The Dead know only one thing… It is better to be alive.'
Private Joker, FULL METAL JACKET (from a script by Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford, based on his novel THE SHORT TIMERS)
It's gas-rationing day in Seattle. The Sector Police, freshly bribed by the concern management, are doing their job for once: protecting the citizens from the lawless hordes while they try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Never mind the reality that seven out of ten times the Police ARE the lawless hordes. A full tanker truck of gasoline from the self proclaimed Republic of Alaska is a rare sight and keeping the proles in a quiet line-up is even rarer. The Police just savor the moment and make sure no one gets over their allotted ration…until they start to sell it on the Black Market, that is. Max and Sketchy are in line. Sketchy's a little bugged that they could run out of juice before his turn comes. Max tells him to chill out. The line's shorter than usual. That bribe to the Sector Police from the Republic of Alaska rep must've kept the usual suspects off the streets. Sketchy doesn't care how short the line is; he wants some shoes. Max wonders if he's finally lost the last family brain cell. Shoes in a gas ration line? Sketchy enlightens his friend: The gas is for Sky who needs a couple gallons of good Nome Premium for a pair of bike tires. Max is puzzled. Bike tires? Wasn't he after shoes? He elaborates: Herbal has the shoes he wants. The tires are for Original Cindy. Herbal's old lady needs a new waffle iron and Normal, bless his skinflint ass, has one. But he wants some lingerie. The plan is for Normal to swap the iron with Cindy who'll give him some fine silk lingerie from Singapore. Cindy will then give Herbal the iron for the tires…which Sky's giving to Sketchy for the gas which is how he'll get his new shoes. It's simple chain bartering. Max is impressed. Most of Sketchy's plans are usually as clean as mud. This one just might work. She asks him why would Normal want lingerie. Sketchy didn't ask. He's just the middleman. Besides, why find out just how freaky Normal's getting since his failed relationship with a transsexual. As a broken truck lets loose a trail of noxious smoke after getting a few gallons of gas, Sketchy muses about getting the Hell out of the city for a few days. Max smiles and lets him on a little secret. That's why she's in line. Her little Trading Tree is more intimate.
Logan has some horse trading of his own to pull with Detective Matt Sung. On the cell, he lets his contact know about a hot lead dealing with an old incident that occurred during the first year after The Pulse. A group of protesters were disappeared by a police death squad after they were arrested for protesting the city's first month of martial law. Logan got word about how the partner of one of the alleged assassins tried to break the code of silence, but was killed for it. The hitman made a run for a little coastal town and has been laying low ever since. With some gentle persuasion, he just might talk and help put some families' anxiety at ease. Logan needs some Sector Passes out of the city. Detective Sung gives him some bad news. Ever since the New Year's Riots, the Sector Police has been clamping hard on disorder…real and fabricated. No one can go in or out without a Class One Pass, which he cannot obtain. Such passes are for highest clearance, like members of the Military Commission or special cases like gas transports from the Republic of Alaska…or someone who's bribed the right people. Sung knows Logan won't pass up a chance to clean up the police department of some rotten apples, so he tells him to be careful. Logan thanks his friend and hangs up the phone. He wonders if a call to his Uncle might help him score some Passes. He would have to spin a white lie about bringing a sweet young thang to the cabin, but he knows that wouldn't play out. His recent spending spree to regain his legs had been costly in more than one respect and playing on Uncle's sympathies might get him into something he doesn't want any involvement with. Still, he could try.
Logan's about to call him when Max shows up with a couple gallons of gas and a smile on her face. He asks where's she going. She corrects him gently but firmly. 'We' were going out of the city for the weekend. The dizzy heights. The fresh country air. Hiking in the Cascades to view Nature's splendor. They talked about it last week. Logan picks on an old wound. He reminds his young companion that he's no longer able to do that sort of thing, unless she wanted to roll him off Mt. Rainier like some old B & W thriller. Max is incensed. Just because he's back on the chair means he shouldn't have a life? Logan tells her he can have one, but scaling mountains are out of the question. Max is disappointed. She compromises. Forget the heights. How about the fresh country air? Campfires. S'mores. Maybe even some light music with some wine and a little… Logan shoots that idea down. He has work to do. Now she's pissed! She spent the whole morning dealing with Sketchy's pyramid barter scheme, bad body odor, and dishonest cops for a few gallons that she could've just siphoned from a thug's SUV. Logan tries to rationalize with her. They can't go anywhere anyway because they have no…and then he sees two brand new Class One Sector Passes in Max's right hand. Santa Claus must be in town…or rather his burglar Elf. Max tells him of the trouble she had in obtain these two VIP ask no questions and get clear out of Dodge passes from the stinkhole that is Seattle. She hung upside down outside a window at police headquarters for a better part of an hour to get the passes. She got so nauseous, she almost horked. She hates horking. Remind her too much about the Shakes. Logan is not bailing out on her this time. They'll have the road trip, S'mores, and campfire even if she has to take on Lydecker and his TAC Team in a g-string and high heels. Logan smiles. He wasn't gonna bail. The bad joke doesn't amuse her. Maybe she would've been better off fighting her Personal Anti-Christ near naked and armed with a plastic fork. Would be less humiliating.
A few hours later, Max and Logan are on the road. The countryside looks quite beautiful from a distance. As if the Pulse had never happened. In fact, in some ways, it was a benefit since there are fewer factories running and spilling out pollutants into the environment. Granted, it's a costly trade-off, but then again life was never meant to be easier. Max looks over the map and tells Logan they missed the cabin. She didn't want to bruise his delicate male ego, but she did have a yearning for a quick solo rock climb while Logan slept. Why been denied a dangerous thrill? Logan informs her the cabin's being fumigated for termites. All tented up and no one's coming in until the poison's gone. They're off to Cape Haven, a nice little resort community on the coast. He passed it once and thought it was really charming. Max is more practical about this vacation. She reminds him the cabin was really damn charming…and free! Granted, she had a little 'argument' with Zack the last time she was there, but the fireplace, the view and the wine more than made up for it. Logan then fibs about the place being rented out. What? He figures they'll love Haven more. Max relents. She doesn't know what the boy's playing at, but as long as she get S'mores in the deal they could be going up to Manticore with a brass band as escort. Logan gushes about the hotel, about the enormous swimming pool and the high dive…
And then, they see the razorwire surrounding the town, the guard post, and the citizen's militia keeping check for strangers with their shotguns at the ready. Max asks Logan if the place had valet parking the last time he was there. Oh, beautiful. The head 'deputy' walks up to Logan and tells him the straight story. If he's looking for work, there is none. If he's looking for trouble…well, what is he to deny a soon to be dead man's last request? Max then asks if the gentleman had a badge. The 'deputy' tells her they don't have badges. They don't need badges. They're volunteers on guard to keep out the riffraff. Again, they want no trouble…unless she and her boyfriend want some. Logan defuses the powder keg and tells him they're on vacation for the weekend and have a house rented in town. The 'deputy' relaxes a little. Nothing like some badly needed dollars for the local economy to make some 'friends'. The rules are then laid out. Curfew's at 10:00. After that, they better stay off the streets. The 'deputy' smiles and welcomes the pair to Haven. As Logan drives past the checkpoint, Max adds her own line to the greeting. 'Where the men are men and the tourists are afraid.' As they watch the citizens go on their business (and warily watch their car like mother hens protecting her chicks), Logan explains why the 'deputy' was so anal. During the Dark Months after the Pulse, the city folks overran places like Haven for food and protection. Things got tense and a few townships were wiped out in the resulting firefights. Max had figured things wouldn't be as bad in the country. Logan reminds her that just because the Information Age turned to Stone inside a nanosecond didn't mean the people couldn't fish or farm. The rural communities had to do their best to keep out the invaders for their own safety. Max doesn't believe that. She figures the 'deputy' did the hassling out of boredom. She's surprised about his attitude. After all, the city people just want to get away from the martial law and forget the Pulse ever happened. Then, she and Logan see a reminder about that dark day. A church, fenced up, with its clock face frozen forever at 12:05. Logan knows that time very well. June 1, 2009, 12:05 AM. The day the Pulse hit. Like Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy Assassinations, the first Moon Landing, and the day Tel Aviv disappeared in a blinding radioactive flash, some dates you can never forget.
Max and Logan arrive at their destination. A timeshare cabin with the town doctor, Trudy and her nephew Sage. The doctor meets up with them and, after seeing Logan in his chair, decides they should come in through the kitchen. Max takes one look at the place. It's spartan, but clean. Rather rustic and nice. Most agreeable for her needs. Trudy tells them about the stove and hot water heater running on propane gas, with additional bottles close by for a quick changeover. There's a few days stockpile since it's hard to find even with her connections as a medical officer. The fireplace works, with a cutting stump and plenty of wood to split outside. No doubt Max will appreciate the exercise. There'll be a carpenter over later to install a ramp over the stairs so Logan can get around easily. She then shows them the bathroom and bed. Max and Logan asks simultaneously, 'No guest room?' They then say, again in unison, 'I snore.' No problem, the guestroom's on the other side. It'll be turned down later and Sage will bring fresh linens. Unfortunately for Logan, there's no phone. He has to make some important calls and his cell can't reach that far out. Trudy tells him about the public phone in town. Better than nothing. Satisfied with the arrangement, Logan pays the woman and she rushes off with her nephew, who has been looking over the couple for some time, to the spare shack where she has her practice. The added income will help pay for a few more propane refills and some badly needed supplies.
Up to now, Max has kept quiet about this trip to Haven. Now her suspicions need to be answered. Does Logan need Blaine to feed a cat they don't have? Logan then reveals the real intention of the trip and she gets very angry! She can't believe it. Can't this ass leave his work for a few days? She stalks off to the fireplace to light a fire. She wanted to relax with Logan and forget about the troubles of the world for awhile. Logan tells her of the 18 people that were killed standing up to police brutality and how his source is in town just waiting to persuaded to do the right thing. Max doesn't care if he could raise the dead. This was supposed to be a vacation, remember? Logan wants to avenge those restless spirits in the name of justice…since the man most likely responsible is living in Haven right now. Rollins Miller, chief of police. He didn't just get away with murder, he got promoted for it! As the kindling sparks, Max lets on straight and to the point. If this was going to be an Eyes Only Wildness Retreat, she wouldn't have come. He can't right every wrong that has happened since the Pulse. Logan counters they should try. Max is in no mood to listen. She tells him to talk to his source. She'll be kicking back, relaxing, and making S'mores. Logan goes off in a huff, wheeling his way out through the kitchen. He tells her sardonically to have fun, since it's the most important thing. She tells him off. She'll try, even though she'll be wracked by guilt, since she don't have enough to share with everyone on the planet. She bites into a marshmallow to further spite him. Jerk!
Max tries to work off her anger with a little wood chopping. She splits enough wood for keep the house warm for the weekend and a little more. She is so pissed off by Logan right now. Can't he be honest with her for once and chill out for awhile? Ever since he lost the chance to regain the use of his legs, he's been throwing himself into his work even harder than before. It's so frustrating. It's so annoying. It's so…then, Max starts to have the Shakes real bad. She feels a sharp pain in the back of her neck, the spot where she had the Red Series Implant a few weeks ago. She loses grip on the wood pieces she was carrying and starts to panic. She rushes to her room for her bottle of Tryp. Again, her hands loose control and the pills spill all over the floor. This is a bad spell indeed. The Shakes affects her legs and she can barely control her descent to the floor. Sage arrives and sees Max in her state. He tells her about how his Aunt Trudy is a doctor and that he'll get her if she wants. Max tells him it's okay. It's just the chemicals in her brain going buggy. He sees the pills and reads the label on the bottle. 'Tryptophan'. He tells Max that he knows what it is and helps pick up the pills off the floor. Like a child showing off his knowledge, he tells her about where natural Tryp is found and that his aunt taught him all about it. She doesn't just give a glass when he can't sleep. She tells him about how it works. Max starts to bond with the boy. She confesses about having some sleepless nights too. Sage tells her about his bad dreams. About his hiding from the people chasing him and how he can't move when he wants to get away. They keep coming after him, but they never get closer. Max talks about her nightmares. About being chased by bad people and how they try to hurt her. The Shakes subside and Max feels a little better. She asks Sage not to tell his aunt about her condition. It's a kind of secret. Sage has a secret too. He makes a bargain. He'll tell his secret if she'll tell hers. Max is charmed by the sweet boy's innocence and can't help laughing. She won't tell him, but perhaps they can make a compromise. After all, he is a sweet boy and she has a soft spot for kids.
Logan arrives at the sheriff's office, asking for the main man himself. Sheriff Herman Colberg, police chief of Haven township. Herman shows up and introductions are given. Then, Logan tells him in a low voice that they need to talk private. He knows about 'Herman's' other life long ago. He doesn't want to make trouble. He just wants some questions answered and then 'Herman' can go on with his life defending his piece of Heaven. After all, he wanted to escape from his personal demons by resigning from the Seattle Police in 2010 and changing his name. Haven is about as safe as it gets. No need for him to be punished. He's serving his Purgatory sentence. 'Herman' doesn't know what the Hell Logan's getting at. Logan refreshes his memory, about how his former partner died trying to make amends with his past. He asks 'Herman' not make this sacrifice meaningless by keeping silent. He then leaves, making his point. Whether or not 'Herman will do the right thing is left to the Fates.
Max and Sage are at the local pub, waiting their turn at the pool table. Some uncouth unkempt creeps are hogging the action. Not wanting a relapse and eager to entertain her new friend, Max has been drinking glass after glass of milk. She jokes with Benny the barkeep that it does a body good. The goons break off their game and the head creep B.C. snuggles up to Sage like an old friend. An old friend whose welcome was worn out a million years ago. B.C. tries to make some conversation with the boy, asking for a round of brews for his boys and another milk for the lady. Sage is uncomfortable with his presence. He's even more disturbed with the lighter as B.C. starts to smoke. The creep then introduces himself to Max. She doesn't like him either. There's a scent about his soul that's just bad. She coolly asks if he's finished with the table. He nods and Max and Sage calmly walk away to shoot some pool. She figures if trouble does come, she can handle this pest. There's enough Tryp in her system in keep the Shakes at bay for awhile. Max then teaches Sage the finer points of shooting. He sinks one into the left side pocket as Logan arrives. He got her note. Seems the talk with his source didn't pan out very well. Max then jokes that he has no choice but to enjoy himself. She then stumbles a little. Not now. She can't have the Shakes so soon. Logan notices the empty glass with the milk trail and asks if she was okay. Max is fine. Sage knows about her…condition. She's a little shaky, but well enough to put the 8-ball into the corner pocket and win the game. Sage thanks her for the match and for not being treated like a kid by letting him win. Max nods graciously. Mutual respect is always a good boost to the ego, especially for a young kid like Sage. She then asks Logan if he'll be her next victim. He asks if he could break. Fair enough.
Logan's on a roll, sinking a few shot easily. B.C. and his friends are impressed…but they're more into Max's firm figure and tight ass. When it's her turn to shot, the boys let loose some catcalls and whistles. Max ignores them. It's not like she hasn't heard it before. Logan, ever the gentleman, has a differing viewpoint. He confronts B.C. and asks him if he could enjoy his view from his cave? There's some cruel chuckles and B.C. keeps his anger in check…at least long enough for him to shove Logan to the ground and off his chair. There's some joking about falling down and not getting up. B.C. wouldn't stoop to hit a cripple. Max, on the other hand, would hit an emotional cripple like B.C. and his goons. In fact, she knocks the wind out of his sails with a direct jab with her pool cue. Sage runs for cover, being smart enough to see a bar brawl in the making. B.C.'s bros Clyde and Carp try to teach the lady some manners and she just teaches them how their thick skulls can't handle the blows from a broken pool cue and her fists. Benny, who is friends with these 'gentlemen', wisely decides to stay out. He's a coward by nature. In a fast fury that is Max's style, the three clowns are knocked out and thrown out. So much for tonight's entertainment. Max tries to help Logan back to his chair. He gets buggy about being helped out once again when he wanted to be there to give some licks of his own. He wheels himself out. Max's sad eyes say it all. She feels hurt by Logan's manner.
Next morning, Max meets up with Logan in the kitchen. He's making oatmeal with fresh strawberries. In the city, those berries would fetch a high price, but the Haven farmer's market is more agreeable. He offers Max some, but she's not hungry. She does pour herself some milk. Seems the Shakes are not as bad as usual, but now there's a headache and some tripping to go with it. Maybe it's time for that 50,000 mile check-up. Logan offers to start a fire to warm Max up, but she declines. He then asks if she needs a blanket. She's fine. Logan then dryly cracks about why he can't help her out since she's the superhero and he's the guy on the wheels. That was a low blow. Max knows the real issue here. Since when were her screwed-up genes about him? Logan just eats his breakfast silently. Max then tries to make amends. She asks if he wanted to go for a walk after breakfast. The morning air would be nice. Logan tells her he doesn't want to slow her down and bites down on a berry. That clinches it! Max gets angry and storms off. If he wants to feel sorry about himself, fine. She'll have no part of the Self Pity Tour. Logan can't tell her how he really feels. Not just about not being able to walk in spite of having the ways to restoring his damaged spine. His heart bleeds for her. It's a pain that can't be cured so easily.
Max runs into Sage during her walk. He's at the town cemetery, staring at three graves. It's a family plot. Jahanshah Gilan 1984-2009. Emily Gilan, 1984-2009. Sam Gilan, 2005-2009. Sage then tells Max about his secret and asks her not to tell. The boy in the grave, Sam…Sage sometimes sees him at night in his room. It's not like a ghost, but it does spook him. He then talks about how Sam and his family died.
The carpenter shows up at the cabin and Logan's surprised. It's Carp, the goon at the bar. He's the town carpenter, here to install the ramp. He shows him the toolbox, the wood, and the truck to assure him it's not a payback visit for yesterday. Carp jokes if Logan thought he was the dentist. Logan was thinking he was something else, but keeps that opinion to himself. No sense in starting something here.
Max and Sage arrive at a burned house on Willow Street, a secluded part of town. He tells her about how the Gilans ran a generator to keep the place lit after the Pulse hit. It shorted out and they all died in the ensuing fire. This happened before he came to live with Aunt Trudy. They then enter the ruins and visit Sam's room. It's a wreck of burnt out toys, ashes, and blackened wood. Max then notices something on the floor. She picks up it. It's a doorknob. She tosses it to Sage. He catches it and suddenly he starts to tremble. Fear overcomes him and he drops the doorknob, running out of the room. Max goes after him. She has a brief relapse of the Shakes, slowing her down enough to lose him in the woods. What has gotten him spooked like that?
The ramp is finally in place. Carp asks if Logan wants to try it out, figuring it's a little steep and he didn't want him to tip over. Logan is 'touched' by his concern and 'trusts' his workmanship. As Carp leaves the cabin, another visitor arrives. It's Sheriff 'Herman', wanting to talk to Logan. Logan wheels down the ram to meet him. Rollins loses his 'Herman' mask and tells his accuser no one knows who he really is and he wants it that way. If Logan's smart, he'll let this go. Logan remarks that maybe he's not that smart. He figures Rollins will threaten him, but this doesn't happen. The ex-cop tells him nothing will bring the dead back. Logan counters that his testimony might help get some brutal policemen off the streets so they won't do such a thing again. Rollins then tries reasoning with him by talking about how it was during the Dark Months after the Pulse. It was a nightmare, a war. The Summer of 09 was a time of looting and burning. In a way, he was glad the Pulse didn't hit during the winter. The people were in disarray and the police needed to do something. Logan retorts that it probably involved rounding up innocent demonstrators, shooting them in cold blood, and burying them in a mass grave without even telling their families what happened. Rollins tells him those 'demonstrators' were inciting a riot. Logan counters they were keeping the police in check. Rollins can barely contain his bitter laughter. Keeping the police in check? Why didn't the people kept themselves in check? He saw men and women being hung from telephone poles, lynched by their own neighbors. At first, everyone thought it was the Arabs who set off the Pulse, and any foreigner was an open target. Soon, petty grievances and jealousies took over and anyone could've been put to death for the littlest thing. The police had to restore order by any means necessary. Logan asks if that meant breaking a few heads to do it. Rollins told him yes. The cops had to protect ungrateful persons like Logan. People with the most to lose. They didn't want the barbarian hordes loose in the neighborhood, but they wanted it done by the book, by the rules. Those rules changed overnight, and the cops had to adapt or die. Logan tells him murder was against the rules. Rollins shouts at him to tell that to those on patrol getting fired upon by snipers, to those firemen getting their throat slit by piano wire strung across doorways, by the soldiers being blown up by crude pipe bombs. They had no choice. It was 'us against them'. Kill or be killed. Logan knows all too well what happened, but he tells him those protesters that were killed were unarmed and no threat to their safety. Rollins barks back that in custody they were harmless. But some judge would've gotten them loose and the cycle would have begun all over again. So they were killed. Logan then asks bluntly, 'Who gave the order? Who pulled the trigger? Where were the bodies buried?" Rollins doesn't know. Rollins doesn't WANT to know. All he wants for his own nightmares to stop and for his Purgatory to be over. He walks out of the cabin, leaving Logan with his questions and his accusations of cowardice.
Clyde picks up Sage in his truck as the boy was walking on the street and they go to the fishing docks. B.C., Benny, and Carp are there. They're wondering about his visit to the house with that girl. B.C. grills the boy relentlessly, asking him about the 'official' story of the accident. Sage recites the lines flatly: it was a shorted out generator, a couple days after the Pulse and all the lights went out. B.C. figures Sage was too young to remember what happened. But he says he does remember. B.C. asks if the boy knows anything else. He doesn't like the way he stares at him, so he slaps him to the ground. Sage's nose is bloody. His eyes are full of fear and hate. B.C. warns him not to talk to the girl anymore. Not even to look at her. She's trouble and Sage doesn't need that if he knows what's good for him. He sadly nods his head. B.C. helps him to the feet and the boy runs off. Somehow, B.C.'s not convinced the lesson will stick. He might have to teach Sage some more.
