For a moment after Syl's exclamation, there was
silence, as we all digested the truth in what she had said. It had hit
us all with sudden very real clarity that this was no longer a game and
that we were
no longer just visitors to this time zone. We had changed things - and
unless we worked out a way to fix it, there would be nothing to go back
Despite myself, I bit my lip. I did not really want to go back to a Los
Angeles without Aaron being there. It was a touch selfish, I admit it,
when I knew that both Syl and Nancy's existances were in peril, but
well, I do love Aaron so very much. I guess it's true what they say.
Nothing is ever "someone else's problem." In this case, this was very
problem. The only thing was, what could we do about it?
"Well, it's all very well deciding we have to act." Topaz said at
length. "The next question is, how?"
"I was just thinking the same." I owned. "How can we get the Misfits
back together, if Syl and Sadie already failed to persuade Stormer to
them? If she's not convinced, how would we tackle the others?"
"I believe that I might have the starts of an idea." Cynthia said
slowly, and I shot her a sidelong glance, seeing a little of her
mischievous sparkle returning to her eyes. "Sadie, you said that
Stormer does miss the Misfits?"
"Yes. Honestly, I think she's unhappy at the moment, stuck in some kind
of limbo between two bands." Sadie agreed. "But she won't go and speak
to them unless they apologise to her, or at the very least tell her
that they need her and want her back with the band. She's adamant on
that point. She wants to know that they do want her, and that she's not
just going to be exploited."
"That sounds fair enough." I sighed. "Unfortunately, it means that we
have to tackle the harder side of the equation. Can you see how we'd
get Phyllis and the rest to grovel to her? I don't."
"Perhaps not." Cynthia pursed her lips. "But then, maybe we will not
need to do that, exactly. Nancy, you and I both saw how your mother
reacted when you mentioned the possibility of a Hologram's contract for
Stormer. We all heard Pizzazz in Eric's office, on the subject of
Stormer's music. And we heard them in the studio. Would you agree that
the rest of the Misfits would take Stormer back in a heartbeat, if they
thought they could do so without losing face?"
"Yes. But we already established that won't happen." Nancy replied.
"One side at least has to buckle."
"Yes." Cynthia nodded. "But not necessarily in the presence of the
"Okay, what are you talking about now?" Sylva stared. "I'm lost. What
do you mean?"
"Well...it occurs to me that Stormer does not have to speak to the
Misfits at all, nor vice versa." Cynthia shrugged. "Here is my
suggestion. We know Stormer is at Starlight Music. Do you think it a
likely place that the other Misfits would visit?"
"Not unless someone put a gun to their heads." Nancy shook her head
emphatically. "It's the same as one of them going to Rebel Records in
our time zone. Not happening."
"That is what I thought." Cynthia mused. "So you believe that, should
they do so, it would have a strong effect on Stormer?"
"You're still talking in riddles." Sylva complained. "Do you have a
plan or don't you?"
"Yes." Cynthia seemed to make up her mind. "And this is what we are
going to do. We are going into Misfits Music, and we are going to take
"We are?" I stared. "With or without armour?"
"Not as ourselves, silly." She chided. Her features blurred and morphed
into those of Stormer, and I gasped.
"Won't they be suss if Stormer comes and begs to them and then doesn't
want to know them?" Sadie asked.
"It will not be like that. I have no intention of making Stormer
grovel, and we will worry about her and Starlight Music presently."
calmly. "Now for your own disguises. What, do you suppose, would be
provocative? Stormer going in alone, or...surrounded by Kimber and the
As she spoke, I saw the dial of the watch I still had in my protective
custody sparkle, and, before my eyes, Topaz took on Kimber's red hair
dark blue eyes, Syl adopted Aja's features, Nancy Shana's, and Sadie,
Glancing at my own feet I recognised the tights I was 'wearing' as ones
I'd seen in my mother's promotional photographs, and I felt a shiver go
down my spine.
"Too weird." I murmured." You think this will work? We go in there as
Jem and the Holograms with Stormer? You think we can pull that off?"
