feeling that kick!" Johnny called out.

Enid was getting to her feet with the aid of the ropes while Phasma shot Enid one of the coldest glares she'd ever projected. Even through the web of cracks permeating her visor, the degrees of burning anger were not lost on the commentators, the fans, or Enid for that matter. Enid actually cracked a smile at the sight of Phasma's wavering stoicism.

"How's that for a slacker?"

"You…" Phasma snarled, her fists balling up in quiet fury.

Enid and Phasma rose to their feet at the same time, the former enjoying taking her opponent down a peg and the latter burning with rancor at the indignity just inflicted upon her. In a sense, Phasma's image came through her special armor, and to damage it was to tarnish the indomitable reputation she'd crafted over the tournament.

Phasma went for Enid, but ate a Roundhouse Kick, which sent her through the middle rope and outside the ring. Enid ran to the ropes to gain momentum, then ran to the other side, leaping over the top to land a Hurricanrana on Phasma, her legs throwing the Stormtrooper commander into the steel steps!

"Enid's going full high-flying mode tonight! Did you see how she just threw Phasma into those steel steps!" Nick yelled.

"I think Enid's found her style, and the audience is loving it!" Johnny pointed to the cheering and applauding fans.

As Phasma was writhing on the floor, Enid started to stand, her hair bun having come undone, which now left her pink hair in a matted mess. But she could hear the fans around her, enjoying the match and the work put in. For the most part, had Enid treated her previous matches as part of a job. But this time? There was an odd feeling that came with this. But she was liking it.

Phasma was starting to climb to her feet, bracing herself against the apron. Enid grabbed her by the back and threw her into the ring. She climbed the ropes, eyeing Phasma as tried to stand once more… only to collapse to all fours. Her body just wasn't working with her right now. A lightbulb went off in Enid's head as she realized the opportunity. She looked to the crowd, then at Phasma… and she tightly gripped the top rope.

"Oh, what is Enid thinking?" Johnny asked with anticipation.

"Nothing good for Phasma, but very good for the audience!" Nick said.

Enid vaults off the top rope to execute a HIGH-FLYING COUNTER CRUNCH TO PHASMA AS THE AUDIENCE ERUPTS! Enid hooks the legs tight; 1, 2, 3!

"COUNTER CRUNCH LAYS OUT PHASMA!" Johnny yelled. "AND ENID SCORES THE SECOND FALL OF THE MATCH!"

"HIGH-FLYING RISK, HIGH REWARD! ENID'S SERVES PHASMA A COUNTER CRUNCH! BRAVO!" Nick cheered.

PHASMA - 1 | ENID - 1

Enid rolls off of Phasma as the crowd cheers her on. Phasma is holding her head, writhing in quiet pain. Enid stands up and circles behind Phasma where she stomps her foot, waiting for her opponent to stand. As Phasma slowly erects to full height, Enid's foot is tapping with the crowd hanging onto every second. As Phasma turns, Enid goes for a Superkick… which is caught by Phasma! Phasma shoves Enid back and goes for a clothesline, which Enid ducks, slipping behind Phasma again in the process and going for the ropes. She ricocheted off the top, but Phasma catches her with a Cutter!

"Both women pulling out all the stops! One pinfall left to the Matriarch championship, and both women are vying for the prize!" Johnny announced.

"And it looks like Phasma's ready to finish it!" Nick pointed out, because Phasma was hooking the legs!

Phasma pins; 1, 2, Enid kicks gets the shoulder up! Phasma sits up, holding her head as a whirlwind of emotions raged inside her, none of them pleasant. She grabs Enid's head and starts assaulting her with multiple punches; nothing flashy but as a means of venting her fury on the one who was giving her so much trouble. Phasma pulls Enid up and throws her to the corner, but Enid is able to use that momentum to run up the turnbuckle and backflip to end up behind Phasma, but when she turns around, Phasma SPEARS her right out of her boots!

"And Phasma SHUTS DOWN Enid's attempt to outmaneuver her with a Spear!" Johnny said.

"Phasma's doing anything she can to put Enid away because the crowd is behind her right now, and I think she's starting to feel the pressure now!" Nick observed.

Phasma tries for a pin; 1, 2, Enid kicks out again! Rather than try for another pinfall, Phasma rolls Enid over and grabs her legs to put her in the Submit For Stun! She finally applies the hold on Enid!

"Submit For Stun is finally locked in! The very same move that Enid tapped out to back in their first match! Is Enid going to tap out here?!" Johnny asked.

"Enid had better muster whatever willpower she has left or history may repeat itself!" Nick said.

Enid cries out as she balls her fists to keep her trembling arms under control. She's reaching out for the nearest rope but it feels so far away, a sentiment further brought up by Phasma contorting her body further, eliciting louder cries of pain!

"Submit, NOW!" Phasma yelled; not a stern demand, but a yell. "I'll break you in half if you don't tap out! You've lost! That belt doesn't belong to a lazy counter clerk like you! You're barely even worthy of this ring! SUBMIT!"

Enid gripped her hair in agony as Phasma continued to browbeat her with demeaning assertions. But beyond Phasma's words, Enid could hear chanting. It was the fans. They were chanting for her, encouraging her to keep going.

"Let's go, Enid, let's go! Let's go, Enid, let's go!"

"Fans are rallying behind Enid, if she can just get a little closer, she can grab the ropes," Johnny said, now on the edge of his seat.

Enid grit her teeth and put one arm in front of the other, slowly inching towards the ropes. Phasma noticed what was transpiring and tried to pull Enid away, but Enid was practically digging her nails into the mat to slow the efforts. And finally, with one more lunge forward, Enid SEIZES the ropes and holds on as if it were her lifeline!

"SHE'S GOT IT! THE ROPE'S IN HER HANDS!" Johnny announced to the amazement of the crowd.

"There won't be a submission this time!" Nick added. "Phasma's gotta put her away, but it looks like she's out of options! Just look at her!"

Mills orders Phasma to release the hold, and the Stormtrooper commander looks over her shoulder, incredulous. She released the hold and just looked… stunned. Phasma was pulling out everything, and Enid was still fighting on. Enid took short, quick breaths as she pulled herself up by the ropes, then turned to face Phasma with a glare.

Phasma and Enid tie up again, but Enid delivers an uppercut, then follows up with a Roundhouse Kick to brings Phasma down to a knee. As Enid runs to the ropes, Phasma tries for another Spear to shut her down, but Phasma leapfrog over her causing Phasma to go through the middle rope and outside the ring, goes to the other ropes to gain momentum, then runs back to Suicide Dive through the middle rope and smash into Phasma! Both women slam into the barricade, and both are laid out!

"Suicide Dive by Enid sends both into the barricade! Both women are down, but Phasma likely took the brunt of it!" Johnny said.

"This is the action these people came to see, everyone putting everything on the table to win gold!" Nick said.

Enid starts to stand, shaking the cobwebs out of her head, while Phasma was still gazing at the stars in her head. Both competitors are looking completely worn out from their prolonged bout, but all it took was getting in the ring, and scoring the last pin. Enid picks up Phasma and throws her head against the apron. Phasma crumples onto the floor, holding her face as it looked like there was a dent scarring the once pristine armor. Enid eyes the announce table and approaches it.

"Wait, Enid's coming this way," Johnny said.

"Mind if I borrow this? Thanks." Enid asked as she climbed on top of the table.

"Oh, Enid's going to fly right before our eyes, Johnny!" Nick said. "Front row seats!"

Enid runs across the table as Phasma stands up, and takes her down with a flying somersault that sends both into the steel steps! Enid is able to roll over the top of the steps, and land on her feet, leaving Phasma slumped against the steps in pain. Enid picks up Phasma and throws her into the ring. She climbs the apron and goes for a Shooting Star Press right on Phasma… but Phasma just barely raises her knees in time! Enid bounces off the knees, rolling to the center of the ring as she clutches her gut in pain.

"And Enid just belly flops onto Phasma's knees!" Johnny said. "Again, Phasma is able to exploit openings and reverse what could have been a match ending finish!"

"This is getting ridiculous! How long can these two go on for?!" Nick asked.

Phasma gets to her feet. She wobbles on the ascent, clearly feeling fatigue but is able to power through it. She lifts Enid onto her shoulders and runs into corner to ram the back of Enid's head into the turnbuckle! She backs up and spins Enid for a Sit-Out Powerbomb! Phasma holds Enid down for the cover; 1, 2, Enid kicks out yet again JUST before three!

"No dice yet again!" Johnny yelled.

"Enid's proving to be a stubborn one to keep down, and Phasma looks like she's going to blow up on Mills!" Nick said.

Indeed, as Nick pointed out, Phasma was getting very fed up with Enid's persistence and started moving on Mills, arguing with his decision. Mills, not one to take lip from anyone, much less Phasma, starts asserting that it was a two count and that she best focus on the match.

While Phasma's temper spiked, Enid was starting to move again. Phasma turned to spot Enid getting up and quickly kicked her in the jaw to send her back down. She then pulled Enid to her feet, but received a punch to the face. Phasma wasn't too fazed, as the punch was rather weak. She retaliated with a fist of her own that knocked Enid to one knee… but Enid came back with her own! Phasma went for another punch, but Enid ducked and went for the ropes, but Phasma was turned the tables by catching her with an Alabama Slam! Phasma stomped on Enid's neck and started to grind her foot into the ninja's windpipe. Enid kicked and struggled as Mills began counting against Phasma. He was ignored until he started reaching 10, at which point Phasma relented.

Phasma pulled Enid up and threw her into the ropes but Enid caught herself but hanging on with her arms. Phasma went for her and Enid lifted her legs to repel her, but Phasma stopped short this time, leaving her to kick the air. Phasma seized Enid by her legs and yanked her away from the ropes. She swung Enid by the legs, tossing her across the ring in a demonstration of power.

"Nice throw, Phasma is taking her time to dismantle Enid, and she seems to have caught on to Enid's own tricks, as well," said Johnny.

Phasma puts Enid into a headlock and lifts her for a Vertical Suplex! But on the way down, Enid reverses into a Spinning DDT that spikes Phasma into the mat!

"And Phasma goes for a Suplex, only for Enid to reverse into a Spinning DDT! This girl's got fire!" Johnny yelled.

Enid stands up, breathing heavily as she looks down at Phasma, who was weakly crawling towards the other side of the ring. There actually appeared to be a sense of urgency in her movement. Phasma may have been panicking. Enid went after Phasma and grabbed her legs to pull away from the ropes, but that was when Phasma suddenly rolled Enid up for a surprise pin! Mills covers and Phasma grabs onto the ropes for extra leverage!

"Phasma rolls up Enid!" Johnny announced. "And she just-WAIT A MINUTE! PHASMA'S HOLDING THE ROPES!"

"SHE WAS FLEEING TO THE ROPES SO SHE COULD ROLL HER UP AND LEVERAGE THE ROPES!" Nick yelled, putting the pieces together. "DON'T LET IT END LIKE THIS! THIS IS SHAMEFUL!"

Mills doesn't seen the underhanded move and counts;  1, 2, 3!

PHASMA - 2 | ENID - 1

"OH, SON OF A BITCH…!" Nick shouted, throwing off his headset.

"I don't believe this! Phasma just CHEATED her way to the belt!" Johnny said in shock and disgust.

The audience wasn't pleased, either, as they jeered Phasma's dirty move. The Stormtrooper captain immediately rolled out of the ring and onto the ramp outside as Enid sat up in confusion, then shock as the bell rang.

"Here is your winner and the FIRST Final Frontier Matriarch champion, Captain Phasma!" Yes-Man announced, as per his job… but even beneath that perpetually positive tone, he at best sounded passive aggressive.

"Enid got screwed," Johnny said, shaking his head. Meanwhile, Nick was saying multiple unpleasant terms off-mic that wouldn't be appropriate for broadcast.

Phasma was handed the belt and she looked down at it with a satisfaction behind her helmet. The affirmation of her own place was now in her hands, and she raised it against the booing audience as she backed up the ramp.

Enid held the ropes as she glared up at Phasma, then slapped the mat out of frustration before turning into a seated position to hold her head. All of that work undone in just one pin; a dirty pin at that.

The audience had noticed Enid wasn't in a pleasant mood, either. She actually appeared a little down over it, evidenced by her hanging head and the manner she held her forehead.

Some fans began chanting, "You are awesome!" It started as a few, then others joined in. "You are awesome!" More and more added their voices until the stadium became a collective chant of, "You are awesome!"

Enid looked up at the stadium full of spectators and it dawned on her that they were offering support in the best way they could. She climbed to her feet, looking out into the crowd. That odd feeling she felt earlier came back. She didn't quite understand it at first, not in the heat of the match. But here, now, in an ocean of chanting fans, Enid finally realized it.

It was passion, the passion for the sport, the kind that bring the best out of competitors, that allows them to connect with the fans. And she'd just found hers. Despite the result… Enid managed a thankful smile directed at the audience. Mills Lane even offered her a pat on the shoulder, telling her she did well off mic. He was happy to raise her hand for the audience.

"Look at that," Johnny said as he noticed the audience's support. "Phasma may have won the belt, but Enid certainly won the fans."

"I'm back," Nick said with a sigh as he recovered his headset. "Sorry about that, folks. I try not to get too worked up over this. But whatever happens next, I don't think Enid's going to forget this moment… nor what Phasma did. Here's hoping Enid gets another shot at Phasma soon, because the girl's more than earned it."


TABLES, LADDERS, AND CHAIRS MATCH FOR THE DYNAMIC DUOS CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Akatsuki (Hidan & Kakuzu) vs. Normandy Warriors (Garrus Vakarian & Urdnot Wrex)

We come back to the arena where multiple ladders are stationed around the ring, flanked by perfectly set up tables with chairs resting on top and folded out, neatly tucked under the tables for easy access. But the centerpiece were two belts hanging from a hook several above the center of the arena. Referee Mills Lane was standing in the midst of this prepped warzone, armed with protective padding and a helmet. He was going to need them.

Yes-Man raised the microphone and spoke, "Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for the Dynamic Duos championships! There are no pinfalls, submissions, or count outs. The key to victory is to ascend the ladder and unhook both belts. The first team to do so will be crowned our first ever Dynamic Duos champions!"

The arena darkens as the opening instrumental riff begins playing with little light beyond the flickering lights above the Titantron. The ramp ignites with pyrotechnics as the song's first lyrics erupt throughout the arena.

[LET'S FIGHT!]

Hidan and Kakuzu emerge onstage to "Immortal" by Adema. Kakuzu's stone gaze didn't portray much emotion but the fact that his eyes were locked on the hanging belts spoke for his mindset. Hidan was looking more decorative this evening, covered in what appeared to be makeup that gave him the appearance of a skeleton. He wore a black bandana with a skull decal around his mouth for extra cosmetic. The immortal duo descended the ramp as the bell rang.

[We're face to face

Loyalty is what I need to see from you

You're insecure

I can see the fear that breeds in your heart]

"Introducing first, they are the Zombie Duo of the Akatsuki, Hidan and Kakuzu!"

"The Akatsuki were the first to reach the finals, defeating Foot Clan in the first round, then Lakewood Plaza Turbo in the second. Behind the scenes, however, the Akatsuki came under suspicion regarding the mysterious circumstances surrounding the security room break-in." Johnny recapped.

"Despite the suspicion, there was no evidence to go by beyond pure happenstance," Nick said. "What's more, when the security room was suddenly sabotaged, they were in the locker room, so they couldn't have been the ones behind it."

"Even without the controversy, the Akatsuki have garnered more negative attention after their exceedingly brutal dispatching of K.O. in the second round, something many fans and wrestlers alike gave them flak for."

"Not that they really cared anyway," Nick said with a shake of his head.

"But tonight, it's all about the Akatsuki and their drive to become Final Frontier's first ever Dynamic Duos champions. But is their desire stronger than that of their opponents?"

Hidan and Kakuzu discarded their cloaks as they stood side by side in the ring, facing the ramp in anticipation.

[You think I'll be happy when this all goes away

But nothing here remains

Ask me tomorrow I don't want to leave today

You'll always be the same

Your open hands will turn to fists

You'll turn your back on me

I'll see the truth behind the lies

Wear a thin disguise]

Garrus Vakarian and Urdnot Wrex came onstage, geared for what was to be the hardest match of the season. Both wore their own custom helmets and armor to commemorate the event, with Garrus going with a blue and black scheme and Wrex sporting a maroon palette. They stared down their opponents in the ring, then made their way down the ramp. Wrex pounded his fists together, pumping himself up. Garrus remained low-key but he and Kakuzu had locked eyes behind his helmet.

[You can't

Save me from a world that's so unkind.

You live to save me

Save me from what's wrong inside my mind

Save me!]

"And their opponents, the Archangel Garrus Vakarian and the Krogan Battlemaster Urdnot Wrex, they are the Normandy Warriors!" Yes-Man declared.

"Garrus and Wrex have been on their warpath in the Dynamic Duos tournament, defeating Lightspeed Rescue in the first round, before going on to defeat the Wyverns in the second," said Johnny. "But of all their opposition, none have they prepared for more than the Akatsuki."

"Over the weeks leading up to this match, these two teams having taken shots at one another, until it erupted into a brawl last week that nearly tore the entire bar asunder!" Nick added. "In singles action, Wrex triumphed over Hidan, while Kakuzu defeated Garrus, but that's very different compared to tag-team action, which is where these four all excel."

"And with the belts literally hanging in the balance, who will prove to be the dominant Dynamic Duos? That will be answered right here, right now!" Johnny stated with enthusiasm.

The Normandy Warriors face down the Akatsuki; Garrus is ready to go, Hidan and Wrex are itching to get started, and Kakuzu clenches his fists with a focused expression. Mills Lane steps back to stay out of the crossfire, then motions for the bell.

"Let's get it on!"

The bell rings, and both teams immediately lunged at each other! Hidan starts trading blows with Wrex, and Garrus is grappling with Kakuzu!

"Well they didn't take long to get down to business!" Nick said.

"And we're opening with a knock-out, drag-out brawl between the teams," Johnny said. "Kakuzu is taking it to Garrus, and Wrex is going after Hidan!"

Garrus wrests Kakuzu into a headlock, but Kakuzu uses his power to shove Garrus toward the ropes, and lay him out with a Samoan Drop. Kakuzu picks up Garrus by the back of his armor and throws him to the outside of the ring, while Wrex backs Hidan into a corner and shoulder rams his midsection despite Hidan pummeling his back with rapid fists. Kakuzu went to his partner's aid and hammered the back of Wrex's head with a double axe handle.

"Kakuzu makes sure to take out Garrus early on, so that they can focus down Wrex," Johnny said. "A smart tactical decision on the Akatsuki's part, as Wrex is arguably the strongest man in the ring."

"When it comes to a power dynamic, I'd say Wrex and Kakuzu are pretty even, though Wrex definitely has a size advantage," Nick mused.

Wrex is brought to a knee and the zombie combo continue to beat down on him. With a mighty roar, Wrex throws the Akatsuki back and clotheslines Hidan, then clotheslines Kakuzu!

"And Wrex is quickly establishing dominance over the Akatsuki, taking down one after the other! If this wasn't an indicator of how imperative it is to remove Wrex from the match, then I don't know what is." said Johnny.

"The Akatsuki's greatest strength lies in their teamwork, but I have a feeling Wrex alone could push that to the limit here," Nick added.

Garrus climbs onto the apron and jumps over the top rope to land a springboard leg drop onto Kakuzu! As Kakuzu rolls out of the ring, Wrex lifts Hidan onto his shoulders while Garrus sprints to the turnbuckle, climbs, then runs across the rope to land a front missile dropkick to the face, followed by Wrex slamming him down with a powerbomb!

