Common People

May 01, 2015:

Booster and Simon are shooting for TV. Keith stands guard.

University Lab

Characters

NPCs: TV Staff

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*#https://youtu.be/KXWEM4gZhg4 Common People (William Shatner)]


Fade In…

Secret Hospital has added a new villain for a short arc — the devilish Doctor Kane Abel, a mad scientist who experiments on cats, dogs, children, and himself… for POWER! Muahahah!

Playing the part of Doctor Abel, Simon Williams, who has stripped the color from his hair, returning it to its natural slightly-off-white color for more madness. He's wearing a lab coat — not a bustier, that will come in the unbelievable disguised-as-a-nurse scene later.

"OK, read-through," the director calls out. He's given scripts around. Since they're filming today on the ESU campus (for the laboratory) there's a security guard assigned by the school to keep them from wrecking the place.

Michael Jon Carter, generally known as Booster Gold when in costume but as young intern Colwyn Grayden when on set, is somewhat distracted due to recent events. Who can blame him? He cannot let that impact his day job, however. Job is money, money is life. He is flipping through his script as his hair gets touched up, so that is perfect but not too perfect. Well out of the way, Skeets is hovering and staying out of trouble. The droid is ready just in case someone marches in with a subpoena, because Michael is convinced that is how you get served in the early 21st century.

And that security guard, of course, is Keith O'Neil.

Vorpal to you. Okay, MISTER Vorpal to you. He's here in his human form, as per job requirements. He has to admit it's interesting to see the filming… the closest he's gotten is peeking in on Gar when he was doing voice-overs.

~Smile, baby, you could be in pictures~
~~Oh please, who are you, Judy Garland?~~
+Maybe when he masters that octave leap in 'somewhere over the rainbow'+
~I almost got it that last time…~
~~Please, Garfield ran in because he thought you were being attacked by a ninja in the shower~~

"Smartass…" Keith mutters. Yes, he IS talking to himself.

He gives Skeets a little wave.
5r

Simon was already turned down for a subpoena to the Senate Hearings, so far. Seems that being visibly Not There For The Big Thing, and In The USA, means he can't be blamed or questioned … yet. Although there may be a time when they do, because of the suspicious Atlantis tie-in.

Simon reads, entirely deadpan, "Yes, little Ricky, I can make you feel better, I can cure your sphenothegnamaliasis and you'll be just like the other kids, but better. Evil laugh. Oh, wait, that's a direction. Shouldn't be inside the quotes man… MUAHAHAAHA!! Oh, don't be scared little Ricky, it's just that curing children of horrible disfiguring crippling illnesses makes me so happy I have to laugh. Do you want to laugh too?"

The child actor playing Ricky is not present, because there are time limits on how long children can be on duty in theatre; instead, he's being made up. A short female intern (theatrical, not medical) is standing in for him. She laughs unconvincingly, "Ha. Hahaha. Ha."

Unfortunately it's probably an accurate take on little Ricky's performance.

"OK, Michael, did you get the notes? Yes? Good, you're going to be watching from the doorway. We'll cut to the laboratory just after that," the director says, and the sound guy moves a boom microphone in a little closer.

"Got it." Michael is not feeling it today, but part of being professional is getting the job done anyway. What had his agent said to him once? 'Waiting for a muse is a luxury for artists who don't rely on a paycheck.' He rolls his shoulders, shakes his head a bit as a test for his hair, and moves to the doorway. As he does, he remarks, "Villains get to have a lot more fun."

Skeets slowly hovers lower to bob near Keith's head, and whispers, "Is there a problem, sir?" Although the little droid can pick up data on a broad range of frequencies, he cannot tap into Keith's actual brain.

Keith blinks. "Oh… no. Just saying hello, Skeets. That's all. Sorry about that." He drops his voice so that only Skeets could hear, "This job is so dreadfully boring, I rather welcome the chance of talking to a friendly face." Did robot assistants have faces? What was the proper terminology.

"How are you two doing with.. y'know. Everything that's going on?"

The redhead keeps an eye on what's going on. He has to do his job, but nothing says he can't talk to a friend while doing it.

