End Of The Line


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Scene Title End of the Line
Synopsis A producer and a host can't stay away when the series finale airs, even if they'd planned to do so.
Date November 10, 2011

Studio K

The silence of K-Studios has become nearly painful in the last few weeks. Laying off the entire staff meant it had become, figuratively, dead. For the first time in five years, the hum of the lights overhead echoes through the empty halls with the (mostly empty) desks. Few people left much of anything behind.

Even office supplies have been disappearing. All-in-all most cleared out weeks ago. But the lights keep getting turned on every day. There's rhythm to it; the routine of getting ready and going to work to do whatever could, possibly, be left.

As The Advocate's swan song airs, however, no one was supposed to be around. Yet Bradley Russo couldn't stay away. He stares out his office window, glass in hand. Blue eyes scan the New York skyline, silently wondering whether anyone will listen.

…if you do do it, you have to make sure your case is air-fucking-tight.

He shudders. The sound of Parkman's voice echoes over his memory. Lithe fingers tighten on the glass of amber fluid he's virtually attached to. But he hasn't had a drink. A glance is given to the photos on his shelf and he lifts the glass. "To you ladies," three separate pictures get the toast: September Russo, Karolina O'Donnell, and Kristen Reynolds. "May we all rest in peace."

His lips purse and he turns back to his screen, "But until then — " uncertainty tugs at each corner of his face as he slides over to the screen on his desk. COYOTE SANDS is written at the top with a myriad of notes. Over the weeks, he's changed. His dress has become increasingly casual for the office, and today has opted for a sports coat and light wash blue jeans. It's about as casual as he gets, and weirdly reminds him of his grad student days, much like everything these last few months.

"So much for not being here when we broadcast," Kincaid muttered as he stepped into the doorway of the office. The last few days have been hectic. He knows his friends have been doing dangerous things, involved in raids many, many miles away. But he chose to stay in New York, rather than go to the place where his hand had gotten crushed by a robot. Chose to stay in New York, rather than free children from the Ark, which he'd seen displayed on news cameras that evening. No. He'd stayed. Because he wanted to make sure their story aired.

And that he was there for his father when it did.

"Guess you couldn't stay away, either." He knows he couldn't. God he hopes people heard. He hopes people listen.

He hopes they make a difference. That him and his friends, that all of them, made a difference.

The glass makes purchase with the desk and Russo lifts his hand to rub his head when Kincaid appears. He manages a lopsided grin — boyish, and nearly reckless from start to finish. It's strangely fitting, and he's wholly aware. "Couldn't stay away," he offers in return with a one-shouldered shrug. "Didn't feel right not being here, even if it's a bad idea. Some people should go down with the ship. Only feels right." He smirks, "Besides, K would've stuck it out. Mind, she would've been pissed as hell at me for being here," he shrugs again.

His eyebrows lift, "You shouldn't be here though. I was going to do this regardless." His heart lurches in his chest and he notes with no lack of irony, "I knew this was coming since April." He swallows around the growing lump ini his throat. "It would've been sooner, but Matt Parkman said it had to be iron clad," his grin twists into something grim — all edges, sharp and jagged — while still managing to be a smile, "because no one would listen if it wasn't. The question is whether we've managed to keep enough of the public on our side to make them listen." His eyebrows lift at that.

"Yeah, since when do we ever listen to our fathers," Kincaid responded with a laugh as he entered the office even more, ignoring the fact that, well, this would likely be the last time he'll ever see the place. He didn't care. They owed it to the Studio to go down with the ship, since they were the ones who made the decision to sink it. They owed it to K. They owed it to Dirk. They owed it to Quinn. They owed it to everyone who ever worked there.

And they even owed it to themselves.

"I think the timing was perfect. It's all starting to come to a head right now. With everything going on in Cambridge and what happened at the memorial… People are starting to open their eyes."

Things are happening that he never could have envisioned. The future, his future, did not go this way. And in some ways that's a good thing.

"“Our government conspires against us. We don’t know why. But let me be clear, laws that confine citizens and prevent movement, that lock up the innocent, and that negate people who cause no harm, are laws to be resisted. And that is why you are the only one that can change them. Governments create fear because they manage the propaganda machine. " Bradley Russo's voice is jarring as it starts to sound not from Bradley Russo but, outside his office.

From the grim graveyard of cubicles, desks, and office chairs, the recording of Russo continues. "But let me be clear: People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people."

