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DBM Universe 14 (Cyborgs): One Way

Written by Foenidis

Adapted by Adamantine & TheOverlyMadHatter

Following the deaths of the Z Warriors as told in Twin Pain, Universes 12 and 14 had a few years in common before everything fell apart for the latter. What are the events that led to Trunks' victory in one, and to the reign of the Artificial Humans in the other?

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[Chapter Cover]
Part 3, Chapter 17.

The halo of dust created by the landing of Bulma's mini-jet had already settled for a while now in the middle of an arid wasteland. Though wide open, no one exited the hatch of the cockpit.

The vehicle's pilot was lost in her thoughts… in her memories.

Why make such a detour to come all the way out here?

Bulma finally decided to hop out and embrace the landscape with her eyes.

Under an ardent sun, she recognized the location, or rather what became of it. Because this scenery has little to do anymore with what it was when she'd first seen it. Much like all the sites that have seen Saiyan battles. Fortunately, at least they had the presence of mind to choose deserted areas… when they had the choice.

But for this time in particular, the battlefield wasn't based on their decision. It was a happy accident, actually; it easily could have been an inhabited region, or even a densely populated city.

The rare vegetation did a poor job of hiding the gigantic craters, remnants of incredible explosions… but a trained eye could distinguish the differences in color between the spared landforms and the multiple summits that were pulverized, leveled, as if they were swept away by the hand of a giant.

Here like many other places, the destiny of the Earth was in limbo… Here like many other places, the Saiyans along with a hanful Earthlings fought for the future of an entire planet. Here lie the echoes of the Z-Warriors final victory.

This is without a doubt the air Bulma came to breathe in in the middle of nowhere. The salvage of a few useful debris only served as her terrible alibi. Even considering the possibility of something actually surviving Vegeta's attack, what could possibly remain after being exposed to natural elements for over twenty years?

No, it wasn't a piece of high technology that Bulma lacked at this exact moment. It was the echo of laugh on a patio when delicious meat were sizzling on a barbecue... A group of friends enjoying the pleasure to be together... and...

The gleam of a blue sky the light of the sun at noon. The faint trail left by two figured that had vanished in the distance. But no big deal. All she had to do was follow their course, and she'll end up bumping into them.

Yes! There they were! Small figures lost in the vastness of this wasteland. Without the pink shirted she'd rigged Vegeta with upon his return from his spacial travels, Puar never would have found them!

There was just enough time to once again argue with Yamcha before Tenshinhan and Chiaotzu made their appearance. Closely followed by Piccolo, unless he'd been there before them. Only Vegeta was able to pick up on his presence. Finally, it was Kulilin and Gohan, the latter of whom still being a child during these events, to join the now reunited group.

The vision of this bunch momentarily pulled Bulma away from reminiscing… All these men, save little Gohan, had the fact they were once rivals with Goku once in common. A few even considered him their mortal enemy. All had eventually become loyal friends with him, ready sacrifices their lives for the common good. Only Vegeta's motives were questionable during that time. He claimed to everyone who wanted to hear it that his goal was only to wait for Kakarotto's return so he could defeat and kill him. But during the wait, this cold-blooded murderer had been shown to be quite civilized… confining to his endless hours of training without making so much as a fuss. No way to really know what one of the only Saiyan survivors was really thinking… Was he truly willing to kill the only other remaining member of his people?

No one will ever know. Goku finally died sick shortly after his return to Earth, and the Prince of the Saiyans took his secret to his grave. But in the end, the deep sorrow that never left him since then were worth all the confessions in the world.

Bulma backed away from these thoughts she knew would slide into darker considerations. She missed Goku. She missed Vegeta. She missed them all. Their loss wasn't just a void in her being, it was an abyss. And with Trunks gone now, the chasm revealed itself to be bottomless. Best keep yourself from diving back in.

Nothing had changed since Trunks' departure. Though, Bulma was sure that his first trip back would have bore fruit and that the androids would've been defeated in the past from which he returned. This could only mean one thing: her theory on the formation of parallel dimensions proved factual. Somewhere, history would have changed, and everyone could still have a good laugh at Kulilin's jokes or Goku's antics.

