The End Of Studio K


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Scene Title The End of Studio K
Synopsis Bradley Russo returns from 'rehab' and he and Kincaid make some decisions.
Date October 15, 2011

Studio K

It’s seems like a perfectly ordinary morning at K-Studios. The last few months things have quieted some. While the studio continues with most of its productions, others have come to a serious halt. Several months ago, following Kristen’s death, The Advocate took a long break while the host rather publicly checked into some version of celebrity rehab.

Of course, Brad Russo didn’t stay. He’d done several stints over the years, but never stayed long. Graduating AA many times over, he’s never let the alcohol go. Which is why he’s holed up in his office grasping a glass of whiskey with the bottle just adjacent. A large stack of manila files rests in front of him and he scans a document in front of him. His lips purse irritably and he glances among the documents strewn over the desk.

He’d received these months ago. And then had got to work. The massive number of documents he’d received from Alia back in April had taken much work to go through, and it’d represented a kind of reboot for him. He lifts his glass and takes a long drink while pensively leaning back in his chair.

Blue eyes narrow with determination and he inhales a sharp breath.

It didn’t take long for word to reach Kincaid that a certain office had finally been filled. It did, however, take some time before he could break away from all the work that had been left in his hands when Kristen left him a portion of the Company. The longer the months have been, the harder it had been on him. But he understood that it had probably been even more difficult for someone else.

Someone who he’d kept an eye on when he could, even if he never visited.

With a casual knock, he steps into the office, ignoring the files on the desk and even the glass of whiskey, and instead looking entirely at the man starting to look more and more like the father he remembered.

“You’re back.”

A smirk sweeps across Brad’s expression, married with easily reflected self-deprecation in his eyes. As his fingers clutch tighter on that glass lifeline, his head ducks towards his chest and he reaches for a second glass — this one empty — tucked on a shelf behind him. He sets it down silently as a kind of offering before motioning to the visitor’s chair across from him.

“Kind of,” he manages with a strange curl of his lips. “I was only in rehab a week,” compared to the five months he’d been slated for. He rubs his forehead. “What is it with celebrities and stints in rehab. It’s expected.” Blue eyes drift back to the glass in his hand and he takes a long drink. “And officially, I’m still there,” he smirks at that.

He rubs his very scruffy chin with his free hand. “I’ve been working.” The ominous edge in his voice begs more questions, particularly considering he’s here unsuited in nothing but a t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans. “We had phone interview last April. Never aired; needed too much fact checking. I want to air it in its entirety with the monologue I’ve had added to the front. Unedited.”

Another pause follows Brad’s words, “I had help on it. I paid the staffers out of pocket. I’m pretty sure this is going to tank the show. Not the ratings. Just the show.” He takes a long drink of the whiskey.

An interview and monologue to tank the show. Kincaid stands in the doorway for a long moment before he nods. "Go ahead." As he steps inside the office he closes the door behind him, leaning against it. "But it may end up bringing down more than just your show." He sounds serious, even if there's a depressed look in his eyes. Over so many things.

"Quinn's gone into hiding and if you air this, I don't envision them letting it go." Them meaning the government. At least Russo won't become their puppet, or so he hopes. He witnessed that once, even if he'd been far too young to understand at the time. "But that shouldn't stop us. It's our duty to show people what's happening, how it's happening." Their duty, and because Kristen would have wanted it, he knows that much.

That's how she died, originally. Trying to report.

"When do you want to air it?"

Brad’s eyes darken and his chin tucks towards his chest. It will tank more of the show, “I know.” His fingers tighten on the glass and his lips curve up into a crooked smirk, “Why do you think I dropped out of rehab?” He stifles a self-deprecating laugh. “They tried to make me go to rehab. And I pretended.”

He finally releases the glass — his only lifeline. “I needed the evidence. All of it. I need to check it and double check it. I needed…” the smile has long disappeared “…to have an iron clad case.” His eyes lid lightly. “But this is what it is to be a journalist. It will probably tank the studio. I’ve cashed in my 401K and I want the money going to the employees. Severance is going to be a problem.”

His smirk grows, “There’s no reason for them to think they have anything hanging over my head, anyways. We report the story.”

When does he anticipate airing this? “Early November.” He motions to the folders on his desk. “I’ve talked to editors at the Times and Post and we’ve secured space for these pieces. They’ve already received the first drafts of each,” with the evidence he’s been given and backed up. “It’s precautionary in case we get booted before the entire footage can air. They are confirming the fact checking we’ve done. If something happens between now and then, we’ll add it to the piece. But otherwise, the interview is rough, but it’s got the details it needs.” His lips purse, “They won’t silence the press. A government only works if the press is free.”

