The further they investigate the untapped forest, the harsher the terrain becomes. Portions of the ground cleared from prior usage, the majority of the field beneath their feet is covered in deceased leaves, twigs, and trash left over from the island’s prior inhabitants. “How much farther before we reach the shore?” Jack asks, Lauren looking for signage left by the prior world to gage her understanding.
“Probably an hour or so” the woman replies, Alicia whacking away at the overhanging snippets of nature clogging her path with a dull kitchen knife. Continuing to march towards the nearest water front, the trio stops in an instant at the sound of rivaling footsteps, their weapons readied in the event they find themselves the subject of a surprise attack. “Whoever’s lurking around us, I’m giving you one chance to show yourself before we start swinging” Alicia calls out, letting fate decide.
After a brief few seconds, the rustling begins once again, this time less ominous than it had sounded prior, more caution and intent in the footsteps following. Sun still over the horizon just enough to illuminate the woods they travel through, Alicia, Jack and Lauren prepare for whatever hides behind the cover of thick forest to make up its mind. Suddenly, Katie and Franklin appear from between the forest with their hands raised, both parties levels of concern plummeting.
With a sigh of relief, Alicia runs forward and dives into Franklin’s arms, Katie reconnecting with Jack and Lauren as the group trade stories of their past number of hours. “Have you seen any of the others?” Katie begins wondering aloud, Alicia stopped before she can answer by a massive eruption in the distance, a ball of fire and smoke firing from between the trees roughly half a mile away.
Ducking for cover, the group holds their arms up, the intense heat matching with the blinding brightness coming to a conclusion when the fireball dies down into a large fire. “I think I know where they might be” Jack exclaims, the first to march forward, cutting the warm welcomes short and directing those remaining amongst the living towards the beacon of light in the dying, sunset sky.
= 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 =
/ earlier /
“We have no idea how long it’ll take for Jess to convince them to show up, let alone if she even will” Salem explains, “and if there’s a small chance she didn’t even make it there, there’s a fair chance she’s not gonna pull it off.” Adding onto Salem’s point, Angela clarifies that those they train are ready to die. “The second any sign of war breaks out, the people will show up ready to fight” Angela explains, “however long it takes, we need to do what we can to be able to hold our own.”
Hand covering his mouth, John stares off into the distance, taking in every ounce of information he can before making up his mind. “You’re both right” John replies, “we’re racing against the lock at a disadvantage and need to start moving.” In agreement, John marches to the center of the camp Calling for the attention of the masses, John explains that they’ll be on the move shortly, but need to square some things away before any moves can be made.
“First and foremost, we need to address our goal… Run those in charge off the island” John explains, “we need to target something specific to make that happen… What do we go after?” Stood there silently, John patiently awaits a suggestion, being wrong in his assumption that at least one of the residents would have something loosely resembling an idea. “No one’s allowed to go into the square” Caruso explains, “you’re either taken there are prisoner or as a worker.”
In a sigh of disappointment, Caruso explains to John that no one in the camp would choose to stay there if they worked for those in charge. His hands clapping together, John begins to think about secondary options, any information they just so happen to have stumbled across in the time they’ve spent on the island. Carefully weighing his options, John’s train of thought is ripped from the tracks and sent spiralling when Nessie calls out from the waterfront.
“Go after their generator!” the woman exclaims, John’s eyes joining the rest of the community’s by darting across the camp towards the source of the voice. Compelled by the suddenness of the suggestion, John leaves his post accompanied by Salem and Angela, who themselves are accompanied by the rest of the camp, in approaching the treeline. “Repeat that” John exclaims, a pleased Nessie smiling with glee as she takes note of John’s intrigue.
“The square relies on their generators for the little electricity they can muster” Nessie replies, “considering their generators run off of a solar grid, you kill that, you kill their reason to stay.”Glancing back to his group mates, John welcomes additional input from either, Angela more willing than Salem to remind John that taking out the generators implies killing off the concept of long-term electricity in the community.
