MAX HEADROOM: 20 Minutes Into the Future

Something About Her

Chapter 07: New Assistant

It was late enough when Bryce and Trace returned to Network 23 that only a skeleton security crew was working. The door guard, Neil, stopped them.

"You shouldn't be out so late, sir," he said. "You know about the curfew."

"We were with Edison Carter," Bryce told him. "Not to mention I am an adult."

"Curfew applies to all below the age of twenty, sir," Neil said.

"Well, it makes no sense to call somebody an adult and then treat them as a child." Bryce protested.

"If the human race made sense, you would not be so unique, sir," Neil smiled.

"That could very well be true," Bryce acknowledged.

"The girl..." Neil began.

"My new assistant," Bryce explained. He looked at Trace, willing her not to mention the part about her being his daughter. She remained silent. "Trace, this is Neil. Neil, Trace."

"Good to meet you," Trace told Neil.

"Very nice to meet you," Neil replied. He was in his early twenties, and it was clear he thought Trace, who looked about nineteen to him, was very pretty indeed.

Bryce cleared his throat.

"Are you two an item?" Neil asked, sensing Bryce's protectiveness of the girl.

"No," Trace admitted. "We're family. He's just a bit overprotective."

"Well, I'll be sure to remember that," Neil decided.

Trace followed Bryce into the building and to the lift.

"You ever get lonely," Trace asked.

"I used to," Bryce admitted. "Until Max came along. He always pops up and makes jokes or tells silly anecdotes. It usually makes me smile."

"I think they're meant to," Trace told him.

"So do I," Bryce agreed. "Sometimes I think he can sense when..."

Bryce fell silent as he looked at the restructured thirteenth floor.

Where there had once been only one door at the end of the hallway, leading into his studio/lab, the entire floor had been converted into a living area, save for the section where his original space had been, which was now a full laboratory and research center. His equipment had been left alone. Only his bedroom had been relocated into a side room. Another side room was set aside for Trace. Bryce could tell it had been made up under Theora's influence.

"Not bad," Bryce said, giving an impressed whistle. "I can't believe they managed all this in four hours."

"Teamwork and motivation," Trace shrugged. "You'd be amazed what it can accomplish."

"It never works when you're the youngest member of the staff," Bryce told her. "They always think they should be giving you orders instead of taking them."

Trace took off her coat as she walked into her bedroom. She opened the closet and got a surprise. "Hey!" she called "There's clothes in here!"

"Courtesy of Theora, I'll bet," Bryce guessed. "Are they fashionable or functional?"

"Both," Trace told him.

"Definitely Theora," Bryce told her. "Murray likes function, Edison likes fashion, and Theora prefers a blend. It's like working with the Three Bears."

"I can understand that," Trace laughed. "Look it's getting late, and we both have work tomorrow."

"Day starts at eight," Bryce told her, yawning as he spoke.

"Good night, Goldilocks," Trace chuckled as they each headed to their own room.

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