Who Is She, Anyway?

Chapter Ten: Double Trouble

"Well, this is it."
Chimera sent Sakura a self-satisfied smile. "Everything ready your end?"
"Yes." Sakura nodded her head. "Definitely." She grinned. "I did not know how I would like to play the sabateur at my own equipment, Chimera, but it was fun to put things in such a mad order. The spotlight will not chase Riot now - he will chase the spotlight! I have programmed it to move aimlessly and very fast across the stage at intervals...if anyone should ask I shall say that the equipment must have suffered a glitch. Nobody will think me to cause trouble."
Chimera laughed.
"That's what I like about you best." She decided. "That devious streak you keep so well hidden. It takes a lot for you to willingly attack someone, Kura - what gives?"
"They hurt your feelings and I did not like them anyway." Sakura shrugged. "I do not like my friends to be treated badly, Chimera, and I know it wasn't fair, what they said of you. You have a lot of talent and you will be a big success."
"And they will have red faces by the end of tonight." Chimera chuckled. "Last night I sneaked into the storeroom, spliced together the tape in a new order, and put it back with the others. You couldn't tell even with a microscope that it'd been tampered with, I swear. In the confusion, noone will know quite what happened."
"Did you see to the back door, for the Misfits?" Sakura asked. Chimera shook her head.
"No, not yet, but I will. I've been building up a...well, shall we say a rapport with one of the security guards since we decided on our plan, and I intend on going and doing some full-scale flirting in a minute or two. Pizzazz and the others won't be here till eight at the earliest, so it wouldn't be a good idea to go down too early. As for the cameras..." She grinned. "They're set up and ready to roll, and my backdrops are perfect. I appreciate you putting your reputation somewhat on the line for me like this, by the way...if either of us are gonna come in for flack it's gonna be you."
"I do not care." Sakura shrugged. "You have always been a good friend to me, and I am glad to help."
"Yes, actually." Sakura dimpled. "Surprised as I am, I am enjoying myself!"
"Great." Chimera grinned. "I'll see you later. I have a security guard to accost."
"So where's our way in?"
Out in the parking lot the Misfits had pulled up in an unmarked black van, slipping out of the vehicle and pausing behind it to assess the building, and it was Roxy who had spoken. "Anyone seen a door?"
"I see Chimera." Jetta observed. "Looks like she's talkin' to the guard...guess that's the way we're meant to go in."
"Okay, Misfits, lets go." Pizzazz said. "But go careful, okay? I don't like that girl and I don't trust her...we're gonna do this our way, you got it?"
"When do we ever do it anyone else's way?" Jetta laughed. "We're with ya, Pizzazz."
Chimera observed the three Misfits creeping through the darkness, and nodded at them, almost imperceptably, not once faltering in her conversation with the guard. The young man, the chosen victim of Chimera's many charms had stood little chance when the young schemer had chosen to unleash her arsenal on him, and he had no reason to suspect her motives were anything but genuine. He did not see the Misfits, and once Chimera was sure that they were safely inside she laughed, telling him she ought to go back in and see to final preparations, and that she wouldn't want to distract him from his job. None the wiser, the guard resumed his duty, and the film artist slipped back into the building, finding her three accomplices waiting for her.
"Okay, we're here." Pizzazz told her in a low whisper. "But listen up, Chimera. We ain't following your orders all night. We're gonna do this our way, all right?"
"Fine." Chimera nodded impatiently. "I don't have time to fight with your ego, Pizzazz. Do whatever you think is necessary. So long as there's no chance of them suspecting inside tampering, I don't care what you do." She indicated a corridor. "Down there is where the Stingers have their dressing room. They've been here an hour and a bit and they've holed themselves up in there, except for Riot who inspected the stage himself half an hour ago, and pretended he understood Sakura's wiring for the lights." She smirked. "He fell right into the trap of approving them without understanding them, silly fool."
"Your friend is wet." Roxy snorted. "You sure she won't wimp out?"
"Sakura's no wimp." Chimera replied curtly. "She's spent this morning painstakingly re-setting all of her wires and lighting programs just so that tonight will work as we planned it. More, she's taking great pleasure in doing it. There isn't anyone in the whole of America who is more capable with wires and lights than her."
"Okay, then we better get goin'." Jetta remarked. "Go pay 'em a social call, perhaps. What time do they go on stage?"
"Half past." Chimera replied. "They're playing till elevenish, maybe later, and the video part is being filmed first. If you girls play it right, you'll get to see exactly what we're capable of doing with wires and film."
"Don't worry. We plan on it." Jetta's eyes twinkled. "Later, Chimera. We got work to do."

    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

"What on earth...?"
Rapture peered around the door of the dressing room out into the corridor, a look of displeasure on her face. "You? What on earth are you doing here? You're not even meant to be in New York - wait till Eric..."
"Forget Eric, Rapture." Roxy forced the door open, leading the way into the dressing room. "He's out front spouting smarmy rubbish to some other guy and we got someone on him should he try and interfere in what we're doing."
"We came to see you." Pizzazz added. "Aren't you glad to see us, girls?"
"Come to see a proper show, have you?" Minx snapped.
"Yeah...maybe we have." Pizzazz laughed. "Where's Riot?"
"Right here." The singer's voice came from behind her. "What are you doing here, Pizzazz? I understood that the Misfits were to remain in California for this tour." His mouth curled into a sneer. "Are you here to be our support act? Care to warm up the crowds for us?"
Pizzazz swallowed hard, her usual snappiness deserting her and Roxy rolled her eyes.
"In your dreams, creep." she told him with all her usual bluntness. "We wouldn't be seen dead playing support act on your nothing tour. We're just here to have a bit of fun, that's all. Make sure that you know once and for all who the real stars of this company are. Right, Pizzazz?"
She gave Pizzazz a violent elbow in the ribs and the singer scowled at her.
"Right, whatever, I know." She exclaimed. She wheeled on the two girls, wanting to avoid Riot's magnetic gaze. "You weren't planning on going anywhere, were you? It's impolite for a star to take the stage till the curtain is due to go up and the crowd are ready."
"Where are the other two?" Rapture's blue eyes narrowed. "Stormer and Jetta? Where are they?"
"Otherwise engaged." Roxy said shortly. "And it ain't your business what they're doin', anyway."
"One of them is no doubt trying to deal with Eric." Minx snorted. "What a hopeless bunch you all are! So jealous of our success that you come all this way!"
"I'm calling security." Riot reached for the phone receiver, but Pizzazz was there before him, pulling the phoneline out of the wall. With one fluid movement she had pulled the head off the cable, tossing it to the floor.
"Whoops." She said airily. "I'm so clumsy with gadgets."
"What a shame." Roxy smirked. "What are you losers gonna do now, huh? Go run for darlin' Eric to hold your hands? Can't you do anything on your own?"
"I've had enough of this." Riot moved towards the door, but Roxy pushed it shut, blocking it with her own body.
"Get out of my way!" Riot demanded.
"Make me." Roxy folded her arms.
"Oh, for heaven's sake." Rapture rolled her eyes. "Stop trying to play it tough, Roxy. There are three of us and only two of you. You really think that you can take us on and keep us in here all night?"
"We don't intend to. Just till your call to the stage." Pizzazz told her firmly.
"An' who's playing?" Roxy added. "You wanna fight me, Rapture? I'll take you on, if you're so keen! But I warn you, I lived eight years rough on the sidewalks of Philadelphia, an' I've laid grown men out on the floor before now. I ain't a pushover."
There was total sincerity in the bassist's brown eyes, and Rapture began to lose a little of her conviction. Instead she dropped down into a chair with a dissatisfied sigh.
"You're such children." She said patronisingly. "I outgrew fist-fighting when I was a kid, Roxy."
"Only those who can't do it 'outgrow' it." Roxy lashed back.
"Roxy, the door." Pizzazz's tone was a warning one, for the guitarist had moved away from the door and Minx was edging towards it. Her bandmate took the hint, pushing Minx down into another chair and re-assuming her post at the door.
"Take a seat, Riot." she said. "You ain't goin' nowhere."
Up on set, Jetta had concealed herself neatly behind a curtain, her grey eyes trained firmly on Eric. She loathed the manager as much as anyone, and had doubted rather the sense of Pizzazz being allowed within a few feet of Riot, but in the end she had had little choice but to comply with their 'fearless leader's wishes.
"I only 'ope that those kids really do 'ave this tied up." She muttered. "An' we're not gonna get a visit from the police or somethin' in the nick of time."
A sudden movement caught her eye and she realised that Eric's conversation with the other man - Mark - was coming to an end.
"Time I made me entrance." She decided, pushing the curtain back and stepping slowly down from her hiding place, catching Eric's gaze as she did so.
"Jetta!" He exclaimed. "What in hell are you doing in New York?"
"Fancied an' 'oliday, love." Jetta told him blythely. "What about you?"
"You know full well why I'm here." Eric looked suspicious. "Are you alone?"
"Well, I don't see anyone else with me, do you?" Jetta seemed amused.
"This a friend of yours, Eric?" Mark asked. Eric nodded slowly.
"Yeah...well, of a sort." He said darkly. "Mark, allow me to introduce you to Jetta...she's also signed to my music label."
"The pleasure is all mine." Jetta's tone was rich with irony.
"So what are you doing here?"
"Talking to you, love." Jetta opened her eyes wide and adopted her most innocent expression. "Maybe I missed your thrillin' company. Or maybe I was dyin' to see the Stingers' concert."
"Or maybe you came to cause trouble." Eric looked angry. "Where are the others?"
"Who, Eric?"
"You know who I mean. Pizzazz, Roxy and Stormer. Don't play games with me."
"Stormer's in California doin' some kinda record with Kimber." Jetta smiled at him benignly. "Ain't that nice? An' it looks like you 'ave guests arrivin' to your little party 'ere, Eric...shouldn't you be workin'?"
"You're coming with me." Roughly Eric grabbed her by the wrist, pulling her with him. "If you think I'm letting a Misfit run riot around the set you've got another idea coming. You and the other Misfits are more trouble than you're worth these days."
"Aww, don't you love us any more, Eric?" Jetta pretended to look hurt. Eric scowled at her.
"Stop it." He ordered. "I'm going to get to the bottom of this."
"I don't think so, Eric." Jetta responded sweetly. "Just a bit much for your tiny brain to work out, I'm afraid. An' the Stingers go on in a few minutes...I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
"Curtain up." Chimera hissed in Sakura's direction as she passed the lighting box. "Three very put out Stingers are out on stage, waiting for their music. Shall we give them all we got? The crowd are buzzing."
"Ready when you are." Sakura winked. "The Misfits did a good job, I think. The Stingers had no chance to put us under any pressure this evening."
"Then we can go for it." Chimera nodded. "I snuck them out the back, once I'd got Eric's attention and Jetta had a chance to escape him. They're hovering about the place, wanting to see the end result, and I told them I'd do my best to keep security off their case. We're all set."
"Then it is time." Sakura reached over and flicked a switch on the board in front of her. "Time to rock New York, Stingers!"

"What is going on?"
It was a bare few seconds after the show had begun when Minx realised that something was wrong. "The lights...they are flashing all wrong, not how we rehearsed it!"
"They will do." Riot snapped. "We're gonna show those Misfits a thing or two about performing live, you girls got it?"
"I'm with you." Rapture lifted her microphone from the stand, feeling strange without her guitar. "And here goes the backing music..."
Riot lifted his microphone to sing, but before he could open his mouth to begin the opening phrases of 'Let Me Be', the tune blended into the early notes of Under My Spell. At first startled, Riot did his best to adjust, and things seemed to settle themselves down, until the song reached it's chorus and suddenly a hard, thumping beat came on over the speakers, fully drowning out any attempts to sing. Anger flashed into Rapture's eyes.
"That's Misfit music!" She exclaimed.
"What is the meaning of this?" Backstage Eric was getting angry, as the spotlight began it's merry dance across the stage, teasing and evading Riot at every turn. "Robinson, what's going on?"
"I haven't a clue." Mark looked grim. "But I'm going to get to the bottom of it."
Mounting the steps to the lighting deck two at a time he flung open the door, glaring at the hapless Sakura.
"What's going on down there?" He demanded. Sakura adopted her most innocent, distressed look.
"I don't know!" She protested. "Riot assured me that my wiring for the lights was all well...I have not adjusted anything since he saw them, I swear!"
She spoke the truth, and Mark sighed.
"I believe you." He said. "There must be something technical going on, though. See if you can fix it, will you, and run the lightshow manually? I'm going to find Chimera, see if she can help."
"She is filming, I think." Sakura smiled prettily. Mark nodded, turning to leave. Once he was gone, the Japanese girl allowed herself a triumphant smile, leaning down to switch off the automatic light system. She hesitated a moment, then brought her hand down hard on the control panel, jamming several of the switches into the 'ON' position and causing a loud squealing to be set up from the speakers, so shrill and unpleasant that even the crowd at the back of the hall were covering their ears.
"I bet those Misfits had something to do with this!" Minx exclaimed over the noise of the speaker cones, which were fast giving up on themselves, and one by one the speakers blew out, leaving the stage in eerie silence.
"I'd count on it." Riot's expression was grim. "Stop filming! Wait till I get my hands on Pizzazz..."
"She and Roxy must have been distracting us." Rapture muttered as they were hustled offstage. "Eric! This is something to do with those wretched Misfits of yours, I swear it is!"
"I knew it." Eric growled. "When I saw Jetta on set it made me wonder. She must have been keeping me occupied while the others trashed the equipment."
"Roxy and Pizzazz were chaperoning us." Minx grimaced. "So that leaves Stormer to sabotage the equipment."
"Stormer?" Eric's brow creased into a frown. "No...Stormer's not in New York. She's doing some kind of collaboration with Kimber, I remember something about it before we came away. She's in California."
"Then who?" Rapture stared. "What is going on?"
"I don't know...but I mean to find those girls and find out exactly what." Eric said grimly. "You all might as well head back to your dressing room - there's no way the show can go on tonight, with the equipment blown."
"What a pity." Once Eric had gone, the Stingers became aware of a fresh voice from the doorway and they turned, seeing Chimera lounging against the doorpost, Sakura in tow. "Did your concert come to nothing? Well, Sakura, I suppose you can't trust amateur performers to pull it off."
"You!" Rapture exclaimed. "You did this?"
"Nobody calls me an amateur, Rapture, and gets away with it." Chimera came into the room properly, sitting herself down on a stray seat. "Nobody upsets my friends, and nobody ever mentions my father in conversation, particularly not in the context you spoke of him in. Get this into your head. I am the Mayor with the ability. Not my father. Suzanne Mayor, not Steven. You understand me?"
"You little brat." Riot's brow creased in anger. "You'll never work again!"
"Wrong, Riot." Another voice came from the wings and, turning, Riot was aware of the three Misfits that Eric had been so keen to root out. "As a matter of fact, I think Chimera and Sakura both have a very great future. To get the better of such...professionals...that takes something special."
"Pizzazz, if you had anything to do with this..." Riot's expression was dangerously calm, but before Pizzazz could respond Jetta took a hand.
"It'll take you a long time to figure 'ow it were done, an' drive you mad in the process." She said. "In the meantime, unless Stinger Sound mean to make a loss on this video, your 'umiliatin' performance is bein' duplicated and sold as we speak, almost. Isn't it great to be famous?"
"Grrr..." Lost for words, Riot could only growl.
"In the meantime, the Misfits would like to offer Chimera and Sakura a contract with them, to produce music videos." Pizzazz added. "Since they're obviously too much for you babies to handle."
Chimera and Sakura exchanged looks, and Sakura winked at her friend.
"We accept." Chimera said with a smile. "We make a pretty good team, you guys and us. It'll be fun to work together again...under more conventional circumstances."
"Welcome aboard." Jetta grinned. "Jus' remember when you're workin' for us, you ain't sabotagin' our set, you got it?"
Chimera nodded.
"I got it." She agreed. "Come on. Let's get outta here, Sakura. We got a lot to celebrate."
"You'll have to come to California, of course." Pizzazz told them. "I'll have one of Daddy's people sort out the arrangements."
"Fine." Chimera dimpled. "Here starts a bold and beautiful new relationship!"

Chapter One: The Misfits On Break
Chapter Two: Chimera
Chapter Three: Kimber's Proposition
Chapter Four: The Stingers' Tour
Chapter Five: Personality Clash!
Chapter Six: Writer's Block
Chapter Seven: Secrets
Chapter Eight: Betrayal
Chapter Nine: Chimera's Plan
Chapter Ten: Double Trouble
Chapter Eleven: Synergy
Chapter Twelve: As If Nothing Happened...

(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)