Chapter Seven: A Cryptic Note

"You know, Cyn, you look pretty fabulous tonight." Aaron cast his companion an approving grin, causing the hologram to laugh, running a self-conscious hand through her illusiory hair with a shrug. It was later that evening and after some consultation, Cynthia had agreed to go along to the club, accepting Copper's logic of playing the decoy. They were at Aaron's apartment, and Aaron had just finished getting ready, something which, for the hologram, was instantaneous.
"I've spent a long time browsing fashion catalogues online to learn what styles are in vogue." She said now with a smile. "It's not as easy as it appears to just ghost a look from nowhere, Aaron. It takes careful research."
"Mmm, I believe you." Aaron looked amused. "But if you ask me I think you like devoting your runtime to frivolous pursuits."
"Well, wouldn't you?" Cynthia demanded. "Since you converted my projectors, Aaron, I've learnt so many new things and I never knew how much fun life could be. I want to know everything about it, because now I can actually do and see the things that I never could before." She frowned. "This is why it concerns me, having Ben at Starlight Mansion. He is not a bad man, Aaron, but I fear him still. A video camera is a dangerous thing."
"Well, it's a video camera which will be gone in what, three days? Four?" Aaron reminded her. "You can stick it out a few more days, huh?"
"Yes." Cynthia frowned. "It's just that, well, it's a little difficult to make sure my mainframe is protected whilst Cynthia is at work. I suppose I could call in sick, but that would be a lie and I don't like more deception than is necessary. Besides, my wages go to Kimber at the foundation for the girls there...I wouldn't let them down."
"I think that's the sweetest thing you could ever do." Aaron grinned. "I did wonder what you'd do with your payslip when you got it, but signing it over to Kimber each fortnight, that's just perfect."
"Well, they are my family in a way." Cynthia shrugged. "Kimber especially. So what else would I do with it? I'm a machine. I don't need money."
She glanced up at the clock. "Aaron, it is almost quarter to eight, should we not leave? Copper will worry that you are going to stand her up."
"Copper knows I wouldn't." Aaron protested. "But I guess you're right. Do I look okay? You're not the only one being put out by this Public Eye thing! I don't want to appear to the whole nation dressed like a moron and have the entire tabloid press demanding what Copper sees in me. I mean, I know she's the Jewel heart-throb, and all that. The one all the guys want."
"I think you're proud of that." Cynthia teased, leading the way into the hall. "I...hey, you have mail!"
"So I do. Weird time for it." Aaron scooped up the envelope, glancing at it with a frown. "It's not addressed, just hand-delivered, is my guess. And printed...all it says on the front is Aaron. What do you reckon it's about?"
"Open it and then you'll know." Cynthia shrugged. "But be quick, okay?"
"Sure." Aaron slit the envelope open, pulling out the single sheet and reading it's contents. His brow creased in a frown.
"Oh my..."
"What?" Cynthia detected the change of tone in her companion's voice immediately, fixing him with a quizzical look. "Is something wrong?"
"Not for me, specially." Aaron said darkly, holding the sheet of paper out. "More like for you. Here. Look."
Cynthia took the sheet with a sense of apprehension, scanning it's contents. The message was short, but sweet.
She bit her lip.
"Well, on the one hand, it could simply be someone trying to upset me." She said at length. "Or..."
"Or someone who knows more about you than either of us would like." Aaron said grimly. He tore the note in two, tossing it down onto the table. "I hate anonymous mail. If they want us, well, they'll have to be more direct than that."
"I am afraid." Cynthia admitted. "I...I don't want to lose my freedom, Aaron!"
"You're not going to. Don't worry, Cyn. It's going to be fine." Aaron told her. "Whoever it is is going to be stopped, and I know how to stop them right in their tracks. Come on. We have a date to keep."


