Chapter Fifteen: Mr. Satan To The Rescue

Mr. Satan had a head on his shoulders; most people didn't believe it, but it was there, and every once in a while he listened to it. Today would be one of those times.

After the Asukimaiya Plastics Corporation had exploded, Mr. Satan had on a hunch called his daughter; such bombastic and unexplained events usually had one or the other of the "Z-Warriors" at the heart of it, and there was rarely a better source of information than Videl. Sadly, that was the way he found out that he no longer had a son-in-law.

He was at Videl's side almost before that young woman had the chance to hang up the phone.

There, in tears (but bouncing Pan on her hip to keep the infant from joining her), Videl had recounted all she could learn from Juuhachi-gou - and then had had to go, so-sorry-otousan-but-Chi-Chi's-still-in-the-hospital, leaving Mr. Satan alone with the baby; babies were considered bad for terminal heart patients. He had looked meditatively into Pan's smiling eyes and thought that it was ironic that she, like her mother, would have to grow up without one parent. And that it was not fair.

It was not fair at all.

Growing suddenly very determined, Mr. Satan had driven to Chi Chi's residence and left the babe in the care of the Ox King. Then he had gone hunting.

He knew Satan City; knew it as only one could who had been raised in its streets, had overcome its hardships and eventually become its hero. He thought he knew just where the aliens who had hurt his daughter had gone, and as a matter of fact, thought it was a very good idea to go after them. But not alone; no. He wasn't that stupid.

So, steeling his courage, Mr. Satan had done a very brave thing: he had gone to talk to Piccolo.

The green fellow still scared the crap out of him, truthfully, but he knew from Gohan's recountings that there was not a more worthy or trustworthy warrior anywhere. Piccolo, who was at the Capsule Corporation along with Chaou-zu and Yajirobe, had offered his services at once. Juuhachi-gou was called; bereaved she may have been, but the chance to get at her husband's killers was worth putting off the traditional mourning period and showing up for a fight. Then, Mr. Satan led them all into the circuitous underground of Satan City.

In the tunnels down there - sewers for the most part but huge enough to make one wonder what else they had originally been for - they had found what they were looking for almost immediately; apparently one of the late Z-warriors had managed to hit somebody. From that point on, it was easy. Too easy.

Following the haphazard spatterings of oddly-colored blood, the warriors had made their way further and further into the maze under Satan City, making good time and angry as hell. They would not be turned away this time.

Now, however, Mr. Satan was beginning to think that perhaps this had not been such a good idea.

They had found their goal - all five of the Saiyan (?) warriors, gathered together by one of the bigger drainage pipes, silent as death and occasionally creeping out to look towards the sky as though expecting God Himself to come for them.

Only they didn't look like Saiyans anymore; they still had wild, spiky hair, but that was where the resemblance ended. In fact, although it was hard to see in this half-light, it almost appeared that their skin had no color in it at all...

Kuririn had been spotted almost immediately, and chaos had summarily erupted.

"Kuririn!" shouted Juuhachi, and then ki shots were everywhere and no one was moving slowly enough for Mr. Satan to see them. Taking his cue, he moved silently into a darkened corner and waited it out.

He was horrified to see the enemy winning.

"Bean! Ki-capture!" ordered the alien apparently in charge, and without waiting for further instruction the soldier under command whipped out a strange staple-gun looking thing and started firing it at them. The result was horrific.

A small, bent, energy band came out - indeed looking very much like a staple - and expanded instantly to wrap itself around the middle of the good guy in question. Without fail it hit them, froze them, and slammed them into the wall, where they stayed.

It took only moments for the three remaining warriors to be captured.

Piccolo howled.

"No!" he cried, and raising his hands at the elbows tried to fire a ki blast at somebody; but as he did, white tentacles of power - emanating from the band pinning his arms to his waist - shot through his entire body, making him scream and writhe until he fell unconscious.

"Ha!" said the soldier who had shot the things. "That's got you."

"You... won't..." but whatever Juuhachi had been going to say was cut off as the same thing happened to her; her agony, however, ended sooner. As soon as she stopped trying to power up, it stopped.

"Ha!" said the soldier again; apparently his vocabulary was somewhat limited. "Don't use your ki, baka; powering up is what activates the band."

Chaou-zu, wide-eyed, did nothing - and nothing happened to him.

"That's a good little... boy," said the non-Saiyan, glaring curiously at him with solid black eyes. "You know, it's funny - with that white skin, you almost look like... what do you think, Artichoke? Could he be one?"

