Chapter Eight – Laying Plans
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“Well, this is fun, isn’t it.”
Pizzazz shot Jerrica a glare, as if it were all the fault of the executive that they were penned up together. They had spent the night in a dimly lit and draughty room, which had done nothing for either girl’s temper, and as a result neither was feeling any too amicable towards the other. “Tied up and locked in like a caged animal with a wimp from Starlight Music. Just what I always hoped for.”
“Cut the humour, will you?” Jerrica snapped. “This isn’t good for either of us, you know!”
“When I get my hands on whoever’s behind this, I’ll kill them.” Pizzazz swore, clenching her fists, though they were tightly bound behind her body and were as a result ineffective to carry out the threat. Both girls had been tied to steel pillars and their bonds had been thoroughly fastened to limit their chances of escape…no matter what they tried.
“Are you in the sort of position to make threats like that, Pizzazz?” A new voice interrupted the conversation before Jerrica could make any retort. “I don’t think you are, are you, all trussed up like that.”
“Who the heck are you and what are you playing at? Untie me!” Pizzazz exclaimed. There was a laugh, and something in the tone was familiar, though the voice itself was distorted and beyond Pizzazz’s recognition.
“Oh yes, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Their captor sounded amused. “No dice, Pizzazz. You just sit quietly for a while, and be a good girl. Once the Rock Festival has gone, I’ll let you both go.”
“But that concert’s important!” Jerrica protested. “Please, you have to understand…”
“What do you care? Your band can perform without your nannying.” Pizzazz snapped.
“I don’t think they will.” Their captor came into full view now and the voice was no longer distorted. “I think they’ll be far too preoccupied to bother about a concert, don’t you, Jerrica?”
“I…I don’t believe it!” Pizzazz’s eyes almost dropped out of her head as she recognised the girl who stood before her. “Clash? You’re behind all of this?”
“Is it so hard for you to believe?” Clash raised an eyebrow. “You made a big mistake, Pizzazz, when you pushed me away. I’m noone’s puppet and noone’s slave, and you’d better remember it.” She shrugged. “I wasn’t going to let you in on the deal so early on, but I couldn’t resist seeing your faces when you knew who’d pulled the stunt, so I thought I’d come say my hello’s.”
“You’re dumber than you think, Clash. When we get out of here everyone will know it was you who kidnapped us!” Jerrica exclaimed.
Clash fixed Jerrica with a stare so cold that even the composed executive shivered at it.
“I don’t think so, Jerrica.” The tone matched the look and suddenly all fun was gone from their captor’s blue eyes. “After all, who knows what might happen to Jem if you were to blow my cover?”
“Jem?” Pizzazz looked confused. “What does ol’ pink hair have to do with all this?”
“Ah, wouldn’t you like to know.” Clash tut-tutted. “You and Eric and the other Misfits, you tried so hard to find out who she was, didn’t you? Well, does it make you squirm to know that where you failed, I succeeded? That I know who Jem really is…and that I could ruin her career in an instant?”
“Clash, no!” Jerrica’s tone was desperate. “Please, don’t do it! There are so many things about Jem that you don’t understand!”
“We’ll see about that.” Clash chuckled. “Oh, relax, Jerrica. I’m only having my fun. But you see, I’ve thought things out better than you credit me for. Just sit quietly…there’s nothing you can do to escape.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
“I still can’t believe we’re doing this.”
Shana paused outside the front entrance of Misfit Music, glancing up at its imposing structure with a frown. “I didn’t think I’d ever have a reason to come here.”
“Scared?” Jetta asked her. “Come on. If I know their practice schedule right, an’ from the number of times one of us ‘as sabotaged it, I do, the Stingers should be up on the top floor ‘avin’ a run through right now. I say we go ask ‘em what they know about this whole thing.”
“Just barge in on them?” Shana looked taken aback. “You sure that’s wise? Jetta, we’re talking masters of manipulation, here…you’ll never get anything out of them that way!”
“Shana, love, cool out.” A sly smile crossed Jetta’s features. “You want manipulation? You ain’t seen nothin’. Come on, follow me…and let me do the talking, all right?”
“Stop bossing me, will you?” Shana retorted as she obediently followed the Misfit into the lift. Jetta eyed her in irritation.
“Listen, this is my turf, so I’ll do as I like. Stop whingeing.” She snapped. “It’s enough of a drag bein’ ‘ere with you as it is!”
"Oh, you're impossible." Shana rolled her eyes. "How on earth are we supposed to get anywhere with you guys on our backs? All we're gonna do is wind up arguing the whole time and getting nothing done."
"You Holograms are all the same. Whinge, whinge, whinge." Jetta snapped back. "Give me some credit, will ya? I wanna find Pizzazz as much as you do Jerrica...we can't perform. You can at least do that, duckie. Your singer ain't missing."
"I..." Shana paused, then sighed. "You know full well that the Holograms won't perform while Jerrica's in trouble. You might find it hard to understand what I'm talking about, Jetta, but we're friends and we have been a long time. We don't doublecross each other."
Jetta flinched at this, as if remembering something she'd rather not, but made no demur. Instead she led the way down the familiar corridors to the room which was usually given over to the Stingers these days. As Jetta had surmised, they were practicing, and she paused outside the door, considering her tactics. The Stingers were clever, with manipulative potential to rival her own - and the last thing she wanted to do was to tip them off that the Misfits were in crisis.
"Stay here." she said finally. "If they see you 'ere they'll know something's up. I'm gonna go 'ave a little chat with them."
Shana opened her mouth to protest, but saw Jetta's point, and shrugged.
"Okay, I'll wait outside." she said. "Just don't take too long, huh? We only have a short time to do this in!"
"I know, I know." Jetta muttered. "Shut up, will ya?"
She pushed open the door of the practice room, slipping inside. Riot glanced up at her entrance, a look of irritation crossing his face.
"What do you want?" he demanded.
"I want to talk to you about the Rock Festival." Jetta settled herself neatly on the table. "Pizzazz asked me to come and 'ave a word, since she was otherwise engaged, as it were. She wants to know what kind of a set you plan on doin'."
"As if it's any of her business." Minx retorted, playing a couple of idle chords on her synthesiser. "She might own the company but she does not own us!"
"Oh, cool out, I just asked a question!" Jetta responded, rolling her eyes. "Anyway, Pizzazz 'erself will probably want to 'ear what you guys 'ave planned later today or tomorrow, so you'd better be ready. She ain't in the best of tempers at the moment, with Jem back from tour."
"Pizzazz can be handled." Riot shrugged. "Go away, Jetta. We have work to do. If Pizzazz wishes to speak to me then she can do so herself. I don't take orders from her subordinates."
This made Jetta's pride rise in protest, but she swallowed her anger, getting to her feet with a careless shrug.
"Don't say I didn't warn you." she said nonchalantly. "Just make sure you don't screw up, okay? This Festival is a big deal for Misfit music...we none of us want any amateurs wrecking everything."
This got the intended rise out of the group.
"Amateurs?" Minx demanded. "Who are you calling an amateur, you stupid Brit?"
"Well, if you can't take the heat..." Jetta shrugged. "Bye, all. And think about what I said, won't you?"
With that she left the studio, shutting the door firmly behind her and leaving the Stingers to seethe.
"Well?" Shana asked. Jetta shook her head.
"They don't know nothing." she replied curtly.
"How can you be sure?" Shana demanded. Jetta frowned.
"I didn't ask 'em right out, that'd be mad." she replied. "But I made 'em believe Pizzazz sent me with a message and wanted to know stuff about the Rock Festival and their set...they bought it. They don't know that Pizzazz is missing."
"Jetta, before long the whole state will know it." Shana sounded grim. "Jerrica too. Someone's going to notice something."
"I know." Jetta nodded. "But we 'ave to try and find them before we 'ave a major national scandal on our 'ands."
"So now where do we go?" Shana demanded. "Starlight Music?"
"What's there?" Jetta demanded. "Not Jerrica."
"True." Shana conceded. "Okay...so...why don't we drive up to the coast and check out the beach hut for ourselves? If we move fast it shouldn't take long."
"I thought Jem was doing that." Jetta fixed Shana with a penetrating stare, and despite herself Shana looked uncomfortable.
"Maybe she can do with some support." she said finally, knowing it was lame. Jetta shrugged.
"Well, much as I 'ate to admit it, I don't see what else we can do. Okay, 'Ologram, let's check out the beach." she agreed. "Who knows...maybe we'll find somethin' there that can help us out!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"So what exactly does this note say?" Stormer asked as she and
through the pretend holographic wall of Starlight Mansion into the
room that housed Synergy, Jerrica and Kimber's computer. Kimber
"Basically it says that whoever it is knows Jem's real identity...and it was more or less blackmail in it's style." she replied. "I don't know what we can do. The thing is typed and there is no clue as to where it came from...I don't think even Synergy can help."
"What is wrong, Kimber? You look upset." Synergy herself spoke at that moment. Despite being circuitry and microchips, she had been programmed with a personality and an artificial intelligence all of her own which made her on occasion seem more than half human. Both Kimber and Jerrica looked up to her almost as a mother figure, Kimber in particular, and protecting her secret was very high on the list of priorities for both girls.
Slowly Kimber explained the situation, and Synergy listened in thoughtful silence. Then,
"And where are the Jemstar earrings now?" she asked.
"Here." Kimber reached into her pocket, holding them out. "Stormer found them where we think Jerrica vanished."
"I can't pick up their signal." Synergy replied. "I did wonder why I could get no contact with Jerrica, but I believe the earrings have shorted a circuit. Whatever it is, I can't project through them, the signal isn't there."
"They're broken?" Stormer picked up one of the earrings, turning it over in her hand. "Oh! But then how are we meant to make Jem appear? Roxy and Jetta are already suspicious..."
"I do not know." Synergy admitted. "All I can say is that you must not reveal my secret to your bandmates, Stormer. They would use that knowledge irresponsibly and who knows what the consequences might be."
"We understand that, Synergy." Kimber nodded. "Can the earrings be fixed?"
"I really do not know." Synergy frowned. "Since I can't recognise their signal I can't decipher what is wrong with them."
"So how do we get them sorted?" Stormer asked anxiously.
"I say we ask Aja, she's fairly technical." Kimber suggested. "Tonight, after she and Roxy get back, I'll give them to her and see if she can fix them. If anyone can, she can."
"I think that's a wise idea." Synergy agreed. "Meanwhile, how can I be of assistance to you, Kimber?"
"Without the Jemstar earrings I'm not sure that you can. I mean, you can't project Jem outside of this room." Kimber looked troubled. "And we've literally nothing to go on."
"Kimber's right." Stormer sighed. "It seems hopeless and we've barely begun."
"Don't give up so easily, Stormer. Your friends need your help." Synergy chided her gently. "If I can be of any further assistance, be sure to come and ask me...you know I am here to help."
"Thanks, Synergy. It's much appreciated." Kimber grinned. "I only hope we can keep you a secret. Someone out there knows who Jem is, and we don't know who that person is...it's worrying to say the least."
"It worries me also, but there is little you can do but pursue them and try and locate Jerrica and Pizzazz." Synergy responded. "Good luck in your hunt."
"I think we'll need it." Kimber rolled her eyes. "C'mon, Stormer. Let's go sit down and pool what little information we know. Jerrica and Pizzazz have to be somewhere, and we're going to work out where!"
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)