In 2005 I came up with a list of suggested new science fiction TV shows, and one of them was called “Hiatus.” No description of the show itself, mind you, just the fact that it was brilliant and well-received and canceled by episode 7. Some friends started contributing details about the nonexistent show, even writing fan fiction about until a general consensus of what it was about began to emerge. I’ve brought Hiatus about in several different ways; by starting a website to save the show, by creating a webcomic with Adam Levermore about a group of fans who were trying to save the show, by writing the novelization of the nonexistent pilot episode, and by writing a NaNo novel about the show’s cancellation. Next: live action!
This was the 2006 entry. This was also the first time I didn’t hit the 50k mark, mostly because I started writing a Serenity fan fiction book and switched to this partway through.
By C. A. Bridges
chapter one –
Lagging Lukas latches onto Lykewater
Variety, November 1: The newest network has a new face already. In a surprising move MyTV, Geoffrey Lukas’ latest offering in a cable box full of stations, has replaced recently retired executive vice president Ed Handleman, the guiding hand behind the network’s breakout hits “Lineman,” “Drama Queen,” “Someone’s Watching Maria,” and “Hiatus,” with new golden boy Brendon Lykewater, a producer from the MyTV regional affiliate My65 in Orlando, Fl. Lykewater, 27, nearly doubled the affiliate’s ratings through bold, innovative programming and viewer outreach programs and clearly Lukas is hoping he can do the same at the main office. We’re watching, Brendon! Here’s hoping America is, too.
Brendon Lykewater looked out over his new domain, and saw that it was good.
The only visible light in the room was a dimly glowing fixture directly over the door, which had the effect of slightly blinding the unprepared visitor and making the rest of the office seem even darker. This was aided by dark furnishings, indirect lighting, an air conditioner set to 68 degrees, and a polished black oak desk at the far end of the room that reflected the dim light in an altogether unsettling manner. The mind filled in drifting mists and pits to snag the unwary. Brandon stepped inside and relished the feel of the thick carpet as his eyes adjusted to the shadows. The room fairly stank of power, coiled and ready to strike. Also, Windex, but that would fade.
His new administrative assistant Christine, a tall, cool blonde number that he was carefully not staring at, held the heavy oak door open for him. She also radiated power but it was a very different sort, the kind that makes men and some women walk into lampposts. “I think you’ll find it meets your needs,” she said. Her voice was low and smoky and had not a hint of sexual innuendo in it whatsoever, which was, oddly, incredibly sexy. “The light control and thermostat are controlled at your desk, sir.”
“Good,” Brendon said. “Humans have an atavistic fear of the dark, Christine. They know, with ancient senses they’ve forgotten they possess, that predators lurk within. It’s only fair to warn them that their senses are correct.” He liked that line. It had taken him a week of practice with his PDA, recording it and playing it back until he got the ominous timbre in his voice just right. He didn’t look to see if his new right hand was properly nervous; looking would have ruined the effect. Besides, he was busy taking it all in.
Definitely beat the old digs. Carpet that hadn’t been scuffled across by hundreds of sweating interns. Paneling you couldn’t push your finger through. A distinct lack of cardboard for packaging, decorative, or structural purposes. Dark and silent now, the discreet flatscreen panels filling one wall fairly screamed money if they ever did anything so déclassé as scream, which they didn’t. Black holes in the distance hinted at doors for private bathrooms, closets, and possibly soundproofed areas set aside for ritual sacrifices. Barely discernable on the left were inset glass shelving clearly designed to tastefully display the awards for the many successful shows he would personally craft out of the aether. In fact… He looked closer. A faint layer of dust revealed round shapes on one of the shelves, about what Lykewater would expect the base of an Emmy to look like. Bastard took ‘em with him.
No matter, he thought. I’ll just start cranking out my own. Not like it’s tough to do, no one here has a clue how to grab eyeballs. He touched that spot on the shelf for a moment, to absorb its power. And the desk…
The desk was a polished chunk of ebony, so dark it was impossible to tell if it was wood, granite, or simply solidified dark matter made manifest. The only thing permitted atop it, a slim matte black computer monitor, was pushed to one side. Lykewater’s stygian leather chair was nearly as tall as he was, in stark contrast to the smaller, weaker furniture huddled in front like damned souls waiting to be judged and found wanting. This was a slab of midnight wood that left no possible doubt as to which side was the wrong side, i.e. the side the visitor was on. The faint light by the door offered a hint of escape, encouraging anyone on the wrong side of the desk to give in to their shrieking hindbrain, snatch up their young, and dash for safety. Perfect.
There was also, Lykewater noticed, plenty of room on the floor behind the desk for any personal assistance he might require during the course of his day. No sign yet if Christine included such services in her official duties, but there was plenty of time for that later.
“Your files have been loaded into the system per your specifications. There’s an orientation meeting scheduled for you at 11:30 and I can begin setting up meetings with your staff immediately.”
Lykewater allowed the fingertips of one manicured hand to rest, ever so lightly, on the desktop. “What are our top three shows, and their shares?” he asked without looking back.
“‘Lineman,’ 9.1, ‘Celebrity Curling,’ 8.7, and ‘Seinfeld’ reruns, 8.6,” she replied.
“What are our top three shows on TiVo?”
“‘Hiatus,’ ‘Big Johnson,’ and ‘Betcha Can’t Do This.'”
“Third, sixth, and eleventh.”
“We haven’t signed a deal with Apple yet, I believe Mr. Lukas was hoping you’d have some input on that.”
Lykewater smiled the sort of smile that was usually only restrained by zoo handlers with wire loops on sticks. “Yes, I believe I will.” He turned and looked fully at Christine for the first time. “And my orientation?”
“A couple of employee handbooks you’ll never read, some forms I’ve already filled out for you and placed in your top drawer, and a tour of all the floors of the building that you wouldn’t be caught dead in. I cancelled it while we were talking.”
He glanced at the inobtrusive Blackberry in her hands. “Excellent. I’ll meet with the department heads at 1, and then individually afterwards, assuming none of them have quit or just run away.” He rubbed Emmy dust between his fingers. “And fire Housekeeping and get me a service.”
“Now leave. I have a feeling that when I sit in that chair I’m going to make a sound that could be interpreted as inappropriate.”
Christine smiled and walked out. Lykewater had seen runway models with less poise. Well, not personally, but that was about to change.
A lot of things were about to change.