On Air


kristen_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif matt_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif russo_icon.gif savannah_icon.gif

Scene Title On Air
Synopsis May 2010 hallucinations spark the shakedown of pro-evolved Unity organization. Will DHS turn to LSD for their next big lead? — That question never really did get answered.
Date October 4, 2010

The Corinthian — Studio K

Production Room

“Alright people, let’s get it together! We are on in five…. four… three…” The last two numbers are always a hand motion from the assistant director just before he slides out of the way. From inside the production booth, Kristen waits with her headset on and clipboard in hand. It’s a new format and she’s just a little nervous. Externally, her demeanor is as calm and cool as ever. The slight smile on her face displays a well practiced confidence.

“Jerry, pan the audience and hold. Hold… swing back to that man in the blue sweater. Let’s get our viewers at home a little comfortable…” Tapping the shoulder of a small balding man in front of her, Kristen points to the second monitor and nods. “That woman in the pink shirt, mark her for later. I want an angry reaction from her at least three times.”

Inside The Studio

There's the familiar theme music of The Advocate before the entrance of the host. It plays a few bars accompanied by applause as a spotlight shines on the stage, awaiting the entrance of the host. But then, the music stops. Still? no host. The applause die down while still no one is on stage. And then, with a single bar from what sounds like a saxophone, Brad Russo emerges from the back of the room, behind his studio audience only to be greeted by even louder applause. The host isn't above pandering if the situation warrants.

The spotlight finds him as he raises his hands in the air a silent declaration Here I am made louder with the appearance of a smile and the bars of his theme music feeling the air again. The applause continues as he walks down the steps towards the stage, stopping to shake hands, give high-fives, and essentially find the place he was supposed to appear on the platform.

Once he reaches the platform, he holds up his hands again, facing the audience with a large grin, giving them a subtle motion to settle down, but in doing so, they only applaud more, his smile turning somewhat bashful at the attention. Again he holds up his hands, this time towards the crew, redirecting applause to them, they deserve it as much as he does. Finally, it dies down.

"Good evening folks!" he enthuses as he laces his fingers together. "Right back at you! We are delighted to have you here! Welcome! This is The Advocate and I'm your host Bradley Russo — live in the the beautiful big apple, New York City!" he lifts a hand to display his set. "Sorry about my tardiness today — there was an ordeal with my tie. You see, I'm terrible at tying them and because we're at this beautiful location today, I lingered longer than I should've before changing. SO! I literally had this yellow tie in all of it's glory slung around the back of my neck like a woman's neck scarf, didn't I K? As usual, I was saved by my lovely producer Kristen Reynolds!" He holds up his hands defensively, "I know, I know! Believe me, not the kind of admission any man likes to make, but there it is!"

"So, have any of you been following the news lately? Shame on you if you haven't! There was this incredible meeting in the city where people are coming together - " he grins mischievously " - which is a miracle in itself! But beyond that? they all have these puzzle pieces with words written on them! And whether or not the Puzzler's intent was to bring these people together, it's had that exact effect!" He clears his throat as his hands open towards the audience. "I find this really interesting and would love to hear from you if you have a piece. I think it would be incredible if we could get New Yorkers with puzzle pieces on air and maybe, maybe America can solve the puzzle together." He claps his hands together before taking a few steps across the stage, the host is certainly animated.

"Have we got a show for you tonight! As always, on The Advocate we're here to discuss current issues, have some fun, and try to keep you," he points towards the audience, "informed. Why?" And then, as if on cue, the audience yells back in semi-unison, "Information is power!"

"Excellent! I love audiences who know the drill, don't you K?" Brad grins broadly as he steps back on the stage. "Regardless! I have quite the story for you, and I've been saving it for weeks. I had the pleasure of taking a lovely young lady out for dinner a few weeks back - " amid a few gasps in the audience, Brad raises a hand " - it wasn't a date, it was just dinner. ANYways. So while we were eating dinner, I was my usual clumsy self and spilled water across the table. When I went to go be a gentleman and attempt to mop it up, I ended up kneeling next to this lovely lady - " he grins brightly while a few of his audience members are already chuckling, they've anticipated where this conversation is going " - of course, people got the wrong idea and decided I was proposing. Teach me to kneel next to a lovely young woman!"

