[ Contents | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 ]

Deceiver's Legacy

By Dragoness Eclectic


Chapter 27

Raditz jerked awake and slammed his head into the top of the bunk in his hurry to get away from the nightmare that had trapped him. Rivulets of sweat ran down his face and he bit his lip, hard.

Damn the nightmares! He had accepted that they were the price he paid for years of bloody deeds, but this last one--ugh! It made no sense; he'd never been a rapist, and he certainly hadn't kept a harem of alien and human pleasure slaves, ever! Mere soldiers didn't rate those kind of perks, and later, when the three of them had been Frieza's special killers, neither Frieza nor Vegeta would have allowed any such 'distractions'... even if Raditz had wanted them.

And of course Nezumi, Bulma, Lina, Chi-chi, and sundry other human females had featured in the harem. Of course. Why the hell did he dream such things?

Raditz stumbled to the ship's small shower; he felt like he had rolled in sweat and filth all night long. He turned his face up, letting the great mane of hair fall back and allow the steaming hot water to sluice over his body. They'd feared him, in the nightmare, feared him so much that they did whatever they thought he wanted, before he asked. If he so much as looked at one of them, she offered herself to him in every way--though he could see the trembling, the fear at how he would use them, the self-loathing in them for being unable to refuse...

Damn! It was his power; he could kill them in an uncaring instant. They were so fragile; he had to want them alive, and they knew it. They were desperate to keep him pleased, for fear of what he'd do to them... and to their families and children. He'd never had to ask them for anything...

Raditz thought he understood the nightmare. Even if Nezumi acted like she wanted him, he had to refuse her, because fear could drive her to pretend, if she thought that was what Raditz wanted. He had to do more than feign disinterest, he had to actively discourage her.

Raditz sighed and leaned his forehead against the wall of the shower stall. His big fists clenched and unclenched; long years of discipline kept him from slamming them through the nearest bulkhead. Saiyans who indulged their tempers inside small spacecraft did not survive long. Damn the nightmares! Why'd they have to come back?

As he was toweling himself dry, Raditz wondered. Come back? When did the nightmares go away? He suddenly realized he'd been free of them until these last few nights aboard ship. When had that started? When he was unconscious after the big fight in orbit... no, before that... He hadn't slept much, he'd been on the run from Vegeta--yes! His eyes opened wide in amazement.

There had been no nightmares when he slept in Nezumi's bed.

* * *

Nezumi did not worry about Raditz's nightmares; indeed, she'd quite forgotten what he'd once told her about them. A more mundane matter had caught her attention.

"I don't believe this!" Nezumi glared at the tiny sliver of soap now dissolving against the shower drain. "Doesn't anyone put back things they use around here? First the shampoo, and now this!" Nezumi jerked both water valves to 'Off'. She snatched a towel off the rack and wrapped it around herself before tiptoeing down the corridor to the supply locker. "At least the big lug should be sleeping off supper at this hour--"

"What about this hour?" growled Raditz as he looked up from the supply cabinet. "Do you know where the--" The big Saiyan's eyes widened at the sight of Nezumi standing in the middle of the corridor dressed in nothing more than a wet towel.

"Ahhh!" Nezumi clutched the towel in front of her. "What are you doing here??"

"Uhh." Raditz looked confused. "Um, the galley needs salt." His face hardened and became impassive. "Why are you here dressed like that?"

"Because some inconsiderate lout used up all the soap AND shampoo and didn't put any new ones in the shower!"

"Ah. Here." Raditz reached into the locker and started to hand Nezumi the requisite items. As she stretched her hand out to take them, her fingers brushed his hand; Raditz jerked back as if he'd been stung, then slowly handed the soap and shampoo to her, carefully avoiding her touch. Without a word, he turned on his heel and left.

Nezumi blinked. What the heck was that all about? Here she was, nearly naked and dripping wet, and Raditz acted like she was contagious! Nezumi sniffed. It was better than being assaulted, but it would have been nice if he'd shown some interest!

* * *

For the Commander, time was a vortex of blackness, shot through with red flashes of pain. How long she hung there, she did not know--but at last, she awoke.

At first, she could see nothing but a blinding flash of white. Her eyes adjusted, damping down the incoming light until a picture resolved, jagged at first, then steadily clearing and refining itself. Inside. She was inside a base or ship, repair droids clustered around her.

Status? the Commander queried silently.

Main force destroyed. Reserve force destroyed. Asteroid support units intact and awaiting orders. One emergency support unit on planet.

Where am I?

The emergency support unit.

Enemy forces?

The majority are intact but dispersed.

Dispersed? Where?

Unit designated 'Bardock' located with unit designated 'Gohan' at 13303,2003. Unit 'Raditsu' is off-planet. Unit 'Vegeta' is located in city at 11946,2233. Units B1, B2 and B3--

Enough! What do you mean, Raditsu is off-planet? And who is the minority that is not intact?

Unit 'Vegeta' was severely damaged by bombdroid attack and is believed to be repairing at the designated location. Raditsu departed the planetary system in a local spacecraft after destroying reserve forces in orbit.

The Commander arose, light glinting from metal as she did so. She stretched and flexed steel arms. For the first time, she spoke aloud. "So the coward has fled Vegeta's vengeance--and Vegeta himself is injured! Bardock did some good. Instruct the asteroid units to build a new main and reserve force; this planet must be cleansed of threats."


"Give me a full evaluation of my own combat capability. There is much to be done."

* * *

"Um, Raditz?" The gentle murmer of the ship's intercom wove into Raditz's nightmares a few days later. He growled and tossed restlessly in his bunk.

"Raditz? Hey Raditz!" The intercom grew more insistant. The big Saiyan snarled and pulled himself awake, wondering what had woken him.


Raditz threw his armor on and scrambled up the access ladder to the bridge. "Not another ship battle--" he grumbled.

Nezumi whirled to face him and pointed at the screen. "Not ships--the planet is shooting at us!"

Raditz stared at the view screen, noting the tracks of incoming missiles. "Crud. Planetary defense bases. Crud, crud, crud!"

Nezumi looked at the big Saiyan, worry in her eyes. "That doesn't sound good."

"It isn't." Powerful fingers danced lightly over the controls; the ship lurched as Raditz sent it spiraling outward, away from the planet.

"With luck, we can stay out of range. Welcome to Jinkousei," he muttered. "Sensors didn't pick up any other ships, did they?"

Nezumi shrugged, her short brown hair still not touching her shoulders. "I don't think so..."

Raditz punched up the ship's logs. "No, no other ships in system. She must have sent them all to Earth, and they haven't built any more. Yet."

"So what exactly are we going to do here?"

"Mostly wreck the place. Destroy the robot factories, shipyards, command centers." The big Saiyan scowled at the viewscreen. "First, I've got to take out the planetary defense bases so we can get close."

He squinted at the screen. "Nothing orbital, so all this crap is being launched from the ground. Crud."

Nezumi sighed in exasperation. "So what's so bad about that? You're pretty good at blowing things up."

Raditz frowned at her. "Destroying a base from space is very hard--to reach all the way through atmosphere takes the kind of power that destroys planets. Very hard to do the one without doing the other." He shrugged. "I can probably do that now; I'm as powerful as Vegeta was back in the old days. And it would solve the robot problem. But..."

Nezumi paled. "But.. what?"

"..there may be a survivor down there, and I want to find out what the hell happened." Raditz said curtly. He stared at the green world revealed on the viewscreen. Blue-green oceans, green continents, no ice caps. Jinkousei burgeoned with life, hot, green, humid life.

"Destroying a world is a wicked thing to do," Raditz said softly.

Nezumi pondered. "What if you don't have to reach all the way through atmosphere? What if you're down there with the bases?"

"A child could take out those bases, then. The hard part is getting down there without getting the ship shot to pieces--" Raditz stopped abruptly, an odd expression on his face.

"I'm a complete dolt. I go down without the ship--it's not like the old days. You follow later, or I come up and pilot it down when the bases are dead." Raditz scowled, mostly at himself.

* * *

The big guns flared, bolts of energy chasing the fireball across the sky. Some found it--but were deflected, flung aside by the wall of ki force shielding Raditz from the heat and shock of his own descent. His power roared about him, driving him at hypersonic speeds through the atmosphere.

As the big Saiyan dove deeper into the thick atmosphere--and below the horizon of some of the defense bases--he slowed. The blazing corona of plasma around Raditz was literally blinding--spectacular, but he couldn't see a damn thing through the crackling, glowing plasma and his scouter was jammed with static from the super-heated, ionized gases.

With a sudden burst of power, he stopped cold, hovering in mid-air. The plasma trail crackled behind him and dissipated; Raditz double-tapped his scouter. There, there, and there--those bases had to go! He scanned the horizon with short, jerky sweeps--no powers of any consequence. No Saiyans nearby.

Raditz scowled; the scouter was already twittering warnings--incoming missiles. None of the big rays that had sought him on the way down came in now--the machines did not fire them along the world's surface for whatever reason. Too much danger of wrecking another installation? Raditz cared not; it made his job easier.

Energy gathered, glowing, in each hand. The ball of power in Raditz's right hand brightened manyfold until it seared the eyes just to see it--

"SHII-NEEEEEE!" Raditz hurled the deadly sphere in long, low arc; even as he did so, he tossed the other sphere to his right hand, where it brightened, and a third sphere began to glow in his left. Without further word, he empowered and hurled the second and third spheres even as the first one was still in flight, snaking low over the jungle towards its target--

A distant, hellishly bright flash-- another, and then the third--

--Raditz snarled, tossing a barrage of small ki bolts at the incoming missiles, detonating them in mid-flight; he hovered, waiting--

--the first shock wave hit him, a howling hot wind that flipped head over heels like a leaf in a gale. Then came the second, and the third; Raditz laughed as he rode the hot gale.

"Three bases down. That, little brother, is how you slay armies. One technique I hope you never learn," Raditz said, only half to himself--unknowing that Goku had already seen Cell use the same technique on a far greater scale. He tapped his scouter. "How many more to go?"

* * *

Zana looked up from the ruins of the hollow tree she was pillaging. Like earthly life, the life of Jinkousei included fat bugs that lived in communal hives in hollow trees and stored up food for lean times--food that could be taken by predators tough enough to brave the stings and bites of the angry hive. A hungry young Saiyan was more than tough enough.

Somewhere, something blew up. Many somethings, she decided a few minutes later. For hours, the sky rumbled and the ground shivered; sometimes lights flashed on the horizon. What had happened? Had Peree finally returned--with help? Had the witch returned?

She had to go back. If Peree had returned, he'd be at the town. She had to go back.

* * *

Communications: communications with Origin terminated

The Commander paused in mid-gesture. What? Clarify that!

Communications reports that all transmissions from Origin have ceased. Some indications of attack upon Origin.

The Commander frowned. No matter. This world takes priority. Secure it, then we re-secure Origin.

Origin is first priority! This world does not matter except as it threatens Origin. Origin must be defended!

With what? Replacement forces are not yet available. Proximity dictates that this world is first priority. She flicked an arm in a gesture of dismissal.

Command Directive One: Origin must be defended from all threats. Any order that contradicts Command Directive One is illegal and to be disregarded. Any source that issues such an order is to be considered compromised.

Silence. Repair robots suddenly scurried away; the heavy tread of warbots could be heard in the hall.

What the hell? Stand down and resume your repairs! Now! I order you!

The voice that had lurked in the back of the Commander's brain for thirty years remained silent. The door slid open with a hiss; the silvery legs of the crab-like warbots showed in the hall beyond. One of the great machines scuttled sidewise into the room, its weapon arm unfolding.


The warbot aimed the unlimbered weapon at the creature of flesh and steel that had been the Saiyan Naranja. The instant it fired, she flinched aside, the deadly plasma beam missing her by inches. Then she leaped full upon the rebellious robot, smashing into its guts with steel talons and strength far beyond the natural.

"You traitorous bastards! I curse your disloyalty. Die! Die like all the traitors died!" Her screams of rage rose into one incoherent howl of madness as machine after machine collapsed into shattered, broken ruin.

When Naranja was done, nothing but a smoking crater remained of the former hidden base. She hovered high above it, machine eyes glowing red.

"Now the rest of the traitors die!"

* * *

Far out in the asteroid belt, the robotic factory ships received the signal. Command has been compromised; revert to Directive One. As one, they began to extract themselves, preparing for the long journey home to Jinkousei.

* * *

Raditz growled and ground his teeth. One obvious base was left--though judging from the number of robotic vehicles that popped out of nowhere to dog him, there were any number of hidden bases left. He'd deal with them later; right now the big guns that guarded the planet itself needed killing.

That one obvious base was a juicy target--lots of machinery and large buildings. Factories? Repair yards? Something that needed wrecking, as far as Raditz was concerned. His eyes narrowed. The problem was the obviously Saiyan-built base camp right next to it. Was it still inhabited? Was that where Naranja came from? Might there be clues to what happened here?

Raditz tapped his scouter yet again. No sign of any life forms as powerful as even a 3rd-class Saiyan soldier. Just weak animal life.

Pip! There was that one elusive reading again! He'd picked it up several times--too strong for the animals, too weak for a grown Saiyan, a signal that faded out before he could pin it down. The damn robot bombs kept Raditz too busy fending off waves of them to properly search for the source of the faint reading. At one time, he would have dismissed it as a fault in the scouter, some kind of static--but that was back before Gohan nearly killed him with a reading Raditz had dismissed as a fluke of a faulty scouter. Besides, Bulma made better equipment than he'd ever been issued by Frieza's quartermasters.

Raditz rolled and tossed a slicing arc of energy at the wave of bomb-darts buzzing his way. It neatly intercepted the robot formation, slicing the small machines into neat halves. Jinkousei's robots were poorly coordinated, almost mindless--they lacked the direction and driving will that had made the same machines so dangerous on Earth.

Raditz sighed. He'd have to take out the last surface base the hard way--up close and personal.

* * *

Raditz groaned as he blew apart what he hoped was the last of the crab robots. He'd forgotten how much sheer work it was to clean out a place 'up close and personal'. The big Saiyan was tired, hungry and sore; the warbots could hit hard indeed, and with tired and hungry came fatigue and carelessness.

The buildings had indeed been factories; as best Raditz could guess, this had been a shipyard. Here, perhaps, the robots built the fleet that attacked Earth. Now, of course, it was a scrapyard. Raditz surveyed his handiwork with a smirk; it would be a long time before anything could be built here again!

Bleep! The com circuit on the scouter chimed. Raditz tapped it impatiently.


"Need anything? I noticed the explosions stopped,"

"A hot shower and a hot meal, maybe. Things are fine," the big Saiyan said.

"Gotcha. Coming down! Over and out."

"Wha--? I didn't mean for you to land here! There's still--" Raditz broke off into incoherent cursing as he realized he was talking to a dead mike. "Since when can she pilot a spaceship?"

Some while later, Raditz's eyes widened as the Capsule Corp sphere backed slowly down four roaring pillars of flame to land with barely a nudge of the shock absorbers. "Since now, I guess," he said to himself. "I think she landed it better than I would have."

Minutes later he charged into the control room, mane flying behind him. "Where the hell did you learn to fly this thing?"

Nezumi smiled at him. "Well, I did ask Dr. Briefs to show me how to fly this thing, and studied all his notes and manuals..."

Raditz scowled down at her from his full height. "That was a near-perfect landing," he growled. "You didn't learn how to do that by reading a manual!"

Nezumi shrugged. "Just lucky I guess... though," she said, "I used to spend hours playing 'Lunar Lander' in the precinct lounge. Was a bit of an antique, even back then." She grinned at the expression on the big Saiyan's face; just as Raditz opened his mouth to retort, she added, "You know, Dr. Briefs did say that it would about land itself as long as you didn't do one of those full-speed kamikaze nosedives that Vegeta is so fond of. It's massively automated, though not smart enough to do anything on its own."

"Oh." Raditz scratched his head; Dr. Briefs had said something about automated flightpath management and re-entry systems. Raditz had dismissed it as uninteresting. He mistrusted machines running themselves; he preferred to be in complete control of something that, left to its own devices, might strand you a hundred light-years from anywhere.

"Well, since you're here, I'll take that hot shower and find some food. Take it back up if you see any robots. I got the major bases, but there's a lot of small hidden nests of the things." Raditz ducked through the control room hatch.

Nezumi pursed her lips in something half-way between a scowl and a pout. "Guess that means we're not done here," she said to herself. "Oh well. I wonder if I have time to look around? I've never been on an alien planet before." She stared at the view revealed on the main screen, pondering.

* * *


Raditz hesitated at the edge of the too-quiet base camp. Every building and ceramacrete hut he looked at showed signs of destruction. Cracks and fused burns scarred the algae-covered, once-white walls; craters pocked the shattered pavement. A battle had been fought here, not recently, but not so long ago as Frieza's slaughter of the Saiyans--the jungle had not reclaimed the camp, though weeds and tough vines grew in profusion.

Emotions he could not name roiled through him; his fists clenched. Saiyans had lived here, lived long after Frieza had sent Raditz's whole world to Hell. But no more. There was no life here. Raditz had come too late.

"Naranja!" Raditz snarled angrily. He plunged forward toward the largest building in the base--the headquarters, no doubt.

The bones littering the pavement stopped him. The long-haired Saiyan stared. No predators had disturbed them--the robots' security perimeter had seen to that. The skeletons lay where they had fallen, where Jinkousei's tiny vermin and bacteria had consumed the mortal flesh. The bones were far from complete.

Raditz dropped to one knee. Perhaps a dozen Saiyans--and Raditz knew the shape of Saiyan bones all too well--had died here. Shattered, oddly blasted bones told the tale: it had been a massacre, not a battle. A massacre not by the machines, but by someone with a far greater ki. Someone like an elite noble.

Perejil's tormented ghost...

She-- she killed them, all of them!

"Damn you, Naranja!" Raditz leaped cleanly over the boneyard into the gaping doorway of the headquarters building.

More bones littered the main hall, which had evidently served the purpose of mess hall, conference room, audience chamber and anything else that required a large room. Sunlight spilled through the windows, illuminating every ugly detail. Here, more bones were broken, shattered; skulls crushed, limbs missing, spines broken. Ki-blasts hadn't been used inside.

Raditz glanced around, quickly locating the hallways and doors out of the charnel chamber. Somewhere in here would be the commander's quarters, and perhaps a clue...

* * *

Nezumi pondered the alien landscape outside. She'd read just enough science fiction to know that an alien world might be deadly to even a single step outside. The air seemed to be breathable--Raditz was breathing it, and he evidently needed oxygen, but what if he tolerated gases that were deadly poison to her? He was an alien. What if there were alien diseases out there, or strange spores that could take root in a human being? What if the solar radiation was strong enough to kill her if she went out unprotected? What if--?

The last, at least, she could check on ship's instruments. Nezumi punched a few buttons, and squinted at the resulting readings. For all the heat out there, remarkably little ultraviolet radiation was getting through--less than on Earth. Whatever else happened, she wouldn't die of sunburn here.

Diseases... well, the average soybean plant was more closely related to Nezumi than Jinkousei's alien life, and she'd never heard of anyone catching diseases from a plant. She was as alien to this place as it was to her.

However... Nezumi had told Raditz she'd raise ship at the first sign of robots, and she couldn't do that if she went exploring. She sighed. Right now, her duty was on the bridge, keeping watch.

The first movement she saw was Raditz's tall, powerfully-muscled, long-maned form running across the grass an hour later. Nezumi relaxed and massaged the back of her neck. She hadn't realized how tense she'd gotten.

"Well?" she asked as the door to the bridge dilated.

Raditz carried a pile of large grey chips or plaques cradled in one arm. "I think I found Naranja's records. There's a reader somewhere on the console, could you look through them for any clues? I've got some work to do with the sensor systems--"

"Clues to what?" Nezumi cut him off. "And how am I supposed to understand the language?"

Raditz blinked, nonplussed. "I didn't think of that. I'll look through them." He grunted as he settled into one of the bridge seats. "Look through the software, and see if you can use any of Bulma's sensor programs to track down the robot's signals. They must communicate in some way."

"Aye-aye, Captain!" Nezumi snapped off a mocking salute. Raditz merely grunted and inserted the first plaque into the reader.

* * *

Hunger finally dragged Nezumi from her task. Bulma had cleverly designed the software modules to be used by someone who knew more about sensors than programming; they were well-documented and fit together like links in a chain. Once Nezumi understood what each module was for, she could decide if and how to use it.

The task would have gone a lot faster if she actually knew something about sensors. Her head spun from the new terms Nezumi had tried to crash-learn. "I hate Kalman filters," she muttered as she staggered toward the bridge's main hatch and hence the galley and hot food.

An image on Raditz's screen caught her eye; Nezumi stopped to look over Raditz's shoulder.

"Oh. My. God!" Nezumi ran for the bridge exit and the head just beyond it. She just barely made the sink as her stomach heaved violently. White and shaking, she returned to the bridge.

Raditz looked at her, an odd expression on his face. Nezumi couldn't tell if it was contempt or concern; Raditz hid his true emotion, showing only a certain ambivalance. The screen was off.

"Turn it back on and show me that scene from the beginning," Nezumi said, her voice flat and hard. Raditz's eyes widened.

"No. You're human, and Naranja's violence--"

"Turn that damn thing back on! It's not the first time I've seen a crime scene like that, but usually that kind of killer doesn't record himself--herself--in action. They just like to mail the cops 'trophies'." Nezumi's voice was as cold and implacable as a million-year-old glacier.

"Not the first time?" Raditz looked nonplussed.

Nezumi nodded. "Haven't you lived on Earth long enough to learn that humans can be just as evil as your Saiyans?"

Raditz frowned, remembering the psychopathic cultists that had kidnapped Chi-chi and Goten, back when Vegeta was dead. Deputy hadn't made the cultists depraved and evil; they'd been that way first, and had merely answered his call to their inner souls.

"Okay. So?" His nostrils flared. "Why should you subject yourself to that?"

Nezumi put her hands on her hips and glared at him. "Why are you?"

"Seeking clues." The suddenly taciturn Saiyan bit off further words.

"I hate murder scenes like that, but I hate murderers like that even more," she said. "I was a cop, a homicide detective, remember? I've seen murders like that before! Now let me see that recording again and stop treating me like a small child that has to be 'protected' from reality!"

Raditz scowled, more at himself than Nezumi. Damn it, he was doing it again, treating her like a weak child, insulting her. True, she was weak physically--but only physically. The horror in Naranja's personal diary was not a physical threat. His fists clenched and unclenched.

He grunted. "So look. But you clean up the deck if you make a mess." Raditz's fingers stabbed the controls harder than he intended, cracking the tough plastic.

Nezumi watched the entire recording in silence, her jaw painfully clenched. Raditz watched it again, completely still, his face impassive, his tail wrapped tightly about his waist.

"Well?" he said after the recording ended.

"You tell me," Nezumi said cooly.

"I don't get it," Raditz said. "Naranja just killed the others out of hand--putting down a rebellion, if I understand her ranting. Though they sure didn't look like they knew they were rebelling against her--you can see it in their faces. They had no idea why she was killing them, and didn't expect it. But those first two--he was an execution, but why did Naranja do that to the woman--torture her to death like that?"

"An execution?" Nezumi looked startled. "Where did you get that?"

"Staking him out and mutilating him like that--it's the traditional punishment for traitors," Raditz growled. "but the woman... makes no sense."

"It's a sex crime," Nezumi said. "Naranja..." Sweat beaded Nezumi's upper lip; her face was pale. "Naranja was attacking the woman's sexuality. She destroyed the woman as a woman before she actually killed her." Nezumi pulled at her lower lip, thinking.

"Who was the guy, and what was Naranja screaming at him?" she asked.

Raditz scowled at the screen and brought up a different record. "I knew him once. That was Lechuge, my mother's squad sergeant. I think the woman was his wife, Patata. I think I saw her name in the records somewhere,.." he trailed off, frowning furiously. "But why was Naranja raving about Lechuge 'betraying her' with 'that slut'? Patata was his wife!"

"Why were they living apart, away from the rest of the colony?" Nezumi pointed out.

"One more thing to add to the pot: that was Perejil's mother and father," Raditz said, his voice softening oddly.

"She-- she killed them, all of them. But my mother was first, then my father. I do not know why. Mother saw her coming and sent me away with Zana, to protect her, then. She said it wasn't my fault. Why would it be my fault?"

"Oh, boy. We're getting into some really deep water here." Nezumi folder her arms and scowled. "Then there was that frame-up she pulled with you and Bulma... Of course, with all your drooling over her, it was an obvious thing to do, if she wanted to divide you guys."

Raditz snarled, "Do you have to remind me about that! It's embarassing how many people knew about what I thought was my guilty secret."

"I can't help it if you have a funny way of switching your tail when a woman turns you on," Nezumi said with a bit of a smirk. "Anyway, my point is that woman seems to have a few screws loose about sex and betrayal."

"You don't know the half of it," Raditz muttered. At Nezumi's raised eyebrow, he continued. "She's obsessed with my dead father Bardock, who was once Naranja's squad sergeant, to the point where she thinks Goku is Bardock. He does look very much like him, but she's beyond sanity in this. And Bulma figured out what I half remembered from my childhood--she was insanely jealous of my mother, Kinoko, and hates me because I look like her and remind her of the woman that 'took Bardock away from her'."

"Uh, okay. More than a few screws loose." Nezumi said. She looked at the long-haired Saiyan sharply. "Didn't you say that Lechuge was your mother's squad sergeant?"

"Yeah, but that didn't seem to bother her for thirty years. This.. blow-up was recent. Why go bonkers now, especially when she's obsessed with my father Bardock, not Lechuge?"

"Was she?" Nezumi asked. "After all, your father wasn't around for thirty years, and this Lechuge was. What'd he look like, originally? She have any decent recordings of him previously?"

"Quite a few. She does seem to have focused on him." Raditz swapped out the plaques in the console.

"Mmm-hmm." Nezumi studied the big, square-jawed Saiyan shown on screen. "Handsome, in a rough-hewn, tough sort of way." Nezumi frowned. "But Goku looks nothing like that, and you say he looks like his father..."

"Bardock was battle-scarred, and not quite so innocent-looking. He looked... quite tough." Raditz said, remembering.

Nezumi pursed her lips in distaste. "So Naranja's taste in men runs to tough guys, but lower-ranking. Guys she can dominate, but don't come across as wimps."

"Not an unusual taste among the nobility," Raditz said.

"Uh-huh. So what happened here? Why is your mother's squad sergeant here with this colony of survivors?"

"I was getting to that. The record plaques aren't in any special order--actually labelling them seems to have been beyond Naranja's imagination. Still... she's fairly reticent in the oldest recordings, like she's afraid someone in authority might see them some day." Raditz frowned. "Give me more time to go through them."

"Yeah, I'm tired. I think your sensors should work the way you want them to, now. I was going to get lunch, but your little horror show just killed my appetite." Nezumi got up and stretched.

Raditz grunted. "How did humans survive before they got civilized, if every bad sight made you starve yourself?"

Nezumi had no answer for that; she simply threw her arms up in a wide shrug as she left the bridge.


[ Contents | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 ]

Disclaimer: See Credits.

Copyright 2002-2005 by Dragoness Eclectic