Behind Kincaid the lights are now off, leaving only a faint blue glow of a screen sounding off deep within the cubicle graveyard far away from the pair of men. Besides Russo's voice sounding off from somewhere in the dark there is nothing but silence. And stillness.

The lights go off, causing Brad to narrow his eyes. He slides away from the desk and casts a long look to his son; an earnest, yet altogether considerate expression. He cracks another grin, this one with an edge of something. He just urged all of the county to resist. And, while the irony doesn't escape him, he reaches into his pocket and finds a nickel.

The coin coin is tossed in the air, as he quietly murmurs, "Heads, we go peacefully as journalists do. Heads held high, integrity intact. Tails, we run to fight another day."

His lips edge upwards higher as the coin edges the desk, falling just from Brad's line of sight. "Resistance comes in many forms," he reminds himself. Slowly, his head cants towards the hall while coyly he manages a lift of his eyebrows, "Maybe we should invite them in for a drink?"

"I didn't bring any weapons and not all of us can shoot concussive blasts out of our hands," Kincaid responds to the idea of a non-peaceful resistance to those who no doubt will be breathing down their necks in a few moments. But he watches as the coin falls off the desk and disappears from sight— well, they'll never know.

"Could be worth a shot. Maybe they're coffee men." Perhaps not a joking time, but when someone has very little to lose, joking might be the way to go. "Except I didn't start the coffee, so we'll just have to settle with whatever you happen to have on hand." With that said, he steps away from the door, the walls, and moves to keep his hands visible away from his body, praying that they don't start filling the room with negation gas.

He took pain killers, like, actual painkillers, just in case. But he doesn't know how well they'll work.

"“So do everything you can to resist. If you are SLC-Expressive, evolved, whatever you want to call it — do not take the medication. Do not give in. Keep fighting. If you are not, voluntarily take the drugs. Create so much demand that a shortage runs out and rumours begin that I bought stock in big pharma. We need to stop this machine. We need to take to the streets. We need to stand up and stand out because ultimately, the only people who can fix this is each of us. And today you decide if you’re going to be someone who makes a stand for justice. This isn’t charity."

Russo's voice continues to ring out in the dark. As they don't come out immediately, Russo's voice is eventually cut off.


"First try at a spooky entrance." Is called out from the darkness. "How am I doin'?"

"I'd give you a seven out of ten," Russo calls back rocking his hand uncertainly. "I'm sure you're on the job, but I've got of plenty of whiskey," and then reaching for his bottom desk drawer, he draws it open and casts Kincaid a nearly apologetic glance. There's something odd about his son that he didn't raise, knowing the extent of his alcoholism. But that doesn't matter now, really.

"Gin. I've got some gin," he bends forward and his blue eyes scan each of the bottles in turn, "And there's a ridiculously old bottle of scotch in here my grandfather insisted I save when we hit a thousand episodes." His lips turn downwards slightly, "Doesn't seem likely to happen now, does it?" he can't help the comical lilt to his voice. "And there's spare glasses in the kitchen."

He looks back towards Kincaid, "To be honest, story loses its power if we responded violently." He manages a lopsided grin, "A good journalist's weapon is the truth. Nothing else. Even when they know how to do the other." He casts another apologetic glance towards his son.

And then, rather voluntarily, he offers towards the hall, "My producer had nothing to do with this. He's a junior at the studio. I'll go easily without much protest if he's allowed to walk out of here."

Family may be more than chromosomes, but Kincaid has managed to fit two boxes.


Kincaid doesn't say it outloud, but as his eyes follow his father, he accepts with a nod. Violence would have been the wrong punctuation mark to their story, it would have ended it on the wrong note. Unless the other side started it. Which, well, he's sure they wouldn't chance under the circumstances. Why give more evidence to be broadcast. "I've seen spookier," he adds to the question. He's seen robots. He's seen shadow men. He's seen an entire Wasteland. He'd even seen his parents blow up, his mother shielding him from the blast at an election party for his father, the Mayor. Yeah, he's seen scarier. Seen spooky.

"We're offering no resistance," he adds outloud, so that they know it. And he continues to keep his hands visible.

A figure in black appears in the light of Russo's office. Combed back blonde hair, some stubble, a black kevler jacket and a jacket that drapes down to his legs.

Lieutenant James Temple steps in easily to Russo's office and leans against the doorframe. To Kincaid he nods, waving a dismissive hand. "Yeah, yeah, yeah." He levels his gaze on Russo. "Now, I like your offer." His gaze sweeps the room, going from Russo to Kincaid and back again. He pauses.

