A Jewel Whodunnit...

Chapter Four: Back Home

The tall blond girl turned from where she had been tending to her small daughter, casting her companion a surprised grin. Cynthia Benton was a dear friend to all of Jewel, and few outside the group knew that she was actually a skilled projection from an exceptional computer built by Emmet Benton in the 1980s. 'Synergy', as the computer was called had always longed to have a little piece of freedom, and so, with the help of Nancy's brother Aaron, she had created Cynthia in order to experience the things her human friends took for granted. These days she was almost as human as the rest of them, and the Jewel girls trusted her implicitly.
Today, however, Cynthia's pretty face was marred by an uncharacteristic frown, and, sensing something was up, Topaz sent her a quizzical look.
"What's got you upset?" She asked, setting a sleepy Hollie down into her crib and indicating for the hologram to follow her from the bedroom, pulling the door gently closed behind them. "Is something up?"
"Yes, Topaz, something is up." Cynthia nodded her head. "Will you come with me down to the basement? I feel I can better show you the problem via my mainframe than with the limitations of my sole projector."
"Sure. I've the baby radio on, so if Hol cries I can hear it." Topaz indicated the transmitter clipped to her belt. "What's this all about, Cyn? It's not like you to be cloak and dagger about things."
"I am concerned." Cynthia admitted. "Pizzazz received a phonecall this morning from Jetta in London. I do not know the exact details of the call, but something had happened in England, and Pizzazz was in none too good a mood about it. As soon as I had a chance I put my processors into browsing the internet to see if whatever it was had been recorded on international web news servers. It had."
Topaz's blue eyes became big with concern as the two girls hurried down the stone steps of the basement to Synergy's mainframe.
"What happened?" She asked softly. "I mean, is it bad? Is one of the others hurt or something?"
"Not that I am aware of." Cynthia shook her head, putting her hands over her keyboard and keying in a search word. In an instant a list of files came up, and Cynthia opened the website, gesturing towards it with her free hand.
"That is what I found." She said quietly.
Topaz squinted at the screen, then her jaw dropped in utter shock.
"Murder?" She exclaimed. "What...but...what in hell is happening over there?"
"I did some further research." Cynthia continued, and new files flashed onto the screen. "This is a copy of an article in an English tabloid newspaper. Did you not say that Sylva mentioned a press scandal about Sadie over the last few days?"
"Yes, she did." Topaz rested her hands on Synergy's units, skimming through the article as she did so. "Oh God. I had no idea of any of this, Cynnie. She never said anything."
"What exactly did Sylva say about it?"
"Only that the press had been delving into Sadie's past and had splashed it all over the front pages." Topaz responded, her eyes not leaving the screen. "It's funny, I had a feeling there was something she hadn't told me, but you know, you can't make someone tell you their secrets." She sighed. "Show me the other article again, would you? I'm sorry, I can't take it in. She's been accused of murder? But Sadie wouldn't hurt a fly!"
"The man she is accused of slaying is named Neal Ridley." Cynthia said levelly. "That name meant something to me...and I see by your expression it does so for you also."
"Of all people." Topaz bit her lip. "If it had been anyone else she'd been accused of killing, I'd say it was impossible. Thing is, this guy...he's an animal, Cyn. He hurt her badly. Remember how bruised she was when she first arrived here, and how scared? The fact that she'd trek all across the atlantic the way she did proves that he's not to be messed with. Why would she put herself in a situation whereby she could be accused of his murder?"
"Perhaps she did not." Cynthia suggested. "It could be that the police asked her questions and the press have got the wrong idea."
"Perhaps." Topaz looked doubtful. "But I got the feeling when I spoke to Syl yesterday...something else was up that she wasn't telling me. I know Syl pretty good, Cyn. If there was no way Sadie could be involved in this I'm sure she would've told me everything and had a moan about it for good measure. She didn't say a word. That worries me."
"Myself also, having seen the reaction Pizzazz displayed." Cynthia admitted. "Which is why I did further research. I wanted to know what you thought."
"Well, I'm going to telephone England and see what Syl has to say." Topaz decided finally. "She usually has her mobile on and if the main phone lines to the hotel are being jammed by press - which they probably are considering the size of this scandal - I've probably a better chance getting through to her that way. I...Oh, dammit!" As a wail erupted from the radio transmitter. "Great timing, Hollie! Guess I better go see what she wants first."
"I'll see to Hollie for you." Cynthia said with a smile. "Go call Sylva."
"Really?" Topaz looked grateful.
"Yes. I enjoy spending time with the first baby Jewel. It was not an opportunity I had with the Holograms." Cynthia nodded, already halfway up the stairs to the basement door. "And I promise she is in safe hands. In any case, I am not expected back at Misfit Music this afternoon. I have no pressing engagement."
"Cyn, she's probably in better hands with you than she is with me!" Topaz looked rueful. "Thank you. I'll get on to Syl right away, see what I can discover. It's not some ungodly time in England, is it?"
"I make it eight o clock in the evening, English time." Cynthia responded. "Good luck!"
With that she was gone, and Topaz trailed up the stairs in the direction of the lounge to make her call. Her maternal instinct caused her a guilty twinge as she reviewed the ease and the relief with which she had handed her responsibilities over to Cynthia, but she knew only too well that whilst she was worrying about her friends in England, she would be of little use to the infant, and, as she heard the baby's cries dissipate under Cynthia's careful, calm soothing, she knew that Hollie would not suffer from not having her mother answer her call this time.
"I don't know what I'd do if she wasn't here with me at the moment." She mused as she scooped up the phone receiver. "It's not easy being a Mom on your own. I never realised how much the others helped out!"

Back in England, Sylva was idly painting her nails pink when her phone rang and, cursing as she almost knocked her bottle off the ledge in her surprise she reached her free hand for the cellphone, hitting the receive button with her little finger and gingerly holding it up to her ear.
"Hello?" She said.
"Sylva, you have got one hell of a lot to explain to me." The voice was all too familiar and a rueful smile crossed Sylva's face as she recognised the speaker.
"Hi Topaz." She said. "What's up?"
"What's up? Cynthia's had me down in the basement showing me god knows what that's coming out of the UK press reel! Syl, why didn't you tell me you were wound up in a murder investigation?"
"Because I didn't want to scare you, and there's not much you can do about it." Sylva responded calmly. "Us either, as a matter of fact. It's dull as hell here really, Topaz. We're stuck in the hotel, pretty much. There's a mob of reporters and god knows what else out the front and Jetta;s on the rampage."
"What about Sadie? Is she there...is she okay?"
"She's...with Jetta at the moment." Sylva paused. "She's kinda...well, she's not okay, Topaz. I mean, she's upset and stuff, as would anyone be about it, you know? The police are here too - Jetta decided that it would be for the best if they did the next round of questioning in her room, and they've some legal representative in or something, I dunno. I think Jetta wants to keep the rest of us out of things as much as she can, to be honest. Not that it's really possible, but still."
"What exactly happened?"
"I wish I could tell you." Sylva sighed. "Seriously, Topaz. It's really not cool here at the moment. None of us really know what happened with that Neal jerk. The police showed us pictures of him to see if we recognised him, but of course, we didn't. All I can say is that Sadie was right about him having a huge nose. Other than that...nada."
"And Sadie?"
"What about her?"
"Did...Oh, I can't believe I'm even going to ask this, but...well...does she...know anything?"
"Hard to say." Sylva admitted. "She won't talk to us. I mean, we know she went out to see him that night, Copper caught her coming back in and she had blood and bruises on her arms. Wouldn't surprise me if she was bruised all over since she said she got into 'a fight'. Next thing we know our press conference is interrupted by arresting officers and we've been holed up here. The cops certainly think she did it. Myself? Couldn't tell you."
"It just doesn't seem...like her."
"No-o-o, but then nor does this whole prison record scandal that's been dancing through the press." Sylva sighed. "I assume Cynnie found that, too?"
"Yes, she did." Topaz agreed. "Is it true?"
"Yeah, that bit is." Sylva agreed. "I don't know what to tell you. We're at sixes and sevens here."
"Well, call me if you discover anything you can tell me, okay? I feel so helpless out here on my own with you all away."
"Don't worry, I swear. I might need to moan anyhow if this goes on much longer." Sylva groaned. "I ain't claustrophobic but I swear I'm so damn sick of this same hotel suite!"
"Copper and Nancy handling things okay?"
"Mm, seem to be. It's just a bewildering time for us all at the moment." Sylva responded. "Hey, I better go - I think I heard voices and it sounds like that moronic cop is here to pester us with more stupid questions about Sadie. I'll speak to you soon, all right?"
"Yeah, sure. Take care, all of you, all right?"
"We'll try. Send my love to Hollie, won't you, and say hi to Cynnie."
"Will do." Topaz agreed. "I hope things work out okay."
"Me too." Sylva sounded pensive. "Oh well, guess we'll see what happens next. Bye, Topaz. I'll keep in touch."
She switched off her phone, getting to her feet and pushing the door of her room open. As she'd suspected, D.I Fields and a single associate, one DS Roden were in the lounge, armed with cassette recorders and notepads. Copper and Nancy were already on the couch, and she rolled her eyes.
"This is not cool." She told the officers firmly. "I just did my nails and I'll get polish fumes all through the place! Not to mention the fact that I don't want to stick to everything!"
"Miss Martescu, this is a murder investigation, not a beauty salon." DI Fields looked weary. "Now you're here, perhaps you can all tell me a little bit more about how you came to know Miss Monahue? Remember, this is important. I want the truth..."

Chapter One: An Uncertain Reputation
Chapter Two: Reaction
Chapter Three: Questions
Chapter Four:  Back Home
Chapter Five: Complications
Chapter Six: The Net Closes
Chapter Seven: Jetta Demands
Chapter Eight: Startling News
Chapter Nine: An Unlikely Suspect
Chapter Ten: The Truth
Chapter Eleven: Amber

Chapter Twelve: Final Verdict
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, 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. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!