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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 4, Chapter 35.

Bulma shut her eyes.

The worst of her nightmares caught her at the worst time, just when hope had finally returned!

The scientist's innumerable brain cells began working in frenzy… It couldn't end like this! Not now of all times!

She'd hoped to hear the familiar sound of the air being torn by the body of a warrior, a warrior that would be coated in gold, and to hear the comforting voice of her son, or rather that of the man he had become, finally home… A miracle was about to unfold, it couldn't be otherwise!

When her eyes opened, almost against her body's will, the two youths were perched on what was left of the unfortunate backhoe. The boy, standing on top the twisted arm, with his own arms crossed and a satisfied look on his face, and the girl, nonchalantly sitting on a hammock of busted wires. The two fixated their eyes upon one of the last remaining members of the group that had fought them with such ardent fortitude and persistence.

Bulma didn't even flinch under the pressure of the two eyes of electric blue. She wasn't afraid, not any longer; only mute rage was consuming her from within her being. The mother within her thought only of her boy's salvation, et she was more ready to fight in vengeance than to cry in mourning.

The joints of her fingers whitened as they went for her rifle's trigger.

A smile of cruel irony formed on the pretty blonde's lips.

« Quickly, think!

What's the best option?

My gun? Useless at this point.

The teargas in pocket? Um… A little risky considering the time I would need to find the capsule for my aircraft, get in it, start it, and flee all at once… Not nearly enough time to get far away enough from these ambulant rockets.

Here's a provisional solution: gauge their state of mind, keep them distracted to find an opening… and give myself a little more time to reflect on an actual way out. »

Bulma first put her automatic rifle down slowly, then made her way towards her ice-chest without making much of a fuss.

— "Are you guys hungry? I have bacon-flavored chips, synthetic ham or tuna sandwiches, egg-flavored onigiri - well, powdered egg, actually. Sorry about that, she said, a little malicious… some purified water… and some of this!" she said, turning around to fully exhibit two cans of "Satan Energy Drink", holding high.

Her face was remained stuck in its act of infomercial publicity for a bit. The artificial humans didn't seem like they wanted to play along with her. Their silence during her rundown of the inventory had given her hope, hope that they would have accepted her invitation and would let her go without trouble. « Come on Bulma, you're way too old to believe in Santa Claus! »

— "So, you're the wife of our missed Vegeta, aren't you? The years weren't good to you, but I still recognize you. The same lady from the cemetery, just an old bag now." began #18 with a soft voice, wearing a mocking grin on her pretty face.

Bulma thought she'd felt her heart stop. Her arms dropped, the cans almost with them. Pieces of shit! They actually had the nerve to attend their victims' funeral! But where, where were they hiding from for them see everything without being seen themselves?

The fact that they knew it was actually her didn't make thing easier!

— "And so, our dear little Trunks' mommy, we were actually wondering where he could have gone. We were careful enough not to mess him up too bad, but it's been quite a while since we've heard from him. It's great that you had the good idea to come all the way to here."

The mention of her son's absence added fuel the flames that were already burning the blood of the fifty-year-old. The can in her right hand was crushed under the pressure of her hand, and the wrinkles near her lips were quivering, as the frown forming on eyebrows were progressively hardening.

— "How did you know I'd be here? Don't tell me you just came back here from the other side of the planet out of pure chance!" she growled despite her attempts at containing her rage.

#17 guffawed as he hopped of his perch.

— "You'll be happy to know that we're just as surprised as you are, as a matter of fact! When Dr. Gero chose to reactivate use, it seems he'd actually entrusted use with the duty to protect his machines. Since our primary target was no more, he had to find some way to make us useful." whistled the cyborg, his eyes suddenly filled with hate.

He pointed his index finger to his right ear.

— "The moment you entered this area, an alarm sounded here to ask us to return as quickly as possible." he explained.

An alarm! Of course! What better security gorilla than these two monsters!

#17 turned to his sister.

— "Speaking of which, I wonder what could possibly be so important down there?"

The pretty blonde looked away from the hole with an annoyed look.

— "Go ahead, if you want! I'm not setting for anywhere closer to it than this!"

— "What? Aren't you even a little curious?"

Hardly convinced, #18 ignored her brother's question.

The black-haired twin knew his sister well, and thought it'd be useless to force her hand directly. With a little smirk on the corner of his mouth, one that was addressed to Bulma, he took off the ground to fly to the excavation site, and down the hatch without making another move.

Bulma was asking herself the same question. What could be so important down there that it would require years of autonomous work? What could be so important that you would require a security force of this scale? The computer was but a tool, and genius like Dr. Gero surely knew that. All that was left was that strange-looking beast!!

With heart beating out of her chest, she waited to see if the artificial portion #17's memory knew what it was, exactly.

And then she suddenly remembered the central unit. If those two idiots decided out of nowhere to completely blow this joint… Trunks!

Bulma didn't know what to do, the cans slipped right out of her fingers to bounce off the rocks with a flat sound. The intact remaining one rolled to #18's feet.

— "Why, thank you." she said with a malicious look on her face as she crouched to pick it up before opening it.

While the blonde twin was sipping on the drink signed by the champion they've had their own encounters with, Bulma tried getting a hold of herself. For the time being, they were actually pretty passive. Maybe with a little finesse…?

She decided to reveal part of the truth.

— "I'll lay this on the table: I came here to take the central computer apart to grab a few pieces I need. I'm going to be honest with you, I want to build a machine to help Trunks defeat you. I know how you love to be challenged, I think you'll have a lot of fun with it… Dr. Gero's last machine would be destroyed, and you will have a new toy to play with." she concluded, speaking from her experience with robot fail-safes.

#18 stopped for a second, sign that Bulma had actually managed to arouse her interest. Without taking her cold eyes off Trunks' mother, she called out to her brother:

— "Did you hear that?"

The second artificial human's voice seemgling climbed out of the hatch:

— "Yeah, I heard her! But there's something pretty interesting down here, too…"

Curious, the young lady approached the orifice to gauge the depth and get some insight.

— "What is it?"

— "Come see for yourself!"

The blonde got back up for her face to reveal an annoyed look. She had understood a long time ago her brother's strategies to get her to do things he wanted her to do.

— "Go to hell!" she exclaimed, not wanting to budge.

Witness to the scene, Bulma was torn between wanting the female murderer to go down as well, which would allow her to make her escape without taking too many risks… or to wait and see if her bluff pays off and they allow her to take a few precious pieces off the central unit. In any case, these two didn't know what Dr. Gero had been working for down here, and it came to her as a bit of a relief. Without its founder, the project must have been at a standstill until his hypothetical return, and without him, it had no chance of bearing fruit. More than likely, she would find out what it is exactly by checking the memory banks of the contraption. She might even dig up some information regarding the conception of the artificial humans. Her scientific instincts took over for a moment, and the idea of such grand discoveries gave her hope again. For this much, she'd be willing to descend into the narrow bunker occupied by one of the the worst killed the Earth has ever known.

The persistence voice of the eternally young man rung again:

— "Ask the old bag if she knows what it is!"

— "No idea." grumbled the interested woman before #18 could even respond to the instult. Now wasn't the moment to be sensitive.

Intrigued, #18 dropped to her knees to see down the hatch better.

— "Tell me what it is." she demanded.

Her twin brother answered her, annoyed.

— "If I knew, I wouldn't have asked you to ask Mrs. I-know-how-to-build-remote-controls-that-make-androids-explode to tell you!"

— "Well then, at least tell me what it looks like…"

The mention of their experience with the maserfuse suddenly worried its inventor. They will kill her! She was sure of it, all of a sudden.

Precariously, she began to back away, while taking care not to knock off pieces of ruble beneath her feet. Slowly, surely, she distanced herself with the unpleasant feeling that she risked her life with each step. While the brother and the sister were loudly arguing, and that she would find the distance to be adequate, she would pick up the pace. At about fifty yards, she turned around to begin walking with more ease, and at a hundred-fifty, she started running.

Flat, no shelter, this wasteland wasn't helping her.

Finally reaching the edge of the devastated perimeter, she descended the slope as quickly as she could. Gravel was shattering beneath her, stones rolling, it had been ten times she had almost lost her balance.

Once at the side of the canyon, she resumed her flight.

Completely out of breath, she finally stopped to open her capsule.

The "Poof!" rung immediately, much to her relief.

Relief shortly lived, unfortunately.

With the smoke cleared, sitting in the cockpit of the open vehicle, was the evil black-haired twin.

The sister's voice sounded right above Bulma's head from the sky.

— "Aren't you forgetting something?"

Before the vexed Bulma could think of a way to react, the aircraft vertically took off in a cloud of dust.

Facing Death itself, escorted by one of the two most dangerous serial killers in history, Bulma had no other choice but to turn around and retrace the path she had taken to her starting point. In doing so, she had to endure the improvised pilot of her vehicle who took much pleasure in flying just close enough to brush the two pedestrians as many times as he could.

During her unhurried march, despite the occasional shoving she received from #18 in the back just to remind them of their respective statuses, Bulma had all the time in the world to ponder the fate of the planet without her.

Will Trunks finally manage to return to this time?

How, and why has he not returned?

Would he mourn her death?

While this question seemed absurd, it had been a long time since she had seen the slightest tear coming from her son's eyes. What was the point?

She had seen how he'd changed throughout the years, hardening, losing his cheerfulness, the limitless enthusiasm she was always so happy to see back when he was a child. The harshness of living in this sick, dying world, the omnipresent suffering, the battles lost one after another, the hope dwindling by the day, all this made a few salty drops coming from the eyes seem trivial.

The supersonic sound suddenly tore through the air with unmatched intensity.

The explosion of the aircraft directly hitting the ground violently threw the scientist to the ground. Rocks, debris scratched the air above her, raining on the remains of the backhoe, as she choked on the burning air for a few seconds. Bulma wait from the transit rain of debris to cease before standing back up to see emerge from the heart of the fire caused by the crash #17, clearly proud of himself, wearing a very satisfied smirk on his face.

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