Monday, 24 January 1994

James Watt: Running Man - Chapter Three

    The craft carrying Watt continued to hurtle down the tunnel at high speed. After about another minute he saw daylight. The craft suddenly stopped when it hit a net. Watt as now in the area that had been devastated by a massive earthquake in 1997. As soon as the craft had stopped a group of five scruffily-dressed men rushed over to him and released Watt. They helped him out of the craft and directed him to the first quadrant of the zone.

    Meanwhile, the audience in the television studio started to go wild. They wanted blood, and it was Watt’s blood they wanted. Killian, again proving he was a good showman, began to play to the audience again. With his microphone in hand he entered the audience, until he came to one weedy-looking man.
    “Captain Watt is in the zone now.” said Killian. “Now it’s your chance to win some prizes, including a Running Man board game. All you have to do is try and guess who the first stalker will be!”
    “I don’t know.” the man said. “I like all the stalkers, but I suppose if I had a choice I would choose…..Sub-Zero!”
    “Sid, let’s see if he’s right!”
The studio lights dimmed.
    “Well Damon, our first stalker is a master of the ice hockey puck. A well-educated men, not only in the ways of the world, but in the ways of pain! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…..Professor Sub-Zero!”
Oriental music began to blast it’s way over the P.A. system. Then, a spotlight began to shine on the centre of the stage as a huge burly figure began to show himself. He was clad in the gear of an ice hockey player, and in one hand he held a huge ice hockey stick. On the inside of the bend of the ice hockey stick was a razor-sharp serrated blade. Then, the lights of the studio began to come back on as the audience began to go wild once more.
    “Let’s hear it for Sub-Zero!” Killian cried.
Sub-Zero did an oriental salute to the audience. Then the lights dimmed again as Sub-Zero mad his way to the gaming zone.

    Watt was surprised that he had encountered no danger so far. He had heard there was a great element of danger involved in this show. He wanted to see where it was. As he walked along he saw a light in the distance. He decided to approach the light. When he got there he found that the floor was covered with ice, rather like an ice rink. Then, as he entered, a huge metal door came crashing down behind him. It was obvious that he was meant to stay in this part of the zone. Then, behind him he heard a noise, as if someone was skating behind him. Watt turned around and was suddenly barged by the massive Sub-Zero. Watt lat on his back as Sub-Zero skated away from him. Watt looked up as Sub-Zero started to move back towards him. He began to raise his stick in the air, with the blade aimed at Watt. As soon as Sub-Zero got near him Watt move out of the way, and the blade met with ice. Sub-Zero then began his return run, and Watt, who was still lying on the ice, began to play possum. As soon as Sub-Zero got near him he grabbed the stick and managed to wrench it away from the mighty oriental. Then, getting to his feet, he snapped the stick in two as if it were nothing more than a match. This surprised Sub-Zero, who then reached into his pocket and took out a hockey puck. He hurled it at Watt, and it exploded on impact. Sub-Zero was again surprised when the explosion had no effect on Watt. Watt stared at Sub-Zero and smiled. He then took to the air and charged Sub-Zero against the wall. This knocked the wind out of him, and he slumped to the ground. He looked up at Watt, only to see two fists come down against his head, knocking him senseless. The groggy Sub-Zero looked up once again at Watt, expecting him to finish him off this time. He was surprised when Watt did not.
    “I’m not going to take your life.” he said. “That’s not my job.”
Watt helped Sub-Zero to his feet, and then took to the air, carrying Sub-Zero in his arms. He them flew him out to the edge of the zone.
    “Go.” said Watt. “And tell your boss I’m not playing his sick games.”
Sub-Zero looked surprised, but he realised he was lucky to get away with his life.

    In the studio the audience began booing and chanting. Killian was surprised at how easily Watt had defeated Sub-Zero. For once in his life he was dumbstruck. The audience continued to boo. Killian knew he had to do something to calm them. With his microphone in hand he walked to the centre of the stage.
    “Calm down! Calm down!” he called. “One of the stalkers has fallen, but has gotten away with his life! How incredible! But there are still plenty of stalkers left, and we’ll see them right after this break!”
The station went to a commercial. Angry, Killian stormed off the set into the control room.
    “Where’s Sub-Zero?” he asked.
    “On his way back from the zone.” replied the technician.
    “Good. I want the next two down in wardrobe now and kitted up.” said Killian. “I want that bastard, and I want him dead!”

