In the Algorithm hostel, the decorations continue to glitch. Chase sits in his room and ignores the gunshots outside, and Gert calling to him. Gert runs in to beg Chase to protect her, and Chase predicts exactly when Alex will come crashing in. After glitching briefly, Gert begs Chase to save him and he points out that the real Gert never needed protecting. The others call to him, and Chase yells at them to leave him alone. "Gert" disappears, and Chase goes out in the hallway. The real Janet appears through a crack between the dreams, and he confirms that he's fine. Janet says that the glitchings are getting worse and if the virtual worlds collapse while they're in them, their bodies will die in the real world. Chase suggests that if Janet clears her mind, she can get rid of "Victor".
Victor tells Janet to come eat her crepes, and Janet tells him that she doesn't want them. The plate of crepes disappear, and Victor reminds her of when they fell in love before Pride and Jonah. Janet angrily tells Victor to get out, and he disappears. She then tells Chase that she knows what they need to do.
In the real world in the workshop, Tina wonders why Xavin and Molly led them away from the house. Victor hears a noise and looks in the server closet, but finds no one inside. Nico is cloaking them with the Staff, and Victor goes out and wonders why Stacey isn't responding to her calls. Tina suggests that Stacey might be up to something, and says that Stacey thinks Victor is too human. She suggests that Victor is showing human sentiment toward Karolina, and tells him that Stacey isn't going to wait for Victor to build a ship. Tina admits that Stacey has built a ship but it will take the entire family to power it up, and Victor suggests that they take Karolina instead of Stacey since she's forcing Victor to choose. Tina asks what she gets for her loyalty, and says that she wants her brother stripped of his power. Also, when Victor steps down, Tina gets his position. Victor agrees and tells Tina to go to Wizard and finish the platform.
Gert puts her things in the SUV and Old Lace in an animal trailer, while inside Dale loads a tranq gun with serum. He then calls Gert inside and tells her to find Molly and make sure she's safe. Gert thanks him for helping her with Old Lace and Dale says that he'll be okay at the cabin. He offers to get her some of his goat powder for stress, and the real Stacey runs in. Dale comes back out and tells Gert to run, and Stacey warns that the alien inside of her could come back at any moment. She explains that the alien are going to open their portal, and then more aliens will come through and eliminate anyone who knew they were there.
Gert tells Dale that she took his tranq gun, and Stacey starts to tell them how to defeat the alien. The mother alien takes her over before Stacey can finish, and she breaks Stacey's glasses and greets them. The Stacey alien blasts them and they take cover behind the couch. There are no cartridges in the tranq gun because Dale hid them in case Gert stole the gun, and Dale loads the tranq gun and shoots Stacey. She pulls the dart out and says that the old rules don't apply, and Dale throws the gun at her. It hits her without effect, and Stacey throws a coffee cup at his head.
Dale charges at Stacey, who punches him to the floor. Gert steps out and tries to reach the real Stacey, but she doesn't respond. Old Lace, responding to Gert's emotions, breaks out of the trailer, grabs Stacey, and drags her outside. Gert has Old Lace head-butt Stacey unconscious, goes out to Old Lace, and tells Dale to leave before Stacey wakes up. Dale runs off into the night and Gert drives off with Old Lace. Behind them, Stacy wakes up.
Nico hears a woman's voice telling her to wake up. Alex wakes Nico up, saying she nodded off, and after Nico resestablishes the cloaking field, he watches Victor reading the Abstract. He suggests that Nico hold Victor off with the Staff while he goes for the Fistigon prototypes. Nico's eyes turn black and she warns that she'll lose control if she fights. Victor leaves with the Abstract, and Alex and Nico go out. Nico says that if she lost control, she could have killed Alex or their imprisoned friends. Alex warns that they can't win without the Staff, and Nico tells him to focus on getting the others out of the Abstract. Alex tries to enter Janet's VR world but discovers that he's been locked out.
Molly and Xavin wait outside the manor gate, and Molly complains that everyone is underestimating her. Xavin reminds her that emotions lead a warrior to defeat, and fighting without the weapons they need means certain defeat. However, she admits that the weapons they need may be inside. Since Alex and Nico haven't come out with them, she figures they should go in.
Alex and Nico move through the manor and Nico cloaks them as Victor and Tina come by. Victor figures that Xavin will lead them to the Runaways, and they'll torture them until the missing brother reveals himself. Tina senses the Staff and then tells Victor that he can count on her and goes. Nico drops the cloak and goes with Alex into the study. Alex smiles as he finds the Abstract on Victor's desk.
Xavin and Molly enter the workshop and Xavin warns that they don't know how to release the captives from the tubes. Molly tells her that she'll break the glass while Xavin gets the weapons, and the lights come on as the elevator comes down. Xavin pulls Molly to hiding before Victor and Tina can see her as they emerge, and Tina gets into the SUV where Molly and Xavin are hiding.
Alex opens the Abstract and is surprised to discover he can read the alien writing because it's math-based. While he "wings it", Nico reestablishes the cloak.
Tina drives the SUV to the platform building parking lot and goes inside. Molly and Xavin find the inhibitor pods in the glove compartment, but they set off the car alarm. The security guard hears the noise and comes over, and Xavin disguises herself as Tina and says that Molly is an ally. She says that she came back down and left her car keys upstairs, and they set off the car alarm. The guard gets the spare keys from the valet and gives them to "Tina", who drives off with Molly... badly. Molly says that she'll drive and they switch places, and Gert texts to tell Molly that she's coming.
Tina meets with her staff and tries their drinks while they brief her on the project. She finally tells them that they're starting something new in the area of transportation. A GrubMate guy in, and Tina immediately assigns him to her new team because of his looks. The team leader, Mita Nausari, asks Tina what she means by "transportation", and Tina says that she's developing interstellar wormholes before taking off with the GrubMate guy.
Karolina walks through the remains of her empty wedding and finds the virtual Nico. Nico is freezing, and Karolina figures that they're hurting Nico to punish her. She promises to stay with Nico, and Victor appears. He makes "Nico" disappear with a snap of his fingers, and Karolina knows that Victor's skin is flaking. Victor says that he'll feed soon, and Karolina notes that Stacey wasn't happy to learn that Victor had a hybrid daughter. She figures that Stacey tortured Nico, and Victor admits that it's his fault because he hasn't handled things well with his wife. He tells Karolina that she won't need her body, and Karolina insists that she is her body. Victor offers to preserve her friends when the Algorithm collapses if Karolina agrees to go with him, and Karolina refuses. He warns her that time is short and makes Nico reappear, and Karolina goes to her as he walks away.
Nico's eyes turn black and she tells Alex to hurry. She finds herself back in the field with the woman telling her not to let her fears hold her back. The woman tells Nico that she just has to let it in to save her friends. In the real world, the blackness spreads up Nico's arm toward the Staff. Nico drops it on the floor, and she hears Victor coming back. She has Alex shut down the Abstract and drags him into hiding in a closet, and Victor enters the study and discovers that the Abstract is gone. He finds the Staff on the floor where Nico dropped it, looks around for a moment, and then leaves with it.
In her VR world, Janet tries to wish it all away. Objects disappear and Janet finds herself in Chase's VR hostel with her son. They hug and Janet explains in the VR worlds they can change their perception of things, but they can't create a door to escape. They look for a crack leading to Karolina's VR world.
Karolina comforts Nico and Nico wonders why Karolina looks sad when Nico isn't real. Karolina figures it's as close as she can get to the real Nico and starts to kiss her, but Nico dies. Chase calls to Karolina through a crack between the VR worlds and tells her to follow her voice. Karolina finds the crack and Chase tells her to close her eyes and wish it all away. She says that she can't, and Chase insists that none of it is real and she has to try. Karolina concentrates and finds herself in the VR hostel. Janet figures that they have to find the door she saw before and push through.
The trio split up to search the hostel for the door. Chase finds it and calls the others, and Janet confirms that it's still locked despite Alex's efforts. Chase collapses, suffocating.
In the real world, Victor checks Chase's tube and calls to Nico. He threatens to kill her friend unless she reveals herself.
Karolina suggests that they can affect the real world, just as someone in the real world is suffocating Chase. She uses her energy to turn up the oxygen in the tube, and Victor sees the real Karolina's hands glow as oxygen flows into Chase's tube. In the VR world, Karolina touches the door and "feels" the controls, but warns that something is pulling her apart. Chase stops suffocating, and Janet pulls Karolina away from the door.
Victor scowls in frustration and sees dark energy covering the Staff. Nico comes in, her eyes black, and summons the Staff to her. Victor snags it with an energy blast and tries to pull it back to him. He's unable to take it, but he shatters it and Nico reverts to normal. As Nico attacks Victor in hand-to-hand, Alex sneaks in and activates the Abstract to access the control system.
Janet suggests that Karolina give her a burst, but Chase warns that if it's too dangerous for Karolina then it's too dangerous for Janet.
Alex yells to Nico that the combination changes every time that he gets close. Victor throws Nico across the room.
Karolina can "feel" Alex unlocking the door.
Alex manages to get into the system. Victor blasts Nico to the floor, and Janet tells Karolina and Chase to go through the door.
Victor prepares to kill Nico, and Molly punches him through a glass pane. Xavin, Gert, and Old Lace come in, and Xavin tosses the pods around Victor.
Chase refuses to leave Janet, and they appear in a forest with an aurora borealis overhead. Janet says that she's already part of the Algorithm, and explains that she has to keep her hands on the door to keep it solid. She tells her son that she's staying there, and explains that she and Chase came there when Victor was on work trips. Janet says that Chase is everything she ever hoped he'd be, and she couldn't be more proud of how brave and kind he is. She assures Chase that he's all set for the future, and she chose a perfect place so they could say goodbye. Janet insists that she doesn't need to be saved.
The tubes around Chase and Karolina vanish, and Nico and Karolina hug. Chase looks at Janet's body, and tells Gert that his mother is gone. They start to hug, but then Gert walks away and Old Lace roars at Chase before going after Gert. Nico picks up the shattered Staff and they leave. Chase hesitates briefly, looking at the immobilized Victor, and then goes with his friends. As they get into their cars, Karolina tells Nico that she understands why Nico "killed" Jonah. As Xavin looks on, they kiss.
When the group returns to the hostel, Gert asks if they're going to talk about how Chase betrayed them. Molly says that it's their moment of victory and they're together, and she refuses to lose any more family. She insists that Chase is family even if he's a cowardly betrayer, and she thinks he should stay. Molly tells them to say they're sorry to each other and celebrate, and they go up to their rooms. Chase thanks Molly for trying, and Xavin says that they're not safe until they find the brother. Alex says that they'll try to draw him out in the morning, but Xavin warns that Karolina can't be alone with Nico. The others figure that Xavin is jealous, but Nico agrees with Xavin and describes her hallucinations. She thinks that the brother is inside of her and if it is, none of them are safe.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 14, 2019