Sat in a room stripped straight out of the pre-industrial era, the remaining survivors keep to themselves, their lips refusing to part for any statement, decry or words of encouragement. A torch in the back of the room creating a warm glow over the twelve continuing to share space amongst the living, everything is still, calm with a poorly-hidden anger boiling within each of them.
Their silence squandered by Dawson pushing the front door open, John welcomes the chance to be the first to speak up, leaping to his feet and hurrying towards the man. On instinct, John grabs Dawson by the shirt and forces him against the wall, demanding to know the location of those responsible. “You can’t take on an army of thousands, John!” Ameil responds, the man currently pinning his friend against the wall suggesting otherwise.
“I’m not letting them get away with it!” John shouts, having to be ripped away from Dawson, Emilio directing him back to the corner with his family. “Who did this and why?” Emilio asks, refusing to spend any more time controlling John than he has to, wanting answers much like the rest of the group. “We call them the pirates” Dawson responds, acknowledging the lack of creativity behind the name, “and they’re very protective of the waters you entered.”
“So this is our fault?” Salem asks, Dawson declining that notion at first, only to redirect it elsewhere. “It’s his” Dawson replies, his finger aimed across the room at John, who is forced to subdue his rage when Jess holds him back, allowing Emilio to inquire to reasoning as to why. “He drove off before we could ask where you were going” Dawson replies, “had you told us you were heading towards Fishers Island, we wouldn’t have let you go.”
“So that’s what the pirates own?” Emilio asks, “all that empty land out there they’re just letting stay abandoned?” His head shaking, Dawson informs Emilio that the land isn’t abandoned like it would seem to be. “They let nature grow around the island to cover their camps” Ameil replies, “any way they can stay tucked away, they’ll most likely take.”
“So we just can’t get to the island?” Katie asks, “everything we’ve been working for is just gone because a couple of loons like to shoot on sight?” Nodding, Dawson responds in agreement, making it known that anything past the start of Fishers Island is controlled and overseen by the pirates. “So you just let us go out into the waters to get killed?” John asks, his arms draped over his knees, eyes looking towards Dawson.
“At first, we were hoping you’d be going south from where you left the docks” Dawson admits, “we got caught in some bad waves and only caught up to you when it was too late.” When reminded that they could have used their microphone to tell us to turn back, Ameil refuses the suggestion. “Once you crossed into their waters, they were shooting you down regardless” the man replies, “you stepped on their turf and needed to learn a lesson.”
“And you didn’t care to at least mention that before we even started to board?” Emilio asks, “what? Just never crossed your mind?” Head hung, Dawson admits that he wishes he had known sooner. “Again, we don’t meet many people from the mainland” Dawson reminds, “anyone not from Sun City is usually aware of the water territory.”
“So you’re saying this is my fault?” John asks, Emilio and Dawson both looking to the man, “had I been a little more keen-eyed, we could’ve kept this from happening?” His jaw widening, Dawson soon rethinks what he was about to say, thinking it over in his head before ultimately responding in kind. “If you had told us where you were going, yeah… Probably” Dawson replies, John’s head hanging low as his eyes shut tight.
“So what do we do now?” Emilio asks, reminding the pair that they still have graves to dig on behalf of the lost. “You’re free to stay here as long as you need until you find a second plan” Dawson replies, immediately confusing Salem, who begins to ask what he means by a second plan. “I mean, you’re free to be here until you find a new place to go” Dawson replies, “we’ll get you a new boat and some supplies to make up for what you lost as best as we can.”
“I’m sorry, I need to ask this again” Katie replies, standing to her feet and wiping the dirt from her knees, “these fuckers killed my brother and you want us to just let that slide?” A heated look of confusion on Emilio’s face, the man asks Katie what other option the group has left to play. “Take revenge on the people that killed my family! Our family!” Katie replies, “even if we all have to die, we’re not letting these bastards get away with this!”
Immediately worried this will turn into a familiar conversation, and thus, familiar result, Jess speaks up, shooting down Katie’s impassioned decries to fight another war. “We still haven’t fully recovered from Sheol, and you want us to fight another war after losing more people?” Jess asks, Katie responding in kind. “Even before Sheol, everything we had been doing was to get to that island” the young woman replies, “and now we’re just gonna let that slip because a bunch of sea-cunts said so?”
