Ten O'Clock With Louise Campbell


lynette_icon.gif oscar_icon.gif

Scene Title Ten O'Clock With Louise Campbell
Synopsis Lynette Rowan Ruiz participates in a panel debate about important issues.
Date April 14, 2018

Television Studio

It's quiet, currently, in the studio changing room. Broadway lights line the mirror that Lynette sits in front of, reflecting back to her the primped and preened version of herself after hair and makeup were finished with her, leaving behind a vague haze of spray and powder in the air. Lynette will know this to be the eye of a storm, a moment of peace between that first initial organisational flurry and the coming chaos of cameras, lights, and action. An EP has been and gone, reiterating the things she already knows, leaving her with print outs of information she has already received: a list of discussion questions printed on white.

The problem of negation drugs. The problem of superheroes. The problem of solutions to these problems. Who knows — maybe they'll all find the answers on live TV.

In the corner, a monitor plays the first half of 10 O'Clock with Louise Campbell, audio turned down to a murmur. Next to Lynette's elbow, a tall glass of cold water with a slice of lemon idly sweats. A clock over the wall is a countdown, rather than telling her the time. It's ten-minutes-to-go o'clock.

There's a knock on the door, which is different. Producers have a way of barging right in.

Lynette doesn't look like herself. To her own eye. She's too used to the casual, to the haggard, to truly be comfortable with herself as she appears in the mirror right now.

Plus, she's rethinking the outfit. Are pants suits in or out? She slides out of the jacket, leaving a cowl necked, sleeveless blouse behind. And jewelry. Her hair gets the only look of approval. Because her hair is perfect. Her eyes close for a moment, reminding herself that this is just like every other interview, every other discussion. It'll be fine.

The knock brings her out of it and she turns to look toward the door.

"Come in," she says, tone guarded. Posture wary. She shakes it by reaching for her glass to squeeze the lemon into.

The door opens, and a man peers in, affect a little hapless, already apologetic, which doesn't stop him from stepping inside and closing the door after him. "Ms Ruiz?" he says. "Hi, sorry to interrupt, I thought I'd just introduce myself."

He has a haircut that implies he's in his mid-30s or so, but otherwise youthful, slightly Scandinavian with big blue eyes and hair the shade of brunette that takes the sun very quickly. His suit is bold blue, his shirt snowy white, his tie a silvery grey, and he lacks most of the equipment and focus of the producers and assistants that swarm the studio. Under this lighting, in person, TV makeup washes him out, more unsettling on men than women.

Well, he's not Gina, the other panelist, so Lynette can probably guess for herself before he says, "I'm Oscar," offering out a hand to shake.

Chair spinning, Lynette turns more fully when the man comes in and shuts the door. She stands after a moment, to take his hand. Her shake is firm, business-like, and brief. "Oscar, it's lovely to meet you. And please, call me Lynette." His makeup is noted, mostly with a sympathetic expression. Poor soul.

"I'm glad you were able to step in at the last minute. It must be a little nerve wracking," she says with a warm smile. "But then, you do this sort of thing for a living, don't you?" So maybe that observation was more about her own situation than his. "I'm sorry, would you like a seat?" she gestures to the room, letting him choose his perch— or to not have one— as he likes.

"Oh, yeah, sure," and Oscar moves to take a seat, the kind of pending perch of someone who doesn't intend to linger too long, but likewise doesn't want to loom. At a little over 6' and a broad shoulder span, it'd be easy to do. Lynette's smile is answered with his own, more sudden and sporadic than continual, but just as friendly. "Nerves, sure, a little. Bigger audience, cameras," and he gestures to his whole make up situation, smile skewing crooked. "And, of course— "

Another gesture, to indicate Lynette's own self. "If you don't mind my saying so, this is a little more celebrity than I'm used to. This is definitely routine for you by now, right?"

Lynette sits back into her chair, picking up her water to sip. When he gestures to her, her eyebrows lift in surprise. "I wouldn't call it routine. Breakfast at eight, dinner at six, that's a routine. This is the most surreal part of my life." That's a lie, but it is on the list of surreal parts of her life. The Most list is full of things most people wouldn't believe even if she did talk about them.

"Don't worry," she says with a more impish smile, "you'll forget the cameras once the discussion gets rolling. This panel isn't an accident. We're here to liven up a usually stately program. And to draw an audience."

"Sideshow attractions," Oscar says, a laugh going unmanifested except in the edges of another smile. "You know, normally, I'm the one doing the coaching."

He bounces a glance to the monitor in the corner, where Louise Campbell talks over a clip, a replay of the red carpet that stretched outside the Yamagato Fellowship Centre mere days ago. Glittering elite and known names. Lynette herself is not featured as the camera lingers on the as yet unelected Mayor Short, followed by Robyn Quinn in her elegant white tuxedo, and then the COO of Raytech, Kaylee Ray-Sumter, leaning to whisper something to her more bashful husband as she waves to the cameras.

Oscar only lets himself get distracted for a second, attention switching back to Lynette with ease. "But I disagree. I think we're here to do more than that. Even if it just happens to be on a silly TV show."

"Old habits," Lynette says, as if to absolve herself of the sin of doing someone else's job. It certainly isn't hers, not here anyway. "But yes, sideshow attractions." She doesn't follow his gaze to the screen, not that she means to ignore the gala footage, exactly. But the night was a touch overwhelming for her and here she is putting herself in front of the cameras again. For a good cause, though, this time. Which Oscar touches on himself.

She smiles at his words, crookedly and amused. "Oh yes. I fully intend to take advantage of the moment. As I'm sure we all will. See if we can't get the people out there thinking a little, hmm?"

"Thinking. Talking. Maybe more."

A laugh, then, vaguely apologetic. "But I may be biased, of course. We newsmen like to think we're more important than we are." Oscar fans his hands as if to stop himself from elaborating further, or excusing Lynette from the obligation of reassuring him otherwise. "Listen, Lynette, I wanted to say— well, hello, before the show, obviously, and that I hope that any items over which we might disagree won't be taken as, you know, a personal attack. My audience expects a pretty rigorous form of debate, and I mean to stick to that."

This heads up has Lynette lifting a single eyebrow at him, but otherwise she seems unbothered by this promise of rigorousness. "Disagreement is healthy. It does no one any good to only hear their own opinions. I don't tend to hold it against people. That said," she notes, reaching for her jacket again— pants suits are in— "Rigor I can handle. Disrespect is another matter."

She's heard talk radio.

She knows.

"But I don't intend to disappoint your audience, Oscar. Or any audience," she adds with a friendlier smile.

"Then I think it's gonna be a great show," Oscar says, having given a nod to her caveat. Full agreement.

On the monitor, the segment has switched to an aerial recording of some kind of highway pursuit, the flashing lights of an ambulance eye catching along with a sleeker looking vehicle following at its tail. This doesn't catch Oscar's attention, though, sitting back enough to fix his tie. "And I would certainly love to continue whatever conversations we have tonight sometime, where the cameras aren't rolling. Maybe a drink after the show, if you're not doing anything."

The frankness delivered in speech and eye contact seems to keep the offer professional, in spite of his words, sharp curiousity and open interest, as receptive to decline as he would be to acceptance.

"On that, we agree."

Lynette's gaze does drift to the monitor, her head tilting a little at the chase shown there. There was a time when you wouldn't be able to pull off something like that in New York City. Oscar's words pull her attention back over, her smile reappearing— but amused. "Did they not give you the dramatis personae?" At first, that seems like it might be her entire answer. But after a beat, she adds, "I don't drink. But thank you for the offer. Let's see how the initial conversation goes. You may decide to revoke it."

"In that case, a club soda is on offer on the other side."

With this last thing breezily delivered, Oscar takes that as his cue to stand, smoothing down his tie as he does so. "It was a pleasure to meet you, regardless. Oh, and— " A pause, on his way towards the door, turning back. "Break a leg. Do they still say that?"

The offer is only responded to with a smirk. Perhaps she really does need to see how the discussion goes before she'll decide one way or the other.

"Apparently, they do," she says, since he said it. "And it was good to meet you, too." She brings the straw in her water to drink as she turns back to the mirror. Glass goes down, lipstick is picked up, but her attention is on him in the mirror, assessing as he makes his way to the door.

After his final comment, her final reply, Oscar opens his hand in a quick goodbye wave before he sees himself out, the door clicking quietly behind him.

Lynette is only awarded a minute or so more of peace before a headset wearing assistant enters her room, his big smile more like reflex while he distracts himself with seeing her out into the brightly lit soundstage where Louise Campbell is having her nose powdered. She sits at the head of her desk, a big, glowing piece of scenery with her name embellished across the front, wide enough for the four of them, curving in an incomplete semi-circle. She lifts her hand, fingers tipped with painted pink nails and wiggled in greeting as she otherwise holds still.

To her left, Dr Gina Soanes is already seated, barely looking up from her phone as an assistant fixes the sit of her lapel mic, and pressing out a thin and semi-sincere smile to Oscar, who sits down beside her. He sets out a few loose leaf pages in front of him, focus in place, ignoring the rest of those gathered at the desk.

And he doesn't look to Lynette as she joins the panel, leaning to mutter something to Louise, who, more audible, says, "I wouldn't worry about that, Mr Nyström," before she looks to Lynette. "Ready to feed the wolves?" she asks, smile bright and ironic.

Lynette takes that minute to look at herself in the mirror. Not to touch up her makeup as she just implied, but to remind herself that she's been through harder things than cameras and audiences. And to not think too hard about how much she would rather be anywhere else. Hermit tendencies, to the back burner.

By the time the assistant comes in, she's standing and ready to go. When she reaches the stage, she takes a moment to greet Louise with a handshake before she takes her seat. Dr. Soanes gets a nod and a smile, but she turns back to the assistant, making light chatter with him as he fixes her mic. But when they're ready, she looks back to the others. "Someone has to, don't they?" she notes, her smile crooked. Of course, she doesn't want to feed the wolves.

She wants to be one.

Over the airwaves, television and radio

RADIO: "Good evening, and thanks for joining us at 10 O'Clock with Louise Campbell — I'm your host, Louise Campbell. If you're just tuning in, we're here with our panelists, who are generously lending us their perspective on some hot button topics: has diversifying the Registry compromised its integrity? Do we need to rethink access to negation medicine for every day SLC-Expressive citizens? What equality issues are we facing in our post-Second Civil War America?"

RADIO: "But first, I'd like to start by introducing our panelists. Dr Gina Soanes is a Cambridge professor of psychology, and a trailblazer in considering the psychological impacts of SLC-Expression in post-war society. Welcome, Dr Soanes."

RADIO: An English accented woman's voice, Dr. Soanes, says, "Thank you for having me, Louise."

RADIO: "We're also honoured to have with us Lynette Rowan Ruiz, executive director of the Benchmark Recovery and Counseling Center and a true hero in our time. Thank you so much for being here, Lynette."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Thank you, Louise. I'm glad to be here.”

RADIO: "And lastly, we were unfortunately notified that Jonathan Ricketts, author of the notorious publication, The Better Angels, had to withdraw due to illness, and we wish him a speedy recovery. Fortunately, my friend and colleague, Oscar Nyström, talkshow host at WVMA, has generously accepted out invitation to lend his perspective on these same topics."

RADIO: A male voice — Oscar — says, "Thanks Louise — and I have read the book."

RADIO: Laughing, "And what did you think about it?"

RADIO: Oscar says, "It has a lot of interesting ideas, Louise. Thanks for having me."

RADIO: "Thank you all for coming. Now, I'd like to begin with Dr. Soanes and your theories about what you term the 'hero problem'. Would you like to enlighten us and our listeners at home?"

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "Certainly. In brief, the hero problem addresses the social pressure that many SLC-Expressive citizens might face on account of being equipped with extraordinary ability — they are then expected to live extraordinary lives. And some often do, such as our esteemed 'hero' here on this panel, as you put it, Louise."

RADIO: Lynette smiles crookedly as she puts in, "You'd be surprised how not extraordinary it is, Doctor."

RADIO: Dr. Soanes smiles back. "Be that as it may, the world is watching the SLC-Expressive for what they do next, especially those in the public eye, such as yourself. If an SLC-Expressive can cure cancer with a touch, why are they not touring the world doing exactly that, instead of pursuing their own dreams and goals? To clarify, this isn't my perspective, but a collective pressure experienced by many citizens."

RADIO: Oscar says, "So you're advocating for their right to live like normal human beings?"

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "I'm an academic, Mr Nyström, not an advocate."

RADIO: Oscar says, laughing a little, "I'm a non-Evo myself, so I guess I can't relate to that particular 'problem'."

RADIO: Lynette says, “If I may. In my experience, it's personality and not capability that determines how much a person is driven to heroics.”

RADIO: Lynette says, “People who are driven to become firefighters, doctors, caretakers.”

RADIO: "That's very true. Perhaps the word 'hero'— "

RADIO: Oscar says, "No offense, Lynette, but I'd say that being able to turn into a living bolt of lightning gives you a slight advantage in that department."

RADIO: Lynette says, “I think if anyone is asking the question of 'if they can, why are they not' should consider if they're holding other people to the same standard. People with position, influence, money. These are also advantages that not everyone has access to. Arguably, these people could do far more for bettering the world that a bolt of lightning can.”

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "I agree. There are many intersecting factors that contribute towards a person's propensity towards heroism, and the conversation requires that SLC-Expressive people be defined by more than genetic factors."

RADIO: Lynette says, “As with all things, it's a complex matter to unpack— who does and does not partake in heroism. Why they do and why they do not.”
RADIO: Oscar says, "Sure, but we're not talking about— "

RADIO: "It's a shame— sorry, Oscar, I'll get back to you in a moment— it's a shame that Mr. Ricketts had to bow out, because his book does touch lightly on what constitutes a normal life in a world of special ability. Oscar, you were saying?"

RADIO: Oscar says, "Well, I feel confident in saying that The Better Angels is, at heart, a vision of the future, and that future is of an emerging upper class of SLC-Expressive citizens, able to capitalise on their abilities in ways that normal people can't. We're talking about advantages in life, ones that can't be taken away like money can be taken away, beholden to the economy, and so on. Lynette, I have a question for you."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Yes, Oscar?”

RADIO: Oscar says, "What were you, before the world aligned to make you a hero?"

RADIO: Lynette says, “It depends on your definition of a hero. Perhaps I still haven't become one. But, to the point of your question: I had manifested long before I joined the Ferrymen. I had my ability before I graduated high school. And, for the record, I raced horses.”

RADIO: Lynette says, “It was circumstance, not ability that sent me in that direction. Toward the Ferrymen.”

RADIO: Lynette says, “In our ranks were plenty of Non-Expressive individuals, as well, people who found it important to put their skills toward that cause.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "Let's say for the sake of argument, you're a hero. A war hero, even. Without your ability, you wouldn't be sitting here right now. They called you Zeus on the battlefield. That sounds heroic to me."

RADIO: Lynette says, “I would like to think I would still be sitting here. Watching the government order innocent citizens executed tends to inspire one to action. This one, at the very least.”

RADIO: "Yes, we've seen plenty of non-SLC-expressive heroes come out of the horrors of war— "

RADIO: Oscar says, "Personally, I think you'd still be riding ponies in Los Angeles."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Well, I suppose we'll never know for sure.”

RADIO: "Okay, we should move on, I think."

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "Please."

RADIO: "The matter of negation is an interesting one. There's an emerging conversation about the availability of negation medication and that it is most used for citizens who require negation to live or to prevent themselves from harming others — or, of course, themselves — and those who have been prosecuted in a way that requires their ability to be suppressed. Some advocates believe in the benefit of making negation medicine more widely available, and others feel like it's a slippery slope. Lynette, perhaps you could lend your perspective on this to start us off."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Every SLC-Expressive citizen should have the option of choosing to live negated. And I look forward to a world where that is safely possible. Where we stand at this moment? We need to understand the long term effects of these medications. It took years before anyone noticed the cancer risk with previous versions of Adynomine. But I do think that it should be available with a doctor's perscription. A doctor could make the risks clear and make sure a person is making that decision with all the knowledge we have for them. Without regulation, fear may drive someone to medicate without clarity.”

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "Yes, given past complications, there is still a wealth of fear associated with negation medicine for some SLC-Expressive individuals, along with other more mundane taboo associations come with medicating in general. I do believe that revisiting our regulations around drugs like adynomine would do much to take away that stigma of criminality or being out of control."

RADIO: Lynette says, “The cure for fear is education.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "I feel a little awkward giving input — I know I can't speak on behalf of Evolveds, and I don't want anyone thinking I'd be talking out of fear when I say that I advocate for less regulations around negation medicines."

RADIO: Lynette says, “SLC-Expressives.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "I'm sorry, of course. SLC-Expressives."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Thank you.”

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "We're here to have a conversation, regardless of our genetic makeup, Mr Nyström. By all means."

RADIO: Oscar says, "Well, the reason I advocate for less regulation around negation — with all of the checks and balances that Lynette has already described — is because I hope that we'll get to a point where SLC-Expressive citizens will be taking something like adynomine as a matter of routine."

RADIO: "Which SLC-Expressive citizens?"

RADIO: Oscar says, "All of them."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Well, that's an interesting point of view. Care to elaborate?”

RADIO: Dr. Soanes laughs.

RADIO: Oscar says, "Certainly. We were just speaking to advantages — and we don't have time enough to go into that, but I think it's a crucially important conversation to continue. But SLC-Expressive citizens have an unfair advantage, and that's just a fact. Yes, of course, the atrocities that led to the war were great and terrible, and I am in no way advocating for mass negation and control like the Mitchell administration was pushing for. But unless SLC-Expressive citizens are willing to admit that they do have a genetic, unfair advantage over a majority, then I don't see why we wouldn't want to push for voluntary negation for the moment of expression."

RADIO: Lynette says, “And some people are 6'5" while others are 5'2". Shall we ask them to walk on their knees?”

RADIO: Lynette says, “There are a variety of advantages a person can be born to, Oscar. We don't ask anyone to give them up except this one. Do you have thoughts as to why that might be?”

RADIO: Oscar says, "Being 6'4" doesn't get people killed, or permit you to read people's minds, or become an acclaimed Cambridge professor while enjoying a photographic memory."

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "Excuse me— "

RADIO: Lynette says, “But it can get you a six figure NBA contract.”

RADIO: Lynette says, “Danger is not limited to Expressiveness. I can point to a rather lengthy trial transcript that should make that clear enough.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "Sure. We can pretend that being on a far side of the spectrum of variable human potential is the same as having lightning . abilities, but we're not gonna get anywhere or accurately represent the concerns of majority America if we do."

RADIO: Lynette says, “And what are the concerns of majority America, Oscar? And are you claiming to ability to speak for them?”

RADIO: Lynette says, “I believe the landslide of our President's election is a nice indicator of where the majority of America is leaning.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "Oh, of course, let's talk about the election— "

RADIO: Lynette says, “Would you like to?”

RADIO: "I think we're getting a little far afield of our topics for discussion, actually!"

RADIO: Oscar says, "My apologies, Louise, I'm used to three hour segments. And it's in those three hour segments, every day, that I listen to and take measure of an audience who Lynette obviously does not feel represents America."

RADIO: Lynette says, “I do not think anyone audience of any one show can accurately represent all of America, that is true.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "My audience are people who don't feel like they have a voice, out of fear of reprisal for being un-American. Our President is a man who won a landslide in the aftermath of a devastating war, but it's time to start talking about these things in a rational manner. I advocate for free and frank discourse, that's all."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Are we not in a free and frank discourse presently? I feel you've had the space to be perfectly frank.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "And I thank you, and Louise, for that opportunity."

RADIO: Lynette says, “I sympathize with those among us who are watching the world change around them and aren't sure where their place is going to be after the dust settles. I don't think it's un-American or even necessarily bad to feel that way. But when your answer to that feeling is to lessen another person's life and wellbeing, that is where a problem arises.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "I don't consider a course of medication that puts you at an even playing field with the rest of your fellow citizens as in some way lessening someone's life or wellbeing — unless you consider living as a non-Evolved to be a lessened experience?"

RADIO: Lynette says, “I was referring to the medical side effects which, may I remind you, are unknown at this point.”

RADIO: Lynette says, “Do you believe that non-expressive live a lessened experience, Oscar?”

RADIO: Oscar, smiling: "I think living as an SLC-Expressive individual comes with its share of enhancements. But we can agree that neither of us desire a roll out of medication that puts citizens at risk of cancer. Just the stuff you use at Benchmark should suffice."

RADIO: Lynette says, “We don't.”

RADIO: Lynette says, “But if you're suggesting that everyone get therapy, that I do agree with.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "That's a whole other discussion."

RADIO: "And one we, unfortunately, don't have time for!"

RADIO: Lynette says, “My thoughts are this: We lived through a regime that sought to tear down Expressive citizens. The organizations put in place to protect us failed us. Often with malicious intent. This country turned on its own people and there is a broken trust that must be rebuilt. Registries were used as shopping lists. As execution lists. And frankly every citizen should be unnerved by the fact that this was allowed to happen. And should be invested in not letting that happen again to any citizen for any reason. The excellent thing about legislation is that is can change. And as we begin to move forward from where we have restarted the government's relationship with its SLC-Expressive citizens, it is important that we all remain open, educated, and receptive to change. There is room for all of us, but we only get there when we put our fears aside.”

RADIO: Oscar says, "Fears that—" But he is quickly cut off, Louise rolling over the top with, "Wonderfully put, Lynette. We're certainly living in a time of great change for our country and its citizens, and it's open discussion like this that will facilitate these changes. This has been a fantastic, and, well, lively panel, and unfortunately, that's all we have time for tonight. I want to again thank my guests — and on such short notice, Oscar — for your time and your perspectives on these topics."

RADIO: Dr. Soanes says, "Thanks, Louise." There is a distinct rustling, like she is already taking off her mic.

RADIO: Oscar says, "Anytime."

RADIO: Lynette says, “Thank you, Louise.”

RADIO: "And thank you, listeners, for tuning in. This has been Ten O'Clock with Louise Campbell — good night, and stay safe."

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