“It’s just a lot to wrap my head around” Cody replies, an equally uncertain Jaime stood by his storefront, what comes from this revelation being the direction she had intended on taking Los Angeles. “This isn’t about waiting for help to show up, it’s surviving on our own” Jaime explains, the lack of any potential help from the government meaning that it has become a game of ‘all for one, and one for all’ that they are apart of, “work with me, I work with you, and we survive together.”
Sucking on his lips, Cody extends his hand toward the woman, a few ground rules being laid out before a deal can be made. “I want a few guards stationed in the camp to protect from looters, which I suspect will start showing up once this news gets out” Cody explains, the rest of his conditions being simple terms for their deal, “are we clear on that?”
The man’s requests being nothing too difficult to manage, Jaime finishes the gesture, shaking the man’s hand and finally snagging a lifeline. “So Chevy and Kayla are staying up in Colorado for the next few weeks, eh?” Cody proceeds, their conversation now taking a more casual direction with negotiations having been dealt with, a disappointed Jaime confirming such truth.
“Perhaps it’s for the best… It’s good to have the eye in the sky be one of your own, I suppose” Cody responds, the woman before his counter patting him on the shoulder reassuringly. “They’re one of your own, too” Jaime replies, the appreciative man flashing her a smile, his giddy nod presenting a friendly exterior. “I know we can’t replenish your crop stockpile as quickly as you’d hope for, but at least you’ve got something to fall upon” Cody quips, turning his mind toward the fires.
Hesitant to go too far into detail, Jaime explains that the man responsible for putting her fiance into a coma had managed to break out of his medical containment, the conclusion one that worries Cody. “So he’s still out and on the loose?” Cody wonders aloud, the confirmation of such a statement proving to be something that the storeowner takes interest in. “What did you say his name was again?” Cody asks, his eyebrows furrowing as Jaime speaks the man’s name.
“Where have I heard of a ‘Ryan Mulaney’ before?” Cody asks himself, the wet rag in his left hand pressed between his palm and the wooden countertop, everything he was doing coming to a cease in that very moment. “Is he a kinda short, pothead-looking dude?” Cody asks, the description too vague to gather a specific image, but traveling along the same lines Jaime happens to be looking for.
“Short brown hair, kinda like a buzzcut? Usually wears a sweatshirt, sometimes wears a plumber’s uni?” Cody specifies, the description now specific enough to catch Jaime’s guard completely. “That dude came out here once every few days until a few weeks ago!” Cody exclaims, this discovery immediately peaking the woman’s interest, her request to know as much as the man can offer being accepted as soon as it’s asked for.
“He’d come into town and sit at that pub down at the end of Ayala Road with a few of his buddies!” Cody shouts, his hand angrily waving in the direction of the pub, “they never looked like they were up to any good, I always preferred to leave them alone.” With a smile on her face, Jaime tells Cody that she’s very happy to be working with him as she makes a dash for the exit, her eyes set on the pub at the end of the street.
Darting through the entrance, Jaime approaches the bartender and immediately describes Ryan’s posture, appearance and mannerisms, the description something the bartender picks up on immediately. “He’s the one that took that shot on you, right?” the bartender asks, Jaime’s sigh-filled nod giving the tattooed woman the answer she was expecting.
Curling her finger toward the woman, the bartender leads Jaime into a backroom away from the patrons, the words shooting through her mouth the moment they’re somewhere more secluded. “He and his buddies come in every week, and tonight’s their usual night” the bartender responds, leading Jaime and Lazarus to the corner of the room and telling them to wait there, “please tell me that, however you plan on doing it, you’re getting rid of him.”
Unable to say exactly that, Jaime does inform the woman that she intends on returning him to imprisonment by the end of the evening, an answer that sits well enough with the establishment owner. “Take a seat wherever you please and help yourself” the woman replies, handing the pair two bottles of beer, both different, and both to the liking of the ones who hold them. “How did you know what beer I liked?” Jaime asks, the smile on the bartender’s face telling the story.
“I read people with alcohol, you’re not that difficult no matter what power you’ve got, Ms. L.A. Times” the woman responds, earning a smirk from her visitor. “Cheers, Ms…?” Jaime continues, her glass held into the air, awaiting the woman’s name. “...DeMarco… Jazz DeMarco” the bartender replies, tapping her knuckles against the brim of Jaime’s beer, her own end of the greeting held up.
