Disclaimer: For the LAST TIME, I DO NOT OWN DRAGONBALL Z. FUCK.
One week later…
Even for DBZ Court, the amount of people packed into the courtroom was highly unusual. It seems like everybody had caught wind of how monumental this trial was going to be.
What most people besides the behind-the-scenes folks didn't know is that DBZ Court had grown to become more and more popular among the denizens of the Dragonball Z canon. Saiyans, humans and namekians alike had gradually turned to the court as a way to settle disputes amongst themselves. It was a place where people could air their grievances and maybe get some justice in return.
However, Cell taking over as judge sort of changed the game. The court was still popular, but it was becoming more and more evident that the trials were no longer being decided by a jury of their peers, but by the judge himself. Cell, being one of the most powerful characters in the entire show, and having the backing of King Yemma himself, was virtually untouchable. Someone like Goku or Vegeta could destroy him easily, yes, but at the cost of their afterlife. It was truly a case of picking one's poison.
Which leads us to today. The whole world waited with bated breath to see the trial unfold. It had been advertised for the last week as the trial of the century. Hyperbole? Only if you wanted your ass kicked.
18, standing just outside the door leading into the courtroom, tapped her foot just barely weak enough to not leave craters in the ground. Momentarily peeking at her wristwatch, she mused over her feeling of amazement that this was the most important trial that had ever been brought to the court, and yet Justin was late. This is what he had wanted all along, a chance to reclaim his job at the court he had played such a large part in creating in the first place. So where the fuck was he?
"I seriously don't believe it," she muttered to herself.
"What don't you believe?"
A chill ran up 18's spine. Cell. Right behind her.
"Looks like your little comrade hasn't made it here. I wonder… if he can save you from me…"
His disgusting breath tickled her ear. It was all 18 had in her to keep any composure. She had no idea if Cell might absorb her at any moment, trial or no trial. "Don't worry about that, Cell. You'll be unemployed before you even know it."
Cell smirked. "It's not the employment I care about anymore. It's you."
After a brief silence overtook them both, Cell walked around to face 18. "Anyway, did you know that Yemma's appointing a new, completely impartial judge to preside over this case?"
"I thought he would. It wouldn't make sense to appoint you or Justin."
"Indeed. I can't help but wonder who it will be."
18 could hardly believe the way Cell could turn on a dime from hideous monster to charming in so little time. It must be Android 17 working in him.
Justin finally walked up to see 18 and Cell glaring at each other. Cell's face was a look of immense hunger and desire. Almost a sexual look. It was enough to creep this judge the fuck out.
"Cell, what the fuck do you think you're doing with my co-plaintiff?" He raged.
Cell looked over at the other judge, frowning for the first time today. "I don't like your tone, little man. It reminds me of all the shitty wasted time I spent working for you. Being your punch line. My humiliation will be avenged after this case. Once I'm done re-absorbing this android…"
Without warning, Cell appeared right in Justin's face, causing him to shriek and fall on the floor. Cell smiled again.
"You'll be the first one I kill. Good luck."
As he left, he waved behind him, in a very Goku-like manner. Justin shook his head rapidly to get himself un-freaked and got up. While he dusted himself off, 18 just rolled her eyes. She would have made some sarcastic comment, but she would have only been a hypocrite. After all, she was probably even more scared than he was up until Cell threatened to kill him.
"Come on," she beckoned, "the case is going to start in a half-hour."
The room was a dull roar of debate and discussion while the seconds counted down until the beginning of the so-called "Trial of the Century." Questions flew around in the stale, recycled air, looking around desperately for answers and crashing into one another. The podium was empty and the bailiff was missing. Nearly everyone in the court had concluded that neither Cell nor Justin could possibly be presiding over their own trial, so the primary question drowning on everyone's tongue was, "who will the new bailiff be?" The answer was about to be delivered, through the mouth of a young, blue-skinned Yemma intern in a crisp suit with a nervous voice.
"A-attention everyone!" Came the meek shout through the bullhorn. "I am here to a-announce the new bailiff and judge appointed just for this special case."
At that, the whole room fell deathly silent. Hanging on bated breath, every eye in the room glared right through the nervous intern.
"S-s-serving as the new bailiff for the Trial of the Century i-is… Assistant Black."
The court immediately erupted with discussion anew as Assistant Black stepped through the door next to the bailiff's post and relieved the nervous Yemma intern of his increasingly difficult job of standing in front of a room filled with the most powerful beings in the entire universe.
Assistant Black cleared his throat and took the megaphone. "ATTENTION! I, the new surrogate bailiff, will now be announcing the name of the judge-"
Goku stood up, freaking Assistant Black out a little since, hey, that was the kid who killed him several decades ago. "I bet it's Commander Red, isn't it?"
Assistant Black paused. "…Actually, yes. Commander Red is going to be the surrogate judge for the trial of the century. Thanks for bringing all of this court's tension to an anti-climactic end, Goku."
After another handful of seconds, Commander Red walked in with LITTLE fanfare (Short Joke Count: 1) and sat down at the podium- of course, he had to get a running start to even jump high enough to get into the damn thing in the first place. (Short Joke Count: 2).
"Right. Assistant Black, why did you forget to announce me?"
"…I didn't really even see you come in until it was too late." (Short Joke Count: 3)
"You didn't see the damn door open? Oh, whatever. Let's get this business finished so I can go back to walking around on stilts- erm, taking over the world." (Short Joke Count: 4)
"Yes, Commander." Assistant Black cleared his throat and once again lifted the megaphone to his face. "The plaintiffs and defendant may now enter the court!"
There was no pause, no dramatic silence, and no fanfare to speak of. Justin, 18 and Perfect Cell simply entered the courtroom and sat down in their respective areas. Not glaring at each other, not discussing the case amongst themselves (well, technically Cell had no one to discuss it with), they only stared straight ahead, occasionally stealing a quick, curious glance at their opponent.
"Let's see…" Commander Red studied his papers, adjusting his glasses while doing so. "Well, we all know what you two are here for, but it's apparently some ridiculous custom for me to ask what you're here for anyway, so… plaintiffs, why don't you get us started?"
Justin stood up immediately, to 18's dismay, and made an unprepared statement. "We on the plaintiff side are suing my former bailiff, Perfect Cell, for failing to uphold the decency in DBZ Court, and for his use of deadly force on other characters."
"Objection." Cell said in a somewhat bored voice the very second after Justin was finished with the brief testimony. Commander Red nodded. "Very well, Cell. It's your turn, anyway, so go ahead."
Cell didn't bother to stand up. "Justin's testimony is hypocritical and inaccurate. In his very first case, he had one of the characters destroyed by Vegeta, which makes his comment about my conduct in this court unreliable at best. Second, the rules of this court… well, to put it bluntly, they barely exist. It's the JUDGE that makes the rules up as he goes along. For example, near the end of my tenure as Justin's bailiff, he fired a synapse in his little blonde head and decided that I needed to wear clothing, since I was 'naked', even though absolutely nobody had any problem with it beforehand."
Commander Red had been nodding along to his fellow villain's testimony the entire time. It was clear to any observant person that the surrogate presider was being swayed- nay, swept off his feet- by Cell's elegant testimony. Meanwhile, Justin sat in the plaintiff's seat with 18 at his side, picking his nose.
"Okay, well, do either of you have anything else you want to say?" asked Commander Red.
18 stood as soon as Red was finished saying "say." Justin tried and now it was her turn. "Your Honor, my co-plaintiff was referring to the fact that Cell himself has been seen in front of many witnesses murdering plaintiffs or defendants before they were even declared guilty or innocent. When Justin ordered Vegeta to slaughter Android 19, it was indirect and after a guilty verdict had been reached against Android 19. Therefore, his point remains valid."
Red furrowed his brows over the course of 18's rebuttal. Then he once again turned to address Cell, barely avoiding knocking over the stack of precariously balanced books he was sitting on in the process. (Short Joke Count: 5) "And I believe you're going to have a response, Defendant?"
"Quite. Once again, I have to stress that the rules of this court have been absurdly arbitrary since its inception, but there is something that everyone can agree on; this court needs a judge with a sense of consistency. And for the past month, I have been that judge."
Cell stood for the first time since the case started. "This court has been under more control and stronger efficiency since the first case where I presided. The fact is, the Justin court was a disaster for the 25 cases it saw. And this isn't all just my opinion, Your Honor; the record shows it."
"I object!" Justin shouted, pounding his desk for punctuation. "Cell, you're treating this like a fucking political campaign! The only thing that's missing is a flag waving behind you!"
"…You know, that's actually not a bad idea. Commander Red, could you-"
"Damn it, Cell! If you're so confident about this 'record' of yours, let's have a look at it together! This whole court wants to see it!"
The creature glanced over and smiled, continuing to address Commander Red. "See what I'm saying, Red? This kid is disorganized. He doesn't even realize that records can be kept of several crucial aspects of each individual trial-"
"Blah blah! Excuses! I'm not seeing you cough up this evidence of yours."
Cell addressed his former boss at last. "You're not seeing it? Have you considered those papers on your desk?"
"I-" Justin's own retort was cut short with the realization that, no, he hadn't noticed that those papers on the desk hadn't belonged to Android 18 up until that point. 18 could say the same about Justin- believing the papers to be notes of some sort that he took, she left them alone. As it turned out, it was Cell's evidence. Planted right there under their noses the entire time, as if mocking them.
"Those are official records from the office of King Yemma, taken and kept up with by special secretaries that attend every case and mark down everything that happens with almost painful detail. As you may discern before looking at them, a remarkable thing happens as soon as I take over."
Justin was stunned. Cell had compiled the times that it took for each case to be finished per day under both Justin's time as judge with 18 as his bailiff and Cell's own time as judge, and the difference really was astounding. Justin had thought all this time that HE had been quick, but jeez, Cell was leaving him in the dust.
