Max Headroom: Galactic Horizons
CHAPTER 01: Background and Goodbyes
Network 23 was one of the world’s top television networks. With a variety of shows, and a world-famous lineup of reporters, including Edison Carter, they had garnered several prestigious awards such as the Vidi, which was the award for best show on air.
From 1997 to the year 2005, the Network had been located in the center of London, standing proudly over the rest of the city like a giant monolith. It had been run by Ned Grossberg and Ben Cheviot for most of that time, until the scandal involving a new style of advertising called blipvertisements, or blipverts, caused Grossberg to lose his position as network chairman.
Now, due to the fact that there were fewer plants being grown outdoors to support the food industry (they relied mainly on hydroponics), the pollution content of the air had been growing steadily worse over the past few years. Since most people either paid attention only to television or kept themselves fed on Zik Zak burger packs and crunch fries, nobody had noticed the growing pollution until it had been too late.
Now most of the people had fled to underground bunkers where filtered air was pumped in regularly through a ventilation system.
For the past two months, the employees at Network 23 had been training for life on a space station. Since it was important for them to be able to reach a global audience, it had been decided that the majority of the employees would be sent up to a position in space above the pollution where their signal could be sent out with minimal interference.
Edison Carter was one of the few employees who would remain behind on the polluted earth. As a reporter, he was needed on the ground to investigate the stories that took place there.
Since he would soon be parted for a long time from his friends, he had invited them to a dinner at the Fresh Start, one of the few restaurants in the city not run by Zik Zak and one of the few that had been able to afford the move to the underground city.
Seeing Murray, Theora, and Bryce he waved to them.
They waved back and the party went into the restaurant together
“So, you head up tomorrow,” Edison said as they sat at their table.
“It’s really exciting,” Bryce said. “I’m hoping they’ll have an anti-gravity room I can conduct a few experiments in. Max is coming, too. It’ll be easier for him to air from direct line of sight than to shoot a signal up through the pollution layer and back down again.”
“I heard Cheviot is staying at ground level, too. Apparently he’s too old and fragile to make the trip to the station.”
“How long is the trip?” Edison asked.
“Fifteen hours,” Bryce told him. “But the first ten minutes will be at high velocity. The gravitational forces will be very powerful.”
“That would be a problem for anyone Cheviot’s age who didn’t have a lifetime of astronaut training,” Edison conceded. “How about you, Bryce? Think you can handle it. You seem a little fragile to me.”
“I’ve been training for this mission ever since it was brought up,” Bryce told him. “I can handle it. Though I might pass out for a few moments due to the high stress level.”
“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” Theora assured him.
“You’re probably right,” Bryce smiled. “I passed the test in the simulator so I should be okay.”
They ordered their dinner and ate in mostly in silence, each considering the next day and the adventure it would bring them.
After dinner, Murray spoke up.
“No time for dessert I’m afraid,” he said. “We have an early start tomorrow morning. We’re staying together in the bunker at the old space center.”
“Then I’ll say goodbye now,” Edison said. “I’ve got an interview in the morning so I’ll probably miss your lift-off.”
“We’ll contact you once we’ve set up on the station,” Theora told him. “I’m sure you’ll hear from Bryce as soon as he discovers or invents something new.”
“I’m hoping I can continue to count on him for help when I need it, too,” Edison said, looking at Bryce as he spoke.
“I’ll do what I can,” Bryce promised.