By Axel Ingleson

-Chapter Three-

"Murray! You can't send him to a story like that!" Theora protested. "What do you think will happen when he sees..."

"He wants to be a reporter. He's got to face the tough stuff sooner or later," Murray told her.

"You could've at least prepared him!" Edison argued. "I can't believe you'd just send him off to watch his old school burn down without even warning him."

"I sent you off on dangerous missions with little or no warnings many times when you were a cub. Did you really expect me to treat him any differently?"

"I expected you would at least demonstrate a little tact. He's a bit younger than I was when I became a cub reporter."

Theora was about to protest further when they heard a cry of alarm on the control monitor that signaled Bryce's arrival at the burning school. Turning back to the monitor, she spoke in what she hoped was a calming voice.

"Bryce, I'm sorry. Just try to pull it together. I know this is a difficult story for you to handle, but you can do it."

"Where the hell is the fire department? Where are the ambulances?" Bryce demanded. And why are the damned emergency doors closed?"

"Would you please try to not use language that's going to get the show canceled?" Murray snarled.

"I fried the censor computer last month," Bryce reminded him. "I can understand how you forgot about that, however. Especially since you forgot to tell me it was my old school that was burning to the ground. Martinez, can you see enough to land?"

"You're not..."

"Don't argue with me, damn it, just land this thing!" Bryce demanded. "Theora, cover me."

"No, Bryce, I won't let you do this."

"I'm going to help those kids whether you cover me or not," Bryce said, firmly. "This world's gene pool is lame enough without losing some of the brightest minds of the current generation. I'm not going to let that happen!"

Noticing that Martinez was not landing, he grabbed the controls with one hand and threw open the door with the other. Once the helicopter was on the ground, he leapt out, leaning forward, and ran for the front door of the school, which was also closed.

Not only closed. But locked. He ran around back to the recycling bins and found an old computer which was fairly heavy. Using what strength he could muster, he hurled it violently at the closest ground floor window he could find.

A thick black cloud billowed out and rose into the air.

Bryce entered the window, cutting his hands on the glass still embedded in the frame. Forcing himself to ignore the pain, he pulled out a couple of shards and then made his way over to a group of students who were huddled in the corner.

"Are there still students in the other classrooms?" he asked, as he lead them over to the window.

A girl of about ten nodded, frantically. Then she looked up at him. "Lynch."

"Yes. Did Nicholas tell you about me?"

"No, Grace did."

"Is she here?" Bryce asked, panic rising within him.

"She's helping adjust the telescope in the observatory," the girl told him. "It was damaged during Sky Clearance Day."

Bryce heard a noise at the window and saw Martinez using a maintenance tool from the helicopter to clear the glass from the frame. One by one, he lifted each child from the classroom and passed them outside to Martinez.

"Is that the last of them?" Martinez asked.

"There are others in different classrooms," Bryce told them. "Get these ones to safety. I'll try to get the others out the front door if I can."

"Bryce," Martinez reasoned, as gently as he could, "they might already be dead."

"I can't just assume that," Bryce told him. "Now go! Get them to safety!"

Martinez nodded, then led the six kids he and Bryce had rescued back to the location where the helicopter was waiting.

By that time, Murray drove up with Edison in one of the company cars.

"Where is Bryce?" Edison asked Martinez.

"He's inside," Martinez explained. "He and was out before I could stop him. He got these kids out okay, but he ran back in."

"It'll take hours to figure out where he's gone in this heat. We can't use the infrared."

"I know where he went," the girl who'd talked to Bryce said. "He was going to the observatory to rescue Grace and her classmates."

"Good girl," Murray told her. "Martinez, take Edison in the chopper and get up to the observatory! Get Bryce out of there! Now!"

As Martinez and Edison took off, another car pulled up. A couple in their early forties got out along with one in their late forties. Murray realized from the younger woman's appearance that she was Bryce's mother. His throat nearly closed up when he realized what he might have to tell her."

"Is my little girl still in there?" Maggie Lynch asked Murray. "My daughter, Grace. Is she in there?"

"Someone went in to get her," Murray reassured her.

"Please... let her be okay," Maggie pleaded. "I don't know what I would do if any of my children died. They mean so much to me. I miss my son Bryce so terribly. I wish I could see him again."

Murray's eyes darted toward the observation tower, then back again quickly. He hoped Bryce's mother hadn't notice.

She had.

"Both of my babies are in there?" she screamed. "What is Bryce doing here?"

"He wanted to be a reporter," Murray wailed, defensively. "I sent him to cover a story. I didn't expect him to change jobs and try being a freelance rescue dog!"

Maggie Lynch slapped Murray. "If my son dies, I will never forgive you!"

Back                         Home                              Max Headroom Main Page                              Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!