"Now what do we do?" Lora whispered to Jane.
"Find another way out?" Alan suggested.
"As a matter of fact, that was my plan B," Jane moved towards the TV once more.
She showed Lora some pictures of what resembled a military tank, and said that with these pictures, she'll be able to turn into one of the tanks to sneak past the guards and ambush Malakai. The hard part would be the shape-shifting process since they'd all have to jump off the deck Jane's apartment has, and Lora would have to envelop her and Alan in this process.
Nonetheless, the Jett siblings and Bubblegum Jane rushed through a holographic barrier to an outside balcony and waited at its low railing. One of them could hear the elevator going down, presumably to bring the guards back up.
Jane said she would jump first, counted, "3...2...1," and leaped from the 15-story-high balcony. Alan and her sister held hands, and jumped simultaneously. Then Lora Jett let go, concentrated hard on what she'd just seen on the TV, and in 17 seconds with a sound of stretching and creaking rubber, Ms. Jett's form was now that of a dark red tank, her eyes level with the turret dome. Her brother and Jane were safely inside, and said "Good job, Lora!"
The trio of heroes could see Malakai's green light cycle whizzing past on the road that ran alongside this building, followed by 4 red guards and the 3 flying vehicles. Lora's idea would be to blend in with the guards and follow them to wherever they were going, and simply joined a couple of feet behind the guards' bikes. Jane radioed that even though the light cycles were too quick for her or the Jetts right now, they had the opportunity to shoot down the flying vehicles, what she had heard called "Interceptors". So, Lora tilted her head back to raise the huge gun barrel on her reformed body, and fired a single but potent energy bullet by clenching her hidden fist, aimed at the first interceptor. Repeating the process on the next two was no problem.
Now Alan reported that the guards were headed to a stop up ahead, which seemed to be a tall structure with a neon sign above its door. Increasing as much speed as Lora could put out, her vehicle body managed to reach a fair speed to catch up with the other bikes. Jane then asked Lora to return to normal form. Once back to human form, the 3 heroic users quietly hid in a 90-degree gap in another building's corner. Lora squinted her eyes to notice that all the guards and Malakai had stopped to surround a corner of a building.
"What building is that?" She whispered to her companions.
"I don't know, but it's familiar somehow. I just can't pin down what it is, though," Jane replied.
"Wait a minute, that sign says...'Flynn's'. Isn't that a club or restaurant?" Alan studied the sign.
"Close, but no banana. I'm pretty sure it was a primary gate for users to come through, but not anymore. Somebody put a new version of a digitizing device under that building, more advanced than the one in where you guys came from." Jane corrected his statement.
"Do we need to go inside?" Lora inquired.
"Probably not, we need to catch Malakai off-guard before he pulls away from there. That's all that matters right now."
The two elastic girls reached the top of a 7-story building in mere seconds, Jane crouched with squinted eyes and looked closely at the 5 guards and Malakai still standing at the establishment's door. One of the guards made what looked like a military hand signal, and Jane whispered to her companion, "Now!"
The malleable pair jumped off the building's roof, elongated one arm each to the back of Malakai's bike, hooked to them like sticky grappling hooks, and built up friction on the ground by over-sizing their boots. Lora's free left hand whipped around and grabbed the green program right off his vehicle, while Jane's right wrenched the baton out of his hands so that the bike no longer existed for the time being.
Malakai's helmet retracted in hinged plates, revealing a terrified male face. Jane started the interrogation, "All right, bud, who around here knows how to heal programs?"
"Ta...Talen, he's 2 sectors west of here but the guards won't let you through," The green program stammered in a timid, un-shifting voice. "Now let me go before I alert Epsilon about what you just did!"
"I think Epsilon won't have to worry one 'bit' about this event," Lora couldn't help cracking a pun.
"We'll let you go, but don't think we aren't keeping an eye on you from here on," Jane lowered her eyebrows.
They released the green program, returned his baton, and off he rocketed in a flare of green light.
"Do you get the feeling that program wasn't corrupted after all?" Lora turned to her companion.
"Maybe, considering that helmet of his was really the source of his strange voice,"
Alan caught up with the girls on his bike, and said, "I looked around a bit while 9 feet tall, and saw something important-looking in the distance. Looked like a tower or something with a large glowing plus-shaped sign."
"That must be Talen's place. We should probably get there before the guards do!"
This time, the heroes took a left turn on their bikes past the building, and followed an empty road through the town.
"I don't know why, but the layout of this city is very familiar to me," she said to her brother.
"It's not just you. I think this city looks like Centropolis for some reason," Alan nodded.
"What's Centropolis?" Jane inquired on the radio.
"It's the city I live in, in the real world. It's a few miles north of San Francisco," Ms. Jett explained.
"Interesting, maybe you could show me that when we finally get out of here," The former responded with enthusiasm.
Up ahead, an asymmetrical futuristic-looking tower stood out from the surrounding dark buildings. Another elevator with an external shaft stood at its front. The 3 heroes stopped and deactivated their bikes in front of the tower, filed quickly into the lift, and this time Alan pushed the button.
"I don't think we'll have much time before Epsilon and her cronies follow us here," Lora started shivering a bit.
"Don't say that, we'll be all right," Her brother placed his right hand over her shoulder.
The lift came to a clunking halt and the sight inside made the trio cringe a little. On what looked like mattresses were several kinds of programs either with serious-looking injuries or glowing strangely. The injuries looked as if whoever got them had been caused by derezzing of certain parts of their bodies, while the ones that glowed were deduced to be equivalent to human sicknesses.
"Who goes there?" A soft-sounding auto-tuned male voice called from a dimly-lit end of the room.
"Three users, in need of assistance," Jane called back.
"Come closer, please. I can't see you from here," the voice asked politely.
The trio did as they were asked, and found two other programs in what looked like the equivalent of a surgical operation room. One of them was perched on a glowing examination table and had a very grim gash cut straight through both sides, diagonally running from the right side of his neck to near the left side of his gut. The other program, using strange instruments and tools on the first, was completely bald, dressed in a white glowing robe akin to a surgeon's, and wearing an odd device resembling glasses or goggles, except they reached over his scalp instead of around his ears.
"My goodness, this is the 8th program I've had to heal. Every day more and more programs keep coming in either half-derezzed or sick. It's a wonder how they make it here on their own," He put down some of those tools while the patient started moaning in pain. "Forgive me, I'm under some stress. My name is Talen, and...who are you three?"
"You know me, I'm...Bubblegum Jane," The helmet-wearing user explained.
"Yes...I remember, but it's been so long."
Lora and Alan politely introduced themselves, then Alan took lead of the talking, "We have to do two things: Take down Epsilon and get to the portal."
"Ooh, the last program who said that came back near here stumbling backwards on the road below without his head before he derezzed completely," Talen shook his head.
"I didn't know computers had doctors," Lora raised one eyebrow.
"I've met a user or two several cycles ago, and actually you might say I'm an anti-virus program, but lately I've just been fixing up stray programs that are either hurt or with code defects. It's easy work for the former, but I have to search through every ill program's code one at a time and hunt around for the broken pieces like finding a microchip in a junk pile. I really haven't done anything virus-related because there haven't been any viruses lately," Talen paced back and forth while elaborating further.
"Well, you have one now, and her name is Epsilon!" Lora tried hard not to shout.
"What? Epsilon is a virus?!"
"That's right, the terminal I looked at before we got in here said that the people who used it needed to find and destroy an 'Epsilon virus'," Alan nodded his head.
"My goodness, I thought she was just a corrupted program more complex than the ones who go to me. But if she's a virus, well...I think I have something, but it's not that simple out there. Hang on," Talen turned away to a cabinet-like construct on the back wall. After some fumbling around and clinking of plastics and glassware, he brought out something resembling a small laser mounted on a tripod. "I know what you're thinking. In the real world, I could capture and delete Epsilon right off the bat, but...well, I'm not that old, but it's not likely that you'd find me on most computers these days."
"Yeah, there's Avast, AVG, ClamTk, MacAfee...wait a minute, does that mean you aren't a real anti-virus program?" Alan became confused.
"No, that's not what I meant. I was created by someone named Simon Mauricio, about one cycle before Epsilon took over, but I got appropriated or in your case, locked out of his part of the system - before I could be released to the public."
Lora nudged her brother in the side, and said, "So, what is that device you have?"
"I need one of your discs, then I will show you what it does," Talen made a motion of lifting 4 fingers at once, in a "Give me" fashion.
The heroes turned away and Jane said, "Er...which one of us wants to do this?"
"Rock-paper-scissors for it?" Alan
Lora sighed, and the 3 super-powered users began a menial game of rock-paper-scissors. Jane won first by 'rock crushes scissors', but Lora got best 2 out of 3 via 'paper covers rock' and 'scissors cuts paper'. So, Ms. Jett removed her identity disc from her back and handed it to Talen. He placed the disc on some kind of console, propped the laser over it, turned it on, and they watched as lines of red light intricately danced over the bluish-white light of the disc, like lasers cutting patterns into a circuit board.
"What are you doing to her disc?" Alan curiously inquired.
The lasers stopped moving and powered down, after a few beeps and chimes passed, Talen held up the disc, and explained, "I've just added a special code to your disc that will allow it to destroy Epsilon for good. I'm not sure how that's supposed to happen, but...well, you'll figure it out soon enough," He handed it back to Ms. Jett.
"Let's split before you-know-who finds us here," Jane whispered to the siblings.
"Good idea!" Both Lora and Alan agreed.
They rushed to the lift just after Talen wished them good luck, remounted their bikes, and continued on a right turn this time. After a few blocks passed, the city skyline gave way to a wide open landscape of a grim black sky and midnight blue ocean, overlooked by a bridge with bright blue glowing safety rails.
"Oh yeah, this is so much like Centropolis. If I'm right, we should be getting close to where the old beach-side hotel should be," Lora glanced to the side for a moment.
But instead of a hotel, they found themselves facing a very large complex filled with glowing shipping containers and a strange vehicle being loaded with some of them.
"What the heck is that thing?" Ms. Jett asked in a confused tone.
"That, I believe, is a Solar Sailer, one of the mass transport vehicles used in this world. My guess is if we use it to follow that beam, it'll lead us straight to the Portal, provided nothing goes wrong about it, that is," the pink user studied its details.
"Let's get on, then," Alan started running first.
Several sets of stairs led to different sections of the train-like vehicle, but only one of them positioned closest to the front sails was used by the trio. None of Epsilon's guards were around. Instead there were regular blue programs going about their own business and not noticing stowaways getting on. The 3 heroes stepped onto a long, narrow catwalk running the length of the craft, turned around, and sat down facing the sails. Jane sat at the very end, while the Jetts took their seats a couple feet behind.
A buzzer sounded from the dock-like complex, and a male monotone announcer spoke, "Sailer train departing in 30 seconds. Please vacate area immediately."
The worker programs indeed ran frantically away from the train's dock, leaving the area quite empty. A holographic sign lit up over the wide entrance, showing a countdown timer starting at 30 seconds as the announcer said. When it reached zero, a digital gate slid open and the train began moving with a jolt to start.
What felt like 10 minutes later, Bubblegum Jane turned around and spoke to the Jett siblings, "I know I've told you some of the story of why I'm here, but I haven't explained what happened after that."
"Fire away, ma'am," Alan turned his eyes toward his and her sister's companion.