Artichoke the commander scrutinized Chaou-zu carefully. "Nope," he said. "Too puny. Heh." The five whatever-they-were's gloated hungrily over their captives, and not one of them seemed to notice that Mr. Satan was not among them. Creeping on silent feet (he was almost as good at sneaking as Yajirobe), he sidled behind them and into the further corridor, where Juuhachi had spotted Kuririn.

Or what was left of him.

"What happened to you?" he asked, leaning down concernedly beside Kuririn's limp body; the little man barely had the energy to breathe.

"Eh, the usual," Kuririn answered as off-handedly as possible. "They just got a little hungry, is all."

"Don't talk any more," Mr. Satan said. "I'm getting you out of here."

"Well, well - looks like one got away," someone said from behind him, and Mr. Satan froze.

"Shoot him," came the order, and Mr. Satan dodged to the side faster than he'd ever dodged before. The ki-constraint missed him and fizzed harmlessly into the wall. Standing and turning regally to face them, Mr. Satan scowled. He was beginning to get very ticked off.

"How... how dare you!" he said, Gohan's smiling face and Videl's crying one floating before his eyes. "You have no right!"

The alien facing him snorted dismissively and shot again; this time, his aim was dead on. The beam hit him full in the chest...

...and fizzled out the moment it touched him.

Mr. Satan looked down at his unhampered chest curiously; the criminal looked with him. Mr. Satan looked up; the bad guy met his eyes. Mr. Satan smiled.

From the other corridor, the only warning the remaining four aliens had that all was not going their way was the quick, sharp sounds of hand-to-hand fighting; it ended in a gurgled cry. Artichoke looked up curiously.

"What was that?" he asked, moving away from 18. "Is something wrong with Shitake's ki-wrap?"

His answer hit him in the face.

Shitake, neck broken but still alive, came flying from the other room and landed on him.

"Blast him!" Artichoke shouted from under Shitake's weight, and the three standing warriors turned to do what they were told. Mr. Satan, however, had anticipated this, and stood in the darkened doorway with the ki-capture gun in his hand.

"Oh, no you don't," he said, and shot them all - one, two, three - before they even got a chance to move. They screamed briefly and then were silent, pinned to the wall and glaring. Artichoke stood up.

"You have practically no ki," Artichoke said, looking warily at Mr. Satan.

"Parlor tricks," said Mr. Satan out of habit, and watched Artichoke carefully. He didn't know how many shots this thing had left, and he had seen (almost) how fast this alien could be.

Artichoke smiled.

"Indeed," he said, and with no further warning launched himself in Mr. Satan's direction. Mr. Satan fired - and Artichoke batted the beam away.

"I know how to re-angle my ki, baka," he said menacingly, and then was on top of him; apparently, able to re-angle ki or not, Artichoke didn't want to risk being shot at again.

There was a brief struggle; Juuhachi and Chaou-zu watched, unable to help, trying to figure out what was meant by "re-angling ki" so they could get loose. Piccolo still hung like a bug on a card, unconscious.

"Haha!" laughed Mr. Satan victoriously, and got in one lucky punch - lucky because Artichoke was as fully capable a fighter as a middle-class Saiyan and there was no way that Mr. Satan should have been able to hit him. His fist connected squarely with Artichoke's impossibly angular jaw and just about broke his face.

Not one to walk away from an advantage, Mr. Satan waded in after the slightly dazed Artichoke and promptly beat the crap out of him.

Enemies subdued, he then walked up to Juuhachi-gou and Chaou-zu ran his hands through the ki-staples holding them against the wall; the energy bands fizzed and immediately disappeared.

"Catch him," he said then, referring to Piccolo, and freed the limp Namek as well. Juuhachi dutifully caught him. Mr. Satan nodded. "Now grab your husband and let's get out of here."

"But what about them?" Chaou-zu started, pointing at the bad guys.

"Do you really think we'd even be able to hold something like them captive?" he added quietly, and Juuhachi nodded once in understanding.

"You're right," she said, handing the unconscious Piccolo to him. "I have one more thing to do." And before Mr. Satan got the chance to stop her, 18 raced over to the wall and beheaded the remaining aliens - one, two, three. She simply fried Artichoke until there was nothing but ashes left.

"Now, for my husband," she said coolly, and disappeared into the far hallway to get him.

Mr. Satan stared. He gulped once. "Glad she's on my side," he muttered, hoisting Piccolo's bulk onto his shoulder.

They were long gone by the time Ru Sa's rescue pod arrived.

***

All of the good feelings Cumber had had toward Gokuu were rapidly diminishing as the younger man panicked.

"But... but..." He was dancing from foot to foot now.

For heaven's sake... "Gokuu, he's fine. I'm sure of it." Well, no I'm not really, but there's no need to tell you that, now is there?

"But... but... I CAN'T SENSE HIS KI!!!"

"His ki? Is that all?" Cumber sighed and place both hands - surprisingly strong hands - on Gokuu's shoulders to stop his frantic dancing. "Look," he intoned. "This is Junsei Aion - nearly the whole ship is plated in Junsei Aion. Both parts. You can't sense ki through Junsei Aion, do you understand me? You couldn't even sense us coming at all to earth, remember? You picked us up on the satellite and that was it?" Gokuu stopped panicking.

"You're right," he said, his voice dropped a few intervals from freaked-mode. "I couldn't sense you. So... Goten's probably all right? But what if Gohan... what if..."

"Listen Gokuu," said Cumber, and then was unable to believe what came out of his own mouth. "Gohan wouldn't have died if he hadn't been snooping. All right? I know that for a fact. No, I won't tell you who did it," he sighed; if anyone ever found out he'd even had this conversation, he'd be in for it. "The likely hood of that happening to Goten is zero to none. At least, from the same source."

Gokuu considered this; he studied Cumber's kind but wary eyes, and he calmed down.

"Okay," he said quietly. "But if there's a problem of any kind..."

"Then it won't be your fault," said Cumber evenly. Or mine, he told himself, but for some reason he didn't believe it. "Just calm down, Gokuu, you can't do anything to help him now."

Gokuu took a deep sigh and considered his options. "Maybe I should go home," he said suddenly, not knowing quite what prompted him to do so.

"Ah - that's a nice idea, Gokuu, but you can't really..." Cumber looked closely at him. "Damn, you mean it, don't you? How do you plan to do it?"

Gokuu looked up. "Like this," he said, and pressed two fingers to his forehead. "I'm going now," he said, "but I'll be back. I promise..." and then he paused. "No - I can't go," he said. "Because I can't sense your ki, I wouldn't be able to come back." Now he looked truly distressed.

"Gokuu," said Cumber with a consolation he didn't really feel. "It'll be all right."

"You promise?" asked Gokuu, looking up at him with hurt, child-like eyes, and Cumber could not bring himself to lie to him. He just didn't answer at all.

Gokuu looked back, meeting Cumber's gaze. His own made the change from child to adult, and Cumber blinked. "I understand," said Gokuu quietly, and without another word turned away and went to see if the exercise room were still intact. For Gokuu, working out his problems meant a literal working out - in the physical sense, of course. Cumber watched him go, nonplussed.

"What a man," he said to himself when Gokuu had turned the corner. "What kind of a man is that?" he asked as a follow up, and then had to wonder: "What are we doing to him?"

Shaking his head slightly, Cumber turned the other way and walked toward the central control room, in which was located the strongest communicator on the ship. He didn't want to miss the expected call from Ru Sa.

***

Interlude 15.1: Vejiita - First Conflict

Vejiita blinked his eyes and gaped stupidly at the transformation his "room" had undergone. Since the ship's separation, it had become not the auxiliary bridge but the main one, and all the lights were on and the consoles up and running. He froze.

"Come on, papa," insisted Bra, pulling him into the room.

"But... Bra... there's probably someone here..."

"Not yet there isn't, and they're not coming here for a while yet. They're too busy looking for you."

"And I'd have to be crazy to come back here," Vejiita muttered to himself and followed his daughter's insistent tugging.

"Besides," she continued. "You're still stronger than they are - at least, your ki power is, and they all know that. It's just their weapons you have to watch out for."

"Weapons?"

Bra was leading him toward the navigational console now, and Vejiita noted that their course was set for earth - no attempt at deception now, just straight to earth.

"What?" he wondered, and considered screwing with the program; but no, who knew where they'd end up then, and he still had Bra to take care of.

Then he wondered why he hadn't thought of the solution before.

"Bra," he said. "Are you still connected with any of these people?"

"Sure," she answered off-handedly, but her little mien was troubled.

Vejiita started to ask her what was wrong, but pushed the question aside; they did not have time for such things. "Do you remember if any of them knew anything about escape pods? This is such a well laid-out saucerer ship; I'm hesitatant to believe that they have no pods."

"Yeah," Bra answered, and was about to say something else when her father abruptly grabbed her up and raced like the devil to the back room. Just in the nick of time; that slight tug he'd felt in his ki was one of the pseudo-Saiyans. In fact, it was Chive.

She looked awful. She looked rather as though someone had gone the full ten rounds with her and then torn her clothing just for good measure. Grumbling, she made her way to the control console and started pressing buttons.

Tip-toeing very quietly - flying would use too much ki and cause his detection - Vejiita made his way up to her from behind and prepared to break her neck. Chive paused. She sighed a deep, way-weary sigh.

"If you're going to kill me, Vejiita, you could at least make it quick. I, your humble subject," she said with heavy sarcasm, "would be eternally grateful."

Bra came out from Vejiita's room, blithely disobeying her father's orders.

"Chive," she said concernedly. "Why did Ru Sa hurt you?" Chive turned around and Vejiita confirmed that she was, indeed, very hurt - although less so than he'd initially thought.

"The Captain," she said bemusedly, "didn't approve of the way I handled Kakarotto's youngest son. He thought, in fact, that I contributed heavily to that young man's disappearance. So, he 'dealt' with me. Heh." Chive put her hands on her hips and looked smug. But Vejiita was a connoisseur of people - beaten and otherwise - and he knew defeat and resignation when he saw it. It made him sick to his stomach. Whoever would have the asininity to beat one's own mate...

Something of this may have shown in his look, because Chive suddenly went on the offensive.

"And you have a problem with this?" she asked him shrilly. "You? Of all people, YOU? The grand general of Saiyan commanders? The living embodiment of 'warrior supreme?' Ha!" She glared at him. "You pathetic man, trying to live up to standards of a people that no longer exists, reaping the benefits of the planets you destroyed - and you DARE to pass judgment on me? HA!"

Vejiita actually took a step back from this tirade; she was yelling things at him that he had thought, perhaps, in his darker moments, that he had wrestled with when sleeping and dealing with guilt that could never surface in his mind when he was awake...

He bumped into his daughter and stopped. He looked up at Chive.

"You are Sheinri-Tsu," he said quietly, and looked at her in soft but wary wonder.

Chive stopped her forward movement - he just realized at this point that she had been walking toward him - and changed tactics completely. Instead of attacking, she put her face in her hands and started to weep.

Vejiita blinked; this kind of change in emotions was one thing he had been used to on earth - he had been married to Bulma, after all - but for reasons he did not understand, Chive's tears were pulling on his heart. Without knowing what he was doing, he took a step toward her.

"Chive..." he said gently. Bra leaped forward and grabbed his arm.

"No, papa!" she shrilled. "It's a trick! She's... doing something to you! She's ... doing..." and suddenly she swayed on her feet and fell down. Vejiita caught her. He looked back at Chive to see that woman's face - already much healed from what it was - pulled back in a horrifying grimace, teeth bared and eyes blazing. Her intense gaze was locked onto Bra.

She was doing this.

She was doing something to his daughter.

Growling deeply in his throat, Vejiita lashed out at her and slammed Chive backwards; the woman - with nary a sign of a bruise on her face at this point - hit the far wall and slid behind the console. Vejiita flew after her.

When he had her up by the throat he spared a glance back to Bra - the girl was still on the ground, out.

"Let GO of her!" he roared at Chive, pressing harder. Chive looked at him and parted her lips gently.

...kiss me... seemed to come to his mind out of nowhere, and Vejiita came very close to doing just that. Then he blinked, shook himself, and concentrated on his unconscious daughter's body flung on the floor like a rag doll.

"Bitch," he hissed at Chive, and began to lay into her with a will.

Apparently deciding her present tactics were not working, Chive fought back in weird and wonderful ways. Suddenly, her neck - which had been firmly in Vejiita's grasp not a moment before - changed substance, absorbed Vejiita's hand into it, then resolidified; his left arm was effectively trapped.

"What..." he started, but then Chive was laying into him, and he had the briefest of moments to wonder that he had ever felt badly that Ru Sa had beaten her up; and then he was on the floor, on his back, knocked dizzy by the pure force of her blows. Chive was on top of him.

"And here we are, my Prince," she said caustically, now pinning his arms above his head and leaning over him. "We would have ended up here sooner - and more pleasantly for you - if you'd just listened to me. I am not Sheinri-Tsu, baka," and she spit in his face. "I am Kyuujinshu, old beyond your belief and more powerful than your puny mind can ever comprehend. And you are mine, and you will give yourself to me, or I will kill your puny daughter." She gloated and grinned, wiggling on his torso until she felt she had a position of total supremacy; her legs clamped so tightly around his middle that he could barely breathe.

Bra... thought Vejiita, and he tried to push Chive away - but whatever his daughter had said about his ki being stronger, she'd neglected to mention that in brute strength, Chive overpowered him.

Vejiita had never felt so humiliated in his life.

"You think Ru Sa would like this idea?" he spat at her, and tried to pull his arms away from hers. It was like being in an iron clamp; he could not move.

"Baka," she said again. "He would not care what I did with you, as long as I let him drink from you afterwards. You're very important, you know; you pure-blooded Saiya-jin are hard to come by these days." She leaned even closer, her breath tickling his nose. "And you, being pure-bred on top of that - genetically superior as one of the royal blood, descended from the original Super Saiyan - why, I do believe you are very valuable indeed. Oh yes, you are. Now," she said, sitting up again. "What will it be? Your pride? Or your daughter?"

Vejiita blinked. Wondered, for one moment, if it were worth the sacrifice...

Then he seemed to hear a voice that he had not heard in so long that it almost - almost - took him a moment to recognize it.

Baka, his father said. They're going to kill her anyway.

Vejiita took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "You... you're right," he said to Chive, trying to instantaneously master the meditation techniques that Piccolo had attempted to teach him so many years before; he had to control his thoughts now, above all else. "I... my daughter... please..."

Chive looked into him, as well as she could, and she saw nothing that would indicate his imminent betrayal - only defeat, anger, hatred, all those things which were supposed to be there. Slowly, experimentally, she released her legs' hold on his middle, and was gratified to see he didn't fight. She leaned down and kissed him.

He kissed her back, cursing the fact that his arms were still pinned, hoping Bra wasn't seeing any of this, and praying that Bulma, wherever she was, would forgive him. And then he swung his leg up as fast and as hard as he could and clopped Chive on the back of the head.

She pulled back from this, screeching - and Vejiita's arms were free.

"FINAL FLASH!" he cried, and hit the awful woman right in the chest. She went flying back from him, not looking so well, no, not looking so well at all, and slammed into the wall, disappearing again behind the console.

Vejiita was smarter this time; he didn't risk touching her. He walked around to the other side of the console and gloated at her as she lay there panting, her breath whistling badly in and out through tortured, exposed lungs.

In front of his eyes she was healing. Well, he wasn't about to let her do that.

"Say goodbye, Chive," Vejiita, said and aimed his hands at her. "Big Bang Attack!"

Then maybe it was something in the way she smiled, or maybe just some innate sense for danger that Vejiita possessed, but whatever it was, he knew he must move... and move quickly. Unsure what he was even dodging, he leaped to the side - and his explosive attack came flying right back at him.

The woman had somehow channeled the blast through herself and toward him again. Its bare edge caught him in the right side, damaging his arm and spinning him in the air to hit the floor very hard. Suddenly she was standing over him, baring her teeth in a ferocious grimace, and she wasn't looking all that Saiyan right now, oh no; in fact, she wasn't looking like any humanoid creature Vejiita had seen before. One other thing he knew:

She did not look like a Tsufuru.

"You bastard," she said. "Fool of a Saiyan. You can't... AAAAH!!!" and suddenly she grabbed both sides of her head and screamed. The sound... the penetrating, soul-piercing sound seemed to burn into his very skin. Unable to take the pain of it at this proximity, Vejiita scuttled away from her on his back, sliding along with his feet and clamping his left hand over his ear - his right hand wasn't working too well at the moment. That's when he caught sight of Bra.

The little girl was standing, apparently recovered from whatever Chive had done to her, and was grimacing as well, a look of concentration aging her face. Her hair was blown back from her by the force of the panicked ki exploding all around Chive - and Bra stood still against it.

"No," she said quietly, her voice somehow heard above the ruckus. "You're mine." Suddenly Chive stopped screaming, looked shocked, and plopped backwards right onto the floor. There she sat, docile as a stuffed animal, and expressionless as the dead.

"Papaaaaa..." and Bra started to cry.

Vejiita crawled over to her and held his daughter, securing her in the crook of his one good arm and trembling with a fear he did not want her to see. For he knew what he had just witnessed...

Bra had taken her soul.

Vejiita held his child and panted, letting her weep against him, not sure if it were a good thing or a bad thing and truthfully not caring either way. It was some time before they had the presence of mind to rise and go their way; Vejiita was now more determined than ever to find the port where the space pods were kept. No matter what else happened, he had to get her out of here.

They slipped from the auxiliary control room and down the hallway; and behind them, unseen and for the most part unfelt, Chive sat behind the console and thought no more.

***

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