“It took a little longer than we expected, but the control line is finished” Fred explains, Jaime remaining patiently sat behind her desk, hearing the chief continue, “there’s a lot of damage done outside of the line, but we’ve got a few hundred yards of blackened forest between us and the rest of the city.” Though pleased at the completion of her project, Jaime takes great dissatisfaction in the divide presented, the charred trees seen in the distance through the view of her office window.
Elbow laid upon her armrest, hand holding her chin up as she looks toward the only view of the city she has, Jaime asks the fire chief what his greatest hopes for the future are. “I’d just like to provide for my family, Ms. Morris” Fred replies, Jaime’s chair slowly turning toward the man at the head of her room, looking at him with a straight-forward glare, almost as if she were expecting Fred to reply with something more.
“What is the one thing your department wants more than anything else?” Jaime proceeds to ask, the question stumping the man for a moment, such a thought never having crossed his mind. “I suppose we’d like to be able to grow in numbers” Fred responds, not many things immediately coming to mind aside from what he’s now put forward, “it’d be nice to, in the event of a major event being brought forward, not have to completely exasperate our man power.”
Smiling behind her hand, Jaime gives Fred a nod and proves good on her word, the dedication he’s shown to her city being something she refuses to overlook. “The families of every fire department worker and volunteer will be made a priority when food supplies are handed out, and are to be on the shortlist in the event a shortage ever does occur” Jaime replies, the gesture putting a smile on the man’s face, his satisfaction not yet reaching its peak.
“Furthermore, I will organize a drive with the hopes of enticing more people to volunteer for your workforce” Jaime explains, her hand held out as she offers Fred the position of a place in her future cabinet. “If we’re going to make this work, we need to function as a full government, the only people we can depend on being ourselves” Jaime explains, her hand remaining extended, “in order to do that, I’m putting together a cabinet to oversee things I have little knowledge of. I want you on it.”
Promising to keep the man in his position as fire chief, Jaime places him in charge of all emergency service personnel, his power expanding with the simple acceptance of her offer. With a smile, Fred shakes the woman’s hand and treats the offer as an honor, explaining how proud he is to serve beneath her. With a nod, Jaime hears the tapping at her door call for her attention, promising to keep in touch with Fred as he is excused.
Graciously leaving the room, Fred passes Kennedy and Amelia, both of whom remain slightly perturbed by Jaime, though accept her success as a fair-played game. “I still wish you told us” Kennedy explains, both she and Amelia being assured by Los Angeles’ ruler that she regrets not doing so sooner. “Neither of you have given me a reason not to trust you” Jaime explains, accepting the error in her own ways, “I shouldn’t have taken actions that would suggest that’s not case.”
Accepting her sister’s apology, Kennedy directs the conversation toward Chevy and Kayla, a smile threatening to break out across her face as Jaime updates her. “We’ve got another crew heading out to the bunker. They’ll oversee the rest of the convoy they were leading” Jaime responds, a grin on her face that refuses to be hidden emerging as she concludes, “Chevy, Kayla and the baby-to-be are bound for Los Angeles tomorrow evening.”
Over the moon, Kennedy voices her pleasure in the result as Alex begins knocking at the door. “I’m not interrupting anything, right?” Alex replies, the three girls inside welcoming her upon first glance. “I was just telling Kennedy about Chevy and Kayla” Jaime responds, Alex’s eyes set on Kennedy’s enthusiastic face, taking appreciation in getting to see such a rare sight.
“Am I late for dinner I wasn’t aware of?” Jaime mutters to herself, the question not directed at anything other than a blank corner of the room whilst Alex’s eyes fall upon the sound of her voice. “Honey, Julia needs you whenever you have a minute” Alex replies, Jaime’s eyebrows furrowing at the suggestion, “I guess she has a question about Jordan’s kidneys?”
Nothing to offer other than that, Alex looks at her daughter with a shared confusion, her mind not coming up with any reason as to why such questions would be asked. “Thanks for letting me know” Jaime responds, leaving her chair and tossing her coat over the back, preparing to brace the summer heat. “We won't mess with any of your shit, promise” Kennedy calls back, knowing where her sister’s concerns would lay, a playful eye roll given back as Jaime rounds the corner.
