Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future

A Quiet Moment Amidst the Noise

by ElegantButler

-One Shot-

The Banquet hall was set up with a dozen formica-topped long tables, each long enough to hold twenty people. Beyond them twenty or thirty bistro style tables were set up to hold four guests apiece for those who paid to spend a few hours with the rich and famous.

At the front the stage was set up for the awards ceremony that would soon be underway.

The guests were seated at the bistro tables, some admiring the clean white tablecloths, others looking about the room to see if any lesser celebrities might be seated amongst them.

The celebrities and those closest to them filed into the room. Among them were the top executives from the four major television networks; Ben Cheviot from Network 23, Ned Grossberg from Network 66, George Best from World One, and David Rayburn from Network 89.

Also present from Network 23 were Edison Carter, the network's top reporter, and his team; his Producer Murray McKenzie, Controller Theora Jones, "alter-egotist" Max Headroom (who smiled from a TV hanging just behind them), and the network's sixteen year old head of Research and Development Bryce Lynch, who had chosen to sit with Edison's group because of his close affiliation with them.

The extras from Network 66 included actress Charlene Murphy who played Amanda Riley on Porky's Landing and their head of Research and Development Jenny Wilcox who, like Bryce, was sixteen.

"Welcome to the Fifth Annual Vidi Awards," the club's host said, once everyone had finished their Zik-Zak burger packs and crunch fries. "I am your host Gary Tweedle here to welcome you to a night of glitter and glamor. And now, if you'll direct your attention to the screen above the stage, I give you tonight's master of ceremonies, the remarkable… the incredible… the immortal… Max Headroom!"

Applause came from all the tables as Max moved from the table-side screen to the one above the stage.

"Thank you thank you thank you," Max called out cheerfully. "Well, it looks like you've all enjoyed your burger packs. Don't forget to recycle your wrappers. They use them to make more burgers."

The audience laughed appreciatively except for a couple of Zik-Zak representatives who were seated by Cheviot at the Network 23 table who simply nodded at the commentary being given. Their boss said to let him be, so they'd let him be. For now at least.

"But on a more serious note, the Networks have seen many newsworthy events over the past year. The bombing of the Ad Market by the White Brigade caused injury to many. And although it left no fatal cas-cas-casualties, there injuries nonetheless. And we lost our belief that through television we had wiped out any violence in the upper scale parts of the city. The bureau burner, on a slightly lighter note, has entertained us with his random fires and bad puns."

A man walked out onto the stage wearing a blue three-piece suit.

"The nominees for most informative news program are…" Max said, looking down at the man with the envelope.

The man in blue opened the envelope and read:

"Janie Crane for the White Brigade, Charles Hawke for the Bureau Burner and Edison Carter for Security Systems,"

Bryce got up while everyone was watching this and walked over to the table where Jenny was sitting.

"Jen, can I talk to you?" he asked.

Jenny stood up, also unnoticed and followed Bryce over to a corner of the room. "What is it?"

"Can I ask you something completely insane?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Will you marry me?"

Jenny's jaw dropped. "Mental note… check temperature in Hell…"

"I mean it. Will you?"

Jenny smiled. "Yes, Bryce. I will."

"Right now?" Bryce asked further. "Vanna Smith the leader of the Vu-Age church is here. She can perform the ceremony. We won't even be noticed if we're careful."

Vanna Smith sat alone, her mind on her flock and how she would address them the following day.

"Can I help you two?" she asked, then recognized Bryce. "Oh, hi Bryce. How come you never come to my services?"

"Busy," Bryce remarked. "Can you marry us?"

"You're a bit young," Vanna told them. "I don't think…" then she thought about it and smiled. They were both geniuses, and both had well-paying jobs. "Oh why not. When?"

"Why not now?" Bryce replied, Jenny nodding in agreement.

"Okay…" Vanna agreed.

And so, while everyone else was watching Janie Crane take the Vidi for her commentary on The White Brigade, Vanna quietly married Bryce to Jenny as they sat there at the small table, their first kiss masked by the applause that rang out for Janie.

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