Max Headroom Copyright: Warner Bros. Chrysalis.
Wuthering Heights: Emily Bronte
brief intro: there are some spelling errors, but my heart orders me to put it up NOW!
well after the last adventure(very hard to make it work, btw) you just know there will be consequences.
Ok, I admit it. I love Christina and Kyle. Great characters summoned by passion and with the means to put it in a tangible form.
By s. Kristine quick
Kyle came in. Cheviot looked at him and smiled.
“Sit down. The show goes live in 25 minutes. I gave the others the evening off.”
Kyle sat down in Ashwell’s chair.
“Kyle, Max told me what you did, and I want to thank you.”
“Well, don’t. I didn’t do it for you, or for your network… you know, I was having a lot of fun, knowing you were without your precious 23!”
“Alright, why did you do it?”
Kyle looked down. “For Christina. I couldn’t stand it that such a beautiful creature… was in such pain.”
Cheviot laughed. “You’ve always thought of yourself as so tough. You liked having people believe you never cared about anything or anyone.”
“That was never it! I was angry. I never liked it! But, now…”
“She brought out the good in me.”
“Hm! Certainly glad someone could.” They were both silent for a few minutes.
“Grossberg… that man is in a lot of trouble. No sign of him anywhere, Kyle?”
Kyle stood up. “You don’t have to be concerned about him, ever again.” He began walking toward the exit.
Cheviot gripped his pipe tightly.
“Kyle…” he began, but said nothing as Kyle left.
He looked at the boardroom screen and folded his hands, pondering twenty minutes into the future.
That was when they came to take her away.
Christina breathed deep, fiddled her thumbs, yawned and brushed back her hair. Janie Crane was readying her camera, and Christina wondered about all the other 16-somethings out there.
Who were they? What were they like?
Were they afraid? Abused? Forgotten?
How many was she saving today?
Would they be grateful?
I am so tired…
“Almost ready, Christina!”
Christina closed her eyes, and pictured herself… in a happy loving home with Edison and Theora. She was going to school, at the top of her class. Kyle and she were engaged…
“I’m ready!” Janie Crane lifted up the camera “Christina?”
The young girl’s eyes flashed opened.
“I was so close!”
“It’s… ok,” Janie said, as the young girl seemed to age before her eyes.
“Did you have a premonition?”
She slapped the camera as it went out.
“What the hell?”
“It’s not fair!” Christina cried.
“No, I’ll get a new camera. They already got the ‘signal down’ error and are on the way with new equipment. Can you pull your hair this way? It will make you look more innocent.”
“Fuck this!” Christina screamed. She stomped across the room, and stopped in front of Janie “Fuck this! How’s that for ‘innocent’?! That work for you?”
The double doors to the studio were thrown open and there stood Kyle.
“God you look so innocent!” he sighed, a love-struck grin crossed his face.
“Metros,” he pointed behind himself.
“Fucking shit!” she yelled, making Janie jump.
She ran to a window, only to find out she was 60 floors up.
Kyle joined her.
“Any ideas?” he asked.
She wiped the tears from her face. “Can you fly?”
The metrocops stormed into the room.
“I’m shocked, really. I truly am. Miss Jones, that ‘little girl’ tried to kill you!”
Simon Peller looked down and dusted his pants, then he looked up and straightened his tie. He grinned but it was forced; tight and uncomfortable.
“Umong other things.”
Theora showed no reaction, just glared back at him. Simon looked to Edison.
“Damn near destroyed us all!” he tried.
Edison scowled. Simon Peller sat on his couch with his head in his hands and coming apart at the seams, while the rest of them became victims of Ned Grossberg’s wrath! What was he complaining about?!
“We want to see the girl!” Edison demanded.
Inwardly, Simon Peller raged. He cracked a half-smile; it was forced.
“Very well, you can say goodbye at least.”
The security guard led the way to the cells.
“Oh my… oh my GOD I don;t believe it!” the guard yelled.
Simon, Edison and Theora rushed to the cell.
There, on the floor, sat Kyle and Christina.
Their nude bodies were covered in a thin blanket.
“Hey, privacy!” Kyle laughed “What? You didn’t get the memo?!”
“Revolting!” Simon rolled his eyes “That’s another thing! Offspring! We simply cannot having… their kind, breeding!”
“Jealous!” Kyle sniffed. “he never gets any at home!”
The guard jerked open the cell door. “Get out! Not you, Kyle! No wait! For God’s sake put your clothes on!”
“Horrible,” Peller muttered, as they turned away.
Christina was pulled out by her arm, and the cell door shut.
Edison turned to Kyle.
“I wish she’da been my first,” he confessed.
“Uh… I hope you have news that can actually help now.”
“Yeh,” he shrugged “She’s hiding something… it seems to be important!”
Edison looked as Theora walked off with Christina at her side. Edison turned back.
“Not for her… which is why I didn’t push it… it doesn’t make her happy or sad… she seems… hm… satisfied I guess.”
“Thanks for the tip.
“Let me know what it is!”
“I’m gonna marry that girl one day!” Kyled called out to the departing foursome. “Lots of babies too!” he laughed loudly.
“Oh, God!” Christina flushed red with embarrassment, but she was smiling anyway. Edison came out of the building, and Theora climbed into the back of the police transport van with Christina. The young girl was still red, but still smiling.
“You honestly couldn’t wait?”
“No,” she said. Her eyes had a sad, yet satisfied, look on her face.
She looked right at Theora and said “Oh, Kyle was just so-”
“Enough! Peller yelled. He looked back and narrowed his eyes. “You should know now, that in the interest of public safety, I’m submitting a proposal… forgive my bluntness, but you should not be allowed to… how do I say it?”
“Don’t!” Theora ordered, feeling disgusted.
“I agree,” Edison said.
“You don’t have to worry about me,” Christina said.
Theora turned to her. “What do you mean by that?”
Christina hugged her suddenly.
“Thanks for loving me!” she wept.
The trial was short, swift, and definitive.
Jenny from Research and Development at Network 66 was charged with network endangerment, and sent back to her parents in California. Ned Grossberg would have been charged with kidnapping and child abuse had he shown up. A summons was issued, but he had not been seen ever since the confrontation in 66’s basement.
That left Christina with no evidence and a guilty conscience. Edison and Theora begged her to speak in her own defense but after scribbling down notes on the trial, she eventually refused.
She was promptly sentenced to Manzanzur, an island prison 1000 miles away.
“You seem too relaxed,” Edison said “You’ve been set up for a fall and you are accepting it!”
He was frustrated now, as well as Theora.
“Christina, please give us a chance. Give yourself a chance… show them if you must!”
“No… hey you got a wedding to do! I’d only… get in the way!”
She was crying now, as well.
“Thanks… you did… so much more than anyone else would have… ”
She hugged them tightly; it was her goodbye.
The latest dream told her as much.
“Love… love you guys!”
Edison was stunned. How could Murray and Cheviot do this do him?
He stood, rigid, in the center of his apartment, trying to comprehend it.
When Cheviot suggested the idea of televising the wedding, it set Edison off a bit. He was the reporter, and definitely not accustomed to being the interviewee.
Then Murray got up-and-coming tv personalities host, J. Parkin and his co-host, Velma, as the hosts.
J. Parkin and Velma, former of “This Was your Car!” a show that reunited average citizens with their first modes of transportation. It only lasted 3 episodes, but Parkin and Velma were still under contract with the network. The plus side was that they were the only reporters that Edison didn’t really know, so their would be no conflict of interest.
Christina was sent away this morning, and now the day just got worse.
“I like him, ED.” Max said “Do you remember the episode where he reunited the old race-car driver with his little Volkswagen… I would have cried if I had any tear ducts! ”
“That was the last episode, Max.” Edison said, glumly
“Canceled too soon! That show was destined for greatness.”
Then he got serious.
“You think the train arrived at the prison yet? I suppose she’ll try and call us soon? Say hi? Ask us to send her a cake with a file inside it?”
“Ah… they should be arriving in an hour. Theora?”
She was in the bedroom, trying to get herself together. The loss of Christina was devastating to her.
“I’ll be right out,” she called.
There was frantic knocking at the door, and Edison opened it to see Ben Cheviot and the two hosts.
“Mr. Carter! How-de-do! My what a wonderful home you have here. Why, I think a wife and children will love it!”
Cheviot smiled brightly. “Actually, we came over to discuss the layout for the show. The Wedding of the Century! How does that sound?”
“I hate it,” Edison answered with no shame.
“So glad you agree!” Cheviot retorted.
“We’re not taping yet. Velma just needs to practice with a new camera.” Parkin said.
“I’m doing fine.” she agreed.
Parkin looked at her. “Except for one thing, love! Where ARE your glasses! You know you can’t see without them!”
“I have them right here. This… eyepiece-thingy is in my way.”
“Let me fix that for you,” Cheviot offered. “Alright, Edison. Here’s a list of ideas… ”
Max flipped onto a nearby screen.
“Can we go see Christina soon? I wrote her a poem and I want to read it to her!”
Edison looked forlorn. Max looked sad. Cheviot looked uncomfortable and even mildly angry. And the two hosts looked at each other, puzzled.
“Oh! Oh, yes! I know of it!” Parkin yelped with excitement. “Christina Spencer! She’s the genetic misfit!”
“Oooh,” Velma sighed in agreement.
Edison’s face burned red, and his head was ready to blow off his shoulders. Luckily for all, Theora called to him from the bedroom, providing a welcome distraction.
Edison stormed into the room and shut the door.
“Did you hear… what that moron… called her?”
“She slipped a note into my purse! Look!”
He took it from her with some hesitation, and read it carefully.
-I died when the train crashed. There was something wrong when it switched tracks. I was impaled by a beam and it happened real fast. I don’t think I suffered.
Theora, I had to “do it” with Kyle. For 10 minutes, I was a normal girl doing normal things, and it was WONDERFUL.
Edison, you will make Theora an awesome husband, and you will be a great dad. Max will be a great “big brother” cause he always was to me.
Tell him I said so!
I’m sorry you had to find out like this. I thought about it, and I decided to stop fighting. Life doesn’t like me, any more than it liked my mother. I had a brief moment of ecstasy with Kyle, and I felt finished.
I decided to not even try to hold back the hand of fate.
No one lives forever anyway.
I love you.
Theora grabbed his hand.
“Edison we have to do something! Her dreams are never wrong, and we can’t lose her like this!”
“Oh my God!” Theora cried out from her place in the chopper.
“It is a good time to pray I guess,” Edison agreed. He tried to smile at her reassuringly but couldnt.
As with her previous dreams, this one came true as well. When the train had reached the junction, the track switched, but jammed halfway through. The train jumped the tracks, but actually wobbled on for 100 feet before toppling over into a nearby ravine.
The train has five cars including the engine. The number of prisoners on board was low this trip, and the load was light enough to bring about a horrendous crash with tragic results.
Theora closed her eyes and pushed her face into Edison’s chest.
“Do you suppose they will let us claim the… ”
“Maybe she… I don’t know.”
“They have to! We have to give her a proper burial!”
Theora was sobbing now.
“When can we land!?” Edison demanded of the pilot.
“Let me check… they have to do a count. Shouldnt be hard. Apparently all are dead but two are missing.”
Edison nodded uncertainly.
“Ok, find us a place to land. We can wait.”
Theora was praying very hard now.
-three months later
“It’s been a while.” Kyle checked his smartphone. “9pm, if we get going now I can have us back in the city by 3am… maybe 4.”
He looked at his motorcycle.
“Edison crashed my first bike! He stole it and crashed it!” Kyle laughed.
Then he got silent, and knelt down.
“Christina?” he sighed, taking the girl’s face in his hands.
She looked up from her sitting position on the curb.
At the very last moment she decided dying was a bad idea. She got a new seat on the train, only to witness another prisoner die in her old seat, from being impaled.
Instead of heading back to her friends, and another imprisonment, she went to New York, to track down her father.
She found him.
“I hate myself.” Christina admitted.
“Don’t! Ah, baby” he sat behind her and lay his head on her shoulder “don’t hate… don’t end up like me.”
“Everything about me is wrong! Even my parents! Their parents!”
“Nah! No! Never! Christina I won’t have that! I won’t take that from you!”
He looked into her tear-stained face.
“I love you… I feel you… Christina you are good… fuck your lineage, maybe you got some retro-genes… from your good ancestors… what, you think I’m lying? I came all this way for you!”
He sunk down in her lap.
You really do make me a better man.”
He tried again.
“Ok, a suicide pact then… I’ve experienced too much beauty, in you… I won’t live my life without it.”
Kyle felt it, like a tiny spark that came and went.
“Let’s not and say we did… let’s go back… I won’t let them send you to jail… Edison won’t either… I’ll make things right with my dad… get a job… not with television… you can go to school… Christina please! We have every damn right to be happy!”
“Oh, my God!”
She snapped out of her emotionless state, hugged him tightly, now crying.
Christina tapped the screen, and changed the channel to 23. Kyle sat behind her, draped an arm over her shoulder.
“You smell lovely.” he told her.
“Knock it off, ass-kisser I ain’t bathed in 2 weeks!”
“I love everything about you!”
In moments Max appeared on the screen. His face was frozen in a wide grin and even his lines had stopped moving.
“Fantasy girl!” he yelled, then “Oh hey Kyle.” Max yawned. “Hey I wrote you a poem! But I’m not gonna read it to you until you come back home. Christina, it’s so exciting! Edison and Theora are getting married and it’s going to be on television.
“The best reality show ever!”
Her face fell. Now she was filled with trepidation.