    The commercial break lasted for about four minutes. Killian was getting very tense. Sub-Zero’s defeat had made him look foolish. What made him look more foolish was when Watt did not kill him. But again, he put on his showman’s face for the studio audience. When he appeared on the stage the audience began cheering once again.
    “We’re back with ‘The Running Man’, and now it’s time to try and guess which stalker will go after Captain Watt this time!”
Killian once again entered the audience. This time he found a little old lady.
    “Well hello there, darling! Now tell me, which stalker do you think will go after Captain Watt next?”
    “Oh dear, I don’t know! I don’t really have a favourite, but I like Buzzsaw and Dynamo the most!”
    “Sid, why don’t you tell us who’s next?”
    “Certainly Damon. Out next stalkers tonight are probably the greatest ever. With his chainsaw made of high intensity steel he’s one of the toughest men on the face of the Earth! Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Buzzsaw!”
Heavy metal music began to ring around the studio as the audience once again went wild. The lights dimmed as a massive figure moved on the stage. The whirring of a chainsaw blade could be heard as Buzzsaw made his entrance.
    “But that’s not all, folks! Also entering the zone is his tag-team partner, making up probably the greatest tag-team of all time. His power over electricity is second to none! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dynamo!”
The heavy metal music was soon replaced by some opera. The spotlight moved to another part of the stage as a portly man with flashing lights all over him began to sing “Nessun Dorma”. He then extended his arm and fired a bolt of electricity from his hand. The bolt hit a sign and his name suddenly appeared in lights. The audience continued to go wild with frenzy.
    “There you have it folks!” cried Killian. “Dynamo and Buzzsaw! Will they be able to defeat the Captain! We’ll soon find out!”

    The Anglo-Force sky jet had landed at John F. Kennedy airport in New York for re-fuelling. On the runway Red Sun stood impatiently as the jet was re-fuelled. Then White Knight went over to her.
    “He’s past the first hurdle.” he said. “But they are sending two huge buggers after him next.”
    “He can handle himself.” said Red Sun. “Any word from Supercop or Mighty Man?”
    “They’re meeting us in L.A.” replied White Knight. “And don’t worry, it’ll be only a couple of hours before we reach them.

