Without a word, the supposed leader of the pirate grouping struts into the home Emilio finds himself held at gunpoint within, not a care for concern in his eyes. “We haven’t found anyone in the houses” the pirate suddenly exclaims, a sigh of relief escaping Emilio’s lungs capturing the towering man’s attention. “Are you happy about that?” the man asks, his eyes matching those an interrogating officer would stare towards a guilty victim with.
“Yeah, I am” Emilio responds, the man opposite him tilting his head to the side, asking him for a explanation. “Well if they’d come back between you finding me and now, it would have been a coincidence that would have made me look untrustworthy” Emilio replies, the tall, bulky figure responding with an ingenuine nod. A smile coming over his face, perhaps one strategically placed, Emilio inquires over what to call the skyscraper of a man before him other than ‘the pirate.’
“I hope you don’t mind” Emilio follows, “anything other than your name just sounds informal.” Pouring himself a glass of wine, the tall man responds with less than favorable words. “Keep it that way, I like informal” the figure retorts, an ingenuine nod coming from Emilio this time. “Are you going to let me go now?” Emilio asks, his hands bound tightly before him, the rope equally bound to a bar beneath the table.
“Nope” the pirate replies, not caring to add any further input. “Are you going to let me go at all?” Emilio continues, the man turning around and taking the seat opposite his prisoner. “Your name is Emilio Vasquez, is that correct?” the man asks, Emilio answering in kind, doing much the same when his prior gubernatorial campaign is brought up. “You ran as a Democrat, is that true?” the pirate continues, an informal answer originating from the once uniformed man.
“I take it you were a Republican?” Emilio proceeds, a deceitful smile sprouting over Emilio’s face as the grizzled statue in front of him glares through the corner of his eye. “Libertarian” the figure replies, Emilio shrugging his shoulders and slouching back into his seat. “Are you gonna hold me captive as some sort of role reversal now?” Emilio asks, “bully me for the big government you don’t agree with?”
Clearing his throat, the pirate leans over the table, still remaining in his seat, though tall enough for the end of his jaw to nearly reach the halfway point of the table regardless. “My withholding of you from your group has nothing to do with your political beliefs” the strong voice replies, “all of that is dead and no longer matters.” His eyes closing together, Emilio’s head tilts back, inquiring for what the reasoning happens to be.
“You’re valuable” the pirate replies, his answers always coming in brief, straight-forward points, something Emilio has little leverage to work with. “On a scale of gold rush to dog shit, how valuable are you considering me to be?” Emilio asks, the pirate squinting towards the distance before suddenly sporting an evil grin. “A politician” the pirate replies, his hands cupping together as Emilio begins to chuckle.
“Easy to trade, easy to wanna kill” Emilio exclaims, “either way, no scuff marks on your shoes.” With a deep breath, Emilio remains slouched in his seat, altering his position to gain leverage against the binds wrapping themselves the lengths of his wrists. “So what is it that you want in return for my freedom?” Emilio asks, “a boat? The island we want? A goddamn coconut?”
Without hesitation, the pirate cuts Emilio off, his hands gently grazing his coat as to unfurl it. “We want Sun City” the man replies, one eyebrow arching on Emilio’s face as he recites the demand verbatim. “We want Sun City, and we want all of it” the pirate replies, Emilio unable to keep himself from letting out a chuckle. “You’re not satisfied with this massive chunk of land?” Emilio asks, “this whole place is supposed to be twice the size of Sun City entirely!”
“It’s not enough” the pirate replies, quick to intervene before Emilio can catch himself too far off track. “We want complete autocracy over the Long Island sound, and nothing less will suffice.” Rolling his eyes, Emilio tells the man hat his plan will never work, the pirate refusing to take Emilio’s words for gospel. Refusing to be told that he is anything less than correct, Emilio doubles down on his statement with points.
“You want control, I get it… But that’s a lofty goal!” Emilio explains, “a plan that centers around that cannot have any variables at play to disrupt it.”Matching Emilio’s posture, the pirate crosses his arms and demands that Emilio plead his case. With a sigh, Emilio places his head in his restrained hands before going into detail.
“If I’m your bait, you need to hope I don’t fall off the hook” Emilio explains, “I can escape, I can be smuggled out in the dead of night, I can get bit, I can be killed on accident. None of these are unavoidable.” Amused, the pirate tells Emilio that all of his statements come with the suggestion that the pirate’s men would not be able to oversee his care properly.
“I know you can’t” Emilio replies, the sadistic smile on his face intriguing the pirate. “Why is that?” the brute inquires, the sun just beginning to rise over a new day. “Because you can’t even find my people” Emilio replies, “the ones that took out an entire camp’s worth of men last night.” His grin dissipating, the pirate pulls his firearm from beneath his coat pocket and aims at Emilio’s head, beginning to demand the truth from the man or otherwise face execution.
“You made them scatter in different directions, you’ve still got some on the island” Emilio replies, “but you won’t kill me, because then you’ve got nothing to barter with.” Less fascinated by the suggestion that murder is nothing but a shot to oneselves foot, the pirate demands to know the true number of people stationed on the island. “Probably ten or so” Emilio returns, an egotistical confidence pooling over him as the pirate calls his bluff.
It’s not a bluff just because you can’t train your men well enough” Emilio replies, “a few mysterious knocks at the back door and they just walk out one by one. Easy pickings.” Hands slamming against the table, the pirate storms onto the other side, revealing a blade and holding it against Emilio’s throat, who volunteers to tilt his head further back to give the pirate a cleaner kill.
Failing to find amusement in Emilio’s defiance, the pirate is left to stare at the man, who insists his potential killer make a decision. “You’ve got something to gain and something to lose” Emilio explains, “as for me… I don’t really give a shit.”
Staring at the satisfied face of his prisoner, the blade in the man’s hand begins to jolt, his hand unable to hold steady as his anger boils over. With a grunt, the pirate pulls the blade back into his pocket and demands the crew overseeing the interrogation locate the lost group. In formation, the armed crew leaves, the door closing on their way out, leaving only a frustrated pirate lead and and arrogant, smiling Emilio waiting for the next move.
= 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 =
Awoken by the sun peaking through the curtains, Heather rubs her eyes and makes her best attempt at keeping them open. Turning around to where she’d normally place her clothes, Heather’s eyes widen in surprise, an equally naked Ameil laying beside her. Now more awake than she originally intended to be, Heather glances across thee room to find Amy asleep on the couch, presumably having fallen asleep in the middle of reading.
Finding enough power to climb out of bed, Heather takes the blanket resting over the back of the couch and places it over the sleeping youth, now on a mission to find her clothes. After a few minutes, Heather begins to hear Ameil suffer the process of having to wake up, his internal clock giving him a wake up call as soon as the sun comes into view.
Hushing him down before he can get a chance to speak, Heather enters the kitchen and pours the man a cup of coffee. “I’ve heard that it’s supposed to help with hangovers or something” Heather explains, Ameil nodding in appreciation. A minute of uncomfortable silence following, Ameil explains that the night prior doesn’t have to be anything if Heather doesn’t want it to be.
“I’m just not usually the ‘get drunk and one night stand’ kind of person” Heather replies, “it’s all so new to me.” Taking another swig of his drink, Ameil tells her it can roll in accordance with what she wants. With a nod, Heather puts a quick end to the line of dialogue, Ameil jokingly thanking her for not kicking him out first thing in the morning before throwing on his shirt.
At first showing a smile, such expression quickly fades when a knock at the door originates, jolting Amy awake. “Make any new friends in the middle of the night?” Ameil asks, both he and Heather doing the smallest necessary to appear presentable. After a second set of knocks, Heather hurries for the door and pulls it open, both she and Ameil surprised by the sight awaiting them on the other side.
“It seems we have a problem” Dawson exclaims, Jess stood behind him with her hair a mess, clothes dirty and her arms folded.
“Wake up!” Alicia exclaims, throwing a dusty pillow at Jack, who stammers onto his feet and wipes the dust from his back. “You could be a little nicer about it next time” Jack mutters, groggily stumbling out of the spacious den in the highest level of the home in pursuit of Alicia. “There’s no room for niceties” Alicia replies, “we’ve got much more pressing issues to tend to.”
Meeting Lauren downstairs, Alicia welcomes in the sight off sunrise with the most notable issue to discuss. “What’s the plan?” Alicia asks, both Jack and Lauren laughing at the abruptness for which such an impactful discussion is introduced. First inquiring about the rest of the group, Jack begins to wonder whether or not it would be safer to go after finding them or figuring out a way off the island.
“There’s no boats in the water from what I could see getting here” Lauren replies, “if there were a way off of this island, I’m sure plenty of the locals would’ve taken it by now.” Not intrigued by either line of dialogue, Jack presents a third option, one simply based after finding a way to get Emilio back. “John will have that covered” Alicia replies, writing off the choice as pointless, which immediately bewilders Jack.
“How the fuck do you know that?” Jack proceeds, Alicia reminding the man of who John is. “The guy literally puts the group over his own family, I’m certain he’d rather die than give up on Emilio.” Challenging the woman’s faith, Jack asks Alicia what the situation would be if John were already dead. “If we’re going off your assumption, Emilio’s as good as dead if John’s a goner” Jack replies, Alicia staring at the man with an intense silence.
“I’ve known John a lot longer than you have, Jack” Alicia replies, “he may have his issues morally, but he’ll never leave any of us behind as long as his head is clear.” Meeting her boyfriend on the same challenge, Lauren questions how clear John’s mind can truly be. “We just got blindsided by a group of locals a hell of a lot more informed on this island’s geography” Lauren explains, “who’s to say John’s thinking clearly right now?”
Almost amused, Alicia feels the need to repeat the way John works to both parties, specifically targeting Lauren. “Everything about this situation is like home for John, which is why he led us here” Alicia explains, “if there’s any environment where John’s head is crystal clear, it would be here.”
With a sigh, Jack tells Alicia to clear her own head and run the chances in her own head over every possibility. “Whatever decision we make, we leave the other two up for fate to decide” Jack explains, “are you certain John will live long enough to get Emilio back?” Before Alicia can reply, Lauren puts her hat in the ring favoring John. “I wanna question every possibility, but I’m no less confident that John can get Emilio back under the right circumstances” Lauren explains, leaving Alicia left.
“John will get it done” Alicia replies, keeping her response brief and switching courses to her two remaining choices. “Find the others or get out of this place?” Alicia questions, all three looking towards each other as if they were waiting for anyone else to speak up first.
His boots dragging along the ground to avoid stepping on any dry leaves, John leads Salem and Angela through the forest with a hunting knife drawn and readied by his side. Cleverly pushing overhanging vines out of the way rather than breaking them, John takes his moment to strike, leaping to his feet and taking a random passerby into a chokehold, knife pressed against the man’s cheekbone.
“Where’s the pirates?” John asks, Salem and Angela both removing themselves from cover and holding their guns to the man’s chest, threatning two slugs and a fatal throat slash. “What are you talking about?” the scared man asks, John rephrasing the question to a more understandable level. “Where is the leader of your community?” John asks, the man still unable to understand what is being asked of him.
In frustration, John removes his knife and kicks the man forward, allowing the terrified figure to stumble into a tree and fall to the ground, guns still drawn in his direction. “Maybe you’ll answer more precisely without a knife to your throat” John explains, standing between the two woman as the man turns himself onto his back, looking up at his potential demise.
“I seriously don’t know what you’re talking about!” the man pleads, “I’m sorry for whatever I did! I was just trying to grow crops!” In tears, the man breaks down with the guns still drawn, all three survivors holding him hostage looking to each other in confusion. “Who the hell do you think we are?” John asks, the man glancing up in terror, explaining that he’s not sure, but is unwilling to take any chances.
With a sigh, John kneels down, descending to eye level with the man, who takes the gesture as a sign of generosity. “We don’t know, nor do we care about what you’re growing” John replies, “our friend was taken by the people that run this island, and we want to get him back.” The tears subsiding, the worried expression quickly turns to one of jubilation. “You’re not with the figureheads?” the man asks, a still confused John responding in almost an animated fashion, “no.”
With a smile, the man double checks with John specifically that he is an outsider, which John confirms. “You have no idea how incredible this is!” the man exclaims, only further dropping the trio into confusion, their efforts of hostile stealth having somehow developed into messiah-like saving. “I don’t know how incredible this is for you, nor do I want to” John replies, “I simply wanna know where our friend is being held.”
“Held like prisoner held?” the man clarifies, exclaiming “Town Square!” upon his suspicions being affirmed. “What the fuck is Town Square and how can we get there?” John asks, the man cheerfully pointing him in the last direction they hoped to be pointed towards. “Let me guess” John exclaims, “it’s all the way in the middle of the island?”
“Center of the island, right on the north-facing coast!” the man replies, exasperated with relief until he watches the posture change on the people standing over him. Turning to Salem, John gives the nod for her to steady her weapon, taking aim at the man’s head. “Why!?” the man shouts, John explaining that they can’t take the chance on the man turning to run towards the men in charge.
“Why would we do that!?” the man asks, “why would we help the people that trapped us here!?” Almost immediately after the final syllable is exclaimed, John throws his hand out, shoving Salem’s gun away, a bullet ripping through the dirt to the fear of the man on the ground. “Repeat that last part!” John demands, watching their near-victim uncurl himself, having braced on instinct at the sound of the gun being fired.
“The last part?” the man asks, John replying in affirmation. “Why would we help the people that trapped us here?” The man repeats, immediately prompting John to instruct Salem to hold any further fire. “What do you mean when you say they trapped you here?” John inquires, the relieved man simply instructing them to take a look at the coastline. “There aren’t any boats! There aren’t any people!” the man exclaims, “everyone’s hidden behind a shitload of forest!”
“So anyone that’s not with the people in charge are prisoners?” Angela asks, the man still sprawled out on the ground confirming her accuracy. Pulling the man beside her away, Angela tells John to keep the man alive, a suggestion which John immediately hangs his head at. “If Jess can convince Sun City to enter the fight, we can get the locals to join in” Angela explains, “these people don’t want intrusion, they want liberation!”
“What happened to taking no chances?” John asks, “I’m not a fan of what needs to be done, but we’re still alive because of it!” Her eyes rolling, Angela reminds John of how she happened to join the group, and how similar the situation here is. “We can’t liberate these people, Angela!” John replies, “we damn near failed at Sheol, and we don’t have the numbers to lose this time!”
“You don’t need to lose anyone!” Angela replies, her voice carrying the weight of a woman determined to change an outlook, “let them fight for you!” Telling the woman to quiet down, John’s attention is stripped away by the man now having crawled to his knees, his insistance putting John in a strange predicament. “We’d rather die fighting for you than die living under them” the man explains, “we’d outnumber them easily, I’m telling you nothing but the truth!”
Marching back to the man, John pulls his knife and holds it to the man’s throat, telling him that word cannot spread about this. “You’ll never get out unless it does!” the man explains, his hand pushing John’s knife away from his throat, confidently betting on the accuracy of his words with his life. “If they’ve got your guy, they want something in return for him” the man explains, “as long as they aren’t denied, they’ll keep him alive.”
“What would they be using Emilio to barter for?” Salem begins to wonder, her curiosity not lasting long before John mentions the name of their own community. “They probably wanna use him in some way to gain control of Sun City” John explains, dusting off his knees and holding his hand out to the man. With hope, the former prisoner is now assisted to eye level with John once again.
“These kinds of people only want power, and there’s nothing more powerful in the world now than position” John explains, glancing back to the two women awaiting further instruction. “We’ve got autocracy living next door to democracy” John explains, “there’s no way they’re any happy with that.”
“They’ll have no choice if you can take the Square” the man replies, capturing John’s attention once more. “I’ve got a camp of almost one hundred” the man explains, “you can gut me in front of all of them if even one of them says ‘no’.” Looking off with his hands pressed to his hips, John shakes his head in fear that he’ll soon grow to regret the decision he knows is right to make, but is unsure of whether or not it will be beneficial.
“Take us to your people” John commands, the man sporting a smile until John takes his arm, asking him one further question. “What’s your name?” John inquires, the man’s face lighting up. “Caruso” the man replies, leaving John to nod in the man’s direction, the signal for him to lead the way.
“His radio’s busted, it just stopped working once we got a small ways inland” Jess replies, a disgruntled Dawson shaking his head. “What do you expect we do for them?” Dawson inquires, “we’d be on unfamiliar land looking for people we’re not even sure aren’t dead yet.” His hands pressed against his knees, Ameil reminds Dawson of the fact that they have little gas left to use to begin with.
