The Pyrrhic Days

The following presentation is a fusion fic; Justice League and Battle Royale. I've been considering the idea for a while and I'm finally writing it. Although the characters are the superheroes we are familiar with, they are ordinary people in this fic with only the barest nods to their other incarnations. Most of the ones I know will feature in here, and the ones I don't know will be replaced by original characters. Everyone, see the film Battle Royale if you don't know what's going on here, ok?

P.S: This is set in contemporary America with high school students, but I'm Irish so I may get things wrong. Bear with me!

PPS: I don't know any of The Joker's aliases so I'm using an anagram.

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The atmosphere on the bus was quiet, to begin with. After all, at seven in the morning, who has the energy to make much noise? Most of the students settled into their seats and tried to catch forty winks as soon as they could. Kenny Cooper (Boy #7) even had a flask of hot coffee to keep him going. But Kenny was a Grade-A nerd and nobody would congratulate him on his uncanny foresight. The bus left the school driveway at approximately 7:15, with all thirty students from Class C2 present and accounted for.

The sun climbed higher into the sky and the bus' occupants became steadily more animated. Girls chattered back and forth, boys joked and laughed and discussed game plans, couples made out in their seats and respective loners went about their usual business.

Near the front of the bus, Diana Chamberlain (Girl #2) kneeled on her seat, talking to the girls behind her. If there was such thing as royalty in Lavender Peaks, Maine, Diana would have been the undisputed princess. Her mother, Rosemarie Setterton, was the heiress to the Setterton fortune and her father, Eugene Chamberlain, was one of the wealthiest tycoons in the country. Despite all this, no-one could call Diana a snob. She talked to everyone, no matter how far down the social ladder they were. She was an attractive girl, stunning even, with long tousled ebony hair and full, pouting lips that were constantly smiling. Her only flaw, if it could be called that, was that she was very tall. She was almost six feet tall in fact, and very conscious of it. As she chatted away to Sarah Parker (Girl #7) and Kelly Beauregard (Girl #12) she pulled down the hem of her short school skirt almost abstractly. She was currently dating one of the few boys in her class that towered over her.

That boy was Clark Kent (Boy #5). Diana gave him a quick glance and he smiled back indulgently. They made an attractive couple. Clark had dark hair and bright blue eyes, just like her, and wide shoulders. His arms were full of thick muscle, but he still managed to stay lean around the waist. He had played football for a long time, but at the start of the school year he'd given it up, to the dismay of most of the school. When asked about it, he just shrugged and said the game didn't seem as important to him any more. Now that he was no longer a jock, he was finding he didn't have much in common with his girlfriend any more. He was fond of her, to be sure, but their relationship had never progressed beyond kissing and some heavy petting. He was glad of it now. A book of nineteenth century poetry lay open on his lap.

Sitting beside Clark was his new best friend, a quiet young man named J'onn Jonze (Boy #13). He was Croatian, something that was reflected in his genetic makeup. His skin had a slight olive tint to it, and his eyes were dark and intense, sometimes appearing red in certain lights. His intensity was what stopped people from talking to him. Girls were intimidated and guys thought that he was a snob, but his poor grasp of the English language was the real problem. Clark was the first friend he'd made since arriving in America two years before. While Clark read his poetry book, J'onn was reading an abridged version of Dostoyevsky's The Idiots. He wanted to learn English the hard way.

Sharp, grating giggles from behind them failed to distract the two boys from their reading. They were used to it, and so was the rest of the class. It was only Tate Jones (Boy #10) as his girlfriend Harley Quinn (Girl #8) making out. Now there was a pair made for each other. Tate was a skinny, pimpled delinquent with a terrible sense of humour and a low attention span. Harley was an awkward, overweight wannabe who thought that pouring your energies into hair products and concealing makeup was more helpful than actually losing the excess weight. Tate was her first boyfriend and the two couldn't keep their hands off of each other. It was enough to turn a grown man's stomach.

Two seats behind them, Wally West (Boy #3) was telling a long, rambling joke about a nun and a farmer to some of his friends from the track team. Wally was the one guy in the class that everyone liked. Some would have said he was the male equivalent of Diana, if he'd had the looks to match. He wasn't bad-looking, with sharp angular features set in a childishly round face and a thick mane of chestnut coloured hair that he liked to keep long. He was handsome, but not gorgeous. He didn't really care, though. As far as Wally was concerned, he had no time for girls. His schedule with the track team was fairly intense, had been ever since he took the first place trophy against Denver PH. With his long gangly frame, he made an unusual athlete but it did serve to make him friends with people who wouldn't have looked at him twice before. He finished his joke and the group laughed loudly.

One boy didn't laugh, though. John Stewart (Boy #9) was sitting with the rest of his friends, a mix of football, basketball and track athletes. He was a big guy, heavily muscled and tall. He also had the distinction of being one of the school's few African American students, something which had once prevented him from making friends. But he had fitted in thanks to his superb linebacker skills and so he didn't have to sit by himself. His seating partner Peter Baker (Boy #8) was just about skinny enough to let them both sit comfortably. Peter was laughing at Wally's joke so hard he was gasping for breath. John wasn't laughing. He was distracted by one of the female students.

Shayera Hol (Girl #4) sat across from him, all alone, staring out the window. Her long auburn hair faced him, but John could see by her reflection in the window that she was bored, almost sulky. She was a pretty girl, to be sure, but she rarely smiled. She was a bit of a loner, because she had an intensity that drove other people away. Guys found her intimidating, even though she was fairly high up on the school's informal list of attractive girls. She was the school's tennis champion and she did track as well, although she wasn't as fast as Wally (then again, who was?) The fact that she was such a good athlete was a bit surprising, because Shayera was as small as Diana was tall. She just tipped five feet standing up straight and weighed less than ninety pounds. Even her uniform was a modified middle school version, specially commissioned when she discovered that the high school uniform was too big. It was the uniform that drew John's gaze to her, mainly the skirt. Shayera didn't seem to realise just how high it had hiked up around her legs. If some opportunistic guy strained forward a touch, he'd see right up her skirt. Then John winced. Someone had already realised this.

Solomon Grundy (Boy #11) was holding a small mirror, probably stolen from the bag of the girl in front of him, and was using it to look up Shayera's skirt. He was a quarterback, weighing in at almost three hundred pounds and at six foot nine in height, but he looked unhealthy. His skin was almost always pale and covered with a thin sheen of sweat. There was a rumour going about that Solomon was doing steroids, and certainly his personality would have proved that. He was easily irritated and very foul-tempered. Only three weeks before the bus journey, he was due to be suspended for attacking one of the rival football team's star players. The other boy had ended up with a punctured lung and a shattered pelvis, effectively ending his promising football career. Somehow, Solomon had avoided the suspension and was permitted to go on the school trip.

The mirror that Solomon held belonged to Ivy O Hara (Girl #1) who was sitting across from him, just in front of Shayera. Her bag was lying in the aisle and the mirror had tumbled out when the other students were boarding. Ivy didn't notice, though. She had several mirrors in her bag, and she was inspecting her face for spots as the bus trundled on. Ivy was one of the class' many pretty girls, and she was by far the vainest. It was as if she was making up for lost time. In her younger days her bright red hair and overly wide eyes had made her a popular target for bullies. But just before she'd entered high school, her growth spurt had kicked in, her carrot-orange hair had darkened to a silky auburn and she'd learned to coordinate her clothes to match her pale green eyes. These days she never went anywhere without a hefty supply of beauty products. Finding no spots, she set about curling her eyelashes with a set of tongs.

Near the back of the bus sat Ivy's sometime best friend and occasional worst enemy, Selina Kyle (Girl #10). She was another of the class' many pretty girls, but there was an important difference between her and the other girls. She was the school slut. Even her uniform bore testament to this; her skirt ended at least five inches above her knees, her shirt was barely buttoned up across the chest and instead of the regulation flat black pumps, she wore knee-high boots with spike heels. She was reading some fashion magazine or other to pass the time, swinging her long legs idly back and forth. If the trip had been scheduled just a week before, Selina would have been making out with her current paramour, Adam Jameson (Boy #6). But she had finished with him, though not before spreading a vicious rumour about his prowess between the sheets. Selina offered herself on a plate to any man that would take her, but it came with a risk. Sleeping with her meant that everyone in the school would probably know any and all the intimate details. She yawned frequently, like a bored cat, and twiddled strands of coal-black hair around her fingers.

Two seats down from Selina sat Bruce Wayne (Boy #15). He was a new student and considerably older than the others. No-one knew for sure what his circumstances were, and he certainly wasn't telling anyone about himself. The popular rumour going around was that he'd been roughed up by a gang at his last school and had only just emerged from a coma. Bruce's face was marred right down the middle by a long, jagged scar, and one of the boys who had seen him changing for gym said that there were scars all over his body. Not just jagged ones, but small rounds ones, like cigarette burns or bullet wounds. He was tall but lean like a panther, with dark hair and eyes. Even the roughest guys in school were intimidated by Bruce.

That was, except for Lex Luthor (Boy #4). Lex wasn't intimidated by anyone. He was the leader of the class C2's delinquent group, which consisted of Seth Merchant (Boy #1), Rico Jiminez (Boy #12) and, at least up until he got a girlfriend, Tate Jones. One might have wondered why Lex, the distinguished son of one of the town's most respected businessmen, hung around with no-hopers like Seth and Rico. Those two kept their hair long and greasy and defaced their uniforms on purpose by burning holes in the shirt and blazer with cigarettes and ripping off buttons. Lex's hair had been shaved off right down to the bone for reasons known only to him, and his uniform was always neat and tidy. Regardless, he was their leader and he got involved in all of their joyriding expeditions, stealing and gang warfare. Despite all of this, he was a straight-A student. No-one crossed Lex Luthor and got away with it, for he was as good in a fight as he was academically.

It was an all-day trip, and the students ate out of lunchboxes and tried to sleep. In fact, as the sun went down, no-one had any trouble sleeping. One by one, they all dropped off. They were so tired that they thought the strange smell in the bus was a figment of their collective imaginations.

Wally woke up after banging his head off of the window and took a quick look around. Everyone was asleep, but something wasn't right. Diana at the front was slumped over and lay across the two seats with her head hanging off the edge. Her long black hair formed a pool in the aisle. Solomon Grundy was hanging over the safety bar at the side of his seat. Shayera had actually fallen out of her seat and was lying unconscious on the ground. Wally would have gone back to help her, but his head felt as though someone had scooped out his brains and replaced it with cotton wool. He was already falling asleep again. But just before his eyes closed, he saw something strange.

Bruce Wayne was banging on the window so hard that the vibrations could be felt all the way around the bus. He was trying to shout as well, but it seemed he couldn't get the words out. Wally wondered what all the fuss was about. Maybe poor old Brucie was travel sick… Wally fell asleep again and Bruce wasn't far behind. None of the students saw the bus go through the grid-iron gate tipped with barbed wire.

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Clark Kent woke up to the sound of his fellow students groaning. There was a strange, metallic taste in his mouth and his head hurt when he sat up. He rubbed his eyes sleepily and took a good look around.

The room they were in was like a classroom, but the windows were boarded up. There were cheap desks and plastic chairs lined up in front of a large blackboard, and in those chairs were his classmates. Clark spotted Diana in the middle of the room where she too was just waking up. He checked her to see that she wasn't injured and was about to turn away when he spotted a flash of silver at her throat. Diana didn't wear necklaces, he knew that. He'd bought her one once and she'd never worn it. Clark was just considering this when he felt something cool against his own throat. He raised his hand and felt a round metallic object circling his neck. He tugged at it but it wouldn't come loose. He turned to the student beside him, Lucinda Greer (Girl #6), and her throat held the same metal object. It looked like a collar for a dog or a cat, but with a small black digital panel in the middle. All the students were awake now and starting to talk to each other.

Suddenly, the door at the back of the room whooshed open and a small man, flanked by two armed guards, strolled to the front. The students fell silent, all except for Jen Sellers (Girl #11) who was sobbing noisily. She didn't take surprises well. The small man, who was sixty if he was a day, stood behind the large desk at the front of the room. He cleared his throat and began to speak.

"Class C2," he said cheerfully. "Welcome to The Program!"

Someone in the back screamed.