Max knocks on Trudy's office door, asking for her or Sage. No one's home. She then sees Sage stalk on by, without even a hello. She tries to touch him, but he dodges her. He tells her to leave him alone. Max sees the bloody nose and she garbs him by the shirt. She wants to help him, if he's in trouble. The boy struggles and a part of his shirt is torn. Max sees a horrifying sight. His chest is scarred with burn marks. Not of cigarette burns, but of the type that belongs to those escaping a fire. She then looks as his right hand. She sees the impression of a doorknob burned into his palm. Just as she thought. Sage finally frees himself and runs away. Max knows the boy is being tormented by demons of the past and present, but she needs to be sure. She needs to find Logan…and a shovel.
By moonlight and Logan's flashlight, Max digs up the grave of Sam Gilan. She tells Logan about her theory about 'Sage' and his secret. It makes sense now. The scar, the fire, even the ghost. Logan thinks it's insane, more like grave robbery. Is Max avenging restless spirits now? She feels differently. 'Sage' was lied to. He was at the house. Max tears open the coffin and finds…nothing. An empty crypt. Just as she suspected. Sage is actually Sam Gilan. Logan decides it's time to have a talk with their landlady about her 'nephew'. As the pair refilled the grave, a pair of worried eyes spies upon them. Carp knows the gig will be up. Time to let B.C. know about this. He's gonna flip out when he finds out.
Morning comes and Trudy's furious at Max and Logan. How dare they disturb the grave of a little boy? Max retorts how dare she bury an empty coffin. Trudy tells them the town wanted a proper burial, owing to the horror of the fire, and since the body was never found, they had to do it. Logan then reminds her of the death certificates she wrote about the Gilans. By her own reports, all the remains of the family were found and retrieved at the site. Including Sam's. She falsified the documents and they know who 'Sage' really is. Trudy tries to explain that those scars Max saw was from a car accident 'Sage' suffered as a child. It doesn't work. She then pleads to them to leave it alone for the boy's safety. B.C. and his friends would kill him. She tells about how she was first on the scene as the house burned. She saw B.C. and his friends leaving the scene, laughing and drunk with bravura. They didn't see her, thankfully. She then found 'Sage'…Sam in the woods, burnt up and in shock. It was a miracle he had escaped. She took him home before the other arrived to put out the fire. She couldn't tell anyone what had happened and she didn't trust anyone at the time. She had no other choice. The cops were busy putting down the riots in the cities. Haven was alone. She healed the boy and a few years later, told people he was her nephew 'Sage', orphaned from the Pulse and now living with her since she was his only family left. No one questioned it. 'Sage' was so traumatized by the fire; he started to believe himself. Only B.C. and his friends know the truth and up to now, they weren't going to rock the boat. After all, they killed the Gilans out of fear and hate. Things were different during the Dark Months. They hear a door slam shut and realize 'Sage' had overheard them.
And things are about to get even worse. Carp comes barging in the boathouse and tells B.C. and the others the bad news. Clyde freaks out. They're screwed. Benny's in denial. Maybe Trudy doesn't know it was them…until Carp reminds him that she hasn't talk to them face to face in ten years. He then tells them they should've killed both of them long ago. They start arguing over the old follies and crimes: that the Gilans had food, that Jahanshah knew about the Pulse, of B.C. losing his temper and beating him up and how Clyde raped Emily (before B.C. helped finish the job because he wasn't up to it.). The goons fight and scuffle and then calm down. They wonder what to do about Trudy and Sage. After some more yelling, B.C. forms a plan. Benny will fake a recurring foot problem and go to Trudy for a check-up to find out what she knows. Clyde will go on watch duty and snoop around Herman and his deputies to see what they know about the grave. He and Carp are going to remind Sage that good little boys don't talk to strangers. He looks into the fire burning in the container and smiles.
