Flawed Victory

With Shang Tsung missing from the Cobalt Mines after Empress Kreeya’s attack on Outworld, Shao Kahn summons the free roaming sorcerer from Netherealm, Quan Chi to travel to the Earth Realm and capture him. Meanwhile, on the Earth Realm Shang Tsung is travelling around the forest outside the city stealing the souls of unsuspecting persons as he is trying to regain his strength after being wasted from destroying Kreeya’s hives on Earth. At the trading post, Siro returns from a lunch with a woman in a foul mood telling Taja that even after one a short time this woman was trying to change him. He tells her that the next woman he goes out with will have to be someone more like Taja, and there is an awkward pause.

Kung Lao is concerned about the recent deaths around the city and begins looking for a pattern in the killing. Upon realising that Shang Tsung is heading towards them, they decide to go out and find him first when Raiden appears telling them that Kung Lao cannot fight Shang Tsung to which Kung Lao objects saying that as Shang Tsung no longer serves Shao Kahn he is able to fight him. Raiden is confused and says that he will have to check but advises against it, Kung Lao says to hell with the rules and goes off. In Shao Kahn’s throne room, Quan Chi makes an appearance upsetting Kahn. Quan Chi tells him that the job is being done and he has come to speak of the war between Kahn and Kreeya.

During their discussion, Quan Chi suggests to the Emperor that the two form an alliance to destroy all enemies of the realm. At Shang Tsung’s camp, Quan Chi’s assassins show up and battle the sorcerer, it is during this fight Mika has some ribs broken by the sorcerer, and just as Tsung looks like he is about to lose, he fires fireballs at the trio sending them away and realises that Kahn has a new sorcerer. A few hours later Siro and Taja show up where Taja sets off a trap sending a spiked log swinging towards her. Siro saves her by jumping at her and pushing her out of the way before there is another awkward pause between the two. Back at the trading post Kung Lao is trying to solve the mystery when Siro and Taja walk in. He tells them that he has worked out that the killings are in a circle around the city and that Tsung is moving in closer, but Siro and Taja aren’t interested in what Lao has to say and the two end up spending the night together.

In the morning, Lao discovers the two in Jen’s bed and returns downstairs trying to recover from what he just saw. In the room, Siro unmorphs to reveal that he is actually Quan Chi while Taja is actually Mika, it was all a plan to get Tsung to come to them and it is working.

Meanwhile the real Siro and Taja, who are chained up in Chi’s prison set about aggravating Siann to the point of forcing her to fight them. They free themselves in the process and knock out Siann before escaping back to Zhu Zin. While this is happening, Sora appears in Kahn’s throne room to offer herself to the Emperor, and as the Emperor is leading her to his chamber she pulls a knife on him. Kahn takes it from her and forces her to reveal herself, which she does, revealing herself as Quan Chi. He tells him that Kreeya made a better offer; outraged at the treachery, Kahn sentences Quan Chi to an eternity in the Cobalt Mines. When he arrives, he takes out a prisoner and unmorphs to reveal that he is actually Tsung. With his plan succeeding, Tsung opens a portal and sets off to kill Lao. When he arrives at the trading post, he finds that Lao is gone having received a message from the real Taja but Quan Chi is awaiting him.

With his three assassins taken care of the two battle fiercely using skill and sorcery and just as Chi is about to kill Tsung, he is told that Kahn thinks Quan Chi is the traitor after Tsung shape shifted to threaten the Emperor’s life. Tsung then teleports back to the forest while Quan Chi travels to Kreeya’s camp to form an alliance with the Empress.

The Festival of Death

A traveling festival visits Zhu Zin, secretly raising an army of undead warriors.

Kung Lao (series regular Paolo Montalban) has taken a friend from his past, Lori (guest star Brooke Burns) on as a martial arts student. Although Lori’s enthusiastic and hardworking, Kung Lao and Siro (series regular Daniel Bernhardt) doubt her abilities as a fighter. Lori, on the other hand, is overly confident about her ability and wants nothing more than to fight.

One day, a traveling circus of sorts arrives in Zhu Zin with the fighter Qali (guest star Roshumba Williams) as its ringleader. On the surface it appears to be just another carnival with acrobats, jugglers and costumed characters, but as Kung Lao, Taja (series regular Kristanna Loken) and Siro know, where Qali’s involved, trouble is sure to be close at hand. (The last time Qali was in Earth Realm, she betrayed Princess Kitana on behalf of Shao Kahn.)

Taja and Siro warn Qali that they’re watching her and will not tolerate any trouble. Qali claims that the festival allows her to make a living since being shunned by both Kitana and Shao Kahn–which is only partially true. She has been shunned, but the festival isn’t a living, it’s actually a means for Quan Chi to collect humans to raise an army of undead warriors!

Each night, the festival holds secret fighting contests in which the villagers compete for a chance to win money. At the end of the night, the strongest villager (and thus, the best candidate for Quan Chi’s army) faces the assassin Mika (guest star Jamie Pressly), whose stunning beauty belies her deadly skill. Once Mika has beaten the villager, Qali releases one of Quan Chi’s undead souls to take over the body.

