Max Headroom - Life Finds A Way

Chapter 2

"Successfully mated meaning that Jenny and I are going to have a baby," Bryce explained, completely unaware of exactly how unsettling such news would be to his boss. "Sir? What's wrong?"

"Other than the fact that my supposedly intelligent Head of Research and Development has managed to impregnate the competition's Head of Research and Development, despite the fact that it is illegal for employees of rival networks to even say 'hello' to each other from across the street..." Cheviot took a breath and tried to make the redness leave his face "absolutely nothing."

"Relax, Mr. Cheviot. There was no rivalry involved at the time. My relations with Jenny occurred while my contract was in flux. I was technically not working for either Network 66 or Network 23 at the time. Therefore there was no illicit contact." Bryce was certain that this would ease his boss's concerns.

"As I had not officially released you from your contract at the time, young man, it was most certainly illicit," Cheviot said, pointedly. Clearly his idea of what would ease his concerns was very different from Bryce's. "Do you realize what this will do to Network 23 if word of this gets out?"

"The women will all think its really adorable and our ratings will go up?" Bryce tried.

"The people who oversee Network 23, Network 66, and the rest of the networks will want to know why the smartest employees of the world's two biggest rival networks decided to make a baby."

"We didn't decide to make a baby," Bryce pointed out. "I was just curious as to what was so great about sex that any living thing would make such a fuss about it."

"Well, I guess you found out," Cheviot said. "Of course you realize that you and the mother cannot continue your relationship. Plus it would be in this network's best interest if she got rid of it. Preferably before it starts to show."

"I don't understand," Bryce said, feeling a pain in his heart he could not explain.

"Tell her to get an abortion," Cheviot said, firmly, as he closed the door and left.

Uncertain of what an abortion was, Bryce did what anyone his age would do when confronted with the unknown. He called his best friend.

"And what... and what... and what can I do for you this fine and glorious day?" Max asked, cheerfully.

"Max, what is an abortion?" Bryce asked.

"And why would you of all people need to know? Hm?" Max inquired. "It's not as if..."

"Jenny's having my baby. But Cheviot says she's got to have an abortion or it will ruin Network 23's reputation." Bryce explained. "What am I supposed to do?"

"First catch me before I faint," Max said, pretending to swoon, "because the idea of you getting a girl pregnant is the biggest shock in the world. Even bigger than the idea of Mark Mason wearing a dress and high heels."

"I did not need that image in my head, thanks," Bryce cut him off belatedly.

"Okay, as it would seem that you are serious, I would go to Cheviot and tell him to go to Hell. An abortion is what they call the deliberate ending of a pregnancy as well as the growth of child-to-be inside the womb."

"He wants me to kill Jenny's baby?" Bryce was aghast.

"In a way," Max hedged. "The truth is there is a great deal of debate as to when the cluster of cells within the mother-to-be really becomes a baby. But I think Cheviot is in the wrong regardless. While there may be situations when it is medically necessary, upholding the reputation of a TV network is not one of them. If you and Jenny think you can handle being parents, with a bit of friendly help of course, then you should go right ahead and have the baby."

"And if Cheviot fires me? Or Grossberg fires her?"

"You would probably both be welcome at Big Time. Though you might have to curb your spending a bit. No more all-nighters at the track."

"I never spend all night at the track!"

"Just teasing," Max assured him with a wicked grin.

"So, who should I ask for help first?" Bryce asked.

"Well, let me give you a nickel's worth of free advice," Max told him. "Murray's going to give you a five hour lecture on responsibility both sexual and domestic. But he does have the most experience when it comes to parenting. So if I were you, I'd swallow my pride and ask him. Also, I'm dying to see the look on his face when he finds out that you've managed to to to reproduce."

"I guess I'd best contact him now," Bryce reached for the vu-phone, but Max shook his head. "This is not a conversation you want to have via modern technology. I suggest you ask to meet in his office."

With a sigh, as if he were being led to the lion's den, Bryce stood up and left the comfort of his studio for Murray's office.

"You should've called in advance!" Max called to the closing door.

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