acitaDisclaimer: As always I do not own Dragonball Z or the characters attributed to the series; so all you lawyers that have ben calling me can just go look for money somewhere else...I don't have any!! :)

Be Forewarned: This is a rather dark piece of work. I seem to be in that frame of mind for some reason. If you have an abhorrence to violence and mature subject matter such as rape, abuse and the like... then do not read.




Vegeta came awake slowly, head pounding as if demons were ripping and shredding their razor talons through the very center of his brain. He gave a low moan and attempted, weakly, to roll over. What in the hell had happened? He could remember...nothing; the nebulous cloud in his mind seemed all-encompassing and impenetrable.

"Bulma..." Her name came unbidden to his lips, a flicker of memory playing amongst the shadows of his mind. Something had happened to--Bulma.

Vegeta shut his eyes tightly, searching through the thick fog that had filled his brain. He was afraid to remember, but more terrified not to. Another flash of vivid memory, some pain that was too great...Nappa. What in the hell did Nappa have to do with this? Nappa was dead. Long dead. Vegeta's eyes flared open in shocked remembrance. Not Nappa, his brother and ... Oh God! It came flooding back into his mind in a torrent of sickening images and half-maddening feeling. The desire to help her, to save her, to do anything that might spare her this ordeal and the inability to even lift a finger. He, he who was so strong and unbreakable had been rendered powerless.

Vegeta rolled over, heaving violently. The sickening taste of bile and acid filled his mouth as he threw up. Bulma...oh God. Nappa's brother had raped her. He moaned in silent agony at the memory of her feelings flooding through him. She had been so distraught and scared and...oh God. He heaved again, nearly choking on the sob that had risen fast and furious from the depths of his being. He had not been able to help her, he had not been able to help her. He, Vegeta, was one of the strongest beings in the universe, ruthless, heartless, feared and he had been unable to so much as lift his hand in support of her.

His fists clenched in impotent, raging fury. Where in the hell was he now and where were the cowards that had done this to him and his woman? He would tear them apart once he found them. The last tangible thought he could recall was the bastard cat thing shooting him repeatedly with Gero's fucking tranquilizer gun. His world had gone black after that, mercifully black and devoid of all feeling and now he felt as weak as a baby. With an almost superhuman effort he forced his head up, black eyes probing the darkness for any clue, any hint as to his whereabouts.

A ship. He was on a fucking ship. His dulled senses were slowly coming back to him and he was becoming aware of the distant whine of the engines. Where was Bulma? Had Costa left her with Gero or was he raping her yet again on this very ship, forcing her to serve him as a... Vegeta felt the bile rising again; choking him with its acrid, bitter taste. He forced it back down, closing his eyes as he opened his mind and searched for her, looking for any way to get an idea of what was happening to her. If they were touching her again, Vegeta would see to it that he left no part of the bastards untouched when he killed them. He would make them suffer.

Nothing. Vegeta could feel absolutely nothing. He pounded his fist into the hard metal of the floor beneath him in frustrated fury. Dammit, why couldn't he feel her? Had they hurt her, rendered her helpless, what was the problem? Vegeta was not use to her utter silence. Even when they had fought, his woman, had not bothered once to ease her assault verbally or mentally. This was a trait that he had appreciated about her even as had cursed her for it, admiring such tremendous spirit. Spirit that was rare in a weak culture of people, but prevalent in her none the same, though he had been loathe to admit it to her. Her spirit had transcended even her beauty and shone forth from her like a flame, attracting him like a moth.

Where in the hell had Costa said he was taking him? Maordi Prime. Vegeta could recall it all now. His lip curled upwards in a leering sneer. Justice for the masses of innocent who had suffered or been destroyed under his hand. How touching and noble of the bastard Costa, avenging his poor, innocent brother by destroying Vegeta, the last remaining vestige of Frieza's choking reign of terror. That he would even go so far as to rape an innocent woman whose only crime had been...Vegeta choked back a sob of rage and helplessness. Whose only crime had been loving him and she did love him. He knew that well enough. Bulma had always gone out of her way to let him know how she felt. Oh God, he was going to cry now, he was going to sob like a weak child all because he couldn't help his woman. Why should any of this have surprised him was beyond his means of comprehension. Using ones woman or family against them was comon in warplay. He had always just seen it as honorless. Better to kill quickly then rape and pillage.

His fist hit the floor again in rage and fury and he inhaled sharply in an attempt to gather himself, to beat back the raw emotions wanting so desperately to burst out. Vegeta took a deep, shuddering breath in a weak attempt to banish the gut-clenching anguish and misery that threatened to overtake him. Fear for her, fear that she would have to experience the same thing he had been forced to and the sick knowledge that came along with that thought. She would never welcome him again, of that he was sure. Bulma had suffered far more then he had. Even his brat had. Trunks... He eased his aching body back down on the floor with a harsh groan. Bulma...

The door snapping open caught his attention. Vegeta turned his head, squinting, as bright yellow light burst forth like a beacon into the heavy blackness of the room he was in. He sneered in hatred at the man illuminated in that light, like a picture his woman had once shown him, a picture of something called an angel. How fucking ironic, he thought, that a coward who preyed on innocent women would remind him of something that was supposed to signify pureness and good, like his woman.

"I see your're up Vegeta and ready for our first fun game. I have so much planned for you. There are many ways we can purge your dark soul of all the blackness that you have carried within you for so long. I come offering you an absolution Vegeta, before you die. Are you going to take it like a warrior, or are you going to beg for a quick release? Beg me like your woman did right before I took her and everything that was yours?"

Vegeta growled in fury, lunging upwards off the floor like a half-mad animal, an animal fighting for its very life. Losing himself, in that one furiously blood-rushing moment, to the very madness that had enveloped him when he had first come to Chikyuu...the helplessness of being at a monster's mercy, at being unable to help yourself or stop what was happening to you and being forced to act and do things you had never really wanted to do. Oh, he had been a monster, of that there was no doubt. Even without Frieza's control and influence he was a born and bred killer. It had flowed through his blood, but he had not desired to end millions of lives. He'd had his designs and still did, but there was more than just him. No matter how he might fight it and battle it, the feeling was still there. A woman. A woman that he loved and, God help him, he did love her. Vegeta had refused to see it as truth before, but he could hardly deny its existence any longer. Somehow, some way, Bulma had managed to find the heart that he had believed long dead, if it had ever even existed in the first place, and she had twisted it to her so completely, so fully, that Vegeta wasn't sure he would ever be free of her. Not that he even wanted to be set free. Why fight it? Bulma was his, had always been his, even before he knew her. She had been destined for him and this monster, this fucking bastard scum, had taken and broken her, the one beautiful thing in a life full of terror, death, blood, and killing. Bulma was something truly meaningful to him, something beyond physical power. It was a strength far greater then anything he'd ever really seen, only he had been too blinded by pride and foolishness to see, to realize it or to even begin to reach out and grasp it.

Vegeta had nothing save physical power and the desire to achieve more since before he could even bother to recall. The burning desire to be so far above his opponents in strength and spirit that he would never be forced to submit to anything like Frieza again had all but overtaken his rational mind and soul. The desire for strength had become a constant aching, pounding, driving need. The need to be better then anything else in the be stronger and it was the only thing that mattered, that strength. he was forced to submit and he hadn't even been defeated in a true battle. No, he had been fucking drugged! Drugged by that bastard Gero and then he had been kept from his mate...his mate when she had needed him...when she had been forced ended the thought abruptly. Vegeta couldn't think of that right now. It was too raw, too agonizing, the whole idea of what she had been forced to go through making the bile rise upwards again. The bitter taste of it choked him along with the fury that was pounding within his veins. He would kill them all! By all that was holy in this universe, when he was free, he would fucking kill them all. He would start with the cowardly bastard who had been unable to face him in a true battle, who had resorted to drugging him and raping his woman as payback for the death of an idiotic coward who hadn't been worthy enough to call himself a Saiya-jin. Vegeta would rip Costa's heart from his chest and he would feed it to him, he would...

"AHHHHH!!!" Vegeta lost himself in the welcome, all-consuming blood-rage that was pumping through him, making the leap up to Super Saiya-jin with ease despite the power-draining drug that flowed through his veins. He rose up, turning towards Costa, his hate-filled eyes glowing green in the dark of the room. The black eyes shining coldy, deadly. Costa would feel his wrath.

Costa staggered back a step. What had happened to Vegeta? Where was the blond hair coming from and those eyes...Holy God...those eyes! He had seen him do this before at Gero's, but now, standing alone and with no immediate rescue available, the absolute enormity of the power that Vegeta held within him threatened to overwhelm him, to drown him in a tidal wave of fear and dread. Vegeta was a man who had been pushed too far, who had lost everything and was now going to kill those who had harmed him and his own. Costa lurched back, slamming the door shut but not surprised when it was blown completely apart, shattering into tiny pieces.

"You are dead, you fucking bastard. When I am done with you, when I have handed you your heart on a platter, you will wish that I had shown you half the mercy that I showed your brain-dead brother the day I ended his miserable existence. Nappa was a waste of Saiya-jin blood. I did the universe a favor when I took his life and ended it, just like I am going to end yours. But for what you have done to her..." Vegeta stood before Costa, deathly calm and earnest. " For what you have dared to do to her, the mate of the Prince of the Saiya-jin, I will make you suffer as you have never suffered before."

Costa stood staring in disbelief, crying out in pain as Vegeta threw a hard right to his jaw, sending him careening back into the metal wall of the ship. He had to get back to the holding area, had to reach the gun and tranquilizer supply. He attempted to control the harsh panting breaths that were wracking his body, attempted to gain some small measure of control. He had to, Vegeta would massacre him if he didn't. Costa scrambled back, lashing his foot out as Vegeta approached, watching in horror as Vegeta snagged the appendage and flung him effortlessly into the hard metal wall.

"How does it feel, bastard? How does it feel to be helpless and alone, with no one to rescue you? " Vegeta sneered in contempt. "You are a coward, just like your worthless brother. You couldn't defeat me in a true battle so you resorted to low-life, dishonorable tactics to achieve your ends. Where is your justice now? Where are the sanctioning Gods when you need them the most? There is a saying on Chikyuu, Costa. ' Let sleeping dogs lie.' This is one sleeping dog you will wish you had let lie." Vegeta had clenched his fist before him. The fury shaking through him was so great he thought he might explode with the sheer magnitude of it. God, this bastard had touched her, had touched what was his and now he would suffer the wrath of a true Super Saiya-jin. He would kill him!

