Chapter Twenty Five: Arrival

The Black was already in the universe that Gokuu liked to call home. It had already made its way past the old Planet Namek, and was in fact very close right now to the Milky Way. Kaiou-sama and Kaioushin had seen it, as had Dr. Briefs and the rest of his crew on earth; as of yet, however, nobody knew what to do about it.

That changed when it actually entered this solar system.

Everyone on earth could feel it coming; Kuririn, Piccolo, Tenshinhan - all had been trained long ago to be aware of power and its approach to their planet. Well, this was power, and it was coming far too quickly to be withstood.

Piccolo sat on one of his meditation mountain tops, staring at the sky. He was absolutely in awe at the extent of the force he felt heading toward the planet - and he was also absolutely helpless to stop it. Piccolo sighed once and looked at the mountains around him instead.

"Hurry, Gohan," he said softly to himself, and continued his solitary watch.

***

Bulma looked at the Prophecy again and sighed. It was odd, but for some reason, parts of it seemed to almost ring a bell in her mind. Well, take this for an example - "Ice with fire's heart, flame never still - twice perished, thrice cherished - strong, the untapped will."

Well, for no reason at all that made her think of Vejiita. In a way it did fit - he was certainly all passion, although, coldly, he never let any of the "weaker" emotions show. And he HAD died twice - at least, in the "other" timeline. And he was thrice cherished; Gohan had told her that he had another child by her - well, by her counterpart - and so that made three. Herself, Trunks, and the daughter.

Good Kami; Vejiita with a DAUGHTER. Bulma couldn't picture it, no matter how hard she tried. However, if Gohan were correct about them all coming here, then she would be able to picture it quite soon. She was going to SEE it, in fact, in the flesh. To see Vejiita again. To see the daughter she never had.

For a moment, Bulma's entire body shuddered almost violently, and she put the prophecy down very quickly. She was going to start thinking nonsense if she kept this up, and nonsense was not good for practical action. With an effort of will, she lay back on the floor and tried to stop thinking about it at all.

Gohan sat across from her, muscles tense and expression somber.

"May I see that?" he asked, holding out his hand for the prophecy.

"Of course," she said, and handed the sheet of paper to him. It was beyond strange to see Gohan again, especially this Gohan, well adjusted, stronger than the one she had known and with a TAIL.

He perused the paper for a moment, looking thoughtful and intelligent. Well, he would; his mother had meant to make him into a scholar, and Bulma would be damned if that hadn't happened in the other timeline.

"You know, that's weird," he said, eyeing the hand-scribbled page carefully. "Part of this reminds me of 'tousan."

"Of your father?" Bulma asked, pushing herself up to a sitting position.

"Yes," Gohan answered. "Of Gokuu. See, listen: 'Pure of heart, and pure of will; making sleep and slumbers still. Slumber not, to 'venge, to die; rage is pure as love is high.' I... I don't know WHY it does, exactly..."

"Well, that pure of heart thing is a given," Bulma said a bit dryly, regaining minimal interest in the script and lying back down again.

"Yes, it does here - but not necessarily the whole way through. See, this is later: 'Half is light that rages, only pure of heart be sufficient then to break apart the Beginning of End; whole, then, must move to make whole the part.' That doesn't feel like my father at all."

"Hell, this doesn't really feel like anybody," Bulma replied casually, and rolled over on her side to face him. "We've just been staring at each other and this thing for too long."

"If you say so," said Gohan doubtfully, and kept reading. "How are they going to get in here, I wonder," he said, just thinking out loud and not really looking for an answer.

"How is who going to get in where?" replied Bulma, sitting up again. Really, at this rate she was going to have fabulous abs.

"Otousan and the others," Gohan replied, only glancing up at her. "I mean, the Canopy is up there, and..."

"Oh, THAT'S not going to be a problem," Bulma replied, and grinned proudly.

"What?" said Gohan, putting the paper down and looking her in the eye. "You mean there's a door, or something?"

