Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: ML Cooks, Nick Monarco & C. Nathaniel Richardson
Nicole looks down as she stands in her office, ready to head out. Her cell phone in her hand as she sees an incoming call from Nick. She rolls her eyes, contemplating whether or not to answer the unwanted call.
NICOLE: (sigh) Nick, I’ll get back to you. Some things are more important to me than this damn story.
Nicole swipes left on her phone to ignore the call. Putting the phone hastily in her bag, she walks out into the hallway and shut the door to her office.
Eric sits in Club TBD, with Alex and Noelle sitting across from him. They share a laugh.
ALEX: So yeah, needless to say, I’m really enjoying being back in Salem.
ERIC: That’s good. (sigh) I wish I could say being back has been as easy on me.
Noelle looks concerned at Eric after his statement.
NOELLE: Well, I thought you’d be thrilled to be back here, I mean…you’ve got your entire family here with you, old friends…
ERIC: --Yeah, well…the last year’s been a bit of a disaster, if I’m being honest. I’m surprised you don’t already know about it.
Alex looks at Eric, seriously concerned.
ALEX: Why? What happened, man? Like…I dunno, I didn’t read anything about it anywhere…
Alex looks at Noelle who shakes her head, totally clueless to the goings-on.
ERIC: Ohhh boy. This could take awhile.
Noelle looks at Eric, seeing the pain in his eyes. She takes a moment before responding.
NOELLE: Look, Eric, if you don’t wanna tell us what happened, you don’t have to—
ERIC: …No. No, I need to. I need everyone to know the truth, for better or worse.
Eric looks up at Noelle and Alex, sighing heavily before he begins to tell his story.
Billie walks into her office at Titan, a bit exasperated. She sits down at her desk as she dials a number on her cell phone. As she does, Lucas walks into her office, a troubled look on his face.
Billie notices, but holds up one finger to Lucas, indicating she’s about to speak into her phone.
BILLIE: (into phone) Uh, hey! I just wanted to check in about the plan for tonight. (pause) Well, we have to do something, I know something’s going down, and we need to be ready for it. (pause) That’s not good enough, Shane.
As Billie says Shane’s name, Lucas’s expression changes, knowing what the conversation’s about. He tries to motion to Billie, but she continues on, wrapped up in her conversation.
BILLIE: (into phone) No, I…(sigh) Yeah. Yeah, I’ll let you know. Thanks, bye.
Hanging up, she looks up at Lucas, who’s stood across from Billie on the other side of her desk, a curious look on his face.
LUCAS: More bad news?
Billie sets down her phone, shrugging in response to Lucas, as she leans back in her seat.
BILLIE: Well, not if your name is Sheryl Connors or Jordan Ridgeway. Shane says we don’t have enough to touch them yet, but I KNOW something major is about to go down, I can feel it. And it’s gonna happen tonight.
Lucas looks on, more worried than ever about what’s to come.
Eric sits across from Alex and Noelle at Club TBD, reluctantly telling the story of the events of the previous year. Alex and Noelle look on, stunned by the unbelievable story.
ERIC: And so…Nicole came back with Daniel and…they didn’t get the file, and they didn’t get anything from Chyka, and…here I am.
Noelle looks pensively at a visibly distraught Eric. She holds her hand out across the table to meet his, and gently squeezes it.
NOELLE: I’m sorry, Eric. I…we really shouldn’t have even asked and…
ERIC: No! No, I…it’s really hard to talk about but…well, how else am I gonna clear my name if I don’t tell people my story…no matter how…impossible it feels each time.
ALEX: Well, you’re a brave guy. Don’t ever forget that man. It took some real courage to tell us something like that.
Noelle looks at Alex, nodding in agreement as she looks back at Eric.
NOELLE: Alex is right. Look, Eric, you’ve got a great woman in Nicole. I know…her and I didn’t exactly hit it off very well, but…honestly, if the roles were reversed and someone was gunning for this guy?
