Chapter Six - City of Illusion
‘City of Illusion’
AN: And so it has come to pass that I begath yet another new chapter. And it was glorious. Let’s see if I can keep up the pace set so far.TomorrowOutside
Somebody's outside, somebody's knocking at the door
There's a black car parked, at the side of the road
Don't go to the door, don't go to the door
I'm going out
I'm going outside mother
I'm going out there
Won't you be back tomorrow?
Won't you be back tomorrow?
Will you be back tomorrow?
Who broke the window? Who broke down the door?
Who tore the curtain? And who was he for?
Who healed the wounds? Who heals the scars?
Open the door, open the door
Won't you come back tomorrow? Won't you be back tomorrow?
Will you be back tomorrow? Can I sleep tonight?
Cause I want you...I...I want you...I really...I...I want...I...I...
I want you to be back tomorrow!
I want you to be back tomorrow!
Will you be back tomorrow?
U2 Album: October
Lyrics by Bono
“Learn how to see you must,” Yoda said reprovingly, “Think like a Jedi you are not.”
“That’s because I’m not a Jedi!” Buffy said annoyed, “You want me to think like a Saiyan? I can do that! But I’m not Luke Skywalker.”
Yoda looked at her, then he shook his head in dejection.
“Then help you I cannot,” he sighed. Then he put down the skateboard and stepped on it.
“Protect the Sister you must, the key she is. Be the Hero,” Yoda said as he looked over his shoulder. Then he pushed off and skateboarded away from her.
“Yeah, I get that now,” Buffy called after him, then she turned around and walked away into the other direction, “Dumb ass Muppet. At least tell who me the damn Beast is.”
“What?” Buffy asked sleep drunk, as she half opened her eyes.
“Buffy, you have to wake up,” Belmovekk said kneeling before her bed, “It’s 09:15. The funeral starts at 10:30.”
It took a few seconds for the spoken word to sink in. But then it hit her like a runaway freight train.
Moms funeral was today!
Any thought of the dream she just had was immediately pushed to the back of her mind.
Mom was dead!
She still couldn’t believe it.
Mom was dead!
Ever since Xander told her back in that desert now a week ago if felt like she had been living in a dream.
Scratch that! A nightmare.
A nightmare from which she just couldn’t seem to wake.
Mom was dead!
Today they were going to bury her mother.
She didn’t like.
She also knew that Belmo hated it as well.
The both of them had wanted to put her mother’s body on ice and then revive her in about an half year’s time when the Dragonballs would become active again. But Giles and Willow had been against it.
“You can’t just revive somebody who is still suffering from a sickness,” Giles had advocated, “I mean, she would just die again.”
“The Dragon has two wishes now,” Belmovekk had countered, “we would just use the first wish to take away her illness, and the second to bring her back.”
“What if the Dragon can’t take away her illness?” Giles had said, “The Dragon couldn’t change Android #18 back into becoming human because she was too powerful for him.”
“Giles,” Buffy had said, “Are you saying that the Dragon can’t beat a simple disease?”
“Well, it doesn’t seem to be a simple disease,” Giles had rebuked her, “Even though she suffered a brain aneurysm the doctors were unable to determine what caused. You yourself said you suspected the spell those monks had used. First it caused a tumor, now a brain aneurysm. What will it cause next? And might I add, once she has been revived and dies again it’s over. Forever!”
“One chance is still better then none,” Buffy had said undeterred, “And the Dragon might still be stronger then that spell.”
“Buffy, the Dragon couldn’t change Android #18 because she was too powerful for him. This is a spell that could reach through space and time. That is not an easy thing to do. Those monks really didn’t want us to find out.”
“I don’t care,” Buffy had said angry, “We should just do it.”
“Buffy, your mother died fairly quick and painless,” Willow had added, “What if next time it’s going to be even worse? She could die again in horrible pain.”
“Then do something to undo that stupid spell!” Buffy had demanded.
“But that could potentially unravel Dawn as well,” Willow had said horrified, “You cannot undo a part of a spell like that. It’s all…. interconnected.”
“Buffy,” Giles had said, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And I’m sorry to say but in these matters you only have a little knowledge.”
“So now I’m stupid?” Buffy had hissed.
“No,” Giles had said, trying to allay her when Belmovekk had placed his hand on her shoulder.
“Buffy,” he had said with a heavy heart, “Your mother has been taken away from you most cruelly. But if we bring her back to life, unless we can undo the spell, chances are she will die again. And undoing the spell means undoing Dawn as well. Your mother would never want that too happen.”
Angry words had followed.
Angry bitter words that would have made an Angry Marine blush through his ceramite armor. And she had then stormed out of the room.
Afterwards she had apologized to everyone and they had all forgiven her. When your mother dies you are allowed to vent a little anger at the universe. More arguments had followed and more angry stuff had been said. In the end it was decided to bite the bullet anyway and bury her mother now, rather then put her in cold storage for six months and then have to make the same decision.
Just to be safe though a special casket was going to be used that would delay the decomposition and still make revival possible.
It still felt like a betrayal though. While she understood the decision and after much discussion even agreed to it, the very thought that her mother was given up upon made her heart break.
Buffy sat up straight, then she stepped out of bed. Soon it was going to be showtime. Dance little monkey, dance!
Now she knew how Xander felt for all those years.
(Somewhere back in time and space, 7 days after the fall of planet Vegeta)
Standing in front of a plex window Mayan peered into the deep blackness of space.
It had been seven days.
Seven days since Freeza’s betrayal.
Seven days since Freeza destroyed planet Vegeta.
Seven days since Freeza sent out the Ginyu Force to eliminate the 7th regiment at Planet Merathri.
Seven days since her brother had gone missing.
In those seven days a lot had happened.
She had made it to the redoubt, following her brother’s instructions. As it turned out the redoubt wasn’t quite what her brother had made it out to be. It was a hollowed out asteroid, which was good, as that at least made it inconspicuous.
The redoubt was situated in a star system that the 3rd Regiment once had cleansed at great cost. One of things that had made it such a costly system to conquer was that the local natives were not all conveniently located on a single planetary body. Because as it turned out their information had been wrong.
The locals, a race without the means to travel across the stars had instead spread out across their entire solar system. There had been colonies on almost every planetary body in the system, many of them hidden. As the locals were also in a state of constant war with each other, those colonies were also heavily armed.
This of course was what lead to the high loss rates of the 3rd regiment.
Despite those losses however King Vegeta did not charge Freeza extra for those losses. Because he figured this was an opportunity too good to miss. The original homeworld of this species was to become a pleasure planet. A hedonistic paradise drawing in visitors from all over the galaxy. Which meant a constant coming and going of space ships. Which meant that it was hard to keep track for the new owners what was coming in and out of the system. Which meant that many of those former hidden colonies were now great hiding places. Thus fulfilling his paranoid dream of a secret redoubt for the Saiyan race.
Naturally in order to keep this a secret King Vegeta had to make sure none of the survivors of the 3rd Regiment would be able to talk. While his Infiltrators secured the most promising locations and eradicated the evidence of most other colonies King Vegeta secured the loyalties of those of the 3rd Regiment he deemed loyal and trustworthy and sent the remainder out to die. The 3rd Regiment was thereafter disbanded but as a final token of respect its standard was then placed at the Redoubt.
That was the best part.
The okay part was that the Redoubt had a small fleet of FTL capable ships, capable of reaching speeds greater then Saiyan space pods. But they were small and could only carry about half a dozen people at best. And there were only six of them.
And then there was the less then stellar part that the so called promised phalanx of infiltrators at the redoubt was not really a phalanx at all. They were a religious cult devoted to the worship of Priya. There had been many of those back on planet Vegeta, but these were the obnoxious ones. Not pacifists, because the only possible combination of the words pacifists and Saiyans in the same sentence was ‘look at those pacifists getting slaughtered by those Saiyans’. But they were as close to pacifists as Saiyans could get, willing to fight in defense but refusing to fight in the many wars fought on behalf of Freeza’s business empire.
This made them very unpopular back home. Because while Saiyans had an intense dislike towards those who refused to fight, they also tended to respect those who had proven themselves in battle and most of this religious order were former veterans who had served in the wars fought for Freeza. That at least made people still listen to them. Which in turn made them so very unpopular with the ruling elite.
In order to get rid of them King Vegeta had banished them to the Redoubt and charged them with maintaining the facility. Which they were willing to do as they weren’t real traitors. They just refused to fight for anything other then self defense. And the Redoubt was the last line of self defense for the Saiyan race. So rather then meeting the promised phalanx of highly skilled infiltrators as promised by her brother there were only the members of the Penitent.
Other then being annoying pacifists, the Penitent, most of them former veterans disgusted by the senseless slaughter and cleansing of planets, weren’t that bad. Naturally they had taken to hearing that planet Vegeta was no more as a sign of Priya’s displeasure with the Saiyan race. But they had also helped her rescue and find as many members of the 7th Regiment that were still out there.
She had managed to scrounge together about two of the five former phalanxes of the 7th regiment. Naturally Durkha’s phalanx had been lost from the start fighting the Ginyu Force. But only two of the four phalanxes that had gotten off from that planet had survived with their organization in tact. There were a handful of survivors of the other two and they had been amalgamated into the other two. But even those had now fallen below 40% strength. For all intents and purposes the 7th Regiment had now fallen to single phalanx strength.
Barely between a fifth to a quarter had survived.
As the adjutant of her brother she was now the last remaining staff officer and nominally in charge. In practice her authority was shaky as the commander of the 4th phalanx outranked her. But he was willing to accept her command as he was a close friend to her brother. The acting commander of the 5th phalanx however, subcommander Tal, did challenge her authority. The abrasive asshole had never risen beyond the rank of phalanx subcommander even though by now he was older then her brother. And now finally with his own phalanx he was spoiling to take over the whole regiment.
This was a challenge to her authority that she couldn’t stand for.
As she stood there watching at the stars she didn’t need a scouter to tell her that somebody was standing behind her. She also didn’t need a scouter to tell her who it was.
Commander Devi of the 4th phalanx was an old friend of House Rebar. Mayan remembered him visiting many times over the years. Her brother had offered him a place on his command staff but he had refused, preferring to lead his own phalanx instead. Despite that Movekk had consulted him many times in regards to planning the invasion of the Merathri home world.
“If you came here to change my mind then you’re wasting your time,” she said without looking, ”We will not abandon this facility until my brother returns.”
“You’re waiting in vain,” Devi stated matter of fact, “Movekk will not come. It’s been seven days. If he was able to shake off the Ginyu Force he would have returned by now. If he didn’t then further waiting will be pointless.”
“I don’t care,” Mayan said annoyed, “My brother would wait for me. What kind of sister would I be if I didn’t wait for him?”
“One who actually commands a regiment instead of just pretending that she does?” Devi said unperturbed.
A very angry over the shoulder death glare followed.
“Did that hurt?” Commander Devi said unrepentant, “Lets put things into perspective, shall we? Every day that we spend here waiting is another day when other Saiyans out there are dying. We should be out there finding others of our kind before we are the last of our kind. Need I remind you that you aside there are only seven females left in our Regiment? This is not enough to repopulate our species. Which brings me to my second point.”
“If Movekk knew of this place chances are others did too. If one of them falls into the hands of Freeza and his interrogators he may learn of this place. Therefore we must abandon this facility before he sends the Ginyu Force our way. I’ve spoken to one of the monks. They’ve found an abandoned colony in the outer cloud where we could relocate too. It’s very primitive but it wasn’t on the lists of the 3rd Regiment. We will be the only ones who will know.”
“And what if somebody were to still show up?” Mayan asked, “What if my brother still shows up and finds us gone?”
“The monks are confident that they can set up a trip wire alert that will tell us if somebody comes here,” Devi explained and held up a small touch screen with a star chart on it, “There are at least six relay beacons set up throughout this system that can send us a signal without giving away our new location directly.”
“That is a possibility,” Devi concurred, “But we have to do something.
Mayan looked at the small touch screen map and saw the system of beacons set up by the Royal Infiltrators. They were all in dispersal sites which were probably better alternative bases of operation. But chances were that somebody knew of them and could potentially lead Freeza to them. The facility the monks had discovered offered the best alternative.
“If we go out there looking for others we could also fall into the hands of Freeza,” she countered, “And anyone of us could lead him and the Ginyu Force back”.
“It’s a risk we have to take though,” Devi said, “Like I said. Including the monks we have about thirteen females, but only eight are still of child bearing age. This includes you by the way. If we are to survive as a species we must either find more women, or mingle with inferior species.”
“We will do no such thing!” Mayan said vehemently, “It’s an abomination against our holiest laws!”
“I agree,” Devi said and pointed behind him, into the facility where the survivors were, “But I can guarantee you that if we don’t get those men some women they will either fight each other to death over the remaining ones, or they will find some of those lesser species regardless. In times of necessity, necessity knows no laws.”
“Which brings me to my final point, Mayan. You must do something about subcommander Tal. Now that Murek is no longer there to keep him in check his poisonous influence will spread throughout the regiment. At a time like this the men crave leadership and authority to keep them busy and give them purpose. By endlessly waiting for your brother you give them neither. Meanwhile he will continue to speak ill of your command and challenge your authority. He will continue to undermine you at every step until he knows that your authority has been lost and a majority of the men will support him. Then he will challenge you to a fight.”
“Aren’t you a overstating the risk a little,” Mayan said back, “I mean, Tal is only a subcommander. As a commander you will still outrank him.”
“I am sure I will find myself with an accident before that happens,” Devi nodded calmly.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Mayan said horrified, “You’ve got your own phalanx. Surely he can’t kill you and not suffer the consequences.
“You forget Mayan that 5th phalanx has five of our surviving females,” Commander Devi said holding up all five fingers, “Which means that Tal has a choke hold on who can have sex or not. Do not underestimate the lure of vagina, Mayan. Especially to bored warriors cooped up with nothing to do.”
Devi looked around briefly to see if anyone was out there.
“You must kill Tall. And you must kill him sooner rather then later,” he said softly, “And you must kill him in such a way that his phalanx will get the message never to challenge your authority again.”
“That is….., quite ruthless,” Mayan said uncomfortable.
“We are a ruthless species,” Devi shrugged, “the sooner we do it, the better. Your brother would have done it already.”
“I am not my brother,” Mayan said as she looked away, peering outside the window again, “I’m not even worthy to be a member of his House.
“Lady Mayan,” Devi said chiding, like correcting a small child, “Until your brother returns you
are the head of your House. And right Tal is disputing not only your right to lead, he’s also insulting your House.”
“But I cannot fight him,” Mayan protested, “He is stronger then me and has more experience. I could never beat him. Let alone kill him. Not unless I train non-step for at least two years.”
“We do not have two years,” Devi said shaking his head, “You might not even have two days.”
“I know!” Mayan said. Then Commander Devi cupped his chin and began to smirk that famous Saiyan battle smirk.
“If it were a fight between two Houses then you and only and your brother could challenge Tal to a duel,” he smirked, then he smirked some more, “I know that this is what Tal banks upon. Of course this is not a fight between two Houses but a matter of military discipline. And as head of the regiment in order to maintain military discipline you have the power of life and dead. No army can function when its officers constantly challenge each other to duels instead of command. Especially the commanding officer. The Royal Household military code states that when a commander’s authority gets challenged he can order any subordinate to deal with the ‘problem’ on his behalf. Or hers for that matter.”
Mayan looked at Commander Devi.
“Commander Devi, are you volunteering to kill subcommander Tal?” she asked weary.
“No, Warleader,” Devi said shaking his head, “I want you to give me the order to deal with a matter of military discipline. Tal’s authority over 5th phalanx is not complete yet. He has at least seven survivors of 1st phalanx who don’t like him as much as the others. But we must act now.”
Mayan thought it over for a moment.
“What have we become that even when we are almost extinct we still end up killing each other?” she lamented.
“Crisis like this bring out the best and the worst in all of us,” Devi said stoically.
“Then do it,” Mayan said and looked away.
“Gladly,” Commander Devi said, “But only if you also agree to give up your foolish wait for your brother and abandon this facility.”
“You’re….., you’re asking the impossible,” Mayan said softly.
“I’m asking you to lead this regiment, your House, Lady Mayan,” Devi shrugged, “Lead it! Like your brother would have.”
Another hard stare into the stars followed.
Even though she hated giving up on her brother, she also knew that she now also had a greater responsibility. Even if her brother were to return, and she hoped for that miracle with all her heart, she also had to lead the survivors of her race.
Her father had once said that it wasn’t enough to simple survive or be. That one had to have a purpose to keep on living. That purpose could be a noble cause, a great idea. But it could also be pure naked ambition. Or pure and simple greed. Moral justification played no role in that purpose. Purpose didn’t condemn. The only moral failure was to not have any.
At the time Mayan and her brother had been mystified by their father’s words. How can purpose and morality be separate from one another?
Now she understood.
The universe didn’t care if a species died or survived. The Saiyan race was all but extinct and the universe had not shed a single tear in its passing. Obviously morality was a construct created by sapient species. Purpose is what you make of it. And right now their purpose was not just to live and hide. Their purpose was to live and survive as a species. Maybe they would never be able to fight the evil tyrant Freeza. Well, maybe they could fight him briefly but winning was neigh impossible. But Freeza had sought their extinction. And maybe by surviving as a species and as a culture they could deny him his victory and have their own.
And maybe that was all the purpose they needed.
And maybe it was something her brother, if he survived, would understand and approve.
She had a duty now.
It wasn’t a duty towards her brother, but to their whole race. It was a duty towards purpose. It was a duty towards victory.
“We will do as you suggested,” she said softly.
“Then I graciously bow to Lady Mayan, head of House Mayan,” Commander Devi said as he bowed his head and walked away. He seemed relieved, Mayan thought as she watched him leave the corridor.
If only she could say the same.
A large procession of military vehicles thundered through Sunnydale. So many in fact that some of its citizens feared that martial law had been reinstated again.
On the vehicles drove until they reached Caulfield cemetery. There the vehicles emptied their passengers. To a simple bystander it seemed like half the Pentagon had suddenly appeared in town. He or she would be surprised to learn that they weren’t that far off the mark.
From the SGC General Hammond had arrived bringing half his command staff.
“I am so sorry to hear of your losses,” Hammond said as he shook the hands of Buffy and Belmovekk, “You have our utmost condolences.”
“Thank you for your kind words, Warleader,” Belmovekk said solemnly, Buffy mumbled something as she looked like she wanted to be somewhere else very much right now. Considering that she had just lost her mother General Hammond didn’t take offense.
Patrolling the perimeter were the troops of Sunnydale Air Force base, augmented by the troops that Jamison had brought with him from the SGC. Also present was the first chi trained taskforce deployed by the Secret Service.
“Jesus,” one soldier whispered to another, “There’s more brass here then inside the Beltway. Is that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?”
“Sweet Jesus on a pogo stick it is!” the other soldier whispered back, “And the Vice-Chairman as well. And the Secretary of the Air Force.”
“Holy shit, that’s the White House Chief of Staff,” 1st soldier whispered impressed, “and the National Security Advisor.”
“There are at least three senators here as well,” 2nd soldier whispered.
A civilian delegation walked past.
“Are those Russians?” 2nd soldier whispered.
“That other guy sounded British,” 1st soldier whispered back.
“Who the fuck are they burying today?” 2nd soldier said as he saw three men walk past with a wreath decorated with a small French flag, “Mother Teresa?”
“I dunno,” 1st soldier said, “I just know that…..
From the sky came five people who landed just outside the cemetery. Two were women. Really good looking too. Two were human males, although one was on the short side. A lot. The fifth one however was green, huge, alien as fuck and wore a white turban with matching white Dynasty shoulder pieces and a flowering cape. Some of the soldiers at the entrance greeted the green giant like he was an old friend.
“He’s green!” 1st soldier said wide eyed, “He’s frikkin’ green!”
“You will be green if you won’t stop gossiping like some Sweet Sixteen teenagers on MTV!” a voice thundered behind them. As the two soldiers turned around they looked into the angry face of Major Richards.
“Sir!” the two soldiers said as they snapped to attention.
“Now, if I find you two ladies gossiping again I can find something better for you to do,” the major said angry, “Like cleaning the latrines for a whole month. Do I make myself clear?”
“Sir! Yes sir!” the two soldiers said.
While it was heartening to see that six months after the Cell Games they still weren’t forgotten, after a while all those uniforms and officials became one big blur to Xander.
And in a way it was also disheartening to see that so many people in high places knew who they were. It made him long for the days when it was just their little group and all they had to worry about was the next apocalypse. And maybe, just maybe, if they survived that one they could go back to worrying about how one other day, in some far away future, two deadly killer androids would come to ruin their day.
Yes, fame had its disadvantages, Xander mused as he stood at the entrance of Caulfield cemetery, greeting the guests. He now understood why Kurt Cobain had blown out his brains with a shotgun. Who the fuck wants to deal with all these executives, paparazzo’s and other scum when all you want to do is go on the road with the guys to the next gig?
The last week had been hard on everyone. And of course most of all on Buffy. It’s never easy to lose a parent. Especially if she’s basically the only one she had. Her father, the bastard Hank, he hadn’t even bothered to make a call, let alone show up. And that bastard had to know Joyce had died because Belmovekk had called him at least a dozen times, both at his current home address and with his secretary at work.
It was no secret that Xander hated his own parents. And he knew that if one of them died he wouldn’t lose much sleep over it. In his mind they had died a long time ago. Still, despite his strong dislike of his parental units Xander knew they still cared a little about him. His mother always send him a nice card for Christmas and his birthday and occasionally Tony would call and ask him how he was doing. They were short chats, but he appreciated the effort.
Okay, so maybe he would lose some sleep if one of his parents would die. If even Tony could put down the bottle just long enough to call him and ask him how he was doing, why couldn’t Buffy’s father call up his daughter when Joyce had died?
So, as captain of the ‘honor guard’ greeting the guests he was now under instructions from Buffy that in the case Hank were to show up he was to kick him back into the streets again. Belmovekk had disagreed, saying that no matter what Hank was still her father but she had been adamant. And to be frank she was not only his combat partner, she could now also kick the Big Guy’s ass. Which in Saiyan terms meant she now outranked him.
One of the more surprise arrivals had been former high school nerd Jonathan, carrying a large wreath on behalf of the Sunnydale High alumni society. The fact that their former classmates had both remembered and bothered to make this gesture made it all the more heartwarming.
Next to arrive had been Faith, other Buffy, Yamcha, Krillin and Piccolo. It was good to see some of the old gang again. And yes, after what they had all gone through during the Battle of Sunnydale and the Cell Games he considered them as part of the gang.
“Yamcha,” Xander said as he briefly embraced him, “Looking buff, dude. I hear that you opened your own martial arts studio.”
“Well, I figured that since I could never keep up with you guys I might as well become king in my own little empire,” Yamcha grinned.
“It agrees with you,” Xander nodded. And he wasn’t kidding. Yamcha’s performance during the Cell Games had been less then stellar due to lack of confidence. But opening a successful martial arts school seemed to have done wonders for his confidence.
“You wanna hear something funny,” Yamcha said conspiratorially as he leaned over, “You never guess who is one of my students nowadays.”
“I’ll bite,” Xander said.
“Bruce Schnitzengruber,” Yamcha winked.
“GETTHEFUCKOUTTAHERE!” Xander exclaimed in shock.
“He is,” Yamcha smirked.
“You’re kidding, right?” Xander asked in disbelief.
“No, he is,” Yamcha said serious, “And he’s not bad either.”
“Why would he want too?” Xander asked curious.
“Officially? Because he wants to be able to do some of the stuff we did, because if he can’t he’s afraid he looks bad.” Yamcha said.
“Serves him right,” Xander said disapproving, “Thunder stealing bastard.”
“Unofficially though, sometimes I think the main reason he does it is to prove something to himself,” Yamcha mused, “I think that deep down the man is so torn up with guilt that he wants to prove to himself that he’s relevant.”
“Well, he’s not getting much sympathy from me,” Xander frowned, then he turned to Krillin, “Krillin my man!”
“Xander,” Krillin said as he shook Xander’s hand, then he looked towards the cemetery, looking for someone.
“She’s not here, bro,” Xander said shaking his head, “Too many generals and politicians. They make her skittish.”
“Oh,” Krillin said a little disappointed.
Next Xander greeted Piccolo and Faith. Last he turned towards other Buffy.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi,” she said back.
“How’s Alex settling in?” he asked. The day after Joyce’s death she had come back to Sunnydale for her son. Figuring that even though being a Slayer and a single mom would be hard, it would be even harder for Belmovekk and Buffy to continue to take care of him.
“As well as can be expected,” she shrugged, “Luckily Tom has found a good nanny.”
“Yeah, I guess that would be helpful,” Xander nodded, then he briefly bit his lip, “Look, Belmovekk and Buffy, they said that if you want to you can sit with them. That you’re still family. That as far as they are concerned she was your mother too.”
“Thanks,” she said, “But no thanks. I’ll always be grateful to her for making me feel welcome, she was like the mother I no longer have, but in the end she was her mother, not mine.”
“I don’t think that…,” Xander tried so say but she cut him off.
“Look Flyboy,” she said in no uncertain terms, “I no longer give a rats ass what you think, I’m here for her, not you, get it?”
“Like crystal,” Xander said as she walked past him.
The others filed after her, except Faith.
“Are you okay?” she asked concerned.
“I’m not sure,” Xander said as he looked away, “I guess this is what it feels when you run into your bitter ex.”
“If you want I could put in a good word for you,” Faith asked, “Maybe not now, but later. When she’s more, uh, less bitchy?”
“No, it’s okay,” Xander said sullen, “I deserve everything I get. I fucked up.”
“Gee, pathetic much?” Faith said a little disdainful.
“It’s called making your bed and…..,” Xander tried to say, then he stopped and walked away, towards the street. There Spike came up carrying a bouquet of flowers.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Xander said both shocked and outraged.
“Look, Droopy,” Spike said condescending, “I’m not going to make a scene. I’m just here to pay my respects, then I’m out again.
“Like hell!” Xander said indignant, “And you're not leaving those.”
Spike looked at the flowers in his hands.
“They're for Joyce,” he said tentatively.
“Like you care about her,” Xander said dismissive, causing Spike to glare angrily at him. Then Faith jumped in.
“Guys, guys, not here,” she said as the two fighters glared at each other.
“Care?” Spike said angry, “Joyce was the only one of the lot of you that I could stand. I liked the lady. Understand, monkey boy? She was decent. She didn't put on airs. She always had a nice cuppa for me.”
Faith looked at Xander, who seemed unmoved..
“And she never treated me like a freak either,” Spike continued.
“Her mistake,” Xander said coldly.
“Fine!” Spike scoffed, “Think what you want.”
Then he threw the flowers to the ground and stomped off.
“Piece of shit,” Xander muttered angrily and walked back to the cemetery’s entrance. Leaving Faith to stare at the flowers lying on the street.
“Leave ‘em,” Xander said, “He probably stole them from some grave somewhere.”
(Somewhere back in time and space, 12 days after the fall of planet Vegeta)
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
Those were the words that Obi Wan had said to Luke back on Tatooine.
Of course not even George Lucas could come up with something that was more wretched then Mos Eisley.
But life always finds a way to imitate art.
And improve on it.
If you want to imagine the planet Rubanis take one part the industrial worlds of Blade Runner and The 5th Element, one part the licentiousness of the Mos Eisley cantina or the Tittie Twister bar from Dusk till Dawn, one part the betrayals of Reservoir Dogs or the constant switching of sides of the Good, the Bad & the Ugly. Tip it off with the Byzantine labyrinths of power like the forbidden palace of The Last Emperor. In a way it was also Ankh-Morpok from the Discworld novels but taken to grimdark extremes.
It was a planet considered so wretched, polluted and twisted that despite its great wealth it needn’t fear Freeza’s business of hostile planetary takeovers. And that was excluding its strong planetary defenses.
Of course a planet so wretched and twisted suited Freeza’s business practices perfectly and the evil tyrant visited his local office there frequently. With many of his clients being wealthy business men from Rubanis. His company’s stock even traded on the Rubanis stock exchange.
Rubanis was essentially a single city, it’s cities having merged into a single urban metropolis slash urban jungle. It was also a planet with a unique strong geographical caste system.
The whole planet was divided into five zones, called the Five Circles. They weren’t consecutive, but spread across the planet. And while there wasn’t always a clear delineation the people who lived there always knew in which circle they belonged.
The First Circle was the circle of industry.
This was where ordinary people tried to make a living working in the heavy industries that earned part of Rubanis’ massive wealth, the factory of this sector. Of course the people in the First Circle saw little of that wealth. But they were hard working people, be it with a tendency of lawlessness and anarchy. They also made up most of the people living on Rubanis.
The First Circle also caused massive pollution to the planet as a whole, enveloping the planet in clouds of smog. Which the people cheerfully ignored as the consequence of doing business on Rubanis. And of which they were even proud in a perverse way. Most Rubanians returning to the planet gladly inhaled the smog as the smell of home.
The Second Circle was the circle of business.
Think Wall Street on a massive scale. Trade across an entire galaxy was conducted here and the fate of whole planets was decided upon. Unlike the First Circle which was unruly and at times violent because of lack of regulation the Second Circle was well ordered and maintained. After all, doing business in the squalor and neglect of the First Circle wouldn’t do.
So there was none of the daily anarchy and live fast, die young approach that characterized life in the First Circle. All that mattered were the business hours and making money.
That didn’t mean that there wasn’t any anarchy in the Second Circle. Assassinations of business rivals were on the order of the day. Not a day went by when some office wasn’t hit by a bomb attack by its rivals. And any crash on the Rubanis stock exchanges, which happened quite regularly, would saw a rain of despairing bankrupt bankers and stock brokers plummet to their deaths.
It was the price of doing business on Rubanis.
The Third Circle was the one where those who earned their living in the First and Second Circle spend most of their money. It was the circle of shopping and entertainment. Anything you wanted, it was on sale here. Endangered species from a million planets, sex slaves from a million more. Exotic foods, fashion, consumer goods, everything was to be had here.
The Third Circle also was the Hollywood of the galaxy, creating vids and holos that drew audiences on almost every planet. Aspiring actors, actresses and actor-inbetweensomethings flocked to Rubanis for a shot at even being a background extra in one of the many lowly daytime soap operas.
Of course it was also the place to get absolutely hammered.
Some of the bars, casinos, entertainment palaces and brothels on Rubanis were renowned, household names on every planet. But most weren’t. These were the places where ordinary Rubanians of the First and Second Circles would come to relax and unwind. This was the circle where almost the entire planet met as equals.
But not all of them.
The Fourth Circle was the one of the aristopatrons. The leaders of the religions, the heads of the public services and the heads of the mega corporations all lived here.
It was a highly secretive circle. Nobody knew what went on there and although every person on Rubanis dreamed of making enough money to rise to this circle, only a bare few ever made it into this place. And the people who lived there were only rarely ever seen in public. While there were many enclaves of the first three circles spread across Rubanis there were only a handful enclaves of the Fourth Circle. These were the people that ruled Rubanis.
But not completely.
For above the Fourth Circle stood the Fifth Circle.
The Circle of Power.
Nothing was known of this place other then that it was the domain of the ruler of Rubanis, the Hyper Prince. Nobody had ever seen the Hyper Prince in person. He only communicated with his subjects via viewing screen. Nominally he was a figurehead with the aristopatrons in the Fourth Circle being in charge of the day to day running or Rubanis. But the defense grid and the medical department reported directly to the Fifth Circle and were the only two government services that were free of corruption. In no small part because they were staffed by robots. Especially the robot thanatoligists were greatly feared by everyone on the planet, from the slums of the First Circle to the mansions of the Fourth Circle, because they killed without remorse anyone with a potentially contagious disease.
A terrible practice, but also a necessity on a planet that drew visitors from a million worlds on a daily basis and public services who were so corrupt that even the people at the top wondered if they were still corrupt enough to understand it all.
Mayan hated being on Rubanis. It was a planet without honor. The very concept honor seemed alien to the people of Rubanis. They didn’t even have a word for it. And this was a planet with 30 words for deceit, 27 for betrayal and a whopping 67 for corruption. For the right price a person of Rubanis would sell his body and soul. And most likely throw his mother and firstborn in for free.
This was a dangerous planet for a Saiyan to be whose species had been declared species non grata by one of the most dangerous and richest men in the galaxy.
Of course if you could play your cards right that kind of corruption and deceit could be made to work for you. It required a dedicated mind set and skill that not only could survive in the cesspool that was Rubanis, but one which could actually thrive here.
One that like ordinary Rubanians adhered to the planetary motto.
On Rubanis everything works out.
Back in the hidden redoubt Mayan had taken back her authority by letting Commander Devi and his selected band of thugs lose on Subcommander Tal. Breaking into his stronghold chamber they seized the subcommander and took him with them to a secluded space, where they beat him within an inch of his life, then they spaced him. And when his body had stopped moving in the vacuum of space it was incinerated.
Personally Commander Devi would have preferred to have Tal thrown into the base’s garbage reclamation unit but the monks wouldn’t stand for it.
It had been a costly affair, for Devi’s raid cost the lives of two of his men and four of Tal’s. From the purpose of saving their species it had been an utter waste of good breedable stock.
After that came the question of what to do next. How to find and save as many members of their species that they could still find out there?
Which was what had lead Mayan to Rubanis in the first place. She had called a general war council of the survivors of the 7th Regiment and the members of the Penitent. And it had actually been one of the Penitent, a former Infiltrator, who had suggested that they should go to Rubanis. For if Freeza wanted to hunt down every known Saiyan down to the last child he would need to coordinate his efforts.
Which meant that every office of his business empire would have to be in on the operation. Gathering information. Sending it to the hunter teams. They needed that information to find those Saiyans before Freeza did. And according to Zucris, that former Infiltrator turned monk, Rubanis offered the best place to get that information. Raiding one of Freeza’s bases would draw attention that some Saiyans not on the list were out there. Using the prevalent corruption on Rubanis on the other hand would allow them to buy that information without drawing attention to them.
That is if they were to survive the treachery that was on that accursed planet.
Luckily Zucris had spent many years on Rubanis and still thought he had few contacts out there.
It was a lot for Mayan to trust the future of her race on an old man who was the Saiyan equivalent of a pacifist. But she felt she had little choice. She needed that information to find others of her species.
Of course then came the next question, where to find the money for the bribes that needed to be made.
There was some money at the Redoubt. King Vegeta had stored some of his massive fortune and loot at the Redoubt. But he hadn’t bothered to exchange it to a more convenient currency. Like any of the currencies that were commonly accepted on Rubanis, like the bloutok, or Ébébe pearls. In fact much of the currencies stored on the Redoubt were from planets ‘cleansed’ by Saiyans in the past, which meant that they were now only worth the material from which they were made. A general failing on the account of King Vegeta. One of many in her opinion.
When she had voiced this problem to Zucris the monk had shrugged it off using the planet’s motto.
“On Rubanis everything works out.”
She had come with the monk and two others to Rubanis and was now currently shacked up in a slum somewhere in the First Circle. Many visitors who came to the planet stayed in the Third Circle, where some of the best hotels were. Of course there were provisions for visitors in the other circles. Visiting dignitaries went to the Fourth Circle, business men went to hotels in the Second Circle and in the First Circle there were cheap dives for migrant workers, crews of cargo ships and economic immigrants.
These were particularly attractive because even though these were the most obvious, the First Circle was just too large, too anarchic and too impossible to police for the planet’s overwhelmed and massively corrupt police force. Zucris deftly bribed the police officers at the local spaceport to not give their ID’s and background checks too much attention, impressing Mayan by bribing them just enough to look the other way, but modest enough not to raise any suspicions. Which was, as Zucris later confirmed a major art form on this hellforsaken accursed planet. The only ones that Zucris couldn’t bribe were the robots of the thanatoligists as they checked them to see that they were healthy.
Of course they were immune to bribery and they reported only to the Fifth Circle, to which as Zucris said not even Freeza himself had access. Any information going there would thus be off limits to anyone, even Freeza.
Once they had made it into the First Circle Zucris bought them some cheap disintegrators.
“What in the name of the Seven Hells do we need disintegrators for?” she had protested.
“Because we don’t want to advertise our presence here?” Zucris had stated matter of fact, “Because even though this corrupt planet has a corrupt police force they are well equipped. And they can tell the difference between somebody killed with a chi blast or a disintegrator. Or that somebody was killed with bare hands. Use any chi attacks, or any hand to hand attacks for that matter and Freeza will know before the sun sets that Saiyans are on Rubanis.”
Before he had become a monk of the Penitent and banished to the Redoubt Zucris had spent many years on Rubanis and as it turned out while his network had degraded very fast in his absence, enough had survived to be of some use. Within two days he had managed to find a contact within Freeza’s organization willing to sell them the information they needed.
The problem was that the price was more then they could afford.
It was confounded by the fact that Zucris never interacted with the contact directly but had to use half a dozen in between contacts who all wanted a share of the money as well. Which ended up doubling the original asking price.
“How in the Seven Hells of Jerherherod are we going to get 1.5 million bloutoks?” she lamented after Zucris returned to their hideout, “We barely had enough to bribe the people we’ve bribed so far.
“Actually its 960.000 bloutoks,” the old Infiltrator corrected, plus 100.000 pearls of Ébébe, 90.000 Glods of Vlago-Vlago, 110.000 golden cones of Khoul, 150.000 triads of Belgazor and 80.000 Hegemonian standard value units.”
“Thanks for reminding me,” Mayan said dejected and slumped down in her seat, “How by the Seven Hells are we going to raise that kind of money?”
“The better question is whether or not there will be any of those Saiyans on that list left once we do?” one of the other two Saiyans called Hanzo said.
“Maybe we could rob a bank?” the other one said.
“Using only disintegrators?” Zucris snorted, “On Rubanis? You’d need a tank or a armed tactical squad.”
“Or we could just blast our way in,” the other Saiyan suggested.
“I think that would pretty much alert Freeza that we’re here,” Mayan said despondent.
“Your Warleader is correct,” Zucris agreed.
“Better that we have that information and Freeza knows we’re here and then to have nothing and let our people get slaughtered,” the other Saiyan said boldly.
“And how are we going to get that information back to the others?” Hanzo countered, “The moment we rob that bank as Saiyans Freeza’s goons will clamp down on the spaceports. We’d never make it off this hellforsaken planet.”
“Listen to your fellow warrior,” Zucris nodded in agreement, “Forget robbing a bank.”
“What about stealing a tank?” Mayan suggested, “You said it could be used to rob a bank.”
“Forget about robbing a bank,” Zucris said rolling his eyes in exasperation, “They are too well protected because this planet is so degenerated. Only the police and planetary defense have tanks and they’re too well guarded for us too steal, which means they’re expensive, which means they cost too much on the black market anyway. And any tactical squad we could afford to hire to rob a bank would disappear with the proceeds anyway.”
“Then what do you suggest?” Mayan asked, “Or do you suggest we sit here and do nothing for the rest of our lives?”
Zucris began to sport a very Saiyan smirk.
“As it so happens on Rubanis everything works out…..”
She had to be crazy to go along with this, Mayan said as she cautiously peeked around a corner.
Only to be met with a disintegrator beam.
Luckily for her while she couldn’t use her chi powers to fire back she was however allowed to use her chi to absorb the disintegrator blast and it flared harmlessly against her chi flames.
She turned around and signaled Maiten, the biggest of their group and carrying a large squad support disintegrator to lead the assault. Then she nodded Hanzo to follow suit.
“Go!” she yelled as Maiten left cover and advanced as he fired his massive disintegrator.
Advancing the three Saiyans rapidly made it through the corridor and soon they came eye to eye with the Zool mercenaries defending their target. Shooting them at point blank range the Saiyans quickly dispatched the blue mercenaries who died without uttering a sound. It felt disconcerting to kill enemies who were mute. It also felt disheartening to kill these Zools because they had fought bravely and because they were probably the only ones on this degenerated planet who actually had a code of honor.
Which was why they had been hired by their target in the first place. Incorruptible bodyguards were in high demand on this corrupt planet.
“The target is hiding in the panic vault,” Zucris’ voice came through their headsets. Not for the last time Mayan wished that they could have taken their scouters to Rubanis. But the technology was too contaminated. Only Saiyans and Freeza’s henchmen used the things so bringing them along was like basically giving themselves away. Luckily Zucris knew his way around computers and hacked into their target’s security system.
Stepping past the dead Zools Mayan and the others made it to the panic vault. The door, a massive duraluminum door could have halted any attacker. It was a door designed even to halt Saiyan strike force. A fully powered Saiyan Elite strike force might break through. A regular Saiyan strike force that had gone Ozaru might also have done the trick, although they would probably have been too mindless to do it.
Of course a Saiyan Infiltrator who knew how to hack into the system could also open the door.
And he did.
Not for the last time Mayan was amazed by Zucris’ abilities as she and the others stepped inside. The man must have been really high in the Royal Household before his fall from grace.
Inside the panic vault they found their target.
K’empeng was one of the biggest investment bankers on the Rubanis stock exchange and could easily afford more then enough security to ward off a small army. He just never figured that his rival at First National Investment would actually hire such a small army.
Who could survive everything his Zool mercenaries could throw at them.
“Please!” he pleaded desperately, “Don’t kill me! Whatever F’reak paid you, I can double it!”
“I have no doubt that you can,” Mayan said as she aimed her disruptor riffle at the sniveling banker. Zucris’ contacts had given him this job, assassinating this contemptible piece of shit. It even got them these nifty disintegrator riffles and Maitens assault disintegrator. Which they didn’t really need if they could only be what they really were.
They might even have tried robbing a bank with Maiten’s assault disintegrator. Of course that would have brought down the might of the corrupt police force on them. Because even corrupt people needed banks. But hostile corporate assassibations on the other hand, well, as long as it didn’t kill too many innocent bystanders wasn’t a real police priority.
“Please,” K’empeng pleaded and pointed to a vault on the wall, “I have money right here. Bloutoks? Ébébe pearls? You want them, I got them! I even have a Converter from Bluxte!”
“He has one?” Zucris’ voice said dumbfounded over the headset, “Get it! Our money worries will be over!”
She had no idea what a Converter from Bluxte was but by now she trusted Zucris’ judgment.
“Show us,” she said and the investment banker was more then willing to oblige. Pulling out a small cage that he held out towards Mayan.
“This is a Converter?” Mayan said surprised as she looked at the small rodent sized animal that was inside, “This is more like a swamp rat.”
“That swamp rat can create whatever you feed it, many times more,” Zucris’ voice said excited, “Feed it one bloutok and it will create as many as you need.”
“Are you serious?” Mayan said as she examined the little creature inside the cage, “This little critter?”
“King Vegeta once sent the whole 5th regiment to Bluxte to catch one of those ‘little critters’,” Zucris’ voice said in disbelief that Mayan had never heard of a Converter from Bluxte, “They hunted one for more then a month before they had to withdraw. Without success I might add.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Mayan said incredulously, “A whole regi…..”
As she was distracted the business man reached for a gun and aimed it at her. Instinctively she reached out to kick the man.
Only to be suddenly yanked backwards by Maiten who threw her behind himself.
The business man’s gun fired off a projectile that hit Maiten on his chi shield. But instead of bouncing off harmlessly against his chi flames it slowed down, but as it did it managed to worm itself past his chi barrier and then spew forth a hail of hot metal that embedded itself into Maiten’s exposed flank.”
“Shaped charge!” Maiten yelled in pain, “He’s got a shaped charge gun!”
Before the investment banker could reload his gun. Mayan pushed her disintegrator rifle into his face and fired off at point blank range. Screaming in intense pain the investment banker died a painful death as his scarred body fell to the ground.
“What happened?” Hanzo yelled as he entered the panic vault.
“Maiten got shot with a shaped charge gun,” Mayan explained, pointing to the gun on the floor.
“FUCK!” Hanzo yelled and knelled down next to Maiten, “Are you okay?”
“I’m really fucked,” Maiten groaned, “I’ve got metal imbedded all over in me.”
“Damn shaped chargers!” Hanzo said angry.
The shaped charger was a gun designed specifically to attack energy shields. Because the principles were the same they were also often used against chi fighters. They worked on the principle of the projectile working themselves inside an energy shield, then releasing a hail of molten metal on the person inside. You could defend against that by maintaining a high chi in your body instead of extending it as most Saiyans and others preferred to do when fighting non-chi fighters, as it was more economical. And of course really powerful warriors didn’t have to worry about a shaped charger. At least not in gun or rifle form. But when faced with a main battle tank or battleship with a shaped charger….
Thank Priya the damn things were both expensive and cumbersome to use, being single shot weapons.
“We have to get him to a hospital,” Mayan said, but then Zucris’ voice came over the headset.
“That’s a negative. Our first priority is to the mission. Acquire the funds to purchase the List. After that comes taking advantage of any potential resource on our way. If we take Maiten to a hospital our mission will be compromised.”
“But he could lose his arm!” Mayan protested.
“Then he loses his arm,” Zucris’ said unperturbed, “You are Warleader now, not commander, nor subcommander. Your responsibility is to our race as a whole. Not some individual member. Don’t like it? Tough luck.”
“H-he’s right,” Maiten said through gritted teeth, “M-mission comes first.”
“Idiot!” Mayan said beratingly, “Why did you pull me back? I could have kicked him before he took the shot!”
“Y-you would have left m-marks,” Maiten groaned, “C-clues for the p-police. W-would have tipped off Freeza.”
“See, Warleader?” Zucris’ voice said over the headset, “Even he understood.”
“What? And his blood doesn’t?” Mayan said as she pointed to the blood that was now dripping from Maiten’s wounds. It wasn’t much because molten metal pretty much cauterized most wounds but there was still some.”
“You can remove it using the DNA incinerator I gave you,” Zucris’ said, “Aim it at every inch of the panic vault and everywhere you went. Secure whatever resources you can find. Then go back to the hideout and wait for me. I will try to get some medical supplies for Maiten. Keep the wounds clean. We don’t want it to get infected and get the Thanatoligists on our backs. And whatever you do, don’t forget that Converter. It is beyond priceless.”
What a strange animal, Mayan thought as she studied the Converter. The strange creature seemed a mixture between a hedgehog with feathers and a hamster. It was also extremely grumpy as it had tried to bite her when she took it out of its cage back at the hideout. It also seemed strange that a whole Royal Household regiment had hunted for one of these for a month in vain. It just sat there on the table, next to its cage looking at her.
The Converter and its cage weren’t the only things on the table. There were also large stacks of cash, precious metals, jewels and anonymous convertible bonds. Bloutoks, Ébébe pearls, Poutibloks, SVU’s. There was a small fortune on the table. Not enough to pay all the bribes, but just looking at it made Mayan feel a little more hopeful.
Too bad the same thing couldn’t be said about Maiten, who was lying on the bed and bearing the pain like a true stoic Saiyan warrior. Hanzo was tending to his wounds and had extracted some of the pieces of metal imbedded in his arm and shoulder.
Another metal pellet was dropped into the bowl.
They were lucky that Hanzo had been experienced in battle medicine.
Damn it! She should have handled it better. Instead of reacting instinctively she shouldn’t have let herself get distracted and used her disintegrator rifle instead. Sure Saiyans trained their bodies to peak perfection with little to no regards to shooting weapons, she should have been more then just a set of reflexes. She should have….
A ringing noise and the door to their room slid open and in walked Zucris’ carrying a a bag of supplies.
“I come bearing gifts,” the old Infiltrator slash monk said, placed a stack of bills on the table, then he saw the Converter and examined the animal up close, “Good! You brought it back. Excellent!”
“Is that the money?” Mayan asked.
“1.4 million bloutoks. Zucris’ said, “Let’s hope you managed to get us the rest. Wow, a real Converter. I’ve never seen one before in real life.”
“And did you get something for Maiten?” she asked, to which Zucris’ waved dismissively to the bag.
“I’ve got some pain killers and disinfectants,” he said, eyes transfixed on the animal.
“That will not be enough,” Hanzo said, “He needs medical support. At the very least an auto doc. The disinfectants will halt any diseases for now, but unless we get all of the metal out it can still cost him his arm.”
“You know what I said about hospitals, and auto docs costs money we can’t spare,” Zucris said.
“I thought you said this…. thing could make money for us,” Mayan said to the Converter, “Why not have it make us some money so we can buy an auto doc?”
“It’s not so simple,” the old Infiltrator said, “It has to be conditioned to obey its master. Right now it’s probably conditioned to obey only that banker.”
“Then it’s useless to us,” Mayan said and raised her fist to smash the critter. But then Zucris’ reached out and stopped her.
“Do that and we die,” he said, eyes wide open.
“Why?” she asked curious. Then Zucris’ pointed to the Converter.
“That ‘thing’ has more energy then a giant fusion reactor,” he said calmly, like chiding a child, “Destroy it and we’ll all go into the air.”
“How can that be?” Hanzo asked shocked.
“I told you,” Zucris’ said, “It’s a Converter. A Grognon from Bluxte. It can convert energy into matter. As long as you do not over exert it there is no limit to what it can produce.”
“T-that implies a p-pretty big limit,” Maiten said weakly.
As they waited for their contact to return Mayan and Zucris sat in a bar in the Third Circle in a private booth. Attached to her belt was the cage with the Converter. This was Zucris’ idea thinking that through continuous exposure to her and low telepathic contact they could condition the critter to her and get it to obey her. It had growled and hissed a lot all the way to the Third Circle but now it seemed silent, possibly asleep. Something which Zucris’ found encouraging.
What Mayan on the other hand didn’t find encouraging was that the old Infiltrator was now already on his third glass of Rubanian ale. A very potent drink as she found out herself, a barely touched glass in front of her testimony to that.
“Shouldn’t you be taking it slower?” she said pointing to his glass.
“I can take it,” Zucris shrugged.
“Are you sure?” she asked wearily.
“It’s none of your business,” Zucris said defensive.
“I’m making it my business,” she said and took away his glass.
“Great!” Zucris muttered aggrieved, “ she’s suddenly growing a spine.”
“What’s gotten in to you?” she asked surprised.
“It’s none of your business,” the infiltrator huffed.
“You’re part of my command now,” she said leaning over, “You are my business now.”
The Infiltrator looked away for a moment.
“Fine,” he finally snorted, “You wanna know? I killed a man today. Even though I swore never to kill again unless in self defense.”
That reply caused her to raise an eyebrow.
“When did you kill?” she asked surprised, “And more important, who did you kill?”
“Our client,” he shrugged.
“You mean…., the guy we killed that banker for?” she asked surprised, “Why?”
“Because he was a loose end?” Zucris’ said looking away, “Because there is always a risk that he would betray us? He knew I was Saiyan. And after all, this is Rubanis. Treachery is a way of life here.”
“I see,” Mayan said softly.
“No you don’t,” Zucris’ said bitter, “Because at heart you’re still a child. The spoiled sister of Movekk. And while you act like you’re the Warleader you have no clue still what it means. The hard choices that you have to make. That I made.”
He leaned forward and pointed a finger at her like his hand was a gun.
“When our client handed me over the money I looked him in the eye and saw that he was going to betray us. He didn’t say it. He didn’t threaten me with it. But in his eyes, everything that I know, every experience of my life, my whole training, they all screamed at me that he was going to betray us. There was no evidence. There were no signs. Just a hunch, a gut feeling.”
“And on that gut feeling I betrayed my vows never to kill in self defense. I killed him and his bodyguards, took the money and made sure there was no evidence to link our kind to that crime. I murdered again. May Priya have mercy on my soul.”
“And you know what, Warleader? I would do it again in a hard beat and damn my eternal soul because we are in it now for the survival of our species. I can no longer afford to err on the side of caution. Even if it means breaking my sacred vows. I again did what I swore never to do again. Those are the hard choices we have to make. And until you make them as well you don’t get to tell me what I do or do not get to drink.”
Before Mayan could say anything a shifty young Rubanian male walked up to them and sat down next to her, opposite Zucris.
“Nice girlfriend you have,” he said, “Can I have her?”
“You could never afford her, Ky-Gaï,” Zucris chuckled.
“Not even with the money you’re paying me?” the young man asked grinning.
Zucris pretended to think it over for a moment.
“Well, I suppose you could,” he said deadpan, “but you wouldn’t be able to enjoy her for long.”
“Females! What else is new?” the young man chuckled, then he took out a small data pad, “Here’s that thing you wanted.”
“Good,” Zucris said approvingly, picked it up and briefly glanced through the data, then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a small stack of bills, “Here’s that thing you wanted, 80.000 SVE’s. Planning to go to the Hegemony?”
“Well, you know what they say,” the young man said and picked up the money, “Sometimes a change of scenery is good for the soul.”
“You’ve got a good point there,” Zucris agreed.
“ Here’s to seeing you never again,” the young man said, got up and left.
“You’re not going to kill him?” she asked curious.
“I saw no betrayal in his eyes,” Zucris said studying the info on the data pad, “But you’re free to go after him.”
“Oh, I will,” Mayan said and got up and draped a large drab cloak around herself.
“Now you’re getting it,” Zucris said approvingly, “Be sure to only use your disintegrator. And if you can, try to retrieve the money. If you leave the money with him the police might get suspicious.
By the time arrived at the cemetery and she stepped out of the military vehicle Mayan’s stomach had recovered enough to no longer need a barf bag. Which these Tau’ri warriors had offered her in abundance with sadistic pleasure. As soon as the plane she had been on had touched down in this Sunnydale she had been hurling chunks almost nonstop. And judging by the amused looks from some of the Tau’ri warriors they knew this would happen.
In the old days insults like these would not have gone unpunished. Whole planets had been exterminated for less.
Of course those had been the days when they still had the full backing of their entire race. Those had been the days when the name Saiyan stood for terror and destruction, not a bounty of 1.5 million bloutoks.
These were the days that required diplomacy, not firepower. It required a new kind of Saiyan. One for which the Penitent were more suited then she was.
As her car moved from the airport to the cemetery whenever she wasn’t throwing up Mayan tried to take in the place that her brother was living.
Her brother was still alive! She still couldn’t believe it. After all these years when she had given up her brother was still alive. And here of all places. In this time. It was almost enough to make you think Priya had a guiding hand in it. It also explained so much though. Especially those chi wielding renegade Jaffa who dared to call themselves Sons of Priya and who fought and died in the Goddess’ name. He was probably also the one who had taught both them and the Tau’ri the art of chi combat as that Tau’ri commander called Jamison once referred to him as Satiya.
Her brother had changed though. Aside from his looks, especially those godawful tattoos and his changed hair, it was clear that he had gotten older. A lot older. Some of the Tau’ri warriors she had spoken with had said he was thousands of years old. It seemed too ridiculous to believe, but they clearly believed it.
She couldn’t ask her brother. After he received word that his Tau’ri mate had died he had disappeared and she hadn’t seen or heard from him since. Today was going to be the first time she was going to see him again. And it made her nervous as hell, because if her brother had changed that much that he would even consider getting a mate from one of the lower species, what else had changed?
The place he lived in, Sunnydale, was primitive beyond belief. It was one of the odd things that had baffled so many about the Tau’ri, how a race that on the one hand was so incredibly primitive, also managed to play well above its weight.
She had asked the soldiers to drive past her brother’s home, so she could see. It was even more primitive. Beyond what she would have used as a tool shed in the past. And from what she had gathered it wasn’t even his home, it had belonged to his mate.
And now she was at the cemetery. At the entrance a young man greeted her. She recognized him from the desert where she had landed. As she passed him he said something.
Glancing over her shoulder at him Mayan was briefly puzzled.
“What did he say?” one of the soldiers asked.
“Welcome,” Mayan said as she shrugged it off. He probably had learned it from her brother.
“Vayasma,” the soldier said, trying to get the pronunciation right.
“You’re forgetting the glottal stop,” she corrected, “Va’iyasma, not Vayasma. That means something else.”
“What does that then mean?” the soldier asked curious.
“Not something you can repeat in a formal occasion as this,” Mayan said amused.
As she looked around at the cemetery she recognized others. The Tau’ri commanders Jamison and Hammond she knew intimately by now after her week of interrogation and forced stay at the SGC. She had seen some of the others there as well. Government officials were all alike, no matter what planet they came from. They had wanted to know if there were more Saiyans and where they were. She had told them nothing of course.
In return the warriors of the SGC didn’t tell her much about them either. But that was okay. She didn’t come here for them. They did tell her the one thing she did want to know.
Freeza was dead.
As was his father, King Cold.
Which meant that her people were now free!
From where she was standing Faith could see that B. was falling apart. And hard.
Even S. could see it.
“She’s close to breaking point,” other Buffy said as they observed Buffy and Belmovekk accepting the never ending stream of condolences.
“You see it too?” Faith asked, to which other Buffy let out a snort.
“Puhlease. When my mother died I cried for days and smashed everything to pieces that I could find. I was a friggin’ basket case. All things considered ”
“Yeah, but your mother was murdered,” Faith countered, “Joyce just died.”
“Out of the blue,” other Buffy said back, “Trust me, hearing that made it hard even for me. Mo…., Joyce… was niceness personified. It’s like losing my mother all over again.”
“You’re not going to fall apart, are you?” Faith asked concerned.
“I’ll live,” other Buffy shrugged, “Thing is, unlike her I learned how to grow a thick skin. She still has to do that.”
“Yeah, you’re a regular ray of sunshine you are,” Faith said, then she looked aside and her jaw nearly hit the floor, “Holy crap!”
“What?” other Buffy asked.
“It’s a Saiyan.”
“What? You never saw a Saiyan before,” other Buffy snorted, “There’s Veggy and that other guy who is dead, Forrest Gump.”
“Well, unless Veggy had a sex change operation and grew some tits I beg to differ. It’s a she!”
“Getthefuckouttahere!” other Buffy said flabbergasted and strained her neck to see the new arrival. Which was a female Saiyan indeed.
“Who the fuck is that?” Faith said stunned as the female Saiyan flanked by some soldiers walked past her.
“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” Piccolo said behind her, sounding supremely smug, “That’s Belmovekk’s sister.”
“Sister?” other Buffy said, her jaw nearly hitting the floor, “I thought she was dead? Moe told me his sister was dead.”
“Apparently the rumors of her demise were grossly overstated,” Piccolo grinned, “She arrived a week ago.”
“You knew!” Faith said angry, “You knew, you green asshole! Why didn’t you tell us?”
“What? And miss that delicious look of surprise on your face?” Piccolo smirked.
“You’re an asshole!” Faith said aggrieved, “You’re an evil, evil bastard.”
“Of course I am,” Piccolo smirked some more, “I used to be the Demon King, remember?”
“She doesn’t look anything remotely like me,” other Buffy said stunned.
“What?” Faith asked.
“Moe always used to say I reminded him of his sister,” other Buffy explained nodding towards the Saiyan female, “And Xander always said that Belmovekk thought the same of her as well. But now that I finally see her she doesn’t look anything remotely like me.”
“Maybe the resemblance is based on behavior?” Piccolo suggested, “It doesn’t have to be physical you know?”
“I dunno,” Faith mused as she examined the female Saiyan, Buffy and then other Buffy, “I think she has the same nose as you two.”
Faith touched the tip of other Buffy’s nose.
“All three of you have this cute thimble on your nose,” Faith smiled, then she winked, “I think it’s really sexy.”
Both Piccolo and other Buffy facepalmed themselves in unison.
Meanwhile the female Saiyan had made it to Belmovekk and Buffy.
For a moment she said nothing, looking her brother in the eyes. Then, before anyone could react she reached out and slapped her brother in the face.
“That is for never coming back to me, like you promised,” she said in a bitter tone of voice as Belmovekk rubbed his cheek.
Then she reached out and slapped him again.
“And that is for breaking our most ancient laws, mating with an inferior harlot,” she said grim.
Before she could react Mayan was knocked to the ground and her head dazzled, like it had been hit by a sledgehammer.
is for my mother,” Buffy hissed angrily, then she shook her fist at Mayan, “My mother is not a harlot, you crazy Saiyan bitch!”
As she saw it happen Faith began to laugh.
“Yeah, now I see the resemblance.”
(Somewhere back in time and space, 16 days after the fall of planet Vegeta)
As Rubanis disappeared in the viewport Mayan let out a sigh of relief. If she never, EVER had to see or set foot on that accursed world EVER again she’d at least die a happy person.
Most of their money was now gone, having been spent on getting the information they needed. And of course on the necessary bribes to get off the planet. Rubanis was truly a strange planet. On most worlds you only bribed officials to get in or off unnoticed. On Rubanis you had to bribe officials or you would
Luckily she had managed to regain some of it by killing their last contact. When she had returned to the bar with the money and put it and her disintegrator on the table Zucris’ had nodded in approval.
When you were in it for the survival of your species it was indeed best not to leave a trail behind that could be traced back to you.
Although what they were going to do with Hegemony Standard Value Units remained to be seen. It wasn’t the most widely accepted currency outside its own territory. Still, every resource helps, right.
Zucris had to offer additional bribes to make the police ignore that Maiten was obviously hurt and in a great deal of pain. But as he explained, that too the police would have found suspect if they hadn’t been bribed for that as well.
“So why is it okay to offer bribes to the police but wrong for us to have gone to a hospital? We could have bribed the doctors as well,” Mayan had asked.
“Because Freeza has offered 1.5 million bloutoks in reward for every Saiyan that gets captured,” the old Infiltrator had said back, “Because to those police men Maiten is just some injured criminal trying to get off this planet. But any doctor would soon realize that Maiten is a Saiyan and as soon as he did he would have ratted him out to Freeza.
“Lousy planet!” she had snorted.
“It ain’t so bad once you get the hang of it,” Zucris had shrugged.
Once they had taken off and transitioned into hyperspace Mayan had joined Zucris in the ship’s mess.
“So, have you made sense of that thing?” she asked as she sat down next to him.
“Amazing,” the old Infiltrator said, his eyes glued to the datapad, “Whatever else he is Freeza cannot be faulted for being thorough.”
“So I take it that thing was worth everything we paid for it?” she said, looking at Maiten, who was lying on a cot with sweat flowing from his face from the pain.
“Freeza even managed to access the records from the Royal Auditors,” Zucris said, not paying one bit of attention to Mayan’s concern with Maiten.
“You know, you could at least pretend to care about your injured comrade,” she said snide.
“Why?” he said as he briefly looked at her, “Would it help him in any possible way? Or are you just trying to allay your own guilt by making me feel uncomfortable?”
“You’re tongue is too sharp, monk,” Mayan said sour.
“Funny, King Vegeta said exactly the same before he banished me,” he said and gestured towards the datapad, “Do you want to harp on about Maiten’s pain or do you wish to know what his pain has bought us?”
Mayan gave him a brief death glare, then she sighed.
“Okay,” she said, “What did you learn?”
“According to this datapad there are still 328 Saiyans out there. Warbands, a few Infiltrators, but most were not out there in any official capacity. Merchants, traders, scholars, pilgrims, the works.”
“328,” that’s still a whole lot,” she said impressed.
“Yeah, well, that number includes the 7th Regiment as well,” Zucris said and winked at her, “So don’t count yourself too rich.”
“So how are we going to save them?” she asked.
“Well, it’s good of you to ask,” Zucris said and tapped the datapad so it projected data in holographic mode between them.
“Three warbands?” she exclaimed as she saw the data, then she looked at Zucris, “There are three warbands out there still?”
“Well that one was really far away,” Zucris said, “practically beyond the edge of our galaxy. In the Argolis cluster. But I wouldn’t get your hopes up, Warleader, even now Dodoria is on route to them and he’ll get there before we even make it back to the Redoubt.”
“What about the other two,” Mayan asked.
“They’ve made themselves scarce,” the monk explained, “They’ve heard of Vegeta’s destruction and have gone into hiding. Freeza considers them to be the biggest threat right after your regiment. Zarbon has been tasked with finding them and he has the Ginyu Force on standby.”
“If you ask me I think we should write the warbands off,” Zucris said as he looked at Mayan.
“Why?” she asked surprised, “We could use their firepower. Even one of them gives us basically another phalanx.”
“You’re ignoring the big picture by focusing on a detail,” Zucris said and pointed to the data, “Our job is not to recover more warriors for a last stand, it’s to gather enough survivors so we can survive as a species. Zarbon and the Ginyu Force are hunting the warbands and us. Every day that they remain at large means that the mainstay of Freeza’s forces are tied up. You know who Freeza put in charge of killing all the others? Cui. Cui can never catch them all by himself. If we write off the warbands as intrinsically lost regardless and instead focus on saving as many of the others as we can probably save a lot more. And I might add, there are only 8 females in all three warbands. The others offer us a lot more females. And as long as we have more men then women men are simply more expendable.”
“You’re a real asshole, you know that,” Mayan said bitter.
“Funny, King Vegeta also said the exact same thing,” Zucris said unperturbed, “Right before he said that other thing that got me banished.”
“I can see why,” Mayan said.
“Here’s something that’s so absurd it becomes funny,” Zucris chuckled, “Prince Vegeta is still alive.”
“What?” Mayan exclaimed, “How in the seven hells did he survive?”
“Apparently it pleases Freeza to keep his royal highness alive,” Zucris said as he brought up the relevant data, “Vegeta is alive and well at Freeza’s own headquarters. Exempt from eradication on Freeza’s personal orders. Together with his personal retinue.”
“Why would he do that?” Mayan asked flabbergasted.
“Maybe the rumors of Freeza taking a shine to the young prince’s ass were true?” Zucris winked at Mayan.
“Ah, that’s disgusting!” Mayan said and looked away in disgust.
“I take it the young prince is not a candidate for a rescue,” Zucris asked smirking.
“You damn well know we can’t attack Freeza directly,” Mayan said and waved dismissively, “Give me others we can rescue instead.”
“Unfortunately a lot of the others are of advanced age,” Zucris continued, “Most Saiyans who become businessmen do so after they consider themselves too old for the martial arts. Who use their loot to make more money instead of going out to loot some more. There are at least a hundred of them, 23 of them female. But most of them of advanced age. I wouldn’t put too much priority on them either.”
“You’re awfully eager to write off our own kind,” Mayan said bitter.
“It’s all about nice to have and need to have, Warleader,” the old monk said, “Trust me, if I could I would save them all. Unfortunately I can’t and neither can you. These are promising though.”
Zucris brought up a group of twelve names.
“Those are teenagers from a school who are on a year long sabbatical and survival training to the planet T’schai. Because the planet has no space port and they would only be picked up in seven months time Cui has rated them as a pretty low priority. Easy pickings for us and the best thing is that five of them are females of prime child bearing age.”
“I agree,” Mayan nodded.
“I’d consider this also a high priority pickup,” Zucris said and brought up a new name.
“But he’s an old man,” Mayan said surprised, “I thought women and young people take priority.”
“First, good thinking,” Zucris said approving, “You’re starting to see things in the right light. Secondly, the man is a 4th level master in Radi'itsu and Lokta'itsu. If we are to survive as a culture we need people who can teach us our own culture.”
“I see,” Mayan nodded. Then she and Zucris proceeded to work a schedule as to who would pick up who on the list once they had returned to the Redoubt.
“That’s not a whole lot of people,” Mayan said after they had finished their own little list, “It barely doubles our number. If we manage to rescue them at all that is.”
“I know, and it worries me greatly,” Zucris said, then he looked at her in earnest, “What would you think of doing the unmentionable?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, both curious and dreading the answer. For a so called pacifist monk Zucris could be utterly ruthless.
“Like I said earlier, Freeza even had access to the records of the Royal Auditors,” Zucris said and brought up a new list, “That means he knows where each of the Weak Ones were sent too. And once he finishes those other survivors he will come for the Weak Ones as well.”
The Weak Ones of course were those Saiyans who were deemed at birth to have low growth potential and were sent away into space as orphans.
“You do realize the Weak Ones were sent away to die, right?” Mayan said shocked, “Lest their weakness diminishes us as a species.”
“Not all of them die,” Zucris said, “The Royal Auditors do keep an eye out to see which ones have survived. There are about 5254 of them who have survived. And many of them are females. And the best thing of all is that Freeza has classified them as lowest priority. Which means we can retrieve more of them.”
“I-I don’t b-believe it,” Maiten groaned from his cot, “I s-s-acrificed my arm so w-we c-can rescue the W-weak Ones? So we as a species c-can go b-backwards?”
“Well, better backwards then extinct,” Zucris said deadpan.
Maiten groaned as he sat up and looked at Mayan.
“P-please tell me t-that we’re n-not going through w-with this madness,” he said with gritted teeth, “t-the Weak Ones are t-thrash. P-pests t-that we d-discarded. W-we’re not Z-zoms. We’re Saiyans! W-we d-don’t make a living s-scrounging t-through garb-bage.”
“Well, right now we’re even lower then the Zoms,” Zucris said calmly, “Because
at least they still have a planet. Even if it is the galaxy’s garbage dumping ground.”
“The Weak Ones are barely Saiyan,” Mayan said, “They’re feral children at best.”
“And whose fault is that?” Zucris countered and pointed to the list, “Look, we can talk genetics all we want, but these could make the difference between surviving as a species or us becoming a very small inbred group of space hillbillies. Yes, our collective powerlevel will probably take a nosedive, but if we survive we can start anew.”
Mayan said nothing as she thought things over for a while. Causing Maiten to look at her in exasperation.
“P-please t-tell you’re n-not actually g-going t-to listen t-to him?” he asked.
“We have no choice,” Mayan said after some thinking, “We can only save about a third of the people on that list before Freeza notices that somebody’s rescuing them. And we need more survivors.”
“I c-can’t b-believe w-what I’m hearing,” Maiten groaned as he laid down again, “I s-sacrificed my g-good arm s-so we c-can save d-degenerates and inbreds. I w-wish I had d-d-died.”
“He’s right,” Mayan said dejected, “I feel unclean having reached that decision.”
“Such is the nature of command,” Zucris said and gave her an understanding smile, “If it makes you feel any better I feel in desperate need of a shower as well.”
“I’m going to sit with Hanzo up front, you work out the details,” Mayan said and stood up. She was about to walk away when she stopped and looked at the old monk.
“I almost forgot,” she said hesitant, “but…., my brother…, is he on that list as well?”
Without looking Zucris shook his head.
“I’m sorry, Warleader, but your brother was reported as being destroyed by a spatial anomaly thirteen days ago.”
“That wasn’t very smart.”
As Mayan, sitting on a grave, massaged her left eye which was rapidly swelling shut somebody handed her a pack of ice.
“Here, that might help against the swelling,” one of the soldiers said.
“Thanks,” Mayan said and pressed it against the left side of her face, “By the seven hells of Jerherherod, she hits like a Targanian razorback.”
“I take it that is a very nasty beastie?” the soldier remarked.
“Bite your head off,” Mayan said back.
The soldier knelt down in front of her.
“Look, I don’t know what happened between you and Satiya, but I fought at the Cell Games and I’ll tell you, you don’t mess with the Slayer. I still have nightmares of that day. You don’t mess with her and get away with it.”
“What’s a Slayer?” Mayan asked curious, to which the soldier stood up.
“I said too much already,” he said guiltily. He turned around to walk away when she grabbed his hand.
“Tell me, warrior to warrior,” Mayan asked as she looked into his eyes, “Is she his daughter?”
The soldier gave her an odd look, then his eyes grew big.
“What? God no,” he said shaking his head, “she’s not his daughter. Although he acts like she is.”
Then he pulled his hand free and walked away. Leaving Mayan alone with her pain and the ice pack.
What in Priya’s name have you gotten yourself into, my brother, she thought, have you forsaken our race? Fallen in with the lower species?
For a moment she relieved their separation, Devi telling her to give up on him then Zucris telling her he had been listed as dead on Freeza’s kill list. All the long years since where she had tried to move on, lead her people as best as she could. Keeping up a stern exterior, but deep down hurting because she still missed her big brother. And now he was alive and not only had he never bothered to look for her, he had cavorted with lower species.
