Just A Dream...
The Jem Memorial
Chapter Seven: Reboot
Zoe knocked on the office door, her expression both preoccupied and
apprehensive. She had never before been nervous of entering the office
of the notorious Phyllis Gabor, for her sunny temperament and the ease
with which she followed orders and got results appealed to the executive,
but this was something quite different.
There was no reply, and gently she knocked again, hoping that this time Phyllis would hear her. There was a pause and then a grudging 'come in' this time, and, swallowing hard, Zoe did as she was bidden.
Phyllis glanced up from her desk, frowning when she saw the young filmmaker.
"What?" She demanded. "Can't you see I'm busy, Zoe? What is it?"
"I...I need to talk to you." Hesitantly Zoe came to sit down. "Pizzazz, it's about that girl who was just here..."
Phyllis' green eyes darkened and she eyed Zoe searchingly.
"What about her?" She asked sharply.
"I...heard what she said." Zoe twisted her hands together. "I know who she is, Pizzazz...she's Sirena. And I think I understand now what Sylva and the others were saying about this rivalry she seems to have for them. I heard everything...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, but I was coming to deliver this," She pulled a computer disk from her bag. "It's the animation for that video that you asked me to edit through."
Phyllis took the disk absently, putting it to one side on her desk. Her expression was troubled, and for a moment she didn't speak. Zoe bit her lip, waiting for the burst of rage she felt sure was coming.
But it never did. Instead the executive let out a heavy sigh.
"Why is it that things never work out how they're meant to?" She asked plaintively. "I never asked for her to be wished on me, Zoe...what in hell would I know about bringing up a kid? I thought I'd dealt with it all in the best possible way...and I thought I'd covered my tracks. And now..." She buried her head in her hands.
"And now she wants to ruin me." She murmured. "If Jewel play at the Jem Memorial, she's going to publically disgrace me...but what can I do? Not letting Jewel play there is not an option."
Zoe was silent. Then,
"You can't let her blackmail you." She ventured quietly. Phylllis snorted.
"Yeah, that'd be good, wouldn't it?" She said humourlessly. "Phyllis Gabor, blackmailed by some charity kid noone ever heard of before last month. But that's the trouble, she ain't just a charity kid. She's my kid! And she knows too much..."
"I know my opinion doesn't count for a whole lot, but I think that you gotta let Jewel play." Zoe said at length. "It could seriously damage their careers - and Misfit Music as a whole - if you don't."
"I know." Phyllis nodded. "I know! But calling the kid's bluff...damn her. I hoped I'd never see her again!"
She eyed Zoe thoughtfully, then,
"If you ever dare breathe a single word of this to anyone, your career won't be worth the film it's etched onto." She warned.
"I had no intention of talking about it." Zoe assured her. "To be honest it isn't my business." She dimpled. "I like working for you guys and I hope you work it out - I don't like not liking people, but I have to admit I'm not too charmed by Sirena."
"Makes two of us." Phyllis groaned. "Leave me alone, Zoe, I need to think. I have to figure out just exactly how to prevent her from ruining my reputation...and soon."
Back in the basement of the Starlight Mansion, ignorant to the events
at Misfit Music's main headquarters, Aaron sent his companion a sceptical
""Plan?" He demanded. "What kind of a plan? What are you gonna do, hug her?"
"No, I'm not going to go that far." She assured him as she watched him plug in the unit, replacing the stray pieces of panelling. "But I am going to try talking to her."
"Talking to her?" Aaron snorted.
"Well, it can't hurt to try, surely." Copper reasoned. "I mean, it's not like it's going to do her any damage, is it?"
"No, I guess not." Aaron shook his head. "If you're so keen to try it, carry on. But I have to admit that I still think it's more than a little bit insane."
"We'll see." Copper responded. Carefully she placed her hands on the computer's keyboard, unconsciously forming chords and pressing gently down on the keys as she did so, as if hoping to trigger some kind of a response.
"Synergy?" She murmured. "Are you awake? Can you hear me?"
There was no reply.
"Please, Synergy, we want to help you." Copper's tone turned beseeching. "My name is Elizabeth Santiago, and you already met Aaron...we want to make you better but we need your help - we need to know more about you. Will you please boot for us?"
There was not even the slightest glimmer of a response from the mainframe, and Copper frowned.
"Well, I guess you were right." She said finally, removing her hands from the keys. "I guess you can't revive a computer with just reasoning with it. Not even one of Synergy's intelligence."
"If only Raya knew better how to run this thing." Aaron responded. Copper nodded.
"She said that she was as good a friend as any of the other Holograms." She agreed. "I know that she'll be just as disappointed as we are that we've failed to get Synergy running again. I got the impression that Mama misses having her around."
Almost as soon as she had finished speaking, there was a deep, rumbling hum from the machine's speakers, and shards of light began to blip across the monitor. Copper and Aaron exchanged looks, and Aaron moved to touch the keys.
"Maybe it wasn't so mad after all." He said wonderingly. "Synergy?"
"I bet she heard what I said about Mama missing her!" Copper exclaimed. "All she needed was to know that the Holograms still cared about her...and I know that Mama does! I only hope that she has enough coherent memory remaining to boot properly for us now."
"Well, she's giving it her best." Aaron observed as the flashes on the screen became larger and full of colour, whilst beams of light began to emit from the big projectors. The two teenagers watched, dumbstruck, as the big lavender computer slowly whirred and groaned into life and the image of a woman's head, at first blurred but with more and more definition with every second began to form on the monitor.
"Synergy...is that you?" Copper asked.
There was no spoken reply, but the beams of light from the projectors danced together, forming a faint but identifiable image of a woman in the room before them. She was, as Aaron recalled from his previous encounter with Synergy, purple of both skin and hair, but her features were so realistic that Copper felt almost that it was a real human being that stood before them. Her waves of hair curled neatly under her chin and she was dressed in a black, onesleeved dress speckled with silver that glinted under the laser's rays. As the image became more three dimensional and opaque, they found themselves gazing into the lavender eyes of Synergy herself, made up as they were from pixels of light. The image was bathed for a moment in a pinkish purple light, and then all was dark once more.
"So that's why Mama referred to you so strongly as 'she'." Copper breathed. "You're so pretty, Synergy!"
"Who are you?" The voice was slow and gentle, slightly indistinct as if awaking from a deep sleep, and the projection glanced around her in confusion, as if trying to get her bearings. "Where am I? Where is Jerrica? What is going on?"
"Sshh, Synergy...don't blow your circuits out again." Aaron said gently. "One question at a time. You've been...out of commission a while and you needed a lot of repair work. Let your memory banks re-activate themselves in their own time."
"I want to know." The projection shook her head. "I feel like...like I have been in a deep sleep..."
"You have, kind of." Copper told her. "My name's Elizabeth Santiago, like I said, and this is Aaron Pelligrini...he fixed up your circuits for you. You were in a really bad way when he found you, but you're running pretty good now, so I think he did a great job, don't you?"
"Found...me?" The projection of Synergy looked startled. Then her oval eyes dimmed to a dull reddish hue as shards of memory came back to her.
"Jerrica...left me." She murmured. Before their eyes she morphed herself into a an image of the young Jerrica she had known all those years ago. "Where is she? I must...I must see her."
"She's most probably at Starlight Music." Aaron told her. "Like I told you when we first met, Synergy, the Bentons don't live here any more. Things have changed. Copper and her bandmates own this house now."
The face on the monitor appeared confused.
"What is the year?" She asked at length.
"2010." Aaron exchanged looks with his redheaded companion. "I think you must have been...asleep a long time, Synergy. When I found you you were really in rough shape, and I had to rewire an awful lot of your circuitboards, but I have to admit that, for an eighties computer you're one hell of a machine."
At the sound of the year Synergy's pixelised eyes widened, then her expression grew angry and she blew the image of Jerrica into shards of red light.
"Where is she!" She demanded, more insistant this time. "How dare she leave me here to die? How dare she?"
"Synergy, I'm sure it wasn't like that." Copper, ever the peacemaker stepped in, but Synergy was clearly not to be reasoned with when in this state of mind. Her remaining warped files, it appeared, had given her a new outlook on life, and somehow the two teenagers felt that there would be no messing with the computer now. She flickered red warning lights from her projectors as if to indicate her displeasure.
"Jerrriiccaaaa!" She exclaimed, at such volume both Copper and Aaron were afraid that she would be heard by Sylva and Nancy upstairs. "To think her father built me for her...and this is how she treats me! Shuts me away and isolates me till my circuits warp from damp and neglect and I don't know one day from another! I remember my chips failing me, one by one, but they never fixed me...Aja never came to fix me."
A wistful note touched her voice.
"They didn't want me any more, did they?"
"I can't speak for the other Holograms, but my mother thinks a lot of you." Copper said soothingly. "She said that you were a huge friend, Synergy."
"Your...mother?" Gently Synergy bathed Copper in light, as if trying to determine the answer to the girl's identity. "How does your mother know me? I have no record of the name Santiago in my memorybanks."
"She was Raya Alonso, when you knew her." Copper agreed. Synergy's expression lit up with recognition.
"I remember." She murmured, focusing more of her projectors on Copper as she projected an image of the Raya she remembered over the girl before her. "Yes, I remember."
"Wow! Synergy, that's amazing!" Aaron exclaimed, staring at Copper incredulously. "Copper, I'd hardly know you! You look so totally different!"
Copper pulled her mirror from her purse, gasping as her mother's youthful reflection stared back at her.
"How did you do that?" She demanded, somewhat unnerved by what she saw. "Synergy, change me back!"
"As you wish." Obediently Synergy lowered her beams, and the hologram faded.
"But how did you do that?" Aaron demanded. "What were you built for, Synergy?"
"I was created by Emmet Benton, to be the ultimate entertainment synthesiser." Synergy replied slowly. "I can project a realistic three dimensional hologram of anything you choose. Observe." She directed her projectors at an empty spot on the floor, projecting an image of a puppydog. The animal yapped around Copper's heels and without thinking she bent to pet it, but her hand went straight through it's body.
"It's not real, Copper. It's a hologram." Aaron reminded her. "And a damn fine one, too. I can see why you were valuable stage equipment for the Holograms, Synergy!"
Synergy's eyes flashed a brilliant red.
"Stage equipment?" She repeated, affronted. "Stage equipment? I was their act! Without me there was no Jem!"
"What do you mean?" Copper frowned. "What has Jem to do with it?"
"Jerrica killed Jem." Synergy intoned softly. "I told her that she had to make a choice - herself or Jem...and she chose to live her life without Jem's interference. Jem died and Jerrica...it seems she no longer needed me."
There was an echoing hiss, almost like a sigh, and Copper thought she detected a note of real bitterness in the computer's words.
"I'm not sure I understand." Aaron frowned. "Jem drove off a bridge, Synergy, twenty years ago. You're getting confused - Jerrica was nowhere near the car, and the police declared it wilful suicide with no indication of foul play, due to the lack of evidence at the scene. Every man and his dog knows the story by now."
Synergy's features rearranged themselves once more into a scowl.
"Everyone knows what Jerrica chose to tell them." She corrected him, as the image of the puppy faded once more into nothingness. "Does noone question it? Does noone look for who Jem really was?"
"It's one of those mysteries." Copper shook her head. "Noone seems to know where she came from or who she was, and anyone who was in the know isn't telling. I know Mama knows, but she's never told even me the truth. They never even found a body...it's all shrouded in intrigue, to be honest."
Synergy's projectors flickered contemplatively. Then they glowed pink, projecting a likeness of the late singer into the room.
"I was Jem." She murmured. "My projection and Jerrica's voice. It was me who made Jem the legend that she was, me who gave Jerrica the self-confidence to perform. Me!"
"You?" Copper stared at the hologram, not comprehending.
"Well, it explains why they never found a body." Aaron remarked. "But how, Synergy? Jem went all over the world...did Jerrica take you everywhere she went?"
"No." Synergy replied. "Of course not...it would be impossible to carry my units across the world without arousing suspicion. Emmet made a set of remote micro-projectors for me, the last thing he ever made before he died, and put them in earrings for Jerrica to use. She always wore them, and so long as the earrings were around and not immersed in water I could project Jem as easily as if I were there myself."
"So what happened to the earrings?" Copper asked.
"I do not know." Synergy responded, turning off the Jem hologram with a flash of colour and powering down her lasers. "I believe that Kimber may know more than I do, or even Jerrica herself. I was not in the best of health after Jem was disposed of, and noone bothered to correct my anomalies."
"So Jem was a scam all the time!" Aaron exclaimed. "Jerrica Benton in disguise! And yet millions flocked to hear her sing...why, they're even holding a concert in her memory in a week or two's time!"
"Really?" Synergy's projectors flickered once more, as if she was thinking this over. "Tell me, will everyone be there?"
"Anyone who's anyone in Los Angeles, according to our business manager." Copper nodded. "Though Mama has refused point blank to attend...she's still mad at Jerrica over something that happened in the past. It's a pity, because my group, Jewel are playing a set there...it's a big honour."
A smile touched Synergy's lips.
"Let me help you." She offered. "You have helped me greatly, after all. Let me help you put on a stage show that noone will ever forget. Now my circuits are functioning again, I know I can conjure up something...unique."
"Would you?" Copper's eyes lit up. "Oh, Synergy, that would be great! This show is such a big deal - it would be so cool to have your support!"
"My pleasure." Synergy murmured. "All you need do is have some of my projectors built into your stage equipment - I'll do the rest." She flashed an array of lights around the dim room, as if to demonstrate. "It might even be fun."
"I'll work on transferring a couple of your projectors tomorrow." Aaron decided. "It'll take me a while to work out the best way to connect them."
"I will help you." Synergy assured him. "I know enough of my own programming to be able to assist."
She frowned at him. "Maybe my microchips are getting scrambled, but I thought I heard your name as Pelligrini...tell me, are you a relation of Roxanne Pelligrini? She is the only Pelligrini I can locate in my database...I feel like there are so many holes in my knowledge these days."
"She's my aunt." Aaron nodded. "I did wonder how you knew her enough to project her image when we first met, but if you were taking such an active role with the Holograms, it's no real surprise. My mother is another former Misfit - Jetta."
"Yes. I recall Jetta." Synergy's hard disk whirred into life and an image of the Misfits appeared briefly on the screen, then vanished. "I remember them all very clearly."
"Phyllis...well, Pizzazz as you'd remember her, and Jetta run Misfit Music together these days. They're who my group are signed to." Copper explained. "Aaron's sister Nancy, and Stormer's daughter Sylvina are the other group members. They're upstairs...maybe soon we'll introduce you to them."
"Indeed?" Synergy looked amused. "How ironic, then, that I should be helping Jerrica's bitterest enemies! Yes, very ironic!"
"You don't mind?" Copper looked anxious.
"I have no allegiance to Jerrica now." Synergy replied quietly. "The section of my memory which details the obligations of my programming is...shall we say...inaccessible to me." Her eyes twinkled. "You have rescued me, and I will repay that kindness. I do not care who you are signed to...it matters nothing to me."
"Great." Copper dimpled. "Thanks, Synergy! I just know that this concert is gonna be a blast!"
"Synergy's projectors flashed red once more.
"Oh, I believe it will." She agreed softly. "In fact, I'm counting on 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.
Sammi and the concept of Aja's future life are copyrighted to Gemma Dawn.