[ Contents | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 23

Vegeta heard the noise first. He glared at Kakarott out of the corner of his eye as he turned his head from side to side, trying to get a bearing on the distant buzz that rose into a cicada-like whine. As he did so, Goku turned his head toward the sound.

The Saiyan prince blinked, unsure if the black dust motes were real, or a figment of the blows he had taken. The whine changed to a howl as the black motes resolved into double-fist-sized black spheres.

"Kakarott, what--?"

The black spheres split in half, each hemisphere darting toward one of the Saiyans. Vegeta flung up one hand and summoned what power he could--

The swarm of black hemispheres parted around the plume of light as if to let it pass. Goku's eyes narrowed, and he quickly cupped his hands at his side as the other half of the swarm hurtled toward him.


"They dodged it!" Vegeta stared incredulously, eyes narrowing. "Dodge this!" He snarled, flinging both hands forward, pumping out the very last dregs of his power in a barrage of energy bursts. The black hemispheres twisted, writhed, but could not dodge every burst; they exploded into black metallic dust.

"ME--" Goku's hands drew back. "HA--" Power glowed in his hands. "ME-HA!" The familar ball of white light sped toward the swarm of black hemispheres--

--They dodged; the ball of light twisted to follow them--

WHOOM! A blinding flash filled the sky; twisted fragments of metal fell to the ground all around like hail.

Vegeta collapsed to his knees again, beyond exhausted. Goku let himself fall to the ground and lay there, gasping for breath.

"Damn them!" Vegeta raged weakly. "Damn those mindless toys! Damn the--"

"Vegeta." Goku sat up, listening. "They're not mindless; they waited until we were exhausted to attack." He listened more intently, eyes squinting as he stared into the distance.

"The machines are mindless," Vegeta snarled. "Whatever commands them is not!" He glanced at Goku, who was still listening. "What is it, Kakarott?"

Goku hauled himself to his feet and braced himself. "Don't you hear it? There's more coming."

* * *

Bulma bit her lip unhappily. Normally, she enjoyed flying, enjoyed seeing the ground slip by underneath, enjoyed the breeze whipping her blue hair back... but normally, she wasn't being held up by two little kids, one of whom was her own son. Neither Trunks nor Goten looked too happy at having to hold Trunks' mother up to keep her from falling through the cloud, either. Bulma did not like being embarassed, and refusing to explain to two inquisitive boys why Kin-tou'en would not hold her up was almost as embarassing as explaining it would have been. She consoled herself that they were too young to really understand, and probably would have forgotten by the time they were old enough to fall through the golden cloud themselves.

That was only a minor annoyance, really, compared to the revelations of the full depths of Naranja's perfidy. Bulma burned with anger and hatred; how dare that woman use her against her own husband that way, and Raditz as well! If Bulma had had the power, Naranja would now be a greasy smear on the ground. In her own way, Bulma was more ruthless to her enemies than any of them, except perhaps Vegeta and Piccolo. And only Piccolo was as pragmatic; he'd been the only one to see the reasonableness of killing Dr. Gero before he unleashed his deadly androids. Unfortunately, Vegeta and Goku both overruled her, and that was that.

Why, she fumed, must I be a weak woman who can do almost nothing on her own??

* * *

Just before turning back onto paved roads, Nezumi pressed 'Send' on her cellphone, and waited for her call to be answered.

"Capsule Corporation Security Department--"

"Lina, it's me, 'Zumi," Nezumi said, her words spilling out in a rush. "I've got It, how's the evacuation going?"

"Moving well enough. 'Toxic chemical spill' were the three magic words; people can't get out of here fast enough. I thought Dr. Briefs would give me a hard time, but he seems to know what's going on without me telling him, somehow." Lina's voice lowered. "She's not around; she flew off somewhere, which makes this all much easier."

Nezumi exhaled a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness! Have you seen, er, him yet?"

"No sign of him. No sign of the boss's husband, either. The shaking has stopped, though."

"I don't know if that's good or bad. See ya soon." Nezumi hit 'End' and disconnected.

So, Raditz wasn't there yet, but neither was Naranja or Vegeta, and the innocent people were getting out of the way. Better and better. Nezumi floored the gas.

* * *

Raditz flew low, just skimming the treetops. The sudden silence in his head worried him; if Vegeta was still conscious after fighting Kakarott, he could easily sense Raditz as the long-haired Saiyan's power raged into furious speed. Perhaps he should drop down, run along the mountain paths?

No! There was no time to waste; Vegeta was far away, and even if he was still conscious, not likely able to move quickly enough to catch Raditz before he reached Capsule Corporation... and the spaceship. But was Raditz in time to catch Naranja? He listened, feeling for her roiling, rotten ki, but could not sense her ahead. Where was she? He had to put her out of action before she could order the robots to more mischief--but he still had to take the spaceship and deal with the robots at the source. Raditz had no time to search.