"Impressive teamwork on display by the Normandy Warriors," said Johnny. "They've taken the early advantage and are now firmly in control of the ring."

"But the Akatsuki now access to all the weapons outside the ring," Nick said, gesturing to the chairs and tables surrounding the ring. "If the Warriors aren't careful, the Akatsuki could swing things into their favor."

The Normandy Warriors regroup in the center of the ring while Kakuzu pulls Hidan out of harm's way. Garrus and Wrex slide outside the ring and move in on the Akatsuki in a pincer attack, coming from each side. Hidan and Kakuzu stand back to back, the religious psychopath staring down Garrus, the venal powerhouse standing against Wrex.

"Garrus and Wrex are closing in on Hidan and Kakuzu in a pincer-style attack," Johnny analyzed. "Very textbook method of attack."

"But it looks like the Akatsuki are changing things up now, with Hidan focusing on Garrus and Kakuzu standing against Wrex," said Nick. "It'll be interesting to see how they fare this time around."

Despite their predicament, the Akatsuki make the first move and meet the Warriors head on! Hidan rushes Garrus, bringing the Turian to the floor with a double leg takedown, then starts to rain fists against his face. Wrex and Kakuzu begin exchanging blows, the Akatsuki Treasurer able to hold his own against the Krogan Battlemaster. Kakuzu uppercuts Wrex into the barricade, then grabs him by the head to hurl him into the steel steps!

"And it appears that changing tactics has worked in the Akatsuki's favor! Kakuzu is not only quicker than Wrex but he can actually take a beating from Wrex and dish it out in equal measure!" Johnny shouted.

"Meanwhile, Garrus and Hidan are roughly equals in terms of speed but Hidan is just too wild and vicious for Garrus to put his skills to good use, and is kept off-guard!" Nick chimed in.

Kakuzu presses the attack by crushing Wrex's skull against the steel with a big boot. Hidan holds Garrus down by the head as he drives his elbow against his helmet's visor with enough force to create a web of cracks. Hidan dragged Garrus to his feet and pulled him over to one of the set tables.

"I hate you, Hidan!" yelled a child fan from the front row seat.

"Jashin hates you, too!" Hidan screamed at the boy before slamming Garrus' face against the surface of the table.

"And it would appear the fans are getting involved in the action themselves," Johnny chuckled.

"Someone may want to watch that kid, because I don't think insulting a documented serial killer like Hidan is a good idea." Nick said, awkwardly tugging the collar of his shirt, before covering his headset microphone to ask, "If he gets killed, are we responsible for that?"

Hidan broke into a fit of laughter as Garrus slid off the table into a dazed heap on the floor. Kakuzu joins Hidan's side in stalking the injured Turian like hungry sharks circling bleeding prey. They surround Garrus, and Kakuzu pulls him to his feet, then uppercuts him in Hidan's direction. As Garrus spins around to face Hidan, the cultist gives him a dropkick to the chest that throws him right back at Kakuzu, who catches him by the waist and takes him down with a suplex! As Garrus tries to stand, Hidan lands a rolling cutter!

"Oh! Ohhh! Ohhhh! Ohhhhhh!" Johnny and Nick cried out in escalating awe.

"Wombo Combo!" Johnny shouted.

"No, that was, like, a Zombie Combo!" Nick corrected. "The Akatsuki's teamwork is nothing if not complementary and in sync!"

The Akatsuki stand over the Turian, then look out into the crowd. They each grab Garrus in a headlock and pull him to his feet. The immortals drag Garrus over to a table and prepare for a double vertical suplex.

"Oh no, they're looking to take Garrus for a ride to splinterville!" Nick called out.

Before they can lift Garrus off his feet, the duo hear a loud war cry. Wrex suddenly charges into the fray, wielding a ladder like a battering ram! The Akatsuki have no time to react as they're run down by the Krogan, forcing them to drop Garrus.

"And like a locomotive from an ASDF movie, Urdnot Wrex makes the save with a ladder!" Johnny exclaimed.

Wrex raised the ladder above his head like a trophy to the cheering crowd, then slammed it on the bodies of the downed ninjas. Wrex went over to Garrus, helping his squadmate stand.

"What took you?" Garrus snarked between breaths.

"I could always have waited until after they put you through a table," Wrex replied in jest.

Garrus glanced at the table the Akatsuki had intended for him, then his mandibles formed a smile. "There's an idea. Wrex, give me a hand."

Wrex pulled the ladder off the ailing Akatsuki and pulled Hidan up by the neck and lifts him onto his shoulders.

"And it looks like Wrex is prepared to send Hidan through the table," Johnny said. "Talk about being hoisted by your own petard."

"Or being plowed through your own grave," Nick said.

"I hope your Jashin's waiting, because you're about to meet him!" Wrex sneered as he put Hidan right through the table, sending splinters in all directions!

"Welcome to splinterville, Hidan!" Nick yelled.

"And the first table has been broken, courtesy of the Normandy Warriors!" Johnny commented.

Wrex beats his chest and bellows for the crowd as they pop at the destruction. Kakuzu was beginning to recover, as well… but Garrus hadn't forgotten about him, as he was waiting on the apron. Once Kakuzu had reached a standing position, Garrus sprinted along the apron and leapt to connect an Archangel Snipe right to the chest, sending Kakuzu over the top of the barricade and into the laps of front row spectators!

"Ew, go back to Konohagakure," jeered a random fan dressed in a Naruto get-up.

"I'm from Takigakure, idiot," Kakuzu growled through gritted teeth.

"And true to a marksman, Garrus takes out Kakuzu with a well-aimed Running Single Leg Dropkick," said Johnny. "Both Akatsuki members have been dispatched."

"Meaning the Normandy Warriors' path to the belts is clear," Nick said, pointing up to the dangling Dynamic Duos titles.

Wrex grabs the ladder and hurls it over the top rope, back into the ring.

"You go for the belts," he told Garrus. "I've got these two."

Garrus nodded and slid into the ring, where he began setting up the ladder. Wrex, meanwhile, was making sure the Akatsuki stayed down. He spotted Hidan grabbing onto the barricade in an effort to stand up, and went to town on the fanatic's head, unleashing fist after fist. He bench lifts Hidan over his head, preparing to drop him face first onto the barricade… until Kakuzu makes the sudden save with a spear that sends him through the barricade and into the timekeeper!

"And Kakuzu from out of nowhere!" Johnny cried. "Wrex has been run through the barricade, demolishing the timekeeper for the second time this season!"

"Except this time, Wrex is the one being plowed through it!" Nick shouted, highlighting the irony.

Kakuzu pulls himself from the wreckage of the timekeeper's zone while Hidan holds the back of his neck and looks up to spot Garrus already nearing the top of the ladder, the belts almost in reach.

"Kakuzu, circle around!" Hidan shouted.

Thinking fast, the Akatsuki split up, with Kakuzu running to the opposite end of the ring, and Hidan assailing the apron, and launching himself off the top rope to knock the ladder over with a Front Missile Dropkick! Garrus' eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he plummeted to the floor below, where Kakuzu is waiting! Kakuzu catches Garrus on his way down and racks him onto the barricade with a Spinebuster! Kakuzu dragged Garrus off the barricade and clutched his waist, signaling for Hidan.

"Uh-oh, are we about to see another team attack from the Akatsuki?" asked Johnny.

"I think we are, Johnny," Nick said in anticipation. "And Garrus is about to bear the brunt of it yet again!"

Seeing Garrus' current predicament, Hidan realized the ample opportunity presented before him, made clear by the maniacal grin stretching across his face. He raised his arm, as if addressing the heavens, "Lord Jashin, watch as your devout servant lays this heathen to waste!"

Hidan ran to the ropes and leapt to execute a springboard clothesline / German suplex combo with Kakuzu! Garrus was taken to Hell and back with that team move, nearly folding into himself under the pressure.

"Beautiful! Look at the way they timed that combo!" Johnny said.

"Play that back!" Nick told the crew backstage. A replay was, indeed, shown on the Titantron, showing the perfect timing of the German suplex just as Hidan's springboard clothesline connected. "Oh, wow. Garrus is gonna be wearing a neck brace for at least a week."

With the Warriors neutralized, the Akatsuki retrieve another ladder and went about setting it up in the middle of the ring. Kakuzu began the ascent while Hidan patrolled the ring, keeping guard. As Kakuzu came within arm's reach of the belts, the ring violently jerked to one side. Hidan stumbled but grabbed onto the ropes, while Mills Lane braced himself against the turnbuckle.

"What the hell?!" Hidan screamed.

"What the hell is right, did the ring just shake?" Nick asked.

"Yeah, I saw it, too!" Johnny confirmed. "Get a camera down there to find out what's going on!"

"Hey, wait a minute! Wait a minute!" Nick shouted, tugging at Johnny's sleeve. "Look at the side of the ring!"

Urdnot Wrex was at ringside, clutching the bottom of the ring itself! With another jerk, the ring shudders with instability!

"It's Urdnot Wrex!" Johnny yelled, holding the sides of his head in astonishment. "He's tilting the very ring itself to keep the Akatsuki from snatching the belts!"

"He's going to flip the entire ring over if he keeps this up! Don't destroy the ring! We don't have the funding to purchase another one!" Nick pleaded.

Mills Lane immediately books it out of there to safety. The ladder Kakuzu is on begins to teeter back and forth!

With a punctual roar of power, Wrex tilts the entire ring, causing the ladder to start falling out of the belt's reach!

"Timber!" Nick screamed as he tackled Johnny to the deck, narrowly avoiding the ladder as it crashes onto the announce table.

Hidan is tumbles outside through the middle rope, relatively unharmed. Kakuzu, however, is forced to jump at the last second to try to take out Wrex, but the Krogan spots him, drops the ring back into place, and catches the missing-nin out of the air! Wrex props Kakuzu onto his shoulders, then runs toward the announce table where he proceeds to deliver a High-Angle Running Powerbomb right onto the ladder, causing the entire announce table to cave in!