At that, there's more chuckling. "Regardless! We have an incredibly good show for you tonight! The panel is excellent, and I'm pleased to announce that all of you are in for a real treat as we explore our question for this evening. So, without further adieu, I will let my lovely always-attentive producer, introduce them - "

From the speakers, a disembodied voice that is clearly feminine starts up right where he left off. A white light appears over Savannah's head, brightening her to the audience, who gasps on queue. "Thank you Bradley, tonight's panelists are none other than Evolutionary fiction author Savannah Burton. Miss Burton’s been an author for almost ten years and her unique perspective of works are available at bookstores everywhere. Look for Savannah’s face on the Amplified trilogy in the fiction aisle."

There's a short pause while the audience applause and the spotlight fades off of Savannah letting her rest in a dimmer glow rather than the spot.

Next, the light comes on over Magnes, who receives a mixed welcome from the audience due to his infamy around the city. "Next we have Magnes J. Varlane, a dabbler in politics and the law. As former intern to Tracy Strauss, Mister Varlane has been exposed to many of the behind the scenes aspects of our politicos."

The audience half cheers and half smattering of its applause for the young man, there is one enthusiastic female voice from in the back that screams "HAVE MY BABIES!!" The spotlight dims on Magnes just as a good portion of the audience starts to chuckle and cheer a little louder.

"Last but not least, we have Nicole Nichols. Nicole is a political science and philosophy major that has been working for the Linderman Group for the past eight years." The spotlight comes on over Nicole's head as she receives a raucous applause, possibly from the company of males in the front all in uniform. "She's taken time away to pursue her passion for politics by assisting in various campaigns, most notably the one of Jennifer Chesterfield. A celebrated designer and decorator in her own right, Miss Nichols' work can be seen right here in the beautiful Corinthian Hotel. Just head right into the restaurant…… Back to you Bradley!"

The spotlight dims over Nicole for a brief moment before all three come back on to highlight all of the panelists.

With a loud whistle, Brad shoots the audience a smile before settling behind his podium. "I'd like to welcome all of our panelists. And I'm delighted to hear that some of our more… boisterous audience members are too." He glances at Magnes and issues the other man a quick smile, "If you're lucky maybe he'll come talk to you during the break." He winks at the screen before addressing the issues at hand.

With a quick tug on the bottom of his jacket he clears his throat, "When we're exploring issues in the news, we need to recognize there are many vantage points from which to view an issue and that's why our lovely panelists are here." Clearing his throat, he poses, "Recently there was a raid on the pro-evolved rights group Unity. While they were in violation of the Linderman Act, I'd like to know our panelists' opinions on the arrests. Some have suggested more systemic factors behind the raid, while others have insisted it's pure reinforcement of the law. Would any of our panelists care to comment?"

«Alright Brad, good open, let’s start off with Savannah and go down the line… Jeff have Floyd turn down the intensity of that white on Brad. I thought we checked this? He looks anemic, I want a little more color on his face.»

There's a small nod from Savannah as she glances back over towards Brad. "I'd be happy to comment. First off, thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be on." She smiles, glancing back towards the audience before glancing around at the other panelists. "You know, as an author I try to look at things with a critical eye, to dig below the surface for more specifics in regard to who's affected… the more personal and emotional level of things. And really, when I look at this… I see two levels. I see, on the surface, the fact that the government is trying to keep people safe. But when I see a bit deeper, I see the potential for the government to vilify Evolved."

She continues. "With so many terrorist groups out there, I can see the need to keep the country safe, but… I hear about a group called 'Unity' being taken down? How often do we hear about the government taking down anti-Evolved groups? I don't recall there being anything recent in the news. If I were Evolved, I'd certainly be afraid that the government was targeting me, with stories like this coming out. I see the need for law, but… something like this feels like fuel on the fire to just make things worse and make the divide between people who are Evolved and people who are not more like a Grand Canyon than a small crack."

«Oh, I like that… let’s get all over that one like white on rice, Brad. Ask her a question regarding Humanis First terrorist activities and her point of view on government action there.»

Magnes rubs the back of his neck a bit awkwardly, smiling and waving before turning back to the other panelists. "Ah, uh, I'm happily taken, but thanks!" Clearing his throat, he gets ready for his own comment. "I think that it does paint Evolved in a poor light when a group that's supposed to represent us gets arrested for this kind of thing. I'm certainly not a lawyer, but I know all about image. I've been under Miss Strauss long enough to know this is going to have a very negative impact on us. But I also think, and this is my own opinion, that the government tries to regulate and control us in every way that it can find. We can't get angry with them for busting an Evolved group for doing something so illegal, that'd make us look bad anyway, so it's like… checkmate on us, you know?"

«Hah… Under Miss Strauss, that’s gold material, jump on it.»

"I have to say I agree with Ms Burton's analogy of a small crack versus a canyon," Nicole murmurs with a gracious nod of her head toward the writer. "There are some very heavy allegations leveled at some of the members of Unity's upper echelons. I don't want to speculate as to the validity of those allegations, but it certainly is the duty of the police and the government to investigate, to ensure the safety of society.

"That said, I also think it's curious that we rarely hear of similar circumstances surrounding groups of an anti-Evolved persuasion." Nicole's dark brows arch as she passes a look amongst her fellow panelists and for the audience's benefit. Think on that, the look says. "Though this could be because of which stories the media chooses to feature. A hate group being broken up is certainly noteworthy, but not nearly as sensational as the concept of a group of individuals with superpowers trying to encroach on freedom and plunges the country into anarchy. Depending upon which of the papers you're reading, of course."

«There we go… »

After hearing from each of his panelists, the host issues the audience a lopsided grin, "Thank you for that." There's a pause. "And special thanks to Magnes for confirming what we'd always imagined. Tracy Strauss on top. I'm telling you, there's a disease on the Hill, and it's catching… I mean really? Is there a cure for jungle fever?" There are a few chuckles from the audience as he issues them a dimpled grin.

Brad clears his throat and directs his attention to addressing some of the more particular issues. "Savannah, you raise some important issues. When we think about terrorists, I think it's imperative we frame that and the fact that there are terrorists on both sides here, not just pro-evolved groups. Why do you think it is Humanis First manages to stay off the grid and the radar? And how do they manage to do that?"

He turns to face Nicole with a nod, "In your estimation, is the government more concerned about the anarchy potentially caused by evolveds when compared to the actions of human terrorist groups?"

«Let’s turn the heat up on this puppy, Brad, get them riled up and bring out Parkman…. Jeff get Amy to make sure Parkman’s ready, get him out of the green room and stageside. I want him there yesterday. Camera two, scan the audience I want that woman in pink angry… One, see the guy in the white shirt? He’s got a good sympathetic look… Stay off him until you get my queue.»

The blonde author raises an eyebrow at the question, "Well, given that I'm not part of the government and I'm just an author, I can only speculate. But…" Savannah looks back towards Russo. "I absolutely think the government's focusing on Evolved people as a threat much more than any other group. When you look at it, the government's been pushing to make people feel 'safe' from Evolved ever since the public revelation of the Evolved. The bomb which has been a very sensitive topic for nearly everyone since it happened and people always talk like that's the worst thing that could possibly happen. The Evolved are targeted as a group, not just the terrorists, and they're singled out by the government. Sure, maybe it's not all negative, but the government is focusing on the Evolved, regardless of their goal. It's clear they're worried about Evolved posing a problem. I'd honestly like to hear about their progress on Humanis First raids."

«Is the focus on evolved helping the common man feel at ease with all the super powers out there? Does she feel safe?»

"I wouldn't blame the failure to crack down on Humanis First completely on the government. Not only is the group full of people from ex-mercenaries who basically become ghosts in the night after they commit a crime, but you also have your average college student who can hide in plain sight and never have to answer for anything." Magnes briefly looks out into the audience, then to Russo. "Not every terrorist group is a bunch of people sitting in a base plotting their next move, especially not one like this. Humanis First itself, just the name, is a symbol that can only be destroyed with cultural understanding. No amount of raids and government crackdowns can destroy Humanis First, because there will always be some kid who's afraid, or a family who lost a child to Evolved, ready to take up the mantle and commit these crimes. It's no different from the reason people still take up the mantle of the Nazi."

«Nazis are so fifty years ago, a tired reference and overused, steer him toward something else… How about the KKK? Jerry get three to pan out. Over there, baby screamer, get her in the shot, zoom in… look at that reaction, beautiful!»

Nicole smirks at Russo's question to her. "A valiant effort, but that isn't what I said. I said the media portrays a sense of impending anarchy as a result of the very idea of Evolved individuals banding together. I don't believe that this is the case personally, nor do I believe that our government is foolish enough to believe that organisation equates an anti-government intent. Not on principle." There's a rueful twist to Nicole's lips as she listens to Magnes' points. "There are people in the government that are supposed to be able to find terrorists like you're describing, Mister Varlane. Regardless of their genetics - whether they're Evolved or not."

Her head dips once in acceptance to some of what Magnes has said. "I agree that education is the most powerful tool in quelling the kind of fear and doubt that's being bred in this country in regards to the Evolved and non-Evolved debate. I don't believe that there's an easy answer. There isn't a cure-all way to make the public feel safer."

Nicole nods to Savannah and picks up her thread, "The Evolved make a very convenient target for the government to focus on. For the media to focus on. A nebulous group to point at and suggest trouble brewing. It's a convenient scapegoat. It's perhaps important to understand why people feel threatened on both sides of this divide."

«Haha, Miss Nichols is doing your job for you, buddy. One focus in on the white shirt, perfect time for a sympathy ploy… Amy do a final makeup check on Parkman and let’s get him introduced.»

"Good points Savannah… it begs questions as to whether citizens actually feel safer in light of these efforts. Does the average citizen estimate the changes in law to be for their own protection or essentially restrictive in nature?" At Magnes, however, he nods, "Right. But even the Nazi party was taken down; their strength waxed and waned, especially compared to other grassroots terrorists like the KKK. Ideas are certainly stronger than governments, aren't they? Ideologies perpetuate through hundreds of years. And if that's the case, don't terrorist groups theoretically have the upper hand in all of this? And if the evolved are merely the next convenient target… the question remains as to who is doing the scapegoating? The government? The average citizen? And can education help with all of the mixed messages?"

"And now, I think it's time to introduce our surprise panelist to see what he has to say about all of this. Ladies and gentleman, please give a round of applause for Mister Matt Parkman." Brad begins to clap at the introduction, prompting his audience to join.

The Secretary of Homeland Security wastes no time in moving from where he's been waiting backstage to the platform. He offers the audience a smile, and stops on the way to join the panelists to offer a handshake to their host. His suit is a somber charcoal paired with a periwinkle blue shirt, his tie a navy blue. And, of course, there's an American flag pin on his lapel. When he slips into the empty chair in the line of panelists, he takes a moment to look at each of them, nodding a quiet greeting.

There's a split reaction in the audience, some are happy to see the Secretary some aren't cheering too loudly, merely clapping politely. The buzz in the room that's heard only by Matt is fear, fear of the unknown, fear of secrets being discovered. Oh god he's going to find out that I cheated on my husband… and I'm supposed to be at work today…. There are those in the audience whose thoughts vary quite greatly from even those, hero worship. And the one in the back who had been cheering for Magnes? Well she has a Team Parkman shirt on now.

"I WANT TO HAVE YOUR BABIES!!" Followed by a thought of I wonder if he really would, I have to meet him!

The influx of thoughts on top of the applause make the man wince, slightly, twisting his smile a little toward the fake side. But he clears his throat and narrows his eyes for a moment, dialing down the volume on those thoughts he'd rather not hear. "I want to thank Studio K and of course Brad Russo for inviting me here tonight. It's not something I normally have the pleasure of doing." He straightens a little in his chair, sweeping a hand to unbutton his jacket to make himself a little more comfortable before he laces his fingers together and leans his arms on the table, looking down the row of panelists.

"You're right in that education is the best route to clearing up pretty much all of the outstanding issues between SLC-expressive and SLC-nonexpressive. It's people on one side of the genetic fence learning about the people on the other side - where they're coming from, what they can do, who they are as people. It's a lack of understanding and empathy for the other side that lead to all the groups you just mentioned Brad," and he nods toward Russo before looking to the audience, and then the other panelists. "The real issues at hand are the ones getting tossed around kitchen tables all across the country, not what you read in the paper every day."