Noelle leans into Alex, as Noelle manages to get a small laugh out of Eric. But Alex’s laugh seems slightly strained, as Noelle carries on.
NOELLE: Well, let’s just say I’d probably be just as protective.
Alex clears his throat, trying to hide his discomfort, as he wraps his arm around his wife.
ALEX: Well…little does my wife realize…she’s the only woman I have my eyes on.
Eric looks up, and smiles, watching the happy couple embrace in their booth, as he checks his watch, realizing the time. Eric jumps a bit, as his phone rings.
He answers quickly, almost immediately apologizing to her.
ERIC: (into phone) I am so sorry.
Nicole stands in the office at City Hall where Eric had just been. She looks exasperated, but is trying to hold back her tension before she lets it out on Eric.
NICOLE: (into phone) (inhales) Oh, what for, Darling?
Eric, sensing the tension in Nicole’s voice, hesitates momentarily, before telling Nicole what’s happened.
ERIC: (into phone) Ahhh…so…there was a backlog at City Hall, because their servers went down this morning, and…we can’t get married until tomorrow.
NICOLE: (Into phone) WHAT??
ERIC: (into phone) Heh, yeah…look, I’m at Club TBD, if you wanna…
NICOLE: (into phone) I’m on my way.
Nicole hangs up brusquely, leaving Eric at the other end, a bit confused.
ERIC: (into phone) Nicole? Hello?
Alex and Noelle look Eric’s way, a bit amused by the exchange, though trying to stay out of it. Eric smiles sheepishly, knowing of Nicole’s impending wrath.
Sheryl stands in her office. Visibly nervous, and speaking with a terse tone, she speaks to Jerome on the phone while slowly pacing the length of her office.
SHERYL: (into phone) K, remember. If Nick Fallon does show up at the protest, just play it cool. As far as he knows, everything is going according to his plan.
JEROME: (into phone) Right. Look, I gotta get back. I’ma keep you in the loop. Kay, bye.
Jerome hangs up, walking back into the main hall where the other protesters are gathered. He gathers everyone near to him and calls out to them.
JEROME: Okay, everybody, can I ask for quiet a minute. (pause) Thank you. Right, so today is the first of many protests against Titan, and EnerNext’s plan to destroy the local ecosystem so they can extract the oil from the tar sands near Salem, and they’ll tell everyone that it’s all about bringing jobs the local economy. But it’s not about that. We need to stop them, and we need to act fast. How we gonna do this? Well, you see, a man named Percy Ruggles, y’all probably heard of him thanks to Nicole Walker’s piece on him on the news recently. Well, that is where we will be today. You see, just outside his property, EnerNext have got tractors, and demolition equipment ready and waiting for the go-ahead. And the only thing stopping them is Salem City Hall’s notice of expropriation.
The crowd boos and calls out angrily at the news. Jerome tries to calm down the crowd as he continues. As he starts to speak again, the door to the campus building opens, and Abigail steps into the room. She hangs back by the doorway, looking around to scope out the mood in the room, before starting to listen closely to Jerome.
JEROME:Now, we have some good news on the City Hall front. I have heard that City Hall’s servers are down today. They’re dealing with that. That gives us time to get our message out before they try to tear Percy’s place down. That we do not want our air to be thick like pea soup with smog, for our waterways to be turned into toxic dumping grounds yet again. And for our city’s natural beauty to be taken away.
The crowd applauds loudly yet again, as Abigail looks at Jerome, impressed by his passion, and his intensity, she smiles at him as she listens to him. As Jerome begins his next sentence, he looks over and his eye catches Abigail, as the song begins to play over the scene. Jerome stumbles a moment before regaining his focus and carrying on with his speech.
JEROME: Bu…but not only that…for a kind and generous man who cares for and is passionate about the local environment, the birdlife in our countryside, and our rivers and lakes in the region…we do not want him to lose his sanctuary. Now y’all ready?
The crowd raises their fists in the air as they shout back to Jerome.
