Chapter 2: Recovering

Bryce was propped up just slightly in his hospital bed when Edison walked in. There was a bandage around his torso and he looked like he was in pain.

"Didn't they give you any painkillers?" Edison asked.

"About ten minutes ago," Bryce said. "Just some mild ones. I asked them not to give me anything too strong. We were taught at the academy that heavy narcotics can wreak havoc on our brain cells. And the pain won't last forever."

"You were a bit more afraid of the pain when were trapped at Security Systems."

"Actually, it was the dying part I was afraid of. I've been wounded before, though I admit never like this."

"When were you wounded?" Edison asked, curiously.

"It was no big deal," Bryce confessed. "A sledding accident as a child. Sprained a finger."

Edison smirked at this.

"Oh, you laugh now. But to a six year old hacker who spends much of his time at a computer, a sprained finger is a major catastrophe."

"You probably figured out a way around it," Edison noted.

Bryce nodded. "But like I said, this is worse. I have to take shallow breaths, otherwise it hurts. Did you find out why I got shot? Was he aiming for you and hit me instead?"

Edison wanted to protect Bryce. To keep the fact that the man had shot him deliberately a secret. Bryce really was innocent in the whole affair. He had created the blipverts simply to prevent channel-switching during ads. The explosive side-effect really had been an unforeseen accident. But he couldn't lie to a friend.

"It was no accident, Bryce," Edison said. "That guy was trying to kill you."

A confused look came over Bryce's features. "Why?"

"Apparently his wife was killed by blipverts."

"Oh," Bryce sighed. "Maybe I should send him condolences? Try to make peace with him?"

"Don't you dare," Edison said, firmly. "That man deserves no apology from you or anyone else at Network 23. If he had come to us demanding restitution then apologizing would be acceptable. But not after he tried to kill you."

"But it's my fault!" Bryce protested.

"No, it's not," Murray said as he and Theora joined them. "Grossberg was the one who decided to air those dreadful things. And he doesn't even work at Network 23 any longer."

Bryce relaxed a little. He was still upset about the attempt on his life, but at least the guilt that he had felt over the death of the man's wife was greatly diminished.

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