Chapter Four: A Bizarre Alliance

Stefana pushed open the door of Rebel Records' main studio, casting Rory an expectant glare. "What's the story? Three days and I don't hear anything from you and then I get a cloak and dagger tale about meeting here this morning? What's this all about?"
"I advise you to shut your mouth, young lady." Rory said quietly, indicating for her to sit down. "And keep it shut, if you want this to work at all."
"You said you'd take care of it!" Stefana sulked.
"And I have." Rory nodded. "Techrat, if you please?"
A figure shuffled out from the corner of the room, startling the guitarist as he did so, for he had been so quiet and still she had not noticed his beady gaze.
"The virus is completed." He spoke in strange, raspy tones, and it was hard for Stefana not to laugh out loud.
"What's this?" she demanded. "Who in hell have you hired this time, Rory?"
"This is Techrat." Rory ignored the derision in her tone. "He's an acquaintance of Ingrid Krueger, and if she trusts his judgement so do I. I'd mind your manners if I were you. This project isn't possible without his help."
"Hah." Stefana snorted. "He looks like a freak to me."
"I am a technological genius!" This seemed to offend the weasly man, who raised himself up to his full height and glared at her with a piercing gaze. "Who is this...girl?"
The disgust in his tone was only too clear, and Stefana visibly bristled. However, before she could launch a stinging retort, Rory had laid a hand on her shoulder.
"Calm yourself my dear. This is how it works when you play as a team." He murmured. "Techrat, this is Stefana Ranieri, guitarist with Diablo, one of Rebel Records' bands. It's thanks to her that we know about this Cynthia and her real identity." He smiled benevolently on his charge, making her seethe inwardly at his condescension. "Now, Techrat, if you'd be so kind as to explain to Stefana the details of the virus? Remember she has little experience with computers, so keep it simple."
"If you want a smack in the mouth, Rory, you're going the right way for it." Stefana glared at him. A smirk crossed Techrat's face.
"She reminds me of someone." He observed softly, and from the expression on his face Rory realised that he meant Phyllis Gabor. He smiled.
"Indeed, but her deviousness is far more to my liking." He replied. "The virus?"
Stefana sat down with very bad grace, hating the way they were treating her.
"This was my plan, and now they treat me like a kid." She told herself darkly. "He'd damn well better pay me bigtime for this one, I swear!"
"Ah yes, the virus!" Techrat seemed to get animated at the reminder of his big project. "My latest work of genius! Minx said you wanted a virus which would knock out an ordinary mainframe within a few minutes!"
"Yes." Stefana nodded. "So? You got one?"
"I have it right here." Techrat produced a shiny silver disk from his pocket. "All the essential data is on here. All that needs to be done is to insert the disk into the computer."
"Oh yes, and how am I going to do that, huh?" Stefana demanded. "The damn machine has sensors and detectors all over the place, you can't get near it without the wretched hologram alter ego appearing and trying to batter the hell out of you!"
"I forsee a problem." Rory observed. "Techrat, is there any way that the virus can be spread without the disk being inserted?"
"Of course." Techrat spoke as if the executive was stupid for even asking. "I have a very new invention for just this purpose!" His dark eyes glinted from under the shadow of his hair. "It's a laser...a new development in the field. A beautiful laser, too! It has the power to transmit data along it's rays into anything or anyone with only minimal detection or damage!"
"Why in hell would you invent something as crackbrained as that?" Stefana raised an eyebrow. "What possible use would anyone ever have for a laser that penetrates people but doesn't hurt them?"
"Well, since it seems to be exactly right for what we're attempting, Stefana, I suggest you hold your tongue." Rory said lightly. Stefana scowled at him.
"Then stop talking to me like I'm stupid!" She exclaimed. "I'm not a child and it was a valid question!"
"You must bring the hologram to me." Techrat was stroking the surface of his precious disk almost lovingly as he spoke. "Then I can infect the projection unit with the virus myself...that way, nothing can go wrong." He eyed Stefana meaningfully, and she glared back at him coldly. "Do you think that can be managed?"
"Oh, can it with the brainiac routine, you're just some weirdo with a computer disk and a wacked out love of lasers." Stefana snapped. "And of course I can bring her here. I found out today that someone has video footage of her. You remember the Public Eye thing Jewel did? That Ben Rayner guy has her on tape."
"So we get to Ben Rayner and we get to the computer." Rory mused. Stefana shook her head.
"No, dumb brain. You're too late. Guy's already cuckoo over the hologram and has sworn to protect her. But I know where he keeps this video. That's why we can't waste time. As soon as he's done splicing Jewel's episode, the tape will be destroyed."
"Well, Stefana, since you seem to have all the answers, what do you suggest?" Rory questioned.
"Simple." Stefana folded her arms, evidently pleased with herself. "I got myself a date with Ben this Saturday night. He'll be out of the studio building...and his office. Whilst I'm keeping him busy, you send someone to swipe the tape. It's in the top drawer of his desk, locked in. I heard him say so to that creepy Cynthia myself. Then I'll leave Cynthia a note saying that if she wants to recover the tape she has to come to some location - wherever you ask, really. The computer's totally nutso'ed, but one thing that gets to it is the idea someone will take it's 'freedom' away. Cynthia will come."
"Well, well. That isn't half bad." Rory admitted. "Leave the location to me, I'll arrange something. I know people with ownership of some old warehouses downtown, they're due to be pulled down. That seems an adequate place to carry out the business - not many people go there." He smiled at Stefana. "For once, you've used your brain. I only wish you'd do as much when there wasn't a big pay bonus in it for you, that's all."
"Bite me." Stefana muttered.
"Techrat, can you have your laser set up before the girl arrives?"
"Nothing easier." Techrat said curtly, slipping the disk into his pocket, and producing a second. He paused. "I brought this, too."
"Which is?" Stefana demanded.
"The antidote."
"Dumbass, we don't want an antidote! We don't want to reverse this!" Stefana snapped. "Why did you make a goddamn antidote? Talk about a waste of time!"
"Because I wished to test the virus out on other computers and I don't see the reason to waste perfectly good machines just for your amusement." Techrat hissed. "Any genius knows that you always keep a backup - an antidote, in case things go wrong. Here." He pushed it across Rory's desk towards her, as if afraid to make contact with her himself. "Take it. Keep it safe."
"What's to stop me just snapping it in two and tossing it out the window, huh?" Stefana scooped the disk up.
"If you're such an ignoramus as to do so!" Techrat sneered at her. "I always prepare for every eventuality. It seems a good idea that should the computer's guardians get people in authority involved, you have a way to reverse the damage without trace and therefore absolve yourself from guilt. The antidote erases all evidence of the virus. Noone would ever prove anything took place."
"Oooh." Stefana looked at the disk, frowning as she saw the sense in his words. "Fine. I'll take care of it. I'll put it with my CDs or something, so it doesn't look out of place. I don't think we'll need it, though. I want to kill that damn machine. I hate her for trying to pretend she's better than me when she's nothing more than circuits and bolts!"
"Well, then make sure you keep Mr Rayner busy on Saturday night." Rory told her quietly. "We will take care of the rest."

Chapter One: Machinations
Chapter Two: Minx's Contact
Chapter Three: A Spy At Work
Chapter Four: A Bizarre Alliance
Chapter Five: Threat For Cynthia
Chapter Six: A Trap Is Set
Chapter Seven: An Unusual Morning
Chapter Eight: Investigation
Chapter Nine: Cynthia Breaks Down
Chapter Ten: Topaz's Plan
 Chapter Eleven: Crisis Point
Chapter Twelve: Nancy Remembers
Chapter Thirteen: The End

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!
The concept of RayzaBlade is copyrighted to my sister Elena...^_^ (Yeah, blame her!)