“And you’re sure about this?” John asks, looking towards an assuring Angela and Tyler, replying that it’s the only true route they can take. “The guy’s broadcasting the town hall tonight, so if we can cut into the broadcast and make our demands, the majority of the compound will hear it” Tyler says, seated beside Angela, getting a little more comfortable with her surroundings.
“Who’s going to go in with them?” Emilio asks, watching John immediately volunteer himself. Shutting her eyes, Jess subdues her annoyance for a moment, but not well enough for Alicia to not take notice. “I’ll go. John’s done enough for us the past few days, It’s about time someone steps up for him” Alicia says, catching a look of appreciation from the woman beside her. “No, it’s too risky” John attempts to argue, not getting very far before Alicia walks up to and pats him on the back.
“Do you know which chick you’re talking to?” Alicia says, jokingly mocking both herself and John. “Take a rest big guy, you’ve earned it” she concludes, asking Tyler and Angela where the control booth will be. “That’s the big issue, no one really knows who he is, let alone where his station is” Angela acknowledges, only to bet met with the question of who he most likely is.
“He’s been critical of everyone, the convoy leaders included, so he must be someone respected. The best I’ve got for a place is in the metro sector” Angela concludes, immediately met with question as to what she’s referring to with ‘metro sector.”
“It’s a block of stores and homes on the other side of the lake” Tyler explains, immediately giving John a gleeful pep to his step. “I don’t like smiling John” Tyler jokes, “Smiling John doesn’t seem like regular John and it’s really freaky.”
Waltzing to the man and patting him on the shoulder, John realizes what a completely separate section of the compound means for everyone here. “What do you mean?” Tyler asks, watching John pace around the room with his hands folded. “If there are enough people there for it to be a ‘metro’ area, we could blend in without issue! Disappear into a crowd and stay as we please. It’s how we can get inside without too much of a risk of getting caught!”
Delighted by the realization, and panning around the room to see people slowly coming on board with his train of thought, John guarantees the group that it’s the perfect plan B. Thinking to himself for a moment as the group watches, awaiting the concoction he’s brewing in his head to be spilled upon the table, John takes a seat and states that there is a new plan.
Wheels screeching to a halt at the base of a long, lucious fauna-covered hilltop, Angela, Tyler and Alicia disembark the truck and say their goodbyes to John. “Call for help if something’s up, we’ll be waiting by this thing twenty-four seven” John says, tossing Alicia a walkie talkie and driving off, kicking up grass and dirt on his path as he heads off.
Climbing the hill, evading the overbearing limbs of nature’s soldiers surrounding them at all ends, the trio get to a fence and clip a portion big enough to squeeze through. “Just a bit past this trail, we’ll split up and meet back near the lakefront. Got it?” Tyler asks, hugging Alicia and telling her to stay safe, directing her towards the center of town and watching her disappear beneath a sea of people, engulfed like a block of wood in a grease fire.
“We’re playing with fire right now” Tyler mutters, looking at Angela shake her head with an unusual level of confidence. “They started flinging the fire, it’s up to us to show everyone else that” Angela replies, looking back to the man as he pulls her in for a hug, walking off and disappearing into the crowd of people as well, following Alicia’s steps and reuniting themselves with the ways of Sheol.
= 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 =
Brushing past people with an apology for each shoulder shoved, Alicia begins feeling the strain of a city life she had become numb to the idea of. Looking around and doing her best to mirror walking patterns, conversation starters and learn what she can from what’s said around her, the woman ends up at a little intersection in the road, showing a picture-perfect view of the lake gleaming from the focused sunlight above.
“This place doesn’t feel real” Alicia whispers to herself, looking at couples sitting on benches and enjoying the view, and others having a swim and kayaking. “You new here?” Alicia hears a woman ask, turning around to spot a woman walking towards her with a welcoming smile. “Yeah, mostly new to this whole side. I’m from across the lake” Alicia replies, doing her best to conjure a story from the little information she has.
“The view’s always one of the first things people really notice when they hop across. Most come after the early hours when it’s just the people crossing, so they’re always around when swimming and fishing’s allowed” the woman replies, standing beside Alicia and taking in the view. “Makes it look kind of like a beach, huh?” the woman asks, watching Alicia nod with a one word reply.
“Shy?” the woman asks, extending her hand and welcoming her to Sheol Center. “I’m Bristol, Bristol Saville. I run the salon in the mornings just past the turnpike. It’s nice to meet you” the woman says, bringing Alicia into a weird semi-state of deja vu, just expecting the walls to fall and the undead to overrun everything that breaths. “Alicia, Alicia Haven” the woman continues, introducing herself as the view of the waterfront steals her attention again.