= 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 =
“Day ten since leaving Los Angeles, day three since figuring out the United States no longer exists” Chevy exclaims humorously, Kayla chuckling at the self-recollection beneath the covers of her bed. “I wonder what the rest of the world has done in the last week and a half” Kayla remarks, a smile coming over Chevy’s face as he throws a brand new shirt over his torso, “most probably aren’t taking hot showers like we are.”
Leaning back toward his girlfriend, Chevy places a kiss on the top of her head, preparing to continue assisting the rest of the convoy in clearing out the decaying bodies. “You sure you’re okay?” Chevy questions, the woman quickly passing off the nauseous feelings as nothing more than a common stomach bug. “I’m fine” Kayla responds, looking up at her boyfriend with a compassionate smile, “I think I just need to have an actual night's sleep rather than close my eyes and pretend.”
With a smile, Chevy places his hand upon the woman’s shoulder and gives it a gentle rub, his thumb pressing into the soft spot between her neck and collarbone. “I love you” Chevy softly says, Kayla quickly returning the statement, a kiss on her forehead preceding his departure to the rest of the bunker. As the door to their room shuts, Kayla listens quietly for her boyfriend’s footsteps, hearing them continue to fade off into the distance before disappearing all together.
Throwing her covers off, Kayla quietly approaches the bedroom door and presses her ear to the divider, a quiet twisting of the doorknob locking the entrance from the inside. With a deep breath, Kayla turns back toward the opposite end of their room and gives herself a reassuring nod, her exhausted legs carrying her to the adjacent bathroom, hand flicking the light switch directly beside her as she walks through the doorway.
“How’s it going, Ben?” Chevy asks, approaching the young man and speaking through a rebreather, his hands and feet covered in disposable gloves and protective wear. “Getting more used to this every day, Chevy” Ben replies, a nod returned from the leader of the convoy, both bending over to remove the fallen corpse of a former marine, the uniform still adorned, pistol used to commit suicide still laid on the floor by his side.
“We should scrub down that wall, get these weapons into a bin to bring back to L.A” Chevy says to himself, dumping the body into a large plastic bin, the laundry list of ways to improve the space suggesting it to potentially become a second home. “What are the chances that we do stay here?” Ben wonders aloud, Chevy having to ask for more specifics at first, not truly sure on how to answer the original question.
“How likely would it be that Jaime has a group stay out here to look over the bunker for Los Angeles?” Ben clarifies, leaving Chevy to look toward the man, giving him his undivided attention, “what are the odds Jaime keeps some of us back to keep this place in her control?” With a deep breath, Chevy begins to mentally unpack the loaded question, no easy answer to be found when speaking on behalf of what Jaime would wish for most.
“I wouldn’t put it past her, if that’s what you’re asking?” Chevy responds, not knowing Jaime like the back of his hand, but knowing her well enough to understand how her mind works, “I just hope Kayla and I don’t need to stay here for the next ‘x’ amount of years.” With a nod, Ben finds an understanding in that desire, admitting a slight homesickness when thinking back to the city fondly.
“Do you miss Los Angeles?” Chevy asks, the question being one that comes with equal benefits and neglects as far as Ben is concerned. “I miss it in the sense that it’s the city I’ve always called home” the young man replies, the existence of it in this post-society world never changing his view of it once, “but at the same time, what we have here isn’t something that’s fleeting, or it’s not in danger of changing anymore.”
Finding common ground, Chevy makes it clear to Ben that he’s not alone in that assumption, the same being true for plenty of people, both that have a say and those that don’t. “It’s a matter of whatever’s most important” Chevy explains, never putting anything over Kayla in regards to what occupies that spot in his mind, “but other than Kayla, nothing is more important than keeping Los Angeles running. If that means she and I stay here with some of you all, so be it.”
With a smile, Ben holds his hand out, the gesture one that Chevy considers for a moment, eventually relenting and meeting Ben with a handshake, the response putting a smile on the younger man’s visage.
