An Unburdened Fury
Chapter 48: A Single Step
Cooler stared at the final frame of the message. He could hear the sniveling of the woman as she barely held herself together. The monkey went and got himself killed. A feat he didn't think possible given his propensity for survival but their collective adversary seemed to be above such notions of luck and willpower. Now there was a vacuum within their little group.
One that was his right to fulfill. That was always his whether his family believed so or not.
"You." He pointed to the small one. "Set a course for Namek. We must make haste."
The swordsman looked at him offended. As if his feelings mattered anymore. "What the hell, Cooler? Did you not just see what we saw?! We need a minute to...absorb that."
Cooler's tail whipped around in annoyance. "The simian is dead and so are we if we don't keep moving. He made it a point to tell her about it or are you okay with wasting his dying words?"
Zangya grit her teeth even as fresh tears flowed. "Don't talk like I'm not here." Cooler looked down on her with contempt and she hated it. She kept that image in her head even as he looked away. Anything to build the anger; anything to keep her from falling apart.
"Excuse me, it seems there are gnats about."
They all felt the crack of her fist into Cooler's jaw. The Arcosian was forced several steps back; both from the shock of the sudden attack and to keep from falling over. Zangya stomped towards the tyrant. Her blood boiled and her heart felt as if in a vice.
Kogu stepped in the way and held her back. "Zangya!"
Cooler growled as he put a hand to his bruised jaw. "How dare you!"
"No! You don't get to talk like that, you ungrateful prick! You think you can do whatever the fuck you want?! After everything we've been through? After saving your ass?!" She screamed the last words at the former emperor even as she pushed Kogu back.
"Zangya!" Kogu shouted back. "I know what you're feeling!" Her bloodshot eyes snapped to him with an argument ready to fire but his own challenging stare put a stop to it. "Believe me, I do, but we're on a ship in space. Remember that."
Cooler couldn't help the smug smirk that worked its way onto his face. "You would be wise to listen to him."
Zangya bit her tongue as she ripped herself away from Kogu's grip and stomped off.
Bujin watched her for a moment before he looked back to Kogu, unsure of what to do.
Kogu sighed as he shook his head. Zangya needed time to herself. He wasn't privy to whatever relationship she had with Broly but he was the same when Bido was killed. Though unlike that, she wouldn't be alone afterwards. Not like he forced himself to be.
"You both heard me. I don't care who does it but I will not repeat myself."
Kogu rounded on the tyrant. "What's your deal with Namek?"
Cooler crossed his arms. The man proves useful for one dispute and thinks the whole world of himself. "And why do you believe you're privy to such information?"
"Cut the pompous bullshit. She's right; you'd be dead or an android if it wasn't for us. We all saw how you reacted. Spill it."
Cooler frowned. "You would do well to think twice before making any demands of me, pirate. After all," He stood straight to look down at the Heran. "There's only one person on this ship who can breath in space."
The Swordsman held his ground. "You're smart enough to not waste valuable allies like that."
There were a tense few moments before Cooler smirked and turned to a nearby console. It was an accurate judgement. Despite what happened with the woman, it wouldn't do to have the first subjects of his new empire be outright hostile to him. Not when they were still a threat. Until after Namek, of course. There everything changes.
"If you must know." Cooler quickly brought up Namek on a monitor. "There were rumors circulating in our families innermost circle. That one of Frieza's men discovered the existence of wish granting orbs called Dragon Balls on this planet. I thought nothing of them even as Frieza spoke of preparing a trip. The idea of such objects was ridiculous after all. A trip sidelined by Bojack's, and subsequently Broly's, arrival."
"We could bring him back..." Kogu whispered in awe.
'You fool. The monkey would just get himself killed again.' Cooler looked over his shoulders at Kogu. "Namek is a backwater. No more remarkable than a stain on some clothing. So to have Broly, with his final words, tell us its name...coincidence, maybe, but perhaps there's more substance to these rumors than I originally believed."
Kogu shook his head as his skepticism raised its head. "That's not much to go off of."
Cooler shrugged. He couldn't appear too eager. That'd be exposing himself. "Do you have a better idea?"
"Other than head in the opposite direction of Genome? Can't say that I do."
"Bulma, are you sure this is a good idea?"
Leave it to Krillin to question both her and her future self's genius. Did he really think they spent as much time as they did going through Gero's notes, reverse engineering and rewriting programming, and essentially performing surgery if they weren't sure activating these androids were a good idea?
"Of course it is!" The two Bulmas practically shouted.
The monk shrunk back. "I was just asking..."
Nappa chuckled beside him. "Even if these buckets of bolts went haywire, we can handle them. Right, Kakarot?"
"Hm? Oh, course we can!" Goku distractedly responded as he looked in the direction of Raditz's ki. Of course, this had the effect of the Saiyan staring straight at a random corner of the room.
Krillin frowned. Raditz had all but vanished since the incident with Piccolo and Kami. He could only hope the guy was doing alright; Kami knows Goku was worried for his older brother.
"Goku, he's going to be alright. Once we get to Namek and wish on their Dragon Balls, everything will be okay."
The normally cheerful Saiyan sighed. "I know but I hate that I can't really do much about it, y'know? He just shuts down when I get close to him and I lose 'im. Haven't talked to him since we lost Piccolo and Kami."
"How's Gohan holding up?"
"Better than I expected. I think my survival and our plan to revive Piccolo put him at ease."
"The kid is smart enough to know that none of this is permanent." Krillin hesitated. "If Namek doesn't work out..."
"It will." Goku interrupted. His brow furrowed in determination. "I know it will."
"Well, if you three are done distracting us, it's time for the show to start!"
Future Bulma sighed. "These things could kill us before anyone here could stop them. I'd suggest taking things a bit more seriously."
Present Bulma shrugged. "I don't see why you're all so worried. You got the smartest mind on earth and a time traveling future version of said mind. This is going to work just fine."
The first pod they'd decided to activate was the one designated Eighteen. Gero's notes had 17 as a wild card with a serious rebellious streak and 16 was merely deemed a failure with little else in the way of notes regarding its personality. For how in depth the notes on the other androids were, it was out of place but there was little time or reason to pry into such matters. That left Eighteen as the safest option.
The pod opened and sterile air rushed out. Android Eighteen looked to all the world as a blond woman in street wear. Her eyes were a stark blue but lacked the life seen in a normal person's. The Saiyans readied themselves for potential battle as Krillin felt heat come to his face.
'Why did no one tell me she was so cute?' He thought as Eighteen stared straight ahead. Her brow furrowed for a moment but Eighteen got out of the pod in a smooth motion that belied her partial robotic nature.
"Talk about a welcoming committee." She said as she put a hand to her hip. No one here read to her as particularly dangerous. This also wasn't Gero's lab which brought up questions. She wanted to be relieved but there was a nagging there. That she still didn't feel free.
The younger looking of the blue haired women stepped into her view with a wave of her hand. "Hello! The name is Bulma. Quick question: do you want to kill Goku? Or anyone for that matter."
Eighteen stared at Bulma for a moment. There was an odd feeling as she pondered that question. It was clear that there was something missing in her programming because she remembered, or at least her brain if not her cybernetics, that Gero wanted someone dead and that she had wanted them dead too. That desire was gone. In fact, she felt none of the compulsion that was baked within her from Gero's meddling.
"Unless Dr. Gero changed his name to Goku, no."
Bulma beamed as everyone else in the room visibly relaxed. "See! I told you guys!"
Eighteen stole a glance around. Seventeen's pod was right there along another labelled '16'. These people had taken their pods from Gero's lab. Her gut told her that the old man didn't just give them to someone else. He wasn't like that.
The older bluenette picked up a clipboard and scribbled something within it. "So Gero only has you as Eighteen, do you have a preferred name or...?"
She idly thought of just killing everyone here but the idea was struck down instantly; it felt wrong to just do that. Not when these people have yet to show themselves as twisted as the doctor.
"Pleasure to meet you, Eighteen. We're going to wake your brother in just a moment."
The shorter of the bald men approached her with a friendly smile and reached out with a hand. She noticed a tinge of red to his cheeks.
"Nice to meet you, my name is Krillin!"
She didn't say anything but she did shake the man's hand. Oddly enough, she felt some small measure of comfort around him. Maybe it was his demeanor or just how non threatening he looked. She went through the other's introductions quickly enough. Another Bulma (That wasn't going to be confusing), Nappa, and Goku.
There was something about Goku that had her on edge. A phantom in her cybernetics that warned her of...something. Her brother's pod opened up and Seventeen walked out. Her black-haired twin looked exactly as he did last time they were active with a black t-shirt over a long sleeve white shirt, jeans and an orange bandana around his neck.
"Whoa, can't say I was expecting so many people when I woke up." Seventeen said as he stretched.
Their eyes met and she could see the question there. She gave a single shake of her head. No need for any bloodshed yet.
"What's going on here anyways? I don't see Dr. Gero around." He continued on casually.
"He isn't on Earth anymore." The elder Bulma replied. "We'll explain once we get 16 up and running." She confirmed his preferred name like she did with Eighteen before they moved onto the remaining Android.
The group gave introductions once more before Seventeen slid over next to Eighteen.
"What's going on here?" He whispered to her. "Aren't we supposed to..." His face scrunched in confusion. "Do something with Goku?"
"I don't remember." She responded truthfully. "They haven't given any commands or anything. I think they're freeing us?" She wasn't sure of that conclusion but there were smiles around and everyone seemed to be at ease. A stark contrast to every time they were active around Dr. Gero. The man aged a hundred years in the time they've known him from the stress they put him under.
"Hn, we'll see about that." The two shifted their gaze over to the final pod as it opened.
There was a whistle from Nappa. "He's fucking big."
'He's on the money there.' She thought as Android 16 towered over them all. The orange mohawk only added to his imposing height and the garish green armor he wore only served to make him seem even bigger than he already was.
"Alright, 16, report."
"No issues found. All systems are operating within expected parameters." 16 stopped for a moment. "There's no current mission objectives to be found. Records indicate tampering with file systems. Shall I perform diagnostics?"
"No need for that, 16. Glad to hear everything's fine. Go ahead and stand with Seventeen and Eighteen."
16 nodded and walked to the twins. The movements were stiff and lifeless. This was a machine through and through. Why the difference between 16 and them escaped her. Seventeen waved casually at the android who merely stared at the gesture.
"You're supposed to wave back, man." Seventeen added with an amused smirk. Eighteen rolled her eyes. Sure, mess with the robot you've never met before, what could go wrong?
"Apologies, I was not familiar with the gesture. I will be sure to wave in the future."
"No sweat, bud."
"Correct. I do not sweat. My cooling functions are-"
Eighteen interrupted with slight exasperation. Gero couldn't program this guy with some common sense? "It's just a phrase, 16. It wasn't literal."
"Pardon the interruption but there is a reason why we have activated you three." Future Bulma sat down on a nearby chair; whatever effort she'd been expending seemed to catch up with her. "Now, I have to emphasize, this is a completely voluntary request. There is no obligation to make any particular choice here."
"Yep, we've removed as much of Gero's influence from you guys as we could." The other Bulma chimed in. "No compulsion or commands from the old bastard to hinder you."
"Long story short, we're going off world to a planet called Namek. We can't send our strongest for reasons we'll talk about later but we don't feel one hundred percent safe sending anyone out like that. We're confident there won't be any significant danger, extra firepower can't hurt."
Seventeen made a show of his interest by picking at his ear. Knowing him, he was thinking of doing literally anything else. "What's in it for us?"
There was clearly a collective reluctance to answer. The small one, Krillin, rubbed the back of his head.
"You're probably not gonna believe this but we're heading there for a group of artifacts called the Dragon Balls." He held up seven fingers. "When you gather all seven, you get a wish. Earth had a set but now they're just rocks..." Krillin trailed off.
Nappa took the lead. "We suspect Namek has its own set and we're going to restore ours with theirs. If you help us, we'll be happy to give a wish."
The twins looked at each with a mixture of skepticism and intrigue. Eighteen looked at her hands. Underneath the skin, she was mostly machine because of that bastard. She'd hardly had a life of her own before that was taken from her. Bulma said they removed as much of him as they could but they didn't get all of it. What if he came back and put them under again? Or worse, succeed in making them slaves? She didn't want to risk that.
A wish would fix all that but would Seventeen be up for it? He probably loved being a cyborg. They were like gods compared to normal humans so they could do whatever they wanted. He might not have wanted it originally but he wasn't going to give it up and a wish...who would pass that up?
Eighteen spoke up before the thoughts could take a darker path. "What if we each have different wishes?"
"The wishes on our Dragon Balls reset a year after a wish is made. Someone will have to wait but you'll all get a wish eventually." Replied Bulma.
No excuses then. These people better hope Namek had these Dragon Balls.
"We're i- What?!"
His eyes opened. A line of clouds stretched on a road all the way to the horizon. There was a blue man with horns in a button up, tie, and khakis telling them all to keep it moving and stay in an orderly line.
It wasn't his most profound statement but it was the only one that made sense to say. Broly moved forward in a haze as he remembered what he thought were his last moments. Genome shot him through the chest!
"Sir, I'll need you to keep moving."
"Where am I?"
The ogre looked up in surprise...and then looked further up when he realized their height difference. "Ah sorry! It's rare that someone keeps their body so I wasn't paying attention." He cleared his throat and put on a plastic smile. "You're in Otherworld as you have recently passed away! I'm sure you're confused but rest assured, all will be explained at your judgement!"
Broly blinked once.
And then he blinked twice.
The ogre's smile wavered. "Sir, please, you're holding up the line."
The Saiyan looked down at his hands as he absentmindedly moved along. The right one was supposed to be missing, he remembered that much. He looked solid; he actually felt better than he had in years. Like every injury he'd ever had, every blow he'd ever taken, had never happened.
But wait if he was dead then shouldn't that mean- he looked up. There was a halo.
Well, that settled that.
The wait wasn't much of one at all. He didn't know if time worked differently here or if the systems up here were just that efficient but he was in front of an incredibly large, horned man in a purple suit behind a desk in no time flat. Broly spotted a plaque with a name: King Yemma.
"Who do we have here?" Yemma said in a bored tone. His eyebrows shot up to his hair line when he read his file. The judge looked over at him. "The Legendary Super Saiyan himself! I didn't expect to see you so soon." His voiced boomed before it turned into a mutter that the Saiyan barely heard. "Ah, dang it, I lost that bet."
To say the whole situation was surreal was an understatement. Maybe this was a dream his brain had come up with in his final moments. That made more sense.
"After the whole debacle with the South Kai, I thought one of the higher ups would take care of you. When that didn't happen, I was sure our Destroyer would have to go down there himself. You're lucky that wasn't the case."
He certainty didn't feel lucky but one thing was for sure; he didn't like the 'king's' attitude. "What the hell is going on here?"
Yemma looked at him like he was stupid. "You haven't put two and two together? You're being judged."
Broly clenched his fists. The floor and walls cracked. "And what gives you the right?"
To King Yemma's credit, while he was clearly fearful of the display, he remained where he sat.
"Gods who could wipe you from existence with a thought, that's who. It should come as no surprise that I'm sending you straight to Hell. You've killed hundreds of trillions. Even after you stopped wiping out planets, you killed hundreds of heroes and left their planets to fend for themselves against the tyrants that those very heroes kept at bay. It is simply impossible for me to put into words the unfathomable amount of misery and pain your life has brought about." He slammed his gavel.
