Chapter Nine: Cynthia Explains

"Well? Is someone going to explain to me exactly what happened at that club tonight?"
Benjamin sat back on the sofa, accepting the cup of coffee Nancy silently offered him, and casting a curious glance around the group of his film subjects. At the back of the room, Copper pushed open the door, entering the room with Cynthia in tow, and Benjamin sent the hologram a searching look, causing her to lower her gaze.
"If I had a circulation, I'd be blushing hard as I could go right now." She muttered, and Copper squeezed her hand.
"It'll be all right." She said. "Whatever you tell him, we'll back you up."
"Well?" Benjamin prompted. "Someone? Anyone?"
"It's me who needs to explain to you." Cynthia said at length, taking a seat. "I've never been thrilled about you being here, Ben, I think you know that. You scare me...television is a powerful medium and I'm not your average music company employee."
"That's an understatement." Benjamin said dryly. "Cynthia, look, you're a heck of a good looking woman, and I gotta admit it, I'm attracted to you as hell, but there's no way that I can leave this kind of weird stuff off my footage or just ignore it unless there's a really good reason why I should. You know that. The rules of the programme are that only stuff which contravenes broadcasting law or are of national security risk can be erased. If I did, it would be going against what I'm employed here to do. Fond as I'm getting of Jewel, and guilty as I feel about recording every angst and feeling that happens, it's my job and I have to do it."
"We shouldn't have ever agreed to shoot The Public Eye." Sylva looked troubled. "It's our bad, we forgot about Cynnie's situation."
"I have thought about this." Cynthia shook her head. "And no, Sylva, you had every right to invite Ben here. There is no reason why you should forgo any part of celebrity life simply because of me. That's not what I want. You girls are my friends and I was being selfish, to criticise your decision. This is not my house, it belongs to you."
"Still, you are our friend and we should at least have consulted you." Topaz put in.
"This is all very nice, but it isn't explaining to me exactly what the deal is." Benjamin held up his hands. Cynthia sighed.
"Very well." She agreed. "But Ben, I can only tell you if you promise never to reveal my secret to anyone. The tape must be would cause great danger to me and to Jewel if it were not to be. That, I think, would permit you to do so without betraying your contract?"
"Well, sure, depending on what it is." Benjamin was cautious. "But I'm listening."
"I'm not who I seem to be." Cynthia began slowly. "I'm...not real, Ben. I know it sounds far fetched, and to properly understand, you must come with me to the basement. You see, it began a long time ago. Before you or any of Jewel were even born."
"Not real?" Benjamin echoed, as the group made their way down the cold stone steps to the bowels of the basement. Cynthia nodded.
"I'm an illusion." She said simply.
"I don't get it." Benjamin looked nonplussed. "You're right, it does sound farfetched. Extremely farfetched."
"Have you ever heard of Emmet Benton?" Cynthia asked. Benjamin frowned, then nodded.
"Yes. He was the founder of Starlight Music, wasn't he?" He asked. "His wife was some seventies performer, and unless I'm much mistaken Jerrica Pacheco at Starlight now is his daughter."
"Yes. Kimber Harrison of the Foundation also." Cynthia agreed. "But in some ways, Ben, he was also my father." She switched on the light, bathing the room in a soft glow and revealing for the first time the mainframe computer, much to the incredulous reporter's amazement.
"What is that thing?" He demanded.
"That is me." Cynthia said with a shrug. "Synergy. Emmet Benton built me in the eighties - I was completed in 1985, twenty seven years ago. I was built to help him get over his grief at losing his wife, but I became more than a simple special effects machine. He could not let Jacqui go, and he programmed elements of her personality and appearance into my data banks. Over the years certain of my programs have corroded and failed me, so that now I no longer have a set series of commands. I...make my own rules. I am, in effect, as close to human as I will ever be."
"Ooook." Benjamin looked sceptical, walking over to the machine. "So you're telling me you're nothing more than what, a robot?"
"A hologram." Cynthia sighed. "Look, you dont believe my words. Allow me to show you what I mean."
She slid her watch off her wrist, putting it on the computer's keyboard and morphing her features into that of the softlight hologram Synergy. Benjamin started, staring at her and despite herself she laughed.
"This is the real me, that Emmet designed." She said. "Albeit with a few modernisations. But watch what I can do."
In an instant the entire room was transformed into a desert island, with sand beneath their feet and waves lapping at the shore.
"Wooh, cool Synnie!" Sylva exclaimed. "I know who to call when I wanna fake a tan next time!"
"Wow." Benjamin seemed lost for words. "It looks so real..."
"That's what I pride myself on." Synergy removed the illusion, restoring herself to her hardlight Cynthia form and letting out a sigh. "But you see, Emmet died before he could patent my design. Though I know my creator, if I were to be found I could be duplicated and used for bad ends, even possibly reprogrammed. I don't want to be a cause of harm to anyone...least of all those I care most about. Since the Jem Memorial the FBI have been trying to track me down. Please don't give me away, Ben. It's so important, and it means so much to me to be Cynthia and live a little of real life."
"You talk like a real human being, with feelings and...well, dreams." Benjamin said softly. "I wouldn't have believed it, if...well, I s'pose that's why you proved it to me. But wow. I...I never knew a machine could feel."
"Well, Synergy's not your average machine." Copper said, winking at the hologram. "Jacqui was so dear to Emmet that he devoted himself to her memory, and gave Synergy rather more personality than most artificial intelligence chips allow. There's something more to her, too. I don't know what it is...but there'll never be anyone quite like her."
"You won't betray us, will you?" Topaz asked softly. "We're sorry, Ben...but..."
"I won't betray you." Benjamin said at length. "The section of tape, well, when I splice the video together for the documentary, I'll cut it and burn it. Noone else will ever see it, I promise. I...I suppose I understand the need to protect the technology, but in truth I'd almost feel like I was destroying a human life, and that's not part of the deal."
"Thank you." Cynthia offered him a tiny smile. "I'm grateful to you for understanding. Not...not everyone does."
"Jerrica said some very cruel things to her at the Jem Memorial." Sylva nodded. "Called her just a machine, and stuff. She's sensitive, our Synnie. She has feelings."
"So I realise." Benjamin smiled. "Well, it's been an out there kinda week already, but don't worry. I have so much good Jewel footage and a couple of days left to go, there'll be no problem. I mean, it's going to make for an awesome documentary, even without the sci fi effects. Cynthia, your secret is safe with me!"

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'.