The director says, "OK, and now lets switch to scene two, lab. We'll do basic blocking when we get there, we have to wait for Ricky to get done. Simon, your line…"

Simon grins at the lines, as he flips to the page, but then goes back to deadpan.

"All right, little Ricky, we'll just strap you to the table here — the straps are to keep you from sliding off — and I'll give you some medicine to make you sleepy and compliant, muahaha, and then we will give you the first injection - the first part of your CURE! AHAHAH! Won't that be great?"

He waits for Michael to do his heroic intervention.

It is true, though. Villains always get to have the most fun. Michael generally has to play things more low key. Sometimes he has to take his shirt off, but that does not really count, and in any case, is not called for in this particular scene.

As Colwyn, Michael steps in and pauses, taking in the situation before him. His blue eyes spark as he says, "What do you think you're doing?" For such a basic line, he delivers it with conviction—it is not a testament to his acting ability, which is decent, but channeling some of the frustration he has been feeling since the incident in France. He strides forward with his jaw set and actually moves to clap a hand on Simon's shoulder, growling, "Get away from him!" It'd be great if he could save it for the cameras, but sometimes you feel what you feel.

Skeets, watching this, hesitates and then remarks to Keith, "Oh… it's been a little tense, sir."

"I can imagine…" Keith watches the scene. He's never met Williams before, but has been aware of his reputation. His eyes are on Michael a good amount of the time, "Yeah. I can imagine how this must be going down If there's any way I can help…"

He listens to his comm. So far, nothing unusual being reported on campus. Yesterday night he had had to take care of a creeper trying to peek into someone's bedroom from the roof. He went Vorpal on the guy and decided to teach him a lesson with illusions. Instead of the person he expected to peek into, the voyeur got a good view of Zuul and Gozer the Gozerian engaging in tonsil hockey. And then noticing him.

He was there to catch him when he jumped off the roof in sheer terror, and was back to his human form when he handed him off to the police. It's rather incredibly satisfying, apprehending a pervert and anding him over to the police after he thoroughly wets his pants.

Sometimes even the most menial of jobs has its perks.

Simon whirls, "YOU! But it's too EARLY… I haven't tested it yet!"

This will look much better in the actual laboratory, where there's more room.
"Wait, uhm, it calls for a fight here but there's no choreography notes. I have to be REALLY careful about fight scenes. Even if I luck out and get someone who can take a punch, I have to be careful not to break the room."

The director sighs. "Yeah, I know, and our writers are better with the bedroom scenes than the fight scenes. You've done fight choreography, right?"

"Well, yeah, it's not in the contract, but I'll throw it in for a line credit. We need a stand-in for me so I can block it out."

He grins at Boo — Michael. "So, I was thinking you knock me away, I lunge back, we go below table level for a moment, and come up with me holding you in a headlock. That work?"

Michael raises his hand up and back, away from Simon. He actually looks sheepish for a moment, saying, "Sorry, Simon, I started to get carried away." He fans himself a little with his script, just trying to burn off that jittery energy. "That'll work. Don't worry about hurting me, I actually always have part of my costume on just in case something horrible happens nearby." He clearly does not have it on beneath his shirt, so he must have his powersuit pants on beneath his costume.

"We've been waiting for a summons," Skeets admits to Keith. "Wonder Woman has already been called in, and now we know they're going to subpoena every hero who was present in the battle in France."

"Damn. I wish…" he had been there. That's what everybody says, of course. Everybody thinks they would have done the right thing- but maybe it's the cockiness of youth, or the cockiness of having already prevented one political assassination, but Keith firmly believes he could have done something to protect the president. After all, of all of those present, nobody had his particular combination of powers. He often may be whimsical, he may often goof off, but Gar has told him many times that he has a potentially fiendish combination of powers.

Fiendish, like the Fae.

Maybe he would have screwed up, too, and everybody who screwed up was at no fault- they were presented with an unwinnable scenario where someone would end up dead. But maybe, he says to himself in his secret heart of hearts, maybe he could have done something. Could he not weave illusions that could fool even cameras? Could he now play with space? Could he not make things at the speed of thought?

And here he was. A security guard at the campus. He smirks to himself and kicks at himself mentally for thinking so much of himself. "Wonder Woman… man, it's so impressive that Booster gets to work with her." he adds, to Skeets. A bit of hero worship? Maybe.

Simon is about to explain that the force-field would totally show up, but then the director is called away to deal with something, and the girl intern stand-in starts reading the kid's likes in a duck-voice. Simon shakes his head, and gestures to the security guy.

"Hey, can you come over and do the moves so I can see what it looks like?" Clearly, Simon is taller than the redhead, not to mention Booster, but in his current outfit (and thanks to some ionic willpower tricks) he looks lanky and a bit gaunt, rather than like Thorcules. Because that way when he does end up with his shirt off due to the 'mutagen drug' he can be a monster. With less makeup.

"She is very…" Skeets pauses for thought, something even an AI has to do now and then. "She is intimidating."

Michael stretches a little, as he adds, "I'm not going to use the forcefield, although it does have a stealth mode. I'm just a lot tougher than your average human when in the suit. You know, don't try to rip my head off or anything." Some of the distraction and intensity has eased from the blond man, and he is actually smiling a little, more like his usual self. He looks over towards the guard when Simon gestures to him. "Hey, Keith. Are you about to pass out from excitment, yet?"

"She is rather intimidating," Keith nods, "One sec, Skeets, I guess it's my turn to be the stunt double," he grins and walks over as he is beckoned. He has is usual shit-eating grin on when Booster teases him, "Not yet, but I assume your shirt's due to come off soon. I'm saving all my excitement for that," he teases and looks up at Simon.

"Right, the movements. Knock away, below table, and hold. That about it?" he checks to make sure he's got the sequence right.

"Shirt stays on until the lab scene. We don't want to smear makeup prematurely. Also, they spritz him with water to get that sparkle," Simon says, as if he knew what they actually do. Well, OK, so it's what they do to him in his own movies, it MAY be what they do here.

"OK, so, it's Grab," Simon moves Booster to the position he was in before, relative to Keith rather than himself, "Then whirl - and - shove… Go slow when you do that, I need to see it from where the camera will be… OK… good. Now you're below the bench, Michael, you're going to dive after him, we'll need some slapsticks for punching noises, then stand up with Keith holding you in a headlock. Don't make it a choke hold or a blood strangle, a headlock is enough."

Simon moves back to where the camera is supposed to be relative to them.

"There's glycerine in it or something," Michael agrees; it is not his department but he likes to have at least a general idea of what goes on his body. "Welcome to my life, Keith," he adds, and he moves with careful grace, only adding, "Don't mess up my hair too much." Before going through the blocking with Keith, Michael wonders, "Should we get blocked from view that way? Will that look too fake? I mean," he concedes, "It is fake, but you understand what I mean."

When Michael goes through the blocking, he puts a lot of energy into his shoving, but it is all on his side; he barely nudges Keith at all, relying on his partner to act out his own fall.

"Or I could run the scene in my mind and project it so it can be filmed and it'll look like you guys tore up this place. But it'll all have been an illusion…" Keith pauses, "But what's the fun in that?"

He goes through the movements gracefully, doing a convincing push and fall. He knows how to fall instinctively in his feline form, but it has been Sifu Rand's hard work and patience that has taught him how to fall in his human form without breaking a bone or two.

Which reminds him, as he is falling back, that he needs to call him to set up another set of training exercises for the Titans. He's been a little skittish ever since he revealed to Keith that he was Iron Fist- mostly because he never hides anything from Gar, but this wasn't his secret to reveal. And it made him antsy.

"How does it look?"

$R"Yeah," Simon replies, "It'll look fake, but we don't have time in the scene to do a longer fight."

The director returns in time to see Simon blocking out the fight, and shrugs. They're already paying for the security guard, the union guy hasn't freaked out yet (he's almost invisible until you do something that violates the rules), though he's made a note on his pad. Nothing bad — Keith'll get a piece of paper stating that he worked with a stunt coordinator on a television show at thus and such a date. Collect ten and you can apply to the stuntman's union. And by 'can' they mean 'must' if you go for an eleventh try.

"Huh? Illusion?" Simon asks, while the director says, "Wait, are you another super?"

Michael just parts his hands in a little shrug, saying, "I know. It'd just be neat to get to do an action scene. I'm a gymnast too, you know." He looks over at the director as he verbally underlines, "A gymnast." But he knows it would be weird for Colwyn Grayden to do random handstands and so on. He has nothing to say about Keith's powers, however. That's Keith's business. Dusting down his clothing, he says, "They can punch the sound effects up in post, it'll sell it better."

"There's always time for a longer fight," Keith says with a grin and dusts off his uniform. Looking up at the questions, he decides to take them in the order of last to first. "Um, yes, I am." He resists the urge to sigh. What was the point of having a public identity when nobody recognized you? Well, you couldn't blame people- an ordinary redhead, you had millions of those in the city. A purple cat? Totally easy to remember. "I'm Vorpal. With the Titans." Was it healthy to be jealous of yourself? With one face being more memorable than the other…

Looking at Simon, he explains, "Illusions is something I do."

"Awesome," Simon replies, and "Do they show up on camera?" the director asks, "Wait, nevermind, I don't have budget for that kind of special effects, but the kid's disease is really terrible looking on camera."

He shrugs, and says, "OK, into the lab, we're ready to run through one more time with cameras, and then the second pass if we need it. Security guy, I'm sorry I can't hire you for anything else right now, the University already has us on a crazy tight schedule."

The cameras are already set up, and Little Ricky is in a hospital bed in a mini-set that's taking up/blocking part of the hallway. Privacy screens make a great hospital fakeout.

Booster's stealthy observation from the door works because the angle doesn't show that it's the door to a classroom; the lab is decorated with Tesla coils and glassware with colored bottles. The experimental table looks a bit out of place. Also, the scene is shot slightly out of order: the scenes where Simon/Doctor Kane Abel experiments on the kid are shot first, and then the stand-in replaces him in the scene (lying on her side facing away, with a blanket hiding her "diseased body" for the duration, while Colwyn Grayden's attack on the mad Doctor result in a slightly more realistic looking fight, with a little bit of jolted glassware that doesn't QUITE break. Then, of course, Booster is strapped to the NEXT table while Simon cuts his clothes off him (at least, the ones above the waist) and someone rushes in and SPRITZ SPRITZ … and then there is some scenery chewing.

"At last, Grayden, you will see, you will ALL see, the true extent of my genius!!" And the mad Doctor Abel lunges with his oversized syringe, only to be kicked back by the frantic intern (Grayden that is) … and then the camera focuses on Doctor Abel, with the syringe sticking from his stomach, and a look of horror on his face, as his eyes go red and glowing…

"AND CUT. OK, that'll be it for your part this week, Simon. Michael, you and the kid get to have your heart-rending talk on the tables, before little Ricky gets mutated next week, but that's been sent back for rewrite because it was crap; we'll do it tomorrow."

The director looks around. "OK, clear our stuff out of here, or they'll bill us another ten thousand rental for the lab."

Michael is grinning a little at Keith when he has to confess his true identity. He gets pulled away, however, because they need to fix up his hair and touch up his makeup before the cameras roll.

The nice thing about having a job to do is it is something to focus on. Michael can at least briefly forget about some of his impending problems while on set, and if anything, channeling those feelings improves his performance, especially when he can play off of someone like Simon.

Post-scene, the costumer tosses Michael a towel so he can dry off a little before putting a shirt on; whatever is in that spray bottle, it really lingers. "Another day, another dollar."

"You look like a disco ball," Keith says at all the glittery, watery stuff. Now that the filming was over, all he needed to do was to make sure that nothing disastrous happened in the packing. He didn't have a chance to answer the question about his illusions- but it's not terribly important. "Don't forget your buttons," he smirks, "They cost an arm and a leg to sew back on at the dry cleaner's."

No. Keith can't sew worth crap. It's why he seldom wears button-up anything. "I guess I'd better make sure the packing goes smoothly. Nice to meet you, Mr. Williams. Mike, I'll see you around. Skeets, keep him out of too much trouble, 'right?"

Boredom is the little death, they say. If that is true, Keith's died about six dozen times since taking the job at the university. Still… at least it pays.

With the shooting being the most exciting thing to happen all day, now the day has to return to normal.

~Three hours, five minutes and forty-five seconds to lunch~ he counts in his mind.

Normal sucked.

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