Chapter One: Recovery

"Miss Gabor, would you call today's victory an important step in the future of Misfits Music?"

"Pizzazz, can we get a quote for Cool Trash? Will the Misfits be releasing a Christmas hit to celebrate?"

"How will today's verdict affect your company? Are the rumours true that you're appointing internally to replace Eric Raymond?"

As the Misfits left the courtroom, a flock of reporters bustled and pushed their way around them, each jostling for pictures and quotes. In the centre of the melee, Pizzazz cast a superior smile around at the gathered people, triumph in her green eyes as she surveyed the masses that had come to catch a glimpse.

"It was a victory for the Misfits." She said simply, reaching up to push her hair back from her face with a feigned air of nonchalance. "We always knew we would succeed. Let it be a message to everyone out there - noone messes over a Gabor and wins...and nobody screws the Misfits!"

"That was an unfortunate choice of words." From behind her, she heard Jetta's low whisper as they made their way to a waiting limousine, bulbs still flashing. A slight frown crossed her face, but it was gone in an instant. Let Jetta bitch. This was her victory. Her day. Nobody was going to take it from her - not even Eric Raymond.

He had left the court as soon as the verdict had been announced, and had released a statement through his attorney that he felt he'd been unfairly backed into a litigious corner. Pizzazz's own legal team flanked the group as they got into their car, her father's principal attorney issuing a brief 'no further comment at this time, thank you' to the waiting pressmen. It was a victory for them too, she knew, and one which would see them all handsomely paid. But that wasn't an issue now either. The important thing was that it was over...and that she had won.

"So there it is, girls." She remarked casually, as the four musicians settled themselves into the back of the big black car. "Done and dusted. From tomorrow, we're back to status quo. With a little financial aid from our friend Mr Raymond, of course."

"Do you think he'll pay the settlement or do you think he'll jus' take off north again an' try and avoid it?" Jetta asked. Pizzazz shrugged.

"I don't know. His attorney did say he wasn't planning to appeal." she said carelessly. "I don't care about all the legal crap, to be honest. That's why I have lawyers. They'll see to those things. I'm just glad it's done with. Ripping holes in Eric Raymond is fun, but I'm getting bored with it and I want to get back to singing and stuff now. It's old news, this whole embezzlement stuff. I want to get back on stage."

"No wonder you're grinning like a cheshire cat." Roxy observed from her corner, reaching into her pocket and producing a stick of gum. "All those were lapping it up."

"Jealous they weren't pointing the lenses at you?" Pizzazz raised an eyebrow. Roxy snorted.

"Jealous of you? In another lifetime, maybe, but not in this one." She said frankly. "So what do we do now? We've settled Eric, and settled him good and proper...though I admit I'd still like to take a fist to his jaw. Are we going straight to work on the new song or are you gonna cut us some slack?"

She fidgeted in her seat.

"Court clothes are uncomfortable." She added. "And I wanna change and burn them before we do anything else."

"No, we're not going to tackle the song today. We've done enough working these last few weeks." Pizzazz grimaced. "Tomorrow morning, we're in studio. All of us."

She paused, casting Jetta a glance.

"Elliot did say he wanted you in the office as soon as court was out, though." She added. "So I told him you would be."

"Great." Jetta groaned, leaning back in her seat. "So everyone else gets an afternoon off, but I get to spend it with Harvey's nerd? Wonderful."

"You were the one who said you didn't know what you were doing with the company." Pizzazz said inexorably. "Elliot is teaching you. You learn quicker, you do less training. It's up to you. But Daddy won't let me install you as executive either, unless he thinks you have been trained. Daddy can be hard to argue with, and since right now the company's survival is down to him I don't want to annoy him. So it's decided. You're going there."

"Why don't you ever sit in on these sessions?" Jetta demanded. "You don't know any more about running a company than I do!"

"Because I'm a Gabor and it's in my blood. I don't need training to know what I'm doing." Pizzazz folded her arms. "So shut your trap and just do it, okay?"

"Things are back to normal indeed." Stormer looked amused. "As for studio, Pizzazz - I've got one or two manuscripts for you to look at and I'm sure we can work one of them out for a new single tomorrow."

"Good." Pizzazz looked approving. "Then we're back on track, just like we should be."

"I can't believe you're making Jetta chief executive." Roxy said pensively. "I mean, okay, shutting her in an office with nerds in suits is amusing, I admit that...but we do want to have a music company at the end of the day, don't we?"

"Ta, Roxy." Jetta pulled a graphic face. "Your confidence in me is overwhelmin'."

"Well, you said it. You ain't got any more qualifications than I do to run the joint." Roxy shrugged. "Just stating fact."

"Since you never took an exam in your life and passed it, and since I aced my way through school, I think I'm better qualified than you are to do a lot of things." Jetta retorted.

"Matter of opinion." Roxy shrugged her shoulders, unconcerned. "You ain't been to business school. You were a waitress in a crummy cafe in London before you came to America."

"Well, Eric went to business school, he had qualifications coming out of his ass." Pizzazz said shortly. "But he screwed us over and almost ditched my company in the dumper. I'm not having that happen again. Jetta will learn what to do because her work permit relies on the company surviving, and if she wants to stay a Misfit, she'll make sure that happens. It's simple, really, Roxy. I don't expect you to get it, but it makes a lot of sense."

"He screwed some of us more than others." Jetta muttered. Pizzazz shot her a dark glare, but chose not to respond. Instead she cast a glance out of the window.

"I guess we'll be front page news tonight." She reflected. "And the story will be on all the channels...think we'll even get it out across the world?"

"It's been so highly publicised, it's bound to have spread." Stormer said thoughtfully. "Why? Are you wondering what Eric's prospects are going to be like if he really does quit the States permanently?"

"No. I'm wondering how many people are going to take in the message that the Misfits are far from done for." Pizzazz said with a shrug. "What Eric does is nothing to do with me now. He's a sad pathetic loser and he's been dealt with. We don't need to waste any further time on him. And...hey, we're almost at Misfits Music!"

She leant across to speak to the driver, telling him to pull onto the company forecourt and Jetta left the vehicle with very bad grace, smoothing down her skirt and then stomping into the building. Pizzazz watched her go with a thoughtful look on her face.

"Think she can hack it?" She asked. Roxy grimaced.

"Honestly? Not really." She said flatly. "Our futures are resting on you and her...I'm almost wondering if I should book my bus ticket to Philly now, while I still have an income."

"I think Jetta will do just fine." Stormer said hurriedly, before Pizzazz could respond. "Elliot will teach her everything she need to know and she's smart enough to take it on and do it. I think it's a gamble but that you needed it to be someone you trusted. After what Eric did - it makes sense to me."

"Who said I trusted her?" Pizzazz demanded. "She just has a vested interest in keeping this place afloat, that's all."

She flexed her hands, glancing at her nails.

"Plus, this little arrangement means two other things." She added, meeting Stormer's gaze with a searching one of her own. "One, it keeps Jetta away from Justin. And two, it keeps Elliot away from you. I don't need my employees spending all their time on personal affairs that are just going to wind up a mess anyway. This solves that. The more space put between Jetta and Justin, the better. And if you can't spend any time with Elliot, you can't get some mushy idea you're in love with him before he returns to DC. Seems logical to me."

"I'm not in love with Elliot." Stormer objected, her cheek going pink at the insinuation. "I like him, yes. I think he's a nice guy and he's honest and trustworthy. I also think he's done a lot to get Misfits Music back on track. But I'm not in love with him, Pizzazz. I can assure you of that."

"And that's how I'm going to make it stay." Pizzazz nodded her head. "Kills two birds with one stone and trains up my chief executive in the process. It's a plan with no drawbacks - and I'm a genius."

She grinned, tapping her hands idly on her knee.

"Who says I don't have a business brain?" She demanded. "There's nothing to this wheeler-dealing crap!"

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

"So where's the bleedin' fire, then?"

Jetta pushed open the door of the office, casting it's sole inhabitant a dark look as she stepped into the room. "Why was it so important to drag me here right after the verdict, as if I don't 'ave a life outside these four walls?"

"If you're going to run what's inside those four walls, you need to come when you're called." Elliot seemed unmoved, glancing up from the paperwork he was signing and gesturing for her to take a seat. "I don't mind telling you that we don't have enough time to even begin dealing with the things you need to know. I think this whole business is crazy, but since it's the way things are, we have to both make the best of them. Sit, will you? I'm almost done with these."

"If I'm going to be Chief Exec, Elliot, maybe I should be signing them." Jetta dropped into a seat, a mutinous expression on her face. Elliot raised an eyebrow.

"When your name is on the door, you can." He said dismissively. "Right now it isn't. Right now this is still my work assignment from Harvey and I'm going to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible."

"Why not just say it straight. You don't believe I'm cut out for this." Jetta folded her hands across her chest. "I didn't get any choice in this either, you know - I'm no more convinced than you are. But I kinda got given the option of doin' this or bein' shipped back to England on the first flight out."

Elliot eyed her gravely.

"On the contrary, I think you could be cut out for it." He said matter-of-factly. "I'm not denying you're smart and you pick things up quickly. You've a shrewd mind and you have had a couple of ideas which have helped this company in the last few weeks. Those things all go in your favour."

"But...?" Jetta eyed him quizzically.

"But you haven't been to college, and I can't teach you three years plus of business protocol in a matter of weeks or months." Elliot looked helpless. "It just can't be done. Raymond might have been a doublecrosser, but he had the qualifications and he did know his job. You don't. That's the bottom line. All of this is new to you. And there's nothing worse in the world of big business than naivety."

"Let's just remember that Eric started this whole mess, and Roxy, Stormer an' I worked damn 'ard to bring it back under wraps before you got here. Pizzazz too." Jetta's voice held a slight edge. "You're not doing much to make me feel better about my chances of succeedin' by listin' these things in my face, you know. You ain't the only one who thinks I need a friggin' diploma or at least some basic experience of the job before I'm flung into this headfirst. But Pizzazz doesn't live in the same world as the rest of us. She lives in a world where she snaps 'er fingers and expects it to be done."

"So I noticed." Elliot sighed. "All right. Where did we get to the last time we spoke?"

"You were tellin' me somethin' about...maximising company resources?" Jetta frowned, then shrugged. "Honestly, Elliot, I don't remember. I know you 'ad lots of really borin' sheets of paper an' a couple of spidergrams, but I don't really recall what you were tryin' to tell me. I left school when I was eighteen because I didn't want to go through any more classwork. I'm startin' to feel like I'm at community college or somethin'."

"Maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea." Elliot looked thoughtful. "I don't know what junior colleges are operating in this district, but I'm sure one or other of them might have some kind of foundation level business course you could be enrolled on."

"I'm not going to any business studies classes." Jetta shook her head. "And just in case you were wonderin', Elliot, I was straight A grade on my A-levels back in England. I coulda gone to any university, if I'd 'ave been bothered about it. I jus' wasn't. So I'm not gonna be stuck in some third rate community college because you're too lazy to teach me the fast-track. Just make it more interestin', will you? You said that the world of big business involved snipin' and dealin' and makin' last minute decisions under pressure. So far all I've seen is a lot of borin' paperwork an' I'm not really interested in that."

"Well, unfortunately, that's a big part of this job too." Elliot pursed his lips. "Eric dealt with all of the sponsorship deals, he finalised PR ventures and arranged performances for you girls and the Stingers, as well as any of the company's lesser acts. He organised the tours, sweet-talked people into letting you appear at short notice, and held admin meetings every so often to review the progress of each seperate department. He wasn't just some guy who hopped into a car or on a plane and came along for a quick vacation when you girls went on tour. He masterminded all of those things. He made sure hotels were booked, venues were settled, and people around the world knew about it. He sorted out record deals, releases of albums...the list is endless. Until this business, he also had the working respect of all departments - Human Resources, Payroll, Admin, Marketing...they all had faith in him because, whatever his faults, he often made a lot of right decisions and they knew he would do that. You've got to take on that mantle and work with it, too. Gain these people's confidences. Deal with authorising leave and tax forms and basically be the captain of a very, very busy ship. I know you won't be doing it alone - I know Harvey's daughter is in on this too."

He sighed, rubbing his temples.

"But quite frankly, you're the one who might absorb all this, if you have enough time to do it." He said soberly. "As much as I'm sure she's capable of talking men into doing things, I'm not quite as confident as Harvey that Phyllis has inherited his business sense."

Jetta looked troubled.

"That's a lot of stuff to be in charge of." She acknowledged. "I guess I didn't think about all the angles. I mean, aside from what 'e did for the Misfits. I didn't realise the day-to-day runnin' of the company' everythin' else. Am I goin' to even 'ave time to be a Misfit as well as dealing with all of these things?"

"You tell me." Elliot said grimly. "I would have thought this was a full time job in it's own right."

He reached into a folder, pulling out a stapled document and handing it across to her.

"I made this up for you - it's a network list of all the departments, their heads, line managers, staff and internships currently in situe." He added. "These are the people you need to have on your side if this company is going to work even a little bit. Some of them you might even learn from - there's a guy in Marketing who's got his head screwed on and the girl from HR is pretty shrewd. But in this kind of atmosphere, you also have to be careful. If they think you can't do your job..."

"They'll be 'anging around like vultures round a dyin' animal, waitin' to pick up the scraps for themselves." Jetta said slowly. "Brilliant. So what you're sayin' is that I have to make everyone trust me, but not trust any of them to do anythin' I want them to do."

"Not quite, but almost." Elliot nodded. "There's another problem with this as well."

He bit his lip, eying her keenly.

"I don't know how you'll take this." he admitted. "But although many of the staff are angry at Raymond and what he did, they're also unsettled about someone new taking over. You have...well, three strikes against you. You're inexperience, your age..."

He faltered, then,

"And your sex."

"What?" Jetta's eyes opened wide with shock. "What year are we in again? Because this mornin' when I checked my calendar, it was December 1989. Not December 1939."

"Just because women were emancipated doesn't mean that everyone got the memo." Elliot said frankly. "Personally, I've worked with several women who knew their job a damn sight better than some of the men in the same department. But nonetheless, in a big deal high profile position like this, there are going to be some who doubt you, simply because you're a young woman and not an unattractive one at that. If you can see that off, you might be okay. But people will want to take advantage and might even not take the company seriously until you've established that you're as capable as Eric Raymond ever was. And to be blunt, Jetta, you're not. He had so many diplomas. You don't have anything."

"I need more time." Jetta groaned, running her fingers through her thick dark hair. "All right. So what do you suggest I do, then? How do I make them take me seriously?"

"Well, you could spend several all night sessions going through the papers I've already given you and boning up on how to run this business." Elliot suggested. Jetta raised an eyebrow.

"So I can be class swot? Great. Any other ideas?"

Elliot looked thoughtful.

"Only one." He admitted.

"Which is?"

"To use all those three strikes to your advantage."

"Huh?" Jetta's brow furrowed. "So what are you saying now? That I should use my disadvantage to my advantage? Or...?"

"We both know you have a brain, so I suggest you begin to use it." Elliot said firmly. "The first time we were forced to work together like this, Jetta, you told me that this company ran on Misfit values, not my business ones. In that instance, you were right - your sponsorship idea not only kept the Stingers happy, it also netted a lot of capital for the business and with today's settlement, no doubt that will continue to improve even further. Maybe that is the one strength you do have to do this job. You might not be au fait with being a businesswoman, but you are fully versed in being a Misfit."

Jetta eyed him in confusion for a few minutes, then light began to dawn in her grey eyes.

"So you're saying..." She said slowly. "That if people want to believe I'm weak and silly and female, then I should play on that a little and see where I stand before I start whippin' in and makin' decisions and changes. That I might even learn somethin' about how the rest of the company operates if they don't take me very seriously an' aren't too bothered what they say in my presence. Is that what you're tellin' me?"

"I see we're starting to speak the same language." Elliot smiled. "You have a lot of stuff to learn about this job, Jetta, and I won't be able to teach you all of it. But then, it strikes me that Misfits aren't very easily taught anything. They either find their own ways to elicit information, or they don't bother with it at all. Am I right? If it doesn't suit you to do it - if there's no personal benefit - why bother?"

"In a manner of speaking." Jetta pursed her lips. "Manipulation sounds more fun than readin' through a ton of paperwork, too."

"You should read that too." Elliot warned her. "I won't be here as final sounding board forever, and you have to take this into your hands sooner or later."

"I guess so." Jetta sighed. "This is already eatin' into my social life like crazy, you know."

"I can't help that." Elliot shrugged. "My brief was to train you as much as I possibly can, so I'm training you. And if you don't have a business school diploma, well, the next best thing is wit and savvy. You've got that - too much of it, if you want my opinion. But you might as well use it for something positive, don't you think?"

"You're a jerk." Jetta remarked absently. "But I guess I'm listenin'. Go on. Gimme the lowdown on what I need to know about these people."

Part Four: Desperate Times
Chapter One: Recovery
Chapter Two:  Harvey
Chapter Three:  A Disturbing Realisation
Chapter Four: Shock
Chapter Five:  Complications

Chapter Six: New Year's Eve
Chapter Seven:  Bombshell

The Boring Disclaimer:
Pizzazz is not my character - she and the Misfits were created by Hasbro and given life by Christy Marx and the writers of the Jem series. However, the events, concepts and plotline contained in this story is my own and may not be duplicated. Justin, Alan and any character not featured in the Jem cartoon are entirely my creation and are also not to be duplicated anywhere else.