Chapter 21: Tragedy and Loss

Jenny ran into Edison's apartment. Tears ran down her face as she began flipping through the TV channels. It had been nearly a month since Bryce II had been created. The construct was currently watching them with keen interest.

"What's wrong?" Edison asked

"They're dead! They're all dead!" Jenny wailed. "Is Bryce awake?"

"Let's talk about that later," Edison said, looking over at Bryce who lie on the bed. He didn't have the heart to tell her that Bryce was not just asleep. The two of them, with the help of Max and Bryce II, had come so far with the nanite project. Bryce II had managed to score a free set. And once Jenny and Bryce had carefully placed them in the computerized microscope and set up the proper tools, Bryce II had taken over creating the prototype of the synesthetic device.

"Who's dead?" Edison asked.

"The rest of the survivors… I mean… the rest of the graduates from ACS. To hell with calling them 'survivors' any more!"

"What do you mean they're all dead?" Edison demanded.

"There was a fire last night. Place burned to the ground," Jenny sobbed.

"What about the emergency exits?"

"Useless! They only had elevators. No goddamned stairs!"

"And you're telling me there were no emergency stairs from the apartments?" Edison asked. He was horrified by what he was hearing.

Jenny found the station that was broadcasting the news.

"-isburg Center was recently made the center of attention when the Edison Carter show on Network 23 ran a feature on it following a hostage crisis at the Academy of…"

She turned it off, unable to stand watching the bodies as they came out, covered by white sheets. Only an occasional hand, charred down to the bone, could be seen. Jenny ran into the bathroom and vomited.

When she came back out she sat down on the bed next to Bryce, looking down at him with tears in her eyes.

"At least I still have you," she said, sadly. "Oh, Bryce. I have such a sad thing to tell you when you wake up."

She reached to brush a stray lock of hair from his forehead. Then she recoiled.

"No… he can't be…!"

"About an hour ago," Edison told her.

"What did you do?" Jenny demanded. "What the hell did you do?"

"Nothing," Edison said. "It was the brain damage. It caused a short circuit in his pulmonary system. His heart and lungs went into complete failure."

"At least he got what he wanted," Jenny said, tearfully. "But why didn't you take him to Gladhand Meadows right away?"

"I wanted you to be able to say 'goodbye'," Edison explained.

"Jenny," Bryce II said, "it wasn't your fault. Bryce appreciated… I mean I appreciate… all you've done for my mortal form."

"You and Max have been in the Full Moon Entertainment file again, haven't you?"

"Who do you think introduced Max to Josh Kirby?" Bryce II asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Who?" Jenny asked.

"The T-t-t- time warrior, of course," Max cut in. "Mind you, this really is a conversation for a happier time."

"Agreed," Bryce II said as he and Max both returned to more somber expressions. A moment later, Bryce II's eyes lit up with triumph.

"Got 'em!" he said.

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