“What’s wrong? Christina, you’re alive… you have… ho-hum, Kyle… and there’s gonna be a wedding!”
Christina was torn. “I’ll only interfere… maybe I can stop by… after… ”
Max frowned, then vanished, and the screen filled with static.
Christina and Kyle waited for several minutes. Finally, Kyle stood up. “Forget about them. Let’s just find an island somewhere. We can still live happily ever after.”
The screen flipped back on, now showing an anxious Theora with Edison behind her.
“Max told us… you found your father?”
Christina cocked her head, glowering.
“He’s dead!” she spat out.
“Then you need to come back,” Edison said “Two people were discovered ‘missing’ from the train. You were one of them. Simon Peller filed a warrant… come back to us. We can file an emergency petition before he finds out… and you can still have a normal life… ”
She brushed her tears away. “That’s… nice… I can’t cause you anymore problems, not now.”
“Christina,” Theora began, soft, but determined “we want you to come home. We want you to be part of our family.”
“We can be there in 5 hours,” Kyle said, leaning forward. Edison yawned dramatically.
Theora nodded. “Come back to us. Please.”
Christina nodded, tears spilling down her cheeks.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
(thank you to ElegantButler, for use of the term, Alter 🙂 )
“Kaff-kaff-kaff Aw holy fu-KOFFKOFFKOOOOOOOOFF!”
Christina rolled around on the ground, dropping the cigarette she got from Kyle, and rolled onto her face.
“Christina! Dont’ya know lil mutant girls should not smoke? That’s for big mutant boys!” Kyle laughed.
“I am not a mutant, dammit!”
“I don’t think I can kiss that mouth anymore.”
She got up and spat out dirt. The two climbed a ridge and looked down at the city. It was 2:30 am, they had gotten to the city quickly, now they could not enter.
“Perimeters. Peller and the metro-thugs are waiting, ever since they found out you escaped.”
“Is he another Ned Grossberg?”
“Hm! That’s a tough question. Not quite… he’s a different kind of slimeball… and a slimeball by any other name… ”
“I want specifics!”
“Prejudiced, bigoted… xenomorphic. Once he hated blanks, now he hates mutants.”
“For one thing, it’s xenophobia! For another… I’m not a mutant, I’m an… Alter… I’m special and unique… ”
“You want to believe that! Save the lies for someone who can’t read people like a book.”
“No one knows about you?”
“Nah! It was work but my dad and I made sure to cover our tracks… for Tommy… it was the one thing we could agree on.”
“Ok… lets find Max.”
Max’s head bobbed and wiggled on the screen.
“Oh, yeh, you got a fan-base alright. Unfortunately they won’t be throwing flowers at your feet. More like chains on your feet, and isolated to a desert island with any other “of your kind”. Max scowled, then looked around.
“The security has tapered off over the last month… but they’re expecting you to come back.”
“Alright.” Christina rubbed her eyes. Kyle kissed her forehead.
“What’s your plan?”
“Me? A plan?”
“I cant read minds, just feelings! What’s on your… alter-brain?”
“Hm… well, you can go to your dad… Persecuting me would persecute Tommy as well, right? He wouldn’t let that happen would he?”
“Tommy’s powerless… just stupid… no, Ben Cheviot would never let that happen… ”
“Good to know,” Christina said weakly.
“I still don’t see why we can’t find our own private hideaway.”
“I don’t want to hide!” she flared. “I don’t have to hide! Yeh… I… hurt Theor-”
her voice broke, he head dropped, and she trembled.
“Cos of ignorance! Cos no one knew or wanted to know, and that left a creep like Ned Grossberg free to take me from the hospital and… ” she looked up, eyes filled with tears and determination “and I”m not going to hide anymore! Janie Crane will do the story… and then people will never be able to hurt me again!”
“I won’t be hurt again!”
“Ok, what now?” Kyle asked, putting a comforting hand on her face.
“I’ll go in at the North-West section. It’s closer to Edison’s apartment. In case I don’t make it and the dweebs grab me… you go that way,” she pointed to the South.
She kissed him, hard and passionate.
“I love you!” and with that, she ran off.
Kyle remained behind, giving her a head start.
“I can’t read your feelings! What’s up?!” he poked the screen.
“I wish I had feet,” Max said with a frown.
Christina stepped over the piles of trash as best she could. Even the good part of town still had a long way to go. Ruffians and hooligans were sparse but wandered the streets. As long at they didn’t throw out too much trash, or leave bodies in the middle of the road; as society grew the number of criminals still outweighed the police needed to control them. Resources were saved for the more dangerous in society…
The journey to Edison’s apartment started smoothly; she did pass 2 cops, who only glanced at her oddly and let her pass.
“Hey honey you wanna make make some credits?!”
Christina walked around a corner, looked around, and realized she was only 4 blocks away. She picked up her pace.
“You wanna make some creds dontcha?!”
Christina glanced back, and saw a swarthy man following her. He sauntered behind, and the distance between her was closing.
“Go away!” she ordered, and kept walking.
The man quickly ran in fron of her. “C’mon darlin! That sexy mouth may say no, that even sexier body says ‘make it hurt’!”
She tried to move past him and that’s when he grabbed her around the waist. He lowered his face to her neck and she tried to pull away.
“Let go of me!”
“Call me daddy, sweetheart!”
Christina Spencer was a nice girl, despite growing up lonely, and strange. She tried hard to hang onto positive thinking, despite the horrible abuse leveled at her time and again.
It showed no sign of stopping, and she was fed up.
I won’t be hurt again!
“I said leave me alone!”
She slammed her hand on his shoulder, sending a bolt hard enough to knock him several feet back.
He rolled around on the ground, screaming; it wasn’t enough to do damage, but enough that he, at least, would never hurt her again.
“Shut up!” she hissed.
Two metros raced around the corner.
“What happened!?” the tall cop demanded.
“Her! That… she’s one of them freaks! She tried to fry my brain!”
The cops looked right at her, and one drew his sidearm. “I knew she looked familiar!”
“Don’t move, hands in the air, down on your knees.”
“Mr. Peller? We have her.”
Simon Peller sat on the edge of his bed and looked hard at the view-phone. Ronald his campaign manager called in, waking Peller from his sleep.
“Dead or alive?”
“Alive. Stunned her… but it took ten times!”
“I expected as much… ” Inwardly he cringed.
There were more like that girl, and mixing in among normal people! For the last three months, every person in their teens to early 20’s he saw in an entirely new… and disturbing… light.
It just wasn’t right!
“Is that team of doctors ready?”
“Called in on short notice, sir. They started work already… ”
“What? What are you not telling me?”
“Well, Edison Carter… he notified the hospital and he’s on his way… with a news crew.”
“That’s fine! If that simpering fool wants her back, he can have her… with restrictions, of course. I’ll be at the hospital in ten minutes, and will hand her over personally.”
“Is that wise?!”
“I don’t know…but if I send her off again Carter will never let me hear the end of it. No, as long as the doctors complete their work and the rest is in order, I see no problems. Besides, I’ve just completed my latest tv spot, and the handover will coincide nicely. I’m not a monster Ronald! I’m a concerned citizen… as well as an important political figure.”
Peller disconnected, and hurried to get ready.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
“That one is lovely. What about that one?
Oooh, now that… is just you!”
Inside the limo provided by the network,
Theora shoved the wedding catalogue
back at Velma.
“It is NOT the right time, really!”
Edison looked over her shoulder and out
the tinted window. They were parked
outside the hospital Christina had been
taken to, and now waiting for Ben
Cheviot to arrive and facilitate the
It puzzled him why Mr. Cheviot was
being acquiescent in some areas and not in
The story was off, and Cheviot gave no
reason whatsoever. Five minutes before it
was supposed to air, Ben Cheviot shut
the whole thing down. Then he quickly
ushered in the wedding reality show, and
stood by while that bastard Peller sent
Christina off. He even granted Peller
airtime and PSA’s against this “new threat
to our way of life.”
Why in hell would Ben Cheviot grant
Peller authority to conduct a campaign of
prejudice and hate?
Even worse… was this handover a reality
“Get your camera ready, Parkin! The girls
is put into our care… in the same
condition we last saw her… and you
record it all.”
Parkin stared blankly, smiled big.
“I’m sorry we are not allowed to address
“Nope! Not a bit! Not the teeniest of
Theora got angry. “But we’re adopting a
child! Don’t even tell me that doesn’t
make good news!”
“Right!” Edison chimed in.
“Oh that part is ok!” Velma said with a
overly-happy tone. “Children are great…
tho she is a bit… old… but well past the
point of diapers and teething and-”
Parkin held up his hand, and she
“That’s all covered Mr. Carter… the…
mutation-aspect… is not, however… any
questions from anyone will be directed to
Janie Crane, since she takes care of
Simon Peller’s PSA’s and that.”
Edison sulked, Theora rubbed her head,
and Velma said “Right! Ooh look at that
Christina was stretched out in a hospital
bed, restrained and now sedated. She
fought hard to stay awake, but was losing
Faces of people hovered over her, but
their identities were indscernable.
“This is the last time I try this… gonna
resemble a heroin addict… ”
She pushed hard to open her eyes, and
saw Simon Peller!
I didn’t deserve this… I never deserved to
be… so hurt…
“Well now this is your last chance… there
is no turning back now… ”
“Such old notes… all on paper… no idea
what I’m even doing… ”
Who is the monster now?! Why… why…
“Relax! You are safe here!”
Christina’s eyes shot open, and she found
herself in cyberspace.
“The last safe place for me… ” she agreed.
“I get lonely; there’s just me, here. Stop
in for tea more often would ya?
Pleeeese?” Max begged.
She floated over a large pit constructed
of numbers and Chinese symbols.
“What about a mini-me to keep you
“I haven’t forgotten your promise!” Max
“It will take work… no I got a better
“Better than that! Max I can make all of
your dreams come true!”
She dropped down into the hole, and met
up with a bright light.
Almost too bright.
And her hands were on fire!
She was back in the hospital bed, and
alone in the room.
“No… ” her hands were burning off her
“Stop that!” a voice over the intercom sounded “The pain will go away if you
stop using your power now stop!”
“Please don’t hurt me anymore!” she
She fought hard for the control she had,
willed herself to calm down. Sure
enough, the pain subsided. She lay,
gasping for several seconds.
The door to her room opened slowly;
Simon Peller poked his head in, eyed her
carefully, then came into the room.
“Feeling better?” he asked, with a smile.
He sat down in a chair.
“You can relax, Miss Spencer. I’m not
sending you to prison.”
“Well, torture doesn’t do it for me either!”
she hissed, refusing to look at him.
“Oh, please! The ‘torture’ you speak of…
well, you brought it on yourself.”
Now, she looked at him. “What do you
“That… er… burning sensation you
experienced? You’ve been given implants”
he pointed to his wrists one at a time
“located here. This… electricity thing… you
did… well, that’s in the past. You can
never use… these… abilities… ever
again… well, you could, but I’m pretty
sure you would… ah… get the point…
before too long.”
“I get it, now; experiments were done on
me almost 16 years ago, and now I got
re-experimented on to correct the
damage! That’s how it works? Is that the
great adventure of scientific progress!?
And at whose expense, Mr. Peller?! God,
when will people like you finally realize
you can’t just screw with people’s lives
Simon Peller jumped up from the chair,
strode over to the bed. He leaned over
her, glaring at her angrily.
“Now you listen to me, young lady, I can
very easily have you shipped to a prison
much harsher than the one I intended for
you. For I have come to see you as a
threat; your actions at Network 66
“It was Ned Grossberg he kidnapped
me… forced me… ” she stopped, bit her
lip struggled not to cry.
“There are too many people with too
much credibility on your side… and my
choice on how to handle you… really
goes against my better judgment. Now get
up, and get your clothes on. I’m handing
you back to the happy couple. With
restrictions of course.”
“Yeh, I got spayed just like you do with
“Oh, come now, Miss
Spencer, don’t be so dramatic! I’m really being quite generous,
you can go live your ‘happily ever after’
with Edison Carter and his bride to be.
The rest, I’m sure you can handle. It’s just
that you and your kind simply cannot go
unsupervised… ah, you should be glad
Cheviot cancelled that story. Imagine
yourself all alone out there in such a
cruel world. Frightening! Now get
He stopped at the door and turned back,
his hateful visage replaced with a tight
“I really am doing you a big favor; you
should be grateful.”
“Here sign this and make it fast!
Ben Cheviot arrived, and now slipped papers through the window.
“The petition!” Edison grabbed it.
“Wait… temporary custody? This was supposed to be permanent.”
Ben smiled nervously.
“Carter… please… it was the best I could do… rest assured it will most likely become permanent, but not today. Peller’s on a roll, and the girl and you must prove this can work out… that there will be no more problems.”
“Where’s Kyle?” Theora demanded. “I thought he brought her back! Why would he leave her?”
“He didn’t. He came to me and asked me to expedite this.”
“It’s a favor to my… son. I, in turn, asked him to back off while we do the transfer… for your sakes’ and for the girls… you know he’s a bit… temperamental!”
“Yeh… well… ” Edison started, and it was then he noticed Christina come out and down the stairs, followed closely by Simon Peller.
“There is a time-stamp on the papers, Carter!”
“What’s this about an assigned social worker?”
“For God’s sake, man! You want her or not?!” Cheviot’s voice was at a fevered pitch, and his face was flushed.
Siging angrily, Edison scribbled his name, and handed it to Theora, who signed it and got out. She began to run, but Simon Peller held up his hand.
“Last chance, Miss Jones. I really wish you would reconsider… however… I won’t stand in your way… ”
He smiled brightly, and it looked genuine. “After all… I am not the monster… ”
Theora nodded with determination, flashed her own smile, much more heartfelt. With kindness and love.
