Just A Dream...
The Jem Memorial
Chapter Ten: Revenge
"We're up next." Nancy peered through the mesh curtains at the back
of the stage, her heart thumping in her throat. "I didn't realise it would
be quite like this to play here, Copper...I think I'm gonna freak."
"You'll be fine." Copper assured her. "Here, have a bit of this, it'll calm you." She held out her bottle of mineral water to her friend who hesitated, then took it, taking a tentative sip.
"Thanks." She replied, returning the bottle. "I'm glad Syl isn't here right now. I don't want her to see me like this, she'll gloat forever if she catches me with my composure down."
"Sirena's almost finished, so she'll be back soon." Copper responded. "We're the last act before the intermission. Come on, Nance, you can do this, right? We're starting with the song we've done to death over the last few weeks and you know for sure it's a hit. By the time we get to the new song, you'll be well into it and noone will know you were ever nervous."
"Guess so." Nancy reached for her guitar, slipping the strap over her shoulder and testing the tuning. "Well, this thing is ready, so I guess that means that I'm ready too. Is my makeup okay?"
"It's fine." Copper nodded. "And here's Syl...Syl, got your synth?"
"Yes." Sylva indicated her instrument. "Has that creep done caterwauling yet?"
"Almost." Nancy nodded. "Jewel's ready to rock then, I guess."
"Jewel? Ready to go?" One of the attendants asked. Copper smiled.
"When you are." She agreed.
"Stage is all yours." The attendant smiled back.
"Where's Aaron?" Nancy wondered as the three girls took their places.
"He's seeing to the effects." Copper whispered back, as the lights went up and colours began to ripple around the three performers. Sensing their cue, the girls began their song. As she'd assured Copper, once the lights were on her Nancy's flair came out in full force, and despite herself Jetta felt a stab of pride.
Mary leant closer to her friend.
"Nancy plays well." She murmured.
"She's a natural at every blinkin' musical instrument she's ever tried to play." Jetta murmured back. "You know she writes the songs too...I think this is the only career she could've 'ad."
From the wings, Sirena watched the performance, her eyes narrowing with anger as the set continued. Jewel had only four songs to play, but their lighting effects were far superior to her own, and she wondered exactly how they were being produced. Aaron's technical meddling, she supposed.
"Bah." She muttered. "Well, we'll soon see who the real star is here. Noone here will remember Jewel's set if I stun them into silence with my announcement over the interval...that should deal with them good and proper! And with Mother, too. I'll teach her to abandon me!"
Almost before Jewel had cleared the stage, and certainly before anyone had had any time to raise the lighting, the young soloist had pushed her way back through the wings and onto the dais, grabbing the microphone from Sylva's stand and casting the synth player a look of contempt as she did so. Sylva looked ready to hit out at her foe there and then, but Copper had seen the danger, and pulled her friend offstage just in time.
In the audience, Phyllis' complexion became ashen, and she bit her lip, knowing in her heart what was about to happen.
"This is it." She murmured. "Jetta, I'm finished!"
"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming here tonight." Sirena was all sweetness and light, for her manner was easily deceptive and amiable, and it endeared the audience to her immediately. "I feel we've done Jem's memory proud. But there's something very important that I feel cannot be a secret any longer, and tonight seems like the right occasion to bring it up, with so many of my friends from the press present." She dimpled at a group of nearby reporters, smiling into the television cameras as she relished her moment of triumph. Out of the corner of her eye she registered her mother's sickly expression and her triumph grew.
"What's she doing?" Sylva hissed. "Why did she shove us off stage like that?"
"Beats me." She said. "Why does Sirena do anything?"
"Someone here is not quite all they claim to be." Sirena continued now. "They've spent the last twenty years lying and I'm afraid my conscience will not allow the lies to remain any longer. I..."
But before she could finish her sentence, there was a loud bang from the set behind her, as one of the speakers apparently blew out. With a little shriek Sirena jumped back, as one by one the lights above her shimmered red and then appeared to blow up, though the shards of glass they spilled out every which way seemed to pass through everything they touched.
"What the...?" Copper frowned. "Aaron? What's going on!"
"You're asking me?" Aaron came up behind her, a frown of equal gravity on his face.