But on that summer day of 764, it wasn't exactly time to laugh… The faces of all the fighters couldn't stop twisting in terror as they sensed the power emitted by the menace that was coming straight for the Earth.

How could they feel that from this distance? Even today, the young woman couldn't understand how they developed their senses to the point of feeling the life force of a living being, much less of one that's in space. It's a shame she didn't take the time to cook up some schematics of Raditz' scouter before it was destroyed. She probably would've been able to increase it's range. Would've been useful to her.

Well, useful until a certain point. She wouldn't have been able to pick up on the androids regardless of what gizmo she was wearing. A protective reflex sadly having become second nature to her made her glance towards the sky. There was only two birds in flight and the sparse clouds compliment the azure of a serene blue.

The pleasure of daydreaming outside of the confined and artificial underground bunker was a privilege that had become far too scarce. All that was left of humanity was a wild goose chase… Hunting being the two killer droids' favorite sport who never stopped.

Bulma's heart was filled with anger. That fucking terminal illness! That crap was probably caught in space, an evil then unknown to the Earth. Nothing would work. Not the senzu beans, or not even Mr. Popo's concoctions. Goku died tormented by excruciating agony in a hollow deathbed. Had he lived, everything would have been different! Hope wouldn't have been lost, and Vegeta and the others would have found a way to surpass their limits once again. All together, they would have put an end to those mechanical nightmares. The specter of defeat would have passed on just as the year would have and victory could have been celebrated without a care in the world, like they did during those happier days.

Here is a look back at the past of this bleak future, during a time where history had, once more, diverged in its course.

A gigantic shadow had suddenly darkened the landscape, for an instant flying over the little group who could only watch powerlessly the arrival of the galactic tyrant, who has decimated countless planets before.

The next moment, the ominous ship disappeared behind the abundant landforms of the area.

The dreadful, indestructible Freeza had just arrived on Earth!

Bulma was terrified to see all these fighters, which constituted what the Earth had for its strongest warriors, pale in fear knowing the formidable power that was coming from the spaceship.

She hadn't seen anything of the battle that opposed Goku and his companions to the tyrant on Namek. It was hard for her to imagine that this being could inspire that much fear in someone like Vegeta who he himself, not so long ago, proved one of the most dreadful threats to ever set foot on the planet!

However, right now, the Saiyan Prince, who'd been known for his boundless pride, was speaking of defeat and the end for the Earth. He even went so far as to forbid anyone to take flight, so as to prevent detection from the aliens' scouters. And everyone accepted his authority without another word. Even Piccolo, who during that time might have been superior in strength to the Saiyan as a result of his fusion with Nail…

Were they just going to watch the world end without doing anything?

Swears began flying over the place.

A dozen lesser kis began to disperse around the perimeter of the ship, while two larger ones didn't seem to move at all.

Piccolo growled:

— "It's begun!"

Promptly followed by Vegeta:

— "Typical of Freeza; sending in the grunts to sweep the land for him!"

Kulilin then sighed in relief:

— "So, this means he isn't here to destroy the planet!"

— "That bastard! He must have learned from you that there are Dragon Balls here, too!" roared Vegeta.

Tenshinhan nodded:

— "It'll give us time to think of a strategy!"

At that moment, Kulilin took off, closely followed by his companions:

— "For now, we have to stop these scumbags!"

Bulma didn't really know how to react as they all quickly dispersed one by one.

Almost all alone with Puar, she looked at Vegeta, who stayed quiet and looked preoccupied… with a drop of sweat hurtling down the balding part of his forehead. She didn't understand a thing anymore. A second ago, the plan was to not be seen!

— "But, but…"

Vegeta didn't seem to hear what she was saying. The young woman flinched as the ground around him crackled before he suddenly took off.

Dr. Brief's daughter didn't know what to do…

Further away were the first sounds of energy blasts. Her friends had just begun to fight in order to prevent the grunts from spreading across the globe.

What would happen once the tyrant took part in the battle seemed inevitable. She seemed to understand that even their combined powers wouldn't be enough to stop him.

Puar freed her from her shock by leading her by the wrist to the vehicle that had brought them here.

— "Let's get out of here! It's dangerous!"