“What’s got you crossing the water, Alicia?” the woman asks, Alicia stumbling over what to respond with. “I’m actually looking for the radio guy” Alicia asks, her voice lacking emphasis in fear that even saying that much would jeopardize her anonymity. “RC Jackrabbit? Why are you looking for him?” the woman asks, enthusiastically surprised. “I was hoping to get an announcement to him, I’ve uh” Alicia begins, stopping as she notices a speedboat trailing across the water, forcing everyone in the water to return to land.
“You said you worked the salon, right?” Alicia asks, “Any place to get coffee around here, too?” Enthused, the girl tells her to follow, leading her towards the cafe as the world around continues to move at its own pace. “So what was the announcement?” the woman asks, watching Alicia curiously lean in. “The announcement for the RC?” the woman reiterates, prompting a sudden realization of the original conversation.
“Yeah, um, you know the-” Alicia begins, continuing to flail over what to say as Bristol becomes bewitched, awaiting the conclusion to the story-long explanation. “The clothes shop, just- just up there?” Alicia asks, pointing in a random direction. Not familiar with the storefront mentioned, the woman asks Alicia to continue on anyway. “Well, they were looking for someone to run a sale memo over the RC and I volunteered” Alicia explains, literally grasping at whatever she can to make a coherent statement, which becomes more difficult than it should with every switch of pace.
“Only problem is I never thought to ask where the RC booth was, so I have no clue where to go” Alicia explains, confusing herself to such a degree that even Bristol might be questioning her own sanity. “Well, that’s certainly a… noble thing to do, but I don’t think I can really help you with that.”
“Why not?” Alicia asks, listening to the reasoning she wanted to hear the least. “Well, most civilians don’t know where the RC is, only the convoy leaders. I’m surprised they gave you the announcement, but you might want to hand it off to whichever convoy leader you find next.” Nodding in compliance but kicking her own ass in her head, Alicia thanks the girl for the coffee and attempts to leave, only to turn around, feeling guilty for suddenly ditching the woman who just gave her more knowledge than even Angela gave her.
“This place really isn’t safe for my fucked up conscience” Alicia whispers to herself, taking a seat back at the table and trying to get to know the girl, continuing the conversation whilst plotting her next step.
“Breathe, it’s all going to be fine” Tyler says, watching Angela try hats on as if this was just another day in paradise, whilst the woman writhes in her own anxiety. Walking to her and rubbing her arms, Tyler locks eyes with Angela through the reflection and tells her that she’s changing the world for the good. “That’s not something you should worry over, I’ve already promised you that I will never let you get hurt, and I am not keen on breaking that promise.”
Turning around, Angela plants a kiss on the man and folds into his arms, thanking him. “Why are you thanking me?” Tyler asks, intrigued but curious. “I would’ve kept being blind to all of this if you hadn’t convinced me to follow you out there. I’d just be another person blindly allowing them to walk over me if they found the need to.”
Placing her hands on Tyler’s cheeks, gliding the knuckle of her index finger over his scars, Angela tells Tyler that he’s saved her from being just like Janice whenever the events would have taken shape. “Do you think Louis would let that happen?” Tyler asks, watching the split concern draw over her like a curtain cutting the actors from the crowd. “I don’t know if he’d have a choice” Angela admits, bringing a level of worry over Louis.
“Do you think Louis would say something he shouldn’t if Tony didn’t know?” the man asks, switching the question to better illustrate his current mindset. “Are you suggesting we let Louis in on the plan?” Angela asks, watching Tyler scuffle with the concept, playing around with it like it’s a toy. “I mean, John’s got us on the inside… We could benefit from having someone deeper inside than we are” Tyler suggests, immediately forcing another wave of anxiety over Angela.
“I’m not suggesting that we need to” Tyler recapitulates, “I’m asking whether or not you think he’d be someone we could rely on if an emergency button was desperately needed.” Taking a seat behind the winded Angela, Tyler tells her he’s only looking to see what Angela thinks. “I’m not going to make any call that you don’t trust, so think about it” Tyler states, locking eyes with Angela and kissing her again. “We don’t need to over-rely on something when it’s not a concern to start with, so let’s not worry ourselves over this” Tyler says, embracing Angela again.
