Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future
Killer Instinct

-Chapter One: One Dead, One Missing-

Edison Carter was used to seeing Metrocop vehicles and ambulances. They were often a part of the stories he covered as Network 23's ace reporter. He did not, however, like seeing them at Network 23. They put him on edge, especially after the Security Systems incident. After all, they were too eager to make an arrest and rarely checked their facts before doing so. There was one cop he liked, that being the one who had ignored the printing press hidden under the Fringes. Other than him, Edison had every little positive opinion of the breed.

There was a single ambulance and two Metrocop vehicles askew in the road outside Network 23 as he drove up with Martinez.

"Aw man," Martinez complained. "This doesn't look good, Edison."

Edison had to admit that his chopper jockey was right. Ambulances and police at your office were never a good sign. And when the ambulance was toting a corpse under a blood-soaked sheet, that made your day even worse. At least it appeared to be a full-sized body, so that ruled Bryce out as a victim.

"What happened?" Edison asked.

The paramedic drew back the sheet, revealing Network 23's newest Board member, John Parker. The man was clearly dead. Deep gashes were carved into Parker's face and neck, leaving him almost unidentifiable. His nose had been nearly sliced off, one eye was mutilated, and his mouth was gashed into the shape of a garish scarecrow.

"You know this man, Mr. Carter?" he asked, covering the corpse.

Edison shook his head, grateful to have the gruesome sight covered once again. "Not very well. We met yesterday in the car park. He dinged my fender."

"You ever get the road rage?" a cop asked as he approached. It was not the one who had ignored the printing press. In fact, it wasn't one Edison recognized at all.

'New cop,' he thought to himself, 'probably eager to look good to his superior officers. Better be cautious with this one.'

"I doubt that Edison Carter would kill a man over a dinged fender," the paramedic scoffed. "Anyhow, this didn't happen in the car park. The body was found in the lift."

"Oh, god..." Edison sounded ill. If some psychopath had cut up John Parker with a razor in the lift, then that meant whoever it was had been inside Network 23. And that meant that Bryce was also vulnerable.

Edison ran inside and sped up every stairwell leading to Bryce's lab. Throwing open the door to the thirteenth level, he saw droplets of blood on the hallway floor. He was already running at what he thought was his top speed, but somehow he managed to go even faster. He saw that the door was wide open and ran inside. He checked every room of the lab-apartment. There was blood on the bathroom walls and floor, and several items had been knocked off the sink and the edge of the tub, but found no sign of Bryce.

"What the hell happened here?" Martinez asked, catching up with Edison. "Looks like..."

"Please, don't say it," Edison begged. "Not here. Paddy's death was bad enough. If anything has happened to Bryce. Martinez, we have to find him. With this much blood, he must be badly hurt. I doubt whoever took him cares enough to get him to a medical center."

"We'll find him," the chopper jockey reassured the ace reporter.

"God, I hope so," Edison said, anxiously.

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