"Him, I donno."

"You evolved?" He asks, tipping his head to him, then back to Russo. "Now your show. I'm sorry, never really got into it. I was all about Tahir Dunham. But that motherfucker killed my friends and shot me. I'm sure you know about that." He splays his hands to the side.

"You're not gonna do anything like that now, are ya?" The question goes to both of him, the man standing languidly in the doorframe watching them with almost a lazy countenance.

"Tahir had a good show," Brad offers congenially, motioning to one of the extra chairs in the room because having the man sent here to drag him to whatever fate will befall him makes sense. He reaches into the desk and slowly brings the bottle of scotch to its surface. "More of an entertainment buff then?" he asks as he glances to where he's still got fluid in the glass he'd left on the desks surface. His eyebrows lift and he brings the glass to his lips.

His eyebrows lift at the question, "If we were aiming to hurt anyone, we'd have laid traps throughout the studio. We know what we're airing," he offers evenly, taking a long drink of his whiskey. He reaches for a spare glass he keeps on the shelf and sets it in front of temple — the silent offering is left for him to do what he will. "But this isn't about entertainment for us." And then with a lift of his eyebrows, he notes, "Reporting the truth is my job." He rubs the stubble growing on his chin.

"Just like this is your job." His eyes blink hard and he manages a lopsided grin that has some strangely reminiscent hallmarks. "They have something over you?" His eyebrows lift. "Not a judgment, just a question. I worked with the DoEA for a hot minute for someone I cared about. But the costs were too high." His eyebrows lift and his head shifts slightly.

A glance back to Kincaid has his eyebrows drawing together. "I'll tell you what, I'll make no stink at all if you let him just walk out of here." He levels his gaze at Temple, "You're in a studio, and you're more than expected. You can smile for the cameras and we can all play nice, and I won't pull the trigger on sending it to air if Kincaid gets to leave the building without incident. I'm the one you're after. We both know that," if it's a bluff, Brad doesn't give indication, but it's nearly impossible to know.

"Unfortunately Tahir didn't get the memo," Kincaid offers quietly, shaking his head— yes, he'd heard about the incident that had occured after some of the Studio started to get laid off. But not everyone had been gone that day and, well. Some people hadn't left yet. And Tahir may not have been offically given his pink slip and severance package before he left abruptly.

Given the situation, well, that might have been best.

His jaw tightens as his father, once again, tries to bargain for his escape, but he doesn't try to countermand it. Even if he really, really wants to. He just keeps his hands visible. "We're unarmed. We don't wish to cause further incident unless you do."

Are they evolved? Well, he'll have to check their cards to get that answer.

He gives a little shrug. "Your show always seemed kinda dry to me." Temple splays out one hand as if to calm Russo. "Sorry, bout that." Though listening to Brad he gives a wry grin. "Traps in the studio." He chuckles dryly. Watching the man lazily before scoffing lightly. Shoving off the side of the door, he becomes a little more lucid and cognizant.

"I'm not DoEA." He meanders towards Russo's desk, looking at the different bottles he has to offer.


As Kincaid continues to talk him down, Temple turns slowly fully facing Kincaid. "For someone wanting peace you sure are repeating yourself a whole lot. Making me think maybe you're not so keen on it after all." He takes a step forward, eyeing the man. "Maybe you had some traps laid after all."

"I asked you a question boy. I'm here to relocate one Bradley Russo. If you aint evolved, you don't need to be here. Your card… Please?" His grim demeanor turns into a slow smile at the end one hand coming up to take said card.

Army. "Me too," Brad offers in return to Temple. "A tour and a round of pirate radio gave me the discipline I needed to get here. Ran a fight club out of my high school. Pretty sure my late mother, rest her," he glances towards the photos on the shelf, "didn't think anything would straighten me out. She was pleasantly surprised." His lips curve upwards slightly. "And politics isn't for everyone," he offers in return, "which is a shame in a democratic society. Democracy doesn't work when people just disengage."

Brad starts drawing each of the bottles from the desk, leaving them to rest on its surface. He chuckles as one in particular is left on its surface, a bottle of peach schnapps. "K," he looks towards Temple again, "gifted me that one as a joke. I'm pretty sure she didn't think I knew it was her, but she came in here once and changed out all the liquor for stuff I definitely wouldn't drink. I swear I still have a bottle of sambucha around here if that's your poison." His head cants to the side at Temple.

