The Pitch


kincaid_icon.gif kristen_icon.gif

Scene Title The Pitch
Synopsis Kristen introduces Kincaid to her present mystery, while he gives his pitch for a Humanis First show.
Date December 1, 2010

Studio K Offices

Normal working hours run 24/7 in the world of entertainment and no matter what anyone thinks, the business of news is first and foremost, entertainment. Aside from relaying current events, there's the issue of ratings. If the viewers aren't enticed by the story? You lose them. Hence, entertaining news.

The head of the company has been rather absent lately, in mind rather than body. It seems like she lives at the studio for all the time that she's there. It's barely 6am and she's already in her office but the lights are out. From outside the window a white glow can be seen, too dim to be a lamp or light but too bright to be a computer. In fact, it's a projector and the producer is reviewing the pictures that she had emailed herself from the parking garage.

Against the whiteboard, the pictures are lined up and stacked in neat rows, blown up larger than life to give her more to work with. Every once in a while, she hobbles over to the board and draws something on it to highlight a particular piece of the picture she wants to earmark.

Pressing the button to the outside office, she wait for a moment before yelling. "DIRK!! Answer me when I call you!!"

There's a pause. No response from the buzzer itself, and it's likely just about to the point where she'd buzz again, and yell maliciouslessly, but there's a shifting at the door to her office, and a sudden voice. Someone's got a grin on his face, too, and it isn't Dirk. "You have people with the strangest names working around here— first a sandwich, no a dagger."

Kincaid can be a kidder at times, and that's one of them. "I brought coffee," he says, holding two very fresh steaming cups. The machine brewed kind, so not anything really fancy, but coffee. "Not sure if that's what you were asking for, though. I only caught the last buzz."

And he hopes dirk isn't supposed to be him. He wasn't actually supposed to be working this early, but…

He steps into the room, looking up at the projected pictures and a furrowing brow as he gets close enough to hold over her cup. "Did you need something else? I can go fetch it."

Squinting her eyes a little bit at the unexpected presence, Kristen puts her glasses back on before smiling at Kincaid. "Oh.. Coffee," the one word answer to all the world's woes. Reaching for the cup, she nods her thanks and the points with it toward the whiteboard.

"What do you think of those?" The pictures of the graffitied wall with the light blue patterning of the luminol that highlights the blood are all laid out in hard copy on the desk as well as displayed on the wall. "The military guy… uhm.." She snaps her fingers quickly with her free hand, "Colonel Heller… said this was a field hospital. How many field hospitals do you know execute patients?"

"They didn't bleed to death on the floor," Kincaid says, looking a little disgusted at the sight of it, but at the same time concerned. Not necessarily about the people that he can't help, but still concerned. What happened has happened. "This might be a dangerous story to persue, but… I think someone should at the same time. You just need to be careful."

As careful as someone can be, at least. Moving to sit down in an empty chair, he takes a sip of the coffee, but doesn't get much further than that cause it's too hot. Burned his tongue.

"But this definitely sounds like another step toward the Nazi regime."

We need to check all news sources from the eighth, I want to know if there's any footage of anything like this… mention… witnesses… anything." Taking a sip from the cup, she curls her lip a little as she swallows trying to mask the grimace on her face. Pulling the marker from her pocket, she uncaps it with her teeth and hop-walks over to the board again.

"Yook a— " She spits the cap to the floor before resuming. "Look at this, according to the tip, there were five victims lined up against the wall and shot in the head." There's an audible swallow as Kristen stops herself from talking and a deep frown sets itself on her face. "We only got a few pictures and managed to find two holes in the cement before we got caught. Tell me… Kin— Eh, your new name is K2, remember that… anyway, what do you think about people with abilities?"

Leaning forward, Kincaid nods, at the mention of needing to search records, as well as his nickname. It's not until she asks that question that he looks away from the screen, coffee cup sloshing a bit as he jumps. Some of the steaming hot coffee spills out and slides over his hand, but…

He doesn't seem to notice.

"I think they're people, just like anyone else… People that are capable of good or bad. But if there's more to find, we'll find it," he adds, determined sounding, even the skin that got wet turns a rather bright shade that has nothing to do with the darkness of the coffee.

"Wrong answer."

She doesn't seem to notice right away either. Too lost in her own thoughts, she continues on with her explanation. "You need to learn how to think in entertainment. People with abilities are ratings grabbers, they're what's hot right now." Hot like his hand, which she finally glances at and makes a little face. Jerking her head toward his hand, she points it out like the helpful woman she is. "I think you should get that looked at, you might be getting a rash or something. Are you allergic to anything? I have a horrible allergy to cats or maybe it's your detergent."

Turning back to the board, Kristen taps her forehead with the marker, leaving two little dots. "Now.. you have to always think about the big picture. Abilities are good and useful. Sure sometimes they lead to catastophes and stuff… but even those are good for people like you and me." Pause. "My point is, we need to find someone that can get us in there. We need to take another look at that garage… without Heller finding us."

"What?" Kincaid says, distracted by her view of super powers and their usefulness to their show. Ratings is something he's still, slowly, coming to understand. Only when he looks down does he understand what she's saying. "Oh— no, I… It's nothing." He pulls a napkin out of his pocket, probably folded there in case there was a spill, and dabs at the still warm liquid. It may actually blister, but probably not.

Even then, he doesn't seem too bothered by it, didn't even seem to notice it at first. "So if I'm right, you want to find someone with an ability to help us out in this investigation?"

"Yeah… I think I have the exact right person for the job too. I just have to find him." Kristen turns and makes her way to the desk. It's a slow progression but she finally collapses into the chair with a heavy sigh. "You remember the episode we had Matt Parkman on? If we could get him to come with us to the garage… But he's DHS… What we need is.. Damnit."

Leaning forward, she twists her chair and slides it up close to the desk and then places her cup onto it. It's already empty. "We need someone who has evolved rights first and foremost, but with an ability that will let us get in there." Flipping through her rolodex, she fingers a few of the cards and pulls them out. "We could use Magnes… he's sort of a wildcard though… We wouldn't be able to control him. Do you think any of Secretary Praeger's men would be able to help us out? It's Evolved Affairs, after all, they're supposed to be the good guys."

"Supposed to be and 'are' aren't always the same. I personally wouldn't trust Parkman with this, but mostly because he works for the government," Kincaid says, leaning forward a bit and no longer paying any mind to the burn on his hand. His eyes seem to actually have gotten darker, perhaps with thought, as he looks across at her.

"I wouldn't trust Magnes, either… There probably are a few people who could help us in Evolved Affairs, but they still have their own agendas. Have you considered hiring someone? There's a few detective agencies in the city, some that use Registered Evolved, even advertise it."

"Detective Agencies are good, but I have a bad habit of not trusting them either. I want someone who will do it because this hits them somewhere personal, you know? They're less likely to sell you out for a higher dollar." Picking up the pictures Kristen flips through them slowly and purses her lips. She still hasn't mentioned her own personal stake in the business, aside from it being business.

The luminous handprint on the wall is the picture that stays on the top as she licks her fingers and rubs the spots on her forehead to get them off. The best she manages is to smudge the red ink into a thicker line. Suddenly the producer looks up at her assistant with furrowed eyebrows, "What the hell are you doing in this early anyway?"

"Peyton Whitney," Kincaid say after a brief pause, finally reaching up to rub at the black marks on his forehead, though he only manages to smear them a little.

"When she was on the show I looked up her file because I thought she might work for another idea, but— she's attached to a Security Company. And this seems in line with what she was on the show speaking against, so it would likely be very personal to her specifically, and perhaps she'd know others that she works with who would also consider it personal."

"Perfect, just the kind of thing I pay you for… Let's dig up a little info on Redbird, I want to know what they do before we get them in on it. One person working for a company does not the motto make.. If it did, Reuben would be more in line with FCC regulations." She picks up the photo of the handprint and stares at it for a long time, her dark brown eyes pouring over every detail over and over again.

The brunette doesn't set it down as she swivels toward her computer and begins typing something up with one hand. "Okay… this is what I want. Hospital patient lists from teh eighth, I want to know who was admitted, who was just treated, and who was transferred from where. I want to know where Parkman is… if anything, we can tell one of our interns next to nothing and send him in as a canary. I want copies of all the missing persons lists and I want them running at the end of every show we produce. They'll catch someone's eye…" Finally, she looks up at him again and raises her eyebrows high on her head.

"And what are you doing here so early?"

"I can do that," Kincaid says with more nods, a couple more nods, actually. He's not taking down notes, but he's thinking about it all in his head and filing it away for more work to do. "Actually I came early so I could pitch a show idea I've been doing leg work on already. I've already got one person lined up to come and talk, and Peyton Whitney could be a good one as well. And Magnes, for the crazy ratings grab."

Cause if his last shows are any indication, it will be crazy throwing him in.

"The idea's for a Humanis First show specifically. I also want to see if we can get a few of the members to talk as well, even if they can only be gotten through obscured video feeds, or call ins. Russo actually suggested making the show a call in show."

Tossing the picture back on the pile, Kristen leans forward onto the desk, steepling her fingers in front of her. "Humanis First, huh? Okay…" She leans back and picks up a pencil before swinging her chair around again. "Tell me about the guests and what kind of angle you want to come from on it."

She taps the pencil against the fingers on her other hand, using the pads as a little drum. "Magnes is a fixture, I want him on every show… Payton Whitney, she was one of their victims… Who's the other person lined up?"

"Melissa Pierce. I went to her originally because she's a counselor at the Suresh Center on Roosevelt, to see if she could reference me to any of her clients who might want to publicly talk about things that have happened to them," Kincaid says, quietly, looking down at his coffee as if wondering if it's cool yet. With a sip, he tests it. No burnt lips, so it seems to have cooled enough to be drinkable.

"She also does charity work through a nightclub she works at, and— she has other very interesting background connections. Her father's brother, for example, is Jason Pierce, or the Department of Homeland Security. She seems very willing to talk about things that have happened to her, including scars that she has that she claimed came from Humanis First." There's a hint of an evasion as if there's another tidbit he's not mentioning.

Rubbing her chin, Kristen seems to be thinking a little bit about the idea. "Okay, Melissa Pierce… Another victim… Hmmm… I don't want to stack the show with victims, for every one of them, we need a Humanis First person. Okay, so aside from being the neice of a DHS person… Who is Melissa Pierce and why should I care about her? Sell her to me. What are you leaving out?"

The shrewd eyes of the producer are pinned on the young man across the desk. Still playing with the pencil, she puckers her lips a little in thought. "If she's going to talk about the scars, I'll need a doctor to back up the claims. So she'll have a physical as part of her background check. I don't want to encourage a lawsuit by looking like Springer."

There's a hesitatant pause, as Kincaid seems to be wondering if this tidbit would sell her or doom her. The hesitation could be explained by the words that come out when he finally decides to give it over. "She's apparently gone out with Russo a few times, even on a first name basis with him, but I got the impression that they aren't seeing each other too much at the moment. Which could make for some tension on Russo's part, but people tend to like that kind of tension." Ratings, youtube, the works.

But that hesitation is still there.

"I do know something else about her— I believe she was held prisoner in Moab, and I wouldn't doubt it at all if the reason she's running around free using her own name is because of her uncle. But that's probably another show all together."

"You're right… it is another show but it's one I want to think about. Are the agents at DHS giving their friends and families privileges? I want Praeger on that show.. and Parkman… and both Pierces." Each of the line up is counted off with a finger, "And Varlane… because damn if it's a show without him."

The fact that Russo has been out with the other woman, of course rankles the producer's ire, but she simply smiles through it. "As for the tension… Humanis First versus Peyton Whitney will be tense enough, I think. We don't need some woman crying off the stage because Brad put another notch in his belt. You get the scoop from him first, then come back to me and I'll make a final decision on it. We don't want to give the tabloids Russo fodder, we want to make 60 Minutes eat their hats."

"I don't think she'd cry in front of people about it, but I do think she should be there," Kincaid says, oddly firm for the moment, as if he has reasons he thinks that way. Something in mind specifically. "And unfortunately I don't see us getting Humanis First on the screen, since their activities are illegal and they probably don't want to make themselves known. But I do think we can get some. I'm working on that."

"Why." Kristen's non-question regarding the importance of the guest is something of a challenge to her younger counterpart. "Tell me what makes her the guest aside from Jerry Springer style tension. What will she bring to this show that will make her more special than any of the other victims of Humanis First? I'll tell you one thing about this business… Magnes Varlane isn't every guest. There's one of him. Whatever she brings to this show has to be worth dumping the other one because we won't get another chance at her."

"I suppose asking you to trust me is probably not going to happen? I honestly just have a feeling about it," Kincaid says, as if that's about the most he can offer as a pitch. "I'll do what you said before, talk to Russo and see what the story actually is. I do think we'd be able to get more than one show out of her, though— I think she's the type to crave the limelight."

Nodding, Kristen concedes a little. Whether she believes the argument or not is completely another story. "Craving the limelight and keeping her interesting are two different things. Tell you what… I'll let you run with this one. If she does well on the first show I'll think about the second one. You make sure you tell her to keep her mouth shut about her uncle and about Moab. She's only allowed to talk about her experience with Humanis First.. this is to keep her fresh for the audience. You got it?"

Snapping her knuckles one at a time, the woman looks deep in thought. "We might have to keep her anonymous to the viewers on this episode and make a big reveal on the next one… But that's a decision I'll leave up to you."

There's an odd hint of relief, for one reason or another, perhaps because Kincaid had been afraid that she was going to disapprove of his idea based on one guest. But instead, she's giving him full control, more or less. Now the anxiety sits in. "All right… I'll still talk to Russo first, but… I'm also planning to pitch and after show radio show with Reuben. Where people can call in and give opinions. I imagine we'll need to have the censor button ready, because it'll be a heated topic, but with Reuben's views, I think it'll be a pretty primal show."

Nodding, Kristen gives a little handwave at the radio show, "That one is your baby. Reuben's show makes or breaks it on your merits alone." In other words, no pitch necessary. "Get him on the air… without a nose full of candy and you're golden. You have complete autonomy over it." She pauses for a moment and checks her watch before looking up at him again. "But you're right… you're definitely going to need the censor button." There's another pause before she picks up the pencil and raps it on the blotter of her oversized desk and adds, "oh… We need more naked on his show. Howard Stern always gets his guests in their underwear, get on that."

While she says that, Kincaid's standing, perhaps intending to leave her alone now with her project, cause he has a lot of things to look up, calls to make, backgrounds to check. This whole meeting has given him more work to do. And he's going to do it. "Yes ma'am, I'll get on the naked show right away." As he moves toward the door, taking pretty decent sized gulps on his coffee, before he adds over his shoulder, "Try not to over work yourself, or you won't get invites to any underwear shows in the future." Like she'd ever be on a show!

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