Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into the Future

-A Skeleton in Edison's Closet-

Part 4

"Hurry!" Theora said, urgently, as Edison ran through the Fringes in the direction of the alley.

"Need a ride?" a friendly voice asked from nearby.

"Sure, Rik," Edison agreed. "I'm looking for a largish warehouse, mostly intact. Still has power."

"I know the one you mean," Rik said. "Don't like that area very much. Nobody goes there except the really rotten people. Who's there?"

"My brother," Edison said.

"Ah. Family reunion?"

Edison glared and his knuckles went white.

"Oh," Rik said, noticing. "I take it you're not too happy with him."

"I'm only admitting his existence now because my keeping it a secret ended up causing someone else to get hurt."

"I take it this is someone you really care about a lot?"


"This guy you don't want to admit is your brother, is he a ... you know... one of those perverts in a bad way kind of people?"

"Unfortunately yes." Edison said. "He's got Bryce with him."

"How'd he manage that?" Rik asked.

"I didn't tell anyone about Addison, and..."

"And he just happens to be your twin, so Bryce thought he was you."

"Right," Edison said. "And Addison tricked Bryce into sex. So when I told everyone that I was marrying Vanna, Bryce thought I had used and dumped him."

"So he ran away and ended up right in the arms of the person who really hurt him," Rik realized as he stopped the rickshaw in front of the warehouse. He grabbed the blanket from the back and handed it to Edison.

"You stay out here," Edison said.

"Not this time," Rik said. "I'll deal with your brother, your job is to get Bryce out of there."

Edison started to protest but Rik cut him off.

"I know you believe that as your brother this guy is your responsibility. But Bryce is more important to you and you know it. Now, take this blanket and get Bryce out of here. Take the rickshaw and get him to the medical center. Then get the metrocops and make sure Bryce tells them everything."

"He might not want to talk," Edison said.

"He has to," was all Rik said in reply.

Addison was pulling his pants up as the door flew open.

"Brother!" he called out, cheerily, to Edison.

The scene in front of Edison was like one right out of his worst nightmares. Addison was smiling as if nothing was wrong, while on the bloodstained mattress not a foot away, Bryce was curled up, naked and whimpering softly.

Theora's voice, trembling with rage, came over the link on the vidicam Edison was holding but not broadcasting with.

"I'm calling for an ambulance," she told him. "And the metrocops."

"No metrocops," Edison said. "They'll just let him back out in a few years. Give the bastard to Breughal and Mahler."

"Edison," Rik said. "You know how I said you shouldn't go after your brother and beat the hell out of him?"

"Yeah?" Edison recalled.

"I've changed my mind." Rik said. "Give me the blanket. Right now the last thing Bryce is going to want to see if your face up close. You deal with the pervert, I'll get Bryce ready for the ambulance."

Rik hurried over to Bryce and covered him with the blanket. "Help is coming," he reassured the young genius. "Hold on."

"You have to leave me here," Bryce whispered hoarsely. "You have to. He'll hurt someone else if you don't."

"We'll make sure he doesn't," Rik promised. "You don't have to sacrifice yourself any longer."

"The law failed once," Bryce warned. "It will fail again. Go. Leave me here. He promised he'd only rape me from now on. The rapes hurt. But it would hurt worse if I let someone else suffer when they didn't have to."

Edison, in the meantime, had made certain that nobody would ever think Addison was him again. He'd broken Addison's nose with his vidicam, smiling with vicious satisfaction as he watched the blood trickle down the vile man's face.

"That's for Bryce," Edison said. "I should've broken your nose years ago. Then none of this would've happened.

Rik was still crouching next to Bryce, who had gone very silent.

"You'd better tell that ambulance to hurry," he said to Edison. "I think he's dying."

In the warehouse and the Network 23 Control Room, Edison and Theora each prayed silently for its arrival.

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