DB Multiverse

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 33.

This battle, which could have once again cost the Earth and its inhabitants dearly, had had its story archived by Bulma, along with that of the others. All of these heroes were dead today, but the tales and memories of their exploits will always live on, never to be forgotten.

Reliving this epic battle had tested the scientist. The crossed witnessing of here friends had allowed her to relive each second of the battle through each of their eyes, to feel the intensity, in all of its horror, as well. Of course, at the time, she had just been shaking in fear at the distance of her shelter, only hearing the sounds of the far-away explosions… Of course she couldn't know at the time how harsh the struggle had truly been… But she couldn't imagine anyone had seen death from so close, that monstrosity could take a form of itself. Too sure of herself? There's no denying she'd been to an extent, back then. The following events did not fail to pull her back to reality. When thinking about it, it was admittedly incredible that such horrible threats had emerged one by one, time and time again to put the fate of humanity into limbo right around the time the most formidable generations of warriors the planet had ever seen was born. Was this by mere chance or…?

Bulma shivered. Night was about to fall and it was about time to search for a shelter in which to spend the night. There was nothing left to find here. She had doubted she would have found anything before even getting there, anyway. Why make the detour, then? That, she couldn't answer. Perhaps it was due to the enduring absence of Trunks that had awakened the zest of nostalgia that kept perturbing her at an increasingly higher frequency than usual. She'd sent a message that the Time Machine would receive once it entered their dimension, her son would know where to find her upon his return, provided it had actually just been delayed and that the space-transcending vehicle wasn't broken, after all. A long circular gaze tore a sigh out of her. Nothing. The sky was hopelessly void of any human presence. She had to build that second machine!

Slumped in her chair, Bulma examined the control monitors, keeping her eyes peeled. Of course, she had more than enough to shelter and sustain herself by means of her capsules… but sleeping out in the open like this was nevertheless a major risk.

Cultivated field suddenly appeared on her ground-view monitor. Shortly afterwards, the geometry of the colored roofs of farms and barns appeared to add themselves into the colors of the plantations remarkably well-maintained..

Bulma's vehicle landed in a cloud of dust. The field of exploitation was completely deserted. The young lady hadn't expected any better than this. Nothing out of the ordinary, here. In times like these, anything falling from the sky was a potential threat. Aside from the artificial humans, the few motorized vehicles that still ran were, for the most part, in the hands of bandits and plunders that were almost as dangerous as the two creations of Dr. Gero, from the perspective of a human, at the very least. Ill-fated were those who crossed paths with them. Though, food supplies are now what became the most expensive form of luxury, gold in meat, in grains, or in fruit and vegetables, anything edible, really. Anything that could be healthily ingested was now precious and many were ready to kill for a simple bag of rice. Mobs had ended up specializing in the pillage rural produce.

Sad times. Those two machines at the top of technological advancement had the ability to make a good majority of humanity regress to its deepest and darkest primal nature.

Without making any needless moves, she put into action the portable infrared detector she'd always remembered to keep on her person. A lone silhouette lit the screen up. Small, slender, slumped on itself… a child trying to hide, more than likely.

Without any haste, Bulma opened the cockpit of her vehicle before encapsulating it. It was too visible coming from the sky… It was unlikely that she would have to make an escape, and just in case thing would look bad, she kept her trusty submachine gun on her person. If all should go as expected, she shouldn't have to use it, but it was best to keep yourself ready for anything, for good measure.

She calmly approached the barn standing further away, a tall structure painted in camouflage green. A pointless effort when considering the size of the construction, not to mention the shade of green chosen did not blend at all with the environment surrounding it. Bulma smiled. People only did as much as they could to protect themselves. A strong stench of hay embalmed the air, complemented by the increasingly strong scent of freshly cut greenery brought by the freshness of the evening. The young lady's shadow, which constantly been fluctuating in size, had instantly vanished when it met that of the immense opening of the barn. The setting sun turned the powdered dust to gold as it formed the wider the door opened. A small sound just as faint as the squeak of a mouse twisted the air in harmony with the chant of the grasshoppers. The daughter of the Brief family slowly but surely made her way towards two enormous piles of feed. She crouched before kindly introducing herself in the softest voice she could muster. What followed was a rustling sound coming from the haystack, and then a soft and squeaky groan accompanied by faint panting.

— "You don't have to be afraid, I'm a nice person. I love little puppies. I would like to see yours, could you show him to me?"

Another sound of creasing in the dry hay… and then a pause.

— "You can show him to me and I will give you a surprise that is contained in this capsule in exchange, okay?" offered Bulma as she pulled a pink capsule out of her breast-pocket.

New in this day was the sound of emergence, as a shrouded figure began to form in the twilight. Bulma held in front of her with her arms stretched out the compact, candy-colored recipient. Two more steps, and appearing from the threshold of her hiding spot was a little girl young of about six years, cute as a button with brown pig-tails and a blue dress veiled in hay. Clumped hard against her chest, the little girl tightly held with her tiny yet plump hands a black and white puppy who was busy nibbling on her fingers

Since the child didn't make the slightest move and her eyes were full of fear, Bulma softly let unto the ground the capsule for the girl to take, as she made her introduction:

— "My name is Bulma. What's yours?"

The eyes of the little girl went back and forth between the face of the stranger in front of her and the capsule on the ground.

— "You can have it. It's yours." encouraged Bulma.

The little girl held on tighter to the puppy, before looking at it and kissing it on the head, then slowly made her way towards the lady who wore the same logo her fridge had on her jacket.

— "His name is Lobo, and I'm Mugie." she dared.

— "MUGIE! Get outta here! Now!" snapped a deep voice.

Without letting go of Lobo, Mugie promptly picked the capsule up and made her escape at full-throttle after giving Bulma a last look.

— "ON YER FEET!" ordered the manly voice.

Bulma began by slowly putting her arms up before making it back onto her feet to then turn around just as slowly as she raised her arms. In the amber glow of the sun, she could only see the figure of a large adult male with an equally impressive hat. The man manifestly held a weapon in her direction, definitely a rifle judging from its length.

— "My name is Bulma. I'm all on my own, and I mean you no harm. I was only looking for a safe place to spend the night." she declared, calmer than anyone else was in the world today.

She was meant with strenuous silence, and the man did not move a muscle. She told herself he was probably very indecisive.

— "I'm not trying to trick you, I swear it… I'm looking for my son…" she clarified.

What strange idea this lie was… but, oh, how revealing it was. She realized that as soon as those words had been uttured and something painful was slowly making its way back up her cute. She promptly stifled those somber thoughts that wouldn't stop haunting her since Trunks had missed his scheduled return. She continued to address the man:

— "Now, I'm going to put my weapon down and take two steps back; it's all yours."

As promised, she striped herself of her own gun before taking the aforementioned steps back, then waited.

Without another word, what could only be assumed to be the father of the little girl slowly made his way to her, keeping his weapon readied. Having reached the semi-automatic machine gun, he crouched to pick it, not taking his eyes off his target for a second.

It was a man who had worked the earth, having large shoulders and hands hardened by labor. Now that she wasn't blinded by the setting sun anymore, Bulma could discover a face that once upon a time would have been jolly, two pale eyes under clashing eyebrows,, and a nose marked by a long scar that stretched all the way down to the man's chin.

— "Get down! Hands on the back of yer head!" he ordered.

At the very moment she had complied, he passed his rifle onto his forearm to examine the machine gun. Having done that, visibly satisfied, he asked, more or less consciously brandishing her weapon in Bulma's direction:

— "Was that all true?"

Bulma hesitated:

— "What?"

— "That you're looking for your brat!"

Being a girl from the city, she could recognize the pragmatism of country-folk. Always this frank and straightforward. While somewhat overwhelming for the average city dweller that has never left their concrete maze, it's most certainly not unpleasant once you got to know them a little better. Though they often seem rough at first, people living in the countryside are gifted with this natural sense of generosity that would have done good for those lesson-givers in suits.