= 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 =
“What have we learned thus far?” Chevy asks, standing beside a whiteboard with an uncapped marker in his hand, Kayla sat in a chair a few feet away from him as the rest of their convoy remain seated around a table. “The catalyst is known as ‘Project 1172’ to government officials, the mission was a failure and all government personnel were redirected to this bunker” a voice calls out from afar, speaking with the stroke of Chevy’s hand, “very few made it.”
Calling out for additional responses, Chevy begins to write these different descriptors at various places on the board, treating it more like a puzzle to solve than a bullet-pointed list. “The president- and supposedly the rest of his family- died en-route to the complex” another voice calls out, adding the declaration to cease government function, “it appears as though the catalyst has occurred across the globe and all fingers are pointed at us.”
The woman who’d just concluded her point being pointed out, Chevy calls for her to continue through the rest of her findings, taking interest in the way she recalls the information. “Come on, Carly… What else do we have here?” Chevy calls out, the woman immediately sinking back into her chair, feet kicked upon a footrest hidden beneath the table. “The acid rainstorm seems to be moving west with no end in sight and few countries are fully operational” the young woman continues, paused by Chevy.
“The acid storm is continuing to move west, and it’s already made it past the Pacific” Chevy explains, looking out at the convoy-populated table, “that means it can cross the Atlantic again with ease.” The last estimation they’ve made puts the rainstorm right at the coastline of Europe and Africa, Chevy notes the approach it is taking upon the Atlantic ocean, the threat of it crossing back into the country and coming around for a second time now likely.
“Keep going, Carly” Chevy exclaims, a moment to process this conclusion preceding his return to transcribing every piece of information into one, collected source. “Major cities have fallen, the federal government is non-existent, and there has been no contact from democratic powers within this country to the outside world since the first few days of the catalyst” Carly concludes, the remnants of what she has to offer being discarded with the re-capping of Chevy’s marker.
Hands upon his hips, Chevy looks at the assortment of notes with wonder, his eyes darting from one note to another, all in different patterns, trying to visualize a connection between what has been offered. “I want to know how it failed, why it failed, and who ordered the president to fly out in the middle of the storm” Chevy explains, the major questions left unanswered not being unaccompanied by anything less than missing pieces of the puzzle.
“I want to know which cities are still standing, which we have communication with, and what our line of defense is from within this complex” Chevy continues, gazing at the board for another few seconds before uncapping his marker once more. With his hand’s guidance, the marker’s tip glides along the whiteboard before being capped yet again, returned to a holder at the base of the board and made visible to the rest of the room, one question left in the center of every note.
“What is left?” the words describe, very little else left to be answered than that, allowing Chevy immediately walking away from the board and venture out into the depths of the bunker. After a few minutes, Kayla catches up to her boyfriend, the man entering a vehicle with the intention of going out for a drive, his efforts halted by the time Kayla taps upon his passenger’s window.
“Got any room for another?” the woman asks, Chevy’s pre-occupied expression making room for a humorous eye roll, his hand guided toward the door, unlocking it. Parking beneath an assortment of trees in the midst of a long-abandoned hiking trail, Chevy emerges from his vehicle and rushes over to the opposite side, opening the door for his pregnant girlfriend before looking toward the most-scenic trail offered.
“I never thought- with as often as I stayed indoors- that I’d be willingly going on a hike” Chevy explains, the thought bewildering him, its existence only bringing light to Kayla’s puzzling predicament. “I never would’ve thought I’d want a child, but here we are” she replies, a chuckle brought out of Chevy before a few seconds pass, the man immediately asking where she’d originally expected herself to be.
“What, had the world not ended?” Kayla responds, the confirmation of such dialogue prompting her to give the question some thought, never one to have planned too far out into the future. “I guess I would’ve expected to be a teacher somewhere” Kayla replies, the thought of having children never before something she was interested in, but helping them develop as people was a direction that always intrigued her, “maybe it wouldn’t have happened this soon, but I’d have hoped for it eventually.”
