Chapter Six: Copper's Voice
"So what exactly are we supposed to do now?"
As the crowd closed around us, it was Nancy who spoke, putting her
hands on her hips. "Cyn, we've lost Syl and
Sadie now! And
whilst I'm glad to be free of Syl's bleating for a few hours, Sadie's
kind of important! Can't you use those sensors of yours to track
"I only have my watch with me." Cynthia shook her head slowly. "And
that is already putting my mainframe under great strain, to project
your costumes and my own disguise."
As she spoke, her image shimmered and blurred back into her more
familiar Cynthia form, and as she did so, I could tell she was
disconsolate. "They are out of my range now - I cannot detect them. I
am sorry. This is not
at all how I intended my plan to go."
"It's all right, Cyn." I spoke softly. "I don't think you should have
brought us back here, but now we are here, there's nothing that
complaining about it is going to achieve. We need to find Syl and
Sadie, but we have all day to do that, right? We don't have to go back
to the Starlight Mansion till midnight. So we've time yet. We'll find
I ran my fingers over the smooth face of the projection watch. "And I
have this safe and sound, here on my wrist where nothing can happen to
"So where do we begin looking?" Topaz wondered, taking a few paces up
the high street and then stopping. "Syl can be unpredictable and I
don't know where she might have gone. Does anyone else have any ideas?"
"Well, she said she was going to save the Misfits." Nancy rolled her
eyes. "If you were a half-crazed musician, where would you go?"
"The obvious starting point would seem to be Misfits Music." Cynthia
offered, a slightly hopeful look entering her violet eyes. "It is,
after all, where the Misfits are based."
"Well it's a place to start." I said with a nod. "And we're not far
away - presuming it's on the same ground now as it is in 2015?"
"Yes. Right opposite Starlight Music's headquarters." Cynthia nodded.
"Of course, you will have to expect it to be more like it was
before the fire - this is a time in which this company is only a couple
of years old."
"I'm sure we can find our way around it." Nancy assured her. "Remember,
I grew up there, pretty much. Things have changed some since I was a
little kid, but not a whole lot."
"The big question is, how would we get in?" Topaz asked, as Cynthia led
the way down a side-alley towards a busy crossroads. "We don't have
security clearance in 1987. We're not going to be able to just walk in
"Perhaps not." Cynthia looked thoughtful. "But I am sure I can find a
way around it. I do still have holographic capabilities, after all."
"It seems strange, being here." I murmured, as we reached the end of
the street, pausing to stare at the large looming black glass building
and the equally imposing structure of Starlight Music across the road.
"Starlight Music looks so glossy and new and cared for...it's so much
bigger somehow, with everything being used instead of rooms being
rented out to pay overheads."
"And there's no Rebel Records memorabilia." Topaz agreed. "Look. Back
home there's a billboard over there with the logo on, because Phyllis
is always talking about it being ripped up. But the place doesn't exist
"No. It was built on one of the few remaining green areas in Los
Angeles, three blocks or so away from here." Cynthia's expression
became one of distaste. "But in 1987 there are no Stingers in Los
"Oh, get a load of that!" Nancy let out a chuckle, pointing up at the
roof of Misfits Music, and as one person our gazes strayed to where she
"Oh my God..." Topaz giggled. "I can't believe the Misfits were so
"It is garish and unecessary." Cynthia remarked. "I recall that Jerrica
called it an eyesore. I can see exactly what she means."
I stared up at the big square display, watching the images of the
Misfits roll around once more, and then the company's logo fill the
screen. I grinned.
"Phyllis isn't shy of advertising, is she?" I said at length. "Though
it seems a bit much. I prefer the logo the place has nowadays. It's
"Embarassing?" Nancy smirked. "I don't remember it being there
when I was a kid, you know. It must have come down during the time when
Raymond left and Mom took over as chief exec. I can't imagine her
it stay if she had any say in it."
"Jetta isn't even in the sequence." Topaz pointed out. "It must have
been there longer than she has."
"In 1987, Jetta is a very new Misfit." Cynthia reminded us. She smiled
at me. "Just as Raya is a brand new Hologram."
