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Fuel Season 3: Episode 17 – The Kingmaker

"With a cold war brewing between the 2 showrunners, Moodswing looks to put Glen in his place."
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Author's Notes

"Every episode is written in a such a way as to be different genres such as romance, magical (realism) and political thriller."

31st of January – Season 3

Terrance Moodley had woken up early, having taken a shower and had breakfast before his wife had woken up. He'd just finished brushing his teeth when Angela walked into the bathroom. "Hey, you're up early."

"Winners wake up early, Angie."

Angela looked at her husband almost worried as she had no idea what he was going to do today. However, she did know what he had to do. "What's on the schedule today?"

Moodswing shrugged. "It's business as usual."

"I hope that's not true. Not after last night." Moodswing didn't answer which worried her. "You have to respond. You have to say something about Penny's accident. You have to reassure the fans that what happened was terrible and won't happen again."

However, Moodswing simply waved her away. "Yes, yes, of course. I've already booked Beatrix and Captain Khumalo to speak about what happened at the race. So they'll cover all of that."

Angela looked at Moodswing. "You mean, in the middle of the show? No, you have to address it at the top of the show."

"I don't have to do anything. But what I need to do is figure out what I'm going to do for the next title race. What I need to do is change the name of Heart-Break City."

"And," said a stubborn Angela, "you need to reassure the fandom—"

"The only thing I'm going to reassure anyone of, is that this war that people think is happening between Glen and I is over before it's even begun." Moodswing then left the room.

LATER AT THE FUEL SPEEDWAY

When Moodswing arrived at the Fuel Speedway, he was almost immediately thrown into a committee meeting to decide the name of the Valentine's Day pay-per-view. It hadn't been a long meeting as Moodswing already had a name in mind. It had come to him as soon as he and Glen locked eyes and he thought to himself, hmm, this pay-per-view is supposed to be about love yet all I see in your eyes, Glen, is war. "How about Love and War?"

Following the meeting, Moodswing made his way from the committee room to his office where he saw Brenda Koek and John Kloof waiting for him in his office lobby. Owning the room like only he could, Moodswing walked right past them into his office, took the time to settle into his office before getting to it. "Alright, which one of you was here first?" he asked out loud like a principal calling naughty students into his office.

John appeared and didn't bother sitting, clearly eager to keep it quick. "Hi, Moodswing. I hope this isn't a bad time."

"It's not, John. How are you? How's The Big Boot?"

"I'm doing well, thanks. The Big Boot, well the repairs are holding up."

"I saw that. You came from last position on the grid to sixth place in the Scramble Race. I'd say your repairs are working."

"Yes, well, unfortunately, I didn't win it. Which brings me to a problem. I needed to win in order to pay back all that money I spent on my credit card on the repairs."

"Well, you don't have to put it all on one race. I'm sure you'll pay it back eventually."

"I don't want to pay it back eventually. And let's be honest, neither do you." This garnered a smile from Moodswing. "I need one race, one big race that will pay everything off. Now I wanted that race to be the Scramble Race but that didn't happen. But there is one other race that could get me what I need. And I think you know what it is."

It barely took a moment for Moodswing to figure out what John was talking about and why he was standing in front of him right now. "You want me to reinstate Temper Kunene."

"I want you to reinstate Temper Kunene," repeated John, actually smiling.

There was something beautiful about seeing this man smile. It was a rare thing, so Moodswing couldn't help but give John what he wanted. "Fine. I'll reinstate him. But it's on you to hype the race. If you're going to paint this epic revenge story on that race, then you're going to need to promote the hell out of it."

"After my rivalry with Jim back in Season One, I think I can manage that."

By the time John had left, Moodswing was in a good mood, or at least better than when he was speaking with Angela. That reminded him about Penny. Despite what Angela must have thought, he did feel remorse for what happened to Penny and had even gone to see her in the hospital. He even felt bad for thinking about her career and whether she'd ever race again. The doctors had said that it was too soon to tell with the top part of her face wrapped in bandages but nonetheless, Penny herself had been adamant on having a short interview with an F-X reporter right from the hospital which would be broadcast live during the show.

Despite regretting it, the business-minded part of Moodswing couldn't help but think about how Penny's sidelining had changed the complexion of the rest of the season for one reason: the Women's Dynasty. What had started as a punchline as Penny calling her shot about how she was going to define the season had in fact done exactly that. In fact, many believed that she was on her way to winning the Scramble Race when the accident occured. If she had, Moodswing was going to give her another shot at Stevie's title... the return race that everyone had been waiting for. But now that was all out the window.

This was what was on his mind when Brenda walked in and started talking about her recently won 'speeding ticket' and when she could punch it. While Brenda was perfectly within her rights to request a meeting with him to discuss when she could get her title shot, Brenda had decided to annoy him by questioning why she couldn't have a shot on pay-per-view. "That's not how the 'speeding ticket' works, Brenda. It's called the Speedway Derby for a reason and that's because both the Derby and the title race must take place on the Fuel Speedway. That's the catch to having such a unique opportunity."

"And you can't make an exception the way you made it for The Scramble?"

"You know why we had the Derby at that pay-per-view. And if you want to wait a year for next season's Scramble just so you can get your title shot on PPV, then by all means." Unfortunately, this went in Brenda's one ear and out the other as she continued to complain. This got Moodswing thinking about the feature race of Love and War. While Devì had won a Number One Claimant's race, he had no intention of having yet another one-on-one race between her and Stevie.

This was the second half of the season for Heaven's sake, so it shouldn't feel like the first half. It needed to feel more epic. It needed to feel that it was built on top of the first half. He should be benefiting from pay-offs of previous top races like rivalry races, the Scramble Race, and even the Derbies. That's when Moodswing got an idea.

"You know what, I change my mind, Brenda. I'll give you a title race but under one condition. You give up the rights of your 'speeding ticket'. That means you get your pay-per-view title shot but I get to decide the stipulations and when it happens."

"When? If it's not going to be at Heart-Break City—"

"Love and War. That's what we're calling it this year. And don't worry, it will be happening at that pay-per-view but do we have an agreement?"

 

LATER ON THE MIDDLE-STAGE

While it had already been a busy night for Moodswing, he'd opted to start the show off on the middle-stage following a surprisingly harrowing recap of last night's events by the commentators. Moodswing hadn't expected it to sound so grim but hopefully, his own segment would liven up the crowd.

Instead of simply doing a monologue, he also decided to bring resident F-X reporter, Belinda Baartjies to the stage so as to make it more of an interview. Belinda opened by welcoming everybody and then hyping up Moodswing's announcement. "Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce that at our upcoming pay-per-view, which will now be known as 'Love and War', Formula-X Queen, Darcy Stevens will be defending her Crown against not just Devì but against the Speedway Derby winner, Brenda Koek." Moodswing specifically paused to get the crowd hyped up before continuing. "And the Scramble Race winner, Savana."

The crowd went bananas but Moodswing wasn't finished. "And this race will be a GAUNTLET RACE!" At that point the crowd became unglued. It was like Moodswing was their own personal hero. It dawned on him that perhaps he should have ended with that one because his next announcement was the reinstatement of Temper Kunene and the sanctioning of a race between him and John Kloof. Fortunately, the crowd loved this too. It looked like John would get his wish for a big-time race.

It was all going well until Belinda decided to do her job by going a little off-script and asking a genuine interview question. "That's a fantastic race and I'm sure we all look forward to it but I have to ask about you and Glen. By now, everyone is aware of the tension between you two but what can you tell us? I mean, was he involved in this decision to reinstate Kunene?"

Now Moodswing was upset. "Okay, let me explain something to you guys because obviously, you don't know who's in charge around here. When it comes to making decisions, I'm the man. Any authority that Glen has was invested in him by me. His power, it's an illusion. Granted, he is the second most powerful man in Formula-X but he is not more powerful than me.

"The champions of the series are called monarch, right? And the most powerful being, the King or the Queen. Well, you're looking at the Kingmaker. This so-called civil war between Glen and I, if it did exist, is a fruitless gesture because it would be unwinable from the get-go. So let this be the last of this nonsense."

 

NO MORE HOLDS BARRED

It would have been an understatement to say that Glen was pissed by Moodswing's words. It wouldn't have been the first time as last week, they'd actually come to blows forcing Angela to send them both home and take command of the show herself. This time, however, instead of hitting him physically, Glen hit back by taking it out on the racers and declaring that damn near every support race would have the loser playing reserve at the pay-per-view. However, Glen was smart enough to leave the feature race untouched. That one belonged to Moodswing.

In the support races, Touch Mkhize and Styles Sithole upset Solo Magubane and Thawn Oberhauser to sentence them both to the shelf at the PPV; while Jim Kieck won a chance to challenge the Duchess of Drag and excommunicated Blackcat and JVZ to the sidelines as well. Queen Stevie was the final racer to force their opponent to play reserve which meant Mandla Xulu was also out of the Valentine's Day festivities. After this, it was time for the main event.

'Order of the Gauntlet' races had become tradition whenever there was a gauntlet race at the next PPV. The race afforded the winner the opportunity to choose whether they wanted to be the first, second, or last gauntleteer. But tonight, it also made for a spectacular all-women three-way race between budding feature-racers. Tonight, Brenda Koek, DevÌ, and Savana had to opportunity to tear the house down. And they did exactly that.

Moodswing was all smiles when DevÌ pulled out the win. He was even more satisfied by the race that he'd sanctioned. He was right. While he had little to no faith that any of the gauntleteers could give Stevie a run for her money by themselves, collectively, the race was now sure to be a firecracker. However, it was still a shame that Penny was not the one in this. Unbeknown to Moodswing, far from the Fuel Speedway, Penny Potgieter pulled off her bandages to see the three women who would inevitably claim her title as the face of the Women's Dynasty...

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