The air is thick, breathing problems only worsened in those that have it as they line up at the bottom of city hall’s white concrete steps. One after another, the residents of the fledgling, post-chaos Los Angeles restlessly await their turn to fill pitchers of water, and take home their rations of food for the week. “I don’t think this is going to turn out well” Alex mutters, her head low, expecting the people to eventually decide this government is worth less than it appears.
“It’s been four weeks” Jaime replies, her voice holding back worry she wishes to keep out of the group’s mind. “They’ll start getting used to the system and we’ll work out the kinks that come with it” Jaime proceeds, Jordan immediately reminding Jaime that they don’t have a surplus in stock to continue this process with. “We have a few weeks worth of water and, if we’re lucky, three months worth of food” Jordan continues, declaring the process unsustainable.
“So we find more, we just go out and we see what we can come up with” Jaime replies, her hands pressing against the sides of her head when reminded of their presence outside Los Angeles. “Kayla and Amelia are gonna see what they can find out there” Jordan responds, “but we both know Kayla’s looking for Chevy before she’s looking for anything else.”
Her head hung, Jaime grants permission for the person behind the knock at the door to gain themselves entry. As the door opens, the newly designated militia leader appears with a frown on his face. “Everything alright, Lazarus?” Jaime asks, the man shaking his head, telling Jaime that her presence is required outside.
Upon taking her first steps out of the safety of the city hall’s interior, Jaime notices an argument breaking out between two groups at the front of the line. “You can’t take two pitchers!” one side shouts, the individual on the opposite end of the argument trying valiantly to defend his acts. “We don’t need this system! We’re Americans!” part of the group shouts, suggesting they all take down the government before it kills the lot of them like the previous regime.
“How long have they been like that?” Jaime asks, Lazarus sucking in a deep breath before suggesting the time frame to have been roughly five minutes. “Someone tried filling up a second pitcher of water, and there weren’t many pleased about that” the man continues, Jaime instructing him to do whatever is necessary to break up the fighting. A nod, Lazarus instructs his militia to intervene, watching as his guards leave their stations to assist in the efforts.
Running on adrenaline, one supporter of the camp against the second pitcher decides to take this as his opportunity to elicit change. Tensions already high, the man pushes himself off one of the many militia members squeezing their way between bodies and places his right hand on a gun. With a tug, the man becomes the possessor of a firearm and holds it in the air, firing it at the sky to cause immediate panic.
His eyes spotting Jaime outside the doors of city hall, the man uses this moment as his own, lowering the barrel until it lines up in the woman’s direction. Suddenly, a shot is fired, and the man plummets to the ground, the bullet of a sub-machine gun ripping through one side of his head before bursting through the other as if it were traversing through a warm watermelon on a summer day.
Screaming beginning to mount, the civilians begin to hurry away from the scene, taking cover behind whatever they can find strewn around the area in hopes that single shot would be the final. The remaining ‘anti-system’ members hoisting their hands above their heads at the militia’s gunpoint, Jaime watches the crowd disperse and the sights of whatever lingers behind them coming into sight.
“Do you see that?” Jordan asks, his right hand still stretched over Jaime’s chest as the pair spot a group of wanderers approaching their direction. The fractured crowd standing together in pockets, they watch as these individuals approach the scene without fear or concern. “Let them through” Jaime says, her orders to Lazarus being followed as Amelia and Kayla lead Chevy, an unknown woman and an unknown man past the guards and up the city hall stairway.
“Welcome back” Jaime mutters, her words failing to hide the joy of seeing her lost friend returned to his home. “I see this place must’ve missed me” Chevy replies, leaning in to hug Jaime before pulling Jordan in for a hug of his own. “I’m Julia, and this is my brother Chris” the unknown woman introduces, her hand extended to shake that of Jaime’s. “I’m from the Mount Cedar-Sinai building” the woman adds, “I think you and I could help each other.”
Her eyes lifting, Jaime nods to the woman, her eyes momentarily glancing at the still-splintered crowd a few paces behind. “Let’s see about that” Jaime replies, her hopes for this system being operable feeling restored, a reasonable amount of worry accompanying what she hopes to be her hope-restoring idea.
= Dire 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 =
-> Four Weeks Earlier <-
His eyes forcing themselves open past the solidified crumbs over his eyelids, Chevy takes a peak at the windows to the left of his bed before noticing the whispered arguing outside his door. His hands digging into the sheets of the hospital bed, Chevy forces his legs onto the ground before trying to stand, his attempt failing immediately, as he forces himself back onto the mattress.
“Any chance I can get some crutches!?” Chevy calls out, his request immediately bringing an end to the discussion outside, being met with the response of two doctors entering his room. “You’re awake!” the female doctor exclaims, surprised as her male counterpart narrows his eyes, trying to gage exactly what kind of man they had brought within the walls of their building.
“I don’t think I’m dreaming” Chevy replies, his fingers wandering his arms before pulling the needles away from the inside of his arm. “You shouldn’t do that!” the woman mutters, Chevy reminding her that he’s not on death’s doorstep. “The nurse told you not to take them out” Chris repeats, his tone making the reminder come across as an unspoken order, leaving Chevy to pull his hand away, leaving the needles remaining in place.
“You didn’t come in here in very good shape” the woman says, walking for the closet and pulling a new pair of crutches for the man to use. “How did I get here?” Chevy asks, the male stating that a man brought him in just a few days prior. “I’d like to talk with him if you could let him know” Chevy replies, his face turning to the ground to watch the crutches touch the tile floor, unaware of the expression on both nurse’s faces taking a sour turn.
“We’re not exactly sure how to tell you this” the woman begins, Chevy’s face immediately lifting towards the pair as they stand with a somber sight. “Your friend has passed away, unfortunately” the woman continues, watching the man nod to himself as he fixes his grip on the metal assistance to each of his sides. “Should I ask how that happened?” Chevy asks, the man taking it as his own responsibility to break down the details.
“I think you should see it for yourself” the man replies, leading Chevy to the end of his floor’s hallway, an open elevator shaft already waiting for their arrival. “He made a wrong step and went down a few days ago” the woman says, Chevy leaning over the edge to notice the plummeting drop leading to certain death. “It’s where we discard of the dead now that there aren’t any crews to pick them up” Chris explains, apologizing for the sorrow information.
“I didn’t know him well” Chevy replies, “but he saved my life, so that can’t be understated.” With a deep breath, Chevy asks how long it will be until he’s allowed to be discharged. Looking to each other, the man and woman begin exchanging looks as their way of communicating, prompting Chevy to break the weird moment by asking for their names. “I’m Julia” the woman replies, “this is my brother, Chris.”
“Okay, Julia and Chris… In English, how long will it be until I’m allowed to be discharged?” Chevy reiterates, the man telling him that it will not be working out in that way. “You received care, so you now have a debt to pay off” Julia explains, Chevy’s eyes rolling as his head drops. “You’re not able to do physical labour, so we’ll have you recover for a few days while we get a list of things ready for you to complete” Chris furthers, Chevy’s eyebrow raising.
“I didn’t come into this place on my own accord” Chevy explains, “I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.” His voice turning sour, Chris tells Chevy that his logic does not apply the way he wants it to. “You received a service, you will now pay back that debt” Chris demands, telling Chevy that any attempt to escape the burden of his debts will result in consequence. “Consequence?” Chevy replies, “we’ll see about that.”
-> One week later <-
“I’m going after him” Kayla states, her intentions being made clear to the woman whose house she takes occupancy within. “Kay, you’ve got no idea what’s out there!” Jordan replies, watching the woman plant her hands onto her hips, telling him that the same applies to Chevy. “I’ve spent the past week looking for him out there, and it’s brought up nothing” Kayla concludes, her eyes locking onto Jaime as the stare is reciprocated, “he’s out there and I need to find him.”
“Where would he even go?” Alex asks, her fingers dancing along the glass of vodka in her right hand, “where would you even start looking?” Her shoulders shrugging, Kayla admits that she hasn’t even given that thought. “Are you sure he’s even still alive?” Jordan asks, Kayla unable to respond before a mostly silent Kennedy tells the man to shut his mouth. “While we can be a little more respectful than that” Jaime says, her eyes turning to Kennedy, “he wasn’t in the pile of the dead.”
“Are we sure we lined up every body?” Jordan asks, “even if we did, who’s to say someone didn’t just toss Chevy and not recognize him?” Hearing enough of the debate over whether or not he remains amongst the living, Kennedy walks up to Jordan and lifts her finger to him. “Chevy came to your rescue when that weird guy started firing at the dealership” Kennedy recalls, watching Jordan’s mouth slightly gape, “have some faith in him.”
Without anything better to respond with, Jordan closes his mouth and nods, turning the conversation into one of where to start looking. Within hours, Kayla and Amelia prepare to depart Los Angeles for whatever remains outside it’s boundaries. “I know you’re gonna look for Chevy first, and you absolutely should” Jaime begins, “but if you see anything that could help keep using going in here, do what you can to get it?”
Nodding, Kayla reminds Jaime that the unknown circumstances surrounding Chevy don’t completely erase the importance of their cause from her mind. “Love you, girl” Jaime returns, her arms wrapping around Kayla as the feeling is reciprocated. With another hug for Amelia, Jaime watches the women drive away from the home, what they can expect to find over the horizon as unclear as what their future within Los Angeles holds.
-> One Week Later <-
“Thinking about jumping?” Chevy asks, his arm wiping away the sweat falling from his brow as he harvests the tomatos from the building’s roof top garden. His words aimed at Chris, the man resting his arms against the hot concrete barrier as he looks over the edge, peering down at the sights of whatever may appear below. “Do your work, Harrison” Chris replies, his head only tilting back for a moment as the words leave his mouth, his face returning to the scenery immediately after.
“I am” Chevy replies, his simple retort being accompanied by a reminder that not all work must be done in silence. “Just because it doesn’t have to, doesn’t mean I don’t want it to” Chris replies, preferring to remain at peace with the view. “Do you have a problem with me?” Chevy asks, Chris’s eyes practically rolling in the back of the head as he turns around, his head leaning on his shoulder.
“I have a problem with everyone” Chris responds, his head returning to the scene once again, “now do your work or you’ll be here longer.” Placing the remaining fruit in his hands into a large bucket of water, Chevy walks over to join Chris by the view, the man groaning almost immediately. “Don’t you want to get out of here and back to your friends, Harrison?” Chris asks, Chevy turning towards him and shrugging before pushing his eyes back to the town.
“Holy shit, it’s beautiful from up here” Chevy mutters, Chris giving in and glancing back at the sights, doing his best to enjoy it in the company of another person. “Is it always this clear?” Chevy asks, Chris giving into the conversation, acknowledging that it tends to be hazy on most days, this one just happening to be clear enough to see for miles. “I heard the government was still in control down there” Chris mentions, “the last I heard of anything was a few weeks ago, though.”
“You don’t wanna find out?” Chevy asks, Chris head shaking when the thought of coming across new people creeps into his mind. “We only got this place up and running because we needed a way to guarantee our survival” Chris explains, “you do someone a solid, they repay the favor.” His head tilted, Chevy asks the man what he would do if he ran into a community with as much power over the population as he does.
“I don’t have power” Chris begin, immediately poking holes in the concept, “but if they had power the way you suggest they would, it’d be nice to make friends with them.” Returning to his bucket, Chevy takes out an apple and runs it under water, handing it to Chris, who accepts the gesture and begins allowing himself to show a slight amount of inner honesty. “I wouldn’t have opened the place up if it weren’t for her” Chris admits, his actions done in the best interest of his sister.
“When life started hitting us when we were younger, we started looking out for each other before we did so for ourselves” Chris continues, “keeping on the good side of the living is a good way to stay alive.” With a smirk, Chevy looks to the man with humor in his tone. “So the hard ass routine is to keep me from making a move on your sister?” Chevy asks, his delivery bringing a modicum of laughter from the man in the middle of another bite.
“Partially that, but then there’s not wanting to get close to someone that could do us any wrong” Chris replies, “civility is gone now, it’s best not to get too close to someone that could get shot in broad daylight for no reason.” In agreement, Chevy tells Chris that the supply of medicine can only go so far before it runs out. “What’s the plan when you don’t have enough to take care of anyone?” Chevy asks, “or god forbid someone gets caught stealing it?”
“We take action” Chris replies, “do whatever we need to do to make it clear that it doesn’t fly around here.” Agreeing with Chris’ need to maintain safety, Chevy admits that he didn’t expect to respect him as a person when he first hopped out of bed. “I wouldn’t have blamed you” Chris replies, his head shaking in complete understanding of why, “but we’ve all got to do whatever we can to make sure the people we care about stay here, even if it means it’s without us.”
-> One day later <-
Silent, their evening only described by the crackling sounds of their campfire, Kayla and Amelia take temporary residency in a tool shed behind an abandoned household. “We’ve covered all of this” Kayla points, her physical map being covered in lines drawn in red, black, blue and white ink and marker. “All we have left is the east, and then we turn back…” Kayla continues, her words becoming faint as she pauses for a moment before finishing her statement, “...and go home.”
“Just because he’s not in this circle, doesn’t mean he’s not out here at all” Amelia replies, the visual disappointment on Kayla’s face noticeable by even the most clueless individual. “If you start losing hope now, and he’s still out there waiting for you to find him, you’ll leave him waiting” Amelia continues, telling Kayla not to give up even the slightest amount of hope.
Within minutes, the calming pops of the campfire begin finding themselves fighting for audible supremacy when rustling begins dashing through the darkest corners of the yard. Calling out to the darkness, Kayla climbs to her feet and pulls a flashlight out, taking the responsibility of peering through the cabin door at whatever it may be hiding within the shadows.
“Who’s out-” Kayla calls, her shoulders immediately feeling the weight of a large figure throw themselves forward, forcing Kayla off her feet before racing into the structure. Her fingers digging their way into the earth, Kayla throws herself back to her feet and races for the opening, her body immediately being tackled back inside by a second, much larger force.
Struggling as she had before, Kayla feels the circumstance play out in a fashion feeling similar to another. Her mouth covered by a large hand, Kayla’s screams are muffled by the sound of a man ordering her to stay still and ‘accept it.’ With a morbid chuckle, the amused man squirms atop the girl as Amelia tries to fight for leverage, the first man forcing her into a slanted position in the tucked away corner.
Accepting her own hands as the only ones able to bring about safety, Kayla reaches for the man’s back pocket and pulls out something folded. With some finger-bound trickery, she manages to reveal something sharp from within, her confidence in whatever it may be enough to pull it into the air and bury it through skin. The laughter turning into groans, Kayla twists the tool where it enters, the groans turning into howls of pain.
Taking the screams for something else, the man atop Amelia begins laughing, turning his orders towards the girl beneath him into an ovation for the man behind him. Soon, the tool pulls itself out of the second man’s back, its second home bringing Kayla’s assailant to his demise as it finds comfort in the side of his head. Freeing herself, Kayla removes the corkscrew from the second man’s head and stares towards the first, her assailants blood still splattered across her face and chest.
Her hand reaching out, Kayla removes the gun from the first man’s back waistband and fires a single round through his left eye, the brains spilling out of the back of his head, splattering across the wall. Pulling Amelia into her arms, Kayla whispers to her that it’s alright, and she’s not going to let anything happen to her. Her eyes staring at the fire, the blood from her face stains Amelia’s light blue shirt, her eyes turning cold when she glances back to the fresh corpses.
-> Six days later <-
“Can I come in?” Chevy asks, Julia quickly wiping exhaustion from her face, her failure to notice her office door being left open giving Chevy a look at her persona-less appearance. “Is there something I can assist with?” Julia asks, watching the man pull a seat away from her desk and occupy it with clear intent. “What would you do if you met a community with similar power to you?” Chevy asks, his version of testing the waters beginning with a scan of Julia’s immediate reaction.
“I’d try to stay away from them” Julia replies, her response immediately being questioned by the man. “I wouldn’t want to take the chances that someone could strong arm us out of everything we have, why?” Julia replies, refusing to give Chevy the opening to ask a follow-up question. “What if I could point you to some people that I know wouldn’t strong arm you?” Chevy asks, the woman’s expression remaining unchanged.
“Why would I trust your word?” Julia asks, her arms crossing as the conversation has changed from responsibilities to business. “Who says you need to operate off my word?” Chevy replies, his arms mimicking those of Julia’s, crossing as the woman’s stare towards him begins to turn. The struggle to keep herself from smiling becoming overwhelming, Julia becomes the first to break, her teeth shattering through her lips as Chevy is soon to follow.
As the laughter dies down, Chevy tells Julia that his offer of a legitimate community with such power does exist, and he wants to what she thinks of this arrangement. “I don’t know, Chevy” Julia replies, her eyes leaving the man as her hands sift through the various sheets of paper lining her desktop. “I don’t know if that’s a risk I’m willing to take” Julia adds, her uncertainty remaining the one thing between the completion of his responsibilities and a worthy future.
“I’m not going to sit here and promise you that everything will go back to normal” Chevy admits, “but I will sit here and say this place, and all that it can offer, will die out if there’s nothing to preserve it.” Her head starting towards the ground, Julia and Chevy find themselves caught by surprise when Chris knocks on the door frame. “Am I interrupting something important?” chris asks, Chevy insisting that he should sit in on the conversation.
The question already having been offered to him, Chris tells Julia that he’s on the side of starting and maintaining a peaceful, professional relationship with Chevy’s people. “If he is who he says they are, and they have obtained control of Los Angeles, this is a massive opportunity we’re wasting!” Chris pleads, telling Julia that there are times to be concerned. “If we can hold any level of influence over that kind of community, we’re set, with or without this place” Chris continues.
“As long as you work with us, you’re one of us” Chevy adds in, Chris’ opinion on the man having done a complete change from the moment they first met. “I just wanna make sure we can see the other side of this” Chris concludes, watching his sister’s eyes travel from one side of the room to the other. As she begins preparing to say her piece, the sound of arguing from the lobby a few hallways away begins flooding throughout the first floor.
“Stay behind me” Chevy orders, taking the lead as the first man through the door, Chris and Julia instinctively taking Chevy up on his offer, remaining shielded behind him. Navigating through each corridor, the man leads the pair closer and closer to the front of the building, the yelling becoming louder and louder the further they travel. Soon, the trio reach their final destination, the sights that stand before Chevy put a smile on his face immediately.
Stood there with her finger raised to an armed guard, Kayla stands beside Amelia, her face lighting up when she sees Chevy turn the corner. The pair sharing a hug, Chevy introduces his two group members to who he hopes to be able to work with soon. A smile on her face, Julia tells Chevy that she’d like to hear more about this group in Los Angeles that he has, the warmth and loving reception from the people he loves most giving her confidence in his taste in people.
“From what I just saw out there, this isn’t exactly a very promising cause to be working for” Chevy acknowledges, reminding Jaime of the man that was just shot and killed over water mere minutes ago. “Have you realized that this is worse than what the mob was wanting Django’s head for?” Chevy asks, watching Jaime’s eyes drop as she begins accepting the fact that he held some truth in his final statements to her.
“How much longer can we go without outside assistance?” Kayla asks, Alex quick to pitch the minimal information of ‘not much longer’ to keep Jaime grounded to earth. “How long will that medication last all of you?” Jordan asks, Julia coming to the conclusion that the worry should start in roughly one year and a half. “So let’s make a deal!” Chevy insists, “that’s what they came here for, so let’s get something going before the crowd turns into a mob again.”
Her hand supporting her chin, Jaime asks Julia and Chris what they need more than anything else. After careful consideration, the pair agree that any amount of protection would be desired. “How much food would you be willing to trade for twenty militia members standing watch around the clock?” Jaime asks, the pair taking the legal pad from in front of her and writing down a number.
“Any chance you can go higher if we get a team together to go out and look for whatever medicine could be further out in the state?” Jaime asks, her eyes staring towards Julia, designating her as the mouthpiece. “I’m sure we could work something out for that” Julia replies, watching Jaime stand from her seat and hold her hand out, telling her to return the following day with the written amount of food, promising her twenty militia members to return with.
Once the night has fallen, Jaime sits by her mansion window, the sights of the city behind her tequila-filled glass mesmerize her too much to sleep. “I see you can’t sleep either” Chevy calls, his gentle footsteps accompanying him to the woman, taking a seat beside her and sharing her watch. “There’s gonna come a time where we miss getting the chance to sit down and look out at the stars” Chevy exclaims, Jaime’s simple ‘yes’ showing her disdain for that day.
“You’re not blaming yourself for this whole mess, are you?” Chevy asks, the question coming from left field, though the importance behind it remains present knowing the person the question is directed towards. “Kind of, yeah” Jaime responds, the man retorting with his hand held out, lowering onto Jaime’s free hand. “Do me a favor” Chevy requests, making sure the woman’s eyes line up with his own before he asks, “don’t.”
“How am I not supposed to feel like I’m responsible when all of this goes wrong?” the woman asks, every day being spent in fear that she’ll be responsible for the downfall of people that trust her. “Because it’s not your place to determine how people operate” Chevy replies, his eyes making sure not to leave Jaime’s, “it’s natural human nature to act in ways that some people don’t have a response to.”
Her chin lowering despite eye contact being maintained, Jaime listens to Chevy take today’s killing as an example. “That person chose to strip a gun away from the closest thing to police we have, that’s something you just have to hope they won’t do” Chevy informs, “you have no control over whether or not he follows those hopes.”
Taking away the glass, Chevy tells Jaime to switch to water to avoid giving herself any resemblance of a head ache in the morning. His hand brushing her shoulder, Chevy walks for his shared bedroom before Jaime calls out his name. “Do you think I’m gonna be anything like Django?” Jaime asks, the man she watches turn his head back towards her shaking his head with a smile.
“Django never would have put his people over himself like you have” Chevy replies, telling Jaime to get some rest and prepare for another day tomorrow. Alone again, Jaime looks out over the city skyline, the story of Kate and herself replaying in her head as it has countless times before. “The people come first” Jaime whispers to herself, her arms crossing as she sinks into her chair, taking the moment to appreciate the view whilst she still has it.