Venturing through the New World Order, Salem and Franklin speak amongst themselves, passing the time it takes them to meet with their friendly pilots. “You never did tell me why you lied” Franklin points out, raising the question out of the blue, “you said you were a software engineer. Why’d you lie?”
Their stroll, a casual, slow walk through the community’s green, Salem finds plenty of time to explain herself, the honest truth easier to admit than she had anticipated. “I didn’t want you and Alicia to get me to fly out to some distant country” Salem replies, humoring the large man beside her, “I may be crazy, but I’m not that fond of flying off to an island paradise and riding out the rest of our days in peace.”
“You’re talking crazy now” Franklin jokes, not yet convinced in Salem’s reply. “I’m serious. Being a pilot is the only thing I’ve lied to the two of you about” Salem replies, continuing to match the man’s pace, “I never really had a place in the world before all of this. If I’m being honest, I kind of like things the way they are now.” Glancing at Salem with a smile, Franklin does a double take, his grin fading upon the second look.
“You’re serious?” Franklin replies, lured further into belief, “you like all of this?” An ashamed, yet proud look on her face, Salem looks to Franklin and nods, both of her hands tucked in her pockets. “Yeah, I do” Salem replies, the man’s head shaking, his mind baffled by such an idea. “Some people don’t fit into a box like the rest, Frank” Salem explains, aware of how little she can sway Franklin’s opinion, “with the world the way it is, those boxes don’t exist anymore.”
With a shrug, Franklin distances himself from the conversation, a question raised by Salem pulling him right back in. “If we’re asking about things we’ve asked in the past, I guess that makes it my turn” Salem explains, looking at Franklin with a mischievous grin, “on our first run with Cam and Heather, just before you left the roof, you asked me to take care of Alicia.”
“Is there something wrong with wanting someone to look out for a friend?” Franklin asks, confused. “Not at all” Salem is quick to reply, her smile having disappeared for a second, only to quickly return, “but in that moment, it seemed like something more.” Head tilted, Franklin peers at Salem, his lips puckered. “I think you might be reading too far into things” Franklin replies, jutting his elbow out, playfully nudging Salem on the arm.
“We’re not heading out today” Heather exclaims the moment Salem and Franklin enter her view, raising curiosity over the pair. “What?” Salem immediately replies, her hands having left her pockets, thrown out at each side, “what changed?” Walking around the length of their aircraft, Cameron holds a folded piece of paper out for Salem to take. “That’s what changed” Cameron replies, allowing the letter to change hands.
“To all neighboring sites, the New York compound has been placed in temporary control of Charlotte Walters” Salem reads aloud, only one line left unspoken, “due to increasing tension, all flights to and from New World Order compounds are hereby suspended until further notice.” Rolling his eyes, Franklin slowly walks away from the group while Salem asks further questions, unable to understand the gravity of the situation.
“I thought Charlotte was in control of the Nova Scotia camp” Salem explains, her assumptions confirmed. “She’s supposed to be, but it seems like the dude she put in charge of the New York one fell out of favor” Heather replies, walking away to allow Cameron to finish her response, “which means we’ve got no chance of running off to it now.”
“This is unbelievable” Franklin mutters from afar, their escape crumbling right before their eyes. “So, what if we go to the camp in Nova Scotia instead?” Salem suggests, the threat of remaining in Concord growing with each passing day. “Won’t work” Heather replies, slamming the cabin door of their helicopter shut, “if anyone’s taking Charlotte’s place up there, it’d be her husband.”
Taking a seat on the curb, Franklin allows the rest of the group to talk amongst themselves, his hands folded at his chin, countless thoughts racing through his mind. “Fascinating” a man exclaims from a few yards away, noticing Franklin’s body language and the worried chatter amongst Salem and the pilots, “it’s almost like the world got flipped upside down for the four of you, isn’t it?”
Their eyes trailing across the lot, Salem, Franklin, and the pilots find Neville strolling up to their launch pad, his hands interlocked behind his back, his thin suit jacket flowing in the early-morning breeze. “Why do you say that?” Heather asks, taking charge. “Well, she’s holding Charlotte’s decree from New York” Neville first answers, pointing out the letter still firmly in Salem’s grasp, “and, I’m not sure why you’re getting ready to take flight. I haven’t given you clearance.”
“We’re not getting ready to take flight” Heather quickly corrects, keeping ahead of Neville for as long as she can, “the chopper requires attention after every flight. We neglected that attention last week.” An obviously skeptical nod given by the compound’s suited leader, Heather watches Neville back away, both hands held in surrender. “Admitting negligence takes balls, so I’ll give you a pass for your honesty” Neville replies, the unamused look on his face returning.
“Listen, I don’t want the four of you falling out of line. That’s all” Neville explains, putting the ‘honest-man’ facade up once more, “let’s all just work together. Live in harmony, yes?” Smiling at Heather and Salem, Neville’s grin drops when the sands scrape against asphalt beneath Franklin’s feet, the man standing from his place on the curb. “Is that a threat?” Franklin asks, watching Neville spin slowly towards him, a content expression on his face.
“Not at all” Neville replies, refusing to step any closer to Franklin than he already is, preferring to speak to him from ten yards away, “I’m just making it clear that the leaders chosen for the New World Order are people with- Oh, how do I put this kindly? A sixth sense for the truth.” Nodding his head, Franklin conceals a laugh beneath his breath, slowly stepping forward, watching the enthusiasm on Neville’s face fade with each vanishing inch between them.
“You’re a really small man, Neville” Franklin explains, his voice lowering with his posture, the friendly face most are used to devolving into an intimidating scowl. “I love how you can stare down at Salem and Heather, but when I come around, you tense up” Franklin explains, the extra eight inches he has on Concord’s leader casting a shadow over Neville’s face, “I think you should be a lot more considerate of who you try to look down on.”
Obviously unflattered by the manner in which Franklin speaks to him, Neville adjusts his tie and licks his chops, looking Franklin in the eye once his thoughts have found their way to him. “I’d suggest you watch what you say to me” Neville replies, the look on Franklin's face unchanged, “you are big and tough, that much you are already aware of. But what you don’t realize is that you and I are the same person.”
Interested, Franklin remains quiet, a tickled smile coming over his face, allowing Neville to continue. “The power that you have in your build, and in your stature, is the same power I have in the snap of a finger” Neville explains, giving Franklin his warning, “and if my finger snaps, anything could happen… Accidents included.”
Nodding, Franklin gives Neville a few inches of space to breath, trying to seem considerate. “Are you telling me that, maybe, I could have an accident?” Franklin asks, concluding his point amidst Neville’s failure to respond, “because, I don’t think that would be popular with someone like Alicia. Do you?”
Becoming amused again, Neville shrugs with a returned smile, his eyebrows lifting with the rest of his face. “I don’t know” Neville replies, taking it upon himself to step up to Franklin, surprisingly choosing to close the distance by choice, “who’s to say Alicia can’t have an accident, too?”