He held his palm up; he would big bang the asshole, just enough to incapacitate him so that he could work him over mercilessly with no resistance. Vegeta was beyond honor or mercy, not, he thought with wry amusement, that he had ever been particularly merciful to begin with. A fact Costa was going to find out first hand. Vegeta had a million ways of making his opponents suffer and he was about to unleash them all on this sorry bastard.

"Sorry, Vegeta. You are not going to be killing Costa today." The raspy voice flooded his senses, jerking him back to reality. Vegeta turned, eyes widening in shock, as Refallo pulled the trigger of the tranquilizer gun once, twice, three times, each shot aimed directly at him. Dammit, he had been so furious he had failed to pay attention to what was around him. He had completely forgotten the other fucking bastard.

Refallo cringed inwardly at the sight of shocked denial and fury that had filled the green eyes of the Saiya-jin. As much as Refallo loathed Vegeta, loathed what he had done to his planet and his people, Vegeta had shown some measure of honor. The fact that he cared enough about that Chikyuu-jin woman

to fight the way he did, well, it spoke volumes of his strength of will. This wasn't a fair fight, not with these drugs, and while Refallo had no desire to die, or feel the wrath of the Saiya-jin Prince, he still felt shame at resorting to such underhanded tactics.

Vegeta sank to his knees, his power ebbing from him like his life's blood as the renewed drug flowed quickly through him. Oh God, not again.

Costa stood, smiling and leaned down to grasp the fallen Saiya-jin's shoulder tightly, his confidence restored. He lowered his mouth to Vegeta's ear, hovering just inches away.

"She fought me Vegeta, like a cat, like the Chikyuu-jin wildcats I've heard so much about . It made having her all the sweeter." Costa laughed insanely at the wounded moan of agony that emanated from deep within the Prince's throat.

"That skin was so perfect and her hair. The feel of it sliding down my body as she....Well I won't torment you any further. I do have some honor and I am hardly one to kiss and tell. She was the best ride I ever had, Vegeta. I congratulate you on picking such a fine quality of woman. I might have to avail myself of her again. I wonder if I got her with child? I certainly had her enough times to do that." Costa chuckled some more as another dull roar of agony surged upwards from Vegeta's chest, filling the air like the wounded cry of a predator left to die.

"It hurts doesn't it, Vegeta? You loved her, didn't you. She has fire and spirit and everything a Saiya-jin man could want in a mate." Costa shoved Vegeta down on the floor, bending over him, his knee pressing harshly into his back. By the Gods, he would show this bastard Prince who was in charge and he would make sure he understood in no uncertain terms that it was he, Costa, not Vegeta, who was calling all the shots.

"If I was the kind of creature that Frieza was I could have you now. You are ready for the taking and I am sure Frieza would have enjoyed this gift very much. Nappa always did tell me Frieza had a soft-spot for you. Look at you, so weak and helpless, not even fighting. At least your woman fought her fate, unlike her worthless mate." Costa twisted the words viciously into Vegeta's conciousness, stabbing the words at him like a knife. He turned abruptly to Refallo.

"Throw him in with the other Saiya-jin. Prepare him for his first round of fun and games with me. Then we'll see exactly what the bastard is made of."

Vaguely, through the thick blanket of despair and gut-wrenching shame clouding his mind, Vegeta felt himself being hauled up and dragged down the corridor.

"You are a heavy bastard," Refallo grunted as he hauled the Saiya-jin Prince along. Through the dim recesses of his drugged mind he heard the sliding of a door and felt himself being hurtled inside. He landed with a dull thud on his hands and knees, immediately aware that he was not alone despite the clouds that enveloped his brain.

"Who's there?" Vegeta's voice was a snarl in the darkness.

"Vegeta?" Kakkarot's voice spoke cautiously from the far corner.

"Kakkarot." Vegeta breathed. "What are you doing here?"

"They decided to bring me along for the ride. Something about my part in Nappa's death and overall general hatred for anyone that is friendly with you. I didn't know I had a part in Nappa's death, " Goku chuckled. "I guess you and I are in this together."

"You are on your own, Kakkarot," Vegeta growled hoarsely into the dark. " I don't have time to be a baby sitter. I must get out of here. I have to get back to" Vegeta broke off, ending the emotional tirade before Kakkarot could see too much.

"You don't have to say it. I know what you mean. You're worried about Bulma."

"Hardly!" Vegeta snarled through the massive lump building in his throat. " I could care less what happens to her. She is just a worthless bitch!" The words erupted like lava from his mouth, scalding him with their ugliness. I'm sorry woman, I didn't mean that - -I just can't--I can't let Kakkarot see what this is doing to me, what you have done to me. He would rather die then share any tender thoughts with Kakkarot. The whole idea was enough to make him physically sick, let alone that he was actually having the feelings. What he and Bulma shared was private and personal. Not even the fool woman herself talked about it much with other people.

"I don't know, Vegeta. You seemed to care what was happening to her in Gero's prison," Goku sighed. "I understand you don't want to share your feelings, but there is no shame in admitting that you care for someone. Bulma is special, she is like sister." The word brought a smile to his mouth. " A sibling I never had, or at least besides Raditz. The whole idea that anyone would hurt her or use her the way that bastard did..." He broke off, his voice choking on a wave of hot anger and misery. "It killed me that I couldn't help her, that I couldn't help the woman I have known for over ten years, the woman I call friend. I am the strongest fighter in the universe and all I could do was press my head against metal bars because my strength has deserted me. We practically grew up together, Bulma and I. We shared far too many life or death adventures before either of us were eighteen and as much as I love her, as much as I care for her, well, I... I can only imagine what it must have been like for you."

Vegeta bowed his head in shame and defeat. Why couldn't Kakkarot just shut up? Why did he have to keep pushing and pushing for some emotional response that Vegeta had no desire to give? What did the third class bastard want him to say? That his heart had been ripped from his chest and trampled on, that the woman he held above any other living thing in the universe had been used against him, that he had been forced to see his feelings for her in a horribly violating way? That he loved her beyond any true scope of the word? He'd never told her any of his feelings, had never even had a chance too, wasn't even sure if the words would or could leave his mouth. There had been no quiet sharing of thoughts or simply exchanged words between them, just empty silence, chances lost. Now, now he had been forced to watch the very thing he had so, silently, treasured destroyed. The actions that Costa had set into play, forcing him to confront feelings he was in no way shape or form ready to confront or face or even admit to. That he had been forced to admit them in front of people was shameful and left him sick. He had been forced to swallow his carefully guarded pride and let others bear witness to his greatest shame and that was not even the worst of it.

As much pain as Kakkarot thought he felt, as much as he claimed to feel for his friend, could he even begin to imagine what it was like to have the one thing, the only thing, you had ever loved used against you in such a vile, disgusting manner, used against you for past transgressions? Not, he amended to himself, that killing Nappa had been a transgression. At least not in his book. Vegeta still firmly believed he had done the universe a service with that action, no matter how cold-blooded it might have seemed. Bulma had served no part in his past, she had only served as some distant light beckoning to him, giving him hope and a reason to live. Something undefinable, yet attainable to him and him alone. She had been destined for him, completely. He knew that now.

"I don't want to talk about it Kakkarot. Not now, not ever. I..." Vegeta's voice broke off, choking on a silent sob that rose fast and hot in his throat, burning him. He couldn't keep it down, he couldn't force it away. It was coming whether he wanted it to or not. God, he couldn't bear breaking down in front of Kakkarot, not again. Not like he had before, when Frieza had...had killed him. Vegeta swallowed past the lump in his throat painfully, remembering when he had been forced to recount the horror of Vegitasei's fate, the horror of his nightmarish existence with Frieza. He didn't want or need the compassion that he already knew would be shining brightly from the third class idiot's eyes. That would be more than his tattered pride could bear. He swallowed hard, choking on the sickness that the thought of Kakkarot's compassion brought. What was happening to him? Had he really allowed himself to become this weak?

Vegeta laid his head down against the cool metal of the floor, moaning softly as a searing blast of memory burned straight through his mind. Memories of Frieza, of his control and his sick, twisted mind. The way he had used and manipulated things to suit his sadistic desires. Oh, God. He felt so sick and now his woman had suffered an even worse fate than he had and it was all his fault.

"Bulma," he whispered. Why couldn't he be in her arms now, letting her soothe away all the pain and despair that was raging through him, just like he could soothe away hers? The thought of being able to bury himself in her, complete himself, share himself nearly overwhelmed him with desire and need. Vegeta laughed silently and bitterly at the cruelest irony of all. As much as he wanted her, as much as he was willing to admit to her now, just to have her near him, he'd be lucky if she ever welcomed his touch again.

Goku heard the strangled, sobbing moan and understood. He had no true idea what Vegeta must be feeling right now. He could imagine, but he could not truly know and he prayed to Kami that he never had to. Vegeta loved Bulma, and if the Prince had failed to realize it before, he was certainly realizing it now. To have that one precious thing ripped from you the way Costa and Gero had ripped them apart, Kami. Goku wasn't sure he could have managed to keep his wits intact.

Deciding it best, he remained quiet and let Vegeta keep whatever pride he still had whole. It was Vegeta's prider and anger that would get them out of here, what would propel Vegeta to break free of the drug's barriers. He knew how mighty a power Vegeta's pride could be and it had to have been dealt a serious blow by Costa, but still some remained.

Chi-Chi. Kami Chi-Chi, I hope you're alright. I love you. I have always loved you...please. Please take care of yourself and Gohan. I promise I will be home soon. I promise.



Bulma sat silently, knees drawn up and chin balanced lightly on her kneecaps. Her back rested firmly against the smooth wall of the room Gero had brought her to so many hours before, when he had taken her from the room that Costa had held her in.

"Vegeta..." She murmured quietly and sighed. She was still trying to calm the violent tremors that were racing through her body, that had been racing through her continuously, for the majority of the time she had been locked in here.

Shakily, nervously, she ran her fingers through her thick mane of hair, shuddering as she recalled Costa's fingers threading through it in the exact same way. Kami, she was so cold, so terribly cold. All she wanted was Vegeta. Vegeta would warm her up, he would make it all go away, he would... The sob tore from her throat, a low keening moan, wounded and horrible. Oh Kami, Oh Kami. He had touched her. Costa had touched her. Bulma gulped for air in a desperate attempt to fight back the urge to vomit. She lost, hurtling herself like a rocket towards the small bathroom and throwing up for the third time since the ordeal with Costa had been brought to an end.

Calm down, Bulma. He didn't rape you. You saw to that, you made sure. Oh Kami, it had been a close thing. Too close. For one heartstopping moment she had thought that it was going to happen, that she was going to be violated horribly. She sobbed again in memory of the feel of his rough skin against hers. That he had even touched her was more then she could bear, though she supposed she should be grateful that he had not gotten far. Gero thought she had been raped , that Costa had beaten him to the punch. Kami, he had been furious when he had opened the door and seen her, a shivering huddled mass in the corner, shocked and dazed at what she had just been through and Vegeta...He had been there too, in her mind, through their bond. Bulma had felt Vegeta every step of the way and he had been so angry, so despairing, so...She shuddered again at the memory. She had nearly been overwhelmed by the intensity of his feeling mixed with her shame, hot burning shame. Shame that he would be able to bear witness to her greatest agony and most personal violation.

Bulma had fought with all she had, finally forcing Costa to wrench her legs apart and hold her down. They had spent nearly ten minutes locked in some kind of wrestlers hold until finally he had struck her, nearly incapacitating her. She had been lucky he had not rendered her unconscious. Costa had managed to get her on the bed, his big body just seconds away from taking everything that he had wanted and for a moment, for one terrifying moment, she had forgotten to fight, to try to stop him, to do anything to save herself. She had been frozen, paralyzed with an all-consuming fear at the thought of what was about to happen to her. Her blood had run cold with despair at the disgusting feeling of having his body so intimately pressed against hers. Bulma had screamed then. She had screamed for Vegeta until her voice was raw, kicking and clawing, doing anything that she thought might save her. Somewhere in her mind, she had thought Vegeta had answered her screams, his deep voice pleading with her to fight. Bulma had fought then. She had fought with everything ounce of energy she had, panting and heaving and swearing at the bastard who hovered above her, laughing at her efforts. Just when she had thought all hope was lost, that she was going to made to suffer this greatest violation, she had remembered the sedative. She had snagged it from Gero. Bulma had snaked her good arm down in an attempt to snag the syringe. She had managed to grab it and had somehow worked the tip off and pulled out the depressor. How she had accomplished it without his notice she would never know. Well, she thought sickly, that wasn't true. He had been occupying himself elsewhere.

She shuddered again with disgust at the memory of Costa's mouth sliding all over her body, so engrossed with what he was doing that he never felt the syringe until she had stabbed him in his ass with it. Oh Kami, she was going to hyperventilate again. Oh Kami, please... Let it go away. His mouth had actually touched her, had actually... The dam she had erected in a weak attempt to keep the horror at bay, to hold back the tidal wave of memories and fear and disgust, broke. The first wrenching sob came rushing through, choking her, tears rushing furiously down her face in streaming torrrents. Oh Kami, Vegeta, Vegeta. All Bulma had wanted was Vegeta. She had wanted Vegeta to rip Costa away from her, to blast him into a million different pieces, to hold her. She had screamed for him, sobbing his name as Costa had explored her body even as she fought against him.

The bastard had laughed, telling her how her man had fought and lost. Bulma had been furious at his desciption, screaming at him that he was too cowardly to fight Vegeta like a man, that he was so weak he'd been forced to keep him drugged. She had screamed at him in rage and fear, pummeling him with her fist. Costa had merely laughed; brutally twisting her already broken arm and pinning her helplessly beneath him. He had then proceeded to, in his own words, deliver the final blow to what little remained of Vegeta's much valued pride: he had marked her. His teeth had sunk into the fragile flesh of her skin, drawing blood, and he had marked her, explaining to her as if she were a young child that this was how Saiya-jin men and women claimed their mates. A wedding ring, so to speak, and that if Vegeta ever saw her again he would recognize it for exactly what it was and turn from her in disgust. Bulma had stopped fighting Costa then, shocked at the depths he was willing to go to destroy Vegeta , laying there as his mouth had traveled all over her body and trying valiantly not to vomit. She had endured his sickening touch in the hopes of luring him into a sense of false security, planning carefully what she would do and how she would do it, and despite the moment of rising hysteria, of almost losing her opportuinity to the paralyzing, gripping fear that had swept over her, she had done it. Costa had collapsed shortly thereafter, leaving her untouched. Bulma was positive, however, that the sickening touch of his hands and mouth would remain with her until the day she died. She had managed to push out from under him and his massive, crushing weight. She had gathered her clothes and huddled a dark corner, calm and detached, praying to Kami if Costa awoke before she got out that he would not notice her.

Gero had found her. He had entered the room in a fury, taking one look at the dead weight of Costa on the bed, and somehow his eyes had pierced the darkness to find her shaking, shell-shocked body huddled in the corner. Gero had approached her, his eyes darkening with rage as he saw the painful set of her arm and the beginnings of shock and hysteria glazing over her eyes. To her immense surprise he had pulled her up and led her to a regeneration tank, silently pushing her inside it and allowing her to heal her broken arm and bruised body. Her spirit, though... She wasn't sure her spirit would ever heal again.

Gero had led her to a room, a room with a bathroom and Bulma had sobbed in relief at the sight of the shower. She had washed her body repeatedly in an attempt to cleanse whatever remained of his disgusting touch off her. Finally she had collapsed into a small ball in the corner of the shower, sobbing brokenly as the warm water had sprayed against her body. Bulma had no true idea how long she had stayed like that. The water had long since turned cold before she had finally emerged, only to break down again. She had stared at her reflection in the mirror for what had seemed like hours, hollow-eyed and weary. Her eyes had taken in the raw wound on her neck and registered the fact that it had not gone away in the tank. Costa's disgusting mark had not been healed, probably because it had been given the chance to scar after he had done it. Oh Kami, it was bad enough that her soul would be forever tainted by what had happened, but now she would be forced to look at a reminder of the event everytime she saw herself in a fucking mirror.

Vegeta, Bulma thought hollowly, Vegeta would hate her, would call her weak and disgusting. He'd be furious with her at allowing it to happen and then, then he would turn from her in revulsion and leave her alone. Guilt shot through her, eating at her soul like acid. How could she have let this happen, how could she have let him bite her? Her hand had shot out, punching the mirror, shattering it into a dozen tiny pieces. Remarkably the hand had escaped injury and Bulma had slid to the floor, a low moan of agony filling the tiny room, her mind tormented by vivid memories of all that had occured. She had barely made it to the toilet the first time, heaving what little was in her stomach into the porcelain bowl. She had not been given any food in two days and she had disgorged nothing but burning, bitter bile. Somehow Bulma had managed to crawl out of that bathroom on her hands and knees and made it to the small bed in the corner where she had found clothes. Bulma had dressed and sat silently for what seemed like hours, holding herself tightly against the chill of the room and wishing with all her heart that it was Vegeta that was wrapped around her now, holding everything at bay. He wasn't though, she was alone. She was alone.

Now she had to face the idea that Costa had made good on his threat and taken Vegeta. Bulma had opened up their link and sensed nothing. There had been no feeling at all. He was either unconscious or so repelled by her now that he wanted nothing to do with her. If he wasn't, he soon would be, once he saw Costa's mark. What did it mean? That she was married to him? Costa had said it was a sign of ownership, of possession. Oh Kami, what was she going to do? Her mate was gone and her son was held captive as well as her friend. She was useless now, her mind slowly leaving her. Was this how Trunks had felt? He had actually had the full violation, had been the loser in a terrible game for power. How could she sit here like this when he was the one who had suffered more?

"Oh Kami, what am I going to do?" Bulma laid her tired head down and sobbed.



Trunks sat silently, watching Eriadne pace the small length of cell like a lion, his mind a million miles away. Mom... Dad. Kami, he had never seen his father like that. The sight of a full-out raging Vegeta had shocked him to the core. His father had been in a blood-rage over his mother. Perhaps his father did harbor feelings their after all. Oh Kami, mom. What have they done to you? Realistically he knew. It had been patently obvious when that bastard Costa had come down and bragged about the act, spitting the words at the Prince of all Saiya-jin through the safety of the metal bars like a coward. Costa had taken his father's woman and used her, a thought that made Trunks tremble with sick horror and rage. He had been aware of his father's rather difficult past. His mother had filled him in, but to see it come back to him in this way... Trunks shuddered.

Vegeta was going to kill the bastard, of that there could be no argument. Granted, he would need to get free first, but Trunks had little doubt he would. The sight of his father's enraged face would be forever stamped onto his memory, would stay with him always and it heartened him to know that his mother could inspire that kind of wrath in the man's heart. Trunks sighed in wonder. He had not thought his father cared or gave a damn. The words his father had spoken to her just that morning had been vicious and cruel, bringing the woman to her knees, yet there he had stood, trembling with a rage the likes of which Trunks had never been witness to before when Costa had come down and taunted him over his mother. His father loved his mother, not just a little bit but tremendously. The wounded cry, the look of despair on his face. His father was in deep. That meant that he had to love him didn't it? Wasn't Trunks a product of whatever his father and mother shared? His mother certainly loved him. Did his father feel the same way? Trunks ran a shaky hand through his hair, lurching as he felt a soft hand touch his.

"Trunks? Are you alright? You've been so quiet since they took your father and friend." Eriadne looked at him in concern.

Trunks stared up into her wide blue eyes, mesmerized. Kami, they were pretty. Trunks reared back as they changed, shifting into the narrow blue orbs of Juuhachigou.

"I promise it won't hurt...too much." Her laughter... Oh Kami, he could still hear her mocking him, teasing him. Could still feel her cold hands sliding up and down his body, forcing him to feel things he'd had no desire to feel.

"Trunks?" Eriadne leaned in closer. "Are you alright." Kami, he was shaking like a leaf. Did he know? She gripped his hand tightly, shocked when he flung her away from him into the door. She hit the cold bars hard and slid down to the floor, dazed.

"Oh Kami, Eriadne." Trunks was up and moving to her, his arms sliding under her and lifting her up. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you." He carried her back to his bunk and laid her down, watching her through veiled eyes.