Christina pulled away from Peller, and ran into her arms, weeping.
Theora pulled her close, and only she saw Simon Pellers angry stare.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Notes-refer to story #1 for more info. it was suggested that Paddy Ashton was christina’s father, but I chose the original, as it is more “hard-hitting”.
I hope you enjoy it!
Several hours later they all returned to Edisons apartment, where a small party was held in her honor. Even Murray and Bryce had come. Christina almost didn’t notice, She was searching all her pockets for the third time.
“It’s not much!” Edison pointed to the small cake. “We’ll get a bigger one for your birthday. When is it?”
“Well, I’d show you but I can’t find my… ”
she began searching her pockets for a fourth time. Theora and the others looked down at their feet. Christina was nearly in tears.
“Outside? Maybe in the limo?”
“I sent the happy reality crew on a break, maybe they saw it.” Edison replied, went to the vidi-phone.
“I know where it is! Simon Peller took it from me!” Christina cried out.
“Never did like that guy,” Murray agreed. Edison was now calling Peller’s answering service.
“Wait,” Christina said “I gotta tell you something.”
“No, your our ward now, he’ll give it to us.”
“But I need to… tell… ”
Christina was led over by Theora; it was getting hard to stand as her legs seemed to melt.
She felt so utterly violated!
Theora helped her sit down in front of the screen. “You want some water?”
I want a bullet in my brain!
“I guess so,” she whispered.
It was too late now. Peller’s face appeared on the screen. He was all smiles but concerned too.
“Mr. Carter. Miss Jones… and how is the… happy little family getting along?” his voice dripped with sweetness.
“The birth certificate, Simon! Since we are her guardians and will be her parents, we demand you give it to us.”
“Temporary guardians… the rest is questionable.”
He held up a large folded document. “You mean this?”
“The one that tells who her birth parents were, that one!” Edison said, resisting the urge to put his fist through the screen. Murray patted his shoulder.
Peller opened up the folded paper. “Right… her parents… ” he looked over it very slowly, and there was a glint of satisfaction in his eyes.
His face riveted at to the screen, now he glared at Christina.
“Father, John Herbert Manson… he’s the one you killed with your power, right?”
“My God,” Murray said for all of them.
They all remembered John too well.
“You know about that, yes? The police records show Murray McKensie and Theora Jones witnessed this, yes?”
“Swine!” Theora muttered.
“I’m sorry, Miss Jone’s I didn’t catch that. Mr. Mckensie?”
But Murray had just turned away.
“No!” Christina choked out, finally finding her voice. “No that’s wrong, the metrocops killed him; all I did was burn his face off!”
“Stay calm,” Edison admonished quietly.
Simon then looked at Edison and Theora.
“A confession!? Now Edison-”
“I said don’t call me that!” he growled.
“Mr… Carter… ” he spit back, but he could see Edison and Theora were unmoved.
“When will we get the certificate?!” Edison demanded.
Simon shrugged, and looked to his left as a hand took the document.
“You can have a copy. The social worker will bring it by tomorrow evening… in the meantime, I’m sending you a list of probationary requirements. The workers name is Helga, and she’ll have more papers to sign… ”
“More papers?!” Theora demanded.
“Yes… for liability purposes. Will that be all?”
Without waiting for an answer, Simon ended the call. It was quiet in the room for several moments, and the uncomfortable silence was broken by Bryce.
“Ew! That guy? EW! Your father tried to kill you-”
“ENOUGH!” Edison roared. Bryce cringed. “It just slipped out! I swear! Aw c’mon you guys! You know I’m no good at this sympathy stuff! I really am sorry!”
Christina jumped up and ran to the bathroom.
“Aw dang! Christina!” Bryce ran to the door “Please come out! I am sorry! Hey I made the cake myself… ”
He put his ear to the door.
“I think she got sick,” he said.
After letting her have her space, Theora went into the bathroom. Christina was sitting on the floor, crying her eyes out.
“I wanted you to hear it from me!” she insisted.
“You’ll… you’ll have to get a spine of steel around Simon Peller, he’s a prejudiced hateful bigot… and you’re an easy target.”
She waited a moment and took a seat beside her.
“I didn’t deserve that!” Christina wept “I am not a mean person! I never was a mean person! Why do people keep hurting me?! Will it ever stop?”
“In here… behind the apartment front door… you know… we won’t ever… hurt you… ”
Theora was crying now as well.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
“Hey there! Hi there! What up there?!”
Parkin bounded happily into the apartment, followed by Velma.
“Not yet!” Edison said, as he and Theora stood outside the door to Christina’s small room.
“Not coming out! Not ever again!” she shouted.
“Ah! Rebellious teenager issues and the brave reporter and his controller who struggle to raise this… erm… ” Parkin fished out his notes while the camera wobbled on his shoulder.
“The undisciplined orphan whom the heroic reporter and controller saved from a life of… Blank-dom… or worse!” Velma said, nodding. Then she giggled. “And I just now made that up!”
“It’s perfect!” Parkin said “we can work with that!”
Theora rolled her eyes. The reality show exploitation was getting on her nerves, and the manic personalities of Parkin and Velma just made it worse.
“I get the feeling she could bury you with her intelligence!” Theora said with a grin. “She does really well for being ‘so undisciplined’. ”
“And no diapers and all her teeth!” Edison chuckled.
Theora turned back to the room; Christina was wrapped in a blanket, with only her feet sticking out.
“Come with us? Reg and Dom are great people, you will like them.”
The bundled Christina shifted, drawing in one foot.
“Bastard spayed me!”
“What?!” Edison yelped.
“Dear God!” Theora concurred.
“Not like that.”
She kicked off the blanket and sat up.
She pointed to her wrists.
“Can’t use my power. Well, not like zapping people or burning their faces off or anything. The implants cause a backfire. Because, science!”
“Nice!” Theora said. “Experiments 16 yrs ago, and re-experiments to correct the damage. When will they ever learn?”
“The wonders of scientific progress!” Edison said.
“Not allowed to discuss that!” Parkin reminded them.
“SIMON PELLER IS THE BIGGEST JERK EVER!” Christina shouted.
“Nice try, but the damn censors probably got to it,” Edison said.
Edison smiled. “Sure you won’t come?”
“Nah. Kyle is coming by. Social worker comes by tonight… besides, I don’t have any nice clothes.”
Theora came and sat down beside her, and handed her a credit tube.
“It’s 500 credits. You spend some time with Kyle and go buy a nice outfit. Maybe next time?”
“Stay calm tonight. Don’t give these people any reason to suspect you of any wrong-doing,” Edison admonished.
Christina took the credit tube slowly, and hugged Theora.
The chopper landed about a hundred yards from the BigTime bus. Reg was the first one out, and he wrapped his friend in a big hug.
“I knew it! 1 just knew this day would
come, old son!”
Dominique stepped up to Edison, gave him a hug and kissed his cheek. “Edison, this is just. .. well, we are just so happy for you both!”
She pulled out a handkerchief and dabbed her eyes.”
“Edison! Where is she? Where’s the bride to be?” Reg asked.
“We’re meeting her, three blocks from here. At Valenci’s.”
Reg’s eyes got wide. “Valenci’s, eh? Very
high class. Well, lets go, then!”
“Wait!” Parkin yelled. He ran towards the, followed by Velma.
“May we ride with you, sir?” Reg said yes, and off they went.
“Big jerk!” Christina mumbled through Bryce’s cake. She wiped her lips and turned up the volume on the tv, and listened to Simon Pellers latest PSA.
Families. The question I ask you,
today is, what are families built on?
The answer is people! Ordinary
people who love television.
Scumball, Missile Mike, even the
less interesting sports of football
and baseball. Network executives,
copywriters, even the janitor.
People like you and me.
As I speak, there is a new and
ominous danger facing all of us. It
is a danger facing every man,
woman and child. And only a
handful of Americans even know
it’s out there.
It hides behind the face the high
school football player, your
bowling buddy, even the Youth
Independent Party. It’s waiting in
the hallways of your neighborhood
church. It may even be watching
your children as they sleep.
What menace am I speaking of?
The greatest scourge of the
twenty-first century. My friends,
I’m talking about… mutants.
Max flipped onto the screen.
“You shouldn’t watch that, it’s filled with hate and bitterness!”
Christina put a hand to her mouth, suddenly overcome by an uncomfortable rumbling in her stomach.
“You are the prettiest shade of green right now!” He gushed.
She hiccuped. “Damn, it was Simon’s commercial or Bryce’s cake! Gimme a… just…”
She got up and stumbled to the bathroom, and came out three minutes late.
“Well, my bytes are on the commercial. Bryce’s cooking isn’t that bad. Hey, wait!”
“I’m meeting Kyle downstairs! Max I gotta get outta here!” She graabed some ant-acids from the kitchen, got her coat, and ran for the door.
“But I have to give you something!”
“Later, huh? Ok? Baaaai!”
Nearly everyone from Control was here, except for Janie Crane, who was off on another assignment.
“Ladies and gentlemen. .. may I have your attention? Please!”
Murray could hardly be heard above the noise, so Velma stood up and yelled, “QUIET!” then she adjusted her glasses and sat back down.”Thank you! Well, it is a true honor and privilege… words can hardly express
how I feel. As you know, Edison Carter and Theora Jones are set to become man and wife-”
The guests broke into a thunderous applause.
“Stand up, both of you!” Murray yelled to Edison.
They both did, and the applause got louder, lasting for several seconds.
When the crowd quieted down, and Edison was encouraged to share, he smiled and said, “I don’t like parties… but…” he looked at Theora. “It’s better with you here.”
He concentrated solemnly on her face.”I thought 1 had lost you… and 1 couldn’t… could not imagine losing
“You didn’t” she laughed lightly and brushed the tear from his eye. He pulled her close. “Oh, my hand… ow!”
Edison and Theora pulled back and saw Parkin laying across the table. He was holding a microphone in one hand, having leaned over to catch their
profound words on tape. His other hand became trapped in between the tables. Edison had accidentally pushed together when he hugged Theora.”Only hurt a bit.” he lifted his hand which had flushed red. He turned to face Velma, and shouted,” And there you
have it! The future Edison and Theora Carter! Don’t forget the
names, or the Network, that’s Network 23, for the special Broadcast of THE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY!”
“At least someone’s happy!”
Christina turned away from the television at Neo’s fine clothing store, and went back to the racks. Kyle followed.
“They got a men’s section? Hey, why so sad?”
“I can’t afford what I really want!”
“Maybe Theora can give you more.”
“At dinner… wait, I got an idea.”
She slipped an arm around his waist.
“Ooooh, another plan! I can feel that brain matter of yours trembling!”
She put a finger to his lips, giggling softly.
“Kay, hold me up, I could fall over.
“No, way, lil princess! I gotcha!”
“I deserve to be happy,” she raised a finger and pointed to a skirt that cost 700 credits. “Makes me happy!”
She slumped against his chest. Kyle grabbed the credit tube she nearly dropped, and watched the meter flash rapidly.
“Wow!” he said. He watched her carefully for any sign of distress. There was none and it made him slightly sad; he was hoping for a good excuse to punch Simon in the face.
When she came out of her “trance”, the credit tube now had 5000 credits on it. She bought three new outfits, makeup, cologne, got her ears pierced, and bought a hair dye kit.
Then she and Kyle went to dinner, her treat.
Meanwhile, back at Simon Peller’s place, the social worker called in to say she had arrived and was waiting for Christina to come to the door.
“Good. I want a report from every visit. Be detailed. All I need is one screw-up, and off she goes.”
Then he hung up and went to check his bank account.
He found something odd.
His account was now missing 4,500 credits.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
Bryce slumped back to his lab at the
network. He was just about to take a
power-nap when Ben Cheviot called in.
He seemed very happy.
“Have you seen the latest spots for the
“Let’s look!” he said, eager to get his
mind off what happened at Edison’s
Mr. Cheviot smiled proudly and sent
over the 30-second spot.
In it, Velma ran onto a stage with a big
countdown clock in flashing neon, and
began jumping up and down.
“We’re getting close! We’re getting
close!” she yelled, and then Parkin ran
in from the opposite direction shouting
“From the hosts with the mosts!”
Then the two of them slung their arms
around eachother and burst into song.
“Who’s the boy and girl you
wish to see
Parkin-in the wedding
Velma-in the wedding
together-of the century?”
“So? What do you think, Bryce?”
I wish I had been born deaf and blind!
“It’s good,” Bryce lied.
“What’s better is, Zik Zak is sponsoring
a promotion. They’ll announce it soon.
Isn’t this great? Ratings!”
Bryce realized he’d never seen Mr.
Cheviot so happy.
And then he got serious.
“Bryce I need a favor.”
He got concerned; this sounded like a
personal request. He didn’t much care
for those, finding them an interruption
and a distraction. They always pushed
him away from more important things,
like Cold Fusion and Wave-Particle
“Ok,” he said with mild hesitance.
“I’d like you to take on Christina
Spencer as an apprentice-”
“I don’t need help! She’ll only get in
my way. Thanks for the offer.”
“Do not disconnect I am NOT
finished!” Cheviot demanded angrily.
“Fine.” Bryce turned away, however.
“You’ll be doing us all a favor. Simon
Peller doesn’t want her alone for too
long. He’s afraid she’ll ‘try something’,
tho I’ve been assured the major problems
have been neutralized. However, I hear
your objections, and I won’t ask
“Thank you sir?” Bryce said, as he
waited for the other shoe to drop.
“This time, I insist. You will hire her as
Boom! The other shoe fell right on his head!
“She will work 7 hours a day, with
three required breaks. You can set her
salary but make it reasonable. I’m told
she wants the money for college… a
noble endeavor, don’t you think?”
Bryce stared at the screen. Cheviot
leaned closer, and his nose took up
most of the screen.
“I hope I have made myself clear,
Bryce.” he said with a grim smile.
“Mr. … sir… I don’t think she’s mature
enough… she’s too emotional and
untamed… she’s technically an
orphan!” he protested, almost as if
being an orphan was the worst thing in
“And she can use your guidance and
discipline, and I can use the continued
cooperation from Edison and Theora.”
“The ratings are too good and climbing
every hour! For God’s sake you cannot
ask me to sacrifice that!”
“Alright, Mr. Cheviot… ” he was too
tired to argue. “She can be my
Cheviot leaned back, his smile became
“Glad to know you see reason, Bryce.
I’ve sacrificed too much already, and
the Wedding of the Century I will not
He nodded, wondering if Cheviot’s
sacrifices was a reference to his son,
Thank God that didn’t happen to me!
“I’m looking forward to it, sir.” Bryce lied.
He ended the call, and sulked, feeling
like the worst that could happen, just did.
“Hey you got a job!”
Max appeared in the tv in Christina’s
room. She was busy hiding her ill-gotten merchandise under the bed and
in the closet.
“Yeh… well at least I can say I paid for
“I thought Theora bought them?”
“Uh… yeh… ” she caught herself.
“I get it! Ok, fantasy girl, what are you not
telling me?” he asked, now sounding
like an admonishing big brother, or
“Kyle got em he didn’t want anyone to
“Nice boy, I think! Well, he really likes you, and
you have helped him calm down a lot,
according to Edison’s memory. I can’t even recall
the last time he hit someone. Has it
been that long?”
“Two of a kind, Max!”
She finished her task and went to the tv.
“I wish there was more I knew of.”
Max frowned, she was sad again, and
he hated seeing her so sad and lonely.
“You gotta sit still for 5 minutes. I have
“Oh, I forgot! Max I’m sorry. I’m such a
“Go to the printer. It’s ready.”
She ran to it, and pulled out a sheet of
paper and read it.
She is my fantasy girl
and will always be
the only fantasy girl
By M. Headroom.
She ran to the tv and hugged it.
“Max! you are so sweet!”
“It better make you happy. I don’t want
to see you sad.”
She smiled and hugged the tv tighter,
crying a little.
“It does! I’m in a good home with good people, and I wouldn’t have had it if not for you! Max, you are awesome!”
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
“This way,” Murray said as he strode quickly down the
long hallway to Bryce’s lab. “There’s a bridal
party for Theora soon, and she’s hoping you will come.”
“On the show.”
“Right… you’ll probably be interviewed.”
“Nothing about mutations I guess?”
“Not a word.”
He stopped and looked at her.
“Simon Peller was authorized to present a grant to a
pharmacutical company. Glaxon Kline-smith… to
begin developments for genetic testing… you know…
that kind of genetic testing… ”
“I get it,” Christina said with disdain “Than man is hate
in a human form!”
“And he’s allowed to get away with it! Did you know
evil wins when good people don’t do anything? Even
the head of your network ‘has to keep his mouth shut’
too much to lose if he said anything about… ”
She almost blurted out “Tommy”, but the thought of
someone like Simon Peller getting his claws in poor
Tommy… it simply was not an option.
“City needa a politician, so does the network… it’s
how things work… it’s still wrong… the power of
network tv is… almost god-like… you’ve seen that
He shrugged helplessly.
“Edison’s right; don’t let that bastard get to you… and
nothing would make him happier… just do your best to
keep it clean… and enjoy… being a teenager… really is
the best years of your life… I think.”
Bryce opened the door to his lab, stared and blinked.
“Welcome to my lab,” he said tiredly, but in a rehearsed-tone
“I’m looking forward to the results of our collective
“Tell Bryce what you just told me!” Christina said
with a grin.
“Ok, let’s get to work,” Bryce said, then went to work
on a terminal, while Christina waited for a minute…
then the minute turned into two, and three and four.
At the 5th minute Christina was fed up.
“Ok, what am I supposed to do!”
Bryce looked down.
“Floor needs to be swept and mopped.”
Christina slammed a hand on the table. “I’m you
apprentice, not your slave and NOT YOUR
Bryce looked at her, baffled. “Huh?”
“Nevermind!” she said with a growl. “Can I use one of
the computers to study then?”
“Ok,” he pointed to the back. “You can mop the floor
after your break.”
“Thrilled, I can’t wait!” she drolled, and went off to the
Bryce sighed angrily. He hated the apprentice thing,
and was convinced any job here, he could perform
better than anyone.
He stopped what he was doing and went back to the
area where he kept his test tubes, and looked at them.
He began to bite his nails, and sweat formed on his
forehead. The colors of the fluid were changing but
the final result would not be ready for at least 2 hours.
“Hurry up!” he ordered the tubes.
Maybe he would send Christina to get a pizza, when
that moment came.
After the test was complete he would destroy the
results and any evidence related to it.
“Are you ready, Max? I’m coming in.”
Max looked at her excitedly. “Tea time!”
Then he sulked.
“No hands… well so much for that!”
She leaned into the screen. “Make a wish, Max.”
Then she leaned back in the chair, and popped open a
“Five minutes.” she told him.
She medtated, diving down into a deep trance, deeper
than when she hijacked Peller’s bank account, and
“went into” cyberspace. She had, long ago, given up on
dreaming. All her dreams ever told her were bad
things. Now she had used the ability, along with her
naturally occurring electrical field, to transform her
mind into something tangible, something that could
exist in cyberspace. Like Max could.
“Tea time!” she sang. as her “virtual self” materialized.
before a table with two cups on it.
Max came along.
“Nice… but seriously… I got no hands to hold the cup!”
“What’s your wish Max?!”
He shook his head. “Are you trying to prove
something? If you are tell me, cause I don’t get it!”
“I don’t want to prove anything. Max… I owe you so
much… and I want to make your fondest wish come
He looked wistful.
“I have a wish,” he admitted.
“Great! Ok, no talking! Try and stay still, one piece is
easier to work with.”
“One… piece… ” he mused.
“Try not to get too excited, and close your eyes.”
His eyes snapped shut.
“Hey… what’s going on back here?” Bryce called.
There was no answer, but Max came on the screen,
“She did it! Bryce she did it!”
“Did what! Get in trouble again?”
“She gave me feet!”
He zoomed out, revealing a full body, but now the suit
was gone, and replaced by a gold suit.
“Look! Look, look, look!”
“Ah… Christina… she didn’t even ask me!”
“She asked me, and I said yes!”
“Well, I meant-”
“I can think for myself, Bryce.”
He sneered a little, cocked his head, thought.
“Well are you happy like that?”
Max’s head filled the screen again, zooming in til his
smiling mouth and teeth were all that was visible.
“Lookit my face! What does this face say, Bryce?”
Alright,” he conceded, looking at the clock. 10 more
“Oh, my God it was you!”
Christina came around from the back, then stood staring at
“Christina! I love them Christina I am WHOLE!”
And with sudden retrospect, she wondered if it was
such a good idea.
“Don’t tell no one yet.”
“I wanna tell the world!”
“Please, no! Well… just wait until after the wedding. Its
not much longer.”
“Must I? Christina, look what you did?!”
Then she smiled a little, looked at Bryce.
“You’re one of us,” she awed.
“One of… what?”
I will not panic!
“Oh, that. Nnno. I’m not, I’m just a genius. Not a big
“Bryce I found your dna inside Max!”
“Oh, you mean like a mutant.”
“Whatever. “It’s not possible, I would know.”
He looked at the clock again.
Maybe I should smash the tubes…
“I found your dna… wanna see?”
She reached for the keyboard, and Bryce pushed her
“Unnecessary! Christina go back you your studies.”
“Look on the screen!”
“That? Copy protec code!”
“Yeh but you built it with your dna! With your…
“I wondered about that protec code!” Max said. “I
think that’s it. People always miss the completely
obvious and I think you did, Bryce.”
“Wow… you are kinda like me… ” Christina wondered.
He refused to look at her, even refused to hear Max,
instead went to the refrigerator for a soft drink.
Christina followed him.
“It’s… not a crime… ”
“Oh, yeh? Tell that to Simon Peller!”
He took his drink and went back to the computer.
“I don’t know yet.”
Christina scowled. “Well get one of them Peller-
sponsored Genetic test-things done on you.”
“I made my own.”
He sunk back into his nonchalant state of ignorant bliss.
His genetic tests would be normal. He was worrying
for nothing. He needed to get control and prevent
emotional outburst like that from ever occurring again.
The alarm went off.
“Let’s see the results.” he got up, feeling suddenly
assured. “Sorry, Christina. I doubt I will be joining
your small fraternity of the damned!” Then he went off
to the room with the tubes “Sorry about that. There will be no probation, no implants, and no Simon Peller leaning over MY shoulder any time… ”
Christina looked at the screen. “There’s nothing in there that might give him away right?” she asked “Max, stop dancing!”
“I can’t help it! Well, ok, I’m done. No! Nothing to identify him or you.”
“Him,” she mused.
There was a cry of distress from the other room.
“Welcome to the fraternity of the damned, Bryce!”
“Poor kid!” Max sighed sadly.
“I have to retest! Bryce called out. “I know I put in too much Nitroethane! And I know my Phosphorus was WAY off!”
“I know you better than that Bryce!” Max reminded him “A person like you would never mix Nitroethane and Phosphorus in the wrong way!” Max insisted. “Thats something any 5 year old can do!
“Then it was too many allotropes!”
“Give it a rest, Bryce!” Christina demanded, feeling annoyed. She got on the vidi-phone.
“No unauthorized calls!” Bryce demanded.
“Hi, Kyle? Meet me after work. Well, me and Bryce.”
“I can only fit two on my bike.” he said.
“Hook up the sidecar! And get a helmet for Bryce… maybe a teddy.”
“It was not enough allotropes! That’s it!” Bryce called out, running to collect samples from the freezer.
“What’s his problem? You spike his apple juice or something?”
“No. He just made another breakthrough is all, and right now he needs less ritual and more fun!”
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
note-bits and pieces swiped from many places but properly combined, distilled, and mixed to make, what i hope, is an enjoyable story. thank you for reading. 🙂
Edison pushed his way through Parkin and Velma, and waited
near the corridor.
“You look good. No, really. Stop that self-grooming! Who’s this
show about, anyway?”
“All of us!” Parkin smiled, then cleared his throat. “”You of
course, but it does not hurt to look as best as I can.”
He thought again.
“When we look good, you look better!”
“Yeh, right!” Edison smirked. Oh, how he HATED all this. These
hosts were losers, eager for a buck and fame. He almost said
something when a young girl stepped oout ofthe elevator. She
was holding a small box and a clipboard. Edison’s eyes got wide.
“Excuse me,” he said to the doctor, and walked over to her.
“For Edison Carter?” “That’s right,” she nodded. “You got to
“Sure,” and he almost ripped the box ftom her hands. He gave
her a generous tip and
rushed into the control room. Murray was highly impressed.
“Are these real diamonds?”
“They’d better be. Murray, while Parkin and Velma aren’t around.
I was hoping you’d… ” Edison smiled and rolled his eyes upward
“I can’t believe this is really happeneing.”
Max flipped onto a nearby screen. “So ask him, already!”
“I will, Max!”
Max swirled around, and said, “I’m not leaving til you do.”
“Be my best man!” Edison said quickly.
“Edison… I am truly honored. Really… I can’t believe this is all
happeneing either.” “Best time of my life!” Edison agreed.
“Same here!” Max insisted. “I can’t wait until we’re all one big
“Whatup, Heathcliff! We making any progress?”
Kyle and Christina dismounted the bike. Bryce sat in the side-
car, helmet and goggles firmly secured to his head and face.
Kyle looked at the un-moving, staring straight ahead, genius.
“Like taking a baby out of the house for the first time… excited…
lots of anticipation… the good kind… and fear. Hm.”
Christina grabbed Kyle around the waist. “Be my psychology
assistant! It’s perfect!”
“Class later! Fun now!”
“A little less ritual, a lot more fun! Bryce!”
“I’m here. I didn’t die. But Kyle was speeding. 15.463 miles over
the speed limit.”
He jerked around a little.
Kyle laughed heartily, Christina smiled and went to help him out
of the sidecar.
“Oh, God you are so tense! Dude, you will be dead before you
are 20! Relax, Bryce! There’s nothing wrong with having a good
“This way, kids!” Kyle said, heading to a stairway that would
take them to The Coral Temple, a nightclub with drink, loud
music and dancing.
It was dark inside, lit only by lights that illuminated the dance
floor, and the bar.
“Sit down! Take a load off! Drinks?”
“A fruit beverage.”
On the telescreen, a new Simon Peller PSA came on.
Simon Peller is a man committed to our future. A future that is
safe, a future that is fair, and for our children’s sake, a future that
is mutant-free. He is is a tireless advocate, a crusader who has
dedicated himself to safeguarding our Creator’s original vision,
a vision that is now imperiled by lethal and degenerate
individuals among us.
Simon Peller-a man with a mission, a politician with a
conscience, and someone who cares about you.
“Make it a wine cooler!”
Bryce was frowning, but otherwise stoic.
“I am so dead! Now Peller’s gonna hunt me down like a dog!””
“I want a whiskey instead!” Christina demanded.
Kyle went to get the drinks.
“What do I do, Christina?!”
“Nothing, you’re fucked!”
His eyes got wide with fright and a loud squeak escaped his
“Joking!” she slapped his shoulder “just don’t say anything. No
one has to know.”
The song ended and the crowd dispersed a little before the next
song came on.
“My favorite!” Christina got up.
“Wait!” Bryce grabbed her arm. “Yes they will! Genetic tests
“Oh, have your boss get you a waiver then! I’m going to dance.”
She darted away. Kyle came back with the drinks and sat down.
“Whiskey? Isn’t she too young to drink, Mr. Kyle Cheviot?”
“Jennings!” he corrected… oh, I love to watch her move.” he
turned to Bryce, smiling and determined. “She’s under a lot of
pressure. She needs to cut loose every now and again… as for
you, you are a wild-man just screaming to break out of your…
“Oh, no I am not, I am most definitley not!”
“Sure ya are!” Kyle clapped his shoulder in a friendly manner.
“Look, it’s true. There’s not a lot of us. Christina found that, in
the first year alone… of them experiments… the stillborn
birthrate was… like 80% or something… others survived but
would have been better off… ”
“I need to research that… I also need to experiment with my
“new-found” talents… well, gotta go!”
Kyle put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.
“One night… one time… just… relax. We won’t ask you again,
that’s a promise.”
Bryce sulked. Kyle laughed.
“Ok… well just answer one question, and I will ‘shut up and ‘have
“Anything!” Kyle laughed again.
“What happened to Ned Grossberg?”
Kyle was silent for several moments. Then he looked at Bryce.
“Would it matter?”
He thought again.
“He hurt Christina… you can’t see how beautiful she is” he
shook his head “No one liked him. No one cares.”
“Well I didn’t, not, like him! Not exactly… and I don’t condone…
Kyle stared straight ahead, unmoving, unflinching… and Bryce
decided to give up. Some questions were better left, unanswered.
“Can I try that? I never tried alcohol before.”
“Woah!” Kyle’s stoic visage dissipated, replace by a bright grin.
“Wait, wait, wait!” He took a glass of water, took an empty glass,
and mixed about 4 parts water and 1 part whiskey.
“Easier to get down.”
“Don’t tell on me, your dad will take my head off!”
“No more!” Kyle set the watered down drink before him. “Now
if you will excuse me… she can move like it’s no one’s business,
and I have to move with her.”
Christina’s eyes lit up, when she saw him, and grabbed his hand,
pulling him into the crowd.
“More fun!” she said.
But, like everything else, true happiness in her life was fleeting.
The two had barely started when there was a crah from their
“Oh… shit!” Christina yelped.
“Some alter’s just cant drink I guess,” Kyle responded.
The table was overturned, and Bryce was flat on his back, out
cold, one hand clutching an empty glass.
“I swear… I swear to you babe… I told him just that one… I don’t
know if he drank anymore!”
They stood in the crowded hospital corridor. The managers of
the club insisted Bryce be brought in for medical attention. As
Bryce was being treated in a room, Kyle and Christina waited
The good news was that Bryce would be fine. His collapse was
most likely due to overexertion, and not drinking. His BAC
barely registered. It did nothing for Christina’s peace of mind.
She felt her new life starting to crumble.
“I need to ask you something… because you don’t need this… it’s
a sacrifice, but… ”
She looked up at him, tears in her eyes.
“Not now… daddy’s home… ”
Ben Cheviot, after checking on Bryce and getting a complete
run-down on his health, took Christina off, and back to the
Network 23 boardroom. It was just the two of them, the hour
was late and the reast of the boardmember’s had gone home.
“”Wall of silence enforced.” Ben Cheviot said, making sure the
doors to the boardroom were closed and locked.
This is between you and me.”
“Did you… tell Simon Peller?”
He smiled genuinly.
“No, he doesn’t have to know this. Though I must advise… I
must… and you must… keep your act together… ”
He waved to the chair and watched as she slowly took a seat,
moving in a robot-like fasion.
“Listen… this is important… Edison Carter has taken you into his
home, and Kyle has taken you into his heart… I don’t know
which impresses me more… Edison has complete honor, and my
son… is very hard to reach… really does say a lot about you, you
Christina glared at him hard. “I’m surprised you didn’t have me
sent away as well… I really am… ”
She gasped, turned away. Her frustration was growing.
“I… would not do that, now… I could not… ”
His words drifted off, and the room was quiet for a few seconds.
Christina shifted in her chair.
“Well I’m gotta ask… because nothing is gained by being silent
and I’m living proof!”
Cheviot nodded, his hand gripped the armrest on his chair.
“Your son… ”
“Tommy!” She whispered.
His eyes flashed both anger and sadness, but he remained silent.
“Kyle said… the why… that sometimes… he wants to know… why
he’s like that… and his crazy brain won’t let him know or
Tears began to spill from her eyes.
“How do you justify that?”
He looked away, looked back, pain in his eyes.
“I don’t. I can’t. Mistakes were made, and can’t be fixed.”
He laughed nervously. “I could never… have that Peller get his
claws in Tommy… I won’t let that happen… ”
“That explains… so much… don’t get me wrong, Mr. Cheviot. I
agree with you; Simon Peller and others like him are the real
She wiped her tears away.
“I’ll behave… intimidation, torture, being butchered by doctors,
it’s not my thing! Can… can I go now?”
He stood up. “You are a very brave girl, Christina… but there are
times, we must make sacrifices-”
“Don’t call me brave, and don’t tell me about sacrifice… you
will never understand… how afraid I feel… you will never
comprehend my sacrifice.”
She walked to the door. “Just… don’t patronize me like that… ”
The next morning started Christina off with a guilty conscience.
Somewhat related to Bryce, but more about something else.
She sat down at the kitchen table with Edison and Theora, and
fidgeted her thumbs.
“Bryce is ok?”
“Fine… he almost gave himself away in the hospital, just started
rambling about ‘having powers’. We got him to shut up in time…
I hope,” Edison said.
“I really didn’t want to laugh… he does need to get out more, but
Edison turned to her. “Please… just stay at home for a while.”
“You can’t afford to… did you just agree with me?”
“Staying home! I got my studies, I got my job… ”
She shook her head vehemently, poked the surface of the table.”
“I’m staying right here!”
“Very good,” Theora agreed. She looked at Edison. “The worst
thing I want to see is that bridal shower with Velma as the host!
Oh, Edison they become more insufferable by the minute!”
“You think you got it bad?” he grinned With my luck Parkin is
going to try and get me to stuff credit tubes down some strange
“Oh, if you even dare… ” but both she and Edison grinned and
chuckled about tonight as well as their amazing love story
“Hey, I gotta tell you something!… well, confess something… ”
They both looked at her questioningly. She got up and went to
her room. “In here!”
They came in to find a pile of clothing, makeup, and various
accessories, scattered on the floor.
“Oh… oh, Christina, dont tell me… now I know I didn’t give you
that many credits!”
“Nooo,” she shook her head. “I got em from… ”
She compressed her lips.
“Not my account, I hope!” Edison remarked.
“From… Simon Peller’s account… ”
Though he tried hard not to, Edison grinned.
“It wasn’t that hard… he has a weak security.”
Edison smirked. Theora put her hand to her head.
“You can punish me, it was wrong… and I’ll pay him back… ”
Edison choked down the next smirk, turned and left the room.
“Poor judgment,” Theora sighed. “We’ll find some way to get the
money back without him knowing.”
“You can ground me too!” Christina said, almost excitedly.
Edison begain laughing out loud.
“Well, just dont HA let it happen again! AHAHAHA!”
As evening drew on, light clouds blew in from the North,
blanketing out the setting sun. Inside Theora’s apartment all was
festive and light. Velma was much better at using her camera,
and focussed it on Theora as the woman opened her gifts, a
heartfelt thanks for each giver.
The happiness in Theora’s face, the joy in everyone elses, the
bright light in the room and the music playing in the
background… it made Christina very happy.
But like everything else in her life, it was fleeting.
She went to her room and was surprised to find Kyle, calling
into the vidi-phone.
“No guys allowed, loverboy! Not even calling in!”
“He found out… ”
“Listening device in Edison’s apartment!”
Her mind felt numb and her legs turned to water.
“They’re coming from the Cafe!” he pointed to his left. “Your social work, Simon Peller,
and four metrocops.”
“No… ” she moaned.
“They’re armed… like riot-armed.”
Her breath left her body, and she felt faint.
“Thuh… Thuh… ” she choked.
“I’m coming up!” Kyle said and disconnected.
“THEORA!” Christina cried out.
Her world was now collapsing all around her, and she could
only watch helplessly.
“Let us in, Miss Jones.”
Simon Peller, flanked by the social worker and 4 metrocops,
looked into the viewscreen. He was smiled but his eyes showed
“I won’t ask again! The metrocops will break your door down if
you don’t open it!”
Simon turned to the lead cop. Check your watch. 1 minute.
“No killing! ‘If’ something happens you shoot to wound. That’s
“I understand, sir.” Then he reached into a pocket and withdrew
some rubber gloves. “Do you want these? I mean I don’t know if
she… well… ”
Peller thought, and shook his head no.
The door opened then, and there stood Velma.
“Hey, you… yoooou! Now you just can’t barge in here! We have
a wedding party going on! And you shall not rob this family of
Then she crossed her arms and said “So there!”
Then she noticed the metrocops. Her eyes got wide, and she
“Oh! Well! Whatever then!” she sang, turned and shuffled back
into the apartment. The first metrocop shoved his hand out to
make sure the self-locking door didn’t close.”
“After you, Mr. Peller.
He strode in without aplomb, and the metrocops filed in behind
“Hurry, please!” Theora said intot the vid-phone, then
disconnected and stood up.
“How dare you! This is my wedding party!”
She was fuming. Her face was beet-red and she was shaking.
“Get out!” she yelled to the metrocops, as the guests hurried to
get out of possible harm’s way.
Theora was unmoved.
“Your abuse of this child has gone on long enough. I won’t
tolerate it! Velma turn your camera on!”
“I’m sorry Theora… I signed a contract… I’m really sorry… ”
“A child! A child?! This ‘child’… this dangerous mutant you have
taken into your home… stole money from me!”
Simon Peller, a man on a mission, and no seeming conscience,
looked at Christina, who was sitting on the couch, eyes closed
and head down. Her breath came in tiny ragged gasps.
“Admit it, miss Christina Spencer! Are you listening to me!?”
All she could do was nodd, and drew her arms quickly into her
One of the metros cocked his rifle then, the sound of it ripped
through the room and making everyone but Simon jump. Instead
he turned around.
“No shooting, dammit!”
The cop pulled back, lowering the rifle a bit.
He turned back to the others.
“After all, this is a wedding party!”
And he was all smiles again.
“Now… all that has to be done… is for this girl to come with
She just sat there, frozen with fear.
“I won’t ask you again, and I am tired of being nice.”
Theora laughed sardonically.
“Animal!” she said.
Simon turned away, motioned to the cops, who swiftly
surrounded Christina and pulled her off the couch.
“I’m coming! I won’t… not the monster!” she begged, but they
still took her arms and marched her to the door.
“Ok, what about him? That’s mr loverboy, we take him in too?”
Simon went to the door, and Kyle was out in the corridor. He
was leaning against the wall, his face tight, looking old and
“Let her go,” was all he said.
Simon just waved him away like you would an insect.
“This doesn’t concern you young man! Now leave!”
“See? You see now Christina? This was my problem! Babe, it
was a big problem. And I had only 2 seconds to decide. Take
Grossberg’s hate from him, or take your power from you. I knew
I had enough hate of my own, I didn’t need his! So… woah!”
He laughed, even as sweat rolled down his cheeks.” Talk about
deja vu! ”
“No… ” Christina begged.
“What are you saying, Kyle?! Are you saying that you have a
mutation as well?” Simon asked nervously.
“He never said that!” Christina insisted. “Kyle go, please go!”
“Fear, disgust… hate,” Kyle said, looking right at Peller.
“My God, Ben Cheviot’s own son! Oh, my God you are
everywhere!” Simon accused.
“Kyle GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” Christina screamed.
“Get him too!” Simon seethed. Don’t just stand there, grab that…
Kyle moved toward him fast.
“Two seconds, same choice!”
His raised hand flashed bright with electrical bolts. A metrocop
raised his rifle, aimed, and fired.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
“Ew… ew ew eeeew!”
While waiting in the hospital for Mr. Cheviot to come get him, he
checked out this computer-thing that Christina did and Max was.
He jumped back, instictively brushing himself off.
It was warm in there, and he found “himself” surrounded by
matrix-style coding that was like a spiderweb. The sensations
frightened him enough that he remained for only a few seconds.
And the funny thing was, unlike Christina, he could stay awake the
“Wooooow,” he sighed.
His whole body was tingling a little.
“Electricity!” His eyes got wide at the stunning realization. Of
course! The body runs on electrical impulses!”
He looked at the screen and sat back on the bed.
Then Max came. He looked very unhappy.
“Ok, what’s going on?!”
“I was in VR!”
“No, not that. What i want to know is… what’s going on!?”
Max sighed, scratched his head.
“Now I was at Christin’a matrix… the Heights… and waiting for her
to show up, and I was dancing and riding… I can ride a horse, now,
Bryce! Anyway… so I waited… had virtual tea by myself… and I got
tired of waiting and came back and all hell broke loose!”
A scream began to erupt from his throat.
“Peller knows about me!?”
“Bryce, he took my fantasy girl!”
The door opened fast, and Max vanished. There was a doctor and
“Let’s go… hurry, Bryce! I want you out of here and back at 23 immediately!”
“What happened!” Bryce begged.
Bryce was shocked to see Kyle in the hospital, on a stretched and
being treated by a physician. Simon Peller hovered nearby, the
social worker nearby.
“Yes, you can go,” he said to her. Mission accomplished. See
Gabriele. She has your pay as well as a bonus.”
Bryce cowered behind Cheviot, who stepped up to the doctor.
“Remember what I said! Any and all special examinations and you
go through me first. If I find out anything has happened to him, if
he dies, I swear I will-”
“Ah, excuse me!” Simon butted in, then inched closer, looked down
at the unconscious man, his side bandaged up and blood seeping
“I am very sorry, Ben… but your son tried to kill me!”
He straightened up, looking smug “as well as, him being a mutant.”
Simon’s eyes shined with delight. “So you aren’t shocked at this
news. How long have you known?! Well, are there others besides
him and Christina Spencer?!”
Bryce sighed with relief at that, and he released his terrified grip on
Simon waited for an answer. “I have the support of two
pharmaceutical companies and three countries, so we can decide
what to do about this menace.”
“What happened to Christina?” Bryce finally asked.
“Gone. Sent away, finally.” Peller shrugged. “I had her arrested. She
was stealing money from me, and Kyle tried to kill me. There was
only one solution.”
He looked down at Kyle. “Now, Ben, you really need to allow me to do my
job… my service to my people!”
Cheviot poked him in the chest.
“Not a move! You want a meeting, fine! I’m counting on it. You
will do nothing to my son!”
“Unless your time with 23 is done… truth is, you won’t dare risk that.”
Simon frowned angrily, but moved aside to let Cheviot and Bryce pass.
Bryce was hastily dumped off at his lab, and when he pestered Ben
Cheviot for detail, he didn’t get an answer. All Cheviot said was
“it’s going to be a great wedding!”
He slumped into his lab, found Edison, Theora, and Murray
waiting for him.
“I heard about… I’m really sorry… I was kinda growing fond of Chr… ”
Theora turned away, it was clear she was crying.
“They shot Kyle! They found out he has mutations!”
“He’ll be ok, so I’m told,” Edison said glumly.
“Brash. I swear he will never get that temper of his under control,”
Murray noted. “I’m sorry, but taking on 5 metrocoops is the stupidest thing ever… even if he is… ”
“Altered!” Bryce sat down.
“Those tests… they will go through… and my daughter… she’s that
“Anything you need to be concerned about?” Edison asked.
Murray just shrugged.
“So, what’s the plan then?” he asked.
Edison was silent for several moments, his face went from
emotionless to angry to desperate.
“We’re… having a wedding… ” he said through gritted teeth. “I have
been through too much… Theora has been… ”
He closed his eyes and opened then, his eyes now revealing disgust.
“Why Cheviot insists on allowing Simon to continue this crusade… ”
he shook his head. “He did offer me the chance for a counter-
opinion story… ”
“You should take it!” Bryce said, as he began to set up his machine.
“Oh, I discovered something so incredible… let me find Max.”
“Not doing it. Janie can do it. I’m… I’m leaving 23 after the
Everyone stopped and looked at him.
Now he looked sad.
“I love my job… I love being able to speak for those can’t… but… I
just can’t take this shit anymore.”
Simon paced up and down the hospital corridor, waiting anxiously
for the doctor who “treated” Christina to show up. He was mad as
heel; his hands were tied and he knew it! His new campaign was on
a rapid rise and he could not do anything to jeopardize that.
He stood and watched as Kyle was moved onto a room, finally, and
that’s when the butcher-doctor showed up.
“About time! Expect a deduction in your paycheck!”
The butcher-doctor held up his bag. “I have what I need…
however… there’s a problem and I cannot do the operation until it’s
Simon Peller rubbed his forehead with two fingers. He squeezed
his eyes shut, feeling a headache coming on.
“Good lord, what now!?”
“Well my supplies are good! But that mutant… may not be
compatible for the procedure.
Simon sneered. “Whit what, pray tell!”
“I’ve done a little research on the subject… did you know he has…
well… anger issues?”
“What is your point!?”
“The drug components that are for making sure the implants
remain functioning for long term… they tend to make the subjects a
bit… well, testy. And for a guy who likes to put people’s heads
through coke machines for fun… it may be a bad idea… ”
“They’re eating me! Their swallowing me! Max, help me!”
“Aw, Bryce! Relax!”
In cyberspace, Max reached out his hand, pulling the terrified boy
from the mass of spiderweb-code.
“You’re getting too stressed out lately. You’re acting emotionally…
not that it’s a bad thing, but still… ok, hold onto me then.”
“I can’t get a grip! I’m gonna die!”
“You won’t die, Bryce.” He looked at the boy’s skeleton-like virtual
self. In here, he was not fully “constructed and resembled a vector-
They zoomed through the darkness of cyberspace until they came
to a virtual village.
“See? It’s Wuthering Heights! That’s the main house… over there is
Thrushcross Grange… the moors… the barn! Let’s go ride the
“Horses too? She made all this?!”
“We did… well some of it was from her games, but I was the
architect and she built it. The moors are unfinished, don’t go there.
It’s got a big home with more web-code.”
“Amazing! Hey I wanna do this! Max help me!”
“No, I’m going inside.”
Bryce followed, Max was now seated at a piano and began banging
out a frustrated tune.
“Tea?!” Bryce looked into a cup.
“Empty!” Max said. “Just like this place!”
“But the furniture and the wallpaper, it’s so… detailed!”
“I mean she is not here!”
Bryce picked up the cup. Max looked at him sadly.
“She always comes here! It’s her safe place! She comes here every
night while she sleeps and we have fake tea and go for rides on the
He stopped his frantic playing.
“Is she mad at me?”
“Well… she’s been through a lot… maybe she just wants to be alone
right now… ”
Max lowered his head.
“No… something’s wrong and that’s why she’s not here… I don’t
think she’s dead but… something’s really wrong… damn that Simon
Peller, what a jerk!”
Max wiped at his face.
“Gimmee some tear ducts, would ya? I wanna grieve properly!”
Near the fringes, it was getting dark. The clouds were thicker than
last night, and promised a good rain.
On the road out of town, was an overturned prison bus. The front
windshield was smashed in the crash. The driver was slumped
down inside, moaning loudly. The back doors were open and no
one was inside. There was a guard nearby, also crumpled in a heap,
unmoving. His gun had been fired, and was still clutched in his still
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
note-wow one more chapter to go! tbc… dont go anywhere! 🙂
Christina Spencer, tired, cold, and miserable.
She sat in the alley between two buildings as she tried to prepare
to enter the fringes.
She shook out her hands, trying to work out the mild tingling. The
sky broke and it began to rain.
Peller was right, it burned like hell, there was no burn marks or
scarring but the initial pain was almost enough to make her black
“Bastard!” she hissed.
She carefully switched her prison shirt inside-out, but maybe it
“Son of a bitch!”
She finally realized Simon Peller never intended to give her a
chance; it was all about setting her up and making himself look
The rain began to soak her.
“Damn you, Simon Peller!”
She almost started crying, but decided she was damn tired of
She was damn tired of a lot of things.
She cowered under the eves of a warehouse until the rain stopped,
then she headed off, deep into the heart of the Fringes.
It was a nasty place. The poor homeless and destitute were not so
bad, but here, in this God-forsaken place… you would never find a
more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
I don’t belong here! Aren’t I the good girl?! Well, ha! A lot of good,
that did me!
Maybe it was supposed to be this way. Despite her desire for a
better life, even a normal life, was not hers. The Spencer-family
curse, supposedly cast by an old witch long ago, had claimed her as well.
“I want payback!” she swore to herself.
Brueghel was a prolific citizen of the Fringes; well-known for all
the the terrifying reasons. He was an an intelligent, sociopathic
criminal-for-hire who, along with his partner Mahler, made money
disposing of corpses for other criminals by selling them to body
banks around the city.
Christina saw him while he was on the way for a delivery, the body
of a male yuppie in nice clothes slung over his shoulder, walking
briskly to his van. She was hoping he had other connections as
well. Even if not, she was certain he would get her in touch with
those who did.
Brueghel bounced a little as he walked, from the weight of the
body. Hey, was it moving? Still alive, and trying to get away?
He looked down to his side, saw as a young woman in gray
clothes was following close, and trying to keep the body from
falling off his shoulder.
“Off-balance. dummy! You would have dropped him 500 feet past
if not for me! Well, aren’t you gonna say thanks, you rude
“Yeh, well, whatever!” Brueghel shifted the weight. “I got it, little
lass. Be on your way.”
“Wait! Did anyone ever tell you, how STUPID your hair looks?”
“My, God, but you are bold!”
He stopped and looked at her.
“I know you… ”
“Yup. My father hired you and some other dolt with equally stupid
hair… hey where you going?!”
Brueghel had dropped the body and was running away.
Christina began running after him.
“Hey come back here! I’m not done talking to you, filthbag!”
He just continued running.
She was able to get close enough to grab his leg and pull him to
the ground, then she climbed on top of him, straddling his back and
shoved a fist close to his face.
Just don’t pass out! To hell with pain! I LIKE pain, it keeps me
motivated! Ok, now!
With one hand burning from the fire within, Christina clamped her
other hand around his throat.
“I otta fucking kill you!” she hissed.
“Ah… koff… well what’s stopping you little lass… kaff!
The pain was so great, if Brueghel hadn’t bent in just the right
position, she might have fallen over.
Her mind raged with anger. She could almost feel her brain
I will no longer pay for the sins of my mother!
“I need some stuff, filthbag… Laptop. Some VR gear.”
Her hand clenched tighter around his throat, and she smiled.
“I want to play a game!”
Simon greeted the first member to his consortium on “Anti-
mutations for a Brighter Tomorrow. He was a tall man with light
brown hair, a full, bearded face. He wore glasses, and bright smile
through thin lips.
“Donald Cochran!” he stuck out a big hand.
“From West America. You’re with Hymes Enterprises!”
“We deal in WiFi. We’ve recently installed all the technology we
need to make West America completely wireless.”
Simon stared at him with a blank face and a smile. “Impressive.
Have a seat.”
Donald took a seat, and Peller rattled on.
“Five countries now!” he smiled. “My campaign has the support of
five countries! It even received a sizable donation from Zik-Zak!
It is good to see, there are so many who want to do the right
“Of course,” Donald said “but you still need our support.”
Simon checked the time.
“We begin in four hours. The other representatives are on their
Donald nodded. “I’m looking forward to it. It will be very
“My God, it’s amazing what have they done to this place!?” Edison
mused, as he and Theora walked intot he former temple of Vanna
Smith. Everything not covered in dust had been covered in cloth,
even the televisions.
After the expose on Vanna Smith and her church, the church shut
down and Vanna Smith had escaped for parts unknown.
But cleaning crews were working hard to fix the place up. Janitors
and interior decorators were moving to and fro about the
abandoned temple, making the place look as shiny and new as
Parkin and Velma followed them in, ooh-ing and aw-ing in what can
only be described as “brown-nosing”.
Max appeared on one of the tv sets, as a janitor polished the
“Hey, watch it!” Max yelled to the janitor “You almost blinded
“Any word?” Theora asked him.
Max shook his head sadly.
“I’m worried. I mean totally worried!”
“She’ll be back. “Maybe she just needs to be alone right now… as
alone as a prisoner can be.”
Max stared blankly for a few second then flipped off.
“So so soooooooooooo sorry you lost that… child,” Parkin said.
“Maybe it’s for the best,” Velma agreed “She was a little untamed. Even rude. You deserve better.”
“I don’t believe this!” Theora said. “When she was with us, you
adored her! Now that she’s gone you look down on her! Why is
that so easy for you?!”
Parkin looked at Velma and back at Theora and just shrugged.
“We got paid enough.”
“Nice to know that nothing is changing in the almighty world of
network television!” Edison sneered. Then he pulled Theroa away.
“You want kids?” he asked, as he watched them pulling tarp from
“I mean… right away?”
Before Theora could answer, Velma jumped in. “Hey you got a
vidi-message! From Research and Development. Say’s it’s
HIGHLY important you come and see him… tho what can be more
important than our… YOUR marriage?”
Ben Cheviot opened to door to see his son, Kyle flanked by a hired
“Hallo! Harvey Burton sir! Simon Peller hired my to bring Kyle
he fished in his pockets, and pulled out a note.
“In a completely unaltered fashion besides what you already did to
Kyle sneered and pushed his way into his dad’s home. He moved
with a slight limp and Chevior could see the pain etched in his
Cheviot frowned at Harvey. “Peller told you to say that?”
“He wrote it down for me! See?”
Harvey held up the note.
“Well, tell him I said thanks!” he began to shut the door and
Harvey gently pushed it open. “I got instructed to stay. Mr. Peller
thinks it’s best, what with your son being so inherently aggressive
and all. He want’s you to stay safe!”
He pulled out another note and held it up.
“I’m kinda poor at taking messages!”
“Let him in, daddy, I’m lonely!” Kyle chortled.
Cheviot was angry but let the inept guard in, and joined Kyle in the
“A long time since I’ve had you over… ”
He got a little wistful.
“We’ll have to… do this more often.”
It had been a couple years since the two had any semblance of a
relationship. The revelation of his genetic alteration was shocking
and horrifying; it was why his fraternal twin was a “crazed half-
That was when Kyle Cheviot walked away from his father, and his
job at network 23.
He also beat up Murray, just so his “righteous anger” would be
Kyle poked at his bandages. He shrugged. “I don’t see why not?”
