“You’re sure about this?” Jess asks, walking up to John and wrapping her arms around him as he packs whatever they have in the room for the road. “We don’t have much of a choice” John replies, gliding his thumb over her knuckles and kissing her head. “Tyler isn’t coming back, Emilio and Bill are heading their separate directions, and we don’t know if these convoy guys are going to come looking for us” the man says, feeling Jess tuck her head into his back.
“Can we bring this, mommy?” Amy asks, walking into the room with a rubber ball, breaking the moment between her parents. “Sure sweetheart” Jess replies, picking the little girl up and bringing her to John, who plays a brief game of catch with her before returning to packing. “Where’s uncle Tyler?” the girl asks, causing John to walk back to her and take her into his arms. “Uncle Tyler’s not coming with us, Ames” John replies, met with the obvious question of why.
“Uncle Tyler moved away, and he’s going to be staying there from now on” John replies, again met with the same question in return. “Because he really likes where he moved, Amy” John replies again, met with a different question this time around. “Can we go there, too?” Amy asks, dropping the ball into Jess’ hands. “No, we have to go somewhere else” John answers, met with the same original retort once more. “Because we’re going to find some place better!” John returns, met with Amy’s question of, “Why won’t Tyler come with us then?”
Attempting to speak, John stops himself and thinks over his response, which hurts to even acknowledge, but must be said eventually. “Because Tyler thinks he’s in the best place… Even though it’s not” John returns, watching Amy comply with the response and be taken into her mothers arms. Eventually, John spots Katie walking by the doorway, already weakened from the days spent throwing up and being bed ridden.
“Woah there, you need to take a seat and cool off” John says, hurrying to the girl and helping her keep to her feet. “We’re heading out soon, John… I need to be on my feet” Katie replies, accepting John’s assistance as they walk past Emilio and Bill’s room. Before they can make it past, John is forced to stop when Katie calls over to the pairing. “You sure you want to leave?” Katie asks, earning the stare from both men at once. “You guys don’t even know where you’re going yet” Bill asks, being met with the same retort from Katie, reminding them, “The only thing you know you’re doing is not coming with us. You don’t know where you’re heading either.”
“We’ve got a few places in mind” Emilio replies, folding a pair of jeans and dropping them into his suitcase. “We’ve got our beach house in South Carolina” Bill replies, watching Emilio add on, “Bill’s family home in Toronto, my family home in Atlanta.”
“We’ve got options” Bill says, loading his firearms and tucking them away in storage. “I wish you luck, guys” John replies, watching the two nod towards him, keeping the sides on good terms. “John!” a woman’s voice cries out from outside the house, prompting John to rush Katie over to the couch and join Jess in rushing through the front door, met with the sight of blinding sunlight just overhead and three people marching towards the home. “Who is it?” John asks, hurrying over to see Alicia and Franklin rushing towards the group to help.
“Tyler, Janice and some other chick” Meghan replies, watching John rush over to the trio and help carry them inside. Back in the house, John and Franklin lay a heavily beaten Janice out on the old bed at the end of the room, horrifying some of the survivors in the home at the level of damage. “What the hell happened?” John asks, watching Cameron and Heather check for whatever they can, finding a very faint pulse and a low heartbeat.
“We just found her in the woods next to the compound! She was already like this!” Tyler replies, pausing for a moment as Amy shrieks in horror once in the room, immediately taken away by Jess. “Janice? Can you hear me?” Heather asks, watching the woman use whatever strength she can to lift her thumb. “Did she tell you anything?” Emilio asks, he and his husband hurrying into the living room. “She said they did it” Tyler replies, met with the question of who from Lauren. “Them. The people at Sheol. They carried her there and dumped her, that’s all we know” Tyler replies, trembling at the explanation whilst he holds a shaking Angela close.
Handing the pair bottles of water, Alicia asks when they knew she was there. “We ran into each other on the main grounds. We talked for a little bit about her not trusting the place, I didn’t see her after that.”
“Where did you talk to her?” Katie asks, met with Tyler’s answer of his quarters. “What?” Tyler asks, confused as John places his hands to his head and begins pacing back and forth. “Tyler, they’ve got your room bugged! They heard everything you two talked about!” John explains, further cautioning the man. “How would you know?” Tyler asks, his answer coming from Katie rather than John. “They caught us at those woods, Tyler. Cut us off and dragged us back in this basement” Katie replies, her response being finished by John. “They poisoned Katie. She took Emilio’s spot and then they dumped us into the street. They told us everything.”
Blasted by the revelations, Tyler and Angela start looking around the room until Janice calls for John, prompting him to lean up to her mouth. “They blame the people for what they do” Janice musters, expending whatever energy she has left to get the words out. “They’re afraid of you. They think you have a bomb like theirs” Janice says, confusing John. “We don’t have a bomb, Janice” the man replies, prompting him to wonder if she’s in her right mind.
Doing her best to pull him close, Janice replies, “The wine cellar. New World Order. C4, lots of it.” Pulling away from the woman, slowly looking back to her, he watches her explain that they’ll come for them at any time. “They want control. They won’t stop what they’re doing. More people will die. You will die if you don’t defend yourselves” the woman concludes, watching John walk into the middle of the room, surrounded by everyone that was there on that one rainy night days ago.
“John? What’re we gonna do?” Troy asks, only to be met with the man turning his focus from him and onto Tyler, still staring at Janice with Angela tucked in his arms, distraught at the sight and aghast by the sudden rush of emotions in the room. Before long, Tyler notices John’s eyes locked onto him, and prepares for the ultimatum to be issued. “Tyler, I need to know right now whose side you’re on. It’s either us or them, choose now” John replies, watching the man look towards Angela, staring at everyone in the room with overbearing guilt.
Realizing the ultimatum isn’t his alone to make, John assures the two that Angela will be welcomed if she wishes to be. “This is the first time she’s ever been outside those gates” Tyler replies, “She hasn’t seen most of the stuff we saw in the first few days. You still gonna give her that guarantee?” Cautious in his retort, Tyler grows defensive before John walks up to him and places his hand on his shoulder.
“Tyler, I served in the military. I know what happens when governments try to persuade the people into believing them without question, so I don’t blame you for the decision you made, but I will on the decision you make right now” John replies, telling the two the offer still stands. “She’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly, that’s just how it is. You’ll both be welcomed here, but I need to know where you stand.”
Before answering, Angela makes the decision for him. “We’re with you” the woman replies, putting a surprised smile on John’s face as Tyler nods in agreement, “I told you she’ll get the hang of it” John replies, walking over to Troy, Salem, Alicia and Franklin to tell them to get ready. “Where are we going?” Alicia asks, putting on her coat and picking up an assault rifle.
“I’m coming too” Emilio replies, met with the same response from Bill, as both get their things to prepare for departure. “We’re not letting this stand. They attack one of ours, we attack them back. This is war” John replies, one final voice speaking up to join him in wherever they’re going. “Look after Amy while we’re out” Jess calls over to the group staying by before walking up to John. “I’m coming with you” Jess declares, putting another smile on John’s face. “We’re going back to the New World Order” John states, putting a look of shock on everyone’s face. “Why the New World Order? What’s left there for us?” Franklin asks, watching John turn to him with a signature smile. “A little firepower” John responds, leading the group through the front door on course for a return to home.
= Rise 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 3 onwards =
“This is it” John exclaims, rolling to a stop at the entrance to the New World Order, hidden away behind the overgrown plant life. Silent around the vehicle, the group looks out at the land they used to call home reduced to a massive landscape of blackened death, covered over with heaps of rubble and ash. “This place looks disastrous” Jess states, looking out at the collapsed buildings and charred trees surrounding the main walls, which have been mostly beaten in by this point.
“I was never a fan of this place and yet I still think this is a sad sight” Emilio remarks, watching the vehicle pass through the front gates and enter what looks like earth’s entry into purgatory. Each stretch of land passed shows the further decay of whatever used to reside within, offering no variety of life to balance out the death.
“Where are we supposed to be going?” Salem asks, watching John bring the vehicle to a stop as they are confronted with the collapsed remains of the Callis Residence, forcing them to fight the remaining distance on foot. Unbuckling themselves from whatever seatbelts they have on, the group steps onto the ground for the first time, taking a first-hand look at what remains of the once lively community.
“Didn’t Charlotte say there used to be more of these?” Bill asks, pulling his rifle over his shoulder and following the group as they lock the doors behind themselves and begin their journey over and around the debris. “She said something about there being a possibility we weren’t the only New World Order to fall back on, but she might have been lying about that, too” John states, helping the group over a mound of debris from a collapsed shed before continuing for the back. “Janice said there’d be a lot of C4 in the wine cellar at the back, so let’s get what we need and get out be-” John says, stopping to duck behind cover as gunshots ring out, forcing everyone to whatever they can get to.
“Stop! We’re just passing by! We mean you no harm!” John calls out, only to be met with further rounds of gunfire as a sort of warning shot. “Who are you?” A familiar voice calls, the sound of it being met with brief silence from everyone hiding behind cover as they try to recall the origins of it. “I’m John Callis. I’m with a few members of my group, we’re just looking to pass by here” the man shouts, listening to the gun wielded by the shooter drop to the ground, a sign for the group to come from hiding.
“Come out!” the voice shouts, prompting the group to slowly rise to their feet and notice the man of which the voice belongs to. “Reggie?” Jess asks, looking at the man stationed at the top of a pile of heavy rubble with a rifle placed to the ground by his side. “Holy shit” John whispers to himself, watching the man slowly descend from atop his platform and walk up to the group, meeting them in the middle of what used to be their home.
Embracing with the man, covered in the dust from the ash around, his former New World Order survivors meet him with the same question. “What happened? We thought you left” Bill says, being the first to ask the question. “I did” Reggie replies, hanging his head at the memory returning to him. “I came back a few weeks later, I think it was a few weeks later” Reggie continues, being met with the same realization as John. “After the second war” John states, watching Reggie nod with him.
“That’s why you all left?” Reggie asks, watching John pick up the conversation. “Charlotte’s people came back” the man replies, earning Reggie’s undivided attention. “They took the north wall, let the scavengers in. We were picked dry. Everything was on fire, we had to retreat once our numbers started bottoming out.”
“You see it was all burned when I came back” Reggie admits, “the forest around it was still burning, but the fire already did its thing with the city. I saw skeletons, some people had a little bit of skin left, but not much. I didn’t know whether you guys actually made it out or not.”
“So you just… stayed?” Jess asks, waiting for Reggie to take a moment to gain his composure, becoming emotional at the thought of being alone in such a puzzling world. “Since everything’s gone down, you’re the only group I’ve ever been a part of. Once that was gone, in a world with plenty of sick people to go around… I didn’t have much of a choice.”
“How’s she doing, Cam?” Tyler asks, hand over his mouth looking at the beaten woman helplessly laid atop the table. “She’s been going in and out of consciousness, she can’t feel some parts of her body at times, and she’s stopped remembering how she got here when she is awake.”
“How bad is that?” Tyler asks, watching Cameron struggle to piece together an adequate diagnosis. “Just remember, Heather and I have medical training, but we’re not doctors. So don’t take what I say as life or death, but to me, this looks like her brain is swelling. Couple that with the shattered knee, the appearance of having been waterboarded… It looks... “
Stopping, Cameron prompts Tyler to ask him to finish his statement. “... It looks really bad” the man concludes, met with the question of whether or not they can fix it. “The knee can be healed and rehabbed, I just don’t know to what extent. She’d have trauma, but I can’t alleviate the swelling. No one here would be able to perform that kind of procedure.”
“So she’d die?” Tyler replies, asking the man who looks back to him and nods once, confirming his suspicions. Stood beside the doorway to the front yard, Meghan and Lauren walk through the front door and are soon followed by Jack, who takes Lauren in his arms and tells her that things will be fine. “No, they don’t Jack!” Lauren replies, “Those people tortured her to cover up their wrongs, and now she’s probably going to die because of it.”
“Maybe that’s the best thing for her” Meghan replies, catching the attention of the couple as she stares out into the empty road. “Why would you say that kind of thing?” Lauren asks, Jack’s hands stroking her arms in hopes of keeping her calm. Turning to face the woman who asked the question, Meghan throws her hand out at the front, waving it towards the world around them. “This world took her kid, Lauren” Meghan replies, Lauren rolling her eyes at the response. “She left because we wouldn’t let her kill the woman that killed her kid, and then we let her kids murderer go free! This world has been nothing but shitty to her!” Meghan argues, being met with a simple, “Fuck you!” in return.
“Yeah! Fuck me for telling the truth instead of holding your hand and lying about how it’ll all be okay!” Meghan shouts, watching the woman turn back to her and get in her face. “You stupid bitch!” Lauren shouts, “Just because you do nothing around here, doesn’t give you the right to dictate how people that actually get shit done should see the world!”
“You want me to lie, Lauren?” Meghan asks, being given the freedom to do so by the woman, backing away and letting her go off. “Fine! Let’s start off with how great John and Jess are doing as parents, or even as a couple in general! Or how about we start with almost half our group running off because they don’t want to get killed like the rest of us? Or what about you and Jack standing there because you needed a rebound after your murdering girlfriend got shot by a fucking kid!”
By this point, a small crowd has gathered in the doorway, watching this argument begin to unfold. Finally, Lauren boils over enough to knock Meghan on her ass with a punch, shattering her nose. Trying to climb on top of the girl, Lauren struggles to break free of Jack, who has tried to keep the two separated before the group gets involved. Eventually, the pair are kept apart and Meghan storms through the front door, flipping Lauren off as the woman in the front yard continue goating her on.
“Come on and finish what we started you fucking bitch!” Lauren shouts, still being held back by Jack before pushing away and walking off down the street. “Go make sure she doesn’t get herself in trouble!” Troy orders, granting Jack permission to chase after Lauren as the rest of the group stands by in the middle of the yard.
“And you’re trying to get into the wine cellar?” Reggie asks, met with assurance on John’s part. “I won’t lie, I haven’t looked to get in there at all, I was always told we were stockpiling something in there, I just never knew what” Reggie says, climbing over rubble before pulling a few chunks of debris away with help from the rest of the group.
“So what did you say you needed?” Reggie asks, continuing to help uncover the cellar doors. “There’s apparently a bunch of C4 stored away down here, we’re hoping to come away with as much as we can get” John admits, prompting Reggie to take a step back and ask what the C4 is needed for.
“We’re sort of in the middle of a fight with another community. They’re… They’re not exactly the most civilized.” Looking to Reggie as he closes his mouth and tilts his head, “You’re going to war again?” Reggie asks, persuading John to hang his head, ashamed that history has come to repeat itself. “I guess that’s all the world really is now, huh?” Reggie asks, intriguing John, who asks what he means by that.
“You find a good thing until someone comes and fights you for it. Whoever survives wins and goes on to fight the next guy that wants it. Rinse, wash, repeat.” Encouraging the entire group to drop what they’re lifting and look over to both John and himself, Reggie continues shifting through the rubble. Before he can reach down for the next piece, John walks closer to him and raises his finger, “We’re gonna find a place no one can take, believe that.”
Laughing off the warning and meeting John in closing the space between them, Reggie raises his finger and responds with, “Unless you’re place is over the clouds, no you wont.” Laughing at the idea of John actually believing in a safe haven, Reggie turns around and notices the confidence of the group begin to deplete in bunches. “Guys, the goal isn’t to make something impenetrable, the goal is to be strong enough to never be unable to lose what’s yours” Reggie says, finally acknowledging the elephant in the room and asking why they’re at war with these people.
“They kidnapped Tyler” John begins, earning Reggie’s attention in a way nothing he had said earlier could. “They almost killed Katie” John continues, now watching the expression on their newly reunited survivor’s face. “Beat Janice so badly she almost doesn’t look the same… We don’t even know if she’s still alive, they’ve got an eye on her as we speak.”
Swallowing his pride and taking back what he said earlier, Reggie drops the humor and moves in close to John, reminding him of something he hopes was not lost once the community around them was reduced to rubble. “Before the first war, you told everyone that you were going to change. You were going to be a better leader and do what you could to make sure their lives were valued in ways no one else could promise them.”
Having earned the attention of John, Reggie puts his hand on John’s shoulder and tells him to find the fire that led to that speech that gave the New World Order the chance to live long enough to see a second war. “Without that fire, this place would have fallen in the first war. Do your part to make sure these people, and the ones you left back where you came from, are valued. There is no point in living in this world if you’re going to drop the humanity that made it what it was in the first place.”
Looking Reggie in the eyes, John reminds him that they still lost the New World Order on the second attempt anyway. “Wars are won and lost. If you live to see another one, you’ve lived long enough to see where you went wrong the first time around so you don’t lose again. There’s two types of people in this world, John… And I need you to never forget this” Reggie says, punching him in the chest and directing him to remember where his heart rests.
“There are the people that don’t learn and lose the hard way, and the people that learn and never lose another war again. And right now, you’ve got a responsibility to make sure the people in that community aren’t caught in the crosshairs the way the people of the New World Order were. Which general are you going to be?” Reggie asks, watching John raise his eyes to him and answer.
“Lauren, can we please stop for a second and talk” Jack pleads, watching the girl continuously wave him off, disregarding the request. “Lauren, please. It’s not safe to be out here right now, those fuckers could be around any damn corner” Jack repeats, finally getting the woman to slow down and turn towards him, looking disheartened. “Was it what she said?” Jack asks, watching the woman’s eyes seel and her head drop.
“She’s right” Lauren admits, confusing Jack. “You believe her?” the man asks, almost not believing what he’s hearing. “Why would you believe her? She’s wrong” Jack replies, watching the woman shake her head in disagreement. “She’s right, Jack! I don’t like it, but that doesn’t change anything!” Lauren shouts, not caring about what she attracts from beyond the treeline.
“Lauren, you’ve been given a bad hand, sure… But that doesn’t have to be all you are!” Jack argues, convinced by his own belief, hoping that Lauren will be too. Suddenly, three members of the undead walk onto the overgrown road serving as a stage for Lauren to unseathe her machete and begin going to work, taking out the undead that threaten to interject themselves into their conversation.
“Jack, that’s all anyone is!” Lauren says, taking a second to decapitate another member of the undead before continuing her train of thought. “We’re all products of our past, it’s just a matter of what degree. And in my case, that’s all I’ll ever be!” Joining the fight as more of the undead spill into the street, Jack takes out a syckle and begins slicing skulls like a knife cuts into butter. “Anyone can change, it takes someone strong enough to do it” Jack argues, ripping one of the undead clean in two, separating his upper half from his lower half.
“I’m not the kind of person that just changes, Jack!” Lauren argues, completely oblivious to one of the undead closing in on her from the side. As she turns to face it, the top half of its head drops to the ground below before being joined by the rest of its body, being replaced by Jack, who holds her close and argues the opposite. “You’re the kind of person that knows who she is, you just need to accept how strong you are and allow yourself to put up a fight” Jack says, feeling the embrace become reciprocated.
“I don’t know where I went wrong” Lauren replies, admitting that after all this time, she still has yet to figure out where everything before the New World Order went so downhill. “It wasn’t you that went wrong, it’s the people that hid that same part of themselves from you. They didn’t give you the chance, and now you can’t keep kicking yourself for what they did, or in this case, didn’t do.”
Left alone in the middle of the street, surrounded by the corpses of their fallen enemies, Jack and Lauren look to each other and kiss, ending the conflict that brought them there in favor of accepting the truth. “You’re better than what you give yourself credit for, you just need to work with that” Jack says, watching Lauren nod in his arms as the sun begins to fully rise overhead.
Creeking the entire way it opens, the wine cellar door, finally uncovered from beneath the remains of the bar allows for the group to stare off into the pitch black beneath. “After you” Reggie says, looking to John, severing the darkness with a flashlight to reveal an entry mostly untouched from the horrors of the land above. Taking his first few steps into the cellar, John is flanked by his group as they finally reach the main prize, a door at the back of the room just begging to be opened.
“DO NOT OPEN. PLEASE CONSULT THE CALLIS’” a taped up paper sign from the New World Order era of the group reads, offering all the assurance the group needs for their hopeful suspicions to be brought to truth. Reaching out, John’s hand is held back by Franklin, who looks at the man and politely consults both John and Jessica for permission to open the vault.
“Yeah, I think we’re good” John assures him, having a laugh about it as the handle is finally pulled open, revealing a dry and unscathed vault filled to the top with a mountain of dynamite sticks. “Holy shit” John says, confused as to why their names were on the paper. “We didn’t know about this, why would they consult us?” John asks around, met with nothing, accepting it as just an overlooked flaw.
“Let’s get as much of this in the truck as we can. Handle it carefully, dropping it won’t do anything, but don’t let that make you any less cautious” John orders, stepping foot inside the vault and handing one stick after another to whomever can carry it.
Returning to the surface and having stored the explosives into the truck as best as they could, John calls for everyone to climb in, met with everyone other than Reggie doing so. “You coming, Reggie?” John asks, watching the man walk up to him with his hand extended. “I’ve been on my own for so long, and I think I’m better off keeping it that way” Reggie says, thanking the man for giving him the closure he wished to have when he came to find destruction. “I’m just glad to know you’re all still alive, that’s what matters” Reggie concludes, hugging John and telling him to remember what he said.
“I hope to see you again, Reggie” John states, only to be confronted with the harsh truth laid out by the man in question. “I hope not” the man responds, telling John the world is a funny place. “The longer people go without seeing each other in the world, the less recognizable they are when they’re seen again. I didn’t blow your head off this time, I can’t guarantee the same thing next time, and I certainly don’t want to see that happen. It’s better off wishing each other safe travels on our separate ways.
Not happy with the statement, John accepts Reggie’s side and hugs him again, thanking him for being a part of everyone’s life in a time where it was needed. “Thank you for being who you are, and doing what you had to do. I’ve never been more proud to call you my leader” Reggie admits, shaking John’s hand and watching the group board their vehicle, backing out of the New World Order and driving out of his life for the final time.
Returning to the home, the group are met with a heroes welcome as the dynamite stored in the bed of the truck serves as a symbol for a newfound hope in their quest. As the group reunites with each other, grateful to have made it back safely, the individuals having come from the New World Order are met with Heather and Cameron standing in the doorway, no smiles being sported.
Entering the living room, John and the group are escorted to Janice’s bedside, where they find her in dire straits, her pulse and heart rate growing weaker by the second. “Her brain is swelling. I told her an operation would be risky, and she told us to just let it be” Cameron admits, acknowledging Janice’s final wish to die at peace. Kneeling beside her and taking one of her hands as Jess takes the other, John calls the woman’s name, telling her that she’s not going to go out with a whimper.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t stop this from happening” John states, choking up as tears begin flooding down his face. Confronted with the first true death he alone caused, the man swears to make sure her death isn’t one of the many that just add to a number. “Those people in Sheol are going to know what their leaders are. We’re going to make the people that did this to you pay, I promise.”
Having enough strength to smile, Janice tells John not to worry. “I’m not leaving anyone behind. Everyone I have to see is already waiting for me” Janice says, thanking him for the efforts he’s made. “You’ll never be perfect, John. But you care… You make this world, a better place, for people to live in, despite everything around. Thank you for that” Janice says, pausing for breath with each few syllables.
Stumbling over the emotions flooding forward, the tears in John’s eyes are met with his wife wrapping her arm around him and tucking her forehead into his neck. “You’re gonna go see your son now, Janice. It’s okay to stop fighting” John says, the words breaking with his voice.
“You’ve done everything you had to do down here, it’s okay to go to him now” John says, giving Janice permission to let go and join her son in the next life. After a few seconds, Janice takes her final breath and blinks a final time before her body gives up, and her heart takes its final beat. As John and Jess feel her grip loosen, knowing she’s moved onto the next life, the sorrow becomes palpable. Holding Angela tight, Tyler looks on with determination to avenge the fallen. Franklin and Alicia embrace, Lauren and Jack do the same, and the rest of the people around hug whomever they can in hopes of better coping.
Beneath the afternoon sun, the grave buried for Janice becomes filled in with the dirt atop her blanket-wrapped body, attended by everyone paying their final respects. “John?” Tyler asks, watching the man turn to him before beginning to cry. “I’m sorry I doubted you guys” Tyler states, met with an embrace for both himself and Angela by the man as he tells them that they’re going to make things right.
“We’re gonna tell those people what they need to hear, and we’re going to make sure this kind of thing never happens again” John states, assuring the two that they’ll always be welcomed here. Retiring to the home, the group begins to get things in order for the upcoming confrontation, leaving behind Janice’s grave with a cross woven with stick and string, and a rock with magic marker written on it.
“JANICE GARNETT. 1990-2019. FOUGHT WITH HEART, DIED WITH HEART.
AVENGED WITH HEART” the stone reads, declaring the group’s intentions to be worn like their heart, a badge upon their sleeve.