Bulma laughed. "Of COURSE there's something, you idiot," she said congenially. "What, you really think we'd be stupid enough to trap ourselves in here with no way out? Not to mention ensuring that anybody else who managed to escape the Black and come here for shelter couldn't get in? I was in charge of designing this thing. Of course there's a way in and out. Two of them, actually."

"Two?" repeated Gohan, still surprised. "What are they? And is that how the Black got in here anyway to kill everybody in Satan City?"

Bulma sighed - she didn't feel like going into great detail just now. "The first is a small crawl hole that leads underneath and outside the canopy; it's sealed with a door made of Junsei Aion, so the Black can't get through it - it has to be opened from the inside. The second is a lot bigger - and..." she stopped. "Oh, HELL," she said, and climbed to her feet. She peered out the doorway at the cracks in the Canopy, which were very visible from here. "Oh... oh, no..." she said.

"What? What is it?" asked Gohan, concerned for obvious reasons.

"Those cracks... the canopy won't be able to stand the vibrations of the motors."

"Motors?"

"Yes, motors," she snapped, glaring at the ground now. "The canopy was built in two halves - quarter-circles. They meet, seamlessly, in the exact center of the 'sky' above us, and they both rest on rotary motors that I designed using junsei-aion coated materials, buried deep within the earth. When we needed to let in something big, like an airplane, or a helicopter, or something, we could turn on the motors and part the Canopy right down the center. Unfortunately, when the Kyuujinshu's ship left, we were trying to trap it in - and we closed the canopy right on it. It didn't break, but that's where the cracks came from." She leaned against the doorframe, unhappy. "Ru Sa has the command codes to open it again - they'll get in, if they're coming. But I don't think it can withstand the stress of opening and closing again. It'll break." She turned to face Gohan, very concerned. "And then my son is going to walk right in."

They looked long and hard at each other, but the only possible response to this was silence.

***

The ship jolted into Mirai no Trunks' reality some distance from earth - far enough away that it wouldn't be immediately pulled in by the planet's gravity field and damaged. Ru Sa was a good pilot when he put his mind to it.

Of course at the present moment, he was also a dying pilot.

"Cumber," he said, his breath already coming in ragged gasps. "I... I need to get into the lab and get another shot. I think I'm dying."

"That's nice," said Cumber, and was immediately unable to believe that he had said it. Such caustic comments were not really like him. He sighed. "I'll see what I can do," he said, and turned to Vejiita.

"No," said Vejiita, leaving no room for discussion.

"But he's..."

"I said no," Vejiita repeated, in a position of authority and rather enjoying it. "He can melt all over the floor, for all I care," he elaborated, and smirked his very best smirk.

"I think maybe we should give him what he needs for now," said Gokuu, and all eyes turned to him.

"You think we should WHAT?!?" Vejiita demanded; he had expected Gokuu, of all people, to be on his side on this one.

"Well, he IS the only one who knows how to fly the ship," Gokuu said, shrugging and trying to look objective. Vejiita stared at him.

"Cumber can learn how to do it," Vejiita argued, but both Cumber and Trunks shook their heads.

"It's far too complex," said Cumber glancing at the control board. "That's why we were so specialized when we assigned people to do different things. I can handle engine repair, but I can't fly the ship. Ru Sa is the other way around."

"Are you suggesting," said Vejiita, trying to keep his tone even, "that we ensure that this BEAST be allowed to go on living?" He turned to Gokuu. "Kakarotto, he KILLED your SONS."

That had the desired effect. For a moment, it looked as though Gokuu were actually going to attack Ru Sa. And then in typical, stubborn, Kakarotto style, he calmed.

"Yes, he did," he said, leaning back against the back of the captain's chair. "And he's going to pay for that. But not right now."

Ru Sa looked back and forth between the arguers, and then, obscurely, glanced at the time on his scouter. They had eight minutes left before the damned ship was going to blow up, and these idiots were busy discussing whether he should live or die....

Well, to hell with this.

