Chapter 20: Hijacked
Videl's eyes fluttered open, but she saw nothing, felt nothing. Slowly, feeling began to return to her extremities, then her whole body, and she noticed one recurring theme: every inch was aching. The captive gingerly attempted to wiggle her fingers, not sure if they would respond to her command. They did, however, much to her great relief. Her hand stretched out instinctively and felt a ragged sheet, with hard stone below. So she was alive then. It was something encouraging at least. The teenager moved to sit up, but discovered an unforeseen amount of resistance preventing her from rising. She could feel her abdominal muscles straining to lift her torso from the improvised operating table. "What the..." she murmured in confusion.
Then she heard it, a soft metallic clink coming from inside her. As the horrible reality set in, she reached for her chest and mimicked Carth's earlier actions, digging her fingers into her sides. Sure enough, there was something hard and unrelenting hidden beneath her skin. Searching around, she found the new sutures and ripped them open one by one then peeled back the flesh. Her fingertips brushed cold metal. Her heart tried to race-but it felt all wrong, like it had been shifted to make room for something else.
"Good morning, sunshine," came a voice that she had grown all too familiar with in the past few days.
"Carth, you bastard!" Videl hissed through clenched teeth as she struggled to make it to her feet. "What did you do to me?"
"Slow learner, aren't you?" he remarked wryly. "You. Robot parts. Inside." He mimed at her as though the concept was far too difficult for her to understand. "You. Kill Son brat."
"I'm not a cold-blooded killer, unlike you. Or have you forgotten that fact?" the Satan girl scoffed, retaining whatever sense of her pride remained intact.
"That's what this is for," he laughed, showing her a little black box. Videl quickly realized what it was: a walkie talkie. Carth turned a knob and walked toward the entrance to the cave. Lifting the radio to his mouth, he said, "Fire it up, boys."
"Yes boss," came the response through the crackling static. With a smirk, he turned the little knob once more, the hissing feedback changing pitches as the radio changed through channels. "I'm sorry Dave," Carth said into the device. "I'm afraid I can't do that."
Videl covered her mouth and gasped. Those words... Carth's words... had just come out of her own mouth! Narrowing her eyes at Carth, she growled, sounding unnaturally animalistic.
Holding the obsidian device away from his mouth, Carth addressed her. "So you see, sweetheart, you're no longer... how should I say this... able to voice your own opinions, unless I say so, of course." Carth gave a hearty laugh at the bewildered expression on the Satan girl's face, his own features forming a smirk as recognition flashed in her eyes.
She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She firmly closed her jaw again, shooting him a fierce look of disdain.
The malicious android smirked. "You know what, doll face? I'm curious." He switched his radio off and set it politely on his lap. "You were saying?"
"You can control my voice, sure, but I'm too strong for you to control my actions!" Videl shot back heatedly, her hands clenching into tight fists.
"You wanna bet?" Carth taunted. There was a glint of excitement in his deep blue eyes that scared Videl and made her ninety percent sure she didn't want to take any bets. "I can literally control the words that come out of your pretty little mouth; do you really think I'd let you run amok?" Carth asked rhetorically, confirming Videl's fears.
"W-what do you want with me?" the teenage crimefighter queried. Her voice was laced with fear as the helpless prospect manifested itself in her brain. Her fists unclenched, her delicate fingers trembling slightly as she spoke.
"Oh, nothing too outrageous," Carth offered offhandedly. "I just need you to do a few little things for me, kill some innocent people, make your presence known. You know, the usual." The sinister android adopted a maniacal grin as he watched all sorts of emotions cycle through Videl's baby blue orbs; first fright, followed by astonishment, outrage, and finally realization.
"Y-you monster!" she screamed. The raven-haired girl clenched her fists, struggling to move her limbs, her legs, her anything. These doctors, these monsters had tinkered with her body and changed her entire self. "Why?" she demanded, abandoning all pretense that everything was fine. She was most certainly shaken; there was a decent chance that she, a defender of innocent lives in her hometown, would be manipulated and forced into killing dozens, if not hundreds, of people.
"It's simple, doll face; you have the capability to... shall we say, make yourself known," Carth snickered. "You're already an attractive public figure who is known as a defender of justice." He crouched on his knees and cupped her chin, staring right into her light blue eyes. "How better to cripple the response capabilities of this world than to strike right at the heart? Not only will the world be devastated by your 'betrayal,' but the Saiyan scum will be flabbergasted as well," Carth spat.
"What's a Saiyan?" Videl asked aloud to her captor. She sort of remembered the word being spoken amongst Gohan and his gang of friends. Judging from the context Carth used it in, she assumed her initial guess was correct and that it concerned Gohan.
The android's face lit up like a kid in a candy store. "Oh, he hasn't told you! You'd think he'd want to brag... show off for you," Carth mused, toying with his silver chain. "I'll be nice and let you in on the secret." He leaned in close, his hot breath brushing the girl's neck. "It's the name of the abomination you're programmed to search and destroy."
"What hasn't he told me?" Videl demanded, her eyes ablaze with renewed fury. The situation seemed hopeless so she figured that retaining every ounce of her dignity that she could would work, especially if she wouldn't have control of her actions for much longer.
"As much as I'd love to rock your world, I have my orders. And explaining what I know about the kid's past would take too long," Carth replied in a dismissive tone. "Plus, we need to discuss what your first mission shall be."
Dread began to overtake all of Videl's other emotions as the diabolical man began outlining his evil plans for her.
Krillin yawned widely, slowly becoming aware of his surroundings as he awoke. His eyes, barely open, stared unfocused at the sketchpad that, at some point in the middle of the night, had become his pillow. He had managed to jot down a few numbers, though what they meant, he couldn't remember. The bald man blinked slowly as he sat up. It was awfully bright he realized, watching the dust motes swirl in the light that shone inside through the windows. What time was it? He glanced over at the clock, which flashed 7:23 AM. No wonder he was so tired; he'd only been out for three hours.
The short man stretched his arms over his head and stood, wondering where his companions were. Eventually, the soft clink of dishes reached his ear, so he decided to check the kitchen first. Sure enough, Gohan was there, a mound of empty dishes before him. Eighter was up to his elbows in soap bubbles as he started on the collection of dirty plates which filled the sink. Dr. Flappe, situated next to Gohan, peered at the newcomer through his oversized spectacles. He tugged on the demi-Saiyan's sleeve and pointed at Krillin.
"Well I'll be a monkey's uncle!" the doctor exclaimed. "Look, Goku! The man on my bottle of dish soap has come to life!"
The monk rubbed his head, assuming it was a bald joke, as Gohan greeted him. "You missed the pancakes."
Krillin stifled a whimper. From their bloodshot eyeballs to the baggy skin beneath them, he could tell they'd stayed awake from dusk 'til dawn, slaving over the device.
"My fault," the short man confessed. "I was sleepy. Did you finish it?"
Gohan smiled widely and nodded. "We were going to test it out after breakfast. We still have to calibrate it to Carth's energy output, but Dr. Flappe wanted to make sure it worked first."
From the look on his face, Krillin could tell that he young man didn't want to test it out; he wanted to use it as soon as possible. "Well then we better get started," the monk said, smiling when Gohan lit up at the proposition.
Back in the good doctor's lab, Krillin saw that the device had truly taken shape as he slept. A radio antenna protruded from a green radar screen, and all of that was hastily tacked onto a voltage detector, it's twin metallic prongs sticking up in the air. It wasn't pretty, but hopefully it was functional.
The glowing screen of the voltage detector lit up as soon as Dr. Flappe turned the patchwork machine on, reading, "240 volts." The radar screen was on as well, showing an orange blip almost right on top of their location. That meant...
"Aw man," the short man groaned, dropping into a combat stance and flaring his ki. He looked around wildly, searching for the diabolical android.
Dr. Flappe turned to Krillin, chuckling softly. "Son, it's detecting the toaster in the next room."
"So it works then?" Gohan chimed in tentatively.