Right now she wished that the ground would open up and swallow her.
It was then that she noticed that someone had approached her.
She opened her good eye and saw two children looking curiously at her.
They were Saiyan children, their little tails swaying gently behind them.
And yet they weren’t. She could see the little tells that told her they were halfbreeds.
They must be his, she thought, children of a Tau’ri harlot. Abominations!
“Are you our auntie?” one of them asked curious.
“That depends,” she said a little hesitant, “Is Movekk your father?”
“My daddy’s called Belmovekk,” the child said.
Yup. They had to be her brother’s kids because according to the guys at the SGC Belmovekk was what he called himself nowadays. Further signs of him straying off the true Saiyan path.
As a true Saiyan she shouldn’t even be talking to these…. abominations. Instead she should be vaporizing them on the spot.
But alas, it was hard to be a true Saiyan these days. They already had to water down the wine when they had rescued quite a number of the Weak Ones. And not even the ones who had proven themselves. Diplomacy, not kill ‘m all and let Priya sort them out was now the name of the game.
Also, despite her beliefs Mayan couldn’t hold it out against these kids. Children were sacred now with the Saiyan survivors. They literally couldn’t get enough of them. They might be abominations, they couldn’t help it though. Their father was to blame, not them.
“Willow says you’re daddie’s sister,” the other kid asked, “That your name is Mayan.”
“That’s right,” she smiled weakly, “I’m your father’s sister, I’m Mayan.”
“I’m Mayan too,” the kid smiled, “My name is Mayan too.”
In Priya’s name, she thought shocked, then a tear rolled down her cheek as she felt elation, he named her after me. He did remember me.
“Well, Mayan, nice to meet you,” she said and held out her free hand so the child could shake hers.
“My name’s Dawn,” the other child said quickly, fearing she was going to be the odd wheel out on this newly budding relationship.
“And hello to you too, Dawn,” Mayan said as she shook Dawn’s hand as well.
“Wanna hear something funny?” Mayan jr. said and held up a locket that was hanging around her neck, then she opened it and showed a picture that was inside. It was a picture of Buffy Summers, the girl who had decked her. But only with black hair.
“That’s me from the future,” Mayan jr. said.
“From the future?” Mayan sr. said frowning, “How can you have a picture of yourself from the future?”
“Cause it’s not you, dummie,” Dawn said and gave her sister a not so gentle push, “Is an alterate future. So she’s not you, is a different you.”
“You’re just jealous because you didn’t come here with Trunks, there’s no you from the future,” Mayan jr. said and stuck out her tongue, “You don’t exist! Haha!”
Mayan sr. couldn’t make heads or tails from this conversation but something strange had definitely happened that she didn’t know off and she figured these kids might clue her in into more stuff then the warriors of the SGC would.
“How did she come from the future?” she asked.
“Witha time machine. She came with Trunks. Her boyfriend,” Dawn said, then she stuck out her tongue at Mayan jr., “You’re gonna marry Trunks, you’re gonna marry Trunks!”
“Who is Trunks,” Mayan sr. asked.
“You don’t know?” Mayan jr. asked, “He’s the son of Vegeta.”
As her jaw hit her knees Mayan sr. let the ice pack fall to the ground.
Prince Vegeta was still alive as well?
(Somewhere back in time and space, 46 days after the fall of planet Vegeta)
Sometimes it sucked being right so often, Zucris thought, with irony so bitter it was best not squeeze if for its juice.
“They’re closing in on us,” Maiten said agitated, then the one armed Saiyan looked at the old former spy turned spy again, “Now might be a good time to get moving again.”
“Relax, good friend,” Zucris said calmly, “We leave once we have delivered our message.”
“Then deliver that god damn thing!” Maiten yelled, “The Ginyu force is only four minutes behind us and closing. Even with one arm I don’t wanna die!”
Zucris said nothing and calmly waited for the red light to turn green. After what seemed like an eternity the thing began to blink, then it turned green.
“Finally!” Maiten sighed in relief and started the space ship again. As soon as he did the ship began to accelerate until it went fast enough to go FTL again.
Elsewhere, four lightyears away, a relay beacon exploded after having passed on the message.
“I am making some course corrections,” Zucris said and punched in some new data on the console. As soon as he saw the new data Maiten looked at Zucris in horror.
“We’re not going back to the Redoubt?”
“My good friend Maiten,” Zucris said as he leaned back in his chair and smiled a weak smile at Maiten, “We have the Ginyu Force on our back. If we go back we would lead them right to the last of our kind. We were dead the moment they spotted us. I’m sorry, I seem to forever cause great hurt to you.”
Maiten looked at Zucris in bewilderment, then he looked away and sighed. Then he looked at the old Infiltrator again.
“Do you think we might be able to take one of those bastards with us?”
Zucris began to smirk a very large Saiyan battle smirk.
“Let’s find out.”
“We approached our target planet at 05:34, Warleader. We were about to descend when we came upon an unidentified space craft in orbit. It bore the markings of the World Trade Organization. It also bore the personal mark of Cui.”
“We immediately abandoned the pickup but the space ship gave pursuit. We performed a series of evasive maneuvers and at one time we even thought we had shaken them, only to have five space pods suddenly come upon us. It could only be the Ginyu Force.
“In my assessment our rescue efforts have been compromised. The sheer tenacity with which they follow leads me to conclude that they are on to us and have been so for a while. I therefore strongly advise that you execute warplan Samekh three.”
“I’m sorry I can no longer be of service to you, Warleader. Avenge us through victory!”
Mayan and Commander Devi watched Zucris’ report in her office in the new redoubt.
“What do you think?” Mayan asked Devi.
“Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later,” the commander said stoically, “It just happened sooner then I hoped for. Although I have to admit it happened later then I expected.”
“Optimist!” Mayan snorted, then she sat down despondent.
“What is warplan Samekh three?” Commander Devi asked curious.
“Something Zucris and I came up with,” she said sullen, “Actually mostly him.”
“I now know so much more then I did a sentence ago,” Devi said sarcastic. If it was intended to draw a reaction from Mayan it failed as she stared ahead blankly.
“What’s the tally?” she finally asked.
“Excluding Zucris and Maiten 673,” Commander Devi said, “And we have one more ship incoming with nine more.”
“That would make 682,” Mayan said dispirited.”
“Most of them are Weak Ones,” Devi said with some disgust, “I’d count only 150 as true Saiyans, and that’s including the monks.”
“So few, so few,” Mayan lamented as she stood up and changed The Number on a white board, “So damn few of us.”
“What is warplan Samekh three?” Commander Devi asked again.
Mayan didn’t respond, instead she walked back to her desk, pulled out a datapad and gave it to the commander.
“Take a ship and go to those coordinates,” she said.
“What will I find there?” Devi asked as he studied the datapad.
“Another ship,” Mayan replied, “An interstellar cruiser. An old explorator. A big one. Zucris managed to obtain it. It’s big enough to carry all of us.”
“So that’s warplan Samekh three,” Devi said as he pocketed the datapad, “We’re relocating.”
“Actually, we’re not relocating, we’re abandoning. We’re taking everyone we managed to save and we’re going to leave this galaxy.”
“You…., you’re abandoning all the others still out there?” Commander Devi said shocked, “That would mean their death sentence.”
“It’s about the survival of our species, commander,” Mayan said gloomily, “Freeza is on to us. He will now focus his efforts on us. It’s a simple numbers game. We can wait and rescue more of them and run the risk of Freeza finding us and killing all of us, or……., we cut our losses and run and at least manage to save 682 of us.”
“Wow,” Devi said both horrified and impressed, “I never figured you would become this cold hearted and calculating so fast. I think your brother would feel proud of you.”
“I don’t feel proud,” Mayan said dismissive, “I feel dirty. Very dirty.”
“Where are we going?” Commander Devi asked.
“There is another galaxy to the Galactic East of us,” Mayan said, “It’s being ruled by a loose alliance called the Systemlords.”
“I have heard of them,” Devi nodded, “The Goa’uld. But they have dealings with Freeza. The World Trade Organization does business there as well. I would hardly call that galaxy safe. The 6th Regiment was deployed there once. Maybe we should go somewhere else instead? Somewhere where the WTO hasn’t been yet?”
“We don’t know where the WTO has dealings. They did not use us for everything. For all we know they are active in all surrounding galaxies,” Mayan countered.
“Then what makes that galaxy so special?” Devi asked.
“We need allies,” Mayan said, “We’re to few to survive on our own. While the Goa’uld do business with Freeza and the WTO, they are not his allies. They also fight amongst each other. There are bound to be some of them who could use their own mercenaries and who would be willing to shelter us in return.”
“That’s a lot of assumptions.” Devi countered, “What makes you think they will help us?”
“Zucris had served with the 6th Regiment in that galaxy,” Mayan said, “He developed some contacts there. He left to me. He told me to seek out a certain Goa’uld. One called Ba’al”
Joyce’s specially sealed steel coffin had been carried in by six men, including Xander, Piccolo, Yamcha and three soldiers of Belmovekk’s Bastards. They lowered the coffin into the ground and then formed an honor guard next to the grave.
“We commend to almighty God our sister, Joyce Summers,” a priest spoke, “and we commit her body to the ground. Earth to earth... ashes to ashes......and dust to dust.”
“HONOR GUARD!” a sergeant major in Marine dress uniform shouted to a Marine honor guard. They then raised their rifles into the air and fired three times each.
Then the grave diggers put the first shovel in the sand and poured it into the grave.
“The Lord bless her and keep her,” the priest continued, “The Lord makes his face to shine upon her and be gracious to her. The Lord lift up his countenance upon her and give her peace.”
Then one by one all the attendants shuffled passed the grave and said their final goodbye.
Across the street, just out of sight of a nearby Secret Service detail, somebody watched the whole proceedings with interest. A blonde woman in a red dress. It was too far to see for the human eye but she had no need for binoculars.
She had much to think off.
AN: By the way, Rubanis comes from the French science fiction comic Valérian and Laureline, created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières. Which is awesome and has been inspiring me for a long time now for this story. They’ve been doing them since 1967 and chances are that George Lucas and his artwork people have been pilfering ideas from this series for a long time. Mézières was also involved with Luc Besson for the 5th Element, with Bruce Willis as a flying taxi cab driver in futuristic New York directly inspired from Mézières’ Rubanis in The Circles of Power. Awesome shit, which I’ll only borrow for non-commercial purposes. Honest! Not making one cent here!