This fic was based on a song called Witness by a group known as Tryad. Hence the title. Also, this story is a one-shot prequel to another fic that I have been working on for about a month now. I was listening to Witness while I was working on the other one and I had a thought…but I can't tell you my thought because then that would give away what happens in the other fic.
Also, a big thanks to ShadowMajin for his advice and for beta reading.
And now, without further gilding the lily, you may read on.
(Pssst…reviews would kick ass! Just sayin'!)
P.S. I noticed that my lines separating certain parts of the story vanished when I posted this, so being the stickler that I am, I decided to fix that.
Dodoria and his minions had been convinced that she was dead. Even Dodoria had said it: "she's just a saiya-jin female. She didn't survive."
But they were wrong.
In their haste to kill off her team before Bardock arrived, they had underestimated her power. She had no chance of standing against the minions, let alone Dodoria himself, but she was much stronger than they were giving her credit for. In fact, the 'killing' blow that she was dealt had easily been hard enough to knock her unconscious, but it had lacked the power to end her life. So, instead of dying along with the rest of her team she, Seripa, had been left alive.
Barely, she realized, as she stumbled away from the bodies of her fallen comrades. She had awakened to the horror of finding herself lying atop the remains of her friends. She removed herself from the pile as quickly as her injured body had allowed and immediately started away from there. She didn't even cast them a backwards glance as she stumbled away. She didn't want her last memory of her friends…no, her brothers to be of them lying beaten and broken in death. She doubted any one of them would have shown grief over her death, but she grieved for them. They had been more like a family to her than her own had ever been. And knowing them, they probably wouldn't have wanted her to see their bodies in death. More out of pride than anything else, but she was happy to oblige.
So she trudged on, walking despite having multiple fractures in both of her arms and one of her legs. It was nearly impossible to put any weight on it. Her other leg was hardly in any better shape, but at least it was strong enough to support her weight partially. She had to rely on a broken rifle she found as a makeshift crutch to allow her limited movement. Every step sent pain through her body, but at least she was able to move.
She was fairly certain more than a few ribs were broken or seriously bruised. Anytime she stumbled (which she did often) fire shot up and down her sides. It also didn't help that her vision was hazy and that her head was pounding. She silently cursed the alien who had struck her. The bastard may not have killed her, but he certainly left a lasting impression in the back of her skull.
Seripa bitterly wanted to pay him back for the pain he had caused her. As that thought ran through her head she stopped paying attention to her surroundings until her foot caught on something jutting up out of the ground. She hit the ground before she even had a chance to try and catch herself, and as soon as she hit everything went black and pain shot through her body from her head all the way to her toes.
Deciding it best to stay down for a while, she weakly turned over so that she was sitting against the thing she had tripped over. As she looked at it she realized that it was the remainder of a wall. She looked up from the wall and around to see that she was sitting in what was left of one of the Meatian's buildings.
The structures were nothing like what she was used to and before she had felt some measure of regret at destroying them without getting a chance to explore their interiors. Now that regret was replaced with disappointment as the interior of this particular building held nothing that interested her even slightly. At first glance, anyway.
It wasn't until she struggled once more to her feet did she see the blue arm jutting out of a nearby pile of rubble. She had seen only one blue alien in the last few hours and the credit for her current condition went solely to him. Carefully watching her step so as not to trip again, she hobbled on her crutches over to the pile for a closer look. It took a great amount of effort, but she managed to move some of the debris from the body. All she wanted was to see the face of the one who had tried to kill her.
When she finally saw the alien's head, a smirk appeared on Seripa's bruised and bloody face. Whoever had killed him had done well in avenging her: the entire top of his head had been crushed into a bloody crater. Looking closer she noticed that the indention looked like it was left by an elbow. Her smirk split into a grin and she winced as pain shot through her cheeks.
There was only one person she knew who specialized in elbow shots, she mused as she rubbed her bruised cheeks. She started away from that pile, stumbling still as her short break had done nothing to clear her head. The only sound in the vast silence of the dead planet was the sound of the rifle barrel hitting the ground.