His amusement incinerated instantly, Franklin’s angry scowl returns once more, the snarl he gives Neville conceding defeat to Concord’s leader. Having regained power, Neville gingerly pats Franklin on the shoulder twice. “The four of you have a lovely day” Neville calls out, returning to his daily activities with newfound confidence, a bitter Franklin left to watch him walk away in silence, Salem and the pilots watching on with scowls of their own.
= 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 =
“Make room!” Tom shouts, ordering Jack and his group further into the cavernous abyss of the tavern cellar. Their countless months of captivity having dulled their effort to resist instruction, Jack’s group does as told, making room for the imprisoned member of John’s inner circle. “You don’t look familiar” Shauna mutters from afar, her new inmates staring at her briefly on her way into confinement.
“We’re in charge of the camp” a disgruntled Meghan grunts, the response drawing amusement from their de facto prison guard. “Not anymore” Tom replies, slamming the metal bars shut, an old-fashioned key turning in the locks to cement the change in government. “You’re a war criminal, same as your longer-imprisoned friends” Tom replies, his following statement inciting a spark of care in Jack’s group, “now that Charlotte has her way, the lot of you will be dealt with.”
“Hey, we served our time!” Jack shouts, his face pressed between the bars he sits beside, both hands grasping at either rung. “Haha, no. You served their time” Tom replies, turning back once he reaches the stairwell towards the exit, a gleeful face put on, “now you’ll serve Charlotte’s time.”
Climbing the stairs, Tom slams the cellar door shut, entrenching the cells, along with the compiled group, in total darkness. “So, you’re the one that kept us locked up for the last year, huh?” Jack muses, quickly corrected by the new woman in the group’s ranks. “It’s been five months, and that wasn’t exactly our call” Meghan replies, her argument doing little to sway Jack’s opinion.
“Whose call was it exactly?” Shauna asks on Jack’s behalf, the new prisoner taking a few minutes to adjust to the complete darkness. “If we could let you out, we would have done so” Meghan replies, “the call wasn’t ours to make.” With a groan, Jack retakes his position in the conversation, starting from where he left off. “Again, I’ll ask” Jack frustratedly remarks, “who made the call to keep us here?”
“Charlotte wanted you all to remain here until further notice” Meghan replies, prompting Jack to throw his hands up in defeat. “How long are you assholes gonna keep that up?” Jack sharply cuts in, confusing his new inmate. “What do you mean by that?” Meghan replies, unable to see the man, but perfectly able to distinguish his laugh from the rest of his cell mates.
“The lot of you could have done whatever you wanted since day one, don’t even pretend like that’s not the case!” Jack replies, his sentence finished by a distant Shauna. “Even if you wanted to play nice, you could have let us out and hurried us back in whenever she showed up” Shauna explains, the logistics of such a plan partially flawed, “you chose to keep us in. Blaming it on Charlotte is just a way of wiping your own hands of any blame.”
“You’re wrong. We played nice with Charlotte, part of that involved keeping the four of you in here” Meghan replies, the sarcastic rebuttal she gets from Jack bringing a silence upon her. “And where did that get you?” Jack wonders aloud, rendering the woman speechless. “Nowhere of note, obviously” Meghan eventually mutters, her response cited as incorrect in Shauna’s eyes.
“Not at all, it definitely got you somewhere of note” the woman replies, her arms crossed in the darkness, “that place just so happened to be right here.” Closing her mouth, Meghan takes a seat in the only opening she can feel for, preparing herself for what is next to come.
“You’re gonna be real miserable for a while, John” the tending doctor says aloud, glancing at the armed patrol officer standing in the doorway every other second. “I’m not gonna have a while at this rate” John groans, immediate consideration taken from the doctor. “Don’t speak, I don’t want you aggravating your injuries” the doctor replies, a towel placed to the newly sutured jawline, trying to stop the returned bleeding.
“Is he able to talk to Charlotte yet, Doctor?” the unconcerned guard asks. “My name is Doctor Ringwald, it’s embroidered on my coat” the experienced medic replies, feeling the radiating aggravation coming from the intense stare-ridden guard. “Dr. Ringwald” the guard grunts through his teeth, “when will he be ready to speak to Charlotte?”
One hand on his head as the other trails to his hip, Ringwald considers the man’s physical state. “If he’s going to make a full recovery, we’re looking at-” Ringwald begins, only to be interrupted instantly. “We don’t care about a full recovery, that won’t be necessary” the guard replies, implying the fate that soon awaits the wounded deposed leader, “is he able to speak now?”
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Ringwald thinks for a moment, walking to John’s side when all things are considered. “John, are you able to speak?” Ringwald asks, lowering his head towards John’s mouth as if he were listening for a whisper. “I know you can hear me, pretend I’m not speaking to you” Ringwald whispers, concealing his true intentions from the overlooking guard, “if you’ve got a plan hatched, now is the time to use it.”
Letting a few seconds pass, Ringwald moves from John’s face, staring him in the eyes as if he were waiting for a response. His cheek recently stitched, John defiantly stretches his mouth open, wincing in pain as he tears his wounds and pops every fresh stitch. “John, what the hell!?” Ringwald exclaims, reaching for the towel again, returning it to the side of the man’s mouth.
“Alright, screw this. He’s obviously not complying!” the guard exclaims in aggravation, reaching out to drag the man from his hospital bed. “You can’t, he literally cannot talk now!” Ringwald shouts, throwing himself on top of John to prevent his removal. “Old man, you better get the hell off!” the guard exclaims, his orders falling on deaf ears.
“Let me fix him up, and you can bring your boss here instead!” Ringwald exclaims, trying to find the optimal solution in a sea of chaos. “You don’t make the calls” the over-angerred patrolman shouts, pushing the doctor away from John. Blaming Ringwald in a rage, the guard wraps his hand around the doctor’s throat, pushing him into the corner of the room and squeezing tightly.
“He’s either ready now, or he’s not ready now!” the guard screams, pulling the man from the corner only to slam him back seconds later, this time harder than before, “-either way, you’re done wasting time on-”
The vigorous shouts from the guard suddenly twisting into blood-choking gargles, a horrified doctor looks into the guard’s shocked face, the white’s of the guards eyes wrapping around his pupils. Letting go of the doctor’s throat, the guard stumbles around and looks into John’s eyes, reaching for the scalpel the broken-teethed gunshot-survivor had plunged deep into the side of his neck.
“I’ll take that” John painfully mutters, removing the gun from the guard’s holster, watching Charlotte’s soldier take the final step past death’s doorstep, hunching over on the ground. “Jesus, John-” Ringwald remarks, losing himself in the man’s eyes, half of his face practically hanging by threads of popped stitching, “-what the hell kind of adrenaline are you on!?”
Surprised at the borderline inhuman resilience shown, Ringwald remains tucked in the corner as John walks off, dragging himself through the medical room and back into the wider compound without another word.
“I hope you still know which side you play for” Tori explains, strolling through the woods with Lauren and the rest of their fleet, “I get it, you have history, but it’s about us now.” Not wanting to say another word, Lauren remains quiet, allowing Tori to continue to speak without rebuttal. “That place has protection, it has food, it has water, it has whatever we could ask for” Tori explains, continuing to be given the silent treatment, “we can’t trust them to look after us.”
Stopping her walk, Tori watches Lauren continue onwards, the rest of the fleet stopping with Tori. “Are you hearing me?” Tori, tired of the silence, calls out, prompting Lauren to stop farther ahead. “Lauren, I’m sorry you’re caught between sides right now, but we need you fighting with us” Tori explains, a second passing before her emotional walls fall momentarily, “I need you fighting with-”
“What happened to Kelsey?” Lauren suddenly interposes, cutting Tori off instantly, twisting the conversation elsewhere. “What?” Tori replies, unsure she heard the question correctly. “What happened to Kelsey?” Lauren asks again, finally turning around to look Tori in the eyes. “Did we not establish this months ago?” Tori replies, Lauren quickly breaking eye contact, “it may not have been written in stone, but ain’t what we got good enou-?”
“I went back” Lauren says, again cutting Tori off, this time to a look of shock. “Wh- What?” Tori replies, unable to imagine how such a journey could have been possible, “when did you-?” Interrupted for a third time, Tori pulls back in surprise at Lauren’s response. “In the first few days, when you were collecting all the outsiders” Lauren replies, pulling a bracelet from her pocket, “I found this about a mile out from where you knocked me out.”
“That could be anyone’s” Tori replies, an uncomfortable laugh given to the accessory’s appearance. “It could be, but I know it’s hers” Lauren replies, the melancholy spirits in her voice bringing a depressing tone over the sudden conversation, “you don’t have someone’s arm wrapped around you every night and not know what they wear on their arm.”
Her pose changed, now placing her hands upon her hips, Tori looks at Lauren with an odd look, curiosity building. “What are you implying, Lauren?” Tori asks, genuinely invested in the conclusion her girlfriend has come to. “I’m implying nothing. It’s just interesting as to why you’re so confident that she’s dead” Lauren replies, taking another quick glance at the bracelet, her tone taking an unsettlingly youthful reflection, “just as interesting as you carrying me all this way by yourself.”
Growing annoyed, Tori pulls away from her fleet, stepping up close to her girlfriend. “Lauren, we are this close to taking control of the compound” Tori explains, her fingertips a hair-length apart, “if you’re not going to help us get the rest of the way, stay back and stay out of the way.” Her ultimatum heard, Lauren backs away from Tori, creating separation until the moment a set of headlights flash before her eyes.
Looking out, Lauren watches a car similar to the one she had seen Jessica’s friends nearby on her way from the cabin, her eyes shooting open instantly. Looking at Tori, Lauren watches her girlfriend’s eyes widen, one finger stretching into the air. “Lauren, don’t” Tori whispers, watching the woman increase her steps away as her order is verbalized, “Lauren, stay here!”
Refusing to give into the demands placed on her, Lauren charges away from her group, kicking up fallen leaves on her way through the trees. Her hands waving above her head as she meets the side of the street, Lauren watches the vehicle slow, familiar faces looking at her. “Charlotte’s at your compound, she’s taken over!” Lauren warns, the undivided attention of those in the car given fully to her.
“How do you know this?” Jess inquires, the gasping breaths of Lauren offering her little information than what’s asked. “I- I just do” Lauren replies, every passenger, other than Troy, dropping further into confusion. “There is an inside man” Troy remarks, cutting into the strange, unexpected warning with tension to offer. “They’ve got an inside man feeding them information” Troy replies, the ashamed expression on Lauren’s face confirming his suspicions.
“I’m sorry” Lauren replies, backing away from the car and dashing off into the woods, not to be seen again. “I’m glad we wasted nine hours fixing that flat tire” Janice remarks, her sarcasm falling flat. “What the hell do we do now?” Troy asks, bringing the conversation back to something useful. The group looking to her for direction, Jess remains silent, thinking to herself.
“We help take it back” Jess suddenly replies, shifting the car into drive once more, returning to their original path before deviating a mile and a half later, a dirt road taken around the former airport site. Wheels kicking up dirt as she slams on the brakes, Jess exits the car and begins charging at the outer wall, the change in leadership having focused the militant’s attention elsewhere.
“What the hell are you doing!?” Troy whispers, watching Janice tap against the meshy, tarp-like exterior of the outer wall. “We cut a hole out of the border and replaced it with tarp” Jess replies, watching two militants pull the cloth-like cover in, allowing Janice to sneak through. “In case something goes wrong, and we can’t use the front gates, this is our emergency exit-” Jess replies, stopping halfway through the gap, “-or, I guess in this instance, emergency entrance.”
Giving into unreasonable hopes, Troy and Katie follow Jess through the laughable gap in the wall, two panicked militants greeting them on their way in. “We were warned about Charlotte” Jess explains, quickly asking about what she’s yet to make sense of, “give me a rundown.” Exhausted, the militants look to each other to start, almost as if nothing is in order any longer.
“Meghan got locked up with your employees, Emilio and Bill were sent to hide with Amy just after you left” the young soldier explains, “and John… Well… Ffuucckk”
“You saying ‘fuck’ tells me nothing about John” Jess points out, the expression both soldiers give her saying more than words can. “What’s going on with John?” Jess asks, her assumption being that something bad happened, the specifics of which yet to be understood. “Charlotte shot him” one militant quickly replies, suddenly blurting out the answer, “she shot him in the face. I think he’s dead. I don’t know.”
Jaw dropped, Jess becomes too flustered to speak, her silence bringing a moment of clarity over Katie. “Alright fuck it, we deal with one thing at a time” Katie explains, spinning Jess around. “Jess is gonna go looking for John, Janice will go after Emilio and Bill” Katie explains, her sights set on Troy, “you and I will figure out how to rip Meghan and the rest from their solitary confinement.”
Her hands finding the sides of Jessica’s shoulders, Katie speaks confidence into the woman. “The guy doesn’t know what’s going on with your husband, if he’s not dead, he’s out there somewhere” Katie explains, the ‘deer-in-headlights’ look on Jess’ face soon fading, “you need to go find him. Okay?”
Shaking her worries off, Jess gives the woman a nod, a last glance at the rest of the group taken. “Does everyone understand what they’re doing?” Katie asks, the immediate circle all giving their own signs of affirmation. “Has anyone heard from Jerome?” Katie turns to ask the militants. “We’ve been looking for him since last night” the older-appearing soldier replies, giving a shrug, “no one’s heard from him.”
Without another word, Katie leads Troy by the arm, wandering off into the New World Order’s war-torn depths. Her spell finally wearing off, Jess departs for the medical ward, expecting her husband’s presence, albeit dead or alive. The last to leave, Janice wanders out as well, suddenly stopping once a brief thought enters her mind. “Emilio and Bill can handle themselves” Janice whispers to herself, nodding as she turns back to the coupled militants.
“You two are on our side, right?” Janice wonders aloud, the confused glare both soldiers give to each other illustrates such a point. “Of course!” the younger soldier replies, visibly lost, “we wouldn’t have let you in if we weren’t.” Both hands held up, Janice discourages any suggestion of conflict. “I’m just asking. I just wanted to know if the two of you would be fine with what I’m about to ask” Janice responds, letting her hands fall back to her sides, “where is Charlotte right now?”
“Out on a run?” Salem asks, standing next to the table Alicia is seated at, noting the woman’s tolerant posture. “No, I’m enjoying the last days of summer” Alicia remarks, her grudge against Salem carrying into the next day, “have you resorted to following me now?” Setting her keys and wallet down on the picnic table, Salem occupies the opposite seat to that of Alicia, trying to lure the woman into a conversation.
“We fucked up leaving you in the dust, we know that” Salem explains, talking to the back of Alicia’s head, the woman not paying Salem any mind, “how long will it be before you forgive us?” Watching people walk along the path in front of her, Alicia remains silent, allowing Salem to sit with her own thoughts. Shaking her head, Salem joins her fingers together atop the table, the sides of her hands gently pressing down on the retouched oak wood.
“Is the ‘silent treatment’ supposed to be teaching me something?” Salem asks, her head leant to one side, the sunny skies prompting her to squint. “It’s supposed to get you to go away” Alicia replies, her back pressing against the table’s side, both elbows arched atop the wooden surface, one leg thrown over the other. “I don’t think that’s going to happen” Salem replies, the answer leaving Alicia’s lips to smack.
“I guess I’ll leave then” Alicia replies, uncrossing her legs and throwing herself forward. “Alicia, will you just-” Salem begins, not budging from her seat until a few seconds later, the confident stride Alicia walks away with fading, the woman’s hand instantly reaching for her leg. “Are you alright!?” Salem calls out, pulling away from her seat and hurrying to her friend’s side, Alicia’s waving arms pushing her away.
“I’m fine! Leave me alone” Alicia assures, badly limping towards the trail as Salem follows closely behind. The pain soaring up the length of her leg, Alicia’s limp grows worse, her muscles continue to numb until her entire limb shuts down, forcing her to collapse onto her side. “She’s okay, she’s fine!” Salem calls out to the passers-by, rushing to the woman’s side, “she’s got a bum leg. It acts up sometimes!”
“Why are you trying to help me?” Alicia grunts, trying to push Salem away again, her attempts falling flat this time around, the pain only worsening. “Because you’re my friend” Salem replies, pulling Alicia’s pant leg as far to her hip as she can, her thumbs digging into the indents in Alicia’s muscle, “and because I didn’t for five months. If anything, I owe you.”
Reluctantly giving into Salem’s help, Alicia rolls her eyes, both elbows digging into the soft, green grass. “I’m not going with the two of you” Alicia replies after a few seconds pass, “if the two of you want to fly out to New York, I won’t stop you. But I’m also not going with you.” Looking at Alicia’s face, Salem continues to quell the pain as best as she can, the tense grunts Alicia gives off implying the pain remains present.
“You don’t even need to think about that. That’s actually sort of why I’ve been looking for you” Salem explains, returning her attention to Alicia’s leg. “The woman from Nova Scotia took over the New York camp” Salem explains, a hushed tone reflected in her voice, sounding like admittance of defeat, “that’s the only camp we know of that’s safe from her eye, so we’re still stuck here.”
The sour look in Salem’s eyes noticed, Alicia becomes less hostile, gently sitting up and relieving Salem of her leg-oriented duties. “Is it really that bad here?” Alicia asks, the bitter attitude she held minutes prior having disappeared. “The compound isn’t bad at all. The people aren’t bad either” Salem replies, the positives ending abruptly, “the problem is, and always has been, Neville.”
Rolling her eyes with less sass than usual, Alicia goes quiet, thinking silently to herself. “I know you like him, I know you have this image of him already. I get it” Salem explains, taking a seat in the grass beside Alicia, “but in my eyes, he’ll never be anything different to the man I met four months ago.”
Letting out a sigh, Alicia remains quiet, leaving Salem to her own thoughts once more. “I’ve been thinking a lot recently. I’ve been thinking about you, I’ve been thinking about Franklin” Salem explains, Alicia’s head turning towards her, “I’ve been thinking about how angry I should be.” Confused, Alicia pulls her head back, allowing Salem to speak freely.
“That one night, when we got into a fight and you stormed out of the car, you said you wanted me to be with the two of you by choice” Salem explains, “and now that I’ve chosen you, you want nothing to do with me.” Slowly turning her head away, Alicia looks off into the distance, allowing Salem to continue uninterrupted.
“I’ve been, without fail, trying to make things right between you and I” Salem explains, Alicia’s head turning towards her again, “I’ve tried to make things right with you than I did with my own brother. And I don’t know how I should feel about this ‘cold shoulder’ routine.” Clearly upset, Salem wraps her arms around her shins, looking out into the distance that had just recently peaked Alicia’s interest.
“I lied about being a ‘software engineer’, but everything else was the truth” Salem explains, her eyes still on the tree-covered picture in front of her, “and that includes how sorry I am.” Her concealed anger being subdued further, Salem finally looks back at Alicia, shaking her head with a smile. “You felt lost for a long time, I see that, and I’m sorry” Salem explains, pushing herself up and beginning to walk away, “if you don’t care, tell me so I can stop feeling like shit for it.”
Brushing the grass off of her jean-clad thighs, Salem walks away, returning the way she came. “Hey, Salem?” Alicia calls aloud, watching the woman roll to a stop, looking over her shoulder, “how’s Frank?” Her hopeful spirits falling a fair bit, Salem gives the woman the answer she wants to hear. “He’s doing fine” Salem replies, giving her legs one last brush, “if there’s something else you’d like to know, you can ask him yourself.”
Watching Salem walk away, Alicia follows the woman’s figure until she falls out of view behind a collection of bushes. Alone just as she had begun her day, Alicia looks off at the forest just beyond the compound’s border wall again, the sun that stands above the treeline finally breaking through the trees, submerging her in sunlight.
“Thanks, again” Katie whispers to the bartender, an appreciative smile dawning upon her face. With a glance across the bar, Katie winks at Troy and begins walking the length of the counter, one hat sticking out from the rest. “Hey handsome” Katie greets, a specially-uniformed troop of Charlotte’s flashing her a smile, his fingers still wrapped around the lager-filled dimple mug he’s in the midst of putting down.
“Aren’t you a beaut?” the man enticingly replies, watching in silence as Katie directs her fellow civilian out of the stool beside her target. “What’s your name, girlie?” the man inquires, taking the woman’s hand to his lips, a gentle peck placed on the back of her hand. “I was born a ‘Katherine’, but you can call me ‘Kat’” the woman replies, doubling down on the flirtation, returning the question.
“What’s your name?” Katie asks, the arched lip given by the troop presenting his interest. “Well, I was born a ‘Davo’” the man replies, dropping his voice an octave, “but you can call me at any time of the night.” A girly laugh returned, Katie attempts to take the conversation further, running her fingers up the man’s arm, nearly reaching his neck when her wrist is taken into the grasp of a second man.
“Today’s not the day to go bar-shopping, honey” Tom remarks, slowly returning the woman’s arm to her own person, only letting it rest at her side. “C’mon, Tom! She’s just looking for a little bit of fun” Davo replies, the half-pint he’s downed proving its effects, his words slurred just slightly. “And as I’ve just said, today’s not the day to be looking for fun” Tom replies, turning away from Katie before staring at her again, “have I made my point clear?”
