From The Ground Up


emily3_icon.gif lance_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title From The Ground Up
Synopsis Uncertain where to begin in setting up something in the realm of television, Emily turns first to her friends in radio.
Date December 6, 2020

WSZR Building

The good thing about Lance's gig at the radio station, Emily thinks to herself, is it means there's several times a week she knows exactly where to find him without needing to call or text ahead in advance.

Technically, there wasn't need to go to this effort. She could also just have found him at work tomorrow on her first day back, or have just reached out like… you know… normal people might.

But no.

Emily climbs the rusty staircase leading up to the fourth-story back door two steps at a time, the structure rattling as she heads up. She figures it must be safe enough, though, or it'd have been blocked off, surely, right? Conscious about the fact a live broadcast might still be underway, the knock she makes at the back door is cautious, quiet. "Lance? It's Emily." She takes a step back when that's done, weight shifting from one foot to the other. Her pale peacoat and red scarf keep her warm enough, but it's still chilly enough out.

Little does she know there's more than one friend here today.

The first hint that it may not just be Lance hear today is the music Emily can hear filtering into the stairwell as she makes her way up the stairs. It's only as she knocks that it becomes clear that she's hearing—

Wait. Carly Rae Jepsen?

It takes another moment before the door opens, and it's not Lance Gerken that Emily finds standing on the other side. Rather, a familiar woman in a deep blue coat, with blonde hair and long, sharp looking jewelry on her fingers stands on the other side, a bit of a scowl on her face as the music becomes clearer. If there's a live broadcast happening, Lance has the booth closed up tight enough that the sound of a small speaker pumping out pop isn't going to disturb whatever he's got going on.

Robyn Roux blinks, her head tilting a bit. "Emily?" Somehow she'd heard the knock but not the identity of the knocker. "Come on in. Here to see Lance?"

The sight of Robyn brings Emily to shrink back unconsciously, briefly, before her overabundance of a start calms. It's just a fellow SESA agent. Someone who's worked with her father. Someone who's trustworthy.

"I— y-yeah, I'm here to see Lance." She looks past Robyn inside as she gingerly steps forward, incoming, "I hope I'm not…" Her eyes go to the speaker pumping music. "bothering?"

Abruptly, Emily shakes her head, looking back to Robyn. "H-how are you, anyway? It's been a while." Most of this year, between the young woman's transmogrified stint and subsequent medical leave from SESA.

Emily's apprehension earns a curious look from Robyn, but whatever deeper thoughts she has on the matter are quickly swept aside as she steps away from the door. "Not at all. I just finished helping install some better sound proofing for the booth and—" She motions to a small bluetooth speaker, the one pumping pop into the room.

"I'm testing it. Theoretically." Or just listening to music? Slowly, she pulls her phone out of her pocket and with a notable gingerness— probably because of the adornments on her fingers— she presses on the screen a few times to make the music stop. "Lance's got a few things playing right now, but I think he'll be taking a break soon." Her cadence is very matter of fact, making no assumption that Emily is here to talk to her at all.

So the question about how she is catches her a little off guard.

"Now that I'm not suspended anymore?" Yeah, that's a thing that happened. "Okay, I suppose. It's been… a rough year, so I'm glad we're coming up on the end of it." Rough is an understatement. "How about yourself?"

"Rough about covers it," Emily partially deflects, hands clasped before her, eyes averted. The index and thumb of one hand pinch the ring if the other, helping ground her and present with more confidence than she feels. The ice blue of her eyes flit further into the building.

"But I'm back at work tomorrow. Getting back to normal, one step at a time. I could sit at home forever, but I don't think that suits me." She seems to relax when the loud music grows quieter, some of her more normal facets of her personality emerging when she looks back to Robyn.

She was suspended? "Who'd you punch?" Emily teases. She has no idea the reality of things, Robyn just looks the sort to her. "Hopefully no one I wouldn't."

Then her amusement fades as she realizes something. "Listen, I came out to ask Lance about something, but maybe… I don't know, you might be really good to talk about this with, too." Her weight shifts from one leg to another, the hope-laden curiosity she regards Robyn with visible. Felt.

"Eve Mas," is a simple enough statement, Robyn looking down at her nails with a bored expression as she says it. "Apparently we frown upon trying to stop criminals from running away." At least that's how she interpreted the situation, but it's not worth getting into that right now. Not with Emily, she doesn't deserve that.

Instead, she lets a small smile creep on to her face. "You've been missed. I've been worried, but…" How do you apologise for not coming to see someone when they were a tree? "I spent a while in a coma and then recovering, so I haven't been very social until recently." She lowers her head slightly, her smile twitching a slight bit.

Her head cants to the side slightly, regarding Emily with more than a little curiosity. "What's up? Is everything alright?" There's genuine concern in her tone, a contrast to the hope Emily has in hers.

Emily blinks once when she realizes not only was she right, but Robyn altercated with someone Emily herself had been startled enough by once to raise a hand to… even if she didn't follow through. Her expression slips uncertain, though. Eve, a criminal?

Crazy, maybe. Criminal? "Wow, what the hell did I miss?" she can't help but breathe out. It's a sentiment that passes just as valid for learning Robyn spent part of the year also out of commission.

Tongue to the roof of her mouth for a moment, honesty gets the better in the end. "I understand needing time for recovery. Especially if you weren't expecting to… pull through." The last of that comes carefully said, and she finds herself unable to look at Robyn again.

It's with that same self-consciousness she straightens her posture when asked if she's all right. "Y-yeah, I'm fine, everything's fine— I just woke up with this idea and I'm looking for ideas on implementation of it. I, um," Emily shakes her head slightly. "I'd need a studio space and broadcasting equipment, to start."

The subject of Eve is brushed by rather quickly as Robyn paces to the speaker and turns it off, picking up the raven skull headed cane that leans against the shelf next to it without a word about the matter. "Broadcasting equipment?" There's as much curiosity as there is confusion in those words.

A small smile creeps on her face as she turns back to Emily and chuckles in a disbelieving tone. "Thinking about getting into pirate radio? It would be nice to have something besides just WSZR to listen to. I can only take so much of Lance in one day." Get it, because they also work together!

Yeah, even Robyn knows it's a dumb joke, shown by how she shakes her head at herself before continuing.

"You would need a rather big site just for the basic equipment, not to mention the broadcasting array and the permits needed for something like that. Why the sudden interest? Just a passing idea?" Here, the curtiosity comes front and centre, Robyn clearly keenly interested in Emily's response.

The light outside of the broadcasting room blinks from *red* to *green* and a few moments after the door opens to disgorge Lance, who’s dressed down in a pair of jeans and a slightly overlarge t-shirt with a SLUSH-O logo across it.

You can’t eat just six!

“Hey Robyn, do you think—” He screeches to a halt, blinks, and smiles broadly, hands spreading to either side, “Emily! Holy shit, what’re you doing here?”

Then he’s bounding over to hug her. She’s one of them after all, even if she denies it. And Lighthouse get hugs.

Luckily, as much time spent around them, she's prepared for it and has the grace not to scrabble away like a skittish cat only to be dragged back in. It's a fight she'll lose, and has lost multiple times before. She knows better now.

Emily returns the hug firmly rather than shy from it once it starts, surprising even herself. "I missed you. It's good to see you." She holds on for several beats, then lets go abruptly before she can reflect on it too much. "I'm, um… looking to get into some trouble, you know me."

She looks to Robyn as well as she explains, "I'm not looking to cut in on WSZR. I'm thinking bigger. I'm thinking television broadcasting. Like… the New York Times of television. I'm tired of waiting for it to happen again, so I just…" Her shoulders lift up into a shrug, one that takes one of her hands with it. "I'm tired of waiting for there to be a news station that's favorable to the Evolved. That the BBC has such a large voice in the US is bullshit."

Her hand turns out as she looks back to Lance. "So I wanted to see if you had had any suggestions for where I could start. I figure I'd need to secure a location, first. Equipment… Something powerful enough to broadcast nationwide, o-or partnerships with signal repeater locations, or…"

Back to Robyn, Emily explains, "As soon as I had the space sorted, as soon as there were enough people involved, I did some research, and I wanted to try reaching out to Voice of America to ask for a grant to help with…"

Everything. To help with everything. A dream is nothing without money to support it.

"Okay, hold on." There's a mischievousness in Robyn's voice as she turns from Emily to Lance, waiting for their hug to end before continuing. "Emily, you agree with me that Lance needs to throw out that Slusho shirt ASAP, right? Besides being ugly, it just…" The SESA agent wrinkles her nose in mock disgust, raising a hand in dismissal. "It's too damn big!"

With that bit of teasing out of the way, she turns her attention back to Emily, her head canting to the side a bit. "That's… a hell of an endeavour you have in mind there. I agree with you, though. I've never liked that the BBC basically replaced our national news." Tapping the bottom of her cane against the floor twice, Robyn turns and moves to a chair, rolling it close to her two younger counterparts.

"Broadcasting nationwide is a practical impossibility right now," she remarks in a melancholic voice, settling down into the chair with a sigh. "A lot of places don't have the infrastructure for it, and satellite and cable services are still recovering. The BBC manages it because they're the BBC."

Raising a finger to cut off any protest she smiles. "But you have to start somewhere, and build more. Eventually, it'll be possible. Getting the money will be hard without turning to the Government or to Yamagato, but it's doable."

"I didn't think for a moment of doing this without government support," Emily clarifies swiftly. "That's the only way we're getting anywhere without some huge corporate interest sponsor, and I'm not big on that."

"In either case, all I have to do is just… make a really convincing argument."

Her shoulders sag for some reason when she says that, and she looks troubled.

“It’s comfortable,” Lance disputes, dropping back a step after the hug and slanting a playful glare over at Robyn, “I have to wear a suit all day, Robyn, okay?! Let me be comfy when I get off, jeeze. Do we need to get you laid?”

Then he’s looking between the two, frowning slightly, “Yeah, nationwide is hard— WRAY has a pretty big reach but that’s mostly repeater stations like we are here. There’s— I mean, the government might be able to back it, but you know that’s gonna be a problem, right?”

"Buy better suits," is Robyn's swift rebuttal, crossing her arms as she turns away from Lance. Her tone is frighteningly similar to the one she would use with Matthew — she's moming Lance. "I'll help out, if you want." She breezes right by his last question, only offering him a baleful stare in response.

With that, she turns to Emily and nods. "That shouldn't be hard. With California in the state it's in and, out here, Studio K gone, there's not much to go with. We don't have a major broadcasting network anymore. You may have to start local, but— I think you can convince them."

Still, she studies Emily's posture, the expression worn on her face, the tone of her words. "You're not convinced though, are you?"

The sidebar gives Emily time to look more certain of herself— or so she thought. Robyn calls her on her hesitancy anyway.

"It'll be what it'll be," she tries to deflect. "I'm not interested in starting local. The content creation and duration is going to be a fucking bear and I know I need to look into hiring experts way more suited to it, but it'll all mean nothing if we don't have a place to base ourselves out of."

Her uncertain look breaks with a hard blink of realization. "Wait— don't you own like an entire block? With— a studio?" She remembers vaguely hearing about efforts to renovate that space.

She's going somewhere with this.

"Would you be willing to lease us space? Do you have a signal broadcaster out there like they do here?" Emily lifts a hand to wave generally at the radio station space.

Robyn's brow knits tight as Emily's questions turn back to her, a thoughtful look crossing her face. "Half a block," she corrects, the words drawing slowly out as she considers Emily's question. "With a decent portion sectioned off as my personal living and guest space. As for the studio, it's a music recording studio. Two medium sized, two section rooms with a mic and equipment. It's not really- suited for television."

Not in its current state, at least.

"I have been considering buying out the rest of the block. There's not really anything else there, the block was still abandoned when I bought the old Magic Hour Studios building." A finger scratches at her cheek and she lets out a hard exhale.

"I could certainly clean up and renovate what's currently unused into a studio and a broadcast booth, but— it wouldn't be a ton of space. Also I…" Her tongue runs over her lips as she pauses, considering her next words.

"I have concerns. About being involved with a television network, even just for space leasing, while being a government agent. I was discouraged from doing too much high profile work here for the same reason." Despite that, she smiles wide at Emily and nods. "But I'm sure we can work something up. I'm very interested in the idea. Reminds me of working at Studio K."

Lance tilts his head to Robyn, then looks back to Emily, “You’re gonna have to deal with a lot of accusations about being a government mouthpiece, if you’re gonna go about it this way. And our bosses will have some things to say about it, too, like Robyn said, but…”

He flashes a grin, “You know I’m not big on rules, so I’ll help all you need. I can at least show you how all the equipment works, that sort of thing.”

Emily shakes her head to Robyn, this time in reassurance. "It wouldn't need to be a big space at all. Just enough room for a few people to sit and be recorded in. And besides— if the extent of your involvement on paper is just as leasing the station the space … who could go after you for that?" She begins to shrug her shoulders very innocently, some of Lance's smile finding its way over to her. "We'll figure out how to make this work."

Her grin turns a bit rueful as she looks to Lance. "I dunno— we can find partners to make sure there's a balance on voices, to shut down accusations of government propaganda. I mean, if we—" and she laughs, because if she doesn't, she'll wince, "consulted with someone like the Safe Zone Siren, maybe that'd be enough to deter some early naysayers."

Turning one hand over, she emphasises, "My goal would be to have some kind of news voice out there that isn't… anti-SLC-E. Honest, neutral reporting. It's why I think we might have luck seeing if somebody like Voice of America would be willing to grant us money and airspace, too." Her hand turns back in, fidgeting with the opposite. She looks nervous again for a moment, like this all sounds to be too much.

But then Emily smiles, small but sure. "What's the worst that could happen for trying?"

There's a lot of answers to that question, but all of them go unvoiced. "I'll put together something. I'm, um… hesitant about letting people into the same building as my living space these days." Not that that would have stopped the last break in. "But I'm sure I can set aside some space. Or buy more of the block."

At some point, she's going to run out of money between the mid life crisis motorcycle, expensive Christmases, and running her business. But until she does, she'll always help out.

"Just please don't give Quentin Frady another place to air his thoughts," she remarks with a chuckle, crossing her arms. "But yeah… I think having something more neutral would be good. We need it. What better place to get it started than here?"

“It’d make it easier to, you know…” Lance makes a gun with his hand and ‘pews’ at the air, “…deal with Frady.”

He grins, then. He’s probably kidding.

“But yeah, I mean, functionally we can absolutely help, especially if Aunt Robyn Moneybags is willing to get behind you. I’d talk to our bosses though about if there’d be any legal issues and all given your position. Maybe Miss Miller? She’d be a good one to get some advice, she used to be in politics I hear.”

Emily nods eagerly to Robyn. Yes! What better place to start than here. Lance's little assassination euphemism gets treated like the joke she hopes to god it is, and then an involuntary huff of a laugh leaves her.

Quick, try to make it not about Robyn.

"I think the whole point of her getting married was so she'd be called Missus Miller," she verbally elbows Lance, "but yeah— I'll go about asking once I'm back in the office. After all, going to have to get used to … trying to do things above-board and officially if this is going to go anywhere at all."

It's a change for her. But with the right people in her corner, it's one she'll make gladly.

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