“You put that grid down and this place isn’t going to see any more electricity until the next poor fuck ties a key to a kite and lets it fly in a lightning storm” Angela explains, crushing John’s main purpose of liberating the island. “You won’t get much out of them anyway” Nessie replies, challenging Angela to a game of devil’s advocate and playing chicken with who takes on the role as the angel on John’s shoulder.
“Those generators can muster electricity, but not enough for an entire camp” Nessie explains, “you’re better off starting from scratch and going back to the old fashioned way.” With a nod, John glances back to Angela, the woman left with little more to respond with. “If it won’t do enough for the whole island, then it’s worth more as a deterrent than it is a lifeline” Angela replies, admitting defeat.
“Do you know where to find this generator?” John proceeds to inquire, Nessie explaining that there’s only one place a solar grid would be able to work, leading John to the only information he was left to need. “Alright, here’s how this is gonna work” John exclaims, the remainder of the community huddled together in anticipation of what will likely be the final stand for many.
Roaring of the crowd beginning to commence once more, Emilio remains shackled to the wall as a prisoner, awaiting the sight that will befall him. “If this is it for us, big guy… It’s been a pleasure” Emilio jokes to the man shackled to his prison bars. Before long, the butcher comes across Emilio’s space, a man with both hands having been removed held in her grasp, seemingly deemed to be guilty for a cause rather than guilty of a crime.
With little hesitation, the sour expression on the butcher’s face tells Emilio all he needs to know of her opinion of him, her machete held with the intention of delivery a special brand of hatred and disgust. The blade soaring into the air, the woman imbeds the end of her weapon into the man’s stomach, his cries of pain turning into the moans of a man having placed the first knuckle upon death’s doorstep.
With little care, the butcher unlocks Emilio’s cell and throws the man into the space, affording Emilio a roommate for the time being. Slamming the door in anger and walking away, the butcher leaves her most recent victim to turn, Emilio watching her walk off with his eyebrow raised. Taking special interest in something he’s managed to capture, Emilio begins his process of tugging away at the spike in the wall once more, his efforts driven by hope and realism.
His fingers pressed against his lips, John watches those whom he has trained hide within the overgrowth the pirates have allowed to get too far out of hand before approaching the main square. Almost as if the landscape was planned out in such a way, the closer John becomes to the square, the more the sky appears, the land is maintained with care and interest whilst he walks away from an overcrowded jumble of mother nature’s ravaging.
Dressed in the clothing of the guards so brilliantly executed a short time ago, John surveys the square before noticing his intended destination. Keeping a low profile, the makeshift hut used for the purpose of an armory stays hidden away by the natural inclination to spot out pretty things. Other buildings having been built prior to the end of the world that came before it, the hut resembles something ugly and unpleasing, refusing to be noticed by anyone unaware of what resides within.
His end goal in sight, John suddenly notices something a few feet away from the sight he holds to be more valuable than most others, his attention immediately pulled towards it without question. Refusing to remain still for too long, John takes his moment while it’s available and directs himself upon a new path, descending a staircase into the depths of the community, tucked behind a set of stone pillars with the intention of remaining hidden.
Finally reaching the main passage of his destination, John is greeted by the sudden clambering of an entire cellar’s worth of inmates, all with a chained overseer as held captive as they are. Each cage he walks by, another pair of shouts begin, the man walking slowly and keeping his eyes peeled for any familiar sight. Gun by his side, John’s stride grows more confident the further along he travels, the overseers paying no attention to the man they assume is there to serve as another reaper.
Continuing forward, John begins growing accustomed to turning his head back and forth to such a point that he’s eventually forced into a double take, sharing a stare with the restrained Emilio. Not paying much attention at first, instead preferring to not see his demise coming, Emilio keeps his head down, widdling away at the spike behind his head until he hears the voice he’s become so familiar with.
At a complete stop, Emilio lifts his head to find John suggesting Emilio’s overseer take a few minutes off so he can deliver a private message to the inmate. Taking his opportunity while it’s presented, the overseer asks no questions, undoing his chain and taking the first chance he can to escape to freedom, even if only momentary.
The overseer zipping away, Emilio mouths a set of words to John, who prepared to keep his voiced hushed from the other side of the bars. Able to read lips well, John removes his hand from his pocket as if retrieving a key, pretending to unlock the door before pulling it open. “She left it unlocked when she dumped this guy in here with me” Emilio explains, “but I don’t really care about that now that I see you here.”
With a smile, John tells Emilio that they weren’t going to leave him behind, knowing the man would have used his nature gifts to keep himself alive for at least a short amount of time. With a smile, John continues to look at the man held captive, his smile slowly fading and his head hanging. “Actually, that’s not true” John replies, swallowing his pride and looking the man in the eyes as he corrects himself, “I was ready to back for help when it all happened. Angela convinced me not to.”
With a smirk, Emilio admits that he isn’t going to hold that against the man, explaining that he would’ve thought the same thing if he were in John’s shoes. “If Bill were still alive and you were caught by these guys, I would’ve left myself” Emilio explains, “when your heart belongs with someone other than yourself, they take priority over everything.”
His head hung, John reminds Emilio that it’s no good excuse. “Of course it’s not a good excuse, but it’s a good reason” Emilio replies, “it says less about you or how you think of me, and more about how important your wife and the kid are.” With a nod, John reaches up to Emilio’s head, hands stretched out for the chains until Emilio backs away, telling the man not to.
Shaking his head, Emilio tells John that there’s no breaking free from the locks, regardless of how much he’s tried. “It’s cast iron steel, I’m not going anywhere” Emilio explains, a wave of disgust running over John’s face when forced to admit Emilio to be correct. Telling John to strike fast, Emilio explains that there’s still a way out of the mess. “When you attack, make it known that you’re with Sun City” Emilio explains, “she’ll bring me out to barter and then I’ll try to get free.”
Not content with the plan in the slightest, John admits to it being better than nothing before pulling his knife free and turning towards the body. Calling for John to stop, Emilio tells the man to leave the corpse to reanimate, “I can take it down with my feet if I have to, I just wanna have a plan B if some cards get to fall in my favor.”
With a shrug, John returns his weapon to his waistband, standing over the seated Emilio and taking in what he accepts the possibility of being their final interaction to be. “I’m good, John” Emilio explains, “I’m gonna do my thing, and I need you to do yours.” With a smile, John wishes Emilio luck, removing his knife and placing it behind Emilio’s back in the event he can use it.
“Maybe you’ll get an extra pair of hands out of me” Emilio replies, John left to laugh at the joke before accepting the terms and walking away. Looking back, John gives a final nod to Emilio, who returns the gesture with a smile, saying goodbye in his own personal way as John vanishes the way he came.
Rattling against a fence and subsequently gathering a small horde of walkers into the chain links, a curved blade rests in the gloved hands of someone desperate to gather their prey into one, centralized location. The best they’re going to get, the figure to which wields the weapons puts down the undead clambering for their flesh and quickly scales the one barrier between them and the massive air strip of the undead horde contained within its confines.
Dragging a parachute behind them, the figure wields their blade like a professional, spinning it between their fingers and tacking on the horde one at a time. Without fear, the gutsy survivor hurries into the horde of the undead, taking their frustrations of the world on the ones responsible for its downfall, dropping heads to the ground one after another until a large enough strip of runway has been uncovered.
Taking their chance, the figure returns the way they entered, facing down the open strip as they had moments prior before running forward once more. The undead beginning to catch up, the figure takes the parachute by its handles and continues running, pulling a string a number of times before the paramotor fan blade strapped to their back powers up and catches air. As the dead close in, the figure lifts their legs into the air and gradually ascends into the sky.
Their eyes set on Nova Scotia, the figure continues about their flight until a sudden eruption in the sky catches their attention, a massive ball of flames shooting into the heavens unavoidable. Their head turning towards the sight, the figure locates the source in which it originated before retrieving a map from their bag. Dressed in clothing suited for the cold temperatures of high altitudes, the figure runs their finger over their map in direction of Fisher’s Island.
With a deep breath, the figure glances back into the direction of Nova Scotia before glancing towards the now massive plume of smoke dissipating in the sky. Nodding, the figure returns the map to their bag and changes course, zipping around nearly one hundred and eighty degrees directly towards the fire. At first glance, the figure can only notice the forest going up in flames, enough evidence to convince them to keep flying, refusing to acknowledge the island and move on.
Thumb high into the air, John glances in Salem’s direction, she and Angela holed up in the trees with long range weapons whilst John stands before an army of newly-armed residents. With a nod from John, Salem has her cue, scope pulling itself away from John and towards a bulbous tank at the very back of the campsite a few hundred yards out. With a deep breath, Salem steadies her aim and pulls the trigger, a bullet soaring from her weapon and bullying the propane tank.
In an instant, flames shoot through the skies, lighting the nature on fire and giving the signal to anyone within one hundred miles that war has begun. “Now!” John shouts, his command eliciting the response of his armed camp to open fire on the pirates previously oblivious to the attack. Round after round expended into the one thing keeping them from complete triumph, John continues firing.
One by one, the residents having been willing to die for the cause do just that, their lives lost in fighting for their freedom whilst continuing to deplete the strength of the island’s officials.
Watching the gunfire from within the butcher’s sanctum, the towering brute familiar to the sight of Emilio guides the butcher away from danger and closer to the preservation of a boat. Unwilling to allow such a fight drive her from the hill she chooses to die upon, the butcher refuses to follow the man to safety, instead demanding she be taken to the dungeon where the one thing guaranteeing triumph can be located.
Hesitant, the brute attempts to argue his side, easily bested by the woman unwilling to listen, repeating her demands and expecting them to be met. Returning to the window, the brute lets out a sigh before giving in, leading the woman into the battlefield.
“I want complete awareness of where we’re going and what we plan to do” Dawson exclaims, the rundown he was intent on giving cut short by the sounds and sights of a massive fireball up ahead. “What the hell is that!?” Ameil cries out, Jess and Heather both realizing what neither of the two leads of Sun City have figured out yet.
“Our guys are still alive” Jess exclaims, “and it seems like they waged war without us!” Glancing back towards the woman, Dawson confesses to having undervalued John’s abilities to finish a fight, his intentions going from working an uphill battle to aiding an ally in battle.
To the sound of the inmates already roaring, the butcher returns to the dungeon with one person in mind. Enraged, the butcher demands the overseer attached to Emilio’s cell leave immediately, the man trapped within joking that she left the door unlocked last time. Without a word, the butcher rips the doors open and marches in, brought to an immediate halt upon Emilio’s greeting.
“His name is John Callis, he’s with an army of less than one hundred that have little combat experience and you should win this handily” Emilio explains, “he’s not with Sun City, they likely don’t know about anything other than the explosion.” Caught by surprise, the woman asks the man to repeat himself, Emilio refusing to do anything of the sorts, instead further supporting his statements.
“Under the right format, Democracy can work… But the right format is no longer here” Emilio explains, “I believe in what you’re building and I would like to be a part of it.” With little response, the butcher stands in awe as Emilio apologizes for having taken so long to consider it. Standing from the ground, rattling the chains and calling the butcher closer, Emilio explains that there are improvements that need to be made here, but they are easy and take time and commitment.
“I showed you the other day that there are smoke screens, and this war is nothing more than that” Emilio explains, taking the woman’s face in his hand and pleading with het to let him be a part of it. Unable to think of any other words, the butcher accepts his change of heart, and welcomes Emilio into the new world she envisions herself building.
Before she can say another word, the faint growling sounds from beneath them begin, the body she left Emilio in the possession of having finally returned to life. With a smile, Emilio glances towards the sky and quietly mouths to whatever higher power resides above as the butcher raises a fair question. “Are you free from your restraints?” the woman asks, having finally noticed Emilio’s free hand caressing her cheek.
In the same breath, Emilio plunges the blade John left him into the woman’s abdomen, her heightened senses having failed her in the most dire of moments. Tightening his grip on the woman’s cheek as she struggles for air, Emilio tilts the woman’s face towards his own, explaining to her that it’s always the most powerful that fall in the most obvious ways.
“They think they can see everything, but they’re too blind with power they can’t see what’s right in front of them” Emilio explains, “they think they’re untouchable, and fall to the most ironic fate every single time.” With a smirk, Emilio removes the knife from the butcher’s stomach and pulls her down by the head, throwing her to the floor and into the waiting hands of the undead.
Tossing the spike into the air and catching it with the same hand, Emilio pulls the key ring on the butcher’s person as she’s eaten alive, walking out of and locking the cell to the soundtrack of her bloody cries for mercy. With a smile, Emilio holsters his knife and marches for the entrance, the chorus of shouting from the inmates at the sight of one of their own claiming victory only further riling them up.
Taking the moment to consider his options, Emilio stops at the exit, glancing back at the massive corridor of cells with a smile. Rushing back to the end of the corridor, Emilio twirls the keys around his finger, suggesting every overseer make an escape while they still have the chance. Starting from the very back, Emilio removes one key from the ring after another, tossing them to the inmate inside and telling them to fight those responsible for locking them up in the name of liberation.
With a cheer, the dungeon becomes Emilio’s own personal fanbase, his adoration emanating from granting those wrongfully locked away their well-deserved freedom.
Marching onwards, John fires off at anyone siding with the enemy, marching further into the battle field before he’s swept off his feet at the linebacker-like tackle from the massive brute Emilio would be too familiar with. A punching battle ensuing, John fails to gain the upper hand, his strength no match for the outright weight of the towering man knelt above him.
“How dare you orchestrate this nonsense!” the brute exclaims, his massive hands wrapping around John’s throat and attempting to literally squeeze the life out of him. “You cost me my home you son of a bitch!” the brute exclaims, John giving into helplessly attempting to gasp for air as it slowly becomes less possible to take in. “I’m gonna make you suffer you pile of-” the brute continues, John’s eyes closed shut until the grip is released, the brute unable to complete his sentence.
Gasping for air, the gunfire slowly becomes more recognizable as warm liquid drips over his face. Finally having regained the breath to pry his eyes open again, John stares up at the edge of a dagger looking him in the eyes. The brute’s mouth wide open, the blade rests between his teeth until it tears itself out, the massive body collapsing to the side as a blood-soaked Nessie stands over him, the blade dangling by her side whilst Clint holds his hand out.
“She wouldn’t save just anybody” Clint exclaims, helping John to his feet, “consider yourself lucky.” Accepting that as truth, John thanks the pair and splits off once more, unwilling to admit the war to be over until the final strike has been dealt. Before he can vanish into the sea of chaos, the sound of rapid gunfire popping off through the dense forest commences, Dawson and Ameil charging into the square, ordering everyone to the coast.
Taking their opportunity to obtain freedom, those having fought for John scatter into the dense forest, the man having led them there being watched by Dawson as he ventures through the rundown school building. “I’m going after John” Dawson calls out, telling Ameil to keep his head up for anything unexpected. Doing as told, Ameil ducks behind a concrete barrier and continues firing at anything sporting the appearance of the wrong side of war.
Chasing after John, Dawson disappears into the building, drenched in the darkness with his rifle ready, knowing the look on John’s face to suggest he had a plan before the first shot was fired.
== Rise ==