From above, the waters appear a deep blue, the waves crashing into the shoreline appearing calm from above, the spray they mist the surviving island in appearing cool and welcoming. “I’m in bound, halfway to Martha’s Vineyard” a woman’s voice proclaims, the walkie clipped onto her sleeve responding with nothing but static for the moment. “Heard and understood” the voice on the other end replies, “let us know when you touch down and return to the air.”
Turning the walkie off, the woman adjusts course with the wind, following the push of nature’s barrier towards Rhode Island for the moment. Removing a brick from the bag, the woman ties a paper against the stone with an elastic band, holding the building block out by her side until the sight of something other than the shattering waves capture her intrigue. “Hello” the woman responds to the boat beneath her beginning to thrust forward, fighting the sea to stay level with her.
“You shouldn’t be wasting your gas trying to find me, guys” the woman mutters to herself, tossing the brick to the ground, this time further in from the coastline than before. “I really hope you don’t find yourselves on the wrong end of these” the woman comforts herself in saying, untying the zipper of the bag on her back to remove an assortment of bulbous objects.
“Jack, we’re gonna need to steady our push” Alicia exclaims, her face constantly being sprayed by the warm sea water as the boat collides with each passing wave. “We may be able to go faster than her, but if we keep hitting these waves, we’ll never keep up” Alicia explains again, the man assuring her of his efforts, however leaving little to show for them.
Suddenly, the waters burst from beneath the surface a few yards behind the boat, one explosion followed immediately by another closer. After another few seconds, another pair of explosions emerge, threatening the ship’s inhabitants as each eruption only draws nearer. Within the next few seconds, a third pair of explosions unfold, Alicia noticing the spray of the water from the most recent explosion to find its way inside the boat.
Looking up towards the sky, Alicia holds her hand over her face to block out the tremendous sunlight, disappointingly directing an order towards Jack she kicks herself for giving. “Stop! Slow it down and stop!” Alicia exclaims, the man looking up at the woman for a split second before following through with her command, pulling the boat to a complete stop within moments, the crushing waves they once rode into assisting in halting them further.
“Were those grenades?” Jack calls out, Alicia guaranteeing them to be something at least closely resembling the weapons. Looking back into the heavens, Alicia notices something gently falling from the skies, fluttering through the air from their paramotoring friend above. “Glide a few yards out” Alicia proceeds, Jack starting the motor up once more and lightly pushing down on the gas.
Preparing themselves beneath the falling debris, Alicia reaches out over the edge of the boat, catching the falling paper from the air, its contents laminated on the outside. “What’s it say?” Jack inquires, the woman’s head dropping into her arms as she extends the sheet of plastic-covered writing towards the man. Intrigued, the man takes the paper from the woman’s hands, its near-perfectly smooth surface gliding between his fingers.
“You can’t follow me, that’s not allowed” the paper says, its message brief, yet clear. “This was a complete waste then…” Jack exclaims, flipping the note into the ocean and allowing it to float away. Jack asking what their remaining options dwindle down to, Alicia stares up at the figure sailing into the midday sun, a grimace on her face. “We’re not giving up that easily” Alicia exclaims, waving Jack away from the driver’s seat and taking over in his absence.
“Where are we going?” the man asks, taking the seat Alicia left behind as the woman places her foot to the pedal, forcing the boat forward and continuing the chase. “Not doing what we’re told” Alicia replies, her free hand held over her eyes to block out the sun, the only figure in the sky she aims to focus on being the one desperately intent on covering her tracks.
= 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 =
“You’re gonna want to aim lower than you think you do” Ameil explains, the glass whiskey bottle Dawson fetched from the woods sat upon a charred tree trunk, Amy holding the gun by her nose with Ameil’s hands over her ears. “Fire!” Ameil exclaims, Amy pulling the trigger to send a bullet nowhere near the bottle, the soot from a tree a number of feet away being knocked away as the bullet imbeds the remnants of the wood.
“Fear not, kid… You’ll get it at some point” Dawson explains, his face covered with a wet towel, water dripping from his nose as he scowls in pain. “Long night?” Heather inquires, sat at the opposite side of the table to that of Dawson, the man describing it as his first night sober since the island burned to a crisp. “You’ve been drunk every night for the last month?” Heather follows, the man chuckling until it hurts, confirming her suspicions.
“Any chance you guys could fire a gun quietly?” Dawson asks, Ameil turning towards him as if to consider it, only to flat out refuse as he returns to adjusting the young girl’s aim. Getting on his knees, Ameil fixes himself up to be Amy’s height, staring down the side of the gun as the eye over it were his own, both hands directing those of Amy’s to a precise height, his voice calming enough to convince Amy to take in a deep breath before pulling the trigger.
“Fire!” Ameil exclaims, the girl firing another shot into the depths of the forest, the bullet contacting audibly coming into contact with a tree stump somewhere out of sight. “You’re getting closer, which is progress whether you believe it or not” Ameil explains, returning to his knees and resting by the girl’s side, relieving the stress in her elbows and bending them outwards just slightly.
His finger gliding the girl’s hair over her ear and her cheek away from the rear sight, Ameil pulls the girl’s arms back towards her body until the pose appears as that of a trained shooter. “What are the bets she makes it this time around?” Ameil calls out, the machete on his waistband being pressed between his fingers, pulling the piece away from his person to mimic the sliding of a credit card.
“I’ll bet him whatever the first bottle of rum he pulls out of his bag is!” Heather proclaims, her faith being put into Amy, the girl smiling with pride upon the wager. “I’ll be the mean old grump that puts three bottles where my mouth suggests she misses” Dawson replies, Ameil gently patting the girl on the shoulders as if to turn the reigns over to her. A deep breath as taught before, Amy pulls the trigger once more, the bullet from her gun shattering the bottle before her to mixed reactions.
“I’ll take those bottles now!” Heather exclaims joyfully, Dawson throwing his hand towards his tent, granting the woman permission to help herself. “You taking a celebration drink in defeat?” Ameil asks towards Dawson, the man prophetically refusing any such thing. “I’m already staring down the barrel of an angry mob’s wrath, I’ve gotta kick the drinking” Dawson replies, Ameil shrugging as he joins the man at the table.
“Can I keep shooting?” Amy proceeds to ask, Ameil only reminding her the proper gun safety routine. “Finger off the trigger, gun facing down, only aim at the bottles!” the girl repeats in an effort to beat the man to the punch, Ameil giving the girl a thumbs up in surprise at her efforts. “What does her mother think of the shooting?” Dawson calls out, Heather returning with a collection of the same three brands of rum, “I know a few parents in the city that don’t like it.”
Swallowing her pride, the woman unwraps the top to the first bottle and pours two cups, admitting that this is one of the lessons she doesn’t need Jess’ input in. “With everyone we’ve lost and what we’ve had to fight into, she’s right to wanna learn” Heather replies, clinking her glass against Ameil’s, “it’ll be unequivocally worth it if it happens to save her life someday.”
Nodding in agreement, Dawson commends the woman for doing what’s right despite the mother’s best interests. “It’s not one of those things you’re okay with when it’s first brought up, that I know” Dawson confesses, “but once she learns how to do it properly, it’ll be a non-issue.” Leaning back in her seat, Heather looks back towards Amy, watching her steady her aim before placing her finger on the trigger, a single bullet shattering the new glass bottle on the first attempt.
“Good” Heather calls out to the girl, Amy lowering her gun to her hip and removing her finger from the trigger. Looking back towards Dawson, Heather responds to his prior statement. “I don’t care when it does or doesn’t become a non-issue, I just care that it does” the woman explains, her eyes wandering back towards the girl as she sets another bottle up, “just as long as it keeps her alive.”
Stationed behind his desk, John reads over a piece of paper before the sound of footsteps in the hall just beyond his door begin appearing closer. Taking note of them, John pulls the drawer beside him out, tucking the paper beneath a set of books and closing it just as the door is pushed in. “Can we talk?” Jess asks, her hands pressed against the edges of the door while the man holds his hand towards one of the chairs.
Locking the office entry behind her, Jess takes a seat before the man, John watching her enter the room and tuck her hair behind her ears. “It’s been a few days” Jess says in passing, John’s lips pressing together as he agrees. “It’s been five days, more specifically” John replies, “plenty of time for some journalist to start plotting how to rip apart Sun City from the inside, isn’t it?”
Responding in kind, Jess attempts to change the conversation, her introductory banter being replaced by an apologetic front, the man holding onto every word that comes from her mouth. Wishing she had done things differently, Jess admits to not being able to make up for what she did wrong, her decisions having put everyone in a danger she hadn’t considered at the time.
“We’ve failed our daughter, we’ve failed our marriage, we’ve failed each other” Jess explains, the man’s eyebrows lifting, his visual cue that they find common ground to agree upon. “But there’s always been family troubles” Jess assures, John’s eyes drifting away from the desk, firmly resting upon Jess’ own. “Everyone here is hurting, but that doesn’t mean everything that we’ve done right needs to disappear” Jess explains, “we can come back from this.”
Taking in a deep breath, John allows it to release from his lungs in flutters, keeping tears held back as his fingers glide around the smooth circumference of his wedding ring. “I’ve never been a complete man, Jess” John explains, admitting to the woman he’s always existed as various different people all put together into one fusion. “I’ve been a father, a husband, a marine, a boss, an employee, everything” John explains, “I don’t know mentally if I’ve ever truly put it together.”
Pushing himself from his seat, John struts away from his desk, walking around the sides and towards the front, leaning against the surface once he stands before Jess. “I stayed as a stay-at-home dad and husband because I thought that was how I was supposed to act” John explains, “and I’ve honestly never figured out how to be either the right way.”
Sniffling, John brushes a tear away from his eye, admitting that he’s always known something wasn’t right in his head. “Anyone that wasn’t me got whomever I thought they were supposed to get” John explains, “I acted how I thought a friend should act, how a father should act, how a husband should act… But I was never truly any of those things.”
Her fingers digging into his waistband, Jess pulls herself from the chair and up to face-level with John, the man explaining that he’s never truly been her husband, nor has he been Amy’s father. “I never knew how, I never figured it out, and I’d be lying if I said I ever will” John continues, his fingers pressing against the ring and slowly removing it from his finger, Jess watching on, keeping the tears from falling down her face as the golden symbol of their union glides off his fingertip.
“And if I stood here and told you to be patient with me, I’d be having you wait until the day either of us took our last breath” John conveys, “I’d be doing you and our daughter a disservice.” Holding his wife’s hand out, John places his ring into her hand and tucks it within her palm, telling her to go to their daughter and do what he never could, nor what he would have ever been able to.
Lip quivering, Jess tells John that there is a way forward for the three as a family, a statement John denies with as much displeasure as one could have. “I can’t hold you two back anymore, making you stay awake at night wondering if I’ll come back home” John explains, “I criticized you the other day for something that was no worse than everything I did disappearing on you every other night.”
Her hands pressed against the man’s cheek, Jess pleads with John to realize what he’s saying before he goes to a place he can never recover from. Swallowing his emotions, John takes his wife’s hands and returns them to her lap, his hands now upon her face. “I’m not going to hold either of you back anymore” John explains, kissing his wife and telling her to go find Amy, “if there’s anything I can be sure a father or husband would do, it’s not make his family suffer any longer than they have to.”
Pressing his head against his wife’s, John tells the woman to go find Amy and take her somewhere they won’t be forced to wait up for him any more. Only able to muster a whimpered “please” from her lips, Jess watches the man shake his head in refusal, telling the woman that he can’t live life knowing the effect it has on those he loves.
Crashing into the shore, Alicia quickly disembarks the vessel, dragging it along the sandy shores as Jack stumbles out himself, tripping over the creased side. “We should take the coastline now that we’re in Rhode Island” Jack suggests, “stay close to the sea if we get stuck out here when it gets cold, get the warmer air from the sea.”
“Coast is too dangerous, it’ll be used to corner us if we attract attention from further up north” Alicia replies, stepping over loose firewood with her finger aimed towards the northeast. “We take the 138 through Jonestown and into Newport, head for Martha’s Vineyard from there” Alicia explains, Jack questioning the specific reasonings behind Martha’s Vineyard being the must-go.
“I may not know much about paramotoring, but I know the best way north through the skies thanks to Salem” Alicia explains, “seeing their flight trajectory, I’d trust that they’re heading for Nova Scotia.” Putting his faith in the woman, Jack goes where he’s told to, following after the woman with caution, her lead taking them to the Rhode Island backroads, eyes set on uncovering the true endpoint of the paramotorist’s flightpath.
Sunlight of the mid-morning day turning into the dusk of near night, the lack of a paramotoring presence is personified by the silent sky above, the cool bay waters beneath the Jamestown Bridge the only things singing into the pair’s ears. Each few feet capturing the attention of another undead, Alicia and Jack split responsibilities as if they were trimming hedges, an easy swipe allowing for them to ditch the bodies in the still waters below.
“It really isn’t safe out here to walk the next two weeks on foot” Jack explains, readying his blade as another undead approaches. “Unfortunately, it’s even worse to do so over the next month” Alicia replies, “but when we get to the coast, we’ll see which direction they move and know where we’re heading.”
Swinging his hatchet through the skull of the undead, Jack tells the woman that he’s more than aware of the plan, citing his concern being with the journey, and not the point. “We’ve lived to bring down three communities and lasted four years in the apocalypse” Jack explains, wiping the blood from the edge of his blade on his pant leg, “with how long it’s been, there’s no telling how dangerous the people fending for themselves out here will be.”
Pushing forward regardless, Jack returns the jagged point of his weapon into another skull of the undead, the bridge beneath them feeling unsteady despite not being so. “I get sea legs around this kind of shit these days” Alicia exclaims, strolling behind Jack while he leads, her eyes glancing over the edge of the pre-outbreak structure to find the water just as far below as it always has been.
After a few seconds, Alicia bumps into Jack, the man having stopped in his tracks, eyes looking around the sea of abandoned and rusting motor vehicles as if he’d discovered something. “No, we can’t drive these things if that was what you were gonna ask” Alicia states, the man shaking his head as he walks further into the middle of the pile. “All of these things are separated awkwardly” Jack points out, each vehicle spaced apart just enough to comfortably walk by.
“Okay, people must have shoved the things apart to get through with a bike or something along those lines” Alicia replies, failing to see the trouble Jack seemingly takes intrigue in. “There’s just something about it, Alicia” Jack explains, fingers running over the chipped paint of the doors at thigh level, “something doesn’t seem human to me.”
“Since I’d believe aliens did this before the weak, frail undead did…” Alicia begins, Jack looking back at her as she concludes, “I’m gonna go ahead and tell you to stop trusting your inclinations.” Continuing forward, Alicia bypasses the danger the man seems to be too far caught up on for his own good, calling for the man to follow along. Hesitant, Jack takes the woman up on her request, understanding there to be no point in figuring this mystery out on his own.
“We’ve got no leverage in the journal” Emilio exclaims, Ameil sat at the table beside the man and his running mate, a copy of the day’s journal being tossed from the candidate’s hand in anger. “What did you expect? The guy that runs the journal is your opponent, we were never gonna have fair representation!” Ameil exclaims, a headache beginning to take effect, “the best we’re going to get is time campaigning in the square and the debates. I’m sorry.”
Returning to the window, Emilio glares out at the empty streets below, the image of his opponent taunting him from his own front yard stuck in his mind. “Look, I know you were Democrats, so you weren’t exactly used to going up against the odds” Ameil explains, Emilio still forcing himself to imagine Seth stood upon the car before him, giving him the petulant wink of a man understanding of the damage he stands to create.
“But you need to look at this as ‘take advantage of the few chances you’re going to get’” Ameil explains, Emilio finally pulling himself away from the blinds, watching the man coach him into understanding that every little line matters. “Everyone here is on high alert, so they’ll be latching onto every single thing you say” Ameil explains, standing from his seat, fixing his shirt and adjusting his tie, “all you really have to convince them of is that you’re not Dawson or I.”
“So where do we start first?” Franklin asks, Ameil walking across the room as the pair behind him begin looking towards the first steps. “There’s going to be a hall tomorrow night for the candidates that wish to run” Ameil replies, the bag of tea in his cup being dunked beneath the surface as he explains the dynamic of the venue. “You’re gonna have multiple candidates, so you’ll need to stand out” Ameil explains, “you need to assure the people you’re the opposition candidate.”
“How do these things work then?” Emilio asks aloud, “if there’s gonna be a ‘stand out from the rest’ goal, that should mean that we’re gonna have competition… Who’s the competition?” With a sigh, Ameil explains that anyone running is going to be competition, making it a multiple-sided race. “The whole point is to stand out and make your name known to as many people as you can” Ameil replies, “standing on the car and calling out the current leadership was how Seth did that.”
“So it wasn’t just a personal attack for the sake of it?” Franklin replies, an amused Ameil answering with the shake of his head. “While he may have some honesty in those words, the point was to garner as much traction as he could” Ameil explains, “voicing an opinion the voters you look to secure believe in is a way of digging your feet into the dirt.”
The obvious question now voiced by the leading figure-candidate, Emilio ponders what the voter base they look to target stands for. “It’s really convoluted when you raise that question” Ameil replies, “there isn’t much of a typical voter base in the city.. Seth just got lucky that a big enough one appeared for him to look towards.”
