Leave The Past Behind


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Scene Title Leave the Past Behind
Synopsis WSZR goes live for the first time.
Date February 1, 2018

WSZR Building

“Here. We. Go.”

With the flick of a switch, the old building hums from the inside. A few sparks sputter from the fuse box, where a penny has taken the place of a fuse. No one sells or makes copper coil fuses anymore, haven’t since the late 1970s, and this old fusebox is the best it will get. Dusting off his hands, Martin Pines looks at the green light on the wall, and his old mouth creeps up into a tooth, child-like smile.

“Sweet baby Jesus,” Pines mumbles, bringing his hands up to his mouth as tears well up in his eyes. “She’s alive.” As he turns around, Pines shuffles with weary legs toward the basement stairs, where the silhouette of a person is cast long down the creaky old wood steps.

“Martin! Martin we did it!” As Pines comes to the bottom of the stairs, he looks up with tears rolling down his cheeks at a young brunette woman leaning on a pair of crutches in the basement doorway. Sweeping his gray baseball cap off his head and holding it to his chest, Pines continues to smile.

“We did it, kiddo.” Pines affirms, reaching out for the railing as he slowly ascends the steps one at a time. As he reaches the top, the brunette waiting for him leans one crutch against the wall and leans out to wrap an arm around his shoulders. Her embrace is long and weary, and Pines just closes his eyes and smiles, gingerly patting her on the back.

Jolene Chevalier leans back from the embrace, sweeping tears out of her eyes with her thumb before retaking her crutches. “Come on, come on, the world’s waiting!” A four-thump gait carries Lene across the spacious warehouse floor, with Pines slow to follow her in shuffling gait. The two wind past old textile equipment, folding chairs, a table with paper plates and a birthday cake on it with a single red candle and two slices cut out. A few balloons are tied to one chair.

They step into a long room lined with old, humming radio equipment. Jolene ambles over, her metal crutches clack-chacking as she moves. She leans each one up against the wall, then very gingerly lowers herself down into one of the two wheeled chairs by all the equipment. Records rest nearby, a collection of vinyl that holds hundreds in faded milk crates.

As Pines enters the room, drying his eyes with his scarf, he shuffles over to the controls and flips a few switches. His shaky, weathered hands brush dust off of the electronics, and then with a click click flips two more switches, turning lights on the console green. Jolene turns green eyes in his direction, watching with a broad smile as she motions to the seat in front of the microphone. For a while, Pines is quiet, cradling his hat to his chest. He breathes in deeply, then breathes out and looks from the microphone to Lene.

“Nobody wants to hear an old man,” Pines says in a dismissive tone, wringing his hat tight. “They wanna’ hear someone with heart, someone sweet.” Those green eyes widen, and Jolene brings a hand to her chest and shakes her head.

“Martin, I— no, this— WSZR is yours.” Nervousness flutters in her voice, and Pines smiles again, shaking his head and reaching down with unsteady hands to move the heavy micrphone in front of her.

“If I were out there, right now…” Pines slowly gestures around himself, “with all those people, lookin’ for somethin’ to hold onto… and I heard some old, tired guy mumblin’ into the radio?” Pines purses his lips, slowly shaking his head. “I’d turn it off before the first record played. I never wanted t’be on the radio, Leenie.” He rests a hand on the back of her chair. “I wanted you to.”

Tears well up in Jolene’s eyes, her face flushes red, and she immediately covers her mouth with one hand and looks away. Fat tears roll down her cheeks, and she makes one tiny squeaking sob before Martin gently rests a hand on her shoulder. “You already made this old coot have the best birthday of his whole life. Play somethin’ nice for the people,” he says with a gesture to the records. “Let me pay it forward while I can.”

That has Lene letting out another croak of a sob, and she hastily tries drying her eyes with the back of her hand, brushes her red nose, and bites down on her lower lip to steady it. Her response is an emotional nod, and she swallows down her overwhelmed feelings and reaches out for the record case. She already knows what she wanted to play first, but she thought it wouldn’t be the first song WSZR played.

She pulls the record out, a matte black cover with a redheaded woman in a gown on the cover. It’s newer than most of the records but still battered. She slides it out of the sleeve and hands it to Pines, who carries it over to the record player. “Track two,” Lene says with a tightness to her voice, and Pines smiles back warmly at her, putting the record in place and bringing the needle down, making sure all of the audio cables are properly connected.

“Go on,” Pines says, still smiling, still misty-eyed. “Say hello!” Jolene looks to the microphone, chest fluttering, lips pressed together. She’d been handing out hand-made flyers at the Red Hook Market for weeks, spreading the word through the Co-op that WSZR would be live today. His birthday.

Pulling on headphones, Jolene scoots closer to the microphone, looks side-long at Pines, then flips then presses a switch and leans in. She’s silent for a moment, heart beating in her chest. “Good morning, Safe Zone. This— this is WSZR, Safe Zone Radio, coming to you live in our pioneer broadcast.” Tears start rolling down her cheeks again, and Jolene can’t stop smiling.

“We’ll be live all day, with news from around the Safe Zone, music, and the weather.” Jolene looks at Pines for a moment, trying to contain her emotions. She nods, and he flips the switch, starting the record with a static pop.

Regrets collect like old friends

“For our first song,” Lene says with a tightness and emotion in her voice, “something to get a fresh start to. The world can be a dark place,” green eyes alight to Pines, “and I hope you all can find your light out. This is Florence and the Machine, with Shake it Out on WSZR, Safe Zone Radio.”

Here to relive your darkest moments

Jolene hits the switch on the microphone and tears start coming faster as soon as the pressure to perform isn’t on any more. She hiccups a sob and covers her face, smiling broadly through the tears. She reaches up with a shaky hand, taking one of Pines old hands in hers and squeezes it firmly. Across the Safe Zone, radios tuned in for the broadcast pick up the first radio transmission in years. In that moment, the Safe Zone is brought together, through all their uncertainties and all their disparate lives.

I can see no way, I can see no way

Red Hook


Gilbert Tucker smooths his hands down the front of his well-fitting suit. He adjusts his tie and runs a comb through his wild hair. He picks up a piece of paper and mumbles the words of an address he's set to make at tonight's Safe Zone Cooperative board meeting.

And all of the ghouls come out to play

"Yadda yadda, mutual benefit, yadda yadda…brighter…way…no, not…" he grabs a pen and scratches out a set of words, and replaces them "New way. Can't be…too optimistic." As he reads further, he finds himself idly humming along to the radio as he loses himself in thought.

And every demon wants his pound of flesh

His phone chimes an insistent noise indicating it's time to leave for the meeting. He scoops up the folio of papers and shoves on a brand new pair of horn rimmed glasses. As he turns to go, he catches sight of his own reflection in the mirror. He looks at himself for a long moment, makes a sound by pulling air between his teeth, then tugs the glasses off and drops them on his desk. He digs around under plans and waybills, permits and cost projections until he finds what he's looking for. It's his old blue acetone glasses. They're covered in scratches and the blue plastic has long since lost its sheen. He pushes them up on his nose, then sweeps a hand forward to muss up his previously combed hair. He nods once in self-approval, loosens his tie, and heads for the door.

But I like to keep some things to myself

Jackson Heights


Sitting back and taking the time to search, one could still see damage from the war peeking out from behind new coats of paint, but vast amounts of work had been done to polish away the rough spots, like makeup being slathered over a pock-marked face. Settling back into the seat of the old Lincoln towncar, Jaiden reached down into his pocket to check the time, the old watch ticking away the minutes steadily, as the car slowed for pedestrians crossing the road. "First time in the Safe Zone?" Jaiden looked up, shaking his head no. "I used to live in the city. A long time ago." The watch closes with a snap, tucked away again into his hip pocket, the chain dangling on the seat by his leg, the car moving again. The radio playing softly in the quiet of the drive.