"It seems weird to look at the two companies and see Starlight Music as
Mama would remember it best." I admitted. "She could even be in there.
why Syl freaked out when she saw her mother, in some ways. It would
me out to see mine. Or...or Papa. Though I don't think they've met yet."
"No, indeed not." Cynthia shook her head. "Raya is still very young,
Copper. Far too young to be thinking about marriage, babies and a
"Papa was a fair bit older than her." I pointed out. "But I suppose
you're right. She can't have been more than twenty in 1987."
I turned to glance back up the street.
"My grandfather had an orchid nursery somewhere in this neighbourhood."
I remembered. "He sold it and retired, though, when he and my
grandmother went to Arizona. It doesn't exist in 2015, but it must be
"We've no time for sightseeing." Nancy grabbed my arm impatiently.
"We're here to find Syl and Sadie, and we only have a limited amount of
do it in, so shall we worry about that first and go hunting for
"Nancy is right." Cynthia agreed. "The sooner we locate them, the
better. But first we must do something about how we appear. Come. Out
of the main street. I wish to observe the people who leave the
building. I must make
us look like Misfits Music's employees."
"The irony of that is overwhelming." Nancy rolled her eyes, but she did
as she was bidden, and soon we were all crouched behind a row of
ornamental bushes, as Cynthia settled on our disguises.
I have to hand it to her. Impulsive and crazy as she can be, when she
stops to think something out she is meticulous about getting it right.
It's weird, being friends with a hologram, because we come to expect
her to act like
the rest of us, and of course, sometimes she doesn't. I honestly don't
how much of it is because she is a computer underneath it all, and
hasn't grasped some of the finer points of human behaviour, or if it's
that at all. Sometimes I wonder if she understands us better than we
understand ourselves, and her reckless moments are entirely deliberate.
And yet, even though she'd gotten us into this crazy situation, it was
hard to be mad at her. After all, she had only acted in Jewel's
however odd the logic.
At length Cynthia nodded her head, indicating to us all that she was
done. Before our eyes her features morphed once again, this time into
one of the executives we had just observed leaving, and one by one she
converted all of us to similarly attired members of staff.
"Now we will be able to get in." She said softly. "Just don't do
anything to draw attention to yourselves. We are simply here to seek
Syl and Sadie. They have not the protection of my holograms, so they
will be easier to
spot. I cannot grab them should I see them, because to maintain these
projections I cannot run my own three dimensional one, so you must all
be on your guard."
With that she led the way towards the automatic doors, pausing to let
me pass in front of her, and as I did so I realised that Cynthia's
did not have enough physical presence to open the doors.
"I cannot walk through them and evade suspicion." She murmured, seeing
my expression and winking. "As I said, we must alert noone that we are
all we seem. Once upstairs I will change our appearances into that of
interns or menial staff, so noone will bother overly about what we are
doing. But for security clearance we must look like we rank high. We
are less likely to be questioned that way."
"It looks very new in here." Topaz commented thoughtfully as we crossed
the lobby unchallenged, heading for the peculiar shaped elevator shaft.
"Phyllis's father paid for it, didn't he? I mean, in the first
"Yeah. It was a present from Harvey." Nancy nodded. "Pretty much
because she told him she wanted it, basically."
Topaz let out a low whistle.
"It never fails to astound me how much money that family has." She
remarked. "I would've thought it made the Misfits formidable
competition, with that kind of influence and clout."
"Yes, but then, Jem had Synergy." Nancy grimaced. "And the whole secret
identity thing attracted millions. It was part of her mystique. People
loved the mystery woman who seemed to appear and disappear at
"She was one of my most prized creations." Despite herself, I could
tell that Cynthia was preening. "I think she was a very believable
projection, even despite the fact that my circuits lacked many of the
new developments Aaron has since installed."
"Well, the world fell for it." I agreed. "Even after she
supposedly died...people never found a body but they still believed in
"Yes." Cynthia frowned. "To be honest, being back here makes me a
little nostalgic for those days. The Holograms were a strange kind of
family for me, and I felt like a mother to them, in the absence of
Jacqui Benton. I was practically programmed to be their guardian by
Emmet when he knew that he was dying. I was the only one who knew how
sick he was, and he impressed on me what my responsibilities to
him and to his family would be.