Stopping the conversation before it can get any further, Heather questions what the pair meant by their latest statement. “Are we running out of gas?” Heather proceeds, stopping the uncomfortable silence in favor of asking the question outright. Without much better of an answer, Dawson points out that it has been four years since the world ended. “There’s no fuel being converted into gas anymore” Ameil explains, “any gas that was is going bad now.”
“Why wouldn’t you mentioned something like that before?” Jess inquires, Dawson explaining to the pair that sometimes the best information as a leader is giving no information. “The second any of these guys realize there’s a shortage, everyone will want off before they can’t get out any longer” Dawson concludes, an aggravated Heather making it clear that the people deserve to know.
“I’m not arguing that they don’t deserve to” Dawson replies, “I’m arguing that they shouldn’t.” Disappointed in his own inaction, Ameil explains that fearing the worst at a time like this is the reason the world collapsed in on itself in the first place. “Shit hit the fan and people went out looting, that led to riots which led to death” Dawson explains as if he were reading a checklist, “when death happened, they came back and shit got worse. Sun City doesn’t need that.”
“Well how much does Sun City need that big piece of shit those bastards control?” Jess proceeds to ask, Dawson and Ameil explaining that it would be more favorable. “They have boats but more importantly, they have hydroelectric power” Ameil explains, “with that, I’m sure we can figure out something that could solve the problem.”
“Which is?” Heather follows, Dawson shaking his head with his hands folded together. “I don’t know” the elected head of state replies, leaving Jess with only one side to vouch for. “That land is valuable… It doesn’t matter how, nor why.. It just matters that it is” Jess explains, “we need the people that our stuck on that island back… So it seems like we both have a lot riding on this being successful.”
With a nod, Dawson tells Jess that he is already more than well enough aware of where this conversation is going, instead suggesting the woman convince him to find confidence in making such a call. “We nearly got halfway through the island, even on a redirection” Jess replies, “the ten of us cleared out a camp of seventy without a single casualty.”
Believing this to be enough to prove her point, Jess takes a step back to allow Dawson to make his decision, only for Heather to interrupt at the final moment, one final declaration to make. “Not to mention whatever other things you can find buried beneath all that forest she keeps talking about” Heather replies, Dawson taking his eyes away from Heather and placing them upon Jess as if his glare was a targeted storm.
Entering the makeshift campsite he calls home, Caruso notices his people stare at the trio behind him with great caution, completely unsure of how to react. Glancing back, Caruso looks towards John to take his moment and make the offer he showed up intending to make. With a nod, John approaches the center of the community, offering a simple ‘hello’ to the people now solely dedicating their focus to.
Shutting the door behind them, Alicia, Lauren and Jack venture into the deep, jungle-like world with expectations low. One by one, the survivors nod to the gravesite of the woman whose blood was spilled amongst the walls of the home the night prior, not needing to know the woman on a personal note to pay their respects to the woman they decided the fate of.
“I don’t mean to alarm anyone with my presence” John explains, placing the hunting knife he once carried in his hand to the ground, placing the blade into the soft soil. “My name is John Callis, and I came to this island a few days ago on behalf of Sun City” the man exclaims, chirping from the crowd beginning upon the mention of such a community.
His face illuminated by the warm glow of burning torches placed symmetrically along the walls, Emilio is dragged along the dirty floors and thrown into a cage, discarded of on the ground as the medieval-style architecture prison bars close and lock. Nothing else to look at, Emilio watches the man that led him to his holding cell chain himself to a wall and throw the key across the room. “That willing to spend time with me?” Emilio jokes, understanding the gesture to be a sort of precaution.
“My people and I once managed to, by some higher power, liberate a town not too long ago similar to this” John explains, “I don’t know how it came to this, but we seem to be in position to attempt such a thing once again.” Chatter beginning to grow, John hides a smile in hopes of appearing stronger than he is, addressing the elephant in the room. “Obviously this needs to stay hushed, but we want you to fight with us” John exclaims, “all those will to do so, please move to the left.”
Without hesitation, the entire camp groups together on the left, not a single person unwilling to help. With a smile, Caruso looks at John, who nods at the reassuring sight. “This is good” the man mutters to himself, a breath of relief following as Salem nods back, Angela nodding with a wide smile she refuses to allow hide. Looking back, John can no longer hold back a smile, muttering “this is very good” beneath his breath.
== Rise ==