[ Contents | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 15

It was only the second day--or was it the third?--after Bulma's kidnapping and Raditz's disappearance; events, Nezumi thought, that had brought nearly as much chaos to Capsule Corp as the Great Earthquake.

At first, they knew only that Raditz was missing and that Vegeta had gone into a rage unlike anything any of them had ever seen, wrecking half of Naranja's manor in the process. Nezumi had hoped that perhaps Vegeta had gotten mad at the woman and killed her, but no such luck; after the security cameras had re-booted themselves and recovered from the side-effects of the wild energies of Vegeta's rage, Lina had spotted the woman staggering into the Brief's residential compound.

"Uh-oh," she muttered and one hand darted to a bank of switches and hovered there for a moment as Lina hesitated. There were very firm rules about spying on the Briefs family, but looked like it might be an emergency....

Lina flicked the switches, turning on the inactive cameras located inside the residential compound and tying them into the security office monitors, which she and Nezumi watched very closely indeed.

They watched as Mrs. Briefs calmly fed Lady Naranja breakfast, and witnessed Naranja's sneering words to Trunks and Mrs. Briefs about Bulma--and learned that Bulma was missing too, and that Raditz was her kidnapper.

"...Raditsu has fled with the speed of guilt, and taken your mother with him. At the very least he has kidnapped and defiled her; at the worst she betrayed the prince willingly!"

"I don't believe it!" were Nezumi's first words. "He wouldn't do any such thing!"

"There's one way to find out," Lina said. "Let's see the perimeter cameras have to show." Fingers danced across the keyboard as Lina called up the early morning video files and displayed them on one of the monitor.

All too soon she found the key sequence: the back of Naranja's manor exploding to reveal the blurry shape with long black hair hurtling through the air, with a blue-haired shape in its arms.

"Let me clean this up," Lina said grimly. A single frame was enlarged, sharpened, enhanced. Nezumi bit her lip as the damning image revealed itself: Raditz, utterly naked, carrying the limp, white-draped form of Bulma Briefs in his arms. Whether Bulma was dead or merely unconscious, they could not tell.

"No," whispered Nezumi. "It can't be. Raditz wouldn't...." her voice trailed off.

"Now we know why Vegeta is after him," Lina said in an odd tone of voice, gripping the edge of her desk with white-knuckled hands. "Now we know what he did to Bulma."

"Lina, I can't believe you think that! We've worked for the man for a year now, seeing him every day--how can you know him that well and think he's capable of rape and kidnapping! And of Ms. Bulma, of all people! Lina, I was with Raditz when he was hunting the demon-worshippers that kidnapped Ms. Bulma and Trunks--he'd die to protect them!"

"I would have thought that he'd protect you, too--but looked what happened after that bitch hurt you! Just because they're the same kind, he did nothing!" Lina snapped.

"You know there had to have been more to it than that!" Nezumi argued. "Lina, I saw that man ask to be killed and sent to Hell because he thought that's what it would take to rescue the kids!"

Lina folded her arms, a stubborn frown set on her face. "Hmmmph. Vegeta's son and his own brother's son--sure, he's protecting his own kind."

"Lina! When did you turn into a bigot??" Nezumi had all but screamed. "That's not like you!"

"Well... why didn't Raditz do something about that woman? And where is he now? Where is Ms. Bulma?" Lina asked pointedly. "Nezumi, I know you like Raditz, but that fondness is blinding you to the facts. The cameras don't lie," she tapped the monitor with one finger. "See for yourself!"

"There's got to be an explanation," Nezumi said, folding her arms stubbornly. In spite of her words, an ugly doubt nibbled at the back of her mind. Raditz had had an interest in Ms. Bulma; a higly improper interest, in Nezumi's opinion. And Lina had said something about Vegeta ordering Raditz to marry Lady Naranja... could Raditz have lost control on getting that order and--?

No. It made no sense, not for the man she thought she knew. But did she know him all that well?

Lina sniffed. "I don't get it myself, but I won't ignore facts just because they don't fit my opinions."

"What 'facts'? All we know is that Raditz carried Ms. Bulma off this morning. Maybe he had a good reason--maybe it was an emergency of some kind," Nezumi argued feebly, aware of how stupid her argument sounded. But the idea that Raditz had suddenly snapped and... done what he was accused of was just as stupid.

Lina looked at Nezumi pityingly. "There's only one emergency I know of that requires a man to run away stark naked with another man's wife; it involves being caught by the husband of the wife in question. And Vegeta did go berserk and head off after Raditz."

Nezumi glared back at her friend. "You do realize that the only reason a man in that situation would run off with the wife is if he thinks the angry husband might kill the wife?"

It was Lina's turn to glare at Nezumi. "I can't believe that of Ms. Bulma. She wouldn't cheat on Vegeta! If she cared more about Raditz than Vegeta, she'd just dump Vegeta! I mean, she dumped Yamucha, remember?"

"She didn't have a baby by Yamucha, either!" Nezumi snapped, and then conceded, "but you're right, I can't see Bulma going behind Vegeta's back to sleep with Raditz any more than I can see Raditz doing anything bad to Bulma. None of it makes any sense!"

Fortunately, Naranja contributed nothing more to the day's chaos, but was content to eat a huge meal and vanish into her half-wrecked house; Nezumi's nerves were a wreck by then, and the suspense of wondering when the bitch would come out and do something else hadn't helped. It wasn't until the next day that she started thinking clearly again.

* * *

"Lina, I am an idiot," Nezumi suddenly announced.

"In general, or did you have something specific in mind?" Lina replied dryly.

Nezumi snorted in exasperation. "Specifically, how did Ms. Bulma get to Naranja's manor with Raditz? And where was Naranja when whatever was going on was going on?" She started punching up video records on her computer. "Let's see.... hmmm... That's odd."


"I've found where Naranja went home, and where Raditz talked to her and left again, but I can't find anything with him later, or Bulma. Instead, there's a big fat gap in the video files. between about 6pm and midnight."

Lina looked up sharply. "You mean the files are missing?"

"No, I mean the files on those perimeter cameras, and only those cameras, have nothing but black for the whole time. The video feed was disconnected somehow, without notifying the computer of the malfunction." Nezumi frowned.

Lina started punching up files on her own, squinting suspiciously at the results. "Raditz would have known about the perimeter cameras, and could have just pulled a video cable loose, if he didn't want to be recorded."

"Bulma would have known, too," Nezumi retorted. "In fact, anyone with two brain cells to rub together could have noticed the security cameras and drawn the obvious conclusions. It's not like we hide them; we want them visible enough to discourage casual miscreants." She sighed. "I wish we had cameras inside that mansion! Then we might have a chance of finding out what happened!"

Lina looked up again. "It's a Model 370 Manor, top of the line. It has its own security monitoring system." As Nezumi's face lit up, Lina continued, "Unfortunately, nobody bothered turning it on, or hooking it up to our security network, so no recordings were made."

Nezumi pouted briefly, then chewed her lip with determination. "Can you get the activation code out of the records? I think we should hook it up now. Might be nice to keep an eye on that woman, at least. And I'm setting up the system to track her wherever she goes on the grounds, especially the Briefs compound!"

Lina nodded. "You didn't like the way she talked about Trunks either, did you?" When Nezumi nodded in agreement, Lina continued, "Now you're thinking! Yesterday you were letting your feelings totally cloud your thoughts."

Nezumi snorted. "You mean like you've been letting your anger at my getting hurt to cloud your thoughts? You've been blaming Raditz for Naranja's bad behavior ever since!"

Lina's gaze dropped to the floor. "Er, well, yes." She looked up, a bit sheepish. "I was mad at him because he wouldn't do anything about Naranja. Still, you have to admit the evidence against him looks pretty bad."

"No, it makes no sense when you consider all of it. Part of the 'evidence' is what we know about the man's character, Lina, and what makes sense. Raditz doing something bad to Ms. Bulma is just not him, and I don't know Vegeta that well, but Raditz does--and even I can figure out that messing with Vegeta's family is a bad, bad idea. Raditz couldn't be sane and do something this blatantly stupid."

"He may not be sane," Lina observed. "He's been a bit stressed lately, and he might have gone off the deep end. Maybe he went off the deep end last year, with the demon and all, and this business with Naranja just triggered it."

Now it was Nezumi's turn to look pityingly at Lina. "You're really reaching now. We're both ex-cops; we've both dealt with our share of loonies. Don't you think at least one of us would have noticed if Raditz was borderline psycho? We work with him day in and day out, and I've seen the man under the worst stress and guilt anyone could possibly be under. He didn't snap; he just faced up to it and did what he thought was his duty. That guy is tough as hell, mentally."

"And physically." Lina added. "Okay, if he didn't snap, what in the hell happened?"

"Beats the hell out of me." Nezumi played around with her computer a bit more. "The cops have already been told Bulma is missing, maybe kidnapped, so we've got every cop in the country, from the feds on down to the village watchman looking for her. If she can be found outside of Capsule Corporation grounds, they'll do it. We'll keep investigating it from here, because it started here, in that manor over there, and if Raditz isn't guilty, I'll bet that Naranja is. Somehow."

* * *

Vegeta streaked through the sky, grinning in anticipation. Raditz was moving fast, trying to escape--too fast. Vegeta could sense his ki, and knew where renegade Saiyan was at every instant. He was right--there!

Vegeta swooped down--

--and halted abruptly as the blazing golden-haired form of Kakarott appeared in his path, two fingers still touching his forehead.

"Out of my way, Kakarott!" Vegeta snarled.

"No, Vegeta! I won't let you kill Raditz like that!" Goku's face was stern.

"This is none of your business, Kakarott! I'll only warn you once! GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Vegeta shouted, fury knotting his muscles.

"We don't know the truth, Vegeta. It's not right to kill someone who might be innocent; I won't let you." Goku hovered before Vegeta, stubbornly determined.

Vegeta's turquoise eyes narrowed. "Then I'll kill you first!" he roared, lashing out at Goku.

The first blow was easily blocked, and then battle was joined. As they traded flurry after flurry of kicks and punchs, Raditz's faint ki receded further and further away; far above them, unnoticed, a black wedge streaked across the sky, spilling shining ruin in its wake.

* * *

Trunks felt a cold wind blow past and through him; he shivered. It wasn't that cold out here on the porch! He stood up and looked around uncertainly; maybe Goten had gotten over being mad and would play with him again.

As Trunks debated what to do, Goten stormed out onto the porch, wide-eyed and frantic.

"Trunks! We have to hide! Right now!" Goten jumped up and down, all anger at his friend forgotten. "Something bad is coming!"

Trunks looked around quickly; he couldn't see anything but trees and fields and the house. "What? Where?"

"I don't know what! Perejil is scared again and wants us to hide! Last time he did that, that mean Saiyan lady nearly blowed up the house!"

"Perejil?" Trunks looked at Goten suspiciously. "Who is Perejil?"

As if in answer, the cold wind blew over Trunks again, and he heard Goten saying exasperatedly, "The ghost boy from the alien wreck, remember? An' he's got a tail like Uncle Raditz and your dad."

Trunks looked nervous now. "The g-ghost? He's here??"

Goten braced his hands on his hips. "Trunks! What are you scared of? He'd just a ghost!" the younger half-Saiyan said scornfully. "Now, hurry up!"

The scorn in Goten's voice did the trick. "I'm not scared of anything!" Trunks snapped angrily. "I'm a Saiyan, and Saiyans don't get scared! And what do we need hide for?" He braced his shoulders and feet, planting them firmly as if daring Goten to make him go anywhere.

Goten thought quickly; Perejil was frantic with terror, and he had to get Trunks moving! "Well, let's hide anyway. I know a neat place under the house, where we can talk without Momma scaring Perejil away. An' if something attacks, we can sneak out and ambush it while it's fighting Gohan!"

Trunk frowned thoughtfully, then grinned. "That's a great idea! Show me!"

The children disappeared under the house as the first of the bomb-droids swooped down through the trees...

* * *

Though the Ox King couldn't understand Saiyan, he did understand the ways of spirits. So when the ghostly monkey-tailed boy (So unlike Goku, this one--thin and tall and serious, where young Goku had been stocky and well-fed and all grins and laughter) appeared and frantically beckoned to him, raw terror in his eyes, Ox King didn't hesitate. He didn't stop to persuade Chi-chi to come with him. He simply picked up his daughter, tucked her under one arm, and ran for hills. The great bull-demon knew that when a ghost appeared to give you, personally, a supernatural warning, you listened--and acted. You didn't argue about it, you didn't put it off until tomorrow, you did whatever was needed right then and there.

Chi-chi didn't see it that way.

"Daddy, what are you doing? Have you gone crazy? Put me down this instant!"

Something shrieked by, just over their heads as Ox King flung her headlong into a hillside cave--

BOOM! The house exploded behind them with a deafening roar; the blast bowled the mighty Ox King over, tumbling him into the cave atop Chi-chi and covering them both with dirt and ash.

Chi-chi sat up first, pushing her stunned father aside, and looked back toward the house. A huge cloud of smoke and ash mushroomed into the sky.


* * *

Raditz could feel the powers raging behind him; more importantly, he could sense that Vegeta's power remained well behind him, with Goku. With the tiny bit of relief that brought him, the long-haired Saiyan began to think again, instead of fleeing like a panicked animal.

"Idiot!" Raditz cursed himself as he dropped abruptly to the ground and began to run at an acute angle to his previous line of flight. In his panic, he realized, he'd fled as fast as he could fly--and used enough power that Vegeta could have followed him from the other side of the world. Only Goku's intervention had saved him. "Stupid fool!"

At least, Raditz thought grimly, my power is low enough that Vegeta can't find me, and can only kill me if he destroys the entire region. Knowing Vegeta, he just might do that--if Goku doesn't stop him.

Damn it! This is my problem, little brother shouldn't have been dragged into it. But--

Raditz dodged around more trees and skidded to an abrupt stop as the forest opened up to reveal a heavily traveled highway. He ducked back behind the trees, staying out of sight of passing cars. I can't do this--it's taking all my skills to keep myself and Bulma out of Vegeta's reach. There is no way I can go back to Capsule Corporation and figure out what the hell happened and prove it to Vegeta while I'm on the run.

He turned, very reluctantly, to face the highway. I can't do this alone. But--

Unlike Vegeta's finely-honed ki sense, the electronic power-level sensors locked onto Raditz did not care that his power had dropped below the threshhold of ki sensing. They already had a lock on him, and his power was still enough higher than the humans he passed to be distinguishable. Nor did their users care about the innocent humans in the vicinity.

The black bomb-droids hurtled down on Raditz like giant buzzing wasps.

* * *

Goku dodged a ferocious blast from Vegeta--then the first bomb-droid hit him. The black dart registered on his combat-tuned senses an instant before it hit, and he instinctively swung a hand up to block the speeding projectile--


The violent explosion caught Goku by surprise, flinging him back and to one side. Before he could recover, three more bored in and exploded--

Goku recovered himself at the bottom of a crater, his ears ringing, his gi singed, and an immense, mushrooming cloud of smoke surrounding him. Then Vegeta hit him.

Vegeta had not been surprised; he'd seen the vicious black wasps before, and knew what they could do. After shrugging off their explosive attacks, he dove into the cloud of smoke and ash surrounding Kakarott, hoping to catch the staggering Saiyan off his guard. He succeeded.

Vegeta put his full strength into a right cross that slammed solidly into Kakarott's jaw, sending the surprised hero skidding across the earth until he crashed into the bottom of a rocky cliff. The impact of Kakarott's crash jarred loose several boulders and brought them raining down atop the stunned Saiyan.

The Saiyan prince regarded his handiwork with cold satisfaction, rubbing his bruised knuckles with the other hand. Kakarott was out of his way for the moment; now for Raditz!


"What?" Vegeta's head snapped around toward the strange sound. More of the strange robots--this time, the crab-legged, armored things that had attacked Lady Naranja. Vegeta's lips curled into a sneer; even Raditz could demolish these tin-cans!

The shiny, crab-like robots lifted and pointed stubby tubes at Vegeta, who sneered even more. These mindless automatons thought to attack a Saiyan prince with mere weapons??

The stubby tubes unfolded to reveal a multiple-barreled weapon. Vegeta frowned slightly; this was different from before, and there was something naggingly familiar about the weapon...


Eighteen robots opened fire with their curious six-barrelled weapons. A storm of white-hot energy slammed into Vegeta, staggering him with unexpected ferocity. Rock shattered and split as Vegeta was forced backwards into the same cliff that had stopped Kakarott's headlong flight.

At last, the firing paused. Bruised and battered, Vegeta dragged himself out of the rock, panting heavily. His eyes narrowed, and his fists clenched with rage.

You fool! Vegeta raged at himself. You let your guard down and let a bunch of stupid tin-cans make an idiot out of you! What the hell--


As the robots opened fire again, Vegeta finally remembered where he'd seen a weapon like that before. He braced himself, using his full ki to block a kind of power he hadn't seen since the Cell Games.

"Android 16..." he murmurmed to himself. "What has that dead robot to do with these alien war machines?"

* * *

Some instinct warned Gohan a split-second before the bombs hit, and he braced himself, holding his ki in defense. When the smoke cleared and he could blink the dazzle from the flash of the blast out of his eyes, Gohan was surprised to realize that he was still standing. His shirt was in tatters--Mom will be furious, she made that one herself!--and the entire house was in tumbled splinters around him, but Gohan stood, his arms slowly uncrossing from guard position in front of his face. He stood a bit lower than he had before, true--there was a deep crater where most of the house had been--but he stood.

Goten and Trunks sprawled at his feet, groaning; they had survived the massive blast for one reason, and one reason only: Gohan was in the house above them. The older half-Saiyan rolled his head, stretching his neck muscles and trying to shake the ringing out of his ears. He slipped into fighting stance as several car-sized, silvery disks slammed into the earth all around him.


The black-haired teenager scowled as the silvery disks unfolded silvery legs and flipped themselves over, like so many beached crabs righting themselves. Gohan scowled more fiercely as some of the silvery legs raised up and pointed short, fat silvery tubes in his direction.

"Goten! Trunks!" Gohan barked. "Get away from here--find dad!" I can't sense any ki, thought Gohan. They're machines! He crossed his arms in a full ki-block as all nine of the silvery crab-things pointed the tubes at him.


Nine white-hot plasma beams slammed into Gohan's crossed arms. When the dazzle faded, Gohan peered over his arms at the crab-like robots, his nose wrinkling at the smell of singed hair.

"That wasn't very nice," he said. Gohan extended his right hand.

"MAA-SEN-KO!" A bolt of white energy flashed out from hand, and a robot exploded. Eight plasma beams flashed back in response; Gohan's other hand came up and the beams rebounded, deflected by Gohan's ki. Not one black hair on Gohan's head stirred. Gohan then hurled eight more bolts in rapid succession, and the robots exploded into molten fragments.

Trunks and Goten stared wide-eyed at the ruin around them--but only Goten could see the ghostly Perejil staring at Gohan in rapt, incredulous awe.

* * *


[ Contents | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 ]

Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic