His boot planted into the wet, rich soil, John removes his equipment from the boat and takes his first steps back onto the island, Katie following him soon after, two rifles in her possession, one over each shoulder. Climbing the steps to the higher ground, John welcomes in the night by running into Jess, the woman left standing there, waiting for his arrival after seeing his boat coming near.
“I have nothing to say to you” John says, his words the first to be aired, Katie quickly walking off from the pair, allowing the couple to hash things out amongst themselves. “John, I fucked up and that’s all that needs to be said” Jess explains, her efforts to explain herself being cut short by John, who laughs away her confessions and denies the woman’s last statement.
“There is much more… so much more that needs to be said!” John replies, “you make a deal that can fail a man in such a way that he turns against us while your daughter is still living in his city!” Before she can choose to respond, the woman looks the man in the eyes as he turns his head over his shoulder, needing to correct the man first. “Our daughter” the woman replies, John swallowing his pride and shaking his head in refusal.
“I was her father before all of this started, I’ve failed her since it did” John replies, his head hung as he returns to the cabin on the other side of the island, “I can’t claim to be her father when I haven’t been.” Continuing to walk in silence, the man eventually comes to a stop and turns around again, a fleeting thought entering his mind he feels the need to share with the woman.
“But you haven’t been her mother since all of this started, either” John explains, resuming eye contact, “you’ve just been watching her, and now I hear she thinks so highly of Heather she’s going to her for help, and not you.” Walking away, John fails to remove himself from Jess that easily, the woman chasing after him, refusing to give into the notion that they have failed.
“Neither of us has done what we should have for Amy, not you, not me!” Jess exclaims, “but parenting is a lot different in this world than it was back then… We’re doing what we can!” Angered, the man stops again, tossing his bags into the metal shed and slamming the door shut, confronting his wife once more. “It is different… It is… And we’ve both still failed in that regard!” John replies, “we have to teach Amy how to defend herself now, and we can’t even do that!”
His teeth pushed together, John looks out at the water, the general direction of Sun City in his vision until his wife’s eyes take the distinction. “We’ve failed as parents, and now we’re failing as spouses” John explains, holding back the explosion of emotions he wishes to let out, his hands eagerly stoic by each side. “Heather is currently parenting our daughter better than we ever could, Jess” John explains, taking the woman by the shoulder, “we failed hard.”
Walking around the woman, John makes for the house, the woman turning around in confusion, wanting to break down at the simple possibility such a meaningful conversation could end in such a pointless way. “So you’re just gonna give up?” the woman asks, the man hanging his head as he stops yet again, “you’re just gonna admit to failing and move on with your life as if it never even happened?”
Turning his body, John looks at Jess, the woman reminding him that the point of admitting to failure is to redeem yourself from such failures, a reminder which prompts John to smile. “You know better than anyone else who I am” John explains, arms held out as the woman holds her face towards the ground, “there’s what I am at home, and there’s what I am in battle.”
With a sigh, the man looks around the island, his eyes finding water in every direction he looks, the woman interrupting the man’s reminder with one of her own. “This doesn’t have to be a battlefield anymore, John” Jess explains, pointing to the safety the water locked landmass brings them, “this can be home again.” His lip bit, John shakes his head, “no, it can’t be” the man replies, taking the bitter pill as is needed, “this is, and will always be, a battlefield.”
Turning away, John returns to the home, hands anxiously pressing against the latch to open the door between him and the sanctuary of what lies behind, leaving Jess stricken beneath the night.
= 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 =
Greeted by the burning flame of a line of tiki torches, Emilio and Franklin take the long walk through the scorched remnants of Fisher’s Island, burnt trees welcome them from each side as each step forces their boots to kick up ash. “I think we’re making the wrong decision” Emilio whispers, Franklin keeping his stare at the open field a few yards ahead. “We’re making the choice we need to” Franklin replies, a hammered Dawson awaiting them at a table ahead.
“Gentlemen!” Dawson exclaims, a bottle of aging whiskey grasped tightly in his hand, waving through the air as the pair finally enter his makeshift den. “I see Jessica has wiped her dirty fingerprints all over someone else” Dawson exclaims, “I apologize greatly on her behalf.” Taking a seat at the table, Franklin initiates conversation, reminding the man that they aren’t seated across from each other to hold a playful chit chat.
“You needed us for something, explain what we’re getting into” Franklin explains, an animated Dawson pouring Franklin a glass of whiskey and sliding it into the palm of his hands. “Thanks” Franklin exclaims as he empties the crafted cup into the soil, placing the empty remains back upon the carefully-constructed table and sliding it back towards his host.
