Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ or have any rights to it.
As he sat in his dark control room, lit only by the lights of his computers screens Dread scratched his bulbous pink forehead, groaning as the image on the main monitor blacked out. It had consisted of Cooler's last visions before Trunks impaled him, ending his life.
"And so the Big Five have been reduced to three," he muttered to himself. With Cooler gone we've lost a major stronghold and a lot of our mineral resources. To top it off, we've lost much of our shock value. Now they're beginning to put the pressure on us.
A beeping on the main screen indicated an incoming transmission from Paragus. The saiyan's image appeared on screen moments later. His hair looked more messed up than usual, a sign that he had run his fingers through it many times recently. "Commander Mozar and I are going to arrive soon. We've had many setbacks on a lot of planets. Our forces were spread too thin."
"I agree," replied the doctor, leaning back and bottling his frustration. "We have to retreat and retrench in our strongholds. As long as we control at least one planet our cause is still viable, albeit difficult."
"What if they just decide to blow it up?"
"That is unlikely. All planets are of some value and it would be more beneficial to try and conquer them than blow it up. If you're referring to how Freeza dealt with the old planet Vegeta, I assure you it was an impulsive maneuver based on paranoia, and not a well thought out plan." However that strange creature has been operating on different principles. There is no guarantee what it will do.
"Do you suggest we withdraw our forces back to your planet?"
Dread was about to answer when the monitor another message appeared on one of the side monitors. After briefly reading the message his face contorted into what could pass for a frown. "It appears we're being tracked. Several forces have reported having communications hacked. And think their codes have been broken."
"I just received the message as well," said Paragus moments before Zanramon's face appeared on another screen. The saiyan immediately took notice. "So you've received the message as well."
"I have, though there is something else," he replied, sounding more embarrassed than angry. "Traximus has escaped, apparently with an accomplice and both are currently roaming around the planet as we speak."
Instead of yelling, as he wanted to, Dread simply reclined in his seat, digging his claws into the soft leather armrests. "I'll notify my robots to look for them. Also I think we all need to retrench here. Worst case, our enemy knows where this planet is located and we need to defend it. It is our main source of advanced weaponry. I can put up a shield to prevent any remote planet destruction for a time, but it will help if had enough forces to keep the super saiyans busy."
"Understood," Paragus replied before terminating their communication. Zanramon did likewise.
The space pod entered planet cold's atmosphere, its outer shell burning up in the atmosphere. Luckily it was going to crash into one of the plant's vast subzero deserts. Once the landing was complete Glacer emerged and flew towards the city where he knew Tunder would be waiting for him. He had opted for a pod instead of a ship, being eager to return home as soon as possible and help with any reconstruction.
As he passed over a few fellow changelings they look up and wave at him, prompting him to wave back. It really did feel good to be back home, even if the planet didn't fit the conventional conception of a decent place to live. Soon the capitol's buildings came into view and when he upon landing several familiar faces greeted him. They were all soldiers he knew and had fought alongside since the days of King Cold.
After several greetings he was whisked into a large building, rectangular with a rounded top. Once inside he moved down several flights of stairs to arrive at the main control room that resembled the cockpit of a large space cruiser. There was a large main screen with several side screens located to the left and right where various changelings sat typing away. In the middle of the room there was an elevated area with a desk where several figures sat, two of them being Piccolo and Tunder.
"Hello my friend," said the smaller changeling as he gestured for Glacer to joined him. After a brief exchange of greetings between them the entire control room, including Glacer and Tunder focused on the main screens. They were beginning to reconnect with the other planets and they would soon start a three-way communication between themselves, New Vegeta, and Namek.
"Good to see you've returned home safely Glacer," said the Namekian elder Mori, who was accompanied by Nail. However they both quickly noticed Piccolo amongst the changelings. "You are Piccolo, the Namekian from earth who came to our planet several years ago," he said to the other Namekian.
This brought a smile to Piccolo's face. "Its good to see that you're okay…both of you," he added to Nail. That was Kami speaking, he mused to himself.
Vegeta, who had been watching the exchange silently, spoke up. "We can exchange stories when the war is over. Right now we need to focus on our next course of action." Then he directed his attention to Piccolo. "I take it your group is in?" Piccolo replied with an affirmative nod. "Good, we'll need all the manpower we get to invade their home planet, Planet Dread."
"That's an odd name," Elder Mori said, and everyone present nodded in agreement.
"I think it's named after the man in charge there," said Glacer. "He's supposedly the mastermind behind this entire war, and the man who designed much of the Big Five's technology. He might have also revived Cooler using advanced nanotechnology."
Vegeta nodded. "I don't know what species he is, but he'll most likely have an army of those mechs waiting for us, as well as a contingency plan against remote planet destruction."
"Is that even possible?" Being from Earth, Piccolo had no knowledge of technology outside of Dr. Gero's androids that could stop a super saiyan's attack. Even the other Namekians found it hard to believe.
"It definitely exists," said Glacer, with Tunder nodding in agreement. "When we worked for King Cold, he had the R&D department develop technology to protect our home world. With Freeza being a loose canon as a child he wanted to make sure his son wasn't going to blow up the planet in a fit of rage."
"Exactly," said Vegeta, redirecting attention to him. "The fighting will require that we enter the atmosphere and engage their forces directly." He looked to Glacer specifically. "You've only fought the Triceratons when they were scattered. Their forces will be more concentrated this time, and there will be all of Dreads robots, and Paragus' forces to deal with."
"I think we all understand that," Piccolo replied. "The real threat comes from their super saiyan."
"Gohan can handle him," Vegeta replied, " and I might take a crack at him as well. It's a simple matter to cancel him out, but Dread's other force remain unknown."
"We should gather our allies and then attack at several points," Glacer replied. "We'll need all the manpower we can get and attacking at multiple points, while spreading our forces, will also divide theirs. The real key is finding the leaders."
"We'll need to find their planet first," added Mori. "My people will not commit to an attack until we have some idea what to expect, and even then, most of us will only be there in a medical capacity."
"Understood," replied Vegeta. "We'll get back to you once we've found their home planet." The meeting came to a close and the changelings changed shifts in the control room.
Piccolo felt somewhat apprehensive as he left with Glacer and Tunder to see the other Z-Fighters. "I think Vegeta is assuming too much control in this situation," he said. "He really took charge in the meeting."
"I thought Mori put his foot down nicely," replied Tunder. "Vegeta's a warrior so we can expect him to have the most to say about war, but he didn't challenge Mori on his stance about the Namekians' role in this."
"He's right Piccolo," replied Glacer with some sympathy. "I've seen Vegeta in person, He's a proud warrior, but he's not a dictator. He only wants to govern his people. Besides, I doubt Gohan would let him go through with such a plan, especially since he's regained some past memories of living on Earth."
This piqued Piccolo's interest, though he chose not to say anything. So…he remembers living on earth with his father and mother. I wonder how that's affected him? Should I tell Trunks? In the end Piccolo decided against doing so, not wanting to get the saiyan's hopes up.
Three figures stepped into the large hanger. One was the stocky Triceraton leader Zanramon, dressed in his regal brown and gown robes with a red cape. Another was the saiyan Paragus, dressed in his saiyan armor with the white cape, and gauntlet he used to control his son strapped to his left arm.
The last figure was as tall as Zanramon, but by far the lankiest of the three. He had a bulbous pink head with elfin ears and large black eyes. He wore a crimson jacket with jet-black collar and dark pants. His hands were pink, though his long bony fingers gave the skin a stretched appearance. He was Dr Dread, the mastermind behind the Big Five, no reduced to three.
"They are all fueled up and ready for combat," said the Doctor, gesturing towards the several large mechas lined on either side of the hanger. "The lizard men can hold their own against even the strongest saiyans, the triceratons can do even better, and you Paragus," he turned to the saiyan with a devious grin, "will be able to grind Vegeta into the dust in one."
Paragus smiled, but Zanramon wasn't sold. "We've had them at our disposal before, and they still ended up destroyed. The older models even like the last one Paragus used had only a limited ability to augment power. Sure they surprised Vegeta at first, but then our enemies quickly found workarounds."
"I understand your concern," replied Dread. "I've updated the models to iron out the kinks. They'll properly augment your strength and they're on the moment the pilot enters the cockpit, immediately activating their shields if they detect an attack coming. Many of the so-called workarounds involved stopping them before they activated, that will not be possible in the coming battle." He paused a moment. "The one problem is our limited supply, so I would strongly advise against sacrificing any of them for the sake of killing one enemy."
That comment made Paragus squirm a little inside. "Very well. As for Gohan I'm sure Broly can deal with him. He's got a bit of an advantage in speed and technique, but Broly more than makes up for it with his resilience. He'll just keep coming until Gohan is worn out."
Dread remained silent, but Zanramon nodded. "It's fortunate that we can deal with them in one decisive battle," the Prime Leader said. "However we'll have to deal with that terrorist who's been causing chaos throughout the galaxy. It's become such a nuisance."
""That's right," added Paragus.
"I understand," replied Dr Dread, "but that threat will have to wait until after we have finished with our main enemies. Its only one terrorist after all, I doubt he'll be more than we can handle." For now the other two yielded to his intellect. "We've got more than mechas now," he added, walking through the hanger with the other two in tow. "I've been working on these for quite a while, and King Cold's genetics technology helped me complete them.
At the end of the hanger they reached an elevator that took them several feet further underground. When the door opened it revealed a mostly dark passage lit by several green lights that dotted the walls at regular intervals. They moved straight through the passage ahead with automatic sliding doors at the end.
The room beyond was lit in a similar way to the halls, but the vast majority of light came from several glowing green giant test tube-like structures at the far wall. There were well over fifty of them lining it from one end to the other. Each contained several humanoid beings suspended within. They had a muscular masculine physique, but were completely hairless.
"These are my bio-warriors. They've been created specifically to counter the saiyans, though I'll admit they'll need experience before they can square up to the stronger ones."
Paragus raised an eyebrow as Zanramon eyed them with wonder. "How do you know they won't run amok? I need this special device to keep Broly in line," he said as he rose his hand that had his gauntlet.
"An understandable concern," Dread replied as if he was expecting this. "However I have engineered them to have a limited will. They'll know how to fight, but they won't dare defy us and even if they do, I've implanted something in their brain that works a similar way to Broly's ring."
Paragus nodded. And the three spent a few more minutes in the room before leaving. Their forces were as ready as ever for the upcoming fight.
After receiving the news from Vegeta, Gohan flew a distance away from the saiyan capital for training. Though the lack of gravity chambers and worthy sparring partners made any attempt at increasing raw power futile, he could still try to improve his technique. First he began drilling various basic move, ducking, punching, kick, blocking, repeating each move randomly while visualizing an imaginary opponent. After a while he moved to ki based attacks including basic ki blasts, and guided attacks.
Though it was hardly an intensive workout he eventually did work up a sweat. The sun, which had been at the mid-day point at his part of the planet, was now beginning to set below the horizon, though the capitol would have several more hours of sunlight left. He saw a figure flying at him from the horizon and immediately recognized Juu when he failed to detect a power level.
"Have you come for training?" he asked she stopped and hovered a few feet away from him. "Or do you have news?"
"Neither," she replied. "I just wanted to see where you went. I'm starting to get the hang of this ki sensing." Gohan nodded with an approving smile. "So what do you think will happen after the final battle?"
"I'm not sure," Gohan replied. "I can guess that there will be a lot of rebuilding to do, and off course we have to deal with Cell." They both became silent at the mention of the creature. It still stood at the top of the food chain as the most powerful being in the universe.
"There has to be some weakness in it," Juu mused. "It's so powerful and it has a perpetual energy source from Seventeen and Eighteen. That power has to come at a cost…" She trailed off into thought.
'What's on your mind," Gohan asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I was just wondering what exactly happened to Seventeen and Eighteen when they were absorbed. If Cell has accessed to their power sources, then some of their hardware must be intact." She nodded to herself. "Dr. Gero had a special remote control that he used to deactivate us in case he lost control. If certain parts of Seventeen and Eighteen are still intact within him, then we might be able to deactivate them and reduce his power or at least curb his perpetual energy source."
"An interesting plan," he replied, though he sounded unsure. His saiyan side actually wanted to fight Cell at his maximum and win, but both that and his human side understood the consequences should he lose. "Let's think about this after we beat the Big Five," he replied with a smile. "We'll have more battle experience by then anyway."
There was a beeping sound coming from the white, wristwatch-like communicators on their wrists. Vegeta was summoning them back to the base, no doubt something he had some exciting news for them.
They arrived in the control room where Vegeta, Nappa, Raditz, and Fasha were already present. The group was looking into the central and largest screen, flanked by three others on each side at far wall of the room. On the middle screen there was what look like a map of the galaxy, though the two dimensional view limited its usefulness.
"Ah Gohan, you're here," said Fasha. "We've found where the enemy troops are massing together. Come and see." The other saiyans made room for Gohan and Juu.
Vegeta then tapped a blinking spot on the screen. "That is Planet Dread, the planet we have to invade." He turned to another saiyan who was sitting at the leftmost screen. "Start contacting our allies and giving them the information." He then turned to a saiyan on the opposite end of the room. "Contact Planet Cold and cross reference our information with theirs. They'll be tracking the enemy as well."
A group of five aliens with grasshopper heads, and dressed in black outfits were gathered around a small screen positioned in the open area on a slab of rubble amidst the ruined city. The rest of their people were milling about in various makeshift camps, or combing the ruined city for useful supplies.
"Vegeta's asking us to send far too many troops," one of them said in a raspy voice. "Our planet will be left unguarded and vulnerable to opportunistic invaders."
"I understand your concern," replied another one in a slightly deeper voice. "However the big five are our biggest threat. Once they are out of the way, we can always come back and retake our planet."
"That assumes we will have enough people left after the invasion," replied the first one. "This will be a very risky and highly costly battle. Why else would the saiyans ask us to contribute?"
"I agree with you on that point," replied the other, and it was now clear that those two were leading the discussion. "However the cost of not giving them our support could be worse. The Big Five would win and eventually overwhelm us. These opportunistic space pirates are a possibility, but we don't have any tangible evidence of any being out there."
They began debating back and forth, though it was clear to any listener that they were leaning towards going to battle. Eventually the other three began chiming in, expressing a desire for revenge due to their humiliating imprisonment. However to a certain eavesdropper the coordinates of Planet Dread, displayed prominently on the screen, were the most interesting aspect of it.
Cell was floating upside down from a building, smiling as it watched the five aliens and the screen. It had arrive hours after Gohan's departure, and decided to try and find his location instead of massacring the populace. Genocide was no fun for when a potentially epic rematch was waiting for it. Broly, the other super saiyan had also caught its interest and now Cell knew where they would both be. Having memorized the coordinates of the target planet, Cell took off, while the natives were still arguing.
"Hello…" Bulma was both excited and anxious as she received a signal from the Capsule Corp spaceship. Her face lit up as four familiar faces appeared on screen. She called everyone into the room; Chichi, the residents of Kame House, and Chaotzu were all staying at Capsule Corp, eager for updates. "How did everything go?"
"We've pulled through so far," Trunks replied. "We helped liberate a planet and now we're planning to join the invasion for the final battle."
Chichi pushed forward, leaning over Bulma. "Please send Goten back. I don't want him to die. He's had his adventure now."
Goten looked disappointed at first, but when he looked into his mother's eyes he knew just how sad she would be if something did happen. Before Trunks could protest he spoke up. "I think I should go home. Mom needs me now that Dad is gone. I…I want to keep fighting. I want to help, but I also don't want to make mom sad."
"I'll take him home," said Tien, patting Goten's head. "I'm not sure the two of us would be necessary to the invasion anyway. I'll take him back on this ship, and you two will probably be able to get a ride home or ask us to come pick you up when its over."
Piccolo nodded. "I'm okay with that. Trunks?"
The half saiyan nodded. "We're probably the two who would most likely come back anyway. We'll fight and then come back when the battle is over. We could probably ask the Changelings or the Namekians to give us a lift home." Besides I'd rather Goten not meet up with Gohan.
With the matter settled they ended the call after exchanging brief goodbyes. Goten and Tien prepared for the journey home, while Trunks and Piccolo received two space pods from Tunder for them to travel in. They did not have access to any larger ships at the moment. Goten packed the their bags and made sure their ship was well-stocked with supplies. Meanwhile, Trunks taught Tien how to operate the ship. The man had a vague idea, but quickly picked up specific controls, though he would keep it on autopilot for most of the journey. Piccolo decided to meditate to calm his mind and gather his strength. The changelings were gathering space pods making sure as many of them could get to battle as possible.
Traximus and his new companion Styracus crouched behind a building, careful to evade any surveillance cameras. "They don't seem to be looking for us," Styracus said. "We can hook up with the others near the Triceraton hangers." Those were the hangers Dread had reserved for the Triceraton forces where they could get their equipment upgraded.
Traximus remained silent, glancing back and forth nervously. "They've been preparing for an upcoming battle, but I don't think they've given up on finding us." He looked back up at the camera. "We'll need to be mindful of those. Perhaps we can engage in sabotage."
"I can contact the others," Styracus replied, nodding vigorously. "However we'll have to wait a few hours. We've discovered certain "dark periods" where we can exchange message without being detected. If we try during any other time, Dread will know about it."
Traximus nodded, but then led Styracus away as a group of lizard men arrived where they had been. After making a few well timed dashed across the open they were hiding behind another box-shaped building. "We'll be running around like this for a while. Stay on your tows and contact the others when the time is right." Thus began a game of hide and seek.
This was more of a setup chapter. The last battles of the story are coming up.