I like to keep my issues strong

"Here we are, buddy." The driver turns once they arrive in the Jackson Heights neighborhood, Jaiden passing the driver a small wad of bills once they stop, the big man getting out and stretching, pulling on a jacket and standing with the assistance of a heavy black cane held in his right hand. "You don't look like the museum type," the driver notes. Jaiden stands on the curb, looking up at the New York Architectual Terra Cotta Company Building — the Brick House Museum — before glancing back to the driver. "I wasn't before the war." He looks back to the building, a smile crinking the skin at the corners of his eyes. "But when my friends are a part of the history of this place, I guess I can't help but visit them, now and again. Talk to 'em. Let 'em know what's going on. Tell 'em there's hope still." He starts to walk. "I'll be back in a bit."

It's always darkest before the dawn



The door to the townhouse opens with a slow jangle of keys, and the brightly painted walls of the foyer contrast sharply to the darkly-dressed woman walking in with a duffel bag over her shoulder. Black boots scuff across the floor as Colette Demsky steps in, hearing the sound of a radio playing from somewhere within the brownstone. Milky-white eyes sweep around the spacious floor, and she slowly shut them and breathes in deeply through her nose.

And I've been a fool and I've been blind

Colette’s eyes open at the creak of floorboards further in the house. She hadn’t called ahead, hadn’t told anyone she was coming back, but she knows they’d know. The corners of her mouth creep up, teeth toy at her bottom lip, and she spins a ring on her right hand with the tip of her thumb. A few more steps into the house, and Colette rests her dufflebag down against the wall and takes a few more steps inside.

I can never leave the past behind

Her eyes glass over with emotion, and lifting a hand up to her cheeks she carefully wipes around her lashes with the corner of a fingernail so as to not smudge her eyeliner. Lips work tightly together, and a smile threatens her lips. She calls out, to the two people that matter the most. “I’m home!” That statement has never been more true.

I can see no way, I can see no way

The Benchmark Recovery and Counseling Center

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The corner apartment on the top floor of The Benchmark Center is a sprawling space with rooms to spare and a living room lit by the afternoon sun. Too much, apparently, because Lynette is standing on top of a stool drilling a curtain rod into place above the corner windows. Curtains lay over the back of the couch, waiting for their turn to go up, too. The radio plays in the background, but she can only hear it when she turns the drill off and steps down to come check her work.

I’m always dragging that horse around

Not just the windows, either, as the whole room gets a look over. Picture frames holding favored memories hang on the wall, proving that her box of tools has been getting good use. But they aren't the only personal touches around the apartment. In fact, it's more of a home than she's had since she was a kid. Between the song coming over the radio and the warm feeling she can't seem to shake these days, Lynette has plenty of reason for the smile coming to her face. That, too, is a new development, genuine smiles. Real laughter. Hope. Her gaze drops to look at the ring decorating her left hand, and since it's just her here, she doesn't mind letting a sigh escape her, either.

Our love is pastured such a mournful sound

Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground

"It feels nice, doesn't it?" A voice comes from behind her, hand pressing over her own for a moment. She'd not even heard him enter, but perhaps the song had drowned it out. A matching ring clicks lightly against her own, as fingers curl between hers. The road has been strange— but somehow, somewhere— "Finally being home?"

So I like to keep my issues strong

A strange sentiment for the both of them, as Mateo had never once thought he'd find a home— a real home— ever again. So very far away from the only one he remembered. "Come on— Silv's waiting to get introduced to that movie you promised." A future to look forward to.

But it's always darkest before the dawn

Bay Ridge


Standing in the kitchen of his small but modest home, Jonathan Smith hums along to the music on the radio, his head bounces up and down a little with the beat. He stands at the little island, chopping rather enthusiastically at a bell pepper. He pauses long enough to push thick framed glasses back up on his nose. The delicious smell of dinner wafts through the house, the sizzle of a single steak in the cast iron pan, pops and cracks.

Shake it out, shake it out,

Despite all the family portraits sitting on the mantles and gracing the walls, the colorful childrens drawing on the fridge, Jon lives a lonely existence. The people whose lives are represented everywhere are long gone to ground, gunned down in a hail of bullets. Not that anyone would know that there was a hole in his heart, as he scoops up whisk - splattering droplets of sauce over the kitchen counter - to sing into it like a microphone as the music swells into something more upbeat.

Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

Luckily, he can carry a tune, else his neighbors might not appreciate it, as he belts out the words to the song on the radio.

Shake it out, shake it out,

The Bunker, Rochester


"I swear, I'll be there!" Devon calls down the hall from the doorway of his quarters. He lingers there, arms folded across his chest while he leans against the frame. With his head tipped slightly downward, a faint grin plays upon his lips. He wonders at what shenanigans will be had later. And there's relief that there are still shenanigans to be had. If he'd been asked this time a year ago, he wouldn't have been able to answer with anything more than a crooked grin and a tired shrug. A second more of static cuts into the song on the radio, wherever it's broadcast from it barely reaches Rochester. The sound draws his attention over his shoulder and into his room.

Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

As the young man turns, he gives the door a nudge to close it behind him. He crosses to the small radio sitting on a side table and gives the antenna a small tap into a vaguely different position, returning clarity to the music playing. The interruption fails to ruin his mood, and he turns to survey his living space. He takes a breath, arms stretching over his head and backward while his feet carry him to his bed. And there, he sits on the edge then rolls backward to sprawl.

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back

With eyes half opened but unfocused, Devon does nothing more than listen to the music and let his thoughts wander. Somewhere in the back of his mind he decides he'll have to pick up a hobby, but for now it's this moment that he enjoys.

So shake him off, oh whoa

The simplicity of having nothing to do.

'Cause I am done with my graceless heart

Floyd Bennet Airfield


"Jonah, it's time to go," Peyton calls to the boy playing with two plastic dinosaurs at the table in front of his seat. When he unbuckles and steps down from the airliner seat, he comes running over and she holds out a bright yellow coat for the six-year-old to step into, then tugs a cap over his mop of dark brown hair. She leans to kiss his forehead as she buttons up his coat as the private plane’s air crew cleans up around them. "I'll keep these for you, okay?" she asks, taking the figurines and sliding them with her cell phone into her purse, before peering inside to check that the plane tickets are still there.

So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart

"To New York City," the little boy states, the destination firmly memorized. He looks quite proud of himself for having done so, as he puts his hand in hers. "Will I like it here?"

'Cause I like to keep my issues strong

"I hope so," Peyton says quietly, squeezing his hand as she stands straight and steers him toward the aircraft’s door. "I hope we both do."

It's always darkest before the dawn

Jackson Heights


The crank-charged radio sits atop an old wooden stool just outside the open door, providing a soundtrack for the work underway. Sadly, there has been no option to switch into a cinematic montage to make the long months of labour fly by - but now that the Skinny Brickfront is nearing the very end of its renovations Ygraine is able to smile contentedly as she hums along, at least approximately in time with the music.

Shake it out, shake it out

Comfortably folded up cross-legged as she finishes applying mould-resistant paint to the depths of a corner, her perch on the ceiling inverts not only herself but the open can at her knee. Leaning back after the last dab, she carefully sets the brush onto the cans lid, then rolls her neck and stretches her arms out and up - down - towards the floor. Brilliantly-coloured tattoos shift in response to the muscles moving beneath her skin: Xiulans red and white dragons partly visible on her back, with Brynns more recent work in full view on both arms.

Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

"Do you want a mug of tea? I think I'm done here, and am in a mood to be terribly British," she calls towards the door, a smile on her lips and audible in her voice. "I might even break out the biscuits, to celebrate finishing this storey."

Shake it out, shake it out

Cresting Wave Apartments

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The last excess of moisture is wrung out from her hair. The fan overhead in the bathroom runs nearly silently, pulling away steam and chemical smells. Water drips from the shower head, droplets hitting the tile intermittently, almost cheerful. The radio doesn't need to be turned up quite so loud, no longer needing to be heard over the shower now, but she's enjoying the music and the volume. Her eyes close, and allows for a few seconds to lose herself in the moment. Then, she's parting her hair in sections and examining her work with a critical eye. Those roots are perfectly blonde. Satisfied, she smiles at her reflection.

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back

"Mom!" The door to the apartment closes with a purposeful noisiness, heralding the return of her daughter. The bathroom door is propped open after she pulls on a fuzzy purple bathrobe, and the dark-haired teenager appears after a moment, a messenger bag hanging from her shoulder. "I'm home." Her nose wrinkles slightly as she looks at her mother's damp hair. Not in disgust, but out of what she perceives as her foolishness. "Are you ever going to let it go natural again?"

So shake him off, oh whoa

Mother grins at child. The question used to cause her sadness, but she's embraced this maintenance as part of her routine and this image as part of her personality. Looking at her daughter, who so much resembles her father, used to cause her sadness too. Now, it's only love and pride she feels when she sees the young woman she's becoming. Even though the majority of the city is in ruins, her life here is much better than it has been in a long time. "Not a chance." Her voice carries a southern drawl that is almost entirely absent from her native New Yorker daughter's. Life is good. "Meatloaf is in the oven. Go grab a plate and we'll—"

I tried to dance with the devil on your back

The phone on the counter rings, and after checking the screen, she turns down the radio to an acceptable level with a flick of the dial. Quiet enough to hear the caller, but loud enough to muffle her conversation. The kitchen is gestured toward. Go. "I gotta take this." The phone is flipped open, "Damaris," and the bathroom door is closed again in the wake of the girl's departure. She knows the drill. "We're all set for our little conference?" Her lips curve into a grin with much sharper edges than the one she flashed her daughter a few moments ago. Work is good. "Excellent. I'll be there in fifteen."

And given half the chance would I take any of it back

Jackson Heights


The soft hum of the solar panels turning to follow the path of the descending sun through the afternoon skies is drowned out by the voice of a radio - an old-style boombox sitting on the edge of one of the garden beds that cover the lower roof of the Raytech building. Not far away, the Chief Executive Officer of the corporation is on one denim-clad knee, a sack beside him holding the weeds that he's tugging out by hand to ensure that the flowers remain healthy and the colourful designs carefully mapped out remain uniform.

It's a final mess but it's left me so empty

Richard Ray probably has people to do this, but since his stay at Riker's years ago he's always taken pleasure in gardening. In the feel of soil beneath his fingers, in the knowledge that the greenery born from it is alive because he helped it become so.

It's always darkest before the dawn

A sharp vibration from the phone hooked to his belt has him leaning back, checking the screen for a moment to read the message on it. He pushes himself up to his feet, and walking along over to the edge of the roof overlooking the parking lot just in time to see a pair of particularly precocious children running around the parking lot while Harmony, blonde hair shining in the sun, tries to wrangle the twins in the general direction of the front doors.

And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't

Tugging off his gloves one finger at a time, a smile tugs at his lips, laugh-lines crinkling to either side of hazel eyes as he watches his children for a few more moments, turning then towards the roof access so he can go meet them.

Phoenix Heights


With thin shafts of morning light filtering in through the dojo’s slatted blinds, Amadeus Deckard is wrapping his hands in bandages, wearing a pair of loose fitting black pants as he stares down at a short, grumpy looking old man as the radio behind him plays hollow and tinny. His body is strangely thick, appearing almost chubby if one didn't know him well enough to know that beneath that were layers of muscle. The man holds up a wooden flogging paddle. "What happened to punching boards, this ain't some weird kink shit is it?"

So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my road

The man just grunts, and says "Counter." and he starts to swing, which causes Amadeus to punch the paddle directly each time. "My first legit match is coming up soon. No more of that underground shit." the young Deckard states as one of the young students turns on Tennis - I Miss That Feeling. It causes Amadeus to raise an eyebrow, only to find himself smacked with a paddle.

And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope

"Fuck, man!" He holds the side of his face, then the old man starts laughing. "Well, fuck it. From here, we're gonna get huge. I'm gonna whoop ass, pay off that debt, get fancy ass hookers and we're gonna move into that Yamagachi building!" He starts to punch at the battle again when it comes flying at him, smiling confidently. "Fuck, when I start gettin' belts and trophies, they're probably gonna invite us in!"

It's a shot in the dark and right at my throat

Fort Jay


A glance is offered over to the radio that sits on Robyn Quinn's desk as she scrawls something in the corner of a blank piece of paper in front of her. It was rare that she indulged in lyrics anymore, but sometimes it offers a nice distraction. But she can only distract herself but so much from what she has in front of her - a folder opened and the contents spilled out across her desk. Familiar names and unforgettable faces. It makes her stomach tie up in knots. Sitting there, writing a critical report about people she once considered friends or family, a family she was going to leave forever.

'Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me

A small smile forms on her lips as she listens to the song on the radio, Robyn closing her uncovered eye so she can take in wholly. She lets that feeling linger for just a moment before her focus has to return her work. Opening her eye, she reaches up and brushes the tips of her fingers across one of the pictures fondly. These are exactly the people I tried to leave behind, she thinks to herself. What am I doing?

Looking for heaven, for the devil in me

Her smile widens as she collects the papers and pictures back together, closing the folder and tucking it under her arm as she rises up from her desk. The right thing, she tells herself.

Well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me

Cresting Wave Apartments


Steam fogged up the bathroom window, wiped away as Elaine towelled off her hair. Nestled in a cozy plush bathrobe, she proceeded to uncerimoniously plop herself upon the bed. The soft sound of a radio playing drifted from the speakers across the entire apartment. Cresting Wave Apartments were certainly more than she could have expected. If you had asked her during the war if she would ever end up someplace like this, she would have laughed at you.

Shake it out, shake it out,

But hard work and dedication win out. No one could say Elaine didn't work hard at her studies or that she didn't apply herself to the use of her ability. Finally, someone had been looking in her direction at the right time, and she had landed a job complete with a lush apartment. For the first time in years, things were looking up. For the first time in years, she felt truly fufilled. A meow near her feet brought her attention to her cat.

Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

"Come on, 'Inger, let's get something to eat."

Shake it out, shake it out,

WSZR Building

Shimmying from side to side, eyes closed, smiling, and hands in the air, Pines does his best to dance with a hip as fragile as his is. Jolene is still trying to get her emotions under control as she pushes herself up to her feet with shaky legs, carefully grabbing her crutches as she steps away from the chair to join Pines.

Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

Throwing her head back, Jolene bubbles with laughter and smiles widely. Pines shakes his head, looking to the record spinning on its turntable, to the lights twinkling within the radio station, to the morning light filtering down in through the tall mill building windows. They made this happen together, two people with fractures from the world, gluing each other together like old ceramic teacups.

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back

He hopes that the people across the Safe Zone hear this too, that this morning marks the beginning of something new. That all of these disparate lives scattered around the spot of light in a dark world can come together, share their stories, and feel united.

So shake him off, oh whoa

Jolene hopes for the same, because this isn’t the world she left behind, but it’s the world she fought for.

Shake it out, shake it out,

And now she’s home too.

Shake it out, shake it out,

This is home.

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