"Oh, great, Aaron!" Nancy exclaimed. "You're in charge of equipment and that's ours that's blowing a few circuits here, there and everywhere! If we'd been on stage when that happened we could've been killed!"
"Pity Sirena wasn't." Sylva remarked. "She looks shook up, mind you."
In the audience, chaos ensued as security men and electricians hurried towards the stage to check if it was safe. At a table at the back one person fainted, and more than one guest looked frightened. The chaos was such that evacuation of the hall was impossible. From her vantage point at the back of the room, Aja watched events with growing concern. What was wrong? Had someone tried to sabotage her niece's equipment?
And then it happened.
From the surviving speakers there was a sound rather like the rush of air, and in the centre of the hall, between the tables a figure began to form, the swirling colours gradually assembling themselves into the features of the late singer herself.
"It's Jem!" Someone shrieked. "She's come to haunt us!"
"A ghost! A ghost!" Someone else exclaimed.
The figure did not speak until she had gained full form, then she began to laugh, the sound of it carrying around the whole room.
"Yes, this is nice." She said, and her voice was eerily soft and echoey, though distinguishable as that of Jem herself. "A whole room of people devoted in paying their respects to a singer. Yes, it must be nice not to be forgotten by those who you care about."
Her gaze swept the room, as if she was looking for something. Backstage, Copper let out a gasp.
"Synergy!" She breathed. Aaron frowned.
"What in hell does she think she's doing?" He demanded. "I shouldve known that there was more to her offer of help than just gratitude!"
"What is that thing?" Across the hall Phyllis had regained her composure somewhat more than the rest of the room, her interest in proceedings restored. "Jetta, you believe in ghosts?"
Jetta snorted, trying to pretend that she wasn't ruffled.
"Of course I don't." She replied. "It's some weird light show, that's all. Some trick someone's rigged up. Nothin' more."
Copper slipped across to the control box that had dictated the light sequencing for the band's set.
"Synergy, what are you playing at?" She hissed. "This wasn't part of the deal!"
"Why are you talking to a box?" Nancy came up behind her, making her jump.
"Um..." Copper bit her lip, her cheeks flushing red. "It's...um...very sensitive equipment. Needs special care."
"Yeah, whatever you say." Nancy snorted. "Come on, There's some show going on out there - you don't wanna miss it!"
There was indeed 'some show' in progress. Having assessed the company in the hall, the apparition had spread her arms, raising the light in the place just enough so that people could see each other's startled faces. In the corners cameras still whirred and journalists scrawled down notes as fast as they could, not quite believing all that was going on.
Slowly the figure began to move between the tables, fixing each and every occupant with a piercing gaze as she did so.
"You can't kill me so easily, you know." She intoned softly. "I don't die so quickly as that. You can leave me alone to rot and to die, but you'll never fully beat me down."
Kimber let out a gasp, her hand flying to her mouth.
"It's Synergy!" She murmured. Carmen shot her a startled look.
"Synergy?" She asked.
"Yes! It must be! Oh, but I thought she was shut down, I thought..."
"Copper." Carmen's eyes became thoughtful. "No, Kimber, Synergy lives still. My daughter and her friend have been restoring her...but I cannot think that they planned an event such as this."
"If you ask me Synergy's doing this off her own bat." Kimber looked troubled. "She looks angry, Raya...I hate to admit it but I'm scared. And look at Jerrica! She's gone white!"
Kimber was right. Jerrica had indeed gone ashen, and from her hiding place Aja felt a strange kind of pleasure at seeing it. She had realised quicker even than Kimber who was behind the projection, and she sent out a silent thankyou to the hologramatic friend who she had worked with for so many years. Synergy had always been constant and reliable in the past, and even now she appeared to be acting of her own accord, Aja had faith in her, and was secretly willing her on.
It was about time that the lies of the past twenty years and beyond were laid to rest.
The spectre paused opposite the table belonging to Starlight Music, and a serene smile touched her lips as she met Jerrica's terrified blue eyes.
"You seem upset, Jerrica." She observed. "But we were such good friends once, don't you remember?"
"Or was I wrong to think that way?" The apparition pretended to be surprised. "Did you really value me so little, Jerrica? Was I really just there for you to use, a front for your own inner wishes?"
"Stop it!" Jerrica could stand it no more. "Stop it! I know who you are and you're not Jem, so don't try and pretend that you are!"
"Not Jem?" The apparition became angry, and bolts of ghostly flame flared up from the corners of the room. "Not Jem? Who am I then, if I'm not the one who gave Jem life, who created her, who supported her and who comforted her when she failed? Who am I, if not Jem?"
Jerrica did not answer, and the figure pushed her advantage home.
"I was Jem." She said softly. "But you killed her, Jerrica. Oh so cold-heartedly, you ended a dream and put her fans into mourning. All for your own ends. And I was blind, I did not see what you were doing. I thought I could trust you...but you let me down. You let me decay, you abandoned me when I needed your care. You tried to kill me too, destroy the evidence, let noone know what Jem really was. But there's no hiding it now. I'm not staying quiet any longer. Seventeen years is quite long enough."
"I'll try and shut her off." Aaron murmured to Copper in the wings, but Synergy heard him and turned her piercing glare towards the stage. In an instant there was another explosion as all of the electrical equipment on the stage exploded into fire and smoke.
"Nancy!" Jetta was on her feet in an instant. "Aaron!"
"Jetta, it's okay." Mary grabbed her arm, pulling her down.
"But they could be hurt!" Jetta's grey eyes registered uncharacteristic concern. "Sylva too - don't you care?"
"Trust me." Mary murmured. "It's not real, Jetta. None of it is real. It's all an illusion...see. There they are." As the shaken teenagers made their way off the stage and down into the main body of the hall. Sirena had already fled to the safety of the Rebel Record table, too shaken to care about exposing her mother, and Rory scarely any more competent in being able to encourage her.
"I would not hurt my friends." The apparition sounded reproachful. "I do not hurt people who are good to me. I just warn you not to interfere, what must be done must be done!" Her eyes narrowed.
"Jerrica...you have questions to answer now. You have a chance to explain yourself...do so. Everyone is listening."
The light dimmed down once more, highlighting Jerrica alone in a silvery spotlight. Jerrica swallowed hard, frozen almost to the spot with fear and confusion.
"Look here, whatever you are, leave Jerrica alone." Rio took a hand, but the figure just laughed at him scornfully.
"You can't protect her this time." She scolded. "She must answer for it. Jerrica caused the death of Jem, alienated the Holograms from each other and abandoned me to my fate. I want to hear her speak."
"Shut up!" Something inside Jerrica snapped. "Shut up, Synergy! You know you're not Jem...you know full well that there was no Jem! That Jem was just a creation of ours that you projected in hologramatic form! You're just a computer, you can't control me and you can't change things! I didn't kill Jem, and to be honest, who cares if I neglected you? You're a machine, Synergy, you don't have feelings or opinions of your own! You do what you're told to do, or you should. You started to get erratic so I let you shut down. It was for the best!"
There was silence in the room, as this information was digested. The apparition herself seemed stunned at first by these words, unable initially to react in any way but to stare in disbelief at the girl she had once called a friend.
"Your father made me to help you when he was gone." She murmured finally. "And this is how you repay me."
"Synergy, no." Now Aja could not keep quiet. "That's not how we all feel."
"Aja!" Kimber shrieked. "You came!"
"Synergy is not just a computer." Aja sent Kimber a grin, but her attention was on Jerrica. "She has more human feeling inside of her than you seem to have inside of you, Jerrica. It's about time you answered for the scam you've been running these last years, and the lies you've grown accustomed to telling everyone. The secret is out."
PART TWO: THE JEM MEMORIAL
Chapter One: Starlight Mansion
Chapter Two: Discovery!
Chapter Three: Zoe
Chapter Four: Top Of The Charts
Chapter Five: Aaron's Secret
Chapter Six: Sirena's Plan
Chapter Seven: Reboot
Chapter Eight: Some Answers
Chapter Nine: The Jem Memorial Concert
Chapter Ten: Revenge
Chapter Eleven: Repercussions
Chapter Twelve: A Temporary Solution
Chapter Thirteen: Wild At Heart
JEWELFIC MAIN PAGE:
Copper, Nancy, Sylvie, Anna, Blade, 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.
Sammi and the concept of Aja's future life are copyrighted to Gemma Dawn.