Tucking his hands into his pockets, Chevy continues to stroll along the partially-overgrown path, the clouds ahead suggesting rainfall that refuses to come to earth, its effects only on the moody appearance of the sky. “You never thought you’d want to have a kid?” Chevy responds, the question never having been something worth asking before now, its existence leaving Kayla very little alternative.
“It’s not like I hate kids, I just never gave it the thought of if I wanted them” Kayla replies, admitting that she never expected to find someone worth starting a family with. Trying to keep his smile hidden, Chevy allows the mother-to-be to continue speaking, their stroll nearly taking them to the peak of their journey. “The world wasn’t a place to find love before. It was all a bunch of pointless hookups” Kayla explains, the old world having slowly drained her of hope in them.
“Love didn’t seem possible at some point- and I’m not sure when- but it did somewhere along the lines” Kayla continues, still keeping up with her other half, “I never assumed I’d be able to find it.” Greatly appreciating her change in outlook, Chevy admits that the world ending could have helped in that regard, but his appreciation for what they’ve become has never lessened.
Their original conversation ending there, the pair approach their final stretch, legs carrying them to a dead-end overlooking a mountainous area covered in all sorts of fauna, one waterfall off in the distance breaking through the field of green. In astonishment, Kayla walks up to the very edge of the path, her knees pressing against the metal barrier as she looks out amongst the landscape, the sights she’s blessed with the luxury of seeing provide her with a sense of peace.
“End of the world or not, I’m glad mother nature keeps kicking” Kayla remarks, looking to her left to find her love no longer beside her, the space to each end of her vacant. “Chev-?” Kayla mutters, stopping herself as she turns around, the man she’d accompanied to the vantage point knelt a few yards behind her, on one knee with a pair of rings in the palm of his right hand.
“Chevy, what’s-?” Kayla asks, almost unsure of how to approach the sight, something dedicated to her not coming across as real at first, her mind unable to process the gesture until Chevy begins to answer. “Kayla Barnett, for god’s sake- will you finally change your last name and marry me?” Chevy asks aloud, his words not skipping a beat, the woman taking a moment to accept the reality she’s walked into before a tear rolls from her eye.
“Sure, I’ll change my last name” Kayla responds, pausing for a moment to catch her breath, her bearings having eluded her for a moment, “and yes- yes, I’ll marry you.” Returning to his feet, Chevy approaches his newly-minted fiance and takes one of the rings to her finger, the band sliding upon her hand with ease. Doing the same with the second ring upon his own hand, Chevy pulls Kayla into an embrace, a kiss shared between the couple before the scenic background.
“I hear you were asking for me?” Jaime calls out, entering Jordan’s hospital room to find Julia checking over his vitals as per usual, the doctor looking back upon her presence. Greeting the woman, Julia quickly reaches out for a chair, dragging it beside Jordan’s bed before occupying a second seat. “I don’t want to alarm you” Julia explains, watching Jaime occupy the chair before her, hand reaching out for Jordan’s, “as of this moment, Jordan’s in a curious position.”
Concerned, Jaime asks the woman to elaborate, the conversation recalling their initial introduction to the issue. “When Jordan first emerged from surgery, I said he should awaken from his coma within a few weeks” Julia explains, the edge of that prediction quickly approaching, “he doesn’t show signs of coming out of this thing any more than he originally did.”
Pulling back, Jaime presses into the chair and looks toward her fiance, a smile coming across her face to not allow her to appear worried. “I thought you said he was ‘getting better’?” Jaime replies, Julia quickly explaining that such a case was true both then and now. “The fact that his vitals are still average is a good thing- actually, it’s a great thing” Julia explains, the concern being left with the potential length of the coma he has left to endure.
“The longer someone spends in a coma, the less likely it is that they’ll wake up” Julia explains, the dread beginning to slowly encumber Los Angeles’ leader, “the reason for that is usually brain damage.” Quickly reminding the doctor that Jordan was shot in the chest rather than in the head, Jaime finds herself approached with the issue of his surgery.
