With poorly concealed sobs and moans from his fellow workers coming from every direction, Jack remains fixated on the dead body near him, slumped over, motionless and unresponsive. At a loss for words, Jack just continues to stare at the body, only focusing on the words of the news anchors on the television, all spouting theories about how this could be the end of civilization.
As if gears were shifting within the confines of Jack’s mind, a sudden relief of fear begins to consume him, gone are the worries of this being his final hours alive, replaced with the passionate desire to break free from his restraints. With a brief scan of the room, Jack’s eyes fall upon Tyler, his colleague having been restrained in a similar fashion to himself, only with the added benefit of being near one of the many desks scattered throughout the room.
Noticing a subtle struggle ensuing from Tyler’s side of the floor, Jack takes a look at the desk just beside Tyler, a single drawer left open. Continuing to struggle, his efforts quickening with every few nudges, Tyler hears a single pop, every single valiant tug bringing about more until his restraints finally snap. Freed from his binds, Tyler is whispered to by Jack, who insists on cutting the rest of the workers free.
Rubbing at his swollen wrists, Tyler hurries to Jack, quickly undoing his binds and freeing him as well. This freedom noticed by their peers, Jack and Tyler begin to signal for their colleagues to keep quiet, the pair continuing to release their co-workers en masse. Within minutes, the entire workforce find themselves freed of their captivity, the next plan being to leave.
“There’s a chain of cars out in the street” one of the floor workers mutters, retreating from the window and returning to the group, “we’re not getting through the doors without being spotted.” Strapped for options, Jack cautiously approaches the platform overlooking the warehouse floor, taking their numbers advantage into account before deciding to make a stand.
“We’re gonna get ourselves spotted on our own terms then” Jack returns, the declaration he makes suggesting a fight, something the workers come to the conclusion is necessary. As minutes pass, the defense preparations are put into place, Jack keeping a watchful eye on the floor, waiting for the moment Charlotte approaches the stairs. As the forces below begin to retreat, having concluded their search, Charlotte begins to near the staircase, upholding a conversation as she does.
With the turn of his head, Jack nods towards Reggie, the mug-wielding man tossing his arm forward, hurling the piece of ceramic towards a glass window, rendering it to bits. Alarmed, Charlotte ascends the staircase, skipping over one step with each push forward, only stopped by the impact of a desk lamp cracking her over the back of the head. Having taken his shot, Jack lets another colleague bolt out of cover, taking Charlotte’s firearm and pulling her body against his own.
“Nobody move!” the worker shouts, taking Charlotte by the neck, presenting her to the crew below, her own weapon aimed at the side of her head. “Let us live and we’ll let her go!” the man exclaims, his demands simple and precise, a gesture that prompts the armed forces to take aim at the overhead sight. “We don’t want to hurt anyone, but we don’t want to die!” Jack calls out, still hidden behind cover, “let us go on our way, and we’ll let you go on yours!”
“They’re a threat, Charlotte!” one of the men calls out from below, hesitant to give into demands, the decision being left to the hostage-held woman. Deep breaths pushing the hair away from her lipstick-covered lips, Charlotte takes a moment to inspect her predicament, noticing the lack of anyone other than Jack stationed near the front. “Tom!” Charlotte calls out, pushing her shoulder against her captor’s body, grunting as she squirms around, looking for leverage, “fire.”
Squeezing the trigger once, the man below fires a bullet through Charlotte’s shoulder, the projectile ripping through the other side of her flesh before cementing itself in the unnamed workers’ arm. Stumbling back, grunting as he tends to his wound, the worker leaves the gun held outwards, his hostage grimacing through the pain to retake her weapon, putting a single shot between the wounded survivor’s eyes.
Their plan having failed miserably, the workers begin to scramble, multiple bullets being sent through the air, Charlotte beginning to pick off one worker after another. Intervening, Jack leaps out of coverage, knocking the gun out of Charlotte’s hand and buying himself a few precious moments. Some workers bursting through the front doors whilst others shatter windows, the scramble commences, each part of the building being flooded with workers, desperate to escape enemy fire.
Lines of blood splattering all over the walls and thin carpeting, those being picked off fight to evade the gunshots, most of Charlotte’s crew now following the workers outside. Out of bullets herself, Charlotte calls off the hunt, demanding her forces retreat to their desired location, intending to pick off what remains of the escapees whenever approached with the next chance to do so.
“Keep up!” Tyler shouts, Reggie and Shauna following loosely behind him, Jack only now just diving through an open window. In the lead of the pack, Tyler nearly rounds the corner of the warehouse before a uniformed man confronts him, the employees immediately turning back the way they came. Trained to spot opportunities, the soldier moves his aim away from Tyler, steadying his shot at a quartered-off portion of the building.
Pulling the trigger, the soldier sends a bullet ripping through thin planks of wood, engulfing Tyler and those around him in flames. In a massive explosion, the pierced propane tank sends Tyler flying across the lot, instantly roasting many other workers alive, Reggie, Shauna, and Jack being some of the select view to only be knocked down, hit with a wave of heat.
Pleased with his work, the soldier turns back, unwilling to face the scorching heat himself, answering Charlotte’s call to retreat. Screaming in pain, Tyler rolls on the ground in an effort to put out his uniform, his arms pressing against the left side of his body. “Put him out, put him out!” Jack orders, Reggie and Shauna being some of the first to hear this command issued, helping Jack attack Tyler with their own jackets, beating the flames out.
His flesh heavily burned, Tyler continues to scream in misery, insisting he’d been scarred, if not worse. “Pick him up!” Jack shouts, helping Tyler to his feet alongside Reggie, their only hope of outrunning Charlotte’s military to run in the direction of the quarry. “Get on the phone with the cops, tell ‘em we’ve got wounded!” Jack exclaims, continuing to lead the way forward, Shauna’s attempts being made to reach emergency services, whilst Reggie rushes Tyler to safety.
= Rise: Remastered is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“Where am I?” John inquires, his eyes held on Charlotte’s frame, the woman folding her hands atop the table, keeping her lips sealed. “I asked you a question” John clarifies, his point quickly pushed aside, the woman intending to leave him with little wiggle room. “You don’t ask me questions unless I give you permission to ask me questions” Charlotte replies, the snarl from John preceding his eyes wandering off to a random corner of the room, “cooperate and you’ll get your answers.”
Keeping himself composed, John begins to speak to himself, lips moving without any words to match, hand rattling atop the metal tabletop he sits behind. “Tremors” Charlotte mutters beneath her breath, the attention John had been paying to his poise allowing the bad habit to persist, “why does it happen? PTSD? Addiction? Genetics?” Balling his hand into a fist, John stabilizes his hand, returning it to his lap, speaking through gritted teeth.
“Yes, yes, and yes” John replies, the care for where his answers may land him non-present, “I’ve answered your question, answer one of mine.” Not one to allow his demands to be put to the side, John remains persistent, wanting to know what he’s found himself entrenched with. “Those were not the terms I laid out for you” Charlotte replies, the answer quickly argued by John. “You asked me a question, I gave you an answer” John replies, “you wanted cooperation, that’s what I’m giving you.”
With a sigh, Charlotte leans back in her seat and lends John his point, opening the floodgates. “One question for one question” Charlotte replies, refining the rules a little bit, just to keep the advantage in her corner, “take it, or leave it.” Extending his hand, John rests the steady palm on the table, openly embracing the woman’s reciprocated gesture. “Where am I?” John asks, the new rules allowing him some leverage, which he makes as much use out of as he can.
“The outskirts of Manhattan, just outside of New Jersey” Charlotte replies, a smile hidden in the corner of her mouth, “a little community called the ‘New World Order’.” Considering the implications of such a truth, John is alerted back to Charlotte’s next question, more willing to give into her requests knowing a question of his own resides just over the horizon. “What military background do you have?” Charlotte asks, the implication being that she’s aware of his former service.
“I served in Afghanistan from eighteen to twenty-five years old” John replies, pulling his tremor-ridden hand into his opposite, coupling them together, “I was given an honorable discharge for excellent personal conduct.” Kicking her feet onto a third chair, Charlotte leans her left arm over the back of her chair, “was that around the same time you started your business?”
“That’s a second question” John replies, quickly matching Charlotte’s own tactics against her, a gesture which puts a smirk on her face. “Go ahead, Cowboy” Charlotte replies, the floor left open for control to be taken over. “Why did you bring me here?” John asks, his question finding little ground. “I can only reveal that when I’m through with this questioning” Charlotte replies, rewarding the man’s ability to adapt to her style of questioning, “it was a wasted question, you get another one.”
“Can you find my wife?” John asks, the woman hiding a smile as best as she can, the answer lying within the words she speaks with her eyes rather than her words. “Who said we haven’t already found her?” Charlotte replies, kicking her feet away from the chair and reaching for a notebook on the floor. From behind the front cover, Charlotte slides a picture of Jessica across the table, the glossy photo landing in the hands of the man on the opposite side of the table.
“We’ve had our eyes on you for a while, so we’ve had her in our sights as well” Charlotte replies, showing off how well her people have managed to do their research, the evidence proven not being enough for John. “How do I know you’re telling me the truth?” John asks, the shrug from Charlotte giving him all the response he needs. “I haven’t told you anything, I’ve hinted at something” Charlotte replies, quickly lifting two fingers into the air, “and that was a second question.”
Pressing his lips together, John looks at the photo for a moment before glancing back at Charlotte, slowly sliding the photo into his pocket for safe keeping. Preparing for a long day, John pops all the knuckles in his hand and calmly rests his arms atop the table, his eyes glued to Charlotte.
“Left, left, left!” a woman shouts, trying to guide a man through the sky, parachute sailing above his head, casting a large shadow over the grass. Unable to change direction, the man above begins to descend into the side of a house, crashing into the finishing and toppling a short way to the ground. “Damnit, Cam! I said left!” the woman shouts, rushing to the aid of her friend, his knees having gotten up just in the nick of time, allowing himself to push at the wall, falling onto a soft spot.
“I’m fine, I know what I’m doing!” the man quips, brushing himself off just as the faint sound of an incoming motor begins to take his attention. Glancing at a line of shrubbery beside them, Cam fixates his view on the parts between each leaf, looking through cover at the nearing sound. “Heather, we’ve got to move” Cam subtly exclaims, pushing the woman back before the parted leaves reveal a speeding block of gray matter closing in on them.
“Heather, we’ve gotta move!” Cam shouts, taking the woman by the hand and rushing into the backyard, the tires of the car screeching to a halt, the inhabitants just catching the sight of the parachuting-militants on the run. “Stop!” Meghan shouts, pulling the car into park and disembarking, the same being done by Bill, leaving Janice and the rifle in the backseat, looking over her son.
“Stop running!” Meghan shouts, the clothes she’d abandoned the home in proving less-than-suitable for a chase, Bill immediately taking over where she fell short. Dashing through the side yard, Bill catches wind and begins closing in on the militant, one man dashing into the distance alone. Seizing her opportunity, Heather peaks out from behind a wall and hits Bill over the side of the head with a dull rock, the man leaving his feet, crashing into the luscious green below.
Catching up to Bill, Meghan watches the militants zip round the opposite end of the home, making for the front yard. “Are you alright!?” Meghan shouts, dropping to her knees beside Bill, the man nursing a small wound on the side of the head. “The bitch hit me with a rock” Bill replies, his humorous reaction rooted in semi-disbelief.
“Take the wheel!” Heather shouts, directing Cam to the driver’s seat, both militants practically crashing into the vehicle as they descend upon it. “I don’t care where you take us, just let it be anywhere other than the New World Order!” Heather exclaims, falling into her chair, the door slamming shut behind her. “I don’t think you should be taking us anywhere” Janice calls out from the back, aiming the rifle at the back of Cameron’s head, both militants falling defeated at the sight.
“It wasn’t our intention to cause all that damage!” Cameron exclaims, both he and Heather sat on the curb, both hands tied behind their backs, “we were just following orders.” Questioning the act of slamming their helicopter into one of their own, Bill wonders aloud where their following of commands ended and where the outright-sabotage began. Head falling, Cameron acknowledges the decisions made, but doubles down on not having wished harm upon the survivor’s group.
“What orders were you following?” Janice asks, the rear mount of her firearm resting on the ground, the tip of the weapon held in her dominant hand. Hesitant to answer, Cameron tries to change the conversation, a last-ditched prayer at escaping this interrogation. “Do you even know how to use that thing?” Cameron questions, watching the woman take the weapon into action, taking aim at the man’s head and resting her finger on the trigger.
“We only need one of you alive to talk to, would you care to find out?” Janice replies, answering the man’s question before proceeding to repeat her group’s own. Out of options, Cameron gives in, taking the group at their word in hopes of being freed in return. “The orders were to pick up an army veteran by the name of Johnathan Callis” Heather replies, intercepting the question and answering on Cameron’s behalf, “he and his family were to be transported to the New World Order.”
Placing the rifle in the back of the van, Janice continues to look after the militants, both Meghan and Bill asking questions. “Who gave you these orders?” Meghan asks, the name of the woman responsible sticking inside the head of each member. “Charlotte Walters” Heather replies, quickly verbalizing her dislike for the woman, “she took over command of our armed forces when her dad died, the whole branch got passed down to her.”
“Why did she want John?” Janice questions, Heather admitting that there is more than just one New World Order. “Our military has bases all over the country, and when all of this turmoil began, Charlotte made the call to convert them all into shelters” Heather explains, unsure of the reasoning, “she wanted people with experience, preferably honorary discharges from the U.S military, to oversee day-to-day operations.”
“This is an entire network she’s looking after then” Bill acknowledges, “she’s turning safety into something suppliable.” Agreeing with the conclusion, Heather points out the function of each individual camp, multiple operations set up through the United States and Canada.
“There’s a base in New Mexico responsible for constructing firearms, one in Nova Scotia responsible for refining oil, you name it” Heather explains, unpleased with the conclusion she’s come to, “she’s trying to be god of the apocalypse.” Realizing the gravity of what they’re working against, Bill begins to take an alternate approach, inquiring over the woman’s own appeal rather than that of her compounds.
“She’s ruthless” Heather replies, insisting that, much as what her assumed goal is, the most important thing she has is power, “she wants control over everything. To her, control gives her the right to influence whatever she wants.” This answer doing little to reward any of the survivors with hope, Bill changes the conversation around, asking about the intentions of the people restrained before them.
“What’s your plan?” Bill wonders aloud, hoping to gain insight of his own next move off the backs of what the militants plan. “Find somewhere secluded and settle down” Cameron replies, the specifics not having come to them just yet, “go anywhere other than the New World Order.” His shirt tugged at by Meghan, Bill follows the young woman behind the van.
“I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but if they were sent to get John and his family, that means my niece and sister are there too” Meghan explains, the options laid out especially unflattering. “If that’s where your friend is going, my boyfriend is ending up in there as well” Bill replies, admitting his want to go after Emilio as well, “if you’re trying to convince me to go to this compound, you’re wasting your breath, because I’m already going.”
Pleased with that conclusion, Meghan admits that her efforts were not to convince Bill of where to journey, but rather, who to journey with. “I know it might cause problems for them, but we need to figure out where this compound is before we can think about going there” Meghan explains, suggesting they use the militants as guidance towards the New World Order, “they caused us to be split up from everyone else, don’t you think they should lead us there in return?”
“What, a ‘they made us split up, so now we throw them to the wolves’?” Bill replies, already responding in a less-flattering tone, “is this supposed to be some ‘eye-for-an-eye’ punishment?” Promising her motives to be less vengeful than that, Meghan insists that the only option on the table is the one kept stored within the minds of their imprisoned militants.
“They know the way, they know the people inside, they can lead us right to the front doors” Meghan explains, leaving the door open for their freedom being given once they’re outside the compound. Reluctant to agree, Bill allows Meghan to gradually nudge him towards consideration.
“You’re pretty, but your poker face is weak” Charlotte replies, pulling her chair, thus her body, closer to the table. “Where does it really come from?” Dissatisfied, John repeats his prior answer, not a word changing. “As I said, it’s a genetic condition” John replies, the eyes in Charlotte’s head rolling, “my father had a shaky hand, he passed it down to me.”
“I have the physical the military ran on you, and I have a copy of your medical records to back it up” Charlotte replies, kicking one foot over the other, arms crossing over her chest, “where does the tremor come from?” Staring at the table, John keeps silent for a moment, making the woman eagerly await his response. The room is quiet, not a soul beside their own sharing the space with them, John can notice the ringing in his ear persist, a subtle turn of his head subduing it.
“It’s a genetic condition, my fath-” John begins to reply, stopping immediately upon Charlotte’s fist colliding with the table. “No, it’s not” Charlotte replies, pushing the chair out from behind her, allowing her feet to carry her to the other side of the table, her eyes staring daggers into the top of John’s head.
“Where does your shaky hand come from?” Charlotte asks again, continuing to stand over the man, her figure casting a shadow over the table, blocking the light from the back of the room. With both hands interlacing their fingers within one another, John continues to stare at the empty seat ahead of him, slowly redirecting his focus towards the woman, locking eyes with Charlotte the moment he finds her face.
“It’s a genetic cond-” John replies, Charlotte’s hand slamming into the side of his face before he can get another word out, her patience reaching its peak. “Where did the tremor come from?” Charlotte asks again, the man below her looking away, a red handprint slowly forming on the side of his face. Turning back, John locks eyes with the woman again, his every movement slowed on purpose, the defiance he carries is something Charlotte is well aware of.
“It’s a-” John begins, again experiencing the stinging sensation of Charlotte’s hand meeting his face, the tingling burn that follows one that John’s become well-familiar with. “Why are you so hesitant to tell me the truth?” Charlotte asks, casually walking over to her chair, pulling it beside John while she continues talking, “what could you tell me that would be so groundbreaking?”
The legs of the chair dragging across the floor, a well-appreciating smack of metal on concrete permeates throughout the room, Charlotte waiting another moment before taking her seat. “If my answer was nothing groundbreaking, why does my answer matter to you?” John replies, locking eyes without turning his head, his dark brown iris peering at the woman through the corner of his eyelid.
“Natural curiosity” Charlotte replies, her answer brief, taking the piss out of the question. “Curiosity kills the cat” John replies, meeting her nonchalant rejection of respect with a measure of his own, the man’s retort putting a smirk on her face. “It’s a good thing I’m not pussycat then. Right, Cowboy?” Charlotte replies, watching the disconnected smile emerge from behind John’s full lips.
“Curiosity is a man’s greatest weakness” John replies, the response both serving as a jab to the woman, as well as a genuine opinion, “we put ourselves in dangerous positions all for the sake of figuring out what the outcome is.” Entertaining the diversion of their conversation, Charlotte pooks a booknote in her previous question, arguing John’s point with one of her own.
“Curiosity has served as the influence behind man’s greatest accomplishments, too” Charlotte replies, proving herself anything but a trigger-happy war criminal, “we don’t discover electricity is Ben Franklin doesn’t take a kite and a key outside.” Unwilling to get into a debate, John turns his head away, a gesture which only offers the woman more confidence.
“Every argument you can give me has a positive and negative result to point to” Charlotte replies, admitting the same if the roles were reversed, “we’ll have plenty of time to argue, but I’d prefer you indulge my curiosities while we’re still here.” Pressing her folded arms atop the table, Charlotte stares at John, the man’s face turned away from her own, repeating her original question.
“Where did you get the tremor?” Charlotte asks, the subtle pressing of his eyes shut suggesting the dissatisfaction John takes out of this return. With a sigh, John lets his eyes open, but does not let them fall back upon Charlotte. “It’s a genetic conditio-” John attempts to respond, again feeling Charlotte’s hand slamming against the side of his face, numbing his skin and bringing an ache over his jaw.
Pressing his hand against the side of his face, John turns his eyes back towards Charlotte, the disassociated expression on the woman’s face showing neither pleasure, nor annoyance. “Why are you so hesitant to tell me the truth?” Charlotte asks again, the man’s face beginning to sprout the seeds of anger, each slap driving him closer to his tipping point.
His eyelids partially lowered, John continues to stare at the woman, his hand dropping to his side as he begins to answer. “I find no reason to give you an answer you already know” John replies, the truthful response bringing a small look of satisfaction over Charlotte’s face. “That took long enough” Charlotte says, her low, business-centric voice answers, the smile forming more in one corner of her mouth, “it feels like we’re getting somewhere with you.”
“We need to slow down!” Alicia calls out, matching the exhausted pace Franklin carries with him proving to be a burden on Salem. “We’re what? One hundred yards away from an army of the dead?” Salem replies, holding herself back to let the pair catch up to her, “this is not the time to be slowing down.”
“He’s hurt!” Alicia exclaims, bringing Salem’s attention back to the fresh amputation he battles to overcome, “you lobbed the poor guy’s arm off, give him a fucking break!” Pressing her hand to her head, Salem begins to feel her chances of making it out of the night alive lower with each second that passes. Biting into her lip, Salem glances back at Franklin, hearing his bated breaths from afar, eyes rolling as she reaches a conclusion.
Pulling the rifle over her shoulder, Salem takes aim at the wounded survivor and touches the trigger with her finger, the declarative cries of Alicia attempting to persuade her into dropping the weapon. “He’s slowing us down, and he’s gonna get us killed” Salem replies, her reasoning obvious, though not good enough to warrant murder. Refusing to allow Salem any chances, Alicia puts herself in front of the gun, refusing to allow a bullet to penetrate Franklin’s body without killing her as well.
“What the fuck are you doing, girl?” Salem asks, the question raised also being asked to Alicia by herself, unsure of why she’d sacrifice herself for someone she’d only recently met. “You chopped off his arm so he could have a chance to live!” Alicia argues, finding her argument in the heat of the moment, staring into Salem’s wide eyes, “lower the gun now so he can still get that chance!”
The woman’s logic being perfectly sound, Salem finds little argument worthy of disputing it, her lowering of the gun declaring Alicia the victor of this argument. “If the dead catch up to us, I’m not coming back to make the save for you two” Salem concludes, throwing the gun over her shoulder before leading the way again. “Come on” Alicia mutters, keeping one hand below Franklin’s arm, her palm pressing against his back, helping direct him forwards.
“Thank you” Franklin mutters beneath his breath, his life spared in that one moment, a realization he comes to instantly, refusing to forget.
Two doors in the front seat slamming shut, Emilio peaks his head out of cover, watching the two men from behind tinted glass, a convoy of soldiers marching for the exit of a massive airplane hanger. The lights turned out behind them, the soldiers leave the fleet of vans where they were parked, allowing Emilio the opportunity to exit his vehicle the moment darkness consumes the makeshift garage.
Popping out of the side door, Emilio flashes his phone’s light around the open space, finding a door in the back of the hanger, right around where he’d heard the soldiers exit. Not wanting to waste time, Emilio hurries to the door, catching a glimpse of a sign reading “Newark Liberty International Airport.”
Leaving the hangar, Emilio looks out at an overhauled tarmac, the grounds where planes would once return to the ground now littered with small storefronts and hut-like homes. Pulling up his cellphone, Emilio removes the phone number from his pocket and begins dialing, anxiously awaiting an answer. “Hello?” a slightly optimistic Janice replies, the sigh of relief resulting from the sound of Emilio’s voice noticeable on the man’s end of the call.
“Listen, I don’t want to waste too much time, because I don’t really know where I am” Emilio explains, the moonlight having come over the pop-up town site. “I just left a hanger that had the sign ‘Newark Liberty International Airport’ on it” Emilio explains, assuming he’d found his way to a tiny village. “There’s a ton of guards, a ton of other people, it’s some little community” Emilio concludes, watching a fleet of guards begin to talk amongst themselves, attention placed in his direction.
“Listen dude, we’ve got two pilots from the plane that crashed. They said that’s one of the compounds the woman with John owns” Janice replies, very little good to say of her. “Listen, I’ve got eyes on me. I’ve got to go” Emilio concludes, hanging up the call and tucking the phone away, walking off in search of a more populated area the moment one of the guards begins approaching him.
“You’re not making this any easier on yourself, Cowboy” Charlotte explains, her feet now having found themselves propped atop the table, her right foot draped over her left. “I never said I wanted this to be easy” John replies, the truth in his response inarguable. “You did say you wanted your family” Charlotte replies, continuing to hold that string over his head, much as she has since the minute she entered the room, “you’re burning time you might be able to spend with her.”
Squinting, John keeps his thoughts to himself, allowing Charlotte to continue speaking, the words she utters only serving to give her satisfaction, taking pleasure in hearing herself talk. “Instead, you choose to be a hard-ass” Charlotte explains, filing her fingernails while raking at the thoughts John stubbornly keeps silent.
“You’re doing neither of us any favors” Charlotte whispers, lowering the filer to her lap, her second hand remaining in the air as it had been, “why do you insist on keeping this act up?” Clearing his throat, John pulls away from the table, his back resting in his chair and his hands falling into his lap. Turning towards Charlotte, John licks at his chapped lips, challenging the filler she’d been offering.
“You said ‘her’” John replies, the vague response bringing a brief look of regret over Charlotte’s face, her stubborn mask having broken for a moment, the woman aware of her slip-up. “You don’t have my wife here” John replies, that fact proving to serve as a wrench, a barrier thrown at Charlotte and having fallen within the trajectory of her plan. “I’ll admit, I realized that long ago” John replies, coming clean with how little hope he’d had in Charlotte since the first minute.
“However, until now, the chance I’d be reunited with them was still there” John explains, this shattering of hopes presenting little reason to make this process easy, “prolonging this interrogation was just doing me a favor.” The advantage having swung into John’s corner, Charlotte begins to reassess her approach, the high ground she once had now a plateau, digging significantly deeper into the earth the longer this goes on.
“Fine, I’ll admit it, you’ve got an advantage over me now, Cowboy” Charlotte admits, the time she’s had to question John quickly running out. “I’ve got to leave here before midnight, so roughly within the next forty minutes or so” Charlotte explains, “and that means I need to get this done, or else you’ll be stuck in here until I get back, whenever that may be, while some random guard you’ve never met before looks after your daughter.”
The incentive on both to keep the questions moving now placed, Charlotte tells John to cooperate, not wanting either party to deal with the consequences of failing to finish their conversation. “If you help me get this done, I’ll help get you out of here quicker than someone can cut the head off a snake” Charlotte concludes, both feet removing themselves from the table, her folded hands finding the surface of the table, “do we have an agreement?”
The woman’s genuine interest in finishing this trial being noticed, John cracks his knuckles and returns the sides of his hands to the cool tabletop. “Next question” John replies, serving his answer, the appreciative nod from Charlotte’s head signaling their arrival on the same page.
“You’ve got to hold still!” Shauna exclaims, Reggie trying his best to remove the blood-soaked bandages from Tyler’s charred face, the campfire he uses to direct his efforts proving too poor to work off of. “Reggie, move out of the way. Shauna, hold this light where I tell you” Jack mutters, pulling Reggie aside and taking over. “Tyler, I need you to listen to me” Jack says, keeping his hands away from the wounds, leaving the man a chance to collect himself.
“Hey, listen. I know this hurts, but the pain is temporary. If your wounds get infected, you’ll suffer something more permanent, if you know what I mean” Jack explains, laying the ground rules out distinctively. Struggling to find death less desired than the suffering he endures, Tyler gives Jack a faint nod, letting Shauna prop a stick between his teeth.
“Alright, when I tell you to, bite down on the stick and squeeze Reggie’s hand” Jack explains, making it clear that he was going to rip the bandages off. Waiting for Tyler’s breathing to steady, Jack gives the signal and tears at the cloth, horrifying screeches of agony resonating from the deepest crevasses of Tyler’s soul. Within seconds, the bandages fall to the dirt, a squishy thud coming off of them until Tyler suddenly eases down.
“Tyler?” Jack calls out, snapping his fingers in the man’s face to no response, “Tyler?” Putting her ear to the man’s mouth and nose, Shauna listens for the faint sound of breathing. Upon the failure of that attempt, Shauna places her ear to Tyler’s chest, listening desperately for a heartbeat, which she also fails to do. “He’s not breathing!” Shauna exclaims, the group now fearing for Tyler’s life.
In a moment of panic, Jack yanks Tyler’s body away from the tree he had been leant against and pushes him to the ground, both hands forming into one, pressing down on his chest. Doing everything he can to bring Tyler back to life, Jack finds a silent response the only thing to emerge, the resuscitation failing. “Jack, he’s gone” Reggie mutters beneath his breath, at least a minute having passed with no signs of improvement.
“Jack, his brain has gone without air for too long” Reggie explains, trying to pull Jack away before the outcome they’d seen first responders face on the news happens again. “Jack” Reggie mutters, continuing to convince Jack to call it quits, only to continue failing. “Jack, he’s gone!” Reggie exclaims, ripping his friend away from Tyler’s body.
Laying flat on the dirt, Jack puts up no further fight, both hands falling over his eyes the moment his originally-white shirt is stained a sandy beige. “What the fuck is happening!?” Jack exclaims, slamming both fists into the ground, his body pushing itself up into a seated position, which he stares coldly at Reggie and Shauna from. “We were working in a factory twelve fucking hours ago!” Jack shouts, pushing himself to his feet, eyes burning with a passionate rage.
“Our lives were normal, none of this happened!” Jack exclaims, the silence Shauna and Reggie meet him with being palpable. “What the hell do we do now!?” Jack exclaims, challenging those around him to come up with a solution, not a soul speaking up to do so. Hands angrily placed to his hips, Jack looks at Tyler’s dead body, the lack of response from the corpse only serving to enrage him.
“I’ll tell you what we do” Jack says to himself, muttering beneath his breath as he approaches Tyler’s remains, “we fight until we’re not allowed to anymore.” Dropping to his knees, Jack begins trying to bring Tyler back once again, the eye roll from Reggie doing nothing to deteur Jack. “Jack, you’re gonna get yourself hurt!” Reggie calls out, approaching Jack before failing to pull him back, a shove from the scathing survivor forcing Reggie to stop trying to change his mind.
“Jack, you’ve seen what’s happened when you do this!” Reggie shouts, his words carried throughout the forest, a result he cares little about. “Jack, knock it off!” Reggie exclaims, storming back towards Jack before Shauna reaches out, holding the man back and allowing Jack to continue his efforts. “Come on you burnt son of a bitch!” Jack says in gasps, balling one hand into a fist as he beats at Tyler’s chest, trying to restart his heart until the last possible second.
“Get the fuck back here!” Jack keeps shouting, one hammering blow after another being dealt, his attempts rewarded with nothing for minute-like seconds. With a sudden gasp, Tyler takes a full breath of air into his lungs, eyes shooting open with one final strike to the chest, the sight bringing Reggie and Shauna to awe. “Holy shit!” Reggie exclaims, pulling Shauna back, unsure at first whether or not Tyler came back as one of the dead.
Within seconds, the pain begins shooting through Tyler’s body, prompting the group to rush back to his aid. “Rubbing alcohol, bandages, blankets, NOW!” Jack shouts, Shauna falling to her knees with the flashlight, leaving Reggie to collect. Returning with the first aid equipment, Reggie starts handing Jack whatever the man asks for, the conversation between the two only taken part in by Jack.
“We fight until we’re not allowed to anymore” Jack mutters, tending to Tyler’s wounds with the alcohol while he smiles at Reggie, “we don’t give up on each other.” Accepting the results of Jack’s resilience, Reggie closes his mouth without a word, a brief smile given with his lips as he nods, in agreement with Jack’s new policy of survival.
Head resting against a makeshift pillow, Lauren awakens in a dark closet, hidden within a silent room, the ruffling of the puffy jackets below her head serving as a wakeup call. Sweat running down her face, Lauren emerges from the stuffy room and into a dark house, not a sound to be throughout. Quietly walking through the home, Lauren lets the tips of her fingers run against the paint-covered walls, her journey leading her to the silent living room, not a soul to be found.
“I thought they would have busted in” Lauren remarks to herself, turning her head towards the front door, its heavily-reinforced locks having kept the dead out. Peering through the curtain, Lauren finds the front steps as empty as the rest of the neighborhood, the midnight hour bringing about a haunting drain of color. Putting one foot through the front door, Lauren steps out into the open air, the roads lit up with the street lamps’ faint, orange tinge.
The burning husk of the down helicopters having died out long ago, Lauren is left on her own, not a soul found for miles. Her breathing starting to become erratic, Lauren begins to feel encapsulated by the loneliness, a new world from what she had once known, not a hand to guide her into it. Head spinning, Lauren turns back into the home, slamming the door shut and locking it on the way in.
“That’s how I ended up here” John concludes, his answer bringing a satisfied look upon Charlotte’s face. “How about the tremor?” Charlotte asks, the eye roll given by the veteran suggesting his pleasure at hearing the question again. “I did you a favor and saved it for the end of the chat” Charlotte explains, the side-eye given by John noticed immediately, “we’re working on limited time and this is the last question. Do yourself a favor, and keep me from having to rehome your kid.”
Puckering his lips, John thinks of his options, clammy hands rubbing at his furrowed brow. “I was in Ghowr when gunfire broke out” John replies, his military convoy consisting of seven men. “It was a routine drive through, we hadn’t been expecting an ambush” John continues, the death toll of that day having reached the number four. “We were greatly outnumbered and forced into surrender” John explains, his title not ending merely as ‘veteran’, but as ‘prisoner of war.’
“They tortured you?” Charlotte suggests, the question bringing a somber look over John’s face, his hesitancy to respond giving her most of the answer. “They shot one of us in the chest to serve as a warning, in case we wanted to act out” John replies, recalling his hands bound in tight ropes, hanged from a rusty pipe in the cellar of a poorly-built home. “We were held captive for twenty-nine days, I think” John replies, having messed up the count after the first week.
“It wasn’t being a prisoner that brought the tremor on, though” Charlotte replies, watching the man’s eyelids shut tightly, “you were the only one that made it out alive, that’s what the records said.” Letting a calm breath leave his lungs, John lightly scratches at his forehead, keeping his second, tremor-happy hand kept at bay beside him. “The second guy, he- Eh. He, uh, he stopped fighting” John replies, nodding to himself as he forces his shaky hand still.
“I tried to convince him to stop acting out, but-” John pauses, squeezing his hand tightly, a simple shake calming it, “-he figured he wouldn’t make it much longer anyway.” The room goes silent, a chill begins running down John’s spine, his lack of a reaction to it brought on by the inability to forget the day he chose to forget.
“They put a bullet through his eye before I could get a chance to react” John says abruptly, slowly looking back at Charlotte, eye contact and all, “I felt my hand shake the moment the pipe stopped creaking.” Falling back into her chair, Charlotte looks at John with an astonished glare, the man refusing to withdraw eye contact. “I was repatriated, given entitlements, and looked after until this” John finishes, “I never gave my wife details, and she’d never fuckin’ ask.”
Met with silence, John continues to stare into Charlotte’s eyes, the woman’s expression suggesting she’d underestimated the man she’d be bringing into her community. “Have you enjoyed the story, or do you need an autograph, too?” John mocks beneath a grizzled tone, his voice weighted down with brooding hostility.
“Okay, Cowboy” Charlotte mutters aloud, pushing herself out of her chair and pulling open the exit, “welcome to the New World Order.” Remaining sat, his eyes never leaving Charlotte for a moment, John awaits whatever comes next. Led by the hand of one of the guards, Amy walks into the room and looks towards her father, her entrance the only thing breaking John out of his rising anger.
Leaping out of his seat, John races to his daughter, throwing himself to his knees on the floor as he wraps his arms around the small child. “We’ve got as much information on your wife as we could get from her work office” Charlotte mutters, the man paying her no mind, only listening to the promise she makes, “we’re keeping an eye out for her. If she’s still out there, we’ll find her.”
Pulling his eyes open, John looks at Charlotte and offers a subtle nod, his appreciation given in the gesture. Leaving the room, Charlotte moves on with her day, leaving the guards to inform John of his following duties.
Beginning to explain John’s new role, the guards place a small patch on his shirt, telling him not to lose the token. “Who is-?” John mutters to himself, brushing off the guards the moment he spots a figure out from the crowd, arms pulled back by guards as he’s forced through the central square. “Hey!” John calls out, hurrying away from his escort and dashing up to the armed men, none of them taking kindly to his interruption.
“Know your role, sir. Keep on wal-” the first guard to acknowledge him calls back, beginning to aim his weapon before taking a pause, the rest of his peers slowing down. “Sir” the guard replies, lowering his weapon to his hip, the remaining guards turning towards him with apologetic looks, “I’m so sorry, we didn’t know you had gotten here!”
Confused, John stares at the militants with a crooked frown, his escort quickly catching up to him. “Mr. Callis, what we’re trying to tell you is important” the escort explains, his concerns brushed off by the token-adorning general, all eyes placed upon him. “Emilio, right?” John calls out, the criminally-treated man looking back in his direction, a look of relief coming over his face.
“I didn’t get here under admirable circumstances, I’ll admit that” Emilio jokes, the awe he’s surrounded by brings John an intrigued confidence. “Let him go” John orders the guards, his commands met with instant obedience, realization dawning upon him. “What does this mean?” John asks, turning to the escort with his finger resting upon the crust of his patch.
“It’s the symbol of authority here” the escort pauses, watching the grin appear on John’s face before continuing, “Charlotte’s placed you in charge of the community.” With a glance, John tells the halted officers to return to what they were originally responsible for, their feet carrying them away as swiftly as they had arrived.
An hour having passed, John listens to every word to have left the escort’s mouth, his duties having been laid out resoundingly clear. “So I have full authority over this entire camp, and everyone in it, minus Charlotte Walters?” John clarifies, the approval of his peers giving him a swift intrigue over what this means for himself and his family.
Thanking the escort for their time, John leads the men out of his new, spacious home and turns back, the only people he shares the space with now being his daughter and Emilio. “So, this is like your kingdom now?” Emilio replies, the conclusion reached not being too far off from the truth. “Well, what does this mean?” Emilio asks, “The group got divided after you were taken, so I could only reach Janice, Bill, and your sister in law, but they’re already on their way.”
Hand stretched out, John acknowledges the uncertainty of the present, admitting that a plan towards the future is impossible right now. “We’re still not sure if what they’re saying is true. Everything could be restored to normal in weeks or months” John explains, the only truth being that they’re stuck, “as long as we’re unsure as to what’s going on out there, the only safety that we can depend on is what we have in here.”
Struggling to find a reason to disagree, Emilio walks off, finding a secluded corner of the large living room to wander towards. “So what do we do in the now?” Emilio replies, John’s glance taking his eyes towards the deeper interior of the building. “Honestly, Emilio. I don’t think we’ve got much of a choice” John replies, taking a bottle of whiskey from the mantle atop the fireplace, a glass poured for himself and the man he shares company with, “all we can do now is play along.”
== Rise: Remastered ==