(Being Part Three of the ACS Trilogy which includes "20 Minutes Into Terror" and "Journey Down a Hard Road")

-Prologue: Introductions All Around-

"Bryce," Jenny called past the wall of boxes that separated the main part of the converted warehouse from the bedroom. "Are you up?"

Jenny fished a box of cereal from the storage locker that she used as a cupboard. She poured some into two bowls and set them on the table.

"Yeah, I'm up," the new Bryce called out sarcastically. "Been up all night. Gotta love having a bedroom in a warehouse right next to a freakin' concert hall! And why do they have to play bloody Mozart? Stupid guy never wrote anything good! If they're gonna keep it up until dawn, how about some nice David Bowie songs?"

Jenny smiled ruefully. Seventeen years ago, she had succeeded in secretly cloning Bryce after his death. She'd kept the deed a secret from everyone except for Bryce II, a construct created by Max Headroom and herself when Bryce had been in danger of brain death. And Max himself, who had discovered the child but agreed to keep Jenny's secret.

Max knew the child would be destroyed if anyone learned about it, and wanted to see Bryce again. So he had kept the secret from Edison's team and made sure that the new Bryce was kept safe from harm.

Other than the sarcasm, there was just one problem.

The new Bryce was a girl.

She was about five-nine with a slender build. Her hair, dyed pink after reading too many episodes of G.I. Joe, was cut in a flame point, again for the same reason. She wore a white leather bolero jacket and a cut-off t-shirt that showed off her midriff along with a pair of shorts and brown cowboy boots.

"Are you ever going to dye your hair back to a normal color?" Jenny asked her. She didn't bother bringing up the tattoo the girl had recently acquired that adorned the skin just above her breasts. A rather large one of a winged heart. It had been the subject of a heated argument between them when the girl had first come home with it.

"No," Bryce shook her head. "If it's good enough for Zarana, it's good enough for me."

"Zarana is a bitch," Jenny pointed out, having read many of the comics along with her daughter as the child had grown up.

"Yeah," Bryce said, smirking dangerously as she grabbed her bowl and took a handful of Zak-Mallows. "So am I."

In another part of the Fringes, Breughal dumped another body into the back of his gray van. Standing up slowly afterward, he rubbed his shoulder. Hoisting corpses wasn't as easy as it had once been. But it still paid well, so he kept at it.

"I feel as stiff as my stock," he muttered.

"Here. Let me," a teenage boy said, walking over to Breughal and massaging his shoulder. "You really ought to let me do that. I'm no weakling."

It was true. The boy, Cadenet, was Breughal's son and the apple of his father's eye. He spent much of his days working out, using the various limbs his father collected from accidents and murder scenes as weights.

Breughal still didn't know what made him keep the child. His mother, Breughal's final Mahler, had died shortly after she had given birth to him. Her almost natural death had made her a fine body for the racks. But for the first time, Breughal could not bring himself to have her dismantled. So he'd taken her to Gladhand Meadows and vowed to work alone from now on, feeling that this was one Mahler who could never be replaced.

Cadenet was built like a swimmer. His body was slender and his muscles well-defined. He wore a black t-shirt, torn at the midriff to show off his six-pack, a leather jacket, and black jeans with combat boots. His hair, which fell in curtains around his face, was ice-white, except for a streak of black that framed the left side.

"Go have your breakfast," Breughal said. "I'll join you in a moment."

"Zak-Tarts or BeefSlims?" Cadenet asked.

"Tarts," Breughal told him. "The Slims are for lunch. And finish the strawberry. They're gonna go off in a day or two."

Cadenet opened a package of strawberry Zak-Tarts. He took one for himself and set the other down on the dashboard of the van for his father.

"This is the last package of strawberry," he said, cheerfully, around a bite. "Which is fine by me. I prefer the cinnamon."

Back                         Home                              Max Headroom Main Page                              Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!