Shang Tsung (series regular Bruce Locke) is concerned that Quan Chi is raising an army as a way to strengthen his alliance with Shao Kahn. If Shao Kahn begins to look favorably at Quan Chi, then he’ll have no use for Shang Tsung, when and if he is ever freed from the Cobalt Mines. Shang Tsung knows he must put a stop to Quan Chi and dispatches Vorpax (series regular Tracy Douglas) to Earth Realm to investigate.

Vorpax reports back to Shang Tsung and the two devise a plan. If they can get Kung Lao to fight at the festival and he is beaten, then Qali would unleash a soul to take over his body. If Shang Tsung could control the soul that’s put into Kung Lao’s body, then his value to Shao Kahn is restored.

Shang Tsung needs Qali to help him carry out his plan, so he tells her that once he’s back at Shao Kahn’s side, she will benefit–perhaps even getting Princess Kitana’s throne. She agrees to have Shang Tsung’s fighter face Kung Lao and will make the soul transference as instructed. Getting Kung Lao to fight, however, is another thing.

Lori has heard about the fighting contests and thinks she’s got what it takes. Determined to fight, Lori sneaks out to the contest. Once there, she’s taken in by Qali, who is using her as bait to get Kung Lao to the fights. It works.

When Kung Lao agrees to fight in Lori’s place, Qali presents Shang Tsung’s fighter–a giant of a man who looks as if he’ll crush Kung Lao. It’s a fierce battle, but Kung Lao manages to get the upper hand. As Kung Lao delivers the final crushing blow, the giant falls to ground knocking over the chest containing the undead souls of Quan Chi and creating a firestorm of unworldly pandemonium. Kung Lao, Taja and Siro literally run for their lives, leaving Lori behind–for she’s already joined Quan Chi’s dark legions.


Noob Saibot

A mysterious seer summons an underworld warrior to defeat Kung Lao and gain favor with the Emperor Shao Kahn.

Siro (series regular Daniel Bernhardt) is attacked in the bazaar by four would-be robbers but is too proud to call out for Kung Lao (series regular Paolo Montalban). Luckily, Kung Lao’s instincts led him back to the bazaar where he was able to help Siro defeat the thugs.

Both Siro’s body and ego took quite a bruising–he’s angry (yet a bit grateful) that Kung Lao came to his aid. As he’s leaving the bazaar, Siro is approached by Ankha (guest star Tahitia), who tells him that she has a friend who is a seer and can give him the keys to becoming a great warrior.

Curiosity and foolish pride combine to lead Siro, with Taja (series regular Kristanna Loken) in tow, to the seer, Kiri (guest star Sung Hi Lee). Kiri tells Siro that Zhu Zin is built on the ruins of great buried city with a shrine guarded by two powerful warriors. She assures him that if he seeks out these warriors and defeats them, their strength will flow into him and he’ll be as fierce as Kung Lao.

Siro, intrigued by what Kiri has told him, sets out to explore the underworld city, again with Taja in tow. As they’re heading through the tunnels and passages, Taja and Siro notice that the deeper they go, the ground is covered with an oily muck. Finally, they come upon the ruins of a shrine as Kiri said they would–but there are no warriors guarding it, only clay statues of warriors. As Siro presses on, the two clay warriors come to life and attack him, knocking him to the ground trying to suffocate him in the muck. Upon hearing the struggle, Taja comes to Siro’s aid, using an iron rod to attack the clay warriors, who shatter like broken pottery.

Covered in muck, the two return to the trading post and deposit their filthy clothes in a corner of the courtyard. Once again, Siro’s pride is hurt. He asks Taja if she feels the warriors’ strength within, since she’s the one who defeated them. She tells him the only thing she feels is that Kiri set them up by sending them to the underworld.

It turns out Taja’s instincts were right. From the pile of discarded garments in the courtyard, the muck seeps until it’s a solid form that slithers out of the courtyard and off to Kiri’s house. Once at Kiri’s the ooze coalesces into the warrior Noob Saibot. Kiri used Taja and Siro to not only kill the guards that were keeping Noob Saibot in the underworld, but also to transport him to the surface. Kiri’s purpose for summoning Noob Saibot–to kill Kung Lao and win favor with Emperor Shao Kahn.

Noob Saibot appears at the trading post, announces that he’s Kung Lao’s executioner and then disappears. He leaves behind a footprint of the oily muck that Taja and Siro recognize from the underworld. Taja reluctantly tells Kung Lao of the previous day’s events and the two head for the underworld to search for Siro, who has disappeared. When they come upon the temple ruins, there’s no sign of Siro, but Noob Saibot quickly materializes and attacks Kung Lao. Siro arrives on the scene and rescues Kung Lao by igniting Noob Saibot, who shatters into fiery shards. Kung Lao, Taja and Siro literally run for their lives as the underground city begins to burn and then explodes into a fireball.