"I've programmed the ship to arrive in five minutes' time," he broke in, not flinching at all under the stares of the men who turned to look at him. "But I didn't program it to go back, and I'm not going to, nor am I going to teach anybody a damned thing. Let me live, or nobody goes home. Is that clear?" He didn't bother to mention the Canopy and the code to open it - that was already programmed into the ship's communication device and taken care of.

For a moment, it really looked as though all three of them were going to attack him. Which was not good; in his present, weakened state, he would barely have been able to hold Bra off, much less two angered Saiya-jin and a Kyuujinshu.

And a partridge in a pear tree... seemed to echo bizarrely in his head, and he had a frightening moment of instability. Random memories and thoughts were popping up now, spinning - and with no warning at all, his knees simply stopped functioning. He was only able to remain upright by grabbing onto the control panel.

Kami, this was bad. Another few minutes and he would start hallucinating; another hour after that, and he would die.

He had the presence of mind to glance at the time again. Well, none of it mattered anyway, because in another seven minutes, the ship was going to blow up and they would ALL be dead. Damn, this was cutting it close...

"I think he should get his treatment," said Trunks from the far corner of the room, where he was leaning casually against an unused console and watching, for the most part in eerie silence. "We need to at least be able to get back. And Ru Sa has a part in this, too, or he wouldn't be here."

Nobody could argue with that. Well, Vejiita tried, but it didn't amount to anything.

"He already HAD his part," Vejiita griped to nobody in particular as Cumber and Gokuu led the very shaky Ru Sa out of the room. "Got us here already, and if that wasn't his kami-damned 'part,' then I would like to know what WAS."

"Calm down, papa," Trunks said, still not moving. The effect he gave, standing in the shadows with only the blue of his eyes clearly seen, was more than a bit creepy. Vejiita glared at him,, then fell silent.

They had six minutes until the ship blew itself sky high.

*

The lab had seen better days. Landing sideways had pretty much spilled what few raw materials Vejiita had not ruined onto the floor, so Ru Sa had to spend two precious minutes rummaging around for things while Cumber and Gokuu coolly watched. Apparently, however "useful" he might be to them, neither could bring themselves to help him.

Well, that was fine. More satisfaction for him when they all died.

The ship began to shake just the tiniest bit as it entered the earth's atmosphere, aiming for the Capsule Corporation, and it was this rumbling, in the end, that saved Ru Sa's life.

His muscles already weakened, Ru Sa's knees gave out because of the slight trembling of the ship and he slammed into one of the cabinets by the sink - and a secret panel fell right off and onto the floor.

Ru Sa glanced back quickly - neither of the heroes were looking at him, and in fact seemed more concerned that the ship was not entering as smoothly as it should have been. Well, that is, Cumber was concerned; Gokuu was merely concerned because Cumber was.

Acting quickly, Ru Sa snatched up whatever Chive had had in there and put the panel back. What he grabbed turned out to be a single hypodermic filled with very, very bright blue liquid.

He studied it. Why would Chive have kept this hidden? She never kept anything from him, not even things that were dangerous. And for that matter, what in hell WAS it?

"Is that the serum?" asked Cumber, a tad impatiently. He wanted to get back to the control room and see what was happening.

"Yes," answered Ru Sa even though he hadn't a clue as to what it really was, and, for no reason at all, promptly stuck it into his upper left arm and injected himself with it.

He immediately felt better. Apparently, he looked better, too, because both Gokuu and Cumber stiffened and assumed light battle poses.

"Are you ready?" asked Cumber. "We ought to be just about landed."

Ru Sa stood, already having regained his balance. Too quickly, really. "Fine. I'm ready," he said, and casually tossed the empty hypodermic into the sink. Well, at least the mystery-juice wasn't going to kill him. Probably.

