CSWA PRIMETIME on the Caribbean
CRUISE of DECEPTION: Episode 3
Aired on U-62 July 23, 2006
(Finally posted on site March 1, 2007)
And it started out as such a nice cruise.
The CSWA's perennial "PRIMETIME POOLJAM Tour" set off on the Parsons' Cruise Liner II after a huge CSWA PRIMETIME in Miami. Mike Randalls revealed his relationship with Teri Melton, while destroying Timmy Windham in the process. Kin Hiroshi became the United States Champion over Hornet, after some expect help from friend Kevin Powers, and some unexpected help from one Ruben Ross.
All seemed well as the cruise ship left the dock and headed for Jamaica. But that evening, as the CSWA talent and staff joined for a rare banquet together, all hell broke loose. Little Mattie Cundiff, cancer patient, Make-A-Wish recipient, and friend of Cameron Cruise, revealed himself to be none other than the Red Midget, aka Lyle Tallman, thought to be long dead by all but CSWA owner Stephen Thomas, who believed him to be still trapped on a deserted island.
Bizarre enough for you? No? Keep reading.
The CSWA faithful were held hostage in the ballroom, forced to watch a four-hour one man show by the Red Midget, detailing his life story, and eventually revealing that Red is actually working for the mysterious "Hacker" who has been periodically interrupting CSWA television and operations. When Thomas objected, he and his wife Hortense were taken out by security and locked up inside the Presidential cabin. Hortense used the situation to her advantage, trying to convince Thomas to finally consummate their year-long marriage. Red added his opinion -- telling Thomas that he would never leave the cabin unless he acceded to his wife's wishes. Still trapped in the cabin, it appears that Thomas has given in...and Hortense wants more.
In the meantime, the Hacker had an unlikely threesome trapped in a cabin together. All thinking it was the cabin they had been assigned, Teri Melton, Hornet and Poison Ivy all entered separately, only to find out together that it was a trap. The three have had no love lost since the bizarre love triangle that caused Ivy to dump Hornet publicly, after finding out that he and Teri had had a one-night stand (and Teri lied about being pregnant from it). Despite some flareups, the three band together to outsmart the Hacker and escape the Hacker, eventually doing so.
While the CSWAers know all is not well, the cruising public does not. They begin to become suspicious as plans to dock as various ports are cancelled. Greensboro Champion JA begins his own investigation into the goings-on, only to find himself foiled by the Hacker. Not one to give up, he continues to dive deeper, eventually coming into contact with another group of our friends.
At the same time, the CSWA's shows scheduled on the boat go on. PRIMETIME in Montego Bay takes place on the boat, despite not being docked in Jamaica at all. But the craziness seems to carry over, as JA's title defense against Steven Shane ends in a schmozz -- Hornet is unable to compete in his match while he is held hostage, so "Triple X" Sean Stevens uses a chair to take out former CSWA World Champion Shane Southern.
And in a ladder match announced for the vacated UNIFIED World Title between jilted champion Dan Ryan and former champ Mark Windham, rumored-to-be-retired and actual UNIFIED Champion Troy Windham appears out of nowhere and pulls one of his patented swerves, actually grabbing the belt from its perch.
Another CSWA PRIMETIME is scheduled, and the CSWA staff has been warned to act as if everything is normal. CSWA producer Marvin Parsons can't do it, though. He still remembers his own time as one of the CSWA's deranged nemeses. He taps into those dangerous memories and uses his own skills to start to pin down exactly how the Hacker and Red have control of things.
With his biggest scheme yet launched, the Hacker's three-year long plan seems to be in motion. But no one yet knows what his (or her?) objective is, or motive, or, more importantly, who the Hacker is.
(Lyle Tallman, aka the Red Midget, aka the Hacker’s henchman, sits in the dark. Several small monitors are stacked up on a makeshift desk, giving off the only illumination in the space. Lyle sits in a large office chair, his smallish body engulfed by the leather monstrosity. The light of the monitors doesn’t show any other detail – he could be sitting in a space as large as a cargo bay or as small as a cabin.
Four of the monitors are tied into the CSWA’s production – he sees everything the cameras see – multiple angles of High Flyer and Troy Douglas as they compete in the ring. Another set of four monitors are cameras he controls – cameras set up to monitor the crowd and the CSWA staff that isn’t on-camera, or so they think. Another set of monitors show him what his security forces sees, or more accurately what the Hacker’s security sees – the bridge, the hallways as they patrol, the empty cabin that previously held Hornet, Poison Ivy and Teri Melton for his boss’s amusement. The final set of monitors is front-and-center. They show different angles from the Presidential Suite. Lyle has been both repulsed and strangely attracted to the pornographic goings-on between Thomas and Hortense. Watching Thomas reluctantly consummate his marriage has been like watching a train wreck – grotesque, hideous and full of ravaged flesh, but still you can’t take your eyes away from the spectacle.
As Hortense tries to cajole Thomas into another round – the woman is insatiable, while the CSWA’s owner, president and commissioner still looks like he’s going to be sick – Red turns his attention to the walkie-talkie in the chair with him.
GUARD #1: No sign of the fugitives on the upper deck, over.
GUARD #2: No one has attempted to gain the bridge, sir. Over.
RED: Any sign of them at the Presidential Suite?
RED: Presidential Suite report. Any sign of the escapees?
GUARD #3: No sir. (pause) Over.
RED: Alright, hold for instructions. What about below decks?
GUARD #4: No sir, no sign from either patrol. Over.
RED: Then where the hell are they? They can’t have gone overboard. Report in again in ten minutes, or as soon as you find something.
(Overboard? That would solve almost all our problems. But I don’t seriously believe they’d do it. Not when they have the chance to stick their noses where they don’t belong.)
RED: Crowd control? Any problems?
GUARD #5: Not at all, sir. They were a little uptight to begin with, but once they got seated and started watching the show they settled in.
(Amazing how you can turn the lives of hundreds upside down – but give them a little entertainment and they’re satisfied for a time. And by the end of the show, it wouldn’t matter anyway, hopefully. Thomas couldn’t last much longer. And even he did, there were backup plans. But it would be best not to have to deal with an angry, frightened mob on top of trying to keep dozens of CSWA employees in check. But whatever happens, happens.)
(Maybe it’s time to try another tack. Red hits a switch that allows him to hear what’s going on in the Presidential Suite, as well as speak to its occupants.)
HORTENSE: You about ready to go again, sweetie?
THOMAS: I don’t think I can, love. You’ve worn me out.
HORTENSE: Nonsense, lover. I’m sure I can help you rise to the occasion again.
THOMAS: Oh good Lord…
RED (over speakers): I thought you two lovebirds might need a little help down there. I know you aren’t as young as you used to be, Steve, but we all know men are ‘encouraged’ by visual stimuli.
(Red hits a few buttons to make the taped event of Thomas and Hortense consummation play through the television in their bedroom. If committing the act alone didn’t break him, maybe having to watch it will. )
THOMAS: STOP IT! Stop it right now, Lyle!
HORTENSE: It’s alright, Shug. It’s nothing to be ashamed of since we’re married folk. What we do in the privacy of our own bedroom is up to us… even if there is a perverted little person watching.
