"No! NO! Please stop, not again! It hurts so much! Please no!" Ember Rose woke with a start from the very real nightmare. She shook her head and said, "That's all over now, those are just bad dreams…just bad dreams."
Jumping out of bed she stretched her arms high over her head until a satisfactory POP! rang out. Walking over to the small, banged up brown dresser in the corner of her grey room, she yanked open a drawer and rummaged around for her favorite cropped tank top and workout sweats. Pulling on her beat up converse, she grabbed an apple from her nightstand and ran out her door to join the throngs of students heading from their drab dormitories to the main campus of Barnaby Wallace's Institute for the Gifted.
Ember Rose was acutely aware of her surroundings. She could hear a pair of chemistry students to her right discussing the explosions they had set of the night before. And on her left she noted two Olympic gold winning gymnasts conversing about the latest extreme diet fad. Everything was normal so far at the Institute. Everything but her, of course.
Ember Rose was here because of her fighting prowess and advanced genius. She was one of the very few at the Institute on scholarship, because her parents were dead, or just didn't want to be a part of their daughter's life. Ember cringed, she hated thinking about her parents. If they hadn't left her to grow up on the streets she wouldn't be having these nightmares. But now was not the time to focus on those, now was the time to fight.
She arrived at the gym 5 minutes early, as usual, which meant 25 minutes late for the rest of the class. No one chided her though; they didn't have the courage. Ember was revered at this school. And…the last person to cross her ended up with a broken arm.
Throwing away her apple core, Ember Rose bent over and started to stretch. She was quickly joined by two other people, Adam and Dee, two other advanced fighters that she had befriended while at the Institute.
Suddenly, an alarm started to blare and glaring red lights flashed all around the building. All the students were immediately on high alert. Glancing out the window, Ember Rose saw that the entire campus was enveloped in the same plight. Just as quickly as it had sounded, the alarm stopped. Washed in the eerie red glow of the alarm lights, the students listened as the speakers crackled to life and a sinister voice announced with a cackle, "Hello my little pretties, if you want to survive to see tomorrow then I suggest you all gather in your ridiculously large auditorium for an um, special announcement."
"What do we do?" Adam asked fear creeping into his voice.
"We go and listen," Ember Rose replied, "and try not to get killed." Following her outside, the entire class whispered in fear about what was going on. Ember Rose was frightened though, she put on a calm façade as she scanned the skies for a glimpse of a Justice League member. An entire boarding school being taken hostage, especially one as prestigious as Barnaby's was bound to show up on their radar.
"Come on," she barked as she soldiered forward. Lining the walkways were tall, muscular men with guns. There was two guarding the doors to the auditorium and as she passed between them, the one of the right whistled and reached out to slap her butt. Reacting quickly, she took hold of his arm, twisted it behind him and yanked up until she heard a loud snap. Twirling back around, she took two steps toward the door then paused to snarl over her soldier, "Don't ever touch my ass!"
Once inside, the majority of the students sat around in clusters and stared fearfully up at the stage where a tall, balding man in a dirty lab coat stood watching. Ember Rose, defiant and fearless as always marched right up to the base of the stage and demanded loud and ferociously, "What the hell are you doing?"
"Why, my dear, I have come to collect someone of special interest to me." He said to her with a sticky sweet smile.
"You will not take any one of these students! Not while I am here."
"Well, it isn't any of them I want. You see, my dear Ember Rose, I want you."
"What? Why the hell do you want me?" she asked incredulously.
"Because of your strength, your genius. You are the perfect specimen my dear."
"Specimen for what?"
"Grab her!" He yelled out without warning.
Whirling around, she prepared to take on the onslaught of henchmen. The first one, she aimed a powerful kick at his temple. He dropped to the ground like a stone, unconscious or dead. They came faster after that, surrounding her. She was a whirlwind, punching and kicking; sidestepping and dodging; until, suddenly an explosion in the ceiling halted the fight. Plaster dust rained down like fine snow and coming out of the shadows and dust were three iconic figures, Batman, Robin and Nightwing! The students all cheered with new hope and began to fight off their captors.
The three superheroes started fighting their way to the front. Ember Rose was watching in stunned silence until a rough hand jerked her back. And before she could put up a fight and she felt the cool round end of a gun point at her head. The mad scientist yelled out and everyone on the ground froze.
The Caped Crusader and his two companions slowly walked forward. "Let her go Splice!" Batman's voice rung out in the sudden silence.
Laughing madly the scientist replied, "I rather not! You see I have big plans for her! Big plans!"
Abruptly, Nightwing started to sprint forward, but it was to late Splice and Ember Rose had disappeared.