The Council had ended mere moments ago, yet Gero still could feel the satisfaction of success running throughout his aged body. Jericho's plan had been performed to perfection and the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Chairs had been filled without fail. Although there had been much protestations from the Third, Sixth, and Eighth Chairs, Red had ultimately sided with Gero and Jericho, calling in the two men's selections for replacement and sworn them in.
"We are one more step closer to our goal," Jericho stated, a small smile on his face.
Clasping the taller man's shoulder, Gero replied "Do not misjudge the significance of that step. History will remember us fondly for what we are about to accomplish."
"We'll see. Now if you'll excuse me, there is a matter I must see to. I hope we can meet up later to consider our next step."
"Come see me when you finish with your business. The rest of my day is open."
Jericho nodded his head in affirmation. "Until we meet again." And with that, the giant man walked off, heading to his office no doubt. Gero merely turned away from his ally and headed down the hall towards his own laboratory. Angie and Nineteen would be delayed as they were saddled with their new responsibilities. Though Nineteen would return to the lab once he was finished, Gero would be all alone with his work.
"Not so fast Twentieth Chair."
A scowl appeared on Gero's face as he came to a stop at an intersecting hallway. Turning around, he saw Blue storming up to him, his face twisted in rage. "Now what do you want, Third Chair?"
"You must think you're so clever," the blond man snarled, "Thinking you could circumvent the electoral process with this stunt of yours; you're much lower than I had ever thought you would be. I don't know how you managed to convince the Sixteenth Chair to join you in this madness, but rest assure I will not stand for this."
"I don't know what you are talking about," the old man retorted. "This was Sedici's idea, not mine. If you have a problem with this legitimate procedure, you can take it up with him. Now be off with you, I have more pressing matters to attend to than trading barbs with a troglodyte."
"This is not over," Blue threatened. "I will end you, old man."
"Do not make threats you are bound to be unable to keep." Gero and Blue stared each other down before the younger man turned around and walked back the way he came, Gero turning into the intersecting, stone-made corridor and making his way down it. already, plans were forming in the old man's mind—one specifically to remove the Third Chair from his side. That man would prove most aggravating if he were left alone. Reaching the end of the hallway, he turned into another one, making his way down that one before turning into another.
"That didn't seem too friendly."
Was everyone trying to annoy him today? And everything had been going so well too. Coming to a stop, Gero saw the relaxed form of the Seventh Chair leaning against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest. "You needed let such trivialities concern you, Seventh Chair."
"Sometimes I can't help myself," Violet replied as she looked at him bemused. "Unlike Blue, I can appreciate the Sixteenth Chair and yours power play. I wish I had thought of the same myself."
"If there's a point to this, make it quick," Gero snapped. "My patience is already thin."
"I was hoping you wouldn't be too affronted if I copied your move. You see, I also have a friend that would benefit from your procedure; though unlike the people you and Jericho introduced, I know my friend is very qualified for the role. He's been waiting for a chance to get on the Council you see."
Gero did not like the sound of that. It seemed the Seventh Chair was not too proud to use underhanded methods. It was a mistake to assume she would keep to herself. Still, perhaps he could turn this into his favor. "I would very much like to meet this friend of yours, you know, to see if you are correct in your assertion of his qualifications."
"So you can have patience when you want to. I recommend that you force some more on yourself then. You'll get to meet him when everyone else does."
Impudent bitch! Staring at the woman coldly, Gero said "You don't want to play hardball with me, young lady."
"Oh, unlike Blue back there, I know not to take you lightly," Violet reassured him. "Not many people reach your position without leaving some collateral damage behind. I was just giving you a head's up as to my intentions. Make of that what you will."
"The courtesy is appreciated," Gero gritted out.
"Chin up, Twentieth Chair, the game is only becoming interesting," Violet smirked at him before pushing herself from the wall and walking around the old man. "May the best man or woman win."
Oh, so she wanted to play in his league huh? The twat, she had just forfeited any chance of victory merely by showing him her hand. "I believe you mean just beginning."
Violet stopped as she turned her head to look at him over her shoulder. "What makes you think we haven't already been playing?"
