Black: Day 01 - Chapter 13
Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 - 06:55 AM
Santa Clarita Power Station
Just before stepping up to the podium to give his speech, Senator Miller is having a chit chat with members of the local labor force, connecting with them through light humor.
"Well, it's to keep you people employed. Let's face it: the bigger your paycheck, the more taxes you can afford."
The group then shares a laugh, as Miller is approached by agent Andrew Cole who pulls him aside.
"May I have a word with you, sir?"
"What is it, Andrew?"
"Sir, ATC contacted me. We need to get you out of here now."
"ATC has a reason to believe there's a problem with one of their agents."
"What kind of problem?"
"He could be a threat to you, sir."
"Well, if he's one of ours, why won't you locate him, and take care of this quietly?"
"We are trying, sir."
Bruce lets out a deep sigh. He is not one to compromise in the most mundane of day to day tasks - much less today, on this stage.
*"I'll tell you what. I'll lose the face time, but the speech stays. There's something I have to say. Today, right now. And I will say it."
"With all due respect, sir, I think that's a mistake. This information comes directly from the ATC Headquarters."
Unwilling to budge, Bruce places his hand on Andrew's shoulder.
"I'm sure your men will do their best to take care of this."
He then moves towards the podium to meet his people.
Realizing the Senator will go ahead with the speech, Andrew then tries what he can to locate Adam. He contacts his men through the radio.
"Alright, everyone on board, listen up, this is Cole: Miller has decided to proceed with the speech. I repeat: Miller has decided to proceed with the speech. We need to locate and detain the suspect. His name is Adam Black. He's 6 feet tall, about 160 pounds, toned body type, dark hair. He's wearing a black jacket."
One of the agents responds.
"This is Carter. I have a possible 20 on Black. How would you like for me to proceed?"
"Alright, hold your position. I'll be right there."
Andrew immediately begins to move in on agent Carter's position.
As she rests her head on her mother's lap, Megan is finally giving in to sleep - the grasp of which has been trying its best to catch her for hours now.
It has now been just over 24 hours since Megan and Susan last got any sleep. And it is beginning to show. Susan, however, is still fighting it - her thinking being that she has to stay alert in case the situation changes.
She allows her daughter the moment of rest, though. It is the least she can do, she feels. Had she been there for Megan more as a mother the last couple of years, maybe she would not have run away on her own in the middle of the night - which lead to this mess they're in right now.
Sure, teenagers do that. But Susan can't help but blame herself. It's what mothers do, after all.
"As soon as Adam finds us. As soon as Adam gets here", she thinks to herself. She hasn't even really spent any time thinking about the logistics of Adam somehow managing to find them - nor about however realistic it may or may not be.
It is simply the only thing she has right now to keep her going. Adam has to find them. There is simply no alternative that she can see.
There is a knock on the door, shortly before it opens.
Mark steps into the room.
"Hey, I, uhh... I wanted to see how Megan's doing."
Susan doesn't really have any time for Mark. However, she is courteous - she doesn't want to start a scene.
"My daughter is fine. She's sleeping."
"Yeah, well, umm... I'm glad she's alright."
Susan is quite appalled by this caring act that Mark is putting on - and even if it is sincere, Susan still finds it quite amazing that Mark has the nerve to act all considerate after kidnapping her daughter and placing her life in jeopardy like this.
Mark and Susan don't have time to dive into any deeper conversation, as one of the thugs enters the room, looking for Mark.
"There you are. Noah was asking for you."
"Yeah, sure. I was just, uhh, checking on the prisoners."
"Well, you don't have to worry about them; they're not gonna be around for much longer. Come on."
The door is closed behind them as they go, leaving Susan, with Megan on her lap, contemplating how much time they have left.
Santa Clarita Power Station
Senator Miller finally steps onto the podium to begin his speech.
A big crowd has gathered to support him; he is greeted with cheers, smiles, applauds, camera flashes, the works.
He is a beloved man in Los Angeles. For the first time in as long as anyone can remember, Bruce Miller is the kind of politician - let alone Presidential candidate - that people can believe in. He is seen as someone who exhibits such honesty and integrity that he is entirely his own man in the political space. Different from the rest, past or present - although comparisons to John F. Kennedy are often made.
Finally, Miller is given an opportunity to speak after all the applauds.
"Los Angeles. You have no idea how good it is to see you again. It has been a long journey, and I feel like the people of Los Angeles have been with me throughout all of it, through thick and thin. You could say I began this journey some seven years ago. And when I did..."
As Miller is giving the long-awaited campaign speech to his adoring crowd, two figures are not part of the festivities.
Away from crowd, Adam is staring right into the man hired to assassinate Miller - and not only that, but after the assassination, the man has been ordered to hand Adam his weapon, creating the illusion that he was the one who pulled the trigger.
And Adam has no choice but to comply - for if he doesn't, Susan and Megan will be killed.
Adam is helpless; he looks at the assassin, readying his rifle, then at Miller at the podium, blissfully unaware.
In his ear, Noah gives him the final set of instructions.
"Go and join the shooter, Adam. He will hand you his weapon shortly. And remember: we have your family, so if you try anything, they're dead, and we get Miller anyway. Do you understand?"
Adam reluctantly concurs.
Slowly, he takes steps towards the shooter - dressed as a photographer. With his heart rate increasing each step, Adam is about to explode and let out all the emotions from the past several hours.
It's the stress, the lack of sleep. The worry. The anger. And the sheer terror of it all.
But he can't. There is nothing he can do - except walk into what he knows will be the end of his life as he knows it.
The million thoughts racing through Adam's head turn into two million, which turn into three, then four, and five, until the anxious train of thought moving at light speed is interrupted by Andrew Cole's voice.
"Agent Black? Adam Black? Andrew Cole."
He sees agent Cole approaching him.
"What's the matter?"
"No problem, you just need to come with me."
Adam stops. Agent Cole gets closer. And closer. In two seconds, they will make contact.
Adam only has those two seconds to think, and nothing more. For the first second, he is too paralyzed to make use of the time, and the second he uses to make a decision.
As Agent Cole arrives to grab Adam by the arm, Adam makes a move to grab his weapon.
Agent Cole immediately pins him to the ground, creating a scene. This distracts the festivities enough for everyone to start moving out of the building - including Senator Miller.
In a matter of seconds, Miller is protected by the Secret Service as they make sure he leaves the building immediately.
The shooter is unaware of what happened, but he is unable to get a shot in on Miller.
Following the event from his monitors, Noah is beside himself. He screams at Adam into the microphone.
"Black?! Black?! Did you screw me?! Did you fucking screw me, Black?!"
Adam is wrestling three Secret Service agents, two of which rushed to the aid of Agent Cole, and is unable to respond to Noah through the earpiece, which falls out of his ear and rolls away from Adam's reach as he is being handcuffed.
Unable to reach Adam, Noah slams the microphone to the ground. He then gives orders to his henchmen awaiting them.
"Goddamn Black fucked us over! We're done here, kill the wife and kid!"
With a mere nod, the two men leave the room and head to Megan and Susan's room - to execute them.
They tear open the door and barge in, terrorizing Susan and waking up the sleeping Megan.
Try as they might, Megan and Susan are unable to overpower the two strong men who drag them outside of the building to the back with their weapons loaded and ready to go.
In his room, Noah is kicking and slamming furniture as he notices his phone ringing.
"I don't have fucking time for this!"
He tries to ignore it until the ringing goes away - only for the caller to call right back immediately so Noah has no choice but to pick it up.
What?! I'm in the middle of a situation here!"
It's Amy calling from ATC.
"Noah, it's me."
"What is it, Amy?"
"I've been trying to contact you. About Adam."
"What about Adam?"
"I was just notified that Secret Service was trying to locate him. At the Power Plant."
"Why? What's going on?"
"Well, Adam has been breaking protocol all day. People from ATC called him in as a suspect."
Noah now realizes there was a hole in his plan. He never took into account the possibility of Adam arousing suspicions before arriving at the Power Plant.
He now thinks that perhaps Adam didn't cause the scene on his own, which leads him to believe that maybe Adam would still be willing to cooperate.
"Amy, I'm gonna have to get back to you."
Noah hangs up the call.
Outside the building, Susan and Megan are made to turn their backs at the two men, kneeling on the ground.
They cry. They cry harder than they knew possible. Hoping and praying for an unexpected miracle, they hold hands and close their eyes.
They hear the sound of gun loading behind them, and the world stands still.
For a second that feels like a lifetime, it all flashes in front of him. Every fight, every argument. Every half-hearted apology. Each shared laughter, all of the times they cried together.
Their lives. In their entirety. From start to finish.
As everything else slows down to a halt.
There are no sounds - until.
A phone rings.
"It's Noah. I still need them alive."
Both of them?"
"Yes. Both of them. Take them back inside."
Santa Clarita Power Station
Adam is dragged by the Secret Service agents to an unpopular section at the back of the power plant, and he is handcuffed to a pipe.
Adam recognizes one of the agents waiting for him at the back.
"Henry? Henry Baker?"
Henry also recognizes Adam. It's unfortunate for Adam the two have never exactly been the best of friends. That said, Henry is familiar with Adam's esteemed service record, so seeing him in this scenario comes as a surprise.
"Adam Black? Agent Cole, what the hell is going on here?"¨
Andrew explains what happened from his perspective.
"ATC called Agent Black in as a suspect. They said there was a problem with Senator Miller. I identified myself, approached him, and he went for my gun."
Adam does his best to explain himself, although he tries not to give too much away.
"I know how this looks like, but I did this on purpose."
Henry places his hands on his hips and gives a very sarcastic response.
"Well, that I believe."
"I didn't mean it like that. The reason I went for his gun was to create a scene. I had to get Senator Miller out of the room."
"Out of the room? If you had to get the Senator out of the room, why not just tell us there was a problem? Mind explaining yourself here?"
"I can't. I'm working on a restricted mandate."
"Oh, cut the crap, Black. Your own people called you in as a suspect. You've been breaking protocol all day."
"ATC doesn't have the same information that I do. Look, you have a shooter in here, dressed as a photographer. He escaped and Senator Miller's life is still in danger."
"I'm not sure what it is that you want me to do here, Black. Breaking protocol isn't exactly new to you, and I know you're used to people looking the other way, but surely you understand I have no choice but to turn you over to the FBI."
Adam gets desperate. He doesn't know if Megan and Susan are even still alive. He has no way of getting to them. Everything is falling apart.
"I know you're just following protocol, but damn it, Henry, look at me. You know me. Do you honestly think I was here to assassinate Senator Miller? I called here at 5:30 this morning, asking for clearance to bring my gun into the building. If I was gonna shoot Senator Miller, I would have used my own gun, I didn't need anyone else's."
As Adam speaks, his voice gets progressively louder and louder, which aggravates Andrew enough to give him a stiff punch to the gut to calm him down.
"Calm down, Black!"
Adam crouches over, struggling to breathe, as Henry takes out his phone. Adam still tries to reason with him, catching his breath.
"You're making a mistake! Please. I need to get back on this case."
"There's no way that's gonna happen."
Henry then starts talking on the phone.
"Get me a list of photographers who checked in this morning. Yea, I'll wait."
Adam tries to get himself back together, but handcuffed to the pipe, all he can do is sit there and wait. He lets out a frustrated sigh as he runs his fingers through his hair. Things look extremely dire.