When the army officer talks to him like that, Kincaid just shakes his head. "You didn't exactly say that I had permission to leave." Continuing to repeat that you are unarmed and mean no violence is pretty much right up there with 'we come in peace' on the scale of what you're supposed to do in certain situations. As well as keeping your hands visible. Still, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out his card, which does show him to be an Evolved.

Kincaid August. Tier 0. Temperature Adaptation.

A lie, but truth enough. "I wasn't about to move my hands anywhere near my pockets without permission," he adds. Yes, perhaps he's paranoid, but he grew up in a very different world.

Temple doesn't respond to Russo right away, his eyes are stuck on Kincaid. Studying the card he gives a thoughtful hum, before going to tuck the regestration card in his left pocket. "Will give that back to you in a second." Looking back to Russo, he places one hand on the edge of the desk. Glancing over at the bottles, Temple pushes the registration card further down the pocket.

"Just pour something, it's time to go. We'll have twenty minutes to pack your shit at your place." Only then does he round on Kincaid. "And you. I don't know why you haven't been relocated yet. But we might as well go ahead and get you going as well." Temple stands up fully, looking at Kincaid's profile, watching carefully for any reaction.

Russo uncorks the scotch and pours it in a glass for his would-be captor and hands the fellow the drink. He manages a small inhalation of breath and a nod before nonchalantly offering a response to the reason why Kincaid hasn't been relocated, "It can be a slow process. And really, Kincaid isn't a priority move. Not when he's not apt to hurt anyone."

He smirks, "Or manifest on live television. Now that made for some drama." The mention of having twenty minutes has him nodding his head slightly. "Which shit, exactly?" he asks in return. "Freedom of the press remains intact, I take it? Collecting anything would be superfluous if we were just heading for incarceration."

"There was no mandatory relocation for Tier O, but if I'd gotten an order in the mail, I would have shown up," Kincaid responds simply, and with a small shrug. Whether he actually would have is left up for speculation, cause it's actually unlikely. He also isn't taking the negation pills, which is a mandatory order no matter the Tier, but he's not sure anyone would know the difference if he had been. His power didn't exactly do much.

They'd notice it more if he did take it than if he didn't.

"So I imagine you want me to stay? Mind if I have a seat? I'll skip the drink, though, I'm on painkillers."

Watching Russo uncork the bottle. He gives a frustrated sigh as Russo insists about the freedom of press. "Look." He starts with an agitated tone. "I'm gettin' tired of the run around. You're a smart guy." Temple places his knuckles down on the table, "I'm army. Not DoEA. Not the police. Not the national guard." Leaning down he matches Russo's gaze. "Army. US soil."

"Let that sink in."

Walking the length of the table he looks at the pair of them. "I don't give a shit about your rights. I don't care what you say. I don't care if you live. You're both going with me now. And if you resist.." He spreads his hands out. To Kincaid talking about how there was no mandatory relocation for tier 0.


"It is now." Temple announces with a little smirk over to Kincaid. He places one shoulder on Russo's shoulder. "You can pack up your shit at your house. Or if you wanna start a fuss we can just go straight to my handlers. What's it gonna be, boys?"

"I didn't make a fuss, I asked a question," Russo replies evenly. "And sure enough, I'll pack my shit at my house." He glances towards Kincaid and then back towards his own drink which he brings to his lips to finish the glass. "And here I thought we were just talking. I said I wouldn't make a fuss if you let the producer go. He's tier-0 and honestly not the fellow you're after."

He swallows hard, letting the whiskey burn the back of his throat. "So, you've been in our studio before. Question remains, do you like being on national television," his eyebrows turn up towards his back bookshelf where, sure enough, a camera is rolling. Where is it feeding to? Remains to be seen. "Let him go, and none of this goes anywhere. Don't?" He shrugs. "I'm sure the public would like to know what happens to whistle blowers. Even when we have laws to protect them."

This guy, Kincaid can't quite wrap his head around him. One moment he sounds as if he wants to talk, the next he sounds like he wants everyone to shut up. "We're not starting a fuss, as we said already, as you didn't want me to continue saying already. This isn't my home, but I'm more than willing to take a cab home and pack up, but I'm going to need my ID back to do it." Cause it's hard to move within the city without one. It's why he still carried it.

It's why the kids got them in the first place.