“So we’re going into an election for a city we’re still pretty blind to and we don’t even know what platform we’ll run on?” Franklin questions, Ameil looking to the man with apologetic eyes. “That’s just the way it works in Sun City, there’s nothing I’m able to do about it” Ameil responds, Emilio taking a breath towards the heavens, his mind immediately looking through its memories to throw out suggestions, his natural instinct as a politician to lump votes into groups by nature.
“Anti-pirates, whatever you call them” Emilio exclaims, pointing out the group of people that were against sharing waters with the former Fisher’s Island residents. “What’s the makeup of those that wanted the threat of the pirates extinguished?” Emilio specifies, Ameil shrugging his shoulders at the unextraordinary suggestion. “No one liked them, it was just a matter of who wanted what out of them” Ameil replies, Emilio’s finger raised towards the man.
“The people that wanted us to take them out all turned on Dawson when the point of the war was made out to be a full on failure” Ameil furthers, “those people are backing Seth at the moment.” Throwing his arms out, Emilio employs the oldest tactic in his political playbook, suggesting they get enough traction from Seth’s voters by proclaiming to be the ones responsible for ridding them of the waters.
“It’s one thing for Seth to run on ‘we failed at war’” Emilio points out, “but it’s another to be the people that brought the pirates to justice… We’re those people!” Wincing, Ameil shakes his head nonchalantly, stepping away from the pair as Emilio notices something to be off. “What’s wrong with that plan?” Emilio inquires, Ameil looking back towards him, the look on his face suggesting a small wrench to be caught in the center of such plan.
“The deepest, almost truest reason for why the war was a failure was because we brought nothing back” Ameil explains, “but we also didn’t alleviate every threat of outsiders.” Shaking his head, Emilio questions what the matter of that happens to be, the look on Ameil’s face turning before the man’s eyes, making it clear that there’s something Ameil knows that neither Emilio, nor Franklin, do.
“There’s something you’re not telling us” Emilio continues, Ameil’s head tilted towards the floor despite his eyes staring towards Emilio, the man opposite him challenging him to admit the truth to them. “The pirates were a threat to us, yes, but the waters don’t solely belong to us now” Ameil replies, “while they may not be outright threats, they still share the waters with us… We just have a little more than they do.”
With a sigh, Ameil places his tea on the counter beside him, Emilio and Franklin beginning to realize what the man is getting at. “We’re still not the only community along the coast” Ameil explains, Emilio’s head dropping, Franklin immediately demanding to be informed of the other. “There’s two more, other than us, in the Long Island Sound” Ameil replies, allowing Franklin’s temper to flare as the one-armed man demands to know why that would be withheld from them.
“Because we found you first, we helped you first, and we didn’t wanna risk losing you to one of the other places!” Ameil exclaims, “you’re valuable to us, neither Dawson or myself wanted to risk letting you slip away… That’s why he made the deal with you that he did.” Side of his hand firmly placed against the table, Emilio tells the man that honesty would have been good enough for the group to commit to Sun City with on its own.
“All you had to do was be upfront about this from the start, and it would have gone a hell of a lot further than lying to us!” Franklin shouts, his temper flaring as Emilio holds himself back, keeping his composure in check while his running mate goes off. “Enough!” Emilio shouts, the hand he held against the surface of the table now being stretched out, his palm pressed against Franklin’s peck, his assurance given to Franklin that things need to calm down before they can be righted.
Cooling himself off, Franklin looks away from Ameil, glancing back to Emilio before turning away from both, walking to the opposite side of the room as Emilio looks back at his host. “We’ll square away one thing right now while we have the chance” Emilio explains, “we’ll run for your leadership despite your lies as long as you tell us every single thing that you, or your friend, have been keeping form us.”
Ameil’s head hanging in shame, admitting that Emilio is completely justified in his request. “We should have trusted you, and I apologize on our behalf” Ameil explains, he and Emilio finally seeing eye-to-eye, “tell me what you want to know.” With a nod, Emilio continues to fight for his composure to remain intact, his hands pressing against the back of the chair he slides from beneath the table, returning to it as he once occupied minutes prior again.
“We don’t need to get specific, just start from the top” Emilio replies, hand extended towards Ameil’s seat, prompting the man to take is as requested. Turning towards Franklin, Emilio locks eyes with the man, the steady stare getting the message across to a more mannered Franklin, who returns to the table and concludes the efforts by taking his seat back. With confidence, Emilio looks back to a prepared Ameil, a deep breath prior to his statement, “tell us what we need to know.”
== Rise ==