[ Contents | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 20

Lina blinked at the two boys. "Trunks! And Goten! What on earth are you doing here? Why aren't you two at home?"

Trunks looked at the floor and shuffled his feet. "Please, ma'am, we really need to talk to Raditz. It's important!"

Behind Lina, Nezumi frantically shook her head. No, she mouthed silently, and put her finger to her lips, indicating silence. Trunks stared at her quizzically.

Lina put her hands on her hips. "Well, he's certainly not here! Trunks, you should be home with your grandparents, and I'm sure Goten isn't supposed to be here by himself!" She looked past them, her gaze searching the hall for anyone else.

Goten frowned; a puzzled, almost hurt look came into his eyes. "B-but.. I'm sure Uncle Raditz is here! I can feel him!" He pointed past Lina into her apartment.

Lina glanced over her shoulder; only Nezumi and her mother were there. Nezumi's hands were frozen in mid-wave, and there was an odd grimace on her face.

"'Zumi, what on earth is the matter with you? And why should the boys think Raditz is here?"

Nezumi smiled and gave Lina a blank look. "Matter? Nothing is the matter. I, uh, just got something on my nails that I'm trying to shake off." She gave her hands a half-hearted shake. "I have no idea why they should think that." The short brown-haired girl smiled wider. "I mean, it's not like I'm hiding him under my bed!"

Lina glared at Nezumi. Something was wrong; Nezumi was acting very oddly. Her eyes narrowed. "He's been here, hasn't he? While I was out, I bet! And you didn't tell me?"

"Maureen, honey, is something wrong? Who is Raditz?" Mrs. O'Neill called anxiously from behind them in the tiny living room.

Nezumi's smile grew painfully wide as she looked at her mother over her shoulder. "No, Mom, nothing is wrong. Raditz is my boss from work, remember?" She turned back to Lina, her smile gone. "I'll tell you about it later," she hissed. "If you embarass me in front of my mother, so help me..."

Invisible and intangible, Perejil clenched his fists in frustration. What were these people doing? Goten had brought him here for a reason--what was it? The little boy at least listened to him, but it was so painfully obvious he couldn't understand. Desperation and fear, fear for Zana, fear of Naranja and the robots gnawed at him, wound tighter and tighter until--

BANG! The kitchen light fixture exploded, showering broken glass all over the kitchen.

"PEREJIL!" Goten yelled.

"Eeeeek!" Mrs. O'Neill shrieked in startlement; she shrieked again as Goten and Trunks ran past her, nearly knocking her down as they rushed towards Nezumi's bedroom door.

That was it! Perejil suddenly realized why Goten had brought him here. There was another Saiyan here! One who could understand him! Perejil had to talk to him, now!

The door swung open so hard it bounced off the wall just before the boys reached it.

"Perejil, why are you being bad and breaking things??" Goten shouted, his face twisted with dismay. The two boys dashed into the bedroom, slamming the door shut again.

"Er, well!" said Nezumi.

Lina put her hands on her hips and snapped at Nezumi, "That's your bedroom, Zumi! What is going on?"

"Maureen, who are those boys?" Mrs. O'Neill asked.

"Um, I can explain everything, really I can," Nezumi said, backing away from the two women.

Lina folded her arms. "Please do."

"Well you see...." Nezumi kept backing up until her hand touched her bedroom door knob. "Idon'tfeelgoodsoI'mgoingtolaydownI'llexplainlater!"

Whissh-click! Nezumi quickly opened her bedroom door, slipped inside, and quickly locked the door behind her.

"Well! I never!" Mrs. O'Neill exclaimed.

* * *

Bulma looked out across the rolling jungle canopy from her perch atop the ruinous spire of Piccolo's ancient temple. Nothing but green leaves as far as the eye could see. Bulma's spirits sank. Was there no escape from this friendly prison?

No, wait a minute--what was that? Bulma shaded her eyes and squinted--yes, that was definitely smoke she saw rising in the distance! Where there was smoke, there was fire, and fire just might mean people!

Glancing at the sun, Bulma figured a bearing to the distant smoke, and started to climb back down the ancient, treacherous stairs.

* * *

Nezumi whirled around, angry words already on her lips--and froze, mouth open. Raditz sat cross-legged on her bed, his face grim. The two boys sat on the floor near the foot of the bed, looking at the same empty spot in the center of the bed that Raditz was. Trunks glanced curiously at Nezumi as she entered. Raditz's gaze flicked once toward Nezumi ever so briefly, then back to whatever he was concentrating on.

"What on Earth--?"

Raditz help up a hand for silence, and spoke strange words that Nezumi had never heard before, then waited, as if listening, before speaking again. One word, and one word only could she understand--Naranja.

Finally he nodded. "Trunks, Goten, you did very well to bring Perejil to me. Now I know the full extent of Naranja's treachery! I think... Goku needs to know about this."

Trunks and Goten nodded vigorously in agreement, then Goten asked, "What does Daddy need to know?"

A half smile quirked up the corner of Raditz's mouth. "That was the whole problem, you didn't understand the language--Saiya-go, the Saiyan language."

"Who is Perejil? What is going on?" Nezumi finally got her wits back under control.

Raditz glanced at her. "Perejil is--was a young Saiyan boy, and the last survivor of a Saiyan colony on Jinkousei... until he was murdered by Naranja upon his escape to Earth. He was the last survivor because Naranja murdered all the rest of the colony--I'm not clear why. The boy's parents defied her in some way and--"

Raditz broke off listening to something only he and Goten could hear, and only Raditz could understand. His eyes slowly widened.

"And we all know how well Naranja handles defiance," Nezumi muttered.

"Sister!" Raditz hissed. "Perejil had a sister, still alive when he left Jinkousei. Younger than him... her name is Zana. She may still be alive, if she escaped the robots."

"Um, well, Jinkousei is a long way away..." Nezumi said, slightly distracted. "So, Naranja is a mass murderer. I didn't think she was exactly a nice person; you already said she was a killer."

Raditz glared at her. "You don't understand. She murdered Saiyans! And her whole story, the one she told Vegeta, was a complete lie. Oh, no doubt she went to Jinkousei to purge it all those years ago, but something happened. She controls the robots now, she brought them to Earth looking for the last of the Saiyans--and stopped Perejil before he could find us and warn us."

"So she's the alien commander leading the killer robots!" Trunks exclaimed with a certain fierce satisfaction. "I knew there was one!"

Raditz's voice dropped. "And there aren't just a few robots; according to Perejil, there are vast automated factories on Jinkousei, churning out thousands and thousands of them. Naranja didn't bring just one ship of them, she brought an entire fleet!"

His eyes narrowed. "They have to be stopped."

* * *

Power source designated 'Bardock' and power source 'Vegeta' have risen to extremely threatening levels. Based on previous readings, it is probable that they are in combat. High probability that they are in combat with each other.

"What?" snarled Naranja. "So, Bardock finally believed me. He will overthrow that decadent fool! If not, Vegeta will be weak enough to slay with the limpet. Is it ready yet?"

Calibrating against current readings. Recommend deployment when target is weakened.

"Yes, of course," Naranja growled. "Your kind always did like picking off the weak, and striking from ambush..." Her thoughts spun back, to when she finally penetrated the Jinkousei Command Center...

Whatever it was, Naranja thought, the robot-builders deemed it important. Two massive, armored doors confronted her at the end of the blasted corridor. Unreadable sigils in various colors ran down and across the doors; unreadable, but the patterns they made were familiar to a Saiyan who'd been in the military bases of a hundred different worlds. Naranja didn't need to read the glyphs to know they said something like, "Important Place, Authorized Personnel Only, Everyone Else Keep Out or Else!"

Her lips curled back in a feral smile. A command center, no doubt, like the one in that other base--the chamber that housed the controlling computers. Like the other one, sealed against intruders, blast-resistant, and heavily guarded.

The robot guards were so much rubble now; only the doors remained, defending the heart of this great complex. It was the largest such base the Saiyans had found so far, and controlled at least one factory. Take it out, and the robots would be crippled, without a source of replacements or repairs. So Lord Col believed; Naranja suspected there was much more to it than that. This complex, or one like it, actually controlled the robots, gave them direction, planned their strategies. Destroy it, and the robots would be mindless machines... just like in that other base, after Naranja had smashed the central computers. Easy prey for the Saiyans; finally, Jinkousei would cease to be a blot on their record, and the credit would all be... Col's.

Naranja scowled, and her fists tightened. No. She had not spent her squad's blood and power just to glorify Lord Col. This victory would be hers and hers alone!

"Penjal! Garba! Get these damned doors open!"

Penjal stood up straight from where he'd been leaning against a scorched wall, resting. A once-white rank-band bandaged his scalp wound; he paused to tighten the knot that held it in place, then braced himself beside the door, his fist poised to strike the wall beside the door.


"Ah!" Penjal gasped as his knuckles rebounded from the underlying armor plate, bloody and bruised.

"Bastards put some serious armor under the ceracrete," Garba observed. "Must be something really important in there." The Saiyan sergeant looked the doors over. "Try the floor, and then the ceiling. Sometimes they forget to cover all directions."

Above the ceiling they found a smooth armored hemisphere covering the region behind the doors. The floor itself was armored--

"The floor is our best bet," concluded Garba. "I think it's just reinforced for load-bearing, not to keep us out." He smirked, then suddenly plunged one hand, glowing white with power, into the floor. His other hand followed, and he gave a mighty heave, tearing out chunks of ceracrete overlaid with metallic mesh and plating. Penjal quickly joined him; in a matter of minutes, they'd torn out a crater around the base of the interlocked doors. White ceracrete dust floated in the air, settling onto the black soot and dust of battle.