«Let’s give him a bone on this one, I think Varlane can get him a little rattled for us. From the backgound checks he’s sort of a wildcard… Jerry is Parkman’s future baby mama holding a sign? Let’s get a closer look at that…»

"Guess there's more than a few biological clocks ticking in the audience," Savannah quips, a slight smile on her face at that. She glances over towards Matt, giving him a polite small and a nod of greeting. "Mr. Parkman has a point. I agree that people need understanding. People fear what they don't understand, and if you want to get rid of fear and breed safety, you need to get to that understanding. That's a good point, really, about newspapers and what they cover. There's a reason I don't use newspapers to help me come up with topics or issues that I might use as inspiration in my books… because it doesn't give a full perspective and often the papers don't even touch certain issues. You have to go to the streets, you have to find people if you want to know what's really going on."

One of the people who could have put this godforsaken compulsion in my head. Bastard. is Magnes' first thought as he meets Matt's gaze with a brief scowl, then shakes his head and plays along. He looks out to the audience and asks, "Hey, what happened to my babies?" and addresses the panel again. "We can all say what we need to do and why we need to do it, but I think a big question we're missing is the how? We already have the Suresh Center, but the internet is full of misinformation. I saw a website once that said we're all lizard people in disguise. So what are we supposed to do exactly?"

«And Varlane comes through with the gold material again, get up on the lizard thing.»

Nicole's applause for Secretary Parkman's arrival is subdued, but polite, much like the smile fixed on her face. The other panelists and members of the audience may notice the way her posture becomes the barest bit straighter. "What's being bandied about the dinner table is that the SLC-expressive are being singled out solely on the basis of their genetic quirks. The why and the how of what's being done about the threat the Evolved supposedly represent to the people around them is disconcerting to me."

Cobalt blue eyes dart between their host and the members of the panel, lingering the least on Parkman, before Nicole leans forward to address the audience. "If we were relegating people to these so-called resettlement communities based on the colour of their skin or the religion they choose to practise? We, as a country, would be outraged by the actions of our government." One hand settles flat on the desk in front of her and she punctuates her next words carefully:

"Why aren't we outraged?"

«Nicole’s question brings up a good argument about apartheid. We’re already carrying around registration card, what’s going to be next? Work permits? What jobs people are allowed to hold?»

"It's a pleasure to have you here, Mister Parkman." The tone is smooth as he listens carefully to the information about education. "What? Evolveds aren't all lizard people in disguise? There goes my worldview," Brad exclaims in mock shock as he allows his lips to curl into a dimpled grin that fades some when he returns to the topic on hand. "If misinformation is one of the roots of the problem, then how can it be fixed? Can it be?"

"And if we look at history, Apartheid separated people by race. Many more factors separate people by ethnicity. We already carry around registration cards — the question remains: will work permits be next? Will citizens be divided according to the kind of jobs they can hold? Will it factor into the kinds of water fountains we can drink at? These are the hard hitting spiral questions," Brad strokes his chin, "How should citizens react? Should they be concerned? Or is this just a new evolution of American society?"

"Landlords and banks aren't supposed to discriminate based on those things either, but they do. That's why the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity exists." Parkman barely lets Russo get his words out before he's jumping on Nicole's questions, but his eyes narrow slightly at her. He's seen her before, but he can't place her. "Initiatives like the Octagon and Summer Meadows are a way to help get the SLC-expressive community back on their feet after any number of the disasters that have happened in the New York area." He leans back a little in his chair, moving his hands apart and resting his palms on the table. "But I'm counting on the American people to keep their eyes and ears open to make sure it doesn't snowball."

He looks down the panel toward Savannah and Magnes again, his eyes settling on the latter for little more than a second. "The how is always the difficult part. But look it how all these grassroots organizations gain ground. It just takes people talking about it. Being honest about it." Parkman glances back to Russo and shakes his head with a frown. "We should all be concerned. We're all facing this chance in our society, and we all have a chance to direct it." He pauses again to center himself. "Communication across that divide is essential in closing it."

Savannah shakes her head a little. "Discrimination is not the evolution of American society. If anything, it's completely the opposite. People should be outraged. The whole idea is, we need to be united as human beings, as Americans, and not separated by skin color, sexuality, or SLC-expression." She glances back towards Matt. "But honestly, I don't see that as equal. Sure, there's some need to get those with abilities back on their feet… but doesn't everyone deserve assistance? I know a great many people who have lost their livelihoods. Why aren't they allowed to live at the Octagon with it's impressive apartments and low rent? Heck, I am looking for an apartment and nothing I've found is nearly close to the Octagon. And if landlords aren't allowed to discriminate, then why is the Octagon allowed to? There are plenty of ways the government can assist people that don't involve separating them further." The blonde shrugs. "Part of the reason I started writing about Evolved characters was because of the need for people to see that we're all still people, human beings, deserving of respect and equality."

