Part One: Fresh Blood.

Chapter Eleven: Only The Beginning

“Well, least it didn’t rain.” Pizzazz adjusted her sash in the mirror of the little cabin Eric had had set up as a dressing room, examining her reflection with satisfaction. “Not that it matters. Did you hear those freaks tuning up? I heard better sounds at a zoo!”
“They did sound cracked.” Roxy smirked, running a brush through her long hair. “We’re gonna knock ‘em dead, girls.” She glanced at Stormer. “Stormer, you done with tuning my guitar yet?”
“Almost.” Stormer twisted the knob of the E string once more, then tested it against the sound of her synth. “There. It’s done.”
“Neat.” Roxy took the instrument, slipping it’s strap over her shoulder and playing the first few bars of ‘Outta My Way’. Stormer frowned. She only hoped they wouldn’t have to play more than one number. Though she had completed her second Misfit song three days earlier, it had taken a lot of work to convince Roxy and Pizzazz to take the time to try it out, and as a result it was still very sketchy around the edges. It didn’t help matters either that Roxy refused to learn how to read music, and so had to be instructed in each individual chord. Stormer was determined that before she gave them the next song, Roxy was going to learn to recognise notes on a sheet of manuscript. It had almost driven her mad.
Jerrica had not put in an appearance during the publicity blitz half an hour earlier, when Eric had paraded his charges before the press. Many of the reporters were staying to hear the show, and there was a rumour buzzing that a movie producer, one Howard Sands, was also in the crowd. That had immediately perked up Pizzazz’s interest in the contest. Stormer suspected very much that Pizzazz wouldn’t mind a shot at a movie deal.
There was a knock at the door, and it opened to reveal Eric, dressed in his smartest suit.
“You girls ready to go on?” he asked, letting his gaze go over all three and realising in relief that they were indeed ready. “You’re billed to go first, start off the show, and then when you win you can play again at the end to wake everyone up.” He paused. “You do have a second song?”
“We do.” Pizzazz shrugged. “But we’ll play whichever one we feel like playing, Eric.”
“Well, just play something and play it well.” Eric snapped. “Come on…I’m about to announce you. Pizzazz, leave your belt alone! It looks fine – you all look stunning.”
 Pizzazz tossed her head, but grabbed her guitar, leading the way out of the cabin towards the stage.
“Come on, girls, lets rock!” she called.
“Hey, I’m meant to announce you first!” Eric called in vain, but it was too late. Pizzazz had heard the roar of the crowd and she was gone.
The contest passed as smoothly as Eric could have hoped. The competing bands: The Leatherettes, the Limp Lizards and the Space Cadets – could not hope to compete with the dynamic rhythms and dramatic performance given by the Misfits, and the crowd loved them. As he stood up at the end to announce the winners, he felt some of his anxieties begin to leave him.
Perhaps Jerrica had gotten the message, after all.
Perhaps Starlight Music really was his.
“Let’s hear it for the Limp Lizards!” he exclaimed, indicating the last band to play. There was a feeble round of applause and a lot of heckling from the crowd.
“What about the Leatherettes?”
The crowd seemed equally non-committal.
“How about the Space Cadets?”
This time there was general apathy, and Eric allowed himself a slight smile as the Misfits came to the front of the stage.
“Our turn, girls. We got it made.” Pizzazz murmured, loving every moment of the crowd’s adoration.
“Then let’s hear it for the Misfits!” Eric cried. Applause and shouts of approval followed.
“Then the winners of the first annual Starlight Battle of the Bands are…”
“But he never got to finish his sentence.
From across the park, strains of a melody had begun to play, smooth and pure, and over it all was a voice none of them had ever heard before, belting out a challenge to Eric’s superiority.
Eric and the Misfits merely stared, unable to believe their eyes as the band, led by their vocalist, a tall girl with a determined look in her eye and an immediate stage presence drew the crowd across the park. It was clear for all to see that these interlopers were a hit, and as they finished their song Eric snapped to his senses, marching across to where the singer was introducing herself as ‘Jem’ and her backing musicians as the ‘Holograms’. His anxieties grew when he recognised Jerrica’s sister Kimber on keyboard.
“You can’t play here!” he protested. “This is by invitation only!”
“She invited us.” The mysterious Jem pointed across the grass to the other stage, and Eric turned to see Jerrica standing, watching him. His brow creased. He had underestimated his foe. Not only had Jerrica taken him and his band totally by surprise, she had also managed to upstage them, and that wasn’t something he liked to admit.
“Oh she did, did she?” he muttered under his breath, storming over towards the place he had seen the blond girl last.
The Misfits exchanged looks, and Pizzazz let out a cry of rage.
“Who do they think they are, wrecking our show?” she demanded. “Wait till I get my hands on that Eric…”
“That Benton girl is behind it. I saw her.” Roxy pulled a face. “Boy, would I like to trash her and her goody two shoes band.”
“Hang on, what’s all this?” Pizzazz held up her hand, turning to see Eric and Jerrica having some kind of dispute…Eric had levelled a challenge. Six months to make Jem more popular than the Misfits, or Starlight Music was his for always. The singer smirked. Like that Jerrica wimp stood a chance against them and their already rolling publicity machine. A stranger with sunglasses had interrupted them and was talking about some kind of competition…the words movie and contract appeared in the conversation and Pizzazz’s eyes narrowed.
“We’re gonna win that contest.” She muttered.
Stormer glanced at her companion, and her heart sank.
Somehow, she just knew that there was going to be trouble.
And somehow, she knew that this was only the beginning...

Chapter One: Mary Phillips
Chapter Two: Enter Roxy
Chapter Three: Developments
Chapter Four: Birth Of A Star
Chapter Five: Eric Raymond
Chapter Six: Outta My Way!
Chapter Seven: London
Chapter Eight: Shawn Harrison
Chapter Nine: The Tinkerbillys
Chapter Ten: Jerrica

(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. All characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)