The scene opens in a conference room in the back of the Epicenter. Pandora and Ultimo Muerte sit at a table. Muerte is stiff and upright, not really showing much in the way of emotions per usual, but Pandora is clearly antsy and annoyed. The Horizon Championship sits on the table. Pandora looks at her phone and then the door.
Pandora: We have better things to do than sit here all night, match or no ma…
The circumstance hits Pandora like a ton of bricks. She puts her phone away in the pocket of her pantsuit and looks at Ultimo Muerte, who stares at her. She nods. Both Muerte and Pandora rise. Pandora collects the championship as they turn for the door.
Pandora: Ultimo Muerte, go give that insect a little taste of Total Annihilation.
The lights flicker for a moment, white, black, and blue. Pandora seems a little surprised, but Muerte is unphased. As the lights normalize, they head for the door and Muerte tries to open it, but the door is locked. Pandora smirks.
Pandora: Locked from the outside? What is this…
Muerte moves Pandora out of the way before he slams his shoulder against the door, and while a man the size of Ultimo Muerte should be able to take down a simple, corporate office door, the door does not budge, causing Muerte some mild discomfort. The sound of static stops Muerte from further slamming into the door as they both turn to a large screen on the other end of the conference table. A screen that is not plugged into anything. A screen that is showing The Speaker.
The Speaker: Hello Hooorizon Champion, Ultimo Muerte, and his manager, Pandora. We are so happy to speak to you in a more intimate setting. Thank you for coming and we apologi-gi-gi-gi-gize for the wait.
Muerte throws a table out of the way. Pandora is quick to step between him and the TV. She puts her hand up on Muerte’s chest, instantly deflating him. Pandora looks back at the TV.
Pandora: You know, keeping us captive is only going to make Ultimo Muerte more violent.
The Speaker: Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable. I’m here just to t-t-t-t-talk, so feel free to share whatever’s on your mind. I’m all eeeeeeeears and ready to listen. Let’s have a nice, relaxed conver-ver-ver-versaaaaaaation.
Pandora chuckles to herself. She speaks as she looks around the room.
Pandora: This is asinine. Couldn’t even be bothered to show up themself. Pre-recorded message? How cli-
The Speaker: We have the utmost respect for Cipactli, so we would appreciate a user of the deep magick such as yourself showing a fellow being some respect. Nothing we do is asinine.
Pandora immediately sits down at a table, startled by the use of the name. Ultimo Muerte’s name. She’d heard it in a story the High Brujah told her, but she had never spoken it. Who was this “Speaker”? Muerte’s fist clenches. Pandora, oblivious to Ultimo Muerte’s body language, asks the only thing that she can muster to break the tension in her body.
Pandora: What is this?
There is a silence for a moment, broken only by the low hum of the large monitor. Lines of static cross the large monitor, almost as if whatever is inside the screen is barely contained in the digital world.
The Speaker: This is a meeting for understanding, clarity. When we say we respect you, myself and my client, REEEDAAAC-C-C-C-C-T̸̢͍̐̀͠ͅE̛̮͈͔͉͇̣̐̔͑͒D̛̲͖̫̝̲̔̃̈͜͏, we are being sincere. You, Ultimo Muerte, your brujahs, we respect and value your ways and the old magick. But…we want you to look around? You have been exiled here, yes?
Though the voice of the Speaker hasn’t really changed, something about it feels smoother, more human in some ways. Yet, in others, less.
The Speaker: Look at the competition in REIGN, so happy to be adjacent to a company like SHOOT Project, but far too content to become anything greater. They want to bask in the sun, not embody it. They are jokes, clowns mimicking warriors. You…you are different, Muerte, you are a different being, a primeval being. We chose you to prove our power, but also to release you from your burdens. We wish to fully and totally annihilate you…
The screen zooms in on the eyes of the Speaker, eyes that have become hyper-realistic and deeply blue.
The Speaker: So that you may become what the High Brujah wants you to be.
The zoom stops. The Speaker is back to regular, no strangely realistic blue eyes any longer.
The Speaker: As a show of respect, please, sit back, watch our client’s match, and enjoy.
A nearby mini-fridge opens. Inside is a strange, old-looking bottle with no label.
The Speaker: A bottle of pulque as a gesture of goodwill-will-will-will-will-wi-
Pandora looks at the mini-fridge slowly, then over to her client. Muerte’s eyes are narrowed and his fist still clenched.
Pandora: Muerte…Calm. Now is not the time! At Total Annihilation you can let CICADA feel the reason why we don’t use your name. The Speaker thinks they’re smart, Muerte. They don’t understand the Hell they just unleashed on their client.
Pandora looks at the TV.
Pandora: But, they will.
Pandora sighs, pushing herself up out of her chair. She walks stoically to the mini-fridge.
Pandora: Pulque? I’ve always been fond of agave.
Pandora reaches into the mini-fridge, grabbing the unlabeled bottle. She then turns and walks back to the spot she just vacated, placing the bottle on the table in front of her. Both Pandora and Ultimo Muerte look at the TV, now showing the REIGN ring. Pandora sits down in the same chair and uncorks the bottle.
The scene fades.