Sangala, Africa (Don't feel bad if you don't know where it is, it's fictional.)
Men drive through the streets of a shantytown with machine guns and young boys in the back of a truck. A man reports to his colonel that he has five boy soldiers.
At the training camp, boys no older than 14 practice shooting with automatic weapons. They swig from presumably laced bottles, woozy and pliant.
Colonel Dubaku gives the boys a pep talk about exterminating cockroaches (i.e. dissenters) and puts a machete in a stoned boy's hands. He whacks at the "cockroach" as the crowd of children cheers.
The 24 clock ticks.
"The following takes place between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Events occur in real time."
A stuffed shirt carrying a federal subpoena rides in a car.
Two young brothers argue as one wants to go into town. The younger says Mr. Benton says they're not supposed to. The older one goes with a friend anyway.
A U.N. truck arrives at the boys school. As the boys follow it the first boy sneaks into someone's room and starts going through someone's things. He finds a scarf he likes.
Jack Bauer arrives in the doorway. The scarf is from India, Jack was going to give it to his daughter some day. He got it there last summer.
He tells Willie he can keep the scarf, but Jack's gonna need his knife back.
Carl Benton comes to talk to Jack with the stuffed shirt, Frank Trammell, the ambassador's chief political officer. Jack knows who he is, he got his messages.
Frank tells him the senate subcommittee has questions about the torture and questioning of prisoners in Jack's custody and tries to serve him. Jack says if they want him, they can come get him.
Trammell tells Benton that Jack's been ducking the subpoena for more than a year across three continents.
Frank tells Benton it'd be a shame for his funding for the boys school to dry up because of Jack.
Jack unloads stuff from the supply truck as a Frenchman generally irritates him.
The rebels have more guns than soldiers to carry them. An underling promises Dubaku he'll have his "little soldiers."
Dubaku gets a satellite phone call from Jonas Hodges, your standard issue "24" bad guy in a suit, offering more soldiers if he needs them. Hodges provided the weapons. He wants General Juma to call him later.
Hodges, back in D.C., tells a businessman he doesn't want the transactions traceable by anyone and to deal with it.
On the trading floor a broker named Chris tries to smooth talk a client. He reaches in his drawer for a pill and pops it. Chris is summoned by his boss and passes Hodges on his way into the office.
His boss tells him to burn some records.
Benton talks to Jack, telling him he should look at the subpoena. Jack tells Benton not to worry, he'll be gone by dark.
He tells Benton all he has left is his freedom, and he won't let them take that away from him.
We learn Jack called him after 10 years, they're old special ops buddies, and Benton has found a way to live with himself, but first he had to stop running. Benton tells him again Jack's welcome to stay. But Jack says they both know it'd be better if he left.
The Frenchman with the supply truck argues with a man saying that nothing is wrong and that Juma isn't stealing children. Willie mentions that his brother Desmond is in town with James. Benton says he'll go into town to find them.
The Frenchman mocks Benton for being worried and says they would have heard if Juma was up to something.
The boys play soccer in town.
The men with machine guns drive up, firing into the air. The boys run but they're surrounded. They're told they're now soldiers in the People's Freedom Army and they'll have the honor of fighting the imperialists to take back their land.
One boy wets himself and they laugh at him. As they're distracted James and Desmond make a break for it.
The men take off after them into nearby woods. One of the men fires at them, hitting them. The boys fall and lie still as the man chastises the one who fired, saying they're no good to them dead. But they drive off.
A man and a woman get ready for something in the morning.
The man, Roger, gets a call from Chris, saying he thinks he might be in trouble. Roger assumes Chris has been drinking. Chris wants to meet up. He knows it's terrible timing, but he says it's really important.
His girlfriend isn't happy Roger's making time for Chris, and tells him not to be late for his mother's inauguration.
At the White House, Allison Taylor awaits her inauguration. Tom Lennox finds her in the hall and says President Daniels is dealing with an urgent matter. She says he might as well tell her what it is, since it'll be her problem in a matter of hours. There's an impending coup in Sangala.
On a conference call, President Daniels talks to Sangala's prime minister. Lennox tells him Taylor wants to weigh in.
Daniels greets her, pointedly calling her "Senator" Taylor.
She wants to know how Juma could raise an army without them knowing about it. She thinks they need a show of force, but Daniels thinks it isn't their fight.
He ordered the ambassador to begin evacuating all non-military U.S. nationals. She thinks that sends the wrong message.
Benton finds the deflated soccer ball. He sees a buzzard picking at something in the trees. It's one of the boys. Ew.
He calls for Desmond and sees him slumped by a stream. He's alive.
At the school, Willie tries to convince Jack to take him and Desmond with him.
Willie says there are too many ghosts around, but Jack asks him to stay and help take care of the other boys.
Jack walks away.
Thomas runs after him. Benton's on the phone. He tells him about the boys and Juma. They rebels are coming to the school, he wants Jack to hold them off until he gets back. Benton hasn't been able to get through to the embassy for military support.
Jack time! He yells at the boys to get in the shelter
The Frenchman still doesn't believe anything is wrong and says the U.N. remains neutral. "Why don't you go hide in the shelter with the other children?" Jack snarls. Take that, surrender monkey.
Jack finds Benton's guns and dynamite as the boys hide under a school room.
Trucks of men with automatic weapons drive up.
Jack starts lobbing dynamite and distracts them. He takes out a few then runs for cover.
It's at least a dozen to one, just how Jack likes it.
They have serious hardware, including a bazooka.
A man creeps around the corner of a building right into Jack's knife. He takes his automatic weapon.
The boys keep quiet, hiding. Jack gets two rebels to follow him into the nearby woods and it's hand to hand combat time. Jack's doing pretty well until a third guy shows up and whacks him with a gun butt.
But the man in charge says to hold off on killing him until he tells them where the children are.
Benton drives nearby with a wounded Desmond in the vehicle.
He checks out the scene and finds the rebels stringing Jack up.
A helicopter takes off from the embassy as people try to gain entry. But Trammell's only letting in U.S citizens. A woman with a baby pleads with him, but even when she offers to do anything he wants, he coldly says he can't.
Carl Benton calls for him, telling him he needs help. But Trammell can't spare any Marines because they're helping with the evacuation. Trammell says if Benton wants to get the 14 boys out, they have to get to him at the embassy. The last chopper leaves in an hour.
The rebels beat on Jack, who, of course, isn't talking. The head guy removes a machete from the fire and singes Jack's ear. The children hear him scream.
Jack looks up to see Benton flashing a mirror at him in the distance. The next time the man threatens him, Jack begs, un-Jack-like, to spare him and says he'll show him where the kids are. He describes an underground shelter right where Benton is waiting. Jack faux-sobs. Two men investigate and Benton takes care of them.
Jack grabs his torturer by the neck using his legs, and snaps it, killing him. Benton comes to untie him. He has sponsorship papers for the kids and needs to get them to the embassy, Benton tells him.
They get the kids and load them onto the bus.
The Frenchman U.N. guy refuses to provide an escort and goes off on his own.
Jack has one of the rebel's walkie talkies. He says he's going with Carl, who assures Jack that he won't have to go anywhere near the embassy.
The secret service searches Chris at Roger's house. A couple months ago his boss, Nickles, called Chris into his office and wanted him to manage a special project, for which he got paid a ton. But he had to keep his mouth shut. He thought he was "only" helping his boss embezzle money from his own firm. But he recognized one of the account prefixes. The account holder was on the terrorist watch list. He tells Roger about the creepy guy that morning.
Roger tells him he should go to the FBI, but Chris wants to take it to Roger's mom. Chris says he saved some records Nickles told him to destroy. They're on his hard drive at home.
Roger says he's not doing anything until he sees the records from himself. Chris tells him to check his e-mail in an hour.
General Juma arrives at the base camp. They have Howitzers positioned to hit any target in the city.
Dubaku gets a call from someone. They've caught the Frenchman, who says that Dubaku's brother is dead and he has info on where the boys are. Listening to the walkie, Benton hears that the rebels are right in front of them on the road. He turns off the road and the patrol drives by.
Desmond is developing a fever.
Daniels hands over protocols to Taylor. She's ready to go, but Daniels offers her a drink. She declines but he has one anyway. He toasts her administration and when she says simply "thank you," he corrects her, "thank you, Mr. President."
In the hallway, she complains to her husband that Daniels ordered an evacuation without consulting her. She thinks there might be a reason he made the order that he's hiding.
Dubaku wants revenge for his brother's death, but Juma wants him to focus on the coup. Dubaku says he just needs an hour.
Chris arrives home. He starts to copy the data from his computer. He contemplates popping a pill but thinks better of it. He hears a noise in his apartment and goes to investigate. When he returns to his computer, he finds a man there. There's a gun on the desk now. The man asks if the files are everything. He's there to recover them.
Another man comes up behind him and whacks him with a newspaper. The first man says Chris is going to tell them everything he knows and they'll know if he's lying. Duct tape is involved.
In the car, Roger's girlfriend harasses him to tell her what Chris's visit was all about. But he says he gave his word to keep it private.
Edward, the driver and secret service agent who frisked Chris, announces they've arrived.
Edwards gets a call. The man in Chris apartment tells him they managed to recover the files but they're working to determine their exposure now. The second man injects Chris with something.
Jack, Benton and the boys cross a field and Benton tells Jack to follow the river to get out of there while they follow a safe road into town. They say good-bye and Jack walks off, again.
Just then there's a noise in the distance. They're standing in an open field, exposed, when a helicopter comes around the corner. They run for the trees as the helicopter, with Dubaku inside, fires on them.
He orders the pilot to land.
The kids hurry through the woods. Willie stops, realizing he dropped the scarf Jack gave him. He runs to get it from the brush where it fell.
Benton watches Willie and sees his foot step between two land mines. Benton rushes to keep him from triggering one, pushing him aside. In the process, Benton ends up standing directly on top of it, arming it. Jack inspects it, but Benton knows the make and model. It can't be disabled.
Benton tells Jack there isn't enough time. He asks Jack to take the kids to the embassy. He gives Jack their sponsorship papers. He says he'll try to buy them some time.
Benton tells the kids to go with Jack, nobly saying he'll be right behind them. Jack and Benton exchange knowing man nods.
Dubaku and his men look for the children in the woods. Benton covers up the land mine and raises his rifle over his head. The four or five men and Dubaku approach him, guns drawn. When Benton won't tell Dubaku where Jack is, Dubaku shoots him in the arm. Then the other arm. Benton struggles to stay balanced on the land mine. He mutters where they are and Dubaku steps closer to hear.
Benton looks at Dubaku and tells him to go to hell.
Jack hears a large blast in the distance and pauses for a minute, having lost another friend.
In the city, Jack and Thomas guide the kids to the embassy. Jack tells Thomas he's going to give him the papers. When Willie figures out that Benton is dead he runs off, crying. Jack runs after him, telling him Mr. Benton died to make sure he'd be safe. He tells him he's sorry as he gives him a hug.
They hurry, rushing to make the chopper.
Jack notices something amiss in the street and tells Thomas to hide with the boys behind a truck. He homes in on a man walking suspiciously through the crowd, as the man opens his coat to reveal a weapon, Jack shoots him dead. Men begin firing from the rooftops and a street full of people hit the deck. The coup is on.
Jack turns to find the young drugged boy who killed the "cockroach" in the opening aiming an automatic weapon at him. Jack tries to talk to him, telling him he can come with them out of the country if he puts his gun down. He promises no one will hurt him. The boy throws down his gun and runs away.
Benton's boys hold hands, then weave through the crowd.
At the inauguration, Roger checks his phone, looking for the files from Chris. His mother arrives.
As Taylor greets her son, Edward and Hodges confer off to the side. Edwards tells Hodges they don't need to worry about Roger, that he has no evidence and he'll think his strung-out friend told him something crazy. Hodges tells Edward to keep an eye on Roger.
Chaos reigns at the embassy as desperate citizens try to find sanctuary. Jack pushes his way to the front of the crowd, telling the guard that Trammell is expecting him.
The boys wait in the crush of people, Desmond fading fast.
Trammell arrives and Jack, through the gate, tells him Benton is dead, but he has their paperwork.
Trammell tells him there's a problem: they need the legal guardianship of a U.S. citizen. If Jack surrenders himself, Trammell will waive the requirement. Trammell says whatever happens to them will be on Jack. "I don't have a choice you son of a bitch, open the gate," Jack growls.
Trammell makes Jack go in first, keeping the boys on the other side. Once through, Jack is immediately handcuffed while the guard blocks the boys at the gate. As Jack screams for the boys to be let in, Trammell finally relents. They boys are safe inside as Jack is led away by guards.
Allison Taylor takes the oath of office
Hundreds of desperate people are left on the other side of the embassy gates.
Taylor gives her speech over scenes of boys testing automatic weapons in Sangala, the two goons covering Chris's body in concrete and Jack being flown away on the helicopter.
Taylor speaks of apathy, greed and fear threatening freedom.
The helicopter takes off at the embassy as the screaming citizens are finally let inside, only to see the last form of transport depart.
Willie reassuringly puts his hand on Jack's shoulder.
Scenes from Season 7: Jack testifies at the senate subcommittee, being grilled about torture and saying he doesn't regret his decisions. Taylor making an impassioned plea to stop Juma; a woman briefing Jack that the man behind the threat is someone he knows: Tony Almeida, who is not dead. Then explosions, gun fights, car chases, threats to air traffic control, Chloe saying she's a stay at home mom. Dubaku, apparently not dead, threatening the president. Taylor refusing to bow to threats from Dubaku, a leak at the FBI. Finally, Jack grabbing Tony by the throat: "So help me god, I will kill you and you will stay dead this time."