"As sure as bees love honey," the doctor assured him. "Now then, Mr. Son, I believe you have some math to do. As soon as you calculate what we need to set the voltage detector to, we can try to find your metal man."
Gohan rifled around on the cluttered desks for a moment, then handed Eighter a paper. "I did it last night while you two were trying to integrate the radar."
"Well butter me up and call me a biscuit!" Flappe exclaimed, much to the amusement of his co-conspirators. "Goku... using that big brain of yours," the capricious doctor muttered as he ruffled the demi-Saiyan's hair. His eyes practically sparkled with excitement as he said, "Let's fire her up!"
"All right!" Gohan said, switching on the machine. Several lights came alive as the device began scanning the surrounding area for voltage readings. Gohan switched the frequency of the contraption to match exactly what he had calculated Carth's voltage signature to be: 10306 volts.
The machine buzzed to life and began scanning, searching for the android's specific electrical output. After a few seconds, the screen showed a sole orange sphere in the upper left hand corner. Gohan nonchalantly tossed his chair aside in the process of making a beeline for the front door.
"Wait, Gohan!" Krillin cried out to the retreating demi-Saiyan. The bald monk had initially reached for Gohan's right forearm when the boy had jetted for the good doctor's door but missed by just a few inches.
"What, Krillin?" Gohan hissed, clearly annoyed his path had been interrupted. His eyes narrowed into slits as Krillin gulped nervously. "If we find Carth, we find Videl. We know where Carth is, so we know where Videl is. Why is it that you're stopping me from going to her, exactly?"
"Gohan," Eighter interjected calmly, "while you may think the machine has perfect accuracy, it will probably need more readings to be completely conclusive. It will take time to weed out clashing electrical readings from lightning, static electricity, power lines, and things like that. This might be a false reading."
"Plus," Krillin added now that Gohan had relaxed a bit, "we don't even have an exact location, just an approximate."
"I programmed it myself. I think I made it good enough," Gohan stated matter-of-factly, his eyes betraying his fury.
"This morning, it said the toaster was three blocks away," Eighter corrected. "It can only deliver an approximate location unless we collect more data."
"That's close enough. I have to go. I need to at least try," the demi-Saiyan insisted.
Krillin shook his head, as he often did when his friend insisted on behaving like Vegeta. "Gohan," he said patiently, "even if the location we found is where Carth is keeping Videl, don't you think he has reinforcements? They've outmaneuvered us, repeatedly at that! Let's think through this, okay?"
Gohan finally allowed his muscles to relax, letting his shoulders drop as he released the tension in his body. He took a few deep breaths before speaking, a forced calm evident in his voice. "What do you propose, Krillin? If it's not an adequate alternative, I think we both know I'll still charge headfirst towards that signal."
"Well, I say we recruit Piccolo and Vegeta to charge Carth's hideout together," Krillin proposed with a finger tapping his chin. "If Coco is also there, we wouldn't want to alert him to our presence, would we? We can lock onto Carth now through this device, but we can't find Coco."
"Goku, my boy!" the eccentric doctor called, "You do know that our... doohickey... likes neighbors, right?"
The impatient teen glared at Flappe; he did not have time for the man's insane ramblings right now.
Fortunately, Eighter came to the rescue. "I think what Dr. Flappe means is that the device is more accurate when it senses things nearby, and it's not portable..."
"Yet," Gohan finished. "It's not portable yet. But you can fix that." It was more of a statement than a question, an order instead of a request. Still, Eighter nodded and so did Flappe, though the old man's reaction could have been attributed to a number of things. The teen sighed, and collapsed into the nearest chair, throwing his hands up in the air. "You all have valid points," he conceded at last. "Not one of your points would be enough to stop me alone, but together... I don't know."
He turned to Flappe. "Do you have the parts you need to make this thing portable?" Even as the words escaped his lips, Gohan realized the folly of his question. The Doc's magpie-like tendency for hoarding shiny objects was impossible to miss. "Nevermind. How long will it take?"
Flappe pursed his lips and stroked the few scraggly hairs above his upper lip. "I'd say-"
"Can you and Eighter do it today?" Gohan interrupted.
"Can a woodchuck chuck wood?" the Doctor replied, which Gohan could only assume meant 'yes.'
Gohan nodded, abandoning his chair. "Let's go, Krillin," he called, beckoning to his comrade.
"Go where?" he asked as he scurried to grab his jacket before Gohan made it to the door.
"We're going to go visit some friends."
The feeling of flying, the rush of the wind blowing her pigtails side to side, was still incredible. As a human with limited ki experience, suddenly having the ability to glide gracefully at breakneck speeds, to soar through the skies like an old veteran of the trade was utterly amazing. When she'd flown to Capsule Corporation with Vegeta, flying had been a strenuous effort; with her newly-enhanced abilities it was child's play, and it felt magnificent.
Although she no longer had complete control of her bodily functions, she felt freer than ever before, able to do anything, conquer any challenge, solve any problem. The young Videl Satan completed a twist of her lithe body mid-air, reveling in the feeling of power it gave her.
Carth was loosely able to control her and would know if she veered off course, but the sinister android was at least kind enough to let her enjoy her flying experience. He'd outlined his evil plans for her before she left, making it abundantly clear that she had no choice in the matter and would undoubtedly carry out his intentions.
"I can't believe this is happening to me," Videl thought aloud as she roamed the clouds above. Everything that had happened in the past few days was catching up to her, and she felt mentally and physically exhausted. In just a few days, she had grown close to Gohan, discovered that he was a prince, learned about ki, been hunted by a sniper, watched a child be shot, survived a raid on a dangerous research facility, been kidnapped by a homicidal android, and then underwent major surgery. Just recapping it all made her long for her soft, warm bed. Yet here she was, a glorified puppet for a murderous metal man.
Looking ahead, she could see Satan City emerging on the horizon, its tall skyscrapers and office buildings jutting up into the sky. She adjusted the shirt Carth had given her before she felt her mind being taken over. This was part of the situation; Carth's tiny remote could both allow and disallow her free will at any time, and she knew that as soon as she neared her home city, she would lose the ability to operate under her own power.
The new, Carth-controlled Videl Satan landed on the paved sidewalk of her home city, immediately looking towards her target - Satan City National Bank. The outlandish, pitch black building towered over the low rising apartment flats which neighbored it, sticking out like a sore thumb. Walking right up to the front door of the bank, 'Videl' turned the handle of the glass entryway and crossed the threshold into the bank. The new android charged a noticeable amount of artificially enhanced ki in the palm of her right hand, allowing the glowing sphere to increase in strength. The part of Videl that was conscious inside her controlled body recognized the purpose of her latest order - to instill fear in the population. After it reached a sufficient power, Carth had Videl aim her hand directly at the bank teller behind the front desk and fire a ki blast, the beam streaming out of her hand like a bullet out of a gun. The enormous strength behind the blast winded Videl slightly as it created a crater-sized hole in the wall, killing its main target and all people surrounding the teller.
The aware portion of Videl's brain found the act of murdering an innocent bystander atrocious and revolting, but the new technology implanted in her ensured that Carth could force her body to betray her wishes and perform ungodly sins. The screams of countless scared people reached her ears and made her want to retch uncontrollably. Even for a crimefighter who had captured and arrested a large number of criminals, murder was something which still appalled her. She was one of the most prolific law enforcers in existence and had a stunning success rate of preventing injustices and tragedies.
A police officer who had been depositing checks into his account called out to Videl. "What are y-you doing?" he stuttered, his voice shaking. The officer's fear radiated off of his body in spades as the man aimed the quivering gun right between her pigtails. "If you make any moves," he said as he gained some confidence, "I will be forced to shoot you."
Responding to her directive, Videl grinned and beckoned for the man to fire if he wished. The cop squeezed the trigger and jump-started the process of firing a bullet. The silver, cylindrical projectile blasted out of the gun, rocketing right at Videl. The girl simply stood in place with a smirk plastered on her face. As the bullet approached, her hand shot up right in its path. The officer took several steps back when he saw the aftermath; Videl had stopped the bullet with just one finger.
