Disclaimer:Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z are © Akira Toriyama-sama, Dragon Ball GT is the property of some idiot… I do not own any of the Dragon Ball series, nor am I making a profit off of this.
Title: Another Life: Return of the Fallen
Chapter One: The Search Begins
A plastic mask covered her mouth and nose, feeding her oxygen. Pan tongued the object, trying to move it away, but it had been strapped around her head and refused to budge. She was laid out on a firm bed, her lower back sore from having been there too long. She stretched, her wrists tugging against a cold, solid something: restraints. Shackles had also been secured around her ankles. She tugged against them, oddly weak, her mind hazy and spinning.
Pan squinted her eyes, noticing several other blurry, plain beds lined up along the drab gray walls. All of them were empty. A tray of bottles filled with clear liquids and syringes sat next to her bed. Pan recognized that she was in a hospital, clinic, whatever it was called on the ship and she had a nasty feeling that she had been drugged.
Dumu came to her bedside, his haggard blue face frowning and carrot-colored moustache dangling over her as he looked her over.
"Hello, Miz Pan. It'z so nice to see you awake." His smile was hidden under his thick facial hair.
He pulled open her eyelids as if he wanted the ball to fall right out, peering into them; they were dry when he released her lids. There was a black box attached the side of the bed that he wandered over to, wrinkled his face at, then looked at Pan.
She glared at him - all three of him.
"You collapsed earlier."
No shit, you idiot.
"I don't like to tell you thiz, but you've contracted a viruz, miz. You've had it for quite some time… anyhow, it'z known az dezteria, rather uncommon to my people," he paused. "It effectz the arteriez, sometimez the lungz, and requirez a simple operation to repair the damage itz already done to you."
Desteria? Dumu picked up a needle from the tray and flicked it twice. You aren't sticking that in me! Pan tried to talk, but it came out in mumbles and groans. Damn, how weak was she?
He wiped her arm with a wet cloth and she squirmed, wincing as he stuck the needle in her arm, emptied the contents into her bloodstream and then retracted it.
"Something to relax you so that I can work on you," he explained.
He hated her, he wanted to kill her; she didn't want him messing with her insides!
The drug began to take effect after a while. Pan fought against the stimulant and swiped at Dumu's clothes, but he had distanced himself. Damn coward. She dropped her hands, lolled her head back and fell asleep.
Dumu grabbed one of his surgical utensils, pulled her shirt up and began the procedure.
"Please let me go with you, Piccolo."
"No," he growled, "I'm going alone."
There were tears in her eyes. What did she expect? His pity?
"But she's my daughter!" Videl cried.
Pan was her daughter, but Videl couldn't help. She wasn't over Gohan's death. And honestly he wasn't over it either, but he didn't have a barrage of human emotions bogging him down. He could cope with this - Videl could not.
"Videl," Bulma said gently, "it's only a one man ship anyway. If you want, you can stay here at Capsule Corp. You can talk to Piccolo any time you want."
She led Videl to a table that had been pushed up against the wall, cluttered with various tools and an empty toolbox. Bulma handed her an organic-shaped black box; she lifted up the middle part, showing her a small screen. Videl saw her reflection on the screen and wiped her cheeks dry.
"See? It's a vidphone," Bulma said softly.
Videl nodded and set the item back down. She looked at Piccolo, reining control of her emotions and hardening her features.
"Please find her, Piccolo," she said.
The sentiment in her voice made him uncomfortable. He looked at her, trying to say something, but his mind was empty. He stepped onto the platform, which had been modeled after the old Namek spacecraft, said, "Up" (rather than the former password "Piccolo") and was lifted inside. There was a plexiglass encasement around the platform entrance with a sliding half-door. Bulma had wasted time putting it up, Piccolo thought, as he threw it open and moved into the pilots seat, bent down towards the controls as Bulma had taught him to do, and said, "Blast off". He didn't like that woman's choice of verbal commands to operate the computerized ship, but there was no one to hear him.
There were no dragonballs on the planet anymore; they had disappeared along with, or rather into, Goku. There was no way to wish Gohan back. No way of wishing Pan back to Earth. If he had not been such good friends with Gohan he wouldn't have even considered chasing after the damn brat. And if not for Vegeta - who knew what was going on in his head then - who had just let her get on the spaceship and leave, Piccolo wouldn't even have to do this.
Dumu was on that ship with Pan, a man who had gleefully pointed her out as a thief for taking a dragon ball and wanted her executed for it. He knew Dumu was with her simply because after they had buried the dead bodies and gathered up the survivors he hadn't been amongst them. The ones still alive were being hoarded at Capsule Corp., in some ingenious prison that Bulma had whipped up. As far as Piccolo knew they were going to be sent to some primitive planet in another galaxy so it would be many years before they could ever return to Earth. If they ever wanted to after that time.
Piccolo got up to meditate in an open space, which there wasn't much of in the tiny ship.
"She'll be back within two weeks", Vegeta had said. Not surprisingly, he was wrong, and Piccolo was sure that he had meant to be. They both knew Pan wasn't going to come back. Call it intuition. That and he couldn't feel her ki; she was too far away. If she hadn't already been killed by Dumu.
He closed his eyes and prepared himself for a very long trip.
Pan's hands were wet and she wiped them on her pants, noting that the scaredy-cat had unlocked her cuffs. There were rusty smears on her pants, crusted and old. It was her father's blood. The thought of how it got there wouldn't budge from her mind. Her mental eye had the image of her bloody father well preserved, forcing her to see the ki-carved hole in his chest. When she couldn't make the image go away she got frustrated; she had to do something, hit someone, pull her hair, something! This was going to make her go mad.
But, she restrained her odd urges. She put her hands under her top, feeling over her stomach for any signs that Dumu had permanently or fatally harmed her. There was a long line of raised flesh barely felt; Pan had expected heavy stitches and a hideous scar that would make her old battle wounds look like beauty marks. She sat up painfully, the black box beeping at her. She smacked it. It broke off, fell to the ground, sparked once and died.
The pain in her abdomen made her feel like her skin was going to rip open. She tolerated it, hopped onto the cold floor and padded through the doorless archway.
Pan didn't know the ship well since she only visited the control room and the cafeteria, but she knew how to find her way around. The ship was oval-shaped and the outer wing went in a complete circle, separated by a main hallway that led to the helm at the center of the ship. Pan traipsed through the outer corridor, stopping at closed doors, punching at random buttons to see if they would open for her to investigate and, when none opened for her, continued. She found the main hall, went into it and frowned because the door was shut. The square of buttons on the side was completely alien to her and she didn't know the code, so she knocked on the door, figuring that Dumu couldn't stay in there forever if he didn't want her. The door shlinked open.
"You should be resting, miz Pan."
"Probably," she shrugged.
She walked up to the visual screens, staring hard at the center one. There was a map brought up on it, some of the locations named, a few lines indicating safe traveling routes.
"Where we goin'?" she asked, her eyes flitting from one dot to the next.
Dumu pointed to one of the smaller, brilliant dots, "Here. Travlaka."
There was an incessant chirping noise coming from one the consoles. She complained, but Dumu shook his head and told her that there was nothing he could do about it.
"That sound meanz that the enginez need a fresh power supply relatively soon. That'z why we are going to Travlaka," he said.
"And where to after Trav-a-lo-co?"
"Trav-lock-uh," Dumu enunciated.
"Whatever," she said.
"And I do not know where we're going. You haven't given me a deztination yet."
Pan questioned his mental state of mind, sometimes. He was actually going to take her all through space until she picked out a place to go, and she didn't even know where she wanted to go. Some place habitable, maybe. With food. And people to fight.
His mind was clear, focused, groping for the familiar ki of Son Pan. The brat had a three week head start, could have gone in any direction. There was no sure way of knowing that he had chosen the right direction to pursue. Even a breadth off of the exact path and he would be horrendously off course in a month. Then what? Would she even be close enough then for him to track? Piccolo knew what he had to do, knew he wasn't going about it in the most intelligent way, but it was how it had to be done.
If he didn't have a sense of her ki after two weeks - how much faster did their ship go? or was his faster? -he would change the itinerary and go a different way.
It was a day and a half before Travlaka appeared on the screen as a moon-sized mass rather than an effulgent star. Pan, who had fallen asleep on the floor propped against the wall, got up stiffly. Something on the front screen moved, like the light of a plane in the night sky. Another spec showed up, sailing across the darkness of space. More of them become noticeable, heading towards the planet, from the planet, so far away from it yet making the planet seem so alive. Pan was awestruck - she had never imagined such a busy world.
The planet was a myriad of whites, grays and browns from afar; up close, air vehicles of all colors coasted through the skies. It looked like rush hour. There were no clouds and Pan got the impression that the climate was rather cold; the sun was so much further away than what she had become accustomed to on Earth. That was a place she didn't want to go back to for reasons that seemed so trivial, but now that she had already vowed not to return - she wouldn't. No matter how homesick she was.
Dumu brought their ship to the darker, far side of the surface where the sun was beginning to set; there was no spectacular display of colors. Gravity grabbed hold of their ship, bouncing it around as if it was a plastic toy train that made this fascinating rattling noise when shaken. Pan held onto the seat as their craft quaked; was shrewdly thrown out of the chair and onto her knees. Her right breast hit the edge of the seat on her way down. She grumbled a curse, holding her tender breast. Then the savage tottering ceased and, panting, Pan climbed back into her seat.
She looked at the wall-screens and the many views of the world that they offered. Large, triangular platforms reached well into the sky, each on various levels and spread out in an orderly fashion. They looked like oddly-shaped building tops, painted with bright orange lines, probably there to guide the pilot for landing. Pan peered down further: a tube ran through each platform support, connecting them to each other. They all led to same, big, web-like white building.
Dumu handled the thrusters and landing gear skillfully, fiddling with both at the same time. The landing he made was smooth, which Pan suspected was no amazing fete since the ship didn't really land - it just floated inches off the ground. The technology must have been similar to the technology Capsule Corp. used to make airbikes move and hover.
The only thing that she had remembered and knew how to use was the ramp release switch: push down, pull down and bring down. Simple.
Pan stumbled down the rampway, hopped off at the bottom and looked to Dumu for guidance. She would have to rely on him to lead her around this bizarre continent. He led her to an open-faced elevator on the platform, which took them down to the mid-level tubing. When he noticed her bewildered expression, he explained that he had been here a few times before.
"It's busy," Pan commented.
"Yez, izn't is wonderful? Buzy, loud, and so unfriendly in certain placez," he said cheerily.
She gave him a funny look.
As they walked down the wide corridor several alien beings were also slipping into the hall in front or behind them. There was a pair some ways in front of them of tall, furry creatures, tailless and without clothes. They were shaggy and both of them chunky. Pan stared inconspicuously. She would have to get used to the many different races and their appearances.
One critter, who was heading back to his ship, eyed Pan repulsively. He was a pink-scaled, squat creature with overly large, floppy ears, and a flat nose that all came together for a mean face. Pan glared at him in passing and he snapped his teeth at her knees. She kicked him reflexively back into the wall where it fractured the cement-like material. He slipped down onto the floor. Dumu grabbed her by the shoulders and steered her forward.
"Hey, get off me! Jeez! What's your problem?"
Dumu wagged a finger at her. "Do not go getting into fightz," he said, "There are people here who would kill you for doing something like that."
Do they kill like your people do?she was tempted to ask; the way they had used her absorbed ki to murder Papa. Or did each race have their own special weapons and kill in their own ways?
Piccolo's ship tottered violently. He stumbled backward into the pilot's chair, furious that he couldn't remember the damn word to get a shield up around the ship. He leapt from his seat and to the cabinet of capsules; he did remember which one he needed. He snatched it, clicked it open; an orange space suit bomphed out from the smoke. The ship convulsed again, sliding it into the wall.
Forcefield. Forcefield was the word!
He moved hastily back to the computer, growled the word at it and the ship immediately buzzed and erected the invisible armor. The assaulting spaceship was closing in; it was a small vessel, but still larger than his. One that wanted to blow him to smithereens just because it thought it could. And, since he had been in such a hurry to leave, he had told Bulma that the ship wouldn't need weapons because he could defend it himself.
He hadn't expected this.
The structure wobbled faintly as another blast was fired, but the forcefield absorbed the brunt of it. Though, for how long it would hold he didn't know. Piccolo went back to the suit and threw off his cape, picked up the top half and squeezed it over his shoulders. The bottom half wouldn't fit him so he left it be, grabbed the clear helmet and attached it to the suit. It rubbed against his antenna, but he didn't have time to deal with that. He swept into the lucid chamber and sealed the door, now understanding why it was there.
"Open!" he yelled at the computer. It obeyed.
He was yanked down and out by the vacuum of space, veered away into the nothingness and fired a ki blast at the enemy vessel. It burst around an unseen shield. Piccolo moved closer to it and fired another, stronger blast - the shield wavered and faded. The next shot hit the firing weapons at the top of the ship and reacted violently with his ki; the entire top exploded. He ducked under a chunk of scrap metal and flew backwards, back toward his ship. Random parts were sucked out from within, mostly alien contraptions and loose parts. Along with the alien technology, three aliens were ripped out of the tremendous hole, each quickly pulling away.
Out of the immediate suction, they righted themselves and hovered in the limitless void, glowering at Piccolo. They were wearing distinct, white-plated armor that was very familiar to him: Saiyajin armor. The armor had been altered slightly, but the dark suits underneath made him certain. They also wore scouters.
"You're trespassing in Lord Frieza's quadrant, freak," one man said.
"Frieza's been dead for years," Piccolo informed them flatly.
"Quite right," another said.
Perplexed, he cursed as they came at him. He shot a widespread hail of ki balls at the troop, hitting a tiny, peachy alien face-on. The goblin-like being was hurled into his ship, leaving a body indentation on its hull. The others rolled out of the way and threw their own ki blasts at him. Piccolo swatted them away, eying the ship behind them. He winked out of sight, phased in a distance behind them; they halted, confused until their scouters pointed them around. Piccolo crouched, feigning an attack stance; he waited for them to get close enough and then zanokened to his original location. He fired a thick ki beam at the body of ship. Pieces of heavy metal erupted, breaking apart and smashing into the aliens. They were knocked unconscious and carried away with the debris.
Piccolo went back to his spacecraft, growling "up" at the platform to lift him back in. He pulled off his helmet, dropped it on the ground; the upper space suit caused quite a problem, but after some amount of struggling he tugged it off without ripping it and dropped that too.
"Drop forcefield," he said. The computer complied.
Some of the smaller bits of wreckage hit the ship, mostly metal that had been disintegrated into little more than particles of matter. Piccolo sat down at the helm, pondering the men and the Saiyajin armor. They weren't Saiyajin. Not a chance. It was the same outfit that Radditz had shown up in, the same color garments Vegeta and Nappa had arrived in, the same armor design Frieza had worn on Old Namek.
They were Frieza's henchmen, some of them anyway. Of course he and the others hadn't thought that his army had only consisted of a shipful of men, had they? The tyrant's empire had crumbled with his death, though. All of his predecessors and elites had been killed years ago. Had enough of his army survived that they remained in control of this particular quadrant? No, without a leader it wouldn't have survived. It was possible that those men had been and were still loyal to Frieza. How foolish.
Piccolo instructed the ship's computer to continue on the set course.
A/N– Yes I did have this story posted before, but when I tried to read it, well… I realized there wasn't much of a grab at the beginning. So I switched some of the wording around (lo and behold it all still works) and hopefully made it look a little better. Enjoy!
Indeed this is the sequel to Determination, however it isn't necessary to read that unless you want a full explanation of how she got into space, really. That story might be taken down in the future and reworked since I am not excessively proud of it. However, this story has started out on the good foot. ^_^
Thank You- To Steven P. P (hee hee, P. P. Err, sorry) for beta-reading this chapter. I wouldn't mind having more beta-readers for the story... ;) *hint hint*
Planned Update– 4/25
Quote That Amuses The Author-"Damn, the fat one's dead!" - Vegeta, watching the Majin/Good Buu fight