“You and your sister have become the polarizing subject between my daughters” Alex responds, laying beneath the covers of her bed, curled up beside Chris, the man, understanding of such being the case, expressing his disappointment. “I’m sorry, I should have been less blunt about things” Chris explains, admitting that he prefers to look at things in the most historically-beneficial way he can, “perception in this world seems more valuable than honest facts.”
With a sigh, Alex runs her hand upon the man’s chest, up toward his neck, down toward his abs and the process repeats, the calm truth of the moment revealing room for honest pillowtalk. “Is something wrong?” Chris asks, noticing the woman’s internal conflict and making sure to address it, her worries something that he wishes to acknowledge when they arise.
“I just don’t like my daughter and my boyfriend getting off on the wrong foot” Alex replies, a grin creeping in over Chris’ face as she continues, “it’s not ideal.” Met with silence, the woman looks toward the man beside her, eyes narrowing in confusion. “What?” Alex asks, a smile appearing in the corner of her mouth as Chris answers. “You called me your ‘boyfriend’” he responds, running his thumb over the woman’s shoulder, his arm around the back of her neck.
“Oh shit, is that… Is that okay?” Alex asks, concerned she’d ruined the momentum they had been building, Chris quickly arguing otherwise. “I’m just glad you said it” Chris replies, warmly embracing the woman, pulling her in tightly as a knock emerges from the front door. Rolling his eyes, Chris tosses the covers off his body and reaches to the floor for his clothes, assuming the knock to be for him.
“I have to accompany my sister to that camp out in the hills, but I will be back later tonight” Chris promises, watching Alex emerge from the bed, the covers held over her naked body. “Sounds good” the woman responds, leaving the man another kiss before turning in the direction of the shower. Out of the corner of her eye, Alex notices a string of scratches leading down the inside of Chris’ left bicep, prompting her to inquire about them.
“Probably Julia at some point” Chris replies, rubbing his thumb along the scabbed-over wounds, “I like to snatch folders out of her hands, and sometimes she likes to scratch me in return… I deserve it.” Dressed in the attire he arrived in, Chris lays another kiss onto Alex’s lips before hurrying to the front door, a repeat of the first set of knocks prompting him to hurry his pace.
“I’m coming, hold on a damn sec!” Chris shouts, soon walking through the front door and slamming it shut on his way out, a shower-bound Alex quick to shake her head at the display. Turning on the knob, Alex lets the hot water run, a last minute thought bringing her back into the bedroom in search for a hair tie. Recalling a roll in the nightstand beside the bed, her stroll carries her toward the furniture before the bottom of her foot steps on something jagged.
Lifting her sole, Alex looks to the floor and notices a shiny aluminum, key in the carpet, the edges pointy and the head of the key holding a thin metal loop. Inspecting the piece, she begins to rummage through her head over the possible things it can belong to, not a single thing coming to mind. Trying her best to consider the reasons behind the tool’s existence, Alex comes up empty, eventually deciding to tuck the key away in the nearest nightstand before hopping into the shower.
“You seem very calm for a woman prepared to confront the kind of man we’re after” Lazarus notes, earning an intrigued smirk, “might I ask why?” The deep tone of the man’s voice keeps the conversation from dragging on its clear, near-vibrato like sound alone, Jaime proceeds to do her best in answering honestly, investing in their conversation.
“The only thing I fear is being forced to live in a world without Jordan” Jaime responds, shrugging off the concept of death as unimportant, “I’ve dabbled in cheating it before, it doesn’t charm me like it used to.” With a gentle nod, Lazarus recalls once being told that such is a sign not too promising, the suggestion immediately prompting Jaime to look toward him, her head angled down slightly, eyes still finding the whites of the man’s own, “it’s as if there’s nothing else to live for.”
“I’m the leader of Los Angeles, which is basically a country of its own at this point” Jaime replies, quickly arguing against the man’s logic, considering it flawed, “I’m sure I have plenty to live for.” Taking a swig from the bottle, Lazarus gently places the condensation-covered bottom in the center of the table, both of his hands interlocking their fingers together, placed palm-down on the table in front of him.
“Would it matter without Jordan?” Lazarus responds, curious as to what Jaime would do if he spent the next few years in a comatose state, “what would you do if it took him years to wake up?” Not fond of the thought, Jaime recognizes Lazarus’ attempt to better understand her and decides to play along, suffering through the thought in an effort to please his intrigue.
“I would find a way to survive until he did” Jaime replies, downing another sip of her beverage, the question left in Lazarus’ corner to ask once more. “And what if he didn’t wake up?” Lazarus responds, his question immediately bringing a well-contained sadness over Jaime’s face, her head hanging as she finds herself unable to hold eye contact. Noticing this, Lazarus is quick to apologize, explaining that he only wanted to know how far she has planned ahead.
A few seconds passing without another word, Jaime surprises Lazarus by answering the question, the woman always having had an answer, but never being comfortable with it. “I’d have a hard time deciding which is right and wrong” Jaime replies, comfortable with being able to admit to her flaws, understanding where she’d begin to lose herself, “I was lucky to find him when I did, and I likely wouldn’t be here right now without him.”
Comforted by the thought of his leader’s self-awareness, Lazarus takes his beer into his hand once more, lifting it to his lips before admitting that he once felt the same way. “When I was young, my wife was merely my high school sweetheart” Lazarus explains, a smile coming over his face as the easier times are comforting to think about, “I didn’t think I’d want to breathe another breath without being able to wake up beside her every day.”
Confused, Jaime picks up on the grim thought, quickly conjuring the reason for it just as the words leave Lazarus’ mouth. “But when she was sent off the overpass eight years ago, I had to truly put that theory to the test” Lazarus continues, the backstory he’d told very few about since the catalyst occurred being offered to the one woman he’s been put in a position to trust whole-heartedly, “it appeared I had been wrong about that at some point down the line, ‘cause I’m still here.”
Unable to hold back a smile, Jaime looks to her beer and takes another swig, a few more seconds of silence coming over the pair before Jaime decides to open up. “I was once attending therapy pretty regularly. Issues with the family made it difficult to deal with on my own” she explains, mustering up the courage to speak the name of the woman she so badly wished to in that moment, “she was the best influence I had in life before Jordan.”
“What was her name?” Lazarus replies, the question prompting a watery-eyed Jaime to look up at him, a heartbroken, yet prideful smile adorned over her face. “Kate” Jaime responds, quickly running her arm over her face, the tears smeared against her skin, leaving a watery trail down to her inner elbow. Letting a deep breath leave her lungs through parted lips, Jaime downs another few sips of her drink before setting it beside Lazarus’ own, ready to continue.
“She was walking me to my car after one of our sessions when a crash happened outside the clinic” Jaime explains, recalling the events and finally, for the first time since it happened, acknowledging what happened to the woman that day. “We raced over to the cars to check on the people inside, and…” Jaime begins, choking up before forcing herself through, “...and she ran back to the building just as a car was speeding past the wreckage.”
Admitting that she never stayed past the moment it took her to realize what happened, Jaime explains that she wouldn’t know the truth until the cops showed up at her doorstep a few days later. “They said the best they could tell me was that she died instantly” Jaime explains, her head shaking as the surreal event still fails to feel real in anything other than her deepest cores, “but I still went to the bar that night. That’s where I met Jordan, and we haven’t looked back since.”
Reaching out, Lazarus pats the young woman on the arm and assures her that the toughest obstacles in life are thrown to the people most capable of taking them on. “I choose to believe everything has a greater reason for happening than what it appears to have” Lazarus explains, the alternative leaving him with an empty feeling he can never shake, “whatever’s meant to happen is part of a bigger picture as far as I’m concerned. I can only hope that picture is a good one.”
Biting into her bottom lip, Jaime playfully taps her knuckle against the back of Lazarus’ hand, watching the guard smile for the first time since he’d been appointed to serve as her security detail. Attempting to resume talking, Jaime watches the bar doors open, revealing a group of men walking to their normal table, the spot occupied by familiar-looking gentlemen.
Stopping in their tracks, the men begin to concern themselves with the people having taken their spot, a very familiar looking man to Jaime stood at the very back of the group. “They’re not going to kill you unless you give them a reason to” Jaime exclaims, prompting the group to turn toward her simultaneously, “I’m more interested in having a chat with you boys than I am in painting this place red with your blood.”
“Hey, honey” Chevy greets, stretching his arms out the moment he walks through the doorway, his rebreather mask tossed onto the couch in the back of the room. “How’re you feeling?” Chevy asks, a few seconds of looking through a mostly-dark room passing before he notices the lack of Kayla in bed. “Honey?” Chevy calls out again, his feet carrying him to the bathroom, a harsh light emerging through the darkness, only illuminating another empty room.
“Hey, Benji… Have you seen Kayla?” Chevy asks, storming through the hallways in search of the woman, his concerns not heightened yet, a level head still accompanying his need to find answers. Without success, Chevy continues to venture down every accessible portion of the bunker before finding the woman in one of the many recreational rooms, Kayla’s feet propped up on the couch as she rests her head on the side of the seat.
“Kayla?” Chevy calls out, watching her quickly turn back at the sound of his voice, a smile breaking out over her face, the concern on his own ever present. “Why are you hanging around out here?” Chevy asks, the question quickly brushed aside by Kayla, who looks away as the man walks over to sit beside her. “I just wanted to get out of that room for a minute” Kayla replies, the look on her face suggesting a reason deeper than just that.
Placing his hand over the woman’s leg, Chevy asks the woman to tell him what the problem is, the question itself prompting the woman to take the man’s hand into her own. In a single moment, Kayla’s face begins to swell up with tears, a grave fear coming over her as she’s faced with answering to what she’s not ready for. “Kay, what’s going on?” Chevy asks, taking his lover’s hands into his own as the girl becomes overwhelmed, worried at what she’d possibly say.
Taking his hand toward Kayla’s face, Chevy directs her chin to his own level, looking the woman in the eyes and promising that whatever it is will be fine. “I know” the girl responds through a whimper, the revelation she holds being nothing of the worry aspect, but instead, rooted entirely in a world-shattering admission. Taking a few deep breaths, Kayla looks the man in the eyes and admits the truth that had been weighing upon her chest, a brief second allowing her world to change.
“I’m pregnant” Kayla replies, the words coming out with perfect clarity, the purposeful shock she forces herself to endure in order to get the words out prompting the burning pit in her stomach to disappear. Caught by surprise, Chevy looks into the woman’s eyes and breaks out into a smile, the fear she once held now being understood in its reason. “You’re… you’re pregnant?” Chevy responds, the gleeful tone in his voice prompting a smile to force its way through Kayla’s lips.
“Holy fuck, you’re pregnant!” Chevy exclaims, quickly throwing his arms around the woman and pulling her into an embrace, the worry of speaking her pregnancy into existence vanishing with Chevy’s joyous reaction. Her face sinking into the soft part of the man’s shoulder, Kayla returns the embrace, her smile unable to be hidden once more, teeth remaining visible through her parted lips, the joy of the moment too much to be controlled.
“Do you expect us to believe that?” one of the men replies, removing a gun from his waistband, Jaime’s armed security, which outnumber the group three to one, immediately respond in the same way. As other patrons back away from the scene, Jaime tells everyone involved to keep their fingers off the triggers, vowing to pay Jasmine for the order she gives next, demanding anyone not part of her security detail and not involved with the group in question leave the premises.
“I’ve got it from here, Kip” Ryan calls back, the man responsible for initiating the mass-arming being told to stand back, the man Jaime is truly here for taking over the conversation. “If I were you, Jaime… I wouldn’t be counting too much on this numbers advantage you’ve got here” Ryan explains, his finger bouncing around the room, counting every security guard with their gun drawn, “three-to-one advantage when any of the guys behind me only need one shot to do what they wish to.”
Nodding, Jaime proceeds to agree with Ryan’s conclusion, admitting that the only bullet that would be fired without probable cause would likely be directed at her. “Even with that said, I think there’s a lot more to this then you or your friends may think” Jaime explains, making sure to credit the man for the well-executed escape he managed to pull off, “I think your group is trying to start something you really don’t want to see come to fruition.”
With a smile, Ryan laughs at the conclusion the woman has come to, curious as to what she believes she has in leverage. “In order to create a revolution, you need the strength of an army to follow your every word” Jaime explains, pointing to the small group behind Ryan and explaining that it isn’t big enough to handle what he’s looking to accomplish, “what would the public think of the group that killed the woman who was just on the cusp of getting things back to normal?”
Squinting, Ryan reminds the woman of what he set in motion, the famine that he’s prepared leaving Jaime with an impossible hill to climb. “You’ll never make your September deadline, so I’m not even sure we need to do much more” Ryan says, his arrogance undeserved, the plans Jaime has set in motion not yet revealed to him, “I think the Angelinos will take care of you themselves.”
With a smile, Jaime begins to laugh, unable to hold back her amusement, eventually having to tie her hair back into a ponytail once the sweat starts to run from her forehead. “I’m sorry, I can’t take you seriously like this” Jaime replies, treating the man as a joke much to Ryan’s surprise, even Lazarus’ smile presenting itself, a sight that only brings confusion upon the bar-inhabiting group of conspirators.
“I would never tell Kennedy this- mostly because I didn’t know who to tell this to- but I didn’t name drop you the other day for a reason” Jaime responds, watching the concern come over Ryan’s face. “I just struck a deal to get the crops you destroyed in order by the middle of October” Jaime explains, the delay annoying, but nothing threatening to her government, “if I wanted to, I could tell the Angelinos about your daring escape, and leave you to deal with the aftermath.”
“Bullshit” Ryan replies, anger beginning to build in his core, a rage coming over his glare only matched by the scorn visible upon Jaime’s face. “I could hold a public statement tomorrow, informing them of your escape and subsequent burning of their crops, and pin the delay on you and your friends here” Jaime explains, the power card being returned to her deck, the sour face she sports only further enraging the man before her, “then explain how I swooped in, made a deal, and became the hero.”
“And how did you make a deal?” Ryan responds, demanding to know how she managed to swindle her way into an agreement with Cody, the question answered with a smug shrug from Jaime’s chip-ridden shoulders. With a deep breath, Jaime allows a silence to build over the bar as she considers her next move, the high-risk bet she made on herself at the earlier press conference having paid off and then some.
“I’ll give you two choices, Ryan” Jaime explains, not one to treat the group that calls her out for less-democratic ways of holding office with anything less than a diplomatic decision. Backing away, Jaime pulls Jasmine away from behind the bar and walks through the front door beside her. “You can all surrender yourself to Lazarus, hands above your head and all” Jaime offers, presenting Ryan with a less-flattering alternative, “or you can all be slaughtered where you stand.”
Walking through the door, Jaime walks out into the middle of the road beside Jasmine and takes a seat on a nearby bench, keeping herself far away from the ongoing circumstances. “Are we placing bets?” Jasmine jokes, earning a chuckle from the leader of Los Angeles. Minutes passing, silence continues to fill the air until the bar doors open once more, both Jasmine and Jaime sharing a small can of beer whilst watching from across the street.
“Wise choice” Jaime calls out, standing up from her seat on the bench and approaching the five members of the group, all of which being led with their hands restrained behind their backs, looking at her with cold, judgmental eyes. “I’m glad to see you all came around” Jaime explains, immediately being forced to dodge a wad of spit sent from the mouths of one of the restrained.
With a nod, Jaime gives Lazarus permission to punch the man responsible in the face, the spaghetti legs he is picked up on as a result of the consequences his actions carry. “You’re going to rue this day, Jaime” Ryan exclaims, the statement he makes bringing a smile to the woman’s face, her eyes widened with the glee that is carried through her veins.
“I would indulge you and ask how exactly you’d go about that, but in all honesty- I don’t think it matters” Jaime replies, stepping within inches of the man’s face and leaving him with a hushed declaration, “you’re never gonna get the chance.” With a nod to her head of security, Jaime watches the five conspirators be dragged off toward their dungeon-centered interrogation base, a handshake offered to Jasmine from a woman appreciative of her assistance.
“Just keep those fuckers away from my bar, and the pleasure will have been all mine” Jasmine responds, calling out to the lingering tavern-goers awaiting their chance to return. “First beer on the house!” Jasmine exclaims, a silent wave of people immediately rushing up to the front doors. With a chuckle, Jaime lets out a deep breath and takes a moment to stretch, her feet carrying her back to Los Angeles, her work in Lancaster being done with for the moment.
== Dire ==