Written by A. Washington-Beeby
Story Consultants: ML Cooks, Nick Monarco & C. Nathaniel Richardson
Nick stands in the main hall of Salem U, taking deep breaths as Abigail and Jerome stand back, stunned by Nick’s behaviour, and obvious pain. Nick holds his head in his hand, his head pounding, his vision blurred. He stumbles, trying to collect himself, as Abby steps back towards Nick, trying to see if he’s alright.
ABBY: Nick…are you SURE you’re alr—
Nick turns abruptly back around, as Abby lurches backwards, scared by her cousin’s unpredictable behaviour.
NICK: I’m fine, just…just LEAVE ME ALONE!
Jerome jumps in as Nick raises his hand to Abby in a fury. Jerome grabs Nick by his jacket and slams him against the wall, holding him there for a moment, staring him down.
JEROME: Now, you keep your damn hands off her, you hear me?
Abby, stunned, takes a moment to become cognizant of what’s happening, before stepping toward Jerome, hoping to stop him from hurting Nick any further.
ABBY: Jerome, stop…
NICK: You wanna fight me, tough guy?
JEROME: Oh I don’t want to, but I will if you EVER raise your hand to her ever again.
Abby becomes increasingly panicked in her appeals to Jerome to deescalate the situation. A crowd starts to gather as Jerome holds Nick against the wall, pressing himself into Nick forcefully.
ABBY: JEROME! STOP! Let him go!
Jerome stares Nick down for another moment, no one sure whether he will let Nick go or not.
At the Titan building, Kate sets the bottles of champagne (and sparkling cider for Lucas) down on Billie’s office desk carefully, before taking a seat next to Lucas in front of Billie’s desk. Billie and Lucas look on, unamused.
KATE: Well, I have to say, you two are way too sombre considering what’s happening.
BILLIE: Well, Mom, it’s a bit more…complicated than that.
KATE: Well, what do you mean?
Billie looks over at Lucas, before turning back to Kate, still looking seriously at Kate as she replies, while leaning over her desk.
BILLIE: If we don’t stop them from hacking Titan’s servers tonight, the entire corporation might be wiped out before midnight.
Jordan paces across Sheryl’s office, as Sheryl types away furiously at her laptop.
After what feels like a full minute of this, Sheryl finally snaps at Jordan.
SHERYL: Would you stop pacing? You’re driving me nuts.
As Jordan stops herself and takes her place in one of the seats in front of Sheryl’s desk, Sheryl asks Jordan a question without looking up from her screen.
SHERYL: What day is it tomorrow? The days are starting to blend together for me.
Jordan, without missing a beat, answers fully and stoically, as if rehearsed.
JORDAN: Tuesday, December 20, 2016.
Sheryl looks up at Jordan over the top of her screen, one eyebrow raised curiously.
SHERYL: You sound like my mom’s old answering machine.
Jordan rolls her eyes, sighing while adjusting herself in her seat uncomfortably.
JORDAN: Sorry, I just…got a lot on my mind.
SHERYL: Yeah, well, I’m surprised you didn’t give me the exact time down to the second along with it. Come on, what’s eating you?
Sheryl closes her laptop and looks at Jordan, for the first time in awhile, like a concerned friend.
SHERYL: Jordan, you know I get really intense before we finish up a project. But you…you aren’t acting ANYTHING like yourself. Come on, what’s going on?
Jordan looks at Sheryl, not wanting to say anything, and annoyed by Sheryl’s pestering.
Marlena stands in front of a tense Roman in her penthouse. Roman, who’s just got a call from the police station, is about to head off. Marlena looks at him, worried, as Roman prepares to leave.
MARLENA: I understand that you need to keep your mind active, but I don’t want you to put yourself in a situation where a slip in judgment could put you in danger.
ROMAN: Doc, I’ll be fine! Abe, Hope, and Rafe are all gonna be there, I’ll be just fine.
Marlena takes a deep breath, trying to accept that she won’t change her stubborn ex-husband’s mind. She reluctantly nods, closing her eyes as she answers.
MARLENA: Okay. I’m not going to be a nag. But…please, promise me. Promise me you’ll be careful.
Marlena takes Roman’s hand and squeezes it gently. Roman looks down and smiles. He nods.
ROMAN: Aren’t I always?
Marlena smiles back, as Roman lets go of her hand, and opens the door.
MARLENA: Call me when you’re on your way back.
ROMAN: Will do.
Roman steps out the door, as Marlena watches and waves goodbye to him. As the door closes, she instinctively calls out to him.
MARLENA: I lo…ve…
Marlena stops herself as the door closes. She looks at the closed door and softly finishes her statement.
MARLENA: Please be safe.
After a moment, she turns to grab her phone, and calls Valerie.
At her office at University Hospital, Valerie stops typing on her computer a moment, and pulling her reading glasses off her face, answers her phone.
VALERIE: (into phone) Dr. Grant’s office?
MARLENA: (into phone) Valerie….it’s Marlena…listen…I’m…do you have time to see me this afternoon at all? I really need to talk about Roman.
Valerie’s brows furrow, as she answers Marlena with a concerned tone.
VALERIE: (into phone) Sure! I don’t have any appointments for the rest of the afternoon, I’ll be in my office. Is everything alright?
MARLENA: (into phone) No…in fact, I’m really worried Roman is declining faster than any of us had anticipated.
After a moment of pressing Nick up against the wall at Salem U, Jerome does let Nick go. Nick leans against the wall again, as he takes a moment to, once again, regain his composure.
JEROME: …Kinda punk-ass little bitch raises his hands to a woman?
Abigail stands back, still unsure how to react, as Nick staggers away. She looks at Jerome, an awkward smile on her face. She looks up at Jerome and puts a hand on his shoulder.
ABBY: I uh…I have to check on him.
Jerome shrugs, shaking his head.
JEROME: If you want.
Abby steps back over toward a shaken Nick, who holds out his hand to keep Abby away.
NICK: I’m fine, I swear. Abby, I….I gotta go.
ABBY: I…okay, you sure?
Nick walks off quickly, as Jerome looks on, protectively.
Once Nick leaves, Abby turns back toward Jerome.
JEROME: I don’t get it….that guy nearly knocked you to the ground, and you finna check on him like you the one that hurt him?
ABBY: (sigh) It’s…family. Nick’s had a really hard few years and…I’m worried about him.
Abby looks down, but looks up suddenly, realizing Jerome is staring back at her with concern in his eyes. She smiles at him.
ABBY: But I do appreciate what you just did for me. Not a lot of guys would’ve stood up for a perfect stranger so…thanks.
Jerome looks at Abby intensely, a smile slowly appearing on his face after a second. He shakes his head before responding to Abby.
JEROME: Well…you may be a perfect stranger but…I think we could do with changing that, don’t you?
Abby looks away, laughing awkwardly at Jerome’s obvious come-on.
Nick, now just outside the door of the Salem U campus, steps over to the pay phone and, after digging for quarters, makes a phone call to Aiden Jennings. Aiden answers.
NICK: (into phone) Mr. Jennings! I need you to ready the lock box I sent you on Nicole Walker…Don’t send it yet! Keep it ready…we might have to…use it. Very, very soon.
Kate looks over at Lucas, before turning back to Billie, shocked by the news she’s just heard.
KATE: They’re going to hack Titan’s servers?
Billie looks up at her mother, nodding as she answers.
BILLIE: I’m pretty sure they are. At least that’s what I’ve managed to piece together from what I’ve seen since I’ve been here.
KATE: Okay, what do you mean by that? You’ve not exactly been….forthcoming with us about this.
Billie leans back a bit, shrugging in response to her mother’s accusation.
BILLIE: And that’s because, really, we haven’t been able to meet up much, but….there’s also some things that were too dangerous to tell you before.
Kate’s ears perk up, as she leans in from her seat.
KATE: Such as…?
BILLIE: Such as when I went up to figure out where Sheryl and Jordan were during the EnerNext press conference?
BILLIE: They were sneaking around up in one of the executive offices, and they put a flash drive into one of the computers. Now…I must have JUST missed them, but it was definitely put there to potentially act as an entry point for a remote user to break into Titan’s servers.
Kate furrows her brow, a bit confused by all the computer talk.
KATE: Okay…you’re losing me.
Billie rolls her eyes momentarily, before readjusting herself in her seat and leaning over her desk.
BILLIE: Sorry, I…get all computer speak, it’s all the work I’ve been doing since I started with the ISA, it’s all on computers. The point is…I have a feeling that…that, plus the fact they have their little computer expert guy just showing up in town? Well…it’s a bit TOO coincidental. Add in the fact that Salem City Hall’s server went down this morning, the same time that EnerNext is trying to get city council to rush through their plan to excavate Percy Ruggles’ land?
KATE: It’s all just a bit too much of a coincidence, isn’t it?
Kate looks back at Lucas, then at Billie. She leans back in her chair, pleased with what she’s hearing.
KATE: So then…what’s the next step?
Billie sighs, shaking her head, almost as though she’s thinking as she speaks.
BILLIE: Well…Shane won’t give me clearance to take them down unless we can prove they’re about to strike. So I’m gonna make a trip to City Hall and find out for sure whether or not they’re behind the city’s server going down.
KATE: And what if they don’t?
Billie leans back in her chair, playing with her pen in her hand as she stares out, looking past both Lucas and Kate.
BILLIE: If the ISA doesn’t give me the clearance by tonight, it might be too late to save Titan.
Jordan gets up from her seat and starts to walk away from Sheryl, who stands up from behind her desk and walks toward Jordan.
SHERYL: Jordan, come on. I know I’ve been really hard on you the last few weeks…
Jordan laughs half-heartedly, interrupting Sheryl, as she continues to look away from her, staring off into a distance.
JORDAN: Hah. Just the last few weeks. Yeah.
SHERYL: Okay…a bit longer…I just…you’re not behaving the way you used to. You used to just…jump at these opportunities to take down some corporate tycoon that was dumping sewage into rivers or…diverting money allotted to maintaining a pipeline so he could get a bonus for himself and his cronies, and…now…now all you care about is Rafe Rafe Rafe Rafe Rafe—
Jordan turns around abruptly, irritated by Sheryl’s nagging.
JORDAN: And so what if I am, Sheryl? What if I…actually found someone I want to spend my life with? What if that’s more important than spending my whole life trying to save a world that probably isn’t worth saving, anyway?
Sheryl looks back, stunned by Jordan’s suddenly grim world view. She exhales forcefully, shaking her head in disbelief.
SHERYL: Wh…I’m sorry, did changing your name to Jordan Ridgeway mean you had some sort of…brain transplant to go along with it? Are you heavily medicated and not telling me? I mean, I know how easy it is to get your hands on some good drugs working at a hospital, and all, but…
JORDAN: Siobhan, enough! Look, you changing your name to Sheryl Connors didn’t change your way of thinking any more than changing mine to Jordan did mine, but being here in Salem did.
Sheryl looks away, unimpressed by Jordan’s words. She folds her arms in frustration and discomfort, as she listens to Jordan, who begins to talk in a more reserved, more emotional way of her new life.
JORDAN: Getting to know someone like Rafe…learning to love him after all the…messed up times I had with Jerome.
SHERYL: They were rough times for all of us—
Jordan snaps again, hissing her response back to Sheryl before she can finish.
JORDAN: He treated me like dirt, Sheryl! He found out I was pregnant and disappeared!
Sheryl stands, still uncomfortable with the line of conversation Jordan’s unearthing. Jordan carries on, her voice lowering again, though still speaking passionately.
JORDAN: And I had to give up my baby. I had to…I had to make a choice…to end my pregnancy, because I knew that the life I had been living was no place to raise a child. Especially on my own.
Sheryl nods, a look of guilt on her face as she answers Jordan solemnly.
SHERYL: I know…and I told you that, but, you knew that was the right decision. The life we lead…we’re never going to be in the position to give a child the stability it needs.
JORDAN: That’s the thing, Sheryl…I can’t live that life anymore. I want out. I want a husband, and stability, and a career where I help people, directly, from my own actions, every single day.
Jordan starts to tear up as she carries on, Sheryl trying to fight off her own emotions as she looks on, looking down away from Jordan every few seconds to retain her composure.
JORDAN: But, more than anything else, I want to make sure that THIS time my child has the life I couldn’t give it when Jerome left me stranded in Birmingham, and I won’t give up the chance this time—
Sheryl looks up at Jordan, shocked, and cuts her off as she realizes what she’s just heard Jordan say.
SHERYL: …Wait, what? You’re pregnant?? Jordan, is this what you’ve been acting like such an idiot about these past few weeks?
Jordan stumbles over her words, as she tries to answer Sheryl’s question. She crosses her arms as she stirs uncomfortably. Sheryl steps in closer to her to find out more.
JORDAN: …Ah, I…
SHERYL: Jordan! Are you pregnant or not?
Jordan stops and looks at Sheryl, petrified, unable to answer her question.