It makes me a little sad to think that things have changed so much."
"You have us as your family now." I told her gently. "We love you to
death, you know we do. And Kimber and Mama and the rest, they love you
too. Just because you and Jerrica have fallen out, it doesn't mean
you've lost all
of those ties."
"No, I realise." Cynthia seemed to shake herself out of her reverie. "I
am sorry. I must be picking up vibes from my mainframe here in 1987."
She smiled. "Honestly, I am fine. Come. I believe the main studios are
on the fifth floor."
"Poor Cynnie." Topaz murmured to me, as we entered the car, Nancy
pressing the button for the fifth floor. "This is a real blast from the
her, isn't it? I mean, we're pretty much tourists here, trespassing in
time we don't belong to. But she's not. This is when she - and the Jem
phenomenon - were at their peak. She must miss it a lot."
"I never thought about it, but I guess she does." I agreed. "Sometimes
it's hard to know what she thinks about anything, to be honest."
"Yes, I know." Topaz nodded. "I was mad at her for dragging us back
here, but I guess I feel a touch sorry for her too, now." She pursed
"After all, in this world, she was part of a family. It must rub it in
things went so horribly wrong."
"Shh, she'll hear." I warned. "There are things we'd all like to go
back in time to change, Topaz. Unfortunately we can't...and besides,
have us now. Even if she doesn't have Jerrica."
"True." Topaz acknowledged. "And we do need her. Even if she does
crackbrained things like bringing us here!"
At that moment the door of the elevator slid open and we stepped out
into the corridor, immediately aware of the sound of raised voices.
Nancy's eyebrows shot into her fringe as she recognised her mother's
clipped tones, and as we got closer, we were all able to make out some
of Jetta's favourite expletives mixed into the conversation. Phyllis's
tones, strong, irritated and snappish cut across them, and soon a third
voice joined the melee, followed by a
We exchanged looks.
"Are we sure that coming here was a good idea?" Topaz ventured. "Sounds
like we've walked into feeding time for the gorilla house at the zoo."
Despite myself, I giggled.
"Well, so we've established that Misfits do fight." I pointed out. "But
I vote we don't let them see us!"
"Hang on a minute." Nancy pulled herself up onto a bank of lockers,
settling herself carefully. "Something's going down in there, and I
want to see what."
"If you sit there gawking through the window they'll see you." I
warned, but Nancy shook her head.
"One way glass." She responded. "Aunt Phyl put it in so she could spy
on people in her studio and make sure they were working. At least
that's what Mom said. Apparently Eric used it to watch the Misfits from
a safe distance, also."
"Perhaps if we listen to what they're saying, we'll learn something
about where Syl and Sadie might have gone, or if they've seen any
strangers running around the halls." I mused, clambering up beside
Nancy. "What do you think?"
"I think I wanna see the free for all." Nancy admitted, as Topaz
followed suit, and Cynthia adjusted her projection to appear
disconcertingly at the end of the locker bank, making us all jump.
"Jetta sounds like such a Londoner." Topaz remarked. Nancy snorted.
"She is one. Duh."
"I know! But more than she usually does!" Topaz retorted. "Or at least
more than she does back in our time."
"Well, she's only just moved to Los Angeles in 87. I guess she's lost
the edge over the years." Nancy shrugged. "Not surprising, really."
I peered into the studio, taking in the scene with a mixture of horror
and fascination. The room held three occupants, and it was not hard to
identify Jetta, Phyllis and Roxy Pelligrini, the group's bass guitarist
whom I had only met a few times, but who I knew to be Nancy's real aunt
and Syl's adoptive one. There was no sign of Stormer, but then again it
didn't seem to me like they needed Stormer to be present to argue. In
the middle of the studio,
Roxy was sweeping the remains of an electric guitar off the unit,
her hands on her hips.
"Well, that was bloody mature." Jetta's tones were scathing, and I
realised that Topaz was right about her accent. "'Ow are we supposed to
well play anything now you've mashed the guitar like some playschool
"Oh, shut your face, big nose." Roxy advanced on her companion with the
remenants of the guitar's neck, glaring at her. "Or your saxophone will
be next. Besides, if you'd damn well listen to me, you'd know that your
stupid black pipe wasn't supposed to come in for three more phrases
"I was trying to drown out your awful 'armonies!" Jetta shot back.
