A&N: I apologize for any grammatical and spelling mistakes, English is not my primary language. I'll try to squash as many of them as possible pre-release. I also apologize for my followers expecting a sequel for Gods Wrath, but I don't feel comfortable tackling such a project just yet. A more character-focused side project like this I feel will help me greatly in preparation for that.
Chapter 1: The First to Die
May 12th, Age 767, Amenbo Island
In most instances, Piccolo has never viewed his sharper hearing as an asset. More often than not, he's yearned to rid himself of it, annoyed by the noises piercing into his skull whenever he trades blows or blasts with another opponent. An encumbrance he's usually overcome by allowing the heat of battle to sweep him up with his ki sense to compensate. Now, he can't afford to apply this method as much as every fiber of his being wants him to.
Shock waves, explosions, beams whizzing and the worst of all, shrieks of terror and death from all over the besieged city ring in his ears. Creating a morbid, and most unwelcome mental image of his surroundings. If not for this ability being the only thing presently keeping him just barely alive, he'd have rendered himself temporarily deaf already.
For now he faces an adversary his Ki Sense can't help him against, an enemy with not even the faintest ounce of a ki signature. Not even a minuscule one common to the human species. Instead, this regular looking boy, no more than a few years older than his apprentice Gohan stands before him like an unstoppable and unreadable force. This teenage boy with nary the hint of combat training or a physique above his human peers stares him down with a cold, and ruthless confidence. Not even bothering to blink or drop the smirk ever present on his face, his expression eerily reminds Piccolo of the galactic tyrant, Freeza.
"Well, this is disappointing," He comments, placing his hands on into the pockets of his jeans. "From what the good Doctor said about you being as strong as Goku, I thought you'd put up a lot better fight than this."
Piccolo narrows his eyes. "The Doctor? I'm guessing this is the guy responsible for turning you two into whatever you are now?"
17 nods. "Into Androids yes. Our creator, Doctor Gero, formerly the head scientist of the Red Ribbon Army is the guy you can thank for all of this and so much more." He arms extended toward the burning city all around them. "Although, your friend Goku certainly did his part too."
"Mhm, I'm not sure what exactly but he did something pretty bad to the old man. Bad enough for him to spend 15 years to get revenge, building all sorts of nasty things like us to do it too. Unfortunately for him," His smirk turns into a full blown smile. "He lost his head before he could see the fruit of his labor."
"If this Doctor Gero is dead, and Goku's not here anymore for you to target, then why are you two doing all of this?"
"What can I say," 17 cracks his knuckles. "We've always been a couple of little troublemakers."
Vanishing out of sight, Piccolo freezes in place before ducking beneath the kick, his hearing allowing him to hear the wind splitting in half near his head mere seconds before the attack came. Taking hold of the boys leg, Piccolo roars and promptly launches him through a nearby, evacuated building. Before he can even fly an inch off the ground, a quick sideways jab to his face sends the Namekian hurtling through the air.
Recovering quickly enough to suffer only a scratch to his cheek courtesy of the Android's narrowly avoided punch, Piccolo launches a flurry of blows his way. Despite putting in every bit of strength into every punch and kick, Piccolo knows it's a fruitless exercise. His recent experiences against the Saiyan's and the Freeza giving him a good idea of what it means to be on the receiving end of an overwhelming adversary. Even one he can't sense. But he doesn't have to, his casually blocked and intercepted attacks being all the proof he needs.
Despite this, he knows he can't quit. Against an enemy like this, only he and the other warriors of Earth, even Vegeta of all people, stand as the planets only line of defense. And he's not about to allow a repeat of his people's genocide to happen to the Earthlings, not when he can do something to stop it.
"Tell me you've got something better than this," 17 comments with a bored tone. "I'm getting sleepy here."
A white radiate of ki surrounds his body as he powers up, propelling himself several feet into the air and high above his opponent. Forming two balls of ki, accompanied by large discharges of electricity from both, Piccolo fires off a series of energy balls with a mighty shout. He knows full well a volley of blasts of this caliber will be little more than split second annoyances for him. Exactly what he needs, for he used a shred of his power even making them while the vast majority instead has gone to his charging Makankosappo. Things quickly take a turn for the worse when 17 smacks the blasts away in the directions of several fleeing or wounded people in the nearby area instead of dispelling them as Piccolo counted on.
Breaking his focus on accumulating as much energy as he can into one all out blast, Piccolo quickly moves to intercept his off target blasts with new ones fired from each palm. He only narrowly manages to get them all, though his brief moment of relief is cut short with 17 smashing his fist into Piccolo's stomach. The Namekian's whole body freezes in place as a pained gasp escapes his lips.
Unable to strike back or protect himself, Piccolo finds himself flying upward from a jaw breaking uppercut. Treating the Namekian as little more than the object of a pinball game, 17 relentlessly smashes his bested opponent around in all directions, intercepting him before he can fly off with another punch or kick. Piccolo already guessed from the pain of the stomach blow that he's finished, with this exercise in torture merely serving to wilt away what little hope he has remaining of possibly winning.
Eventually, 17 stops, letting Piccolo fall face first into the ruined streets of the city and descends behind him with a disappointed sigh. "Y'know, my sister and I saw your stunt on TV all those years ago. How you outlawed all the rules and told everyone to do whatever they wanted as long is it was for the sake of stirring up trouble."
Piccolo lets out a grunt of pain and anger, his thoughts returning to his previous incarnations declaration on the day of his death and inception. Not with the same pride or disdain as he did in his younger days.
"We thought you were the coolest guy ever. A real role model for a couple of impressionable youngsters like us. But here you are now," He comments with disgust plastered all across his face and in every spoken word. "Now you're just another goodie two shoes like the rest of Goku's loser friends. Honestly, what happened to you?"
Gohan... The boys smiling face emerges in his mind along with a sense of relief at his decision to knock him out, preventing him from partaking in the battle. A decision growing all the wiser as he can sense Vegeta, now a Super Saiyan and above both Goku and Freeza, falter against the other Android on the opposite end of the city.
Hearing the Android's approach from his footsteps, Piccolo knows he can't simply stay down and let the Android kill him. For the sake of the Earth and especially for Gohan, he pushes through the horrible pain, rolls onto his back and manages to hit 17 directly in the face with a quick ki blast. Using a pair of smaller blasts aimed at the ground, Piccolo propels himself back to his feet and lunges at 17 with a mighty roar.
Just as Piccolo's claws near his face, 18 vanishes out of sight with a smirk, leaving the Super Namek bewildered for a moment. Hearing her feet tap the concrete behind him, The Namekian quickly spins around to continue his assault only to find himself frozen from pain once again. A crippling kick to his chest knocks out the last shred of strength he has left.
For a moment, the entire world seems to slow down around him, a sensation he's only ever felt twice before. Once after Goku's powerful headbutt and more prominently, when he put himself in front of Nappa's energy blast. Just as he did last time, he feels his body go limp as 17 slowly pulls his leg back, staring at the alien as he plummets down to his knees. Just as last time, his thoughts return to his time training Gohan and lets himself smile at the boys statement about him being more grumpy than bad.
Sorry, I let you down, kid...
With that final thought crossing his mind, his body smashes against the ruined concrete at the feet of Android 17. The first of the Earth's warriors fated to die today at the hands of the Androids. Looking down at his corpse with a disappointed expression, the cybernetically enhanced boy turns to hunt down humans likely still scattered around the city. Sealing their fates as well.
5 Months Prior, Yunzabit Heights
"I'm glad you agreed to stay with Piccolo," Admits Kami as he hands a cup containing ice water from the northern area where Kami and Piccolo grew up during their time as the joined being known as the Nameless Namek to his counterpart. Considered a desolate wasteland with nary a sign of life or sunlight in the eyes of many, it remains as one of the few places both Kami and even Piccolo's previous incarnation held dearly. The self-proclaimed Demon King even spared the area of his infamous conquest many centuries ago.
"I was certain you'd simply fly away and ignore my request."
Piccolo takes the cup with some understandable apprehension, for he never expected to stand in the same room with his counterpart without any hostility, much less share a drink with him. "Ordinarily I would have," He takes a sip from the cup. "But I can sense you've got something important to say, so out with it."
"Very well then," The old Namekian's smile falters following a sigh, replaced by a stern and serious expression. "The time for another Guardian of Earth is fast approaching."
Nearly choking while taking another sip upon hearing this statement, Piccolo's cough gets an amused chuckle out of Kami. Not for the first time since seeing him there, Piccolo eyes the old Guardian with suspicion. Just before the arrival of Raditz six years ago, both he and Kami sensed that their time amongst the living was nearing its end. An ominous premonition which turned out to be true. However, Piccolo senses nothing amiss with himself or Kami.
"You seem fine physically at least, so you're not dying."
Kami shakes his head with a chuckle. "Oh no! I'm feeling quite well I assure you! In fact, I don't intend to retire for at least a few more years. Still, in light of recent events, I thought it prudent to plan ahead for the future."
Though he doesn't say it, Piccolo is smart enough to realize what he means: the unexpected death of Goku at the hands of that new virus plaguing the human populace. Even in his wildest dreams while growing up in the wilderness during his darker days, Piccolo never suspected or wanted him to face such an end. A warrior of that caliber, full of life dying in his bed in agonizing pain instead of in combat as befitting of him.
Despite his best attempts to keep his emotions and thoughts hidden from Kami, Piccolo's defenses falter for a moment as he finds himself missing the Saiyan. Something which doesn't go unnoticed.
"Its funny you know," Kami states while staring into the water of his cup, his mind wandering back to the days Goku spent in his company. "You two spent years training to defeat one another, and in the end, you two became comrades willing to save one another. You've even become a second father to his son."
"No one's more surprised by that than me," Admits Piccolo, letting himself relax somewhat for the first time since the arrival of Kami. "When I trained Gohan, I didn't intend to grow fond of him. Just having something of myself left after I died was more than enough, even if it was in Goku's son of all people." He forms a genuine smile. "But the boy got under my skin."
"How are they doing? Gohan and Chi-Chi I mean."
"They're doing better," He takes another sip from the cup. "They took it about as well as you'd expect at first. But once Goku contacted them from the afterlife, the blow was lessened somewhat. I've been traveling there often these days. Training with Gohan and helping around their home a little, they need it with another kid on the way."
"Chi-Chi must be thrilled having you around." Muses Kami with an amused tone to his voice, his implication not lost on his formerly evil counterpart.
"I sense some hostility, but the fact of the matter is that Gohan likes having me around. Seeing him happy with anyone, even with me must be good enough for her."
Kami chuckles once more. "You can't exactly blame her, the first time she met you nearly killed her fiancée after all."
"Hmph," Scoffs Piccolo with an amused smile. "Some fiancée, he didn't even remember what she looked like."
"Oh it gets even better, at first, he thought marriage was a kind of food!"
Letting the tension between them wash away, the two share a loud and genuine laugh together, the first of many stories Kami shares with Piccolo of Goku's many antics during his time on the Lookout. Beginning what will become a trend of meeting up for the two in the coming months of peace.