"A Father's Story"
Chapter 6- "War Games: Part II"
The forest was growing darker as the young group of low-level Saiya-jin maneuvered their way through the forest in a zigzag formation, so as to throw off any pursuing teams. It was a common enough tactic used among the students and it probably wouldn't throw them, but thanks to Cumber's ingenuity and quick-thinking they had made it less traceable. Each time they passed a large cluster of trees, one of them would fire several small energy blasts into the foliage to snap twigs and leave imprints in the bark of the trees.
In doing this it made the four Saiya-jin seem like they were in more than one place all at once, throwing any enemy units off their trail and, hopefully, diverting the attention of any predators. Even Bardock, who was considered to be a tactical genius amongst low-levels, would never have thought of such a strategy and was quite glad they had Cumber on their side during this. He knew his other two teammates felt the same, though Toma was too stubborn to admit as such and Celipa would never let on that she thought of her brother as anything but a pain in the ass.
Night was closing in on the forest quickly now, the already heavily shadowed forest floor growing darker still as the suns set on the horizon, the smell of moist dew rising from the leaves. The sound of the various fauna rising in the deeper woods was enough to put some considerable speed in the four youth's legs, the rocky outcroppings Bardock had mentioned now within view. They would be safe from the larger predators if they could manage to get down into the natural caves, assuming they didn't light any fires and refrained from speaking too loudly.
"Once we make camp, it's strictly cold rations, no fires and no energy blasts are to be used for heat," Bardock instructed through his scouter, "Any fires will lure the predators to our location and any sudden spike in our energy will make us a juicy target for rival teams."
"Then might I suggest strict radio silence also?" Celipa chimed in, "If anyone taps into our frequency, then that too would give away our location to the enemy."
"Celipa's right, we should keep ourselves scarce," Toma agreed, firing off a small blast into the trees, "Once we're inside the rocks, we won't have any used for these scouters anyway."
"I have to concur, we won't need them inside the caves," Cumber almost yawned, setting his foot on the rocks first, "So hurry it up, before we all end up..."
Bardock didn't get the rest of his teammate's reply as an explosion rocked the area just as they closed in on the rocks, Cumber's limp form flying out into the dirt with a resounding thud. He was bleeding out just over his left eyebrow, a few scrapes having appeared from his impact around his elbows and knees, but he was still alive and that counted for something. Celipa was the first to his side, tending to his wounds immediately as the group's only medical semi-expert, and also concerned for her 'baby' brother's well-being despite what she had been taught by Nappa.
Bardock and Toma arrived shortly thereafter to find another group of Saiya-jin standing atop the rocks, wearing the standard blue uniforms of the elite units with the division A-3 on their chests. Bardock didn't recognize the Saiya-jin themselves, just another group of elite brats who thought they ruled the roost, and four bums who figured on routing out the weaklings first. Cumber was the lead strategist of the team and, had they gotten the jump on the elites, Bardock thought they might have stood a chance, but things were different now.
"Looks like we found the wimps early enough, good thing they decided to keep in contact with the scouters," said a tall Saiya-jin with slicked back, dark brown hair, "What do you think of this lot, Latta?"
"They don't look tough enough to even be in the Academy, much less the war games," a female Saiya-jin, with unusual blue hair, chuckled, "The small boy there was completely off his guard, the girl is pitiful, and the other two seem completely unsure what to do now. We're wasting out time here Oynen, let's just kill them and move on."
"Nah, they may be of use to us yet...they were trained by Nappa, the son of the former Commander-in-Chief, they must know something of tracking," Oynen, the apparent leader, mused, "Korn, Daikon, kill the brat with the mohawk and the girl, but detain the other two! We'll use them to find our way back."
The other two members of the group, a shorter boy with shaggy black hair, the one known as Daikon, and a medium-height kid with black hair so short it seemed bald, simply nodded and rushed towards Bardock and Toma. The two fell into a defensive stance on instinct, not having expected this to happen but not willing to go down easy, but never got the chance to. The two other Saiya-jin boys were cleaved in half within moments by something that moved so fast that nobody had seen it coming, a spray of white-hot blood splashing all over Bardock and his crew.
A scream sounded in the forest, though Bardock couldn't tell whether it came from his own teammates, the remaining elites, or himself, but at the moment he didn't care as he leapt into action. Swiveling around to see what had so cleanly sliced two Saiya-jin boy's in half, Bardock and Toma both came face to snout with what had to be the most horrendous-looking, horn-covered creature in their history. Cumber was the expert on these kind of creatures so the two older boys didn't recognize it, all they knew was that it was big, ugly, and dangerous.
The two elites began to run, wanting to put as much distance between the animal and themselves as possible, but it did little good as the creature spotted them and cut off their escape, following with their heads. More dark blood soaked the ground and the rocks as Celipa finished hiding her injured brother in the rocks, not wanting to risk further injury as they prepared to face this animal. After all, it was just that, an animal, and while it may have freakishly brutish strength the three Saiya-jin had decent brain power and with any luck would be able to outsmart it.
"Toma, you and Celipa need to find a way to distract it so we can cut off it's tail where that damn scythe-thing is," Bardock instructed, keeping his voice low, "Once it's out of commission, we should be able to take it down pretty easy."
"Nice plan, but one problem," Toma gulped, "What are you gonna do while we play rip-the-tail off the freak show?"
"I'm gonna stay in front of him and create a diversion," Bardock smirked, "With any luck, even if he gets me, you two will take it out and get Cumber back to the Academy. Now, let's move!"
The two teammates didn't need to be told twice as Bardock began to shout at the animal and fire small energy bursts at it, none of them doing much more than graze the skin and irritate it. The animal lunged for Bardock first, not paying any attention to the other two fighters as they moved around behind him, aiming two relatively powerful attacks at the creature's tail. The animal didn't notice as the attacks were launched, but did once they hit it's backside, tearing deep into the flesh but not quite deep enough to sever the tail from it's body.
A roar of pain erupted from the animal as it swung it's massive claws towards Toma and Celipa, blinded with rage from the bleeding wound they had inflicted upon it's lower torso. Celipa was able to avoid the attack due mainly to her superior speed but Toma was a different story, missing the brunt of the attack by inches but still catching one of the claws in his thigh. His face froze with shock before his scream pierced the air as the claw ripped out of his flesh, red blood spewing like a geyser from the wound as he lost his altitude and hit the ground.
Bardock was in shock at how effortlessly the animal had broken Toma's defenses and enraged at how easily his team was being taken out, ignoring his own plan immediately to try and help Toma. This proved to be a mistake, as the animal once again turned it's sights on the bed-head Saiya-jin and swing it's massive claws around and plunged it into Bardock's stomach. Pain ripped through the young warrior's body slowly at first but all of a sudden more quickly when the claw came out, dropping Bardock down to the ground like a limp noodle.
He could faintly hear Celipa screaming both his and Toma's name but it sounded so far away, like something from a dream, his mind swimming with images of his youth growing up in isolation far away from here. There had been creatures there too, creatures that the locals had claimed were indestructible, creatures that Bardock had killed with virtually no effort. It seemed like so long ago now as the life drained slowly out of Bardock as he looked around his surroundings, spotted Toma lying across the field with his femur sticking out of his leg as the beast came down on him once more.
The animal never managed to connect the strike, however, as at that moment something inside of Bardock snapped and, faster than anyone could see, he was in front of the creature holding it's claws back. Even more miraculous, the wound in his stomach was beginning to mend itself, the blood no longer flowing out and the sound of flesh and bone reconnecting causing Celipa to lurch. The young warrior was no longer the fragile prey item that the beast had tracked to this field, he was a dangerous and hostile force to be reckoned with.
Faster than most people could blink, the creature swung it's deadly tail at Bardock and his crew, missing by bare inched as a sharp edged ki blast severed the appendage from it's owner. Dark blood soaked the ground and landed in globs on his friends bodies as Bardock continued his assault on the creature, avoiding it's flailing claws and the horns on her body with relative ease. At this point, it was hard to tell who was more of a monster than the other, Celipa watching with a mixture of relief and horror as, in one final move, Bardock drove his knee into the animal's neck with a sickening snap.
The creature fell to the ground with earth-shaking force, it's body riddled with wounds and burns from where Bardock had attacked it, it's dark blood flowing all over the ground like a crimson river. The young Saiya-jin warrior was standing over the body like the dominating champion, his body covered with a mixture of both his and the animal's blood like some kind of macabre statue. The murderous look in his eyes had faded, now wide with shock at the sheer brutality of his actions as he headed over to where his teammates were gazing at him with fear.
"Celipa...I don't know what happened back there, I must've blacked out, but good job!" Bardock smiled, "Even without mine or Toma's help, you managed to beat that thing!"
"Ba...Bardock, YOU killed that animal," Celipa stammered, going to work at bandaging Toma's wounds, "Don't you remember?"
"I didn't kill it, I blacked out after it stabbed Toma," Bardock scratched his matted hair, "I remember charging it and it turning on me, but after that it's all a complete blank."
"That surge in his energy, the way he tore the animal apart, he doesn't remember anything...how can that be?" Celipa mused, propping Toma on her shoulder, "It doesn't matter now Bardock, it's dead and we're still alive, that's what's important. Now help me here, Toma's too heavy to move on my own."
Bardock didn't say anything more, just nodded and helped the young girl move Toma over to the safety of the rocks with Cumber, all the while looking back at the mutilated remains of the large animal. They would probably eat it later he supposed, as it was one of their religious beliefs that nothing went to waste in nature, and Bardock was certain that they could use most of this animal's carcass for something. Still, he was wondering how the animal was taken down by Celipa without himself or Toma to help her, still unaware that it was he who had killed it.
"Bardock, you go lie down next to Cumber while I skin the animal and get the meat ready," Celipa instructed, pulling a small blade from her pack, "I'll wake you when I'm ready."
"You sure you don't need some protection?"
"I'll be fine Bardock, just get some rest," Celipa assured her teammate, jumping from the rocks, "And please, try to remember how you did this...we're going to need that strength as this test goes on..."
Some distance away from where the low-class team was resting from their confrontation with one of their planet's deadliest animals, another team was beginning to formulate a plan of attack. They were four elites, sitting around a small fire inside a cave that they had carved into a rock face themselves for shelter, feasting on some kind of small prey item they tracked in the field. Their team leader was none other than the same boy Bardock had first scrapped with some time ago, Perejil, his dark eyes glistening as his scouter died back down.
"So, the weakling team has someone powerful on it after all," Perejil chuckled, ripping a hunk of meat off the bone, "Beet, what do you say we go and say hello?"
"Not advisable, it'll be dark in an hour tops and then we'd be sitting ducks to some of the large predators," a short Saiya-jin with unruly hair mused, "Besides, Rhubra and Paraguas are already asleep, so we'd be going up against superior numbers. That would be stupid."
"Fine then, what do you suggest Beet?"
"The suns will begin rising in another eight hours, so the large predators will be back in their burrows and we can move freely," Beet began, "I say, at that point, we head for the rocks their staying at and track their movements from there. Then, when we find them, take them out."
"Good plan, I like it," Perejil smirked, rising to his feet, "I like it a lot."
"I thought you might," Beet mused, stretching back on the ground, "Now get some sleep, sir. You're going to need it."
"Get ready wimps, especially you Bardock," Perejil snorted, rubbing his chest as one does an old wound, "We strike at dawn..."
Power Level Update
Mysterious Animal: 2,000
Author's Notes: As you can see, just like his grandson after him, Bardock has no memory of the sudden bursts of energy that he displays, something I got the idea for after watching his fight in the Bardock Special with Frieza. Sorry it's taken so long to update, but my computer's been on the fritz lately but it's working okay now and let's hope that I can do some stuff quicker now. Anywho, read and review and I'll catch all you lovely folks next time.