"Mistress of Magic"
"Mistress of Magic"
Author's note: Welcome to the second in a series of Jem stories that I am writing. This story is about Astral. She's a great character that deserved to be in more episodes.
Jem Remix: "That Old Houdini Magic", "Trick or Techrat", "Music is Magic", "Britrock", "The Jem Jam" Part 2, "Straight from the Heart", "In Search of the Stolen Album", "Danse Time".
I wrote the first draft of this story from Friday, October 13, 2000, 12:00 PM to Tuesday, October 30, 2001, 10:23 PM. My thanks go to Holly for paraphrasing the information on Astral from the Jem Writers Bible for me. I used it here to flesh out the character and give her a history. Thanks, Holly! I wish I could've written flashback scenes, but I don't know anything about Alfred White, so I didn't want to contradict anything about him. I completed the final draft on Wednesday, October 31, 2001, at 4:44 PM.
This story takes place during and after "Stormer Switches Sides". Comments and questions, both good and bad, are welcome. Enjoy the story.
Monday, October 31, 1988, 9:00 AM
Jerrica, the Holograms, Rio, Craig, Howard, Danielle, Lindsey, Anthony, Video, Danse, Tim, Joanie Stuart, Astral, and Regine were seated at the table in the conference room at Starlight Music.
"I'd like to thank you all for coming." Jerrica said. "The reason I called you over here is because we need your help. Stormer has joined the Holograms, and we wanna make a big introduction!"
"Wow, Stormer's a Hologram?!" Lindsey asked in excitement.
"Yes, Lindsey, and not a word about this to anybody until I give the okay." Jerrica ordered.
"Gotcha." Lindsey said.
"Thank you." Jerrica said. "Now, we've got some ideas of what we want to do."
"Excuse me, Jerrica," Danse interrupted, "but aren't Jem and the Holograms supposed to be working on a Halloween video with me and Rio? And we've got that concert tonight."
A smile formed on Jerrica's lips. "We're incorporating the introduction into the Halloween video and concert."
Danse smiled. "That'll work. I can't wait to see the decorations we'll be using."
"Oh, thanks for reminding me." Jerrica said. "Danse, we need help with the Halloween decorations at Starlight Mansion."
"Say no more." Danse said. "The kids at Haven House will be glad to help out after school."
"Thanks." Jerrica said appreciatively. "Okay, Anthony, Video, you two are supposed to film our Halloween music video."
"Yeah, the team of Anthony Julian and Vivien Montgomery won't let you down!" Video promised.
"I know you won't." Jerrica said. "I'd like you to work with Howard and create a horror mini-movie."
"Ooh, like 'Thriller'?" Kimber asked.
"Yeah." Jerrica said. "Can you do it?"
"You bet." Anthony said.
"I look forward to the challenge." Howard added.
"Good." Jerrica said. "Astral, I want you to be in the video and concert, too, to give them magical touches."
"I'd be honored." Astral said with a smile.
"Thanks." Jerrica said. "Regine, Danielle, how are the costumes coming along?"
"Great!" Regine said with a grin. "They're really cool!"
"We'll have them done in a few hours." Danielle promised.
"That's great." Jerrica said. "Joanie, I trust we have enough money for this."
"Yes, Jerrica." Joanie said, looking over her papers. "You've got a big budget for this project."
"Good." Jerrica said. "Rio, Tim, you two will work on the lighting and sound."
"We'll cook up something really spooky, Jerrica." Rio gave her a devilish grin.
"Yeah. Bwa-ha-ha." Tim added.
Jerrica chuckled. "Okay. Craig, would you care to lend your musical talent to the film's score?"
Craig grinned. "You bet I would!"
"Thanks." Jerrica said. "Lindsey, I want you to run some teaser commercials and make some announcements, but do not reveal the identity of the new Hologram. That will be revealed on your show this afternoon at 4:00 PM."
"You got it, Jerrica." Lindsey said.
Jerrica stood up. "Okay, I'm gonna go get Jem, and she'll meet you at the opera house. That's all."
Everyone stood up and left the room.
Jem arrived at the opera house.
She walked inside and found everybody hard at work.
Jem walked over to Rio and Tim. "How are the sound effects coming, guys?"
Rio turned and faced her. "Jem!" He hugged her. "Ooh, I've missed you."
"Rio, the sound effects?" Jem asked again.
"Oh, right, the...sound effects." Rio said. "They're coming along good."
"Great. I can't wait to hear them." Jem said.
She turned around. "Riot?"
Riot, Rapture, and Minx walked over to her.
"What are you three doin' here?" Jem asked.
"I heard Lindsey mention on VTV that you're making a Halloween video." Rapture said. "So, this is the place, huh? Not bad."