"Discrimination isn't evolution, but discrimination has certainly evolved. We've gone from discriminating against people for the color of their skin, their religion, and even their values, to ironically, discriminating against them for whats on the inside." Magnes takes a few breaths, then suddenly shoots Matt a challenging look. "Hey, Parkman, the Octagon seems like a great idea. Get all the Evolved on an island that recently got suspiciously high security for anyone going in or out, get them all rounded up into one building, then… I forgot the last part of the plan." He looks out to the audience and asks, "Hey, anyone happen remember how Hitler finished it? Nathan Petrelli hasn't quite gotten that far yet."

«I’m going to let you field these ones, Brad, do us proud baby. We’re almost out of time, let’s get a good questions out before we wrap up.»

Nicole had opened her mouth to immediately jump on Parkman's words the way he had done with her, but she was beaten to the punch by Savannah. An appreciative smile touches her lips, and she nods her head in agreement with her sentiments. However, she blanches at Magnes' bold statements. "I wouldn't go so far as to compare our government - our president to Hitler. But I will admit it is rather suspect - rather convenient that there's all those registered Evolved in one place, surrounded by guards."

She holds her hands out on either side of her, palms facing upward like they're sides of a scale, and she's weighing each term. "Resettlement community…" Nicole's left hand dips a little while the right lifts higher. "Relocation camp…" The left then raises while the right sinks, until the two correct to be an equal measure. Then her shoulders come up in a shrug.

"You all raise excellent points," Brad affirms as he glances at each of his panelists. "Nazi Germany did place restrictions on Jewish people before relocation — the question remains as to when the restrictions will cease? When is enough enough in the name of security? Resettlement communities are designed for citizens' protection, but if citizens are being forced into them, then how can they be deemed safe at all? Further, if we compare these United States to Nazi Germany, we need to be careful in being reductionist. Jewish people were a perceived threat. Frankly, following the bomb nearly four years ago, there is cause to be concerned. Any comments on that?"

Parkman visible steels himself at Magnes's comment, taking a deep breath and gritting his teeth to keep from immediately jumping on it. But when Russo seizes upon it, he can't help but address it. "It's a shame that the world's first exposure to SLC-expressive people like myself was linked to such a tragic event. It's a shame that people across the country reacted violently to the news. It's a shame groups like PARIAH and Messiah thought violence was the way to fight back against oppression. Violence, no matter who's the one doing it, is never the best answer. But the fact remains that no one is forcing SLC-expressive people to live on Roosevelt Island. I don't live there, and the last time I looked at your file, Mr. Varlane, you don't live there either. The government hasn't forced you out of your home and told you that you have to relocate. Making that comparison is just a snowball argument."

Parkman clears his throat and looks back to Savannah, a smile curling in one side of his mouth. "Miss Burton, I don't disagree with you on any point. The world isn't perfect, but it takes people getting involved in the process to make it better. Writing representatives, congressmen, even your alderman or city councilmen are easy things to do - they have forms on their websites. They're the individuals that have been put in office by the people, and they're the ones who need to be keeping their fingers on the very pulse you're describing." He looks to the audience then, his expression a mix between petition and determination. "We all have a right to free speech and peaceful demonstration. Use them. Get the conversation started, but remember that you have to listen to the other side too." Who new Matt Parkman could get political, but maybe that's what Washington does to a beat cop from Los Angeles.

He lifts his palms away from the table then and shakes his head. "Look, I'm gonna be straight with you. Yes. It's scary. It can be viewed through a thousand different lenses. Are they being kept safe from fanatics, or is everyone else being kept safe from them? It's all in how you look at it. But I can tell you the intention is in the best interests of the SLC-expressive. We - I want to help these people." And why wouldn't he? His own status is public knowledge.

Savannah purses her lips, nodding slowly in agreement with Matt. "Violence on all fronts and how devastating the effect is from it, are issues I focus on a lot in my novels." She glances around at Nicole and Magnes, before focusing back on Parkman. "The very reason I interview people for my novels is perspective. I try to find people from all walks of life, abilities or no, pro-Evolved, anti-Evolved, government, grass-roots… if people don't come forward and at least let their opinions be heard, then we can't know where to fight discrimination. I think people stay silent for too long. Some people won't even talk to me, despite the fact that I never even put anything in my novels from an interview… I use them for perspective, for inspiration. But people are afraid. People just need to remember that if they don't feel strong enough to let their voice be heard… there are those of us out there willing to speak up on issues. I'm always willing to listen. But I think people forget that there are people fighting for them, and not with explosives."

"Oh, no, they don't force anyone to do anything, they use tactics to get Evolved to do what they want. Here's a dictionary word for you: Bribe -noun, anything given or serving to persuade or induce: the children were given candy as a bribe to be good. Or how about, 'to promise, offer, or give something, usually money, to a person to procure services or gain influence." Magnes places his hands on the table, quite intent on getting back at this person who may or may not have screwed up his head, and make a point at the same time.

"Did they ever say what Evolved caused the storm, you know, the storm that forced people to stay inside, close together, when a virus just happened to spring up over night and make a bunch of people lose their abilities? Is it really not forcing people to do something, when you won't even give people a vaccine to stay alive, unless they register?" His frown gets even more intensely focused on Matt as he continues, beginning to even lean in a bit. "Is that your idea of 'not forcing' people to do something, Parkman? Register or die?"

«We’ve got Nicole as last rebuttal, this is going to be good. I think we’re going to leave everyone a little riled… Jerry get the pink shirt now! Look at her, she’s absolutely fuming!»

"I think my fellow panelists make some very good points. But I'd like to make one of my own, because something you said, Secretary Parkman, really caught my attention…" Nicole sits up and then leans her arm on the desk to fix Matt with an expression of intense - if feigned - curiosity. "Not that I don't understand why the government would want to keep tabs on Mister Varlane, but I find it very disconcerting the way you flippantly mention that you've peeked at his file, and made note of his current residence. Do you do this with all high profile Evolved citizens? People like Marcus Donovan, who sought the office of mayor of New York City? Or Peyton Whitney, who you've seen manifest her ability, as they say, if you have a pulse and know how to operate YouTube. Local author, Doctor Harve Brennan, who's done great work for Doctors Without Borders?" Someone has done her homework.

"Or maybe Maxwell Quinn, the action star?" Nicole pauses, her gaze narrowing as she sits up again, giving a confused look for the benefit of the panel and the audience, "Or did he have to go into WitSec after Humanis First attacked him on set? You toss around names like Messiah and PARIAH, but what about the anti-evolved organisations, whose only cause is to harm people because they're different? Let's put those names out there a bit more often, if we want to talk about being fair."

«Alright, we’re out of time, wrap it up. Closing commentary, thank the guests… you know the drill.»

With a toothy grin, Brad slides around the podium and takes a single step towards his audience. “And that’s all the time we have for tonight. I’d like to thank our panelists for joining us and sharing their insights on this issue. But more than that I’d like to remind you, our viewers, that we want to hear your thoughts. The Advocate is about ideas. Remember to log onto our online forums to share your opinions, flames, and praises. Beyond that, if you received a puzzle piece, we want to hear from you so we can get to the bottom of his puzzling mystery.” His smile changes as he becomes somewhat more pensive, “Also, I am featured on the cover of the November issue of Pause magazine, I highly suggest you all get a copy if only to frame,” he strikes a mock body builder pose, drawing laughter from several of the audience, “this physique.”

Russo folds his hands in front of him. “You’ve been a wonderful audience. This has been The Advocate and I’m Bradley Russo telling to you B-Rad America. We’ll see you next week!” With that a single hand waves to the crowd and the closing music plays.

Production Room

The crew in the little booth are cheering and Kristen is smiling widely as she stares at the various monitors. “Bradley Russo, that was absolutely fantastic. I owe you a month of going to church on this one.” Drinks aren’t on the table for the two of them, not with him on the wagon.

When Kristen finally takes her headset off, most of the room has been cleared and except for the director and editor going over a few key points of filming, she’s alone. It’s was a great show.

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