A Jewel Whodunnit...
Chapter Two: Phyllis Returns

"Oh my God..."
Phyllis Gabor stepped out of the taxi, absently paying the driver as she gazed with some horror and dismay at the chaos that lay before her. It was the same evening, and, though darkness had not yet fallen, it was late. The crowds of people had long since dispersed, some home, some to hospital, and there was an eerie silence to the building. Sharp-eyed, Phyllis quickly picked up on the charring and smoke marks around various of the windows and muttered an inward curse.
"I should have prevented this." She murmured, making her way slowly to the main doors and hesitating, unsure as to whether she should go inside. Large areas of the building were roped off, and she knew that the local police department would be called in to investigate the fire's causes...she had no mind to implicate herself in the drama that was to unfold. Misfit Music was her lifeblood, and she hated to see it in such disarray.
As yet Phyllis was unaware of her friend's fate. Though Copper and Topaz had both tried her phone it had been to no avail, for the reception during her journey home had been poor, and she had ordered the driver to take her straight to the company, so had not yet been home. For a moment she just stood there, and as she did so a sense of pure rage took over.
"How dare they!" She exclaimed, clencing her fists in anger. "Oooh, if I ever get my hands on the scrawny wretch who did this..."
"Miss Gabor?"
A voice startled her and she swung round, meeting the grave violet gaze of Cynthia Benton. With everything at Starlight Mansion in such chaos, and with her friends so preoccupied with the situation, Cynthia had, once she had understood the true horror of what had happened, elected to wait for her employer at the building itself. Rightly assuming that Misfit Music would be Phyllis' first port of call, the hologram had steeled herself to break the news before the police and the press got involved.
"What in hell happened?" Phyllis demanded now. Cynthia frowned.
"Noone is quite sure as yet." She said quietly. "A fire seems to have begun somewhere on a lower floor or in the elevator shaft, I do not know where. Many are saying it was an electrical failing. The alarms did not go off as they should and it meant it took longer for things to be gotten under control."
Phyllis muttered a curse, then, "How bad is it in there?"
"I have not seen for myself. Today was my day off work." Cynthia admitted. "I only know what the others have told me. Miss Gabor..." She hesitated, then, "There is more than just material damage at stake here. People...were hurt, too. Some...some badly so."
"People?" Phyllis looked confused. Then she blanched. "Jetta?"
Cynthia did not respond right away, and Phyllis knew she was right. She grabbed the hologram firmly by the shoulders.
"Where is she?"
"They took her to the nearest hospital. According to my information, that's Baptist Hospital, on third."
"And?" Phyllis was fast losing patience. "For heaven's sake, Cynthia, tell me! Dammit, what's wrong with her?"
Cynthia took a moment to consider the best way to word her reply, then sighed.
"There is no good way to say it." She said, resignedly. "Miss Gabor, as I understand it when she was pulled from the building her heart had stopped. Ms Martescu got it to beat again, but she is in a very delicate condition and nobody is quite sure of her prospects. I fear the prognosis is not a positive one. It appears she has inhaled much smoke and it is unclear whether or not she has suffered brain damage from the lack of oxygen."
Phyllis fell silent, digesting this. Her shock was clear from the look in her sharp green eyes, but somehow she maintained her composure, turning back to stare at the building. Her eyes narrowed.
"If she dies, someone will pay big time for it." She muttered, more to herself than anything. Cynthia, understanding better than many the productive partnership and friendship that Jetta and Phyllis had long ago forged, remained silent. It was not for her to intrude.
For a moment or two, Phyllis was lost in her own thoughts, then she seemed to rouse herself.
"Baptist?" She demanded. "That what you said?"
"Yes, I believe so." Cynthia agreed. "But it seems most likely to me that only family will be permitted to see her."
"Hell, does Nancy know?"
"Nancy and Aaron were working when it broke out. Justin came as a result of your call, at least that is what Copper told me." Cynthia responded. "Nancy is at home, though. She is very upset, and in no state to go to the hospital."
Phyllis frowned.
"Family or not, I'm going to see what can be done about this." She decided. "I know Jetta's insurance is up to date, but it might be that a little financial pressure can help somehow...not much else I can damn well do. Dammit, why did this have to happen now?"


"How is she?"
Sylva sent Copper an anxious look as the redhead left Nancy's bedroom, her own expression grave. Sylva and Nancy were well known sparring partners, but in a circumstance as serious as this, Sylva's sympathy and support were entirely with the youngest Jewel.
Copper met Sylva's gaze with a troubled frown.
"Not so good. She's cried herself to sleep, poor kid." She said, muting her tones so as not to disturb her friend. "I don't think it's any comfort at all to her right now to know what a big thing your mother did, Syl...not when everyone keeps saying that Jetta will probably die anyhow. Is Aaron still here?"
"No, he went to join Justin at the hospital." Sylva shook her head. "Since we were looking after Nancy. This whole thing sucks, Copper. Who could hate Misfit Music enough to set it on fire?"
"You think it was on purpose?" Copper looked startled.
"Yes." Sylva nodded. "Aaron thought so too - remember his remarks about the other night's sabotage attempts? Seems more than likely now that the things done to us were meant as a cover for the real plan, if only we'd seen it."
"Yeah, well, deliberate or accidental, the result is still the same." Copper sighed. "I promised Nancy that if there was any news I'd tell her right away, but I'm dreading it being the wrong kind of news. I know how she's feeling, Syl. I've been there."
Sylva hugged her friend tightly.
"I know." She murmured. "It just totally sucks, like I said. Do you think Nancy will be all right up here on her own?"
"Mm, well, I hope so." Copper looked slightly guilty, then, "Don't tell anyone, Syl, but I slipped something into the drink I gave her, to make her sleepy. It's not gonna do her any harm, just that herbal stuff Sadie got from that place in town when she wasn't sleeping properly, and I figured Nance needed something...she was getting herself in such a mess. I think she'll sleep for a while now, and I've left my phone up there with her so she can beep my pager when she wakes up - her own has a flat battery. I don't want her on her own whilst she's awake, but I need a break and so does she."
"I won't tell." Sylva promised.
"Is Sadie still thinking this was her fault?"
"I don't know. I think Topaz has more or less talked sense into her, but she's still kinda quiet." Sylva replied. "Hollie's down for the time being and hopefully she'll sleep a while too - oh, and Cynthia went to Misfit Music in the hope of catching Phyllis before the tabloids stick their claws in." She let out a gusty sigh. "Everything's every which way right at the moment. I don't like it. Hell, I like Jetta!"
"I think we all do." Copper agreed gravely, leading the way downstairs and into the main lounge, where Topaz and Sadie were already seated. "And even if we didn't, I don't think any of us would wish this to happen to her."
"Do you think she has a chance of making it?" Sadie asked at that moment. Copper shrugged, sitting down.
"Couldn't say. I'm not a psychic, and Cynnie putting it all into cold hard percentages didn't much help, considering that none of her statistics came out in Jetta's favour."
"It doesn't look good." Topaz admitted. "Look, guys, I vote we don't sit around and talk like this if we can help it. I know Nancy's not with us right now, but it does her no good if we're pessimistic all the time. I say we try and find any positives we can, no matter how tiny, and try and keep the mood up. Jetta isn't dead yet, and she might yet scrape through. Where there's life there's hope, right?"
"Topaz is right." Sylva nodded.
"But how many positives are there to find?" Sadie demanded.
"She could already be dead, but she isn't, thanks to Syl's Mom." Copper pointed out. "And that's a big positive, Sadie. She has a chance, at least."
"True." Sadie sighed. "Well, ok. I guess we can try, huh? And if the worst happens, we'll just have to be there for Nancy as best we can."
 "This is the biggest test for Jewel yet." Copper said sadly. "And I've a feeling it's only just beginning."


Chapter One: Stormer Tries
Chapter Two: Phyllis Returns
Chapter Three: Justin's Vigil
Chapter Four: A Call Of Conscience
Chapter Five: Investigations
Chapter Six: A Fright For Zoe
Chapter Seven: Dean Takes A Hand
Chapter Eight: Questions
Chapter Nine: A Dead End
Chapter Ten: Flame
Chapter Eleven: A Ray Of Light