Following Videl's display, the patrons of the bank stared wide-eyed at her, clearly disturbed and bothered by her actions.
"Everybody listen up!" Videl shouted into the mayhem of the scene. "What is happening right now is a demonstration of what will happen to anyone who doesn't conform to the ideals of my master. Objections shall be answered with a painful and terrible end." The words escaping her lips made her want to puke, but Carth wouldn't even allow her that luxury.
One lone, shaky hand slowly raised into the air. It belonged to a woman, one of the bank's tellers judging from her nametag, who looked to be in her early twenties. Her eyes were wide with fear, and her pupils dilated from the adrenaline-filled situation. She made eye-contact with Satan City's former heroine. The real Videl wanted to call out to her, tell her that everything was going to be okay, that she would beat up the bad guys and drag them off to jail, but of course her tongue remained motionless in her mouth. The woman waved her whole arm, as if shouting, 'pay attention to me!' At last, the new Videl had no choice but to answer.
"What do you want?" Carth demanded, using Videl as his conduit.
"Aren't you Videl Satan?" the woman asked.
"What of it?" She responded coolly.
"I-I thought you were a hero," the teller stated, clearly confused.
"The term hero depends on whose point of view you're looking from," Videl explained. The portion of her mind which tried to fight Carth's control wanted to thank the woman and voice her own opinions, but couldn't. "To many I was a hero when I defended this city to my wits' end, but what did I get for that? A complete lack of emotional attachments and a suspicious nature. Now I'm free to use these newfound powers to murder as many people as my heart desires."
She could practically hear Carth cackling at the pure irony of the heroic Videl Satan uttering these words, despite the mechanical menace being miles away. She received another direct order from him and attempted to will her way into disobeying it, to no avail. Looking down at her hands, she watched as they betrayed her and charged up yet another massive ki blast. Her lips involuntarily formed a smirk and a Vegeta-like laugh passed through them as her hands released another mass of ki, killing dozens upon impact.
Moments later, the first news crew arrived on the scene, mere minutes after the situation had unfolded. Videl's eyes shifted towards the recent arrivals and she noticed with disdain that the crew had quickly set up their equipment outside. She was certain Carth would want all of the news reporters exterminated.
She inwardly cringed as her fingers curled into a fist against her deepest wishes. Her nails punctured her skin and applied pressure to her palm, tightening the fist. Her body then flew forward like a rocket, denting the van that the news reporters drove in. The ki which had been discreetly forming in her balled hand shot forward, incinerating the van, all of the technological equipment and cameras remained inside, along with the unfortunate driver. The look on his face as he burst into flames broke Videl's heart.
"You." Videl reluctantly addressed the nearest shaking reporter, a portly man in his forties. He pointed at himself and mouthed the word 'me,' too terrified to even speak properly. Carth ordered his new plaything to grab the man by the collar, and so she did. "Yes, you. Get your equipment and prepare to broadcast. My master has something he wants to tell the world." Inwardly, the teen girl was scared as hell for what Carth had planned. She'd just been forced to annihilate far too many innocents and knew the crazy man controlling her had an ulterior purpose in mind from the start. She just dreaded what he would have her do. Originally, her orders were just to take Satan City hostage and kill anybody who objected, but, now the plan had become bigger.
The man rustled around in his pocket. When he withdrew his hand, it clutched a tiny capsule from which burst a new tripod and some fresh broadcasting equipment. Immediately, the rest of the surviving news team sprung into action and rumbled with the buttons, frantically trying to turn the machine on. Once the small red light began beeping, he spoke. "It's all good to go. We're ready when you are."
Videl ripped a microphone from the neatly manicured hands of the blonde reporter and positioned herself in front of the camera. The portly cameraman counted down. "We're live in 3, 2, 1!"
A/N A-man, Agree to disagree. The more appropriate place for this debate would be via PM. Feel free to send us a message Kanotari or DarkVoid116 if you care to continue discussing.