Before she could even answer him, the contraption was pulverized in an explosion who blow sent the two friends hurling to the ground.

By the time the young lady picked herself up, a gigantic boar monster covered her with the large shadow it cast.

Puar bravely wanted to scare off the imposing soldier covered in scales that had emerged from the smoke cloud created by the destruction of the mini-jet. Tall in stature, with some sort of spiky mohawk erected on top of his head, he laughed mockingly as he glanced his scouter's reading:

— "You're as ugly as you're pathetic!"

Before launching with a pressure from his thumb the blaster that decorated his forearm.

Yamcha's sidekick only had the time form a hole in the middle of his deceiving body to avoid the deadly blast before the surprised eyes of Freeza's soldier. Suddenly bolting off the ground without a warning to assault the giant standing before him, the latter screamed:

— "Lord Freeza ordered us to eliminate every single Earthling! You will be no exception, vermin!"

A powerful uppercut completely debilitated the poor little Puar who found himself inert on the ground… Down for the count.

A large, satisfied grin warped the strange face of the fish soldier upon discovering the frail young woman paralyzed in fear that was hidden behind the fake giant. What his scouter told him made him laugh even harder while, back on the ground, he slowly approached his new prey:

— "Pathetic! No need to waste energy on that!"

Bulma wasn't thinking anymore, nor was she responding. Even lacking the ability to read power levels, she knew she couldn't escape this foreign being. Attempting to escape will only cut her life shorter. Her heart was beating out of her chest. What an idiot! She came to see what Freeza looked like, and she was going to die without even catching a glimpse of him!

She did, however, back away once the soldier was about to reach her. She made a vain attempt to dissuade him under her breath:

— "Wait… if… If you kill me… You'll never find my Dragon Ball…"

The tall soldier stopped dead in his tracks with a perplexed look.

— "'Dragon Ball'? Did you just say 'Dragon Ball'?"

He began to think aloud:

— "I heard something like that out of Lord Freeza… Seemed important to him…"

In an instant, he grabbed the young lady, who couldn't do anything to avoid him, by the thick by bunch of hair she was crowned with.

— "What you told me could be of interest to my masters… I might just get a promotion!"

Shouting, Bulma tried to free herself, punching her aggressor's armor with her small fists, as he just laughed at her attempts at rebellion.

— "Let go of me, you beast!"

The laughter was curiously interrupted before the soldier violently crashed against the ground.

Bulma, who was dragged into the man's fall before he let go of her, only had the time to see two feet land between herself and the soldier before he hurled further away by a prodigious kick.

Her eyes fixated the solid figure that had come to her rescue before it crouched to examine the still-unconscious body of Puar.

Yamcha was relieved; his little friend was still alive. The anger in his voice was still present when he got back to face the alien who was now back on his feet:

— "Let's see what you can do against a real fighter, you bastard!"

Furious, the soldier put his scouter to work… which made him chuckle again.

— "Attacking me by surprise won't work for you anymore, runt! You won't live long enough to regret this mistake!"

Before he could aim for Yamcha with his wrist-contraption, the scarred fighter was already onto him!

A first uppercut made the soldier lose his footing, who frantically hit nothing but void and the air around him. An elbow then came smashing directly against his face, further destabilizing him as he backed several steps away under the impact.

Angered, he wiped away a trickle of blood that was flowing from the corner of his thick lips as he stared down at Yamcha who was holding his guard up, but with an ironic grin that screamed invitation for more.

— "So now what? Give up already? Not so tough against someone who actually knows how to fight, huh?!"

That was the last straw… Freeza's soldier threw himself at a the impudent fool shouting:

— "You're dead!"

With a spark of excitement in the eyes, Yamcha charged back at his opponent:

— "Rōgafūfūken!"

The impact was devastating… for the alien!

Hit by the full force of the Yamcha's signature technique, not to mention when the ex-bandit was in tip-top shape after training with Kaio-sama, the limp and defeated body of the soldier dryly fell against the nearest rock like a rag doll.

Triumphant and proud of himself, Yamcha couldn't stop himself from strutting in front of the woman of his heart with a first-class smile:

— "Aw yeah! Who's the man?"

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