Gero's mighty brain came to a stop at that. That was too good of a point to not consider. If her claim held merit, then their meeting here was just another move she had made, one that did not have the significance that he originally held for it. Or maybe she was just trying to rattle him—yes, that had to be it. No way had someone like her had been trying to play him for so long.
Yet, the fact that her ploy initially worked was concerning in and of itself. She wasn't someone to be easily angered by petty insults. It seemed that Gero had found a more appropriate opponent, one that seemed to be more skilled than Blue—though Blue wasn't exactly that hard to topple.
So consumed by this thoughts, the old man never noticed the Seventh Chair's departure. Absentmindedly, he began walking once more to his primary destination. It wasn't long after that that Gero arrived at his lab. Entering the room, he made his way to his computer and activated it, absently checking any messages he may have received.
Checking the first message, a satisfied grin appeared on his wrinkled face. Finally, some good news for a change. The Saiyan base Onius was now in their control. There had been some resistance from the Saiyans stationed there—something that was expected—but they had fallen into chaos and were easily dealt with, just like Gero had expected. Truly, his blitz rifles were a thing of magnificence. Now if only those half-wits on the Council would acknowledge their greatness, everything would be perfect.
There was also a small note about a ship managing to leave the base at one point, but Gero hardly cared. One ship of Saiyans fleeing the satellite meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. In fact, this would only serve to push up the old man's time table. Earth was going to have to do battle with Vegeta sooner or later and he was of the opinion that it should be handled with sooner rather than later.
It was then that he heard the door to the laboratory open, followed by it closing. This caused Gero to frown. Had Nineteen returned so soon? Why? He shouldn't be back for another hour. Moving away from the computer, the old man made his way to the door.
The moment he reached it, a loud bang filled the room as pain exploded through Gero's shoulder. Letting out a scream, the old man fell to the tiled floor, grasping his bleeding shoulder. Craning his neck to look behind him, his blue eyes filled with rage as he saw the proud form of Blue standing a small distance away, a haughty smirk on his face.
"I told you this wasn't over," the blond man commented. "But you didn't listen to me. You never listen to me."
"How dare you enter my laboratory!" Gero roared, turning his body over to look at the man with rage. "I'll make you regret—"
Blue began to laugh hysterically, interrupting Gero's threat. "You'll do no such thing. After all, wasn't it you who said not to make threats you would be unable to follow through? I wasn't planning on doing something like this, but after hearing your arrogant words, I couldn't help myself."
Gero's eyes narrowed. "So you followed me?"
"Not that I had to. Everyone knows where your lab is. I merely made a stop at my office to properly prepare for this encounter."
"So you're going to what? Shoot me? That won't stop anything, you fool!"
The barrel of Blue's gun dipped down before he fired it, Gero screaming again as the bullet tore through his knee. "Believe me, what ever you have set in motion can and will be stopped. Without you driving it, it will be a cinch to tear it apart piece by piece."
Gero gritted his teeth as he hissed in pain. It couldn't end this way, not when he was so close. The future of Earth was at stake—didn't this idiot understand that? No, he was too busy handling some petty vendetta! Gripping his bloody knee, the old man tried to think of something, anything that would stop this injustice.
"Do you feel that?" Blue said as his eyes twinkled with sadistic satisfaction. "That's the feeling I felt when you usurped me, slowly eating away at my rightful place on the Council. Though you drug out my fall from grace, I will at least extend to you the mercy of a swift death. It is what a proper gentleman would do."
As Blue raised the barrel of his gun higher, aiming it right at Gero's head, he bidded "Scianara, Old Man."
That was when the doors of the lab swung open and Jericho marched in. "Twentieth Chair?" he called out as he strode through the doorway. "I have…"
The giant man's words died on his lips when he saw the sight of Blue standing over Gero. For a moment, it was as if time itself had screeched to a halt. "What is the meaning of this?" Jericho demanded.
Immediately, Blue turned the gun on the Sixteenth Chair. That action resulted in Gero feeling some relief. At least he wasn't on Death's door, though he was more like a step to the side of it. The situation was still bad, but it was not as dire as it was a moment earlier.
"You weren't supposed to be here!" Blue cried out. "Stay right where you are!"
Jericho slowly raised his hands in front of him, trying to calm the Third Chair down. "We can talk about this," he said in a soothing voice. "Just put the gun down and we can rationalize this like civilized men."
"Civilized!" Blue bellowed. Jerking a finger and pointing it at Gero, he roared "That is not a civilized man! He is a devil that must be stopped!"
Gero resisted the urge to refute that claim considering that this latest development seemed to be draining what was left of the Third Chair's rational mind. One wrong word could send him over the edge and the old man was more inclined to let Jericho be the one to say that word.
Slowly, Jericho took a step towards Blue, coming to a halt immediately. "No harm has been done that is not irreversible," he said calmly. "We can still work something out—all you have to do is lower your gun."
No harm? Gero fumed. He had a destroyed knee and a damaged shoulder; if those weren't considered harm being done, then he didn't know what was!
Another step closed the distance between the two standing men. "Listen to me, Sedici," Blue gritted out, "I have to stop this man; we have to stop him. Because if we allow him to continue on his current course, the fate of our race is at risk! He'll doom us all for his overinflated pride!"
Another step. "But violence never solved anything," Jericho rebutted. "It is never the answer." And another step.
Due to the Sixteenth Chair being a very tall man, it had blessed him with a set of very long legs; legs that had allowed him to cover the distance between the laboratory door and where Blue stood in a very short time. The man was now standing before the Third Chair, reaching out slowly with one of his hands and placed his palm in front of the gun barrel, easing it downward. "We can work this out," the man murmured softly.
For a moment, it seemed like Jericho's words had reached Blue. However, a steely determination wiped that away as he pulled the trigger, a booming gunshot echoing throughout the room coupled with Jericho's screaming in pain. Jerking his hand back and gripping it at the wrist with his other, there was a large, bloody hole in his palm, blood pouring out of both sides of his hand.
That was when Blue threw a punch right into Jericho's face, leveling him as the giant man fell to the floor. Lifting up a leg, the blond man rained down several stomps on the fallen man's body. "You won't trick me!" Blue screamed out in rage. "This is your fault as much as it is the old man's! You unleashed him and now," here he paused as he pointed his gun right at Jericho's head, "You must pay for your transgressions!"
It was then Gero noticed a sheath at Blue's side. He only saw this because Blue reached down to his belt, where a sword handle stuck out of the sheath. Grabbing it, the blond man pulled out a thin, polished sword and held it in front of him. With one of his feet, he pushed aside Jericho's injured hand and then pressed the bottom of his boot on the fallen man's other arm. Making sure he was steady, Blue then raised his sword above his head before he swung it down.
A loud scream tore from the Sixteenth Chair's lips as blood shot like a geyser out of his newly-formed stump. Moving the foot that held the giant man's arm down, Blue gave a small kick to Jericho's lifeless hand, sending it skipping across the ground.
Bloody hell! Immediately, Gero began dragging his body away from Blue. He had to get back to his computer; he kept a weapon there in the event he needed to defend himself. It was foolish of him not to keep such a device on his person in the event something like this happened. Considering how many people he had angered over the years, it should have been obvious he needed to take that countermeasure.
"Not so fast, Gero." The old man froze upon hearing that. Slowly, he edged his head around to look back at Blue. The blond man was now looking right at him and for a moment, Gero swore his blue eyes glowed. It must have been the lighting or something because there was no way a man's eyes should have—
Suddenly, Gero felt his body freeze up. Stunned for a moment, he began trying to move his arms, legs, head, anything that could be moved. Every attempt was met with failure though, and slowly a sense of panic began to flood his body.
Frightfully, Gero watched as Blue moved away from Jericho and walked right up to him, the clapping of his boots against the lab floor creating an ominous atmosphere. Gero was absolutely positive that his eyes were filled with fear.
"So how does it feel?" Blue asked nonchalantly. "Oh, I forgot, you can't answer me. You're entire body is paralyzed. Right now you're probably wondering what is going on, how is it you cannot move. You know I haven't administered some toxin or paralyzing agent. There's no way I could have poisoned the air either because then I and the Sixteenth Chair would also be frozen. So what is it? What is it?"
A new emotion began to fill Gero then: anger. Anger that this sniveling worm was taunting him, withholding information that he clearly knew. Every part of his being wanted to demand what Blue knew, but unfortunately his jaw was locked shut. However, he knew the Third Chair must have done something.
Blue tilted his head back and let out a hearty laugh. "For a man of the sciences, you would never understand. It's just simply beyond your comprehension. But I'll tell you anyway." Slowly, the blond man kneeled down next to Gero, the younger man's face coming close to his wrinkled ear. Blue then whispered "It's a spell."
If Gero could have, he would have widened his eyes at that. Obviously that action didn't happen, but now instead of fear reflecting from his eyes, it was pure rage. A spell? Magic? How dare that man mock him! How dare he!
Standing back up, Blue straightened out his posture before aiming his gun down at Gero. A haughty smirk was on his face as he said "Take that as my parting gift on your way to Hell."
Time slowed for Gero. His eyes focused right on the barrel on the gun, knowing that his fate rested on the bullet that would be exploding out of it any second now. It couldn't end this way. He wasn't supposed to die, not like this! There were still so many things he needed to do; necessary things that would change the course of history. He was the man that was supposed to be responsible for that change, he needed to be!
He needed to be that man and not the one lying on the floor, unable to move as a gloating adversary took his time in ending a life. And with the pull of the trigger, Blue fired his weapon.
A frown appeared on the man's face. "Empty already?" he questioned in disbelief as he raised the gun to look at it. The next thing either man knew, a white hand suddenly burst through his chest, a light spray of blood flying out as more trickled over the hand.
Immediately, Gero felt his body relax, allowing him to let out his breath, one that he hadn't been aware he had been holding. Shifting his body, he moved to look behind Blue, finding the still form of Nineteen standing behind the Third Chair, one of his arms raised and disappearing into the blond man's back.
"Your timing's impeccable, Nineteen," Gero greeted him, a look of relief appearing on his face.
Blue let out a gasp of pain as blood began to trickle out from the corners of his mouth and down his chin. His eyes shown with agony as his body shuddered every few seconds. "Wha…how…" he managed to gasp out before he went limp, his arms falling to his sides.
Gazing at the blond man, Nineteen lowered his arm down, allowing the dead man to slide off and fall to the floor with a thud. "You are injured, Dr. Gero," he said in his mechanical voice.
"Indeed. Help me up." On command, Nineteen moved next to the old man and helped him to stand up. Gero felt the pudgy man's arm wrap around his waist as he put his arm on his assistance shoulders. "Take me to the Sixteenth Chair," he ordered.
Silently, Nineteen led him to the fallen man's body, finding him still conscious, but clutching his injured hand. "Allow me to apologize for this incident," Gero said diplomatically.
"I…I don't understand," Jericho replied. "How could he do such a thing?"
"Your guess is as good as mine. Apparently the Third Chair felt some rather strong negative emotions towards me that required extreme actions."
Jericho shifted his eyes away from Gero and Nineteen. "He always seemed like a sensible man. How could I have misjudged him so?"
"We all can't be right about another person. To always be right would make us perfect and perfection simply does not exist."
The corner of the Sixteenth Chair's mouth twitched up. "A proper sentiment for a scientist."
"Again, I apologize. Please, allow me to fix your hand. It is the least I can do."
The giant man looked to his hurt hand and stared at it for a moment. "This will take a while to heal. Who knows what damage was done."
Looking to the bloody hand, a moment of inspiration suddenly struck Gero. "You know, I have been researching cybernetic prosthetics. If you wish, I could give you a brand new hand—two of them if you so wish."
Jericho's head tilted towards the old man. "What kind of hands?"
The ship shook with a jolt, courtesy of the spacecraft attaching itself to another. They had been receiving a distress beacon for the better part of a day and they had only just made contact with its source.
The ship looked to be in decent shape. Aside from a few dents here and there, there was no reason it needed to be sending out such a signal. That was when several Saiyan guards were deployed, standing at the entrance of the ship's airlock. Even as they waited, the ships were sealing themselves shut, docking with each other and creating a stable environment between the ships.
