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Lone Star

The Park Date (IC)

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She giggled as they moved down the boardwalk, holding onto each other tightly even once the dizziness passed. "I'm having lots of fun, Blake," she said as they maneuvered into the end of the line for the Ferris wheel. She kissed him lightly on the forehead. "I like hanging around with you and talking and, well, just being around you." She blushed but kept talking. "I always have fun around you. I... I'm very... I want... Oh, to hell with it." She cupped his head and tilted it up, bringing her face closer and kissing him on the lips. It was a purposefully slow kiss, long and involved. When she pulled back, her entire body was tingling and she was flushed for a different reason. "So, yeah. Something like that."

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Blake's heart thumped in his chest. "You know I feel the same way, Jessica. You're...wonderful." Blake said as he held her closer. Within a few minutes, the two were climbing into one of the Ferris wheel's car. As they took their seat on one side of the car, Blake wrapped his arm around her. "These are so much fun. Haven't been on this ride in forever." he said as the worker shut the door of the car.

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The pair of teenagers loaded into a carriage a quarter of a way around the wheel, and there was much slow moving as the rest of the carriages were loaded up. Each new set of occupants was easily identified by a sudden lurch of the entire Ferris wheel and a slow glide to bring the next car into position. Jessica clung to her boyfriend all through this process; they tried to kiss once or twice, but ended up butting heads and now just sat there, blushing at each other and waiting for the process to complete. "So, um," Jessica began, trying to break the silence, "how's school been?"

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Blake cuddled closer to her. "It's been just fine...I have been thinking about you a lot. Keeps me good and distracted." Blake said as he pecked her cheek. "Haven't been out on patrol for a little while, though. I ought to sometime soon." He gently stroked her hair as the cars beneath them were being filled up.

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Jessica squirmed happily in her seat, even as she chided him. "School's important. You do good in school, you get a good job. You're gonna need a good job to get your own apartment. Otherwise RAs and your friends are always going to be walking in on us." Her eyes sparkled with humor as she looked at him, her lips curving into a smile. The Ferris wheel settled into a smoother motion as the last group was loaded aboard and Jessica scooted sideways on the bench seat, pressing closer to Blake. She glanced out the window and commented, "We're pretty high. I don't know if I've ever been this far up outside of my suit or an airplane." She leaned towards her boyfriend, one arm slipping around his shoulders and the other going to his waist. "Keep me safe?"

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Blake tugged at his T-shirt, moving it over the hem of his jeans. "Of course I will, Jessica. You know I will." Blake moved one of his hands to the back of her head, and started to stroke her hair. He moved in, and their lips and tongues intertwined. Blake's heart thumped in his chest and he moaned gently beneath her kiss.

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Jessica made happy noises as their lips and tongues met, tilting her head slightly so that they could press closer. Her entire body felt alive and electric, and she felt a... well a spiky heat was the only way to describe it, settle in her core. She moved closer to Blake even thought that wasn't particularly possible, moving them both across the bench seat towards the side window. Before long she was pressing him against it, fully absorbed in the kiss. Omega himself could be invading right now, and Jessica wouldn't even care.

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Blake gasped in surprise beneath her kiss as she aggressively pushed him to the wall. His hands were moving up and down her waist, and as much as he wanted to, he didn't move his hands to places where they wanted to venture. Blake jammed his tongue in her mouth, and moved it around. This was sheer heaven to Blake. A nice private car where they could kiss as much as they wanted. Blake moaned again beneath her kisses, feeling his heart beat faster and faster. When they reached the zenith of the Ferris wheel, their car stopped. Blake, however, didn't notice.

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Jessica's body and tongue and lips all moved against Blake, expressing a desire that she either wasn't willing to face or wasn't willing to act on just yet. Eventually she broke the kiss and lifted her head to stare at the ceiling, leaving her pale neck exposed. Her heart was thumping in her chest so fast she was having difficulty feeling the individual beats, and her entire body felt hot and electric, like she might simply explode into bliss at any moment. Her hand curled in Blake's hair, holding him close, but after a moment of staring at the top of the carriage something started to bother her. "Blake," she gasped, still not pulling away from him. "Blake, we're not moving."

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Blake opened his eyes, and blinked. "Uhh...that's strange." He looked down, and people in the cars below were looking around in confusion. Blake held Jessica close. People started to scream, and the cars shook in their hinges. The music that was playing from the speakers below suddenly crackled with static, and fell silent. A moment later, a impish voice could be heard throughout the whole park.

"Citizens of Freedom City! Your park is now under my control! Now let's have some real fun!"

Suddenly, the Ferris wheel began to spin! Faster and faster it went, causing the cars to creak and shake as the bolts loosened a little. Blake's eyes were open wide. "Jessica, we need to find a way out of this car."

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Jessica tried to stand but tumbled to the floor as the Ferris wheel accelerated. Her pack slid across the floor of the car, but she managed to snag it with her foot and draw it towards her. She ripped open the top and started peeling off her shirt and jeans, revealing the complex circuitry of her interface suit. She slapped on the core components of the suit and waved through the start-up procedures, but it was just too slow, too slow! She swore and dug into the source code literally by hand, bypassing security measures as she tried to bring the suit to readiness now!

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KC, completely ignoring her ripping her shirt off, stood up. "Cthulhu f'thagn!" he shouted, and his body was washed in otherworldly fire. He fired a bolt of mystic flame, and the door popped off. "Jessica, I'll try and get as many people out of the ride as possible. You work on shutting this thing down." With that, he hopped out of the car. As he dropped, he spread his wings out and caught air. He started working on freeing the first few patrons.

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After what seemed like an eternity, the suit's systems finished loading up and the gold-and-green armor swept over Jessica's head, sealing her off from the world entirely. She allowed herself a moment to be envious of Blake and his fast transformation, but then her mind was working on the problem of stopping the Ferris wheel without killing everyone on board. The controls were a possibility, but the chances were that anyone who could hack -- and what could this be but some elaborate hacker prank? -- into the park's systems and take control of them so totally would be able to bypass that. "When in doubt," she decided, "be direct and brutal." It was one of her grandfather's favorite aphorisms, and Ironclad decided to implement it now. She zipped out of the carriage one her own flight systems and quickly located one of the main braces on the Ferris wheel itself. Activating the lifting servos and rerouting power from her gauntlets, she hugged it tight and hauled in the opposite direction of the wheel's own spin.

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The Ferris wheel creaked, and Jessica felt the force pushing against her gauntlets. It gave a final groan and stopped suddenly. A few cheers could be heard from within the cars. KC, who was on top of one of the cars and in the middle of opening, flipped off of the top. "Woah!" he shouted in surprise as he plummeted towards the ground!

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Ironclad -- Jessica -- felt her heart leap into her throat as Kid Cthulhu -- as Blake -- hell, as her boyfriend was thrown off a stricken car and plummeted towards the ground. She let go of the steel girder she was clutching and raced over, catching him just before he splattered onto the boardwalk. She let him down gently and they both regarded the Ferris wheel again, the machine slowly grinding towards a diabolical speed. "To heck with this," Ironclad muttered under her breath, and stomped over to the operator's station. Motive power for the entire contraption was provided by a huge engine located in the base of the wheel, transmitted to the primary axle by way of a fanbelt. Ironclad simply charged up her wrist blasters and severed the fan belt, stealing the motive power and letting the device slowly spin to a half.

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Sure enough, the Ferris wheel slowly spun to a resting state. The patrons in the Ferris wheel cheered. KC smiled as well and wrapped his arms around her. "If you weren't wearing that helmet, I'd kiss you." KC flapped his wings a little. "Umm...and with that being said, we should probably get those people out of the Ferris wheel. It's obvious that there's something here. Some sort of hacker, or a ghost in the machines."

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Jessica blushed under her armor and swatted Kid Cthulhu's arm playfully. "Remember," she cautioned him, "no tentacles."

She marched over to the Ferris wheel and punched into the thin steel of the door, easily bashing out the lock. She opened the door and held the carriage steady while the occupants fled. Once the first car was clear, she hauled on the super-structure of the wheel and brought the next group into position. Before long she had a good rhythm going, and in no time at all the Ferris wheel was cleared out. Breathing a bit hard after all that exertion, she glanced around at the milling civvies and walked back over to Kid Cthulhu. "We gotta get them out of here," she said to him.

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KC nodded. "Alright! Everyone remain calm! We're going to get you all out of here while we deal with this thread. Everyone get in a single-file line." KC said with authority. The people, talking amongst themselves and clearly shook up, started to form into a line. "Babe, we'll get 'em out. We just have to get to the entrance, then we can deal with whatever the hell's in this park."

The speakers in the park crackled with static, and the impish voice could be heard again. The voice didn't say anything, only shrieking with demonic laughter.

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As Kid Cthulhu shepherded folks along the ground, Ironclad rose into the air. Her three hundred and sixty degree field of view let her scan the park quickly from her elevated position. It seemed that the place was nearly deserted; apparently most folks didn't want to pay fifteen bucks to eat cotton candy and ride bumper cars, at least not in the middle of the week. The heroine did spot a few individuals grouped around food stands or waiting in line for other rides, but she was able to convince them to join the general evacuation. Citizens of Freedom City were used to super-powered antics disrupting the day, and while a few grumbled about their outing being cut short none spoke out against the beetle-colored heroine.

With a large group of folks headed to the nearest exit, Ironclad hovered over them, anxious. She could feel it in her gut that the voice, the presence that had taken over the Ferris wheel, wasn't done with them yet.

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As KC ushered the last few civilians out of the park, they could hear another blare of static. "Now we have some alone time. Just you two against me! Hahahaha! You'll never escape with your lives!" The speakers crackled and the voice was gone. KC spread his scaly wings and flew to the altitude where Ironclad was. "We might need to call in some reinforcements. This might be too much for the two of us." KC put an arm on her shoulder. "I think if we keep fighting this demon...or whatever it is, on our own, we might cause more property damage than good. What do you think we should do?" KC said as he looked at her.

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Ironclad glanced around -- a rather useless gesture given her full radius sensorium, but it bought her a moment to think. "I don't think we'll be in any danger," she said, "as long as we stay in the air, anyway. What in an amusement park could reach up high enough?" She shrugged out of Kid Cthulhu's arm and turned in a slow circle, trying to locate herself, briefly recalling a map of the park she'd glimpsed on the way in. "There has to be some sort of central command center around here somewhere. If the guy's physically hacking in, that's where we can stop him."

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"That's a good point. I'm just hoping this isn't something worse than just a hacker." KC said. He crossed his arms and looked around for a minute. "I don't think he'd be hiding here, if he was hacking the controls. I think it'd be best if we stuck around here though, we don't want any civilians getting back in. I think I'll check the ground, while you keep in the air. If I encounter anything, I'll just call you."

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Ironclad glanced at Kid Cthulhu, biting her lip underneath her helmet. She didn't want to just leave him there, but it made sense, so she gave him a curt nod and dashed off. The control center was located, logically enough, near the center of the park, and with her high speed the armored heroine was hovering over it in seconds. She gave the immediate area a quick sweep and landed, marching confidently up to the main doors. She punched her way through and marched towards the main control console. If there was a hacker behind all this, Ironclad would be able to counter-hack them from here.

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Kid Cthulhu searched the grounds carefully, making sure not to miss a spot. The bumper cars looked like a promising place to start. There was a control booth with a light on, and KC grinned. This was bound to be a place where a hacker would hide. As he walked inside of the concrete area, he heard a crackling noise. An electrical barrier surrounded the bumper car arena, locking him in! The cars' lights turned on, and they swerved towards KC. A dozen of them, each different colors. KC reached in his costume for his cell phone. "Uhh...Clad? I might have a little trouble..."

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Ironclad heard Kid Cthulhu's call directly in her ear, courtesy of the suit's communication system. Part of her wanted to dash directly to the other hero's side, but she forced herself to remain calm. The carts ran on electricity, so just shut off the juice, right? The heroine's armored fingers ran swiftly over the main keyboard, searching for the commands to shut down power to the entire park.

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