Looking to the front of the store as Angela’s head tucks up to his chest, Tyler notices a figure draped in black, leaning against the entry to a tackle shop, and staring daggers at him. “Angela” Tyler whispers, shaking her as the man stands straight and takes off. Getting up and rushing towards the front, Tyler looks into the sea of people to find the man having disappeared, lost to the crowd and vanishing into thin air. “Tyler, what’s wrong?” Angela asks, noticing Tyler’s hands shaking.
“There was a guy” Tyler replies, met with a mirror of his statement from the woman. “Yes, a guy. Dressed like the guards, he just stared at me!” Tyler replies, met with concern as Angela tells him to treat it as a coincidence. “He did this before... back when I first showed up. He just vanished the second I looked twice. This isn’t a coincidence.”
Staring off into the crowd, both survivors look on just as Angela tells Tyler to follow her, leading him around the crowd and off into the distance as Sheol Center increases in population the longer the day carries on.
“Finally!” Alicia exclaims, meeting Tyler and Angela at the front of Sheol Center. “What’ve you got?” Tyler asks, tucking his hands in his pockets and leaning against a wall whilst Angela plants her hands into her back pockets. “I’ve got bad news” Alicia states, almost immediately making Tyler want to remove his hands from his pockets to facepalm. “After everything, that’s the last thing that I want to hear” Tyler states, watching Alicia’s nonchalant response, treating it like the bad news isn’t too bad.
“Only the convoy leaders know where the RC is. If you want to get to this rabbit guy, you’ll need a convoy leader to take you there.” Mouth agape and arms extended, Tyler asks why Alicia thinks this isn’t a big deal. “You said she’s got a leader friend, right?” Alicia asks, immediately drawing both back into annoyance.
“Alicia, we don’t know if he can be trusted with this kind of thing” Angela says, only to be met with the same question from Alicia that Tyler handed to her earlier. “I don’t know! I don’t talk about this kind of stuff with him!” Angela replies, trembling at the worry that her reliance has been on the cards handed to her rather than the game itself. “We may not need to” Tyler replies, catching the allure of the group as he begins to formulate a crazy enough plan that just might work. “Would Louis be home right now?” Tyler asks, assured that every convoy leader would be getting ready at home for their town halls at this time.
Adjusting his tie, Louis approaches the front of his home as the doorbell sounds off and is welcomed to the sight of John Callis holding him at gunpoint with his finger held to his lips. After a tension-filled few seconds, Tyler, Angela and Alicia walk into view, further shocking Louis, dumbfounded at the unheard of sights. “Is this place bugged?” John whispers, watching Louis stutter over his thoughts before answering. “No, the convoy heads don’t get bugged” Louis replies, stepping back as John waves his hand towards him, entering the house as Alicia shuts the door behind them.
“Angela, why?” Louis asks, only for John to assure him that this has nothing to do with him. “She’s not here to hurt you, she’s here to help them” John says, pointing his gun at the massive glass wall overlooking Sheol Center. “What are you talking about?” Louis asks, immediately met with hostility from Alicia. “Don’t fuck around, Louis. You used Janice Garnett as a scapegoat to cover up your actions, and you killed her doing so” the woman says, met with, “We’re not going to let that happen again” from John.
“Look, I didn’t want to kill her, but what other choice did I have?” Louis asks, met with the obvious from Angela, who stands front and center awaiting a response. “If we don’t do what’s asked of us, we’re committing treason. If Tony demands something be done, it’s either do it or die. I had no other option.”
“Treason is committing the crime of trying to overthrow a government, refusing to torture someone isn’t treason” Tyler argues, only to be met with a separate definition from the man in the luxury suit. “Sheol changes whatever they want. If they say one thing means another, that’s law. Abide by it or die, we’ve all got a price.”
The statement giving sense to the way Tony’s referred to the people he’s taken captive. “Everyone’s currency” John mutters to himself, earning everyone’s attention, but more specifically Louis’. “If he wants silence, he can buy it. The people are Sheol, but the people are also currency. Silence costs a life, sometimes more.”
“That’s seriously fucked up” Tyler exclaims, met with agreement from their captive. “There’s very few that are exempt from that level of treatment, the convoy leaders are one of them until they start losing their value.” Asking the man what happens when convoy leaders get hurt, Alicia is met with the reply she was dreading having to hear. “Again, the convoy leaders are valuable until their value starts dropping.”