“He must be the one running for likeability” Dawson exclaims, his unsteady finger lifted towards Emilio, a smirk on his face as Franklin doubles down. “We didn’t come here to be friends, we’re giving you one chance here” Franklin explains, his arms crossing atop the table, “tell us what we’re doing or the deal is off completely. The ball is in your court.”
Rolling his eyes, Dawson gives into the request to do business, tossing the bottle of liquor into the hands of one of his militia leaders and leaning forward. “I need you two to be a puppet” Dawson explains, watching Emilio’s head drop as Franklin’s face begins to sour, the man opposite them throwing his hands out. “You’ve completely fucked up my leadership!” Dawson exclaims, “you tarnished my name for a deal you couldn’t hold up your end of!”
Aggravated, Emilio charges at the table, finger held out towards Dawson and presence felt, reminding the man of the equal effort put in. “You may have lost resources, but if you were competent at your job, you would have fixed this problem long before it happened!” Emilio exclaims, “if anything, changing our strategy like we did made us your soldiers as much as they are! So just as you can blame us for your failure, I can blame you for nearly getting me killed!”
Meeting Emilio’s demeanor with a mirrored stance, Dawson stammers to his feet, finger pointed in Emilio’s face, telling the man that it was his choice to play hero. “You didn’t have to give yourself up!” Dawson argues, Emilio unable to hold back a smile, amused by the leaders’ delusions, “you played hero so your friends could live!”
Swatting the man’s hand from his face, Emilio establishes superiority, the guards with guns taking aim at Emilio, the man uncaring of the tensions he’s raised, instead slapping Dawson with a dose of truth. “I gave myself up so your mission could go on!” Emilio exclaims, Dawson shaking his head in denial, “so as far as I am concerned, you owe me!” The pair staring each other down intensely, Dawson’s attempt at speaking is thwarted by the third person at the table.
“We’ll do it” Franklin proclaims, Dawson looking down at the man in surprise while Emilio looks down in betrayal. “We’ll do it, but we’re gonna earn it fairly” Franklin explains, finally concluding the triage by taking a stance of his own, “drop your hat out of the race and let us do what we were gonna do before everything went to hell.”
“You’ve got no guarantee that you’ll win” Dawson replies, Franklin refusing to put his belief in the hat of a corrupt system. “Choosing one candidate over another because they’re the lesser of two evils isn’t democracy, it’s illusion” Franklin replies, walking over to the guard with the bottle in his hand and unscrewing the cap. “If you turn democracy into illusion, we’ll confess that on our first day in power” Franklin explains, downing a swig from the bottle, “we won’t have that.”
Uttering the man’s name, Emilio watches Franklin brush him aside, approaching Dawson and shoving the bottle back into his waiting arms. “He’s gonna run as the lead, I’ll run as the second in command... Like it would have been” Franklin suggests, Dawson looking at Emilio as Franklin continues, “but when we win, don’t, even for a moment, think you’ll own us.”
With a deep breath, Franklin watches Dawson’s eyes drift back towards his, the Sun City shot-caller having to look up at the man in order to look him in the eyes. “Em’s right about you owing him, and this is how you’ll do it” Franklin explains, “you’ll have input, but you will not be the final say… We both get what we’re owed, and we both face the consequences of our decisions.”
His hand held out, Franklin awaits for Dawson’s handshake, the pathetic example of a commander in chief reciprocating the gesture, understanding it to be more than he’ll get elsewhere. Beginning to walk off, Franklin takes a step back and removes the bottle from the man’s hand, tossing it into the depths of the burnt forest and suggesting he start sobering up.
Walking after the man he arrived with, Emilio becomes anxious for answers, Franklin looking the man in the eyes and explaining that this outcome was the best they were going to get. “He’s a fucking mess and that city is on the verge of a war” Franklin explains, “if we can take control of the place, the most dangerous threat to it will no longer have any power over the one militia it can rely on to protect it.”
Not settled with such an explanation, Emilio takes Franklin by the shoulder and pulls him around, asking him if he’s taken more than an impulsive second to consider what he just agreed to. “You just told a man that is delusional enough to think we ruined his reputation that we’ll take over, but let him play ball with us” Emilio explains, “do you really think he’s just gonna be fine with that?”
