THE HIGH PRICE OF GENIUS

Max Headroom

The high price of genius

By Axel Ingleson

Disclaimer: Max Headroom and his companions are the property of David Hansen and Paul Owen.

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The body was found near the parking garage at Breakthru TV. Wrapped in plastic, bound and gagged, it was clear that the boy had suffocated to death.

Edison Carter had, as usual, been first on the scene, having spotted the body while driving to work.

"This is Edison Carter, live and direct at Breakthru TV where the body of a sixteen year old boy has just been found. No word as of yet as to the identity of this unfortunate youth or his killer, but we'll keep you posted as news develops."

At Network 23, Bryce frowned as he recognized his former classmate. "Jake," he whispered. "But who? Why? This doesn't make any sense."

He decided to contact Jenni at Network 66. She might know if Jake had had any enemies. She was the one who kept in contact with everybody from the class."

Jenni was not there. Concerned, he contacted Grossberg, the President of Network 66. It was, of course, completely illegal for him to do so. But Grossberg might know where Jenni was, and it was vitally important for him to contact her.

"Ah, Bryce Lynch," Grossberg purred. "To what do I owe this illustrious and illegal honor?"

"I need to know where Jenni is," Bryce told him.

"Fallen in love, have we?"

"No!" Bryce exclaimed, rather taken aback by the question. "Of course not. But one of our classmates was just killed and I wanted to make certain she was all right."

"Well, she disappeared some time last night," Grossberg admitted. "No one has seen her since."

Bryce's expression darkened.

Edison walked into Bryce's studio. "Bryce, I" he stopped when he saw Grossberg's face on Bryce's vu-phone. "Mind explaining what you're doing?"

"I was just checking on another classmate of mine." Bryce explained. "Jenni seems to be missing. Edison, I"

Edison saw that Bryce was trembling from head to toe, and he knew why.

"Just one question, though," Bryce asked, speaking mostly to himself, "are they targeting everyone in my class, or just those who work at TV networks?"

"My god," Edison gasped. "Bryce?"

Bryce printed out a list of his former classmates from the Academy of Computer Sciences and handed it to Edison. "This is a list of potential victims. Please, Edison. Don't let anything happen to any of them. I'll try to locate some of them, but I'll need your help." He looked up at Edison with eyes that, to the reporter's surprise, were brimming with tears.

"I'll do whatever I can," Edison promised, heartbroken at seeing Bryce so sad.

Bryce nodded, gratefully, and then set to work tracking Jenni's location.

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