In The Name of Lynch

-A Possibility of War-

Jenny was watching the main TV screen in the Network 23 Research Lab. It was her day off. After a long week of working out ways for Network 23 to hold onto the top place in the ratings war, she needed a break.

"Things are really heating up in the ratings war," she said, to nobody in particular.

"Kilkenny." said a voice that was young. Perpetually young.

"Kill who?" Jenny asked, wondering who Kenny was.

"I mean," said Cat9 as he appeared on the screen that she'd been watching, "the Two Cats of Kilkenny. It's an old nursery rhyme my mother taught me when I was a child."

"I though you had dumped your old superfluous data," Jenny said, cocking her head in quaint amusement.

"No data is ever truly purged from the human brain, Jenny. It merely becomes inaccessible to the conscious mind. I have access the id, ego, and superego."

"What about these two cats you mentioned?" Jenny asked him.

"When I was four, Abigail Lynch, my mother... well Bryce's mother... so technically mine... she used to say the same nursery rhyme each night. I think she wanted to warn Bryce, or me a it were, about the consequences of war or obsessive competition."

"What does that have to do with cats."

"The old rhyme goes like this:

There once were two cats of Kilkenny

Who each thought "There's one cat too many"

So they fought and they fit

And they clawed and they bit

'Til excepting their nails

And the tips of their tails

Instead of two cats there weren't any."

Jenny mulled this over in her mind.

"You're talking about the ratings war, aren't you? Network 23 and Network 66."

"The danger of it escalating into a shooting war, not just between the networks but between the viewers as well grows stronger every day, Jenny."

"What can I do?' Jenny wanted to know. "My parents are old, but still alive. I don't want them to die because somebody doesn't like one of our shows!"

"There is always a way to stop a war. Jenny, gather my children and those of our alumni whom you can."

"Then what?" Jenny wanted to know.

"When everyone is together, I will let you know what to do next. We already know where Ai Murray and her new husband are. Seek them out first and get them back here. But tell them before they return to seek out Ai's brother. I've gone through the visual records of his adoption day and all I know is that he was adopted by a man in Tasmania by the name of Caleb." Cat9 told her. "Good luck, Jenny."

Jenny blew a kiss to the image as it faded from her screen and sat through the ensuing commercial. It would be just reaching dawn in Tasmania and she wasn't really all that keen on interrupting her daughter's honeymoon at this time of day.

Three words flashed boldly on her screen:




"Okay, I understand!" Jenny said in exasperation. She went over to the vu-phone and tapped in the number at the cabin where Ai and Jack were staying.

Ai Murray quickly hurried over to the vu-phone, praying that at least her husband would not have to be woken up at four in the morning.

A yawn behind her told her she was too late.

"Go back to bed," she apologized as she sat down at the screen and pressed the button to accept the call.

"It's Jenny. Mom," she said.

"Tell her that,"

"I know it's four in the morning where you are," Jenny said, "but your father insisted upon me calling you."

"I'll make coffee," Jack said, kissing the top of this wife's head and then walking into the kitchen area.

"Why would my father call you instead of me directly?" Ai asked through a yawn she was unable to stifle.

"I mean Cat9, or Bryce. Not Ped Xing."

"Oh," Ai smiled. "Sorry. I had a rather nice evening last night and I'm a bit foggy this morning. So what did he want?"

"He wants me to get all of his descendants together," Jenny told her. "Cat9's been studying the past and current social algorithms, as Bryce would put it. He says he thinks the ratings war between Network 23 and Network 66 could escalate into actual physical violence."

"We'll be back in a couple of days," Ai told Jenny.

"That is fine," Jenny replied. "You can use those two days to track down your brother."

"What's his name?" Jack asked, handing Ai the cup of coffee he had just brought to her.

"I don't know. I only know that his father's name is Caleb. Good luck."

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