AN: Say hello to my new project as I let the creative juices for The Commission recharge. This particular divergence was inspired by a video by Youtuber Qaaman's Land a while back, and many of the plot beats up to the Android Saga will be borrowing from his speculation. And don't be put off by the repeat of the manga at the start, this goes off the rails very quickly.
Also? The title is foreshadowing. Let's see if you can guess what.
Chapter 1: Revolution
Just moments ago, Planet Namek had been torn by battle, but now it was briefly peaceful as the two fighters reassessed their chances. Piccolo, the Namekian of Earth, kept up his stance as he watched his opponent, a slightly cocky smirk on his face. So far he was untouched. Up in the air was Freeza, the galactic real-estate-mogul-slash-emperor, and he was rather less composed. Also smoking slightly from the energy blast he'd just been hit with.
Some distance away floated Son Gohan and Krillin of Earth, as well as Vegeta, Prince of all Saiyans. All three gaped at the short but intense bout they'd just seen.
"He's… he's as strong as Freeza!" Krillin finally managed to get out.
"No he's not," Vegeta countered through gritted teeth, his face falling into a disbelieving scowl. "He's even stronger."
That proclamation caused both Earthlings to grin widely. "Wow! I didn't know he was so strong!" Gohan exclaimed.
"Yeah, we might just get out of this yet!"
'How is this possible?' Vegeta mentally demanded. 'It's been barely over a month since Nappa killed him on Earth.'
Vegeta's thoughts and Gohan's and Krillin's celebration were cut short as Freeza slowly floated down to the island Piccolo stood on, his face in a tight scowl. And then it morphed into a confident smirk.
Piccolo only had time to blink before the galactic tyrant rammed his right elbow into the warrior's cheek. This was followed up by an overhead punch that buried the Namekian's face in the dirt. A third punch slammed into the ground as Piccolo took flight, soaring upwards. Freeza immediately followed, rapidly overtaking his opponent and nailing him with an overhead slam that sent Piccolo spiraling into the island below, throwing up a large cloud of dust.
"Heheheh," Freeza chuckled as he watched his handiwork.
"Oh… Oh God… He was just faking it…" Krillin breathed in numb, open-mouthed horror. Beside him, Gohan and Vegeta were in a similar state of shock.
'H-His power is limitless,' Vegeta thought in disbelief. 'And I was trying to fight that monster?'
Back on the battlefield, rock clattered as Piccolo painfully pulled himself to his feet, his clothing torn and a small wound bleeding on his forehead. Once again, Freeza descended to the ground, but this time he was smirking confidently from the start, his arms crossed and thus out of his guard.
"Heh, do forgive me, Piccolo," he said politely. "You were better than I expected, so I couldn't resist teaching you a little lesson." The smirk turned downright venomous as Piccolo finally stood. "But this game is over."
Piccolo's response was to spit out a glob of blood and saliva. Reaching up, he lifted his cape and mantle off his shoulders, dropping it to the ground with a heavy thud. The turban came next, also thudding to the ground as Freeza look on, confused. He flexed his wrists and shook his head to unlimber his neck, then shot a confident smirk at Freeza.
"Good idea," he said. "I should probably get serious, too."
Freeza's eyes narrowed in realization. "You mean you were- Hmph. I thought Namekians didn't tell lies."
"Huh? Oh, yeah, his weights!" Gohan exclaimed.
"W-What's he doing, playing around at a time like this?" Krillin groaned, Vegeta sending a confused glance at him.
"You'll soon find out," Piccolo replied. "Now feel the pain of all the Namekians you murdered!"
"We can win!" Gohan proclaimed, a tentative smile on his face.
That weak confidence soon faltered as they saw Freeza simply smirk again in response. "I see I've given you the wrong idea!" he said. "You think something like that would bother me? You don't seem to know about my transformations. You could ask Vegeta, if he isn't too afraid to speak!"
"Transformations…?" Piccolo slowly repeated.
"Heh. Are you beginning to feel afraid? Then let me tell you this." Grinning, Freeza held up two fingers. "My power increases hugely every time I transform. And I have two more transformations left."
Piccolo's eyes widened in realization. "Y-You mean-!"
"N-No way!" Krillin exclaimed as Vegeta and Gohan recoiled in horror. "I-I didn't hear that! Two more transformations?"
"You should feel honored!" Freeza continued. "You are the first one to ever see this! Ggghh…!"
Freeza raised his arms, his power starting to climb - only to throw himself to the side as he saw a spiraling energy beam fly towards him. Though the action saved him from acquiring a new hole in his torso, the beam still tore a chunk out of his side and left his left arm hanging by a few scraps of meat. Landing on his knees, his good arm clutching at his wound, the tyrant sent a baleful glare at Piccolo, who had his arms stretched out towards him, palms-first.
"Did you really think I'd just stand there and let you transform?" Piccolo sneered. "It's over, Freeza."
Crouching, Piccolo kicked off the ground and tore towards Freeza at high speed. The tyrant, for his part, attempted to dodge the charge, but with the gaping wound in his side he was too slow. Piccolo merely changed direction, swinging his right hand in a chop. The knife-like hand blade carved through Freeza's mangled arm, barely slowing before lodging itself in the soft flesh of his side wound.
"Gnh!" he grunted, trying to tug his way out of Piccolo's grip. Before he could do so, though, the Namekian swung around and latched onto his good arm.
"Die!" Piccolo shouted, charging a blast in his right hand - only for Freeza to finagle just enough movement in his right hand to envelop him in an energy sphere.
"I-I can't move!" Piccolo grunted as he tried to break free.
"Begone!" Freeza shouted, shooting the energy ball at the horizon. The ball, with Piccolo in it, sailed a few miles before hitting one of the rocky islands and detonating in a colossal explosion that buffeted the trio watching.
For a moment, Gohan, Vegeta, and Krillin could only stare at the blooming mushroom cloud in mounting horror. The moment was promptly broken by Gohan tearing off after Freeza.
"You-!" he shouted, his aura blazing around him. The action shook Krillin and Vegeta out of their paralysis, the former starting to fly after Gohan before Vegeta grabbed him by the wrist.
"What are you-!"
"You wouldn't make any difference," Vegeta stated, deathly calm. "Besides, can't you feel ki? Take a look."
Krillin angrily ripped his wrist out of Vegeta's grip, and cast his senses out, recoiling in surprise when felt a large ki heading towards them from ground zero of the explosion.
"Exactly," Vegeta said as the bald martial artist's eyes widened. "We'll be fine, we just need to sit back and watch."
Despite the optimistic words, though, Krillin could see the Saiyan's fists clenched at his sides, tight enough to shake slightly.
Freeza, for his part, was trying to gather enough focus through the haze of pain to try and transform. If he could transform, he could fix at least some of the damage, and then he could slaughter all these insects for their impudence! So focused was he on this action that he didn't notice Gohan streaking towards him.
At least, not until Gohan's boot impacted the side of his head. The tyrant went flying, skipping once, twice off the water and slamming into the nearest island, the impact burying him in shattered rock. Gohan followed it up by throwing a salvo of blasts that left the island a smoking ruin.
Panting, Gohan scanned the shattered island as the smoke cleared, flinching as he saw the prone, unmoving form of Freeza lying on the rock. The barest hints of chi told him that the tyrant was still alive, if barely. Scrunching up his face, Gohan readied another blast to finish him off - only for a hand to touch down on his shoulder.
"I'll handle this, Gohan," Piccolo said, his skin dotted with minor burns and his clothes sporting a few new holes, but otherwise unscathed.
"Piccolo!" Gohan exclaimed. "How did you-!"
"I was able to break free right as it exploded," he explained. "I didn't avoid all of it, but I suspect he wasn't able to put as much energy into the blast as he usually does." Turning his gaze back on the tyrant, he began to descend. "Wait here."
The Namekian touched down next to Freeza's prone form, and knelt to check his breathing. He needn't have bothered; Freeza tried to swat at his feet with an angry growl.
"Kill… you…" he wheezed out of battered lungs.
"The only one dying here and now is you, Freeza," Piccolo retorted, standing up and pointing his palm at the downed Arcosian.
"Heheheh… My father… will do it… not me…"
Piccolo didn't respond in favor of releasing the blast, which neatly disintegrated Freeza's body and several hundred feet of rock below.
"Well, I suppose we'll just have to kill him, too," he remarked, before turning his attention skyward.
"My word…" King Kai breathed.
"What happened?" Tenshinhan immediately asked.
"Freeza… is dead. Piccolo killed him." The Kai let out a pleased harrumph. "I honestly didn't expect that. Good call attacking him during the transformation."
"Well, that's Piccolo for you," Yamcha unknowingly echoed. "Powerful, smart, and pragmatic as all hell. I guess we can enjoy it until he's our enemy again."
"Mm, I doubt it," King Kai absently replied as he continued watching the events on Namek. "His bond with young Gohan is strong enough that I don't think he'll try anything like that."
The three Z-fighters present lapsed into an uncomfortable silence at that, none of them entirely willing to bet the fate of the planet on some nebulous bond.
"So… what now?" Chiaotzu wondered after a few moments.
"Well, for now it seems Piccolo will be fulfilling a promise," King Kai responded. "As for you three, you'll likely have to wait for the Earth Dragon Balls. I'm sorry, Chiaotzu."
The small fighter winced at that, his head drooping. Having died twice, the Earth Dragon Balls would be unable to restore him.
Tenshinhan, naturally, noticed his partner's distress, and shot him a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, Chiaotzu, I'll stay here," he said comfortingly. "We'll always be together, right?"
King Kai could only sigh at the exchange. Such a tragedy, letting those two talents stay dead.
"Lord of the Worlds. Lord of the Worlds! It is I, God of Earth!"
Hello, what's this?
"Yes, I hear you," King Kai replied.
Vegeta held himself open as Piccolo floated up to him and Krillin, Gohan by his side. The Namekian very much looked the part of the stern judge, his arms crossed in front of him.
"I told you you were next, Vegeta," he said grimly.
"W-Wait, Piccolo!" Krillin cut in, floating in front of the Saiyan. "He saved our lives so many times on Namek, that has to count for something! A-And Goku wanted to have a rematch with him!"
"And does that excuse all the innocent people he's killed here and elsewhere?" Piccolo retorted. "Besides, why should I indulge Goku's stupidity?"
"I-" Krillin started, only for Vegeta to cut him off by shoving him out of the way.
"I don't want your mercy, Earthling," he spat, before turning to Piccolo. "Let's get this over with."
Piccolo quirked a hairless brow in surprise. "You're not going to run?"
"If I thought that would work, I would," Vegeta retorted, sliding into a fighting stance. "As it is, running would be pointless. And given the choice between dying running or fighting, I'll take fighting any day."
Piccolo nodded in approval. "I can respect that."
Krillin and Gohan drifted out of the way as Piccolo settled into his own stance. For a few tense moments, the two sized each other up-
And then Vegeta, in one fluid movement, shot his palms forward and fired off the strongest energy blast he could muster. At such short range, even Piccolo couldn't dodge.
So he didn't try.
The blast slammed into his open palms, pushing his arms back slightly. With a roar of effort, Piccolo pushed forward with all his might, shooting it back at Vegeta at even higher speeds. The Saiyan barely had time to react before the energy swallowed him up, neatly disintegrating him.
Still, Piccolo didn't relax until the blast cleared, at which point he lowered his arms and glanced down at a nearby bluff.
"You can come out now, Dende," he called down.
Both Krillin and Gohan started, the former chuckling and rubbing the back of his head. "Oh, right, kinda forgot he was there."
"That's mean, Krillin," Gohan admonished as the young Namekian flew up.