“This isn’t an authoritarian state” John says to himself, finally putting together why Sheol looks and feels eery despite looking like paradise in the middle of volcanic hell. “It’s a dictatorship ran by an authoritarian” John says, looking for a response from the man, only earning it in the form of his head hanging.
Biting his lip and worrying this is the wrong moment to pick, Tyler plays his cards and rolls the dice, filling Louis in on the basics. “We need to send a warning over the station” Tyler says, prompting every set of eyes in the room to dart his way. “Tell us where the radio control is and how to get there” the man concludes, looking to Angela before anyone else and watching the worry on her face.
“Wh- What warning?” Louis asks, thrown for a loop at the request he did not expect to accompany this kind of setup. “You just want to make an announcement?” Louis asks, less on edge and more baffled at the lengths they’ve taken. “We know you have a bomb, and we know that you’re aware that we have one too. We don’t want to let things escalate to that point, so this is our final attempt at ending things without any further bloodshed.”
Hearing John out, understanding that this is his way of keeping the thousands of civilians within Sheol’s walls from having to die or become misplaced, Louis fights his gut instinct and accepts to play his part. “Fine, I’ll play along… Just never mention me having anything to do with this, got it?” Accepting the terms, Louis fills in the blanks in the group’s plan.
“I’ll meet you all at the gates you came from when I can, just keep a low profile until then” Louis states, splitting away from the group before calling for John. “Listen, I know you come from a very different world than I do, so I get that you aren’t sure if you can trust me or not, and I’m fine with that” Louis begins, telling John that he couldn’t care less about the convoy, he cares about the people. “Most of these guys would be dead on arrival without this place, and I can’t let that happen. So if you’re serious about wanting to do whatever it takes to stop there from being bloodshed, I’ll do whatever you need me to do, just say the word, got it?”
Biting his lip and reminding Louis of the circumstances, John reminds him what kind of threat they’re dealing with. “This isn’t someone that wants what’s best for the community, he wants what’s best for himself and the people in power. I’ll do whatever I can, but I can’t promise blood won’t be shed when half of that promise relies on a man willing to kill whomever it takes to keep a hold on his control.”
“I get that, and if blood is shed because of that, I’m not putting any blame on your shoulders… I just need you to know that the only way I’m on board with your plan is if the bloodshed in question isn’t of your cause.” Nodding, John tells him that he’s glad to be on the same page as him before shaking his hand and returning to the group. “One more thing!” Louis says, tossing John a radio and telling him how to operate it. “Channel 46 is how we’ll talk, channel 77 will tune you into Radio Control. I never want you more than the switch of a dial away” Louis says, earning a two finger salute from the man before he vanishes into the crowd.
“Are you ready?” John asks, watching the three survivors around him dissipate into their separate stations before heading for the lake to await a boat to take him to the Sheol compound. Still in Sheol Center, Tyler and Angela race up a flight of stairs and approach a small shack atop a staircase tucked away from public view. At the top, Tyler and Angela are confronted by two guards, guns drawn at the pairing and demanding to know how they found entry into the space.
“Woah! We just stumbled onto it, we didn’t know what was up here!” Tyler replies, playing doltish whilst slowly readying to pull a gun from his back pocket. “Go back now!” one of the guards shouts, only to find his attempt at persuading the guests to leave thwarted by the Radio Control door opening, and a man far too familiar to Tyler walks free from it. “Gentlemen, what seems to be the problem here?” a man dressed in black asks, immediately catching an eye on Tyler.
“Well hello, friend!” the man says, assuring the guards that they’re friends just a little caught off guard by the drawn weapons. “Sir, they’re not supposed to be here” one of the guards argues, only to be immediately met with resistance from the man above. “Are you really trying to argue with the voice of Sheol as you hold two of its finest at gunpoint?” the man states, looking back to the pair and demanding the guards lower their weapons.
Doing so, the guards reluctantly allow safe passage for Tyler and Angela to climb the remaining steps and enter the lair of Radio Control. “You’re Jackrabbit?” Angela asks, watching the man remove his vintage shades and long black coat. “More importantly” Tyler butts in, “You’re the guy who’s been stalking me?”
With a smile and a wink, Jackrabbit answers both questions. “Yes, I’m indeed Jackrabbit, however you may call me Arsenal if you please… And what you appear to call stalking is what I refer to as admiring.” Shaking the mixture of bewilderment from his face, Tyler asks why he’s put such an eye on him. “Why wouldn’t I? What with you leading the resistance and all?” Arsenal replies, layering on another patch of intrigue.
“What the fuck do you mean by ‘the resistance’?” Tyler replies, pleased at the genuine lack of knowledge on display. “The group that most people quietly believe are going to set the record straight on the people that run Sheol. We refer to them as ‘the resistance’, it’s pretty much the only thing we count on anymore.”
Taking in a deep breath and attempting to find a response, Tyler gives up and takes a seat. “I don’t even know why I try to figure out what’s going on anymore” Tyler says to himself, his questioning carried on by Angela. “Who belongs to this ‘resistance’ thing?” Angela questions, “Where the hell do you meet if every place in this city is bugged?”
“Easy” Arsenal replies, “We hold our meeting over in the main yard.” Even more bewildered Tyler repeats the statement with humor, mocking the idea. “The one place no one expects to see people trying to overthrow the government is right below their nose. It’s perfect” Arsenal replies, taking a seat at his desk and surveying the town hall setup nearing the final few minutes before showtime. “You’re trying to disrupt the broadcast, aren’t you?” Arsenal asks, further surprising Tyler, somewhat impressed at the same time as being aggravated that he’s figured out so much of the plan without having to lift a finger.
“We’ve always suspected that this would be the first step. It doesn’t spill blood, at least not too much… And it’s the easiest moment in the process.” Now back to a seat and latching onto that final statement, Tyler asks Arsenal to elaborate. “The process you’re going to take to start the resistance. You infiltrate the radio waves, stir up some drama and hope the community takes the steps to overthrow the convoy themselves. If not, you’ll have something in store for an alternative to get it done yourselves.”
“So you’re actually on board with this place going down?” Angela asks, watching Arsenal reply with what appears to be obvious compliance. “Most of the people in the guard station only signed up to get used to the outer world. When they come back, they teach the people in secret that the guards wouldn’t accept.” Fascinated by the final aspect of that piece, Tyler asks, “So there are guards that are already waiting for the ‘resistance’?”
Laughing, Arsenal assures Tyler that it’s a greater number than what he thinks. “If Tony thinks all of his guards are devoted to his greater cause, he’s just under halfway wrong. We’ve essentially dug into the guard service and started spreading a virus.” Stumbling upon a realization, Angela states that the guards must already be onto it. “Oh, they’ve been aware of us for a long time. They just don’t know which is which, that’s why they’ve bugged rooms. Hell, that’s why they bigged my station!”
Leaping to his feet, Tyler asks for clarification. Reaching below his desk, Arsenal pulls a small microphone taped below the desk, immediately finding a gun drawn in his face from Tyler. “Relax, kid… We’ve already redirected the feed to a prerecorded loop. They still think it’s active and they never ask questions” Arsenal replies, “One of the dumbest things they ever thought to do was try and spy on a computer nerd, and then tell him where the microphone was hidden.”
With a smile, despite the gun scratching the itch at the tip of his nose, Arsenal stands up and walks over to his patio overseeing Sheol below. “It’s almost time to start the show” Arsenal replies, “You guys in or out?” Looking to each other, Tyler tucks his gun back behind his belt as the pair take a seat across from the far-too enthused radio operator.
“That will conclude our town hall, thank you ladies and gentlemen for joining us. Thank you to the people listening from home, we appreciate the support and we look forward to doing this again soon! Take care, Sheol!” Tony states, eliciting a crowd of roaring applause that mirrors that of a forced attendance as he picks up his sports jacket and walks for the end of the stage.
“Tony!” Louis calls, handing the man a note left by one of the assistants, “Apparently Salmanecci called, wants you to get back to him as soon as you can.” Looking at the note before looking back to Louis, “Didn’t Salmanecci know about the town hall?”
“I know he did, which is why I’m worried this is important” Louis replies, wishing him luck in taking the call with a pat on the back to show for it as the Convoy leader walks from the stage and shakes a few hands on his way back to his office. Out of sight from the crowd, Tony leans over to the guard accompanying him and asks why they’re taking the long route back to his office. “There’s report of a disturbance, I’ve been told to redirect you through the back” the guard replies, rounding a corner and approaching a door.
“We’re going through the courtroom?” Tony asks, met with the question of “That’s what you call it?” from John as he holds a gun to Tony’s head. “You motherfucker” Tony replies, watching the smile he’s put on for John so many times prior transfer over to John’s face. “Let’s take a walk, shall we?” John implies, nodding his head for Tony to unlock the door before the pair escape from the watchful eye of Sheol’s big brother-like complex and into the depths most residents wouldn’t even be aware of the existence of.