Chapter Seven: An Unusual Morning

"It's so-o-o-o early."
Topaz stifled a yawn, taking a seat on Dean's couch with a sheepish smile. "I'm sorry. I know we do this all the time, but seriously, Dean, you never get used to getting up at 4 o' clock in the morning when you've been working past twelve the night before."
"I know all about early mornings." Dean admitted. "But you girls have a crazy schedule, Nancy's told me about it enough times."
"It sucks sometimes, but it's life." Nancy herself agreed, sitting beside him. "What are you gonna quiz us on today, Dean? We're barely conscious as it is, please be nice."
"Usual things." Dean grinned. "New single, where will you chart, that kinda stuff. Been no Jewel scandal recently, so nothing too taxing. Couple of email questions from fans, that kind of thing."
"I had to do an online chat the other day." Copper remembered. "It was kinda fun, with all these people wanting to know things. I didn't know how hands on you could really be with your fans, but it was cool."
"Better you than the rest of us, you have patience and you know how to use a computer properly." Nancy observed. "Where is Syl?"
"Make up, still. She didn't like the colour lip gloss they were using, and decided to complain." Topaz grinned. "Early mornings don't agree with her, either."
"Well, we're on air in twenty minutes or so, so I hope she's not going to take too long about it." Dean laughed. "You know, this show is always interesting when you four are here. I never get tired of asking you questions."
"Well, you are seeing Nancy. You're possibly biased." Topaz stifled another yawn. "Man, do you mind if I curl up and snore through this interview? I'm totally totally wiped."
"You need a coffee or something." Dean suggested.
"Coffee? She's had three!" Nancy protested. Topaz grinned.
"It's true." She admitted sheepishly. "It's all right, Dean. I'll wake up eventually. I'm just not good on three and a half hours sleep."
"Is anyone?" Sylva joined the group at that moment, casting Dean a warm smile. "Hi, Dean. Ready when you are."
The preliminary interview went without a hitch and Jewel played their new song with all of their usual flair, despite their complaints about lack of sleep. Whatever else they were, Dean observed, they were professionals, and that was all that mattered.
"Makes a change for them to release a slow song. Haven't had one of them for a bit, guess Nancy was feeling contemplative. Still, it'll sell as well as the upbeat ones. Jewel are hot property these days."
"Sounding good." He told them, as they stepped off the stage to resounding applause. "I didn't realise it was a ballad, though."
"I was in one of those moods." Nancy looked sheepish. "But it's all right...I think we got a reasonable song out of it. And Topaz has the voice for it, anyhow."
"If you say so." Topaz smiled. "It's a beautiful song, though. I love singing it, it has so much feeling in it."
"Well, I'm sure it'll be a big hit." Dean paused, then, "You do have a lot of competition this week, though. There has been a lot of hype about this new local act, Ghost...and their single. What do you think about the challenge of new blood?"
"Bring em on!" Sylva exclaimed with a grin. "I've heard the song, mind you, and it really does best of luck to them." "From one rock act to another, may the best one win!" Copper nodded. She smiled. "The music business is so much fun because it's almost impossible to predict things. I know a lot of the papers think we're a shoo in for number one every time we put out a single, but it's not that obvious from where we are. A lot of work goes into promoting and producing each song and we never know how the public will react to's up to them if they think our song is good enough to hit the number one spot, not us. That's what keeps it exciting."
"Nicely put." Dean smiled. "I had Ghost here yesterday, and they admitted they were feeling a little overawed by the competition you guys are, with your credentials and sparkling record in number one singles. You're not at all worried about people backing the underdogs?"
"Why should we be?" Topaz said with a smile. "It's not about bands, it's about songs, and songs are good or bad on the day, in the eye of the public who buy them. If Ghost are number one this weekend, then they deserved it. Likewise, if we are, I'd like to think that we deserved to be. There is no underdog and no sure thing...we'll just do our best and go with the flow."
"Fine words." Dean laughed. "Well, fraid that's all we have time for. Ladies and Gentlemen - Jewel!"
As the cameras swung away from the set and the credits began to roll, Sylva let out a sigh of relief.
"You might have told us you were going to spring us with Ghost." She said accusingly.
"I'm sorry. I like to keep some things fresh for the camera." Dean looked apologetic. "You handled it fine, mind you. And the singer of their band admitted he'd bought your song, so I don't think anyone is going to read too much rivalry into it. They are a very new band and it's just coincidence that your song is out the same week as the track they've been getting such a great reception for." He shrugged. "Have to pad the interview with something new and interesting."
"If it was Diablo, there'd be a bloodbath." Nancy sighed. "In the media, I mean. The hate between Rebel Records and Misfit Music has been so well documented, and they're creeping up the charts. I'm glad their Heartbreaker single isn't out until next Monday. Takes off some of the pressure."
"Now, if only I'd gotten you to say that on film!" Dean joked. He grinned, kissing her. "Still, it's a great song and you know I'm entirely on your side, okay?"
"Ugh, get a room." Sylva rolled her eyes. She stood. "Come on, girls...lets go give Aaron and Cyn a hand with our props, huh? Might as well, then we can get out of here and get some sleep!"
"Sounds good to me." Topaz said ruefully. "Okay, I'm in. Copper, Nance, you with us?"
"Yeah, sure." Copper nodded, and after a last kiss, Nancy trailed her bandmates across the set to the stage, where Aaron and Cynthia were busy packing away.
"Great performance, girls." Aaron sent them a grin, winking at Copper as he disconnected some of the main cables, rolling them up and out of the way. "I think you are a shoo in for number one, whatever people say. California love Jewel."
"Perhaps they do, but it's more than California we're worried about, it's the whole of America." Copper remarked. "Oh, we'll see how it goes, Aaron. If we don't get it then we don't. It's life, we won't lose sleep over it." She grinned. "And like Syl said on air, the Ghost song is good."
"Very sane." Aaron laughed. "Hey, Cyn, you got the rest of the amp leads?"
"Of course." Cynthia glanced up with a smile, scooping them up and bringing them across the set. "Here. I think that..." She faltered and stumbled, dropping the leads as she put out a hand to steady herself on the wall and Copper was at her side in a minute.
"Cyn, what's up?" She asked gently. "Is something wrong?"
"I...I feel unwell." Cynthia's own surprise was mirrored in the eyes of her companions at her words. "I don't understand, I just felt dizzy." She closed her eyes, trying to reassert some control. "This is crazy! I don't get sick!"
"Come sit down for a second." Topaz suggested, indicating an empty seat. "Take a time out. With everything that happened yesterday, perhaps you've overtaxed your circuits."
"Maybe you're right." Cynthia sank down into the chair, resting her head in her hands. "I did not have time to reboot, and that could be it. It was a lot of stress yesterday." She frowned. "It came so suddenly, though."
"Is everything okay?" Dean, spying the commotion on the set came to join the group, consternation in his features.
"Cynnie feels dizzy." Nancy said softly, concern in her own dark eyes.
"Cynthia? Can I get you a glass of water or something?" Dean asked.
" thank you, Dean." Cynthia raised soft violet eyes to his and Sylva let out an involuntary gasp.
"Cyn, you're so pale!" She exclaimed. "Look at her, she's white as a sheet!"
"Sylva's right." Aaron nodded, frowning. "You really don't look very well, Cyn."
Cynthia did not answer straight away, then she frowned.
"I feel very strange." She admitted.
"Perhaps I should get a doctor?" Dean suggested.
"Dean, we'll look after Cynnie. I think she's probably just exhausted." Copper said quietly. "You probably have a million other things to do, though it's sweet of you to offer. We'll just take her back to the Starlight Mansion and let her rest up a little."
"I think that would be best." Cynthia nodded. "I don't feel like myself at the moment."
"Well, if you say so." Dean looked doubtful.
"Don't worry, she'll be in safe hands with us." Nancy assured him. She kissed him. "We don't want to hold you up, and I'm sure Cyn will be fine after a couple of hours sleep."
"I suppose you're right." Dean sighed. "All right, but let me know how she goes, all right?"
With that he was gone, and Copper let out a sigh of relief.
"I like Dean a lot, but it's difficult to explain to him why getting a doctor wouldn't help Cynnie in the least." She admitted. "Thanks for the help, Nance."
"No problem." Nancy responded.
"Cyn, can you tell us what exactly is wrong?" Aaron crouched beside the chair, eying his friend anxiously.
"I am not sure." Cynthia admitted. "Perhaps Topaz is correct and my circuits are hot and tired and in need of a reboot. I don't think my projector is quite functioning though, if you say I am pale. Perhaps the colour filter is damaged."
"No, it's not the colour." Sylva shook her head. "Seriously, Cyn, you look like your hologram might flicker out at any moment, you're practically translucent from time to time!"
"Syl is right." Copper eyed her companion critically. "It does look like that. I can see how Dean would mistake it just for pallor, but you are flickering a little. Perhaps you should switch off Cynthia, it looks like you have a problem with your projection unit."
"Give me a moment, I will check the circuits." Cynthia said, closing her eyes once more. A moment later they snapped open, registering surprise.
"I cannot reach parts of my hard drive!" She murmured. "My sensors...the ones that protect me at Starlight Mansion are entirely missing - or at least, I cannot detect them. I also cannot detect my monitor at all. It keeps coming up as 'unit not found' or 'program not responding."
"No wonder you're dizzy and flickering." Aaron looked concerned. "I think we should do what Copper said and get you back to Starlight Mansion. Then I can look at your mainframe properly and maybe we'll find out what's up. Perhaps you've generated a loose connection."
"Perhaps." Cynthia agreed softly. "Very well." She stood. "I feel better, less unsteady - but I still cannot access parts of my system. I think there must have been some kind of power surge at Starlight Mansion and it's knocked out one of my cables. That is all I can think of."
"Sounds plausible, and if that is it, I can definitely fix it." Aaron smiled. "Should you turn off Cynthia?"
"I don't know if I can." Cynthia admitted. "And with parts of my system dead, it's possibly best to leave her on. After all, if my monitor is affected I can only communicate with you through the hologram and it would take a lot of power to regenerate her. I think I shall leave Cynthia be for the time being...perhaps I can help you fix the problem."
"Okay, if you like." Aaron nodded. "Then let's take you home, and see if we can't fix it!" He grinned. "Noone ever said life round Jewel wasn't eventful!"

Chapter One: Machinations
Chapter Two: Minx's Contact
Chapter Three: A Spy At Work
Chapter Four: A Bizarre Alliance
Chapter Five: Threat For Cynthia
Chapter Six: A Trap Is Set
Chapter Seven: An Unusual Morning
Chapter Eight: Investigation
Chapter Nine: Cynthia Breaks Down
Chapter Ten: Topaz's Plan
 Chapter Eleven: Crisis Point
Chapter Twelve: Nancy Remembers
Chapter Thirteen: The End

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!
The concept of RayzaBlade is copyrighted to my sister Elena...^_^ (Yeah, blame her!)