"It's weird coming and hanging out at a club with someone waving a camcorder at us." Topaz perched on the bar stool, ordering a bacardi and coke and sending Benjamin a grin. "It's like some weird home video or something, you know? The kind where in three hours time you get an embarrassing shot of drunken karaoke in between bobbing heads of people you never saw before in your life."
"Nicely put." Benjamin lowered the camera, grinning. "Just ignore me though, okay? I'm not here."
"If you say so." Sylva giggled, sitting down on his lap and almost causing him to overbalance off the stool. "Then I guess this bar stool is free, huh?"
"Syl, quit clowning!" Nancy scolded, though there was a look of amusement on her face as Benjamin recovered his wits. "Man, you're such a showoff!"
"Hey, I see Aaron and Cynnie. Looks like she decided to come." Copper reported, sending a grin in her boyfriend's direction and going to greet them. "Hey...I was beginning to give up on you, you know." Then, as she registered their expressions, she frowned. "Aaron, what's wrong? Something happened?"
"Yes, kind of." Aaron sent Benjamin a wary glance, then linked arms with her, leading her out of earshot of the camera mic as Cynthia went to distract the reporter's attention. "Listen to me. Someone sent me an anonymous note threatening Cynthia. It has to do with the Public Eye, and both Cyn and I think there's a risk that someone might have found out about her, and might be planning to expose her somehow on this show you're doing. There's no option - you have to call off the show."
"Threatening?" Copper looked startled. " on earth could they know about her! Noone knows about Cyn except you, me, the rest of Jewel and the Holograms. Right?"
"You'd think so." Aaron frowned. "But when you think it over, Copper, you begin to realise that not all of the former Holograms are what I'd call friendly, are they?"
"Jerrica!" Copper breathed. "Oh God...but would she? Cyn and her are almost sisters, after all, Jerrica's own father built Synergy!"
"Oh, I think she would." Aaron replied darkly. "Remember the Jem Memorial? Jerrica owes Synergy one for everything that happened there, and the chaos that follows. Yes, I think she really would. And Cynthia thinks so too. She's frightened, Copper. You haven't much choice - you have to call off the filming."
"But Aaron, we can't!" Copper looked helpless. "Really, we can't. We signed a contract, I don't have any kind of jurisdiction over things now and even if I did, how in hell would we justify it? Jewel don't just pull out on their obligations for no reason!"
"So Jewel's reputation is more important to you than one of your friends?" Aaron demanded. "Copper, think of everything Cyn has ever done for you! Don't you think you owe her something in return?"
"Aaron, listen to me! I don't have that kind of power!" Copper repeated. "It's not in my hands. Jetta and Phyllis are the only ones who could call this whole thing off, and there's no way in hell we could find a reason why which would pass muster with them both and not get them all suspicious into the bargain. Don't you think you're overreacting over one little note? It could be nothing at all!"
"Just because Cyn isn't like the rest of us doesn't mean any threat shouldn't be taken seriously." Aaron said quietly. "She's an important part of the team. I thought you knew that."
"Of course I do." Copper responded. "I just don't see what I can do about it."
Aaron fixed his girlfriend with an indescribably look. Then,
"Fine then." He said softly. "I'm not going to fight with you on candid camera TV, so I'm going to cut out of here and we'll discuss this tomorrow. But I think you need to check your priorities. There are more important things than playing up to some TV presenter for a few extra bucks and publicity opportunities, you know."
With that he turned on his heel, walking purposefully across the dancefloor towards the exit, leaving Copper staring after him. Aware that by now Benjamin had clued into the fact that some kind of dispute had taken place, and that she was the focus of the filming, she bit her lip, refusing to let herself cry on television. Swallowing hard, she turned her attention back to the bar, trying hard not to show she cared.
"What's with him?" Sylva came up behind her, making her jump.
"Tell you later." Copper murmured. "Right now isn't a good time."
Cynthia sent the drummer a troubled look.
"I believe I might be to blame." She said quietly. "I apologise. I..." She frowned, her expression becoming frightened. "Oh!"
"Cyn?" Now all eyes were on her, Benjamin and his camera forgotten, and it was Nancy who had spoken. "What is it? What's up?"
"Someone...there's an intruder." Cynthia's tone was laced with fear, and she took a step away from the bar. "I have to go, I need to camouflage..." Her hologram flickered and died, sending her watch projector crashing to the floor. Copper bent to pick it up, checking it for cracks and other damage, then frowning.
"An intruder, did she say? Where?" Topaz was nonplussed.
"Starlight Mansion, that'd be my guess. That's where she is." Copper's brows knitted together. "Come on, girls, we gotta go see what's going down!"
"Leaving?" That was Benjamin, and, identical looks of horror on their faces the four girls turned to face the man with the camera. He met their gazes with a somewhat bewildered one of his own, lowering his camera.
"Would someone care to explain what just happened?" He asked quietly. "And please, the truth, if you don't mind. I have the whole thing on can't pretend it didn't happen this time. She vanished. I saw. Someone tell me what's going on?"
"Dammit, we should never have gotten involved in this, Aaron was right." Copper bit her lip. "Ben...what can I say? special."
"And if there's trouble at home, we need to get back there now." Topaz took a hand. "Ben, there are things here you don't understand, and I know you're confused, but right now we have something more pressing to deal with. The rest can wait till later."
Benjamin frowned, then he put the lens cap on his machine.
"Well, then let's go." He said quietly. "But I'm warning you all, if something's going on here that's against the law, I'm not going to be able to protect you. It's my job to film the truth...whatever the truth maybe."

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

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!)

Sirena's music is based mainly on the music of Republica's album 'Republica' and Garbage's albums 'Garbage' and 'Version 2.0'.