* * *
* * * *
"Can I get you a coffee, Ben, since you're not filming
Topaz sent the houseguest a grin. "I might as well, since I'm doing
"Sure, why not." Benjamin shrugged, grinning. "You know, you girls
are very down to earth. I think the viewers will identify with you in the
way you really do lead a normal life behind closed doors."
"Well, of course." Copper sat down at the kitchen unit, reaching for
a biscuit. "I think we'd go mad otherwise. I just hope we don't make boring
"Trust me, I'm getting some great footage." Benjamin assured her.
He glanced around him. "Where did Syl and Nancy vanish off to? They were
here a minute ago."
Nancy's probably snuck out the back to the studio to write. She likes
her privacy." Copper responded. "Dunno about Syl."
"Out by the pool, in her new bikini." Topaz grinned. "She said she's
determined to get a tan, even in Feb."
"Well, it is California!" Benjamin laughed. "I assume Sylva is intending
to make an impression on the viewers, huh?"
"Born show off." Copper giggled. "In the nicest possible way, though."
"Yeah. We'd not be without her." Topaz agreed.
"I suppose I should gratify her intentions and go film her then."
Benjamin suggested with a wink. Copper nodded.
"She'd love you." She agreed. "Thanks, Topaz." As the singer handed
"No probs." Topaz responded.
"To be honest, though, I'm more intrigued by the idea of filming Nancy
as she writes." Benjamin admitted. "I know that she'd probably never forgive
the intrusion, but it's that kind of thing the viewers want to see. The
"The real Nancy doesn't like to come out and play for strangers."
Copper frowned. "If you want to film her, Ben, she won't get angry, after
all, she knows the deal of this as much as we do, but..."
"I know." Benjamin nodded. "Well, I'll think on it. I'll film her
once before the week is out, I think. I..."
At that moment the door of the kitchen swung open, and Cynthia, one
of Jewel's most significant stage organisers entered, casting smiles around
and eying the stranger with curious interest. Few knew that Cynthia was
really a holographic simulation produced by a sophisticated mainframe Synergy,
hidden in the basement, but as they saw her, Copper and Topaz exchanged
looks of consternation. Both had forgotten about Cynthia and the security
risk the exposure of her secret could pose.
"Hi." Benjamin offered the newcomer a smile. "Benjamin Rayner, and
"Cynthia." Cynthia returned the smile warmly, shaking his hand.
"Cynthia what?" Benjamin looked curious at the lack of last name,
and Cynthia's expression became amused.
"Benton, I suppose." She said neatly. "But I prefer to keep my links
with the notorious Starlight Music as quiet as I can, since I work for
the opposition. I help with Jewel's effects...may I ask your role?"
Briefly Copper explained, and Cynthia's soft violet eyes became clouded.
"Oh, I see." She said, frowning.
"Something wrong?" Benjamin eyed her keenly. "If you're worried I'll
scandalise what you just said about Starlight Music, don't. I'm not filming,
and in any case, Jewel are my subjects in this project."
"Oh, it's no problem." Cynthia got a grip on her composure. "I just
was unaware that you were to be here."
She sent Copper a pointed look as she did so. "Well, I think I'll
go outside, soak up some February sun. It was nice to meet you, Benjamin."
"Ben, please." Benjamin corrected. Cynthia nodded, smiling.
"Yes, of course." She agreed. "Copper, wouldn't you like some sun
too? You look rather pale."
"Go on, Copper." Topaz had noticed the glint in the hologram's eye.
"I can keep Ben company, and we might come out ourselves soon - remember,
he wants to film Syl."
"Well, okay." Copper shrugged, getting up and taking her mug of coffee,
following her friend reluctantly outside.
"I didn't know Jewel kept such pretty roadies." Once he and Topaz
were alone, Benjamin took a sip of his coffee, grinning.
"Oh, she's more than a roadie. Between her and Aaron, we have an act."
Topaz responded. "She takes care of all the lighting effects, and Aaron
the equipment. They're both irreplaceable."
"Well, I've learnt since I've been here that Aaron is dating Copper...the
whole of America will soon know, in fact, after his impromptu visit last
night." Benjamin set his cup down. "What about Cynthia? What's her story?
"Involved? Cynnie?" Topaz stared at him as if he were mad.
"Did I say something odd?" Benjamin looked confused.
"Oh! No, no of course not." Topaz hurriedly pulled herself together.
"I just never thought of Cyn dating. Her work is pretty much all important
"A career chick, huh?" Benjamin cast a glance out on the patio, where
the hologram was clearly haraunging an uncomfortable looking Copper. "Why
is she so bothered about me being here? I mean, she doesn't live here,
"On and off she does." Topaz said vaguely. "She...stays here a lot.
We're very close to her."
"I see." Benjamin pursed his lips, contemplating. Then he got to his
feet, reaching for his camera.
"Well, I suppose I'd better go and preen Sylva's vanity a little."
He joked. "If nothing else, though, the male viewing public will go for
it, trite as it sounds."
"I don't think this is one of Syl's more femenist moments." Topaz
looked amused, but there was still anxiety in her expression and her blue
eyes kept flitting to the dispute on the patio. Benjamin shrugged.
"Well, it makes good TV, and I guess that's what matters." He responded.
"Jewel have the image of being babes of rock and roll, and the film I got
of you and Syl in dressing gowns and slippers this morning kinda nixes
that, so I guess it's only fair to balance it out a little."
"Okay, I guess so." Topaz laughed. "But I don't mind if my slippers
go public. I'm kinda fond of them, and they're a big part of me."
"See, that's what I like about you girls." Benjamin grinned. "You
don't mind being real for the camera."
He led the way to the patio door, swinging it open and abruptly ending
the heated conversation. Cynthia, her anger seemingly melting away cast
him a smile.
"I'm going to go and sort out the programming for the new light sequence
Aaron wanted." She said with a shrug. "Goodbye, Ben...see you, girls."
With that, she swept away back into the house, leaving Copper looking
"Guess Cynnie's camera shy." She said quietly. "I'm sorry, Ben. We
were outta line not to tell her you were coming."
"It settled now?" Benjamin asked lightly. Copper shrugged.
"I hope so." She said, though she sounded uneasy. "You have the camera...are
you going to film then?"
"Yes...oh blast!" The presenter cursed. "I left the battery charging
in the lounge when Topaz offered coffee. I won't be a second."
Before any of them could stop him, he was gone back into the house.
"Is Cynnie really mad?" Topaz murmured. Copper nodded.
"She is, rather. I guess I understand why." She replied. "We should
have warned her."
"I know, but we all forgot." Sylva swam to the side of the pool, having
heard everything. "It'll be all right, though. Cyn's clever, she'll think
of a cover and he's here a week, that's all. Besides, he's nice. He's
not a sleazy tabloid geek."
"True, but he's here to get any footage he can." Copper sighed, sitting
down on the poolside and dangling her feet absently in the water. "I dunno.
I hope we haven't taken a huge risk, girls."
Inside, Benjamin had located the missing battery and had just finished
putting it back into his camera when he caught sight of Cynthia out of
the corner of his eye. The hologram was heading towards the steps that led
down to the basement, and she seemed totally unaware that he had even seen
her. Determined to make amends for his intrusion into her world, and also
more than a little curious as to what she could want down there, he abandoned
the camera on the lounge floor, heading after her as she swung open the
door, disappearing down the dark steps. Without a second thought he followed
"Cynthia?" He called.
"She's ignoring me, or she didn't hear me." He decided, frowning as
he carried on. "It's so dark down here...how can she even see?"
Fumbling in his pocket for his pencil torch that he carried everywhere,
he switched it on, waving it about until he located the light switch.
Soon the basement was bathed in light, and he glanced around him, expecting
to see the hologram.
But the basement was empty.
Frowning, Benjamin took one or two steps forward, eying the huge stacks
of boxes with some suspicion, as if afraid they might fall on him if he
placed a foot wrong. Carefully he peered around them, but there was no
sign of the elusive lighting engineer.
"Cynthia?" He called again, looking for a second way out as he did
so, but he soon realised there was none.
A chill went up his spine.
So where had she gone?
He had watched her walk down the steps into the darkness, but she
was clearly nowhere to be found.
But people didn't just disappear...
Chapter One: The Idea
Chapter Two: Benjamin
Chapter Three: Chez Diablo
Chapter Four: Cynthia and Ben
Chapter Five: A Motive
Chapter Six: One On One
Chapter Seven: A Cryptic Note
Chapter Eight: The Intruder
Chapter Nine: Cynthia Explains
Chapter Ten: Stefana's Plot
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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
Pay her page a visit!
The concept of RayzaBlade is copyrighted to my sister Elena...^_^ (Yeah,
Sirena's music is based mainly on the music of Republica's album 'Republica'
and Garbage's albums 'Garbage' and 'Version 2.0'.