Patiently, Lieutenant Aize waited for the airlock doors to open. Under order of the ship's captain, Cardate, he was to welcome who ever the passengers of the distressed ship were. In the event of a hostile action, he was to crush it without prejudice. Personally, Aize preferred the second option. Being cooped up in a ship with little excitement was beginning to fray his nerves—though you would've been hard pressed to find a Saiyan that thought otherwise.
Normally, the second option went without being said, but apparently someone from the communications room had picked up a signal, one from a Saiyan origin point. Aize hadn't been told what else was in the communiqué, but the Captain had been on high alert ever since.
Once the connection between the airlocks was finalized, the doors opened, creating a dark opening into the other ship. The first thing that struck Aize was that there weren't any lights shinning from the other ship. With a frown, he and his unit waited for someone to make themselves known. Yet…no one did.
After a couple of minutes had passed, Aize turned his head to a side. "Check out the ship," he ordered to the two Saiyans standing there. Without another word, the two marched to and through the airlock, disappearing into the other ship. Automatically, the Saiyans still with Aize activated their scouters, keeping an eye on their two comrades.
Since he didn't have a scouter on, Aize was content with the others following protocol. It was due to that, however, that he was caught unaware when one of his privates announced. "I'm detecting only one other power level on that ship."
Aize's frown deepened. "Only one?" he demanded for confirmation. Upon seeing the soldier nod his head, the lieutenant began glaring into the other ship, daring it to surprise him further.
It was several minutes before his scouting party reappeared, a wounded Saiyan being carried between them. The man's head hung down, so Aize couldn't get a good look at him. With his arms wrapped around the other two Saiyan's shoulders, it was obvious he was too weak to stand on his own. Parts of his armor were broken off, dried blood outlining the edges of the broken armor. He had seen better days, that was for sure.
"Who's this?" Aize asked, nodding his head to the injured Saiyan.
One of the supporting Saiyan's shook his head. "We have no idea. We found him in the ship's bridge and he was barely conscious. He put up a little resistance when we tried to move him though, at least until we picked up this."
At that, the other Saiyan raised what appeared to be some sort of rifle. Having no idea what it was, Aize raised an eyebrow at his men before saying "And what was supposed to be so important about it? What is it?"
That was when the weak Saiyan stirred. As unintelligible mumblings left his lips, his head slowly and feebly raised up, revealing a man with a red headband and a scar on his check.
"Soldier," Aize said loudly, getting the Saiyan's attention. "Name and rank."
The Saiyan stared at him with half-lidded eyes before he murmured something out. "Say again," Aize ordered.
"Bardock," the Saiyan finally managed to say clearly, yet softly. "Captain."
"And what are you doing on that ship, Captain? Where are you stationed?"
There was a small silence before the captain grunted out "Onius."
"Answer my question, Captain." This guy was really getting on his nerves.
The Saiyan seemed to be getting some of his strength back, fortunately, as he removed one of his arms from the supporting Saiyan next to him. "We're…we're in danger," Bardock grunted out.
"Danger?" Aize scoffed. "From what?"
Bardock pointed at the weapon in his former supporting Saiyan's hand. "That…"
Aize glared right at the Saiyan. "You must be joking," he said. Seriously, some gun was a threat to a Saiyan warrior? Who did this guy think he was? Although injured, the guy must've done it to himself so as to look thrashed. "You better start making sense Captain before I have you court marshaled."
Bardock stared at him before he growled. Suddenly, he lunged for the rifle, ripping it out of the Saiyan's hand. Although he didn't have much strength in him, he managed to raise the barrel of the gun somewhat and pulled the trigger. A bright beam fired out and hit Aize right in the foot.
Searing pain exploded in Aize's foot, shooting up his leg as he screamed. Falling to the floor, he gripped his lower leg, his eyes focusing on his damaged foot, only to find that most of it was missing. Horror began mixing with the pain the Saiyan was feeling, immediately followed by rage. "You bastard!" he roared. "You're dead, do you hear me? Dead!"
Looking away from his injury, Aize was satisfied to see that the asshole captain had been shoved to the floor, three Saiyan's holding him down, one of which was driving his elbow uncomfortable into the captain's ribs. The weapon had been successfully recovered by one of the privates.
"What the bloody hell is going on here?" a new voice shouted, immediately causing everyone in the room to look. Storming in was Captain Cordate and he looked none too pleased at what he saw. However, he soon became transfixed on Aize's missing foot and stared.
A moment later and Cordate demanded "Someone answer me, what is going on here?"
Seizing the opportunity, Aize spoke "That bastard on the floor shot me. He shot me!"
Cordate looked to Aize. "With what?"
"With some strange gun. Look at me! Look at what he did to my foot!"
The ship's captain turned his head from Aize to the gun and then finally to the Saiyan being restrained on the floor. "What's the meaning of this assault, Private?"
If Bardock was insulted by the being called the wrong rank, he didn't show it, much to Aize's disappointment. Cordate had a history of demoting people who argued their ranks with him. Instead, the Saiyan only made wheezing sounds before he spat out "Onius."
Upon hearing that word, Cordate froze. "You…you came from Onius?" Shifting his look to the Saiyans on top of Bardock, he ordered "Get off of him! Now!"
Immediately, the Saiyans got off, Cordate kneeling down next to the injured Saiyan, much to Aize's confusion. What was so special about Onius? "Tell me everything. What happened there?"
"Overrun…" Bardock gasped out. "Ambushed…picked us off…every last….one of us…" With a hand, he pointed towards the gun.
Cordate looked to the gun and back to Bardock. "With those guns?" He was answered with a slight nod.
It was then that Aize saw something. Beneath Bardock, something was emerging. If he wasn't mistaken, that looked like…like blood. "Who did this to you? Who attacked Onius?" Cordate asked.
The injured Saiyan seemed to be struggling with himself then. His breathing was getting harsher. "Earth…Earthlings."
Cordate looked as if he wanted to keep asking more, but he noticed the growing pool of blood beneath the Saiyan. "Don't worry, Son, we'll get you to a healing tank. You'll be just—"
Suddenly, Bardock lashed out with one of his hands, grabbing the Captain by the collar of his armor and pulled him down. "Warn them," he all by demanded. "Warn them."
And then the Saiyan's breath slowed, his grip on Cordate weakening. His arm fell to the floor with a thud, the haggard sound of his breathing falling silent.
The light of the monitor glowed throughout the room.
"And you're positive about this?"
"Yes, milord," the image of Captain Cardate answered. "My crew searched the ship. He was the only survivor. We found a few dead bodies, a couple of which were identified as Earthlings."
"And the resource satellite is in the Earthlings' control?"
"That was what was reported to me. The survivor died shortly after informing me from injuries sustained on the satellite. All wounds were made by the same type of weapon, which I've never seen before."
A small silence passed. "You say this weapon can injure Saiyans?"
"It was used on my lieutenant, milord. It burned off most of his foot. The same wound patterns matched the ones on the survivor."
Another silence. "Return to Vegeta, Captain. Further orders will await you there."
"Sir," Cordate replied before the screen went blank.
Leaning back in his seat, King Vegeta stroked his beard. Looking to a sheet of paper next to the monitor, he mentally acknowledged it as the last communiqué that had been sent from Onius. So the Earthlings wanted to play, was it? Fine, they would play.
"General Nappa," he bellowed. A moment passed before the door to his chamber opened, the large, hulking form of the general appearing in the door way. "Prepare the armada!" King Vegeta ordered. "I want every last man and woman summoned for military service."
Nappa immediately bowed. "Yes, milord."
Standing up from his chair, the king walked towards the general and past him, the Saiyan moving out of his way as he did so.
"The Saiyans are going to war."
I have to say, I was a bit surprised by the reception of this story—namely the low turnout. I half-expect it has something to do with it being listed as Bardock/Gero and the fact that most people on the site view that setting as some sort of romantic couple. Still, I am proud to have the first and only Bardock/Gero story on the site lol.
But with that said, Part I is finished. Work on the second one is going to be delayed due to my partner-in-crime, Ms. Videl Son, and I coming up with a new project. That also, incidentally, pushes back work on Disastrous Space Adventures, but I'm pretty excited by the idea. I'm sure y'all will be too.
Anyways, it's been nice getting back to this old series. The hit-and-run battle scenes towards the end were a bit dull though, but I highly expect much better ones to show up in Part II. War's coming after all. I even have a name for it: Bitter Parabellum.
Until next time,