Not Quite 24 -- Part I (Joint RP) Dec 19, 2009 13:33:07 GMT -5
Post by Johnny Reb on Dec 19, 2009 13:33:07 GMT -5
The following takes place between 1 pm and 2 pm…
Far removed from the cold and snow threatening the Eastern seaboard, the sun shines brightly down on the city of Los Angeles and its vast, ultramodern international airport. Busy and hectic most of the year, LAX plays host to a whole new definition of chaos during the holiday season, and this day is no different. Every moment that ticks by, hundreds of people move, herdlike, through the front doors.
A lone figure – none other than WCF owner Seth Lerch – fights his way through the sea of humanity, moving against the flow and clearly in a hurry. A black SUV awaits him in the fire lane just beyond the doors, boxed in on three sides by a pair of taxis and a sedan bearing government plates. Nevertheless, he perseveres and, at last, gets into the waiting vehicle.
Taking a moment to compose himself, Lerch lets out a sigh of mingled frustration and relief. He knows he isn’t out of it yet, that he’ll have to battle with traffic just to get out of the temporary parking spot, and the worst is yet to come on LA’s fabled expressway. Time, however, is money, and not to be wasted. He reaches for the key in his pocket, sticks it into the ignition, and turns it.
Without warning, the airbag deploys with a loud bang; but instead of an airbag, the interior of the vehicle – and everything inside it – is suddenly covered in thick, white foam. Lerch sits there for a moment, stunned beyond reaction. Outside the car, passers-by stop to stare in wonder and amusement; all but two, who rush toward the vehicle.
Johnny Reb, the “Inveterate Confederate,” and his longtime friend and new tag team partner, Doc Henry, pull the driver’s side door open. Reb hauls the shocked driver out, not recognizing him until Lerch begins wiping the foam from his face with his hands. Then, both men start to snicker.
Seth Lerch: Jesus Christ! What the hell?
While Doc continues chuckling, Johnny recovers himself enough to at least try to make sense.
Johnny: Mr. Lerch, are ya all right?
Lerch looks at Johnny like he’s retarded.
Seth Lerch: Of course I’m not all right! I’m covered in shaving cream, my suit’s ruined… and I’m probably going to be liable for the damage to the car…
Doc Henry’s chuckle evolves rapidly into full-blown hysterical laughter. Johnny frowns and takes a look inside the SUV. He pulls a pen out of his pocket and starts poking at the wiring in the steering column, careful not to get his fingerprints on anything. When he draws back again, he has a small and complicated-looking device balanced over the barrel of the pen by a couple of wires. He eyes it critically.
Johnny: Well, hell… Looks like ya got yourself a car bomb here.
Reb turns to Doc and slugs him on the arm.
Johnny: An’ stop laughin’… this is serious.
Doc makes a valiant effort to control himself, and finally does… more or less. He takes another moment to catch his breath before speaking.
Doc: I’m sure it ain’t that serious, Johnny. It’s just a little shavin’ cream.
Johnny: I dunno, Doc. I mean, we are in Los Angeles. An’ next time, it might be a real explosive.
Seth Lerch: What in the hell are you two on about?
Lerch glances back and forth between Doc and Johnny, a puzzled expression on his face, and still fuming over the whole incident. Reb shakes his head and looks at him with something approaching sympathy.
Johnny: Clearly, we’re dealin’ with … terrorists.
Seth raises an eyebrow at Reb, while Doc starts to chuckle again.
Doc: I reckon maybe it’s got somethin’ to do with One.
Now it’s Reb’s turn to look surprised.
Johnny: Then that means… it must be a domestic terrorist cell! This is some Jack Bauer shit, I’m tellin’ ya…
Lerch rolls his eyes in exasperation.
Seth Lerch: Listen… just… shut up. It’s not terrorists; it’s somebody’s idea of a joke. Now go away so I can deal with this.
Johnny frowns, a little hurt that his theory isn’t being taken seriously.
Johnny: Now see here, Lerch… I may not like ya – well, I definitely don’t like ya. Hell, I don’t even respect ya that much. But me an’ Doc, we’re gonna find out who’s behind this.
Seth Lerch: Whatever…
Taking this as permission to go ahead with his investigation, Johnny tucks the device he pulled from the car into his pocket and starts back toward the airport, leaving Doc little choice but to follow. Together, they thread their way through the masses, heading for the rental kiosk from which the SUV was obtained.
Doc: Johnny, slow down! What in the hell are ya doin’?
Reb stops and turns to regard his friend.
Johnny: I’m investigatin’, what’s it look like? If you’re right, an’ this has somethin’ to do with One, anybody on the roster could be next.
Doc opens his mouth to say something else, then thinks better of it. Instead, he smiles and fishes a cell phone out of his pocket.
Doc: All right, we’ll see what we can find out. I’m just gonna make a phone call real quick.
Johnny: Good idea! See if you can get in touch with someone at Homeland Security…
Doc: … um, sure …
Henry begins to dial as Reb walks away to talk to the attendant at the car rental place. The young man with the frozen smile is as helpful as he can be, but recognizing Johnny, he seems much more interested in discussing the upcoming wrestling event than actually answering any of Reb’s questions. At last, he manages to extricate himself from the conversation and rejoins Henry, looking mildly disappointed.
Johnny: Well, that’s a dead end. Lerch’s secretary made the arrangements, by phone. What’d you find out?
Doc smirks knowingly.
Doc: I think someone’s claimin’ responsibility. Look at this…
Henry shows Reb his phone, on which a promo is playing. Johnny watches intently, frowning at the images of “redneck photos” flashing across the miniature screen.
Johnny: I don’t get it.
Doc sighs theatrically. Both men start wandering back toward the entrance, having concluded by tacit agreement to take a cab instead of renting a car.
Doc: It’s obviously some kinda coded message. Maybe a call to arms. Come on, Johnny, think! These guys are from Texas. You know only two things come from Texas…
Reb ponders that for a moment.
Johnny: Steers an’ queers?
Henry shakes his head.
Doc: No. Gun-totin’ survivalist militia members… an’ Republicans.
Johnny: Ain’t that redundant? …also, ain’t you a Republican?
Doc: Never mind that. We have a lead!
Reb gazes at Henry doubtfully.
Johnny: I dunno, Doc. It’s a little thin. Besides, what’s their motive? They’re already the tag champs, an’ they got what they wanted: a ladder match.
Doc: Well, that’s the point, ain’t it? Lerch refused ‘em the ladder match at first… this coulda been revenge for that. An’ they wanna keep them belts, so…
Johnny’s brow furrows deeply as he considers the logic – or lack thereof – behind it all. Neither man notices the slow, methodical approach of an early 80’s Toyota hatchback as they step outside once again.
Johnny: By that reasonin’, we could be next.
Doc nods emphatically. The windows of the unnoticed hatchback begin to roll down…
Doc: That’s what I’m gettin’ at –
All at once, there is pandemonium as the men inside the Toyota open fire, unloading a hopper full of multicolored paintballs all over the main entrance of LAX, most of it directed at Doc and Johnny. Henry dives for cover behind a parked car at almost the exact same moment, and emerges unscathed as the hatchback speeds away. Reb, however, is not so fortunate. Crouched on the sidewalk, it appears he took the brunt of the attack, his chest and shoulders covered in globs of paint. Doc directs a frustrated glare after the retreating car…