    Watt was now in the open air in the main ruins of old L.A. The rubble from the decaying buildings was all over the place. He stopped for a moment to gain his bearings. Then he heard the sound of an engine in the distance. He turned around and saw the front light of a motorcycle on the horizon. Within a few seconds the motorcycle was near him. Watt then saw the face of the motorcycle rider. He had muscles on top of muscles, and a very mean and angry look on his face. In his left hand he was carrying a huge steel chainsaw. Buzzsaw had arrived on the scene.
    Buzzsaw accelerated on his motorcycle, and was now at top speed. He was surprised that Watt was not moving. Buzzsaw was now very close to Watt, and as he began to veer to one side slightly he aimed his blade at Watt. Then, when the blade touched Watt Buzzsaw went flying off his motorcycle. From the ground he looked up at Watt. He was even more shocked when he saw that only Watt’s costume was damaged. Springing to his feet Buzzsaw then charged Watt with his chainsaw extended in front of him. The blades began to whirr as once again they made contact with Watt. Buzzsaw expected blood and guts to start flying everywhere, but there was nothing. A shocked look then appeared on his face, and he looked up at Watt. Watt grabbed the chainsaw off Buzzsaw, and with one swipe smashed the handle into Buzzsaw’s jaw, knocking him senseless. Then Watt broke the chainsaw in two and threw it to the ground. Then, in the distance, Watt heard the sound of another engine. He turned around and he saw what seemed to be a dune buggy coming towards him at high speed. Again, Watt just stood where he was. As the buggy got closer he saw Dynamo at the wheel. The buggy continued to speed towards Watt. Then, it smashed into Watt, and the engine exploded. Dynamo then jumped out of the buggy as it caught alight. He then ran round to the front of the wreck and was surprised to see Watt was still standing where he was. Dynamo then extended his arm, and a bolt of electricity shot out towards Watt. A few seconds later it struck him. The energy from the bolt began to swirl around him, and then, a few seconds later, it was gone. Dynamo again was shocked. Watt took to the air and flew towards Dynamo. Dynamo, still in a state of shock, just stood where he was. A blow to the jaw rendered him unconscious. He fell to the ground like a fallen oak. In the studio the audience were once again stunned. Killian was again dumbstruck. The camera panned to a view of Watt. Watt stared straight into the camera.
    “When are you going to send in the heavy stuff Killian?”
    A few minutes later the network went to a commercial break. Killian stormed out of the studio and into the control room. He took off his bow tie and threw it to the floor.
    “What the hell is going on around here?” he said. “These stalkers are no match for him!”
Then the door to the control room opened. Moriarty had returned to the studio.
    “What are you doing here?” asked Killian. “I though you took your money and ran.”
    “I only agreed to bring Watt here because I thought your stalkers would be able to take care of him.” replied Moriarty. “I can see that I will have to go after him myself.”
    “Now wait a god damn minute!” shouted Killian. “I still got two perfectly good stalkers waiting in the wings. They’ll be able to take care of him!”
    “Very well.” said Moriarty. “I will give your remaining stalkers a chance, but if they fail then I’ll enter the zone.”
Then the telephone in the control room rang. Killian answered it. He did not speak, and then put the receiver down a few seconds later. He did not look happy.
    “What is it?” asked Moriarty.
    “Security has said that Mighty Man and Supercop have been seen near the zone.” Killian replied. “And our contacts in the Justice Department said that Anglo-Force’s sky jet was seen leaving J.F.K.  Airport an hour ago, heading in this direction. They’re coming for Watt.
Moriarty began stroking his beard.
    “Your stalkers, are they okay?” he asked. “Are they still able to fight?”
    “They have a few bumps and bruises, but they seem fit enough.”
    “Get them to report to the first quadrant.” said Moriarty. “I have a feeling that your ratings may soon sky rocket!”

    The commercial break lasted for another five minutes. During the final minute of the break Killian stood in the wings putting back on his bow tie and cursing James Watt. Then the theme music started, and Killian put on his showman’s face.
    “We’re back with The Running Man!” he smiled. “And it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty! As you should know there are two stalkers left, and it’s obvious who’s coming up next! Sid, tell us about him!”
    “Our next stalker is second in the all-time list of kills! With his jet-pac and flame-thrower his is indeed a formidable force! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Fireball!”
The studio lights dimmed as a sinister type of music began to play over the speakers. Suddenly the darkness of the studios was lighted up by a huge burst of flames. Then the spotlight shone on the centre of the stage, onto a dark imposing figure clad in grey, jet-pac strapped to his back, huge flame-thrower in his hand. Fireball had arrived on the scene!
    “There you have it folks!” said Killian. “The mighty Fireball, off to get the Captain!”
Fireball ignited his jet-pac and began to rise into the air. A few seconds later and he was heading towards the gaming zone.

    The Anglo-Force sky jet had made good time in travelling across the U.S. They now landed at the main L.A. airport. On the runway they were greeted by Supercop and Mighty Man.
    “We’d better dispense with the pleasantries.” said Star Man. “How’s Jim holding up?”
    “He’s doing fine.” said Supercop. “He’s totally humiliating their stalkers. I just hope his costume is fireproof however, with that next gut they’re sending after him!”
    “But we have a bigger worry now.” said Mighty Man. “Cornelius Moriarty was seen entering the I.C.S. studios a short time ago.”
    “He must be the one behind the whole thing.” said Red Sun. “Where is the gaming zone?”
    “In the ruins of old L.A.” said Supercop. “It was the area that was devastated by the earthquake three years ago.”
    “Then we’ll go there.” said White Knight. “I’d like to see how these stalkers operate as a team!”