Clash's Revolt

Chapter Eight – Laying Plans

“So, what do we do now?”
Shana settled herself more comfortably in the big armchair, eying her companions expectantly. It was later that afternoon, and Roxy and Jetta were now dressed and respectable, though Roxy still wore a sullen frown and had so far refused to play any part in the discussions with the Holograms. Kimber and Stormer had returned promptly with both Shana and Raya, and the unlikely band of seven had gathered in the front room of the Gabor Mansion to try and discuss the situation, putting out of their mind for the time being how unnatural it all was.
“What can we do?” Stormer glanced between Kimber and Jetta, as if looking for a clue. “I mean, what do we have to go on?”
“You ‘Olograms said you ‘ad a note.” Jetta observed. “What did it say, exactly?”
“That isn’t important.” Aja shrugged. “It simply demanded Jerrica meet someone at the beach hut at a certain time, that’s all.”
Jetta eyed Aja thoughtfully, but made no further remark on the subject. She shrugged.
“Well, all we know is that Jem came into Misfit Music on Thursday afternoon and…”
“Wait a minute, Jem came into your music company on Thursday? But that’s impossible!” Raya interrupted. “We were not back from the tour until late and Jem was with us the whole time!”
“I think it’s pretty obvious that whoever paid you a visit wasn’t the real Jem, just like the Raya who turned up back in San Diego and flew with us to Spokane wasn’t the real Raya.” Aja spoke grimly. “Raya’s right that Jem was with us when we returned from tour – there’s no way she could have been at Misfit Music.”
“Well, we ‘ad nothing to do with any Raya incident.” Jetta responded quietly.
“I actually wish that you had. Then we’d know what we were dealing with.” Shana sighed. “The worst part of this is not knowing who’s behind it all, and whether or not Jerrica…or Pizzazz for that matter…are safe.”
“Wait a minute, where is Jem?” Roxy decided to make her contribution to the conversation at that point. “Shouldn’t she be here too?”
“She’s gone to check out the beach hut.” Aja exchanged looks with Kimber. “You guys looked round the place last night but we haven’t as yet. She…she’ll probably join us later.”
“She said to start without her.” Shana added.  Roxy rolled her eyes.
“Typical.” She muttered.
Jetta cast Roxy an annoyed look.
“Meanwhile, far as I can see anyway, we ‘ave nothing to go on.” She said with a frown. “What kind of a kidnapper don’t leave any clues?”
“A very clever one.” Stormer said quietly. “This whole thing is creepy…how can two people just vanish? We all know where they went and at what time…how can they suddenly disappear without a trace?”
“They can’t.” Aja shook her head. “There must be something we’re overlooking somewhere. There’s no such thing as the perfect crime.”
“Well, this one is pretty blinkin’ close.” Jetta grimaced. “Okay, ‘Ologram, if you’re so smart, tell us what we should do.”
Aja ignored the jibe.
“I think we need to divide up. We don’t have much time.” She said.
“Divide up? How?” Roxy demanded. “How do we know you Holograms won’t trick us when our backs are turned?”
“Likewise.” Shana retorted. Aja held up her hands.
“Wait. I thought about that. Seems that, horrible as it sounds, the only way we can guarantee that noone is playing unfair games is to pair up one Misfit with one Hologram. That way there’s no chance for conspiracy.”
“Us work with you guys? On our own? You’re kiddin’!” Roxy stared.
“I think Aja’s right.” Stormer said slowly. “It won’t be so bad, Roxy…and that way we’ll know that noone’s playing tricks.”
“There are more of you than us.” Jetta pointed out.
 “True, but there’s Rio to bring into this hunt too. Jerrica’s his girlfriend and he’ll be worried as anything when he finds out what’s happened.” Aja responded.
 “And Jem.” Roxy added darkly. Aja frowned.
“Yes, and Jem.” She conceded.
“So ‘ow are we going to pair up?” Jetta demanded. “Draw lots?”
“I’m going with Stormer.” Kimber put in. “We already discussed that on the way back to Starlight Mansion – in any case we work well together.”
“Roxy, why don’t you and Aja go together, and then…Jetta and I and then Raya and Rio can make up the other pair.” Shana suggested. “Just matching at random.”
Roxy pouted.
“Do I have to?” she demanded.
“Grow up, will you?” Aja snapped. “In case you’d forgotten, your lead singer is in trouble and you won’t be performing any Rock Festival unless we get her out. I don’t like this any more than you, but it’s how it is. Deal with it!”
“All right, already, cool out!” Roxy retorted. “I’ll go with you if it means that much to you, Aja.”
“Then it’s settled?” Kimber asked.
“Guess so.” Jetta glanced at Shana, then nodded. “We ain’t got a choice. Aja’s right, we can’t perform if we ain’t got Pizzazz, and this Festival is too important to miss.” She got to her feet, moving over to the window. “I just wish I knew who was behind this. Whoever they are, they’re damn clever.”
“And they’re not too particular what group they attack.” Kimber added.
“Ooh, unless it’s the Stingers.” Shana snapped her fingers. “Rapture’s pretty good in the con-artist stakes…”
“That’s true, actually.” Aja nodded. “And the Stingers are nothing but trouble for us.”
“For us too.” Roxy put in. “Since Pizzazz went doofy over Riot.”
“She’s over ‘im now.” Jetta turned with a dismissive gesture. “But you got a point, about it bein’ them. They got the motive – Pizzazz ain’t been kind to ‘em since she took back the music company and I could see they’d want revenge.”
“And on us?” Raya asked.
“Raya, love, noone likes the ‘Olograms.” Jetta responded dryly. “As competition you’re all a major drag, with your benefits and campaigns and all that rot. Of course they’d target you! You’re easy pickings!”
“Jetta, that’s not called for.” Shana scolded.
“Well, it’s true.” Jetta seemed unperturbed. “Anyway, are we just going to sit ‘ere like lemons and bicker or are we going to do something?”
“She’s right. We ought to split up and start hunting, see if we can find any likely areas – old club dates, haunts, stuff like that.” Aja nodded her head. “Roxy, you coming? We’ll go pick up the Roadster and see what we can hunt up around the club scene.”
“Okay, I’m coming, quit nagging!” Roxy stood with very bad grace. “Don’t think that just because there are more of you you guys can push us around!”
“Whatever.” Aja rolled her eyes at Shana, who grinned.
“Jetta, where should we head off to?” she asked. Jetta shrugged.
“’Ow about the Music companies?” she suggested. “If the Stingers are involved, maybe we should ‘ave a nice little chat with them.”
“And Stormer and I will go over to Starlight Mansion and take another look at the note Jerrica got.” Kimber suggested. “Raya, you can go get Rio and tell him what’s up, huh?”
“Sure. Not a problem.” Raya agreed.
“Then we’re settled? Good.” Aja smiled.
“What’s Jem gonna do?” Roxy demanded.
“We’ll think of that when we see her.” Aja replied. “Now come on!”

 * * * * * * * * * * *

“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. " 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!"

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"So what exactly does this note say?" Stormer asked as she and Kimber slipped through the pretend holographic wall of Starlight Mansion into the secret room that housed Synergy, Jerrica and Kimber's computer. Kimber frowned.
"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 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'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 One: Clash
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)