"I suppose it's all right." Minx commented.
"But...how did you find out we were filming it here?" Jem asked.
"We followed you from Starlight Music." Riot said.
"But Jem wasn't at Starlight Music." Rio told him.
"Um,...yes, I was." Jem said. "I was in the recording studio. That's where Jerrica found me."
"Oh." Rio said. "Okay."
"Now, get back to work on the sound effects." Jem told him. She turned her attention back to the Stingers. "Riot, is there something you need?"
"Actually, we were hoping we could perform in your video with you." Riot said.
"And in your concert." Rapture added.
"Well, I'll have to ask the others." Jem told them, surprised. "Come with me."
Craig was sitting in front of a drum set, trying to come up with a good beat.
"So, here you are."
Craig stopped drumming and looked in front of him. "Mason?"
Mason Hawthorne walked over to Craig, accompanied by two other men.
"Alan? James?" Craig stood up and walked out from behind the drum set. "What are you three doin' here?"
"Well, you took off yesterday without a word." Alan said.
"Mason told us you flew to L.A. to help your sister." James added.
"We were concerned and flew in this morning." Mason finished.
"Oh, you guys didn't need to." Craig smiled. "But I'm glad you're here. How'd you find me?"
"We stopped by Starlight Music and asked Joanie Stuart." James explained.
"I see." Craig said. "Well, as long as you're here, do you wanna help me do the video's music score?"
"Sounds ace to me." Alan said.
Jem led Riot, Rapture, and Minx onto the stage, where the Holograms were practicing their music, Danse was practicing her dancing, and Astral was practicing her magic.
"Hey, gang, I wanna ask you something." Jem said.
They stopped what they were doing.
Astral and Rapture eyed each other and frowned.
"What is she doing here?" Astral demanded.
"The Stingers would like to perform with us in the video and in the concert." Jem said.
"I guess it's all right." Aja said.
Kimber shrugged. "Okay."
"As long as they behave." Shana said.
"Yeah." Raya added.
"I'm fine with it." Danse said.
"Well, I'm not!" Astral yelled. "If she's in this concert, then I'm out!"
Astral jumped off the stage and walked off.
"What's her problem?" Danse asked.
"Astral and Rapture don't get along." Jem told her. "I'll...go talk to her."
Jem jumped off the stage.
Craig, Mason, Alan, and James walked over to her.
"Jem, I was wondering if the Blue Bloods could do the video's score." Craig said.
Jem gave them a brief smile. "Hi, guys. Uh, sure. Go talk with Howard, Anthony, and Video. Excuse me."
She walked away, leaving the four men confused.
Jem caught up with Astral, who was about to walk out the front door.
"Astral, don't go." Jem begged, grabbing Astral's left arm.
Astral spun around to face her. "You have some nerve asking me if I want Rapture to be in the video!"
"I asked you if the Stingers can be in the video." Jem corrected her.
"You know how I feel about her!" Astral said.
"Yes,...I do." Jem said. "But I still want you in the video."
"Excuse me, I couldn't help overhearing."
The two girls turned and saw a man walking toward them.
"Mr. Vincent." Jem said.
"There seems to be trouble." Fredrick said. "Young lady, this video would not be the same without you."
Astral was silent for a moment.
"Please, Astral." Jem pleaded.
"Okay." Astral agreed. "I'll do the video."
"Thank you." Jem said.
They walked back over and got on the stage.
"Anthony, Video, Howard!" Jem called.
The three of them walked over to the stage.
"What's up?" Video asked.
"The Stingers are gonna perform in the video, too." Jem informed them.
"That seems all right." Howard said. "We'll have to work fast, though."
"Go get your instruments, and we'll rehearse it." Anthony told them.
Riot, Rapture, and Minx jumped off the stage and walked away.
At 12:00 PM, they broke for lunch.
Jem, Rio, Kimber, Stormer, Astral, Danse, and Rapture went to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch.
They sat at a table, ordered their food, and started eating.
"So, what's the story with you two?" Danse asked.
"Yeah, what gives?" Stormer asked.
"I met Jem and the Holograms through a mutual friend at a concert given for magicians." Astral said. "That's when I also met the Stingers."
"Rapture had pretended to be possessed by the spirit of Harry Houdini in order to con our friend out of money." Jem said.
"I was furious." Astral said. "I was determined to expose her as a fraud."
"Astral...ended up saving my life after I tried to escape from the Chinese Water Torture Cell." Rapture admitted.
"The Chinese Water Torture Cell?" Rio asked in disbelief. "Are you nuts?"
"Techrat created a device that he gave to Minx." Rapture said. "It was supposed to free me."
"Who's Techrat?" Kimber asked.
"Some science freak that works for Eric." Stormer said.
"Hmmm..." Jem muttered. "Anyway, Astral's friendship with me and the Holograms became very strong, and she often visits Starlight Mansion, giving magic shows and explaining tricks to the Starlight Girls."
Astral nodded. "One day, when I was over,..."
Saturday, September 17, 1988, 11:55 AM
Astral and Kimber were in the living room of Starlight Mansion, setting up their props. The Starlight Girls were sitting on the floor, eagerly awaiting their performance.
Jerrica, Aja, Shana, and Raya walked into the room, carrying plates.
"Lunch, girls!" Jerrica announced. "Roast pork sandwiches on wheat."
"Oh, yummy!" Ashley jumped up and ran over to Jerrica, snatching a plate. She turned and ran back over, sitting down on the floor and stuffing her face with the sandwich. "Oh, yeah, thanks, Jerrica!"
The other girls said thanks also as they received their sandwiches.
Jerrica walked over to Kimber and Astral, who took sandwiches as well.
"Thanks, sis." Kimber said and shoved the sandwich into her mouth.
"Thank you, Jerrica." Astral said.
Jerrica chuckled. "Kimber, what's up with the get-up?"
Kimber grinned as she modeled her magician outfit for everyone. "Astral, Mistress of Magic, is being assisted today by the Great Kimberini!"
"Also known as the Great Kimbrini?" Jerrica asked.
"Also known as the Great Kimberdini?" Aja asked.
"Okay, okay, I'm indecisive, all right?" Kimber groaned.
Jerrica smiled smugly.
"Jerrica, may I speak to Jem and the Holograms after the show?" Astral asked.
"Sure." Jerrica said.
Jem and the Holograms, Astral, and the Starlight Girls sat in the living room.
"I've got a favor to ask of you," Astral said, "but I think I should tell you more about myself first."
"We'd love to know more about you." Jem said. "I've heard you described as having a diverse family tree."
Astral chuckled. "More like a whole forest. My mother's mother was French / East Indian, my mother's father was Dutch / Indonesian / Siamese, my father's father was English / Cherokee, and my father's mother was Spanish / Irish / Scottish."
"Wow!" Jem said.
"My parents are doctors who travel the world, bringing medicine, supplies, and medical knowledge to isolated parts of the world. They took me along with them." Astral said.
"You certainly are well-traveled." Aja complimented.
"We located ourselves in Phoenix for three years while I went to high school. My parents wanted to give me some stability. Our next door neighbor was Alfred White, childhood friend of Ehrich Weiss, whom you know as Harry Houdini."
"Wow!" Ba Nee said. "Did you have fun?"
Astral nodded. "I was enthralled by White's stories and learned magician's tricks from him and his many magician guests. From this, I, Maeve Eldritch, soon began work as a magician myself. By the time I graduated from high school, I was earning a living from it. My parents began their journeys again, happy that I was self-sufficient and had direction. They write me frequently and visit every few years."
"You're an incredibly intelligent, lovely, talented person, Maeve." Jem complimented. "You're a wonderful addition to my friends, Astral."
Astral smiled. "Thank you, Jem. Taking cues from Houdini, I also began to work as a psychic investigator. I help at the University of California on a study for ESP and other supernatural abilities."
"Do you believe in any of that stuff?" Ashley asked.
"I keep an open mind, but I remain skeptical." Astral replied. "I'm an agnostic."
"What's that?" Krissie asked.
"It means I can't accept anything supernatural without hard proof first." Astral said.
"Oh." Krissie said.
"Now for the favor." Astral said. "Could you please help me raise money for the psychic researchers?"
"How?" Jem asked.
"By agreeing to go through a battery of tests." Astral replied.
Kimber smiled. "Sounds like fun."
"I'm in." Aja said.
"Me, too." Raya said.
"So am I." Shana said.
"Okay, we agree." Jem told Astral.
Astral smiled. "Great. Thanks. Meet me at the university at 11:00 AM tomorrow morning."
Sunday, September 18, 1988, 11:01 AM
Jem, Kimber, Aja, Shana, and Raya walked down a hallway.
"This is the place." Jem said and opened the door.
They walked into the room.
"We were wondering when you were gonna show up!"
"Pizzazz?!" Jem asked in surprise.
At one table sat Pizzazz, Roxy, Stormer, and Jetta. Riot, Rapture, and Minx sat at another table.
Riot jumped up, ran over to Jem, and gave her a big hug. "Jem, you're here!"
"Riot?!" Jem asked. "Astral, what - "
"The Misfits and the Stingers are also some of the participating celebrities." Astral explained, walking over to them. "Please sit down and fill out the forms on the table."
Jem and the Holograms sat down at a third table and filled out the forms. Astral collected them.
