Chapter 1
Chapter 1

            The young woman threw back her head and screamed in pain.  Her long, spiky black hair, now matted down with sweat, stuck to her forehead and cheeks as she writhed on the medical center bed.  Her long brown tail lashed back and forth as the pain coursed relentlessly through her body. 

            "Push!" said the doctor who stood poised between her well-muscled legs to deliver her child.  His light-blue skinned hands worked diligently as the infant's slick, black-haired head emerged.  The child's torso and legs soon followed, its tail wrapped protectively around its waist.  The doctor supported the infant with one arm and deftly tied and cut the umbilical cord with the other, examining the child for weakness and defects.  The child waved its chubby little fists, scowled at the doctor, and immediately began to yowl as the cold cycled air of the med-center hit its wet, naked body.

"It's a male," the doctor told the still laboring woman, who fell back against the bed panting in exhaustion.  The doctor handed the wailing infant to a nearby attendant who immediately wrapped a blanket around the child and began to diligently clean the blood off of his tiny body.  The doctor now turned his attention back to the young Saiyan woman lying exhausted on the bed.  His long pointy ears twitched in surprise as he caught sight of the small brown tail twitching from between the woman's legs.  "What in the. . .," the doctor muttered as he leaned over and touched the tiny appendage, which lashed furiously against his fingers.  "It couldn't be," he said as he stroked the tiny tail.  Another contraction rippled through the woman's body, causing her to arch her back and scream.  A tiny foot appeared next to the tail.

 

At the woman's cry, the attendants standing behind the doctor instantly turned their attention from the howling Saiyan infant in their care to the screaming woman and the doctor.  One of them, a tall young humanoid man with light orange skin and long dark green hair pulled back from his face in a long braid stepped forward and placed a hand on the doctor's shoulder.  "What is it, Scleren?" the young man asked, concern creasing his brow.

Not turning from where he was working to free the infant's other leg, Scleren grunted and replied, "Nothing, Pazru, hand me another clamp and the scissors.  I will need them again soon." Confused by the doctor's orders, Pazru looked over Scleren's shoulder and gasped.

"Twins?!  Scleren, but . . . ."

"I know.  One of these two children will not be allowed to survive.  But that is not my concern right now.  Hurry, Pazru, prepare the tools I need and call for another blanket."  With one last glance at the second infant's lashing tail, the young man hurried to follow Scleren's orders.

The Saiyan woman thrashed her head back and forth on the sweat-soaked pillow and moaned loudly.  Her tail whipped out from the bed, just barely missing a startled Pazru and knocking over a tray of instruments.  Other attendants rushed to clean up the mess, being careful to dodge the lashing tail.

 Scleren spoke soothingly to the young mother as he worked to remove the infant from her body.  After a little maneuvering the infant's other leg was free.  Scleren skillfully maneuvered one of his hands beneath the infant so that the child straddled his arm.  In response the tiny wet tail wrapped tightly around his arm.  He gently pushed his hand in further under the child until he reached its face, where he was swiftly bitten by the infant.  Cursing under his breath, Scleren cupped his palm over the child's mouth to make an air pocket.  "Give me one more hard push," he pleaded with the howling woman.  With an ear-shattering shriek the young woman forced the child, still straddling Scleren's arm, from her body and abruptly and mercifully fell unconscious, her tail hanging limply off the side of the bed.

Motioning to one of the attendants with his head, Scleren ordered, "Attend to the mother."  A short, fat fish-like creature quickly obeyed his command. "Pazru, clamp."  The young green-haired man was instantly at his side with the desired instrument.  Flipping the infant over onto its back (his back, Scleren noted), the doctor seized the proffered clamp and applied it the still pulsing umbilical cord.  The Saiyan infant howled when Scleren broke the grip of his tail.  Ignoring the screaming baby, Scleren obtained another clamp from Pazru and placed it a few inches lower than the first.  Pazru stood ready with a clean pair of surgical scissors in his hand, which he swiftly handed over to the doctor who grunted and severed the cord.  "Blanket," Scleren demanded.  A small long-snouted attendant with dark yellow skin and short, spiky lavender hair handed the item and several cleansing cloths to the doctor who immediately began to wash thick globs of blood from the infant's body.  He then wrapped the soft warm blanket around the child's body. 

The infant scowled at him, a tuft of damp spiky black hair partly obscuring one eye.  This child was slightly smaller than his older brother and his skin was a shade darker.  His tail snaked out of the folds of the blanket and securely wrapped itself around the doctor's arm, squeezing it for good measure.  "My, my, but aren't you the stubborn little one, ay, brat?" Scleren chuckled, pushing the ebony lock from the infant's face.  Still holding the child in his arms he walked over to where the first infant was being held by a purple, pebbly-skinned attendant.  The child had finally quieted and was staring wide-eyed at his surroundings.  When he caught sight of the doctor and the small bundle in his arms, the first infant clumsily scrambled out of its warm blanket and up onto the shoulder of the surprised attendant, where he began to gurgle and coo excitedly.  His younger brother was less enthusiastic about meeting his twin and began to wail and buck in the doctor's arms.  The older twin, his dry hair already springing up in the spiky black disarray that would characterize his appearance for the rest of his life, as it was with all Saiyans, tilted his head in puzzlement at his younger brother's reaction and began to wail in empathy.