“First I got somethings I need… to tell Edison… ”
He frowned. “It’s about Christina… ”
“Edison is coming. Ok, I kinda-sorta told an untruth… but when he
sees this… I’m sure I will be forgiven!”
Bryce wandered around the VR landscape, ooh-ing and aah-ing at
every detail. It took much to impress the boy-wonder, and he was
“No, getting rid of it.” Max sulked.
“Getting rid of THIS!? You can’t!”
“If she doesn’t come back soon I will.”
“It’s Wuthering Heights… and it’s not the same without her!”
“Max… Max are you… well, do you… you know… ‘like‘ her?”
“That’s a silly question Bryce! Do I like her? Well let me say that-”
Max’s voice was drowned out by a deep roaring up in the virtual
“I didn’t get that!” Bryce yelled over the noise.
Max looked up. “Nevermind, just run! RUN BRYCE
A hot red motorcycle zoomed out of the sky, with a rider in a
black leather outfit, and with a helmet on and was
unrecognizable. The bike and it’s rider crashed right through the
main house, across the field to the Grange, and tearing open the
virtual landscape to reveal a jumbled matrix-like coding.
“Are you running Bryce?!” Max yelled, he managed to keep
himself a couple steps ahead of the wild rider, and they both came
to a halt in the barn.
The rider got off and pulled the helmet off.
“Yeh!” Bryce, or rather his vectored-lined self ran up to her.
“Christina this is great!” he looked over at Max. “Hey we are
gonna make a great team!”
“Erm… ” Max looked at Bryce and then at Christina. “Well maybe
you wanna re-think that? Hey, Christina? You ok?”
Christina leaned over Bryce, glaring angrily.
“What are you doing here!?”
“Well, time for tea!” Max clapped his hands together, looked at
them. “I love these things! Bryce what kind of tea you want?!”
“I asked you a question!” Christina demanded, ignoring Max and
poking Bryce in his vector-chest.
He stepped back a little.
“Uh… well… Max wanted me here… we were… worried about
you.” he tried, wondering why she was acting like a jerk all of a
“Come on inside, you guys! I want tea. Oh, hey, let’s just have it
Max waved a hand, and a table with tea set sprung up from the
“Chai tea? How about Zen! Oh I know… Chamomille… it helps to
relax you!” Max said, looking at Christina carefully, his eyes
She growled deep in her throat, reached down and pulled up a
sword, sending it through the table and scattering the contents.
“No more goddamed tea, Max!”
Both Max and vector-Bryce remained still.
“If… you insist… a Coke, perhaps?” Max huffed.
She put the sword away, then walked off.
“Destroying the Heights, Max,” she said casually, then dug the
sword into the ground “its time has come.”
“Destroy the Heights? Our heights? No!” Max protested.
“It’s too nice! It’s too… well, good!” Bryce agreed. “Aw, stop!”
He ran to her, as the blade tore open another coded hole.
“No, I need the memory.”
Bryce reached out for her hand.
“Do not even think about touching me again!” she raged, shoving
Bryce ran behind Max, who now shook an angry finger at
“That wasn’t nice, that wasn’t nice at all! Christina what is wrong
Christina reached down into the hole and then pulled out. Now her
hand was coated in silver metal. She clenched it tightly.
“Virus protection, for one thing.”
She looked at them, then turned back to her work of destroying the
“You better go now, Max… and take Bryce with you!”
Max watched sadly, as Bryce peeked around him, watching as she
constructed herself a suit of body armor.
“Incredible,” he sighed.
“No… no I’m not going… we aren’t going!” Max said, crossing his
arms over his chest.
“Maybe she needs more alone-time?!” Bryce whispered.
“Stop it!” Max yelled at her. “We created this together and I have a
right to it, too!”
Christina pulled out another sword and rose up into the air. She
floated over to Max, gripping the swords hard.
“I said leave me alone before I get really fucking pissed off!”
Bryce instinctively pushed his chair back from the computer. Half
of him was amazed at his genetic power, and the other half was
frightened at Christina’s increasingly hostile attitude.
“Hurry Edison!” he begged. Someone had to talk her down from
her anger and fast.
Before she got really pissed off.
“Tommy’s ok,” Cheviot whispered. He’s safely out of the city now.
Safely away from Simon Peller and his ilk… I heard that man now
has the support of 5 countries! Can you imagine?!”
He looked at Kyle.
“And it doesn’t affect you a bit,” he smiled “keep it up… don’t let
him get to you… ”
“I’m fine… but… dad they were gonna give me an operation… like
what they did to Christina… but they said I couldn’t have it because
of my… anger problems!”
“Well, that part I can agree with… ”
There’s something in the implants! ” he hissed. “Something that
increases… bad moods… it explains a lot too. I think Christina’s
in real trouble.”
“Leave him alone!” Bryce yelled, jumping out from behind Max
“don’t you dare touch what I made, Christina!”
“Not gonna hurt him! I just want him gone! You too.”
She pointed the sword at Bryce.
“But, first… ”
She dropped back to the ground.
“Say his name Bryce!”
“Ok… just… just relax!” Max begged “Christina we know you feel
hurt and maybe just a little mad.”
Bryce nodded fast.
“Your… feelings… are valid-”
“My feelings are valid!” she mocked “I lost everything on account
of him! I’m the one who was abused, and tormented, time and
again! My own father killed my mother and then tried to kill me!
But it didn’t stop there did it?! Then Ned Grossberg came along…
and then he came along! And how much more! How much longer
do I have to suffer with that shit! They make me what I am, and
they punish me for it!”
“You… have a point… but… ”
She pulled the swords back.
“And you’re next,” she told him with a smile.
He felt that panic come up. “He won’t find out!” the boy insisted.
Bryce looked at Max.
“Don’t say it, Bryce! Words have power! Just don’t say that name!”
then Max turned and ran for the bike.
Christina leaned in closer.
“Say his name, mutant!”
Christina nodded, thrust both swords into the air, zooming upward
and “dragging” along most of the virtual Heights, which shattered
into coding and formed a trail.
“No!” Bryce called out.
Max pulled up alongside him. “On the bike, Bryce. We gotta stop
“So… much… power!” Bryce aw-ed.
They raced out into the great beyond of cyberspace. Bryce tried to
stand on the bike but the speed was too great as Max chased after
his fantasy-girl, once meek and kind, once oppressed greatly but yet
with a hope that tomorrow would be a better day.
Christina must have gotten tired of waiting; the old Christina was
gone, and a vengeful hellion had taken her place.
“Gettin close! Bryce I’m clipping her to slow her down.”
“Aaahh… it’s so beautiful in here!” Bryce shrieked, reaching out
with one hand as the coding of all different colors streamed past
“Bryce! Hold on!”
“Whoah!” he yelped, then released one hand to keep himself from
slamming into her. Unfortunately it was enough to throw Max off
balance and the hoped-for “clip” instead driving the front of the
bike directly into her back.
“Oh no oh crap!” Max watched as she spun around crazily. He
knew that in here she was more or less a program like he was, and
that it was not likely he harmed her physical self.
Still, all he knew was, he accidentally ran over his fantasy-girl
with a motorcycle!
“Are you ok, are you ok?”
He followed as she spun forward.
“Hey. Hey, talk to me!”
She just hung there, looking dazed, then she arched forward.
“Trickster! You just pretended to be hurt!”
“Get off that!” she screamed, grabbing the handlebars.
“Max get off that’s my cyber-bike you stole!”
“Ak! Oh, what?! Like you stole Simon Peller’s credits?”
“I have an idea!” Bryce cried out.
The bike swerved to and fro, bouncing off the side of a tunnel,
straight into a vector-lined city, off a “high-rise” and back to the
“Too strong, too… SHES USING ENHANCERS OF SOME
KIND!” Max realized.
“We need to get her to stop and listen to us, and I know how!”
“I didn’t think prisons had the kind of equipment she must be
using! That’s just wrong!”
“Max! I… ” Bryce tapped his head in various patterns. Then he
“C’mon Max! Get off my bike Max!” Christina continued to rage.
“I got it!” Max said, and revved up the bike. “Hold on Bryce!”
“Eep!” was all he could say as the bike carried them into an
“Pull out, Bryce! I have her trapped now, get out! Concentrate!”
Bryce pushed his chair back even farther, looked at the screens.
His tiny vr self was gone, and Christina was trapped, minus 1
sword, in a “box” of swirling lines like he had before she granted
him his body.
“Help,” Bryce whispred.
Edison, Theora and Murray came in fast, closed and locked the
“We just got news about a prison truck that overturned, and one
missing prisoner. You know anything?!” Edison asked.
“Help!” he pointed to the screen, revealing Max in one screen and
a furious Christina in another.
“Christina!” Theora gasped, taking a seat.
“Wait! Talk to her? Something happen and she flipped!” Max
Murray and Edison gathered behind Theora, watching anxiously.
“She’s not herself,” Bryce warned. “I mean she’s reeeeally not…
woah I was in there!”
“Translated; she lost her shit!” Max agreed.
“Christina,” Theora asked. “Can you… see me?!”
Christina stared back silently.
“Gently!” Max begged.
“SHUT YOUR FACE MAX!!” she roared. Then she looked back
at the others and smiled.
“What are we supposed to say?” Edison asked.
“Can you get my fantasy girl back?! Cos this is not her!”
Theora glanced at Edison and Murray and back at the screen.
Edison took her hand.
“We missed you,” he said kindly.
“What… do you want, Christina?”
“Justice!” she replied.
She scratched her head. “Nope, can’t have that. Ok, take a guess!”
“Tell us where you are. We’ll… send someone for you.”
“Oooh, nice! You’ll send someone for the mutant who never gets a
“Ok, calm down.”
“And then what? They do it again? They kick me in the face one
more god-damn time and I am the one who has to apologize?! Is
that the way it works?!”
“I’m doing a story!” Edison said. Christina just rolled her eyes,
poked at the lines with her sword. “Look, Cheviot is tired of
Simon Peller’s hate campaign. He offered me the story!”
“Peller!” she repeated with a hiss, and it really did sound like a
“Wrong word!” Max snapped “We can’t say that word!”
Christina got close to the screen. “That ‘man’ stole my life, and I
decided… I don’t want justice. Time and again, justice was denied
me! And guess what? I got tired of waiting!”
“Christina, don’t!” Theora begged.
“To hell with justice! I want revenge!”
“I cannot hold her much longer! She musta got hold of some
heavy-duty equipment and built her VR self up in a BIG way.”
Max said “If you can’t talk some sense into her, then something
really bad is going to happen!”
“Be quiet Max, you’re annoying!” Christina growled.
“Oh!” Theora sighed, her mind finally grasping the severity of the
situation, and turned away from the screen.
“What do we do?” Bryce asked.
“Hurry you got a few more seconds!” Max yelled.
Edison turned to Murray.
“Get a hold of Simon,” he whispered “tell him… he pissed off a
“Er… well, do I have to? I mean… maybe he likes surprises?”
“Murray!” Edison choked.
“Sorry! No, wrong, that’s wrong. I’ll go call or… something.”
“How much more?”
Edison looked at the screen.
Was this the scared little girl he saved from the warehouse?
“How much more do I have to sacrifice? I mean what is the price I
gotta pay… just so they leave me alone!”
“One more chance,” Edison begged. Theora joined him, nodding.
“Please, Christina, please!”
She shook her head. “No! I’m through with giving them one more
chance to punch me in the face!”
“I’m sorry,” was all Edison could say.
“Me too! You’ll never know… I used to think my mother died for
my sins… but all along it was me, dying for her sins.”
“If you do this!” Edison raised his voice. He
stopped as Theora gripped his hand.
Edison tried again. “If you go through with this… you will only
validate his argument.”
Too late, she was gone.
“We need to find her, fast!” Max said.
“If… we can find wherever there’s this… well, really big output of
electrical charges. I mean, that’s the way it works,” Bryce
Shortly after this, Kyle and Cheviot finally arrived, and they
locked Harvey outside, along with the meddling hosts.
“The silence has gone on, long enough! Mr. Cheviot it may
already be too late!” Theora told him angrily.
“I know,” Cheviot said. He sat down, looking defeated. He looked
“Kyle has already been exposed; there’s no need for silence any
longer.” Edison told him.
“Yes there… was… ” he sighed. He looked up.
“Listen to what I have to say… and I promise… no more silence… ”
Outside the lab, Harvey tapped on the door.
“Can I come in, sir?”
“Mr. Peller is only thinking of your safety, sir.”
Behind him, Velma pouted. “How will the show go on if they
don’t come out? The wedding is in 3 days!”
“Oooh, a power-plan!” Parkin mused. “Something happened and
they are in a strategic planning session!”
“Wow… ” Velma sighed, then she bounced up and down on the
toes of her feet “A plot-point! A plot-point! Oh, yay!”
Inside the lab, there was an uncomfortable silence at Cheviots
stunning announcement. The first to speak, was Bryce.
“Now what? I mean… Christina’s not going to wait… don’t
misunderstand me, Simon Peller deserves whatever he gets… but…
“Yes, if she continues, she only proves him right… in his mind,
anyway.” Theora said, sadly. “Edison how do we fix this?!”
More silence. Then Kyle spoke up.
“I like Bryce and Max’s idea… find her physical location, and ‘wake
her up’… ”
“Her anger may present another problem!” Bryce said “she’s
beyond pissed. Something tells me that won’t change when she
Bryce turned to the screen. “Try and find her, Max But… don’t put
yourself in danger… Max please don’t put yourself in danger!”
“I can find you a doctor, someone to remove her implants. I
suppose she will… calm down after that.”