— "Yes, it is true." she confirmed.

She had almost said "For sure, it's true!", but she'd reconsidered at the last second… he might've thought she was making fun of him. While the average country bumpkin is often simple by nature, he is often less stupid than he lets on.

— "What'd you want with my little girl?"

— "I thought she was all alone." lied Bulma, again.

But of course, it was of no real consequence. She'd considered the possibility of the famlily of the little probably living somewhere underground in the proximity of these structures, that she probably would have escaped from the clutches of her parents to come look for the puppy before noticing her vehicle in the sky.

— "We shouldn't tarry. Those goddamn black dogs come 'round right about at this time o'evening…" said the man as he made his exit without further exchange.

Bulma strutted right in his tail, placing all her bets on this next move, and having the nerve to decide the following for the man at her own risk:

— "It's so nice of you to welcome me here. Really, I'm touched by this. I would have hated to have to sleep outside all on my own…"

The man stopped for a moment to turn around and look at her straight in the eyes before gauging from head to toe, then resumed his march with a faint groan. Happy, she took that for an invitation and followed him closely.

Her more or less unwilling host started by directing himself towards the field the barn was facing as they exited it… Scanning both the landscape and the skies at the same time, he then branched off towards the bouquet of trees on his left. Once there, he signed Bulma to stay down to make here progress towards the safety of the pines full of thorns that forced the young lady to cover her face and arms on several occasions. Thankfully, even the stubbornest of thorns didn't have the slightest chance of even scuffing the composite fabric of a jacket specifically developed the resist the power of a Super Saiyan. In the midst of the bushes, the man lifted on heftier shrubs to press a button on a controller for no stray eyes to see. A trapdoor slightly lowered before slowly sliding to the side without dropping any of the dirt that kept it hidden. The next moment, Bulma and her guide dove deeper into the underground bunker through a stairwell poorly lit by little LED lamps equipped with motion-detecting devices. With the entrance door shut, the place could seem eerier, but Trunks' mother felt comfortable in it, safe, if anything. She'd stopped counting the number of days, weeks she had spent in shelters of this vein. With life out in the open being far too dangerous, humanity had now become subterranean, nocturnal even… but the fear of an unpleasant encounter was strong. Darkness was now the way of life for a large portion of those who have survived… and this wasn't without consequence for those whose metabolism was initially conceived to live at exposure to sunlight. In addition to suffering from malnutrition, people also had to endure a deficit in vitamins due to lack of intake, intake that could now cost anyone their lives. Children were the victims worst affected by this, leading to the worst of consequences sometimes.

However, Mugie didn't seem to suffer from such afflictions. Bulma could appreciate her round cheeks complimented by her apricot-colored complexion, dotted with subtle freckles.. With this set-up, being so isolated from the farm and the spaced-out surroundings, it should be easy to spot areal intruders from afar, without a doubt allowing its residents to continue their routines all while being able to shelter themselves at the slightest sign of trouble. The young lady had already seen the extent of the organization of such communities, usually having a person on watch to scan the horizon. Furthermore, contrary to most city-folk, those from the countryside were far more capable of producing what they need for sustenance, despite some having to regress to doing field work exclusively by hand. Gasoline and working electric generator were making themselves sparse with time.

She was surprised to find out that the trip ended in one of the buildings of the farm. Here lied a whole stockpile of agricultural devices, more or less recent, mechanical pieces - even a few whole engines - and tools.

Without a word, her guide scaled an old tractor, out of date and clearly out of order considering the abysmal state of the tires, in worse shape than an arid wasteland at the peak of its drought, full of holes, and seemingly stuck on a pile of metallic junk. The man slipped right in between the opening there was between the the nose of the contraption and the wall, then tapped the floor in an apparently designated spot. The little trademark sound of a mechanism taking its course hissed and he disappeared while contorting under the front wheels of the antique vehicle. Bulma plunged into the freshness of the underground as she followed suit.

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