Really, that had been very stupid. Sometimes his actions didn't even make sense to him. To willingly inject himself with something unknown when he had been in such a fragile state to begin with was one of the most foolish things he had done in a long time. However, as Ru Sa tromped back down the hall to the control room, catching a brief glimpse of the looming planet earth on the view screen, he couldn't help but think that he felt a WHOLE lot better than he should at this point. Damn. Maybe this was some kind of super-serum.

...that she had kept from him?

All of a sudden, Ru Sa didn't feel quite so badly about Chive's unpleasant and undignified death at the hands of a six year old girl. In fact, all of a sudden, he felt that she got exactly what she deserved.

The ship jolted once, gently, and stopped shuddering; they had successfully landed.

Ru Sa had exactly two minutes to get off before it blew.

*

Moot was the first to see them.

He happened to be looking up at the Canopy when it a parted directly down the center, neat as orange slices, and rumbled slowly apart. He stared; watching the sky part was certainly a new thing for him.

And within the widening gap, he could see the ship coming in for a landing. Moot grinned from ear to ear.

"They're coming!" he shouted, hopping up and down. "Reep was right! They're here!"

*

Moments before the ship landed, Bra knew there was trouble. She felt it in the shaking of the ship, in the mild fear and heightened anticipation coming from Ru Sa; she felt it even more once he gave himself that shot.

The moment he did, several things came clear to her at once. When she had absorbed Chive's soul she had gained more than her personality; she had gained knowledge. And she knew with certainty right now that they were in double danger - from the ship which was going to explode and from Ru Sa.

He never should have gotten his hands on that serum.

"PaPAAAAAAAA!" she screamed, and raced out of the room. Trunks, a bit surprised, followed her.

That scream distracted Gokuu and Cumber - and, which goes without saying, Vejiita.

Ru Sa took advantage of that split second of slacked attention and immediately took off.

*

On the outside of the ship, something strange had begun to happen - the vibrations which had shaken it upon landing increased - and then, horribly, small, quiet explosions began in the belly of the vessel.

Moot screeched to a halt and stared; and then everything happened just way too fast.

The ship trembled. The door opened. All of a sudden there were people flying out of the opening at top speed - and then the ship itself exploded.

Moot ran back to the Capsule Corporation, screaming.

*

Ru Sa cackled like a demon and flew for the front door, tearing at top speed and not giving a damn about any of them.

Gokuu felt it in the captain's ki - the bloodlust, the gratification of revenge - and knew that wherever Ru Sa was going, they needed to get out of here as well.

"RUN!" he shouted, and simply grabbed the surprised Cumber by the back of his shirt and took off flying for the entrance as well.

Trunks followed without a word.

Vejiita hesitated for half a second - then grabbed his daughter around the waist and followed after. The vibrations of small, muted explosions were echoing now through the floors.

*

Bulma had heard and felt the huge underground motors work and gone to watch the ship come in - she could hardly believe her eyes. The ship was whole - not blown up - and it was landing. It seemed that they had not made three jumps since they left her world - and it also seemed that Reep had been right. To top off this moment of wonders, the Canopy was holding together. She watched it close again above the ship, holding her breath to see if it would break. It did not.

She exhaled in relief - and then, with no warning, the ship exploded.

The shock waves from the explosion slammed into the Canopy, causing it to shudder; then large pieces of Junsei Aion, torn whole from their seams, came flying out of the smoke and debris and crashed into the nearer portions of the Canopy as well.

For a moment, nothing happened.

And then a large, irregular section of the Canopy cracked, crumbled, and broke off, falling inward - and leaving the inside unprotected.

"Oh, SHIT!" screamed Bulma. "It was cracked already and was going to break on its own but this is too soon AND MY SON IS OUT THERE!!"

In all the commotion, nobody heard her.

*

Not far away, only a couple of miles outside the Canopy, Kuro Trunks, who saw nothing in the way of normal vision, looked up with black eyes in time to see a large, cracked chunk of the Junsei Aion glass cave inward, revealing a hole the side of a bus.

Without any sound at all, he lifted into the air and went toward it.

*

To the IndexTo Chapter Twenty Six To The Previous Chapter