Chapter 02: Bad Girl and Bad Boy

As soon as she was safely around the corner from the warehouse, Blank Bryce ducked into the alley and moved the garbage off of the Honda CBR 600 she had stolen a few weeks earlier. She had painted it white and pink.

"Come on, baby," she said as she got onto the bike. She patted it the way one might stroke a horse. "Mommy wants to visit a friend."

She had no intention of heading off to the Blank school that Orville, who was now well into his 80s, was still teaching. She learned enough from the two AIs at home. One of whom was supposedly a duplicate of her father, as she was taught to call Bryce Lynch.

Blank Bryce put her helmet on, then revved the engine on the Honda and sped off through the Fringes, enjoying the feel of the wind. After about an hour, she located the person she most wanted to see.

"Hello, Cad," she grinned, hopping off the bike and into Cadenet's arms. "Good to see you again."

"Yeah, you two, babe," Cadenet told her, touching his lips to hers in a kiss which grew more urgent with each moment.

Blank Bryce broke it off. "Ah ah ah! No more until you get me what I asked for."

"Well," Cadenet told her. "Finding lost nanites is nearly impossible. However, I did find something just as good. Got it out of the old Network 23 building."

The old Network 23 building. The place was now deserted, as all the networks had been. A major scandal had broken out after the fire at the Harrisburg Center had reported killed all the heads of Research and Development who had been sent there after a crisis at ACS, which had never reopened after the terrorist attack a few months before.

The parents of those teenagers had sued the networks, ignoring Edison's reports. They believed Edison was covering up to save his job.

Bryce's parents, as well as Jenny's and the others, had been very vocal in their disapproval, spreading dissent against networks throughout the community.

Steve Ellis, one of the British members of the Seventh Wave, seeing a new possibility of taking control, ran for office in the first non-TV-related election. With Peller being so notoriously controlled by Network 23, Ellis won in a landslide since nobody knew what his true affiliation was.

Weeks later, with the help of the ACS Memorial Group, he had abolished all local TV, brought back an old medium known as Radio, and reopened the old movie palace.

"Did anyone see you take it?" Blank Bryce asked.

Cadenet shook his head. "No." he told her, handing her what looked like an old walkie-talkie with a screen. "It was the only thing I could carry. Is it important?"

Blank Bryce grinned. "Important?" She laughed. "Only if you think the nanite controller is important. If both the nanite and controller are functioning, we can locate the nanite that my father's construct took those pictures with."

"You really think it'll make a difference to get TV back on air?" Cadenet asked her, hugging her from behind.

Blank Bryce looked across the Fringes toward the city, once gleaming, now as dirty as the Fringes themselves, at the Network 23 building and the Network 66 building just beyond it.

"The people were happier with it." She replied as she leaned back in his arms. She lit up a cigarette from a pack of Black Cats ("the only cigarette with Catnip" to quote the advertisers) and took a long drag before offering it to Cadenet, who took a drag himself before handing it back.

"Now," she said, wriggling seductively against him, "I believe I promised you a reward for your efforts?"

"Lead the way, my lady," Cadenet grinned, climbing onto the Honda with her and putting on the spare helmet.

"Hold on tight," she said, as they took off away from the Fringes.

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