Jerome leans toward the crowd, cupping his ear at them.
The time, Abigail, moved by the spirit of the moment, joins in.
JEROME: ALRIGHT! We meet at Lakeview & Route 203 for 2pm. Peace!
Jerome cuts through the crowd as it breaks up, heading for Abigail. Rubbing his hands together as he approaches her, he smiles at her. Abigail smiles back as she walks his way, a bit of shyness in her eyes.
ABIGAIL: That was a great speech.
JEROME: Thanks…but I don’t think I remember seeing you through most of it.
Abigail shrugs, looking away sheepishly.
ABIGAIL: Okay, I…confess, I showed up in the middle of it. But I still love hearing how impassioned you are.
JEROME: Well, I appreciate it. Uh...
Abigail clues into what Jerome’s saying and introduces herself. Extending her hand to him.
ABIGAIL: Oh! It’s Abigail Deveraux.
JEROME: Jerome Grant…
Jerome points at Abigail, shaking his finger as he recalls something about her.
JEROME: You…you know that name sounds really familiar.
ABIGAIL: Yeah, my, my mom used to have a talk show and my dad and grandfather were in politics, but…that was…ages ago.
JEROME: Well, if that’s any indication of things to come for you, I’d say you got a bright future. Especially if I’m lucky enough to be in it.
Abigail nearly laughs in Jerome’s face at his line. Holding back, she responds.
ABIGAIL: Oh, someone’s a smooth talker.
JEROME: Hey, they don’t let just anyone speak at these rallies, you know. You gotta have finesse with the spoken word.
As Abigail answers, Nick walks through the doorway behind them, overhearing Abigail as he continues in vain to reach Nicole via cell phone. His face drops in disbelief as he hears Abby speak.
ABIGAIL: Oh, I can tell. As a matter of fact, you will definitely be a part of my immediate future. I’m here representing Nicole Walker. She…had an appointment she couldn’t miss, so she’s sent me to cover the protest for the evening news.
Jerome and Abby jump at hearing Nick’s angry response, as Nick approaches them, his hand holding his phone dropping to his side.
Lucas looks to Billie, a look of grave concern on his face as he stands in her office.
LUCAS: I don’t like the sound of that.
BILLIE: Well, that makes two of us, brother dear. Frankly, I’m pretty certain that Sheryl and Jordan are about a couple hours away from making a major move.
Lucas thinks a moment before responding.
LUCAS: This wouldn’t have anything to do with that guy I saw in Sheryl’s office yesterday, would it?
Billie looks up at Lucas, unsure what he’s referring to.
LUCAS: I dunno, some…Jerome guy? Tall, black guy. Said he was helping them with a project for Titan or something.
Billie looks around, suddenly piecing everything together.
FLASHBACK TO EPISODE 30
The door to the adjacent elevator opens at that moment, and Billie steps out, into the deserted office floor. She looks around for any signs of Sheryl or Jordan. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a light in the office Jordan and Sheryl had just exited.
As she looks in, the computer monitor shuts off, as the desktop they were running turns itself off. Billie is concerned, and looking around her, steps into the office, using her key card.
FLASHBACK TO EPISODE 31
Billie steps into the office where the computer had just turned off. Turning on the light in the room, she begins to inspect the computer. Not finding anything, she pulls out the tower, and inspects the back, stopping when she reaches the USB drive. A small drive that barely looks like more than the size of a thumbtack has been inserted into the drive. Finding this odd, she pulls the key out and looks it over closely.
Billie gets up, putting the USB drive in her pocket. She hastily exits, turning off the light in the room before leaving.
Back in the current moment, Billie stops a second, as a news ticker flashes across her computer screen:
City Hall servers back online after morning outage
Billie’s face lights up in realization, and panic.
BILLIE: Oh my God. I think I know exactly what Sheryl and Jordan have planned. And we have to stop them.
Lucas looks at her, stunned by her sudden realization, and more worried than ever.