Once at the same altitude, Dende took one look at Piccolo before putting his hands out. The warrior raised a brow as he felt his wounds vanish before his eyes.
"Impressive," he said. "Do I have powers like this?"
"No, you're a warrior Namekian," Dende answered. He bit his lip before seeming to come to a decision. "How do you know my name? You're not a Namekian I've met before."
"I fused with another warrior before fighting Freeza," Piccolo answered. "A warrior named Nail."
"Of course," Dende breathed, before shooting his gaze to the horizon. "Someone's coming! Someone… someone stronger than Freeza!"
Gohan, Piccolo, and Krillin all tensed for a moment - before relaxing as they all recognized the ki signature.
"Eh, it's fine, Dende," Krillin assured him. "It's just Goku."
Sure enough, not two seconds later the orange-clad Saiyan came to a halt in front of them, looking quite serene.
"Ah, so that big, mysterious ki was you, Piccolo," he said. "Dragon Balls must've revived you, huh?" Suddenly, Goku's serene smile melted into a petulant pout. "You could've left me Vegeta! I promised to have a rematch with him!"
"At the level you're at now, I doubt he would've been much of a challenge," Piccolo pointed out.
"That's a good point," Goku conceded. "Well, whatever. What's the plan?"
"With my resurrection, the Earth Dragon Balls should be active again," Piccolo mused. "Unfortunately, that would still leave Chiaotzu dead."
"A-And Piccolo and I are the only Namekians left," Dende lamented. "Without the Great Elder…"
A somber mood fell on the group, only for King Kai to cut in.
"Never fear, everyone! I have a plan! Kami-Sama contacted me a little while ago. We'll use the Earth Dragon Balls to resurrect the Namekians killed by Freeza, and best-case scenario we'll revive the Great Elder, too."
The five gaped for a second, Krillin, Gohan and Dende as much at a voice talking in their heads, until Piccolo spoke up.
"Will that work?" he asked. "My understanding is that the Great Elder died of old age, and that the Dragon Balls can't resurrect people who died of natural causes."
"Yeah, Kami went over that with me while I was training with him," Goku confirmed. "King Kai, what are you thinking?"
"This is a gamble," came the heavenly reply. "But if the Great Elder's encounter with Freeza hastened his death, we might be able to get him back for a short while."
"Kind of a long shot…"
"I know, but that's the best plan I can come up with."
All eyes turned to Dende.
"A-Are you sure?" Gohan asked.
"Yes," Dende replied, determination filling his voice. "Even if it doesn't bring back the Great Elder, it will bring back the rest of my race. There are elders who could take up the mantle; my elder, Muri, was one of them."
"Well… if you're sure," Gohan decided.
"Alright, then, sounds like we have a plan. Just give us a few minutes for this, ah, 'Mr. Popo' to finish up the wish, and then we can see if this works or not."
With nothing to do but wait, the Z-fighters drifted down to a nearby island, sitting and watching the sky, the other four confirming to Goku that the sky did indeed turn dark on Namek as well as Earth.
Finally, after a few minutes, the sky darkened. And just as importantly, all felt several dozen ki signatures flare back to life all over the planet.
"It worked…" Dende breathed, before shooting to his feet and throwing his hands in the air. "It works, it works!"
"I'll say!" Goku chimed in as he stared at the towering form of Porunga. "Check out the dragon! It's huge!" He paused, frowning. "What wish do we want, anyway?"
"I dunno," Krillin shrugged. "How long do these things take to recharge?"
"Yamcha," Piccolo firmly replied. "Tenshinhan and Chiaotzu will want to be resurrected together. And if the recharge time is too long, we can always come back."
There were nods all around at that. "Alright, sounds good!" Goku announced. "Let's go!"
As the Z-fighters flew off, Gohan couldn't help but feel they were all forgetting something.
Krillin had been clueless when he'd asked the bald martial artist. "Well, the only thing I can think of is-"
Both of their eyes widened.