In Maryland across the bay from the nation's capital was the bustling metropolis of Starlight City. Deep within the city, surrounded by its many skyscraper sized buildings and modern day architecture was a very prestigious school.
Rosetta Academy was alive and well even before seven in the morning and the amount of students in the building made Dante feel miserable. He groaned as he stopped by his locker and placed his fist on the metal face. The heat had gotten to him already and he wasn't in the best mood because of it. Not only that but he was tired, especially after last night's events...
'Best let it go for now. I'll talk to the others once the day is over.'
The school had a nasty mint smell, and nobody around was liking it but it was usual at the place. Leave it to the headmaster to force fresheners with mint in them to liven up the place. The nameplate on his locker was on crooked but he didn't mind. not that he could fix it even if he were allowed to, apparently it was against rules to have students fix up their own lockers. "I'd still need a screwdriver though..."
Inside the metal box were school books as well as a calendar with the picture of a hockey team on it stuck to the back. Otherwise it was a cluttered mess, and he was lucky nothing fell out every time he opened the door. A small mirror was on the bottom of the locker, reflecting the shaggy short dark hair of the teen that used it.
A few girls passed behind Dante, one accidentally brushing against his shoulder.
"It's okay." The former athlete smiled lightly, the first time he had been able to do so and it was noticeable forced. It faded after the girls left.
He took off his red school issued jacket and put it inside the locker. 'Damn I'm so tired-ow!' He felt a sharp pain in his left shoulder and just under his uniform it was heavily bandaged. A souvenir from last night. A monster that shot electricity had been the cause of that.
He grabbed the science book and was about to close the door to his locker when something caught his ear.
"Hey did you hear? They were in Starlight City last night!"
On the other side of his locker Dante noticed a trio of students talking. Curious he pretended to be busy in his own locker and listened in on them. They sounded excited about something.
"They were on the news last night!"
"Who do you think? The Trinity!"
"Those three so called heroes?"
"Yeah! That fire guy was pretty awesome!"
Now Dante's attention was solely on the conversation. 'They're gonna talk about me huh? Let's have a gander...'
"The way he was flying around taking those people out of that burning building was beyond cool. The flames didn't hurt him at all!"
"Yeah! I think he's the best!"
Dante smirked, being quite proud of himself for what happened last night. That 'flying flame guy' that the news had been loving like no other had been him. Known as Inferno, he had worn slim battle armor fashioned after a phoenix. No surprise he had the power to fly and use fire like a weapon. He was also immune to it and so he was able to do a lot of dangerous things that normal people couldn't. Like last night when he went into a fully ablaze apartment building and helped over a dozen people escape with their lives. Then after the deed was done he flew off, as he usually did. He didn't like the spotlight, just a thank you was all he asked for. Though finding that people admired him did fill him with pride.
He continued to listen in. The level of excitement grew in the group.
"Hell, that guy would be so cool to meet. I wonder who he is under that armor?"
Now Dante had a major grin on his face. If only those teens knew Inferno was right next to them...
"Then he went and fought with his friends against that shock monster later...what was his name again?"
"Oh yeah, that's right!"
Upon hearing that monster's name Dante felt a twinge of pain go through his left shoulder. No one else knew it but that monster had been the reason the apartment complex had been set ablaze. Also nobody knew that the fight he and his two friends had with the creature had gone on for multiple city blocks.
Hence why he was so beat up.
The morning bell rang, signaling the beginning of the start of the school day. That caused the trio to disperse and Dante knew his time was up. The first class wouldn't start for another fifteen minutes, but he knew that if he slowed down now he wouldn't survive the day. He was so tired.
Still, he knew that more than likely he and his friends would be back out in the city doing what they had decided to do together for the last two months.
'We are needed. The people need us, and we will help them.'
He closed the door to his locker and went to his first class.
When lunch time came most of the students stayed inside to avoid the heat, though a few remained in the cafeteria. Then there were some who stayed in a classroom to eat as well.
"Trinity of Heroes Save the Day from Shock Master!"
That was what the main article on the American News Network website read on the front page. With it was a rather questionable picture of a man who looked like a he was made of batteries who shot electricity out of his body fighting against another man in red and white armor with fire wings, as well as a streak of lightning hitting him from behind. An impressive shot, no doubt.
'That was the moment he went down. The photographer got a lucky shot there...'
From his seat in the back of the classroom, an Asian American student with thick black rimmed glasses read the article from his personal laptop with a degree of interest. Henry Wong eyed the picture and scanned it for detail, but he was ultimately disappointed with it. Not with the quality. That was unavoidable. He was more upset that he was nothing but a blur in it.
'If only I had slowed down I might have made the picture.'
Still he shrugged his shoulders. What was done was done. Their foe still had been beaten with no loss of life, though property damage was no doubt in the hundreds of thousands of dollars but he could live with that. It wasn't like they were going to send him and his partners the bill, now would they?
Scrolling down to read the article, skipping over details such as the amount of damage and criticism to how it was handled, Henry finally found a picture that caught his eye. His eyes widened as he saw a picture of himself punching Shock Master in the face.
Yet, though he knew it was him, Henry had no doubt people wouldn't believe him if he told them. What was in the picture wasn't a young teenager but a white bipedal rabbit about four and a half feet tall (five if you counted the upright ears), its fists covered in big red boxing gloves wearing a black and yellow striped shirt and loose jeans. There was also a backpack on his back.
Under the picture was a small description that read: "Jade Rabbit delivers a Tyson like punch to Shock Master."
Tyson? More like Holyfield, thought the teen with a chuckle. Another thing he liked was the press was using the name he had given himself. Jade Rabbit. It was quite a unique name and he was damn proud to have come up with it.
Though he had used boxing gloves to protect himself from Shock Master's static electric body, it wasn't any less painful for him when he had the force of a small bomb behind it. Inferno was the powerhouse between the two, this Henry knew, but when the rabbit threw a punch it was still no laughing matter. His fist was still hurting after he changed back to his human form.
Yet he knew that alone he wouldn't have been able to take Shock Master down without his friends.
Having friends was the best thing in the world to Henry. Together they could do, well, anything really.
He closed the article page, noticing he had been sent an email with a familiar address.
Henry smiled and opened it.
Just like he thought, it was from Dante.
Henry read the email to himself, which was short, that basically told him what he expected.
'See you and Clerissa after school at my dorm room. We need to plan our next move.'
Got it leader, he thought without an ounce of sarcasm. Dante was the leader of the trio, which was what was agreed upon between them. Henry knew he wasn't cut out for the role, he'd rather be the comic relief than anything else. Except for maybe the love interest to the only girl in the group but he viewed Clerissa as a close friend and he also knew she had no interest in him romantically. Added to the fact that he wasn't an athlete and he knew he had struck out. It didn't bother him.
Now that he knew what was going on Henry knew what he had to do. 'Better let Clerissa know.' He took out his phone and sent a quick text message to her.
Rosetta Academy had a very large pool adjacent to the gymnasium. That was what set it apart from other schools on the east coast. That and unlike other places it was open to the campus from dawn to dusk.
So, even after gym class was over, Clerissa Hart decided to stay at the pool for a while longer. she enjoyed the water, especially on a hot day like this. The feeling of the cold water on her body was relaxing, and the fact that her muscles were sore from last night's escapade made her appreciate the water even more.
Getting up from the water and sitting on the edge of the pool, Clerissa ringed out the water from her long dirty blonde hair. The water cascaded down her ample chest confined in a cardinal red one piece swimsuit, issued by the school for those on its swim team.
The blonde turned and saw her friend approaching. A girl the same age as her but with shorter black hair and green eyes. "Thought you'd be here."
Clerissa stood up and put her arms over her chest. "Where else would I be on a hot day like this, Marianne?"
"I know. It's near evening and yet it's still miserable out." She sighed, "Anyway I was just coming to ask if you wanted to join me. I'm heading into the city to go shopping. Since you don't have practice right now I thought you'd like to go."
Clerissa thought for a moment. The idea sounded nice, especially when it was her best friend who invited her. She and Marianne had bene friends since they had been kids and were near inseparable. Only Clerissa's dedication to the swim club got in the way.
That and her newest activity.
"Gimme a second."
Clerissa went on over to her bag on the nearby bleacher and checked her phone. No missed calls, but there was one text message. The text message didn't concern her right away, it was the lack of calls. 'Dad didn't call me again. He must have had to work.'
Typical of her dad, being in the military and all, he more than likely got called in. Or he volunteered to do so like he more than often did.
Her thoughts returned to her friend, and Clerissa took a look at the text message that she had on her phone. It was from Henry, and the details of the message were clear cut and to the point.
'Come to his dorm. Planning needed.'
She sighed. "I'm sorry Marianne, but it looks like I can't go tonight."
"Dad forcing you to go home?"
The lie worked, and it made Clerissa's heart sink. "Pretty much."
"That's fine. Just don't make him force you to do push-ups or something like that, okay? You get enough exercise with your laps already."
Clerissa smiled and threw her hair back over her shoulder. "Don't worry about it. My dad whipped me into shape years ago. I can handle anything he sends my way." She started to gather her things, which included her school uniform in the plastic sack. Gym had been her last class and so she wasn't even gonna bother with changing.
"You gonna change at home?"
Clerissa nodded. "That's the plan." She decided to wear her uniform over her swimsuit to save time. That would help her get to the meeting that much quicker. Not that her two partners had seen her in anything less revealing.
That was constant in her other form. Being scantily clad in nothing but pink scales shaped in the form of a two piece bikini, a fish tail, and being able to swim over a hundred miles an hour. Thus it was fitting that the press had called her Syrena, even though Clerissa couldn't sing worth a damn. She was more like a mermaid than a siren to be honest. But Jade liked the name and it stuck.
It would have been cooler if Marianne knew the truth but that wasn't the case.
'She can't know I am doing this for her. Never.'
Clearing her throat Clerissa started to dry herself off with her towel. "I'll text you before I go to bed, 'kay?"
Marianna nodded, "I'll be up late. Got to study for the exams coming in a week."
"Maybe we could study over video chat together? That's be cool."
The other girl smiled lightly. "Sure, if neither of us fall asleep in the middle of it. Haha."
Bidding each other farewell Clerissa started to put her white dress shirt and navy blue skirt on. Once her friend was out of sight she mentally kicked herself in the leg. She hated lying to Marianne like that, but it was necessary. If she found out what Clerissa had been up to at night...
Shaking her head, Clerissa hoped to put such thoughts aside. 'Now is not the time to worry about others. We have a job to do.'
She gathered up her things and went in the direction of the men's dorm.