Year One: Duquesa Bay

"In the Clear"

Early morning breaks over the Santa Conchita Valley. Craig and Anita land their helicopter at an emergency base camp set up on the north end of Chaparral Heights. Emergency crews from all over the state meet with FEMA as a smoking Mount Wiggins looms in the distance.

Anita: My legs feel like noodles right now

Craig: Rice or egg?

Anita: Both

Craig: I could go for a stiff drink...

Anita: You're joking, right?

Craig: Maybe

Anita: How about settling for a bottle of aspirin instead?

Craig: Can I wash them down with gin?

Anita: (Checking her watch) C'mon, cap - now is not the time to fall off the wagon - I think we both need a good nap, especially if they want us to pull another shift

Craig: You can catch a few winks during the endless meetings we have ahead of us - just make sure command doesn't see you

Anita: Two hours to tell us ten different ways to do one thing we can do ourselves in five minutes

Craig: Feds are crawling on our turf now, play nice

Anita: Do I have to?

Craig: At least for the next five minutes...

An official from the Department of Homeland Security approaches them. He's wearing sunglasses and an all-too-clean suit.

Official: (Extending his hand) Captain Phelps, I need you to coordinate with my team on the evacuation process of the east valley

Craig: Sure thing - so far, all is going well - we've checked the major roads in and out, traffic is moving along fine

Anita: Thank God it's no longer blowing chunks the way it did last night - in fact, it's almost unnatural how it just stopped all of the sudden... don't you think, G-man?

The official looks over his shades and eyeballs Anita.

Official: We have a geology team from SCU giving us possible outcomes - we need to plan on the worst case scenario until otherwise - is that clear?

Craig: Of course

Anita: Can you tell us what special ops was doing? - one of their jets nearly caught us in a down draft

Official: (Tensing up) You must be mistaken, lieutenant, special ops was no where near the event

Anita: Yeah, they were

Craig: Anita

Anita: Look, I know how everything is all hush hush with you guys but we nearly got taken out without warning

Official: (Now looking at Craig) Special ops was NOT involved

Anita: DON'T KEEP DICKING AROUND WITH US, SEÑOR - this qualifies as a national emergency and we have every right to be kept informed!

Official: Captain, please remind your lieutenant that I have the authority to reprimand her if she keeps challenging me - and, if I am not mistaken, both of you have enough disciplinary actions to deal with already

Craig: Fiore, go check the latest weather reports

Anita: BUT...

Craig: (Looking her in the eye) DON'T MAKE ME ASK YOU AGAIN

Anita goes to say something but bites her tongue and storms off in a huff.

Official: Will she be an issue?

Craig: No, sir... but we both know what we saw

Official: We all saw plenty of interesting things last night, captain - things that do not merit public discussion

Craig: Understood

Official: Good - now, get inside - my team is waiting for your assessment

In the crowded parking lot of a cheap roadside motel, Gracie sets up the KCON newsvan for a live remote shoot with Kylee. A single strand of black smoke can still be seen swirling above Mount Wiggins.

Gracie: (Checking the equipment) YES... we got a satellite uplink to the station - we're on in ten!

Kylee: When are we going to get our cells back?

Gracie: Not for awhile - Wiggins was THE site for large antennas - I can patch you through on the uplink if you really need to call someone

Kylee: (Fixing her hair) Nah, that's okay... no matter how hard I try, I can't get this soot shit off of me

Gracie: Just think of it as a lively 'Bama barbecue bash

Kylee: I'm not in the mood for your digs right now, Gracie

Gracie: Sorry

Kylee: No, I'm sorry - I didn't get enough beauty rest last night

Gracie is silent as she watches Zach at the other end of the lot, just standing and staring at the mountain range.

Kylee: Wow, you really are sorry - I gave you the perfect set-up and you didn't even attempt a joke!

Gracie: (Looking at the latest wire reports) Amazingly enough, I don't even find my jokes appropriate right now

Kylee: The Quartz Lake Inn?

Gracie: Cinders - the lava flow emptied into the lower end of the lake but stopped there - the railroad and part of the airfield out there were hit as well

Kylee: Have they come up with a death toll yet?

Gracie: 18 confirmed with over two dozen still missing - mostly hikers, campers and rural inhabitants

Kylee: That aint half bad!

Gracie: Come again?

