Just A Dream...
The Jem Memorial

Chapter Twelve: A Temporary Solution

"We're sunk."
Kimber turned from the window, a helpless look in her blue eyes. It was two days since the Jem Memorial Concert, and in those two days things had moved fast. Events at Starlight Music were both dramatic and disturbing from the point of view of the Foundation's chief, even if her relationship with her elder sister was as strained and distant as it could possibly be. Over the course of the last twenty four hours, with the search for Synergy on in earnest, the news had broken that legal suits levelled against the once great music company looked set to bankrupt it.
Even if Starlight Music did not go out of business, it's funds were entirely occupied in fighting the battle, and the Starlight Foundation, their mother's dream looked in very real danger of collapse.
"It can't happen that quickly, surely?" April demanded, her expression as worried as her guardian's. "Kimber, really...these things take months..."
"I know. But in the meantime we have no money to pay bills, to feed and clothe you all." Kimber sank down into a seat, burying her head in her hands. "Synergy...how could you do this to us? And why, dammit?"
"Do you know where she is?" April asked gently, sitting down beside her elder. "A lot of newspapers are offering a large amount of money to anyone who can give her whereabouts..."
"I can't." Kimber shook her head. "I think I know where she might be, April, but I won't...Dad built her. I won't betray his trust in us."
"Fine words."
Kimber swung around, seeing Aja in the doorway. She raised a ghost of a smile.
"Hi, Aja."
"I said I'd come to see you...I didn't realise it would be under these circumstances." Aja frowned, coming to join them. "How goes the financial situation, Kimber? I read somewhere..."
"We're afloat, but barely." Kimber groaned. "Really, Aja, it's touch and go and if things proceed as they look like they will at Starlight Music...God only knows what we'll do. We've thirty-five kids in this state alone, not to mention the other houses across the country. If this one folds, so do they...and what of the kids? Aja, these are my family!"
Aja hugged her friend tightly.
"We can't let the foundation die." She said firmly. "If nothing else but for Jacqui's memory. We have to keep it going."
"Do you want me to leave?" April asked tentatively.
Kimber shot her a startled look.
"Well, I'm seventeen, I..."
"God, April, no!" Kimber exclaimed. "You belong here as much as anyone, and I don't want you thinking otherwise! We'll muddle through somehow, I promise. Can you go and help out in the kitchen for a bit? Aja and I have to talk about things."
"Sure." April's pretty face adopted a look of comprehension. "I hope you sort it out, Kimber. We all love the foundation."
Once she was gone, Kimber sighed.
"April is the closest thing I have to a daughter in this crazy place." She admitted. "She's Dierdra's, in actual fact...but I've brought her up much of her life."
"She looks like Dierdra." Aja observed, deciding that now was not the time to ask questions about the fate of the Starlight girl in question. "Kimber, now we're alone...what exactly are the finances like?"
"Enough for this week's bills." Kimber spread her hands. "Shawn went over the accounts before he left this morning. Shana and Regine have offered their support regarding clothing the girls, and they're sweet enough to do it for free, bless them...but even if we pump into the thing all of the money Shawn earns, it won't keep the whole chain afloat more than a day or two, since his work and the Foundation are interlinked anyway. It's hopeless, Aja."
"Maybe." Aja looked thoughtful. "But we can't give up on it that easily. And I know that Synergy would never have jeopardised the Foundation had she realised what she was doing...you don't blame her, do you?"
"No." Kimber shook her head. "I blame Jerrica. The way she spoke about Synergy last night...it was unacceptable. It was like she was slighting Mom herself, you know?"
"I know." Aja nodded. "I felt it too."
"Can I intrude?" A fresh voice interrupted the conversation, and both girls turned to see Carmen watching them.
"Raya! Of course." Kimber indicated for her to sit down. "Though I'm not sure either of us are good company this morning."
"Hi, Raya." Aja smiled at the Mexican-American. "Long time no see."
"Too long, Aja." Carmen said quietly. "I have missed you." She turned to Kimber. "And as for your good company, Kimber, I come I hope with an offer of help...at least a temporary one."
"Oh?" Kimber looked surprised. Carmen nodded.
"This morning I spoke to the director of my new film, who was also a friend of my husband, and is a very good friend of me also." She said slowly. "I spoke to him of the Foundation's plight, and he agreed something must be done. He has agreed that the money raised by the film, when it comes into theatres next week will go into keeping the Starlight Foundation alive. Also, I wish to pledge an amount myself from my earnings to supporting the house. This is too important a cause to allow to die."
"Raya!" Kimber flung her arms around her friend. "Oh, I don't know how to thank you!"
"Well, I wish I could do more." Carmen smiled. "But I am glad to help some at least."
"As for long term, leave that in my hands." Aja said thoughtfully. "I've the germ of an idea, Kimber, but I don't want to say any more, not till I know if it can come off."
"I don't know what I've done without you guys." Kimber dimpled. "Between you and Shana, you've saved my sanity and the Foundation, at least for the time being. I really don't know how I'll ever repay you, Raya..."
"You have no repayment to give." Carmen shook her head. "I want to do this. It means something to me...for the Starlight Foundation was a part of my life, as it was yours."
"So the Holograms live on." Aja smiled. "I didn't think I'd ever say it, but I'm glad to be back with you guys. I mean, my home is in England with Craig and Sammi...but I've missed you all so much. If only..." She paused, sighing. "I dunno. Things can't be taken back in time, no matter how much you wish for it."
"No." Carmen looked equally pensive. "If that were so, we would never have stopped our friendship and...and maybe I could have done something where my husband was concerned."
"What happened?" Aja looked startled.
"He died of a brain tumour." Carmen replied. "Four years ago. I have to admit in some ways I have been lost without him, but this is giving me a new focus...a focus back home in Los Angeles, too. Detroit is wonderful, but there is a piece of me here. And, now my daughter chooses to live here, I hope that I shall be back here often."
"What do you suppose will happen with Starlight Music?" Kimber asked. Aja looked grave.
"I think that there is little we can do to prevent it's closure." She said sadly. "It pains me to say it, but Jerrica calls the shots and must face the music. I'm sorry, Kimber. I know it means something to you."
"Not these days." Kimber shook her head. "Not since...well, it doesn't matter, because we're all friends again now. It's been too long, but at least we've stopped the fight."
"Noone is more glad than I." Carmen smiled. "If it had not been for Copper, though, I would never have come."
"Copper?" Aja looked confused.
"Raya's daughter plays drums for Jewel." Kimber replied. "You know who Jewel are? I know you've been out of the country."
"Yes, I know, but only because my niece plays synth for them too." Aja smiled. "I did wonder at her drum technique, Raya...it was very familiar."
"Speaking of Copper, you know that she has Synergy?" Carmen lowered her voice. "Jewel are living at Starlight Mansion, and from what she has told me, Jetta's son Aaron has put Synergy back in working order. I have not spoken to her since before everything happened at the concert, but I don't think she was behind the Jem display. Having said that, I am worried for her safety in light of all the searching."
"Leave that to me." Aja said quietly. "Starlight Mansion? Okay. I ought to go see Sylvina anyhow, congratulate her on her performance. Maybe I can be of help to them."
"If anyone knows Synergy, you do." Kimber responded. "Good luck, Aja."
"Thanks." Aja winked. "I'll come back here before I head back to Shana's, if I may...I've so little time left in the States with you all before I have to go home, so I mean to enjoy it!"

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"Pizzazz? May I speak to you?"
Phyllis glanced up from her desk, eying her visitor in some confusion.
"Yeah, sure." She said, pushing her papers aside. "As if I want to be looking over bits of red tape nonsense anyway. What gives, Stormer?"
"I wanted to talk to you about the Starlight Foundation." Mary sat down in the indicated chair, her own expression troubled.
"What about it?"
"Well, since Jerrica's affairs are so badly in trouble at Starlight Music, the funding for the Foundation has been cut off, pretty much."
"So? Pizzazz, that place brought up your only daughter for you." Mary reminded her. "Think of all of the money and time Kimber and Shawn and the others spent raising Emily...don't you owe them something in return?"
"Nope." Phyllis frowned. "I made donations already. If you're just going to be boring, Stormer..."
"No, I'm not going to let you stand by and let the Foundation collapse." A look of determination entered Mary's blue eyes. "Listen to me, Pizzazz. You remember when Emily was born? Do you remember how frightened you were when everything was going on...how afraid you were people would find out what had happened? And do you remember how easily the Foundation took Emily into their care without asking awkward questions? It's thanks to them that she's grown up and is alive today."
"You think I should be grateful for having a daughter who wants to ruin me?" Phyllis demanded.
"I think you should be grateful for them raising the daughter you didn't know how to handle." Mary replied quietly. "You have money, Pizzazz, it's not like it would kill you to make a contribution. And whatever you say about Emily, I know full well that you care what happens to her, else you would never have made those donations in the past. Whether you admit to it or not, you love your daughter, in your own way."
"What do you know about anything?" Phyllis demanded, her temper aroused by this.
"I know you." Mary said quietly. "And, more importantly, perhaps, I know how you deal with things. So does Jetta, and she sees as clearly as I do that you haven't cut yourself off from Emily as easily as you pretend. Whatever she's getting up to, it matters to you that she's alive."
Phyllis groaned.
"Okay, all right, whatever." She said finally. "I give in! I'll make a contribution, just stop trying to guilt me into believing I'm a wannabe mother who couldn't cope! I don't care about Emily, she's just another kid and she's the competition, got it? That's all she is to me. A rival singer from a rival company. But if it'll shut you up, I'll give Kimber some money to keep her stupid Foundation going. Okay? Happy?"
A smile touched Mary's lips.
"Yes." She said. "Thank you, Pizzazz. That's exactly what I wanted to hear. I'll go and tell Kimber right now."
"You be careful about what you say." Phyllis warned her.
"Don't worry, I know the script." Mary laughed. "And think of it this way, Pizzazz. It's great publicity for Misfit Music, in a time when Starlight Music looks like folding, to be the Foundation's saviour."
"I suppose so." Phyllis conceded. "Now get out, will you, before I change my mind!"
And with a secret smile of triumph, Stormer went.

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

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.