Chapter Seven: Searching For A Friend (part two)

"That kid's clever," Martinez remarked as he flew Edison over the rooftops of England. Edison had finagled a ride back from New Tokyo on a passenger plane, meeting Martinez's helicopter at the airfield. "You really think you'll find him?"

"I hope so," Edison said. "What I can't figure out is what Bryce was doing at World 1."

"Maybe he just got tired of not being loved back," Martinez suggested.

"What are you talking about?" Edison inquired.

"You really haven't noticed, have you," Martinez said. "That kid has a serious crush on you."

"Don't be silly," Edison shook his head. "Bryce would never waste his time pursuing a relationship that will never happen."

"Never underestimate the teenage heart in it's ability to put its needs before everything else," Martinez said.

"Hm," Edison said. "Anyhow, what do you know of it? You haven't even met him."

"I listen to you," Martinez said. "Have you ever noticed how easily he goes along with what you want. Even if he says 'no' to anyone else who asks for the same thing?"

"I guess I'll have to let him down gently," Edison decided.

"Good luck," Martinez said.

Edison looked out the helicopter window at the many buildings passing beneath them.

"First we have to find him."

Blank Bruno sipped the drink he'd ordered at The Fresh Start.

Theora knew he was sizing her up, trying to figure out if she really cared about Bryce or if she just wanted him back for the sake of the job and her own convenience.

"Please," she said. "Can you at least tell me if Bryce is safe."

"I don't know where he is," Blank Bruno apologized. "But perhaps we can figure it out together. What was the last thing he spoke of before leaving?"

"As far as I know he was asked to stop visiting World 1," Theora explained.

"Why was Bryce visiting World 1?" Bruno inquired.

"I don't know," Theora admitted. "I just know he went there multiple times over the past few days. But when I try to find out what he was doing while he was there, I keep running into a dead end."

Bruno smiled. "Clever kids must've blanked the room. He's there. We just have to figure out how to get in."

"If you're right, what's he hiding?" Theora asked. "Why blank an entire room?"

"Can you think of any projects he's been talking about lately? Something that Cheviot might have not given the go on."

"Not offhand," Theora said after a moment's thought.

"What's up?" Shawn asked as he collected the glasses. "Bruno! I bet you didn't know Theo here is my big sister."

"I heard something about it," Bruno shrugged.

"Shawn," Theora said. "I'm sorry I can't hang out right now. A friend of mine is missing. We'll talk later though. I might stop by this weekend and see the baby."

"Winnie would like that," Shawn told her. "Maybe we can go to the coast? If you don't mind paying that is."

"I don't mind one bit," Theora said. "But right now I need to find Bryce."

"Bryce Lynch?" Shawn asked.

"What do you know," Theora asked.

"Not much," Shawn admitted. "I overheard Winnie talking to her cousin Larissa who works at World 1."

"I didn't know Winnie had a cousin."

"She was from the ACS class of 2000," Shawn explained.

"That's Bryce's class," Theora said. "What did Larissa say?"

"Well, I wasn't paying attention. I just remember hearing something about splicing and bags."

A crash nearby signaled the death of very expensive vidicam.

Theora, Bruno, and Shawn turned to see a white-faced Edison Carter standing amidst the wreckage of the camera that had fallen from his hand.

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