Chapter Two: Deception
“Lin-Z’s promised to air it as soon as its ready.” Video nodded her head. “I’m amazed you girls found time to do it, though. I thought touring was chaotic!”
“It is, usually, but this time we’ve a break between concerts.” Aja Leith, the group’s lead guitarist agreed, testing a chord or two on her instrument and then adjusting one of the strings. “We were going to play tonight but the venue got hit by flood and the damage is incredible – they had to cancel. So, we thought it was as good a time as any to get some P.R underway.”
“And that’s where I come in.” Video laughed, settling herself down in her chair and eying the set with an expert gaze. “Are we ready?”
“We will be when Kimber stops primping herself.” Jem looked amused.
“Okay, I’m ready.” Kimber retorted, turning away from the mirror with one last glance and taking up her position. “Right, there. We can go.”
“We’re ready to rock, Video.” Jem grinned at her friend. “Whenever you are.”
“Okay. Roll tape.” Video announced. “And action!”
Once the girls had finished their filming, they gathered together in the big café the studio boasted, talking and laughing among themselves. The Holograms were a closeknit bunch, for they had all grown up together – all of them, that was, bar the group’s percussionist, Carmen Alonso. However Raya, as she was known, was a girl of such a sweet temperament that she had become one of the gang fairly quickly, and had been let into the secret of Jem’s real name.
Video did not know Jem was really Jerrica, but then she didn’t consider herself any less Jem’s friend for not knowing her secret identity. She had a lot of admiration for the singer, with her powerful voice and her will to help others in their time of need. They had worked together many times now, and she knew that whatever the future brought, they would always be friends.
“I’m beat.” Shana Elmsford, the group’s bass player decided with a sigh as she dropped down into a chair. “And famished, too. Sure isn’t easy, being a rock star.”
“Well, I think this morning was fun.” Jem put in. “Its always great working with you, Video. You have such great ideas!”
“Its sweet of you to say so, Jem, but you guys are the stars. I’m just behind the scenes, rolling the tape.” Video grinned. “You do the hard work.”
“You can say that again.” Kimber let out a yawn. “At least we aren’t performing tonight. I’m exhausted too…I think I’m taking a nap when we get back to base camp.”
“You’re just lazy.” Jem scolded her sister with a grin. “If you’re this tired now, how are you going to last the tour out?”
“It’s so exciting.” Raya’s eyes became dreamy. “I love to go on tour, you get to see so many people. I never imagined how many different people there were in the United States till I joined the Holograms!”
“The travelling is cool.” Aja nodded her head. “It’s been really nice to see other parts of the world…and know we have fans out there, too.”
“Remember when we went to Tibet?” Kimber giggled. “I’d hardly call the old woman out there our fan!”
“She had a lot of responsibility, Kimber, but she was very good to us.” Jem protested.
“Yeah, after you told her you were…” Kimber paused, frowning. She’d almost forgotten that Video was there. The trip to Tibet to aid their music had been one that the girls would not forget in a hurry, and it was all too easy to forget who knew what when you were immersed in memories.
“Told her you were what, Jem?” Video looked interested. “I don’t think I’ve heard this story.”
“Desperate to hear the music in Shangri-La.” Aja, always the quick thinking one spoke up, casting Kimber a dark glare as she did so and causing the keyboardist to poke out her tongue. Kimber was the youngest Hologram and her maturity levels could sometimes be called into question.
“Shangri-La? Isn’t that a legend?”
“No, it’s real. We went there…their music is beautiful.” Jem nodded her head, sending Aja a grateful smile. “Next time we go out there, you’ll have to come along, Video. The scenery is amazing.”
“Next time? We’re gonna do all that hiking again?” Shana stared at her friend, who laughed.
“It was just an idea.” She replied.
“Well, count me out.” Shana grimaced. “Once was enough, thank you.”
“And it was so cold.” Raya shivered at the memory. “But I am glad we went there. It was an adventure and I had never been to Tibet before.”
“You girls are so busy.” Video observed with a grin. “You seem to be everywhere at once!”
“We do, but it’s a nice feeling.” Aja stretched, making herself more comfortable. “And tomorrow morning we’re off on our travels once more…no rest for the wicked!”
“Wicked? Us?” Kimber giggled. “Sure you’re not confusing us with the Misfits?”
“Please, no!” Aja laughed. “Thank goodness we won’t see them on this tour!”
“Lets hope not.” Jem responded dryly. “They have a habit of turning up like a bad penny…don’t tempt fate, Aja.”
“Well, I think they’ve plenty of their own to worry about.” Aja shrugged her shoulders. “In any case, we can outsmart them any day of the week. Relax, Jem. This tour is going to be a breeze.”
Clash eyed her reflection in the mirror, smiling in satisfaction as someone else’s face stared back at her, and reaching up to brush a lock of curly hair out of her eyes. She had always loved to play dress-up, even as a small child, and she had developed quite a flair for playing a part. Disguising herself had become her forte when embroiled in the Misfits’ schemes and she had successfully masqueraded as both Jem and Video, among others. It had been a while since she had last created herself a new identity, but this time she felt that it was too good an opportunity to waste. Putting her good brains to use for once, she had thought long and hard about how best to tackle the situation she saw before her. As she had puzzled it over in her mind, the answer had come to her, thanks to Lin-Z Pearce and her television show. Lin-Z had been telling the world about the big Rock Festival that was coming up in the city in just a few weeks time, and had mentioned that both the Holograms and the Misfits would be appearing. Clash had hardly been able to contain her glee as a plan had begun to formulate itself in her mind. The concert was a high profile event, with press from all over the United States flocking to see it. If neither group could perform…well, it could be disasterous for their careers, Clash knew that.
“Too bad.” She mused to herself with a little chuckle, reaching up to pat her wig. “That’s where Clash Montgomery takes centre stage. If this doesn’t prove once and for all who should’ve been the new Misfit, then I don’t know what will. It’s time Pizzazz and the others realised exactly what they pushed aside. I could’ve been working with them on this one…instead they’ll get the surprise of their lives when they realise exactly what is going on!” She laughed. “I can’t wait to see their faces when they know…that’ll teach them!”
She reached for her purse, sliding it over her shoulder.
“But first…I have a date with the Holograms.” She mused. “What a stroke of luck that they got stuck in San Diego an extra night…I wonder how on earth that could have happened?” She smirked. “Zipper did a good job, trashing that place without getting himself caught. I was worried about getting him involved, I know that he got Eric into more trouble than he was worth, but maybe I took the right gamble. He knows the right people and hasn’t any scruples to speak of…I think maybe we’ll make a good team. So long as I pay his asking price, who cares what his techniques are? And nobody knows he’s out of jail yet. Nobody…but me.” She laughed. “They should really pay more attention…so very careless they’ve all become. So they think Jetta’s the master manipulator, do they? We’ll see who can manipulate who!”
She turned from the mirror, reaching for her car keys and sliding them into her pocket.
“For now, though, the Misfits can wait.” She decided out loud. “Part one of the plan is about to get underway. It took long enough to find the right materials, but it’s just the look I was trying for. They’ll never suspect a thing, and I’ll find out once and for all what Pizzazz never could – Jem’s real name! I could make real good use of that information. I really look the part…” she reached into her pocket once more, flipping the switch of a tiny contraption to ‘on’ and then testing a few lines, laughing in delight as she listened to the result. The gadget, wired beneath her meticulously prepared façade and out of sight distorted her voice beyond recognition.
“It took long enough to get the make-up just right and then to master the exact skin tone, but now nobody will believe that I’m not Raya.” She said aloud in Raya’s own Spanish-tinted tones. “Too much of a risk to take on any of the others – they know each other too well. And once I’ve got her phrasing right, noone will be any the wiser. In any case, Raya’s such a gullible fool. I should have no trouble keeping her occupied for a little while – just long enough to find out all I need to know, no longer. No sense in creating additional complications – Just a delay to keep her from catching her flight with the rest of the group should do nicely.”
She walked over to the phone, resetting her voice distorter to a new frequency, one she had picked up only that morning when doing surveillance work for her new identity. Reaching for the receiver, she demanded the operator to put her through to the hotel that the Holograms were currently staying in, and then, in her most amiable voice, she asked for ‘Señorita Alonso’s room’. Very little escaped Clash’s notice, and she had observed that Sra Alonso always referred to her only daughter by her birth name of Carmen, so when Raya answered the call, she was careful to keep her words convincing. Raya was trusting…she didn’t have to try very hard.
“Carmen? It is your mother.” She smothered a smile. “I must see you at once at your father’s Nursery. Please come! It is an emergency!”
“Mama?” Raya sounded anxious, falling into the trap at once. “Mama, ¿Qué paso?”
“I cannot speak of it here. Carmen, my daughter, you must come home at once!”
“I will come, Mama...” Raya hesitated. “Please tell me what is wrong?”
“I cannot speak of it here, I...I must go now. Please come at once!” Clash paused for a moment, then hung up the receiver, marvelling at Raya’s gullibility.
“Silly idiot.” She snorted, her tone disdainful. “But that should take care of her. So long as we can keep her busy in Los Angeles for a while…a couple of days should do it at the most!”
She flicked off the voice modulator, reaching for the phone again and dialling a new number, waiting impatiently for the person on the other end to pick up.
“What d’ya want?” A male voice answered, sounding annoyed.
“Zipper? It’s Clash.” Clash examined her pink-painted nails for chips, a decided smirk on her face. “Raya’s on her way home…she’s all yours.”
“Raya!” Jerrica, no longer masquerading as the rock star now the group’s filming was over greeted her Mexican-American friend in the corridor of the hotel, her expression one of concern as she registered the look on the drummer’s face and the bag that was slung carelessly over the girl’s shoulder. “Raya, what on earth’s the matter? Where are you going in such a hurry?”
“Oh, Jerrica! Mama just called me…she says I must come home and it is an emergency, though she will not tell me on the phone what has happened.” Raya grabbed Jerrica’s arm, seemingly glad to have someone to pour out her fears to. “I must go at once, something might be really wrong!”
“Oh no!” Jerrica looked shocked, then hugged the other girl. “Why, of course you must go! Phone us from Los Angeles, Raya, and let us know the situation – I hope it’s not anything too serious!”
“I also.” Raya looked troubled. “I am afraid it might be Papa…he has not been so well lately. I am sorry to run out on you like this, Jerrica…will the band be okay without me?”
“If we have to, we’ll work something out.” Jerrica assured her. “You’ve no choice but to go, so don’t worry about us. We’ll figure something out. I understand and I’m sure that the others will too.”
“Gracias, Jerrica. You are so kind to me.” Raya flashed her friend a half-smile, for though she would never admit it Jerrica and her alter-ego Jem were something of a role model for the young drummer. “I will try to call here as soon as I am home.”
With that she disappeared down the corridor towards the hotel lift.
“Well, that puts a bit of a crimp on our tour.” She said to herself with a sigh. “Oh, I hope nothing is really wrong at Raya’s home. Her family are so sweet.”
“Did I just see Raya leaving in a hurry?” Aja came up behind the blond, making her jump.
“Yes. She’s had a call from home.” Jerrica nodded. “She’s going back to L.A tonight – her mother said it was an emergency, apparently. We can only hope that things are okay and that she gets back in time to catch the flight to Spokane with us. Otherwise she’ll have to catch up with us when she can and I’ll have to ask Shana to deputise on drums till she’s back.”
“Well, Shana will not mind for once.” Aja frowned. “Poor Raya. I wonder what’s happened?”
“She was afraid it was her father. I gather he’s
not been so well.” Jerrica replied. She sighed. “Come on. We’d best
tell Kimber and Shana the situation. Just what we didn’t need right
now…why do I have a bad feeling about this tour?”
Chapter Two: Deception
Chapter Three: On Tour With The Holograms
Chapter Four: The Next Stage
Chapter Five: Jem?
Chapter Six: Trapped!
Chapter Seven: An Unlikely Team
Chapter Eight: Laying Plans
Chapter Nine: Letter From The Desert
Chapter Ten: Jetta's Hunch
Chapter Eleven: Some Outside Help
Chapter Twelve: Kimber's Dilemma
Chapter Thirteen: The Great Escape
Chapter Fourteen: Fire!
Chapter Fifteen: Repercussions and Rock and Roll
Chapter Sixteen: The End Of An Era
(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)