In The Name of Lynch

-Maternal Meltdown-

It was around seven in the evening when the bus that Bryce had hired arrived at Eccleston Farm.

The driver helped the older members of the family to disembark, then helped the younger members gather up the suitcases and carry them to the porch.

"Thanks, Harold," Bryce said, stepping out onto the porch and handing the driver a generous tip. "I'll take it from here,"

"Who are you?" Eric asked.

"Yeah, are you the help?" Todd inquired.

"Yes, my lords," Bryce replied, bowing sarcastically. "Because sixteen-year-old butlers are very common on the farms of Tasmania. Actually, I'm Bryce."

Todd grimaced in pain and looked utterly shocked at the same time, having dropped the bag he was carrying on his foot.

Bryce picked up the bag and noted that it wasn't very heavy.

"You'll bruise. You'll live." he told his nephew.

"So, how come you're so young?" Eric asked.

"Cryotube," Bryce said, leaving it at that. "So, what is it you two do?"

"Our dad tells us to stay out of trouble, but we don't think that's very fun," Eric admitted.

"So we like to modify stuff from the Know Jokes shop."

"Good," Bryce smiled. "We can use your skills. Maybe you can help me modify a transmitter."

"Are we going to Zip a network?" Todd asked, excitedly.

Murray who'd come out onto the porch glared a warning in their direction. "Zipping is still illegal you know."

"I find it odd that interrupting somebody's shopping is illegal despite store employees doing it all the time, while war itself is not even though murder is." Bryce replied. "And no we are not going to Zip a network. That would be unfair to the viewers of that network and it's employees."

Murray was halfway through a sigh of relief when Bryce cheerfully announced.

"We're going to Zip all of them simultaneously. We want to get the message out to everyone everywhere at the same time. And we want to make sure that no single network is blamed or can take credit."

"And of course no one would ever blame Network 23 when Max shows up," Murray argued.

Bryce put his face in his hands for a moment.

"Slight oversight there," he admitted. "Fine. We'll just use someone else to send the message."

"We can do it," Todd said.

"No, your brother is practically my twin. But we can use the rest of the family. At least the ones who are of age."

"You didn't brings us all here to talk about television, did you?" Robin asked his son. "We could've done that at home, Bryce."

"True, and no I didn't," Bryce admitted. "I actually brought you here to get you away from the ratings war that's about to erupt."

"A ratings war isn't the same as a real-"

"This one is," Bryce said, interrupting his mother.

Murray glared at him for his rudeness, which Bryce ignored.

"I've detected a pattern of street violence that has been following the ratings tides at Network 23, Network 66, World One, and believe it or not Breakthru TV."

"And Pornoviz I'll bet," Richard grumbled.

"As if I'd know anything about that network," Bryce shrugged.

"Four kids and still a virgin," Trace shook her head.

"Someone must've touched him a little for the harvest," Richard pointed out.

"Nope," Jenny told them. "It was an abdominal harvest. A needle extracting what was needed from the vas. My Bryce is still as pure as when he was born."

"Your Bryce?" Richard asked. "Okay, little brother, out with it."

"Well, since those who have already been here from the start know at this point. Jenny and I are engaged."

"That's crazy!" Marian exploded. "Bryce you have the looks and mind of a teenager!"

"The looks you're right about," Bryce argued. "But not my mind. It's been linked to the Network 23 mainframe for the p-"

"And that explains why you've become so stupid," Marian told her son.

"I- " Bryce faltered. Several words flitted across his mind at that statement, all very unflattering. A few he was sure would have gotten most popular shows cancelled in a heartbeat. "Never mind. There's really no point in trying to explain to anyone as closed-minded as you."

"Just don't bother asking me to the wedding," Marian said, storming off toward the bridge, rather effectively despite her age.

"Where the hell are you going, mother?" Bryce demanded. "You can't walk to town at your age at this time of night."

Marian turned, marched back, and slapped Bryce hard across the face.

"One, if you're planning on getting married I suggest you grow up. Two, don't you tell me what I can and can't do. I don't put up with it from your father, and I won't put up with it from you. Now, I'm going into town and I will stay at the nearest inn. And I don't want to hear from you until you break up with that cradle robber you've hooked up with."

"Then I guess my mother is dead," Bryce replied coldly as he went into the house.

"So is my younger son," Marian hissed as she resumed the walk in the direction of the bridge.

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