“We don’t have any choice, Katie!” Alicia replies, “our numbers have been cut from fifteen to twelve, and we’re not exactly sure what these fucks can handle!” His arm extended, Franklin responds that there is a slight choice they have, leaving the group intrigued. “Just because they fight on water, doesn’t mean that’s where the fight needs to take place” Franklin replies, Emilio’s eyes widening as he realizes what Franklin is getting at.
Looking back to Dawson, Emilio watches the worried expression take the man over, his head hanging at the suggestion made by the one-armed counterpart. “I don’t know you guys very well, but I’d hope you wouldn’t be dumb enough to go onto their land and fight on their turf” Dawson responds, Emilio stating that they’ve fought on unfamiliar soil before.
“But this isn’t a group of scavengers or whatever else you’ve all fought!” Dawson shouts in return, “these are savages so brutal it made us take on a fucking democracy!” Head shaking, Emilio returns his own point to the man, explaining how they took out a connected string of compounds with nuclear capabilities, making pirates a bit less intimidating.
“I don’t think you heard me correctly” Dawson replies, his hands held out as his tone grows less inviting, “these are savages, they don’t fight like your traditional scavengers.”
“These people will skin you alive and roast you over a campfire” Ameil interjects, “they’ll rape every woman in this room, and they’ll keep the kid as undead bait.” The disturbing remarks voiced doing little to phase the group, John informs Ameil that they’d have to conquer his family in order to accomplish any of that. “They will” Ameil replies, “the second you step onto land they know, own, and control with a tight grip… You’re dead.”
With a deep breath, Emilio places his hands upon his hips, turning back to the group for their input, Angela being the first to speak up. “Troy told us to go after that island” the woman replies, “he gave his life for all of us and that goal, so I’ll do the same.” With Angela’s seal of approval, Emilio looks at John, making it clear that they won’t have a chance unless they have their military leader fronting the charge.
“Someone would have to stay behind with Amy” John replies, “I’m not letting my daughter get caught up in this fight, especially not if what Dawson said is true.” Teeth clenched, Emilio begins to worry about that decision, their fate practically sealed upon that declination. “I’ll stay behind with her” Heather replies, immediately injecting Emilio with hope, John and Jess questioning why.
“Your daughter seems to like me, and I flew in the air force because I didn’t like fighting on the ground” Heather responds, “if anyone is a good choice to stay back here, it’d be me.” His eyes on Jess, Emilio tells the woman that the group will need both of the Callis parents in order to make it out alive, Jess glancing towards her husband for his decision. “I’ve trusted Heather since the New World Order” John replies, “if she’s staying back with Amy, I’m going with you.”
A smile on his face, Emilio glances back to Jessica, the worried expression on her face preceding the nod of compliance. “You already know I’m in” Salem adds, Katie happily offering her services next, the group’s sniping force retained. “I’m in” Franklin replies, “I think this can work if we handle it properly.” Concerned, Alicia looks back to her boyfriend, the man shrugging, leaving the decision up to her.
“I’m in” Alicia replies, comforting Jack and Lauren enough to eagerly include their names into the fight. Looking back to Dawson, Emilio watches the head of the man hang low, accepting the decision made by his fellow survivors. “I can’t say I believe in you guys” Dawson responds, “even if it were reassuring, I think you’re signing your death warrant.”
Nodding, Emilio turns his attention away from Dawson and back towards John, the man intending on making something clear to him. “If we’re going to treat this like a war, I want no part in making the decisions over this group” John responds, “I want you to be the sole man responsible for deciding which course of action is best when we’re out there.”
“Wait, you want Emilio to be the leader?” Katie replies, John glancing back to the woman, admitting that she’s free to see it that way if she pleases. “Regardless of what you want to call it, I want you holding me back from getting too trigger-happy while we’re there… Got it?” John asks, Emilio extending his hand and shaking that of John’s accepting the promotion.
= 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 =
“This will be your place” Ameil explains, welcoming Heather and Amy into their new home within Sun City, the space not large in size, but spacious enough for comfort. “You get a stipend every month, don’t use it too quickly or you’ll go without anything to spend until the next one comes in” Ameil reminds, Amy quickly running towards the bed and jumping on the stuffed mattress.
“John’s talking to Dawson about getting some people from Sun City to help in the fight, but I don’t think it’ll end well” Ameil admits, “I wanted you to know in case I was sent out with him.” Understanding, Heather thanks Ameil for helping get Amy and herself situated, appreciative of what he’s done for them. “I’m going to be honest, you’re all probably being treated so well because of how shocking it is to find decent people anymore” Ameil replies, “but at least it counts for something.”