“Of course I don’t, but that’s not the point” Franklin explains, “he needs us to get elected anyway, and once we do, he’s got nothing against us.” Putting his arm on the man’s shoulder, Franklin tells Emilio to dig deep into the life they lived before the outbreak began. “We were the most strategical Democrats in the entire election cycle for a reason!” Franklin recalls, Emilio shaking his head as if to suggest that to no longer matter, “stop playing checkers, and start conquering chess.”
Having explained himself enough to be satisfied, Franklin continues on, Emilio left where he stands for a moment, considering the new options he’s been afforded.
“Chasing after John again?” Salem explains, cleaning the barrel of her rifle out as Katie enters the room, the bag of her gear being tossed onto a bed. “When am I not?” Katie humors, Salem watching the woman get situated as her hands work on autopilot, her attention being taken elsewhere. “Don’t you think that’s a little repetitive?” Salem proceeds to inquire, Katie rummaging through her bag, returning everything to where it belongs and refusing.
“He’s going through a rough patch” Katie replies, her rifle being tossed aside the one she picked up from the mainland, “if anything, he needs anyone looking after him he can get.” Biting her lip, Salem nods to herself and returns her sight to the rifle in her lap, words resonating from her mouth still aimed at Katie. “Don’t you want something more than being John’s babysitter?” Salem wonders aloud, Katie looking back in confusion, Salem shrugging her shoulders at the response.
“I’m just asking, you know what I do” Salem explains, Katie taking a seat on her bed, eyes pressed to the woman suggesting she find something more. “I don’t have anything against John, and I don’t want to push you into a decision you don’t need to make” Salem clarifies, “but the guy’s a mess every other month at this point, and I’m just worried he’s gonna get someone killed.”
Katie turning her head away, Salem notices the response out of the corner of her eye, glancing down at the equipment laid out upon the bed, finally noticing the new firearm. “Where’d you get the new piece?” Salem asks, watching Katie’s head hang before answering her own question. “He’s not going to get me killed” Katie assures, the words she utters directed at Salem as much as they are at herself, Salem less convinced by the statement than Katie is.
Continuing about her business in silence, Salem allows Katie to get unloaded in peace, John’s eyes and ears glancing down at the new rifle and nodding to herself. “He gave me a purpose” Katie asserts, Salem looking up at the woman as she addresses her once more, “he gave me something, a role of my own, when no one else had ever done that before.” Lifting her rifle from her lap and placing it beside her, Salem folds her hands on the space between her legs and levels with the woman.
“I understand you have loyalties to him, Katie… But those loyalties shouldn’t get you killed” Salem explains, “if that gun came from where I think it did, I’m gonna be left worried for you at night.” Her mentor voicing the concerns she has, Katie is left hearing Salem out, the woman that taught her how to fire from long range now explaining that she did so because of the potential Katie has.
“If Troy were still alive, I’d probably be trying to teach him this too” Salem explains, “but since he’s not, you’re the only person left here that I see nothing but potential in.” Propelling herself from her seat, Salem walks up to Katie, her protege left staring at the rifles on her bed. “I get not having anything of your own to be something you’re used to, Katie” Salem explains, moving the woman’s face towards hers, “don’t let your potential go to waste saving someone that can’t be saved.”
With a pain-filled nod, Katie caves to the request, removing herself from the woman and taking a seat on her bed, asking for the barrel cleaner. With a frown, Salem casually walks towards her bed and hands Katie the cloth-covered wire, leaving the room to give Katie some space of her own.
Awoken by the sunlight peering through her blinds, Alicia groggily flips onto her back to find Franklin’s spot empty, the early bird likely already having started his day. Changing into a fresh pair of clothes, Alicia exits her room and glides down the staircase, her eyes attaching onto a door at the end of the home immediately. With a few eager steps, Alicia reaches the room’s entry and turns the knob, finding Jack and John awaiting for her within.
“Why am I here?” John asks, sat upon a desk with his hands pressed against the wooden edge, Alicia taking a seat in the chair before him. “We think we have an answer for our impending troubles that doesn’t involve Sun City” Alicia explains, the man glancing towards Jack off to the side, eyes lifted once Jack nods, immediately pulling him in.
Taking the man’s shift in demeanor as a sign of interest, Alicia persists, making quick mention of the paramotorist. “Wherever they’re going, they’re jumping from one side of the mainland to the other” Alicia explains, “so not only is there a reason for them to need travel quicker than some main road, but they’re in need of a refuel almost immediately after they reach the opposite coast.”
“So you’re suggesting they just have a lot of gas to spare?” John proceeds, a gleeful Alicia responding otherwise. “I think they have a place with enough viable gasoline to travel from one point to another without worry” Alicia explains, “and the fact that they keep taking the same course over us suggests they’re going to and from two specific places.”
Arms folded, John admits to thee line of reasoning, immediately looking to Jack for an opposing opinion. “There’s little to argue against the logic in Alicia’s statement” Jack admits, “all the gas refined before the outbreak is bad, so they’ve got some that was refined later… much later.” With a deep breath, John looks to Alicia to continue, the woman making it as simple to follow as anything.
“The only way to operate and protect a refinery, let alone make trades for the product they make, is if there’s enough people to guard and work it” Alicia explains, “at the very least, they’ve got enough people to look after it safely.” Walking to the office door, John takes a peak outside before closing and locking it once more, returning to the pair and asking what they expect to get from this conversation.
“We want you to greenlight an excursion that would let us go after them” Jack explains, “spare enough gas for us to follow them over water the next time they fly over.” Clarifying the need to find a trading partner, John inquires of the plan the group has to get back. “When we figure out where their final destination is, we’ll know where they keep stopping for gas” Alicia explains, “after that, we’ll set up a meeting and come back to you with a time and place.”
Taking a seat behind the desk, John bathes in the sunlight peering through the window with his hands pressed against his lips, looking back to the pair on how many people they’ll be taking with them. “Lauren and Franklin, that’s it” Alicia replies, John’s head immediately shaking in refusal. “Franklin just went over to Dawson last night to join Emilio’s campaign in Sun City, he needs to be here” John replies, Alicia staring at Jack, the man with little to argue against.
“We’ll go on our own then” Alicia replies, Jack glaring at Alicia in disappointment at first, only to quickly come around to the statement, John giving the greenlight. “We don’t have any talkies to give you, so the moment you’re gone, you’re as good as dead until you come back” John explains, his hands pressed against the surface of the desk, “if you don’t come back by the end of winter, we’ll consider you lost for good.”
With a nod, Alicia and Jack agree to the terms, backing away from the room and leaving John alone within it, the man returning to his seat as the door shuts. Concerned over the risk he’s just given the go ahead for, the man turns his chair towards the window, the bright sunlight bathing the room in a warm glow, the rocky seas ahead visible in full from the view.
“Something still wrong with the carrots?” Nessie asks, walking onto the docks Emilio sits at the edge of, the man turning back to retort. “They’re still not growing” Emilio replies, the woman taking a seat beside him, waters continuing to crash into the shores as the forecast of the seas prepares for a choppy day. “Not much for the blue-collar jobs, huh?” Nessie mocks, the man sporting a disappointment-covering smile.
“I was a Democrat before everything went to shit…” Emilio replies, Nessie’s head shaking as the man continues, “... Farming was never my biggest strength or voter base.” With a nod, the woman tucks her hands into her pockets as the first chilly day of the year sports its temperature in frost-bitten winds.
Taking in the sights amidst a chorus of the winds brushing their hair over their face, Nessie cuts back into the conversation, the first to explain to Emilio that he’s terrible at hiding disappointment. “Something’s got you down, and I don’t think it’s the carrots” Nessie explains, her elbow brushing up against Emilio’s arm, “spill it.”
Shaking his head, Emilio refuses to just use Nessie as a figure to vent frustration to, believing himself to need a manner in which he can supply that venting himself. “Well, I would trust you with something like that if my house wasn’t dented” Nessie humorously replies, Emilio meeting the humor with a response filled with his own, clarifying that he’s apologized multiple times.
“I also don’t mind being the person you can go to for venting” Nessie adds, swallowing the cold-exterior she often gives off to confess wanting social interaction, “I like talking to you and think you’re cool.” With a smirk, Emilio nods to the woman, asking her if that’s how she truly feels. “I do, I think you’re a cool dude” Nessie reassures the man, her laughter paving way for more serious dialogue, “but I think you’re cool dude with a lot to get off his chest.”
Staring at the man, Nessie watches Emilio sink his head in consideration, truly fighting with himself on the inside over whether it would be best to keep in, or unleash his inner conflictions. In an effort to bring light, Nessie removes an old lighter from her pockets and burns the edge of the wooden peer until it turns black. “Forest fires haven’t been our friends, Nessie” Emilio explains, the woman finishing her efforts the moment a burnt, black spot rests between them.