Continuing on towards her spacepod, she could just make out the craters on the horizon. It would still be several hours before she reached them, she realized miserably. But she continued on and as she walked on she found a second body lying in the rubble. It didn't take much to realize that Bardock had shown up and made quick work of avenging her and the others. And since she had not seen him or Dodoria anywhere, she could only assume that either one of them had been destroyed and the other left, or both had left. She hoped that if the former was the case, that Bardock had come out the victor.
Seripa didn't stop again until she finally reached the crater her ship had left when she landed. She paused at the edge of the crater and looked down upon the small white sphere waiting for her, with the hatch still open. Breathing heavily, she swallowed and smiled weakly. She started down into the crater, but she was in no shape to be negotiating uneven terrain as she lost her footing, dropping the rifle as she did so, and went tumbling down the slope. She rolled until she hit the side of the pod, lightly bouncing off of it and falling to her back in a cloud of dust.
It took everything she had to climb into her pod. That last little fall had drained whatever strength she had left that had allowed her to travel this far. She fought against the darkness that threatened to overwhelm her as the hatch of her ship closed with a hiss.
Taking a deep breath and gritting her teeth, Seripa leaned forward with her hand outstretched towards the computer console on the hatch. Her hand was hovering over the console when she finally lost the battle against the darkness. Her violet eyes closed and her hand dropped onto the console as she slumped forward in her seat.
The computer lit up and the pod came to life. Within moments her ship was flying full speed away from that forsaken planet and towards Planet Vegeta.
Everything that had happened since she left Planet Meat was hazy. Seripa remembered looking out of the window of her pod's hatch and seeing Frieza's ship in orbit. She remembered killing her pod to keep it from being picked up on radar. She remembered the fight that took place in the atmosphere of her home planet. She remembered the elation at seeing Bardock plowing through some of Frieza's strongest minions. She also remembered beating weakly on the glass of the hatch, screaming in horror at the top of her lungs as the massive ball of death descended upon her world. She remembered, all too vividly, watching her planet fall apart and explode before her eyes. She also remembered that the explosion had sent her pod rolling and tumbling through the blackness of space.
After the blast had sent her flying and tumbling, she had curled up in the floor of her pod. It wasn't much space, but she was a small person so she was able to fit relatively comfortably. Of course, Seripa didn't care much about comfort as she just laid there, the spacepod careening out of control through the darkness of space. She didn't even care that her pod was drifting aimlessly through space. She didn't care about anything, to be honest…
It was a long time before the ship's stabilizers kicked in. Seripa was mildly surprised, but she dismissed it quickly. She figured that she must've powered the ship on at some point without realizing it.
From where she was still curled up in the floor of the pod, she heard the engine hum, and felt the ship start to vibrate as it tumbled through the void. She could almost picture the red energy as it burst to life about the ship, attempting to correct its course.
She stayed curled up in the floor for a little longer, before finally deciding that she needed to be piloting the ship.
Groaning weakly, she lifted her head to peer out of the window on the hatch. She rested her forehead against the red-tinted glass, and let out a sigh that fogged up the glass. As it slowly cleared up, she looked at her reflection and into the violet eyes staring back at her. She held her own gaze for several moments before looking at the rest of her reflection, taking in for the first time her appearance. Her face was caked in dried blood and she couldn't find a single spot that wasn't black and blue from bruising. Her right eye was puffy and swollen and a deeper shade of purple than she'd ever seen before. Looking from her beaten face to her armor she found that her armor was damaged beyond repair. The sturdy material had been cracked and crushed in places, and whole sections were missing from her abdomen and her lower back. The pink elastic suit she had worn under the armor barely concealed anything below her waist, and only remained on her upper body beneath what was left of her armor.
Seripa stared numbly at her own reflection before the ache of disturbing her injuries brought her out of her daze. She looked past her reflection and into the blackness of space to see the stars flashing by before her eyes. The ship was still spinning, but it was visibly slowing.
She sank back down into the floor, but now that she had moved she was uncomfortable. Both of her legs were severely injured and one even had multiple fractures, so she had fire slowly tracing its way up from her feet. She grumbled to herself as she weakly pulled herself into the seat of her ship, which sent fire through her arms when she put weight on them. She had briefly forgotten that they, too, had multiple fractures. By the time she was comfortable, the ship had finally stopped spinning and was shooting aimlessly through the vacuum of space. Closing her eyes, she leaned her head back in her seat wanting only to slip back into the comfort of unconsciousness…
"Never shoot aimlessly."
Her violet eyes shot open…and she winced. She had jerked straight and it had pulled uncomfortably against her bruised and broken ribs. She rubbed her side as she thought about the words Bardock had left her with. She frowned to herself for a moment before sighing, deciding finally that she needed direction.
Ignoring the pain that consumed her entire being, she leaned to her computer console, and with but a moment's hesitation, she began to clumsily type coordinates into the computer. Due to her injuries it took several attempts, but finally she was able to enter the coordinates. As the ship's direction altered, she sat back and pulled her legs into the seat, biting her bottom lip as they all but screamed in protest. She curled up feebly against the back cushion, and closed her eyes wearily.
She had never felt so powerless, Seripa reflected miserably. Right before her eyes her entire planet, her civilization, was destroyed. Her family, her friends, her comrades; they were all gone. They were all reduced to nothing more than space dust in a matter of seconds. It was ridiculous how easily Frieza had ended her peoples' lives. And it all left an emptiness in her that she was all too aware of.
But that emptiness was nothing compared to the way she had felt as she watched Bardock standing valiantly against Frieza…only to be easily defeated. His pained expression of horror as a sphere of death flew towards him was the last image she had of him in life. Once the sphere reached him and Frieza's minions in the atmosphere the blinding light consumed them, concealing them from her sight.
In life, Bardock had been such an inspiration to her. When she enlisted into Frieza's military he had taken her in and let her join his crew when no one else would. He was a strict taskmaster and demanded nothing but the best of his team, and she strived her best to deliver. He must have seen some potential in her, because it was not long after she joined the crew that he started pushing her harder than the others during training. More than once he had left her knocking on death's door. But she persevered, just as she suspected he knew she would.
It was hard work and it left her fatigued at the end of every day, but she never resented Bardock for it. Instead, his harsh training instilled in her a sense of respect for him. It also gave her direction and drive. It gave her the urge to be better than what she was capable of. So, she pushed herself. She trained and trained until she couldn't train anymore. Whenever they went on missions she made it a point of fighting alone and taking no help, even if she was becoming dangerously overwhelmed. She pushed herself as far as her body allowed in each battle, while the others watched from the sidelines as she fought for her life.
Seripa remembered the first time she had become overwhelmed and she had cried out for help as she was being beaten and knocked around by several enemies with power readings close to hers. She had been 13 at the time, still more child than anything. It had happened in her first year of enlistment, during her very first battle. She remembered being knocked through a wall and landing within yards of Bardock and the others. She had struggled to her knees and reached out to them, pleading for help. Rather than help her, Bardock instead grinned fiercely at her. She was stunned by that reaction and did not see the next attack come at her from the aliens. In the end, she somehow managed to overcome her enemies without the help of the others. But it left her broken and near death and unable to stand. But it also made her realize what Bardock wanted from her: determination. He wanted her to never give up in a battle, no matter the situation. He wanted her to fight with everything she had until there was nothing left to give. He wanted her to be determined to be stronger and better than she was before.
She had pushed herself beyond her limits and had nearly broken her body in every battle since then. And as a result, it was no surprise to her when her power reading started to grow exponentially. She watched with pride as her power rose and rose and her siblings grew more and more jealous. The day she saw that her reading had reached an even 1,000 was a joyous day for her: she had finally surpassed both of her parents and her siblings. She was well on her way to being a warrior Elite. That future was in her grasp, so long as she stuck with Bardock and his team.
But that was all over now.
She was all alone in the universe; the last of her kind, Seripa thought miserably. And it had all ended at the hands of Frieza with one massive ball of death. The thought of that little lizard being responsible for the destruction of her entire race left a bitter taste in her mouth. It also made her want to rip him apart, but she knew that desire was out of her reach. She had never dreamed in all her life that she would ever surpass her own father, let alone ever challenge Frieza. She had heard the rumors of the magnitude of his power and today she had been able to witness it firsthand. Bardock had been extraordinarily powerful for a lower class saiya-jin, but not even he had had the power to destroy an entire planet with just a flick of his fingertip. She had never once been able to land a punch on Bardock in their sparring sessions, which never surprised her since the last time it had been measured, his power reading had been 7200. She shuddered as she thought of the power reading it must take to destroy an entire planet so easily. She would never be able to stand against a force like that.
"Givin' up already? I should've expected as much from scum."
Seripa's blood-shot, violet eyes opened slowly and she starred expressionlessly at the far wall of her pod. Those words were the first words she heard from Bardock during their first meeting. When she was delivered to his training quarters for the first time he had attacked her without provocation and had proceeded to beat her to a bloody pulp. When she was no longer able to stand, Bardock had cursed and turned away from her, uttering those words as he left her to pass out on the bloodstained mat. But she didn't pass out. Instead, she weakly climbed to her feet and faced him.
"S-scum? I-I'll show y-you sc-scum!"
She closed her eyes and smiled sadly as she pictured the young girl she used to be charging a much younger Bardock, only to have him disappear and reappear in an instant right before her, and backhand her across the mat.
"That's more like it. Stand again."
She opened her eyes again, dispelling the images of past memories. She frowned as she thought about Bardock. If he could see her now he would probably beat her into a senseless pulp for giving up. She felt a momentary sense of relief that he was dead and she was not. If she had died, too, then he would have probably beat her into a senseless pulp once he found her in Hell. The relief suddenly turned into disgust as she realized how weak she was. She was going to just give up after all Bardock had done for her? After Bardock had stood against Frieza, despite being at a serious disadvantage in power? He had probably known that his power was nothing compared to Frieza's and yet he had flown headlong into battle, standing against the lizard alone.
Bardock would never have given up or let her give up like this, she realized angrily. She couldn't give up just because she had been beaten. What was it Bardock had always said?
"'I'm made of tougher stuff than you are.'" Seripa murmured under her breath. That had been his catchphrase, so to speak.
But when their team started breaking records left and right, anytime someone asked Bardock how his team of lower class saiya-jin had been doing the impossible, he would proudly and arrogantly declare: "Me and my team are made of tougher stuff than you are."
And he was right, she realized as she sat up straight in her seat, slowly stretching out her aching legs. She may be a lower class saiya-jin, but damn it she was still a saiya-jin! And she had been a part of the team that had caused Frieza enough fear to destroy her entire race. That thought brought a smirk to her bruised lips. She thought back on all the missions her and the others had been on. Many of them had been missions that Frieza's Elite had turned down due to the difficulty. But they, a small band of saiya-jin, had triumphed every time! And each time they came back seriously injured, their power reading was always greater during their next missions.
Frieza had destroyed everything she had ever known. She had to pay him back somehow. Thinking realistically she doubted that she would ever defeat him alone, but she could always resist him. She could maybe even find someone strong enough to help her. Surely there was someone else in this universe with power comparable to Frieza's? Or maybe she could become the Legendary Super Saiya-jin? That last thought made her chuckle quietly. She winced at the pain that chuckling caused her and smiled slightly.
Leaning back in her seat with a sigh, Seripa closed her eyes again. She might not ever kill Frieza, but she would not let Bardock or the rest of her team down. She would never give up again. She would stand against the lizard and challenge him to best of her abilities and then some. She owed at least that much to her comrades. As well as to Frieza and his minions.
But first things first: she had to pay a visit to a rejuvenation chamber and an extremely hot bath.
(Hope you enjoyed it. And again, reviews would kick ass. Just sayin'!)