Sophie was out of breath and very nervous. She had been dreading this day for some time and it seemed like it wasn't going the way that she would have hoped. Rather than it being her fighting a new supervillain as At-Lass instead she found herself on the basketball court with the rest of her teammates. They're last series of matches had not gone too well for them, if they lost this one their chances of going post-season were more or less non-existent. It was now or never for them.
The Grendon Dreams were down by two points with only a few seconds left on the clock. The team did have the ball but it was tough getting passed the players of the opposite team. Lizzie found herself with the ball but before she could react she found herself surrounded by three other players. All of them were taller than her and it seemed like she didn't have much of a way out.
There was a light at the end of the tunnel however when Lizzie spotted Sophie in an open space. Quickly she bounce passed the ball to Sophie who for a moment wanted to get closer to the basket. However she soon found herself confronted by a rival player who wasn't going to let her get passed.
With very few options and with the game clock almost at zero Sophie aimed at the basket and fired. The ball went up above the players the almost like it as pre-destined it went through the hoop without hitting the backboard. Her feet had been behind the three point line so it meant that the basket that had been scored had given the Grendon Dreams the extra point they needed to win the game.
No sooner had the basket been scored there was a siren which indicated that the game had finished. There was a cheer from Sophie's teams and their supporters as they had just seen the end of a great game. She was swarmed by her team who wanted to celebrate the win but they did show some respects to the team that they had just beaten.
A few minutes later the players found themselves in their changing room as they were still celebrating their victory. Many were giving Sophie a hi-five although she felt that it was more of a team effort rather than just celebrating herself. The victory was a much needed confidence boost that the team had been lacking for some time. They were thinking that maybe they could go all the way to the state championships this year.
All that chattering came to a halt when they saw their coach Emilia step into the changing rooms. She was a towering figure and she demanded respect from those who were under her supervision. Everyone looked over to her and they waited for the tall woman to finally speak to them.
"Congratulations on your victory tonight," said Emilia. Her arms were crossed and the team could see that there was more to come. "But we cannot afford to be complacent, we very nearly lost that game if it hadn't been for Bale's last second basket. If she had missed we would be out of the running to go post-season. I know that you all put a lot of effort but if we let our overconfidence cloud our judgement then we will lose games again and all of our hopes of winning any kind of championships are down the toilet. Go home and rest up because tomorrow we have a lot of practicing to do." There was a sigh from a few of the team members who didn't particularly want to practice the next day. "I expect to see everyone there in tip top shape. Enjoy the rest of your night."
With that Emilia left as the rest of the women finished getting changed and left. After saying goodbye to her teammates Sophie was driven back home by her parents who also congratulated her for the team's victory. She was learning to drive but since she hadn't passed her driving exam yet she still couldn't drive by herself. One thing that she knew for sure was that she was going to need a shower when she got her.
Her body ached from not only the game but her activities as At-Lass. Since the incident with the cult things had been pretty quiet although there were some criminals that had tried their luck. She had been there however to put them back in their place but this only made her body ache even more. She thought that she could do with a long vacation in order to properly rest up. She wasn't sure if superheroes could go on vacation, she had never heard any of the other superheroes going on vacation but then again she didn't know about any of them on a personal level.
It wasn't long before Sophie reached home but on the way back they had stopped to pick up some fast food. They bought it in order to celebrate Sophie's victory and they did buy enough for the whole family. She did like fast food but she had to be careful with what she ate, she didn't want to become overweight and unable to play basketball. But on this night she was particularly hungry so she just went along with it.
When they were at home the fast food was placed on the table and the family began to divide it up amongst themselves. They were primarily eating fried chicken and they made sure that they had tissues to wipe their hands afterwards. Her brother Sean was eating a lot but this was to be expected from a boy his age. The others just ate what they wanted and everything around them seemed to be good.
The family were also talking to each other, the subject wasn't so much about the game but other things in general like what needed to be bought when they went to the supermarket next and about Aunt Jess's birthday that was coming up soon. However while they were talking Sophie could hear another voice. She didn't need to concentrate on the voice long to realise that it was that of Doctor Julius. She gave a sigh as she knew that it meant that she was likely to have a long night ahead of her.
Sophie made an excuse that she needed to go to the bathroom and quickly she did make her way upstairs to the bathroom. But rather than doing any business she placed her finger onto her ear so that she could communicate with Doctor Julius, she couldn't help but feel annoyed but if At-Lass was needed she would answer the call.
"I'm here Doc," said Sophie. She did sit down on the toilet but she made sure that the lid was closed first. "This better be important."
"Hopefully you will think it's important," replied Doctor Julius. He could detect that she was annoyed so he wanted to keep this as short as he can. "I have just finished a little surprise for you. Don't worry, it won't involve you having to go out as At-Lass tonight." He knew that she was tired lately and he hoped that what he had planned wouldn't tire her out even further.
"Are you sure, every time you say that I seem to have to go and kick some bad guy's ass?"
"Hopefully that won't happen tonight, I promise that we'll be done in fifteen minutes tops." She couldn't see him smiling nervously at the other end as his time estimates were normally way off.
"And not a second longer." He heard her give out a fairly large sigh which he knew was a good sign.
"Ok I'll be there as soon as I can but if I'm there for more than fifteen minutes I will really not be happy."
With that she ended the communication between them. She made her way downstairs to the dinner table and finished her food. Her parents were surprised when she told them that she needed to pop out for a few minutes. They knew that their daughter was heading out of the house and night more and more often. They were worrying that she was beginning to hang out with the wrong crowd but they couldn't really stop her. She was eighteen years old and they couldn't keep her in the house longer than she wanted.
After saying a quick goodbye Sophie headed out of the house and quickly made her way towards the warehouse. She was on the constant look out for anyone that she thought might give her trouble. She still remembered what happened when a man pulled a knife on her not too long after she became At-Lass. If she had her suit she could have easily dealt with him but since she didn't she had to rely on her own skills.
Thankfully this time she had no problems as she walked to the warehouse. She didn't need to knock on the door as she stepped inside. She could see that most of the lights were on and when she reached Doctor Julius's workshop she could see that he was already there waiting for her. He had a large smile on his face and on a table she could see what seemed to be a suit.
This suit looked much like her At-Lass suit but there were a few differences. The first was that this was a grey colour and it looked to have an oxygen tank attached to the back of it. There was also a breathing mask attached to it and it seemed a little bizarre. She need to be smart to realise that this was why she had been called. She looked at it for a few moments before she looked at Doctor Julius.
"What's this?" asked Sophie. She lifted up the arm of the suit before placing it back down on the table.
"This is my latest addition to your arsenal in a way. This is what I call the Small Suit and hopefully it'll help you at some point in the future."
"I'm guessing that this suit shrinks. But didn't my other suit do that already?"
"Yes but not to this level. As you know if you shrink below three inches you won't be able to breathe. Well this suit has a built in oxygen tank that will help you breathe. Also it is a much powerful shrinking suit in comparison to your normal suit. For this I completely removed all the tech that was needed for increasing your size and replaced it with shrinking tech. So basically while you're wearing this suit you can't grow passed your normal size but you can shrink much smaller than you could before."
"Like the size of a germ?"
"Yes and maybe even further. That is why I've asked you to come tonight, I wish to test the suit out but don't worry I'm not going to shrink you to the size of a germ. Instead I want to reduce you to a millimetre."
"That is small, but will it be safe?"
"From what I have seen it will but if we do run into any problems I can increase your size back up to normal. Now would you mind putting the suit on for me? Then we can begin with the experiment."
With that Sophie picked up the suit which felt heavier than she had expected thanks to the oxygen tank. She went into an area where she could get changed in privacy. As she changed she knew that she needed to have a shower as soon as she got back home, she didn't have one yet and she still had the sweat from the game. She didn't think it was very lady like and she tried to push it to the back of her mind.
When Sophie was in her suit she felt like she was going scuba diving rather than testing some shrinking tech. She didn't put her breathing mask on just yet but as she walked out she felt a little odd. This was just her nerves as she felt the same when she had grown for the first time.
When Doctor Julius saw her he was glad to see that the suit fitted her perfectly. It was the same measurements as her regular At-Lass suit so he wasn't all that surprised. He did notice that she didn't have her goggles so he just took the goggles from her regular suit and although the colours didn't match they would do for the test.
"Ok Sophie I'm going to shrink you down to three inches first," said Doctor Julius. "Then when I place you on the table I'll shrink you even further. You don't mind me picking you up do you?"
"Just as long as you washed your hands first," replied Sophie as she placed her goggles over her eyes. She remembered what happened when she shrank without her goggles, she had been completely blind and it had been a scary experience for her.
"Beginning shrinking sequence now." He typed away on the nearby computer and suddenly Sophie felt herself beginning to shrink.
The sensations of her body changing size was something that seemed to be as normal as breathing to her now. She watched as the world around her continued to grow but it did feel odd shrinking in a new suit rather than her standard At-Lass suit. She was just glad that the suit seemed to be working.
After a few moments At-Lass found herself at three inches tall which was nothing new to her. She felt like she was in a world of giants and as she looked up to Doctor Julius he looked to be around one hundred and fifty feet tall in comparison to her. She watched as he bent down and gently picked her up. It felt a little strange being handled since she was the one who was used to handling someone else.
With great care Doctor Julius moved her onto the table and placed her down right next to a quarter that he had already placed there. He indicated that he wanted her to put her breathing mask on now. She did as she was told but as she placed it in she saw that she needed to keep her mouth closed in order to keep it in. Because of this it meant that she wouldn't be able to talk while she had it in her mouth.
When Doctor Julius was sure that she had her breathing mask on he continued the shrinking process. Sophie felt it immediately as she felt herself shrinking again, she couldn't help but feel nervous as she rarely shrank smaller than three inches and she always felt somewhat vulnerable.
When Sophie was down to around half an inch she stood on top of the coin and she could feel herself shrinking even further. She still breathed normally thanks to her breathing mask so unlike the last few times she shrank to this size she didn't have to worry about suffocating. She looked down at the coin and she couldn't believe how large it looked now, she was beginning to see some imperfections I the coin and the letters on it was becoming almost as large as her. She was already smaller than George Washington's Head and she carried on shrinking.
When Sophie did stop shrinking the world around her looked larger than it ever had been before. She looked up towards the ceiling but she couldn't see anything. She was so small that her vision had reduced to the point that she couldn't see the ceiling that was around thirty feet above her. She looked in every other direction as well but once again she couldn't see as much as she liked. It was pretty scary for her but when she looked at Doctor Julius who was only a few feet away he looked to be the size of a mountain.
Doctor Julius was looking over Sophie's vitals on his screen and he could see that everything seemed to be fine. The only thing that he found to be abnormal was that her heart rate was elevated. However he put it down to her nervousness rather than anything being wrong with the suit. He could also see everything that she was seeing and he was amazed to see how different the world around her now looked. It was like he was watching some kind of science fiction film rather than it being real life.
After a few moments Doctor Julius picked up a nearby magnifying glass and stepped over to the table. He held it over the coin and as he looked down at it he could see Sophie, he didn't see her as clearly as he would have liked but at least he could see her. As she looked up he saw his gigantic eye looking down from the magnifying glass but she didn't feel afraid because she knew that it was him.
"Hello Sophie," said Doctor Julius. He made sure that he didn't speak too loudly because at this size it could be very harmful to her. All she could respond with was a wave of her hand to say hi back. "It seems that our little test has been more than a success. You should be proud of yourself, no human in history has been as small as you right now. However I guess you already had that record. Just stay there and I'll increase your size back up to normal. Just don't fall off the table."
Doctor Julius moved over to the computer once again and typed away at it. When he was done Sophie began to grow slowly. She was a little reluctant to leave this new world but she much preferred to live the rest of her life at her normal size. When she was large enough she stepped off the coin and waited as she grew larger.
When she was around two feet tall Sophie she climbed down from the table and simply waited until she was back up to her full size. She also made sure that she removed her mouthpiece. Doctor Julius turned to look at her and he watched her grow until she was taller than him. When she stopped she was an inch shy of being six feet tall once again and she lifted up her goggles as well.
"I'm glad to see that the experiment was a success with you shrinking down to that size with no ill effect," said Doctor Julius. "I just want to know, what was it like shrinking down to that size?"
"Well it's like the other times I've shrunk," replied Sophie. "Just smaller than before, it did feel weird to see the world like that. Now I know how an ant must feel living in our world. I don't really like this mouthpiece though."
"Is there a problem with it?" He thought that there might be a design flaw that needed to be looked at immediately.
"When I have this in my mouth I can't talk. If I need to speak to you about something I would have to take it out and then I might suffocate. Is there any chance you could change it into something more versatile?"
"I can take a look and you have a good point there."
"Plus is there room for my jetpack on this suit? I'm judging from where my oxygen tank is that there isn't going to be a jetpack."
"Yes, I had to sacrifice your jetpack in order to fit on the tank. I'd say that your normal suit is like a jack of all trades while this one is a specialist. Your normal suit is for more general purposely while this one is more for a singular purpose. Do you get what I mean with that?" He knew that she wasn't an idiot but some of his scientific talk might be too complex for her to hear.
"Yeah I understand, but when do you think I would ever need to shrink down to a fraction of an inch?"
"I'm not sure but we have it if we ever need it. Also think of the possibilities of it, you could be the first person to interact with microbes on their level."
"Wow that sounds exciting." There was a small amount of sarcasm in her voice. Her visit had not been a complete waste of time but she thought that this was something that she could have done at a later date. She was just glad that he was happy though. "Can I get changed again now?"
"Sure, just bring the suit back here when you're done."
Sophie walked away back to the area where she could get changed in private. Carefully she took the suit off and when she was done her body felt much lighter than it had done before. Her movements had felt more restricted in the suit as well and she thought that this was something that was worth mentioning to Doctor Julius.
Quickly Sophie put on her normal clothes and brought the new suit back to Doctor Julius. There she told him about how she felt like her movement had been restricted and this made him think about how he could increase the suit's mobility. Since there was no crimes that they knew about and due to Sophie's own fatigue she left the warehouse so that she could return home to bathe and rest.
With Sophie gone Doctor Julius almost immediately got to work on improving the suit. He knew that it wasn't going to be perfect from the first test so he had allocated a time for himself to tweak it. It was going to be less work than he expected and it would also help combat a few of the issues that he had. He didn't have much of a life outside of the warehouse but at least when he was working he could forget about all of that and concentrate on the job at hand.
While he was working he seemed to be in his own little world and he felt truly at peace here. He did hear someone entering the warehouse. Normally he would have begun to suspect that something was wrong but he just thought that it was Sophie returning. He turned from his chair and expected to see her.
"What is it Sophie?" asked Doctor Julius as he turned on his chair. "Did you forget something?" Rather than seeing Sophie he could see that it was another woman. She looked to be in her thirties and was Oriental. She had a slim build and was average height, she also wore a black dress that looked good on her. Almost instantly he recognised her but he thought that she was something that he would never see again. "You? What are you doing here?"
"Hello Julius," replied the Woman. "It's been a long time." She took a few steps towards him and she had a smile on her face. "I can see that you've been very busy since the last time I saw you."
"H-How did you find me?" He was very nervous but he wasn't sure that he should be at this moment in time.
"Well you're not exactly hiding and it didn't take much digging to find where you were. I'm just glad to see that your mind seems to be as sharp as it was when I last saw you. Have you come up with something that would benefit the world?"
"In a manner of speaking but you still haven't answered my question. Why are you here Sasha?"
"Well now that you mentioned it." She took a few more steps towards him and stood right next to his chair. "You see my company is trying to produce a device that could truly revolutionise communications. Imagine not needed a phone or anything like that talk to people over a large distance. You could say that it is like telepathy but rather with tech rather than psychic powers. Think of the possibilities of it, can you imagine just what could be achieved with such tech."
"And you're telling me about this because...."
"Because so far we haven't been able to get the tech working. I've brought in experts from all over the world but none of them have yet to succeed. That was when I thought about you, besides myself you are the most brilliant mind that I've ever come across. You're the only person I can think of that has the capabilities to make such tech work. Of course you will be greatly compensated for your efforts."
"I'm actually have a fair amount of money in the bank right now."
"Oh yeah, you patented some of your inventions and it is what is funding all your little toys that you're making right now. With that much money I expected you to have better living arrangements than this place."
"Well you know me, I've never been one of those guys who are into big fancy houses. A place like this is ideal for me. I can work in peace and I have a place to sleep, I don't think that there is truly anything that you can offer me."
"There is one thing that you do lack. That is companionship, we used to have a thing for one another back in College and I say why not continue it now? You are by far the only man who could ever keep up with me on an intellectual level and between the two of us we will become the power couple in the world. No one would be able to stand up to our mind and wealth."
"This is all very sudden, you turn up after fifteen years and now you're basically asking me to marry you for helping you out. I admit that the time we spent together was some of the happiest days of my life. But I need time to think about all of this."
"Of course, I didn't expect you to give me an answer right here and now." She went into her purse and took out what looked to be a card. "My number is on here, call me when you've made a decision. For the both of us I hope that it is the right one." She turned around and began to walk away. However she stopped for a moment and looked at him. "Oh by the way, you better lock that door of yours. You don't want any undesirables walking in while you're working, do you?"
With that she continued to walk out and within moments she was gone. Doctor Julius sat there and looked at card. He couldn't believe what had just happened, not only did he see someone that he hadn't seen for more than decade and she had more or less given him a marriage proposal. It almost seemed like something from a corny soap but instead it was real life.
He was also thinking about this so called tech that she had been talking about. He thought that if such a thing was possible it could truly revolutionaries the realm of communications. Only someone like Sasha could make something like that work but if she needed his help he wasn't sure if he could refuse.
Doctor Julius's mind also wandered towards At-Lass. If he was busy in some kind of corporate lab then he wouldn't be able to help Sophie in her superhero career as At-Lass. Without him she wouldn't be able to use the suit or implement any upgrades to it. Ultimately he had a choice, whether to be a part of history or remain where he was and helping a single city. It was going to be one of the most difficult decisions of his life and he felt that he couldn't ask anyone else for help.