Chapter Ten: Kimber
Well, so here he was.
Aaron cast a glance at his watch, pursing his lips then pushing open the door of his car, stepping out onto the concrete. For a moment he paused, gazing up at the big brick building. From inside he could hear the sound of children's voices.
"I wonder if she'll even see me." He mused, slowly heading up the driveway to the front door, and ringing the bell. "It's a long shot, but I need to speak to her. Even if this is a really bad time."
The door swung open at that moment to reveal a pretty blond woman in her early twenties. She cast Aaron a startled look.
"I know you...I'm sure I do." She said. "Did you want to see someone specifically?"
"My name is Aaron Pelligrini. I work for Misfits Music - but I think you probably know me through my wife, Copper." Aaron held out a hand, and hesitantly, the girl took it. "I was wondering if Mrs Harrison was home."
A shadow touched the girl's features.
"Yes, she is, but this isn't really a good time to call." She said quietly. "You must have heard the news. Kimber hasn't taken it so good."
"No. I realise that." Aaron agreed soberly. "But that's partly the reason I'm here. I know she's probably very upset, and the last thing she wants is visitors, but I'm at my wits end."
"I'm not sure I understand. Is Copper sick or...?" The blond girl frowned. Aaron shook his head.
"No. It's to do with...with another relative of Kimber's. Cynthia. I need some advice." He smiled. "I'm sorry Miss, I don't know your name, but I'm sure Cyn probably would...she comes by here quite a lot on afternoons off."
"She does." His companion agreed, her tones gentle. "I'm April...Kimber's assistant. And I should have realised. I knew Cynthia worked with Copper. Is she with you?"
"I wish she was...but the news has hit her as hard as it's hit anyone." Aaron was grave. "I know it seems a lot to ask, April - but may I come in? I really need to speak to someone Cynthia calls family."
"Yes, of course." April stood back, allowing him inside the building. "I'll run up and get her."
She looked apologetic. "I'd offer you coffee, but things are a bit mad here at the moment. Kimber's daughter Rose has been a godsend since the news broke, and of course, there's Sean and I, but Kimber has a special bond with a lot of the kids...they see her almost as Mother, and well, they all know something big is up."
"It's fine. Really." Aaron smiled. "I don't want to put you under any more stress."
April flashed him a return smile, then disappeared up the stairs. Aaron wandered across the hallway, pausing to glance at a photograph on the wall. It was old and a little faded, but he could clearly make out the faces.
"Jem and the Holograms." He murmured. "And now it's really over. Now...now Jem is really dead."
A voice startled him from the top of the stairs and he turned, seeing Kimber tying her dressing gown around her waist. Her face was pale and her brow drawn into a troubled frown. He sighed.
"I'm really, really sorry to be bothering you at a time like this." He said softly. "But I wasn't sure who else to talk to. It's about Cynthia...I hoped maybe you could help."
"Cynthia?" Kimber looked startled, then comprehension flooded her features. "Oh. Cynthia. Of course."
She turned to April.
"Could you go make sure Rachael has finished her homework? I told her she could go out this evening if she'd done everything before she went." She said quietly. April nodded, disappearing back up the stairs, and Kimber came slowly down to join her visitor, gesturing towards a door at the end of the hall.
"Sean's office." She said. "We can talk in there."
"That sounds good." Aaron obediently followed her down the corridor, and into the little room. Kimber fastened the door behind them, taking a seat behind her husband's desk.
"What about Cynthia?" She asked.
"She's...kinda switched herself off." Aaron settled himself into one of the empty chairs. "When Copper told her what had happened, she seemed to go into some kind of fit. She's decided that without Jerrica there's no reason for Synergy to go on. We think your father must have programmed it into her somehow - and we're not sure how to lift it from her. You were close to your father...Cynthia always said so. I hoped you might be able to help."
"I don't know the first thing about computer systems, Aaron." Kimber's troubled frown deepened. "Are you really here to tell me that I've lost two sisters this week, not just the one?"
"We haven't given up on Cynthia yet, but her circuits didn't cope very well with the news." Aaron said gravely. Kimber bit her lip.
"No. I'm not sure mine did, either." She said softly, her voice trembling. Aaron sighed.
"I'm sorry to be here now." He said gently. "And I'm sorry for what happened, too. I feel really insensitive being here like this, demanding your help, but I didn't know who else to go to. Who else knew Emmet like you did...I didn't know."
"You don't need to apologise." Kimber managed a faint smile. "Synergy is more than a computer to me and she always has been. You have no idea what it was like, you know, to lose Mom so young and then Dad when I was just a teenager..."
She trailed off, spreading her hands. "When I needed parental advice, Synergy was always the one to give it. When Jerrica shut her away, it hurt me right to the core, but I didn't know what to do about it and I still feel bad about it now. That she wasn't there when I married Sean, and she wasn't there when Rose..."
She faltered, shaking her head. "But that's past. The bottom line is that Synergy is more than a machine. She's family. I know as Cynthia she refers to me as her sister, and Dad as her father. So it should be. So she always has been. I just wish I could help you more than I can. Dad never talked to us about Synergy before he died. We discovered her afterwards, when he left Jerrica those holographic earrings."
"Like the one Rose has." Aaron mused. Kimber nodded. She touched her necklace.
"And I have." She reminded him. "Though it's little more than a trinket now, of happier times in this city."
Her tone was edged with bitterness, and she sighed.
"We were just starting to put the last few years behind us. Just starting to be sisters again." She said slowly. "I think she realised that she'd made a terrible mistake with Aja...that things had never been what she thought, and..."
She stopped, her eyes widening. "Oh my, that's it! Have you spoken to Aja?"
"Aja? No, I haven't." Aaron frowned. "Why?"
"Aja knows more about Synergy than I do. She knew Dad too, he was almost her father in so many ways." Kimber grasped Aaron's hands. "You know that the Holograms all cared about Synergy like she was a real person, just like you and Jewel do. Go see Aja. Tell her what's happened. If anyone can help you bring her back, Aja can. I'm sure of it. She's done so much before...I should have thought of it right away. I guess with everything, I'm not entirely thinking right."
"It's understandable." Aaron assured her softly. "And I will definitely go and speak to Aja. Thank you, Mrs Harrison. I appreciate you seeing me today, with everything how it is."
"You can call me Kimber. It's my name, after all." Kimber assured him. "And please, Aaron, do everything that you can for Synergy. I mean it. I might be burying Jerrica in a week or two...I don't want it to mean I'm burying her as well."
"None of us do." Aaron said gravely. "And I'll do my best. I have been and I'll keep trying anything and everything."
He got to his feet.
"Thank you again." He repeated. "And...I really am sorry for your loss."
Kimber's blue eyes became sad.
"I don't think any of us realised what a loss it would be till it happened." She admitted. "Goodbye, Aaron. If...if you get Synergy to boot, tell her that...well, tell her she has one sister who still loves her, and who really does need her around. Not just in terms of Cynthia, coming here to help out on her days off. As Synergy...as the mother figure I really never had in anyone else. Will you tell her?"
"I promise." Aaron nodded. "So long as we get her to boot, I'm gonna make sure she knows how much we need her. How much we all need her to stick around, even if there is no Jerrica any more."
* * * * * * * *
Chapter One: Daisy
Chapter Two: Jewel's Show
Chapter Three: Cynthia's Dilemma
Chapter Four: Jerrica Acts
Chapter Five: For The Public Good
Chapter Six: End Of An Era
Chapter Seven: A Reason To Be
Chapter Eight: Loyalties
Chapter Nine: Starlight Music
Chapter Ten: Kimber
Chapter Eleven: Consulting Aja
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The copyright for the original Jem characters featured in this and other stories by me belongs entirely to Hasbro and their interpretations to Christy Marx and the other writers of the Sunbow Jem series. Their future selves are based on concepts that are entirely my own and are not to be repeated elsewhere without due permission.
All other characters, including their likenesses, are copyrighted to myself as webmistress of Jewel's World from 2001 to the present day and are not to be reproduced elsewhere without permission.
The Teenangel Outsiders, Jesta, Flame, Ryan Montgomery and the future interpretations of Aja, Danse and certain of the other original characters are all or in part the concept of Gemma Dawn whose teenangel outsider fiction world is twinned with Jewel's World. You can visit her site at www.teenangeloutsiders.com!
All events in the stories on this site are based on original ideas and are not rooted in any existing Jem fiction nor in any real life event or person.