Suddenly, 18 groaned with frustration and once again leapt from her seat.
"This is nonsense, Your Honor! This case isn't about who's been FASTER or more EFFICIENT at the job, it's about the safety and security of every individual that brings a case to this court!"
"Who says I don't have records of that?" Cell, looking smug as shit, inquired. Cue Justin actually finding just such a record among the papers, showing that characters taking court cases were often subjected to various bad things after court cases, compared to Cell dishing out slightly more dignified punishments. SLIGHTLY more dignified.
But this didn't sate Justin for very long when he remembered the real reason they were all there. Cell's face didn't change a bit as Justin, frustrated, flung the file at him.
"This isn't the argument we're making! YOU HAVE KILLED PEOPLE BEFORE THEY COULD PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE!"
Justin's voice had risen to a manic roar. All those weeks of washing dishes, all that pent-up bitterness, had packed itself into his voice and come out as a muscular desperation, a rage over his betrayal.
In other words, the young gentleman was none too happy. And now, neither was Commander Red.
"YOU STIFLE YOURSELF IN MY COURT ROOM, BOY!" He raged right back. "I'll hold you in contempt if I hear another outburst like that, you motherfucker!"
"Don't get short with me, Red, I am in no mood." (Short Joke Count: 6)
Commander Red was fuming. Nobody in his entire adult life had ever so callously pointed out his height disadvantage. "THAT IS IIIT! I AM HAVING YOU AND YOUR ANDROID PUT IN PRISON FOR THE NIGHT! COURT WILL RESUME TOMORROW AT 8AM!"
"Uh, Commander…" Black began.
"How do I get them… to a cell?"
Red paused. Black wasn't going to be near strong enough to force Android 18 to stay in a cell. "Defendant! You help Black take care of this."
"Wonderful," 18 drawled for what seemed like the fiftieth time that night. It may very well have been.
"Look, I told you I'm sorry. He pissed me off."
Justin, sitting on top of a pissy mattress with his head in his hands, was feeling genuine regret for getting his veritable partner-in-crime stuck in such a rut. He'd tried to look on the bright side; that maybe spending the night in prison would give them the privacy they needed to work out a strategy for the next part of the case, but no such luck. 18 was in absolutely no mood.
The cell remained deathly silent for another of many several-minute stretches, until Justin, as usual, took it upon himself to break the silence. "Do you at least want to discuss where we stand in our case so far?"
18 glared at him and let loose a noise that sounded almost like a snarl. "You need ME to tell you how we're doing?"
"Well, it'd help, since you're just as much a part of this as I am."
"We're doing terrible, you ass. You hear me? Terrible. Cell has us against the ropes, he obviously has Commander Red on his side, and this fucking packet of Cell's-" at which point 18 pulled the packet, folded up three times, out of her back pocket- "is full of enough information to make our case indefensible. And don't try to tell me we can find a flaw with it if we both work together or something, because I have plenty of logical algorithms and shit in my head, and this thing is FLAWLESS. So we need to just give up and look into Goku and Vegeta protecting me from Cell again."
"We can't do that, we made a deal in the court. Goku and Vegeta are barred by King Yemma himself from-"
"SO? Fuck King Yemma! Goku and Vegeta are easily strong enough to defy the will of that old tomato anyway! You should start thinking like a villain instead of trying to project some kind of honorable façade after all the stupid bullshit you pulled during your own stint as judge!"
Justin was tempted, in violation of his own personal commitment to pacifism brought on solely by the fact that he's basically living in a world full of other people that could destroy him just by looking at him, to reach across the room and slap the other android. She was just doing nothing more than grinding their inevitable defeat into his face, not caring that there was still at least one more day of deliberation left. Then again, maybe it was hopeless. Maybe he just didn't want to believe it, and was engulfing himself in a haze of ignorant hope to shield his mind from the terror of loss.
"18… you listen to me and you listen good. I don't care about your fucking algorithms, or your plans to hide behind the Saiyans like a coward. This isn't about just you, so if you aren't willing to help, I'll defend this case myself."
18 scoffed. "Yeah, okay. I'd like to see you get by without me."
"You're going to get to, sister, believe me."
"I'm not your sister, and no, I don't believe you."
"Well, believe this; if I fail, like you seem to think I will, then you're fucked. Goku and Vegeta aren't going to give up their afterlife for you. They're going to let Cell absorb you, then fight Cell in his new form. So, look forward to it."
18 sighed. "So what's your plan, anyway?"
"I don't have one yet-"
"-there's a shocker-"
"But I'll have one. All I need is to stop arguing with you so I can think, unless you intend to pull your fucking weight on this case."
"The only weight I've been pulling is you."
Justin stood up. "Fuck you, you smug, good-for-nothing sack of junkyard shit. I hope Cell DOES absorb you, even if I do win. I need a new bailiff anyway, sick of looking at you." And with that, he got back in bed and slept. 18, shockingly, didn't bother to reply.
She had no idea why, but the way in which Justin said that to her made her so much angrier than what he actually said. She had to hand it to him- he had a real knack for using just the right tone of voice to piss someone off.
…So there Android 18 was, stuck for the night with nothing to do except watch her old boss sleeping. It was stunning how he could go to bed after getting that riled up. What she didn't realize was that he wasn't asleep; and he probably wouldn't go to sleep for another few hours at least. He was thinking of ways to win. Or at least dig himself out of his hole enough to where he could be seen anymore.
Before 18 could get any more bored, she looked over to her left and saw the shadow of a familiar figure slowly coming down the hallway toward the cell. The figure soon came within eyesight of the android. It was…
"Goku!" 18 gasped.
The next morning, Justin awoke to an empty cell with one of the bars apparently melted away. He couldn't say that he'd stayed shocked for long; he'd lost his head and said some things he didn't mean to say. That's just what happens when enough of his buttons are pressed. How could she blame him after all the doubt and scorn she cast upon him? Was she not the one who came to Justin and offered to help him get his old job back? Could she really be just giving up after this one setback? Then again, the wager has gotten a lot bigger…
The sound of a door being opened and shut cut Justin's train of thought off. A guard with a key had come to escort him from his cell.
"What the hell happened here?" The guard shouted at Justin. "Where's that woman you were thrown in here with?"
Justin was in one of his more smart-ass, confrontational moods for some reason. He decided to drag this out a little. "Let's assess our two problems here, shall we? Now, what is the first one?"
The guard, taken aback completely by Justin's casual demeanor, growled, "The fact that there's a missing prisoner."
"Very good. Now, what is our other problem? I'll give you a hint; it was probably the very first one you noticed."
"Don't jerk me around, kid. One of these fucking bars is melted, and-"
"Well, it would seem like the other prisoner melted the bar with her SUPERPOWERS and made a clean get-away, now wouldn't it?"
The guard just scoffed. "You kids these days. I can't let you out of here until I know where that other prisoner is."
"Then you'd better get ready to install a shower and a toilet in here, because I don't have a clue where she is and I'm pretty sure she isn't going to willingly come back."
During Justin's little speech, Assistant Black and Chiaotzu had wandered onto the scene. "Why haven't you released our prisoners yet?"
"One of them is missing. I can't just-"
"Well, just give us what you have, then. We should have told you before that you were harboring a super-powered individual."
The guard paused for a second to examine Assistant Black's face for any hint whatsoever of sarcasm. "…Are… you trying to be serious with this super-power shit?"
Black pursed his lips. The man had been in hell so long, he'd forgotten the fact that most living beings weren't aware of the existence of world-destroying warriors. "My apologies. Allow my little friend here to demonstrate what I was saying."
Chiaotzu nodded in the affirmative and looked over at the bars, particularly the one that had been melted. Using a little bit of power, Chiaotzu melted a few more inches off of the bar using the tip of his finger, then looked back up expectantly at the guard. The guard stood with his arms crossed, a completely blank expression fixated on Chiaotzu. And then he fainted away, hitting the floor with a soft thud.
"Oh, dear!" Chiaotzu squeaked while Assistant Black scoffed and rolled his eyes at the guard's feebleness. Justin, meanwhile, exited the cell through the recently-enlarged gap in the bars and looked at Assistant Black with a face that said, "Let's blow this joint."
And Assistant Black looked back at him with a face that said, "Okay, but can we stop at a McDonald's or something first, I'm kinda hungry."
Commander Red jolted the entire courtroom out of a sleepy silence with a sharp pounding of his fists on the podium. "God damn fucking Christ-hell, WHERE are Justin, 18, Black and Chiaotzu?"
Cell had to hold back a gut laugh every time it became clear that Commander Red had just gotten a little more frustrated. This case was officially in the bag. Even if Red believed that Cell was completely guilty, having the plaintiffs not showing up 40 minutes into the case was no way to build goodwill.
At long last, those big, wooden double doors swung open. Assistant Black came in first, of course, so he could introduce the plaintiff and the already-seated defendant. Justin and Chiaotzu waited by the door.
"If it's any consolation, sir, the new jury is made up of saibamen," Chiaotzu whispered. "Saibamen are really easy to convince if you do the right stuff."
The ex-judge nodded. "I'll keep that in mind."
Meanwhile, in the courtroom, Assistant Black was taking a giant ass-eating (eww, not literally) from the Commander. The whole room was privy to the tiff, of course, which only served to humiliate the man.
"What was the thing I asked you to do, bailiff?"
"Bring Justin and Chiaotzu to court…"
Assistant Black sighed. "The other plaintiff escaped. We don't know where Android 18 is, and we probably won't know until she comes back since nobody can sense her power level."
This news quickly gained Cell's attention, and he made sure everybody else in the courtroom knew it by slamming his fist against his desk, reducing it to a cloud of ash. "That coward! She knows she's going to lose!"
Commander Red gritted his teeth and cleared out his throat. "Okay, we need volunteers! Who wants to hunt down 18 and bring her to court?"
Pause. Then Nappa stood up.
"Nappa, we need somebody stronger than 18. Your power level isn't even five-figure. Why did you stand up, anyway?"
"She's prettyyyy…" Nappa said in a voice one might give Lenny from "Of Mice and Men."
Red scowled. "So there's NO ONE at all who's willing to go after 18 and strong enough to do it?"
This time, after another brief pause, Krillin and Gohan stood. "We'll go," Krillin said in a deadly serious voice. "I wasn't sure at first if I could find her, but with Gohan's help I should be okay."
"Are you scared of your own wife, short-stop?" Commander Red, who is now the largest source of irony in the world, chuckled. (Short Joke Count: 7)
"Well, yeah, a little-"
"Never mind. We're already running late. Just go after her."
Krillin and Gohan left. Red turned back to Assistant Black. "We'll discuss your tardiness later. Plaintiff, enter!"
The nanosecond after Red uttered that last word, Justin used both hands and burst the double doors open, doing a jaunty little walk as they slowly shut behind him. Smirking confidently and defiantly, his ass soon planted itself firmly to the plaintiff's chair. "Good morning, y'all."
"Whatever. Let's pick up where we left off yesterday, shall we? You, plaintiff, were stating that Cell is unfit for his seat due to his supposed killings of plaintiffs and defendants during their own trials. The defendant, meanwhile, was providing evidence to the contrary. Is there anything you would like to start off with, Justin?"
"You bet your sweet bippy, Your Honor." Justin smiled. "You see, I was judge in this court for over 40 cases. With this sort of knowledge and direct experience, I know what needs to be done. I may just be a simple fan of this universe, and I'll always hold that title with pride, but there's some thinking I've been doing."
Justin, with that last statement, stood from his chair and began to pace in front of the room. "I believe there are a myriad of reasons why I am more qualified for this job than Cell. I also believe that there are certain things he has done in that seat-" He pointed his thumb casually toward the podium where Commander Red sat, bewildered, "-that are illegal. But let's start with some background."
All eyes were on the plaintiff. It seemed like the frustrated, disorganized version they saw yesterday was a thing of the past. That time in jail seemed to be all the young man needed to pull together an eloquent offense. "When I first started this court, I had the support of King Yemma himself, and thus I was given special access to those who had died. All of the conflicts, loose ends, and rivalries were going to finally be given a chance to tie themselves up in a court headed by an impartial… well, MOSTLY impartial judge, and a jury of their peers. Or enemies. Depends on who we're talking about here."
At this point, Commander Red banged his gavel. "Plaintiff, is this little testimony of yours going to resolve itself anytime soon or what? The defendant needs a little chance of his own to speak up."
"Let him go." Cell said bluntly. "Give him as much time as he needs. I'll be the one to interrupt him when it is necessary."
Commander Red was stunned a little by Cell's passiveness towards his former boss, but he didn't argue, just nodded and motioned for the plaintiff to continue.
"Thank you. As I was saying, this court was established with the simple goal of ending conflict. Which is why there is a serious problem with allowing Cell to continue his stint as judge; he is part of the conflict, and therefore cannot be impartial."
Predictably, Cell did not take this comment sitting down. Well, actually he did, but he still didn't really take it. "I object to the plaintiff's last claim on the basis that it is discriminatory."
Commander Red immediately allowed the objection.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the court, I implore you to seek out the subtext not so carefully hidden in this plaintiff's words. There is a subtle prejudice towards us all in this courtroom that only an outsider such as this could be capable of."
Justin stood in complete awe at Cell's claim. Nothing Cell said to him over the past two days offended him more than that. He'd been a fan of these characters for over half of his life!
"Th-that is so bullshitty!" Justin stammered, fists of rage clenching the notes in his pockets that he'd spent all night memorizing. "Your Honor, you have to understand the relationship I've had with this show since I was a little boy! I wouldn't dream of being prejudiced or anything toward-"
"You forgot to say 'objection', blondie." Commander Red deadpanned. "Cell, continue please."
The android made that smirking face again. The one that Justin hadn't seen him use the entire time he was bailiff, but the one he used all the time during the Cell Games. That look a cat has when it's cornered a mouse and wants to play with it a little before clenching its kill.
"The plaintiff has had a nerve struck it seems," began Cell. "Eerie, is it not? Almost as if I've seen right through him."
Justin had never felt so helpless.
"Allow me to demonstrate why I am innocent of these allegations once and for all. First, let there be no doubt that I have been more strict a judge than the plaintiff. This is truth; but I have not killed anyone-"
The declaration didn't come from the plaintiff. Nor did it come from the bailiff or the surrogate judge. Commander Red sat unsteadily, scouring the courtroom for the voice that screamed the objection.
Suddenly, a wild Android 18 appeared! The double doors had opened, revealing not only the android, but Goku and Vegeta as well. 18 herself carried a very serious looking manila envelope, and a very serious look of triumph. "I have everything I need right here to implicate the defendant. Allow me to testify."
Red couldn't figure out what to do. On one hand, he was being paid by King Yemma himself to uphold the rules of the court… and help keep Cell in his seat, more importantly. But on the other hand, Vegeta. There was Vegeta, right there, and he was scowling, possibly with rage at Red himself, and that was not something desirable for anyone. So, after a small period of inner-deliberation (Short Joke Count: 8), Red nodded in agreement. "I will allow you to testify."
"No!" Cell snapped. "She cannot participate, you fool!"
"Think again, Cell." Said a low, rumbling voice from right behind Cell. Almost too afraid to confirm his worst fear, Cell turned to look over at the entrance where Android 18 was. Sure enough, Vegeta was no longer standing next to her. He was standing right behind Cell, effectively holding him hostage, and there was nothing anyone on his side could do about it. Probably not even King Yemma himself. Cell gave Commander Red one last desperate glance, but Red just shrugged in response.
"I… I withdraw my own objection." Cell said meekly before sitting back down. 18 took that as her cue to make her way to the front of the room, looking tersely at Justin as she passed him by, caring only that if he loses, she'll die.
"I have, in this envelope," and she opened the envelope, revealing no papers, "only one object- a USB drive. A very small detail I failed to ever notice in my several years of being an android was that Dr. Gero installed a flash drive with infinite memory in my head that was constantly recording my life from my perspective since Dr. Gero woke me up minutes before his murder at the hands of my brother."
Cell was deeply, deeply shocked. Dr. Gero was supposed to have installed all of the detailed information regarding both of the androids into his memory. But nothing came to mind about a USB drive. It was all he could do to keep an outward cool. He felt nauseous. Not unlike the time he was forced to vomit out Android 18, coincidentally enough. He knew then that he would have to change his defense somehow. Whatever footage 18 was going to show the court, it would be a massive game-changer.
"Bailiff Black," 18 summoned, "there is a projector and a laptop in the room behind you. Would you be kind enough to get it for me?"
Black turned to Red (much like blood, or something I dunno fuck make up your own metaphor I'm not getting paid to write this shit) and Red nodded in the affirmative. Red was working for Cell, there was not a doubt in his mind about that, but that fact is best concealed with all of his abilities if he doesn't want to get punished or have to do the trial over again or something.
Upon the projector's entrance into the courtroom, 18 plugged the USB drive into the laptop that was hooked into the projector… and the laptop immediately exploded into a shower of scalding-hot debris. 18 shielded Justin from the explosion while Cell made sure the not-so-impartial judge and bailiff weren't hurt from it.
"The FUCK, 18?" Red screamed. "WHAT FUCKIN' HAPPENED?"
18 put her hand to her chin and looked at the smoldering post-explosion chunks of the laptop that remained. "I guess that one data file on the USB drive was a little too big. I was afraid of that."
Cell nearly busted a gut laughing. He laughed so hard that it genuinely frightened everyone in the courtroom to varying degrees. Even the cold, vicious saiyan that still stood at the defendant's desk where Cell was once standing was disturbed at Cell's uncharacteristic howling.
"You… you imbecile!" Cell choked between high-pitched giggle fits. "Did you really think Dr. Gero was going to let you play that on an ordinary computer? Did you really think a file that large would do you any good?"
Justin, at that point, had realized that this court, for all of the silly things that had happened in it up to that point, had never seemed like more of a circus. He looked around in amazement. All the old, familiar walls seemed so new. He started laughing too, unable to stop himself in the situation.
Soon, most everyone in the courtroom except for 18, Red and Black were cracking up at the culmination of so much tension and drama being nothing more than an exploded laptop. It was like the world's most climactic anti-climax. Just when 18 was getting ready to scream for everyone to shut up, she happened to look down near where she was standing… and saw the USB drive, completely intact save for a little black burn-spot.
18 picked it up immediately to look for any additional damage. But it was near-perfectly intact. Triumphantly, she held the drive up for everyone to see it, and slowly the laughter died down as more and more people began to take notice of it.
"How?" Cell snapped.
"You know, I wonder the same thing," smirked 18. "You're just one good computer away from losing this case, Cell."
"I've… kind of lost my place in this case, haven't I?" Justin mused outwardly. 18 ignored him, because he had indeed lost his place in the case.
"Since the girl is taking over from where you failed, ex-judge, perhaps you'd like to find a better computer on which to play that USB drive." Bailiff Black suggested, all the while with an increasingly angry Commander Red glaring him down from the podium.
"I'm sorry, did we switch places, Mr. Black?" Commander Red snarled. Before they could get into a big, dumb argument, another explosion happened in the middle of the room.
"What the…?" Justin muttered with his arm covering his face. "The fuck is going on here?"
The dust cleared from what turned out not to be an explosion, but instead a capsule opening. A computer was revealed from the cloud.
"Where did that come from?" Cell raged. Cue the shaking of the ground.
"This shit just keeps getting weirder and weirder!" screamed Bailiff Black, who promptly lost his balance and fell to the floor as the shaking became gradually more violent.
Just when it seemed like the whole court was going to collapse on top of everyone, the ground became still again.
Justin sighed. "I think that was just a tremor or some- AAAAH!"
The loud noise of the roof being torn off of the court came out of seemingly nowhere. But it wasn't a Nowhere! It was a Nowhere LOBSTER!
…Erm, I mean, it was King Yemma.
"King Yemma?" screamed Cell, Red and Black at the same time. Justin and 18 were too stunned/afraid to even react outwardly to what they were seeing.
"Cell," King Yemma began, "is there really something on this USB drive that I should know about?"
Cell didn't answer. Blood was seeping out of his palms because of how deep he had clenched his nails into them. His teeth were grinding.
"Use this computer that I have transported into this courtroom to play that data. It's strong enough; after all, it's my own personal work computer."
18 complied, and the file slowly downloaded itself. No one else in the room could see the detailed information of the file. It appeared to 18 as if it was noticeably shorter than it should be for a file with years upon years of footage. What this actually meant was uncertain.
Commander Red, Assistant Black and Perfect Cell. Justin and Android 18. Everyone held his or her breath for this, the final hoorah of the longest case DBZ Court had ever done. The play logo appeared in WMM. But it was never to be played.
A heavily muffled grunt, followed by a scream of horror, interrupted the silence. Cell's tail had, with speed not even Goku and Vegeta were expecting, extended, expanded and engulfed his target, Android 18. Meanwhile, a massive green force field started from just outside Cell's body and got larger, pushing everyone in the courtroom backwards, and soon the entire courtroom itself was destroyed.
"NOO!" Trunks screamed on instinct. Vegeta and Goku powered up to their respective maximums and attempted to penetrate Cell's green dome (whoops, I forgot I wasn't writing DBZ Pairings of the Apocalypse for a second there), but even Super Saiyan 3 couldn't break through. Cell's force field was designed to be impenetrable as he did his work, digesting our helpless android hero.
"Wow. Kind of rendered the last couple of days pointless, didn't he?" Justin said to Red, who was being carried with Justin by Tien.
"Shut up! What the hell are we going to do now?"
"How can I answer that question if you just told me to shut up?"
Tien snapped. "This is not the time, both of you!"
Cell's transformation had ended with short time. The people of the formerly intact courtroom stood or hovered in shock at what Cell had become. Many had to shield their eyes. Others who had flown in close to inspect the new Cell had to hover above the ever-widening puddle of blood and bile that was accumulating.
The once-sleek bio-android had morphed into a pile of gore and writhing limbs with no discernable form. It had no ability to make noise, for it had no mouth. If it did, it would scream. And yes, I totally stole that from a book, shut up. The thing constantly convulsed and flagellated, while its various shades and hues of green and yellow increasingly lubricated themselves with more blood. Erupting pustules and sores formed like bubbles on its surface, spraying a thick gel of blood and other un-nameable terrors. To call the malformed blob "Cell" didn't feel accurate. "It" was more accurate.
"Holy shit! Is there a Dr. Gero in the house?" screamed Justin.
"Yes." Dr. Gero said from a few feet away. He walked over without another word and, completely ignoring the blood and other gooey shit that was all over the floor, knelt down and took a close look at his once-perfect being. "Shit's fucked."
"We couldn't tell," said Vegeta with dripping sarcasm. "Why is shit fucked?"
"It seems as if his body was unable to process more than one android, as I expected."
"You EXPECTED?" screamed Red. "THEN WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL SOMEONE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN?"
Gero looked over at Red and shrugged. "I wanted to see what would happen exactly. I didn't think an opportunity like this would ever arise again."
"Wait. If you wanted to see what would happen if Cell absorbed one of the androids twice, why didn't you just let him absorb your second Android 17 from Hell?"
Gero narrowed his eyes at Justin. "That never happened, boy." Justin immediately shut up.
The courtroom went deathly silent. "So, is this case closed or what?" Assistant Black asked no one in particular.
Justin nodded. "Yeah. I'd say that about wraps it up."
Four days later…
Justin was snoozing in his house, like he had been doing since he quit his old dishwashing job about twelve hours before. He hadn't been sleeping all that well since the last court case. King Yemma had decided in the wake of Cell's re-death, that Justin would re-claim his spot as judge. But Justin wanted time to think about it, which was fine with Yemma, since it would take a little while to rebuild the court. Upon asking why it couldn't just be rebuilt immediately using the strongest people in the world, Yemma only said, "Bureaucracy, man."
He was rudely jostled out of his sleep by a firm knock on the door. Something told him it was probably 18, who had the Namekian dragon balls to thank for resurrecting her yesterday. Something else told him to answer. Specifically, 18's call to "answer the damn door" told him to answer. So he threw on some old clothes, straight from the floor itself, and obliged his bailiff.
"Ready for the funeral?" 18 asked rhetorically, knowing damn well he wasn't just from looking at him.
"Can I put on some decent clothes?"
Justin took that as his cue to run to his room, grab some fresh shit to wear, and rocket right back.
"Okay, let's get going. I'll drive." 18 said. Her car was parked directly ahead, but she paused halfway there. "Wait."
18 stared at the sky. Justin couldn't see, but she was smiling. "I have something I want to tell you. I think you'll be surprised."
The judge was confounded. Was she about to tell him something personal? Something good? Bad? Justin circled around the still 18 until he was making eye contact with her, looking for a hint in her biomechanical sight orbs. MAN, sight orbs! How do I come up with this shit? Erm, I mean, yeah. Things were happening.
"What's up?" Justin prodded. 18 reached into the pocket of her pants and pulled out the same USB drive she presented as court evidence half a week ago.
"This doesn't have anything on it at all." 18 admitted somewhat sheepishly, expecting Justin to be shocked and angered, for good reason, because he was. Well, more shocked than angered, perhaps, but he could feel the anger coming.
"Wha- But… what about the laptop that ex-"
"I did that. I'm amazed no one else saw it, but I blew up the laptop with my own power to stall for time until Cell gave up or went insane. I knew if I could get him to lose his head, he'd try to attack me and Goku or Vegeta could step in. What I didn't expect was… ugh…"
Justin and 18 stood on the walkway in his front yard for what felt like 60 seconds, but was in fact a full minute. "That was a ballsy move, 18. Pretty risky, too, but probably our best chance."
"You're not pissed off?"
"I was a little when you first told me. But, thinking about it, it was probably the best chance we had. I can put on a play of false confidence like a motherfucker, but I was flailing up there. If you hadn't interfered when you did, I would have lost."
18 nodded. "I felt like I owed you a favor after the fight the night before."
"Shit!" Justin scoffed. "I'm the one that should have done something for you! All that shit I said, I didn't mean. I just said it to bring you down."
18 didn't show it, but she felt strangely happy to hear him say that. She still thought he was kind of a moron, but he had a sort of magnetic, charismatic quality that made him endearing. Maybe she'd even learn to like the guy as she worked with him in the future. "Oh, shit, we'd better go. Cell's funeral is about to start."
"Remind me again why we're even here," grumbled 18. "I mean, the guy was a psychopath who tried to absorb you."
"Maybe he was in his last few days, but we're not here to mourn THAT Cell's death." He said back solemnly. "The Cell I worked with was worth mourning. Besides, I think the other Cell suffered enough after absorbing you that his crimes have been paid."
18 wasn't going to argue at a funeral, especially not one with every other DBZ character in attendance, but she couldn't agree less with her boss. He deserved to suffer 10 times more for putting her through that nightmare again.
The funeral went by smoothly, and quite boringly. The minister, Dr. Gero, didn't seem at all phased by his creation's death as he gave his little speech, which was mostly full of technical details about Cell that no one gave a jack shit about.
Justin, however, had one thing he needed to say while everyone was gathered around. After Gero's little sermon was over, old J rushed over to the front before everyone could leave. "ATTENTION! I have important news pertaining to the future of DBZ Court!"
The room collectively gave the man their undivided attention.
"I have decided…"
Everyone shifted forward in his or her seats.
"I have decided that I do not want to return to my job as judge."
The room became a cacophony of both cheers and murmurs of disappointment.
"Hold on, let me finish!" The room gradually became quiet again.
"There is another project I've been working on, but first, I will tell you all that I have made all the necessary steps to have Android 18, my bailiff, take over as judge when DBZ Court is finished rebuilding." With that, the crowd seemed relatively pleased. 18, much like Justin, was a smart-ass blonde. It'll be like he never even left!
"Now, for my final announcement."
The room… well, most of the people in it had honestly stopped caring a little now that they'd found out who the new judge was going to be. But they still stuck around, out of mild curiosity.
"The reason I have quit my work as judge for DBZ Court is because I have rented a studio and I am going to start my own FUCKIN' GAME SHOW BITCHEZZZZ."
Long pause. Someone in the room raised their hand.
"Will it be a quiz show? I'm good at those!" Trunks confidently declared.
"As a matter of fact, it will!" With that, Justin hopped on the deceased's coffin like an asshole. "DBZ JEOPARDY, COMING SOON TO A SOMEWHERE NEAR YOU!"
"GET OFF MY FUCKING COFFIN, KID!"
Oh, you made it to the end? How strange, considering I made this chapter as long as a damn novel. I'm not gonna lie, I got stuck on this thing a lot. But after so many weeks, it's finally over. How long as it been? Nearly five years? Jesus Christ.
I may or may not add a few extra cases to the end of this after a little while, with Android 18 as judge of course, but there are other projects I want to pursue. I do want to actually write a DBZ Jeopardy, but it'll have to come later than sooner because there's one other project that I would prefer to start working on first.
So, bottom line, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed reading this a little more than I enjoyed writing it (the last chapter, I mean). Oh, and one more thing…