Smiling to hide a heavy mountain of shame, Heather responds by thanking Ameil for everything he’s helped with. With a smile, the man walks off, leaving Heather and Amy to get situated into their new home. “Why are mom and dad leaving again?” Amy asks, beginning to grow tired of her parents always being away. “They have to go somewhere dangerous that you shouldn’t see” Heather replies, a frown beginning to form on the girl’s face.
Taking a seat at the edge of the bed, Amy hangs her head, immediately raising the hidden instinct in Heather to attempt to comfort the only familiar face in town. “Mom and dad do a lot to keep you and I safe” Heather replies, taking a seat beside Amy and putting her hand on the young girl’s shoulder. “They’re not the best parents, but they don’t have much of a choice” Heather responds, “the fact that they’re still doing it well years after they started is amazing.”
Sprouting a slight smile, Amy silently nods, still disappointed that she finds herself waving her mother and father away once again. “They love you no matter what happens, and I think you should know that” Heather continues, watching Amy look up to her, “and they do all this to keep you safe.”
“You’re not going anywhere, right Heather?” Amy asks, the woman sprouting an ebullient smile hidden as best as she can shaking her head. “I’m staying right here with you” Heather replies, the young girl finally sprouting a more visible grin, comforted in knowing that she wont be alone through any of this anymore.
“If there’s a chance we can take over the island, why wouldn’t you want to seize it?” John asks, Dawson stubbornly refusing to send anyone into a fight he’s not confident in. “If you were doing this for a more logical reason other than honoring your dead friends, maybe I could get behind that” Dawson admits, “but this is just a battle you’re waging on high emotions over people that are dead, gone and not having to be involved in this.”
“Why we’re fighting has nothing to do with what you have to gain if we win” Emilio interjects, “we gain control of that island, and Sun City gains control of the entire Long Island Sound!” With a sigh, Dawson reminds Emilio that the group is lucky he’s replacing their boat for this venture, warning them not to push it with full-frontal military funding. Head hung, John asks Dawson what they would have to do to install confidence in their venture, the man left rolling his eyes.
“I’m serious” John replies, “okay, you don’t have confidence in it now… That’s evident. But what would you have to see before you could confidently throw troops into the mix?” Looking around the room, Dawson begins to think to himself exactly what he’d be confident in, the man responding by holding his ground. “John, I seriously don’t think you’re gonna see me have confidence in any of it” Dawson responds, John holding ground himself, telling Dawson to think hard.
Folding his hands and placing them against his lips, Dawson thinks about how bloody such a war would be, knowing the amount of casualties would be turned into a political statement. “A majority of land controlled” Dawson replies, “if you can control a majority of the land, I’ll be confident enough to send in backup.”
His eyes trailing towards Emilio, John watches the man admit that it’s better than nothing at all. “At what point, we’d be able to control it ourselves without your help” John explains, continuing to force the envelope open, “what would voters think if you not only didn’t fund this, but created a third power entirely?” Speaking up to halt her husband, Jess is interrupted when Dawson begins to warn John not to push it.
“You haven’t even been given the boat yet, I wouldn’t try to play with power here if I were you” Dawson explains, John reminding him that they have different definitions of what balls are. “I’m engaging in a war you wouldn’t fight, clearly some of us have more guts than others” John explains, Emilio attempting to cut in before John shuts him out. “If I lose anyone in the process of gaining a majority of Fishers Island without any help from you, things will get sour” John explains.
“How do you suppose that, John?” Dawson asks, the man’s finger planted against the table they both sit at, his point being made clear enough for Sun City’s leader to understand. “If we accomplish what you deem necessary for support, we’ll be the strongest opposition force” John explains, “and when that happens, voters will be deciding how to fight against us, not those pirates.”
“The ole’ two birds with one stone method?” Salem asks, beginning to back John’s statement, “I like it.” The pressure beginning to mount against him, Dawson listens into the group amidst a haze of disagreement, splitting into equal support of pressing their luck and appreciating what’s already been given. Tensions mounting, John tells Dawson to rethink his offer or watch his entire term in charge of Sun City vanish before his eyes.
“How would that happen, Johnathan?” Dawson asks, a smirk across John’s face spreading wide as the man gives him his answer. “How about I go out into the center of town and announce how their leader is helping create a third enemy group?” John asks, standing from his chair and heading for the door whilst Emilio shouts for him to come back. “Wait!” Dawson shouts, every voice in the room other than his own dropping, John turning back towards the man with his hand on the doorknob.
Head tilted towards his folded hands, Dawson bites his lip as John repeats the same request just uttered from the man, phrased as a question. With a deep breath, Dawson stands from his seat and walks over to John, making it known that he doesn’t appreciate having been backed into a corner here. “I don’t appreciate you thinking we’d be dumb enough to blindly do your bidding for you and be grateful that you would come and take credit for our work” John replies.
Clearing his throat, Dawson tells John that he’ll send a small crew of men out to the island if they can control roughly a fourth of the area. “We’ll clear what we can, send more in as you get further, and let you take your stupid fucking island” Dawson replies, telling the man that any slip ups will be paid for dearly. “If you wish to force my hand… Fine, have it your way” Dawson responds, “but if you don’t expect to have your hand forced eventually as well, you’d be sorely mistaken.”
His head tilting to the side, John admits that he more than understands, but he’ll take the looming threat in order to fulfill the promise he made to everyone that fought beside him. With a nod, Dawson pulls the door open and leaves, John remaining in the room with the remainder of his quiet group. Scanning the room, John notices the expression on every face holding contempt for him, Jessica’s expression especially holding the most disgust.
“We don’t know these people or have any idea of what they’re capable of” Alicia explains, “threatening the leader of the group you’re leaving your child in the hands of was not smart.” Angry, Jess leaves her spot and walks for the door, passing by her husband in silence before slamming the door shut. “My point proven” Alicia adds, Salem arguing that they were left with little choice.
“We all know this is a death sentence without at least some help” the woman explains, “if we couldn’t get soldiers with us when we reached shore, at least we know what we have to do to earn some backup.” His arms crossed, Emilio remains silent, a posture the group easily points out, calling into question. “I don’t think I trust the guy” Emilio explains, “you don’t lose that kind of ‘welcoming’ attitude regardless of how much you’re threatened if it isn’t somewhat common.”
“You’re saying he’s gonna screw us?” Jack asks, Emilio admitting that he thinks it’s a fair possibility. “That doesn’t give me any more comfort than I just had a minute ago” Alicia replies, Salem the first to quell concerns as best as she can. “He doesn’t expect us to get a fourth of the island controlled, but he’d be put in his place in we did” Salem explains, “doing that would show him that controlling a majority would be possible… And that’s what he wants to avoid.”
“If he truly didn’t think we could get a majority of the island, he wouldn’t have budged on his original offer regardless” Jack explains, “he would’ve let you go out there and look like an idiot once you got killed.” The lines drawn, John takes the side of Salem and Jack’s belief, whilst Emilio resides with Alicia and Jess on their allegiance with concern.
“We’re locked into that agreement regardless” Emilio explains, “the best we can do is face the situation if we come across it.” Unable to agree on what to expect when push comes to shove, the group as a whole agrees that they are left with little more than knowing that they’re destined to enter war. “Let’s do this as only we can” John exclaims, Emilio nodding, preparing himself for the unknown that comes next, whatever rests in the near future now officially unavoidable.
A knock at his door forcing him away from his work, Dawson greets Jess with surprise, having not expected her company. “I want to talk to you for a minute if I can?” Jess asks, the man answering by making room for her to enter, pulling a chair out opposite his kitchen table. “I’m sure you pieced together the fact that my husband is a veteran of the military by now” Jess explains, “so please don’t be offended that he saw an opportunity to negotiate.”
His head hung, Dawson tells the woman that he’s certain she has a very good heart, but makes it known that John lacked the awareness to realize that their encounter was no place for negotiation. “I understand that it’s been a while since any of you have had to abide by democratic law, but you’re not in the wilderness anymore” Dawson explains, “I played nice because I knew John didn’t realize any negotiation wasn’t one of survival, but one of political importance.”
Appreciating Jessica’s willingness to apologize for actions not of her own, Dawson breaks down to her the complications of Sun City upfront. “Everyone gets a vote, everyone understands the importance of remaining well-informed, everyone understands the importance of somethings and the unimportance of others” Dawson explains, “I’m not going to let your husband make me look expendable.”
Nodding in agreement, Jessica admits that she understands, hoping to ensure Dawson knows the origins of John’s actions. “We’re a community here” Dawson responds, “I’m as aware of John’s reasonings as my people are of how inflation, conflict, employment, service and anything else works.”
With a deep breath, Dawson calms himself and approaches his kitchen, pouring Jessica and himself a small glass of wine, admitting that Sun City is a very fragile place. “We did business with that woman on the mainland because we needed as much as we could on tap” Dawson claims, “these people aren’t used to the mainland anymore… Most people out there are irredeemable at this point.”
Thanking Dawson for the drink, Jessica asks the man how aiding in the war at any point would make him and his government appear. “That would depend on the result” Dawson admits, “I’d be voted out of office in the next set of elections if I sent a fleet with you on the shore and didn’t come away with control of the waters.” Nodding, Jessica proceeds to ask a follow-up, one that catches the man off guard.
“What else could quietly boost your support out here?” Jess wonders, the man’s eyebrows stammering for a moment as he thinks over different minor causes. “Patrol reform, bribery, territory control are all things that people want but understand are long-term causes” Dawson admits, the success of John’s fight being one thing that would make Dawson’s government heavily favorable in the eyes of the civilians.
“Would you think capturing the leader of the pirates and holding a trial for his crimes to be something favorable?” Jess asks, Dawson holding the cup he originally began lifting to his lips in mid-air. “I think that would go a long way in getting me re-elected” Dawson replies, a smile on the woman’s face beginning to form. “Would you say it’d be enough to earn the island my group and I want the rights to being an autonomous region under Sun City’s influence?” Jess asks, Dawson intrigued.
“If you can get Sun City the Fishers Islands, I’m sure a referendum can be held to make that happen” Dawson replies, the smile on Jessica’s face spreading. “We govern ourselves, make our own rules, and retain the protections, support and potential tourism of Sun City?” Jessica proceeds to ask, a clarified agreement being looked on favorably by the man on the opposite end of the table.
“I’m more than certain that could be arranged” Dawson replies, a grateful Jess tipping her head to the man, letting him know that he’ll hear from her soon. With this statement, Jess confidently downs the remainder of her drink and exits the home, walking a few yards away before finding a pair of familiar faces. “How did it go?” Franklin asks, the woman continuing to sport her smile. “You two haven’t lost your political touch” Jess replies, Franklin and Emilio sharing the positive hopes.
“We taught her well” Emilio replies, fist-bumping his former lieutenant governor choice and ensuring their wishes fully depend on whether or not they’re able to finish the job.
Amidst the rising sun, John and Emilio lead the group out of their temporary housing and into the shoreline. Saying their departing words to their daughter, John and Jessica promise to make sure Amy has a comfortable bed to sleep in forever. “The one in our house sucks… I can’t bounce on it!” Amy replies, an amused John and Jess pulling their child into a hug.
“Thank you for doing this” Jess says to Heather, who pulls away from Alicia’s hug to assure her of it being no issue at all. Approaching John, Dawson hands the man a radio, telling the man to keep in contact. “There’s gonna be a marina a fourth of the way in there, it’ll be called ‘the pirates hole’” Dawson informs, “when you get there, radio in and we’ll send in the force you need.”
“And go right when you hit the mainland” Ameil adds, “it won’t look like it, but there’ll be an an airport when you first touch land, take it from there.” With a nod, John takes his instructions to heart, shaking the hands of both Dawson and Ameil, who remind him how much each side has to gain from this being successful. “I may not hold much hope, but I’m not rooting for you any less because of that” Dawson explains, “get this done for both of our sake.”
Understanding, John departs, stationing himself behind the wheel of the boat whilst Emilio traces seven lines in the sand. Adding three herself, Salem makes room for an additional one from Angela, offering their peace with the lost. “Good luck” Dawson calls out, John responding in kind as the boat rides off. “No going back now” Emilio exclaims, John kissing the dog tags in his hand as the island in the distance slowly grows closer.
“For all that we’ve lost” Jess declares, the memory of those needed to be lost in order to get to this moment being honored by everyone in the repetition of that statement. The last to repeat the lines, John narrows his eyes towards the island, island, the group keeping their eyes on him, patiently awaiting his addition. With a nod, John clutches the tags in his free hand hard, looking out at the seas they had once failed to pass this land on as he finally voices his part.
“For all that we’ve lost.”