-Chapter 18: Betrayal-

"Jenny, please," Rik said as he drove her home. "If you're thinking of doing what I think you are. Don't. Bryce is a good kid. He was defending himself and you know it."

"I didn't see that part," Jenny pointed out. "All I saw what Bryce chasing Parker out of the bathroom while viciously cutting at his face with a razor."

"Then tell them that you don't know the whole story. That's the truth."

"I do know that I saw Bryce attacking Parker. That's also the truth," Jenny said.

Rik almost wanted to abduct Jenny. To make sure she was away from Network 66 long enough to prevent her testimony. But that would look bad for Bryce. All he could do was take her home, then warn Edison of the danger.

Jenny stormed into the front door and didn't stop until she was forced to wait for the lift.

"Out sightseeing?" Grossberg asked her.

"Clearing my head," Jenny said.

"Doesn't look like it's worked too well," Grossberg observed. "You look like an allergy sufferer at a pollen festival."

"I have to go," Jenny told him. "I have to see Judge Adams about some evidence in the upcoming murder trial."

"Jenny, Network employee evidence is not admissible in that employee's own network court."

"Then make it admissible." Jenny snarled. With a bitter look on her face, she turned to the lift doors which had just opened and stepped inside.

Grossberg watched her go, then went to the boardroom. Once there, he stepped into his private office and picked up the vu-phone receiver.

Punching in the number, he waited for the call to go through.

"What the hell are you calling me for?" Cheviot demanded as he saw the image of his rival appear on the screen in front of him.

"You are already aware that Network 66 is about to try a young man who with both care about," Grossberg reminded him.

"You care about Bryce?" Cheviot asked.

"I'm the one who hired him for Network 23," Grossberg reminded Cheviot.

"That was the best thing you ever did for Network 23," Cheviot said. "But you didn't call to chat about the good ol' days."

"No. I called because there's a new problem with the case."

"What kind of problem?" Cheviot asked cautiously.

"Our head of research and development is trying to find out how she can circumvent the rule about network employees not being allowed to testify in their own network's court."

"Even if she were able to, what can she do?" Cheviot asked.

"Ben," Grossberg explained, "she saw Bryce slashing Parker's face."

"I'd better tell Edison" Cheviot decided. "Much as I hate to admit it, I owe you thanks for this."

Cheviot disconnect the call with Grossberg and punched in the number for Theora's control desk.

"Problem," he told her, "There's a girl at Network 66 who's out for blood. As in Bryce's."

"She's the one who told us about Bryce," Theora told him, confirming what Grossberg had said about Jenny having witnessed the killing.

"She can't testify in their courts," Theora said.

"She's trying to find a way around the ban," Cheviot said. "If she's even half as clever as Bryce she might succeed."

"Last I knew she was trying to help him. Class honor and all that." Theora told him as Edison walked in. "Why would she suddenly turn on him? He can't have done anything to her. He's been locked up in juvenile hall ever since his arrest."

"Something must've happened since then to change her mind," Edison decided. "I'll have Martinez fly me down to Westford so I can have a talk with Bryce."

"Can't," Murray told him, "Martinez just took Janie Crane to cover the opening of the new Scumball stadium."

"Then I'll get Rik to bring me there," Edison told them. He slung the strap for his vidicam over his shoulder and left the control room.

"I already know," Rik told him as he approached the rickshaw.

"How?" Edison asked.

"Because I saw the whole thing. That girl has serious jealousy issues."

"Jealousy?" Edison inquired.

"Hop in, I'll tell you on the way," Martinez said.

As Edison climbed into the passenger wagon, he continued. "Jenny asked me to take her to Westford. She had some news for Bryce. A warning that she wanted to give him about the trial. But when we got there, she changed her mind and started cursing him."

"Why? What happened?"

"Well, it wasn't Bryce's fault. This girl at the juvie. They were playing basketball, Bryce and these two girls and a few guys."

"I can't really picture Bryce involved in physical sports, but go on."

"Well he's not too bad. But this one girl tackled him when he was going for a lay-up and next thing you know."

"She kissed him," Edison guessed. "Must've been Alison Parker."

"Relative of the guy who..."

Edison nodded. "And another former victim."

"Anyhow Little Miss Jenny saw Bryce get kissed by this girl and ..."

"And that's when she turned on him," Edison realized.

"Edison, come back in," Theora said. "This is a matter that's going to require a woman's touch."

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