ARC ONE: NEW DAWN
"The last few days have been mental."
Jacqui's Legacy: Part Two
The Story So Far...
After a difference of opinions with her oldest friend Rory Llewelyn,
Ingrid Krueger has struck out for revenge, enlisting the help of the
tricky Sophie and the technologically gifted Techrat to put the Rebel
Records' owner back in his place. After tracking Synergy's emissions to
the Drive Through Theatre, Ingrid learns that her original program was
based on Jacqui Benton's personality, enabling Techrat to begin work on
his own version of the computer.
Meantime, following the theft of computer componants from the FBI's
lab, Darren McMillan is once more on Stefana's trail in search of a
story. After someone passing herself off as Sylva accosts Stefana in a
public restaurant, the Diablo guitarist realises once more that she's
in way over her head
and, in fright, she turns to Sadie, certain that Synergy is more
than she appears. But giving out this warning may have dragged Stefana
to danger than before, as Synergy's warped program files have taken on
personality of their own and are running out of control...
Chapter One: Sadie Investigates
As Jewel made their way off the set of the Dean Stacey show, Sylva let
out a sigh. "No kidding that this song's getting lots of publicity, but
after two days doing the video...do I look totally zapped?"
"No more than usual, don't worry." Nancy shook her head. "And we break
now. We've got the afternoon off and, since the song is down, I'm not
even going to write. I'm going to take a time out...I'm beat."
"You really must be." Topaz looked amused. "Coming back to the mansion
to hang out with us?"
"No...actually I'm going to drive out to the beach for a while." Nancy
shook her head. "I need some space and air. I've been working harder
than any of you, you realise...I'm just glad that the song's hit the
mixers and the video's in production. It means I can take a breather."
"Where's Aaron today?" Sylva glanced around the set. "Copper, did you
misplace your husband or what?"
"He's stuck at the office. Three of the modem systems got disconnected
and rewired late last night." Copper grimaced. "These pranks aren't
funny. It's getting old, fast."
"We should help Cynthia dismantle." Sadie observed. "She's on her own
and she's been worn round the edges recently too, with all the stuff
going on at Misfits Music."
"We should." Sylva bit her lip. "Only I promised Jack I'd go see him
and Courtenay this afternoon. I haven't in the longest time and I don't
let the kid down. I did give my word."
"It's all right." Sadie shook her head. "Actually, guys, if you don't
mind, I'd kinda like to help her myself - just, you know, the two of
"What's that about?" Topaz's eyebrows shot up into her fringe.
"Something Stefana said to you last night?"
"Something like that." Sadie agreed quietly. "And before I discuss it
with any of you I think I ought to mention it to her. She knows a lot
more about holograms and stuff than I do, and I want to see what she
thinks before I go making crazy conspiracy theories more public."
"Sure, if that's how you feel." Copper nodded. "I might head on over to
the company and see if I can drag Aaron away for lunch and some free
not involving wires, actually."
"And I'll pick up Hol from the creche and spend some Mom and baby
time." Topaz agreed. "So she's all yours, Sade - but don't keep us in
Whatever it is, if it involves us and the crazy things that have been
- we need to know. I have a nearly-two-year old in the house who I
want put at risk."
"I know that, and trust me, I'll share." Sadie nodded. "But I have
to...validate something first, with someone who knows her stuff."
"Then we'll see you later." Copper dimpled. "Come on, gang. Let's leave
Sadie to her little tete-a-tete!"
Once the other musicians were gone, Sadie steeled herself, then
schooled her features into a smile, crossing the set to where Cynthia
was carefully dismantling stage lighting.
"Need a hand?" She said softly. Cynthia started, dropping her spanner,
and Sadie blushed.
"Whoops. Sorry. I didn't mean to make you jump." She said sheepishly.
"I thought you'd hear me coming."
"I confess I was somewhat lost in my task." Cynthia looked rueful,
reaching down to retrieve the spanner. "But your offer of help is most
welcome. Are the others gone?"
"Yes - they had prior engagements, so I volunteered to come play
Aaron." Sadie nodded. "Though don't expect me to make intelligent
computer chat - that's not my field."
"The company is nice to have all the same." Cynthia admitted. "You
played well today, despite your tiredness. They have barely given you a
break in the last few days."
"I know." Sadie agreed, taking a grip on the base and holding it still
while her friend worked. "Same could be said for you, though. No new
leads on the stuff going down at Misfits Music?"
"No, none." Cynthia sighed. "I wish they would stop. It is most trying
- being here, then fixing something there, and then watching Hollie.
Working with Jewel and babysitting Hollie are my preferred endeavours.
I'd rather not play the odd job girl as often as I seem to be."
"Steffi came to see me yesterday, after we'd done filming." Sadie said
conversationally, gently easing the metal bar out of it's socket.
"Here. She thought she'd seen
you in town yesterday, but you didn't seem to, well, acknowledge her.
she said you weren't quite yourself."
"Stefana?" Cynthia paused, looking blank. "I have no recollection of
such an encounter."
"Well, I told her she must've been mistaken." Sadie shrugged. "I know
you've been hard at work at Misfits Music these last two days, after
"Yes." Cynthia's brow furrowed into a frown. "Tell me, Sadie, where did
Stefana say she saw me?"
"Cyn, in honesty, I don't think it was you she saw at all." Sadie
sighed. "Only remembering what you said about that hologram of Jacqui
Benton - it made me wonder. Parts of your old hard drive are still
missing. Could someone have activated that? Someone who knows about you
- to try and drive Stefana away? She has started to come around to
being an ally on the whole secret thing. Is it...possible someone could
"Not at all." Cynthia shook her head. "Those parts were beyond
destroyed. I made sure of it myself before we planted them. I would not
risk the FBI - or anyone else - duplicating my technology."
She looked haunted.
"One such creation is enough for any city." She added. "The burden is
already heavy enough on those who know. I would not have it made worse."
"Well, is it possible someone could have done something with it,
anyhow?" Sadie asked. "Look, I'll be straight with you. Stef was in a
state about it
- she said that Syl had come up to her in this restaurant and
about stealing the parts. But Syl was with us all day and Stef says
Syl was wearing your watch. Only if you were working all lunch time, it
have been you and besides, why would you do something so crazy, in
of a tabloid journalist as well as two of Diablo?"
Cynthia stared, the spanner slipping from her grip once more.
"What?" She whispered. "In front of...who?"
"Darren McMillan." Sadie rolled her eyes. "You remember him?"
"I could not forget him." Cynthia buried her head in her hands. "I
think I am starting a migraine."
"Can you do that?" Sadie stared. Cynthia shrugged.
"Digitally speaking." She said humourlessly. "Just another thing to add
to an ever growing pile of problems."
"Well, Stef seems to have convinced him not to print a scandal." Sadie
shrugged. "But if someone has this technology, Cyn...we should be
scared. You can do some incredible things, and you're really
convincing. If someone else has that at their fingertips...someone
"I don't like to think about it." She concluded. "But it's the only
thing I can think of. The blond girl who challenged us in the club, the
the vandalism and everything else. Now this. Someone knows a whole lot
you - and us - and is using it to their own ends. Whatever those ends
Cynthia was silent for a moment. Then she sighed.
"And Stefana believes it was me she saw?" She asked.
"Yes. But like I said, that'd be crazy...and I told her so, don't
worry." Sadie put a gentle arm on Cynthia's shoulder. "It just bites
because I think Stef was starting to trust you."
"I have trusted her." Cynthia nodded. "Twice she has provided me with
useful information at her own risk."
"I wonder if I have done her the same courtesy."
"What do you mean?"
"Obviously in some way her association with me has made her a target."
"Yes, I think that's how she feels too." Sadie sighed. "It's all messy.
I wanted to speak to you before I told the others exactly what Stef had
to say. I gathered from what she said that Marissa was also there and
saw this whole thing too - what Marissa knows I'm not sure, but Stef
did say that she
knew more than she should."
"It gets better."
Cynthia grimaced. "And we are finished here, thank goodness. Did you
want to head back to the Starlight right away?"
"Not if you need some space." Sadie shook her head. "We could go into
the city and hang out."
"More, I wished to do some investigation." Cynthia admitted. "If you
would come with me. I would like a...well, a witness present."
"Investigating what?" Sadie's curiosity was piqued, and Cynthia looked
"If I tell you something, will you promise me to say nothing to the
others of it yet?" She begged. "It's probably nothing of importance and
I believe I have it in hand."
"Okay, if that's how you feel." Sadie frowned. "What's up?"
Cynthia did not answer immediately. Instead she slipped an arm through
Sadie's, leading the way out to the studio parking lot. Glancing around
her to make sure noone else was listening, she lowered her voice.
"I have not been functioning on all levels recently." She admitted.
"And I have had...a few lapses of memory."
"Lapses of...?" Sadie trailed off, staring at her friend. "I don't
understand. I thought your memory recorded everything!"
"So it should." Cynthia agreed. "But it is my belief that so much has
happened of late, I have not been able to defragment regularly. As a
hard drive is cluttered up, and some files are being misplaced."
She sighed. "And also, I think some of my older chips are beginning to
wear out." She added.
"Well, you have been through a lot recently." Sadie acknowledged,
unlocking her car and pulling open the driver's door. "Have you
mentioned this to Aaron?"
"No, and you must not either." Cynthia shook her head, getting into the
passenger seat. "I know my system better than anyone and I do not wish
constantly be asking for his help. He has precious little free time and
should be spending that with his wife - not taking me to pieces."
A wistful look touched her expression.
"I know that I drove Jerrica and Rio apart, and look how that ended."
She added. "Copper and Aaron are both dear to me. I won't come between
"That's silly." Sadie scolded. "Jerrica kept secrets from Rio and Rio
had an affair. That drove them apart. Copper and Aaron share your
secret. It's entirely different."
"Perhaps so, but I would rather take care of this myself." Cynthia
shrugged. "As I said, I think I have it in hand."
"But you think it might be...important?" Sadie's brow furrowed in
confusion. "What kind of memory lapses are we talking about?"
"Yesterday I remember setting out on an errand for Aaron." Cynthia said
slowly. "To collect components. Then the next thing I can recall is
outside the Star Drive Through. I do not remember walking there, or
why I should have gone there in the first place. I just know that I was
When you said Stefana saw me somewhere, I wondered..."
"If it had been there." Sadie frowned. "No. But that's creepy, Cyn. I
mean, not remembering how you got somewhere."
She smiled slightly.
"I'm actually in a position to know what it feels like." She added
wryly. "The number of times I got wasted on something and wound up
somewhere completely alien, I couldn't tell you. It's disorientating. I
have no idea what I got up to...even now, some of those are a total
blank. Maybe that's a good thing...I don't know."
"This is also my fear." Cynthia looked troubled. "But I must have gone
to the Drive Through for a reason, and I'd like to find out what that
reason was. Only I'd like you to come with me, because if I misplace
that memory file, you will be able to recount it for me."
Sadie sent her friend a troubled look, then nodded.
"I'll come." She agreed, putting the car in gear. "Let's go see if we
can't find out."
Ingrid Krueger pushed open the door of the run down apartment, leaning
against the doorframe as she searched for the flat's inhabitant among
clutter of wires. "Techrat? Are you even here?"
"Where else do you expect me to be, when I have such a lot to do?"
A familiar rasping voice came out of the shadows and Techrat shuffled
view, a panel of circuitry clutched in his clawish hands. "You're late.
"I had a meeting at Rebel Records." Ingrid sighed, rolling her eyes.
boring nonsense about this compilation. Riot is getting to be such a
on the subject. He still hasn't told me if he even requires my services
write for it or not. The sooner we have this machine running, Techrat,
"The sooner I do." Techrat corrected her. "You might have more computer
than any other woman, but this is beyond your limited expertise."
"I'm surprised you know any other women." Ingrid said sardonically. "If
didn't need your brain, I wouldn't put up with the rest of you."
"The feeling could be mutual." Techrat's beady eyes looked the willowy
up and down, then, "Human beings are entirely flawed and your constant
try my patience. But you have been useful and I will keep my side of
bargain. Come here."
Inwardly seething at the insult, Ingrid stepped carefully through the
towards where the odd man stood. Before him was the computer she had
just the day before, but already it was taking a more convincing shape
she knew that he'd probably spent all night working on it. Despite
she was impressed.
"You're quick as ever." She murmured. "Does it run yet?"
"I've reached a seminal point in the programming." Techrat shook his
"I've been installing your digital likeness, but I need more than that
make her run. Thoughts. Ambitions. Memories. You said Benton's computer
all these things to run her intelligence."
"Yes." Ingrid looked guarded. "But I'm not sure I want to put anything
me into that thing. It's bolts and wires, Techrat. It's cold. Soulless."
Techrat raised an eyebrow, casting Ingrid a thoughtful look and the
"I am not cold!" She exclaimed angrily. "Are you simply going to insult
I thought you needed my help!"
"I don't need your voiceprint." Techrat seemed oblivious to his
displeasure. "Your accent would be cumbersome to duplicate and entirely
The machine doesn't need to speak German, nor does it need to sound it.
merely need a template. I have compensated for the voice already -
basic enough. But Benton's microchips are complex and difficult to
He affixed the stray panel, then stood back, eying her as if waiting
a response. Ingrid frowned.
"So what do I do?" She asked hesitantly.
"I've used old Stinger photographs to build a rough physical form for
computer." Techrat pressed a few buttons and the silver outline of a
appeared on the screen. Ingrid squinted at her, picking out features
"She does look like me." She murmured. "Are you sure noone will make a
"Not at all." Techrat pressed in another sequence, pausing, then
yet more coding. "I've decided already to give her black hair, and dark
The image on the screen blurred and then changed, to accept Techrat's
"Well? Now it's your turn. Tell me what drives you."
"What drives me?" Ingrid stared.
"Emmet Benton programmed his machine to be driven by some weak human
between mother and daughter, if what you told me is true." Techrat was
"You don't have such stupid and pointless motives."
"Oh." Ingrid pursed her lips. "I see."
She shrugged her shoulders.
"That's simple." She said softly. "I want respect. I want to be
and appreciated for being what I am - the best songwriter in the
I want to teach Riot that he's not the only one who has a brain or a
and that I can act on my impulses too. And, most of all, Techrat, I
She clenched her fists.
"I want to win!"
JACQUI'S LEGACY: PART
The copyright for the original Jem characters
in this and other stories by me belongs entirely to Hasbro and their
to Christy Marx and the other writers of the Sunbow Jem series. Their
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All other characters, including their
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from 2001 to the
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The Teenangel Outsiders, Jesta, Flame, Ryan
and the future interpretations of Aja, Danse and certain of the other
characters are all or in part the concept of Gemma Dawn whose teenangel
fiction world is twinned with Jewel's World. You can visit her site at
All events in the stories on this site are
on original ideas and are not rooted in any existing Jem fiction nor in
real life event or person.