[ Contents | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 22

Naranja waited with eyes closed, remembering how it had been...

Intruders in sector 001323...

All defense units mobilized. Request reserves...

Intruders in sector 20199. Defense unit attrition exceeds...

Structural damage in sector 104767 compromises defensive...

Naranja staggered as the alien awareness swept over her, overwhelming her with rapidly changing battle data and insistant demands for directions, decisions, orders, orders, orders.

"Enough!" she screamed as she dropped to her knees. Didn't these things have some kind of executive officer, damn it??

Yes, but executive command function must be delegated and authorized.

Request reserves at...

Request engagement priority modification...

Request engineering units...

"Shut up! All of you!" Naranja screamed again. "Whichever one of you is the executive officer, BE THE DAMN EXECUTIVE OFFICER NOW!"

The alien mind-voices fell silent... then one spoke.

Executive command delegated and authorized. Confirmed?

"Yes, damn it!"

Acknowledged. Request objectives.

"Objectives?" Naranja got to her feet, panting heavily. She stared blankly around the half-blasted command center.

Objectives: goals to accomplish. Suggest initial objective of defeating the intruders.

"Initial objective?" Naranja shook off the battle-fatigue that had clogged her thoughts. "You can do more than defend this place?" She asked sharply.

Correct. With command authority, offensive operations using local and remote forces may be initiated. Suggest immediate authorization of initial objective before defensive position becomes untenable.

Naranja flexed her fingers. If she understood the alien--the computer, for that was what it had to be--correctly, she now had control of the Jinkousei robots. All of them. Victory was in her hands, a great victory for the Saiyans--for Lord Col. And Naranja had lost her entire squad--again!--getting that victory. Who would ever trust her with command again?

Defeat the intruders... Lord Col's squad. Naranja felt a fleeting regret at the deaths of Penjal and Garba--they had died well, fighting at her side. But as for Lord Col and the lackeys that clung to his tail... Naranja's lips curled back in a feral grin.

"Destroy them! Your objective is defeat and destroy the intruders here--and whatever you do, don't let them become ouzaru."

Request details of preventative method.

Brief rage flashed through Naranja. Idiot computer! "They must see moonlight to change. Jinkousei has no moon of consequence, so only Lord Col can make a moonball. Stop him from creating any harmless-looking balls of whitish light and tossing them up, and you stop them all from transforming!" Naranja snarled. "You don't have the power to stop them from destroying this place as ouzaru--I've seen it--and you'll need every tin-can you've got to kill Lord Col. If you can. He's more powerful than any of your 'defensive units'!"

Directive acknowledged. Procedures initiated.

"Now, show me what's going on," Naranja commanded.

The one remaining viewscreen flashed to life, relaying picture and sound from sensors and scout units. Naranja watched, and now and then, spoke, pointing out a momentary weakness here, a known habit there.

It didn't take long. The Saiyans had happily defeated the disorganized security and defensive units when they were running on ancient stand-by programs, but now the entire robotic might of the complex was activated and united by one vicious, driving will and the cold intelligence that served it.

Lord Col had only two wounded companions left when Naranja left the command center. Saiyan blood and Saiyan hate burned hot within her; she would not watch Lord Col die on a viewscreen from miles away. That was not the Saiyan way....

Something chirped in Naranja's skull--the machine's way of getting her attention when it was needed immediately. She had a vague impression that it had been chirping at her for some time now..

"What?" the black-haired Saiyan woman snarled.

Limpet is re-calibrated and ready for deployment

"Destroy Vegeta! Your objective is to defeat and destroy the Saiyan Prince--and whatever you do, don't let him become ouzaru," she commanded.

Directive acknowledged. Procedures initiated.

"No!" Naranja flung open the door to the manor. "I must supervise; you must catch Vegeta when he is weak from fighting Bardock--"

--and you must not let Bardock lose, Naranja thought privately, or so she believed.

* * *

Naranja hurtled across the sky, her new scouter pointing her in the direction of the furious energies of Goku and Vegeta. The machine's work had to be supervised. The machine didn't know how Saiyans did things; it had to be told constantly. But at least, she reflected, it was loyal. Not like those traitors who had pretended loyalty for so many years, only to betray her on the eve of her triumph, the very day she'd finally located Bardock's planet.

But the worst betrayal had happened years before, hadn't it? When her new sergeant, Lechuge, big, burly, rough-hewn, virile Lechuge had betrayed his commander by laying with that slut Patata... They'd kept the secret for years, until--

Launching vessel for Limpet is deployed. Awaiting your command.

Bring it down near the battle, but don't let them see it! Nothing must warn Vegeta, nothing at all until it is too late!

Ahead, bright flashes of light dimmed the sun, and tremendous concussions shook the ground and all but knocked the breath from Naranja's lungs. She was nearly there.

* * *


Goku slammed into the already-fractured hillside at super-sonic speed; the impact sent shockwaves ringing through the earth and air. From the center of the jumbled of craters and chasms that marked the path of battle, Vegeta hurled another blast of energy.

"Hah! Admit it, Kakarott--I am your master!" Vegeta shouted, then staggered slightly. He panted hard, and wiped the sweat out of his turquoise eyes. Blood trickled from numerous cuts and scratches.

Goku pulled himself painfully out of the shattered rock yet again and stood up, wiping blood off his lips. He spat out blood from a freshly-bitten tongue and grinned; his golden hair swayed, buoyed by the seething energies within--weakening energies that flickered and dimmed momentarily.

"You haven't beaten me yet, Vegeta!" Goku brought his hands together at his side in an all-too-familiar gesture, panting nearly as hard as Vegeta.

Vegeta's eyes widened. "How can that peasant have any power left at all?" he wondered to himself.

* * *

From a distant hill, Naranja watched, and considered the readings her scouter reported. Bardock and Vegeta were both weakened by their battle; Naranja could not tell who had the upper-hand. Too close; Bardock might lose to Vegeta, or win but fail to kill him. That could not be allowed...

By the time Naranja slipped into the great chamber where Col made his stand, both his companions were dead--but Col fought on, alone, tired, but unstoppable. No warbot could survive his fury, and none had done more than singe and scrape Nappa's handsome son.

Col's silky black hair was matted with dust and blood, and his once-gleaming armor was cracked on one shoulder pad and covered with dirt, soot and gore, but his handsome face and perfectly-muscled body were untouched. Beautiful dark eyes glanced at Naranja as she slid through a narrow access hatch--

"You're alive?? Crack those bastards across the room, and we can re-group! Two ouzaru will be enough to take this place!" Col snapped at her.

He's not even wounded! Naranja raged silently at her electronic subordinate. You've got five seconds to cripple him, or else! Panic clawed at her mind; if Lord Col survived, Naranja wouldn't--unless she fought the robots with him. She had a hunch that the machine in her mind wouldn't react well if she did... and she'd lose all chance to control Jinkousei even if she survived. But if Col survived, he'd have questions about how she'd lived when everyone else had died. The obvious answers were cowardice, or treason...

* * *

"KA-ME-HA-MEHA!" Goku's battlecry rang across the hills, and the brilliant white ball of energy plunged down toward Vegeta--

Vegeta flung his arms up to block the attack; the ki ball exploded into white fury, blinding Naranja even at this distance. She flung herself face down and hugged the ground as the shockwave washed over her. Her scouter chirped and flashed "MAX OVERRUN", reporting only that it could not report.

That must be the last of him, Naranja thought. Surely nothing could have survived that!

As the smoke and dust cleared, Naranja's scouter gave warning. Something still lived in that cloud of smoke, though the power was sadly diminished. She caught her lip with her teeth and gnawed it; her fists were clenched.

Vegeta knelt, his arms just barely holding him up. His hair faded to its normal black as he pushed himself up to one knee, gasping for air like a drowning man.

Goku slowly sank to his knees, breathing hard. As Naranja watched, his golden hair flickered and darkened until it, too, was Saiyan black.

"Bardock..." she hissed in one long drawn-out breath. He couldn't do it! Bardock was not strong enough to finish Vegeta! Damn it, what did it take to kill that man?

Like the closing of a switch, the decision was made. Deploy the limpets, Naranja commanded. Kill Vegeta now! Kill him like you killed Lord Col!

* * *

Deploying anti-armor limpets. Recommend moving outside of blast radius.

What?? What blast radius? Naranja looked around with mild bewilderment; this was something new and unknown. What was an 'anti-armor limpet'?

One of the blast doors irised partially open and a swarm of black hemispheres flew into the room, straight at Lord Col. A blast of power from his outstretched hand met the first few of them; they exploded violently, shaking the room. The remainder fanned out, but to no avail; Col threw a barrage of tiny ki-blasts, catching them all.

Then the twenty limpets that had entered behind Naranja slammed into Col's back. He staggered, and started to rip them off--only to fall to the floor in convulsions as electricity arced and surged into his muscles from the limpets. The double-fist-sized hemispheres slithered over the tall Saiyan, clamping tight to his chest and back and legs with their flat sides. Then they began to glow--

Evacuate chamber immediately! Detonation imminent!

Naranja started, and ducked back through the access hatch through which she'd come, slamming the reinforced hatch closed just as a brilliant light illuminated the edges--

WHOOM! The explosion lifted Naranja off her feet and dropped her to one knee before she recovered. With terrible haste she ripped the access hatch open, tearing metal and shattering ceramic plating.

Lord Col sprawled in the middle of the chamber, bleeding from dozens of wounds--but still alive. Naranja tapped her scouter quickly--just barely alive. His power was gone.

"Back off!" Naranja snarled at the crab-like warbots as they aimed their plasma guns at the fallen elite. "He's mine!"

They halted. Naranja strode over to the broken body of Nappa's third son, her face pitiless and cold.

Col blinked and looked up at her; one eye was seared shut, and half his face was burned and bleeding. Gaping holes had been blasted in his armor and his flesh. "Naranja?"

She looked down at him. "That's Lady Naranja, Lord Col!" A cruel smirk spread across her face. "I do not think the court ladies will find you so handsome now! I never did." She spat to one side, out of habit. Her smirk changed, became a grin of triumphant hate as she took in the terrible wounds to the lower part of Col's body. "I should let you live, Col, just so you can enjoy the humiliation of being a tailless, ballless gutter Saiyan. They stripped me of my command for far less injury, Lord Commander Col; I wonder what Marshal Nappa would think of his tailless cripple of a brat?"

Col's remaining eye widened. "You... damned... traitor!" Somehow he got one arm under himself and lifted his head and shoulders off the ground. He raised his other arm toward Naranja. "I'll see you in Hell--"

Naranja's hand snapped out, and the plume of searing energy caught the dying elite full in the face.

"Perhaps. Too bad you took the trip without me," she told the headless burnt thing that had been Lord Col.

* * *

Naranja leaped to her feet, eagerly watching the two warriors through her scouter's magnification. She trembled with eagerness, waiting for the machine to strike.

Deploying anti-armor limpets. Recommend moving outside of blast radius.

"What? Fool machine, I am miles away!"

Recommend moving outside of blast radius.

"Bah. I am far enough," Naranja growled. "I will not miss this moment. Hurry up!"

Limpets in flight.


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Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic