Taken Too Young

A Max Headroom Prequel

By Elegant Butler

Mrs. Moray studied the papers her class had handed in that day. She smiled ruefully at many of them. So many silly answers, wrong answers from misinformation, and unfinished papers.

There were also some that were exceptional. Amongst them were two that she found to be beyond brilliant. One was for Bryce Lynch. The other Jenny Wilcox. Without hesitation she picked up her phone and dialed a number she'd been instructed to call if she ever found a student that might be considered a super-genius. She gave the two names, then hung up and resumed grading her papers.

Jane Mayall watched Bryce and Jenny in the playground. The two had become good friends in the week they'd known each other in school. Bryce was still a little shy around her, but not as much as he was with the other children.

Jenny picked a little daisy and gave it to Bryce who examined it with profound curiosity.

"There they are," a man in a three-piece suit said. "Get them."

The two four-year olds were nowhere near fast enough to outrun the men who soon caught them and carried them over to blue van, locking them inside.

Jane ran after them, but the van was too fast and it rounded the corner before her panicked mind thought of taking down the license plate number.

In the van, Bryce and Jenny clung to each other, both sobbing. Their eyes were bloodshot and their faces streaked with tears. They didn't like this van. They didn't know where they were going and that scared them.

"Let us out!" Jenny complained.

"We wanna go home!" Bryce said, by way of agreeing with her.

"You are going home," the man sitting in the back with them told them.

"Nuh-uh!" Bryce griped. "My home is the other way! And so is Jenny's!"

"Yeah. You're going the wrong way, stupid," Jenny pouted.

"This is the right way to your new home," the man explained, trying to keep his own temper even.

"I don't wanna new home!" Jenny wailed. "I want mum!"

This set Bryce off as well as he realized how badly he wanted to return home.

The third world war had taken a toll on many countries. Most had not survived. Those that had were forever changed. The superpowers had fallen and television had arisen in their place as the new world control.

Networks had guided the people out of their stupor. Reporters giving hope to the viewers while colorful advertisements turned small businesses like Zik-Zak and Zlin into mega-corporations almost overnight.

In their search for the best heads of research and development, the networks had set up a series of schools where the finest minds in the district would be trained. Three of these were the Silverton School for Prodigies, Kingston Academy, and the Academy of Computer Sciences.

Bryce and Jenny were taken to Silverton and brought inside, both struggling and generally having a tantrum.

"Take us home, dummy-head!" Jenny screamed.

"Yeah! This isn't our home, stupid-face!" Bryce joined in, both of them kicking at the shins of the people who were dragging them toward the school.

Both children seemed to understand that once inside they would never be allowed out again.

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