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Escape From Miami Part I - Characters and Setup

June 03, 2007 By Matt Meltzer in


Continued from the Synopsis


Senator Jack McCarthy – Senator McCarthy is a rich and powerful senator from West Virginia, now the major Northeastern Port of the United States. Jack is originally from Miami, Florida but left for dry land when the ice-caps melted in the late-21st century. He has led a privileged life after serving as an officer in the Marine Corps during the Iran war. He is white, in his mid-fifties and married, but not always faithful to his wife. Serving as chief of the Senate Energy Commission, he has gained a good deal of power in the US government and is not quiet about letting anyone know about it.

Reginald Sweat – Reginald, or “Reg” as he is known, is a convicted cop-killer on the run living in what was once Downtown Miami. He is an African American originally from West Virginia where his family owned hundreds of acres in the hills. When refugees from New York and Washington DC came and he was forced to give up his property by eminent domain, he set it with landmines and killed the law-enforcement officials who came to remove him. In turn, they shot his family and he went on the run until arriving in South Florida. He now works as a radio-cutter for a team of airboaters who hijack ships.

Ezmerelda – Ezmerelda is the crime lord of South Florida. She is rumored to be a former prostitute from New York who came to Miami to escape execution when New York was evacuated. Brutal and utterly heartless, she is in charge of all airboat raids and distribution of cargo. She resides in what was once a South Beach penthouse and is served by her army of executioners. She will sooner kill anyone than let them escape and is considered the Queen of Miami. Her character is roughly based on Griselda Blanco, the cocaine kingpin of the 1980’s.

Santos – Santos is Ezmerelda’s top general in charge of her army of criminals. He is unwaveringly loyal to Ezmerelda but someday plans to kill her and take over as boss. While he is fearful of her power, he still believes no woman should be able to control so many men and is perpetually planning a coup to destroy her. Santos is a convicted murderer and drug dealer who was left for dead when Miami was evacuated, but was one of only a few survivors to escape the rotting prisons. He knows nothing but crime and is the most effective killing machine in Ezmerelda’s army. Unfortunately, he may be the only person more hated in Dade County than Ezmerelda herself.

Lt. Austin Diamond – Captain Diamond is a search-and rescue officer for the US navy based out of Atlanta. He is charged with recovering all missing ships and personnel that are lost in the Northern Caribbean/Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The two are now almost indistinguishable. Due to the rash of ship and life loss over the past two years, he is in danger of being removed from his command. Not the most capable or intelligent of officers, he is determined to prove to his superior officers, most notably his father-in-law, that he can handle a job of such importance. In his late-twenties, Lt. Diamond is confident despite obvious evidence to the contrary and stops at nothing to prove himself to others.

It is black night as Senator Jack McCarthy is aboard the SS Hereford accompanying an ethanol shipment to Brazil. He talks to the boat’s captain, who tells him that one in four boats is now being completely lost due to inaccurate maps of the now-water-covered Florida Peninsula. Shipwrecks are common as boats crash into what used to be cities and vanish forever. Inclement weather is also to blame. It is raining especially hard this night as the Captain tells the senator that they may need to change course to avoid an oncoming hurricane in the Atlantic.

They turn to change course but the rain is unrelenting. The Captain and Senator continue to talk until the ship’s light catches a pink and blue object that is dangerously close. The ship is unable to stop as the Senator retreats downstairs and the ship crashes headlong into what used to be Portofino Tower in South Beach. The Captain looks back to see if the senator is okay. As he responds in the affirmative, they hear a low buzzing noise coming from far away. The noise gets louder and stronger as the captain looks out to see hundreds of airboats speeding towards him filled with raggedy criminals waiting to loot the grounded ship. The Captain squints out the window to try and figure out what it is and as he turns around to ask the Senator if he sees it, he is shot in the head and crumples to the ground.

Reginald is at the trigger and rushes to immediately disable the ship’s radio. He looks back to where the Senator was but McCarthy has vanished. Frustrated, Reginald realizes it is more important to take out the radio as all the crew will be killed by the looters anyway. The ship is overtaken by the army of Miamians as gunfire and screams erupt. Crew members jump into the ocean and are immediately snatched up and shot by airboaters. Criminals roam the passageways of the ship killing the crew and searching for female crew members to rape. “Where the bitches at?!” is yelled as crewman after crewman in shot on site. The hull is searched for its contents, shown to be ethanol, and the invaders are thrilled. “We gots fuel! Hey, we got fuel!” They all celebrate by shooting their weapons into the air, sending parts of the deck crashing down into the hull of ethanol. A tugboat is hastily fastened to the front of the ship and it is dragged through what used to be government cut into what used to be downtown Miami.

The skyline is completely black against a sky of lightning and thunder. The buildings that used to comprise the city are now under 8 feet of water all around. They are crumbling and covered in moss, ivy, mold and various other vegetation. There are no streets, only waterways between skyscrapers. Quickly, we see Senator McCarthy hiding under a control deck in the Captain’s room.

Santos comes to Ezmerelda in her penthouse to report that they had secured an ethanol shipment on its way to Brazil. He reports that all crewmen were killed and there were no women aboard the ship. Ezmerelda is pleased and instructs him to begin distributing the fuel to the people. She also asks him again if all the crewmen were killed, as she cannot risk word of the hijackings to reach the land as the Navy would send ships in to rid Miami of its criminal element. As it is they do not know the criminals haven that is South Florida even exists, as the disappearing ships are assumed sunken by the weather and current maps are not good enough for them to make it worth investigating the area. And she intends to keep it that way. Santos assures her they checked the ship four times before docking it and every corpse had been taken to the gator farms.

Reg sits in the captain’s room of the SS Hereford as it waits to be unloaded of its cargo. Bodies are being thrown overboard onto a barge and there is great commotion. McCarthy is still under the control panel not fully knowing what has happened. He is looking through the crack of the door at Reg as he sees a pit bull walk into the room. Reg walks up to him and starts to pet him and the dog runs immediately for the bottom of the panel behind which Jack is hiding. Reg is confused and pulls back the front of the panel to see McCarthy cowering in fear. He immediately pulls his gun and prepares to shoot the senator when he begs for his life. Reg tells him to shut up and continues to point the gun. The senator continues to beg for his life and Reg slowly lowers the gun telling him to shot up, using several expletives along the way.

Reg realizes he told Santos he had killed everyone in the Control Room and that this new body might make him look incompetent and therefore expendable and ultimately killed. He has no qualms about shooting the senator, and informs him of this, and then begins to curse himself out loud for missing such an obvious spot. “Shoulda just shot up the whole damn room.” He says. Needing a way for the Senator to escape the room with him, Reg summons a Miamian from outside the chamber to come inside. He immediately shoots him and informs McCarthy to put on his clothes. It is dark and nobody will notice. Jack grabs his cell phone out of his suit and brings it with him.

Reg and Jack get on his airboat tethered to the ship and ride back through the underwater remains of Miami to a tall abandoned condo building. Reg ties his boat to what was once a first floor balcony and they climb in. They walk through an empty apartment to a set of stair and walk up several flights. Reg explains the higher up you are, the less chance of getting robbed. They arrive at Reg’s apartment, which was once a multi-million dollar condo and is now in complete shambles. He rips a generator cord and the light bulb dangling from the center of the living room come on. They sit on two metal folding chairs.

Reg tells jack to sit down and gives him a shot of homemade rum, which he immediately spits out. He explains to the senator that once Miami was uninhabitable, the only people who could live here were ones escaping from something. There is no air conditioning, no running water, and the only source of power are ethanol-fueled generators. Everyone rides on airboats and they loot ships that get lost. If ships don’t get lost enough, the airboaters go out to sea and hijack boats. Men are killed, women are raped aboard ship then brought back as sex slaves until they are either killed or commit suicide. The only women who live in Miami are more brutal than the men. And so he explains to him about Ezmerelda. McCarthy asks how he ended up here and Reginald snaps at him to shut up before he shoots him again.

McCarthy explains to Reg who he is and why he was on the ship. Jack also tells him that he grew up in Miami and points out the window to different spots and his memories before “the ice melted.” He asks if there is any way back to land and Reg laughs. Nobody can know about Miami, he tells him, or we all would die.

Captain Diamond is in his Admiral’s office and is briefed on the disaster aboard the Hereford. He is told that because a powerful senator is missing, they must find the wreckage even if it involves sending massive dive teams. He is told that they have located the Senator’s cell phone signal near what used to be Miami, Florida, and that since his phone was above water he must also be. Diamond sees this as his chance to finally do something right, as he has been wholly unsuccessful in finding sunken or lost ships in what used to be Florida. He tells his assistant to ready his top dive team and get ready to fly to Cuba the next morning and begin the operation.

Ezmerelda is in her bedroom watching fuzzy TV in the dark. She is able to make out   a news report from a Cuban station mentioning a missing senator and that he was believed to be a survivor of the Hereford wreck. Ezmerelda is confused as clothes and personal effects of all crew are destroyed by invaders. She summons Santos who she blames for the oversight. She informs him that he must find this cell-phone and take it out to the ocean and destroy it to throw off the search teams. Ezmerelda tells him that she will kill anyone who is in possession of the phone on sight. Santos tries to convince her that the phone will die eventually and that there is no way the senator is alive. He would have been spotted. She does not seem to care and threatens him with his life before dismissing him.

Stay tuned for Part 2: The Main Conflict

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About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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