Temple slowly turns to face where Russo insinuates a camera is rolling. He takes a step towards it, staring hard at the camera. "Talk." He spits out. "Well you sure got me talkin'." James Temple can't keep the frustration out of his voice. He stands still for a long moment, watching the camera. He then slowly turns to face them.

"A good play Russo. You're much smarter than that Dunham fella. No wonder you got the boring show." He falls silent, before turning to face the bookshelf. In an instant his sidearm is drawn and the room is filled with the deafening blast of a gunshot, one, two, three, shots into the camera.

Finally, Temple turns back to Russo and Kincaid. "Let's go, both of you, start walking." The pistol is still out and pointed nowhere in general, just out and ready.
Russo blinks owlishly when Temple shoots the camera, as his lips form a perfect gaping circle. He doesn't say exactly what he's thinking, but as he stands to his feet to move, he muses, "It is a boring show," as if to affirm the fellow's position. "But I like my boring show. I spent a lot of time developing it." He manages a self-deprecating half-smile, "And, while smarter than Tahir may be pushing it, I'm not so naive to indicate where a camera is if it's the only one."

He manages a stiff, yet still tired, smile, "Offer remains. This stays off the air if Caid gets to just walk away from all of this." But he's still moving to go, complying with the request from the fellow.

He trails towards the door, "But I'm ready to head to my apartment. Dorchester Towers." A glance is given to the bottles of liquor and his eyes spark as he draws one hand from his pocket and plucks the apparently old bottle of scotch. Evidently, it's coming with.

See? This is why Kincaid kept his hands visible and didn't move? Always so trigger happy. He resists the desire to mutter under his breath and keeps his hand visible, looking over at his father and shaking his head, as if trying to tell his father that he's playing his hand too far and that he's risking more than just their freedom right now. This man might shoot more than a camera next. "We're going," he decides to just say, rather than risk him deciding to shoot one of them.

Either of them.

With all the damage that had happened to the city two days ago, he's not even sure if the cameras are capable of recording, even with the generators that they still had for the broadcast.

A dry laugh plays across the room, as Temple nods in concession. "Alright, alright. I'll admit." The gun is holstered into his jacket. "You've got a style and a flair about you I kind of dig." But his smile starts to evaporate, his eyes not leaving Russo to look for a camera. THey remain steadfastly on him. "And I do appreciate that style. You've changed my mind. But you've changed my mind in other areas as well."

there are two clinks of metal hitting wood as two sets of handcuffs are plopped onto Russo's desk. He waves at them and to the cuffs, taking a step back and giving them room.

"Dunham was the smart one. He could see what this is." He gestures out to the city more than the office, halfway turning, but keeping his eyes on them in the reflection.

"The end of the line."

"You're still clinging to a society that's falling apart. You were right about everything you said, Russo. But you were wrong on the timing." He lets out a slow sigh, one thumb tucking into his belt. "You're too late."

He turns back to face them, his countenance immediately lifting, the dark fog that had settled over him dispersing into a bright cheery air. "You go ahead and get them bracelets on, I'll carry the scotch for you."

Even with the weight of Kincaid's gaze, Brad maintains that air. The theatre of it all isn't lost on him, nor is the repeated pattern he's too aware of. The metal cuffs are regarded, and Brad's lips purse lightly. He sets the bottle of scotch on the desk, casting a pointed look towards Temple. "Oh, I definitely see the end of the line," Brad replies.

He chews on the inside of his cheek. "Howard Guilford. Walter Liggett. Bill Mason. Alan Berg." The names probably don't mean much to the military man, but he offers, "It's not about clinging to the past. It's about exposing the truth. Regardless of the cost." The names might not be easily connected, but to Russo they are inexplicably linked to his point. Journalists who died for the story, despite knowing it would be their end.

He plucks one of the cuffs from the desk and wraps it around his wrist, blue eyes narrowing in the process. "I'm clinging to hope for a better future, not a long gone past."

There's a long pause before Kincaid finally moves from where he's tried to stand motionless, toward the desk to pick up the cuffs, clicking them into place, his hands in front of him as he places them around his wrists carefully, as if he's done this before. He's been in worse places than the place that they're going to be taking him, but he doesn't say that. He doesn't dare.

"You're wrong, soldier," he doesn't know the man's rank, so he just goes with soldier. Army. It works. He's a soldier. "It's never too late to change things. The future can always be changed. It has changed. You just don’t know it."

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