Goodbye Neutrality


anna_icon.gif brennan_icon.gif dcrypt_icon.gif kincaid_icon.gif kristen_icon.gif lockheart_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Goodbye Neutrality
Synopsis Russo hosts the show of a lifetime while saying a sweet goodbye to his long held journalistic neutrality… In the meantime, Kristen breaks in a novice the hard way.
Date November 15, 2010

Studio K

Understated. That was the word Russo had used to describe this week's show. Turmoil plagued the city, having a live studio audience seemed downright insensitive today, as such the studio is near silent. Only the crew, the production staff, the guests, and the host are on the very closed set today — it looks more like Larry King Live than it's usual upbeat and often light setting. Politics for the common man, and all.

But today the set includes four comfortable looking chairs and one behind a desk. The lights are dimmer, and the colour of the set itself is rather monochromatic with nothing but a faux New York skyline in the background.

As the familiar Advocate theme plays through the room. When the picture focuses, Bradley Russo is already at his desk dressed in a blue shirt and black jacket and tie. His expression isn't it's usual dimpled smile, today it's just smaller, softer, more reflective. He manages a flicker of a smile before shifting in his seat. His lips neutralize as the theme ends.

"Good evening folks," again his lips curl upwards slightly. With a very quiet breath he allows his eyebrows to furrow, "I'm Bradley Russo and this is The Advocate in beau— New York City."

His grey blue eyes scan the room, before lowering his voice, "I realize in the past I've avoided offering my opinion on the week's events." His eyebrows tighten together sharply, drawn into a perplexed v, "But New York is my home. I've lived here most of my life," aside from a stint with the military, "I love this city; it's one of the world's greats. But this week…" His voice strengthens, "…this week you disappointed me. Crisis after crisis we've come together, but this week, this city fell apart." He stares intently at the camera. "For those of you that lost people or your homes in this week's riots, you have my condolences. For the rest of you… we have a choice now. The city is still chaotic, but do we want to be a community that lets the world fall apart and does nothing about it? We have a choice. We can transform this turmoil into something better. I adamantly believe we can rebuild this city."

He clears his throat as he refocuses, climbing down from his momentary soap box. "In light of the turmoil this city has been in, we did a last minute change to our panelist roster. I know the riots have been covered extensively by various news personalities, but story is a powerful thing. Narratives tell us how we are, they define us. Today, we invited our panelists to weigh in and share their narrative of what happened, what they make of it, and how New York should move on. Without further adieu, I'd like to introduce tonight's panel."

"Thank you Bradley, our first panelist is esteemed doctor and author Doctor Harve Brennan. Doctor Brennan has written many works from his travels with Doctors Without Borders, he currently is the head of the Suresh Center's medical team as well as running his own practice."

There's a small pause where there would normally be a round of applause from the audience, but since it's a closed set, the producer just rolls on with her introductions.

"Next on the panel we have Magnes J. Varlane. Magnes is a regular panelist with the Advocate and has brought some rather interesting and thought provoking questions and commentaries to the show."

Unfortunately, his fan isn't in the audience this time. There's no sign, no screams to have his children… just a small pause.

"Finally we have Anna James, an eighth grade student from the Bronx and was caught somewhere in the rioting. Anna was one of the firsthand eye witnesses to the hijacked tank on the eighth. Back to you, Bradley."

«Alright Brad, first question time, let’s cover the basics. First, how were each of the panelists involved and where were they? Let’s do this old school and make the Times jealous.»

«They’d have to be jealous. I mean you get to go on screen a little drunk.»

"Welcome panelists, we are delighted to have you all here." Brad presses his lips together as he glances away from the camera to the panel and back again. "With the current crisis in New York, I think I'd like to begin by just exploring that narrative. I'm a firm believer in the power and draw of story." Russo shifts in his seat as he turns his attention to his panelists.

"I've very interested in hearing your stories." A single hand raises from his desk and moves to his blue ADVOCATE coffee cup. "Where were you? What did you see? What kind of involvement did you have?" After the questions are posed, the cup is brought to his lips.

«He.. what … Bradley Russo! Are you off the wagon //AGAIN?! We’re going to be having a chat about that after wrap. Did you give him the green light to drink on the set? Do you know he has a problem?//»

«I didn’t give any green light. I just got an eye for it is all. My dad was an alcoholic so I recognize the signs. And his eyes look a little… bleary. You want to bet how much he drank? One beer? Two?»

Brennan offers a smile, easy one at that, to the appropriate camera and nods his head to the inevitable audience that will be watching on the other side of the screen when he's introduced by the bodiless voice that is Kristen. Charcoal suit with a near unseen pinstripe in it, tie a dark shade of red and the threads of silver at his temple, he's a handsome sight. The stitching high at his temple isn't seen yet thanks to camera angles, but they're there. His hands clasped together on the table, Brennan's attention diverts to Russo like it should, listening to him talk.

The indication given that he's the one to speak first. Brennan's hands sperate a fraction and fingers lift upwards. "I was too many places. Suresh Center of course, rest of Roosevelt Island, even Manhattan proper. My wife would have rather I had been home with her and the girls but I was out on the streets putting my experience in field medicine to work and helping tend to those who were caught up in the unfortunate events of last Monday"
Alia has partially disconnected.

"I was… I was pulled into the trigger, the thing that caused people to riot, but it affected me differently." Magnes takes a deep breath, having a hard time talking about it, but he wants to do it in case no one else does. The ones affected by the trigger need someone to speak for them. "There was this man, I had a lot of anger towards him, but I'd never hurt him or anyone else. And on that day, all I could think about was hurting him, killing him. I wanted to do it, it was clear as day in my mind, it's what I needed to do. I acquired a gun, and I walked into his house that'd been rioted. I spoke to him, I told him everything he did to me, and then I tried to kill him. Luckily he escaped, and I accidentally knocked myself unconscious. Luckily I didn't have to suffer the guilt of hurting someone, like so many other people that day had to. When I woke up, I felt like myself again, but it was like ripping a bandage from a wound…"

Anna is dressed casually, but still far more former than she usually is. The make-up department couldn't quite hide the bruise on her left cheek, but it's far less attention-grabbing than it would have been without. It probably won't even be noticed on the other side of the screen. The girl is visibky nervous, and is going through some breath exercises until it is her turn.