Ben Cheviot looked a little more relaxed. There was a lot to be
said, when one no longer has to keep secrets.
“Peller doesn’t need to know about that either,” Cheviot smiled.
“Let’s go, Bryce! Back in the side-car!”
He stood up, slightly limping to the door.
“She must think you’re dead!” Bryce realized. “That’s what she
meant by ‘losing everything’!”
Kyle frowned, then smiled.
“Let’s go, kid! I want my face to be the first my sleeping beauty
“Wait,” Bryce grabbed some computer equipment and shoved it
into a bag.
“What about our film crew?” Edison thumbed.
“Hm!” Cheviot mused “Well bring them along. Go see Peller. You
can start your story today.”
The consortium was well underway. At this time, Simon Peller
was listening to feedback from his captive audience.
“Need I remind you, Mr. Peller of the incident from several years
ago?” asked Aabidah Mazin, a lovely 40 year old female
representative from East Najai. “Terrorists hiding in plain sight.
No one ever saw them coming until it was too late… it is
Dirk Hitzig, a 50 year old man from Germany raised a hand, then
“Facts, Herr Peller,” he opened his notebook “This from my
country, this, all in the last year!” he slipped on his glasses, and
began to read:
“A truck driver jackknifed his rig when he tried to avoid a glowing
person on the highway… another one, from 6 months’ past; a 17
year old boy had gone missing for three years, and then
inexplicably materialized in his younger sisters bedroom. She
claimed he had never left.”
Simon Peller only smiled knowingly. “Well, there you have it! Let
the facts speak for themselves! While it was interesting to discover
the fine programming available on Network 66, the truth is
painfully clear; Christina Spencer, and others like her, are a
“Am I being too harsh? This girl, I honestly gave her a chance, and
she violated my faith in her! No I don’t think I’m being too harsh!
These mutants need to be acknowledged, exposed, and verified.
We cannot and should not allow them to hide in the dark.”
He smiled a bit.
“I want it to be known, their integration with society would not be
completely unwelcome from my standpoint. However, when they
hide, or refuse to cooperate… ”
“Then we may only call them predators!” Dirk agreed.
“Exactly,” Simon said.
The gathered audience nodded, verbally confirmed agreement, and
then started clapping.
“That way! Over there! You guys it’s coming from over there!”
Max yelled over the laptop Bryce held firmly in his lap, as he
bounced in the sidecar while Kyle drove well over the speed limit.
“I’m coming back in!” Bryce told him.
“Maybe you shouldn’t.”
“No I can help.”
“Bryce I can’t have you all ga-ga over cyberspace.”
“I… I won’t, I promise.”
“Ok, I’m gonna trust you Bryce. Don’t let me down.”
“Have I ever?”
Max stared at him blankly.
Murray met Edison and Theora on the front steps to Simon’s
“Can’t get in, they wouldn’t let me! Apparently it’s a private
“Not for long,” Edison said as he readied his camera. “It’s ok,
Angie’s in control.”
“Wait for Janie Crane? She’s off editing more of Peller’s hate.”
“Woah! Hold on there!” Parkin stepped up to him, Velma close
“Now, listen I know Mr. Cheviot gave his approval, but now may
not be the best time. Mr. Carter, there’s a wedding to think about!
Can’t this wait?”
Edison smouldered with fury, and was ready to tell them where to
go, how to get there, and to enjoy the trip… when his camera wernt
In fact, several cameras and tv’s went down at the exact same
moment, all over the city.
It lasted exactly 16 seconds.
When they came back on, the first thing to be seen was Simon
Peller’s face. It was a clip from one of his PSA’s.
Simon Peller is a man committed to our future. A future that is-
The video cut out, now replaced with words.
FILLED WITH HATE, BIGOTRY AND PARANOIA.
then more words formed over Peller’s image:
THIS IS THE FACE OF HATE.
The video shifted to Simon Peller’s first psa
As I speak, there is a new and
ominous danger facing all of us. It
is a danger facing every man,
woman and child. And only a
handful of Americans even know
it’s out there.
YOU NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH.
The video cut out, and was replaced by several photos of human
beings being victimized in unauthorized medical experiments.
“Oh, my God!” Aabidah Mazin gasped, covering her eyes. Dirk
Hitzig dropped his notebook, the loose papers fluttering about his
“I’m assuming this isn’t what you wanted us to see, Simon?”
Then Christina appeared on his screen, her face one of carefully
“What? You look shocked, Simon! No right to speak for myself?
JESUS, the least you could have done was get my side of the
For many seconds, Simon Peller could only watch in horror. This
was being broadcast everywhere!
But he was not a man short on ideas. He was a good politician,
and always managed to slither his way out of the corner.
“Hacked,” he replied simply. He turned to his audience, now more
captivated than before.
“The girl… the mutant I tried to help!”
“Oh! You! You son of a bitch!”
“More facts!” was Simon’s reply, and not to her. “Well perhaps I
should give this ‘nice young lady’ the floor then.”
“Give the mutant the floor!” Dirk said.
“Yes, yes, YES I AM THE MUTANT HE HATES AND FEARS, BUT
YOU SHOULD KNOW THE TRUTH; THAT I AND OTHERS
OF MY KIND HAVE BEEN SILENT FOR TOO LONG. WE
TOOK THE ABUSE FOR TOO LONG. FEAR, HATRED. THIS
IS WHAT SILENCE DOES. SILENCE KILLS. MY QUESTION
IS, HOW MUCH LONGER WILL YOU BE SILENT?!
Simon waved his hand, sat down in his chair. “This is what I get
for trying to be the good guy?” he asked.
Christina didn’t know what disgusted her more; his unmitigated
hate, or the fact that his chair actually resembled a throne.
“You know what, Simon. Honestly I can’t stand the sight of
you… I mean there was my father, there was Ned Grossberg… but
you… are the worst… you are the one who had a choice… to finally
do the right thing… everything my father hated me for, and
everything Ned Grossberg used me for… it was YOU, and YOUR
kind… that made it all possible… they never would have gotten
away with it, if not for scum like you!”
“Oh, well bravo!” Simon sneered, clapping as he did so. “Well,
now you just proved it all and in only a few minutes, by coming in
here, by hacking my computers and taking my money, hacking
networks all over the city! For the second time, I might add!”
Dirk and a few others started clapping again.
Simon Peller smiled in triumph.
“Enlighten me again! Why shouldn’t we be afraid of you?”
“Equal viewpoints! You’re done!”
From her seat in cyberspace, Christina looked over at Max.
She blacked out Peller’s screen.
“I’m talking, here now get out!”
“Stop, just stop! Please… Christina, you’ve done enough. There’s
no more silence! You made your point, and it made great ratings too. Wanna see the ratings?”
“Get him out too!” she pointed at the vector image that was Bryce.
“No! I have a right to be here! This is my fight too, now! But
Christina, this isn’t the way to fight!”
“I am not finished herr!”
Simon Peller and the others watched the blank screen anxiously.
THen it came back on, with Christina glaring at Simon with a hate
and anger almost enough to rival his.
“You are not finished yet, mutant?” he asked calmly.
His answer came in the form of an electrical current that surged
throughout his office, blowing out the microwave, the coffee pot,
the vidi-phones and the tv screen too. Simon and the others rushed
to the center of the room, and there was no electronic device left,
that was not a smoking ruin.
“Alright NOW you are done!”
Max tackled her.
“Now you get out!”
“No more silence!” she hissed.
He grabbed her hands, and she instinctively tried to pull away.
Max stopped struggling with her.
“Ah… well, wait then!”
“I got it, Max!” Bryce said, as he wrapped his vectored self around
“Out! Out, Christina! It’s done, it’s over.
“No, wait! Hey I’m serious! She has to wait!”
Bryce “pushed” as hard as he could.
“Noooooooooooo!” was all Max said, as Christina snapped out.
Kyle limped fast into the abandoned Wendy’s. Among the rubble
he found her, sitting on the floor, a burned out laptop beside her,
clutched in one hand a set of VR goggles crushed in her fist. She
“Christina,” he started. He knelt down beside her.
“I did it! We did it! She’s out of cyberspace!” Byce yelled, running
up to him.
“Whoah! Oh, no!”
“Shock… I guess it was a hard mental workout… help me get her
into the sidecar! I have to get her to the hospital… ”
“Tell Max to get hold of Edison so he can come get you.”
He put an arm around Christina’s waist.
“Kyle?” she whispered.
“Haven’t lost everything, babe. This time, ‘Heathcliff’ stays with
“I wanna stay… Kyle I wanna stay with you guys.”
“No, you go home buddy. Too late for her and me. But not you.”
“C’mon! Make the most of your freedom! Enjoy it while
you can… just do yourself a favor and try to get out more… don’t
forget the magic words; less ritual, more fun!”
When they were gone and Bryce was alone with his laptop, Max
came back, looking tired and out of breath.
“I lost her!” he said, looking sad and frustrated.
“Oh, Max, don’t say that! She’ll come back… I think… I hope… ”
He frowned. “kinda started warming up to the kid.”
“No, I mean I lost her!”
He hated it when he didn’t understand things!
“Ok, explain it, I’m not getting it!”
“She escaped! She escaped after you pushed Christina out of
Bryce shook his fists. “Who? Who escaped?!
“The mini-Christina, that’s who!”
Bryce thought again, and finally got it.
“Happened before too. When I was made. Remember? Well, kind of!”
“Oh… wow… that snap… she snapped in half!”
“Yes, yes! Now ya see what I meant when I said ‘don’t kick her
out’? She was too strong, and it split her off!”
“Oh, my GOD!”
“I chased her and I even had the bike. But I wiped out in a router
and she took the bike and got away from me!”
Bryce’s head was spinning.
“A new AI?” he wondered.
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
“Lookin good, Parkin! Lookin… hot!”
He held up his hand mirror and checked his appearance for the
He propped up the hand mirror, whipped out some floss and set to
Then he took a breath-mint, sniffed his armpits and was satisfied.
He coughed. “Ladies and gents! No, wait, starting over!”
“Re-lax!” came a voice from the doorway.
“Bryce Lynch! Ring-bearer, right?”
“Yeh and if you were less focused on yourself, you would know
“Focused on me? On me?” Parkin asked innocently.
Bryce sighed. “Nevermind… but seriously… ” he studied Parkin
“try and lose the bow-tie, it’s stupid… and pull in your jacket, you’re
Parkin lifted his arms a bit, shocked.
“Just kidding!” Bryce resigned. He knew there was no
reasoning with some people.
He left the room. At least he was finally learning how to relax.
Sadly there was no one to “hang loose” with. Kyle got Christina to
the hospital 4 days ago, and with nothing more than a goodbye
note, they had vanished from the earth. Not that he expected to see
either of them any time soon. Both were wanted “criminals” now,
no thanks to Simon Peller.
The only good thing was that, the 5 country support had dropped
down to 3 overnight.
If that could be considered a good thing.
His friends gathered around him, promised support and protection.
It did nothing for his peace of mind.
“Try and be happy, Bryce… and get out more.” he admonished
He looked up the aisle, concentrated on his best friends, Edison
and Theora. They looked so happy, and it helped relax him.
Max was in the front row, his television set on an elegant table. He
was proud of his friends. He was deeply happy for them, and he
just knew their best days were ahead of them.
He tried his best to smile, but the thought of VR-Christina
roaming around out there in cyberspace, was deeply troubling.
She was a real AI just like he was, and she was alone… and no
known virus protection! Cyberspace was a dangerous place these
And what if she managed to “find” the virus protection she needed
to survive? Then what? Would she be like the old-Christina? The
good hearted soul who always looked on the bright side?
Or the mean, vengeful Christina she was, right before the new AI-
Christina split off?
The possible ramifications were enough to make his cyber-head
“Outta my mind!” he swore to himself “at least for now… ”
Then he got his “happy” back on, and focused again on his best
friends and their new life together.
“Don’t cry,” Edison whispered softly “best day of our lives,
“Will we see her again? Them?”
Edison thought. “I think so… seems unlikely… but… just a
“She really… had an impact on us… didn’t she?”
He nodded. He wasn’t a man who prayed a great deal, but now he
prayed that Christina and Kyle were ok, somewhere safe, and
Christina had found the happiness she truly deserved.
“Ready… well I think I was… oh, Theora!”
Parkin practically danced up the aisle, Velma trailing behind and
holding the camera. Parkin turned to the guests, smiled brighty,
waved over to the happy couple.
“We are here now, live and direct-”
“Hey, that’s my line!” Edison shouted.
Theora giggled a little, Edison smiled. “I’m sorry! Where were we?”
Threora took his hand, looked at it, began to place her ring on his
“I, Theora Jones, take you, Edison Carter, to be my husband… my
constant friend, my faithful partner and my true love from this day
forward. In the presence of our family and friends, I offer you my
solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in
good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to
love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor
and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish
you for as long as we both shall live.”
Edison was speechless for a moment. Was this actually happening?
He was happy beyond words. It was a piece of heaven, of bliss like
he had never known before.
After several seconds, Murray cleared his throat. “Your turn,
“How could I forget?” Edison replied stupidly. The guests laughed
a little in agreement as Edison took her hand, tenderly, and slipped
the ring on.
“I Edison Carter, take you, Theora Jones to be my wife… my partner
in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you
more each day than I did the day before.”
His voice broke slightly, his eyes watered with tears of love and
“I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you,
loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of
the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart,
and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall
The minister looked on both, proudly.
“You may now kiss the bride.”
They did, and the guests stood and broke into thunderous
Bryce felt himself bouncing on his toes.
“This is so… well, awesome!” he said, as he found himself
relaxing, a little bit more.