“We had to revive him on the table before we could begin the operation, so we’re not sure how long he wasn’t breathing” Julia explains, the lack of an operable EEG machine in the building making it impossible to accurately diagnose, “there’s a chance the issue is worse than we had originally assumed.” Letting go of Jordan’s hand, Jaime removes herself from the chair and approaches the curtained-window, tossing the blinds open to reveal a sunset, her breathing unsteady with this revelation’s weight.
“If you’re trying to tell me something, I’m going to ask that you please stop building up to it” Jaime explains, trying to calm herself before glancing back at Julia, “-just rip the bandaid off.” Her lips puckered, Julia hangs her head for a moment before leaving her seat, walking up to Jaime’s side and placing her hand on the woman’s shoulder.
“While there is a chance that we could be worried over nothing,” Julia begins, watching the tears form in Jaime’s eyes, “-there’s a chance Jordan isn’t going to make it.” Lip quivering, Jaime wipes away the loose salty droplet and replaces her sad-stricken expression with one of rage, her eyes set on the hospital room door as her feet carry her through the entrance. Without wanting to add any burden, Lazarus takes after the woman in silence, simply following to spectate what comes next.
“Ugh, you again?” Kennedy greets, Chris stood on the opposite side of the door she holds the handle of, his understandable awkward grin being given in return. “Hello, littlest one” Chris responds, Kennedy refusing to answer the man’s greeting, instead looking him up and down, still sure of her hesitancy to dislike him, but uncertain of her reasons why.
“You creep me out” Kennedy rebuts, moving aside to allow the man entry, his half-hearted appreciation being noted on the way inside. “Hello” Alex greets, emerging from within the home, a sleek red dress covering her body, the suit upon Chris’ person looking inferior by contrast. “Well if this isn’t a sight to behold, I don’t really know what is!” Chris exclaims, wrapping his arm around the woman and giving her a kiss, the verbal disgust at the sight made apparent by Kennedy.
Without another word, Kennedy leaves the room and directs herself to the pool, the couple taking this as their signal to leave. Entering a small restaurant recently reopened, Chris and Alex take a seat at one of the many booths and look over their menus beneath the dim lighting. “It’s nice to see the local businesses opening back up again” Chris admits, quick to point out that the improved direction of the city suggests a return to the closest normal they can obtain.
“Normal is good” Alex replies, the irony of that statement being present in the weeks and months behind her, the current day finding that truth to be welcomed amongst her conscience. “How’s Jaime been lately?” Chris asks, the knowledge of Jordan’s worsened condition known between few more than the pair and a select group within Los Angeles’ first-family.
“Honestly, I worry for her” Alex responds, placing the menu upon the tabletop and looking up at her date for the evening, “there’s never been someone like Jordan in her life before.” With a laugh, Chris finds himself unable to accept such a finding as factual, questioning how she could have become the wealthy entrepreneur she was without guidance from someone other than Jordan.
“She had a therapist she was very close to for a long time” Alex replies, thanking the waiter as he places two glasses of water between them, “but she’s never had anyone other than family and associates.” Putting in their orders, Alex and Chris continue their conversation, the doctor immediately noticing how lonely of a life that sounds like. “I know I spent little time outside of school when I was younger, but I had friends” Chris explains, not sure what he would have become without that.
“So is that why she keeps so many people away from her?” Chris asks, little other reason having come to Alex’s mind over the years. “I don’t know if she thinks she’s worth being cared about” the woman responds, the suggestion striking home with her date as a common ground is found between himself and the woman employing him, “I don’t think anyone other than Jordan ever existed in that way, at least not completely before.”
Without much to say, Chris comes to his own conclusion, the thoughts he asks himself accidentally being spoken aloud. “It’s almost like she’d lose it without Jordan there to support her?” Chris replies, the somber realization something that doesn’t sit well with Alex, but doesn’t appear to be far off from the truth. “I think that’s a fair statement to make” she responds, not pleased with such a fact, but unwilling to ignore it when presented.
“Well if it isn’t the queen” a snobby inmate replies, watching Jaime enter the room, quick to try his hand at irking her, “what can I do your royal anus for?” Immediately wishing the man were more like Ryan, Jaime approaches the man’s table and takes a seat opposite him, the confidence he wears making her sick. “Your name is Caleb Brightwell, correct?” Jaime asks, the man answering by confidently blowing her a kiss.
