Jacqui's Legacy: Part One


Prologue: Emmet's Task

July 1st.
Synergy is near completion. I'm now programming her with Jacqui's recordings and likeness - just enough to form a personality base and voice pattern. I can't bear to make her too much like Jacqui.

As the lights in the delapidated drive through building flickered, the room's sole occupant re-read over the previous entry in his diary, his heart filled with both pride and sorrow. A photograph on his desk, curled and dogeared but still clear caught his attention and he reached over to scoop it up, running a tender finger over the face that smiled out at him. Despite himself, he returned the smile, pushing the book and picture back and getting to his feet.
He called the name into the empty darkness, and slowly, from a corner of the dusty room came a melee of dancing, glittering light. As he watched, the light pixels merged themselves together to form the figure of a young woman, sleek violet hair flowing over her shoulders. As her features came into focus, he held out a hand to her, beckoning for the illusion to join him. The figure tilted her head quizzically on one side for a moment, then obeyed the command, hovering not far from where he stood.
"What is it, Emmet?"
Her voice was low and gentle, reassuringly familiar despite the slight mechanical echo that touched each word. Emmet's smile widened.
"Nothing." He said at length. "I just wanted to look at you. To make sure everything...everything is right."
He scooped up the photograph again, glancing at it and then back at the apparition's pale lavender complexion. He nodded.
"You could be her again." He murmured. "And yet so different, too. My Jacqui reborn."
"I do not understand...I am Synergy."
"Yes, you are." Emmet sighed, dropping the picture back onto the old desk. "Listen to me. You know that I built you to be a stage synthesiser, don't you? That, as we worked, I had hopes of what you might do for my girls one day. Kimber is so very talented and she's got the drive and ability to be a really big star. Jerrica has all the brains and business sense to back her - together they could really make something of their Benton talents. I built you for this purpose. You understand?"
"Yes, Emmet. I am the ultimate holographic synthesiser." Synergy's pixellated eyes flickered thoughtfully.
"That's just it, though." Emmet shook her head. "You're more than that. More than I ever imagined. And I'm amazed to see it - like I've brought you slowly to life over the last few weeks. Not as a simulator, but as a being. As someone capable of independant thought."
The projection made no response, seemingly thinking this over. The room was bathed in a soft lavender glow, and Emmet found himself surrounded by dancing flickers of light.
"Something distresses you." Synergy spoke softly. "You are troubled today, Emmet. As if the whole world weighs on what we do here."
"You're as perceptive as my Jacqui when it comes to things like that." Emmet said sadly. "Yes, Synergy. There is something else I must talk to you about. Now, before it's too late for me to do anything about it. I don't know how much time I have left to do it in."
"Your run-time is terminating?"
"Yes...yes." Emmet nodded. "You know it was always my intention to patent you - all the things you could do - to protect you and make you useful to Starlight Music as time went on. But I know that I won't live long enough for that - not now. Things have changed...plans have changed. And soon I won't be able to come visit you any more."
A strange emotion, almost fear, flickered into the hologram's gentle gaze.
"I will be left alone, then?"
"No." Emmet made his way slowly across the room, resting a hand on the computer's mainframe. "No, Synergy. I won't ever let that happen. I built you for a purpose, and that purpose seems even more clear to me now than it ever has. My girls are young - young and inexperienced in the world. I don't worry about the business - my assistant Eric is more than capable of taking that in hand and showing Jerrica what she needs to know as she gets older and wiser. But in other things...they've already lost their mother. Now I'm to leave them alone, to fend for themselves. Alone, that is...except for you."
"I do not understand." Synergy shook her head. "I am confined to this place, and they do not know of me. What assistance can I be to them?"
"I'm working on that, and I'll explain everything to you as I work it out for myself." Emmet promised. "But whatever happens, Synergy, I want your assurance that you will be there for them. I programmed you with my late wife's personality and voice prints as a base. I also gave you some of her memories, because I want you to realise exactly how much those girls mean to me."
He hesitated, putting a hand to his chest, then taking a deep breath.
"Do you understand what I am asking of you?"
Synergy's lasers glittered thoughtfully.
"I am to be their protector, their guardian, their whatever capacity I am able to be."
"Not only that." Emmet said softly. "Also a mother. Can you manage that?"
Synergy was silent for a moment, then, slowly, she nodded her head.
"I will do as you ask me." She agreed. "I will look after them when your run-time ends."
"Good." Emmet looked satisfied. "I hope I'll be able to tell them myself about you, but we must be prepared for any eventuality. I've not told them that I'm ill, because I don't want to frighten them. But it will come to the point where it's no longer possible to keep it from them. We must get you ready to take over - whenever it happens."
"Yes, Emmet. I understand."
"Good girl." Emmet patted the mainframe affectionately. "I know that they will be safe in your hands. With Jacqui's personality, how could they be otherwise?"
He made his way back to the desk, and the hologram hovered after him.
"And when they know of me? What should the procedure be then?" She asked.
"I can't patent you, so I can't promise you your safety." Emmet admitted. "I must make sure they understand that they're not to tell anyone about you. I'm sorry it isn't quite the existance I promised you, Synergy...and I know here is a little isolated. But I believe you'll be able to adapt."
"I am unconcerned by isolation, Emmet. I do not feel loneliness like you do."
"No, perhaps you don't." Emmet cast her a wistful smile, opening his diary at a fresh page and picking up his pen. "But my girls will. Make them understand, Synergy. I'm trusting you."
Synergy nodded her head, then, with a burst of pixels she was gone, and Emmet was once more alone in the dim light. He sighed, then put his pen to the paper, beginning to write.

July 6th.
Synergy is complete and she's become much more than I originally intended. She can create holographic images of anything. She could be a very dangerous tool if allowed to fall into the wrong hands. She must be kept a secret....

Prologue: Emmet's Task
Chapter One: Discontent
Chapter Two: Jewel In Session
Chapter Three: Mirage
Chapter Four: The Contact
Chapter Five: Le Klub Kool
Chapter Six: Sullivan
Chapter Seven: Cracks
Chapter Eight: Illusion
Chapter Nine: Jacqui
Chapter Ten: Marissa Demands
Chapter Eleven: Stefana's Warning

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