"What in the hell was that about?" Her voice trembled with a mixture of fear and anger, blue eyes shooting him the deadliest glare she could muster. It didn't help that she had shivers racing through her from his touch. Kami, she barely knew him, yet she was lusting after him? What in the hell was the matter with her? She had been sent here to do a job. The life of her brother and sister hung in the balance. They had been good people once who had been stolen and turned into something monstrous and inhuman.

If only she could get them away from Gero and save them. There had to be a way and she could not let Trunks stop her from finding it.

"You know what, Trunks, I don't care why you do the things you do, but I am not going to let Gero turn me ito some kind of monster." Eriadne shuddered at the thought of it. No, that wouldn't happen to her and may be, just maybe she could still help her family if she did everything Gero demanded of her. As much as she hated hurting other people, hated lying and conning, what else could she do? " I cannot become like that." Eriadne leaned towards him, face flushed with intensity and passion, blue eyes burning into his brightly. "I can't lose my humanity."

"How big is the army?" Trunks leaned back, not sure he really wanted to know.

"At least thirty thousand strong. Gero herds people out of their hideouts like cattle, using, " her lip curled in anger. " Using his... his... artificial humans." Eriadne looked down, her hand clenching and unclenching in her lap. Oh God, her brother and sister. Her brother and sister. She glanced back up at Trunks, eyes brimming with tears. He didn't even know. He thought she was crying for her village and for herself. She was partly, but mostly she was crying because the pain and terror that was being inflicted on the world, all the suffering and loss by the hands of her own family. Her flesh and blood. Her siblings had lost their humanity. It had been stolen from them as if their lives were absolutely meaningless. They didn't even recognize what they were or what they had been. The only thing they could seem to recognize was each other and their mutual hatred of all things human. Eriadne inhaled sharply, attempting to gather control before she spilled all to Trunks. That would certainly ruin everything wouldn't it?

"At least that is what he did to my village." Eriadne felt the sob rising back up and didn't bother to fight it. What was the point? It would do her no good. She seemed to be a prisoner of her own emotions, just as surely as she was a prisoner of Gero's manipulations. She had hoped fervently that time would have helped harden her resolve and help her accomplish what she had to accomplish, but she had been sorely disappointed. "He culls the best of the group," She said dully. " And then he creates."

Trunks stared at her bowed head, the cap long since discarded, revealing, to his complete amazement, a full head of long, curly black hair. His breath had been taken away when she had shaken it out in all its glory. He had asked her why she hid it, why she kept it tucked up so tightly in her cap as if she were a young boy. Eriadne had sighed and told him, in a toneless voice, that it kept Juuanagou away from her. She had seen him avail himself of other women, using them in the vilest ways possible. She had begun dressing herself as a boy in an attempt to keep it from happening to her.

"Did it work?" Trunks heart had convulsed in his chest as he awaited her answer. The whole idea that she would have experienced the same thing that he had , that she would have had her innocence stolen by some monster... He had felt his hand fist in rage by his side. All those innocent people, young women and children. All at the mercy of such unimaginable horror.

" worked." Their blue eyes had met and dueled, searching the other for anything, any clue, that might give the other some insight. Searching, assessing, looking for a reason to trust. Both had broken the contact at the same time, eyes darting to opposite sides of the cell.

Now, he sat, staring down at her bowed head and watching the slim shoulders shake. They were both too far into this hell to do anything but rely on each other. There was simply no other choice. Slowly he reached out and pulled her against him, shocked at the small jolt of electricity that shot through his body at the contact. His mind raged an inner battle, fighting the memories of another, more vile, body pressed against him. It took every ounce of willpower he had to not shove her away.

"We'll get out of here, Eriadne." Trunks chin rested lightly on the crown of her head, body slowly rocking her shaking figure. "Somehow we will get out of here."




Vegeta knelt on the floor of the large training room he'd been brought to, battleshirt ripped from his body, back bared to the bastard who paraded around him pridefully with some type of evil-looking whip. Vegeta sneered and looked away. His body and mind were still fogged over from the large amounts of the drug they had put in him.

His lip curled upwards into a grim smile. Let the bastard whip him, let Costa whip him until he bled. It was nothing he had not experienced before. It would only serve to further his rage and power and bring him one step closer to defeating the bastard for her.

"You are certainly being quiet now Vegeta. Nothing to say? Where is all that mighty power that you showed earlier? Have you, the almighty Prince of the Saiya-jin, accepted the fact that your woman, your Queen, is now my whore?" Costa frowned at the lack of response he had gotten. What was the fun of torture if the victim didn't rise to the bait? He wanted this little game to be fun. He would have to try harder.

"I made sure to leave her with a little gift. What an honor to be the mother of my brat, if she even survives the birth. As you can probably imagine, children in our family tend to run large and she didn't strike me as being all that strong. It would be ashame to lose something as talented in bed like that." Costa smiled widely, noting with satisfaction the pallor of the Saiya-jin. Oh, that little comment had struck a nerve.

Vegeta ground his teeth together to keep from screaming his rage out at the bastard. The thought of her heavy with that bastard's child, that she probably couldn't carry it full-term... Vegeta felt the blood drain from his face at the thought. No. He could not give in to these thoughts. It was what Costa wanted, why he was going on and on. This had ceased to become a debt of honor to him, as Costa had originally called it, and had become something far worse. Costa was toying with him, enjoying it. He was enjoying the power that he seemed to gain from the control of so many lives and emotions. Vegeta had to ignore him and his taunts and remain calm. He had learned this lesson the painful way under Frieza and he would not repeat the same mistake here.

Vegeta shut his eyes, trying to tune out the annoying cadence of Costa's maniacal voice, and opened his link to her. Maybe he would be able to feel her now, sense her, see if she was alright. He pushed outwards with his feelings gently, not wanting to startle her if she was there and alert.

She was there. His woman was there. Vegeta inhaled sharply at the feel of her mind linking with his, releasing it in a low, shaky breath. He could feel her strongly in his mind and she was searching for him. His eyes shot open, his heart surging with joy of their contact. God, she felt so good and she was at least looking for him. Vegeta sent a wave of worry and sick despair, all rolled into one huge emotional burst. He felt her mind as it encompassed the wave and waited for her to answer him, to send some feeling back to him.

" Dammit, Vegeta, I don't think you're listening to me." The whip descended onto his back, the thorn-woven cords lancing into his skin. Vegeta flinched at the stinging pain, inhaling sharply, but made no sound. His mind acknowledging the pain and absorbing it. What in the hell did Costa have on the fucking whip? A sharp wave of concern shot through his mind. Fuck, Bulma had felt that. He'd forgotten to block the link.

Vegeta tried to withdraw from her, flinching as the whip hit him three more times. Fucking idiot. Did he really think that Vegeta was so weak he wouldn't be able to tolerate this kind of abuse? Frieza had laid his back open daily, making sure that he'd been on his knees before stopping. Frieza had tried to get him to beg, to plead, to sob, but he had not. Whatever Frieza had dished out he had taken, refusing to show even the slightest hint of anything other than rage. Though, even Frieza had shown more honor than this. Not much, though, he cringed inwardly. How many nights had he lain beaten, brutalized, and bleeding? His back raw and throbbing,waiting for someone, anyone, to help. There had been no-one until now, and he was not about to let her feel him go through this. It would be too much for her.

Regretfully, sorrowfully, Vegeta shut his mind to her, body and brain already mourning the loss of the brief contact. Later, when the bastard was done with him, he would seek her out and they could immerse themselves in each other if only for a little while.

"Vegeta, I am growing tired of your refusal to speak a word." Costa snarled. " Spare yourself this indignity and say something."

Vegeta smirked. "Alright. Your brother was a cowardly bastard." He uttered the statement arrogantly, disdainfully, groaning in pain at the result it got him. He would be damned if he would bow down before this bastard. He was Vegeta, Prince of the Saiya-jin, and he bowed to no-one.




Bulma desperately tried to find him again. The damn bastard had broken the link. He had sent her such an overwhelming amount of feeling, then just disappeared. Not, Bulma thought, before she had felt white-hot agony lance through him. Something horrible was happening to him, something painful and wretched, and he hadn't wanted her to feel it. Vegeta could invade her mind for her own tortures and suffering, but not allow her the same respect. Bulma snorted lightly. That was so like him.

"Well, not today, Vegeta. I didn't just find you to have you ripped from me yet." Bulma shut her eyes, using all of her mind to concentrate on reaching him. He was there. On the outskirts, lingering, barely brushing against the outer fringes of her mind. He was suffering, though his pride was as strong as ever. Bulma forced herself closer, struggling through the walls he had erected to keep her out. Vegeta thought her weak. Well right now he would find out just how strong she was. Kami, he was battling her, fighting her. Why did he have to be so pig-headed about everything? Damn him. No! She was just as strong, her will was just as strong as his. Damnhim damnhim damnhim! His mind gave way to her in a shuddering rush of emotion, flooding her with the shock and anger he felt at her sudden invasion. Bulma would prove to him, once and for all, that she wasn't the weak little coward he thought she was.

"You're not alone here, Vegeta. Please, you have to let me in. Let me help you." Her mind recalled the overwhelming desire he had sent her to fight for herself. "Let me help you the way you helped me. You don't have to be alone, Vegeta."

"Dammit woman, leave me be. I don't want you here." His angry words roared through her mind. Kami, he was fighting her tooth and nail, his fury at her forced entry mixing with the agony of whatever was happening to him. He was trying to be so strong, so tough, just like always. Stronger and tougher than everyone else. " Vegeta, you bastard! For once will you just admit you need me." Bulma felt an almost audible snarl fill her mind and fury, red-hot and dangerous, rushed through her like a raging torrent.

"Get out of my fucking mind now woman! I don't want you here." His words were laced with a virulent rage. Kami, he was furious at her, furious that she had thought to help him out. Did he hate her so much?

Bulma felt the link weaken as he pulled away from it. She relaxed, letting it go. The man didn't want her. Vegeta didn't want her. Oh Kami, had Costa told him about the mark? Bulma collapsed weakly on the bed, spent from the effort that had taken. Kami, he didn't want her help. Vegeta wanted nothing from her at all. Her fist crashed down onto the bed. Damn you Vegeta! Damn you!




Vegeta lay gasping for air at the impact of her entry into his mind. Damn the woman, didn't she understand he couldn't be worried about himself and her right now? His woman had been through too much already. She didn't need to feel this too. He coughed, spitting up blood. He'd made sure to insult Costa's whole family, starting with his mother and ending with his bastard brother, earning himself Costa's unbridled rage. It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the thorns he had woven into the leather cords of the whip. He was, to put it mildly, a bloody mess. Then, as if things could not get any better, his fool woman decides to prove her strength and willpower and overcome his mind at the worst possible moment. Damn fool. Vegeta managed a smirk despite the intense pain he was in. What a woman. It was a shame he had not seen that before.

"So, Vegeta, are you beyond responding to anything I might say to you?" Costa's deviously twisted voice filled his senses. "How about I tell you this? I am going to go back for your little woman and I am going to use her again and again until she begs for her release, until she begs for you to come and save her. She screamed for you the last time, you know. I know can make her scream for you again." The tone of the words was malicious and oozing with hatred.

Vegeta shut his eyes, his beaten body trembling with rage at Costa's rancorous words. Bulma had screamed for him? Oh god, she had screamed for him and he hadn't been able to come. His insides twisted painfully.

"Shut your fucking mouth, bastard," Vegeta groaned as Costa's booted foot kicked his side, breaking ribs. His ki was so low now, he would be easily broken and above all else, he had to say alive. He had to get back to his mate and find her, protect her and avenge his honor. Bulma.

"Don't worry, Vegeta. I'm not going to kill you, yet." Costa turned and walked towards the door. "Why don't you lay there and think about all you have managed to bring upon your woman. I'll be back shortly. I think I'd like to go and have something to eat before we continue with our little game. Beating you has worked me up one hell of an appetite." With a swish of his tail he was gone, leaving Vegeta bleeding, broken, and motionless on the floor.

Vegeta shut his eyes, resting his sweating head on the cool metal floor, welcoming the sensation that the it brought him. Bulma, maybe he could finally spend some time with Bulma. Perhaps his mate could offer him something to fortify him for the upcoming round of brutality he was sure was coming. Costa had lost whatever few marbles he had been holding onto. It had gone beyond revenge. Revenge was something Vegeta could deal with this. This, this was a game, a sick, twisted game that Costa was determined he was going to win. Well he had one hell of a shock coming. No-one touched the Prince of the Saiya-jin this way and no-one touched what was his. He would contact his woman and give himself a reason to stay alive. Then he would find a way to defeat the bastard.

"Woman," Vegeta growled in his mind. "Please woman...I need you." He shuddered with the effort it took to just think the words, let alone admit them out loud. He was a Saiya-jin, he needed no-one, except her. Dammit, why did he have to be so fucking weak? What possible genetic fluke was coursing through his veins that made him so needy for a weak Chikyuu-jin woman. God, he had all but begged her and she wasn't even worthy of the Saiya-jin throne. Worse then that, she had given him a purple-haired brat. How in the hell was he supposed to deal with that? Even Kakkarot had a black-haired son. He sighed wearily. Oh fuck it. What did it matter? His crown was gone, his planet, any objectors that might have disapproved and look at him, sprawled on his belly, back laid open, unable to move or resist anything that happened to him.

He had long ago passed up his chance to end her life, choosing ,instead, to leave her alive on Namek, some small spark of honor deep within him unwilling to kill something so spirited and lovely. With that action he had singlehandedly been the instrument of his own defeat. Bulma had wormed her way into his heart and he didn't seem capable of kicking her out. God knew he had tried. What could it possibly matter if he took another faltering step towards complete and utter damnation and ruin? His eyes drifted shut as he reached out to her. This was the beauty of the Saiya-jin bond, that they could be so far apart, yet communicate so intimately. It was being in the other's body, which was precisely where he wished he was, buried so deep within her that he could banish all thoughts save one from his mind.

Somewhere deep within the recesses of his mind he could feel her. She was upset, that much he could tell. Vegeta gasped out loud as a myriad of bunched up emotions hit him. A swirling tonic of anger hurt, concern, pain and grief rushing towards him. Her version of a ki blast, he imagined. He absorbed it all and shuddered as they coursed through his body, laying him open to her view. He tried to harness them and answer them all one-on-one, but she was still radiating them out, making it near impossible to get a handle on them. He moaned in exquisite agony as they flowed through his body, lighting every nerve, every cell on fire. It was too much.

"Bulma," Vegeta moaned in a silent entreaty. "I can't answer them like this." He shot back the one thing he knew might shut her up or at least slow her down. Desire. White-hot, flaming desire. He smirked as he felt the emotions taper off, feeling them replaced by confusion and surprise. He hissed, cursing himself a fool a hundred times over at his lack of thought. Bulma had just been raped, the last thing she would want to feel was his desire for her. Vegeta reached out a silent word of concern, sensing the still anguished state she was in. Now was his chance, before she got worked up again. More desire this time, wrapped around concern and solace. Feelings that were easy and slow. Nothing pushy or harsh. Somehow he would have to find patience within himself, something that had never particularly been his strong suit. He sent the two emotions linked in his mind entwining around her mind like a wordless embrace, shaking as he felt her accept them. She was crying, he could tell. His woman was in absolute misery. Vegeta wanted to cry out, to scream curses at the fate that had allowed this to happen to her, but he held himself in check, waiting calmly for her to return the feelings.

Bulma smiled through the river of tears that were flowing freely down her face, tears of relief that he was with her and that he was worried about her, something she had never thought he would be, ever. With her anger and pain at his earlier snubbing subsiding, she attempted to reach back out. Vegeta had sent her a wave of desire and she had nearly swooned at the amount of heat that he had sent with it. Kami, how completely powerful was the man and his aura that he could affect her that way by just the brush of his mind? It had been so wonderful, just the feel of him alive and vital within her. Had Costa not told him about the mark? Bulma suppressed a shudder at the brief thought of Costa. He had not violated her, at least not physically. Mentally was another story, but maybe for a few minutes she could forget it had ever happened. Bulma let her eyes drift closed, slowly unfurling her body from the ball it had been curled in, spreading out and returning his heat with her own. Her overwrought mind sending him waves of passion and desire and mumuring to him of what she wanted, of what she wanted to feel: his arms around her, his mouth kissing her. Bulma smiled at the audible moan that echoed through her mind, shivering with the desire to be near him. Oh Kami, she wanted it all from him.

"Oh God Bulma." Vegeta' s mind reeled with the feelings and ideas she was slowly streaming into him. The husky sound of her voice telling him she wanted him. He answered her back with his own wave of desire and impassioned words, sending her all the needs he kept locked so tightly away from everyone. The desire he had to be loved and accepted, though he would never admit that in the light of day, to not be alone, to have someone who cared for him as a man and not a tool and the need to have all thought of his past forgotten and banished. Vegeta needed her to erase the shame of Frieza and more then anything, the fading hope that she would see him as her hero and not a mindless killer or uncaring bastard. He wanted her to see beyond the harsh words and cruel demeanor and realize that it was merely a well-crafted defense. Oh God! Too late, he had gone much farther then he had intended to, shown her more then he should have ever shown her.

Vegeta tried to disengage himself, but she was already answering him, flooding him with everything he wanted. He moaned in sheer agony. Oh God, what had he done? He had invited too much, set himself up for too much pain. Fear shot through him even as he accepted the depth of the emotions she spiraled towards him. The fear of giving himself so completely to someone, to just give everything, he wasn't sure he could.

Bulma felt the shockwave of his fear and helplessness shoot through her. She wasn't sure they had ever been this connected to each other before. Not even when he had made love to her had they gotten this intimate. She offered herself, tentatively, heart and soul, completely for him to take. This was the greatest gift she had to offer, her love and her need for him as a man, as her man. It was the only gift she could give him, aside from Trunks.

Vegeta stopped breathing as she wrapped herself around him like a blanket, filling him with her very being, the core of who she was. She was offering herself as a gift and love. Bulma was offering him uncondional love. A violent shudder ran through his body at the feel of her and he sobbed hoarsely with the influx of so much raw emotion and pleasure running through his body. Nothing had ever prepared him for this. His mind filled with complete ecstasy at the feel of her heat-filled emotions and thoughts weaving through his, connecting them in a way that they had never been connected before. God, she was actually arousing him. His body was in agony, but somehow she had managed to rouse him to her. He needed to do something, to offer her something back, to accept what she was offering. God knew if he rejected it now he would be a fool. Why couldn't he get his mind to react, to send something back, some small speck of love? He loved her and he had to find a way to let her know.

Vegeta groaned in dismay as the door slid open. No! He wasn't ready. He needed to do this, to give her back himself.

"Vegeta, are we ready to play the game again?" The much-loathed voice filled his senses, jerking him out of the red haze of passion he had been surrounded by. His eyes slid closed as Costa droned on, his body already aching for her even as he began the slow withdrawal from her mind.

" I am feeling much more satisfied. This time I think I can last much longer and I brought a new toy with me, one that should provide us with hours of entertainment."

Vegeta felt himself being hauled up and griamced at the bolt of pain that shot through his body like a shockwave of electricity. Bulma, he hadn't gotten a chance to answer her back, to tell her what he felt. Vegeta broke the link completely, regretfully, painfully, ensuring that he was completely gone from her mind. His body filled with bitter frustration. She would take it as a rejection. How could she not? He had been given yet another opportunity to make things right, to give her some small hope. Hope was something she probably needed desperately right now, and he had discarded it as surely as if he had slapped her in the face. He shut his eyes in despair. He was losing her, if he hadn't already. Dimly he felt Costa snap something around his neck and he lashed out, snarling and lunging at the bastard for all that he had cost him.

"Oh come now, Vegeta. I don't think this is the way to behave. You're as weak as a newborn baby." Costa released his hold, dropping Vegeta to the floor, smiling broadly at the moan of agony that rolled out of the half-dead Prince.

Costa lifted his heavy foot and brought it down hard on Vegeta's bloody back, grinding and twisting, pleased with the agonized moan he received.

"I told myself that if I ever finally had you I would show you no mercy. I want you to feel pain, Vegeta, and I want you to suffer. My brother was nothing more than your handservant, scaping, bowing and cowering in fear of when you might snap. He saved my mother's life, you know, so that I might have a home. When you and Frieza came to exterminate Maordi Prime, he left you to your task and took us to safety. Nappa kept us from dying. "

Vegeta was beyond agony. Searing red-hot pain shot through his back as Costa continued to twist his foot into it. Vegeta bit his lip, drawing blood in an effort to keep himself from crying out. All of this over Nappa? Nappa had been a foul, mean-tempered killer. No better than Vegeta in that regard. He might have saved Costa and the bitch that whelped him, but he had come back and wiped the rest of he population out, laughing all the while.

"All my life I looked up to him, watched him, wanted him to show me half the attention he showed you, but he never did. I was not strong enough. I was merely a half Saiya-jin, and while he would honor his word to our father and keep me from Frieza, he had no real interest in me beyond that. All he saw was you, his Prince, and what did you do? You killed him! Well, if I wasn't good enough for him in life, I will surely be in death. He demands it of me, Vegeta."

Costa removed his foot, fingering a small black device clasped in his hand.

"You know it occured to me that there was something I had forgotten to mention, something that will burn your very soul. You never marked your woman, did you? I wonder why not? Could the great Prince of the Saiya-jin be ashamed that he had actually lowered himself to take an impure human as mate? Perhaps the whole idea of tying yourself to her permanently sickened you. Maybe you were holding out hope that some long-lost, surviving Saiya-jin woman would be found to bear you full-blooded brats." Costa snorted. "You will be glad to know I took care of the problem for you. I marked her as mine, right at the base of her dainty little throat. Her blood was good. She is most certainly mine now so you are free to move on, not that I think you will survive the week, but you never know. "

Vegeta felt his world go awry, felt the blood rush from his face. Costa had marked his woman? The fucking son-of a bitch had dared to mark his woman? He howled in rage and agony, the fury in it enough to send chills racing through Costa's body. Vegeta struggled against it all to sit up, to propel himself upwards and kill the bastard where he stood. He groaned with the effort but stayed motionless. His body was too damaged to help him.

"So, I have finally hit a nerve. The whole idea that I have laid claim to what belongs to you has sent you right over the edge. " Costa bent, his shifty narrow eyes, taking in the raging gleam that shone deep within Vegeta's slanted black orbs. The glint promised pain and death. Costa shuddered. He needed to put Vegeta down and soon. "I'll let you keep all of this in mind while we play our latest game." He straightened. "I hope you like it. I certainly do." Costa pressed the tiny button on the black receiver, smiling as Vegeta's body trembled with what had to be pure fire. " Ooh, I bet that hurts your back."

Vegeta's whole body screamed in agony as a jolt of burning, searing electricity shot through his body. He took the pain and welcomed it . It was a testament to his life, to who he was and what he had been. He would emerge from this stronger and more powerful then he had ever been before. No, the pain of his body was something he could tolerate, something he could embrace if only to push him to overcome these obstacles and kill the bastard that put him through it. It was the the agony of her pain he could not take, of his pain at what had happened to her. He had known loving her would come with a harsh price and this was it. The one thing he had been most of afraid of come to life in a vivid, horrifying way. The bastard had marked his woman, had taken her away from him, and, as he slowly slipped from consciousness, that idea, the knowledge that all he had ever wanted, had ever loved was being taken away from him yet again. As merciful blackness engulfed him, pain was the only thing he could really feel at all.




Bulma sat quietly, hands pressed tightly together in her lap. Vegeta had rejected her. As soon as she had gotten up the nerve to offer herself up to him yet again; after swearing to herself that she would never do so again, to actually be stupid enough to put herself out there for him to take and discard, he had thrown it back in her face again. It had really been what she had asked for. She should have known better. She squeezed her eyes shut as the first hot stream of tears slid down her face. She truly was alone and worse than that, so was her son. Oh Kami, she missed her baby. The sweet smell of his baby-soft skin, .the feeling of his little body heavy with sleep against her chest, safe and secure within his mother's arms. Was he scared, did he miss her? Kami, she missed him. What if he thought she had deserted him, what if he was hurting. And what about her other son... the older, more somber version of the babe she had just been thinking about. What he had gone through? All he had wanted was for her to make a time-machine to get him home. Home to her future self, who had surely rocked the boy the same way she rocked him now.

" Oh Trunks, I'm so sorry." Bulma whispered the words, afraid to break the silence of the room, not wanting to hear her voice. Not now. Now she just wanted peace and quiet, to be left alone to... The tremors were back, racing rampant through her body, leaving her chilled to the bone in their wake. The sound of the door sliding open, upsetting the absolute silence, sent her shrieking from the bed. Oh Kami, what if it were Costa, come to attempt the rape again? Kami,she would die before she ever let that happen. He would not get that close again.

Bulma stood in the shadows of the room, searching for any way out. She blinked rapidly as Gero's wizened visage came into view. She wasn't sure he was much better. Still, he had helped her get away from Costa. That was something.

Gero's beady black gaze lit on her in the shadows. Such a powerful beauty, one that would ensnare a man for life. What a travesty she had been used so. He should have ended the miserable bastard's life for touching her. He would have to see if she was pregnant and if she was he would tear the life from her womb. She would bear his progeny, not the bastard of some Saiya-jin outcast.

"My dear Bulma, I hope you are feeling better. I was distressed to see your condition earlier. It was most unfortunate. Let me assure you it was never my attention for him to treat you so vilely."

Bulma angrily wiped away her tears. "No, you just gave him Vegeta," she spat out at him.

"In hindsight it would have been better to simply kill Costa and keep your wayward lover, but I feared with him here you would never come to see the light of my truth."

"Your truth?" Bulma shook her head in disbelief. "What in the hell would you know of the truth?"

"Come Bulma," Gero held out his wrinkled hand. "Let me show you my truth."




"Come on, Krillin, we've been looking all day. There is nothing here, not even a ki trace!" Yamcha shouted to his friend as they rocketed across the cool skies of the canyons. "They have to be somewhere else."

Krillin turned cold eyes towards Yamcha's face. "They are here somewhere Yamcha, we just aren't sensing them." His bald head turned back to perusing the mountains. Krillin set his mind searching for any ki trace of Goku's. The others, Tien and Yamcha, had been interested in finding Bulma and Trunks as well, but he hadn't. Bulma had long ago turned against them when she had taken up with Vegeta. Vegeta had killed both the men that now flew beside him and would have killed him and Gohan as well. Krillin turned his head to study the boy who flew on his right, a deep look of worry etched into his face. It was because of Vegeta they were all out here. If he had not gotten so damn cocky, had not rushed out here like a fool, they might all be okay right now.

"Hey, Krillin!" Gohan's voice interrupted his thoughts. "Do you have any idea where Doctor Gero's lab might be? Doctor Briefs told me that he believed it was located through this region, but that was all he knew."

Krillin smiled lightly to himself, smothering the grin quickly before any of the others could see. Did he know where Gero's lab was. Why that was just downright funny.

Silly boy, you'll find out what I know soon enough.

"No, Gohan!" Krillin yelled, his voice deceptively calm and belieing little of the smug surety he felt. "I'm not sure of the exact location, but I know we'll find it. I know we will find it." His head swiveled forward as he contemplated the ironies of life and perhaps this was the biggest one: that Goku's so-called dearest friend was about to be the source of his greatest fall.




Bulma walked silently through the vast laboratory, the cavernous room filled with row after row of cryogenic containers. She had nearly jumped out of her skin as she had peered down into one and seen a human, or at least what she assumed was a human, resting peacefully inside. She had looked into several and been shocked to see different faces looking back at her. Each person was a unique specimen, not based off of any matrix. Gero was not creating his own army with manufactured cyborgs, he was using the victims of Juuhachigou and Juuanagou's raids. He had systematically stripped them of all their humanity and turned them into something monstous and abominable. All these people. Innocent people experimented on like test rats. They had lives and families and now... She shuddered as she walked by them, unable to look at their frozen expressions. How could a human being do this to another living thing?

"You see, Bulma," Gero's voice boomed through the loudspeaker, like the voice of God. Bulma turned and looked up at where he sat, looking down at her. He was truly insane. A mad genious, to be sure. "I have improved their lives and taken away what makes them weak. They will live forever because of me. I have perfected their frail human bodies and made them powerful. "

"Did you bother to ask them if this was what they wanted?" Her blue eyes narrowed in anger and disgust. Gero had taken their lives away from them and for what? Some sick vision of a better, grander future? A future of perfection?

"Bulma, I am a scientist, a scientist given powers that surpass any God in the universe. I have a duty to this planet to correct it, to change it from its path, if wrong."

"God?" Bulma raised her eyebrows. "You dare to put yourself on the same level as God? God created things for the love of them, not to satisfy some inner desire for power. " Well, humility was not Gero's strong suit. She would give him that.

"Bulma, I fail to see what you don't understand. People such as you and I have been handed a gift. We have a duty to see that we use it, that we create more things in our likeness. It is the way it must be."

"I agree we have a duty to better people's lives, but through good and kindness. Creating things to help them better their own lives if they so choose. Not mold them to our own specifications." Bulma shuddered in revulsion. "This is absolutely insane."

"In time you will see things as I do, my dear. You suffer from the influence of your unfortunate friend, Goku."

"Goku believes in helping people, in helping his planet. He is truly the most pure-hearted man I know. He uses his power for good and you... " Bulma paused to stem the flow of outrage that overpowered her and still her shaking voice. "You took that away from him."

Gero raised his eyebrows. "You know about the heart virus?"

Bulma nodded.

"Ahh, yes. I was going to create something to match Vegeta's DNA as well. I could have used a killer such as Vegeta in my ranks immensely. As it is, Goku and your son will provide me with excellent material for my truly glorious army. These are simply drones, sent to do my bidding. If that means ending the lives of worthless humans then so be it, but my army... My true army, well they are something different and together with the virus, we shall all, myself and my wonderous creations, be the salvation of this planet."

"Huh?" Bulma's wide-blue eyes took in the large metal door creaking open. Oh, Kami, what had he done?

"I believe in culling the best out, Bulma, which is why you are here and not lying dead in the street. The virus is the means to do that. I have mutated it slightly more, so that your antidote will be rendered useless. Why as we speak, Juuhachigou and Juuanagou are on their way to release it now, among the humanity of Chikyuu. Those who survive will be called to another existence, here with me. The rest shall be weeded out like the weak, pointless scum they are."

"Oh Kami," Bulma whispered in horror. Her hand shot upwards, covering her mouth, as she moved silently towards the huge doors that had opened. More chambers. These must be the true cyborgs. He wanted to do this to her son?

"This planet will be subject to its greatest fall and just when the weak human people think there is no hope, that salvation has left them and their gods are gone, I will be there to offer them a hand. To extend them salvation and they will turn to me and all I have tendered them."

"This is insane! You cannot possibly believe that humanity on any level will embrace your sick desires?!"

Kami, was there no end to his madness?

"Oh, they will, Bulma. Humans suffer from too many weaknesses, the need to believe in a higher power being one of them. They will... "

"There is nothing wrong with belief of a greater thing! It is the human nature to believe in a higher power. It gives us faith and hope."

"All trivialities, my dear. In any regard, you will be helping me in the reorginazation of this planet, the right hand of God, if you will. "

Oh Kami, he had just called himself God. Bulma shut her eyes, as if she could block out the nightmare she was in. She inhaled slowly, attempting to still the thunderous pounding of her heart, releasing it in a slow puff of breath.

"I will never help you. You are insane if you think for one moment that I will be doing anything with you."

"I will take what I want, Bulma. You will either come willingingly or I will take your mind and soul. It matters little how I get you. I will be sure to incorporate your father as well. His is another mind of immense proportions. The possibilities are endless."

"Oh Kami!" Bulma stared at him with wide eyes. He would actually take her mind from her if she didn't coorperate. What was she supposed to do? If she retained some small bit of sanity, she might be able to stop him, but then again could she ever willingly work with him? No! It would be better to die, than to allow herself to serve him. She wasn't so cowardly that she would turn her back on everything she knew was right to save herself. She wasn't that kind of girl.

"Just ask your son. He's already halfway there. Even now he is haunted by what has happened to him. One more night with Juuhachigou and my machine, will be more then enough to break his fragile soul and you," Gero laughed softly. "You have just suffered a crushing degradation. Your lover is gone, unable to aid you. You are truly alone. How long until you would beg to be released from the grip of my tortures? Think about it, my dear Bulma. Think on it hard."

Bulma felt her face drain. Trunks! No! I will not let you get your hands on Trunks. He was the absolute best of her and Vegeta. He was the man his father might have been and the person she had always tried to be, but somehow had always fallen short of. If she were forced to see his humanity, that wonderful creature he had turned out to be, stripped from him, she would go mad. NO! Her head jerked up as the doors were flung open, the shadowy figure of Juunanagou illuminated in the light.

"Doctor Gero, Goku is gone." His flat voice belied the seriousness of his tone.

"What?" Gero stood up, eyes lighting with rage. "Has he escaped?"

"No, I think he was taken. With Vegeta."

"Those bastards betrayed me," Gero sneered. "Very well, I have a plan. " He inclined his head towards Bulma. "Take Ms. Briefs back to her room. Send Juuhachigou to Trunks, then meet me here. It is time." He smiled wickedly at Juunanagou. "It is time."




Trunks sat on the small cot, watching Eriadne sleep. They had talked for hours in a desperate attempt to hold the fear and despair at bay. He had to find his mother, he had to. He owed that to his father and to her. It was up to him to take care of her now and he would, just as soon as he got out of here. Eriadne had spoken of Gero's spaceships. He had evidently planned on expanding his world-dominance theme throughout the universe. It was their ticket to rertrieving Goku and his father and get back here to destroy Gero. As he had sat listening to her the first seeds of a plan had sprouted in his mind. He only needed to get a chance.

His hand shot out to smooth a strand of black hair away from her face. Kami, she was absolutely beautiful There had never been anytime, in his own future, to even think of finding a girl. It had always been about growing stronger and searching. Searching for any means possible to help people, to save what little remained of the world's population, to find a way to destroy those fucking machines. His hand fisted hard against his thigh. Then he had lost Gohan. The only true warrior and friend he had ever known. His mother had sent him back here thinking to make a difference and now he was trapped and she was alone and where was the change? Nowhere to be found.

Not true. Father and Goku. That right there is a difference. Mom would say that was all the difference in the world, that they had lived.

His blue eyes swept over Eriadne's peaceful face. Was this how his father had felt when he had first seen his mother? Had there been an overwhelming desire to touch her, to reach out to her, despite the differences that must have existed?

He had learned quite a bit about her in the past few hours, about her childhood and her parents. He'd learned of the life she had been expecting to lead, the university she had planned to attend, what she had perceived for her life. Her goals had been something similiar to his if he had been given the chance to follow his natural destiny, not the sick destiny that had been woven by Gero and the artificial humans.

His finger stroked her full lips. If she awoke and caught him doing this she would think he was some kind of pervert and maybe now he was. Maybe his mind had been ruined by Gero and Juuhachigou. He was half-dead now. A part of his spirit was lost forever, but Eriadne... Eriadne had fought and nothing she had suffered had even remotely squelched that spirit within her. Trunks envied her that. His eyes drifted shut. He wanted so much to reach out to her, but everytime he did, all he could see was Juuhachigou's face. Feel her hands as they slid over his body, touching him, showing him that there was no real distance he would be allowed to keep. He shook his head, clearing the thought. How insane was this? He had barely met Eriadne, didn't even know if he could trust her, and here he was having soft feelings for her?

"Trunks?" Her soft voice invaded his thoughts and he let his eyes drift open to meet hers. Eriadne sat up, her face inches away from. "Trunks?" Kami, the way she breathed his name, as if... He groaned, leaning forward, lips just inches away from hers. He was so close, so close. He wanted this badly, needed it even. Needed something pure to wash away the taste of Juuhachigou, to banish the feel of her touch.

Eriadne leaned towards him, her hand reaching slowly out to caress his face. He was so strong and so handsome and so...haunted. Her mother had told her the eyes were the windows to a person's soul, and if that was true, his soul had been wounded and now she was going to have to wound it some more.

Trunks shut his eyes as her hand swept lightly over the contours of his face. Her touch was so different from Juuhachigou's. Juuhachigou had demanded he answer her, that he rise to her wants.

The sound of the grating elevator jerked them apart and he sprang away, pushing her into her hiding place. He gripped her arms tightly, blue eyes burning into hers.

"No matter what you hear, don't come out." Impulsively he brushed a soft kiss against her mouth, smirking lightly at her shocked expression. "Now get in there."

Trunks watched as she scrambled in before turning to face the opening elevator doors. Juuhachigou. Great. He'd just about made a breakthrough from the first blow she had delivered him, and now she was back for more. He clenched his fists. No more.

"Trunks." Juuhachigou's detached voice filled his senses with disgust and despair. He shut his eyes at the flood of memories that came rushing back in a rushing tidal wave. "Are you ready to pick up where we left off?" Her hands, cold as he recalled, they had been cold on his body, gripped the bars of his cell.

"I will never suffer your touch again." Trunks ground the words out through clenched teeth, praying that Eriadne would not hear this, that she would not know what had happened to him. He couldn't stand the idea of her looking at him in disgust or pity.

"Oh, I think you will, but that isn't what Doctor Gero wants, at least not right away. You get to spend some more time on his machine first, then you get me." Juuhachigou smiled coldly. "Aren't you lucky. There is so much I can teach you, Trunks, there is soo much we can experience together.

Trunks swallowed his disgust, keeping silent and watching her as she unlocked the cell door. This was his chance. If he let her take him upstairs and pretended he was cooperating she would have no reason to lock the cell door. Eriadne could get out and maybe he could see his mother. If he could talk Gero into giving him a moment with her it was all he would need. He could get them out of here and be on his way to retrieve his father. He just had to play this game right, which meant a distraction. He needed a distraction.

"What could you teach me Juuhachi?" His voice was low and husky, seductive. He had learned this one from his father, listening in on a private conversation between Vegeta and his mother. It had been a desperate attempt to learn more about him, about them as a couple. It shamed him now to think he had invaded their privacy that way. As he recalled, however, he'd learned nothing useful, only the voice. It had gotten his father what he had sought, perhaps Trunks could employ it to his own advantage. Trunks swallowed his nausea. He could do this. If it meant his escape he could get through this.

Juuhachigou looked at him in surprise, golden eyebrows shooting skywards. "Huh?"

"As much as I try," Trunks narrowed his eyes. " As much as I fight it, I cannot forget what you made me feel." His voice was soft and low. "Will you show me more?"

Juuhachigou smirked. "Well, well, this is a surprise. You are as surprising as your father." She opened his cell door, watching him. He stood calmly as she ran a hand down his body, biting his tongue in a desperate attempt to keep the bile down. "I'll be happy to teach you things, Trunks." Juuhachigou leaned against him, mouth inches from his. He tried not to panic. "First we have to get stupid Gero out of the way then we can spend all night together." Her mouth pressed against his lightly. Trunks closed his eyes, trying to picture Eriadne's heavy-lidded gaze right before he had been about to kiss her. Hell, any picture would have been better then the face of Gohan's murderer.

Juuhachigou broke the contact. "Soon, Trunks. First, you have to come with me. "

Trunks nodded and followed her compliantly, turning his head back towards the cell. He grinned at Eriadne's shocked face and nodded.

Come on Eriadne,.understand.




Vegeta lay in the cold dark room, silent and brooding, his body resting next to Kakkarot's. His body healed thanks to the third-class idiot and to his woman.

"Bulma, she had several on her." Kakkarot had pushed a senzu at him. " She gave me some to hang onto in the cells. I think you were asleep, and she wasn't sure if you would accept them from her. She told me to keep them in case you or I or Trunks needed them. Part of her emergency supply." Kakkarot had smiled wistfully.

Vegeta had been wordless, accepting the bean silently and rejoicing as it healed his aching body. Now if only he could reach his woman, feel her again, give her some thoughts of ... He shuddered violently at the word. Love. He just hoped he wouldn't be sick when he tried to say it.

I'll burn that mark from you woman. I will burn his mark off of your skin and I will give you my own. His hand trailed up towards his neck, fingering the small scar that was barely noticeable, but one he knew by heart, one that ran far deeper than his skin. Frieza. He swallowed painfully and shut his eyes. I'll burn it away woman, I promise.



Eriadne crept from her hiding place cautiously. Had she really just seen what she thought she had seen? Had Trunks just seduced her sister to get her a way out? It had been more. Juuhachigou had intimate knowledge of Trunks, that much had been obvious. One would have had to be blind to not notice the slight quiver that had been in Trunks' voice. He had done it, but he had not enjoyed it. That explained his skittishness and the haunted look that she could read so clearly in his eyes. What had her sister done? Oh Kami, now he was alone with Juuhachigou, alone so that she could escape... so that she could go back to Gero. She sighed heavily.

"I'm sorry, Trunks. I wish there was some other way. They are all I have. I have to try."

Eriadne sprinted towards the elevator. It was two floors up. If she could open up the emergency hatch and climb up. It would take her five minutes at the most to get to him, and they wouldn't know she was coming, then they could attempt to escape and she could lead him back to Gero.

She hoisted herself up out of the hatch, using the cables of the elevator to swing herself over to the small ladder that hung on the side. Thank Kami for old safety codes. Whoever had built this bunker had follwed them to the letter. This would make it much easier to get there. Eriadne grabbed the hooked claw she had used to dig through the rubble. This would allow her to pry the doors open. She should have enough strength. She had run track in school and had been forced to keep herself fit and strong. This would be the true test.



Trunks sat quietly, watching Gero pick up his drug-filled syringe. Kami, he hoped Eriadne had taken the hint. Now he needed to worry about his mother.

Doctor Gero, " His voice was low and cool. A testament to his father's blood running through him. There was no fear, only power and strong-will. His father'strength of character, flowing throughout him. He would prevail. He had to. "Before we start this, I--I would like to see my mother."

Gero looked at him. "Why would you wish to see her?"

"I know what was done to her. I would like to make sure she is alright, if only for a moment." Trunks allowed his voice to sound resigned, accepting. As if he had truly come to peace with whatever fate had in store for him.

"I suppose it wouldn't hurt," Gero mused, "though if you try anything I will warn you now. I have activated my army and you will be destroyed instantly if I so wish it."

"I understand." Kamin, he had activated the army, what in the hell was he supposed to do now? He'd have to risk it. If he could reach his father and Goku, together they might be able to come up with something to do against this. He couldn't do it alone.

Gero motioned Trunks into a hall, leading him to a metal door and keying in a code.

You will find her in there. You have ten minutes." Gero turned, exiting back towards the lab.




"Oh Kami, Vegeta." His hands were everywhere, exploring her, enflaming her, teasing her. Leading her down the path of utter ruination. She arched upwards under his ministrations, moaning with need. Oh Kami, it had been so long. Finally, he was finally giving her everything she wanted, everything she needed. She moaned with pleasure again at the feel of his hard body against hers driving her nearly insane with lust. Her eyes flickered open, staring up into his beautiful black eyes, her finger tracing the edge of the arrogant smirk he always seemed to wear. "Vegeta," She whispered huskily.

"What is this woman?" His finger trailed over the mark that Costa had left on her. Oh Kami! NO!

She watched as the look of desire drained from his face, rage and disgust filling his features.

"You allowed another man to mark you?" He broke their contact, pulling away from her.

"I'm sorry. I tried to fight him, I didn't know what it meant, what he was doing, Vegeta." She sobbed as he pulled away from her, face contorting into rage.

"Get away from me. You belong to Costa now."

"NO!!" She screamed in grief and agony. "Vegeta!! I love you!! Please!"

NO!! Bulma shot up off the bed, startling at the feel of the two strong arms that wrapped tightly around her. "Vegeta?" She asked dazedly.

"No, mom, it's me." Trunks pulled away from her, looking at her with concern.

"Trunks," Bulma breathed. "Thank Kami, you're okay!!"

"Mom, are you okay?" Trunks brushed her hair gently back from her face, staring down at her with his father's eyes, intently, sorrowfully. Bulma nodded slowly in response. "It's alright Mom, Costa is gone. He won't touch you again."

"Gone?" Her head jerked up, full of alarm, "With your father?"

Trunks nodded.

"Oh Kami! Was he alright?"

"I don't know." Trunks whispered.

"What do you mean?" Bulma's voice shook with fear.

"He-- Costa-- came out bragging about you, about what he did." Trunks paused angrily, his body trembling fiercely under her hand, filling with a violent rage for his mother. Why had she, of all people, had to endure something so unforgiveable? He sighed slowly, releasing some tension. "Dad went mad, like an animal. I think for a second Costa thought whatever drug they gave him wasn't going to hold him, so they shot him again and again until it was over. They took him and Goku. Dad was unconcious when they left."

"Kami, they are going to take them and kill them. Trunks we have to help them, we have to find a way to help them." Bulma leaned forward, blue eyes staring intently into her son's.

"I know Mom, I know, but Costa...Costa will be there. Are you sure... " He broke off, unable to go on, not sure what she could handle and what she couldn't.

Bulma placed her hands on Trunk's cheek, smiling brightly for his benefit. "Trunks, it's alright. Costa didn't touch me."

"What?" He reared back, surprise and confusion evident on his face.

"I had a syringe... A syringe full of the sedative they had been popping into Vegeta. Costa thought I had pinched him, that I was getting into it." Bulma snorted in disgust. " He passed out shortly thereafter and Gero got me before he could wake up. He never laid a hand on me. Not much of one anyway." She shuddered at the memory of his hands sliding places she had not wanted, replacing her memories of Vegeta's touch with awful, terror filled ones and his mouth, his mouth marking her. For a moment she had been sure she would have to endure it, that she would have to face Vegeta and everyone else with the knowledge that she had been defiled that way. She swallowed a sob, not wanting to concern Trunks anymore then he already was and turned the hitch in her breath to a sigh in an attempt to cover up her anxiety.

Trunks stared at her in astonishment, his face slowly breaking into a wide, relief-filled smile.

"Thank Kami, mom." He pulled her into a hug.

"Your father, he thinks, he's going to..." Bulma broke off, unable to finish. The memories of her nightmare rushing back to flood her mind.

"Mom, Dad loves you whether he knows it or not. I saw the look on his face when he thought you were being raped, the look when he believed it to be done and the reaction that he had after that." Trunks shuddered. It was a look he never wanted to see again. It had been a look of such desolation and the way he had shaken the bars, desperately, like a man possessed. Finally, his body shaken and filling with the terrible knowledge that he could not get to her; that it was going to happen; that his woman was going to be used in such a way for revenge. Nothing Goku had said had made it through to him and Trunks had not even tried. It had been his mother and he knew in his heart that as much as he would have fought to save her, as much as he loved her, that it would have been worse if it had been his woman. If it had been him and it had been his woman that was suffering in such a vile way, he would have gone mad. He shuddered again, pushing the thought away.

"Mom, he was ready to kill. He is not going to care one way or the other. None of this was your fault. Besides, it didn't happen and eventually he will know that."

He was wrong, it was her fault. Vegeta knew that, and if she had not been so cowardly in the cave, none of them would be here. She shut her eyes.

"I hope you're right."

"Mom!" Trunks voice took on his father's stringent tone. "It is not your fault. It's Costa's and that is who Dad is going to blame. I wouldn't want to be Costa when Dad does get away. The bastard is going to wish he had never been born when Father gets through with him. I can assure you that." Costa's death was imminent judging by the look on Vegeta's face and the words he had screamed at the bastard half-Saiyajin.

" I will rip you apart with my bare hands, Costa, and when I am done you will understand suffering on new levels ." Trunks shivered. He had never seen such a side to his father, not like that. He'd been privy to both the killer and the arrogant bastard, but this new side had been different, like a wounded, primal animal preparing to lash out at what had hurt him and his own. Yes, Costa was going to die and Trunks knew Vegeta would be the one that dealt the blow. He smiled at his mother.

"It'll be alright, Mom. Don't worry. Dad will make sure that Costa doesn't get anywhere near you again." He glanced back at the door. "Listen, I only have a few minutes, so you need to listen. I have a plan, a way for us to get out of here and go get Dad and Goku. I need you to do everything I tell you. We are getting out of here. Today."

Bulma nodded, allowing him to pull her off the bed. Trunks crept to the door. He was sure that Gero was lurking somewhere and oh kami, he had gone back to his lab, where Eriadne would emerge if she followed him. Juuhachigou had already spoken of some mission she and Juunanagou had to go on, so they were not there. He shuddered to think of the innocents that would suffer this day, but Eriadne, Eriadne was alone with Gero.. He squeezed his eyes shut in rage, trying to feel her ki. Wait a minute. She had followed him, but she was alone, for now. He had to get moving, had to get his father and Goku first. It was the only way. Goku had told him of The Room of Time And Spirit. If they could get back here and get a day to train, they might be able to surpass the artificial humans and defeat them once and for all. They had to try.

Trunks formed a ki blast in his hand, preparing for any surprises. If they could just get back to the lab, there had to be a way out to the where Gero was keeping his fleet. Eriadne knew how to get to them , had seen them first hand. She could guide them.

"Are you ready?" He squeezed his mother's hand tightly before pushing her behind him and opening the door. Nothing. He breathed a sigh of relief and pulled his mother along back down to the lab. Where in the hell had Gero gone? He relaxed as he saw Eriadne standing in the middle of the room.

"Eriadne!" Trunks cried. " Where is Gero?"

"I don't know?" Eriadne winced. That was another lie. He had given her a new mission and one she did not want to take, but what was she supposed to do? "I haven't seen him." She was supposed to use these people in the retrieval of Goku?

"Grab my sword, it's on the table there and come on! We have to get out of here!"

Eriadne nodded, hand shooting out to snatch up the sword that lay before her on a worktable. She ran after Trunks and the woman he was guiding along behind him. Was this his mother? Kami, she didn't look old enough to have Trunks as a son.

"Can you get us to the ships?" Trunks stopped, turning to face her. "We have to get straight there. If I can get my father and Goku and get them back here, Chikyuu has a chance. Can you help me?"

"If it means the destruction of this man and all his terror, yes." Eriadne's eyes burned with determination.

Trunks smiled coldly at her, his own eyes matching hers in determination.

"Good. Come on, let's go." He took his mother's hand and followed Eriadne as she disappeared down a dark corridor.

"Hang on, Vegeta, " Bulma whispered to herself. "Please hang on. We're coming."

* * * * *


COMING CHAPTER SEVEN- All hell breaks loose on Chikyuu as Gero's terrible plan is implemented. Trunks, Bulma and Eriadne journey to Maordi Prime and Bulma and Vegeta are finally reunited. The Z warriors are captured by Gero and Chi-Chi is captured. Plus, the true story of Eriadne and her new mission.

Table of Contents
Chapter 5
Chapter 7