As the last person to go, she has a while for those exercises, and by the time the camera comes to her, she has her nerves under some degree of control. She forces a smile to the camera, "I… was skipping school." She starts, "Sorry for that, by the way."

"Anyway, I was in queens, buying smokes, when suddenly those riots broke out. I was scared out of my mind." She pauses to catch her breath. "Some guys started to harass me, and then a few riot control officers and two guys in scary advanced armor came around, I'm pretty sure those two were Evos."

"Soon after those showed up… a tank started to drive into the street we were running in, and started to attempt to drive on top of us…" Anna takes another break to catch her breath. "I got hoisted up by some guy and pulled into a coffee bar, which is probably why I'm still alive to tell the tale."

"Then one of the armored folks ripped the tank open and it crashed into the building next to the coffee bar… which also caused the coffee bar to collapse partially." She draws another breath, "We got stuck in there for hours and I couldn't move my leg. Luckily, neither I nor the guy who rescued me suffered major harm…"

Anna sighs before continuing, "We got lucky… that tank was driving on top of people, and the bloody Evo who drove it got away."

«Not funny Kincaid… I’ll take a cup of whiskey before and I’m betting the mug is full of it too. Brad, get Varlane to explain that whole trigger thing a bit more… and the kid doesn’t seem to like evolved people too much… let’s try to steer her clear of that for now. We want to build sympathy before we get them angry.»

«According to the paperwork she’s a registered Evolved… must be the new type of closeted homophobe.»

Reflectively, the host listens to each of his guests in turn, their stories already overreaching the level of horror he'd anticipated. Russo raises his cup to his lips again, swallowing sombrely before letting the mug rest on his desk. This is one of those random moments he's glad he's got a desk. He manages a remnant smile that never reaches his eyes, something is a little off about him today.

Finally he turns back to his guests, "Mister Varlane," Brad addresses his second panelist first this time. "Can you expand on these triggers for me? What was it like? Clearly it caused deep set anguish in many whom it affected, what exactly was this trigger?" He glances between his other panelists, opening up his next question to all, "And I guess, that begs questions about culpability. The government has declared martial law, but is it still necessary? Can the rioters actually be held responsible for their actions?"

«Kincaid, grab the footage we got from CNN, Marty pan the guests before zooming in on Varlane, it’s his chance… Kincaid, you got that clip yet? I want it playing before next commercial break»

«On it, boss lady.»

Magnes knows he never heard the broadcast, but it could be dangerous to let that on, and this interview is also serving as an alibi. Half-truths are good enough. "The broadcast, except for me it was on the internet. I heard it, and my mind just shifted, like a transformation, suddenly the entire world made sense, what I needed to do was clear. It was scary and it felt a lot like enlightenment to me." He stares down at the table for a moment, wearing his yellow Plumtree t-shirt under an unzipped black jacket. "It didn't feel bad, not until the mixed emotions started rushing to my head. And it feels much worse after, when you realize what you've done, or tried to do."

«Okay, make a quick comment on that and then introduce D. Crypt. Kincaid, get that call patched in, she’s claiming responsibility for youtube on the 8th.»

«All right. Maybe we should get someone to bring us coffee. This is going to be a long show.»

As the general question comes up, Anna smiles at the camera. It's a smile filled with the kind of venom only people with seething hatred can have. "I personally think we should limit martial law to those who have demonstrated Evolved Ability. After all, they are the ones to blame for this mess, as they were for many others." She's smart, and purposefully excluding a categorization that could include herself.

"For normal people like you and me, for the humans, it won't be necessary anymore." Hatred fills even those words, "I have heard rumours of this drug, 'Refrain', which I believe should be used upon those monsters to keep them calm. A few doses a day should be enough to prevent them from causing chaos like this again." A hateful chuckle accompanies the following words, "I heard Refrain makes its users quite happy, so it's hardly inhumane treatment."

"Can I step in here a second?" Brennan interjects after Magnes speaks and then Anna voices her thoughts. "From the reports that I have seen and from what else has been seen on the news, this incident shouldn't and I'm sure won't be laid at the feet of the 'Evolved' as a whole. We are a very small portions of the population" That's right Anna, you're parked on a panel with two known evovled's. "This was a situation that was put into motion by one man, a Rupert Carmichael. I'll forgive Ms. James here for not being up to date on the information. I know many a teenager who's more invested in the latest video games than keeping abreast of the situation outside their door" A forefinger gently unwinds from his fist, tapped to the table.

"I was caught between two groups of rioters on Roosevelt Island. One of just people who took advantage of a situation and for no other reason than to create more havoc for law enforcement that was already spread very thin. The other was a mass group of the-" His hands come up, making quotation movements on either side of his head "Triggered individuals who had the misfortune of hearing the broadcast. As Mr. Varlane just said, he heard the broadcast and he just shifted. He went from a perfectly ordinary individual to someone who lost control of his faculties and was intent on one purpose. To the best of my knowledge and from my experience on the frontlines of that day, they were almost quite literally like Zombies. It was a term I heard used for lack of a better one at the time.

Brennan shakes his head looking between Russo and Anna. "I saw the footage on the television of what you went through, if that's the one that I'm thinking of and I saw FRONTLINE officers there, trying to protect the people who were being attacked by the individual in the tank. If they hadn't been there, if evolved individuals hadn't put their own lives on the line to stop that tank, you could very well not be here at this moment. So now, you sit here and want Martial Law to be put into application to only those who's registration cards and evolved tests show red? I hope your phone number is unregistered Ms. James because I think with those words, the ACLU and a few others pro-evolved groups and human rights groups are going to be calling to give you a piece of their mind." He looks to Russo, a gesture to Anna. "This is the ignorance of youth this day and I'm sad to see it. It's thinking like this, with her advocating that we just shoot up individuals with refrain - a known street drugs that is illegal - because they are Monsters, it just baffles me that there are people out there that just still think like this. Even after quite clearly, those 'monsters' saved her"

«Good idea, make mine a grande no fat, soy latte… they still have that pumpkin flavor? Oh… and get Brad something too… looks like his cup’s either down to the last drop or it’s empty. Brad, focus on Brennan after the introduction to resume our order.»

«Oh sure, pick on the new guy. This kid’s nuts, by the way. When I saw Magnes Varlane as a guest I figured he’d be the insane one, but she’s winning out over him. I’ll be right back.»

"That must have been unsettling, Mister Varlane — to have your mind change so quickly, to have your own thoughts move at such a transition…" Brad's eyebrows knit tightly together. "Doctor, I think you raise some very important points. First, FRONTLINE officers and other evolved people put their lives on the line for the good of the American people every day. Second, fingerpointing in this case is going to get us nowhere. I am fully aware there are many non-evolved… I would even go as far as saying UNevolved neanderthal types who found an opportune time to break the law. This happens all of the time. There was crime before we at least knew about abilities. Evolved people aren't the only ones involved in violence." He pauses. "As far as Refrain is concerned… while I know you didn't bring it up, Doctor Brennan, is there any chance you can tell us more about it? I suspect this is going to be put forth by more than one proponent as a solution in the coming weeks, and knowing what it does, how addictive it is, and its effect on both evolveds and nonevolveds would helpful in the debate…"

Russo now turns to Anna, "What about those who haven't yet manifested Miss James? Should martial law apply to them? What about former army operatives — they could be equally dangerous weapons?" Not that Russo would be a dangerous weapon. "I open this question up to all of our panelists — we already have registration, are more restrictions necessary to make our streets safer?"

"We have another panelist who couldn't be here in person, but my producer, the lovely Kristen Reynolds says the panelist has connected to our studio. I'd like to introduce DeCrypt. DeCrypt — are you with us?"

It's a synth-voice, Feminine but computerized, that answers. "Yes. I am. The Riots could have been worse." The tone is calm, almost amused sounding. "Many tried to delay and stop them before they struck. Some of those, now held prisoner for their association. Registration, breeds difference, breeds intolerance. Together, solutions are found."

"But it's over now, and I think we should be thankful that the day didn't end up a lot worse, that someone like Sylar didn't explode again when that trigger went off." Magnes looks over at Anna, definitely recognizing her from their previous meeting, shaking his head. "As an Evolved individual who's made his share of mistakes, some an understatement, I'll repeat a belief I've always held. We don't need more restrictions, we need education. If there was someone around when my ability began to expand and I learned to do different things with it, I'd have made far fewer mistakes. It was a long time before I had someone to actually guide my growth. I think, for that day, martial law was needed, but I hope the government doesn't take it as an opportunity to take our rights away and extend this longer than it should be."

«Crap… I have a call I need to take… I’ll grab the coffees. Brad, Kincaid is going to take it from here. Make me proud kid, I’ll be back in…. Well I won’t leave you hanging. And Brad? Treat Kincaid like he’s me.»

«//No hitting on me though, please.»

"Like I said, limit it to those who have demonstrated Evolved Ability." Anna starts, she has thought about this, and is purposefully not proposing anything that would include herself. "While the Evolved test kits might not be fallible, the people who administer those tests are, tests can be faked, blood can be mixed up, mistakes can be made. We don't want to let innocent humans suffer under the mistakes of others."

"As for former army operatives, I do think they shouldn't be given guns. But neither should the general populace. I am a firm proponent of gun control." She pauses, then answers the last question, "Yes, for those who have demonstrated Evolved Ability, we should ensure that they are kept in check. That humans are safe to walk through the streets of New York City. Put GPS trackers on them, alternatively, keep them in check by means of some sort of restraint, whether physical or chemical." She pauses before, "And that brings us back to Refrain."

«The world this girl is describing… I wonder if any of the panelists would actually want to live there. See how the rest of them feel about these extreme measures of control. Oh— we have another guest. The Mayor of the city has shown up. This show is going to be your best ratings grab in years.»

"I echo Mr. Varlanes sentiments that it's education that is needed. But we are where we are and it's where we go from here, from this day forward that will be what is recorded in history and what future generations of our race will see. The 8th, much like the day of the midtown disaster four years ago, are the catalyst for change. For the ill or for the betterment of the country, there are people who see it either way. I think that the rash of visions that overtook the city in June also played a great part in how last Monday played out. But it was still, one man and his plan, and in turn the mass fear that perpetrated and played out the violence that we saw" Brennan shakes his head then nods when Russo makes his request.

"I would think that the upcoming negation drug that is currently going through FDA trials Adinotyline would be the drug that would come up in concert with evolved individuals rather than Refrain as any sort of solution. But I can tell you more. Refrain is a street drug, appeared nearly a year ago. It goes by the name of Refrain or as I've heard in the support groups in the Suresh Center, Blue Fairy. It's a drug with a very potent hallucinogenic property to it that seems to react only to those who posesse the Suresh Linkage Complex. The so called evo gene." Brennan shifts in his seat, leaning forward, foreams sliding along the table they're all sitting at.

"It's a Schedule I drug. It's… I would go as far to call it Evolved heroin. You can't get it from your doctors, you can't get it from your pharmacist, it's a street drug and highly illegal, available for research purposes only." Brennan inhales deeply, letting air out throug his nose. "It's known to cause suicidal effects in those who take it and from my own personal experience in speaking with those who took it, it's far more addictive than heroin. It's taken intravenously or intramusclarly with the former having a quicker effect that renders the person unresponsive to outside stimuli for an indeterminate period of time. You can tell what it is by the naturally occurring phosphorescence that it gives off. individuals who partake of it and are non possessing the SLC gene feel very minor but mostly nothing from it. That Mr. Russo is what Refrain is. Hopping evolveds up on it because you think it will calm them is far from the opposite"

But Anna gets his attention once more, a grim press of his lips at what he hears from the teenager. "Would you, if you were in charge, demand that of every person who's categorized as evolved? What about the differences between an individual who's categorized as a tier 0, like myself, or someone who's categorized as a tier… 2, like my wife. I can negate an individual who has an ability. She can drop a good couple inches of snow on Brooklyn if she's in a right proper snit and not careful. What about those, like Mr. Russo said, who are unmanifested? unmanifested but have the potential to, when manifest, have a tier 2 tag attached to their file on the evolved database. Are you a registered evolved or no-evolved individual Ms. James? By your thinking too, Mr. Varlane and myself, sitting here beside you are Monsters. Should we loose our rights as members of the human race because we were born with an altered gene in our DNA? Should someone with Downs Syndrome be thethered with a GPS tracker for the same reason? Because that's what it is. Should Blondes get privileges that Brunette's don't because they have the specific gene that decreases the melatonin in hair?

"All of you raise very good points. And I think our viewers are starting to understand that even the events surrounding this week aren't straightforward. While something may be cut and dry in theory it really isn't." Russo, however, picks up on one particular strain of thought that requires some simple expansion, "Ms James paints quite the picture of a world in utter and complete control. I'm curious as to what the rest of my panel thinks about control — whether it's gun control, registration, or," he chews on his bottom lip lightly, "chemical control?" His gaze flicks between each of the people sitting in front of him. Clearing his throat he looks directly at the camera, "And, on that note, and with that question in mind, I'd like to introduce today's surprise panelist, the esteemed mayor of New York, Sylvia Lockheart."

DeCrypt's voice changes demeanor. It becomes cold. "So you are saying…you wish to see natural ability taken away? Weights upon the strong, scars upon the beautiful? Idiocy forced upon the smart? Guns and talents in the hands of criminals only? Consider the consequences." The voice pauses a moment. "Yes, one man, with an ability caused this. Does that mean we blame all 'non-evolved' for the actions of one? We are people too. Thoughts. Feelings. We have them. Many are scared. Learning how to control their own skills. No one to teach, without submitting to loss of privacy, of basic rights."

"Rounded up, controlled… Summer Meadows, Staten Island, 'controlled zones'. Look to history. Other groups were called 'monsters'. Look what happened to them." DeCrypt continues a moment, then pauses. "FRONTLINE… and the Ferrymen. Both strived to lessen the damage." She frowns. "Do we have right? Even for the 'Tier-3', to take BASIC freedom without legal process?"

"I should note that I actually met Ms. James recently, I didn't expect to see her as a panelist. But during our meeting, I pointed out that Evolved powers, as far as we know, didn't cause Hiroshima, or Nazi Germany. That's just misguided people having power." Magnes' gaze averts to the host, slightly raising a hand to answer the question. "There should always be some form of control, I don't disagree with that at all. To a point, I can even agree with the idea of registration. But putting people's addresses out there, their personal information, in a world with groups like Humanis First? It's irresponsible, it puts people and their families at risk, Evolved or not."

Then Lockhart is introduced, and the gravitokinetic mutters, forgetting he has a microphone on, "Great, here comes She-Hitler."

After Russo's call a light comes on off stage, preceding the arrival of what may be the most unlikely guest to these shark-infested political waters. Mayor Sylvia Lockheart emerges with the click of heels on the stage floor, her posture stiff and poised with shoulders back and chin held up, a smile so measured she must have held up a ruler to her lips in the mirror to get it just so. Blonde hair bobs as she walks, and while studio makeup has done a fantastic job of hiding the dark circles beneath her eyes, Sylvia looks tired.

On her way across the stage, Lockheart affixes a look to Harve Brennan, one of recognition and appreciation that quickly turns to something more like a grimace when she makes eye contact with Magnes Goddamned Varlane. Clearing her throat, Sylvia takes her seat beside Doctor Brennan, smoothing down her skirt and offering a beaming smile to Bradley Russo.

"Thank you for offering to have me on the show today, Bradley. I don't have too much time, as you might imagine, but it's important to try and reach out to the communities of New York right now in this time of crisis we're all in. I've been watching in the green room, and this has already been quite the heated and topical discussion prior to my arrival. I hope I don't add to much fire to the mix," and that much comes with a practiced laugh.

"Like I said, people are fallible." Anna starts in response to Brennan, "As such, I feel it more important to measure a people's demonstration of Evolved Ability rather than the results of tests that can be tampered with, either accidentally or on purpose. I have not demonstrated Evolved Ability, and I am quite positive I never will." Way to answer the question and deny your own answer at the same time, Anna. How… political.

"Do dogs have rights? Yes, they do. But their rights are different. Likewise, the rights for your kind should be different, you are natural predators, hunting for the extinction of humanity." A few tears start to flow as the following words come out, "Your kind killed my parents, killed my friends. The last friend I had left got killed in the riots… riots started by an Evolved's Ability."

Anna reaches for a napkin and dries her tears, "Sorry about that, it's just… I miss my parents so much. I feel so alone, left alone in a world filled with monsters."

"As for DeCrypt's comment about these Ferrymen, I am quite positive that that organization has just had many members declared enemy combatants, if the news is to be believed." Anna smiles venomously again. "Do we really think that an organization that deserves such a label is out for the best of us all, rather than their own interests?"

"Now now Mr. Varlane. That's uncalled for" Brennan admonished the gravitokinetic. When Lockheart sits, he offers his hand out to her in welcome. Anna tears up and once he takes his hand back, he's reaching to inside his jacket to produce a handkerchief and passing it over to the teenager to take, or not. "The Midtown man, killed your parents. Lets make that clear. Not me. Not Mr. Varlane here. Not my wife, Nor my children, who will have to grow up knowing a hatred that they didn't ask for and a persecution that they had no hand in making. I sympathize completely with your situation and that you lost someone in that disaster. I do. I lost my home and all of my personal effects. Which is nothing compared to what you and others lost. But that doesn't excuse the intolerance that you show and that others show. In the days after the disaster, I spent hours in the hospitals and tending to others who never recovered either physically or even mentally, to the devastation that occurred."

Brennan leans back in his seat, another shake of his head, elbows on the arms of his chain and palm supping palm at his chest. "I can't change your mind, there's many people who's minds can't be changed, not in five minutes. But I wish you'd just listen to yourself. I'm not a predator. I'm just an individual with another skill in my repertoire that not many others have. By having that skill, I cannot and should not be compared to someone who say, is a serial killer and parked behind bars. I haven't killed anyone. I've obeyed the laws, I'm a productive human in society."

He looks to where DeCrypt's voice emanates from. "This is probably going to cause a few ripples. It's a known thing, by some. I have come into contact before with the organization that is called the Ferryman. I was a guest of theirs for a very short period of time. In that short time I came to learn a great deal about the organization that the government raided." Brennan licks his lips, weighing his words. "Not all good, not all bad. Like with any organization, there are people involved on very many different levels. Not everyone was aware of the whole of the organization. I saw a group that was divided into two camps about what to do. There was those who would give aide, respite, care when needed, whether you were evolved or not. And then there was the other side, that I would say was a more pro-active or at least defensive side. Do I sympathize with them? Yes. Do I condone what they do? People have the right to move to another country where the registration is not in effect. Did they move them in legal means? No. Is what they did legal? No. But they did it. Will I comment further on my time with them, no"

Brennan glances to Russo, his question about control coming up. "control to a degree has always played a part in our lives. Mandatory education, licenses of all kinds, registration, gun control. I don't agree with registration, but as I've said in other forums, I obey the law. I'll work to change it from the inside to where I hope it's voluntary. Chemical control, I don't think should be mandatory. Voluntary again, or if a person is in a situation like a prison, an their ability is such that it can pose a threat to the people who reside there and work there. But only a viable threat"

Decrypt asks in a simple, soft voice, "Do you believe, that the government always looks out for your best interest?" It's a simple question. And a very damning one. "Who decides who gets what label? How many groups have fought, for equal rights in past? Our own courts have housed battles. Our Jails as well. Rosa Parks. Arrested. Today, would she be labeled such? Or are we to become Chinese? Jailing for 'Upsetting social order' of everyone who does not fit the perfect image, defined by someone else? Who labels us MONSTERS without knowing us?" She gives a sound much like a sigh. Odd for a synth voice. "I… know loss of family. Parents were in Midtown. But. Choice… to blame. Or to heal. Separate, but unequal, or together, equal, and strong. It will not be easy."

"We're delighted to have you here Madam Mayor, the pleasure is all ours," Russo flashes Lockheart a toothy, very dimpled grin that turns a little more ironic by pulling up to one side as Magnes refers to her as the she-Hitler. "Before I address the rest of the panel and our discussion, I think our viewers would like to hear your thoughts about the week's events. As mayor, what do you want to say to the people of New York during this time of crisis? How can the people of New York change the situation for the better?"

He turns back to the rest of the panel. "I think several of you have raised an important distinction or question here and perhaps it would be helpful to address that. Clearly our panel is already divided in terms of who does and doesn't believe there's a different between evolved and nonevolved people." He bites his bottom lip, "What kinds of educational programs are being entrenched in the system to avoid such bias one way or the other? Clearly it exists. Humanis First. The Ferrymen. Numerous terrorist organizations lean to one side or the other and education has been proposed as the solution. How is this being executed? Is it possible to find a happy medium between evolveds and nonevolveds?"

«That wasn’t what I would have had you ask, but it’s not bad… just keep it simple. We got enough fuel on the fire. We don’t need things getting too primal.»

"Huh? Oh, crap." Magnes looks down as he remembers the microphone, then clears his throat. "You make a lot of assumptions, Ms. James. I don't mean outright assumptions, I just mean your entire world view. I understand that you've lost people, I've lost people to Evolved and non-Evolved in this mess, I continue to lose people, and I try my best to be a person that those people can be proud of."

But, continuing on with his line of thought… "However, your world view requires a lot of assumptions, about humanity, and about Evolved. First, if having an ability instantly makes someone a monster, and we're going to lock them away because of potential evil, then we have to lock up everyone who picks up a knife to cook, or everyone who lights a match, or picks up a baseball bat. They could all potentially do a great deal of evil. You're also assuming that people are inherently evil, like such a vast majority of people are so capable of doing horrible things, that they shouldn't have rights. If this applies to Evolved, then it applies to non-Evolved. You're speaking purely from fear and loss, not from logic, not from statistics. I could sit here and do the math if someone has a pen and paper."

Sylvia gives Magnes his microphone time, gives herself time for start formulating an answer to Bradley's question, how best to dodge one aspect of it and veer the conversation where she wants it to. Magnes' moments of jaw-smacking, fortunately, give her exactly the time she needs for that.

Managing a smile reserved for when someone receives a fruit cake on Chirstmas, Mayor Lockheart lifts up one hand to thread errant blonde hair behind one ear. "Thank you, Bradley. I think it's wonderful to see young people discussing the issues, fervently. A strong emphasis on personal beliefs — whether we agree with them or ont — is one of the cornerstones of the American society. But the message that most New Yorkers need right now is hope. Hope that comes from reassurance that the government is in control, that this cannot — will not happen again. We have failed the people too many times already." Her blue eyes track to Russo for a moment, then skip back to Anna before addressing the panel indirectly.

"I had been watching this discussion from the Green Room, and while I can't address every single salient point raised, I can try and cover things with a more broad-stroke brush. Four times now, we've seen the problem of uncontrolled SLC-Expressive abilities running rampant. Sylar in Midtown claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, the terrorist Norman White killed hundreds of innocent police officers and government workers when he collapsed the Manhattan Municipal Building, then the Great Storm took thousands more, and now the tragedy that just befell the city in the riots…"

Lockheart's frown and looks of emotional discord is one practiced in front of a mirror daily, probably while wondering where the young, beautiful woman she used to be disappeared behind the facade of a tired woman who looks five years older than she really is. "Education is an important topic, of course. The late Jennifer Chesterfield, who fought a valiant campaign for the mayoral seat this year, was a proponent of education for people with unusual abilities. I agree, it is necessary, but…"

Looking down to her lap, Sylvia's brows furrow. "But how many people who caused these tragic incidents can you say would have taken the offer of education? Sylar? He was a serial killer, wanted by the government who eventually killed himself and hundreds of thousands others. Norman White was running a campaign to topple the government. Maybe whoever was behind the storm, possibly. Rupert Carmichael? He was another man with an agenda, an SLC-Expressive human who intended to use his ability as a weapon."

Sylvia's blue eyes narrow. "There was no accidents there. Three of our greatest tragedies — and let us not even forget Messiah — caused by people capable of and willing to cause great harm on a scale greater than any conventional weapon imaginable. We have protective resources to prevent the accumulation of plutonium for weaponization, the CIA, FBi and other government agencies can track the sale of the few sources of that— of it," a soft stumble, "across the world. Explosives leave fingerprints that can be traced back to a bomb manufacturer, guns can be identified by ballistics… these are things that can be taken away."

Sylvia raises her brows. "How do you take away someone's genetic ability to produce nerve gas from their sweat glands? How do you recognize it before it is turned into a weapon, accidentally or intentionally? Registration is only a stop-gap, people still — out of misguided fear propagated by doomsayers talking about concentration camps — refuse to register their abilities."

"Maybe accidents can be prevented with Registration, maybe, but intentional violence? No. Tighter, more strict control of the capability for all people to be born with an ability they may not even want is the only viable solution. Adynotyline is one solution, but even then reaching the proper masses… We have not taken nearly strict enough a stance when it comes to SLC-Expressive control issues. That, I think, has been the Petrelli administration's greatest failing. They have been too worried about upsetting people and stepping on toes, and the result has been the catastrophic loss of life we have seen this week."

She just blamed this all on Nathan Petrelli. Presidential aspirations for 2011 impending.

The synth gives a sound like the clearing of a throat. "Miss Lockheart, may I draw your attention to one Roosevelt Island? Summer Meadows? A community that banded together to improve. A community taken over by the government 'for it's own good'. Sound familiar? Change names, change minority 'protected', and it is Warsaw's history. News of Moab and Tier-3 as well. Public knowledge. Someone wants it not known. Should we NOT beware the Trojan Horse offered?"

Anna grits her teeth as she shuts up, deciding not to partake in the debate anymore…. not for now, anyway. The girl does look with contempt and disbelief at the three evolved members of the night's panel.

Russo's grey-blue eyes catch Lockheart's gaze for a moment as his lips flicker upwards momentarily. A mischievous glance is cast to the production booth, mixed with a moderate dose of apology. He raises the mug to his lips again as he considers his next query carefully. Brad may do his best to live as 'Mister Neutral,' but there's moments other things take precedence. "If registration is only a tool then what do you propose to be the answer, Madam Mayor? Chemical suppression hardly seems viable or necessary considering the cases you've mentioned are relatively few and far between." He takes another swig of fluid (whatever that fluid may be…) from his mug.

"How do you propose hope when half of New York burns? Martial law hardly instills confidence in a government that's continually failed its people. The Patriot Act diminishes the simple necessity of freedom of speech. Who's not to say any of us won't be arrested and easily suppressed when we leave the studio today? Clearly the solutions that have been currently enacted are mere bandaid solutions."

The mug is brought to his lips again, only this time he finds it empty. With a bitter smile, its lowered to the desk and pushed away, "Are you suggesting, Madam Mayor, that the solution is SLC-suppression?" His eyebrows arch expectantly. "That half o the population needs to be controlled? Hasn't every effort to instill genetic control been met with controversy later?" His smile fades as his attention is redirected to the booth. His eyes narrow and his lips twitch. After taking a quiet breath he addresses the panel at large, "Panel, what do you think the solutions to the problem are? How can hope be restored? Can the current administration," he glances at the booth again, "restore the confidence, and subsequent hope, of the American people?"

«No, no, no— where the hell is Kristen with the coffee. Do you listen to her better?»

Magnes suddenly stands, hands firmly planted against the table so he can peer a look of pure do not like into Sylvia's eyes. "So that's your solution? The mayor of the entire city? Some people are bad, so take away the other's rights? Did I even hear an alternative to current registration? Do you care that some people lose their privacy, or get a target painted by Humanis First on them? Or maybe, from what I've seen of your campaign, and read about you, you think we'd all be better off if people like me just all got shot in the head by Emile Danko."

He lifts his hands up completely, now outright pointing at her as he speaks. "What the hell do you call strict control? Take away more of our rights? Do what Ms. James over there says and make it martial law for only Evolved? If your hate-mongering bullshit were any more thinly-veiled, we'd have to wear gas masks!"

"Mister Varlane unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past week, I think you need to look at the situation of this world around you. The United Kingdom is in a far better place than the United States right now strictly because of their tight control of Evolved and their registry. People in America have become too complacent on the ideals that their personal freedoms outweigh the safety of others. It is selfishness and entitlement that has caused so many problems. The UK has not had a Sylar, it has not had a Norman White, it is because of their strength of control. Without control, there is chaos. You cannot have it both ways."

"I would also like to remind the audience at home that Mister Varlane is the reason why the city of Tokyo, Japan is currently closed off to all Evolved residents. Why the Tokyo Exclusion Zone even exists, and yet he is allowed to walk as a free man why? Loose restrictions." Sylvia's brows furrow. "You are a menace to society mister Varlane, you single-handedly through your own lack of impulse control managed to be thrown off of the police force for the NYPD and cause an international incident sparking one of the worst violent reactions to the Evolved in recent history. You do not have the moral high ground that you think you are standing on."

Then, Sylvia's hawkish stare is raked across to Russo with all that same fire. "Martial Law, negation, these are all — as you said — band aid solutions. They are a stop gap to try and prevent further damage while we assess the damages done and try to find a more permant solution. I think, like with the proliferation of nuclear arms during the cold war, the solution should be obvious." Lockheart lookc up and down both sides of the panel before stating that presumed obvious answer.


Giving a moment for that to sink in, Lockheart quickly continues. "I am proposing that a cure for the SLC-Expressive is the answer, a long-term removal of the gene capable of expressing abilities. I have no doubt that research is already being done on this end, but for the long-term survival of humanity I feel it is the most expedient and most likely course of action. We simply cannot police the SLC-Expressive forever. Therefore, we have to eliminate the source of the problem…"

Sylvia reaches up to thread a lock of hair behind one ear. "I advocate this very solution, and have been lobbying to Congress about putting forward further funds to save futute generations from having to deal with the problems of this generation. We simply cannot afford another Midtown."

Then, however, Sylvia's converational guns are aimed on the mystery caller. "And while I appreciate your caller's noble intentions, her efforts to attempt to breed fear and distrust by hiding both behind a mask to conceal her identity and thereby lob anonymous commentary into a discussion, she is doing nothing to help her cause, whoever she is. Summer Meadows is not and has never been a concentration camp or a ghetto. It is a collected living space designed with the intention of providing security to a minority that has been — and still is — targeted by hate groups such as Humanis First. It is a willing occupancy island, and while some individuals who have broken government law have been relocated there, it is simply so that they can be more accurately monitored during their probationary period."

Sylvia's brows furrow slowly. "All you are doing is stirring up a nation-wide misinformation campaign based on accusations that have little more than conjecture for the basis. No physical evidence of wrongdoing or harm, just supposition, rumor and blurry facts. Between people like yourself, the fear-mongers at NYE radio and the disinformation spread by terrorists like the hacker," her hands come up to make air-quotes, "''Rebel'', at his website are preposterous and misleading, designed to stir up sentiments towards his own anti-government terrorist agenda, one that — need I remind you all — led to the riots that cost all these lives today."

"A 'cure'." Decrypt's voice is of outright contempt. "A 'cure' for a non-disease. An 'ability'. Like charisma, beauty, athletic ability? Or do you purpose to 'equalize' those as well? How do you justify one without the other? The human body can be a weapon." She speaks simply. "We cannot, yet, cure Chron's disease, or arthritis. Both Genetic. Both more understood. How do you purpose to DO what you claim, without making more messes then you already have?"

"She's got you on Shibuya there Varlane" Brennan points out with a sympathetic grimace, and a mental hope that someone will make him sit down. "Maybe reign it back a bit, sit back down?" There's a glance to the phone. "A cure yes. An option, I would hope, for those who find they are unable to contend with, deal with and live with perhaps an ability that either hinders their job and keeps them from being able to do it to the standard or safety necessary. Or to those who like Ms. James here, who has been vauge - and I understand why - about their status or have found themselves in a situation where the very thing that they dislike, has cropped up in their genetics and they don't want to chance the possibility that they might some day say… wrong place, wrong time, burst into flames. A way to suppress an SLC ability would be an option. While it might not be one that you embrace and find abhorrent DeCrypt, to others in society it would be a welcome addition to the options available. Something that I hope that Adynotyline will be an option and not a standard for all those who are SLC positive."

"However" He shifts a glance to Sylvia. "I think that removing an ability from a person is a bit extreme, just because they have an ability, regardless of tier. For every Sylar that there is out there with a particularly devestating ability, there is twenty more who are in complete control of their abilities and are productive, positive and non-threatening members of society and adhere to the law. They use their abilities to the betterment of the populace. Those people, no, should not be punished and told that they have to take Adynotyline just because someone is afraid of them."

Brennan shakes his head. "I'd refuse to take it. Mine is an ability that is non-threatening and in fact is a great tool to those who need the help with their abilities. I respect you Mayor Lockeheart. You have long had my utter respect, even if we don't see eye to eye on some aspects of politics. But if everyone saw eye to eye on everything, I think we'd be in a different place. But would you demand that my wife take adynotyline? There was a period of time during the storm that devastated our coast this past winter where the weather eased up some, that would not have happened, if she had been made to take adynotyline or was permanantly suppressed."

Brennan shifts in his seat towards Sylvia, lifts his shoulders a fraction then lets them drop. "I know my heating bill and that of my surrounding neighbours would go up significantly, since she extends her ability to those around her who desire it. Getting us back to a place of hope, and a place without Martial law will require co-operation. It will require the various groups that practice or fall under the label of domestic terrorists to reign themselves in, and to try to work with the government in less destructive ways. It's going to take time, Mr. Russo, is my thought. How much, I don't know, but hopefully, before I die. But likely to happen before my son is born"

Russo stares at the booth when Magnes has his outburst, a little shocked at what has just transpired. Things often get heated on the show, by yelling isn't all that common, it takes him a moment to regroup; this isn't just an episode of The View where women cross-talk just for the sake of it.

«Try to be polite…»

He regroups with some prompting, "Thank you Doctor Brennan." His tongue runs over his lips and his eyebrows furrow together slightly, "I suspect the average viewer is particularly interested in how each of you feels they can currently improve the situation. How can hope be enacted? Education has already been proposed, but I know those individuals at home don't necessarily have the resources or ability to change education aside from that which they provide within their homes." His lips quirk again, "Every one of us is responsible for making New York better, what can citizens do?"

Anna listens to Sylvia's words, and gives a slow clap to those after she's done. "Well said, Mayor Lockheart, I didn't vote for you, as I am not old enough to vote. But you have my moral support for any position you wish to run for. You have a good idea of what needs to be done, much better than me, and you also have the influence to start putting them into effect. Well said." She doesn't have any other comments at this moment in time.

"For your information, nearly all of the damage done that day was by the man I was fighting. And I fought him because he kidnapped my friend, and then he tried to kidnap me. I left force because it was more about PR than doing what was right. I save people from a chopper, or use my ability, and suddenly I'm in trouble. But that doesn't matter to you, the facts don't matter to you, you're all about your anti-Evolved agenda." Magnes starts to walk away, but feels his legs starting to stumble when he realizes his gravity is being negated. His muscles tense up, not wanting to make an ass of himself on television, and he uses every bit of concentration in his body to walk away without falling.

"I can't take this bitch anymore, I'm done." Microphone pulled off, he tosses it to the floor and finally allows himself to fall to his hands and knees off camera.

Sylvia watches Magnes with one brow raised, letting ihs own words speak for him. Instead of going to the authorities, he acted as a vigilante in a foreign country. She lifts one hand, motions to him demonstratively, then then lifts her brows and offers an apologetic smile to the camera.

It's at this point where Sylvia begins to ignore the masked caller as well, she's called her out and D.Crypt's lacking response has Sylvia reinflated with a sense of victory and confidence. "Short term solutions," she demures away from the previous topics, "involve ensuring that the Registry is upheld and that in the wake of Rupert Carmichael's actions. Compliance with Governor Malden's request for Martial Law and respect the needs of the government to do whatever is necessary to bring a semblance of order back to this once great city."

Then, Sylvia folds her hands in her lap. "Short term, we've already knocked the legs out from the Ferrymen group, that, no matter how altruistic, was serving as a safe-haven for violent terrorists and Registration dodgers. It is a law and just because you disagree with it does not give you the right to avoid it or the legal ramifications of doing so."

Tilting her headinto a nod, Sylvia continues. "I think we should go door to door, like the census, with SLC test kits, testing every single man, woman and child in New York City for the Suresh Linkage Complex. Only then will we even start to have an accurate assessment of how many Registration dodgers we have. That initiative? That should be a nation-wide, if not world wide one."

D.Crypt's voice takes a moment to respond, then she speaks simply, and softly. "Citizens, every day citizens. can understand their neighbors. The people in their lives. Likely, they know someone who is. And I agree. A solution, for those who CHOSE, is acceptable. Admirable. Door-to-door? You will see Gandhi's work back to bite you, I predict. Or worse. People protest." She lets out another sigh. "Thank you for the chance to speak." The line goes dead. Apparently, the person behind the voice had said what she had to say, and realized there was no point speaking further to someone who had set their mind in concrete.

Following Magnes' abrupt exit, Russo regroups with a toothy grin, "Well, I can't say how thankful I am his trigger didn't really work." He fake winces comically for his audience before flashing them another toothy grin. "I'm afraid folks that's all the time we have for tonight," his gaze moves to the booth again he shoots it that same apologetic smile, "but I'd like to leave you with a final thought. What if a cure doesn't work? What if negation drugs become like antibiotics and the evolved 'evolve' beyond them? Will it be reason to introduce genocide as a final solution to the evolved" he lifts his fingers in the air in quotes now, "'problem'? How many final solutions need to be enacted in human history before we learn our lesson?"

And then a bar of The Advocate theme plays. The music hauls him in for better or worse. He shoots that all-too-charming ultra rehearsed smile to the camera. "And that, ladies and gentleman, is all of the time we have for tonight. I would like to thank our panelists for weighing in on this very heated debate." He issues the camera a more serene smile, "And, in closing, I encourage you, our viewers, to reel in hope. Only together can we recover as a city. Thank you so much for tuning in." And it's a wrap.

Studio K — Production Room

At those final words, Kincaid lowers his head down against his hands and sighs, dark eyes sliding shut as he lets out a long breath he was holding through that whole end speech. The coffee won’t clear up that particular mess, and for a brief moment, he looks as if he’s sure he’s about to get fired. “I just got this job,” he mutters under his breath, as he braces for the news that since he couldn’t control the man in front of the camera, he’s not cut out to be behind it.

Rubbing the back of his neck, as he straightens up, he looks toward the woman who had left him, however briefly, in charge.

Placing the coffees down on the lip near the soundboard, Kristen slides into her chair and rolls it forward to her usual spot. “Alright, real work begins now, kid. We need to bleep out Varlane’s little dog comment to the mayor. How many angles did we get on that, by the way? In my wildest dreams you made sure that I got the complete three sixty.”

Without waiting for an answer, the producer places the headphones on and begins reviewing the tape. Thanks to the volatile chemistry between Lockheart and Varlane, it might be the best show yet. "By the way… that pool of how many drinks he had? I win. One coffee cup of whiskey during the show and a few swallows before for courage."

She knows her star all too well.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License