Chapter Seven: A Quiet Departure

The doctors didn't want to release Bryce from the hospital. But as there was nothing they could really do other than make him comfortable, they begrudgingly agreed to do so.

Edison waited for him to get his clothes back on. Then led him out to the waiting room.

"Bryce?" Cheviot asked. "Are you sure you should be leaving here?"

"I have no intention of dying in a hospital bed," Bryce told him. "I may not be a daredevil, but that doesn't mean I have to have a boring death."

"So, what do you plan to do while you're waiting?"

"I thought I'd go to the Ouzo Bar and watch the improv show."

"You may be legally an adult for many things, Bryce," Edison said, apologetically, "but in that respect you're still underage."

"Then seeing how long I can manage to stay there until I get kicked out will just add to the fun. I'm not going to actually drink anything."

"You wouldn't understand the jokes," Theora told him.

"Yeah," Edison added, "the majority of them are about sex. Which you have no experience with."

"You mean he's gonna die a virgin?" Murray muttered.

"I can live with that," Bryce shrugged.

"Um, no you can't," Edison said, under his breath.

"Oh. Right." Bryce realized, chuckling a little despite the underlying seriousness of the conversation. "Let's just go to your place, Edison. I don't want to die in a hospital waiting room any more than I do anywhere else in a hospital."

They got back into the Big Time microbus and pulled out of the hospital parking lot. Bryce sat on the edge of the cot with Edison beside him. The painkiller Bryce was on at the moment seemed to be working. He was relaxed, though understandably anxious about what was to come.

"What are you airing on Big Time when you get back on air tonight?" Theora asked, trying to get everyone's mind off things.

"We thought we'd air an old musical, Camelot," Dom told him. "I think we need to branch off from just showing little music vids all the time."

"Think you'll get a lot of viewers?"

Reg nodded. "Oh, sure, mate. Lance and Gwen are real crowd pleasers."

"True," Dom added. "And even though he's the villain there are always those who turn in to sing along with Mordred."

"What about you, Bryce? Who would you root for? Lancelot or Mordred?"

There was no reply.

Epilogue: Grief and Decisions

"Bryce?" Edison asked, shaking the young genius.

Bryce was lying on his side half on the cot. He had slumped over when the others hadn't been looking.

Edison tried to find some sign of life; like a heartbeat, pulse, or breathing.

"Nothing," he said, angrily, as he finally let go of Bryce's wrist, the lifeless arm falling heavily to the cot. "He's gone."

"Oh no," Theora whispered. "Oh, poor Bryce."

"It's not fair," Edison said. "That kid had his whole life ahead of him." his voice hitched as he tried to be strong. Tried not to break down.

A hiccuping sound came from one of the TVs in the corner as Max Headroom also began sobbing.

Seeing his electronic counterpart in tears, Edison himself gave in and began to weep bitter tears.

"Reg," Cheviot said sadly, "please drive us to Gladhand Meadows. I want to be certain that what's left of Bryce is properly cremated."

Reg returned to the driver's seat and drove to the crematorium.

Edison sat down on the cot holding Bryce's lifeless body to himself and whispering promises of revenge. Theora sat in the passenger seat, crying into her palms while Murray stood over her, unable to offer comfort.

"Theora," he said, helplessly. "When we're done at Gladhand Meadows, perhaps you would like a little time off to visit your brother and sister-in-law?"

"Thank you, Murray," Theora said, shaking her head, "but I want to help Edison put the man who did this away for good."

Edison looked up, still clutching Bryce's body to his chest. "I'm sure you can connect your brother's terminal to the network computer." he said.

Cheviot shook his head. "I know you want revenge. But I can't let you use network resources for such things. Not even for Bryce. I will let you do a story on the dangers of illegal medical testing."

"May we use Bryce's story as an example?" Murray asked.

"Just make sure Edison doesn't punch any interviewees." Cheviot agreed after a minute's consideration.

Edison looked down at the too-young body in his arms. "Don't worry, Bryce. We won't rest until we put away the person who murdered you."

Watching what remained of his team, Murray knew there was a long road of healing ahead of them.

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