Chapter 02: Holly

Holly Anne Carter sat at the living room coffee table taking notes on a tablet with a pencil-length stylus.

On the TV screen in front of her, Max Headroom, long since retired as spokesman for Network 23, made his daily appearance. The clothing he was 'dressed' in today consisted of a double breasted blue sweater with a white ascot. He had managed to earn a Professorship in a matter of days after accessing the computer system at ACS and the old data files from the long defunct Queen's Rose Academy. Afterward, he had made trips to the Fringes to bring education to Blank Children which he still did on Saturday mornings.

"Good morning, Professor Headroom." Holly said, cheerfully. Weekdays were her time with Max. And even though she was on what Max liked to call his father's side of the family, he still expected her to address him properly when class was taking place.

"Good morning, Miss Carter," Max smiled. "Now, the first lesson we are going to learn today is about the fall of Security Systems in mid 2005. I was there that day."

"Wasn't that the day when Dad almost froze to death?"

"Yes, it was," Max nodded. "Did he tell you about it?"

"No," Holly shook her head "But he mentions it for the sake of comparison during colder days."

Max nodded. "Edison got into a lot of trouble that day. He was investigating what appeared to be a hostile takeover of Security Systems. Now, home security is different these days. There are small security companies in d-d-d-d-different neighborhoods or cities who answer to a watchdog corporation that keeps them from getting too pow-pow-powerful. Back in the days when I was I was I was just created, we had just one security company. Security Systems. They had total control of our homes, credit data, personal information."

"That sounds like someone who'd be easily corruptible."

"They were," Max agreed. "Eventually, Edison questioned the wrong person. Chief Exec Valerie Towne. And she didn't take too kindly to it."

"So she locked him in a thermal testing chamber."

"Don't get ahead of me," Max warned. "That did happen. But later. The first thing she did was have him wrongly accused of credit fraud, which even back then was considered worse than murder. Edison was locked out of his home, had no credit and was wanted by the metros."

Holly made notes of this with a side note to ask her father more about it.

"Finally, he sought the aid of Network 23's head of R&D, my mother-creator Bryce Lynch. Who was a boy of sixteen at the time."

"Was he cute?" Holly inquired.

Max flashed an old picture of Bryce on the screen from when Max was first made. Bryce was in his bathrobe, his hair messy and his eyes half-closed in sleepiness.

"Not bad," Holly smiled. "What happened to him?"

"An evil corporate exec had him turned into a girl. She married the grandson of a different corporate exec and they had some kids. She died after the last one was born. Let's get back to your lesson…"

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