Chapter 3: Kakarot
Raditz hurled himself at Piccolo, screaming with rage. The battle, it could be said, was not going his way. Piccolo jumped over Raditz, who stumbled as he tried to recover his balance, then grunted in pain as he felt the impact of Piccolo's foot on the back of his head. He shook off the throbbing pain and swung himself around, his fist swinging for Piccolo. But the demon smiled and raised a hand, palm forwards, firing a beam of energy which exploded on contact, sending Raditz tumbling backwards.
Raditz stopped himself in midair, breathing heavily, and charged again, blind to the consequences. Every hit he took just made him madder and less likely to try and strategise. He launched a mad rain of punches and kicks, and Piccolo dodged left and right, walking slowly backwards as Raditz's fury worsened his aim. After several seconds, Piccolo got bored, and elbowed Raditz in the neck. He followed up with a punch to the stomach, and Raditz doubled over, gasping for breath. Piccolo kicked him away, then dashed around behind him before he could hit the floor, stopping Raditz's fall with his fist. They hung there, in mid-air, until Piccolo threw Raditz to the floor. The saiyan groaned, trying to stand, but failing.
Piccolo turned to Goku and Tien, who were watching in horror. "I'll finish him in a minute," he said, striding towards them. They readied themselves for a fight they knew they couldn't win. "I've been waiting to fight you for five years, so this supposed brother of yours can wait." The ground shook as Piccolo focused his energy, preparing to charge the duo. Suddenly, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He tried to turn around, but wasn't quick enough.
Raditz had leapt up from behind, wrapping one arm around Piccolo's waist and the other around his neck. "Never turn your back on your opponent!" Raditz hissed. "Especially if they belong to the deadliest warrior race in the universe!" He threw Piccolo over his shoulder, then as he crashed to the ground, Raditz landed on top of him, driving his knee into Piccolo's back. He grabbed Piccolo's head in both hands and started slamming it into the ground. The third time, Piccolo lashed out with a fist, then as Raditz flinched away, he took the opportunity to jump to his feet. Raditz started hurling ki blasts his way, and Piccolo was hard pressed to knock them all away. As the barrage continued, he kicked off the ground, and from several feet in the air, charged a huge ball of energy.
"Oh, that can't be good," Raditz muttered, then started running as Piccolo released it, smiling gleefully. He flew into the air, lifting his legs clear as the ball flew under him.
"Look out!" Goku yelled. He and Tien fled, as the ball touched the ground, detonating with amazing force. Raditz glanced down at the crater.
"Too close," he said, wiping sweat from his forehead. Then Piccolo appeared in front of him, and punched him to the ground. Raditz landed in a crumpled heap, twitching slightly as he struggled to move his battered body. "No…I can't be defeated…like this…" His fingers dug into the dirt, and he raised his head, straining himself to try and get up.
Piccolo floated to the ground in front of him. "Still trying to fight, eh? You're determined, I'll give you that." He cracked his knuckles. "But you have to realise there's no way you can win. Oh, and thanks for the advice—I'll finish you right now, just to be sure." He prepared to stamp down on Raditz's neck, when something collided with his face.
"Aagh!" Piccolo staggered back, raising his guard. "What the—" Goku stood between him and Raditz, a grim look on his face. With a chill, Piccolo realised he'd seen this look before—in the memories he'd inherited from his father. This was Goku's face before he'd killed the original King Piccolo
"You stay away from my brother," Goku said, preparing himself for what was to come.
"Ka…Kakarot?" Raditz rasped, words coming slowly. "Why? You rejected me—you said you'd never join me. W-Why are you helping me?"
"Because you're family," the younger saiyan replied. "And besides, Piccolo's a bigger threat than you."
Piccolo frowned. "What do you think you can do, Goku? You've seen my power. Not even this 'Raditz' can stand up to me. What chance do you have?"
Goku charged, completely fearless. "I don't care how powerful you are! You have to be stopped!"
"You're welcome to try!" Piccolo yelled. Goku had almost reached Piccolo, when he raised his hands to either side of his head.
"Raditz—I'll buy you time to recover! SOLAR FLARE!" he shouted. Piccolo recognised the technique a fraction of a second ahead, and turned to face the opposite direction, shielding his eyes from the blinding flash.
"You think that'll work? I know that trick—" Piccolo was interrupted as he saw Tien, standing in the same pose behind him.
"SOLAR FLARE!" Tien repeated. Piccolo hadn't expected it a second time, and this time he was blinded.
"Aah! My eyes! Damn you!" His eyes burned unbearably, and he clutched at them, howling in pain.
"Now, Goku!" Said Tien, jumping over to stand next to Goku. Goku cupped his hands at his side, focusing all his ki, as Tien raised his hands in front of him, forming a triangle, and tapped into his life force for power.
"HAAA!" They shouted in unison, as twin beams, bright blue and yellow, burst forth and crashed into Piccolo, sending out shockwaves for miles around.
Raditz, struggling to his feet, stared, wide-eyed. "What the…they can focus their energy into one point—their combined power is over 1000!" A new determination came over him, and he stood up straight, shaking slightly. "I…am a saiyan warrior…and I will not be beaten by this…green creature! My amnesiac, ill-trained, long-lost brother can stand up to fight." He clenched his fists. "Why shouldn't I?!" He started taking steps forward, becoming more confident with each step. "Kakarot! Stand aside!"
"Huh?" Goku looked around, seeing his brother on his feet. "Raditz! You okay?" Before Raditz could respond, Piccolo appeared out of the dust cloud, looking a little worse for wear. He kicked Goku to the ground with ease, and batted Tien aside with the back of his hand.
"The game is over!" Piccolo snarled, charging energy around both hands. "Go ahead and try to dodge…" He smirked. "If you don't think you're strong enough to survive it, that is."
"What?! Are you deaf? I am part of the most powerful race in the universe! Are you still calling me weak?!"
"No, Raditz!" Goku shouted, but Piccolo stamped down on his back. "Don't…agh! Don't listen to him! Get out of the way!"
"Bring it on!" Raditz yelled. "I can take anything you can throw at me!"
"Let's find out!" Piccolo brought his hands together, launching an almost pure-white ki beam. Raditz stood firm in its path as it lanced towards him.
There was yet another explosion as the beam hit home, drowning everything out in a burst of light and sound. Goku stared in horror—Raditz had played right into Piccolo's hands, letting his emotions get the better of him again. And, trapped under Piccolo's foot, Goku couldn't do anything to help him.
The dust began to clear. Someone was standing there. But—Goku squinted to see through the smoke—it didn't seem right. The outline was different… The smoke blew away, revealing Tien, who stood in front of Raditz with his arms crossed in front of his face, shielding him from the attack.
"What…no way! Damn him!" Piccolo was breathing hard. "These energy attacks have drained my power…and Raditz is still alive…"
Tien gasped as his strength failed, and fell backwards. Raditz caught him. "Why?!" He asked, not understanding. "Why would you do something like this for me? You know I'm the enemy of your whole species!" He was shocked. His brother saving him was one thing, but this Earthling…
Tien smiled, coughing up blood. "Because…you're Goku's brother…he's the best guy I know, so…you can't be all bad…right?" His body convulsed, and his eyes closed.
"Tien!" Goku yelled, reaching out a hand in his friend's direction. "Hold on! Don't give up!"
"It's too late, Kakarot," Raditz said quietly. "He's gone." He laid Tien down on the ground, then stood up, turning to face Piccolo. "That was a powerful attack—it must have severely drained you." He shifted slowly into a fighting stance. "Foolish as it was, Kakarot's friend's courage has finally given me the opportunity to end this battle. It's gone on too long already."
Piccolo kicked Goku away, then glared at Raditz. Both of them were injured, blood dripping from small cuts, bruises and scrapes all over their body, clothing torn and armour cracked. It was anyone's guess if Piccolo was still stronger. Raditz launched himself forwards, colliding with Piccolo, and they locked hands, pushing against each other.
They struggled, forcing all of their power forwards, digging craters with their feet, veins popping out on their foreheads. Piccolo began to push forward, his crackling energy threatening to overwhelm Raditz. Raditz's knees began to bend, and he was forced down and back. Piccolo started to crush his hands, and small flares of energy bit at Raditz's skin. Images started to flash by in his mind, as his eyes closed, almost resigned to his fate. Saiyans laughing at him. His father, dismissing him. Were they right? He was too weak to save himself. He deserved this. Unexpectedly, the images continued, now different. Kakarot, coming to his aid. The Earthling, sacrificing his life. His father, Bardock, again. But now he realised. He saw the look on Bardock's face for what it was: a challenge. The other saiyans would only be right if he lost.
Raditz's eyes snapped open wide. He gritted his teeth, forcing his way to his feet. He reached deep within, finding reserves he never knew he had. Piccolo scowled at him, unable to understand.
"You…can't win!" Raditz shouted, pushing with all his strength, sending Piccolo flying back with a wave of pure force. The demon tumbled through the air, mind reeling, bones shattered. This time, when he hit the floor, he didn't get up.
Silence fell. Raditz took a deep breath. "It's over…" He lurched forward, step by painful step, coming to a halt in front of Piccolo's prone body. Slowly, he raised a hand. "I won't make the mistake you did. A battle is not won until you have crushed the life from your enemy." Before he could strike the final blow, he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Stop," Goku ordered him. The dangerous look was back in his eyes.
"What?! Kakarot, are you out of your mind?" Raditz spluttered.
"Nobody else is dying today." Goku stood firm. "I won't let you kill him. I don't want to have to use force, but if I did, you don't have enough energy left to fight back."
Raditz stood there for an agonisingly long time. Finally, he lowered his hand. "Damn you, Kakarot. This world…it's made you soft. He killed your friend! Don't you care?"
"Of course I do! But on Earth we have these things called Dragonballs. We can use them to grant any wish—like bringing the dead back to life."
"You…you could have any wish? You could be immortal! You could have unlimited power…and you only think of him?" Raditz asked, shocked.
Seemingly from nowhere, a harsh voice spoke. "Any wish, you say? Immortality? Unlimited power?" It chuckled, and Goku realised it was coming from Raditz's scouter. "I like the sound of that…"
Raditz gulped. "Ve…Vegeta…"
Thanks for your continued support, everybody! Anyway, you should probably read Bringer of Death and Honour Trip, if you haven't already. You can find them both on this site.
Just one question to answer today:
Q: Wondering how strong is goku now.
A: Just as strong as he was at the start of DBZ.
In fact, just for quick reference, at this point, everyone's favourite thing, power levels:
So, finally we're through this first battle. I plan to continue this indefinitely, and if it becomes popular enough I may even get through the whole DBZ timeline.