Disclaimer: Don't own these guys so don't sue as I barely even own the pc!

Warnings: Angst, Seventeen's POV

Rating: PG 13

Summary:We all know that 18 was regurgitated by Cell, but what of 17? Just how did he manage to return? And when he did, what did he do?

Android arc #3

'THE RETURN'

Debs-dragon Jan 2002

Chapter 1

I have no concept of time, so therefore I cannot tell how long I have been here. I can remember a blinding light that destroyed all that surrounded me and then my next conscious thought was when I awoke to find myself here. It's strange. I feel as if I am caught in some moment of time... 'suspended' if you will. Being denied access to that plane which is above me. Feeling the fiery depths below which are all too ready to consume me, but as yet, cannot reach me and the plane which confronts me, so close and yet so unattainable. Why I am drawn here I do not know. But I long... no, yearn to be there and so by staying close I can at least gain some comfort in knowing I am near.

I feel the shift as the planes adjust from time to time. The reason for this is still unclear, but it usually lasts but a minute and then the stillness returns as everything slides once again into place. There is no one else to be found here. I am all alone. From time to time as the planes shift I sense a presence as it passes by, onward and upward; or on occasion - but very rarely - downward. I know when one is going downwards. The heat below begins to increase and wild sounds manage to break through, chilling me to the core. I grimace with the thought. So different to the calm that radiates from above.

I feel the plane shift yet again. I really don't take much notice, that is until I feel. There is something different this time, the shift is not as subtle, there seems to be excitement, electricity streaks through the void. I feel above me a surrender of sorts - and movement... Suddenly I am caught up with it. Pulled and dragged along, I cannot resist, there is nothing there to fight. I tumble through the vacuum along with many 'others', I blink as a kaleidoscope of colours washes around me... moving... pulsing. And then I am falling... spiralling out of control. My last coherent thought was of how pretty everything around me looked before... blackness.

Silence.

Slowly I crack open an eye and peer around me. The images are blurry at first but then start to clear and come into focus. Quickly I close my eye again and try to think. This cannot be possible. I groan as my circuits begin to come back on line; one by painful one. I am lying face down on what appears to be vegetation. Grass and leaf matter to be precise.

Once more I open an eye. Blinking, I open the other eye. Not trusting what my eyes are telling me I inhale deeply. The smell of earth, plants and fresh clean air assaults my nostrils. I groan and move my head. I appear to be in some sort of clearing. Pushing myself I roll onto my back, sensors scan the area. No danger detected at this stage. I look up at the sky and marvel at how blue it is. I laugh. Yes, laugh! Out loud to anyone or anything that cares to listen. My memory banks are jumbled, fragments come flashing through to me in some random order. Confused I sit up and shake my head in an attempt to clear it. It doesn't work. All I succeed in doing is burning out a couple more fuses...

"Ouch!"

Yes... androids do feel pain.

I cradle my head, gently rubbing my fingers over my temples in an attempt to soothe the pulse of electricity there. I try to order my thoughts. Try to bring some sort of sense to the multitude of images that are crowding in, threatening to drown me. I manage to bring some of my programing back on line and the scraps of history begin to slot into place.

I don't know how long I am sitting here for. All I know is that the jigsaw is beginning to take shape. Piece by piece it is forming, finding and fitting together, leading into an overall picture. Some pieces are missing, but no matter, I am sure that I can skip over those areas and still know what would have occurred. A heat is beginning to throb in the base of my skull, I ignore its meaning and force myself to continue to concentrate. While still scanning and piecing together I begin to analyse and study the fragments already finished.

A building... No, the interior of a building. A white haired man. I shivered involuntarily when this image appeared. I was scared of this man. Why?

No data.

"Hmmmm," I said out loud.

Try as I might there was no data to access on the man. Either that information had not been programed into my system or the files had been erased or damaged. Somehow I sensed that he had had a large influence on me and that along the line he was responsible for some sinister dealings. I frowned as again I searched my data banks for any remote piece of information that I could get on this man; alas it was to no avail. The files were either 'fried' or non accessible. I made a mental note to check those files once I have access to some major hardware and have repaired the damage to my systems. Idly I went back to the other pieces of the puzzle. A girl, there was a girl with me. She was important to me. There was a strong connection between us, my mind searched, this answer was within my grasp... I could feel it... all I had to do was pin it down.

"Eighteen!" That was it!

I hung on to the word, desperate to make more sense from it. Eighteen... Eighteen... I rolled the name around in my head. My sister! That's who she was. The thoughts came tumbling forth as the dam of memories was unlocked, flooding me, drowning me as I struggled to stay afloat amongst the wash of information. Eighteen was my sister. Juu... Juu... Juuhachigou! That was it. And I was... umm... I was... I racked my memory banks for that elusive answer. It was there, I knew it was.. I could feel it. I squeezed my eyes shut and balled my fists as the thoughts floated by. I heard her soft, lilting voice calling me, so sweet was that sound. "Seventeen..." she called to me. That was it! I was Seventeen!

"Yes!" I yelled out aloud to anyone that cared to listen. "Seventeen... Juunanagou! That is who I am."

The breeze made the tree branches nod as if in recognition. I sighed and leaned back. So I was Seventeen or Juunanagou and that girl was Eighteen or Juuhachigou, my sister. If that was so, where was she now? What had happened to us and where was I ? These thoughts and many others began to infiltrate my system threatening to send it into overload. It was with great effort that I managed to calm my mind and return to the fragments of memory that I still held and was piecing together.

Another android floated into my memory. This one was strong, but he also wanted to hurt me and my sister. There was fighting... flashes of energy, buildings and people being destroyed, but for what reason I could not determine. Then there was darkness, nothing but darkness; and now this.

I sighed. What did it all mean? I looked down at my hands still curled into fists. There was damage to my body. I blinked. I don't remember how I got the damage. My clothes were torn and in places the metal rods and wires were exposed to the air through various sized wounds that graced my arms and legs. I scanned my systems again and calculated that my main power was running at 60%. My central core was damaged, allowing precious life energy to escape. There wasn't much that I could do about that at the moment though. What power was available needed to be conserved and channelled into the vital areas. My main objective being to get to somewhere that had the equipment necessary for me to make the repairs that I needed. I began a routine functions check

I flexed my feet... Operational. My legs at first were reluctant to follow orders, but once the stiffness wore off a little they both moved sufficiently for me to become mobile.

My arms... Well, the left had suffered quite a bit of damage and wasn't functioning properly, the right seemed to be okay. My vision had cleared and my remaining senses were functioning adequately. Shakily I got to my feet. I scanned the area for signs of habitation and drew a blank. I had no idea of where I was but I knew I had to get to a town and quickly. Preferably a city as the damage to my inner circuitry and wiring was worse than I had at first believed. I ran a distance check and my sensors told me that there was a settlement not to far from my current position. Turning in its direction I began the slow, laborious trek towards civilisation in the hope of finding some assistance.

tbc...