Broly blinked as the room he was in was replaced by a desolate wasteland that expanded all the way to the horizon. The landscape was dotted with red ponds, gnarled, dead trees, and seemingly random outcrops of metallic spikes. He snarled as he obliterated a nearby tree.
"Coward!" He yelled in a vaguely upward direction. It was infantile but it distracted him if for only a moment.
The reality of the situation was that Hell was real and he was there. His friends, though he wasn't sure if it was right to use that word for them, were out there with Genome alive and kicking. It'd be a matter of time before they ended up down here.
If Genome didn't turn them to androids. He had to get out of here but where would that even begin?
"You might as well take the time to let it all sink in. Let your feelings run around a bit."
The voice, rough and low, surprised the Saiyan and his head snapped to it. Sat on a flat rock nearby was a man, he assumed it was one, cloaked from head to toe in worn, brown robes.
"It'll help you get used to it faster. Welcome to Hell, by the way."
He stared at the man for several moments. He wasn't expecting to see anyone else so soon given how barren the place was.
"Name's Sprout. Yours?"
He idly though about lying but there'd be no point. They were both dead after all. "Broly."
"Is that so?" The man looked him up and down. Whether he was impressed or not remained to be seen. "So you're the one the Prince is harping on about. I was expecting you to be..." He did an expanding gesture. "...bigger."
That was the first time someone referred to him as small if in a roundabout way. He was taller than most even before transforming. Also, Prince? Was he talking about Vegeta? The fact that he was down in hell came as no shock but that this random person happened to interact with the man was. Broly crossed his arms. He didn't exactly have anywhere to go; he'd indulge this.
"Vegeta? He's a pipsqueak. I'm a giant to him."
That got the man chuckling. "You're not wrong there."
"Why are you here, Sprout?"
"Cutting through the crap, huh. Should have expected that from you." He shrugged. "Just waiting for my son. We didn't leave on the best terms and he's a Saiyan. I know he'll be down here eventually but there's no telling. Time flows differently in Hell. Some spots have you go through years in seconds. Others have you go through seconds in years."
That brought up an unwanted thought. His father was probably down here. Actually, he was near one hundred percent confident that Paragus was in Hell. There's no way he wasn't. But this place had to be huge! There'd be no way for them to meet, right? It's not like he knew how his father's power felt either so he couldn't just go out and find him. Not that he wanted.
"My father and I went through something similar." His lips turned up slightly. Not at the memory of what happened, that always left a pit in his chest, but at Sprout's potential reaction. "Though I killed mine."
It was near impossible to tell how he reacted with all the cloth on his head but the man stilled for a moment. That was enough. Sprout recovered quickly enough and his gaze went to Broly's waist. "Where's your tail, boy?"
Subtlety wasn't this man's strong suit if that was his attempt to change the subject. Broly got what he wanted out of that.
"Don't have it. My father removed it when I was young."
Sprout scoffed in disbelief. "A living legend of our people and he removes your tail." The Saiyan shook his head. "Why the hell would he do that?"
Broly shrugged. "He was scared. Scared I'd see the moon and destroy the system I was in. At least, that's what I assume; I never asked him."
"Would you like it back?"
Have I ever done this much set up in a chapter before? It's kinda nuts. Also, Sprout isn't an OC but I won't give anymore hints than that.
Have a happy New Years everybody! A lot is going to be happening next year, be looking forward to it!
Abyss Emperor: That's quite a bold prediction when it comes to Cell!
Jutten: Pour one out for the homie. *tips cup of water*
Guest: That would be cool but Goku does not know much about Broly other than a future version helped Bulma and that he's strong. He wouldn't go out of his way to do that.
fightingchampion: An astute observation there.
Primal Warrior: Super good prediction! Let's see if it pans out!
SuperSaiyajin4Vegeta: I know right? It'd be such an interesting direction to take the series in which is why I did it.
AxDevilman: Love the review! And as gratitude, here's another chapter.
Hamza9236: Thanks for the kind words though I don't know if I'll ever get around to that story to be honest.