Pazru, chuckling, stood slightly behind Scleren watching the comical scene, but immediately sobered, knowing that one of these children would not be allowed to survive in accordance with Lord Frieza's decree.  Pazru glanced back at the still unconscious mother being attended to by the fat fish-creature and then back to the howling children.  He sighed.  At this, Scleren turned, frowning, and looked at his young, sensitive attendant.  Carefully removing the younger Saiyan's tail from his arm, Scleren handed the still bawling baby to a tall, muscular red-haired attendant.  He ordered the infants to be taken to the nursery and fed, and the two attendants hurried from the room.  Clapping his arm around Pazru's shoulders, Scleren led the troubled young man from the room.

"I understand how you feel.  I do not desire for either of those two children to die."  He steered Pazru into the adjoining scrub room, and sat him down on a cold metal bench running the length of the room.  Pazru leaned back against the cool wall, scrunched his eyes shut, and sighed, his narrow shoulders drooping.  The doctor turned to a small keyboard panel set into the wall next to the room's entrance and pushed a short series of buttons, the keys glowing red as he touched them.  Finished, he turned away from the panel, which began to rapidly blink soft blue.  The door panel silently slid shut behind him.  Pazru, his face in shadow, suddenly spoke up.

"But why, why would Frieza demand such a thing?  Wouldn't it make sense to let all the Saiyan children live?  Then he would have more of them working in that blasted planet trade of his."  Scowling, Pazru leaned forward, elbows planted on his knees, chin resting on his folded hands.  A stray strand of silky green hair fell out of the braid and into his face.  Angrily, Pazru tucked the loose strand behind one of his almost non-existent ears and resumed his intense study of the floor.

"It is not your place to question what Lord Frieza says," Scleren replied coldly as he pulled the blood-splattered tunic over his head.  Pazru looked up at him in sudden terror, his large amber-colored eyes widening in shock.  Scleren turned away from the frightened attendant, still holding the bloodstained garment, and walked nonchalantly over to a second keyboard panel on the other side of the room where he pressed several softly glowing buttons.  A small, transparent door to the right of the panel opened with a hiss and Scleren threw the ruined tunic into it.  He pushed another series of buttons and the panel closed.  "Countdown to incineration," an emotionless mechanical voice sounded, and proceeded to countdown from 10, the panel flashing in response as each number was spoken.  Scleren stood unmoving in front of the panel, arms crossed.  A thin sheen of sweat broke out on Pazru's forehead as he stared wide-eyed at the doctor's broad back.  "Incineration has begun," the robot voice said, and blue-white flames surged up behind the little door, consuming the soiled garment.  Pazru's eyes widened even more at the sight of the blaze.  Scleren suddenly turned around facing him with a smirk on his face, the shadows of the flames playing on one side of his face.  In abject fear, Pazru sat up and pressed himself against the wall as best he could.

 

Still smirking, Scleren broke the tense silence, "Don't worry, Pazru, I'm not one of Frieza's informers.  I hate that frigid son of a bitch just as much as everyone else."  Pazru shut his eyes in relief, took a deep breath, and slumped down against the wall.  Chuckling, Scleren reached up and released the ties holding his topknot.  A mane of coarse, bluish-white hair spilled down to his shoulder blades.  "I really had you there, Pazru," the old doctor laughed, returning to the panel and receiving a new, clean tunic.

Giving a weak chuckle the relieved attendant replied, "You never do know who's on your side and who's not, Scleren.  But why would Lord Frieza make such a decree?"

"Oh, well, you know, Pazru, the Saiyan population is getting rather large, and land for housing accommodations, and more importantly for the Saiyans, food supplies are running low, and. . ."

"That's ridiculous!" Pazru interrupted, his nostrils flaring in rage. "Vegetasei is enormous, with enough land and food for at least twice the current Saiyan population, not to mention the resident aliens such as us!"

"—and Lord Frieza only wants the strongest warriors out there clearing planets in that ridiculous trade of his," Scleren, his voice muffled as he pulled on the new tunic, ignoring his younger subordinate's interjection.  Pazru sat hunched over, his fists clenched.  Scleren's voice dropped in volume and suddenly became flat and serious.  "It's all nonsense, Pazru.  That whole stupid decree concerning the limiting of the Saiyan population that Frieza forced King Vegeta to make law is one large load of shit."  Startled at his mentor's use of profanity Pazru looked up at the old doctor.  Pulling his hair out from underneath the neck of the garment, Scleren fastened and straightened the tunic, smoothing over the wrinkles with his long fingers.  "Let me tell you why I think Frieza made that decree.  I think the great Lord Frieza is afraid of the Saiyans."

"Afraid? Afraid of the Saiyans?  Scleren, honestly, I mean I know the Saiyans are powerful—they conquered both of our planets and hundreds more besides—but Lord Frieza has the power of a thousand first-class Saiyan warriors.  I've even heard stories of him destroying entire planets without even breaking a sweat!  Even if King Vegeta did lead the Saiyans in a revolt against Frieza, there's no chance that they could succeed, much less do any serious damage to Frieza or his minions, it's just ludicr—"

Faintly smiling, Scleren raised a long blue finger to silence his young student. "But what of the legend of the Super Saiyan?"

Looking up with raised eyebrows Pazru snorted and replied, "The Super Saiyan?  You must be insane!  That's just some dusty old story that Saiyan parents tell their children to make them train harder, nothing more.  If Frieza really believed that I'd have to say that the cold was getting to his brain!"

"Well, maybe some of the legend is an exaggeration—"

"Exaggeration?  You've got to be kidding, Scleren.  The whole story is probably one long-dead Saiyan king's ego-trip!"

"—but, all of the Saiyan's violent history centers around the legend of the Super Saiyan—

"—But—"

 "—and all of the histories of the inhabitants of the planets neighboring Vegeta include the Super Saiyan and his legendary power."

 

"But that's ridiculous!"

"All accounts coincide with each other.  There are no contradictions whatsoever.  Frieza knows this and fears the ascendance of any Saiyan, third-class or otherwise, to the level of Super Saiyan."

"But Frieza's power—"

"—would be equaled if not surpassed by the Super Saiyan, if the legend is correct."  Pazru fell silent at this, his brow wrinkled in thought.  With a grunt, Scleren kneeled in front of the young man, placing his calloused hands on Pazru's shoulders.  "So do you understand now, if I am correct in my logic, which I am almost positively convinced of, why the decree was made, Pazru?"

Amber eyes still deep in thought and muddied in confusion looked up into Scleren's wrinkled, rough-skinned face and small, wide-set deep-blue eyes.  "But, if Frieza wanted to keep the Saiyans from ascending to a higher power level, wouldn't it make sense to destroy the strongest children?" he replied, one orange finger stroking his chin in consternation.

"It would make perfect sense from Frieza's point of view to do this, but it would raise suspicion among the Saiyans, and King Vegeta would never allow such a law to be enforced.  To destroy the weakest among the Saiyan children of a multiple birth is pure brilliance on Frieza's part because it accomplishes two things:  One," Scleren raised a finger in emphasis, "the female Saiyans constitute about 30% of the population, and are typically weaker than the males at birth, so—"

"—if the females of multiple births were destroyed, it would lower the already low percentage of Saiyan females!"  Pazru interjected, his eyes clearing as understanding set in.  Scleren smiled, the wrinkles around his eyes creasing. He squeezed Pazru's shoulders in agreement, and continued.

"Even though multiple births among the Saiyans are a rarity, which we witnessed earlier this morning, the lower percentage of females would eventually limit the growth of the population.  And to speed up the process Frieza made the second law that limits the number of children each mated pair of Saiyans is allowed to have."

"But why would King Vegeta ever agree to the second law?"

"Good, Pazru, that is my next point.  Now, the second thing the law would accomplish would be that the knowledge that only the strongest among the Saiyan survive and grow to adulthood would boost the ego of the king, clouding his better judgment, and making him more apt to agree with Frieza and enforce the law.  Frieza proposed the second law not soon after, and King Vegeta, most certainly a wise man, but still riding high on ego, readily agreed to it without a second thought."

Pazru's glossy green eyebrows lowered and his brow furrowed again.  "But, Scleren, there are still millions of powerful Saiyans that are not affected by these laws and still have the potential to ascend to the Super Saiyan level.  These laws would certainly limit the growth of the population, but it would take literally hundreds of space-standard years to kill out the race, which, knowing the Saiyans' vitality, I doubt could ever happen.  Frieza would have to find some way to dispose of the entire race if he was to rid himself of his fear."

"Yes, Pazru, and considering what we know of Frieza's power and his ruthlessness, do you even dare to consider the danger we and everyone else on this miserable planet is in?"  Scleren stared gravely at his young student, who returned his gaze with wide, fear-stricken eyes.  The old doctor gave Pazru's shoulders another squeeze and with a grunt, struggled to his feet.  Scleren's features softened to the gentle, but stern countenance that all people in the med-center respected and knew so well.

 

"Come, Pazru, we have wasted enough time deliberating about harebrained conspiracy theories and things over which we have no control."  Scleren gave his bright young student a wry smile, which quelled the younger man's fear.  Pazru studied the smooth white floor of the scrub room for a moment, pondering the magnitude of what they had just discussed, and then stood up beside his mentor, returning his smile.  Scleren continued, "It is now my duty to assess the power levels of each infant and determine which child will be allowed to survive."

 

Without another look at his student, the doctor calmly stepped up to the keyboard panel set next to the door, keyed in the code, and the door slid open with a rush of cool cycled air.  Pazru, frowning in concern at this last, rather ominous statement, followed his mentor back into the med-center's delivery room and out into a wide hallway towards the nearby nursery.