"The instant I teleported into this world, Epsilon's guards found me outside in an Interceptor, and did the same thing to me as they did to you: Set me up for the games. But I've broken out of there before on occasion, and that's how I set up my apartment. And yet, 7 years can make someone at least a little homesick. I miss my days as a superhero, and anyone who could qualify as a criminal for catching either works for Epsilon or is blown to smithereens by her. Geez, you're lucky."
"I dunno, there's been more trouble at home than with crooks these days. Last week, I had trouble enough from 6 girls from New York state and one of them gave me the worst possible experience at work," Lora tilted her head to the side.
"And 2 weeks ago, I had to catch a cyborg guy who tried to run off with all the cash in my bank account. I'm in need of catching regular crooks, and less of the same supervillains," Alan imitated his statement by making shapes with his fingers.
"What the hell is this world coming to?" Jane looked up at the sky.
All 3 of them shared a laugh, then Alan cleared his throat, "Say, why is it that you and my sister have been taking most of the heat while I'm left behind?"
That struck them as alarming, and Lora patted his shoulder, "Don't worry, we're still in this together as a team!"
Meanwhile, Epsilon was feeling terribly frustrated about the present situation. "How could you be outrun by 3 simple users?"
Malakai pleaded, "I had no choice, master. They looked like they were about to derez me if I didn't tell them."
"Then tell me how at THREE locations those users got away before you idiots arrived there!"
A guard stammered, "They are not normal users, they have--"
"I KNOW THEY AREN'T NORMAL USERS!"
"Please, Epsilon, give me one more chance! I will not fail you this time!" Malakai begged on his knees.
"Fine, one more chance, but if you fail, I'll throw you right into the Sea of Simulation before you can move one pixel! Now get out of my sight, and find them before they get to the Portal!"
The guards and Malakai ran frightened from Epsilon's eerie red throne room, leaving her alone and facing out the wide viewport. She watched the solar train continue to follow its single glowing line set to run right alongside the portal.
Epsilon wrung her hands and monologued with herself, "The users say that a virus simply disguises itself as another thing, or clones itself as another. Well, the only reason I have done neither of these things is because I am not yet ready to do so. At the right time, when I have those super-powered users right where I want them, that is when I shall show them what a computer virus is capable of to a user outside of a simple computer. They will never know what hit them."
A chilling maniacal laugh echoed throughout the vehicle, just barely loud enough for the Jetts and Bubblegum Jane to hear it.
"How close are we to the portal?" Alan stood up as he heard it.
Jane stood up as well, and stated that they had about 150 yards left to go. All of a sudden, the train started rumbling and felt as if it was turning right, which it probably was. She cried, "Get to the lower decks! Move!"
The Jetts did as their companion said and fled to a darkened area of the train down a set of stairs.
"Where are we going now? And what's this bloody train carrying, anyway?" The blue-suited male user asked in confusion.
Lights clicked on in the surrounding containers, answering that question.
"Oh no, it's just as I feared. Epsilon's made clones of herself to invade the real world," Jane shivered.
"How is a virus capable of cloning itself in this world?" Lora spoke up.
"A computer virus can do two things: Disguise itself as something else, and duplicate itself. As we can see here, she's done the latter of that already, and I get the feeling she'll use the former to trick us in some way I don't yet know," the pink-glowing user hypothesized while rubbing her chin.
"My God, how do you know so much about computers?" Alan held one hand to his cheek in astonishment.
"Some of my working partners are scientists, others are programmers, but most are government agents. They don't keep a secret from me."
The train started shaking and rattling around, but the Epsilon clones remained completely still in their containers, as if cryogenically frozen. Then a rod made of light protruded through the ceiling, which happened to be the upper catwalk instead, and started cutting a rectangular hole inside. But Jane thought fast and made two spring-loaded jumps to the top, and sharply elongated her right hand to knock that red program out. Alan couldn't help but whistle at that stunt.
"Man, you're awesome! Even I can't do those two moves at the same time!" Lora's eyes widened.
"But what's happening now?" Her brother started talking in a frantic voice.
Jane looked up, and saw a gargantuan, chaotically-shaped vehicle overhead with the train's beam turned to point towards a docking station inside. "Epsilon's redirecting this train into her ship! We'd better get off before the guards catch us!"
Up above were two bright red catwalks running parallel to the open docking cavity, providing the perfect handholds for Jane and Lora, the latter of whom helped her brother up onto.
"Let's go see what Epsilon's up to!" Alan pointed towards the ship's bow-ward direction of the catwalk. But even though the Jetts heard Jane's light footsteps behind them, when they made it to a huge red-orange-lit chamber, they stopped. Lora turned around and realized that their companion was missing, and this was confirmed by a terrified scream from around the corner. She could just barely make out Jane's foot sliding or being dragged - through a doorway next to the catwalk.
"Great, what now? We just lost the only person who knows how to break us out of here!" Lora grumbled to her brother.
"Well, all we can do right now is see what Epsilon wants to do," Her brother sighed.
As they advanced a little ways further down the gantry, cranes carrying loads of containers were being perched just behind the huge stern-ward bulkhead separating the open area from the rest of the ship, and the clones were pouring out of a wide doorway on the floor, way down below, suited up in armor and carrying weapons.
To the far left, the real Epsilon was standing at a large lectern, with her sinister, dark-haired face repeated on two huge holographic screens. She spoke in a heavily amplified voice, "I am Epsilon, and you are my minions!" A wave of cheers washed past. "Together, we will achieve greater things than in this world, more than you can ever imagine! Together, we will set the world of the users on the right course! Together, we will create the perfect system!"
"What did she just say? Why does that sound familiar?" Lora whispered, only to be shushed.
"Now that the gateway to our new home no longer needs one asinine disc to open it, our opportunity to success is more open to us than ever before! What CLU could not accomplish, we are now able to! Today, the real world will see the true power of a new breed of organisms!"
"Oh god, no, this can't happen! It can't!" Ms. Jett couldn't keep from shaking and speaking in a worn-out tone.
"Snap out of it, little sister! We still have a plan, right?" Alan finally slapped his sister across the cheek.
"I'm sorry, bro, this whole scenario is just terrifying me. I can't stand it anymore!"
"Calm down! All we need to do is save Jane from whatever that freak did to her, then we'll find some way to reach the portal before this ship does!"
What Epsilon had in store for Bubblegum Jane was more horrifying that she would ever have believed. They had strapped timer-less restraining bands on her again, but this time she was also tied to a glowing table. A quick blinding flash of light revealed an old enemy of hers in the real world: Alyntiath!
"You again?! How did you know I was here?" The elastic prisoner panted from being tied down.
"A simple instant text message, and a compact digitizing device, something your humans don't know how to invent yet!" That villain pointed to a complicated device strapped to her left wrist.
"What are you going to do to me?"
Two of Epsilon's guards showed up, one of them carrying a huge backpack-mounted device that resembled an extremely oversized taser.
"It's not what I'm going to do to you; it's what she wants to do to you," Aly chuckled. "I just came by to provide special backup in case anything goes wrong," the armored humanoid chuckled.
"This is a miniaturized Logic Probe. Don't worry, it won't hurt...*chuckle* a bit," The backpack-wearing guard neared Jane with the weapon in hand.
But hurt it did a lot. Waves of electricity pulsed between the machine's two tines right into the elastic heroine's body, causing her to scream in burning pain.
Luckily, the Jetts heard her scream and rushed to the locked door Jane's foot slid into. Seeing how it was constructed, it was child's play for Lora to assume a liquid form, seep through one side of the frame, and open the door on the other side. They barged into the torture room and Alan shouted, "Get away from her, she's with us!"
"Not without a fight, I won't!" The free guard took out his disc and threw it at Alan's head. But his sister expanded her right hand in front of that target, causing it to ricochet back towards the guard's head, derezzing it and the rest of the body. The logic probe-toting guard simply removed the backpack module while leaving the device still running, and rushed towards a button to sound an alarm.
Upon closer inspection, Lora recognized that program to be Malakai, except his circuitry was masked to be that of Epsilon's guards. He looked at her and said, "Because Epsilon no longer trusts me as her right-hand man, I have just now 'turned the tables' by setting this entire carrier to self-destruct in approximately 10 minutes."
"So her army won't be able to reach the portal?" Lora guessed the answer.
"Correct, but if I were you, I would take my allies with me and...How do users say it...blow this popsicle stand."
"What about you?"
"I no longer serve my purpose. I choose to derez with the ship, the clones, and hopefully Epsilon," Malakai began to duck behind another door, "Good luck," he whispered as the door shut.
While this happened, Jane's free arm pushed a button on the strangely armored woman's gauntlet, and broke the device by simply slamming her fist into it. Jane said, "We'll fight later, in the real world. I have a villain here already."
"Fine, I wasn't planning on getting involved with these weirdos anyway," Alyntiath shrugged as her formed vanished rather quickly.
Lora and Alan turned off and removed the small logic probe, unlocked Jane power-negating restraints, and the first thing their rescued captive did was obliterate a glass window.
"Thanks for releasing me. Let's head for the ship's roof, we'll be able to fight clearly up there without any distractions," The superheroine climbed upwards and out the window frame.
"Yeah, it's time we kicked Epsilon's digital butt!"
The 3 heroes took their positions on the roof, back to back, and arms out ready to strike anyone. Three Interceptors, five jet-like vehicles, and many guards and Epsilon appeared on and around the whole ship. Jane was facing the portal, and deduced it to be about 87 yards from their position. An announcement reported that the ship would self-destruct in 7 minutes.
The trio counted down from 3, then split away to make their moves. Alan grew to a size so big that he made the ship wobble, so he had to be careful in staying balanced. However, he was also big enough to grab the air vehicles and rip them apart. Alan snatched the first one, twisted its horizontal cabin around by moving its vertical pylons forward and backward like unraveling a paperclip's molecules. The cabin cracked and several guards miniscule in appearance now fell out. He simply ripped the wings off the jets and smashed the nose to let it crash-land on the hull.
Jane reared back, felt the stored energy of her elastic body build up with a long squeaking noise, and sprang forward while heavily stretching her body, along with both hands morphed into fake Identity discs, and in so doing, wiping out over a dozen of Epsilon's guards. She felt very excited in doing such an advanced stunt like this, and did it in multiple variations further on.
Lora examined her black baton closely, and noticed four tiny buttons set into its center. Each one of them had an icon: One for use as a Light Bike, another for a one-man plane, a third to use as an energy sword, and the last mode to launch a grappling hook. Interested, she pushed the baton's third button, and narrowly avoiding having her right arm sliced through a beam of pure energy sprang out of one end of the baton.
"Wow, is this thing a lightsaber now? Now we're getting somewhere," She giggled. "Hey, Epsi-lame! Why don't we settle this one-on-one like ladies? My partners have your buddies occupied, after all."
The dark-haired sinister red mentioned program turned to face the user calling her out from the other end of the ship, and in a surprising feat, she jumped into the air, spun a few times, and landed right in front of Ms. Jett. Epsilon also had a baton as well, in sword mode, except this one matched her color. How fitting it would be if this was a Star Wars film.
"So, this is how you wish to go out? Being stabbed to death?" Epsilon mocked her opponent.
"I think it'll be you that's going out. You're a computer virus, and they're specifically designed to damage a user's computer. Is that all you want, to take over every computer in the real world? If so, that is a sad cliché," Lora sternly guessed Epsilon's motive.
She didn't respond, but instead made her first strike with her sword. Lora blocked it immediately with her own while almost being forced downward flat on her back. A kick between the legs got her back up, and dozens of sparking clashes of their sabers followed.
"You haven't thought your plan completely through, have you? You've gotten this far but never finished the main topic?" The user groaned under harder and harder strikes.
Epsilon grunted, "Silence! Do not question what I know!"
Before too long, Lora grew very weak from the repeated strikes, and in 10 seconds, she fell backwards, sweating, and nearly dropping her baton as its sword mode disengaged.
"You are beaten! Now I can take your disc and use it to move my army through the portal!" Epsilon pointed her sword towards the center of the heart design on Ms. Jett's bodysuit, and scratched her right shoulder with it.
"Wait, why mine? Why not take my brother's, or that Jane girl who you captured cycles ago?" Lora panted under the newly arrived pain.
"Because I read your presentation; your superhuman abilities are much more versatile than your brother's and more unique than Janice Wrangley's. Your disc holds more information than that, and it's just what I need to unlock the portal; better than that non-existent Flynn character's, too."
That hit Lora harder than a brick to her skull. The power outage did more than just delete her presentation written to show to a new legion of heroes, Epsilon stole it directly during the blackout.
"And I bet you want it back now, don't you?" The reddish she-program further mocked her opponent. "Well, you won't get it without this disc, and I doubt your partners can substitute for it. And I could just derez you, but since it simply kicks users back to the real world, I'd rather leave you here alone to live out the rest of your life stuck in this world, forever. So, say goodbye to your human life, Lorraine Jett."
Epsilon flipped Lora over on her back, immobile from the gash, and disconnected her disc from that area of her suit. But right as the disc began to glow in her hands; it suddenly began flashing red and sending tiny red circuitry lines along her hands and across the rest of her body. This felt first like a tingling, then a slowly rising sensation of burning pain, coupled with the feeling as if she was reaching a fever.
"What is this?! What did you do to the disc?!" She cried out while dropping to her knees.
Alan had dumped the last crushed vehicle off the ship, disposed of the last remaining guard, and the two came to see what was going on.
"He did it, Talen's antivirus worked!" Lora enthusiastically explained as her brother and friend helped her to her feet.
"Antivirus? But how?! I thought that destitute program had been written only to heal other stray programs!" Epsilon looked at the trio, writhing in pain.
"His name is Talen, and he was designed to stop viruses, like YOU!" Lora shouted as she took the disc back and remounted it on her suit.
While the ship's PA system announced that the whole craft would blow up in exactly 4 minutes, the new brighter red circuitry crawling over Epsilon's skin and robe now turned green. Trying to demonstrate the last capability of a computer virus, Epsilon briefly cycled through the forms of other programs and users.* The green circuitry then caused her body to slowly disintegrate into dozens of tiny pixels, and finally vanish from this world entirely.
"Well, that takes care of her, now to...somehow get to the portal," Alan slicked back his hair and blew some air off.
But the ship was now floating far away from the portal in all the fighting that went on.
"Er, do your rods have plane modes?" Lora whipped out her own baton and held one finger over the jet button.
"Yes, they do. Let's use them right now!" Jane confirmed that question.
The 3 heroes jumped off the ship just as it began to sink down into an ocean-like body of liquid far below, and in fractions of seconds, their own individually colored jets formed around their bodies like body bags for hang gliders.
It took simple joystick movement and mental concentration to reach the portal, but it didn't look in good shape, and another timer showed why: It had only one minute left before shutting down. Quickly jumping onto a catwalk and throwing away their batons, the heroes ran like ostriches to the glowing white column of luminous energy up above.
"Okay, um...who's going first?"
The timer said 30 seconds, so Alan decided, "Let's huddle together, and one of us uses their disc. The only risk would be if we get spat out of the system melded together by our DNA."
Shivering, his sister whipped out her disc again, held it high over her head; Jane and Alan clung to her side, and just before the stress of intense energy could overwhelm the elastic girl, her vision and feeling blacked out again. When it returned, and her companions also but not stuck together like they feared, they were standing back in the ENCOM facility.
Everyone looked down and noted that they were back in their normal clothes. Alan felt a little embarrassed while he retrieved his hidden outer clothes from under the desk. Right after he got redressed, a door banged open. To their surprise, an old man appearing to be in his late '70's had entered the room. He groaned but in a calm way, "Oh, I didn't know this place wasn't empty. Who are you three? I'm Alan Bradley, chairman of this company's Board of Directors."
Further embarrassed by just a slight degree, Alan Jett stated his name, then his sister's, and Jane's codename. Lora squinted her eyes, "I thought you and someone with the initial L sent us an email, but now I know it was a fake.
"That's funny, because neither I nor my wife Lora have been here in years. And what's even funnier is that you and your blond sister there have the same first name as ours!"
"You don't know the half of that, we're superheroes, too," Lora Jett giggled in response.
"Is that so? Mr. Flynn upstairs said that the Epsilon virus isn't on the computer Grid anymore. It came around during the power outage last night."
"Yup, and our powers made good use of taking out that virus. It was a woman, a very evil and deranged woman," Jane nodded.
"Now that your 'adventure' is over, why don't you follow me to the break room for some breakfast?" Alan Bradley motioned towards the elevator door.
"That sounds fabulous!" Alan Jett cheered in agreement.
The aforementioned breakfast consisting of chocolate chip waffles and maple smoked bacon proceeded quite smoothly, and the 2 elastic girls + size-changing man demonstrated their powers in a large storage room before the 2 Bradleys and Mr. Sam Flynn.
Finally, Lora Jett spoke to Jane as they left the office building, "So, where will you be?"
"Probably New York City, but I'd advise against seeing me in the middle of combat."
"Yeah, I've encountered that problem with a certain someone by the name Diane."
"But assuming there won't be much crime maybe we can meet back in Centropolis for something fun next. Knowing that there are more superheroes in the world is a very useful thing," Jane's tone resembled that of a sweet parent or teacher, then drastically changed, "But now I have to give my supervisor Wade a good whooping for not helping with my government work since February 7th, 2012! And he said he'd be looking out for me. Puh!"
After calming down, Jane turned to walk towards a bus stop, then stopped and turned around again, "Oh, I almost forgot. Take this, Lora, It should help."
"Thank you, and if you want to help me in missions some time, my number's 555-604-1982," Lora added while taking a small pamphlet Jane gave her.
"Got it. Have fun crime-fighting, and take care of yourselves!" Jane called out as the bus took her on.
Alan noticed that his and his sister's motorcycles were right where they parked 'em, and drove with a breeze back to Centropolis. On the way, though, Lora couldn't help but notice a peculiar but old building with a huge neon sign saying "FLYNN'S". Judging from the noises inside, she finally deduced that building to be a video arcade.
"Say, maybe one of our stops back here would be to play a game or two in that arcade," she smiled to her brother.
"Good idea, it's been a while since I played some classic arcade games."
Exhausted, sweaty, and tired, Lora stumbled back into her apartment. Meredith happened to have a stack of papers stapled together, and when her leader looked more closely, they were the presentation she lost in the power outage! Yet, she couldn't remember what it was for, but then the pamphlet in her pocket came to mind.
Fishing it out, Lora read the text aloud so her sidekick could hear.
"[FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, THIS IS NOT A BROCHURE.] You have been selected to join the Legion of Elastic Women (LOEW). There are currently  members already joined, and you as a member will greatly help reduce world crime. Alone, you may have fought most of the same villains before, but with us there will be more crime to fight and many possible friends to make, if not just partners. If you have any questions call this encrypted number at [1445 hours]: 555-304-9897. Thank you. Agent Rock, former H.U.B. leader."