"Certainly. It is easy to believe what you see." Cynthia agreed. She
grinned. "And I must admit, being surrounded by Holograms in eighties
"I suppose we should be saying truly outrageous." Topaz glanced at her
reflection in the tinted glass window of the music company, running her
fingers through her hair. "I always wondered what it'd be like to be a
"We don't have forever." Sylva reminded her. "Come on. Whatever Cyn has
in mind, we ought to get it over with."
"Sylva is quite correct." Cynthia nodded. "Or should I say, Aja?" She
winked. "Come on. We are about to create a sensation inside of Misfits
"I hope you know what you're doing. You might make things worse." Sadie
said hesitantly. "And I'm not sure I should be Jem. Didn't Jem tend to
lead the Holograms? Didn't she do most of the talking? As soon as I
open my mouth they'll know I'm not Jem because I speak like a Brummie!"
"That can be changed." Cynthia told her, this time speaking with Mary's
husky tones instead of her own. "Besides, you should not worry. I will
do most of the speaking. You need not say anything - leave it to the
rest of us. You are simply there to add to the Misfits' annoyance."
"Great." Sadie rolled her eyes. "Okay. Let's do this, then."
She pushed open the door, leading the way into the lobby. Immediately
there was a commotion at the sight of them.
"Jem and the Holograms?" One of the receptionists exclaimed, and a tall
security guard with a nametag reading 'Marcus' ambled forwards, fixing
us with a curious glare.
"I'm not sure you ladies should be here. I have strict instructions..."
"Relax, Marcus. They're here with me." Cynthia materialised at his
side, casting him a smile. "And they're not here to cause trouble."
"Miss Phillips!" Marcus's confusion seemed to increase tenfold at the
sight of the youngest Misfit in amongst the rest of us, but Cynthia
shrugged her shoulders.
"Yes, that's me." She agreed. "Are any of the other Misfits here?"
"You better believe we are."
A voice came from across the lobby, and we turned, seeing Roxy leaning
in the doorway of the stairwell, an unreadable expression on her face.
"You got a nerve coming back here, now it's all over the place that
you're a traitor! You're even bringing that trash in this place with
shot us a venomous glare. "You better have a good explanation else
gonna get their face rearranged and it ain't gonna be me!"
"She has such a great way of greeting her guests." Topaz murmured,
rolling her eyes. Her remark was meant only for us, but Roxy clearly
heard it, because her expression darkened.
"You want a piece of me, Kimber?" She demanded, advancing threateningly
towards us. "Or didn't you hear what I said, huh? This is Misfit turf,
and you're trespassing."
She glared at Cynthia.
of you are trespassing."
"What's going on down here?" Another door opened to reveal the
receptionist who had exclaimed, followed by Phyllis and then Jetta.
Obviously she had
run to raise the alarm, and it did not take me long to realise that
of the other people who had populated the lobby on our entrance had
refuge somewhere else in the building, away from what promised to be a
"We got a visit from little miss Benedict Arnold and her new cronies."
Roxy folded her arms. Phyllis's eyebrows knitted together.
"You got a nerve." She snapped. "What are you doing, bringing those creatures
in here? Have you no pride? Or are you happy to let the Holograms
turn you into even more of a soft little wimp than you are, huh? Let
them walk all over you, see what good it does you!"
is going to walk over me." Cynthia said stolidly, taking
a pace or two forwards. "These are my friends, that is all. I am not
afraid of you - of any of you. I came back here only to see if you'd
come to your senses yet, that's all."
senses?" Jetta demanded. "That's rich, comin' from you!"
"Maybe you shouldn't treat her like dirt, then." Sylva snapped in,
unable to keep her silence any longer, and much to my amazement it was
own voice with which she spoke, but those of my mother's old friend,
Phillips. "You shouldn't take her for granted! She's good at what she
and you girls don't damn well deserve to have her writing songs for
I understand now why she doesn't want to come back and take more abuse!
I were her I woulda walked outta here and never come back!"
"Shh, Syl!" I elbowed her, before she could start on another tirade.
"Remember who you are!"
"Oh, shut your face, Aja. Noone cares what you think." Phyllis was
scornful. "Besides, the Misfits..."
"The Misfits are nothing without Stormer." Nancy interjected quietly.
"So what do you know about the Misfits?" Roxy snapped back. "And why
are you here, anyhow? Come to try and gloat because you think we can't
without little miss traitor here? Is that it? Come to rub it in our
"The Holograms are not like that." Honestly, I was beginning to get
into character, and I was starting to see where Cynthia was heading
little charade. I added my piece, hoping that the plan would work, and
horribly backfire on us all. "We are Stormer's friends, and she is not
puppet in a game between you and us. We came because we thought you
want to talk to her - that maybe you would want a chance to apologise
how you have treated her, and ask her to come back." It was a little
speaking with my mother's voice and knowing I had my mother's face, but
then I remembered that Synergy was able to project both sound and
and I realised that, once again, Cynthia had thought her plan through
There would be no opportunity for the Misfits to suspect we were not
and I had the feeling that even if Sadie decided to speak, it would not
be in her own accent but that of Jem.
"Guess we misjudged the Misfits." That was Nancy, but in Shana's voice,
and I had never heard her talk with more disgust in her voice
before for the band her mother had been a part of. She bit her lip,
then turned her
gaze on her mother.
"I was under some impression that you girls took care of your own." She
"Okay, this stops now." Phyllis held up her hands. "This is my father's
music company, and I will not have Holograms running riot around it,
calling us names and generally being a pain in the butt. Get the hell
out of here, will you? Else I'm calling the police!"
"Does that include me?" Cynthia asked innocently. Phyllis's eyes
"You're a nasty little traitor, a wimp and a loser." She snapped. "How
dare you treat us like this? We're the Misfits!"
"No...you were the Misfits." Cynthia said coolly. "But you know as well
as I do who writes the music for the Misfits. And I'm not a traitor. If
I was, I would have signed paper at Starlight Music - I was offered the
chance to. But these guys are my friends and when I explained to them
that I wanted to give you guys one last chance to make things right,
They even offered to come with me for moral support. That's what being
friend is about - doing the right thing for someone whatever the end
She paused, letting this sink in, then, "I know as well as you do that
I'm good at what I do." She added. "I like being a Misfit - I like it a
whole lot. But I don't like being pushed about and treated like garbage
because you think it's funny. It's not funny and I'm not going to take
any more. If that's all youre going to fling at me, then I'm going to
with the Holograms, and you won't see me again. I'm giving you your
chance...it's up to you."
"Why you..." Phyllis looked about to fly into a rage, but Jetta
"Wait." She said at length. "What do you mean, it's up to us? What in
'ell do you want from us?"
"We ain't Holograms, Stormer." Roxy was still eying us as if she wanted
to rip our heads off. "We don't do nice and we don't do soft."
"Nobody asked you to." Cynthia said quietly. "Well? Do you want me to
Jetta cursed, then,
"This ain't to do with the 'Olograms." She said quietly. "There were
some bleedin' nosy reporter in here earlier and they reckon your deal
with the 'Olos is a done thing, but it ain't about them. It's about the
That's more important."
"So you damn well walk out of here and I'll dent your nose for you."
Roxy said bluntly. "You got that? You don't belong with them. You
Cynthia eyed them thoughtfully for a moment. Then,
"I don't feel like I do." She said pensively. "Not unless you take my
"What do you want, for us to get down and beg?" Phyllis demanded. "This
"Shut up, Pizzazz." Jetta held up her hands. "Enough. We need Stormer.
You said it yourself. We do."
"An' she ain't walking out on us again." Roxy added. She fixed Cynthia
with a doubtful stare.
Cynthia said nothing, and for a moment there was silence.
At length, Phyllis let out a sigh.
"All right, already." She said, petulance in her tone. "Fine. We need
Stormer. Okay. Whatever. You happy?"
Cynthia still said nothing. She seemed very cool and composed somehow,
like she knew she had the upper hand, but I wasn't sure if she did. Was
she pushing it too far? Would she make things worse instead of better?
Phyllis let out a cry of frustration.
"Dammit, all right!" She exclaimed at length. "Stormer, please
come back to the Misfits. We want you to. All right?"
"Is that really what you want? What all
of you want?" Cynthia
"Jus' do what she said, okay, yank?" Jetta sounded tired. "Enough
fightin'. You proved your point. The group needs you - you write bloody
an' we play it damn well. We're a good team an' you know it. Enough of
this. We got enough work to do an' Eric's still on our backs about our
You got what you wanted - now will you get rid of your entourage an'
us get back to normal?"
A smile touched Cynthia's lips.
"Thank you." She said quietly. "That's all I wanted."
"I'm going home now." She added. "To get my stuff together. But I'll be
back sooner than you think. The Misfits have plenty of work to do, and
several new song ideas. It's good to be back in business!"
She cast us a glance, nodding towards the door, and with some relief we
headed for the exit. In the doorway, Cynthia paused, turning back.
"I would have come back sooner." She said with a playful wink. "You
only had to ask."
Then she was gone, but as the doors shut behind us, I was aware of
Phyllis's shriek of rage. I grimaced.
"That was pushing your luck." I chided her. "What if she'd changed her
"She wouldn't." Cynthia examined her holographic nails, blurring her
image back to a more familiar one, and with some relief I found I was
no longer masquerading as my mother. "She knows she needs Stormer, and
Roxy and Jetta would not have let her jeopardise it. They knew it too.
But much as I am
able to work with her in the future, I find Pizzazz tiresome in the
I remember so much more clearly why Jerrica and the others were so
by her presence. I am very glad that she grew up eventually."
"Makes me wonder what we'll be like in the future." She admitted. "But
what now? We've convinced the Misfits that Stormer is back with the
but don't we have to do the same to Stormer?"
"Yes." Cynthia agreed. "And to do that, we have to think more from
Stormer's point of view. We went in there to antagonise them into
admitting they needed her, and it worked. The result was exactly as I
hoped. But this is more
difficult. Stormer is less desperate. She does not need them how they
her, and now for the first time she knows it. The only thing which will
her back is if they show her that they need her - and what better way
do that than for them to go to Starlight Music and tell her so, right
in front of Jerrica, Kimber and all of the Holograms?"
"But they won't." Syl looked confused. "You just said yourself that..."
Then she trailed off, and a smile touched her lips. "Ohh, I see. You're
going to go in there!"
"Indeed." Cynthia nodded her head. She smiled. "And so are you,
Syl...Nancy too. I wish you to be Roxy and Jetta, since you are
probably the best positioned to know about their characters of all of
us. Me, I will assume Pizzazz once more. We will go and we will speak
to Stormer herself. It seems logical
that, if she really does miss the Misfits how you believe she does, a
gesture will bring her back to where she should be."
"What about Copper, Topaz and me?" Sadie asked.
"We can't all go." I reasoned. "There are less Misfits than there are
"Besides, someone needs to stay here and make sure that none of the
Misfits decided to gatecrash Starlight Music in a victory charge."
Cynthia pursed her lips. "They are unpredictable and I would not like
to guarantee that
they would not."
"So we're sentry duty?" Topaz asked. "Oh well. Works for me. I don't
really want another confrontation."
"Nancy, you take Cyn's watch." I held the watch out, and, after a
moment's hesitation, Nancy took it. "You'll need it to maintain her
projections inside, and it won't project through the walls."
"Good thinking." Cynthia nodded. "Then all there is left for me to do
is to change us into Misfits. Stand in front of us, you three. I do not
need witnesses for what I am about to do."
"Hasn't stopped you so far." Sadie reminded her, but obediently we
There was a pause, then Cynthia muttered a curse.
"It isn't working." She exclaimed. "I haven't enough power!"
"What? But you have to!" Sylva exclaimed, frightened. "We can't leave
it here, you have to! We have to speak to Mom! Come on, Cyn, you said
you had enough to do twenty four hours. What is this?"
"I've changed so many times and made so many holograms, I don't know
that I can do it." Cynthia said helplessly. "My battery readings are
lower than I anticipated and I just got a warning. If I use the power
now, I might
not be able to maintain our connection to our world and my mainframe
very much longer!"
"Which means?" Topaz's eyes widened.
"Which means that you'd all be stuck here the moment I vanished."
Cynthia looked distressed. "And there'd be nothing I could do about it!"
FLASHBACK: JEWEL THROUGH TIME