Johnny scoots against the barricade, clinging to his headset as he continues coverage, "Sweet Jesus! The announce table has been completely destroyed, just decimated!"

"This match has devolved into absolute chaos! Total anarchy, and the crowd's eating it up!" Nick exclaimed, looking around the stadium as it erupted into a chorus chant.

"Holy shit! Holy shit! Holy shit!"

Wrex pumps his fists, earning a pop from the rabid audience. He turns around to receive a chair shot by Hidan! But Wrex stays standing, his naturally thick skull allowing him to absorb the blow with little issue.

Johnny stifled a laugh. "Krogan skulls are ideal for absorbing chair shots, I guess."

"Balls Mahoney wants his number," Nick remarked.

"Oh, that's some bullshit," Hidan muttered with a scowl.

Hidan raises the chair for another blow but Wrex tackles his waist and rams his back into the steel post! Wrex keeps hold of Hidan, bodying the fanatic by throwing him to the floor. Hidan mutters curses as he crawls away from the Krogan, glaring at the wreckage of the announce table.

"How typical of you, Kakuzu, laying around with your thumb up your ass! Get up and do something!"

Though writhing, Kakuzu shot a glare at his partner, clearly having no patience for his lip. "Shut the fuck up, Hidan."

Wrex grabs Hidan by his hair and pulls him towards the steel steps. He rears Hidan back to slam his face against the metal but Hidan shoots an elbow to knock Wrex back. Hidan grabs the entire staircase and chucks it at Wrex, striking him in the head! Hidan pulls Wrex into a headlock for a Snap DDT right onto the steps, crumpling it like an empty soda can! Hidan sits up and shoots a spiteful spit at Wrex.

"That's what you get! That's you fucking get, bitch!"

As Hidan prepares to enter the ring, he's taken down by a Helicopter Enzugiri from Garrus! Hidan goes stiff as a board before falling onto the apron, then the floor.

"And here comes Garrus, back again with a vengeance!" Nick said.

"With everyone else down, Garrus is the last one standing! He just has to ascend the ladder and retrieve the belts!" Johnny pointed out.

"But can he?" Nick asked. "He's looking pretty banged up."

Garrus holds the back of his head and neck, still in pain from the relentless combo attacks inflicted on him earlier. He was naturally more fragile than Wrex, and he was beginning to feel the pressure. Garrus sets about preparing a ladder, wanting to end this match here and now. As he makes ascent, Kakuzu has crawled out of the remains of the announce table, and was now back to his feet, bracing himself against another ladder. Garrus looks out to see Kakuzu and sighs in irritation. He wasn't going to make any headway with Wrex down and one of the Akatsuki back up. But with his elevated height, one Archangel Snipe ought to do it. So Garrus lines his shot…

"Uh oh, Garrus could be looking for an Archangel Sniper!" Johnny called out.

"From that height?! Kakuzu could be in serious trouble here if this connects!" yelled Nick.

Garrus has his target locked and propels himself toward Kakuzu… and he connects, not with Kakuzu, but with the ladder he was bracing himself against! Kakuzu grabbed the ladder and used it to bat Garrus out of the air as if he were an annoying gnat, sending him flying to the outside of the ring and landing on the hard staircase in the stadium! Garrus straight up splats onto the hard floor where he lays unmoving!

"Oh, my fucking god!" Johnny screamed. "He killed him! Kakuzu just batted Garrus out of the air and practically killed him!"

"Garrus isn't moving!" Nick cried out. "I think he may have landed wrong! We may need to call medical staff out here, stat! That was just vicious!"

Wrex had collected his bearings in time to witness Kakuzu dispatch Garrus and seeing him land that way he did only incensed the Krogan further. As Kakuzu turned to look down at Wrex, he caught the Krogan's rising fury from the abruptness in which he stood.

"Ohh, boy," Johnny said. "I think Kakuzu may have just kicked a hornet nest."

"Kick? Try knocking it out of the tree with a bat!" Nick corrected. "Because Wrex is looking as pissed as a thousand swarms!"

Wrex charges Kakuzu like a steaming train! Kakuzu tries to take down Wrex with the ladder but the Krogan bulldozes through him, sending him straight through the barricade and into the audience! The front seats disperse as Wrex and Kakuzu spill through!

"Holy hell! Get the fans out of there! Wrex just took the fight to the outside, and I doubt it's going to get any better from there!" Johnny said.

"And it's all steel chairs from here, so Wrex is right at home!" Nick added.

Wrex picks up Kakuzu by the head and throws him through rows of empty seats, knocking them over and about. Wrex grabs another chair, folding it into a weapon. He slams the chair into the floor and makes his way towards Kakuzu, raising the chair over his head and folding it over his back! Wrex raises the chair and brings it down once again!

Hidan clips Wrex's leg from behind, bringing him to a knee! Hidan goes for a Cutter but Wrex shoves him away. He goes after the missing-nin, clotheslining him to the floor. Hidan pops up and goes at Wrex again, but is knocked back down with another clothesline, then another! Wrex grabs Hidan's legs and giant swings him into another cluster of chairs! Wrex scoops up one of the discarded chairs and cracks it over Hidan's skull!

"Wrex is on a one-man wrecking crew against the Akatsuki!" Johnny said, gripping the barricade as he continued to cover the action.

"At least an entire section of the arena has cleared out because of this! The entire ship may well become these two's battleground!" Nick said.

Hidan slowly sits up, the camera picking up a trail of blood trickling down his forehead. He's been busted open!

"He's bleeding! Hidan's been busted open and half his face is covered in crimson!" Johnny pointed out.

"I hope alien kids aren't squeamish," Nick said.

Wrex throws away the chair but gets grabbed from behind by Kakuzu, who lifts him for a Suplex onto another pile of chairs, breaking them under the Krogan's immense weight! Kakuzu hauls Hidan up by his arm for another combo attack. Hidan's wobbling but remains standing. They line up Wrex and rush him for a clothesline / big boot combo… but Wrex plows through them both with a double clothesline of his own!

"The Akatsuki try for another combo attack but Wrex is just too pumped up with rage and adrenaline for them to get a good footing!" Johnny said.

"I pity them. I wouldn't want to be locked in a room with a Krogan, either." Nick said. "Then again, what person in their right mind would?"

Wrex grabs both of the Akatsuki by the necks and hauls them up for a double chokeslam… but Hidan and Kakuzu are able to kick themselves from Wrex's grasp, knocking him away, before charging for another combo attack, this time a Spear / clothesline combo… but Wrex again bumps them off by headbutting Hidan and catching Kakuzu mid-spear, then lifts him overhead to power slam him onto his own partner!

"I'm getting really tired of this Krogan bullshit," snarled Hidan.

"We need to end this now," Kakuzu muttered. "He's for us to attack at the same time."

"How about the old one-two method?" Hidan proposed.

"You'll have to hold him."

"Easy for me."

The Akatsuki collected themselves as Wrex charged. Hidan met him head on with a forearm smash but was caught by Wrex, who threw him with an Overhead Suplex. As Wrex stood up, he received a big boot to the head by Kakuzu! Wrex was knocked back and Kakuzu pressed on, pounding his head with several punches. Wrex began to retaliate with his own punches, sending Kakuzu back… but Hidan came up from behind with a Rolling Release Suplex! Wrex tried to stand again… and received a big boot / clothesline combo from the Akatsuki! Wrex finally goes down!

"And the Akatsuki finally bring down Wrex!" Johnny shouted.

"It took some coordination but they were able to take down the Krogan Battlemaster, but that still leaves the belts!" Nick reminded.

Hidan and Kakuzu prepare to return to the ring, the former clutching his head and pulling his hand back to see a red handprint.

"Oh, that sucks," he said.

"Wait," Kakuzu said. "I don't think he's finished yet. Let's make sure."

The Akatsuki turn their attention back to Wrex, and Kakuzu picks him up… and lifts him into a Vertical Suplex.

"Ohh, we've seen this before!" Johnny said with a sense of dread.

"They did this to K.O. weeks ago, now they're gonna put Wrex through it!" Nick yelled.

Hidan joins Kakuzu and together, they bring Wrex down with a vertical suplex / front powerslam combo that lays out the Krogan Battlemaster!

"And Immortal Suffering connects!" Johnny exclaimed. "Wrex is down!"

"He's done now," Kakuzu said.

"That's for my head, asshole," Hidan growled, kicking the downed Wrex.

The Akatsuki look around them, surveying the destruction.

An entire section of the stadium had been laid to waste, broken chairs littering the floor, the audience smooshed together around them, Wrex crumpled at their feet, and Garrus down and out on the other side of the arena. Together, they head for the ring and grab a ladder.

"The Akatsuki are firmly in control now," Johnny said. "There's no one left standing to contest them! They have the belts dead to rights!"

"This is as clean a sweep as it can get!" Nick said.

Kakuzu sets up the ladder and starts climbing while Hidan resumes standing guard. Not that he needed to worry. Wrex was still laid out in the audience, and Garrus was…

Hidan's eye twitched as he noticed something out of place. Or rather, someone.

"Uhhh, Kakuzu, we have a problem."

Kakuzu stopped his ascent halfway up, then looked at Hidan with an annoyed expression.

"What?"

"Wasn't the other guy supposed to be out?"

That question was answered in the form of Garrus returning from supposed unconsciousness yet again as he slips into the ring, spins Hidan around, and delivers a Cutter to a loud pop!

"Garrus is back! He's run down and ragged but he's back! The Warriors are still in this!" cried Johnny.

"How much punishment can that Turian take?!" Nick yelled.

Kakuzu jumps off the ladder and goes for a clothesline but Garrus ducks, hobble-runs to the ropes, then comes back for a tilt-a-whirl DDT to send Kakuzu rolling out of the ring! Hidan starts to stand up, and Garrus takes down, as well, with an Archangel Snipe to the head!

"Garrus has taken down both of the Akatsuki, leaving just him and ladder yet again!"

"Come on, Garrus! There's your opening! Make it count!" Nick pleaded.

Garrus finds himself alone in the ring once again with the ladder, and the belts beckoning to their owners. He scrambles to climb the ladder, trying to ignore the screaming pain pulsing throughout his body. The fall was still affecting him, slowing his ascent considerably. He was able to reach two thirds of the way up Kakuzu began moving again. Garrus had finally reached the top and extended his hand, his fingers just inches away from the belts, scraping along their glimmering surface!

"He's almost got it, come on!" Johnny urged.

"The suspense is gonna give me a heart attack!" Nick said, clutching his chest.

… But then the belts suddenly began to get farther away… and farther, and farther at a much faster rate! Garrus's eyes widened as he spotted Kakuzu standing in the same spot as Wrex, clutching the now loosened ring on his own!

"OH NO! WREX LOOSENED THE RING EARLIER, AND NOW KAKUZU'S TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE!" Johnny screamed.

"WREX, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!" Nick cried in horror. "HOW THE TABLES, OR MORE ACCURATELY THE RING, HAS TURNED!"

With a mighty heavy, Kakuzu tilted the ring and Garrus was sent tumbling down once again… right towards Hidan, who took him out of the air with Jashin's Scythe (Spear)! Hidan rolls off Garrus, exhausted and his energy all expended… but he was in much better shape than Garrus, whose armor was cracked and dented, and his helmet's visor shattered. He was done, completely out of it. This time, for good.

"And Garrus gets utterly torn to pieces by Hidan! The Akatsuki snatch it from under their noses!"

Kakuzu plops the ring back in place, then slides inside to ascend the ladder. Hidan and Garrus were left outside the ring, and Wrex still down and out in the audience.

"Kakuzu is the last man standing now, and he's closing in on the prize," Nick said.

Kakuzu reaches out, and unhooks both belts! Mills Lane, from the safety of the crowd, ushers for the bell to be rung!

"And that's it, it's academic." Johnny said.

"Ladies and gentlemen, here are your winners and the first Dynamic Duos champions… Hidan and Kakuzu, the Akatsuki!" Yes-Man announced.

Kakuzu climbs down the ladder with both belts while Hidan is brought back to consciousness by the sound of their theme song playing… and the biggest damn grin stretches across his face as he sits up to join his partner in the ring. Kakuzu gives Hidan his belt and they both raise their newly won titles for all the fans and the tuned in galaxy to see.

"After a hard-fought battle, resulting in broken chairs…" Johnny said.

"And a few broken barricades," Nick added.

"The Akatsuki stand tall this evening as our first ever Dynamic Duos champions. Where the division goes from here is uncertain but the Akatsuki are at the top of the mountain, and will remain so for the foreseeable future."

Hidan gets on the turnbuckle and pats his belt as he points at the kid who yelled at him earlier.

"Yeah, to hell with all you blasphemers and nonbelievers! Fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you especially, kid!"

The Akatsuki leave the ring and make their way up the ramp, victorious and triumphant… with their employer most pleased by the results.


30 MINUTE IRONMAN MATCH FOR THE FINAL FRONTIER CHAMPIONSHIP

Agent Washington vs. Kazuya Mishima

As we return to the ring, the Titantron fizzles with static, revealing a man in a hazmat suit sitting in the Vindication's bridge.

"Wait a second! Is that Moltar?!" Nick asked with wide eyes.

"Why yes, Nick, I think it is! The first host of Toonami before he passed the mantle down to TOM!" Johnny said. "What's he doing on here?"

"Alright, you're live and on the air, old friend!" TOM's voice can be heard off-screen.

"Oh, we are?" Moltar asked, as if he didn't expect the thing to work immediately. "Uhh, alright! I got it, here we go. Hello, F3 fans at home and on Coruscant! This is Moltar. You may already know me from the old days of Toonami or wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance, but those that don't will see and hear a lot from me next season, because I'm heading the television production team from here on out. There's nothing to fear, though. It's been an exciting first season on the Final Frontier, and from here on out, the product is going to look and sound better than ever. You might even see me wrestle in a match or two. It's a brave new world in this business, and I'm excited to be a part of it. But NOW, it's time to return to the action… with Capital Punishment's MAIN EVENT of Kazuya Mishima versus Agent Washington for the Final Frontier Championship. Catch ya later!"

Moltar's image faded, leaving many old Toonami fans and viewers with a blast of nostalgia and cheers.

"I didn't know we signed him on for a deal," Nick said.

"Well, you've heard it from the man himself, Moltar will be joining us next season as head of our production team. He's amassed a reputation in NWA, and maybe we can give him one last ride in Final Frontier." said Johnny.

"It has been a long, grueling evening, filled with eye-catching stunts and total carnage," said Nick.

"But we're not done yet," said Johnny. "We still have the main event, whereupon the winner will be crowned our first Final Frontier champion."

"So buckle up viewers of all species, because we're about to enter thirty straight minutes of mayhem between our top two stars! Yes-Man, over to you!"

"Ladies and gentlemen, the following contest is a thirty minute Iron Man match, and is your main event of the evening!" Yes-Man announced. "It is for the Final Frontier championship! The match will only end when the allotted time is up, and the goal is to acquire as many pitfalls or submissions as possible. Between each pinfall, both competitors will be granted a thirty second respite period, before the match resumes. The competitor with the most pitfalls or submissions by the end, will be declared the winner!"

[Oshiete yo hito wa naze sagashi tsuzukeru no

Kagirinaku setsunai ashitano yume wo]

The arena is overwhelmed by the riffs of "Kaze ni Nare" by Ayumi Nakamura as Kazuya Mishima emerges onto the ramp, clenched fists hanging at his sides as his eyes rotated to observe the jeering fans around him amidst a few supportive martial arts fanatics. A confident, grim Kazuya made his descent towards the ring.

"Introducing first, making his way to the ring, he is the King of Devil Fist, Kazuya Mishima!"

"Kazuya Mishima has been the dominant force of the Final Frontier series," said Johnny. "Every single match of his has ended in Kazuya's favor, most through submission."

"Earlier this evening, Kazuya reaffirmed his place in the finals when he defeated Doomfist for the second time, after revealing the Devil within," Nick added. "But tonight, he faces the most persistent contestant of the Final Frontier series, one who is certain that he can bring down Kazuya and dash his hopes of seizing the Final Frontier championship."

Kazuya slides into the ring, then scales the nearest turnbuckle, looking out into the ocean of fans. He scoffed, and motioned around his waist, making the statement that he would be the one to walk out with the prize. He dropped down from the corner, then turned his attention back to the ramp, pacing back and forth in the ring.

[Every street in this city is the same to me.

Everyone's got a place to be but there's no room for me.]

"Someone Who Cares" by Three Days Grace pulses through the speakers as the armor-clad freelancer, Agent Washington enters the scene. His armor was slightly banged up from his earlier match with Darkstar, but he was never one to let surface damage keep him down. Not wasting any time, Wash headed for the ring, his eyes locked with Kazuya's behind his helmet's visor.

"And introducing his opponent, from Project Freelancer, he is Agent Washington!"

"If there were a candidate for the second best contestant in the series, Agent Washington would fit the bill," Johnny said. "His only loss was to Kazuya Mishima himself early on in the series."

"But Wash was the one person Kazuya couldn't force to submit, and was forced to pin. Carter Grayson didn't submit, either, but his match ended in disqualification when Wash and Blinx had to ward off Kazuya from breaking the man's ankle," Nick said. "There's no doubt been some bad blood between these two, and that crockpot is about to boil tonight. Wash is determined to show Kazuya that he's not invincible, and that he's the one man who can beat him tonight."

"These two are going to go all out, and have thirty minutes to do it, so let's get this main event started and the show on a high note!" Nick declared.

Wash and Kazuya went at each other almost immediately but Mills Lane had to insert himself to keep them under control.

"Hold your horses, the bell hasn't rung yet!" Wash and Kazuya's collective gaze fell on Mills, prompting him to call for the bell, "Good, clean fight, you know the drill! Let's get it on!"

As the bell rings, the timer begins counting down with thirty minutes on the clock. Wash and Kazuya tie up for the first time since the second episode. Kazuya's martial arts prowess allows him to get the upper hand and trap Wash in a headlock. He begins raining a string of fists onto the back of Wash's head, bringing the freelancer down to a knee. Wash claws at Kazuya's arms, looking for a weak point to exploit before he wraps his arms around the martial artist's waist and hauls him overhead for a Suplex. Kazuya is able to backflip out of it, landing on his feet. He goes for a roundhouse kick but Wash ducks at the last moment, then runs him down with a Discus Lariat.

"And the main event is finally underway, Kazuya and Wash finally at each other's throats," said Johnny.

"Wash is going to have to bust out every reserve just to gain the upper hand over Kazuya, because he's got the advantage in just about every way," Nick said.

"Washington is good at just about every style but Kazuya is arguably better at submissions and brawling," Johnny added. "It's a matter of versatility versus mastery. Can a Jack-of-all-trades beat a Master-of-all?"

Wash goes for a quick cover, but Kazuya kicks out before Mills can even start counting. He picks up Kazuya, pulling him in for a Reverse STO, only to receive an elbow to the face. Kazuya slams his elbow into the side of Wash's head, freeing himself from the hold and hits a Spinning Backfist to Wash's leg, tripping it from under him. As the freelancer is brought down to one knee, Kazuya runs to the ropes and comes back out to strike him in the face with the Hell Lancer (Flying Side Kick). The force snapped Wash's head back as he was popped off his feet, landing on the edge of the mat and sliding through the bottom rope, to the outside of the ring.

"And Kazuya has just ejected Washington from the ring with a fierce Hell Lancer!" Johnny exclaimed.

"Once again, Kazuya's mastery of various martial arts shines through, Johnny," said Nick. "Wash is a skilled hand to hand fighter but he's never faced someone like Kazuya, a man who's mastered several fighting styles and faced all kinds of enemies that would make Washington's enemies look like amateurs in comparison."

"You're quite right, Nick. This is not a knock on Wash, he has very formidable skills, but Kazuya is just that good at what he does, and it's reflected by his impressive record in the Final Frontier series."

With Wash laid out on the floor, Kazuya takes a moment to walk around the ring, raising a clenched fist to assert his dominance. Stopping in the middle of the ring, Kazuya eyes Wash like a bird of predator, ready to swoop in with its talons. Wash shook the cobwebs out of his head, climbing to his feet, unknowingly cueing Kazuya to jump over the top rope and lay him back out with a flying Forearm Smash!

"Kazuya Mishima is taking a little time to gloat, before he lays Washington out once again with a flying Forearm Smash!" Johnny shouted.

"That ego, that growing sense of superiority that's been fed all season may be Wash's best chance at winning tonight," said Nick. "The problem is getting in the necessary offense before Kazuya dismembers him!"

Kazuya picks up Wash by his wrist, then drags him back to the side of the ring. Kazuya looks out into the crowd, then points to the camera, silently commanding everyone's attention. He looks back at Wash and lands a roundhouse kick to the back of the head, then comes right back around for another roundhouse kick to the face (Double Face Kick), sending Wash into the steel steps!

Johnny and Nick visibly winced as they could hear the clanging of steel from their table. "Ooh!"

"Helmet or no helmet, that's gotta leave a concussion," Nick said.

"Get up, freelancer" Kazuya said, looking down at Wash with a condescending glare. "I'll be damned if the stairs rob me of victory."

Kazuya lifts Wash by the back of his armor and throws him back into the ring. He slides in, circling Wash with a cocky smirk, then begins dismantling him with a couple of well-aimed Oni Stomps (Garvin Stomps) to his limbs, grinding his foot into Wash's legs, hands, and chest. Kazuya looks out into the crowd, shrugging in response to their jeers, then grabs his ankle to put him in the eponymous submission hold.

"And we see Kazuya is ready to put him in the dreaded Ankle Lock, the submission hold that's defeated several competitors of the Final Frontier series!" Johnny exclaimed with growing anxiety.

"Wash was able to resist last time but it's best he not push the limits of his endurance!" Nick added.

As Kazuya is preparing the hold, that's when Wash suddenly revives, rolling onto his back and sending Kazuya reeling with a double kick to the chest. Both men get back to their feet in quick succession. Kazuya rushes to nip Wash's momentum in the bud, but the agent is ready for him, combat rolling beneath a clothesline, then pops a Jumping Cutter as soon as Kazuya whirls back around!

"Jumping Cutter from outta nowhere!" Nick yelled.

"Wash completely blindsided Kazuya, and now has the chance to cover!" Johnny commented.

Wash quickly hooks the leg; 1, 2, Kazuya snaps his leg free of the pin.

"And Wash's second effort only ends in a two count," Johnny said.

"Give him some credit, it was one more second, so he almost had him," Nick said.

Not easily deterred, Wash pulls Kazuya up by his head and grabs him from behind by the waist. He lifts Kazuya, then drives him onto his head with a German Suplex! Wash rolls over, still holding onto Kazuya as he hauls him over for another Suplex, then a third! Wash finally releases Kazuya on the fourth Suplex, tossing him overhead across the ring.

"And Wash has taken Kazuya time Suplex City!" Nick said. "Brock Lesnar wants to know where this guy lives!"

"He can't actually come all the way out here," Johnny said… then asked off-camera, "Can he?"

Kazuya writhed in pain, clutching the back of his head as Wash tapped his foot on the mat, then intensifies into loud stomps. The audience claps along with him, their claps starting slow, then ramping up in pace until they were a rapid chorus.

"Agent Washington is warming up for what looks like a kick of some kind, and the audience is getting behind him," Johnny said.

"That star power is in full play. Kazuya may be a better fighter but Wash has the crowd behind him, and that goes a long way for morale, and high morale means resolve to win!" Nick surmised.

Kazuya makes his way up and turns around unaware, receiving a Big Boot to the face by Agent Washington! Wash moves in fast to cover; 1, 2, Kazuya gets the shoulder up yet again. Wash rolls off Kazuya, holding the back of his head in clear frustration.

"But once again, Kazuya is proving to be a pain in the neck to keep down for the precious three count," Johnny said. "Wash is looking exasperated by this point."

"But he can't let that cloud his judgement, or the match will fall out of his favor," said Nick. "If you don't succeed, try, try again."

Wash drags Kazuya to his feet, then runs to the ropes but Kazuya chases after him, intending to send him over with a Discus Clothesline, but Wash quickly adapts and ducks, pulling on the top rope to send Kazuya over instead! As Kazuya lands on his feet outside the ring, Wash runs through the middle rope, taking Kazuya down with a Suicide Dive!

"Lovely Suicide Dive by Agent Washington!" shouted Johnny.

"Wash isn't one for high spots but on the occasions he pulls it off, it's a sight to see!" Nick said.

Wash stands up to a pop from the crowd. He drags Kazuya over to the apron and slams his face against the edge of the ring. He prepares to throw him into the steel post but Kazuya grounds himself, preventing Wash from doing so. Shaking his head, Kazuya yanks Wash in and grabs him by the midsection, then slams him down with a belly to belly Suplex!

"And Kazuya denies Wash with that belly to belly Suplex!" Johnny exclaimed.

Kazuya throws Wash back into the ring, then climbs onto the turnbuckle. Kazuya peers down at Wash, then looks out into the crowd. He just smiles fiendishly, then taps his elbow before launching himself at Wash, plowing into his visor with a vicious Diving Elbow Slam, Wash's body jerking violently as it connects!

"Oh, my God!" Johnny cried. "What a Diving Elbow! And Washington's visor has sustained heavy damage!"

"Heavy damage? That thing looks downright broken! That's military grade armor, and Kazuya just cracked it! Look at the shards all over the ring!" Nick said.

Shards from the visor are along the ring like makeshift thumbtacks. Kazuya, indifferent to the damage, presses down on Wash's head, and Mills Lane covers; 1, 2, 3!

Kazuya - 1 / Washington - 0

Estimated Time Remaining: 19:54

"And a little over ten minutes in, and we finally have our first pinfall of the main event, courtesy of Kazuya Mishima," said Johnny.

"With all the damage Kazuya was able to inflict in the first ten minutes, I pity what Wash may go through in the remaining twenty," Nick said with a touch of dread in his tone.

Kazuya stands up, then casually leans against the ropes as the first respite period begins. He looks out into the crowd, pointing at the supine Wash with a mocking smirk.

"Kazuya taking a load off in the corner, and just humiliating Agent Washington, treating him like he's trivial," Johnny said.

"The clock is ticking down, and Wash still hasn't moved," Nick said. "If he doesn't recover soon, he's going to be easy pickings for Mishima."

Wash writhes on the mat, trying to muster the strength to stand.

"Come on," goaded Kazuya. "You can do it, Wash. I'm right here."

Wash rises to his knees just as the respite period ends. Kazuya rushes Wash and starts hammering away at his damaged visor, expanding the growing web of cracks and scattering shards along the mat. With one more blow, Kazuya completely shatters the left portion of the helmet, partly exposing Wash's face! Kazuya throws Wash's head back against the mat, then stands over him, splaying his arms out for the angry crowd to shower with disgusted boos, even earning a chant.

"You suck! You suck! You suck!"

"And the fans aren't taking kindly to Kazuya's arrogance," Johnny said, looking over his shoulder at the fans.

"Just me, but I wouldn't go insulting this guy to his face," Nick noted. "I value my job and life too much."

No remorse or sympathy was visible on Kazuya's face, only depraved satisfaction at the writhing form of Agent Washington. His eyes gained their malevolent crimson glow once more as he popped his fingers, ready to go to work again.

Kazuya lifts Wash in his arms, then rams him into a corner. He backs up, leaving Wash tangled horizontally in the ropes. Kazuya backs up, lines his shot, then runs to strike Wash in the abdomen with an Impelling Knee (Running Knee Lift)! Kazuya steps away, then comes back for a second Impelling Knee! Kazuya yanks Wash out, holding him in a headlock, then drops him with a rope assisted DDT!

"DDT off the ropes, and Wash's head is spiked into the mat like a Helena's Nail!" Nick cried.

Kazuya sits up, dusting his hands off like he's just taken out the trash. Kazuya pulls Wash to the center of the ring, then places him in a Reverse Chin Lock, putting pressure into Wash's back. The freelancer claws at Kazuya's fingers but is unable to break the hold. He reaches out for the ropes but they're too out of reach. Mills Lane asks Wash if he wants to submit but Wash grunts out a pained, "No…!"

"And Kazuya finally gets Wash into a submission, but the freelancer is proving to be a stubborn one!" Johnny said.

"Maybe too stubborn for his own good," Nick said.

After several agonizing seconds of pressure, Kazuya ups the ante by transitioning into an Inverted Headlock Takeover. Again, Mills Lane asks Wash if he will submit but he hangs tough, refusing to give in.

With the hold going nowhere, Kazuya releases his grip and shoves Wash's head into the mat. Kazuya rests his hands on his hips as he shakes his head at Wash. Again, he looked to the crowd, yelling, "Is this who you pass me over for?!"

He pulls Wash into a headlock, then drags him to his feet. Kazuya wrenches the hold, keeping Wash on a knee. The fans begin clapping, lending their support for Wash to power his way through… and Wash starts pushing himself upward, willing his way to a standing position! Wash grabs onto Kazuya and throws him towards the ropes. Kazuya bounces off, coming back for a Hell Lancer but Wash hits the deck at the last moment. Kazuya runs to the other side, then rebounds to take Wash out with Spear but the freelancer is able to leapfrog over Kazuya's back and land behind right him! As Kazuya spins around, Wash serves him a High Kick to the jaw that knocks him into the ropes one more time, then Wash flings him into the corner with Irish Whip. He goes after Kazuya, seizing him by the back of the head and sprints out of the corner for a Sitout Face Slam!

"Wash revives and is taking it to Kazuya with a vengeance!" Johnny said.

Wash rolls Kazuya onto his back, then executes a Knee Drop right to the face! Kazuya holds his nose as Wash drops for a cover; 1, 2, Kazuya jerks the shoulder off the mat!

"And Kazuya still has enough fight in him to deny Wash a score," said Nick.

"Just what is it going to take to put Kazuya away for even one pinfall?" Johnny asked anxiously.

Wash holds his throbbing head as he stands up, circling around Kazuya's rear. He runs to the ropes, then bounces off for a Rolling Cutter to Mishima as he climbs to all fours. Wash doesn't go for another pin, as he wanted to be absolutely sure Kazuya would stay down for the count. He climbed the turnbuckle, preparing to fly.

"And Wash is going to bring down the sky on Kazuya!" Nick said, on the edge of his seat.

"Kazuya is dazed and has no idea what's coming!" Johnny yelled.

Kazuya slowly turns around and Wash jumps, delivering a Flying Double Dropkick right in his face!

"And Kazuya gets a mouthful of Wash's feet! Right in his kisser!" Nick exclaimed.

Wash seizes his opening, quickly lifting Kazuya up and pulverizing him with a Washington Bomb!

"Washington Bomb sticks! Will this finally lead to a pin?!" Nick questioned.

Wash hooks both legs tight as Mills Lane slides onto his stomach to count; 1, 2, 3!

"And it is! Wash is the first person to get a pin over Kazuya Mishima!" Johnny shouted.

"But that was just to tie the score, we still have time on the clock!" Nick pointed out. "Major kudos to Wash for even acquiring a pinfall in the first place, though!"

Kazuya - 1 / Washington - 1

Estimated Time Remaining: 14:03

Wash rolls onto his back, breathing heavily as the second respite period begins. He crawls to the ropes and uses them to leverage his way back to his feet. The audience is cheering for his perseverance, which is able to acknowledge by raising a fist for the fans.

"Agent Washington has just tied the score, and taking a moment to catch his breath," said Johnny. "But that respite period is going to end very shortly."

Nick pointed "Look in the ring! Kazuya is getting up!"

The camera switches to interior of the ring, where Kazuya is slowly rising to a standing position. Upon reaching full height, he slowly turns to face Wash, his eyes flashing an eerie crimson.

"Ohh no, we've seen this before earlier tonight against Doomfist!" Johnny said, scooting back in his chair.

"It looks like Kazuya's ready to unleash the Devil within!" Nick shouted.

The respite period ends with Wash and Kazuya staring each other down now. Gone was Kazuya's carefree and arrogant demeanor, now replaced with a stone jaw glare that could cut have cut through the freelancer like a butcher knife. Undeterred, Wash meets the glare directly with one of his own, a silent statement that Kazuya wasn't going to intimidate him with some fancy eye coloring. Wash goes for a right hook but Kazuya easily ducks under it, tackling Wash to the mat by the waist. Kazuya mounts Wash and unleashes a barrage of fast, hard-hitting blows to the face of the freelancer, the force knocking his head back against the mat and causing whiplash!

"Kazuya Mishima just laying waste into Agent Washington with those absolutely brutal hooks to the face!" Johnny said.

"Wash is going to be loopy for a while, that's for damn sure," said Nick.

Kazuya pulls Wash upright, the freelancer as limp as a rag doll, his head lulling to indicate that he was definitely out of it. Kazuya rears Wash's head back, then strikes him on the chin with an uppercut that knocks him into the corner. Kazuya points at Wash as he sizes him up, then runs to deliver High-Impact Corner Springboard Enzuigiri (Devil's Triangle)! Wash take a few steps out of the corner before collapsing to the mat in a heap.

"And Kazuya connects with the Devil's Triangle, absolutely cleaning Wash's clock!" Johnny said.

Kazuya rolls over Wash with his foot, then steps on his chest for the pinfall; 1, 2, 3!

"Whoa, another pinfall already?!" Nick asked in bewilderment.

"The moment Kazuya brought out the Devil, Wash was just wiped out!" Johnny said. "If he can pick up a pinfall that easily, Wash may have his work cut out for him!"

Kazuya - 2 / Washington - 1

Estimated Time Remaining: 11:47

The third respite period gets underway, Kazuya circling the body of Wash like a hungry shark smelling blood. Wash wasn't moving at all, his breathing the only visible signs of life.

"Only thirty seconds left on the clock, and Washington is looking dead as a doornail," Nick said.

"Meanwhile, Kazuya's standing of his own will, completely in control of this match," Johnny added. "If Wash can't recover, the next ten or so minutes may feel like the longest of his entire life, as Lord knows what a Devil Kazuya is capable of when given time to do as he pleases."

Once the respite period ends, Mills Lane signals for the match to continue. Wash's condition seems to have hardly improved, a supine corpse splayed in the middle of the ring. Kazuya cocks his head as he drew closer to Wash, then went for another pin… but at that moment, Wash suddenly rolled Kazuya up for a pin of his own!

"Oh, snap! Wash rolled him up! Wash baited him!" Nick yelled, holding the side of his head.

Mills Lane counts; 1, 2, 3!

"And Wash steals a pin right from under Kazuya's nose!" Johnny shouted.

Kazuya - 2 / Washington - 2

Estimated Time Remaining: 10:57

Kazuya and Wash disengage from the pin, both rising to their feet as another respite period begins. Wash holds the back of his head as he leans into a corner, catching his breath. Kazuya takes a few moments to process what just happened, but when it finally dawns on him, his scowl deepens. He turns to confront Wash but Mills inserts himself between them, reminding Kazuya about the thirty second resting period before the match can continue.

"Wash had to have thought this out," said Johnny. "By baiting Kazuya, he was able to get in a surprise rollup, earning another thirty seconds to collect himself."

"A bit of a gamble, but it looks like it's paid off," said Nick. "Wash evens the score and gets some more time to regain his strength."

Mills Lane steps back and reinstates the match. Wash and Kazuya charge at one another immediately, with Wash ducking a clothesline, then running to the ropes and leaping off for a flying Superman Punch! Kazuya rolls to the outside of the ring but it doesn't save him, as Wash vaults over the top rope and lays him out with a springboard crossbody! Wash pulls Kazuya up, and tries to throw him into the barricade but Kazuya refuses to budge. He yanks Wash back in for a clothesline but Wash ducks and grabs him by the waist, landing a belly to belly Suplex right onto the steel steps!

"Agent Washington is making some headway, outmaneuvering Kazuya Mishima and laying him out onto the steel steps! We may be seeing the match shift in his favor!" Johnny said.

"But don't count your chickens before they've hatched," said Nick. "There's still plenty of time left, and think of all that can happen in just under ten minutes."

Wash climbs the apron, then runs over to land a double leg drop right onto Kazuya's neck as it was hanging over the edge of the steel steps! Kazuya collapses onto the floor, and Wash raises a fist for the fans, earning a few pops from the front row spectators. He lifts Kazuya by the head and slams his face onto the apron… but then he drags it along the apron, hurling Kazuya head first into the steel post!

"Sweet Lord almighty, did you hear the sound of Kazuya's head bouncing off that steel post?!" Nick yelled.

"Wash is pulling out all the stops to get the upper hand, and even with the Devil, Kazuya isn't going to withstand something like that!" Johnny shouted with conviction.

Kazuya goes stiff as a board as he crumples against the barricade. However, Wash isn't going to let him have any time to breathe. He slides into the ring, then jumps over the top rope for a reverse Hurricanrana, driving Kazuya into the floor and inflicting further damage to the head! Wash drags Kazuya towards the ring, chucking him inside through the bottom rope. He climbs in himself and covers; 1, 2, Kazuya kicks out?!

"1, 2, Kazuya kicks out-Wait, what?!" Johnny audibly double takes as he realizes what just happened.

"Kazuya kicked out after all of that?!" Nick asked, eyes wide. "I'm starting to think this man's brain and his muscles are on two different operating planes, because there is no way he should be conscious enough to even coordinate himself, let alone kick out!"

Wash looks stunned, holding the back of his head. He looks up at Mills, who clarifies that it was, indeed, a two fall.

"Oh, son of a bitch…!" Wash can be heard muttering as he smacks a fist against the mat.

"Wash is looking visibly frustrated now," Johnny said.

"Can you blame him?!" Nick asked incredulously. "He basically gave Kazuya a concussion three times over, and the man still mustered the strength to kick out!"

"When the Final Frontier championship is at stake, Kazuya isn't going down easy, that's for certain, but it would appear he isn't going down the hard way, either."

Nick wiped his forehead with a hand cloth. "Wash had better think of something fast, because time is running out and I'm beginning to get restless!"

"Speak for yourself, Nick, just listen to the fans here!" Johnny said, looking out at the crowd."

The audience broke into a steady chant, "This is awesome! This is awesome! This is awesome!"

Wash lifts Kazuya in a headlock, preparing for a DDT maneuver… but Kazuya suddenly powers Wash onto his shoulders in a reverse fireman's carry! Agent Washington kicks and flails to free himself but there's no easy escape! Kazuya contorts Wash's body, mercilessly bending him in half before he dropped to his knees, nearly snapping the freelancer in two with a backbreaker! Kazuya flips Wash over and hooks the legs; 1, 2, Wash feebly lifts the shoulder up!

"Wash is still hanging in there!" Johnny said. "These two are just throwing anything they can at each other, and now that they're tied up, it's anything goes!"

Kazuya doesn't dwell on the near fall, and immediately lifts Wash to a standing position. He throws Wash into the corner and delivers a brutal chop to the armored chest! Wash collapses to his knees, holding his collarbone. Upon removing his hand, it's revealed that Kazuya had struck hard enough to leave a dent. Kazuya picks him back up, then hands out another chop, then a third, leaving two more indentations on Wash's armor. Kazuya backs away, then rushes the corner but Wash delivers an elbow strike to the chin. Wash climbs the ropes and jumps off for a DDT but Kazuya knocks him away with a Dragon Uppercut!

"Again, Wash tries to get in some offense but Kazuya is just faster to the trigger and cuts him down to size," said Johnny.

Kazuya grabs hold of Wash's leg and delivers an elbow drop to the knee! Kazuya keeps his grip on the leg, relentlessly pounding away at the knee. Wash slams his fists against the mat out of reactionary pain. He tries to fight back but Kazuya only batters the knee further in retaliation. Kazuya drags Wash to the center of the ring and puts in the ankle lock! He twists and contorts the ankle along with the bad knee, maximizing the damage output! Wash yells out obscenities, reaching out for the ropes but they're just too far from his grasp!

"The ankle lock has been applied! Kazuya has Wash stranded, no ropes in reach!" Johnny yelled.

"We're running out of time, and if Wash submits, it could well be the end of him!" Nick exclaimed.

"You're finished, Agent Washington!" Kazuya taunted. "You're no match for me, and never were!"

Mills Lane asks Wash if he'll submit… but Wash shakes his head rapidly. He won't give in!

"No one's coming to save you, like Carter," Kazuya insidiously remarked. "I have no problem snapping your leg in two! If you will not submit, then you will be broken!"

Wash balls his hands into his fists, then growls, "Kiss… my… ass!"

With that declaration, Wash uses his free leg to kick Kazuya right in the chin, getting him to relieve the hold just enough for him to lunge forward and grab a firm hold of the ropes!

"Wash made it! With one final act of defiance, he loosens the hold enough to grab the ropes!" Johnny called out.

Mills Lane signals for a rope break, much to Kazuya's displeasure, evident through a low snarl emanating from his throat. Kazuya seizes Wash by his head and whirls him around but Wash strikes him with an uppercut, then follows up with a jawbreaker! Kazuya doesn't go down but staggers back enough for Wash to deliver a clothesline! Wash runs to the ropes on the other side, then comes back for another clothesline, and once Kazuya stands again, Wash lifts him up by the legs and whips him down with an Alabama Slam! The audience explodes into cheers as Kazuya's body strikes the mat with a resounding crash!

"An Alabama Slam makes a Kazuya-shaped hole in the middle of the ring!" Nick cried in amazement.

"Wash needs to end this now!" Johnny said. "This is his only chance!"

Wash… doesn't cover Kazuya. He just looks down at him for a moment… then at the crowd.

"Wait a minute, what is Wash doing?" Johnny asked.

"Pin him!" Nick urged. "He's right there, ripe for the taking!"

Wash doesn't look keen on trying for a pin. Something like that would be way too easy. He had something else in mind… he had a better way. Wash grabbed Kazuya by the arm and locks in a Cross Armbreaker! Wash is giving Kazuya a taste of his own medicine!

"Wash has another game plan! Wash intends to make Kazuya submit to him!" Johnny yells.

"That's poetic justice if I've ever seen it! All season of making people submit to him, now Kazuya is being forced to submit to someone who refused to give in to him! You cannot make this up!" Nick sputtered like a motor engine.

Kazuya kicks and struggles in the hold but Wash locks his grip, hanging on like a predatory octopus! He refuses to let go, even as Kazuya claws and pounds away at his calves! Wash only twists the arm further, bending his arm to its near breaking point!

"Kazuya's fighting with everything he has but Wash is showing no remorse, and utterly refuses to let go now! He can't stop now! Because we're running out of time!" Johnny said.

Estimated Time Remaining: 1:00

"Kazuya's arm can't last sixty seconds!" Nick said. "It's plenty of time for Wash to go to work!"

Kazuya roars in a mixture of pain and fury and starts hammering away at Wash's injured knee! Hook after hook, he continues battering the knee, trying to brute force his way out of the lock! Wash grimaces and screams, "FUCK!" out of pain but he doesn't let go! He only continues twisting!

"Break my knee, I'll take your fucking elbow!" Wash hisses and bends it further, almost completely contorting Kazuya's elbow in the opposite direction!

Estimated Time Remaining: 0:30

"Thirty seconds left!" Johnny shouts.

"In the name of all that is holy, do not let the main event end in a tiebreaker!" Nick pleaded. "Wash is so close, come on!"

Wash continues applying the hold, his muscles tensing up and burning from all the force he's exerting just to keep the hold applied. A look of agonizing desperation crosses Kazuya's face as he tries to scoot towards the ropes using his feet. But the more Kazuya tried to inch away, the more Wash pulled on the arm! Kazuya had just barely managed to get close to the ropes but they were just a few centimeters away! He reaches out with his foot, feeling for salvation but it was just too far! This was his best shot, and he was doing everything he could to snatch it!

Estimated Time Remaining: 0:10

"Ten seconds left!" Johnny called out.

"Nine, eight, seven…!" Nick counts down.

Wash is yelling now, putting all his energy into the hold! It was all or nothing now! Win or lose, he was putting everything into this last moment! Kazuya reached again but it was too far, and his arm had reached its breaking point!

"Five, four, three, two…!" Nick counted down.

… Kazuya taps out! Kazuya submits to Agent Washington!

"It's over!" Johnny shouted. "It's finally over! Agent Washington is your first Final Frontier champion!"

"Thank the lord, it's finally over!" Nick sighed with relief. "And what an amazing display from both men this evening!"

Kazuya - 2 / Washington - 3

Wash releases the hold and gets to his knees as Mills Lane retrieves the Final Frontier championship, and Yes Man does the honors of announcing the victor, "Here is your winner with a final score of three to two, and your first Final Frontier champion, Agent Washington!"

Mills Lane hands Wash the belt and raises his arm. Wash slowly stands, faltering a bit due to his injured knee… but he's able to stand on his own accord and looks down at his newly acquired championship. The cheering of the crowd brings his attention back to up, and he raises his belt high for the viewers.

"What a way to finish Capital Punishment!" Johnny said. "Marvelous showings from both men, and Kazuya was able to pull out all the stops but in the end, it looks like Wash's indomitable resolve saw him through to the end, and he was able to put Kazuya away in the most fitting manner possible."

"Thank you for joining us this evening on Final Frontier Federation's first season!" Nick said. "With our champions decided, we hope to see you all tune back in for season two! This is only the beginning, viewers of all species and ages! Thank you and good night!"

The show closes to Wash holding his belt up in the air. All the pain, sweat, and tears shed, the season-long struggle with Kazuya, had finally paid off and he had the championship in his hands to show for it. It was worth it.


CLOSING SEGMENT

Hidan and Kakuzu were sitting in their locker room, holding their newly acquired belts.

"That's how it's done," Hidan boasted. "We went all the way to the top and showed those alien heathens what it means to go against Jashin's will!"

Kakuzu rolled his eyes. He'd been more tolerant of Hidan's rhetoric because they had just won the championships, but his patience was wearing thin. The communicator in his pocket vibrated and Kakuzu answered, knowing who it was before the image was compiled.

"Gentlemen," Black Hat said with a satisfied grin. "That was an exceptional performance tonight!"

"An unexceptional team wouldn't have gotten you these," Kakuzu replied, raising his belt in view.

Hidan leaned over Kakuzu's shoulder. "Was there ever any doubt? Divine fortune was smiling on us this evening!"

"Our payment?"

"It has already been transferred to your accounts, as promised. I am very pleased with your progress, and so long as you continue to drum out results, I will remain pleased. However, this brings me to a more prescient matter. From here on out, you won't be hearing from me as often."

Kakuzu raised an eyebrow. "What does that mean?"

"Your focus must remain in the ring, for the sake of appearances. I will continue taking care of things behind the scenes. When the time comes, I will rejoin you both. Until then, you will answer to another associate of mine."

"Oh, yeah? And who might that be?" Hidan asked.

As if on cue, the distant rattling of chains drew their attention to the door. The chains approached closer, dragging along with a shrill scrape. The door opened, basking the room in a sickly bright green, illuminated by an eerie lantern that was clutched by what could best be described as a man who bore the visage of a monster. His face resembled a skull with three long dreads hanging from the top, each tipped with hooked appendages. His hands were coated in a jade boney structure, each digit ending in sharp claws that could rend flesh.

Black Hat smiled. "Hidan and Kakuzu, meet Thresh the Chain Warden."

"So, you two are the infamous Akatsuki I've heard so much about," Thresh said, looking over the missing-nin.

"Like what you see?" Hidan asked.

Thresh's jaw shifted to form a grin. "Very much."

Black Hat continued, "Until I say otherwise, Thresh will be your new boss. You shall follow his orders as if they were my own. Understood?"

Hidan and Kakuzu nodded.

"Then, I shall leave you to your own devices. Enjoy the evening, you've earned it."

Black Hat's image faded from the communicator.

"Well," Hidan said plainly. "What's our first order of business, tall, dark, and green?"

Thresh spoke lowly, his voice a low pur. "Next season, we make ourselves known to the Final Frontier… what delightful agony we shall inflict together."


RESULTS

Final Frontier Series Semi-Finals Match: Kazuya Mishima pinned Doomfist after executing the Devil Twister.

Final Frontier Series Semi-Finals Match: Agent Washington pinned Darkstar, following the Epsilon Drive.

2-Out-of-3 Falls Match for the Matriarch Championship: Captain Phasma pinned Enid with a final score of 2 to 1, becoming the first Matriarch champion.

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the Dynamic Duos Championships: The Akatsuki defeated the Normandy Warriors after Kakuzu pulled down the belts, becoming the first Dynamic Duo champions.

30 Minute Iron Man Match for the Final Frontier Championship: Agent Washington forced Kazuya Mishima to submit to a Cross Armbreaker, ending with a score of 3 to 2 and becoming the first Final Frontier champion.