Chapter 7: Daughter's Dilemma

Blank Bryce knew she couldn't go home. Now that she had done a runner, she was a fugitive. She could only hope that her mother hadn't got into trouble.

There was no going home to find out. No way she could ever see her mom again now until she got ousted the Glorious Leader from his seat of power. She rode her bike until she got to Network 23.

"Richard! Richard!" she called to him.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"I need you to help me get Network 23 up and running again," she said.

"Even if we did, so what?" Richard said. "Who's going to see it? All the sets were confiscated in the raid when our Glorious Leader took over."

"Never mind that. It'll be seen. Just help me."

"Anyhow, shouldn't you be going after your mom?"


Richard looked at her. "Bryce,"

"Blank Bryce," she corrected him. "Bryce was the original. My father."

"Whatever…" Richard shook it off. "Blank Bryce, your mother has been arrested. She'll be lobotomized soon."

"I've got time. They'll want to question her first."

"Are you mad? This is your mother. Look. just tell me what I need to do. I'll get Network 23 up and make the broadcast. You rescue your mother."

"You don't know what to look for. I was trained for this mission as a child before the AIs were destroyed. Go get Cadenet. He's Breughal's son. Gray van. Body Bank freelancers."

"What if Breughal won't let Cadenet come?" Richard asked her.

Blank Bryce considered. "Tell him if this works out he's going to have one heck of a celebrity corpse to cash in at the body banks. And tell Mom I'm sorry I can't be there to greet her, but if she wants to be rescued permanently, I need to do this here."

Blank Richard pulled her into a powerful kiss.

"Take the bike," she told him, catching her breath.

As soon as he was gone, she headed into the old building and began to look for the power generator.

"I hope to God I can get that generator working," she muttered. Then she realized where there might be one.

Racing to her father's old studio, she searched until she found a likely device.

Setting it up, she found what seemed to be the proper switch. "Here's hoping," she said.

To her astonishment, a screen lit up on the device and a familiar face appeared.

"Well, it's about-bout-bout time!" Max said, crossly. "Doesn't anyone watch tel-tel-television anymore?"

"No, Max," Blank Bryce told him. "We're not allowed to."

"Not allowed to watch TV?" Max asked, shocked. "What do you do to occupy your time? Hey, Edison! Bryce!"

"Pray we don't get lobotomized," Blank Bryce told him. She realized he was a copy of Max that had been stored before the Glorious Leader had come to power. Before her father had died.

"Max," she told him, "Bryce is dead. He died seventeen years ago, trying to prevent a takeover by a dangerous terrorist group."

Max bowed his head in sorrow. "Excuse me, I need to be alone," he said, vanishing from the screen.

"Great timing," Blank Bryce muttered to herself, wondering how long computer-generated people took to grieve.

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