Just A Dream...
The Jem Memorial
Chapter Two: Discovery
"You know, it's kinda nice to have some peace and quiet for
a few days." Aaron Pelligrini observed, his tone rich with irony as he surveyed
the front face of the mansion house. "It's nice to get a break from Nancy
and Sylva's squabbles. You know they spent a whole half an hour this morning
arguing over who got to use the bathroom first...like they didn't have a
flight to catch, or anything. I'll be glad when they move in here proper and
Copper can handle their arguments. It'd be nice to have a morning lie in
once in a while!"
"I don't blame your Aunt Roxy for heading off home last week." His father, who had been roped in to help fix up the more needy parts of the estate by his wife laughed. "It was getting a bit out of hand, but thankfully this place is providing us with a solution. I think your Mom pestered Pizzazz to do something about it, to be honest. It's been driving us all to distraction. Talented they may be, but they're noisy beyond belief!"
"They've done good with this place." Aaron decided. "Even have a pool. It's okay for some, ain't it?"
"I guess that's stardom for you." Justin grinned. "And having a backer with endless pots of cash to spend. You and I get a bum deal in this world of glamourous rock chicks we live in, you know."
"In all honesty, Dad, I never pictured Nancy as being a glamourous rock chick." he admitted, slipping the key his sister had given him that morning into the lock. "But she certainly looks the part now Copper and Sylva have fixed her up. And here they are, jetting off to Detroit at a moment's notice..."
"They're a motley group, but then, so was your mother's band when I first met her and your Aunt Roxy." Justin followed his son into the hall. "I did wonder what I was getting involved in, but getting to know my half-sister was worth the gamble, and I wound up doubly lucky, so I guess there's something in experimenting like this. Pizzazz certainly knows a thing or two about the music industry, I'll give her that." He glanced around her. "You know, after fifteen years plus vacant I was expecting the worst with this place, but it's actually withstood time quite well and it looks good now the cleaners have been in. Just the odd lick of paint here and there should do, thank goodness! When your Mom mentioned it to me I was sure I'd have to redecorate half the house! I'll let you deal with the electronics..." He looked rueful. "Your mother still hasn't forgiven me for blowing the engine out on her last car but one because I rewired it wrong. I have to confess that where cars are concerned your Aunt Roxy is the family mechanic."
Aaron laughed appreciatively, recalling the incident in question and Jetta's irate reaction.
"You totalled that one all right." He agreed. "I couldn't do a thing with it, either."
"Do you know which bedrooms the girls are planning on using?" Justin asked. "I figure that'd be a good place to start sprucing."
"I think Nancy was after one on the top floor...at the far end of the hall. Copper and Sylva I'm not sure about."
Justin eyed Aaron keenly.
"She's a pretty girl, young Copper." he observed. Aaron's expression became slightly guarded.
"Ye-es, she is." He agreed slowly. Justin laughed.
"Well, don't let your heart rule your head. Pretty girls can hurt you, you know." He said, amused. Aaron looked uncomfortable.
"Hey, I never said anything about liking her in that way!" He protested. "I just said she was pretty, that's all!"
"Well, it didn't escape my notice how eager you were to collect her from the hotel this morning and how quickly you volunteered to take them to the airport." Justin replied. "Equally, it hasn't evaded me that you've developed quite a habit of talking about her...you're like me, Aaron. You tend to wear your heart on your sleeve."
"I just think she's cool, that's all." He replied. "I hope we can be friends."
"Yes, I'm sure you will be!" Justin laughed. "Well, at least you have taste, my boy...Copper's quite the young lady."
Aaron grimaced at his father, but chose not to respond, collecting up a length of phone cable and disappearing into the room which had once served as Jerrica's study.
Justin chuckled, watching him go. He knew that Aaron had never had any trouble attracting girls - Sylvina's friendly flirting was testament to that - but it was not often that the attraction was the other way around.
"Guess we'll see what happens." he decided. "I'm not sure that Copper has any idea of it yet."
Aaron, for his part had secluded himself in the study, busying himself with his work as he went over the conversation with his father in his mind. He knew that he liked Copper, though as yet he wasn't sure how much, and he'd had no idea that his father knew it too. It had unsettled him. Was he really that obvious? Or was it just that, with the possible exception of Nancy, Justin knew him best of anyone?
"I barely know the girl." He muttered to himself as he fixed the cable in place. "Sure, I'd like to get to know her better, but not if everyone's watching me do it, dammit! Thank God they're not here this weekend! Last thing I want is for her to get the wrong idea about me."
He paused, surveying his job with a nod of approval. "Okay, that's this room. Now to make sure that the other extensions are fixed in place." He turned, walking across the room to the door in the corner, and reaching for the handle. As he did so, however, the door seemed to flicker and become translucent. Then the image juddered violently and disappeared entirely from view, leaving a gaping hole in the wall and only pitch darkness beyond.
"What the..?" Aaron's brow creased in confusion. "What's going on?"
As he watched with growing disbelief, the entirety of the wall became grainy and unclear, till, with a blip and a flash of light it disappeared altogether. Unnerved, he took a step back. What was wrong with this house?
"It must be some kind of security system Jem and the Holograms had in place." he decided finally, getting a grip on his fear and reaching for his torch, for anything beyond where the wall had stood appeared to be in total blackness, untouched by the light from the room itself. "I guess that it's still activated...somewhere around here is probably a switch I triggered or something."
He flicked on his torch, taking a hesitant couple of steps into the blackness. There was something eerily false about it, for the lights in the study proper were blazing out light at the height of their capabilities.
"What's with this?" He wondered. "Why doesn't the light penetrate?"
A voice echoed out of the blackness, making Aaron jump and drop the torch, which flicked off on impact, plunging himself into darkness once more. It had been a woman's voice, but it had held a strangely tinny and unreal sound, and the teenager could be forgiven for thinking he was in the presence of a ghost. Then he got a further grip on himself. There were no such things as ghosts.
Glancing behind him, he registered a wall behind him that had not been there before, and, disorientated, he fumbled on the floor for his torch. What now? Was he trapped?
The voice was more indistinct and grainy this time. "Jer-r-rica?"
"Who's there?" Aaron found his voice at last. "Who are you? What is this?"
Immediately the blackness in the room lifted to some degree and in the dim, flickering light Aaron began to get a sense of his surroundings. At the far side of the wall stood an unusual looking electronic contraption, clearly some kind of computer, and, as he approached it, Aaron realised that the volume of light in the room was being controlled by this machine...that the darkness had been some kind of instinctive self-defense mechanism.
The computer was old and dusty, and its monitor was a snowstorm of colourful shards.
Fear replaced by intrigue, Aaron approached it slowly, realising as he did so that the smell of musty damp filled the room. Knowledgeable about computers as he was, he was well aware that these conditions were not the best for any kind of electronic machine, and that it was very probable that the computer was damaged in some way by the dampness of its residence. Despite the fact that it could be dangerous, he could not resist a closer look. At the far wall, a dripping pipe explained the damp, and absently Aaron made a mental note to call a plumber.
Gently he placed his hand on the piano keys that appeared to be the machine's keyboard.
"Intruder!" The machine reacted instantly, and it's projectors glowed red. "Intruder!"
Aaron sprang back.
"How is it doing that? How does it know I'm here?" He wondered aloud. "This isn't like any kind of modern machine I've ever seen - it's been here a long while, by the looks of it!" He scanned the desktop. "No detection sensors and no remote camera that I can see...I don't understand!"
The fuzzy dots on the screen began to form a grainy image of a woman with flowing purple hair and similar coloured skin. It took a while for the picture to become at all clear, and even then it flickered from time to time as the machine put all it's energy into maintaining it's persona.
"Where isss Jerrica?" the voice demanded.
"Jerrica? Jerrica who?"
"Jerrrrrr-i-ca Bennn-ton." The machine's sound program choked on a dust particle, distorting the voice further. "Where is sheee?"
"Damned if I know." Aaron shrugged his shoulders. "At work, most probably. She doesn't live here any more."
"Me? Aaron." Aaron replied. "Aaron Pelligrini. I hope you don't mind my asking, but how are you communicating with me? Do you have artificial intelligence? What exactly are you?"
"Pelligrini?" The voice sounded thoughtful. "Ch...checking m-m-m-m-memory banks for m-m-match..." There was a loud, almost painful sounding, creaking whirr. "Collating infor...mation...Pellig-g-grin-n-i-i-i."
A fuzzy image of Aaron's aunt Roxy in her Misfit days projected itself momentarily in the dim room, before distorting into a mess of colour and vanishing. Aaron's eyes opened wide.
"But...that was my Aunt Roxy!" He exclaimed. "Man, how are you doing this? How do you know my aunt? And that picture...she looked so young! You must've been here since the eighties at least to have a memory of her looking like that! But nothing like this existed in the eighties...what in hell are you?"
The projectors glowed red again.
"Ssssssssss..." The speakers hissed violently as the computer strived to expel the word.
There was a further painful whirr, then a clunk, and the machine spat a single sheet of crumpled paper out of what was, Aaron presumed, it's printer. On it was printed five letters.
"Syn..R..G?" He asked, confused. "What is that? Is that the name of the programme you're running? I don't understand what you're trying to tell me!"
There was a further whirr, and whispers of smoke began to seep between the piano keys.
"Ssssss..." The speakers hissed once more. Just in time Aaron realised that the machine was badly unstable and he took several steps back, ducking behind a chair as the monitor exploded into thousands of pieces, the projectors blowing their lenses one by one.
As the machine's warped circuitry failed it, he thought he heard the voice whisper one last dying word.
"What in hell is this thing?" Once sure it was safe, Aaron approached the wreckage slowly. "Synergy? What's Synergy? A computer program? How did it know who Aunt Roxy was? And what does it want with Jerrica?"
He frowned, flipping up the smoking cover and assessing the damage. "It looks like it's been dormant for some time - guess we re-activated it's circuits when we had power reconnected here and it couldn't take the surge after being so long without use. I expect a few things corroded into each other, and the damp in here probably doesn't help." He poked around in the wiring, frowning at the twisted, melted mess. "Not pretty, but fixable, I think."
As he did so, he caught sight of something printed on the inside of the panel.
"Benton. 1985." He read. "1985? That's twenty five years ago...this thing is twenty five years old? Man, whoever this Benton person was, they must've been a real genius!" He frowned, considering. "Hey, Jerrica and Kimber, their name was Benton before they married...is this some kind of family secret?" He replaced the cover. "I think that the best thing I can do is move this thing as best I can out of here to somewhere that's less damp, then reconnect it's wires and see if I can't fix it's melted circuitry. Maybe Copper would help me, she's into computers." He paused, all thought of his conversation with his father gone in light of his new discovery. "Shouldn't be too hard to lift, if I'm careful. I mean, it's big, but I think I can manage it. Best I leave it somewhere in the mansion, though. Somewhere I can lock it away and work on it without anyone knowing. There's got to be a good reason why it was shut up in here out of commission...I should find out more about it before I broadcast to anyone that I've found it."
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.