* * *

Naranja's lips drew back in a feral grin as the second swarm darted toward Bardock and Vegeta. Yes! That posturing, decadent prince would soon be so much dust! She squinted, watching the two combatants from her distant vantage point on an unmarred hillside. Something was not right about the limpets--

"What are you doing?" Naranja hissed aloud to the voice within her mind. "LEAVE BARDOCK ALONE!"

Feint is necessary to effectively engage target Vegeta.

"A feint?" muttered the Saiyan woman. "If you must--but do not harm Bardock." Even if he is a worthless, vermin-loving weakling... Damn him! I have sacrificed too much to lose him.

Acknowledged. Assault Phase II launch pending confirmation of Phase I objective.

The second swarm of limpets closed in exactly as the first one had, splitting in two to envelop the two Saiyans. Vegeta lashed out with hands and feets, shattering the steel casings like eggshells as they closed; Goku, likewise, dodged and blocked, smashing the tiny devices as they tried to settle on him.

Ten, twenty, a hundred of the things broke apart, their deadly load rendered impotent by smashed detonators and scattered across the ground in shards. Still they tried to settle on Goku, to clamp on his back and across his chest; his breath was coming harder as slowed down. He didn't know how Vegeta fared; all he could do was keep up with the swarming hemispheres.

Suddenly the hemispheres vanished; Goku blinked in confusion. "Huh?"

"YEARRGGGHH!" Vegeta screamed; Goku spun around. The rest of the limpets had left Goku for Vegeta, overwhelming the exhausted Saiyan prince. They covered Vegeta's chest and back, and electricity sparked and arced between them. Vegeta screamed as the electric shock convulsed his muscles.

"VEGETA!" Goku yelled, two fingers pressing to his forehead nearly as fast as thought. A flicker-flash of light, and he was beside Vegeta, one hand grasping his shoulder--

They both vanished in another flicker-flash, and the limpets exploded with their full, nuclear fury.


A vast fireball climbed to the heavens; far, far away, at Piccolo's temple, Goku saw the flash of light. Sometime later, the echo of the concussion boomed in the distance. He gently laid the unconscious Vegeta on the ancient stone pavement, and looked at the Piccolo.

Goku thought that Piccolo looked surprised to see him for a second, but the instant passed, and Piccolo was his usual imperturbable self. The orange-clad warrior looked around.

"Hey, isn't this Piccolo Daima-o's old temple?" Goku blurted.

"So it is." The green alien's cold gaze flicked from Goku to Vegeta and back. "What have you been fighting? I sensed no power besides the two of you."

Goku looked sheepish. "Well, until the robots showed up..."

"You were fighting each other. Of course." Piccolo's eyes narrowed. "What robots?"

"Little flying bombs that tried to kill the two of us. I think they came from the alien spaceship that Vegeta and Raditz destroyed." Goku answered slowly, seemingly distracted. He sniffed the air and frowned.

"Piccolo," he said, "I know who has been here."

"I am not surprised. They are on their way back to Gohan, including Bulma."

"And my brother?" Goku asked, frowning.

"No. He had another mission to carry out."

"Piccolo..." Goku's voice carried a tone of warning. "What do you know?"

"I think Bulma should tell you herself. She should be with Gohan soon." Piccolo tapped two fingers to his forehead significantly.

"Yes...," rasped a harsh voice. Vegeta sat up, bloody and weak. "Yes, I would very much like to hear what Bulma has to say."

Goku looked thoughtfully at Vegeta for a moment. Gohan was strong enough to stop any trouble that might start. "Okay," he said, and waited for Vegeta to struggle to his feet. He knew better than to offer the battered prince a hand. Then he stared at the horizon, as if sensing something. Yes! He could just sense Raditz's ki as his older brother sped north, toward the city or perhaps Goku's destroyed house.

Goku pursed his lips. Whatever Goten and Trunks were doing, they weren't in danger. He could just barely sense their presence, moving rapidly toward Muten-roshi's house. Too rapidly for the little bit of power he felt; so they really had Kin-tou'en! Goku felt a touch of nostalgia, remembering some of the adventures he'd had with Kin-tou'en--

"Kakarott, when you are done daydreaming..." Vegeta snarled impatiently.

Goku blinked. "Okay! Let's go!" He touched two fingers to his forehead, and in a flicker-flash of light, he and Vegeta were gone.

* * *

The robot fleet from Jinkousei did not hesitate when the master controller vanished; it had its orders. The long-dead designers knew that communications fail from time to time; they had not wanted their war-machines to be paralyzed every time a solar flare or thunderstorm disrupted transmissions. The machines would continue until the last set of orders received was fulfilled, then revert to either general defensive or general offensive procedures.

Naranja had given orders for the offensive. She was a Saiyan; only other races defended.

* * *

Bulma was just tugging on a blouse she'd borrowed from Chi-chi when Goku and Vegeta materialized beside Gohan on the front porch. Perhaps she would have gotten dressed sooner if Chi-chi hadn't launched a tirade at Goten, Trunks, and Muten-roshi, the first two for disobedience and worrying her half-to-death, the other for encouraging the boys in their mischief.

"Goku!" Chi-chi shrieked. Goten pulled loose from her suddenly loosened grip on his arm and ran to his father.

"Daddy!" He looked up at Goku's bruised and battered face. "Daddy, how--"

"VEGETA!" Bulma's shriek drowned out all the rest of them as the bloody, battered Saiyan prince staggered, reached out for the door frame, and slowly collapsed to the ground.

Bulma dropped to one knee and got one arm around Vegeta's shoulder, half-supporting him. She glared at Goku. "WHAT DID THAT WOMAN DO TO VEGETA?"

"Unhand me, woman!" Vegeta snarled, pulling away from Bulma and dragging himself to his feet with the aid of Muten-roshi's doorpost. "The prince of the Saiyans is not a weakling who needs to be held like a child!"

"Oh really??" Bulma's eyes blazed dangerously. "How did that woman managed to do this to two SUPER-SAIYANS?!? I can't believe you two let that--that woman beat you up like that? After she tried to use YOU to kill me! And Raditz! And likely Trunks, too! AND YOU TWO LET HER DO IT!" Her voice rose again, shaking with rage.

"Um, Bulma," Goku protested weakly, "it wasn't Naranja, it was the robots, and they came after me and Vegeta--"


Vegeta, this time more perceptive--or more paranoid--than Goku, snapped, "Woman, are you saying that Naranja controls the robots??"

"Well, of course," Bulma said, looking at Vegeta as if he were a particularly backward student.

"How do you know this?" Vegeta snarled.

Bulma gave a little shrug at Vegeta's question. "Well, it's rather hard to explain. There's this ghost boy, Perejil, who's been hanging around Goten--"

"Perejil?? That's a Saiyan name!" Vegeta interrupted.

"GHOST BOY? That ghost who's been haunting my baby Goten??" Chi-chi yelled.

"The little Saiyan boy?" Goku asked innocently. "He's been too shy to talk to anyone but Goten..."

"CAN I FINISH EXPLAINING??" Bulma yelled over the babble. "Thank you. Anyway, this ghost Saiyan boy, Perejil--who's not much older than Trunks, I'll have you know--finally got to Raditz, who could understand what the heck he was saying. What Raditz said was that the boy was from a hidden colony of Saiyans on the world the robots came from, and--this is confusing--Naranja had controlled the robots and been the ruler of the Saiyans, who were fighting the robots, and for some reason murdered all of them. Including Perejil, who stole her pod and came to Earth before she caught up with him."

Vegeta's eyes narrowed. "You have only Raditz's word for this--WHAT DID HE DO TO YOU?" Vegeta stepped forward suddenly, seizing Bulma by both arms. Something cold and remorseless hardened his mouth and lurked in his eyes.

Bulma glared back into those doom-laden eyes. "Raditz," she said carefully and precisely, enunciating each word with a snap, "is guilty of nothing but complete idiocy. Almost as much idiocy as you, I might add. Naranja set him up! She grabbed me from the lab that night, knocked me out, and left me for you to find in Raditz's bed. She meant for you to kill both of us in a jealous rage--only Raditz woke up early, figured out that was what was going on, and panicked."

"As well he might," Vegeta growled. "He is guilty--of desiring what does not belong to him! And the bedroom smelled of him and-- How do I know he did not take advantage of such an alluring temptation--even if it was Naranja who placed it in his path? All the evidence says he did!"

Bulma folded her arms and looked back at Vegeta, coldly angry. "You are either calling me a liar, or think I am so stupid and dull as not to know if a man has taken advantage of me! Which is it, Vegeta??"

Vegeta blinked and stepped back. "Well, explain how--"

"Ask Naranja to explain! She certainly took advantage of Raditz, and she meant to set him up from the beginning. She's a Saiyan, she'd know what evidence would decide things for you, so no doubt she made sure to manufacture the right 'evidence'. She's got the robots' technology to help her; I wouldn't be surprised if she's half-machine herself."

"You only have Raditz's word for this!" Vegeta snapped again.

"Well, ask the boy yourself!" Bulma snapped back.


"He came back with Goten and Trunks. If Raditz can talk to him, I'm sure you can, too. He said it had something to do with having been a ghost once, he remembered how to see spirits..." Bulma trailed off uncertainly.

Vegeta clenched his fists and relaxed them. He'd tasted death twice now, and would again. The first time had been only a few short hours, and his living memory had quickly forgotten what was beyond mortal comprehension. The second time... he remembered all too much. His fingers twitched as his mind caressed the unforged essence of the deadly black spirit blade that severed the souls of even immortals from their bodies--but at a cost his mortal frame could not endure.

"Where is this boy?" he asked harshly.


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Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic