The Rebuild

103 posts in this topic

June 15, 2042

Cologne, Germany


The bowels of the RheinEnergie Stadion, known for FIFA purposes as the catchy Cologne Stadion, stood Tom Stephens, a fist bump with Chris Martin, his ever reliant number ten.

“Two number tens today, Chrissy; two number tens.” Chris calmly patted his captain on the shoulder, took his place behind the goalkeeper. Wales shrunk in the presence of the almighty Brazil, despite being, on average, the taller.

Mark chewed on his fingernails as a long ball was pumped into the Wales box thirteen minutes in. A sliced clearance away for a corner. The drums of the Brazilian end pounded away. Little Brazil in Deutschland was finding its voice.

“Mark.” A hand clasped tightly onto Mark’s shoulder. To his left: George Turley. Foam out of Mark’s mouth greeted his aggressor.

“Don’t you fu—” George held his palms up.

“Scouting mission. We’re not here to hurt you—again—we want peace.” A glance towards a turned head four rows down, Scott Turley, told him otherwise.

Mark wrestled from the grip of George, returning up the flights of stairs to a box of his former Real Madrid chairman. A Welsh expectation turned Mark’s head. He was stood in the aisle.

Tom was powering beyond the last two Brazilian defenders on the halfway line, Chris Martin joined him in the Brazil half. Two Welsh against a terrified Brazilian goalkeeper.

He had no other method but to escape his penalty area, rushing to meet Tom. Tom slid the ball to Martin.

1-0 to Wales.

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June 27, 2042

Leipzig, Germany


Tom Stephens’ Wales had cruised through to the round of 16 in Stuttgart the previous day with a 1-0 win over South Korea. They topped the group after accumulating seven points in a group which they also drew 1-1 against Bulgaria.

Mark Stephens was in Leipzig on business the very next day: England were playing Senegal in a group game, having already qualified, and Stephens needed some new additions to his Redditch squad.

The two players he had come to look at were left on the bench and were outshined by a Jack Evans who had scored England’s third hat-trick at a World Cup after Sir Geoff Hurst in 1966 against West Germany and Marcus Rashford in 2026 against Ghana.

England sailed through with maximum points, a 3-0 win over Senegal.

Who would be in Leipzig but one former wife by the name of Janice Stephens on a scouting mission of her own—scouting for Mark.

She was heavily covered by two bodyguards in the form of George and Scott Turley sat ten rows behind them in the director’s boxes. They didn’t speak or get any closer or further away—just made their presence known.

“I want to do business with you.” Janice said on multiple occasions to no rebuttal from Mark. She was willing to play the long game, though.

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July 5, 2042

Munich, Germany


Wales’ World Cup journey ended with a fight in the quarter finals in Berlin. In what was Tom Stephens’ 100th cap, he netted his 22nd international goal as Argentina and Wales traded first half penalties.

As the second half climaxed, a later sickener for Wales. Juan Carlos Frascone slipped the ball past two defenders and the goalkeeper with one solid movement. Argentina had sneaked through into the semi finals.

Surprisingly enough, Mark didn’t enjoy the company of the Turleys, Bachlund or Janice—even his mother didn’t turn up.

The World Cup wasn’t over for Mark, though, as his continued following of England continued the following day in Munich. The quarter final between Portugal and England.

Mark had barely gotten his seat by the time by the time Portugal had roared into a 3-0 lead. The quarter final was already done and dusted. The stadium became more relaxed, enter Janice’s entourage.

They—her, Bachlund and the Turleys—the four empty seats next to her.

“Mark. I told you I was here in Germany for business, shall we finally get down to it?” Janice prodded Mark as the three gentlemen kept their eyes firmly on the football in front of them.

“I’m here with Redditch, not with anybody else. No business is taking place.” Mark adamantly muttered.

“I know about James Price.” Janice removed her glare away from Mark for one moment, just in time for Dave Rock’s goal to make it 3-1 on 37 minutes.

“What about James Price?” Mark quizzically pushed Janice for an answer.

“You killed him,” Janice whispered into his face, “and made it look like suicide. I know.” Mark’s face dropped.

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