Sage is at the cemetery in tears. He can't believe he is Sam, the dead boy he sees at night. He just can't believe it. Max offers some comfort. She tells him in a way, he had always known. He can't hide from the hurt anymore. It's time to put his ghosts to rest and end his torment. Sage embraces Max and swims in her warmth. Max soothes his tears, like a mother would, and prays these scars will heal better than the ones on his body. They go back to the cabin to warm with Logan. They wonder what to do next when trouble comes in two fronts. Max's Shakes comes back hard. It couldn't have come at a worst time. They see B.C.'s truck and assume the worst. Logan tells Max to take Sage to the bedroom and stay there. Sage helps her to the bedroom while Logan gets his gun from his backpack. He wheels himself to the front porch and meets B.C. and Carp. They're looking for Sage. Logan tries to 'persuade' them not to look in the house by showing them his gun. He wishes Max would recover from the Shakes fast enough to give these creeps a good kick in the ass, but luck is not with him. 'Herman' then shows up. Logan hides his gun. Trudy called on 'Herman' to help find Sage. B.C. tells him Logan's holding him and they were trying to help out. Logan 'thanks' them for their 'concern' and tells them to get lost. 'Herman' agrees with him, showing his own piece. He may have ran away from his crimes in Seattle, but he wouldn't leave an innocent boy to the wolves. B.C. and Carp takes a few steps to their truck…and then jump 'Herman'. They struggle with the sheriff, garb his gun, and shoot him. Shots are fired all around. Max is laid up in the bed with the covers over her sweating body. The Shakes have left her weak and numb. Logan makes a retreat back to the house. Sage tells him Max is in a bad way. Logan orders him back to the bedroom and to get her pills. B.C. shoots out the radio and one of the tires. He's going to get Benny and Clyde and finish the job they'd left undone ten years ago. Carp is to block the driveway and make sure no one goes in or out. The goons leave and Logan goes to see 'Herman', or rather Rollins. He's mortally wounded. He hasn't much time left. Rollins makes a deathbed confession to Logan. He didn't know who gave the order to kill the protesters, but he and his fellow officers all did the shooting. Logan tells him to save his strength, but he knows it's too late. Rollins whispers 'Kill or be killed', and then dies. Logan can only offer a prayer for his troubled soul. He doesn't know if those eighteen spirits will forgive him for what he did during the Dark Months, but he hopes this sacrifice he made will bring some comfort…and perhaps some forgiveness at last.
Max's Shakes continue with no end in sight. In between her gasps for breath, she figures that piece of junk Implant is messing with her balance. It'll pass, but not in time to help fight off B.C. or escape. Logan decides to hold them off while Sage runs for cover. Sage disagrees. He's through hiding. He wants to face his fear once and all. Max weakly smiles at his new found courage. His mother would be proud. Logan decides since he's staying, he can help out preparing a few 'welcomes' for B.C. and his goons. Logan and Sage search around for weapons. The radio might be shot up, but Rollins' shotgun is still in the truck with plenty of ammo. The few hours left to them are a blur of siphoning gas, cutting lengths of fishing line, and setting up a propane tank at a certain spot. Logan even paints a white 'X' on a piece of drywall. He then fits the boy and himself with body armor. It's time to fight.
B.C. and his buddies soon show up. Sage sees them and he has a flashback on what happened ten years ago. The night B.C. wanted to 'talk' to his daddy and mommy. He can almost smell the liquor in his breath and the hate in his eyes.
B.C. and the others shield themselves behind Rollins' truck after Logan lets off a warning shot. He tells them to leave or be meet with force. B.C. is unamused. He'll have some fun beating the crap out that cripple. Logan then uses Booby Trap #1 and throws a lit lighter to the porch floor. The goons smell the gasoline and see the flame line to the truck. They barely escape the explosion as they tossed like rag dolls. The truck is totaled. The explosion startles Max. She wants to help any way she can, but the Shakes are just too strong. Sheer stubborn will forces her legs to work and take step by agonizing step to the door. Still, she's too weak and her legs give out from under her.
Sage runs to the fuse box and cuts the power. Now the only light is from the burning truck. B.C. tells Benny to go to the side of the house while they give some cover fire. Logan tells Sage to run to the bedroom and stay with Max. He then shoots at Clyde and B.C. as they distract him from Benny's invasion. He breaks the window with his rifle and Sage has another flashback, seeing his father's terror as he tries to hold Benny from breaking into the house. He sees his mommy push him into the closet and telling him to stay put. Reality snaps him back and he hides under the table. Logan wounds Benny. He staggers to the ground and tries to reload his gun.
Max's Shakes reach their climax and she falls into unconsciousness. She can't help anyone now.
Benny doesn't notice the propane tank beside him or the 'X' Logan aims at with his shotgun. Benny jumps to his feet and aims his gun. Logan shoots a bull's eye with Booby Trap #2 and the last thing Benny ever experiences on this earth is being thrown into the air by an exploding propane tank, his body burning and shattered. B.C. tells Carp to take the back while Clyde goes for the front door. He'll get the window. They get that kid and that cripple if it's the last thing they'll do.
Clyde breaks down the door, piece by piece. Sage's flashbacks are now about how his parents were beaten and insulted. Names like 'rag-head', 'camel jockey', 'sand nigger'. Hateful poisonous names. The smile on B.C.'s face as he pounds his father with the rifle butt tears at his soul. Clyde knocks down the door. Logan tells him to drop the gun. Clyde tries to outdraw him, but all he gets is a bullet in the chest and death. Sage is paralyzed with fear now. All his demons are out to play, even if two of them are now lying dead. Carp bursts in through the back and charges after Logan. Logan wheels down the ramp, ducking his head. Carp doesn't notice Booby Trap #3 as he races after his prey…until the nylon string cuts deep into his throat and falls to the floor. Both jugulars are severed. Death comes quickly and quietly. The same ploy that killed many firemen in Seattle now buys some survival in a different time. B.C. comes through the front window. Logan charges after him, but he's shot down and is knocked out of his chair. Though wounded, Logan plays dead. B.C. notices the blood drips from the fishing line and sees Carp's corpse. It's time to clean house. He opens up the bottle of paint thinner and spreads it around. He then lights a cigarette and drops it in the stream. It catches on fire. He can always say there was a fight between that bitch and the cripple and a fire got started. He, his bros, and Herman tried to save Sage, but only he got out in time. Who'll question him being the only survivor?
Sage is now in serious shock. He's experiencing how the fire really got started. By almost the same way B.C.'s trying now. The flames both fascinate and terrify him. He doesn't move an inch, just like he did ten years ago. Logan stirs and goes for his gun in the rear pouch of his chair. B.C. doesn't notice him as he watches the fire. Logan shoots, and wounds the villain in the leg. Not enough to stop him, though. B.C. pounces on Logan and they struggle. The gun's knocked loose, but B.C. doesn't need it. He has his knife. The pair wrestle as B.C. tries to slit Logan's throat. He can't reach it. Logan then tells him something to take to his grave…that being in a wheelchair improves upper body strength. He then twists B.C.'s arm around and stabs in the chest. The bully falls to the side. He will not bully anyone ever again. Logan screams at Sage to get the fire extinguisher. It's at his side of the room. Logan can't reach it. Sage has one final flashback to live through. He sees his parents dying, trying to reach for him as the flames consume them. Then…the next thing he remembers is putting out the fire and standing proud at Logan before he helped him to his chair. The demons are dead and gone. Sage…Sam is no longer afraid.
The cops and the fire department arrive on the scene. There's not much left to clean up except for the burning truck and four bodies to cart away. Max recovers from her Shakes and Sweats. Covered in a blanket, her healthy spunky glow returns as she comforts Sage. The deputy fills in Logan on what had happened at the Gilans long ago. The fear, the loathing, the jealousy. Their house was the only thing lit for miles during the first days of the Dark Months. People just went nuts and B.C. and his friends did something the others wanted to, but wouldn't. Logan's not surprised. It's always the outsiders who get hurt during trying times. Trudy shows up, looking for her 'nephew'. Max tells him he's lucky to have her in his life. Family, even those made in crisis and convenience, are always a welcoming sight. Sage smiles and kisses her on the cheek. He then runs to his Aunt and hugs her. They're now a true family. Now and forever. The Gilans would have been honored to call Trudy kin. Max meets up with Logan. He's deep in thought over what he did. She tells him, "It's good to know that when the superhero is otherwise occupied, the sidekick's ready to step in." Logan appreciates the sentiment. He feels okay, considering he has never killed anyone before. He had no other choice, Max reasons no stranger to taking life to preserve it. Logan now knows how Rollins felt. Someday, perhaps he'll forgive him for what he did in the heat of the moment. Things were chaotic during the Dark Months and many sins were committed out of heated moments. Some, like B.C.'s, were deliberate. Others, such as Rollins, were of insanity.
Max and Logan drive away in a tow truck, the car to be repaired at the city. In Max's inner thoughts, she feels Logan got more than he had bargained for to find where the bodies were buried…even when they weren't buried at all. "You can't raise the dead," she reasons. "But if you can go through a little Hell, maybe you can."
A few weeks later, Sage…Sam makes a visit to the cemetery. He leaves a flower on the graves of his mother and father. His own tombstone is nowhere to be found. Like Lazarus, he had been resurrected with love. He will make good his second life with his Aunt Trudy and remember the lessons from both ten years ago and now. He takes his aunt's hand and leaves the cemetery, at peace now.
In the Dark Months of Post Pulse America, many had fallen to the chaos and hate. The true mark of humanity is to face that darkness…and overcome fear.