The drive to school only took Dante about five minutes, so he waited in the parking lot for some of his friends to show up. He leaned up against his car and watched the hover-buses drop kids off, before taking off into the air once more.

The hover-vehicle technology was perfected over fifty years ago, but most people in the town either couldn't afford to buy them, or just liked the older technology. The school system had upgraded to the hover-buses about fifteen years ago, because of a generous donation from the Leavinson Corporation.

Walter Leavinson was a successful business man who now lived in New York City. He had grown up in Olean and still had fond memories for the place. Dante's great-grandfather used to tell stories about how Olean was once a moderately sized city. But then the economy crashed in 2089, and most people had left the city. Leavinson had gone to school with Dante's grandfather, and had always went on about how one day the city would be prosperous again.

Dante smiled at the memory of his grandfather and great-grandfather. Great-Grandpa Peter had died when Dante was 5, and then his G-Pa and G-Ma had been killed in a car crash when he was twelve. Ross never got to meet any of his grandparents, but Dante loved telling him stories about them.

Across the parking lot, a police car pulled up. Dante started to head over to the car, but then stopped. He knew it was Richard Hamilton and his son Zakk, but he knew better than to interrupt what was going on. Richard was yelling at Zakk, and jabbing his finger into his son's chest. Zakk went to get out of the car, but his father grabbed his wrist. Zakk easily pulled away and slammed to car door shut.

Dante quickly turned away, and pretended to search for something in his car. He stood up as he heard Zakk walk up behind him. Turning around, Dante pretended that he hadn't just witnessed what happened. A quick look at Zakk's wrist showed that it was red, and would probably bruise.

"Hey man, I'm surprised your parents let you drive your car after that absolutely atrocious display on that science test," Zakk said sarcastically.

Dante just rolled his eyes and punched Zakk in the shoulder. Zakk rubbed it, pretending to be hurt. After a few seconds he held out his fist and Dante bumped his against it. The fist bump was something the pair of them had seen in an old movie and decided to make it their private handshake. No one else in the school dared to use it because they were all too scared of Zakk, or to respectful of Dante.

A horn beeped, and the pair of them looked up. Zakk's dad had pulled his police car up to the end of Dante's car. Zakk's smile faded, and he turned away from the his father. Rolling down his window, Zakk's dad waved Dante over.

Dante shot a quick at Zakk, and then walked over.

"How are you doing Dante?" Zakk's father asked. "Are you doing well this year in classes? College is coming up fast."

"I'm doing fine Chief Hamilton. Actually going to start applying to colleges in a few weeks," Dante replied, keeping his tone friendly.

"Well, good luck with those Dante. I know you are going to make this town proud. I have to get going, have a nice day," Chief Hamilton said, as he rolled up his window.

Dante waved slightly as the Chief drove away. Once he was out of sight, Dante turned to Zakk, who was looking annoyed.

"Dude, I'm so sorry about that. I don't understand why he always wants to talk to me," Dante said apologetically.

"It's not a problem, he just sees you as the son he wished he had. Not the failure that he got in me," Zakk said. "But I don't really care, my father may be the police chief, but he does not run my life. Now lets get inside, it looks like it is going to rain."

The pair of them hurried into the school, and headed towards their lockers. Dante and Zakk had managed to have lockers next to each other every year since first grade. That was when they met, Zakk's father had just been transferred to the Olean police department, so Zakk had to move here with him.

They had been friends ever since. Zakk was the rebel of the pair, always going out to parties, and hooking up with all the girls. Even though he was a year older, Zakk treated Dante like he was the same age. The only reason they were in the same grade was before Zakk's mother had died, she had decided to hold him out of school a year because he was so hyper.

Dante opened up his locker and emptied his book bag in it. He grabbed his holo-pad, and stuck it in his bag. He was about to close his locker when Zakk jabbed him hard in the ribs.

"Check it out, the cheerleaders are on the move," Zakk said in a hushed tone.

As Dante spun around, the cheerleaders had made it to his locker in the hall. As they walked by a few waved at Zakk, then smiled at Dante. He awkwardly smiled back, and they giggled.

There was one girl that Dante couldn't take his eyes off of. She was tall, with blonde hair pulled into a tight ponytail. The way she walked was hypnotizing, and as she headed off down the hall, Dante couldn't help but what her.

"Dude, if you like Emily so much you should just snatch her up before someone else does," Zakk said incredulously. "Girls like that don't stay single forever and you want to get her while she is still hot."

Dante just swung his locker shut and took off down the hall. Zakk had been bugging him about Emily for weeks and Dante had been trying to avoid the subject. There was only so many times you could be reminded about how hot a girl was before it started to drive you nuts.

Sounds of a large group of people yelling started to drift down the hall towards Dante and Zakk. Dante didn't even think anything of it, probably just another stupid fight. But then he heard something that caught his attention.

"Kick his ass Troy. Lets see how much Han can take before he cries," a boy's excited voice traveled above the others.

Dante took off down the hall at break neck speed. As he rounded the corner he saw the source of the noise. Troy, a member of the football team, was punching a boy who had his hands held behind his back by another member of the football team. The boy was short, and his wiry black hair had fallen over his eyes. He was struggling to pull away, but was being held too tight.

"Come on Troy, all of his fat is just absorbing the blows, you are going to have to punch harder than that," A boy in the crowd called, which was followed by a roar of laughter from the crowd.

As he pushed his way through the crowd, Dante pushed his back pack into the hands of a freshman who was standing nearby. Zakk was right behind him, but stayed at the edge of the crowd as Dante approached the fight. Zakk had just gotten in a major fight last week, but had been let off with just a warning because Dante had vouched for him. But he could not risk getting into another fight, so he stayed back in the crowd. The people gathered around took a few steps back as they saw Dante approach.

Just as Troy was going to punch Han again, Dante stepped forward and grabbed his arm. Troy swung around and went to punch Dante instead. It was easy for Dante to dodge the punch. In a fast movement, Dante twisted Troy's arm behind his back and slammed him into a row of lockers. Troy struggled a little bit, trying to break free of Dante's grip.

Dante pushed Troy against the locker harder and pulled his arm up slightly, making Troy hiss in pain.

"Stop struggling Troy or I will break your arm," Dante hissed in his ear. "Now I'm going to tell you one last time, stop beating up Han or I will break your arm. You wouldn't get any football scholarships with a broken arm. I could do it and never get in trouble, so don't push me."

He slammed Troy against the locker one last time, and let him go. Walking over to the boy holding Han, and looked hard at him.

"You have less than two seconds to let him go or you will get worse than Troy. You know I can beat your ass easily, Ben," Dante said, his voice dangerous.

Ben let go of Han immediately and pushed his way through the crowd, which had gotten bigger. Troy glared at Dante one last time before following after Ben. Han had collapsed onto the floor the floor clutching his stomach. Dante went over and crouched down next to Han, putting his arm on his shoulder.

"Are you alright Han? Should I go and get the nurse?" Dante asked quietly.

Han shook his head slightly and up at Dante. His eyes were glistening, like he was about to cry. The crowd around them slowly dispersed, heading off to their first class. The bell went off in the hallway, and Dante pulled Han up to his feet.

Zakk came over and handed Dante his book bag, he must have retrieved it from the freshman that Dante had given it to. The first warning bell stopped, meaning they had five minutes to get to class.

"I gotta run, I'll see you later Dante," Zakk called as he took off down the hallway.

That just left Han and Dante in the hall, and the pair of them headed off towards their first period class. They turned a corner and saw a boy and girl kissing. As they heard them approach the couple broke apart.

"Oh, hi Han. Heard that Troy just jumped you again," the girl said in a slightly concerned voice. The boy kissed her quickly on the cheek and took off down the hall.

"Yeah, luckily you didn't have to witness your big brother getting beat up. It might have embarrassed you," Han said in a annoyed voice.

"Han, you are only a few minutes older than me, so stop pretending that years separate us. And besides, you would never embarrass me," Aayla said as she came over and hugged him.

Dante stood back and watched the two interact. They looked pretty much the same, except that Aayla's eyes were more full of mischief than Han's. Out of the pair of them, Aayla always looked like she was up to something.

Aayla and Han's parents had been among some of the last people to get into the country before the Japanese borders had been shut. The Japanese government had been worried that some of the designs for their advanced technology was being stolen, and that their brightest minds were defecting to other countries. The borders had been closed and now the only thing that got in and out of the country where goods.

The Kirosawas had come from Japan because they had opened up a small but successful business in the States and had wanted to oversee it. They spent a large amount of time traveling around the country, and were connected to many power people.

The three of them walked together down the hall to class. Han was still looking really depressed, and Aayla was gently rubbing his back.

"Cheer up Han, in a few years you will be all of these guys' boss. You are one of the smartest people in our grade, you know they rarely let people skip two grades," Dante said, trying to cheer Han up.

"Yeah, but Aayla got moved up too and you don't see her getting beat up by the jocks. Instead she seems to date them all," Han replied sadly.

Aayla slapped her brother gently on the shoulder and rolled her eyes. She saw that Dante was going to reply to Han, but she shook her head slightly. It was probably for the best, once Han got in a mood it took a little bit for him to come out of it.

The final bell rang just as they entered the classroom and the three of them hurried to their seats.

Thanks for reading guys. Any comments would be awesome. Also, make sure you check out Splicers.

**Note: If you don't want to be spoiled about what happens to Dante, stop at Chapter 32 of Splicers.**