"Now, we can begin." Astral sat down in front of Jem. "Jem, I'm going to hold up twenty cards with shapes on them. You will see only the backs of the cards. I want you to concentrate and name each shape. Understand?"
"Yes." Jem said.
Astral held up one card at a time and checked off Jem's correct responses on a list.
"Square. Circle. Diamond. Circle. Star. Star. Triangle. Rectangle. Oval. Square. Circle. Triangle. Triangle. Rectangle. Pentagon. Hexagon. Heptagon. Octagon. Triangle. Square." Jem said.
Astral totaled up the correct responses. "7 out of 20. Not very good."
She moved over to face Kimber.
"Your turn, Kimber." Astral said. "Clear your mind."
"Done." Kimber said.
"If you say so." Astral started holding up the cards.
Kimber named the shapes on the cards.
"Shit." Astral said in amazement. "20 out of 20. Kimber, you got them all right!"
Kimber was surprised. "Wow! Talk about brain power! I'm psychic!"
"Or a lucky guesser." Astral told her.
"I love your voice." Kimber said with a smile. "You have good diction and a smooth, mellow voice with pleasant flow."
"Well, thank you," Astral said, "but I always thought I just had a general American accent."
"Like the kind news reporters use." Kimber said. "Midwestern."
"Are you flirting with me?" Astral asked.
Kimber shook her head. "No. It's just that your voice sounds a lot like mine."
"She's right." Jem said. "You do sound alike."
Astral moved over. "Well, Aja, you're next."
Aja got 9 out of 20. Shana got 8 out of 20. Raya got 10 out of 20. Pizzazz got 3 out of 20. Roxy got 5 out of 20.
Astral moved over to Stormer. "Okay, Mary, your turn."
Stormer named the shapes on the cards.
"Mary, 20 out of 20!" Astral said in amazement.
"Neat!" Stormer said. "Kimber, I'm psychic, too!"
"Cool, Stormer!" Kimber said.
"Don't get too excited, Mary." Astral told her. "This is only the first test."
Astral moved over to Jetta. Jetta got 7 out of 20. Astral moved over to Riot.
"Your turn, Rory." Astral said.
"Call me Riot."
"Yes, Riot." Astral said. She held up the cards.
Riot named the shapes on the cards.
"9 out of 20." Astral said.
"Is that good?" Riot asked. He leaned closer to Astral. "Am I good, Maeve?"
"Not really." Astral told him.
Riot was taken aback by Astral's response.
"However,...you seem to have some kind of power of persuasion." Astral said. "A certain mesmerism. It seems like a psychic ability."
"Hmmm, you've discovered my abilities." Riot said. "This knowledge would be an inconvenience for me. I must withdraw from the testing, Astral."
"Very well." Astral said.
"Celebrities are given the option to have any information gained from these tests suppressed." Riot said. "I hereby exercise that option."
"As you wish." Astral said.
Riot stood up. "Have a good day, Ms. Eldritch."
"Have a good day, Mr. Llewellyn." Astral said.
"Coming, girls?" Riot asked.
"No way, this is fun!" Rapture said.
"We'll meet you at Stingers Sound later." Minx said.
Riot turned and walked out of the room.
Astral moved over to Rapture. They stared at each other in anger.
"Your turn, Phoebe." Astral muttered.
Rapture leaned in close to Astral. "Rapture." she said sensually. "Would you like to know how I got that stage name?"
"N-no." Astral said. "Please, just take the test."
Astral started holding up the cards. Rapture named the shapes on the cards.
"15 out of 20." Astral said. "Good."
Rapture grinned. "Wow, I do have powers."
Astral ignored her and moved over to Minx.
"Ingrid, you're next." Astral said.
"Call me Minx."
"Fine." Astral held up the cards.
Minx named the shapes on the cards.
"14 out of 20." Astral said. "Slightly less than Rapture, but still good."
Minx smiled. "As you Americans say, 'Cool'."
"So began my run-ins with Rapture." Astral concluded.
"Why do you two fight so much?" Danse asked.
"Astral is a threat to my fun and games!" Rapture replied.
"Rapture represents everything I want to stop - ignorance, trickery, and lies." Astral replied.
"Thus making the two bitter enemies." Jem explained.
"Couldn't you two just agree to stop fighting?" Stormer asked.
"Yeah, can't you get along at least until we finish filming the video?" Kimber asked.
Astral and Rapture glared at each other.
"I guess." Astral agreed finally.
"Yeah, sure." Rapture agreed also.
Jem smiled. "Great. Astral sometimes invites us along on her investigations, and we sometimes combine her magic with our concerts."
"Jem, I don't mean to interrupt, but what time is it?" Rio asked.