Chapter Seven: Rescue

Edison reached for a cannister. Murray stopped him, holding out his vidicam instead.

"Are you kidding me?" Edison nearly exploded. "Bryce is in there! He might even be dead! And you want me to do a report? Now?"

"Cheviot would have all of our asses in the cardboard condos at Metal Row if we don't get this footage," Murray said, bluntly, thrusting the camera at Edison.

Edison took it angrily as Rik pulled up with his rickshaw. In back were the last two people Edison wanted to see.

"We'll leave the kids alone," Breughal said, "for a bob or two. But anyone else…"

"I'll pay you double to just take the terrorists," Edison said, pulling a wad of street cash from his pocket. "You can do whatever you want with them if the gas doesn't work. If it does…" he thought of Bryce lying shot and bloodied and tied down by his neck. "...hell with it. They're yours."

"Edison," Murray groaned to himself. He looked at Theora. "He's worse than when Paddy died."

"Bryce isn't dead, Murray," Theora said. "At least, I hope to God he isn't."

Edison pointed the camera at himself, "This is Edison Carter coming to you live and direct at the Academy of Computer Sciences where members of a terrorist organization known as the Seventh Wave Anti-Television League have taken a group of visiting alumni hostage."

He turned the camera to face the building as Shelby led the group to the back of the building.

"According to the blueprints I went over earlier, the room they're in is three windows in from the left. First floor." she began handing out small masks. "Edison. Breughal. Mahler. You three stay with me. We'll enter through the window once the gas has taken effect. These masks will give you some protection from the gas, but not much. So we have to make this quick. No stopping for personal vendettas." she looked meaningfully at Edison. "Once we get inside, your job is to get your friend to safety. That's it. You won't have time or breath to do any reporting. You can interview your pal when you're outside if he's in any condition to talk."

Bryce wasn't sure if he was blinking for mere seconds, or passing out for hours. There would be blurred moments when he thought he was in bed, waking from a terrible dream. This confused him as dreaming was something he never did. Then the confusion would pass and he would be reawakened by the fullness of his pain.

His leg throbbed with a dull ache while his shoulder wounds still flared agonizingly.

He felt the familiar touch of a gun barrel against his skull again. This time there would be no reprieve. This touch was the touch of death.

There was the tiniest clicking sound and Bryce felt the world fade around him.

Shelby waited for the last terrorist to drop. Then she raised the window the rest of the way.

Motioning for her team to follow her in through the window, she turned to Reg. "You, Rik, and Blank Bruno take the back door. Secure the hallway."

Reg nodded and led Rik and Bruno to the back door and into the hall.

Breughal stood over one of the dead teenagers as the gas dissipated.

"Oh proud death," he quoted, "what feast is toward in thine eternal cell?" He shook his head, looking at the terrible damage the bullets had done to the boy's skull. The boy's entire body was riddled with bullets. But his head was the worst of it, looking like it belonged on the unlucky victim in a David Cronenberg film.

"What a waste," Mahler ticked, shaking his head.

"Never mind the dead," Shelby said. "We have to help the living first."

Edison rushed over to Bryce, who was lying beneath his would-be killer. The man had fallen onto him when the gas had filled the room.

Removing the gun from the unconscious man's hand, he kicked the man in the ribs, cracking several of them as he rolled him off of Bryce.

"Jenny…" Bryce whispered as he regained consciousness for a moment. Then his eyes closed again.

"Hey," Edison said. "Wake up. You're not gonna pull a Citizen Kane on me, kiddo! Wake up. You're not allowed to whisper so random name and die on me!"

"Is Jenny alive?" Bryce asked.

"Which one is Jenny?"

"Ask Grossberg," Bryce said, closing his eyes.

"I need you to stay awake," Edison said as they waited for the ambulance. He could hear the sounds of scuffling as dazed but awakening terrorists fought with Shelby and the others.

When the terrorists were subdued, Shelby looked at each teenager. At first she didn't see her little sister. There were two more bodies whose heads had been mutilated. Both were shattered beyond recognition. Then Shelby saw the feather clip in the hair of one of the ruined heads.

"Cherie," she said, hate and grief building inside her. She stood up and looked over at Edison who was sitting by his young friend Bryce, trying to offer comfort to the wounded boy.

She hated him, too, for a moment. Hated Edison Carter for having a friend who'd lived when her little sister lie dead at her feet.

A moment later, the sounds of many running feet filled the air as ambulance teams arrived.

As Edison followed the gurney Bryce was being rolled away on, he hoisted the vidicam to his shoulder.

"the hostages have been freed from their precarious situation. Some have sadly died while others are on their way to the nearest hospital. At this point only time will tell if these brave youths will see another dawn. We'll keep you posted as news develops. This is Edison Carter signing off until further notice."

They wouldn't let him ride in the ambulance, so he got into the pink Big Time microbus instead.

He didn't need to ask them to follow the ambulances to the medical center.

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