He sniffs hard. “Haven’t decided if I will just show up at a government facility and surrender after or not. If I do, the rest of the studio can have plausible deniability. Regardless, they won’t silence me. The evidence is stark. And while opinions and perspectives are biased, actions speak to a police state operating in fear. And more than that, that all average citizens need to resist — evolved or not.” His eyes cut downwards. “Which means I keep doing my fucking job, especially when it’s hard. This,” he taps on the copy of the recording, “includes some ideas.”

"They silenced the press in my time," Kincaid warns, giving his father a long look. "They silenced it and controlled what got out, and they will possibly do it again." But that won't stop some of it from getting out. They can't shut down everyone. "I've actually been anticipating something happening for a while. I liquidated some of the studio's assets, making it look like intentional downsizing." Selling off excess cameras, excess lighting. Things they didn't immediately need.

"I've put the money into a fund to start a new studio when this all blows over." Cause he has to hope it will. "If it doesn't, then it can go toward helping the studio employees." Not including him.

He doesn't even belong in this timeline. "If I thought telling people where I'm from would help, I would. But it's not really something that can be fact checked." Most people wouldn't believe in time travel. Even with some evidence. They'd need more.

"November— needs to be a few days after the 8th. The airways will be too full of 'it's been five years since the Bomb' if you wait too long."

“November tenth then,” Russo replies as to the date. “Early enough to get the advertising out that we’re returning to the air. Late enough to give us time to make sure the blowback to everyone else is minimal.” He shoots Kincaid a ghost of a smile. “And they won’t be shutting me down. I started in radio, I’m happy to get some basic tools to pirate radio. It’ll be like my army days.”

He takes another swig of the whiskey. “It took a long time to make all of this plausible,” he motions to the folders, “but it’s good evidence upon evidence. They shut can shut us down, but the truth is getting out. And not just through one venue.”

He manages a half-smile, but it has none of the markers of true happiness. “Still not sure if I should just give myself up after all of this. The less blowback everyone else gets, the better.”

Radio. Pirate radio.

Kincaid tilts his head back as he thinks, wondering if, perhaps, Noa could help keep them onair after they start broadcasting. If she can talk to him and tease him through the radio, then surely she can do even better if they started to cut off the broadcast. "I have a friend who may be able to help with that too. Someone I grew up around."

That is the best way of saying 'yes, another time traveller'.

"If you co give yourself up, don't let them talk you into working for them," he adds after a moment. "Even if it would protect those within the company, it— just don't." He knows his parents probably had been working with the government to protect what they had, to protect him as time moved on.

But he also knew it killed them.

“Geez, how many folks out of time are there?” Brad squints at that. But the notion of working for them merits a mirthless chuckle, “Pretty hard if we take the coming weeks prepping everyone else for this. Or, if we need to, we release it early. But we need to try to give the staff time to make some choices.”

He sucks on the inside of his cheek. “That’s the thing about giving everything up beforehand. It means I’ll have nothing left to lose.” His gaze darkens. He’s planned this for months and done all of the legwork for it. And now he’s following through on a long-awaited plan.

His cheeks puff out. “It’d be good to tap your friend for help. I want this staying on during its airing. If it’s going to make a difference, it has to be allowed to air. I think the Times and Post will publish the story. Their editors are good people who can’t easily be bought… for now. Went to Harvard with one of them.”

"Sixteen from my time that I know of. Including myself and the evil one," Kincaid responds simply, but truthfully. There's an evil one? Why yes, yes there is. That's a lot of time travelers, one might imagine. More than some might expect. With a nod, he steps closer, meeting his father's eyes, "We could lay off everyone except those necessary to transmit— and even then the two of us could probably handle it, especially if I get my friend in on it."

She could transmit it through the radio waves, even if everything else is shut down. "I took it upon myself to learn as much about production as possible while I was here." He'd had schooling, but not anywhere near what his resume had said. He learned the rest from books, watching and asking for help. But he knew most of the inner workings, now.

"It could just be the two of us."

To be honest, he had very little to live for, either.

“An evil one?” Brad arches an eyebrow. He actually fights an ironic smirk and a shake of his head. “Your Marty McFly moments must be pretty trippy.” He rubs his forehead and polishes off the glass of whiskey. “No one else faces consequences. No one else even needs to know.”

He chews on his bottom lip. “Pink slips by day’s end for everyone? We get this out early next week.” There’s a pause. “And if you want, you can watch it beforehand and get a feel for what doom I’m about to let on us.” He sniffs hard, “Unless you already know. Seriously, being from the future must be disorienting.”

Brad’s lips press together tightly. “We’re going to sink the ship. But at least when we do it, everyone will see this government for what it is. With evidence, not hearsay. Whether they believe it,” he rocks his hand uncertainly.

Kincaid makes a face for an instant. Maybe TWO evil ones, considering what Calvin ended up doing— but he leaves it at one for the moment. The one they had sent back to stop, in one form or another. Everyone had their own reasons. Some selfish, like his, some not.

"That works. We give them a generous final paycheck and send them off. No one else needs to know what we're doing." And hopefully the government isn't cruel enough to still go after them. "It'll look like we're shutting down until we air one last show."

And people may not believe it, but they have to take the chance.

For once since he travelled back in time, he feels he might actually help make a difference.

“Done,” Brad nods and rubs his temples. “No one else will be the wiser.” His eyes lid briefly. “You got somewhere to go after shit hits the fan? I don’t even think we should be here when it airs. If it’s all pre-recorded and your friend can just put it on,” it’ll be the first time his show isn’t live, “maybe we don’t need to be here. Leave the studio to its slumber while it sent off in one last blaze of glory.”

His gaze drops to the file folders. “I’m going to make sure copies of all of this get to every news outlet in town. I didn’t just trust the evidence put to my screen the day I did this interview — I’m a skeptic by nature. So I dug and confirmed. It’s real. It’s all real. Not just hearsay.” His lips purse.

“Thanks,” he finally lands on. “For this. And for finding a way to protect all of them. They don’t deserve this.”

Probably best they not be in the studio while it airs. Kincaid nods, though he may do such a thing anyway, just to make sure it doesn't go offline. Especially if Noa has issues or doesn't agree to it. If she didn't radio him most nights he wouldn't even know how to contact her— but she did.

"Good. The more evidence more likely it will make people stop to think, even if they do runaround to try and silence it." And the more people with copies, the more likely it will go up on other mediums if it gets taken down.

With one hand touching something in his shirt pocket and the other grasping his father's shoulder, he smiles. For the first time in a while. "We're going to make a difference. One way or another."

The hand on his shoulder merits an actual smile from Brad, this one with more than a modicum of self-deprecation. “You’re a good man,” he offers quietly. “And I know it probably doesn’t mean much coming from a nearly washed up,” his grin grows, “too-young, highly deviating version of your father, but I never heard this from mine: I’m proud of who you are.” He shrugs once and lifts his eyebrows.

“Based on what I know of that future, and the way you offer advice, I’m guessing I was shit in your timeline. Sorry for that. God-willing I can fix even one of those mistakes.” His lips purse. “Kristen can’t have died for nothing, right? And I’d like to think this whole time travel thing wasn’t a waste.” He shrugs.

Kristen died in both timelines. Different circumstances, but still dead.

But in this one, Kincaid could see the spark of defiance in his father's eyes, something that had been long dead by the time he had been old enough to recognize it. The words make him close his eyes— something he'd not even known he wanted to hear until he did. Without hesitating too long, he pulls closer, hugging the other man tightly, for all of a few seconds. More than he probably would have done at any other time.

"The world made you what you were. You were always good to me, in your own way, just… distant." And depressed and drunk. But he could blame the depression on the negation pills, and the drinking on the hopelessness. Both products of the world he'd been forced into with his government deal. "It won't be the same this time around."

He sounds so sure. He won't be born. But his father still got to know him as a grown man, got to be proud of him. He couldn't have asked for more if he had thought of the request.

The hug is easily returned. And Brad allows his arms to drop back to his sides when Kincaid explains the distance. He inhales a long breath, holding it in his lungs while he considers the future Kincaid came from and the way things went so horribly wrong. And then, with a vague nod, he offers, “It can’t be the same this time around. We resist. At every corner. Peacefully. But we resist.”

His gaze darkens and he reaches for his glass again. “But to do that, we need to protect a lot of other people.” His head cants to the side. “So for now, we work.” And then with that same determination that reflects in his eyes, he adds, “At least we’ve got a plan.”

Previously in this storyline…

Game Changer

Next in this storyline…

Series Finale

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