RED: All you have to do is sign the papers, Steve.
(Thomas stands up from the bed, thankfully covered by his robe. He stares directly into one of the cameras on the ceiling.)
THOMAS: There’s not a chance in hell I’m signing my company over to you and your ‘boss,’ no matter how long you think you can keep me in here.
HORTENSE: Us, Shug, us. That’s tellin’ him!
(Thomas pulls at the television, finally pulling it out of its seat on the wall and almost dropping it on his foot.)
RED: Oh well, I guess that means we’ll just have to try a more direct approach. (He hits a button and the door unlocks.) Guards, I think it’s time to help Mr. Thomas settle down.
(Hornet drops the dented dispenser cover on the chest of a groaning Hacker henchman that he’s just dispatched. A second security guard lies clutching a sensitive region, having just been dealt with by Teri. Ivy is on the phone, presumably with Adrian.)
IVY: We’re just on the other side of the bulkhead. We should be right where…
(Everyone’s favorite midget, “Little Voltron” Adrian Evans, comes around the corner, phone in hand. He’s joined by Marvin Parsons, who has left his control room duties.)
IVY: …you are.
ADRIAN: Any trouble?
IVY: A few thugs. Nothing we couldn’t take care of.
ADRIAN: That may be changing. Apparently our nerdy friend isn’t very happy that you’re out – Marvin’s been eavesdropping on their walkie talkie frequency.
HORNET: How many?
IVY: How close?
TERI: Forget that. Where is the bastard?
MARVIN: Too many. Closer than I’d like. And as for where the Hacker is, I can’t tell exactly. They came in and took over the control room before I could trace the signal to the source. My best guess is down in one of the holds. If I can piggyback on the signal again, then I can tell you which one.
IVY: Where do you need to be to do that?
MARVIN: With Thomas.
HORNET: What? Let Steve fend for himself.
MARVIN: That’s the only other place I know the signal is going to. If we can get into the Presidential Cabin, I can track it down from there.
ADRIAN: But that means more guards. There were at least 6 or 8 up there earlier, although some of them might be looking for you guys now.
HORNET: So we need a distraction.
IVY: And a way to keep the Hacker in place once we find out he’s there. If he has a camera on Thomas like he did on us – we have to make sure he doesn’t see what’s going on.
MARVIN: I might be able to help with that too. If I can blackout the camera for a minute…
HORNET: I think I can take care of the distraction…
TERI: And distraction is my middle name. I’m sure I can lend a hand there.
IVY: That leaves the rest of us to free Thomas.
ADRIAN: Just seems wrong, doesn’t it?
(As the group begins to split up and head off to their various tasks, Hornet grabs Ivy’s shoulder…)
HORNET: Be careful.
IVY: Always…. You too.
A Disaster Beyond Your Imagination
(BILL BUCKLEY and SAMMY BENSON are settled in at the commentator’s table on the deck of the Parsons’ Cruise Liner 2. Taping a show is always a different energy then doing one live, and doing one on a ship’s deck throws another wrench into things. Ring announcer Rhubarb Jones is hyping the crowd of CSWA cruisers – a task made even harder by the fact that it has become clear to all but the most dense that something has gone terribly wrong with this cruise. They haven’t made one scheduled disembarkation and there hasn’t been anything publicly said about it, except for a couple of signs that advise weather patterns have changed their route. The ship-to-shore phones are all suddenly ‘out of order,’ and neither the captain nor CSWA owner Stephen Thomas have shown up for any of the “Captain’s Dinners.” Something is definitely rotten in Denmark…)
BENSON: You do realize I’m gonna spill all the beans on this idiot Hacker mess, don’t you?
BUCKLEY: Hey, if you wanna get tasered and thrown overboard, feel free. I don’t know what good it’ll do since the show is being taped.
SB: If I say it enough, they’ll either have to scrap the whole thing or let something slip through.
BB: So you’re saying that in three months, when this actually airs, someone might see it and think, “Hey, maybe we should contact the authorities and send them to find a boat that was somewhere in the Caribbean three months ago?”
SB: You have a better plan?
(The monitors on their table switch from various camera views to one view of their beloved former colleague, the Red Midget.)
RED: I do. How about you keep your big mouth shut and I don’t have to come up there and take your place?
SB: If you come up here, the only place you’re going is overboard.
RM: The only way I’m coming up there is if my security already has you tasered, trussed, and ready to humiliate.
BB: What do you want, Lyle?
RM: Just to remind both of you that none of us want to start an angry and confused mob here, do we? Because that would lead to people getting hurt… and considering my guys are the ones with all the stun guns, tasers and tear gas, I don’t think we want that, right?
SB: Your guys? You don’t expect us to believe you’re the mastermind behind this, do you? In fact, if I remember your little one-man show, you’ve already made it clear that this idiot “Hacker” is your new boss.
RM: That’s not for you to worry about, Sammy. As usual, you’re not important enough to play with the big boys, only the minions.
SB: Come out of your little hidey-hole and I’ll show you what I can do to annoying little minions…
BB: I’ll keep him reined in as usual, Lyle. Was there anything else?
RM: That was it, Bill. Glad to see you can still be professional during a stressful time.
BB: Show your oversized little head up here and I’ll show you how professional I can be. It wouldn’t be the first time, remember?
RM: Touche. Be good boys, I’ll be watching.
(The monitors flash back to their normal camera views. Rhubarb is beginning the countdown.)
SB: I wondered if you still had it in you.
BB: I hate that little person almost as much as you do, Sammy. That doesn’t mean I’m going to give him an excuse to end up hurting some innocent people. You ready?
SB: As ready as I’ll ever be.
BB: Here we go. (takes deep breath as the stage manager counts down) Hello wrestling fans! This is CSWA PRIMETIME and I’m Bill Buckley, along here as always with Sammy Benson….
The edge of the boat on the PRIMETIME POOLJAM Tour, an isolated corner where somehow - Dan Ryan has slipped away from the craziness inside. Ryan leans over, staring into the water - contemplative.
Ryan: "With all of the events surrounding me, surrounding this cruise lately - the issue with the midget, Troy Windham snatching glory where there was none yet again, losing out on the Unified World Title one more time it really makes me think..."
Ryan looks to his left, lifeboats hanging in the air - then back to sea...
Ryan: "Hmm...I wonder how strong those ropes are. If worse comes to worse, I wonder if I could swim out of here. And on top of that, why oh why am I doomed to be stuck in the middle of this soap opera?"
"I feel like I'm on the Love Boat, with a hundred pounds of methamphetamines thrown in just for kicks."
"See, this is why I don't accept free tickets for air or sea travel. You never know when a disgruntled little midget and his hired band of thugs are gonna take over the ship-slash-plane and demand revenge for the misery you've caused them. And let's face it - everyone makes fun of midgets. I don't know why that is. I don't think anyone thinks it's okay to make fun of midgets, but we all do because basically....we don't fear them."
"But here you have an angry little guy with the resources to cause some havoc and there you have it. Midgets gone wild and a farce made out of the Unified World Title once again."
"If Troy Windham weren't there to mess up another potential match of the year between his brother and I, I would've thought he was slipping honestly. Seeing him slide into the ring and snatch the belt off of that hook made the world feel right somehow - despite being stuck on this God forsaken wreck and despite being contractually obligated to continue to be a part of it, not to mention ...oh yeah...not having a choice in the matter anyway."
"So you know, Troy....."
"It's only a matter of time. It's only a matter of time."
"Mark's time has passed - he's a brawler now, a good one - but little else. I respect your brother, Troy. But you? Nah, not so much. Tearful babyface speeches aside you're basically a big steaming pile of human crap. Talented, but worthless. Champion, but a loser in every way imaginable that matters."
"But that's fine - it's all moot really - if all goes to plan I'll be rowing away in a lifeboat by the time you see this. If not - I'll take that title - one way or another. That's something you aren't gonna be able to stop, Troy - whether you like it or not."
"It's only a matter of time."
Ryan fumbles through his pockets..."
"I know I had a pocket knife or something here somewhere."
Coming up empty, Ryan sighs.
Ryan pauses and stares at the rope...then moves his mouth as if thinking about chewing something...
"Maybe if I can just get it started...."
(Poison Ivy, Marvin Parsons and Adrian Evans have managed to dodge two security patrols already – once by diving down a nearby hallway, and once, by luck, when an unsuspecting passenger who didn’t go to the show was stopped and questioned by the patrol, allowing Ivy, et al. to duck into a nearby cabin. The route upstairs has been circuitous due to circumstance – it seems like they’ve had to go down more hallways stretching away from the Presidential Suite than they have towards. If there are this many guards outside the Suite… who knows what they can do.
It’s in one of these hallways that they find an unexpected surprise. Everyone’s favorite Anglo Luchador, JA, comes barreling out of a doorway. Well, whatever you call an entrance that no longer has a door connected to it. The CSWA’s Greensboro Champion appears exasperated and he smells like fish.)
IVY: JA? What are you doing?
JA: Trying to find the Hacker. I thought I had a lead on him, but it turned out to be a red herring.
EVANS: Um, why do you smell like rotting fish?
JA: Like I said… red herring.
EVANS: Right…but why do you smell like fish?
JA: Again… red herring.
EVANS: I give up.
JA: What are you doing?
ADRIAN: Same as you. Looking for the “mastermind” behind all these shenanigans.
MARVIN: We’re trying to get up to the Presidential Suite so we can track down where the Hacker is ‘broadcasting’ from.
JA: And you could use some help, of course.
IVY: I take it you’re volunteering?
JA: Anything to get back at the (bleep) that’s been screwing with all of us.
(Ten minutes later the group of four steps outside onto the upper deck, just around the corner from the entrance to the Presidential Suite. Adrian lies down on the deck and peeks around the corner.)
ADRIAN: It looks like there are four guards. One for each of us.
JA: What are you talking about? We can’t each take an armed guard.
ADRIAN: You’re right. I forgot we’ve got Marvin with us.
JA: I was talking about…
IVY: Don’t say it. You obviously don’t know him very well. Marvin, what do you need in order to trace the signal and figure out where this bastard is?
MARVIN: I’ve just got to connect to something that’s connected to his network. I assume he’s got cameras inside like he did in your cabin. Assuming they’re still connected, I can trace from there.
IVY: So my ‘shorting the door’ trick won’t work this time then?
MARVIN: Nope. I need the cameras to be connected to the network. If you short the door, you might end up throwing a breaker on the entire room.
IVY: So it looks like we’re going to need a little finesse.
(She turns… and realizes that JA has already left the group and is wandering up to the four guards.)
JA: (to the guards) Excuse me guys, but can you tell me how to get to the main deck from here. I’m a little lost.
(Without responding, two of the guards immediately grab hold of JA by the arms, forcing him against the wall.)
JA: Hey now! I just need some directions!
ADRIAN: (in a high-pitched voice) What are you doing to my daddy!?
JA: What the hell?!
(One of the guards is completely taken aback as a small figure rushes toward him yelling. Sadly for him, he thinks it’s an innocent child and doesn’t raise his stun gun. Even worse for him, Little Voltron’s head is right at the height of his groin… and he’s running full speed. One down.)
(The third guard raises his stun gun to put down JA. Instead he goes down in a heap as Ivy rushes in and uses her own confiscated stun gun to give him both a metaphorical and literal shock. The two remaining guards let go of JA to grab their own stun guns – JA quickly catches one with a spinning heel kick. The Anglo Luchador almost gets tagged by the remaining guard and his stun gun, but Marvin Parsons catches the guard in the back of the head with a deck chair.)
JA: Wow. Guess stalking Mickey Benedict isn’t all you can do, huh? Thanks for the assist.
MARVIN: No problem. And that was a long time ago.
(Adrian ‘borrows’ a stun gun from one of the guards and zaps the downed guards to make sure they stay down. Marvin checks the cabin door into the Presidential Suite.)
ADRIAN: I don’t see any keys or cards on them to get into the suite.
MARVIN: The card reader has been removed. It looks like the door is deadbolted electronically. The Hacker must not even trust his own guards to open the door without his command.
IVY: Or he figured that somebody might try and get in… just like we’re doing. Can we force it somehow?
MARVIN: It looks pretty sturdy. And if we try, the cameras inside will let him know and he’ll be able to move somewhere else – or send the guards after us.
JA: So you’re saying there’s no way in?
(The radio on one of the guards begins to squawk.)
GUARD #1: No sign of the fugitives on the upper deck, over.
JA: What’s that?
IVY: It sounds like Lyle.
GUARD #2: No one has attempted to gain the bridge, sir. Over.
RED: Any sign of them at the Presidential Suite?
MARVIN: What do we do?
IVY: We answer and hope for the best.
RED: Presidential Suite report. Any sign of the escapees?
ADRIAN: (lowering his voice and speaking into the radio) No sir. (pause) Over.
(The radio chatter continues as the Red Midget goes through his check-ins with the various patrols.)
IVY: Well at least now we have an idea where most of the patrols are.
ADRIAN: Is there anywhere else we can connect into the Hacker’s network?
MARVIN: This is the only place we know there almost has to be working cameras. It’s the educated guess. Anything else is just random.
IVY: Can we break into the wall and jimmy the door? I know it risks shorting the cameras, but it’s the only thing we know might work.
MARVIN: Maybe if we were on the inside like you were – there it’s just some sort of drywall. We don’t have any way to get through out here.
JA: I guess that means we go try somewhere else.
ADRIAN: Just a second – the radio again…
RED: Oh well, I guess that means we’ll just have to try a more direct approach. (He hits a button and the door unlocks.) Guards, I think it’s time to help Mr. Thomas settle down.
(A light above the door turns green and the deadbolt on the door audibly clicks open.)
IVY: Showtime boys.
It's A Wrestling Show, Right?
BB: We’re back here aboard the Parsons Cruise Liner 2 and ready for this tag team Main Event.
(CUEUP: “Bulls On Parade” by Rage Against the Machine)
BB: Former CSWA World Heavyweight Champion Steve Radder is on his way to the ring. Radder has had his run-ins with both of his opponents recently.
(CUEUP: “Wings of a Butterfly” by H.I.M)
SB: Wait a second, didn’t they forget somebody?
BB: Just a second… United States Champion Kin Hiroshi and his tag team partner, Kevin Powers, are on their way to the ring. But this isn’t supposed to be a handicap match – we expected Hornet to be introduced as well.
SB: He’s no-showing again? Somebody get the drug test ready – we’ve got a relapse!
BB: We know that Hornet is on the ship, but I haven’t heard any word of an injury or anything else that would lead me to believe he wouldn’t be here tonight. In fact, after the way Hiroshi stole the US Title from him, I’d expect him to be here to partner with Radder against these two.
SB: It’s just a side effect of a massive painkiller addiction, Buckley – sometimes you just forget where you are and what you care about.
BB: Stop it, Sammy. Hornet addressed that issue years ago and there’s no evidence that he’s relapsed.
SB: I’m just saying – statistics point out that 80% of addicts will relapse after their first treatment.
BB: Now you’re just making stuff up.
SB: True. But you almost bought it, didn’t you?
BB: Referee Pee Wee Troutman is talking things over with Steve Radder. I assume he’s asking him if he wants to continue. But now he’s calling for the bell, so I guess we’ve got our answer!
SB: Poor Radman… this isn’t going to be pretty.
BB: It looks like the US Champion is going to start this one off. Hiroshi locks up with Radder – these two are incredibly evenly matches: just one inch and ten pounds or so apart, not to mention two years apart in age.
SB: What about their blood type and sexual orientation, Buckley? Gonna tell us that too?
BB: Shut up, Sammy. Hiroshi forces Radder into the ropes, sends him across, CROSSBODY BLOCK by Radder takes the champ down! Hiroshi rolls through and up, but Steve catches him with a dropkick on the button! Radder is up, he hooks the arm and the leg… GERMAN SUPLEX! BRIDGE! ONE….. TWO… NO! It’s too early and Hiroshi is still able to kick out. Radder pulls him to his feet, then quickly body slams him to the mat. Radder with a flying elbow and another quick cover! Look at the frustration on Hiroshi’s face! Radder sends him into the ropes… FLYING LEG SCISSORS by Hiroshi…NO! NO! Radder catches him and sends him down! POWERBOMB!!!! Cover! ONE….. TWO…..THR—NO!!! Hiroshi kicks out and immediately rolls to his corner where Kevin Powers tags himself in! The US Champion has been completely on defense so far in this one.
SB: But here comes America’s Favorite Old Lush!
BB: Powers climbs through the ropes only to be met with a dropkick by Radder that staggers him. He recovers and charges… HURRICANRANA!!!
SB: Well not really… but as close as you can get on a 6’10” behemoth I suppose.
BB: Regardless, Powers is down! Elbow drop by Radder, and another, and another. The former World Champ is taking out his frustrations on his tag partner from long, long ago. Radder goes to the second rope and soars with another elbow. Another cover! ONE….and Powers kicks out, tossing Radder halfway across the ring. Powers yells something over to his corner, then steps over and tags Hiroshi.
SB: The Muffin Man’s coming back in already?
BB: Hiroshi charges Radder – Radder ducks under a flying bodypress. LAST CALL from Powers! It looks like the plan is simple – doubleteam. Powers hit him with the lariat clothesline and now Hiroshi follows with a front lay-out suplex! Powers steps outside to break the count by the referee, but now he’s right back in there!
SB: This is gonna get ugly quick. And it couldn’t happen to a better person than Mr. Radder.
BB: Hiroshi with a quick leg drop to keep Radder down. Now he’s encouraging Powers to take him up – JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB! And now Hiroshi springs up top – ASAI MOONSAULT! He’s got the cover…. ONE…. TWO… NO! He pulled him up!
SB: I told you it was gonna get ugly. It’s like he’s being held hostage or something.
BB: Sammy…. Oh come on… now Hiroshi is ripping Radder’s shirt off him, exposing that livid set of scars on his right arm. This is uncalled for. Pee Wee Troutman should end this one right now.
SB: He can’t. Powers keeps stepping out to break the count – they aren’t technically breaking any rules. Though if they did, I might actually gain some respect for them.
BB: Fisherman suplex by Hiroshi and again he pulls up on the cover at the two-count. Troutman is trying to get him to finish this match, but the US Champion just keeps shaking his head and smiling. They’re not going to be content until Steve Radder is physically destroyed. There’s a tag to Powers. Radder comes up to his knees swinging, but he can barely get a breath in. GOOD GRIEF! BIG BOOT right to the face – he may have just broken Radder’s nose. Guillotine leg drop by Powers, and just like his partner in crime, he refuses to cover, despite the referee’s pleas.
SB: There may be hope for the big buffoon yet.
BB: Oh no…. “Good God” pulls Radder up and set him on his shoulders. We’ve seen this before, and it’s not going to be pretty…. KISS THE CANVAS slingshot powerbomb. Radder may be out. No! He’s still trying to get to his feet, pulling on those bottom ropes. Meanwhile, Powers and Hiroshi have a good laugh in the corner while they watch the former World Champion struggle to get to his feet. They’ve done a number on Steve Radder here with the doubleteam.
SB: Hey, it’s not their fault Radder doesn’t have a partner to tag in.
(There’s an audible commotion that sounds like someone headset mic being turned on at the commentator’s table.)
BB: Teri? You’re not scheduled to be down here.
TERI: Oh, I couldn’t miss this for the world, Bill.
SB: What are you talking about?
TERI: Come on, Sammy, you mean you haven’t figured out how this one ends?
BB: CHOKESLAM by Kevin Powers. He covers Radder, but then actually tells the referee that Radder’s leg is underneath the ropes. This has gone beyond ridiculous, and the fans are letting Powers and Hiroshi here it.
(HUGE cheers from the fans!)
SB: Or maybe they aren’t. Oh hell….
BB: It’s HORNET!!! And he looks PISSED!
(Hornet charges down the entryway onto the main deck. He’s wearing the same clothes he had on from his time in the cabin – T-shirt, jeans and sneakers – and has three days worth of beard still on his face. He gets to ringside, grabs Hiroshi’s ankles and pulls him down, face-first onto the apron.)
BB: Hiroshi is down for the moment, and Hornet rolls inside. He kicks the back of the knee of Kevin Powers… REVERSE NECKBREAKER!!! And now Powers is down and this crowd is loving it!
TERI: He’s just getting started, Bill. Trust me.
SB: Since when did you become buddy-buddy with Hornet again? Didn’t you fake that you were having his illegitimate bug-brained baby?
BB: Hornet checking on Radder and helping him into the corner. And now Hiroshi’s back up! He’s on the apron…jumps to the middle of the top rope… HUGE DROPKICK sends Hornet all the way to the other end of the ring. And another dropkick! Hiroshi is furious that Hornet interrupted their fun – and we still don’t know why he wasn’t out here to start with!
TERI: That’s where I come in, Bill. See, someone thought it would be fun to do a little “Real World” experiment and find out the true story of what happens when three people with a decade of issues are locked together in a cabin together.
SB: You’ve gotta be kidding me.
TERI: Not in the slightest.
SB: Who was the third?
TERI: Your favorite FemiNazi.
SB: (laughing) Oh…..oh….you’ve got to be kidding me. The three of you….
BB: Hiroshi with a DDT on Hornet, and now he’s going for an STF! But RADDER is up! Dropkick to the face… and now a SIDEWALK SLAM!!! Powers is up, but he takes a dropkick on the button from Hornet and goes over the top! Radder goes to grab hold of Hiroshi, but Powers grabs him by the feet and pulls him out of the ring to safety!
SB: (still laughing) So you mean somebody locked the three of you in cabin and no one died? Hold on, where’s Ivy!
BB: Hornet grabs the remains of Radder’s shirt and pitches it to him – Radder wraps that right arm up and wipes away the blood on his face. Meanwhile, Powers and Hiroshi are taking a powder as the crowd here lets them know what they think! And now Hornet’s calling for a microphone.
HORNET: You know, folks, I’d love to stand out here and talk about how Kin Hiroshi is an undeserving United States Champion and how he ought to stop hiding behind Kevin Powers and put his title on the line against either of the men standing here in this ring (crowd pops!), but I can’t do that.
TERI: To all the workers in the back – whether you like him or not, now would be the time to find your way out here, cause all hell’s about to break loose.
HORNET: I can’t do that because we’ve got a bigger problem right now than the Muffin Man and his penchant for molesting baked goods. In case you haven’t noticed, this ship hasn’t been on course in awhile. Somebody around here has decided to stay in the shadows and pull some fast ones on the CSWA – but now they’ve gone too far. They’ve hijacked this ship, the CSWA and all its fans, and threatened anyone who blows the whistle. Several of us have already been held against our will on this ship, and now it’s clear that all of us are at the mercy of whoever’s decided to bring some goons aboard and take control of this boat.
(As Hornet speaks, a number of the CSWA talent and staff begin to funnel onto the entryway.)
So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re not going to panic – we’re not going to go crazy – and we’re not going to listen to this idiot that calls himself “The Hacker” anymore. This is a CSWA cruise, and the CSWA is taking back control of its ship.
(The crowd has realized that this isn’t a work – they’ve known that something was wrong, but no one wanted to admit that they don’t know who is in control. Then CSWAvision pops on, showing the Red Midget’s response to Hornet’s revelation.)
RED: I always looked up to you, Hornet, but now I know you’re just an idiot with muscles. It didn’t have to go down like this! It could’ve been done nice and calm…
HORNET: Somebody in the booth shut that off!
RED: I’m telling you… we’re going to do this MY way or we’re…
(The screen cuts off.)
HORNET: The first thing we’re going to do is get control of the bridge and figure out where the real Captain is that can drive this thing. Once we’re done there, we’re going to find the Hacker and see how he likes being locked up for a while. So I need all of you to stay calm and….
(The chance for calm is gone as the Hacker’s security begins piling onto the deck from behind the crowd. The crowd begins to panic – some trying to fight the guards and getting hit with stun guns, others pushing and trying to get out of the way. Hornet and Radder appear to be surrounded as the guards converge on the ring – but help comes from the ramp as Shane Southern, Dan Ryan, Sean Stevens , Steven Shane, High Flyer, Cameron Cruise and others begin charging in, some picking up chairs and other objects on the way.)
It’s No Live Sex Show – Thankfully
(Just a few minutes after the original call from the Red Midget on the radio, JA and Marvin Parsons and “borrowed” the uniforms of two of the downed security guards, while Poison Ivy and Adrian Evans have concocted a plan.)
RED (on the radio): Well? Get in there and do whatever you have to with Thomas before he destroys the whole place!
EVANS: Yes, sir. Headed in now.
IVY: Here. You’ll need this.
(She tosses one of the stun guns to JA.)
JA: I always wanted one of these for my very own.
(Marvin and JA enter the Presidential Suite, caps pulled down to avoid the camera catching their faces. As they enter, Thomas has move on from destroying the TV to trying to rip one of the ceiling-mounted cameras out of the corner. Hortense is trying to talk him down.)
HORTENSE: Shug, it’s gonna be alright. Just come back to bed and let Mama make you feel better.
THOMAS: Get me OUT OF THIS HICK PLACE! NOW!
(He turns and sees “security.”)
THOMAS: What the…? What are YOU doing here?
JA: (trying to talk over Thomas) You know why we’re here, sir. We can’t allow you to do this. Now if you’ll just calm down, we can talk about signing these papers.
THOMAS: Now look, I don’t care who you think you are, Mr….
(JA zaps Thomas with the stun gun. The CSWA owner falls off the counter and narrowly misses hitting his head on the corner of the bed.)
HORTENSE: What are you doing to my husband!? You can’t…
JA: Ma’am, please don’t make me use this on you too. We’re just here to make sure things get taken care of.
(Hortense finally gets a good look at JA’s face and realizes that the cavalry may have indeed arrived. JA is careful to keep his back to the nearest camera. In the meantime, Marvin is almost directly underneath the camera, out of view, as he pulls a laptop out from under his shirt and begins to strip a wire running partway down the wall.)
HORTENSE: I understand. I just don’t want him to be hurt. Are you sure he’s alright? Could you help me get him on the bed? I’m sure once he feels better he’ll do whatever it takes to get us out of here.
JA: Yes, ma’am. I’d be happy to help.
(They all know the clock is ticking until the ruse is revealed. JA continues to try to keep his face averted from the cameras’ views and act as naturally as possible, as Marvin works as quickly as he can. But there’s more than one camera, and if the Red Midget gets just one close view of either one of their faces….)
(As they get Thomas leveraged up to the bed with a moan, the radio squawks.)
RED: What’s going on in there? You didn’t…. hold on. WHAT!? ALL SECURITY TO THE FOREDECK! NOW! I always looked up to you, Hornet… but now… (the radio fades out as Red’s attention is diverted to Hornet and Teri in the ring.
JA: That’s it. You have what you need, Marvin?
MARVIN: One more sec….got it. The signal is coming from down below in one of the holds. I can pinpoint it exactly as soon as we get closer.
JA: Then let’s get outta here. (JA drags Thomas out through the cabin door and onto the deck as Hortense and Marvin follow, away from the prying eyes of the cameras.) Ivy?
IVY: Get it?
JA: As good as we’re going to. Looks like we got our diversion…and it didn’t even involve Roddy throwing somebody overboard.
THOMAS: (coming to again) What the hell is going on here?
IVY: We’re getting you out of here, Steve. You should be a little more grateful.
THOMAS: You! You hit me!
JA: I didn’t hit you… I just sent 30,000 volts of electricity shooting through you. There’s a difference.
THOMAS: I should really fire you. (turns to Ivy) What’s going on?
IVY: We think we know where your mysterious Hacker friend is now… or at least where he’s been broadcasting from. He’s apparently got control of the entire boat. Hornet and Teri are trying to rally the troops and cause a diversion while we get out of here and go after our “host.”
THOMAS: Hornet…and Teri?
IVY: Long story. For now, Marvin, Adrian and I will head below to see what we can find. JA, can you take Steve and Hortense toward the bridget -- Hornet’s going to need all the help he can get.
JA: I think I can handle that. As long as I’m not fired, of course.
THOMAS: I’m glad to see I didn’t make you a Vice-President for nothing.
JA: I’m a VP?
THOMAS: Shut up. Good luck.
IVY: You too. Let’s go.
Dude, Where’s My Lifeboat?
(The “diversion” has become a full-out melee, as the Hacker’s security guards charge Hornet and Teri, only to be met by some of the CSWA faithful, as well as their faithful fans. Wrestlers like Shane Southern save many a fan from getting hit by a taser or stun gun, but they can’t stop them all. CSWA security chief Gregg Gethard jumps on the back of one of the largest of the Hacker’s contingent, only to find himself hit by a stun gun for the second time in a few days. Other fans are trying to back away – only to find themselves dangerous close to the bow of the ship. Hornet tries to use the microphone to direct traffic and play battle general, but the sound system is cut off almost immediately.
Hornet pulls Teri out of the way of a guard coming up behind her, only to have her pull out of his grasp and hit the guy in the neck with her own pilfered stun gun. She shoots him a look that says volumes, although she has only two words.)
TERI: What now?
HORNET: We’ve got to hope that this bought Ivy and Marvin enough time. Now we’ve got to see if we can get to the bridge.
(The two use the crowd as a way to get lost from the guards trying to get to them. They finally escape the masses and use their new-found freedom to make a beeline for the stairs leading to the bridge. As they approach…)
HORNET: There’s someone coming around from the other side.
TERI: (brandishing her stun gun) Good. Gives me another chance to use this!
(Teri lunges forward with the stun gun, only to find herself spun around, disarmed and held against JA. The current Greensboro Champion holds the CSWA staffer against him as Hornet picks up the stun gun.)
JA: Why Teri, I never knew you cared.
TERI: If you don’t let go of me… there’s going to be a little less of you to care about, you idiot.
(Thomas and Hortense appear behind JA as he releases Teri. She reaches for the stun gun, but Hornet simply shakes his head.)
THOMAS: Give me a status report.
HORNET: A status report? You always have had a hard time saying “thank you,” haven’t you, Steve? I blame in on having to deal with Chad all those years.
THOMAS: I wasn’t talking to you… I was talking to her. And it was Ivy and JA here who got me out of that room. (He shudders.)
HORNET: Then you ought to be thanking her too. Along with Marvin and Adrian, since all of us risked our asses to get you off yours.
(Thomas intentionally ignores Hornet, turning back to Teri and waiting for an answer to his original question.)
TERI: You heard the man.
TERI: And you heard me.
THOMAS: What the hell has gotten into you people?
TERI: The same thing that’s “gotten into” you, Steve. We’ve all been held hostage by that idiot midget and his “boss.” And we didn’t all get to lounge around in the Presidential Cabin.
THOMAS: You have no idea what he…. Anyway, we need to…
TERI: We’re not doing anything for you right now.
THOMAS: Look, I’m sorry. Thank you, alright. THANK YOU!
HORNET: Was it good enough for you?
TERI: It’s as good as we’re going to get from him.
JA: I found it very sincere.
(Thomas looks as if he’s about to cry.)
HORTENSE: It’s alright, Shug. Now y’all, what we gonna do to take care of this sit-i-a-tion?
TERI: I’m going to keep my mouth shut. For once. Just because if I don’t, I’m going to get in trouble.
HORNET: Ivy’s trying to trace down where our “friends” our broadcasting from. It’s up to us to try and figure out if we can get actual control of the ship from up here.
THOMAS: You know how to drive a cruise liner? I knew you had a degree or two, but I didn’t know a captain’s license was in there too.
HORNET: We don’t need to drive it. We just need to make sure that our host can’t. And get control of the radio. I’m sure even you can work that.
THOMAS: So what’s the plan?
HORNET: We tried a plan before. I think now we just go for brute force. Which means you stay at the back of the pack.
HORTENSE: You listen to him, Shug. You let those big muscular boys do the fighting, and you just stay back here and let me protect you.
HORNET: Think you can handle this now without accidentally zapping any of us?
(Teri gives Hornet an evil look. He laughs and tosses the stun gun back to Teri.)
(The three make their way up the final staircase to the bridge, where two guards immediately attack. JA uses the railing to launch himself into one, slamming both of them against the door to the bridge. Hornet catches the other with a forearm followed by a left. Two additional guards come around from the other side – Teri immediately catches one with the stun gun, but the other goes straight for Thomas. Hortense grabs a nearby fire extinguisher and nails him in the back of the head as he puts a hand on her husband. Teri quickly follows up, zapping the guards that Hornet and JA have down on the deck.)
TERI: Well that was easier than I thought.
HORTENSE: Are you alright, Shug? He didn’t hurt you, did he?
THOMAS: No, I’m fine. I just can’t believe….
(Hortense grabs Thomas and holds him to her ample bosom.)
HORTENSE: I wouldn’t know what to do if anything happened to my baby!
HORNET: Well…. That’s disturbing. Shall we?
(JA kicks open the door to the bridge, revealing…. An empty bridge. No captain or crew held hostage, no additional guards. Just several consoles that none of them know how to operate.)
TERI: That’s not quite what I expected. So we’re looking for the radio, then?
HORNET: Looks that way. Unless you’d like to set us on a course for nowhere.
TERI: I thought that’s what our Hacker friend had already done. Can we even tell where we are?
HORNET: Assuming I can read a map, it looks like we’re just been going around in a tight circle just south of the Caymans, never getting close enough to any one island to be within communications range.
JA: This looks like the radio over here. Should I turn on some oldies?
THOMAS: Idiot. Give me that. (flipping a switch and speaking into the radio) Hello? Can anyone hear me? This is the Parsons Cruise Liner II in need of emergency assistance from the Coast Guard. I repeat, this is….
(The lights on the radio go dead. The ship shudders slightly and there is an absence of sound as the throttle moves to “Full Stop.”)
THOMAS: Hello? (flipping switches) Can anybody hear me?
(A modulated voice comes through speakers all over the ship, including the bridge.)
HACKER: Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you. But it never fails… Thomas and his overweening pride. Hornet, ever the Boy Scout, trying to save something that doesn’t need saving. Ivy, needing to buck authority. And their ever-loving band of misfit tagalongs. All you had to do was sit back for another couple of days and you would have been dropped off safe and sound back in Miami with nothing injured but your pride.
THOMAS: Hey! Show yourself you coward! At least…
(Hornet cuts him off. The Hacker isn’t even pausing – either he can’t (or chooses not) hear Thomas, or this is some sort of prerecording.)
HACKER: Instead, you decided to turn this into a fight. To make this some sort of battle when you don’t even know what the stakes are, or even what moves to make. So… it’s seems our mutual interest ends here, at least for a while. I’ll go my way, and you’ll go yours. So you’ll all need to leave now.
THOMAS: What’s he mean, leave? We can’t just leave.
HACKER: You have about an hour. There are plenty of lifeboats and jackets. I’d suggest you don’t pack too much, though.
THOMAS: He can’t be serious! This is ridiculous. HEY! HEY!
HORNET: I don’t think he can hear you.
THOMAS: He’s had cameras everywhere else! Why wouldn’t he be able to hear me here?
HORNET: Just look…
(Hornet points to one of several monitors that show camera feeds from around the ship. One shows the helipad, where the ship’s lone helicopter is in the midst of pulling up…up… and away. There is no way to tell who is on board.)
THOMAS: What do we do now? We can’t just leave the ship. Surely we can find a way to radio for help. Or they’ll come looking for us…
(As Thomas is speaking, smoke begins to flood the bridge. The cameras briefly show the same thing happening at different points on the ship.)
THOMAS: This can’t be happening. IT CAN’T! I WON’T LET IT!
TERI: It’s too late for that! We’ve got to get down there and get all these people on those boats.
(Thomas just stares at her.)
TERI: It’s an insurance nightmare waiting to happen, Steve! If just one person doesn’t make it off this boat, that could be it for your company!
THOMAS: What are you waiting for? Don’t just stand around! Let’s go!
MARVIN: This has got to be it according to the schematic I was able to pull. But I don’t have any equipment that can tell me where the signal is coming from without jacking into it.
IVY: At least we’ve gotten this far. Now we just have to search.
(In the bowels of the ship, Ivy, Marvin Parsons and “Little Voltron” Adrian Evans have found their way to what they believe is the true “control room” of the Hacker’s takeover of the ship. They are surrounded by the ship’s bulkhead, with only a few hatches leading into relatively empty storage compartments. Ivy peers into the darkness of the final hatch and finds nothing but a couple of inches of bilgewater.)
MARVIN: There has to be something we’re missing. The equipment itself has to be down here, even if no one else is.
(Ivy reaches into one of the nearby hatches for something she thought she glimpsed in the near darkness. She pulls the flashlight into the hallway and flicks it on.)
IVY: Maybe now we can get a better glimpse.
(She looks once again into all the storage compartments. Finding nothing, she plays the flashlight around the hallway, even up on the ceiling.)
(The flashlight catches the glint of a camera lens. A small security camera in the corner surveys the hallway.)
MARVIN: If the camera is there… assuming it’s not wireless, since none of the others have been. It has to be leading into this area….
(Marvin starts pounding his fist on the hallway wall between two of the hatchways. The interior seems hollow, but there is no sign of a door. Until….)
EVANS: It’s down here.
(Adrian taps on a small, concealed hatchway embedded in the lower third of the hallway…just big enough for a small child… or little person… to get through.)
IVY: Adrian, wait!
EVANS: I think we know who’s in here now.
(Adrian kicks open the small hatchway, ducks his head and enters, only to be immediately attacked by the Red Midget, Lyle Tallman. Lyle grabs Adrian by the arm and whips him into a table that holds several monitors. Electronics go flying.)
RED: I told you all to leave this alone. Now you have no idea…
(Lyle charges Adrian, both of them flying underneath the table and slamming into the chair behind. Lyle grabs Little Voltron’s hair, pulling him out from underneath and executing a savat kick that takes his breath. Lyle climbs up on top of the table to execute a mini-missile dropkick, but Adrian rolls out of the way. As Lyle gets up, Adrian charges him and pins him up against the wall, half-choking him.)
EVANS: Who is it, Lyle? Who are you working for this time? We both know you’re not smart enough to do all this on your own.
RED: (choking) I… don’t… know.
EVANS: I know it’s hard for you, but don’t play dumb. Who is he? What’s he going to do? (He lets up so Red can speak.)
RED: I don’t know. I don’t! I just know that if the plans were compromised, I’m supposed to get off the ship.
EVANS: Get off the ship? How?
RED: Any way I could. He didn’t say!
(The modulated voice of the “Hacker” comes out of one of the speakers hooked up to the monitors across the room, replaying the same message the others are hearing on the bridge.)
EVANS: Where is he!? Is he down here or on the bridge? He has to be broadcasting that from somewhere!
RED: It’s a recording! IT was all set up as a failsafe if the bridge was compromised.
HACKER: So… it’s seems our mutual interest ends here, at least for a while. I’ll go my way, and you’ll go yours. So you’ll all need to leave now.
IVY: Adrian? Adrian? Are you alright in there?
ADRIAN: I’m fine. But you need to get up to the bridge and check on the others. They’ve set off some sort of failsafe and I don’t know what’s going to happen.
IVY: We can’t leave you down here. Just leave Red down here and let’s go. He’s not the one we’re after.
ADRIAN: But he probably knows more than he’s telling. I’m going to make sure he comes with us. Go on ahead and I’ll be right behind you.
IVY: Are you sure?
MARVIN: I’ll stay here and wait for them. Between the two of us we ought to be able to get Lyle up to the deck with no trouble. And Hornet and the others may need your help. The Hacker could still be up there.
IVY: Alright. But make it as quick as you can. We have no idea what else they have planned.
ADRIAN: That’s why we need to bring him with us.
(Ivy takes off up the staircase that leads toward the deck. Adrian slams the Red Midget’s head up against the bulkhead and quickly grabs a length of electric cord to bind his hands.)
RED: You have to hurry! We have to get out of here!
ADRIAN: I thought you said you didn’t know what the plan was.
RED: He told me to GET OFF THE SHIP! How much does it take to figure it out?!
ADRIAN: He’s not a psychopath, is he? Surely he wouldn’t…
(As Adrian pulls Red through the mini-hatchway to where Marvin is, smoke begins to billow out of one of the hatchways across the hallway. The three are surrounded quickly.)
MARVIN: This way? Get him up the stairs and out of here!
ADRIAN: What are you going to do?
MARVIN: There’s a fire extinguisher on the wall. I’m going to try and put out the fire.
ADRIAN: You’ve done enough, Marvin. Now we just need to get out of here!
MARVIN: I’ll be careful. If I can’t stop it right away, I’ll head upstairs.
ADRIAN: Alright… be careful, Marvin.
(He drags the Red Midget up the stairs behind him, still trussed up by the cord.)
ADRIAN: If anything happens to him, it’s your ass.
Women and Children First – Midgets Last
TERI: The rest of the boats are away.
THOMAS: Who’s left?
TERI: As far as I can tell, just Marvin and Adrian…. And Lyle, of course.
(Teri Melton and Stephen Thomas are aboard the final lifeboat, along with Hortense and JA. Hornet and Poison Ivy are still on deck as they all wait for their friends… and the Red Midget… to emerge from below.
The evacuation had gone as well as anyone could have expected, especially with a voice coming over the loudspeakers every minute to count off how much time the evacuees had. Thomas took to cursing every time the voice came across the speakers, occasionally kicking one of the Hacker’s downed “security” agents that no one had seemed to want to help find safety.
All the CSWAers had made it aboard lifeboats themselves, along with the other cruisers. Surprisingly, JA had become a lynchpin in a time of severe stress, appointing a “captain” aboard each boat and pointing out which way to row to get to nearest island shown on the bridge display.
Ivy had tried to run back belowdecks once the smoke start pouring out from around the ship, only to be held back by Hornet, who might very well be sporting a black eye (among other injuries) in a few hours. The two now stood on deck just away from the lifeboat, watching the nearby hatch as more and more smoke pours out.)
AUTOMATED VOICE: Two minutes remain. Any passengers remaining should immediately board the nearest lifeboat and row out of range of the ship. This is a final warning. Repeating…
HORNET: We have to go.
IVY: I’m not leaving Marvin and Adrian behind. If they had just come with me and left Lyle there... we have to go in and get them.
HORNET: We’ve been over this.
IVY: (swinging to face him and trying to pull out of his grasp) I don’t care! Just let me go and I’ll do it myself. Let…me…GO!
HORNET: And I told you… I’m not letting you run back in there when we don’t even know if they made it out some other way. For all we know they could already be on a lifeboat that left on the other side of the ship!
IVY: But we DON’T know…
HORNET: And I’m not letting you run back into that. You wouldn’t be able to see…let alone breathe…
IVY: Just because you’re…
HORNET: What? Just because I’m SCARED? Just because the last time I ran into a burning building I ended up with a broken back trapped under a pile of rubble… just to find out the person I was saving didn’t need to be saved? You’re DAMN RIGHT I’m scared. I’m not letting you do it. Just like Eli wouldn’t if he were here. It’s not just YOU…do you get that? It’s the rest of us who know you too… it’s Eli and Angel and MJ… and even Sean. Got it? Now it’s TIME TO GO!
(She fights as he drags her over the side onto the lifeboat… but not quite as fiercely as she did before. That doesn’t mean she’ll ever forgive him….)
HORNET: Let’s go.
THOMAS: You heard the man, JA. Start rowing.
JA: Rowing is not in my job description.
THOMAS: It is if you want to keep your job.
JA: Hmmm, lemme think about that. I bet avoid being crushed by wreckage is more important to you than firing me.
HORNET: It’s not gonna kill you, Steve. Mush little doggie.
(As the CSWA’s President begrudgingly takes the oars, the smoke billowing from the PCL II intensifies. Ivy sits in the bow of the boat, staring glassy-eyed at the ship, watching for her friends. Hornet faces the other way, scanning above the waves for the other lifeboats ahead. Hortense is cheering her “Shoog” on as he tries to manage the oars, complaining all the while. JA and Teri sit in the stern, filling each other in on what happened to them aboard the ship.
They are all taken by surprise by a series of large bangs coming from the ship… or more specifically, from above it. In the fading light, a series of fireworks erupts above the ship in an impressive lightshow.)
THOMAS: What the hell? Was that for after PRIMETIME?
TERI: Yes. But who set it off? It wasn’t on a timer?
(The display continues. At the same time, the ship’s engines power on, and the cruise liner begins to move, creating a wake that almost swamps the small lifeboat.)
THOMAS: Hey! WAIT! HEY YOU!
(Hornet begins to laugh.)
THOMAS: What the (bleep) are you laughing at? I don’t see anything funny about being stuck in the middle of the ocean in a lifeboat while our only hope is heading the other way.
HORNET: Don’t you get it, Steve? He suckered you. He got all of us. He’s stealing your ship.
THOMAS: What… no, I saw him fly off in the helicopter.
HORNET: No, you saw video of a helicopter leaving, right? And I’m willing to bet all his “security” stayed aboard too, didn’t they?
THOMAS: They…. We just figured they got in lifeboats on the other side of the ship…
HORNET: He threatened you… and all of us… with blowing up the ship. He knew we couldn’t risk that he was bluffing, not with all the fans on board. And he knew that you wouldn’t doubt it – not after what happened to the first Parsons’ Cruise Liner. He snookered you, Steve… and he pulled off the heist of your boat.
THOMAS: And you somehow find that uncontrollably amusing, huh?
HORNET: No, I’m just happy.
THOMAS: ABOUT WHAT!?
HORNET: It also means that Adrian and Marvin have to be okay. There was no explosion, there was no fire… it means…
IVY: THERE! Turn the boat, Steve!
THOMAS: WHAT NOW?
(Ivy’s eyes have never left the ship. As the others turn, they see a repeat of what she did… a small figure leaping over the side of the huge vessel. Both are pulled underwater as they try to escape the pull of the ship…and avoid being trapped in its aft or wake as it starts to make distance from the lifeboat.)
IVY: We have to get back there and pick them up.
(JA jostles Thomas out of the way, almost knocking him over the side. They change positions and JA begins to row, quickly closing the small gap. Seconds after JA takes over, one head pops up out of the water, then another. Both Adrian and Lyle are buoyed to surface by orange life vests. Within a couple of minutes, Hornet is pulling Adrian out of the water and into the boat. He reaches down to do the same for Lyle, but Thomas objects.)
THOMAS: He knew about all this! We should just leave him there.
HORNET: You know we can’t do that, Steve.
ADRIAN: (shivering) He didn’t know… he thought the ship was on fire like the rest of us did. Even when the fireworks started going off… that’s when he headed for the side and tried to jump off. I stopped him once, but he got away and dove over the edge.
IVY: Where’s Marvin?
ADRIAN: I don’t know. We got separated in the smoke. I tried to go back for him, but Dumbo here decided he wanted to dive over the edge before the boat “exploded.”
(Hornet pulls Lyle over the edge and into the boat. Thomas stands up, then immediately sits-falls back onto the bench due to the rocking of the boat.)
THOMAS: You little…. MIDGET! I swear to you…I will make you wish you never got off that island.
RED: I already do. The two years there by myself…without YOU… were the most peace I’ve had in my life.
THOMAS: I’ll show you peace, you little traitor.
RED: Traitor? TRAITOR!? I HELPED YOU BUILD A RAFT AND YOU LEFT ME BEHIND!
THOMAS: And I’ll do it again right now.
HORNET: ENOUGH! Right now all we have to concentrate on is getting out of the water. The other boats should be close enough by now to make out the small island we saw on the map. We need to catch up. There are going to be a lot of people to take care of when we get there.
THOMAS: Fine. But we’re not done with this, Lyle. Not by a long…or short… shot.
(JA begins to turn them back into the right direction and pushes the oars, sending them towards land and the other ‘castaways’ in the other lifeboats. Hornet leans over to Ivy and speaks quietly.)
HORNET: He’s got to be fine. Marvin’s certainly safer on that ship than he is in this boat with a couple of lunatics.
IVY: He better be alright. This doesn’t make you right, you know. If you had let me go back, I’d be there with him…and I’d be able to find out who’s behind this.
HORNET: I don’t care about being right, Ms. McGinnis. I just care that everyone’s alright.
IVY: He better be.
They sit in silence as the horizon broadens, the setting sun looking huge in the distance as it disappears behind the waves. The lights built into their lifejackets begin to power on as they all take their turns rowing. It is almost completely dark when they hear the sound of surf breaking on the beach and sight two large fires in the near-distance. In a little while, they’ll be surrounded by hundreds of people who aren’t used to life without creature-comforts, who are looking to them for guidance on where to sleep and what to eat and full of questions on what happened and what happens next.
In the meantime, they all savor the sounds of nature in their own way, pondering the series of deceptions they’ve just lived through. What causes a person to become so jaded, so bitter, so conniving and deceiving that they could do something like this?
And if they could go so far as to do this… what else?