Kylee: I mean considering it looked like that thing was about to take out this entire valley

Gracie: (Connecting the microphone) True enough

Kylee: It was weird how it just shut off quicker than it started up - what do you suppose happened?

Gracie: Who the hell knows? - California has enough natural disasters without adding "volcanoes" to the list... if it was a natural disaster

Kylee: What do you mean?

Gracie: I don't know - I thought for sure I was going to be garlic-roasted Gracie last night, then I had to sleep in a dive not worthy of a derelict with you, Zach, and Mirabello all taking turns farting...

Kylee: That was NOT me - I always excuse myself

Gracie: And now I just got word that our feed is going live nationwide - you expect me to be coherent?


Gracie looks at a huge smudge of mascara under Kylee's eye and thinks for a second.

Gracie: (Giving her the thumb up) Your lipstick is fine - we're good to go!

Kylee: (Turning serious) Gracie... was I dreaming or did you hear Zach crying in the bathroom last night?

Gracie: (Hearing the same thing) Um, you were probably dreaming - or it was the people next door... two minutes counting down

Kylee: Lemme do a quick run-through with my intro and let me know if I convey enough emotion in my tone

Gracie: Tone? - are you auditioning for a part in Sigma Seven? - this is a news story

Kylee: A SAD news story but I can't appear too depressed or too chipper - remember, this is going across the country


Zach is now inside the motel room. He slumps on the bed and watches Kylee on the television.

Kylee: ...with residents still leaving the area, the possibility of more eruptions is a fear everyone can see and feel here in the Santa Conchita Valley - for KCON NewsCenter8, this is Kylee Shepperton reporting

Zach: (Muttering) Lousy tag, Kylee - Morri would have done a better job...

He fights back tears and vigorously rubs his face with his hands. Gracie enters the room carrying two cups of coffee and a bag.

Gracie: (Glancing at the TV) They're still running our piece?

Zach: It's been on five channels so far

Gracie: Damn, I was hoping for an even half-dozen

Zach does not respond.

Gracie: The coffee shop was a madhouse but I managed to snare you some waffles

Zach: Syrup?

Gracie: Nope, sorry

Zach: How do you eat waffles without syrup?

Gracie takes a waffle out of the bag and happily demonstrates.

Gracie: (Mouth full) Kylee is still there flirting with the cook - maybe I could get her to score you some jam?

Again, Zach barely responds.

Gracie: You know, the laptop is working just fine if you wanted to write up a quickie for the paper

Zach: (Staring at the wall) No thanks

Gracie: The roads out of town are still pretty packed but we could head down south

Zach: What's the sense?

Gracie: What?

Zach: Nevermind

Gracie: I was talking with Justine over breakfast - she was telling me more about the creepoid Father Greg and...

Zach: I don't want to hear about it!

Gracie: But...



Zach darts up from the bed and heads for the door. Gracie blocks his exit.

Gracie: Forget all the volcano stuff for a minute - I want to know exactly what happened to you last night

Zach: (Not looking at her) No... you don't

Gracie: You briefly mentioned something about Amethyst and Morrigan?


Gracie: How do you know?


Unable to hold back, Zach bangs his fist against the wall and is now in tears.

Zach: They were going to torture her, too

Gracie: WHO?


Gracie: You're not making any...

Before she can finish her sentence, Zach pushes her violently away from the door. Gracie goes crashing back into the nightstand.

Gracie: (Knocking over a lamp) WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE THIS?

Zach ignores her and goes to leave. As he throws open the door, Kylee nearly runs into him.


Griffin, KJ, Shelby, and Calvin all stand along the riverbank as a search crew of divers and one lone sheriff's deputy complete their sweep of the water.

Deputy: We've been up and down this stretch six times, Mr. Martel - there's no sign of her

Griffin: Keep searching!

KJ: Maybe we need to expand further up stream?

Diver: That's not necessary - the flow of the river would keep the body in this area or take it out to sea

Griffin: (Grabbing the diver) BODY? - I DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT WORD AGAIN

The deputy comes between them.

Deputy: THAT is a distinct probability you are going to have to face if Ms. Von Meer really did do this

Griffin: (Now directing his anger at the deputy) What are you are implying?

Deputy: I'm trying to understand why she would take a header off your balcony, Mr. Martel... willingly


Deputy: I have no idea

Griffin: I want your supervisor heading up this search - call him in, NOW

Deputy: (Pointing) In case you haven't noticed the smoking mountain off to you left, we're in a state of emergency right now and our resources are limited

Griffin: FINE, I'll bring in my own team since you are completely and utterly USELESS

KJ pulls Griffin aside and they walk away from the deputy and the divers.

KJ: We need to think about this - maybe... maybe we should check the bay


KJ: (Sniffling) I can't... I can't deal with losing my father AND my sister - but why did she do this? - WHERE IS SHE, GRIFFIN?


The persistent ringing of Griffin's phone stops the two.

KJ: I thought cells were dead?

Griffin: This is my satellite phone - I need to take this

Griffin steps aside for a moment as Shelby comes over to KJ.

Shelby: I need to take Calvin home - this has been a very taxing night for all of us

KJ: I know... thanks, Shel

Before she leaves, she pulls a flower out her pocket and hands it to KJ.

Shelby: Erika is alive... I can feel it

KJ: Because your voodoo magic says so?

Shelby: It has nothing to do with my religious practices - I went to Acapulco with your sister once - I watched as she shamed the local cliff divers, one by one

KJ perks his head up.

Shelby: If she did dive into the river of her own accord, then she still walks among us - if not, I would have felt her passing - I did not feel that last night, KJ, I promise

Calvin: We felt Chango, didn't we, mommy?

Shelby: Come along, Cal, time to go

With a puzzled look, KJ watches them leave as Griffin rushes over.

Griffin: We need to leave!

KJ: What about...

Griffin: NOW, KJ

Just outside of San Luis Obispo, Hector, Stephanie and Karl exit a run-down truck pulled up to a remote medical clinic.

Hector: (To the driver) Muchas gracias!

Stephanie helps a robed Karl stagger up the steps to the door.

Dr. Stephanie: Hector, go inside and ask for Dr. Kaplan, we interned together

Hector: Are you sure it's safe here, Stephi?

Dr. Stephanie: Safer than where we were - this place is known for keeping quiet - a lot of celebrity facelifts

Hector hurries inside.

Dr. Stephanie: Hold on, Karl - we're almost there

Karl: (Weak) I don't trust him - be careful

Dr. Stephanie: I want you to rest but when you're up to it, you need to explain to me what is going on

An orderly with a wheelchair now approaches with Hector.

Hector: All set - Dr. Kaplan is waiting inside

Dr. Stephanie: (Helping Karl in the chair) Good

Hector squeezes Stephanie's shoulder and heads back to the waiting truck.

Dr. Stephanie: Where are you going?

Hector: Home

Dr. Stephanie: Why? - the eruption has stopped, I'm sure your family is okay

Hector: I'm going back to make sure OUR family is okay

A private jet is on final approach to Sacramento. George sits between his wife and daughter as Kylee is shown on the television screen.

Lydia: Can we turn this off? - it's making me upset

George: (Flipping the remote) Done

George comforts Lydia as Penny robotically keeps dialing her cell phone.

Penny: I think the people still stuck in Duquesa Bay have more reason to be upset, don't you?

George: Penelope, don't antagonize your mother right now

Penny: That was aimed more at you than her, dad - wouldn't everyone like to have a private jet at their disposal when fleeing imminent danger?

Lydia: Your father is part of the state government, he needs to be here in order to help

Penny: Fine, but why do we need to come along?

George: (Wrapping his arm around her) Maybe because I want my wife and little girl close to me instead of in the path of an unpredictable volcano?

Unable to resist her father's affection, Penny relents and snuggles against his arm while deliberately knocking over her mother's crutch with her foot.

Penny: I just think everyone should have the same opportunities that we do... that's all

George: I know you do, sweetie, you have a good heart buried underneath those layers of black rags

Lydia: She's just worried about that Jeremy heathen, that's all

Penny: Thank you for ruining a nice moment by opening your mouth, mom

Lydia: I'm just stating the obvious

Penny: (Glancing at George) I'm sure I'm not the only one worried about my boyfriend

George: Enough, ladies! - we'll be landing soon

Penny: (Grabbing her stomach) I... I don't feel so good all of the sudden

Lydia: Please don't vomit on your father's suit, he has a press conference

George: Are you alright, Pen...

Penny slumps down in her seat as the plane shifts drastically to the side.



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Surfaced on July 1, 2000

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