"...And on behalf of the crew I'd like to wish each and
every one of you a safe and pleasant journey."
The pilot concluded his message, and all across the packed aircraft, the
passengers busily began to fasten their seat belts, many pulling out sweets
and magazines as the engines began to rumble into life as the giant contraption
motored onto the runway.
The red haired girl glanced absently out of the window, watching as the tarmac
began to move faster and faster. She bit her lip, turning her gaze back towards
her companion. She opened her mouth to make a comment, then paused, stopping
herself as she registered the defensiveness of the other girl's posture.
Instead, she sighed, returning to the zooming concrete as the plane began
to gather speed. It was going to be a long flight.
"So how far is it to Detroit, anyway?"
At length, her companion broke the uneasy silence, her clipped tones giving
away the fact she was of foreign birth.
"About four and a half hours, give or take." The redhead shrugged. "On a
good day, four hours."
"I hope it's a good day."
They lapsed back into silence as the aeroplane began to launch into the air.
"Have you ever been to Michigan before?" This time it was the redhead who
broke the silence.
"Look, Copper, if you want to make small talk, I'm going to put my headphones
on." Her companion snapped back. "I'm not coming with you to play happy families.
I'm coming because there's something owed me, and your mother might know
where it is. That's all. Sooner you get that into your head, the better this
will be for us both. It is not a family reunion!"
"Don't even start with me." Jesta held up her hands. "For the last time,
I'm Jessica Talley, not Jessica Santiago. He's a name and he's money that's
mine. That's all. Okay? So shut up. Sisters don't mean anything to me. Especially
sisters who play in sissy Los Angeles rock groups."
"All right." She said, resigned. "If that's how you feel. I just thought
you'd like to know a little about where we're going, that's all."
"Well, I wouldn't. You're not a tour guide, and I'm not interested. So shut
"Fine. I'll read." Copper shrugged her shoulders, pulling her bag onto her
lap and rummaging in it for her book. Jesta rolled her eyes.
"I might have known sappy romance was your thing." She observed offhandedly.
"You didn't want to talk." Copper reminded her quietly. "And it's a free
"What are you compensating for?"
Copper set the book down in her lap.
"Nothing at all." She said gravely. "I have a husband who loves me very much.
Reading is simply escapeism, that's all. I'm not compensating for anything."
"Bah." Jesta grimaced. "I'm starting to wish I'd never agreed to this. It's
crazy. I don't belong with you and I sure as hell am not gonna belong in
your home. I've never met your Ma, but I'm betting I know exactly what she's
like, based on you."
"Well, maybe you'll be surprised." Copper said levelly. "I was always Daddy's
"Good for you." She muttered. "Rub it in, why don't you?"
"Look, Jesta, this is difficult for me too, you know." She said slowly. "I
didn't know about this any more than you did till recently. Papa never said
anything - and nor did Mama. I guess they had their reasons, but we didn't
know. And I'm trying to help you. You could at least try and be civil."
"What, am I meant to throw myself at your feet?" Jesta's tones were rich
with sarcasm. "Gah, do these planes come with vomit bags? I think I'm sick
Copper looked pained.
"Will you just try and understand what I'm trying to do?" She begged. Jesta
"Since I don't know what you want from me, I'll take a raincheck." She said
abruptly, digging in her own bag and pulling out her headphones and a magazine.
"Enough of the chit chat. You wanted to read your slushy nonsense and I don't
want to be nauseated any more. I'll talk to you when we get to Detroit. There's
no sense in rushing the privelege."
"If that's what you want." Copper picked up her book again, flicking to the
Jesta turned over a few pages of her magazine, glancing at the articles without
any real pleasure. She shot Copper a sidelong glance, noting that her companion
seemed immersed in her reading. She sighed, pushing the magazine aside and
drumming her fingers on the armrest.
"It's fine for her." She told herself bitterly. "He was wonder-dad in her
world. She grew up in a fancy house with a movie star mum and a rich as sin
Dad...she had everything she wanted and she still has it, too. Not that I
care about her stupid friends or her stupid husband. But dammit, I hate feeling
like I'm some kind of charity mission by California's pet hearthrob. If it
wasn't that this Carmen woman probably has access to the money my Dad put
away, I wouldn't even be here. I know it's going to suck, being there. I
mightn't have liked my Mum's way of doing things, but I never asked anything
of anyone. I got where I am through my own hard work and mind games. I don't
want to be fussed and fawned like a lost puppy coming home to claim it's
bone. I almost wish Sam had never found Mum's pandora's box of letters. At
least I wouldn't be here now."
She turned her mind back, going carefully over everything that had happened
since she had discovered her father's identity. That much had been all very
well, she mused, until she had come to the shock realisation that Esteban
Santiago's eldest daughter lived and played in Los Angeles. Discovering Copper
was her half-sister had turned the world on it's head, and she was not quite
sure what to make of anything.
"But I'll get what I can get out of it." She decided, clenching her fists.
"If it takes being messed about like a poor little foster girl, then I'll
do it...just so long as I get what's due me. That's what I want, then I'm
Prologue: July 12th,
A Long Flight
A Day Out
Flashback - Esteban's Quest
In The Genes
Flashback - A Tragic Truth
A Tentative Bond
Flashback - This Is Farewell
The Memorial Garden
* * *
* * * *
"You know, considering how much you manage to achieve when
she is not around, I am of the opinion that sending Copper out of town occasionally
is a good thing."
Aaron Pelligrini glanced up from his harried sketches, spreading them across
the cold floor of the basement as he met the speaker's playful gaze. A woman
grinned mischievously back at him, her thick purple hair spangling with light
as she turned her projection up to full power. "I have been asking you about
this for a long time now, or so it seems. And yet you don't have time for
me until your wife is called away on family business."
"Don't tease me, Synergy." Aaron frowned. "The house is empty without her.
Besides, the reason I'm here now and not before is that it's the first time
I've had free to do it. Jewel have the whole week off, so I'm not on the
stage run so much and nor are you, either. Topaz has taken Hollie to England,
so you're not called in to babysit - I can hardly mess with your projectors
when you're looking after that little tyke, can I? And it's not so simple
as it seems. You told me that your projection was always possible on a global
scale, and that it'd just be a matter of upping your power cell to cope with
it. But now I find it's not that at all."
"That was not entirely my fault." The illusion glimmered, drifting idly over
to his side and putting a vaguely translucent hand on his shoulder. "When
I was working with Jem and the Holograms, I never had any problem projecting
the Jem hologram through the earrings my father made for Jerrica. But that
was some years ago now. Almost thirty. Rose and Kimber have the earrings
- one each, but Kimber's is long corroded, and Rose has had hers for as much
of her life as she can recall. She's touched it and played with it in England
without me being aware of it, and yet, once here in Los Angeles, she was
able to summon my holographic form almost as Jerrica would have done, so
long ago. It seems that my limitations are more pronounced than we first
"Or the earring is also corrupted." Aaron pointed out. "I did take a look
at Rose's the other night, though, when she snuck by to see you, but it looks
okay to me."
He looked sheepish. "I haveta admit, I'm a guy, and red shiny star earrings
are not my thing...but from a mechanical point of view, it looks operational."
"Well, I believe when they were made, fashion was a very different thing."
Synergy said comfortably, moving to perch on her mainframe as she adjusted
her form to solid light. "Anyhow, that being the case, it would seem that
the error is within me, not within the projector."
"When you first made the watch, I was sure it would be strong enough to power
me over longer distances, but it didn't seem to work that way when we tested
it." She added, picking up her remote projector and eying it thoughtfully.
"It has very complicated circuitry, and it is a lot more powerful than the
earrings ever were."
"I tried to make it that way." Aaron nodded. "I used your blueprints as a
basis, so it matched the rest of your hardware as much as possible, but the
components I bought were good stuff." He grinned. "I spent a fortune on you,
"It's never a sin to spend hard earned money on a pretty girl." Synergy teased
him. "Besides, you know I am more than grateful for all you have done for
"And now I'm determined to root out what's behind this." Aaron pulled his
pencil out from behind his ear, making a ring on the paper around a section
of the diagram. "Look. This is the section of your hard drive that seems
to control projection. Can't you tell by looking at this what's holding you
"About as easily as you can look in the mirror and tell me precisely where
to find your pituitary gland." Synergy said calmly. "I am aware of my blueprints,
but when you fixed me, you also relocated elements of my hardware. I can
run my programs, but I don't pretend to know what everything does and when,
if I'm just presented with a crudely scribbled drawing of a box."
She squinted at it. "With legs. Aaron, are you sure that's inside of me?"
"Oh, you're being hopeless today." Aaron rolled his eyes. "Okay, so the drawing
sucks...forgive me. I'm a computer tech, not an artist. But at least try
and work with me, huh? I'm doing this for you, you know that."
"I'm sorry." Synergy was contrite. "Having Hollie away means that I do not
have to think before I speak and act. I think it is having an adverse effect
on my circuits."
"Well, give it a rest." Aaron told her with a grin. "I'm going to remove
your front panel and have a look at your insides, okay? I want you to look,
too. You might recognise something that I won't see right away."
"My front panel?" Synergy raised a quizzical eyebrow. "Aaron, what would
your wife say?"
"Synergy!" Aaron glared at her.
"All right, all right." Synergy conceded. "Just some things are too good
She pursed her lips.
"If it's of any help at all, I believe that the section of my hardware
that dealt with remote projection was controlled by something called a....geographical
synthesiser? My system recognised it by a series of binary commands set out
to represent a grid...or..." She faltered, shaking her head. "It's no good.
It was too long ago. I do not remember clearly enough how I did these things.
I just remember that I did them, and without any hesitation. Jerrica projected
Jem in China, Morvania, England, Croatia...and I was never any the worse
for wear for it."
"Well, it's something to be going on with." Aaron scooped up his screwdriver.
"So let's see what we can do!"
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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
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
are copyrighted to myself as webmistress of Jewel's World from 2001 to
the present day and are not to be reproduced elsewhere without
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
whose teenangel outsider fiction world is twinned with Jewel's World.
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.