“What role did you play in this little group of yours?” Jaime asks, the smile he wears upon his face immediately enraging the woman, her intentions having been to come into this interview with a clear mind. Reaching down, Jaime presents a plastic cup filled with water, placing it upon the table before reaching into her boot, hand removing her unloaded revolver.
“Woah, chill the fuck out lady!” Caleb immediately shouts, watching Jaime reach into her pocket to load her weapon with ammunition. “I have six bullets to load into this revolver, and I’ve heard you’re the most likely to cooperate” Jaime responds, clearing her throat as she takes the first bullet into her fingers, “you have until this gun is loaded to give me a reason not to kill you.”
Unsure of what the woman is looking for, Caleb begins scrambling for useful information, the first bullet sliding into the cylinder before he can ask what she’s looking to for inspiration. “I don’t care what it is, just tell me everything you know” Jaime replies, quickly taking the second bullet into the cylinder, the visual aid proving to be the closest thing Caleb can get to an hourglass.
“I’ve heard you get dry mouth when you’re paranoid… I can’t imagine this is helping much” Jaime explains, playing around with the third bullet whilst looking toward the water. Understanding what she’s trying to get at, Caleb takes down half of the beverage, the sweat beginning to shine on his forehead as the third barrel flirts with falling into place.
“We’re a small group, we call ourselves the peacekeepers- I don’t know what more you want!” Caleb explains, his cocky persona having completely disappeared as the third bullet slips into place. “What more do you want from me!?” Caleb shouts, feeling like he’s been sentenced to death, given the false hope at being able to change his fate only to realize how much of a mirage it truly was, “seriously, I’ll tell you what I want to know.”
“Tell me whatever’s worth keeping you alive for” Jaime responds, still unwilling to give the man any life preserver to reach out for, the anxiety quickly becoming gut-twisting. Downing the rest of his water, Caleb’s shaky hands fail to let go of the empty plastic cup, watching the fourth bullet slide into place, his mind reaching for the deepest secrets he can exchange the in return for his survival.
“You’ve got us all locked away down here, and the only place we’d meet is that bar” Caleb continues to plead, watching Jaime’s hand push the fifth bullet into the cylinder, a panic setting in as the sixth and final bullet is taken between her thumb and index finger. Placing the brass jacket toward the remaining opening, Jaime allows Caleb one more chance at offering something of value, a spurt of moment exclamation putting the process to a standstill.
“We were supposed to miss!” Caleb exclaims, watching Jaime’s eyebrows furrow as she removes the sixth bullet entirely. Looking at her watch, Jaime quickly tells the man to explain himself, the little information he can offer presenting little to base a full conclusion off of. “Justin Skhrelli- he’s the guy who planned out the attack” Caleb continues, desperately pleading his case, “the plan was to kill you, but on the day before, he changed the plan.”
“He changed the plan how?” Jaime replies, tucking the fifth bullet back into her pocket and letting the near-loaded gun rest in her upward-pointed left hand. “I don’t know exactly, but he came into our last meeting and said he was bribed to change the plan” Caleb explains, the revelation he offers proving to be a perception-altering one, “he said the new plan was to aim for your boyfriend. He didn’t say anything other than that.”
Nostrils flaring, Jaime looks toward her revolver and quickly spins the cylinder, slamming it shut at random before taking aim at Caleb, the man immediately pleading for his life to be spared. “You have a one-in-six chance of surviving as far as stats go” Jaime explains, the man nearly wetting himself as she moves her finger to the trigger, “if you strike gold, I’ll let you leave this room a free man.”
Preferring imprisonment, Caleb pleads with the woman to let him live in his confines, the request falling upon deaf ears as Jaime’s mind is already made up. “One” Jaime begins, pulling the hammer back and squinting her eye, watching Caleb continue to plead for his life. “Two” she continues, watching Caleb curl up into a ball much the same as Ryan once had, preparing for his life to be over.
“Three” Jaime says, pulling the trigger and letting nothing but a click sound off, the gasp-broken breaths of Caleb proceeding to fill the room, his head turning back toward the woman, who lowers her gun. “Congratulations” the woman remarks, tossing the man a pair of keys, the gun lowering to her hip, “you’re a free man.”
Unsure how to react at first, Caleb takes the keys into his hand and tries them in his restraints, amazed when the tension on his wrists are relieved, his freedom returned to him at the hand of fate itself. “Now go before I change my mind” Jaime warns, watching Caleb quickly toss the empty plastic cup on the ground and hurry for the door. As instructed, Lazarus unlocks the exit, allowing Caleb to go about his usual routine.
Quickly hurrying toward the exit, Caleb hears the sound of Jaime’s wrist watch going off from behind him, his name being called back for by the woman who spared his life. “Hey Caleb!” Jaime shouts, watching the man turn back toward her, the dimly-lit hallway he stands in presenting an obstructed view of her face, “long live the royal anus.”
Confused, Caleb begins walking back toward the woman before tensing up, his feet slowly freezing where they stand as his fingers stretch as far as they can. Tongue swelling, Caleb watches Jaime approach him, her hand taking the man by the throat as he breaks out in a horrific rash, the need for relief from the burning pain prompting him to rip at his flesh until he bleeds.
With a smile, Jaime watches Caleb succumb to the catalyst, the pleasure she takes in his pain being cut short, her attention directed to another one of the many rooms lining the basement. Writhing in pain, Caleb drops dead just as Jaime opens the door to one of the rooms, a facially-scarred, bald man restrained in the center of the room. “Justin Skhrelli, I presume?” Jaime calls out, the man’s facial reaction suggesting she’d identified the right person.
“Anything you wanna tell me about that bribe you took the day before you tried to kill me?” Jaime asks, only as a precaution, the man’s refusing head shake giving her all the answer she needs. “Okay then” Jaime replies, lifting her gun toward the prisoner and firing a bullet through his skull, the rest of the bullets emptied into her pocket as she returns the weapon to her boot, offering herself a nod of approval as she shuts the door.
“What’s left?” Carly calls out, Chevy’s attention redirected toward the woman in the front of the room. “Sorry, I should congratulate you on the engagement first… So, congratulations” Carly explains, a flattered convoy leader voicing his appreciation, “-now, I think I have your answer.” Intrigued, Chevy leaves his whiteboard and approaches the woman, a massive folder of documents carried in her arms.
“As far as I can tell, there was a refugee station set up on the coastline of Maui in Hawaii just before the catalyst” Carly explains, pointing to a chart of electrical interference captured from the area just a short time ago, “we don’t have contact with it, but we have proof that it’s still running in some capacity.”
Confused, Chevy asks how the woman managed to find this, the question answered by a suddenly-present Ben. “Sorry, I was finishing up a call with the new convoy” Ben explains, his absence addressed, Carly’s findings being backed up by a second source, “there are reports out of Australia that contact was being reached with people there.”
“Wait, you’re saying there are people in Hawaii speaking as the government?” Chevy asks, what he gathers being even less than what has actually been presented. “I think the Cheyenne complex was a red herring for anyone that showed up” Carly explains, the lack of reluctance to persevere through the mess they made never having sat well with them, “I think there are still pieces of the government left, and I think they’re in Hawaii.”
Not satisfied there, Ben tacks on additional findings that would suggest worse, a tracing done by a fellow mate in the convoy suggesting the plans originally discovered by Chevy’s group were made offsite. “As far as we can tell, the order for officials to head for this bunker wasn't sent from here, which means…” Ben begins, his discovery stopped by Chevy, who finishes his sentence, having finally caught up, “...which means these people were sent here on purpose.”
Beginning to realize the scale of what’s been done, Chevy turns back toward his whiteboard, a line drawn from the central question, the word Hawaii being connected to the end of an arrow. Looking at their new information, Chevy draws a line between the central question and ‘Hawaii’, pairing them with the findings of high-ranking officials knowingly sent into an acid storm, and calls for all-encompassing suicide, before ending their puzzle with one word, the answer they’d been looking for.
Satisfied with his conclusion, Chevy shakes his head in disbelief and rapidly circles the one word written at the end of it all, their answer opening a new world of questions entirely.
== Dire ==