Chapter One: Ceasefire

“This is hopeless.” Jerrica Benton, chief executive of Starlight Music and real life identity of rockstar Jem frowned, pushing her pile of files aside. “Too many business reports, too many tax returns, too much to do! The Holograms are so busy - I’m finding it harder and harder to be in two places at any one time!”
“Then why not take a break?” Rio Pacheco, her long standing boyfriend and Jem’s overworked road manager suggested from the doorway of her office. “It’s a beautiful day outside, Jerrica. We could go for a drive, have a picnic…what do you say?”
“I say it sounds wonderful, but these forms can’t wait.” Jerrica sighed. “I don’t know, Rio. Suddenly it seems like there’s so much work to do and everything’s getting on top of me. I don’t think the Holograms have ever been this busy!”
“You need to take a time out.” Rio came to join her. “C’mon, Jerrica, it’ll be fun. We hardly get to spend time together as it is these days!”
“What do you mean?” Jerrica was taken aback. “Rio, you’re our road manager, you’re always with us wherever we go!”
“No.” Rio shook his head. “Then I’m with Jem…not with you.”
“It’s the same thing.” Jerrica objected.
“I don’t think that it is.” Rio responded. “It’s you I want to spend time with, Jerrica. Not Jem.”
“But I am Jem!” Jerrica looked confused.
“Maybe you are.” Rio nodded his head. “But it doesn’t feel like it’s you, Jerrica. Even more so these days, since you girls have been so busy. It’s like when you touch those earrings of yours you go from Miss Benton into Ms Hyde…I want quality time with my girlfriend and we just don’t get it these days.”
“I am Jem a lot.” Jerrica admitted, then, “Hey, wait a minute!” As his words sank in. “What do you mean, Ms Hyde?”
“What I say.” Rio shrugged. “I’m sorry, Jerrica, but it isn’t just me. The girls have noticed it too. Ever since you made peace with the Misfits…”
“Oh. That.” Jerrica pulled a face.
“Exactly. That’s precisely what I mean.” Rio nodded his head. “Something tells me that you aren’t dealing with this truce too well.”
“Maybe I’m not.” Jerrica conceded. “I can’t help that, though, Rio. I was kinda forced and coerced into it by Kimber and the others, and I still think it’s a bad idea. I can’t possibly trust them, not after all they’ve put us through over the last few years. They’re nothing but trouble and I don’t see how we’re expected to suddenly drop our defences and welcome them with open arms. In any case, I think they’re up to something.”
“I think you’re jumping to conclusions.” Rio said gently. “When you and Pizzazz were missing, there was a common goal at hand and it broke down the rivalry. I think Kimber, Aja and the others recognised that the differences between the groups were based on very superficial matters…and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Misfits saw it, too. At the end of the day, you have to realise that their teamwork helped to save both your and Pizzazz’s lives. Had you forgotten that?”
“No, I hadn’t forgotten.” Jerrica shook her head. “And I appreciate what you’re saying, Rio. But how can it possibly work? We’ve been bitter foes for so long…can we just stop the fighting and be friends? I don’t see it. In a crisis, there was a truce and I guess that I can deal with. But now? After it’s all over? I don’t know. I really don’t.”
“Well, personally I think it’s kinda neat to see Aja and Roxy working on the Roadster, and knowing that Roxy isn’t gonna cut the brake cables when Aja’s back is turned.” Rio remarked. “Or to see Stormer and Kimber playing games with the Starlight kids without fear of any repercussions. I admit at first I had my reservations, but it’s lasted so far, and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t continue. And you know as well as I do that there’s more good coming of it than just getting your car fixed quicker and keeping the kids occupied. Musically speaking, the positive publicity must be sending both groups’ ratings through the roof!”
“Which is probably why I’ve been so busy.” Jerrica groaned, glancing down at the paperwork in front of her. Rio grinned.
“Listen, Jerrica. You’ve always wanted an end to the hassle…now you have it. What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know.” Jerrica sighed. “It’s like everything is sliding out of my grasp at once, Rio. I didn’t want this truce under these circumstances, when I don’t feel like I’ve even had a say in things. More, I don’t trust it. The Misfits are still there, still recording, still competing with us for number one, only they’re willing to resort to all kinds of underhand means to win that battle. What’s to stop them taking advantage of us while our backs are turned? I think I’ll only be happy when they’re no longer a factor.”
“Aren’t you being a little harsh?” Rio chided gently. “There’s no reason to think that they’ll be sabotaging you - Jem and the Holograms have played a lot of gigs since the truce, including a tour of the East Coast, without a single murmur of trouble. Isn’t that a nice feeling? And, since we settled the business of Jem’s identity, I feel like you and I have been closer, don’t you? Clash and Video are no longer at loggerheads and Video is really doing good with that girl, you know, putting her onto the right track at last and truly helping her out. Isn’t that what the Holograms stand for? Clash looks like making a real go of things in backstage production, and it’s only the truce that’s allowed these things to happen. I don’t see what bad has come of it.”
“Nothing has, yet.” Jerrica replied. “But it’s coming, Rio. I feel it.”
“Well, stop feeling it for a moment and come and have lunch.” Rio wheedled. “You need a break from things, Jerrica, whatever you say.”
 “Okay.” Jerrica set down her pen, getting to her feet with a resigned sigh. “I’m coming.”
“Finally.” Rio grinned. “Where do you wanna go?”
“Someplace green and peaceful. I need to relax.” Jerrica responded. “The girls and I have a session at two, so I gotta be back here for then, okay?”
“All right.” Rio agreed. “Let’s roll!”

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“This is so much fun.”
Kimber Benton paused to examine her reflection in the mirror, running her fingers through her long red hair and eying her makeup critically. “That you and I can shop like this without getting stamped on. Having a truce rocks, don’t you think?”
“Definitely.” Her companion, Mary Phillips, or Stormer of the Misfits nodded her curly head. “I wrote to tell Craig and he was over the moon, said now he didn’t feel so awkward about playing piggy in the middle when he came over to see Aja. I might be wrong, Kimber, but now there’s a truce at hand I can see things really working out between those two.” Craig was Stormer’s elder brother, who had been dating Aja Leith of the Holograms on and off for the past couple of years.
“Ooh, I hope so. It’d be outrageous if they did.” Kimber nodded enthusiastically. “I never thought that the Holograms and the Misfits could really be friends, you know? But, we’re three months on and still on speaking terms! I think it’s gonna last! Even Pizzazz hasn’t contested it!” Pizzazz, or Phyllis Gabor, was the Misfits’ lead singer.
“She knows that the rest of us don’t want to fight.” Stormer shrugged. “Roxy, Jetta and I are all sick of fighting a war that none of us, when we stopped to think it over, actually understand, so she didn’t have much choice but to follow what the majority decided for once. Jetta put her in her place about it and that was that. I can’t say she loves you or Jem yet, and she’s fairly indifferent and cool towards Raya, Shana and Aja, but…it’s a step the right way and we’re working on her.”
“Cool.” Kimber grinned. “I have to admit, it is a bit surreal still, but I dunno, I’m game to let bygones be bygones and go with the flow…hey, what do you think? Does this outfit suit me?”
”Kimber, it’s truly outrageous!” Stormer giggled. “You should definitely get it!”
“You don’t think it’s a touch too Misfitty for a Hologram?” Kimber asked.
“Does it matter? It suits you.” Stormer replied. “I remember the first time Roxy dragged me in here and got me wearing a miniskirt, heels and fishnets. I’d never felt so terrified in all my life!”
“And now look at you.” Kimber grinned, eying her friend’s attire in some amusement. Short black dress up to here, bright coloured jacket and heels higher than mine. What’s more, you look fabulous, too. That’s one thing I have to say about your group. Your clothes are outrageous.”
 “Well, we’re Misfits. We have to stand out.” Stormer shrugged. “I have to admit, though, I love this outfit. The colours go so well together…it’s probably one of my favourites.”
“Well, I think I will get this outfit.” Kimber eyed her reflection again, then nodded decisively. “Yeah, I will. But then you gotta help me do my makeup to go with it, all right? If I’m gonna dress like a Misfit then I wanna look like one too!”
Stormer laughed.
“I can try.” She agreed. “Time for a makeover, huh?”
“You betcha.” Kimber winked. “To mark a new era of Hologram-Misfit friendships.”
“I’ll go with that.” Stormer nodded. “There’s been way too much nasty stuff between our groups.”
“True.” Kimber agreed, as she disappeared back into the cubicle to change into her original outfit. “But things are neat now. When the car’s bust, Aja scoots over to yours and asks Roxy to help. When there’s a fashion emergency, you guys call on Shana. Sometimes we even play together. Not to mention the fact that you and I can hang out as much as we want to, no questions asked. It totally rocks!” She pushed back the curtain, draping the new outfit over her arm as she led the way to join the queue at the paydesk. “Actually, I’ve been meaning to mention something, speaking as we sort of were about playing together.”
“Oh?” Stormer looked interested. “What’s up?”
“It’s this new song Aja and I have been working on.” Kimber responded. “I swear since we began to write Hologram music together my writing has improved by a mile. Anyhow, well, we both agree that it needs something else, and Aja thought that maybe…a saxophone might be what we’re looking for?”
“Jetta.” Stormer deduced, looking thoughtful. Kimber nodded.
“Have you asked her?”
“No-o-o…not yet.” Kimber looked shamefaced. “Aja pulled big sister rank on me and persuaded me that since you and I were such good friends and all I was better placed with the Misfits to do the asking. It’s one thing to have the idea, Stormer, but a total other one to actually put it into action. Jetta’s sharp-tongued and I’m half afraid she’ll laugh in my face.”
“Jetta is sarcastic.” Stormer nodded slowly. “But Kimber, playing the saxophone means a hell of a lot to her, you know. Music is a big part of all our lives, it’s what brought four totally different people together and made the Misfits a hit in the first place. I don’t think there’s any harm in asking her.”
“You reckon?” Kimber considered. “See, Jetta might be a Misfit but she’s the best saxophonist I know, and it’s a complicated counter-melody. I don’t know anyone else who could even begin to tackle it, but I was listening to that Misfit record you leant me the other morning and I’m sure if she can handle your notes she can handle ours no problem.”
 “I did wonder why you wanted to borrow that.” Stormer grinned. “Now all is explained.”
 “Yeah, I was doing a little extra-curricular research.” Kimber giggled. “I know we do play together occasionally, Stormer, but so far Jetta’s barely played a note when we have, and I wanted to see what she could do without having to quiz her personally. You really think she’d be game?”
“Mm.” Stormer nodded. “The Misfits haven’t much on their schedule at the moment - well, Roxy’s working on a solo album, would you believe, and I’m helping her here and there with that where she needs me, but as a band I think we’re taking a bit of a break from the hassles of music life. Things got a bit nasty a few weeks ago - Roxy and Jetta actually came to blows - so I think we all needed the break.”
“Lucky you.” Kimber dimpled. “Must be nice to be on vacation.”
“Well, yes.” Stormer nodded. “Kimber, ask Jetta. She can but say no.”
“You sure she won’t bite into me?” Kimber asked nervously.
“Jetta’s not as hard or as cold as she likes people to believe she is.” Stormer said wisely. “She’s just a very good actress who’s come from a very unloving background, that’s all. It’s taken me a while to get to grips with her, because she is so difficult to break down and get to know, but she’s not all that bad really. Okay, I admit sometimes her ethics and morals are kinda lacking, but she’s not all bad.”
“Well, I’ll take your word for it.” Kimber shrugged. “Shana likes her, anyhow. Says it was more fun than she could have imagined working with her when we were looking for Jerrica and Pizzazz, and actually admitted that by the end of it she felt like they were working as a team. Shana’s got her head screwed on, so I guess I should take her word for it.”
“Yep, you should.” Stormer nodded. “What did Jerrica say about the idea?”
“She hasn’t even heard the song yet - there hasn’t been time and she’s had a lot of paperwork to settle this week.” Kimber replied. “We’ve a session at two, though, so she’ll hear it then and we’ll run the idea by her. What time is it, by the way?”
Stormer checked her watch.
“Just after one.” She reported.
“Cool, then we have ages yet.” Kimber dimpled. “And finally, we’re almost at the desk. Let me buy this, then we can go over to Starlight Mansion and work on makeup, huh? I wanna look outrageous!”
“If you say so.” Stormer grinned. “But I wouldn’t say I’m the best in the world at doing other people’s makeup, Kimber. Roxy taught me to do mine.”
“Well, it’ll be fun, anyway.” Kimber shrugged. “Let’s go!”

Chapter One: Ceasefire
Chapter Two: Teamwork
Chapter Three: A Stumbling Block
Chapter Four: Tackling Jetta
Chapter Five: Cracks
Chapter Six: Kimber's Escape
Chapter Seven: Confronting Jerrica
Chapter Eight: Dilemma
Chapter Nine: Begging Sanctuary
Chapter Ten: Kimber's Gauntlet
Chapter Eleven: The Plot Thickens

This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley as of Spring 2002 when it was first begun. Any characters not appearing in the jem series are also copyrighted to myself (E A Woolley) and are not to be reproduced in form or character without express permission. Any character from the Jem series are copyright to Hasbro Inc, Sunbow and Christy Marx 1985-1988.