“Sure thing, sir. I’m so sor-” Katie replies, stopping herself just as the rest of the bar does, watching with Davo and Tom as the tavern doors swing open. “Johnny’s in the building!” Troy exclaims, stumbling over to one table in particular, reaching out in front of one large man and casually stealing his pint. “Who’s ready for the night of a lifetime!?” Troy exclaims, the bar having fallen totally silent, every eye centrally focused on him.
“Your bender’s over, buddy!” Tom calmly calls out, his unamused expression turned towards the public disturbance. “Huh?” Troy replies, leaning towards the man from half the tavern away, nearly falling over a barstool. “I’m not on a bender, man!” Troy replies, standing up straight and throwing his hands out with a smile, speaking as if he were high, “I’m just havin’ a good time!”
“Yeah, well, the good time’s over” Tom replies, stepping away from Katie to put a stop to the obscenities. “Who the fuck are you to tell me what to do!?” Troy replies, still playing up the drunk act. “It doesn’t matter who I am” Tom replies, finally stepping far enough, “I’m not going to let you-” Before he can finish his sentence, Troy throws his arm forward, dousing Tom in nearly a full pint of beer, escalating the situation well-past the point of no return.
Lunging forward, Troy punches Tom in the face, forcing Davo to step in the moment Tom hits the floor. “You want some, too!?” Troy shouts at Davo, watching Katie remove the keys from the troop’s belt loop on his way to intervene. Throwing a punch, Troy whiffs and gives Davo the opening to send him crashing to the floor, one uppercut laying Troy into a nearby table, his jaw aching as his body falls back, landing on the floor with a heavy thud.
Dashing through the back door, Katie unlocks the cellar doors, pulling the metal sheets open. Grabbing a flashlight, Katie steps into the darkness, closing the doors on her way inside. “Who’s there!?” one of many voices call out, theirs just the first to speak out. “Probably not the people you’re expecting” Katie replies, rushing through the dungeon-esque cellar, racing towards the collective voices.
Finding the five survivors in the back of the dungeon, Katie fumbles around with her keys, unsure of which is the correct one. “Give me those!” Meghan exclaims, snatching the ring from Katie’s fingers, her eyes glancing over each old-fashioned key. “Do you remember which one is which!?” Jack eagerly questions, the suspense that builds being brought on by the clattering keys.
“It’s this one!” Meghan shouts, reaching through the bars and fitting the metal piece into the slot, one twist rolling the mechanisms with a satisfying ring. Pushing the cell doors open, Meghan earns the freedom of herself and those she was locked in with, earning a collective gasp from Jack’s group. “Go up through the tavern side” Katie orders, hurrying in the opposite direction, “get back to John and Jess’ house, I’ll meet you there when it’s safe!”
Doing as told, Jack’s group follows Meghan towards the tavern, leaving Katie in the dungeon on her own, climbing the stairs towards the outside world and waiting for her opportunity. As the tavern entrance opens on the other side of the dungeon, Katie listens to the disgruntled voices of Tom and Davo near her side of the yard. “Stupid drunks and their bullshit!” Tom angrily grunts, dragging Troy towards the cellar by the arm, “let’s get this fuck in the cells with the rest of them.”
Letting the voices grow closer, Katie turns off her flashlight, taking it by the head and readying herself. “Did you leave this thing open when you fed them?” Tom curiously says, hunched close behind the metal blockade, Katie bursting through the entrance before he can get an answer. Lunging out the moment light floods in from Tom’s unsealing of the cellar, Katie cracks the lead troop over the head with the flashlight, letting a dazed Troy fall from the man’s grasp.
Her attention turned to Davo, Katie throws one punch at the man’s genitals, dropping him like a sack of bricks. Throwing the second door open, Katie exposes the long, deep stairwell to the sweat-inducing sun. Taking Davo by the shoulders, Katie hurls the man down the cement steps head-first, pain-filled grunts carried through the length of the drop, only silencing when his body collides with the ground below.
Lunging at Tom again, Katie misses her second shot, earning two punches for her troubles, one to the stomach, the other to the face. Caught by surprise, Tom backs away from a glazed-over Troy and his flashlight-wielding accomplice, assuming his prisoners to have already been released. “You fucks re gonna pay” Tom grunts as he leaves, rounding the corner to return to the greater population, his intentions set in stone.
“We need to get moving, Troy” Katie grunts, throwing the man’s arm over her shoulder, leading him away from the scene. “I almost had them” Troy jokes in his subconscious-stuper, earning a chuckle for his efforts. After a few minutes of trailing through backyards, the pair come to a sudden stop as the air fills with noise. Beginning to blare throughout the compound, an alarm begins to sound, implying the commencement of an attack.
“That sounds like trouble” Troy remarks, struggling to take the situation as seriously as he should. “Yeah, and that’s why we need to hurry up” Katie replies, pushing Troy faster as a small lodge, void of any obvious inhabitants, catches her eye.
Removing a painting from the wall dividing her kitchen and living room, Charlotte pulls the nail that held it from the wall, looking at its smooth, pointing edge with a smirk. Tossing the jagged, metal piece into a random corner of the house, Charlotte removes a small dab of white putty from a can, gently placing it against the hole. Her hands on her hips, Charlotte admires her work, nodding to herself as an alarm begins to blare from afar, her attention immediately taking towards it.
Worry beginning to emerge within her, Charlotte starts walking towards her front door, unconcerned with the chills running down her spine. Her take over having only taken place mere hours ago, the simple notion of a large-scale fight already breaking out only allows her worry to fester, the pace she takes towards the door slowing with every step.
Suddenly startled, Charlotte leaps back, watching her door cave in, snapping from it’s wooden frame. Watching the door stop just a few inches from where it once was, Charlotte waits for the cause to emerge, one gently push giving her an answer. Shoving the door the remaining feet open, Janice steps through the shattered frame, locking eyes with the woman she's searched for so greatly.
Staring at each other, neither Janice, nor Charlotte attempt to make the first move, the meeting only truly starting the moment Charlotte asks the first question. “Do I know you?” Charlotte inquires, curious to the woman’s reasons for kicking her door in. “I don’t know” Janice replies, letting the strap of her rifle run down the length of her arm, finally coming to a stop within her hand, “but I’ve waited for this for a long time.”
“I see” Charlotte immediately responds, not moving from the spot Janice had found her in, eyes redirected to Janice’s rifle, “are you going to shoot me now?” With a laugh, Janice looks Charlotte in the eyes, her head shaking. “No” Janice responds, throwing the gun across the room, letting it come to a rest wherever it happens to, “I want you to suffer first.”
Finally seeking her moment, Janice steps forward, quickly closing the distance between herself and the woman she’s been so eager to meet. Letting Janice close in, Charlotte takes a cup of coffee from her kitchen table and throws it in Janice’s face, the scalding-hot drink unable to keep the woman from her anger-fueled thirst for revenge. Instinctively moving towards the back, Charlotte takes to the kitchen, retrieving a pistol from one of the drawers.
Aiming her weapon mid-spin, Charlotte turns to find Janice inches away, her arm held out to block the gun from moving any closer. Grunting, Janice bashes the crown of her head against Charlotte’s, yanking the firearm from Charlotte’s hand while the compound’s new leader topples over. Distracted by the blood running down her face, Charlotte soon notices Janice once more, looking up to find the woman standing over her, eyes glued to the pistol she’d let slip from her grasp.
“This would be too easy” Janice remarks, tossing the weapon into another random corner of the room, watching Charlotte drag herself across the kitchen floor. “Listen, you must have mistaken me for someone else” Charlotte remarks, her hand held out towards Janice, watching the woman close in once more, “I’m sure we can-” Interrupting herself, Charlotte throws her foot out, using the distraction to take Janice’s leg out from under her.
Joined on the ground, Charlotte begins throwing fists, eventually driving Janice onto her back. Now holding the advantage, Charlotte climbs atop her murderous challenger, raining one shot after another upon her, refusing to stop until the whites of Janice’s eyes are presented to her. Absorbing every punch, Janice finally manages to block one, using the opening to grab each side of Charlotte’s head, and force the woman’s skull through the window of her own oven.
Her nose broken, lip busted and eye bruised, Janice begins to lose her adrenaline, the pain beginning to set in for what it truly is. Reaching for the counter, Janice pulls herself up, draining every ounce of her strength to make it back to her feet. Collecting herself, the woman turns to the ground, watching Charlotte pull herself away from the machine she’d just broken through, slumping over on the ground, blood pouring from her head profusely.
Bloodied herself, Janice lets out a smile, reaching for Charlotte’s ankles as the woman tries to drag herself into one of the lower cabinets. “You’re not gonna get-” Janice begins to declare, not concerning herself with the wounds she’d been inflicted with. Suddenly hit with an entirely new pain, Janice crashes backwards, covering her eyes from the bug spray Charlotte had managed to pull from beneath the sink, returning the fight to an even playing field.
“Fucking bitch!” Charlotte screams, spitting in Janice’s direction as the woman punches wildly, completely blinded by Charlotte’s counterattack. Throwing the spray across the room, Charlotte wipes at her eyes as the blood begins to mix with her sweat, stinging to her cornea’s touch. Looking across the room, Charlotte spots her gun lying in the middle of the living room, her immediate thoughts circulating around the weapon.
The moment her intentions begin to settle, a flurry of car horns begin to resonate throughout the air, the voice that calls out her name putting plans on hold. Watching Janice, still blinded by the spray, approach the back of her dining room, Charlotte takes matters into her own hands. Just as Janice had done to enter her home, Charlotte takes her boot to Janice’s back, pushing the woman through the glass of her sliding patio door, leaving her to whatever help comes her way.
Called to other matters, Charlotte returns to her living room, retrieving her firearm from the floor and returning it to her hip. Stepping through the opening that used to be her front door, Charlotte moves on, allowing Janice to grimace in pain on the stone patio, her realization of killing Charlotte falling unfulfilled.
“Why are you calling for a lockdown?” a bemused soldier asks into his two-way radio, strolling through hallways, peeking his head through doors, and digging his nose where it does not belong. “The prisoners have escaped and Tom wants everyone accounted for” the second man replies, frantic in his speech, “what the hell is going on?”
“If I knew, I’d tell you” the house-snooping soldier replies, taking a photo of the Callis family into his hands, reading the faces of each member, “but since I don’t, you’re gonna have to figure it out yourself.” Powering his radio down, the soldier returns to his trailing of the floors, inspecting each room yet again, order as in place as it was the last time he had roamed the halls.
Taking another brief glance at the photo, the soldier loses interest and discards the picture, allowing the glass frame to shatter as he tosses it aside. “Any scumbags in here?” the soldier calls out, treating his duties as a joke, “I wouldn’t fuck around if I were you.” Continuing to talk to himself, the man grows tired of his aimless wandering, resorting to speaking towards dead silence, airing his grievances.
“I’m Lawrence, I’m a trained fighter, and the broad I work for thinks this is the perfect job for me” the man explains, laughing at the idea, “just when you think comedy’s died out, you get shuffled with this shit.” Every step making him more restless, Lawrence removes a baton from his side, swinging it in front of himself as he walks. “Come out, come out, wherever you are” Lawrence jokes, beginning to swing for the drywall, “let’s have ourselves a-”
Before he can finish his thought, a muffled cry catches his ear a few rooms away, his attention directed onwards. “Who was that?” Lawrence inquires, now beginning to speak to the source of the cries, aware that he’s no longer as isolated as he once thought, “show yourself now, or you’ll make things harder on yourselves.”
Heavy boots thudding against the floorboards, Lawrence closes in on the room he’s certain the sounds came from, a smile emerging from behind his lips as he removes his gun and a pair of handcuffs from his hip. “I’ll be honest, I’m not much in the mood to have to kill anyone. Charlotte doesn’t really want that, either” Lawrence explains, turning into the children-friendly room at the end of the hall, “if you just show yourself, I’ll cuff you and take you into the dungeon.”
The room neat and tidy, Lawrence decides to have himself a seat on the bed, his eyes peering towards the newly-painted closet doors. “I can’t guarantee that the broad will take too kindly to you, but you’ve got more of a chance with her than you do with me” Lawrence explains, resting his gun on his lap, his opposite hand shaking the metal cuffs, “she’ll probably look at your surrender as noble and figure out a way to put you to work.”
Leaving the room to its silent ways, Lawrence awaits a response, the only sounds coming from the ticking hands on his wrist watch. “Okay” a calm voice suddenly breaks through the quiet air, the words emanating from behind the same closet door that had amassed Lawrence’s attention. Slowly sliding the wooden panels open, Bill emerges from within the confines, alone with his hands held high in surrender.
“Gimme the right hand” Lawrence remarks, motioning for Bill to step forward. Cooperating with the demands, Bill reaches his hand out, feeling the handcuff’s cold, metal ring wrap around his wrist, the other acting as a leash for Lawrence to guide him with. Spotting a radiator at the back of the room, Lawrence attaches the other cuff to the metal framing, entrapping Bill within the corner of the room.
“What are you going to do now?” Bill asks, a calm, accepting tone reflected in his words. “I don’t know yet” Lawrence replies, looking over Bill with inspectful eyes, “I’m not really sure what to say.” Perplexed, Bill shakes his head, admitting his curiosity over the reason behind Lawrence’s reply. “What do you mean? You caught me, you took me into custody, now we’re here” Bill replies, watching Lawrence holster both of his weapons, “what’s confusing about that?”
“Nothing confusing about that” Lawrence replies, placing his hands against his hips, inspecting Bill further, “but I don’t take you for the ‘cry like a little girl’ type.” Looking away, Bill considers his options, eventually returning his gaze to the man above him, offering a shrug. “I don’t know what to tell you” Bill remarks, watching the man above him nod, “I was scared.”
Letting out a sigh, Lawrence silently shakes his head, a second glance at the rest of the room implying a different thought. “If I was a gambling man, I would assume you aren’t alone in here” Lawrence declares, the dropping of Bill’s face suggesting to the soldier that his assumptions are accurate, “and if I was putting money on this, I’d say your friends are-”
The sounds of chattering glass coming from the level below interrupting his train of thought, Lawrence goes quiet, removing his firearm from its holster. Glass crunching beneath the weight of someone as of yet unknown, Lawrence remains still, fearful for what awaits him one staircase away. “Charlooootttttteeee!” a guttural cry beckons, Lawrence’s eyes instantly widening, his hands beginning to shake.
One level below, a grizzly figure pushes himself off the floor, standing tall in the middle of the living room. “Charloooottttttteeee!” the man calls out again, the bullet-made tear in the side of his face ripping with each declaration, “This is my house!” Huffing for every breath, John listens to the footsteps on the floor above, every light in his home powered off, leaving the massive home to be bathed in the light of the fading sun, which just begins to set upon the New World Order.
A devilish smile coming over his face, John walks for the staircase, reaching out for the bannister with a steady hand, his eyes flaring with anger. Ascending each step, John watches Lawrence slowly come into view, the soldier left at the back of the hallway, waiting for John to appear fully. “I’m genuinely sorry that I have to do this” Lawrence explains, raising his weapon into the air, finger gently grazing the trigger.
Not ceasing his approach, John puts one foot in front of the other, stepping closer into Lawrence’s aim, offering the man a clean shot. Squeezing upon the trigger, Lawrence’s shot is sent off course in the final second, his weapon flying from his grasp as Emilio emerges from his cover, dashing from Amy’s room to tackle Lawrence across the hallway, shattering the door to the opposite bedroom.
“You stupid fuck!” Lawrence exclaims, kicking Emilio off him as he attempts to climb back to solid ground. Dodging a swinging right hand, Lawrence takes a jab at the side of Emilio’s head, dazing the man before pushing him away, John’s entrance presenting a new danger. “Come on, scarface” Lawrence mocks, squaring up as John inches closer, unphased by the man’s efforts.
Refusing to take the man in a bar-style fight, John drops to his knees and wraps his arms around Lawrence’s legs, taking him away from his preferred stance. Gaining control, John starts laying jabs into the grounded foe, a few fair punches placed in the time it takes for Lawrence to match John’s dirty tactics. Reaching up, Lawrence grabs at the hole in John’s face, tightening his grasp as he yanks at the bloody skin, tearing John’s cheek apart until his control is returned.
The pain too much to bear, John collapses to the side, the flesh from the corner of his mouth to the back of his jaw now torn in half, exposing an entire half of his mouth. Kicking himself away, Lawrence grabs at anything to pull himself up with, tides turning once more the moment he reaches his feet. Groggy, Emilio swings at Lawrence with the man’s own baton, each swipe ducked away from, failing to connect in the slightest.
Eventually catching one of the swings, Lawrence takes Emilio’s pre-occupation for what it’s worth, laying in another set of punches, this time directly to the bridge of Emilio’s nose. Prying the weapon from Emilio’s hands, Lawrence back-hands the valiant survivor with the weapon, sending Emilio crashing through the swing doors in the back of the room, falling upon the second-story balcony.
“Lawrence, don’t!” Bill shouts from the next room over, unable to free himself from the position the soldier has left him in. A brief moment passing as Lawrence weighs his options, the soldier glances back at Bill and smiles, indicating his intentions. Squeezing through the doors, Lawrence takes his baton to the wires that connect the platform to the greater home, slashing at the hinges until they finally give out.
Leaping back into the bedroom, Lawrence allows the platform to snap away from it’s supports, freeing itself from the home and taking Emilio with it, crashing into the ground two stories below. Admiring his work, Lawrence watches Emilio’s body crash with the balcony, pleased with what he finds until his ears are called for once more. “Amy, get back under the bed!” Bill shouts from the other room, calling for the little girl’s attention once her shrieks catch Lawrence’s interest for a second time.
“There you are” Lawrence mutters to himself, snapping free from his pleased gaze to attend to greater matters. “No” John grunts, crawling towards Lawrence in an attempt to impede his progress, his efforts only earning him a kick to the side of the face, Lawrence’s patience having worn thin. “Let’s go” Lawrence declares, taking Amy by the arm and dragging her from the room, kicking and screaming as her stubby legs scrape against the wooden boards.
Reaching the staircase, Lawrence pays no mind to the fight he’d just taken part in, his sights now settle in on ripping Amy from John’s guardianship. “Get back here!” a sudden shouts emerges from deeper in the hallway, quickly closing in on the pre-occupied soldier. Letting Amy’s hand drop from his possession, Lawrence watches John rush at him with blazing speed, the hallway too narrow for the impending outcome to be avoided.
Running at such great speed, John sweeps Lawrence from his feet, a tackle hard enough to miss every stair on the way to the floor, leaving both men to crash into the ground with a violent impact. Shelves toppling over, furniture momentarily bouncing off the floor completely, and multiple windows shattering from the men’s collective force, John and Lawrence topple onto the ground in heaps, breaking ribs, knocking the wind out of each other, and groaning in pain.
“Daddy!” Amy cries from the top step, her voice too soft to earn her father’s attention, his desperate gasps for air too loud to hear his daughter over. “You stupid fuck” Lawrence grunts, fighting through his injuries to turn onto his side, watching the man struggle to breathe with a smile. Wincing in pain, Lawrence fights back to a standing position, limping over to the grave-conditioned patriarch.
Refusing to die lying in pain, John pushes his body backwards, dragging himself away from the large figure in front of him. “Just die already” Lawrence mutters, looking John in the eyes as he stands over him, watching the man struggle to survive until a gunshot pierces through the home. “Arrgh!” Lawrence exclaims, instantly grabbing at his back while his knees weaken, a shooting pain tearing through his body.
Just as shocked as the man above him, John feels the immediate burst of energy course through him, the vulnerable position Lawrence has been rendered to affording him the chance to end the conflict permanently. With a grunt, John crawls to his feet, watching Lawrence stumble away, trying to create distance at the sight of this second wind.
“Wait, don’t!” Lawrence remarks, holding a hand out towards John, watching the threatened father lunge at him. Hands wrapped around Lawrence’s throat, John pushes the soldier against a wall, squeezing with an invigorated anger. “Please, don’t!” the soldier desperately hisses, the air leaving his lungs more with each second. His rage yet to be satisfied, John lifts his thumbs away from the man’s throat, running them along Lawrence’s face, tracing his smooth skin upwards.
“Please!” Lawrence exclaims like a gust of air, feeling John’s thumbs glide past his cheekbones and stop over his eyelids. Submitting to the man’s choke, Lawrence begins scratching at John’s face, feeling the man’s thumbs push further into his eyes. “You’re gonna die, you piece of shit!” John screams, pulling his hands away from Lawrence’s throat and moving them to each side of his head, pushing his thumbs in further.
“PLEASE!” Lawrence shouts, his pleas soon turning into blood-curdling screams, his death imminent. With a final push, John digs his thumbs into Lawrence’s orbital bone, blood spewing from the slots the soldier’s eyes used to occupy, only letting up once John is assured with Lawrence’s grizzly demise. With a moist, sickening squish, John removes his thumbs from the holes in Lawrence’s face, slowly stumbling away from the corpse.
Gasping for air once again, John turns away from the body, looking to the front door. “You- You’re-” Jess stutters, the smoking gun held in a hand at her side. “John, what ha-” Jess further struggles, watching her husband’s stumble worsen, “John?” His lips turning blue, John looks his wife in the eyes, struggling to speak through each wretched gasp. “Jess” John whispers, smiling to the woman as he collapses, his wife and daughter immediately rushing to his aid.
“That couldn’t have possibly gone worse for you” Charlotte explains, stumbling through her words while she nurses her wounds. Taking a seat in the dirt, Charlotte crosses her legs and looks into the eyes of each captured prisoner, Jack’s group, Meghan, the youthful pair responsible for their freedom, and a similarly-wounded Janice, all on their knees, hands cuffed behind their backs.
“I’m honestly curious to know” the woman explains, her blonde hair dyed red from the blood that pours from her cuts. “The five of you didn’t get far at all” Charlotte explains, looking Jack, Tyler, Reggie, Shauna and Meghan in the eyes, “you got mobbed the moment you stepped into that tavern.” Looking away, Jack shakes his head, unable to maintain eye contact with the woman despite her demands for it.
“You have something to say, hotshot?” Charlotte inquires, looking in Jack’s direction, taking offense to the glare her returns towards her. After a few answer-less seconds, Charlotte orders Jack to his feet, a command the man stubbornly refuses to meet. “Fine. Tom, get him on his feet” Charlotte explains, dusting herself off while her brother struggles to pull the man up.
“Don’t push your luck, kid” Tom whispers into Jack’s ear, the disgusted look Jack gives showing no implication that he’d be interested in following order. Losing herself in the anger cast within Jack’s eyes, Charlotte begins to laugh beneath her breath, giving the man a nod. “You’re a really angry guy, Jack” Charlotte comes to the conclusion of, pleased with her findings.
Taking aim at Jack’s head, Charlotte points the barrel of her gun between the man’s eyes, his lack of reaction peaking Charlotte’s interest. “If I were to squeeze this trigger right now, it would all be over for you” Charlotte calmly remarks, the rising tension proving of no use, Jack’s exterior remains fully intact. “Are you afraid of death, Jack?” Charlotte proceeds to ask, each question she raises earning no response, that outcome remaining unchanged.
Looking away, Charlotte reads the faces of the remaining group, crowds of innocent bystanders beginning to crowd around the scene, waiting for fate to play its hand. “I’m not going to get through to you like this, am I?” Charlotte wonders aloud, taking the silence Jack gives her as a fair enough answer. Pulling her weapon out of Jack’s face, Charlotte turns her aim towards Tyler, Jack’s expression subtly shifting with this change.
“Don’t think I didn’t notice that!” Charlotte warns, further pushing the barrel against Tyler’s head, still giving Jack a full smile. Silent, Charlotte pulls her weapon away from Tyler’s head, remaining silent as she returns her weapon to her holster. “I think you’d make for a great soldier” Charlotte explains, returning to Jack, his long-sleeved, black shirt soaked in sweat.
“I think you can make a good life for yourself here, don’t you?” Charlotte wonders again, keeping her weapon in its holster, “does a good life, free of fear from the outside world, sound good to you?” Getting up close to the man, Charlotte locks eyes with Jack, watching his face drift off to the side, lips gradually coming to pucker. Offering a faint nod, Jack turns back to Charlotte, smiling at the woman as he hurls a wad of spit into her eye.
Speechless, Charlotte slowly runs her hand down the side of her face, wiping her skin of the defiant sight. “That’s funny” Charlotte muses to herself, laughing to herself as she retakes her firearm, lashing Jack across the face with it, her eyes following his fall to the ground. “Stubborn cunt” Charlotte whispers to herself, glancing out at the ring of people surrounding the ordeal.
“Examples need to be made in order for rules to be set” Charlotte explains, her words directed to the captive audience. “I put these walls up for you to live behind, I provided you food to eat, and I provided you guards to protect your safety” Charlotte explains, confident in her remarks, “and over the last near-year, the people in charge of this compound have been allowing all of those benefits to be threatened by outsiders, all of which want what you have.”
Raising her gun to Janice’s head, Charlotte prepares to make the first example of many, strongly believing in her actions. “These people have been unappreciative of that protection, and they have sacrificed those protections for all of you in the process” Charlotte explains, “if anyone has an objection to these traitors being rightfully punished for their crimes, speak up or forever hold your peace.”
Her soldiers as silent as the rest of the frustrated crowd, Charlotte’s answer of silence allows her the clearance she requires. “Alright then” Charlotte replies, turning to look Janice in the eyes, the restrained woman glaring at her with an immense hatred. “Duck!” a voice exclaims, emanating from beyond the collective crowd. “Who -?” Charlotte calls out, silenced by a single bullet ripping into her chest from afar, a sudden onslaught catching Charlotte’s forces by surprise.
As his sister bleeds out, Tom takes Charlotte by the shoulders and drags her to their escape vehicles, joining a select few survivors in the backseat of a luxury town car. “Run to cover” a familiar voice calls out to Janice, stopping to untie her restraints. “Who-?” Janice remarks, turning around the moment her ties have been undone to find Lauren’s face looking into hers.
“You changed your mind?” Janice asks in astonishment, an uncertain shrug returned. “Not entirely” Lauren replies, her head bobbing from one side to another, “just go around, get everyone situated, and get a place set up for the wounded.” Short of time, Lauren hurries to Meghan, the shocked expression on the woman’s face making up for her speechless self.
“We’ve got a lot to catch up on, but I need you to go help Janice for now” Lauren explains, sharing a brief hug with her friend before tending to those still in capture. Watching these events unfold from atop her cliffside-perch, Tori folds her arms with a disgruntled look. “Why did you tell her about the back entrance?” Tori wonders aloud, turning to the man that shares the space usually reserved by Lauren, looking into Jerome’s similarly-disgruntled eyes.
“You said Jess told you about Charlotte. About how you’d never be able to beat her alone” Jerome explains, displeased with his response, “she’s right. Charlotte’s an entirely different beast to conquer.” Fuming, Tori speaks slowly, making her point until Jerome cuts her off. “This was not supposed to be Lauren’s call” Tori explains, again looking at Jerome.
“I know, it wasn’t supposed to be” Jerome explains, an apologetic tone taken to his words, “but it was the right call.” Disappointed, Tori nods to the man, acknowledging that she was wrong. “You’re losing her” Jerome suddenly quips, following a few seconds of silence with a rather disheartening opinion, “if she’s not with you one-hundred percent of the way, she’s not with you at all.”
“I know, Jerome” Tori replies, looking back to the battlefield below, unsatisfied with the man’s insistence on continuing the conversation. “If she’s not with you, she’s a liability” Jerome explains, drawing a sigh from Tori’s shallow breaths, “she’ll have to be dealt with.” Watching her girlfriend from afar, Tori nibbles at her lip, nodding towards Jerome again. “I’ll take care of it” Tori replies, whispering to herself a few seconds after Jerome steps away, “I have to.”
== Rise: Remastered ==