Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ nor any of itís characters and this is not an attempt to make money off of them.

Chapter 16- Fight For the Future

"Stop now or Iíll break her neck" "Vegeta" ordered squeezing Bulmaís throat once for emphasis.

Goku immediately halted his advancement toward the possessed warrior.

"Now," the machine firmly droned through Vegeta "drop out of Super Saiyajin."

For an instant Gokuís teal eyes met Bulmaís azure eyes which were filled with fear and helplessness. Without a momentís hesitation Goku allowed his golden transformation to melt away.

Bulma let out the breath that she had been holding as "Vegeta" set her down, released his hold on her neck and his hair and eyes returned to their normal ebony color. She breathed in deeply as he grabbed her arm just above the elbow.

"Donít harm her," Goku said in the deadly calm voice familiar to his foes.

"I need her to fix the space craft so that I can return to the creators with the information Iíve collected" came the probeís answer. "Harming her is my last resort."

Bulma looked up at the imposterís face as he and Goku spoke and noticed a small twitch occurring at the corner of "Vegetaís" mouth that hadnít been there before. She could also see that he was blinking more rapidly.

"Youíre losing control of him arenít you?" Bulma asked her captor. "I was right. Youíre the computer in the module and by cutting the wire in the module Iíve affected your control of him."

"Vegetaís" lifeless onyx eyes locked on Bulmaís face making her shudder. "My control of him is unaffected," the machine asserted. "We will leave here now and you can make repairs later" it informed her while guiding her towards the module.

Bulma began to panic as they slowly advanced towards the module. She had hoped Goku would understand her statement and go for the module but he didnít move. She turned around and shot Goku a pleading look but she knew that there was nothing that he could do without endangering her life and because of that he wouldnít risk it. "If only I could stall Vegeta," she desperately thought as she was shoved roughly toward the module once more.

Goku knew from the look that Bulma gave him she expected him to help her and it angered him that there was nothing that he could think of doing. He knew that he had to get Bulma away from "Vegeta" before he could confront other saiyajin but "Vegeta" was watching him like a hawk so it wouldnít be easy manage it.

"Vegeta can you hear me?" Bulma questioned the warrior desperately. "You beat the probe once before and you can do it again. Donít let it beat you. Youíre a super saiyajin now I know that you can do it." "Vegetaís" cold coal-black eyes moved down and focused on her face. "Youíre stronger than it," she continued watching as his face began to contort slightly "I know that you are. Please fight it Vegeta."

Goku looked on in fascination as Bulma tried to get through to Vegeta, past the machineís control. It appeared to be working somewhat but most importantly it provided him with a distraction. If he was going to move he had to do it soon and, if at all possible, he had to think of someway to stop the machine from escaping without harming Vegeta.

Bulma looked searchingly into Vegetaís eyes and could swear she saw the flicker of life within their depths. "Vegeta?" she asked breathlessly "Can you hear me?" He creased his brow and looked into her eyes for a moment with recognition to Bulmaís joy. Just then a Ki blast shot hit the receiver in his neck and the saiyajin released her crying out in pain clutching at his neck. Bulma stood in shock watching as he sunk down to his knees and then doubled over as tremors racked his body each time the receiver sputtered and sparked.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mirai Bulma struggled towards where her son had crumpled to the ground after receiving the jolt of electricity from her own grenade.

"Damn it Trunks!" she cursed under her breath. "Why did you have to hold him?"

She ignored the fiery pain that shot up her leg with each step intent on reaching her goal. Without warning the pain became intense as she felt her legs being struck out from under her. She fell backwards and found herself looking up into a sweet girlish face twisted into an inhuman grin.

"You canít be awake yet!" Bulma gasped.

"You underestimated our recuperative powers" the blonde assassin replied stepping on the prone womanís injured leg. Her smile brightened as she watched Bulma grit her teeth in and effort to keep from crying out in pain. "Iíd take care of you right now but then 17 would miss out on his fun and he does love his fun." 18 taunted. "I donít think that heíll mind if I take out the girl though."

"No! You canít" Bulma plead. "Leave the girl and my son alone itís me you want."

"Sorry I donít bargain" 18 replied and with a devious grin raised her hand and pointed it at the child not taking her mocking blue eyes away from the hateful stare of the human woman cursing obscenities as her. Just as she was prepared to fire a golden blur slammed into her sending her flying into the side of the building.

Trunks looked down at his mother in concern and received a weak smile in response before he raised his eyes to meet the seething 18.

"I told you that I wouldnít let you harm either one of them," the young super saiyajin informed the android. "To get to them you have to come through me" he added reading himself for the attack that he knew would come any second now.

"I have no problem with that," she hissed rising into the air. "Youíre fortunate that today is not your day to die. Iíll only beat you senseless before I take care of the humans."

"Bring it on" Trunks replied with a lopsided smirk.

As she charged him the demi-saiyajin rushed forwards to meet her and as they met each other halfway the city ruins resounded with the clash of flesh and steel.

†* * * * * * * * * *

"Bulma" Goku said grabbing Bulmaís arm and snapping her out of her daze. "Do you know how to stop this? If it keeps this up it will kill him!"

"The module," Bulma sputtered still in a half stupor "we have to stop it there." She turned and ran towards the device only to have her progress arrested by a powerful hand clamping itself round her ankle. She felt herself falling forward and reflexively put her hands down to cushion her impact with the ground.

Goku quickly rushed to his good friendís aide catching her before she could strike the ground and kicking away the other saiyajinís offending hand. "Vegeta", not missing a beat, punched out at Goku. Goku blocked the on-coming fist with his free forearm and wordlessly set Bulma down gently before going on the offensive.

Bulma struggled to her feet watching as the two saiyajin once again flared into their super forms amidst the increasingly fierce battle. She speedily reached the device and snatched up her cutters, which had fallen beside it.

Goku punched several times at his opponentís face using super speed and was rewarded with a few successful blows. He knew that he had to keep "Vegeta" busy so that he wouldnít notice Bulma trying to cut-off the computerís control of him at the module. A lance of chi energy shot uncomfortably by Gokuís ear drawing blood. He was trying hard not to use anything that might hurt "Vegeta" too badly but obviously the machine had other ideas slamming a powerful fist at his soft abdomen.

At last Bulma located the cluster of wires inside the module. She reached out with shaky fingers, her mind high on adrenaline, and grasped them once again as best she could because of the crowded circuitry around it. As she brought the wire cutters down toward their goal the wires slipped through her sweaty fingertips. Bulma swore as she tried to grasp them before they disappeared into the crowd of countless other wires to no avail.

Goku pivoted to avoid another kick to the stomach ending up a few inches to the right of the other saiyajin. He then noticed "Vegetaís" keen eyes look in Bulmaís direction and quickly lunged at his opponent desperate to keep his attention away from the woman. Goku grabbed at the other saiyajinís arms in desperation trying to hold him back but was met with a strong defense from his opponent. He dropped to dodge a right hook from Vegeta and received an elbow in head instead. Tottering slightly off balance from the blow he was prevented from blocking the Ki blast at his chest, which sent him over backwards.

Bulma grasped the wires once again and held them tightly. She lifted the cutters up and positioned them to make the cut opening the jaws of the tool.

The felled Goku watched as "Vegeta" turned and raised his hand and pointed it towards Bulma and with horror realized that he was about to blast her. "BULMA!" he screamed in warning as the large ball of energy was released.

Bulma snapped her head up at her friends call and froze as she saw the ki blast heading straight for her. In fear she dropped the module and the cutters. She tried to rise but it was coming too fast to avoid. Suddenly she felt a pair of arms close in around her and the next moment she blinked her eyes she was standing several feet behind "Vegeta" in her friendís protective embrace watching the explosion as the blast tore apart the wall behind where she had been standing moments before. Bulma pried her eyes away from the explosion and directed them towards Vegeta. She saw him cry out in agony and realized that the module must have been caught in the blast. His eyes rolled back into his head and he crumpled to the ground striking it at the same time as the explosion ended.

Instantly she broke away from Goku, bursting into tears, and ran to Vegetaís side. Fearing the worst she sunk to her knees pulled his head into her lap and felt for his pulse. When she felt the weak throb against her fingers the tears streamed from her eyes anew with relief. "Hold on Vegeta" Bulma whispered to him. "Hold on, I canít lose you now."

†* * * * * * * * * *

Trunks fired a rapid succession of ki blasts at the female android that she evaded with maddening precision. She countered with a large ki blast that Trunks dove to avoid. He cringed as he felt its heat skim across his back singing his jacket. The ruthless machine appeared above him and punched down at him only to come in contact with the ground as he rolled away.

Springing to his feet Trunks unsheathed his sword ignoring the burning that he felt in his hands as he clutched the heated metal of the weapon. With a graceful flip he landed along side the android as she began to pull back from her fruitless blow to the earth and swung at her.

18 grabbed the blade of the sword stopping itís forward motion and braced herself for the forceful push that she expected the teenager to try but instead was surprised when he released the weapon and dropped to the ground. Balancing on one hand Trunks tried a sweeping kick at the androids ankles. Reacting quickly 18 dropped the weapon and executed a handspring narrowly missing being knocked off of her feet. Trunks snatched up his sword and charged after her in anger wielding the sword in one hand, the hilt pointing towards the sky, and the other extended in front of him. Upon reaching 18 he fired a ki blast to the right of her and then pivoted delivering a roundhouse kick to her right side as she moved to avoid the blast. Shock registered on the androidís face as she doubled over when the hilt of the sword struck her in the belly.

Enraged at the successful succession of blows that the teenager landed on her 18 delivered a knee up connecting with the demisaiyajinís abdomen followed by a vicious headbutt that sent him stumbling backwards. She then delivered first a right hook and then a left before following them up with a double-footed kick that slammed him against the naked support girder of a long forgotten building. Trunks began to slump and slide down the wall until 18 grabbed him by the throat.

"When will you learn that youíll never be strong enough to beat us" 18 taunted applying pressure to his trachea. "Youíll never amount to anything half breed just like the rest of your pathetic heroes."

"LET HIM GO!" Bulma cried slamming a piece of lumber into the androidís head causing her to let go of her son.

Caught off guard 18 was knocked over and landed unceremoniously on her rear end. In rage 18 screamed and sent a ki blast striking Bulma square in the chest.

"NO!" Trunkís howled as he watched his mother collapse to the ground. All at once Trunks felt a surge of power flow through his veins as his grief and rage exploded. With a battle cry he swung his sword in a mighty arch and cut an inch deep into the amazed 18ís neck. His rage was so great that it blinded him to everything else around him and he never saw the blow that came from behind which struck his spine rendering him unconscious. As the young warrior fell to the ground 18, who still had the blade embedded in her neck, looked up to see her brother.

"Youíre lucky that he wasnít strong enough to complete the cut" 17 told his sister. "I donít think that we have the where-with-all to reattach a disembodied head."

"Heís gotten stronger 17" the female artificial human said removing the sword from the wound "we should destroy him now like I said before. Iím tired of your stupid childish games."

"No" he said in disagreement gazing down at the lifeless face of Bulma "I think weíve dealt him a blow worse than death today."

"Maybe youíre right" 18 conceded dropping the sword to the ground with disgust "but Iím warning you that next time I have the opportunity to kill him Iím going to take it."

"I hope youíll change your mind when the time comes" 17 replied with annoyance. "You rest for a moment and Iíll go take care of the girl."

18 watched her sibling walk towards the child for a moment and then directed her frigid blue eyes towards the fallen Trunks. Her hand darted up to her neck where the gash now marred her perfect flesh and delivered a vicious kick to the teenagerís stomach as she heard her brotherís executionary ki blast resound through the empty city.

"Next time you die Trunks Briefs" she vowed with a hiss. "The game is over for you."

* * * * *

What has become of our heroes? Find out in the Final Chapter of the Probe SagaÖ

Chapter 17: The Wish and the Promise


Table of Contents
Chapter 15
Chapter 17