"Oh, give it a rest the pair of you!" Phyllis exclaimed, banging her
hands down hard on the unit. "We're damn well going to do this song and
going to do it right! Quit complaining! And Roxy, stop smashing
and get a new guitar, huh? Don't play about!"
"We could play this song from now 'till next Christmas and it'd still
sound bloody awful." Jetta put her hands on her hips. "It doesn't
matter 'ow we do it, it ain't gonna work. I say we burn it and give it
up as a bad job!"
"Well, it's not my fault Stormer had a baby tantrum and walked out on
us!" Phyllis's temper flared. "At least I'm trying to do something
"Yeah, like your big bribe her back plan worked." Roxy snorted, tossing
the broken piece of guitar out of the open window and down into the
street below. Absently I hoped that there were no innocent passers-by
walking past at that moment, for I got the feeling that missiles were
not uncommon out of the studio window when the Misfits were in session.
"Where is she, huh? I don't see her. Maybe she's hiding behind the
practice room door!"
"Oh, don't be pathetic." Phyllis snapped. "So it didn't work, get over
it! We don't need that soft little wimp all that much anyhow! We'll go
without her - or we would, if you two would quit fighting and get
And besides, it's not my fault that Eric decided to doublecross us and
Stormer for some kind of weird plot of his own. If he was doing his job
he'd be worrying about our interests, not his!"
"Well, your Daddy employs him." Jetta's tones dripped with sarcasm.
"Why not run to 'im and tell tales?"
"Jetta, if you want that saxophone inserted in you..." Phyllis balled
her fists, and Jetta snorted.
"Oh, shut up. You don't scare me." She retorted bluntly. "Truth is we
don't 'ave a decent song, we don't 'ave a manager whose eye is entirely
on what we're doin', an' we don't 'ave a synth player. Find us a decent
play an' I'll play. Right now I've 'ad enough of this noise and Roxy's
toddler antics. I'm cuttin' out of 'ere!"
"Jetta, get back here!" Phyllis shrieked, but Jetta seemed oblivious,
turning on her heel and walking clean out of the studio. I was
impressed at her
ability to completely ignore the singer's shrieks, because I confess
made me put my hands over my ears. I knew she was earsplitting when she
was younger, but honestly, I was beginning to think that Cynthia's
of Phyllis in the coffee shop had been decidedly tame.
Glancing at Topaz, I could see that she felt the same way.
In her interest in the events in the studio, Cynthia had let the
holographic disguises slip, and it was our own selves which clambered
down off the lockers, exchanging looks.
"Time out." Nancy said at length. "I never knew Mom and the rest were
"I guess they do miss Stormer." Topaz reflected. "It's kinda sad,
seeing them fight that way."
"Sad? It's scary!" I put in. "No wonder they had such a fearsome image!"
"Cyn, we appear to be wearing pyjamas again." Nancy observed, and
Cynthia muttered a curse, obediently redressing us in eighties wear.
"I am sorry. I was engrossed in the display." She admitted. "It is hard
to maintain concentration on two things at once when your power cells
are so far away."
"Well, it doesn't look like Sadie or Syl are here, so we ought to try
somewhere else." Topaz reflected. Nancy pursed her lips.
"I don't know." She said slowly. "Honestly, guys, I'm starting to
wonder if Syl had a point, much as I hate to admit it. That wasn't a
normal kind of fight in there. There's big deal hassle going down with
What if they don't make it up?"
"But Nance, we know that they do." I pointed out. "Remember? We already
had this chat."
"I know...but part of me keeps saying what if." Nancy sighed. "I guess
I'm wondering if it would do all that much harm to try
sure that the Misfits do stay together? I mean, while we're here."
"Do you want to talk to them?" Topaz raised an eyebrow. "In that mood?"
"No...not right now." Nancy shook her head. "But maybe we could do some
snooping around. I mean, Stormer must be under contract to this
we can pull them together contractually somehow."
"I suppose we could try." Cynthia shrugged. "All right. Let us see what
we can find. But we must be careful. Remember, we still have to find
FLASHBACK: JEWEL THROUGH TIME