Chapter 3: Speculations

Theora and Ted were married the next day in a quiet ceremony. She had decided not to invite Edison or the others mainly because she didn't want a scene with Edison. After his reaction to finding them together in the first place, she doubted that Murray would blame her.

"Theora," Edison said as she sat down, "call Bryce. See if he can discover why my Controller is fifteen minutes late."

"Very funny, Edison," Theora said as she looked over a list of potential news stories. "Overslept. Baby was up kicking half the night. Hm, explosion at a refinery in Switzerland."

"Nah." Edison shook his head.

"Interview with actor Nick Olivier to be aired just prior to the first episode of Galavanting with Gatsby?" Theora suggested.

"How does a fictional dead wanna-be get his own show?" Edison mused.

"People will watch anything," Bryce remarked on the vu-phone. "We're not descended from apes, but from ferrets."

"Hi, Bryce," Theora said. "You don't normally call down here. What can we do for you?"

"I need to talk to you about something. It's important." Bryce said. "I'll see you in a few minutes." he disconnected the call as if taking it for granted that Theora would go to his lab.

"I'll be right back," Theora told Edison as she headed up to Bryce's lab.

Edison exchanged looks with Max Headroom who had just popped up on the screen.


"What did you need?" Theora asked Bryce as she walked into his studio.

"First I wanted to say congratulations," Bryce told her. "I noticed your wedding ring. I didn't want to bring it up in front of Edison."

"Thanks, Bryce," Theora told him.

"How's the baby?" Bryce inquired further.

"Good," Theora said. "Ted and I are both very excited."

"Even though it's not his?"


"Is it mine?" Bryce asked her outright.

Theora shook her head. She hated lying to a friend, but she couldn't face dumping such an awesome burden on him. He wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility.

Bryce sensed she was lying but didn't confront her about it. She must have had her reasons for not telling him.

"Is there anything else you needed?" Theora asked.

"No, that was pretty much it. By the way, here…" he handed her a small jewelry box.

"What is that?"

"Ear plugs. When Edison sees that ring, you're probably going to need 'em."

As soon as Theora was out of the room, Bryce contacted the credit bureau and began making arrangements for both a college fund and an ISA for the baby, asking for credits to be diverted from his own account. As the baby had not yet been born or named he simply had the account named the Parrot fund with understanding that it would be renamed later once the infant had an identity.

He did not tell Theora about it. If she could keep secrets, so could he. Besides, the money was the child's not hers. The amount would cover the child's college expenses whether he or she went to ACS or a community college later in life. Either way, they would be covered.

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