Post by Jacob Knight on May 7, 2020 13:26:23 GMT -8
The camera opens suddenly on a close-up shot of a decapitated pig's head. The eyes are closed, some streaks of blood drip down its face, and the mouth almost appears to be frozen in a small smile. As the shot slowly pans out, we see "SERENITY" is emblazoned across it's forehead in marker as it rests atop a crude pike. Suddenly, the camera cuts to a wider shot to reveal two more heads flanking both sides of it, one with the name "TOMMY" across the head while the other says "EDEN." The camera cuts again and we see sitting below them is Jacob Knight wearing a white dress shirt and a black tie as another pig head rests at his feet.
"From the very first day I broke out onto the wrestling scene, my mission hasn't just making a name for myself, it hasn't just been about holding championships... it's been about making this industry better for each and every one of us."
We see a collection of clips of Jacob from his debut in WWH as he speaks outside the Capitol Building in Night City, spray paints CTS onto the General Manager's door, and hits a security guard with a WRA Powerbomb, and wears his #CloseTheSanatorium merch to the ring.
"Since its inception, Sanatorium has been a beacon of atrocity and stood in defiance of much needed progress. It's 'roster' consists of people who are in need of psychological assistance, of people who have been jailed wrongfully, of a variety of human beings who deserve to be treated as such. And yet, they are treated like animals. They are expected to withstand physical abuse from not only each other, but from the orderlies and nurses who are supposed to take care of them. They are supposed to just sit there and take it when their "Warden" forces himself upon and takes of advantage of them and justifies it through their medical conditions. But most importantly, despite having the resources and the ability to aid them, these people are expected to fight for basic human needs in front of an audience every two weeks. And you know who profits? The greedy, sadistic, capitalist bastards who oversee this torment."
As he speaks, we see examples of such horrors. Orderlies serving as lumberjacks during a match attack competitors, we see a group of nurses inject needles of serums into the necks of patients without regard of the size of the dosage, there are 'highlights' from different matches at the Bedlam event, and we even see a brief clip of Tommy in Maki's cell ready to... "please himself" with it cutting out before anything vulgar takes place.
"We condemn entire nations for such treatment towards their citizens, yet few have spoken out about this matter. It's as if, because it's marketed as 'professional wrestling,' that it doesn't matter to the outside world! To make matters worse, people in their system, guys like Chris Matthews, have stood in defense of these atrocities as if my battle was with them. In reality, my battle is with the authorities that have enabled this system to exist without consequence! So that's where I came in. To create some noise, to hold them accountable, to let the world know how this 'brand' is perverting the industry that we all love so much! I did it not just for me, but for us!"
His last words repeat as we see highlights of Jacob's matches and victories throughout his time in WWH before cutting back to him.
"And ever since, people have wanted to write me off, discredit me, say that I am all talk, and sabotage not only my career but our movement. Chief among them was none other than Tommy McMasters. The man that I should have been facing in a couple of days. A man who talked a big game of being able to crush me like a bug, but only one on occasion did he ever stand toe-to-toe with me in a ring. He turned out to be more of a pest than a threat, unsurprisingly. Deliberately distracting me during matches, stopping me from ascending in the rankings; that's when we knew we had to be a part of the War of Attrition. If we won, if we had outlasted every challenger, our movement would have had the perfect platform to make change here in WWH. And yet, you robbed us of it, Tommy, because you knew I had a shot at earning that power. Especially after I eliminated you myself. And just when I throw the gauntlet down at your feet and challenge you to a match at the biggest show of WWH's year for control of the Sanatorium, you disappear. In the process, you left your throne and acceptance to my challenge to your little protege. A woman who seeks to continue your work despite promising the opposite. A woman who tried to hide your sins from the world had it not been for the work of young Brick Hawthorne."
As he speaks we see clips of Tommy making appearances on Dystopia and distracting Jacob during various matches, leading to his defeat at the hands of his opponents. It cuts to clips from War of Attrition as Jacob and Tommy trade blows in the ring before he eventually throws the Former Warden of the Sanatorium over the top rope and eliminates him. Right after it cuts to Tommy coming back in the ring to eliminate Jacob before the two continuing brawling up the ramp before cutting to black. It then fades on a shot of Eden as she introduces herself to the Sanatorium audience and promises to make things better, which rough cuts to her speaking with Brick about the leaked footage of Tommy and Maki.
"Eden, I respect you for picking up Tommy's balls when they fell off him. But if you think I'm going to hesitate because your representative in this match is a comrade in this fight against you that you've put in front of me, you have another thing coming. This means EVERYTHING not just to me, but to ALL OF US! Allowing shit like this to happen is not what our industry stands for! I am willing to put my well-being, my life, and my freedom on the line to see that this company is no longer seen as the vile piece of filth that the rest of the industry sees it as, and I REFUSE to be labelled as the villain for it! So Eden, bring V, bring your Serenity CEOs, bring the Hart Family, bring a whole army of them, it doesn't matter! Because at DreamState, I'm going to take the heads off every Sanatorium pig that stands in my way or die trying!"
At that moment he reaches down and grabs the pig head at his feet and holds it up for the camera to see., the look on his face one of sternness and determination. It's a much bloodier head than the three standing on pikes behind Jacob and across it's head in bold is "SANATORIUM."
"Because I am the Knight in Shining Armor this place fucking needs..."
With that, he throws the head down to the floor, still looking into the camera with that determined look until it cuts to black.
Wrestling's Knight in Shining Armor That Gut With The Agenda Zanna Bell's Favorite Wrestler The Stepfather of Professional Wrestling - "You May Hate Him, But You Will Respect Him" - Mr. #CTS Jakey Wrestling Certified Socialist Scum The Pride of New York "He's Really Good at Subtweeting" The Last Real Revolutionary The ONE and Only HEADSTRONG JACOB KNIGHT #CloseSanatorium
It's pressure that grows people, but it's also pressure that breaks people. Too much, too soon, too far, the personality can twist, become corrupted, tortured, and eventually break. What metamorphosis would we see on the other side? The gentle, compassionate, creative soul will manifest as the projections we have placed upon him. He reasons, if you want a monster? Then a monster is what I will give you.
"Have you changed your mind, Number Five?"
I don't question how she knows that name, though I should. Maybe she's just clever enough to put V together with Roman numerals. Instead...
"I am not a number. I am a free man."
Parroting that phrase, referencing this particular one-season cult-classic British TV show, is like robbing the grave of someone I already have a history of wronging. But at the same time, it's refusing to forget my own past crimes, even if no one is left to observe them with me, mostly. Why else would I have accepted 'V' as a main nickname, of all things? I am nothing if not a masochist when you give me an excuse, much less an actual good reason. And in this case, I'll certainly take the whip from my jailer's hand and self-flagellate in an act of chaotic rebellion. I know I should be punished, I say. But not by you. Never by you.
"Not very free right now, and well, I can't release you. You know that. You're in here because you were ruled unfit to stand trial for attempted murder. It's already absurd that you and some of the others get week passes to freedom for winning. But I can schedule you to be here less."
"Is that supposed to be good enough." It's flat. Lack of affect, the people on her end of the notepad might say. Lack of a question, in truth. I like saying two things at once, even if other people never scrutinize words as much as I do. Sometimes even three.
"Well... you know... there is the topic of your sister..."
I shouldn't be out of Sanatorium. I lost. My first loss in WWH, period. She said it was 'special privileges granted' for my 'astounding progress at cooperating with authority'. The truth is, she knew deep down that if she kept me locked up one way or another, I wouldn't have accepted her proposal. Or at least, so I think.
I haven't hardly said a word out loud since I got out, silent on the plane while I blasted music through my earbuds, because my inner voice hasn't been quiet. No, my inner voice has been screaming nonstop. The only outward sign has been me occasionally adjusting my jaw, mouth propped open for a few seconds at a time as if I'm either yawning or trying to pop my inner ear. We can lie and say it's the latter, because of the plane.
I think Sin knows I'm not snubbing her. I hope, at least. Occasionally reaching for her hand, lacing fingers, having to stop myself whiteknuckling my grip. When we got back to the hotel I flopped down next to her and just lay there very still. And when I don't want a shower as soon as I get back from That Place, something's wrong.
I got up, said I wanted to go down to the bar for a little while, just sit in the noise for a change instead of all the quiet from the two weeks before now, have a drink. She came with.
Now I'm loaded up on Jack Daniels enough that my stomach sloshes, though I don't have the spins yet. My head's leaned on my hands, elbows propped on the bar, staring at the world through the amber in the bottle the bartender left behind for me while Sin's off. In the bathroom, I think, but maybe she's on the dance floor for a song or two. I'm just questioning why I went for this and not something harder, more effective. Maybe because I'm less likely to drink myself to death. That much liquor and it'll burn into the stress ulcers and make me puke it back up first. I'd have to persist past the point where I've torn my guts up, spent two hours dry heaving before I could keep more down, rinse and repeat. Or started shooting it into my veins. If I was that eager to die, I'd just pick a more peaceful route, like walking in front of a goddamned train.
Was that solution too quick to mind?
From down the bar, a bald guy who's apparently shaved it off by necessity and not choice gauging by the uncomfortable way he's wearing that ballcap sneers. "Drinking your woes away after losing to that geeky kid?" I raise my head and fix him with a look that says who, me? He nods. "Yeah, I'm talking to you. Wasn't specific enough?"
"That kid's got potential. I like that kid, I'll have you know." I do. Or I wouldn't have helped him leak that footage. "And it doesn't matter. I've lost before, I'll lose again. It's more of a numbers game. Don't you worry about me."
"Yet you're out here sloshed as fuck with eyes so bloodshot I can see 'em down here, like some fuckin' zombie. Ashamed of siding with the new boss, then? I've seen you around, yeah. You were never a corporate sellout, built a rep on that shit. Surprised the shit out of me, but no more'n you pluggin' yourself full of liquor instead of holes in your veins. Heard about that too. Maybe they're there, just got tattoo ink in the way."
"You're really trying for a fight. Sorry to say, too mentally and emotionally dead to rise to the bait right now. Maybe if you piss on my grave you'll get that zombie after all, don't know what to tell you."
He snickers in disgust. "Pathetic. You're fucking broken, no wonder you lost. Had money on you, too."
Aah, that's what this is about. That's why he's leaning into getting a rise so hard. "How much." I'll totally pay the fuck to go away, even if it's setting a bad precedent. I just don't feel like this shit right now.
"You gonna borrow it from your new mommy? Or is it owner? You crawl under her desk like a good toy too?"
And that's where he cracked through to what he was looking for. He didn't get a chance to say another word, or even yelp in surprise-- I grabbed that fifth of Jack by the bottleneck and slung it at him full force. And don't believe what the movies show, unless it's the cheapest thing in the low-rent liquor store, those bottles don't shatter for almost anything. Especially not Jack. It ricochets off his skull and the split it left behind starts to gush, and it makes a nice bloody target down the middle of his face. I smash my fist in his face before he can finish going over backwards, then I'm kicking the shit out of it. Adrenaline's pumping, but damned if I really feel it past that. Just numb. Autopilot.
At least until I hear a voice from behind me, firmly-- “Beast!” and Sin reaches out to grab my arm. Her voice spikes through the red haze I'm in, but the touch-- the touch makes me jump like she's a live wire. I don't pull away, through force of will, but it makes me take a big step back from what I'm doing. Realization hits and my breathing's hard and my hand is bloody, though whether it's my own blood mixed in with the man on the floor's isn't easy to tell. I'm looking around, trying to take in reality, the onlookers, Sin, but it's honestly a big haze. I can hear Sin's voice, though.
“Next time you really should check your target before you aim.”
For a moment I'm not sure who it's directed to, who's already got the blame, but--
“If we see you again, I’m not stopping him.”
Should've known, she knows me well enough to know that even in the midst of whatever episode I'm having, I've got a reason. My fingers hook hers loosely and I keep stepping backwards, then bolt to the elevator. The space between is a blur, and I'm jabbing at the elevator button like it's a silent alarm in a robbery. The feeling that didn't crack through before when the fight began rushes in, and it's skin-clawing anxiety.
“I know shit has been god awful lately, fifty shades of fucked and that’s an understatement. Don’t make it worse kicking your own ass further because you beat his. Please?”
I kiss her quickly, a more coherent and deeper thank you than words could manage in this moment. Then the doors open, and thank fuck, it's empty. I jab the 10 button blindly on my way to plant my back in the corner, gripping the steel handrails like I'm trying to wring molten metal out of them. I don't say anything till the doors shut. "He wanted a fight. Did everything short of get right up in my face nose to nose and yell 'hit me'. Guess seeing me lose made him think he was big and bad enough to take me, but he didn't even get a hit in."
I'm breathing hard, and it's not exertion at this point. "If the cops come, don't answer the door. They can get an arrest warrant first. Then they can go back and get another one to search the premises if they want to drag me out." Which was the thought that really made me lose it. I've just gotten out of Sanatorium after a week of pure hell, the idea of getting cuffs snapped on wrists still scuffed up from psychiatric restraints... I'd lose it in a way that made kicking that guy's ass look downright composed. And that'd only make everything worse.
“Doubt he would have ever gotten anything in from the ground. I don’t know how long he was standing before that but, uh, I’m gonna guess five seconds.” There was a hmph noise. “See? It’s not even your fault. He went looking for something and didn’t like what he found. That’s on him. And the only way anyone is taking you fully away from me is by taking me out first. We can figure this out if we need to.”
But it wasn’t gonna be right that second. A finger trailed up and down slowly over the bared part of one of my wrists. “For now? No barriers. Nothing’s there. Just focus on my touch, feel that there’s no skin being skipped because nothing’s blocking it.”
My forehead creases, shut eyes burning, but that and her touch distracts me from how tight my chest feels. I shut my mouth, forcing myself to breathe through my nose, lean in close to her. A shudder shakes through me hard, but just one wave of it. "You're too good to me sometimes,"
And then we're in the bathroom, and I'm turning on the water to run up to lukewarm temp for a second before I stick my hand under it, letting the dried blood soak off. There's a gash on my middle knuckle, looking deep. I start to feel the sting of the water after most of the surface gore comes away. Water shut off, and I'm flexing it. "Well, ow," comes out sort of unaffected.
She winces. “Well, we have the answer to the million dollar question. Blood was yours after all. Damn, Beast. You hit him so fucking hard it looks like you might as well have tried to put your fist through the wall and hit a stud or something.” She gives me a small round of applause. “You saying oww so mildly because it doesn’t hurt as much as it looks like it does or is it just because this is a situation where oww is an appropriate word for an injury so it feels obligatory to say in general?”
I turn my hand, keep flexing, watching the tendons work for any hitches that might mean deeper damage. "Kinda both." My voice still feeels dull and unreal. "Obligatory, and it doesn't hurt as much as it should hurt. Which isn't a great sign for my mental health, to be honest." Sigh. No tendon damage, no muscle damage I can feel. The white that shows through was just that fatty layer of dermis, not connective tissue. "This... needs stitches. Though they'll just get knocked open at DreamState again. But if I stitch it up now, maybe it'll get more healing in before then and won't knock open as deep next time. Can't do it with my left hand, though. You feel gutsy, or should I visit a med clinic?"
I find myself indulging in something I usually can't stand: devil's advocacy. The devil, you see, has more than enough lawyers at his disposal without the amateurish efforts of those who usually go about this cliche. It's usually an excuse for airing an unpopular opinion while keeping the potential ill effects of said opinion in a Schrodinger's box of personal responsibility.
But you see, I can't resist asking Jacob Knight exactly what he plans on doing with those of us in the Sanatorium if he succeeds in closing it.
Some would likely go free on time served, or spend a short time in jail. Others among us? Would get shuttled to prison, where no one at all would attempt to help us with our mental health ills. And I won't stoop to 'I'm not crazy, you're crazy!' hijinks and arguments despite my devil's advocacy. I am mentally ill. I think many, if not most, of those in here are. And while Sanatorium as it stands is certainly not any kind of good place to try to learn to cope with complex post traumatic stress disorder any better, it's not worse than prison. I might not get a formal life sentence for what I did, but I'd likely be in there for the rest of my damage-shortened lifespan anyway. Fighting helps. Being in a facility where I can fight in a condoned manner is better than being in a place where it just adds more punishment to the stack, for me and many others in here.
You fight for the rights of mental health patients, Jacob, but I question how much you actually know on the subject. Institutionalization used to be the usual way of dealing with everyone, not just 'the criminally insane'. It was a giant catch-all for people to dispose of those who were inconveniencing them, whether it be family or spouses. Conditions were abominable and inhuman, much like they are in Sanatorium, if not worse. President Jimmy Carter worked to have this abolished, but he wasn't a fool-- he set up a system to take care of the mentally ill. There were to be community centers, a whole network of healthcare available.
Then Reagan came next, and dismantled the whole thing before it could even get off the ground. Nothing came in the place of institutionalization, and ever since? We've been thrown into prisons or abandoned to homelessness if we can't pay our own way, and when you're profoundly mentally ill that's almost impossible. Getting disability for a mental illness can prove even more difficult than a physical disability, because you can't just throw something concrete as your x-rays or CAT scans along with a doctor's recommendation that work is impossible in your state. The human brain is the last frontier, we don't even know conclusively why people get headaches much less on a real level why antipsychotics or antidepressants work or what else they do to you.
But campaigning for something that nuanced just doesn't make a catchy fucking hashtag, does it. Nor does addressing the man who'll actually be on the other side of the ring from you, a highly decorated individual with a lengthy career before he wound up here, someone who contradicts your supposition that nobody in Sanatorium is a real wrestler.
But... what you're doing... it's a start, I understand. I'm not on your side as hard as my sister Nikki is, but I'm not altogether against what you're trying either. It is, unfortunately, my position to roadblock you. Send you back to the drawing board. And if you can come up with something better, some other way to do this? Godspeed. I'll gladly throw in with a better plan.
Until then, get your fucking merch sales out of my health care.