“Whenever we’re both here, we can vent to each other about anything without fear” Nessie exclaims, “only here, nowhere other than right here.” In appreciation, the man thanks the woman for her efforts, insisting not to hold the woman down with a marriage of his worries. As his hand places itself against the dock, Emilio feels the woman hold him back from leaving, reminding him of who she came to the island with.
“Since day one, I’ve been carrying a guy who refuses to kill any living thing” Nessie explains, “you confessing your greatest worries is going to add absolutely nothing to my full plate.” Once again patting the burnt spot between them, Nessie welcomes Emilio to return to his seat, a moment of careful consideration changing the man’s mind. Taking his seat back, Emilio looks at the woman, her eyes locked on his prompting the man to contemplate where to begin.
A knock at the door awakening them, Heather and Ameil leap from bed and dress in a hurry, Amy stirring into consciousness upon the second set of knocks. “Just a second!” Heather shouts, pulling her jeans over her hips as a third set of knocks persists, the woman tossing her shirt on as she walks for the door. Allowing those on the other side to enter, Alicia watches Emilio and Franklin take their first steps into the home, Emilio’s first inclination to point out the time.
“Number one, it’s like two in the afternoon” Emilio exclaims, “number two, you can’t have us wait for him to put his penis away with a scorned public.” Finally, Emilio holds his hand towards Ameil, tripping over the waistband of his pants as he’s spoken to. “Number three, put your fucking penis away” Emilio proclaims, holding his hand over Amy’s eyes as Ameil falls.
“This is Dawson’s second in command, huh?” Franklin jokes, petting Amy on the head as he walks by. “What’s going on? Where’s Jess?” Heather asks, the pair insisting a change of plans having put them in the forefront of danger. “We were a small part of that deal, too” Emilio admits, “so naturally, Jess gets yelled at by Dawson and her husband, and we take on saving an entire post-apocalyptic city… Because fair is fair.”
As the pair get settled in, the home grows silent, the five occupants of the house anxiously awaiting the conversation of what comes next. As moments pass, the sound of people joining together in the street become noticeable to those within, chatter beyond the windows growing louder as time progresses, leaving those in the home to quietly wonder what must be going on to deliver such a reaction.
“Ladies and gentlemen of Sun City!” a voice calls through a megaphone, the screeching sound alerting the public to the location unfolding right outside the home. In collective confusion, those within hurry for the windows, looking out into the street through the blinds, a figure stood atop a rundown vehicle addressing the mass of residents.
“I’m Seth Havermeyer, and I work with the Sun City journal!” the man greets, Heather rolling her eyes until Ameil tries to pull away, the woman holding him back to ensure he does nothing stupid. “I know he’s on your nerves, and he’s on mine too” Heather explains, “but if we go out there and attack him, we only make him look better to all of them.”
“As many of you had probably seen during yesterday’s protests, the second in command of this city took it upon himself to hit me in the face and run off like a coward!” Seth exclaims, the mob he’s amassed latching onto his every word. “So while our leader hides off in fear that he’ll have to answer for his failed promises, his second in command takes over and starts assaulting those that don’t agree with him!” Seth shouts, “throwing democracy aside in favor of running a dictatorship!”
While the crowd chants for Dawson to pay for his inaction, Seth allows the masses to feast from his hand, declaring Dawson and Ameil to be examples of abuse of power taking place. “Sun city is supposed to be a community that brings back the world like it used to be!” Seth exclaims, his fist raised mightily in the air, “it seems as though they took that literally, pulling the corruption and suppression of the masses into the fold with it!”
Eyes noticing those within the home peering at him from within, the man smirks, flashing a wink to those just out of sight, daring them to step into his world. “When the elections come around, I am going to run for the leadership of Sun City, and I will do so for the people!” Seth exclaims, “I will do so to ensure the democracy Sun City was built upon lives true!”
Hitting the crowd with the famed buzzwords, Seth declares himself the formal opposition to Emilio and Franklin’s efforts, his fist still protruding upward, the first strike upon the end of Dawson’s reign of leadership being dealt. “Who will join me!?” Seth shouts, the question raised allowing those beneath him to hurry their fists into the skies, declaring their allegiance with the man capitalizing on public perception to jump the line, using this leverage to catapult himself up the ladder.
“Great” the man mutters to himself, his eyes directed towards the group hidden behind the blinds, his stare letting them know that every path they now take leads them directly to him. With another wink, Seth makes his message known to those within, the voices hidden behind a thick pannel of glass accepting the fact that this task is not going to be an easy one to accomplish.
== Rise ==