Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z or the characters attributed to the series.

Note: It was with much horror that I realized I had forgotten to title chapter ten. Excuse the error and know even now that I still have not thought up a decent title for it. Maybe by the end of the story.




She lay in the dark, hands clasped loosely in her lap. In her mind’s eye she could see Vegeta, fighting and engaging in a dance that was as old as time, at least to his people, the Saiya-jin. Question was, who would prove the winner? She turned her head to stare at her husband as he lay slumbering silently beside her, one arm thrown casually over her hip. The small cots they had pushed together left little room to move and his body was flush against hers, warm and solid and all together a comforting presence. He had grown tired of trying to make them stay together and in a blast of heat, he had melded the metal together forming one small cot that they had been able to pass the night together on.

By rights she should be exhausted, he had made love to her in every way possible, and she had, in return, answered and taken—determined to send him into this battle with glowing images of the life that was his if he survived against Gero. She knew that he would, Vegeta was many things, but he was not a careless fool. He had been prideful and had allowed that pride to rule over everything in his life until recently, something she could understand, having been equally foolish far too many times to want to recall. Despite his current situation, the man was a born and bed Prince and she had learned early on that royalty stuck to pride, that it was in their blood and make-up and that when all else had deserted them, their pride remained. His had led him down some foolish paths before, but he was so much stronger now, he was so much wiser in battle, she had to believe that he would take care, that he would not allow his anger to run rampant over his good sense. After all that they had been through and all that they had to look forward to, she could not lose him, not now. Their son would need a father, would need a man who could curb the Saiya-jin blood that ran through him, who could train him and guide him in controlling the fierce tenacity and desire for battle that was inherent in his genetic design and burned like wildfire through his veins.

As she lay there, listening to his quiet breathing, she held hope that all of this knowledge would lead him back to her after the worst was over and that it would keep him alive, and keep him from acting foolishly, because for the first time in his life, he had to know that he wasn’t fighting alone.

With a sigh, she turned towards him, startling as she saw two black, gleaming eyes staring back at her, watching her with interest and something—something akin to desire, but not the same burning need she had come to recognize. It was something far different, but no less warming, and it set a jumble of butterflies dancing in her stomach. How any one could think this man incapable of feeling was beyond her, but one had only to look into those bottomless black eyes to see everything he would deny, everything he claimed to not feel and know him for the liar that he was. Vegeta was the master of his feelings, maintaining control until he felt the time was right for their release.

Circumstances and time, perhaps even Frieza had taught him that feelings were to be feared, that they were to be avoided at all costs for they would be used to control and manipulate you; had been used to control him. Hadn’t Frieza told him that if he did everything he bade that his father and planet would be kept safe? Yet they had been taken from him in a flash of time—his heritage, his honor, everything that he had been raised to revere stolen and he had been left with only the knowledge that his strength would keep him alive and safe; that power was the key to attaining not only his freedom but his peace of mind. If he were in control of all, then nothing could harm him, nothing could steal from him, and no one would ever be able to subjugate him again.

And staring at him now, in the silent peace of their small room, she was loathe to speak and ruin the perfect serenity of the moment, knowing that the wonder of it would be lost the minute one of them opened their mouths to talk. She settled for a small half-smile, feeling for a second far different than the girl she had been before all of this started. There was something intrinsically special about this, something that she could not put her finger on but something that added to her life and changed it in a way she had never thought possible and she knew despite his past or the things he had done and said, that his being in her life was a good thing and that her life would be the better for his presence. For Kami’s sake, he had given her Trunks and that was a far more precious gift than anything that had ever been given to her before.

His hand came up and caressed her face, smoothing over the soft flesh and trailing down over her full lips and round chin to her collarbone, coming to rest lightly on her breast in an almost comforting gesture.

"How long have you been awake?" Bulma asked quietly, watching him through slitted blue eyes.

"A few moments." Vegeta replied in a voice still husky with sleep. "It’s almost time for me to get up and meet Kakkarot and Trunks."

Her hand slid up to grasp his and she squeezed it tightly. "I hope you’ll take care." Bulma refrained from showering him with her concern. It would only anger him and make him believe that she had no faith in him. And that was not the way she wanted to send him off to battle. His pride demanded that she be his mate and equal him in strength and she would. She would not give into her very human fears and cry or sob or even beg him to be careful. She would send him off with stoic resolution and faith that he would know what awaited him on his safe return.

"Of course." Vegeta replied arrogantly. He started to sit up, but she stopped him, grabbing his arm and pulling him back down to her.

"Just a few more minutes Vegeta."

With a smirk of satisfaction he complied.




Goku leaned tiredly against the thick pane of glass that separated him from Piccolo. Whatever the fortunes were that had kept his one time rival alive he would be forever thankful to them. Now if only he could find a cure for this damnable disease. A part of him wanted to go bang down Bulma’s door and stand over her until she had made some kind of discovery for him, done something to rid him of this cursed virus that Gero had dreamt up but he refrained knowing that she was already working as hard as she could on it and that Vegeta would likely kill him if he disturbed her peace that way.

The Prince had been furious with him yesterday when he had arrived, grasping a handful of his gi and hauling him up from the chair he had been resting in, demanding to know why he had allowed her to put herself into such a precarious situation, especially since he had been unable to get her out of it.

Goku had not had an answer for him, had only had the sick knowledge that should Vegeta choose to kill him there would be little he could do about it. So he had simply stared into the enraged Prince’s burning black eyes and shrugged helplessly, watching as the raging fire had slowly abated, replaced instead with one of muted fury and craving.

Goku had understood the look immediately and known in that instant that Vegeta would not harm him. Vegeta longed for a kill, that was certain and he would pursue it with a single-minded purpose, but only when Goku was able to meet him on the field of battle as his equal. So he had smiled, a funny little lift of the lips and nodded with grave certainty, understanding that at such time as was appropriate he and Vegeta would meet and beat the pulp out of each other until one of them was either dead or no longer standing. And truth be told, Goku was positive he welcomed it.

Now looking at Piccolo, staring deeply into the Namekian’s passive, green face, Goku wondered if Bulma would be able to come up with something for his disease as well? If she could then perhaps there would be answers to what had happened to Kami and the hope that with the dragonballs all might be returned to normal on Chikyuu after the nightmare was over. The tide of the battle was close to turning in their favor, they had only to grasp it as it came in and stay afloat. Gero could be beaten, his wife and son could be rescued and perhaps with luck his friends could be restored. He and Vegeta had discussed it in length the night before forming a very rudimentary plan of action but one that might work all the same. All his hopes were pinned on it.

"Kakkarot." The smooth, deep voice cut through his thoughts like a blade and he turned, greeting his fellow Saiya-jin with a slight incline of his head.

"Vegeta," Goku replied, keeping his manner relaxed. There was no need for Vegeta to see how truly frightened he was on the inside—scared not for himself, but for his wife and child. When he thought of what Gero had been given the time to do to them… he swallowed painfully and shuddered. "Are you ready?"

Vegeta moved through the doorway, shoulders taut with tension. Goku tried to recall a time that he had seen Vegeta truly relaxed and realized with a small jolt that he had yet to experience that sight. As long as he had known the Saiya-jin Prince the man had always looked like the deadliest of cats, sighting and stalking its quarry—unrelenting in pursuit and absolutely lethal with his kill.

"Of course I’m ready." The Prince muttered irritably, crossing his strong arms over his chest and letting his eyes travel speculatively over the green figure of the Namekian warrior that floated peacefully inside. "So the Namek lives."

"Barely," Goku replied tersely. "Another virus similar to mine yet different—made for Piccolo’s blood. Gero certainly has done his homework well. I’m surprised he didn’t make one just for you."

Vegeta chuckled lightly turning Goku’ attention towards him. "Listen to you Kakkarot, so full of righteous outrage. Aren’t you the same fool that allowed Gero to live all those years ago? None of this would be occurring now had you simply ended the coward’s miserable existence when you had the chance—like a true Saiya-jin warrior. You and your damn mercy, look at what it has gotten for you and this world you call home."

"That same mercy spared your life, Vegeta." Goku stood straight and proud facing the Prince down, strangely calm and relaxed in the face of Vegeta’s scorn. "Are you saying that it was a mistake?"

"Of course it was, fool. After this is all over and you have been returned to normal, you know I will fight and destroy you. Then who will stop me from taking this planet and blowing it straight to Hell?"

"What about your wife and son?" Goku asked smugly, knowing he had Vegeta.

Vegeta frowned slightly before replying. "They would be off planet, safe and sound."

"And you don’t think that Bulma might be angry that you had killed all her friends and family and then blew her planet apart?" It was Goku’s turn to chuckle. "You’re in for a harsh reality if you try it Vegeta."

"Shut up, Kakkarot." Vegeta snarled angrily, furious that he had allowed himself to be backed into a corner by the third class fool. "The woman will learn that she has no control over my actions. I do what I want to do when I want it regardless of her thoughts on the matter."

"Whose thoughts?" Bulma’s soft voice drifted to him from the door and his eyes widened. He watched Goku’s lips lift into a devilish smile and he cursed, knowing full well what the third class idiot was going to do to him. He could kill him now without a passing thought to the contrary but already the bastard was opening his mouth and already Vegeta knew it was too late.

"Vegeta was just telling me that he did what he wanted to do regardless of what you thought about it." Goku smiled at Bulma before sending a smirk Vegeta’s way, waiting for the blowout he was positive would occur.

"I already know that." Bulma replied sweetly, moving to stand beside Vegeta. "Really Goku, if you are trying to get Vegeta into trouble you’ll have to do better than that. He is his own man; I figured that out a long time go. I would have thought that you knew that as well."

It was Vegeta’s turn to smirk and he watched with gratification as Goku’s face flushed a bright shade of red before he grudgingly nodded his head. "You’re right Bulma." Came the sheepish reply followed by an even more uncomfortable statement. "I’m sorry, Vegeta. I guess I’m just stressed out."

"Now, if you two are done with your foolishness." Bulma raised a blue eyebrow, glancing between the two warriors, I think we need to get things together." Would these two ever stop with their stupid male posturing—or in their case, Saiya-jin posturing? With a roll of her eyes she reached into her pocket, pulling out a small, black piece of machinery that reminded Goku of a cell phone.

"What’s that?" He asked, nodding towards her hand.

"This is a GPS or a global positioning satellite unit." Bulma said, her voice sinking into the tones she reserved for her scientific talk. "You see…"

Vegeta rolled his eyes, cutting her off before she could get started. "What does it do woman?"

Bulma frowned irritably at him before continuing. "If you hadn’t interrupted me I might have told you that, Vegeta." Holding it out she handed it to her husband. "It can give you your position wherever you are in the world. It uses triangulation to pinpoint your whereabouts on the planet using the satellites that orbit around Chikyuu. Not only will it give you your location, you can also input the location of anyplace you have the coordinates to and it will guide you there. It is really—"

"Is it accurate?" Vegeta interrupted, holding the small GPS up and staring at it before clicking the power button.

"Extremely, as long as it is communicating with the satellites. Most GPS use three satellites to locate but mine is made specifically for aviators." Bulma replied smugly. "And this little baby uses eight satellites to get your position. The only thing that is bound to get you lost is if all the satellites are down at one time."

"Why are you telling me this?" Vegeta narrowed his gaze at her, wondering why she looked so happy. He had better things to do than stand around and take lessons in something he didn’t need in the first place.

"Listen," Bulma frowned, irritated with his attitude. "When Trunks and I stole that ship out of Gero’s little hideaway I had this with me. I entered the coordinates that were set in the ship navigational systems for Gero’s lab into my GPS so that we would be able to get back to it should we need to." She pointed at the black device. "That little thing has the location to his secret lab. All you two need to do is turn it on, pull the coordinates up on the screen and it will take you straight where you need to go." She smiled smugly again as both men turned to stare at her with something close to actual appreciation.

"How did you hide that from Gero?" Goku asked, curiosity shining brightly from his wide, black eyes.

"He never searched me so it was no big deal. I managed to grab my clothes after Costa—" She broke off with a grimace, glancing away from both men and very cognizant of the low growl that emanated from Vegeta’s chest. Clearing her throat she attempted to shift the course of the discussion. "Anyway, I showed Trunks on the ride back to Chikyuu. It is the only way you will be able to find him."

"Bulma," Goku began hesitantly, embarrassed and angry with himself for bringing up a painful subject for her. "What would we do without you?"

"Probably wander around for days looking for the lab." She giggled lightly fully aware of the darkening expression on her husband’s face. With a sigh of resignation she turned to face him, preparing herself for the storm she saw raging in his eyes. "Or perhaps you’d be sane." She murmured.

"Costa," He stated clearly and without preamble. "Will be drawing close to Chikyuu. I have little doubt that his demented mind, especially the part that has Nappa’s blood running through it, will lead him to follow me here for his idiotic revenge." Vegeta’s mouth twisted into a cruel smile. "I will be more than happy to oblige him, but you woman," he shot her a scorching glare. "You are to stay here no matter what. I doubt he could get here so soon but I don’t want to chance it. I don’t want his hands to touch you again." Vegeta growled, clenching a gloved fist in the air. "That he had the opportunity to do so before—" He broke off, hot fury and anguish choking him. He had failed her once and he would not do so again and he did not want idiotic Kakkarot to see him in this moment of weakness. He turned his head away in shame.

Bulma bristled at his commanding tone and the word he had chosen—allow. She did what she wanted to, no one allowed her to do a damn thing. But she swallowed the angry retort at the look on his face. She knew that it was a moment of extreme emotion for him and he was struggling mightily to keep it all under control. She would humor him this one time and let him have his way, but he looked as if he could use something to distract him from the thoughts and emotions that were coursing through his mind and body. She had no desire to meet up with Costa again anyway, though she did have something very interesting for him should their paths cross. Something she had been working on developing before Gero had taken her into his custody. It needed only a few minor details added to it before it was ready for a test. She had thought to use it on the artificial humans and might still if necessary, but for Costa it would be perfect.

Looking again at Vegeta she decided to tease him and get his mind off of the dark thoughts that were running through his mind with the hope of distracting him and helping him save the pride he wrapped around himself so tightly, using it like a warm cocoon to shelter and protect him from all that would harm him. "Vegeta," Bulma asked sweetly, watching him through veiled eyes. "Since when did you tell me what to do?"

His head swiveled in her direction sharply and his eyes widened before narrowing into black slits. "Woman…" He warned, sending her a blistering look. "If you set one foot out of this compound I will kill you myself."

That’s not very charitable. I might have to haunt you for that." Bulma winked at him watching as he blushed a deep red. For all his bluster and swagger the man was so easy to toy with. Sauntering up to him, she leaned her shoulder against his body, oblivious to the bemused look that Goku shot in their direction. "I suppose under threat of death I can do what you say. I wouldn’t want you to kill me and feel guilty."

Vegeta snorted; relaxing his posture, he moved away from her, discomfited by their close proximity to each other. "As if I would actually lay a hand on you. I do have some honor woman. Besides, I don’t doubt you would haunt me for the rest of this life and into the other and I doubt that I could stomach an eternity with you." His voice rumbled from deep within his chest, husky and mocking—teasing.

Bulma smiled, pleased that her ploy had worked. "Well then, I guess I will just have to find some other man to share my afterlife with. You’ll probably go to hell anyway." She smirked at the look of outrage on his face. "Oops…" She smothered a grin, determined to repay his jest. "Did I say too much?"

"Why you…" Vegeta took a step towards her, fingers itching to grab hold of her and shake her for her impudence before catching himself and stopping, choosing to shoot a scowl at her instead. Crossing his arms over his chest he smirked wickedly at her. "Woman," Vegeta said haughtily, watching as his future son entered the room behind her dressed in his Saiya-jin armor. "In case you haven’t already figured this out, if I get sent to Hell you’re coming with me—since we are mated and all." He almost laughed aloud at the look of horror that settled on her face.

"Fine," Bulma snapped, irritated that he had managed to get in the last word and somewhat horrified that he thought he might actually go to Hell and had seemingly accepted this lot. Surely all the changes he had undergone would assure him a second chance. She had just been kidding him. "Then I guess we’ll spend an eternity suffering together, though why I should have to suffer for your transgressions is beyond me. You are going to have to shape up buddy—no more killing people and no more…"

"Woman!" Vegeta barked in exasperation. "You needn’t worry. The only person I have left to kill is Kakkarot as soon as you get his antidote for him."

"Vegeta," Bulma began, but she found her words halted by a single gloved fingertip that touched her lips gently.

"No more." Vegeta said softly. "None of us have time to stand here and argue." He turned to his son who had stood silent, watching his mother and father argue with a look of wonder. "Are you ready?"

"As ready as I’ve ever been, Dad." Trunks said firmly.

"Then let’s go." Goku walked quickly to Bulma. "Find me a cure, Bulma—today. I can’t take this helplessness anymore." With a quick hug he left the room.

"Mom." Trunks smiled at her, reaching out to clasp her hand.

"Be careful, Trunks." Bulma stood on her tiptoes to hug him whispering into his ear. "Look after your father."

Trunks nodded solemnly and pulled away, holding her about her waist for a moment.

"I should have cut your hair for you." With a laugh she reached up to sweep a lock of it out of his face. "Still you do look pretty dashing with it. It’s easy to see where you get your looks from."

"From me." Vegeta stated arrogantly. "Not quit coddling the boy and let him go." Vegeta watched as Trunks left the room before turning to look at her, black eyes sweeping warmly over her. They had said their goodbyes in private before they had come to join the others, yet he lingered for a moment.

"Take care, Vegeta and look after Trunks." Bulma spoke quietly, turning the corner of her mouth up in what she hoped passed as a smile and reminding herself that this man hated weakness. For him she would be strong, for him she would not cry.

"I will, Bulma." Vegeta replied gently, losing his customary haughtiness before turning to follow the others out the door, her GPS clutched tightly in his hand.

Choking back a sob Bulma whirled to stare at the silent form of Piccolo as it floated gently in the cool waters of the regeneration tank. "Alright Piccolo." She spoke to the soundless figure. "Maybe if I can get you a cure and find one for Goku, you can go and help them. And by Kami, if Gero does anything to them or my father and friends, I will find a way to kill him myself. That’s a promise."




Gero stared up at the massive computer that he had installed deep within the bowels of the mountain, far below the main area of his laboratory. It was this computer that ran his operations for him and controlled everything that he had set into motion. Without it almost everything he had would be lost, including the Cyborg army since their joint and individual circuitry was controlled by this one piece of machinery.

Sitting down at the keyboard, he began to type in data furiously. "Ahh my old friend." He grinned happily, bushy moustahce drawing up on his face. "After today you and I will be far more alike than I ever dreamt possible."

Krillin peered in at the Doctor from the door taking care to not make a sound. He had followed Gero down here hoping to get some idea of what in the hell was going on. He had thought he would happily obey whatever order the Doctor commanded him to carry out, but something deep inside him was screaming at him that all was not right and that Gero was up to no good; that all his promises would not be kept. He had not heard that little voice since before his time had began with Gero and that it had returned full force surprised him, but he found that he couldn’t ignore it, no matter how much he wished he could. Things were not as Gero would have them appear and Krillin was determined that he would get to the bottom of them.

Gero continued to enter data, oblivious to the watcher that stood observing silently in the shadowed corner of the room. Reaching for his recorder he began speaking.

"Today is the day that Briefs will perform the operation. In accordance to all that I told him, I have rigged my little surprise for the planet early and should he fail to complete the transformation as I have detailed to him Chikyuu will be wiped clean of any and all natural life." He leaned back, laughing sardonically.. "What the good Doctor fails to realize is that inevitably all life on Chikyuu as he knows it will cease to exist. After my transformation I will release a toxin into the atmosphere that will kill all life that has not been adapted by my hand. With this accomplished I can then repopulate the planet with creations of my design—creations that will appreciate my abilities and who will recognize me as their undisputed leader."

Krillin pulled away form the door, shock etched deeply into the lines of his round face. Kami, Gero was going to wipe out the planet? And what transformation was he talking about? What was he going to have himself transformed into? Doctor Briefs was Bulma’s father…how had he gotten involved in all this mess? Krillin peeked back into the room grimacing as a sharp pain knifed through his brain along with a flash of some distant memory—of a temple. He pushed it away. The little voice was screeching at him now, warning him that something was terribly, terribly wrong. What in the hell was he supposed to do?

Deciding to listen some more he leaned back into the room, taking care to be as soundless as possible. If Gero caught him down here he would likely kill him and that was something that Krillin could not chance.

"After my transformation, I will see Briefs changed as well. His human soul and conscious precludes him from having any more ambition than a snail and his genius is such that I cannot allow it to waste. He is far inferior to me of course but with my aid his potential as well as his daughter’s is limitless. I see now that I erred in thinking she would have come willingly to what I offered, so I will take her by force and change her make-up as well.

After today I will no longer be man, but machine—living off of energy. I have come to the necessary conclusions that I will be able to get my energy not only from human organisms but from machinery as well. The virus that I release into the air will not harm anything non organic so energy will be plentiful, especially with no other life to suck it dry. Since my decision to become an artificial human, I find it no longer necessary to impregnate the Briefs girl though I have more than a passing interest in what a child with our genetics would be like. Still it is not necessary, but I will have the girl’s brain and it will work for me.

The Saiya-jin will also be trapped and put to my use. Their battle skills and capabilities are far too great for me to turn away from. With the proper modifications they will be obedient to me in every way. " He chuckled wryly. "What a fitting punishment for poor Goku, to be changed into something worse than even myself. The pacifist will become the killer and together with Vegeta, he will take countless Solar Systems in my name and the whole of the universe will come to know my greatness."

Krillin pulled back in sick horror. Gero was making himself into an artificial human and ending all life on Chikyuu? What kind of nightmare was this? Gero was benevolent, Gero was his master and he would never swear fealty to anyone who was this twisted, would he? What had Gero done to him? He clamped his eyes shut as another wave of nauseating pain swept through his head and with it another image—of him, and he was a child and he was with Goku, fighting, and they were…with a muffled moan he forced his eyes open, pushing the unwanted vision away with sheer force of will. What was happening to him? Gero had promised him eternal life, what care did he have if Gero wanted to make himself an artificial human and rule the planet or the universe as long as he got what he wanted?

He turned back to the room, watching as Gero continued to speak into his small recorder. It must be some kind of log or journal for him, where he kept all his thoughts and plans. Giving the room a quick once over his eyes narrowed as he saw the small remote that controlled the artificial humans. The desire to take the remote and go and awaken them was nearly overwhelming. What had they done to Gero to make him distrust them so? Had they opposed the plans that Gero was making? Had they tried to stop him? They had been his right hand, carry out his every order and command and look what had happened to them. Was he destined for the same fate? He had to know why they had been shut off and while he realized he probably couldn't trust either of them as far as he could throw them, he was also very much aware of the fact that Gero was no more worthy of his trust. They seemed the lesser of two evils. Krillin only hoped the nagging little voice was right. He had to reactivate them and find out. There were no two ways around it.

Falling to his hands and knees he crawled stealthily into the room, heart pounding so loudly he was sure that Gero would be able to hear it. Kami, why did he keep getting into these horrible situations? If Gero caught him he was dead for sure. Krillin could hear the deep drone of Gero’s’ voice as he continued to talk into his recorder but he heard none of it. He was so intent on reaching the remote activator that time itself might have stopped and he wouldn’t have known. Reaching the table, he leaned against it panting heavily from holding his breath, something he hadn’t even realized he had been doing.

Slowly and with extreme care, he lifted his head to peer at Gero who sat a few feet ahead of the table, still apparently ignorant of his presence. Closing his eyes he reached up onto the table and closed his hand around the hard, cool plastic, moving it, bit by bit back down towards him.

With the remote in hand, he made his way just as carefully back out, remaining on his hands and knees until well into the corridor before standing and racing the way he had come as fast as he could. He would get to the artificial humans and he would find some answers, one way or the other.




"Yamcha…" Tien bent to shake the scarred warrior he called friend. "Yamcha, wake up, they’ve taken Gohan."

"Huh?" Yamcha jerked to consciousness, looking around before bleakly remembering where he was and the circumstances he was in. Sitting up he stared into Tien's face. "Who’s taken Gohan?"

"Gero, I’m assuming." Came the caustic reply. "I have no idea what they are going to do with him but we have to get out of here and help him. We owe Goku for all the times he’s helped us. We can’t let anything happen to that little boy."

"What do you think we should do?" Yamcha looked around, squinting into the dim light of the prison area and running a hand through his black hair. "There aren’t a lot of ways out of here."

"What if we blast into the stone walls?" Tien stared at Yamcha speculatively. "It has to be worth a try."

"I suppose." Yamcha replied reluctantly. "As long as we don’t kill ourselves trying."

"I’m even ready for that likelihood." Tien growled angrily. "I can’t sit down here any longer and wait for whatever Gero decides to dish out. I have to try and so do you."

"Alright, alright." Yamcha grumbled, holding his hands up in mock surrender. "Point well taken, but before we blast any holes, why don’t we sit down and make up some plan of action for what in the hell we’re going to do once we get out of this. I’m not sure I can fly by the seat of my pants anymore. I think I’m getting too old."

Tien smirked. "Okay, we’ll do that, but as soon as we have something worked out we are blasting out of here come hell or high water."

"Let’s get to it."




Bulma bent to stare into the microscope, watching the small organisms that swam under the lense for a moment before growling in angry frustration. Dammit, she had gone as far as she could with it. She had to have an actual sample of the virus before she could go any further with either Piccolo or Goku’s antidote. She had pulled Piccolo out of the regen tank earlier to take a blood sample before putting him back in and had worked both his and Goku’s samples as far as she possibly could. What in the hell did she do now? Vegeta had been adamant about her staying put but this was important and there was no way, either he or Goku would know what to look for at the lab. Trunks might but she didn’t particularly want to leave Vegeta alone with only weak Goku as his backup. No she had to go and get this herself. There was absolutely no other way. If she took all the materials with her she could probably figure things out where she was and get an antidote worked up for Goku there, if Gero didn’t already have something for him. Her brow wrinkled at the thought. It was highly unlikely that Gero would keep Goku sick if he were planning on making him some kind of super monster. This virus had been designed and administered to break Goku’s will, perhaps to make him more vulnerable when Gero decided it was time to attempt to change him over.

Sighing deeply, she grabbed up a small black bag carefully placing the needles and samples she had into it and securing it away. Racing to her room, she searched through her small pack of capsules, the ones she had made sure to pocket when she had left the Corporation. The first capsule was her airplane and she shoved it deep into the pocket of her jeans before popping the second capsule. Inside was another small handheld GPS, one of about eight different models she owned. She was a complete sucker for technology and right now she was grateful that she had had the foresight to purchase more than one. Clicking it on, she scrolled through the coordinate she had entered before smiling in triumph. She had entered the coordinates she had gotten from the ship’s computer into this one. Kami, Vegeta was going to kill her but what choice did she have? There was no other way to handle this. Should she communicate with him now and get the inevitable over with or wait until she was already upon him and then let him know? She shook her head mournfully. Either way he was going to be madder than hell. But then again she thought as she popped the next capsule, she had this little baby and while it wasn’t exactly perfected she had the rudimentary beginnings of a fairly nasty little weapon that was sure to do damage to anything she might encounter along the way.

Pulling it out she stared at it, running a hand over the smooth metal. It was no bigger than a small handgun and it fit into a holster that she could fasten around her shoulder with ease. The main idea had been for an energy disruptor, something that would knock out the artificial humans energy supplies, both manufactured and natural and cause them to malfunction for a moment, long enough for someone to get in a good shot and killing them where they stood. This little baby would be harmful to even a Saiya-jin should she want it to be but she had not gotten that far with it. The only thing she had managed to do was get power couplings attached to it that connected the twin batteries, so that when fired it gave out a nasty jolt of electricity—something similar to a stun gun but far more lethal depending on how high she wanted to take the settings. The only bad thing was that she only had these two batteries and once they were depleted she was out of the electrical charge. She only hoped that it lasted her for as long as she needed it to.

Doubtless however, someone was going to be in for quite a surprise if they decided to tangle with her. Grabbing another capsule that contained her tools she encapsulated the gun and pocketed it. Now she would just go and find her baby and say good-bye to him. She had not spent more than a day with him since she had been taken and she felt sharp guilt at that knowledge. Still, if she had to sacrifice some time with him so that he might grow up safe and sound and have a father to help raise him she would gladly do it. As soon as all of this was over she would take him and spend some time with him and she would never leave him alone like this again. Thank Kami her mother was there to help her. And she would be sure to get her father back for her mother as well. Dammit, Trunks would grow up knowing his grandfather and his father if she had anything to say about it. They might have died in the other time, but in this time she would see them live.




Krillin crept quietly into the small room just off of Gero’s lab, the small remote clutched tightly in the palm his sweating hand. This was it. Shutting his eyes he inhaled deeply hoping to calm his racing heart and nearly shattered nerves. Opening them again, he went to the first large storage unit and pushed the button, flinching violently as it hissed open. He had picked the male—Juunanagou. He would start with him. Holding up the remote activator with shaking hands he pushed the button. Skittering back away like a cornered rat, he watched in silent horror as life returned to Juunanagou’s slack features. He prayed to Kami he hadn’t made a terrible mistake.

Juunanagou blinked rapidly before his slanted, blue eyes grew accustom to the light. What had happened? He remembered Gero sending his army after him and he could recall battling them in the sky alongside his sister and his mother’s voice—had it been his mother’s voice that had slashed through his memory before cold blackness had swallowed him whole? He couldn’t quite remember. All he knew was that he had heard a female voice, one that had seemed oddly familiar.

Stepping out of the container he saw the small man that Gero had toyed with

standing before him, holding the small remote in a death’s grip to his chest. His name had been Krillin if he recalled correctly, one of Goku’s friends. Had he been the one that had released him?

"What are you doing down here, friend?" Juunanagou asked in his normally vapid voice. "And why are you holding that remote?"

Krillin swallowed hard, mouth suddenly painfully dry before replying. "I

came to wake you up." He held out the remote to Juunanagou with trembling hands. "Here wake up your sister."

Juunanagou’s eyes narrowed. "Why would you help us?" He snatched the remote out of the small man’s hands with movement faster than light, not wanting to chance that it was some kind of joke. He would never be shut down again. He had not counted on Gero actually doing it and now that he had Juunanagou would kill him.

"Gero is up to something and it doesn’t feel good. I can’t explain how I know but I had to know why he had you shut down." Krillin watched the tall, artificial human turn to the other black case and open it revealing his sister. He wasted no time in pushing the button that would activate her and Krillin watched as she too opened her eyes to look around.

"Juunanagou?" She questioned. "What’s happening?" She took her brother’s offered hand and stepped out of the huge black box. Noticing Krillin, she frowned deeply. "Why is he here?"

"Our little friend here decided to give us a helping hand. He activated me and brought this. Says Gero is up to something." Juunanagou’s blue eyes sparkled evilly.

"I don’t care what he’s up to, he’s going to die for deactivating me." Juuhachigou’s almond eyes flashed brilliantly for a moment before she turned her casual glare to Krillin. "Thanks for the hand, Krillin—wasn’t it?"

All Krillin could do was nod, mesmerized by the luminous blue of her eyes. Had they always been so bright?

"Oh, I’ll take care of Gero, sis. Don’t you worry about that. I am interested, however, in what it is that Krillin here thinks he knows. The Doctor was always very closed mouthed about his plans and only really ever told us what we needed to know—something I find to be very maddening considering he used us as his hands. Then he has the nerve to just deactivate us the way he did." Juunanagou’s usually placid voice had risen with each syllable uttered. He turned his head to stare at Krillin, his blue glare burning a hole straight through the little man. "Would you be so kind as to share with us what you’ve managed to find out?"

Hesitantly, Krillin nodded. There weren’t many options. For better or worse, he had started this and now he had to see it through. He hoped he was making the right choice—he was almost positive he had. Still, that nagging little voice was screaming at him that as much as Gero couldn’t be trusted these two couldn’t be either. Still, Juuhachigou was so very beautiful, so much so that she made his heart ache with something indescribable and long forgotten. How could he not help her? "Alright," Krillin said quietly. "I’ll help you out."

"We won’t forget this, Krillin." Juunanagou smiled coolly at him. "Now come and tell us what you know."




"This is it." Vegeta said, landing beside a huge metal door in the mountain. "These are the coordinates that Bulma’s GPS had." He lifted his hand. "Stand back."

"No wait, Dad! We don’t want them to know we’re—" Trunks voice was cut off by a loud explosion. "Here." He finished meekly.

"Don’t be a fool, boy. Who cares if they know we’re here or not." Vegeta replied arrogantly. "I will blast them all to oblivion. I will see this ended today." He strode into the hole he had made and came face to face with several cyborgs. He grinned wickedly. "Looks like you were all waiting for me. Sorry I was late."

With a shake of his head, Trunks followed his father through the threshold of the door, grimacing as he saw what must be at least fifty, battle ready cyborgs. Well, he thought. It shouldn’t be too hard. I just hope we can get by this without more showing up. We’ll never get into the lab.

Relax brat. His father’s deep voice resounded through his mind, rife with amusement and anticipation. Enjoy the fight. This is the perfect test of your new abilites.

Trunks grinned despite himself, his Siaya-jin blood quickening with eagerness. I don’t mind the fight but I think Goku would like to find his wife and son.

Then he can go and look for them. I prefer a straight battle. After we dispose of this trash we’ll move to the two artificial demons and their creator.

All right Dad, sounds good. Trunks threw the first blast watching as it burned a hole through the first cyborg. He had a moment’s remorse for the human that it had once been. Or maybe it hasn’t been human at all; maybe it had been pure machine. He could no longer tell. All he knew was that whatever they were they were no longer humans and he believed with all his heart that the only thing he could do was put them out of their misery. He prayed to Kami he was right.

Goku watched morosely as Vegeta and Trunks blurred and punched and kicked and blasted their way through cyborg after cyborg, never once slowing down in their frenzy to rid the room of the mechanical presence. He shut his eyes, reaching deep within himself for some of the power that he had once held, which was well within his grasp and found it once again dangling just out of his reach.

Dammit. He cursed viciously, tired of being able to do nothing but stand back while his friends and family fought his battles for him. Come on Bulma, I’m counting on you. You have to get me that antidote.

Vegeta shot a ki blast at a cyborg as it flew at him before somersaulting backwards away from another large group that was in the process of rushing him. Swinging his leg out he caught them in a roundhouse kick that sent them flying into another oncoming cluster of the mechanical bastards. He fired another blast, frowning as he got a sense of someone’s energy near-by, someone who should not be there. His eyes widened in shock and horror before he narrowed them again, fury pounding through his veins. Damn her, she had ignored him and come anyway.

Woman! He bellowed in his head, furious at her for disobeying him and putting herself and the rest of them in such danger. You stupid fool! What in the hell are you doing coming here?

Be quiet, Vegeta. Bulma snapped in his head. And listen to me before you berate me. I don’t have many options. I need to get into Gero’s lab to find that virus. Without it I can’t make up an antidote.

You could have said something, woman. Vegeta growled angrily back at her. Any one of us could get a hold of what you were looking for.

Really? She asked incredulously. So you know the specific virus that Goku was infected with or even what to look for? What about Piccolo? Do you know his as well? Dammit, Vegeta, can’t you realize that I am the only one who can handle this? Besides, I have something that will take care of the cyborgs—at least a few of them. She amended. I’m your mate, Vegeta or so you claim—can’t you trust me?

Woman, he pleaded, swinging and connecting with a cyborg that was suddenly looming above him. It’s not a matter of trust.

Yes it is. Trust me, please, Vegeta? I can get this done. Her voice was soft and he could hear all that she would have said to him in the slight waver it held.

He sighed heavily and swallowed back a thick knot of fear and anger; focusing it all into a blast he sent hurtling into a cyborg. Fine. But if you die, I will find a way to wish you back so that I can kill you myself.

Vegeta heard her choked laugh before she answered him. The same goes for you too, mister. I love you, Vegeta.

Vegeta felt himself well with pride that his woman was brave enough to face what she had to fear greatly. He had chosen well, he only wished he had some way of letting her know. With another great sigh he threw himself into a crowd of cyborgs and continued his battle, leaving the connection between them open so that he would be able to sense her should she come into trouble. He only hoped he would have the opportunity to tell her after this was all said and done. Damn the woman, he had just admitted to himself that she meant far more to him than anything else in his life and now she was putting herself in mortal danger, leaving him with the empty knowledge of just how attached to her he had become and the very painful question of what in the hell he would do if she got herself killed.




Doctor Briefs sat quietly in a chair staring at the young woman whose life he had pledged to save. Chi-Chi lay in serene silence on the same table that she had been on the day before, thick black hair cascading down behind her. He reached out to caress her cool head, watching the gentle rise and fall of her chest as he breathed. Thank Kami she still breathed. Now, he just had to figure out a way to end Gero’s life on that operating table. He had been given the ultimatum. If he failed Gero the planet would be purged, but what in the hell chance did the planet have if he created an immortal Gero—one that would be impossible to kill. Or would he be? Vegeta and Goku were both strong. It wouldn’t be that hard to take him out. He had to have faith in them. Still, how could he willingly go along with what Gero was suggesting?

The door sliding open grabbed his attention and he jumped from his chair with a start, swiveling to face Gero himself as he entered the room.

"Ahh Briefs. I see that you are already anticipating this evening’s activity." Gero stopped to straighten his vest, pulling out a pocket watch as he did so. "By my calculations, the operation will begin in just under five hours."

Briefs shook his head at the man’s jovial attitude. He was certifiably insane. ‘You seem awfully confident that I will be able to carry out your wishes without any unforeseen consequences." He remarked casually, wishing he had a cigarette. Maybe that would still his shaking hands.

Didn’t we discuss this already?" Gero replied amiably, his voice holding the barest hint of irritation. "Really, Briefs, you grow tiresome. Perhaps I need to show you exactly what will happen should you—" Gero paused for effect. "Fail to carry out my desires on the operating table." Gero crossed the room, stopping in front of a control panel. Flipping a switch he waited as a small red button rose up from the board. "Do you see this button?"

Briefs nodded, face set and wooden, positive he wasn’t going to care for the direction the conversation was going. He watched as Gero barked something into a small transmitter.

Almost immediately the door slid open and Briefs felt his jaw slacken and drop as a massive man—or artificial human, Briefs wasn’t certain which, entered the room, striding with single-minded purpose towards Gero. Dressed all in green and sporting a red mohawk, the man was large and menacing. Briefs took an involuntary step back as he approached.

"Meet Juurokugou. He is my newest creation and fully mechanical might I add. Look at what a magnificent creature he is." Gero smiled at the shaken Doctor. "His job, should you fail to do yours revolves around this red button. You see I decided to appropriate some of the Red Ribbon Army’s cast offs. I found several unused missiles and redesigned them so that they would hold my very own self-created toxin. Two missiles contain this toxin and when released into the atmosphere it will attack and kill all plant life on this planet. With the wildlife gone, there will be nothing to convert the air from carbon dioxide to oxygen and all human and wildlife will choke and die." He smiled at Brief’s pallid face. "In the other two missiles I put nerve gas, some left over from the Red Ribbon Days. While the humans are waiting to die they will find their bodies attacked and ravaged by the gas and when death does finally come they will welcome it with open arms." He chuckled at the look of shock on the Doctor’s face. "So see Doctor, there is a lot riding on your decision to go through with the operation and carry it out successfully. Should you fail, well…" Gero paused. "I’m afraid that Juurokugou will press the red button that will launch these biological weapons into the air and you alone will be responsible for the destruction of this planet."

"You are absolutely insane." Briefs choked out, body trembling violently. "Have you lost what little bit of sanity you were clinging to? What could motivate you to go to such lengths, Gero?" Briefs shoved his quaking hands into his pockets, the desire for a cigarette nearly overwhelming him. What in the hell was he going to do now? He had no choice, he had to go through with the operation or Chikyuu would suffer but what if Gero flat lined on the table or died from natural causes? The kind of operation he was suggesting was one of incredible detail and magnitude; a complete stress on the body.

"I recall Briefs, that you were one of the scientists who turned away from all the research that I did in the genetic and biological arena. You were one of the scientists responsible for my being ostracized from the scientific community—all my hard work discarded and spit upon, my reputation in shreds. I had to take refuge with the Red Ribbon Army to get anything accomplished." Gero spit angrily, face reddening in rage. "And then that ridiculous man-child had to show up and ruin my plans. I have lived for nothing but showing you and Goku and all the fools that belittled me exactly who and what I was." Gero scowled cruelly sweat beading his weathered face. "Yes, I have bided my time very carefully, watched and waited and spent my years in hiding planning and plotting for this very day."

Briefs shook his head, unable to form words and more than a bit fearful of the almost threatening demeanor of the other Doctor. "Gero—" He finally sputtered. "The work you did, the things you wanted Science to accept…human experimentation…" He shook his head.

"Yes, I know." Gero sneered, arrogant disdain plain upon his face. "My work was too questionable for the community to handle, too controversial for your ethicakl and moral standard. Well while you self-riotous prigs have been sitting on your thrones of morality, I have been busy at work and now there is not one of you that will be able to stop me." He cackled insanely. "So who has had the last laugh now?"

"Gero…" Briefs opened his mouth again despite its sudden dryness, unsure how to proceed. "Perhaps if you gave up this madness, I could help re-instate you into the community and ease your way. I—"

"Enough." Gero growled. "You have five hours to prepare yourself for this surgery. My central computer will keep me alive and guide you through the transformation. See to it that no accidents befall me while I am under your care. It would be extremely detrimental to this planet. Now come, I wish to take you through the operatiing room and prepare you for what you will be working with.

Briefs suppressed the shudder that ran through his body, shooting another covert look at the huge artificial human that stood like a sentry at the control panel. Good Kami, what in the world was he going to do?




Gohan sat silently where Gero had stuck him over an hour ago, hooked to some machine, drugged and waiting for whatever torments the monster planned to dole out. There had to be some thing he could do—some way he could reach that well of power that flowed deep within him. If only he could go Super Saiya-jin like his father. Then he might have a chance to overcome all of this and get him and Yamcha and Tien out of all this. And what about Krillin? Gero had done something horrible to Krillin, something that had turned the once loving and loyal friend against all he knew. Was there anyway to help him?

Gohan stared at the machine that Gero had left him hooked to wondering how long it would be until the Doctor would be back. He could handle whatever tortures the creep handed out to him, it was the waiting and the not knowing that was killing him. Where were his father and Trunks and Bulma? They had been missing forever and the worry of what might have happened to them ate at his heart like the virus that had infected his father’s.

He wondered briefly about his mother—was she all right or was she worried sick about him. Without his father, he was all she had except for his grandfather. Gohan prayed to Kami that they were both all right as well as Bulma’s mother and father and Chibi Trunks. Bulma would be devastated if anything happened to her family and he supposed that meant Vegeta as well, though truth be told, Gohan had no particular love for the Prince. Still, the man had stayed to fight and saved him and his father on more than one occasion in recent months and he had fathered Trunks so he couldn’t be all bad. He didn’t think Bulma would have a baby with a man she didn’t love.

Sighing he laid his head back and let his eyes drift shut, searching his body for some sign of the power that showed itself in extreme situations. He had to find it and let it encompass the whole of him. He had to find his father and he had to help see this nightmare ended. If only he could tap into the rage that was burning within him, lost somewhere deep inside. Then things might be all right. But no matter how hard he tried, without his father’s guidance and strong spirit filling him and guiding him, he was just lost and alone.

"Dad," He whispered plaintively. "Where are you Dad? I need you."

As he sat in absolute silence searching the depths of his soul, he thought for a moment that his father might have answered him.




Juunanagou strode calmly down the corridor that led to Gero’s operating room. So the good Doctor wanted to be artificial? Well he had underestimated his twins and he was about to pay a very high price for his lack of vision. He glanced sidelong at his sister. "We’ll be there in just a minute, sis." He smiled coldly at her.

"Finally," Juuhachigou drawled out. "It will be good to see him crushed by our hands."

"Do you want to see him beg, Juuhachi?" Juunanagou smiled at her. "We can make his death as painful as we possibly can."

"That sounds fun, Juunanagou." She threw a sidelong glance at her brother. "That sounds fun."




Eriadne crawled down the narrow passageway, dirt covered and sweating profusely. She had decided after much thought and soul searching that if she couldn’t convince Trunks to help her, she would go and take care of things herself. She had busted into a deserted gun store on the street and had helped herself to several large weapons that she figured would get whatever job she needed done. She would show Trunks and his damn father just how tough she was and she would find a way to save her brother and sister and prove Trunks wrong. Gero might have changed them to fit his evil purposes but he couldn’t change who they were—that had to be somewhere within them, even if it was deeply buried. If she jogged their memories, told them all that Gero had done, perhaps it would all come back to them and they would be all right.

You’re being naïve, Eriadne. She reminded herself. What if Trunks is right and they can’t be saved?

No. She wouldn’t allow herself to think that way. She had to maintain some sense of hope. It was all she had left to cling to.

Ahead, she saw a small ray of light trickling through what appeared to be a large vent and stopped, peering more closely. She could hear the muted din of voices rising and falling. Gathering her nerves she crept closer, stopping just inches away and watching.

It was Gero and he was talking to some man who stood silently listening, offering no words or acknowledgements to anything that left Gero’s mouth. With his shoulders hunched over he reminded Eriadne of a cornered animal about to be eaten. He was probably some poor soul who was about to be changed whether he wanted to be or not.

Well, she thought gleefully, this was providence, but she didn’t think she could bust in quite yet—no, she needed to wait until Gero had left the room before she made her way in. She wanted to find her brother and sister, not face Gero, not yet anyway.

She settled herself back against the cold rocky wall to wait, thinking that just maybe if she were quiet enough she might even be able to pick up part of his conversation with whomever he had in there and learn something of value. It was at least worth a try and it would give her a reason to bide her time. Patience had never been her strong suit but in this she didn’t have a choice.




Tannia watched Costa through half-closed eyes as he sat in the seat next to hers. He had gone absolutely insane. Proof was the gleam that never seemed to leave his eyes. She wasn’t certain how long it had been since he had slept but she had listened to him pace outside the small corridor outside their small cabins; the sound of it sending shudders through her body as she lay there.

She had to find Prince Vegeta and convince him to kill Costa. It was more than just wanting to be rid of the vile man, it was fear now—deep, unholy fear that he would snap and kill them all. The lack of sleep had worn his nerves thin and he snapped at everything, even her if she bothered him. She had seen him send his second, Refallo, flying into a wall with the back of his hand among other things and though he had not once lifted a hand to her, Tannia was fairly certain that if he felt the need he would have no problem knocking her senseless. Whatever patience he had been holding onto seemed to be stretched to the limits.

With deep trepidation she opened her mouth to speak to him, hating the idea of drawing his attention to her. "Costa," She spoke quietly; evenly, not wanting to unnerve him anymore than he already was. "We will be in Chikyuu’s atmosphere within the hour."

* * * * *

Table of Contents
Chapter 10
Chapter 12