Garba peered underneath the smooth metal doorframe. "Uh-huh," he grunted. "A flat armored floor. That'll be easier to crack than curved roof--and I'll bet there's conduits or something going in from below, unless this is just a big fancy bank vault."

Garba was right; after several minutes of blasting a tunnel under the doors, they found the great armored conduits leading up into the mysterious armored hemisphere. Armored... but not nearly so well as the sealed chamber itself.

Metal screamed as the Saiyans tore apart the conduit's shell; bundles of cables and pipes vaporized as Penjal sent a blast straight up, clearing a way through the conduit. Garba quickly crushed shut a hissing steam pipe and ascended past Penjal into the sealed chamber.

"There's bodies here! This is some kind of--Look out!" Garba shouted down--




Naranja and Penjal both heard Garba's death scream amid the familiar thunder of a Jinkouseian plasma cannon. Penjal glanced at his commander, waiting for orders or waiting to see what Naranja would do.

"Defenses inside?? Damn this!" Naranja snarled and hurtled upward, her power a streaming corona around her, both arms raised to block the expected attack.

It came, and she blocked it as she hurtled up into the hemispherical chamber; her counter-blast tore away yards of panels and wiring--and detonated the swivelling plasma cannon attached to the ceiling. A quick glance showed nothing moving in the room; walls covered with darkened display screens, switches, buttons, lights that flickered and died as she watched. Three couches were arranged opposite the still sealed doors; in them lay three ancient, mummified bodies, dried skin stretched tight over old bones. Something metallic glinted over the dusty, dead reptilian faces.

"Another one!" Penjal screamed--


Naranja crashed to the ground as Penjal knocked her aside; white fury filled the room as he took the blast from the second cannon. Naranja leaped to her feet, howling with rage--not another squad wiped out! Her return blast destroyed the swivelling cannon before it could slew to fire on her; then, she systematically incinerated every ceiling panel that looked like it might hide another pop-down weapon.

The remaining lights flickered and died, leaving Naranja alone with her dead in the half-ruined room. The smell of burnt flesh clogged the air; Naranja growled and power licked out, igniting an inoffensive console.

The flickering light dimly illuminated the room, revealing the chaos of their brief battle. The displays were cracked or wholly blasted; wires hung loose, emitting the occasional desultory spark. Pieces of the other two Saiyans lay about the center of the room; the ancient mummies lay undisturbed on their couches.

Naranja walked over to the nearest, bending over to take a closer look. She could smell nothing more than dust; the creatures had been dead a very long time. A silvery mesh clung to the dry, scaly face and shoulders. Naranja prodded the dead thing; ancient clothes fell to dust at her touch, parchment-dry skin cracked and tore. Only the silvery mesh seemed unweakened by time; it clung to her fingers as she pulled it away from the crumbling alien corpse.

It looked like wire, yet pooled in her hands like a strange, net-shaped liquid. What was it? Some manner of headdress? Naranja curled one lip back in a sneer--

In a far angle of the room, one unbroken display screen suddenly came to life, one line of alien glyphs streaming across its face. Naranja neither noticed, nor cared that the glyphs said, in the long-dead language of Jinkousei, "SYSTEM CRASH--EMERGENCY REBOOT."

She noticed when the silver mesh stirred of its own accord and slithered over her face, wrapping itself tightly around her head and sending micro-tendrils seeping into her skull--but by then it was too late.

* * *

Raditz's head abruptly lifted; he seemed to listen to something in the distance. Goten and Trunks winced simultaneously as a distant rumble sounded in the earth. Nezumi looked alarmed as her bedside lamp's shade swayed on its mount.

"Not another earthquake!" she exclaimed.

"Fight's getting out of hand," Raditz muttered. He looked worried. "I can't get to Goku now, no one can--he and Vegeta are battling it out--and the power levels are incredible!" He glanced sharply at Trunks and Goten. "You two have to go back and warn Gohan! Tell him Naranja is behind it all, and she means to kill Vegeta--or get Goku to do it by accident! Tell him about the robots, that there's more of them coming, and he and the others will have to stop the ones here on Earth." Raditz stood.

"You expect two little kids to be taken seriously for all that?" Nezumi said incredulously.

"No--that's why I'm sending an adult, too. They'll take Bulma seriously."

"What--?" Nezumi looked surprised. "But--"

"You thought I would send you?" Raditz smiled very slightly. "I would, but I need you to help me get the computer core from Perejil's pod and smuggle it and me to Dr. Brief's latest model spaceship. I'm going to Jinkousei."



[ Contents | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 ]

Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic