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Ecalsneerg

Eighty-Eight Miles Per Hour [IC]

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The new cafe was called, simply, Heroes. And it was rather tacky. Fluorescent neon lighting lit up the outside of the building's white-paneled walls, and the seats were all faux-retro and plush red, at once too soft and too hard to sit on properly. And the tables were inexplicably in the shape of superhero chest insignia.

Cassie was sitting at a table shaped like a big bird of prey, scanning over the menu as she waited for Emma to show. Sprak, but this is one frakked up menu. It had such culinary marvels as the "Jack of all Dogs" hotdog. She leaned back in her seat and sighed, reaching up to straighten up her ponytail as she did so. She was wearing a plain black t-shirt and blue jeans rather than all these weird new fashions that kept coming and going every couple of months. Especially that one with the pink fake eyelashes for men.

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"Cassie!" a chipper voice called from the doorway, as Emma slid into the cafe, waving her hand in the air over a broad grin. The younger girl wore a fitted white hoodie offsetting the glossy black hair bouncing about her shoulders as he skipped forward and a pair of bright orange cargo pants so baggy it took a rather intricate series of fashionable belts to keep them on her wiry frame. Skidding into her seat with enough force to nearly tip it over, she rand her hands over the curves of the table's wing gleefully. "Eee, how great is this place, right? So ripping edge!" Flipping through her own menu, Emma's eyes lit up. "Oh hey, that's what Mom calls Dad when she's twipped at him! Ooh, you're never going to guess who in my history class just came out," she abruptly switched tracks, clasping her hands together and adding in a sing-song voice, "She's really shwa~ay!"

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Cassie smiled and tried to greet her friend, but ended up shaking her head. Emma reminded her of her dad when he got really excited about something. "I don't know, who did come out?" she said, raising an eyebrow. And then, knowing Emma well: "And are you going to try to set me up with them? Because I don't know if who you this is schway is going to be that attractive." She said the last part teasingly, as she mentally decided she was going to try a weird fruit drink they'd decided to call "The Bolt".

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Puffing her cheeks out indignantly, Emma folded her arms. "Well, maybe I just want her for myself," she suggested with exaggerated haughtiness. "You don't know." After a beat, however, she placed her hands on the table loudly and leaned forward. "Okay, seriously though, Charlie Collins. And I know you're probably all, 'ooh, college girls' and all now, but seriously, she inherited her dad's heat powers. Right? Huh? Ooh, Phalanx Cakes with strawberry syrup!"

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Cassie tucked a few loose strands of hair behind her ear, looking noticeably uncomfortable. "She's cute, but I dunno, Em..." She trailed off, before a thought went blink in her head. "Hold on, how is the inheriting heat powers a good thing, and not, say, a 'watch out for third degree burns' thing?"

She tried to move onto the next topic. "Anyway, you ready to order?" She knew Emma meant well, but she wasn't entirely comfortable with being set up with people she hardly knew. It just didn't feel right.

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Emma bit her thumb, frowning slightly. "Ooh, right, you're not fire proof. I forget sometimes." The metahuman powers she'd inherited from her own parents gave her a much higher tolerance for heat than the average person, and a sensitivity to the body heat of those around her may have been colouring her judgment in this case anyway. "Well, I don't think she's really a 'third degree burns on the first date' kinda girl anyway. Um, I dunno, I'm stuck on the Phalanx Cakes and the Ace-adilla. What are you getting?"

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"Nope, that'd just be you who's fireproof," said Cassie in a perfect deadpan. "And I'll pretend you're being literal with that one, instead of pondering why on the first date."

She scanned the menu again. "The Jack of all Dogs does sound alright... yeah, why not. And I'll try one of those Bolts, although odds are I'll regret it." A waitress came over to take their orders, and left them to chat while they waited for the food to get delivered.

"Anyway, Em," she continued once the waitress had left. "I've got all the college girls, like you say. What about your love life?"

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"I meant sex," Emma supplied bluntly, just as the waitress arrived, apparently oblivious to Cassie's attempted hedge. "I guess her snogging might be dangerous too. Well, technically, you wouldn't have the first without-- oh! Hi!" The teen with the coppery tan beamed up at the diner employee, abruptly switching gears to order a Sage Shake with a side of Fleur Fries. As the bemused waitress walked off, tapping their orders into her note tablet, Emma turned back to her friend with a slight pout. "Oh, blarg, seriously. You know how when Ben came to pick me up for junior prom, my rents made a big deal of showing him their antique but very well maintained sword collection? Social nightmare." Absently adjusting her hood, she shook her black hair loose. "The guys at school have been such feebs ever since. You totally have the right idea, I swear."

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"Um..." said Cassie, trying to approach the subject carefully and without offending her friend. "I don't think it's a case of guys being scared off my swords. They cut pretty much anyone up." She paused for a second, and frowned. "Besides, I think mom still has that electric death ray in the basement, "just in case"."

It was at this point that the waitress came over with both the food, and the datapad used for paying bills. "OK," she said. "That'll come to..." She looked confused as the screen turned a brilliant neon blue. "That's weird, that's never happened be-" The datapad started glowing red hot in her hand, and she dropped it with a start. "Ow! What the frak!?"

It was then that the datapad exploded in a cloud of blazing blue sparks, plastic and metal flying everywhere. But, even as it exploded, the sparks began coagulating in mid-air into a humanoid form. "FORTY YEARS!" it screeched in a voice like the crackle of electrical wires. "BUT NOW... I'M BACK!"

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"Well, it probably didn't help that I singed his eyebrows off when he tried-- Dios!" Ducking reflexively as the pad exploded, she blinked as the sparkling blue form took on a humanoid silhouette. With the diner's patrons and staff making their way chaotically to the exits, screaming as they went, Emma grabbed Cassie's wrist and hauled her away from the table toward the washrooms, hood bouncing up and down as she ran. "Aaand we're runn~ing," she singsonged as they went, kicking the door open to the thankfully empty room. Pushing up the right sleeve of her hoodie, the teen revealed an intricate, stylized tattoo of a blazing sword. As she placed her left hand atop it, there was a flash of light and heat, revealing the white and crimson clad figure of Blaise O'Glory, the legendary Three Flames Katana, sizzling with heat, ready in her hand. She grinned genuinely at her friend. "You always pick the best spots for lunch!"

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Cassie looked back in awe, unable to speak as Emma dragged her to the bathroom. "Tha-that's Network," she managed, as Emma changed into her costume. "He was one of FORCE Ops, back in the old days."

She pressed down on a pad on her belt buckle. In a flash, the nanofibre mesh began covering her whole body, leaving her mouth open so she could speak and her ponytail hanging out so it wasn't too uncomfortable under the mask. The world took on the slightest orange tint as the lenses formed up over her eyes. The full body green suit made a low humming sound as the start-up sequence initiated, system dialogs popping up in front of her eyes.

As they changed, the sound of crackling electricity, shouts of panic, and the large THUD of something heavy smashing into a wall echoed through from outside the bathroom. Network apparently showed no signs of calming down. "We stop him?"

"

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"Pfft," Blaise rolled her eyes with a broad smirk. "Like you even have to ask?" Charging back out into the diner, she used a toppled chair to spring up onto a table, striking a jaunty pose amid abandoned entrees, katana pointed toward the vague energy being. "Hey tall, blue and glittery! I guess you've been out of the loop for a bit, but randomly showing up and smashing stuff? Still considered pretty rude, twip!"

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Geckogirl leapt out of the bathroom, landing in a crouch upside down on the ceiling. "Listen, Network," she said quickly. "We know you were in there for a long time, but we can help you." She glanced over at Emma. "We don't want to fight you."

But Network span in mid-air, lashing out with a wide arc of lightning towards the girl with a sword who'd been making fun of him. And, like a flash of lightning, he was flying out of the cafe and out into the streets.

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Blaise backflipped over the blash of lightning, leaping from the table even as the electric blue energy being began to turn. "Dunno, Geckie, I'm pretty sure he wants to fight us!" A fine, metallic cord shot forth from the bracer concealed in her jacket's sleeve, latching onto the edge of the hole where the cafe's door had been moments before, then immediately retracted, sending the acrobatic swordswoman into a graceful swing out of the building and up into the air outside, catching up with a stunned Network as he viewed the city around him. Landing on the top of a hovering billboard nearby, Blaise placed a thumb and finger in her mouth a whistled shrilly. "Hey, feeb, we're talkin' here!"

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Cassie once more engaged the motors in her suit, launching her bodily out of the cafe to confront the hovering electrical monster above them. Lifting one green palm to aim at him, she hit Network square on in the chest. Unfortunately, his electrical form just absorbed the blast without seemingly reacting to it.

"OK, so electricity doesn't work on the electrical monster. Well... good to know, right?" said Geckogirl, trying to remain upbeat... as he flew straight at her, and into her suit. "Oh no," she said, as the systems in it started getting overwritten by the electrical being inside it. "Blaise, run!"

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Oh slagging nertz! Blaise though as she realized what was happening. Just think, what would Cassie do... if she could move, I mean.

Leaping from the billboard, the young swordswoman backflipped through the air to plant her free hand on a passing hovercar before springing off again. "Right, 'cause running away totally sounds like me," she called sarcastically throughout her acrobatic display. "Just hang on, and try not to move too much!" Without warning, she was abruptly in striking range, the Three-Flames Katana lashing forward five times with graceful precision. With a molten sizzle, green and gold metal slid from its place as the 'G' emblem on the older girl's chest clattered to the ground in pieces, leaving a jagged 'B' shaped hole in the battlesuit.

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Cassie shouted out in shock and the blade cut out a chunk of her armour, sparks flying from the gap as the whole suit suddenly went limp. "He's... stopped." She looked down at her front, still in shock.

"I'll try to get out of here and get him out of the suit," she said, turning on one heel and running. Then, in one single bound, she leapt up in the air a good seven hundred feet, sticking to one of the roofs and keeping moving.

Over the commlink came Cassie's voice, audibly straining with effort. "I think he's fighting back again..."

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"What?! Hey, where are you--" Blaise's objection was drowned out as Geckogirl took off with a prodigious bound. "Augh! Geckie, get your butt back here so I can cut off the rest of your clooooothes!" the younger girl shouted at the top of her lungs. It took a moment for her to realize that the crowd that had gathered to the sound of lighting bolts and demolished walls was staring at her. Placing a hand on her hip, she addressed one of the closer civilians, a business man with a receding hairline. "Oh, like you've never tried to keep things fresh." Firing her grapple again, she followed after her beseiged friend as quickly as she could.

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She found her friend soon enough. Seizing control of the armour once more, Network spun around and forced the suit to leap through the air at a phenomenal rate, straight towards the teen hero. The servo motors sliding into the position for upper body muscle mass, she crashed down from the sky and delivered a shatteringly powerful strike to Emma's torso.

"Oh god," squealed Cassie. "I'm so sorry!" Already Network was maneuvering into a boxing stance, ready to drive off the superheroes pursuing him.

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The blow was enough to send Blaise O'Glory rocking backward through the air, losing her grip on her grapple and skidding along the sidewalk, leaving a broad streak of dark scuffing on her white jacket. The Three-Flames Katana tumbled from her fingers and landed point down in the concrete, penetrating several inches to stand upright and quivering as the teen struggled to her feet with a wince, shaking off the worst of the super-strong blow. Violently tugging her weapon free, shimmering heat erupting down its blade once more, Emma held the sword pointed behind her as she sprinted forward to the landed battlesuit. "You are going to leave my friend alone," she demanded as she sprang forth, "Right! Now!" The katana whipped forward unexpectedly, striking with carefully controlled anger at the armor's joints, cutting just deep enough to sever connections and components but leaving the girl inside unscathed.

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Network forced the suit aside from the sword blow, dodging it easily, before bursting free of the suit in a shower of blue and green sparks, hurling Cassie backwards onto the ground. "Leave her alone?" screeched the half-mad creature, levitating above Blaise's sword. "I was trapped in there and now you won't leave me alone!"

With that, he made an angry gesture at Blaise's sword, sending a spark of electricity flying down from the tip of the blade, crackling into a huge burst of cracklin energy as it reached the hilt.

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Blaise tightened her grip on her family's ancestral sword reflexively as electricity surged through the mystic blade and into her arms with a painful jolt. With a startling shout, she leapt forward and swung the Three Flames Katana with graceful precision, throwing the lightning back at Network as the sheathe of supernatural fire cut the incorporeal being where the mundane metal could not. Sliding back to place herself between Geckogirl and their foe, the sword fighter smirked despite breathing heavily. "Not so slagging tough fighting your own battles, huh?"

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