The Ginyu Force Saga covers the upcoming chapters of Pan's Ascent in their entirety.
Remembrance! Days on Earth!
Pan found herself in the midst of one of Taino's most elaborate exercises yet:
Amura and Umiu had joined with Taino, the three playing the parts of Recoome, Burter, and Jeice respectively. Also included with them was Goma, a patroller who Pan hadn't seen since her earliest days in the Time Patrol, playing the part of Guldo.
All four combated Pan, first one at a time, then in teams of two, to see her progress so far. Taino aside, the other three were taught techniques of their respected Ginyu Force member. Using Kaio-Ken, Amura made herself a greater physical presence while Umiu increased his speed immensely to outpace Pan.
Pan stayed on the defensive well enough to guard against both, but also kept an eye out for Goma as, at any moment, he'd say "Stop". When he did, everyone would act like they were frozen while Taino explained the possible actions Guldo could take at that moment, be it retreating, attacking, or setting someone up.
Once their session was over, the five departed from the training grounds. Taino believed Pan to be making good progress, which would be further built upon in her next exercise.
As Pan took a moment to look over at the academy, her mind wandering to Orange Star High School, she accidentally bumped into someone.
"Sorry about that..."
She saw a familiar set of purple hair: Trunks turned around, surprised to see her.
"Oh, uh... hey, Pan."
Neither really knew how to start with the conversation right then and there, what with...
"The last time we talked, I..." began Trunks.
"It's fine," Pan interrupted. "We both had a lot to get off our chests."
They still remained stumped on where to go or what to talk about.
"So... you've been training hard."
"Yeah, Taino's certainly been pushing me."
Just as Trunks was scratching the back of his head, an idea came to him.
"Want to talk up there?"
Pan saw him pointing up to the very top of the academy. In all her time in Toki Toki City, she had never once gone up there.
After she nodded to Trunks, both hovered to the roof and sat atop it, looking down at the academy grounds. To her right, Pan could see the housing area, and to her left, the Time Machine Station and particularly of note, the golden statue she'd only caught glimpses of:
A very familiar figure with an afro.
"Hercule's a legend even here?"
"That Hercule is certainly something," went Trunks, having taken note of Pan looking over at the statue of him. "Despite not being all that strong, he serves as inspiration to a lot of the patrollers, even outside of Earthlings."
"He's my grandfather on my mom's side."
Trunks didn't quite fall over, but he certainly was surprised to hear this. Pan saw a few patrollers exiting the academy carrying books including a member of Frieza's race wearing reading glasses.
"I gotta say, going to the academy here was like going back to school for me."
She turned to Trunks.
"How about you?"
"I never knew what school was like. My mom taught me everything I knew. What she didn't know, I read from whatever books I could find."
"I gather my parents were the first of my family to go to school. And that when my dad was out in public, he had to keep his abilities in check, and act like he didn't have them."
Seeing more exiting student patrollers left Pan reflecting further.
"When I went to school, or even just out in public, I had to do the same."
"So outside of your family and friends, no one else knew of your abilities?"
"Well... there were just a few who did..."
"Just before I turned 18, there was an exchange student visiting my school."
"Why don't you introduce yourself to our class, Mister..."
"Hello everyone. The name's Colm."
"Blonde-haired, dressed warm, had a bit of an accent. I couldn't remember the name of where he came from, but it was a village that relied on fishing to thrive."
"Tell us about yourself."
"Well... aside from fishing, I look after the birds that live nearby. After I graduate, I want to work towards being an avian veterinarian."
"He seemed nice and got along with everyone fine, though less savory students called him 'bird brain' behind his back."
"So did you two interact much at school?"
"No, not really. But then on one day..."
"I remember waiting for my dad to pick me up, and I saw Colm standing there by himself waiting for his."
Part of her considered going over to Colm to give him company, but that thought was put on hold as she felt her phone going off in her backpack. She zipped it open, reaching into it until she answered:
It was her dad. As she listened to him telling her he was almost there, Pan saw a large delivery truck with a fishing company logo on its side stop in front of Colm, then thought how it would be rather odd for Colm to be picked up in that kind of vehicle.
Then as she put away the phone after the call, Pan remembered that he was visiting from afar, and that she didn't recall him mention anything about his family owning a fishing company. But as she zipped up her backpack, she heard the back door lift open.
When she looked back at Colm, she saw a masked man grab hold of him, then threw him into the back.
Pan couldn't believe it: someone was abducting him.
With the masked man back inside, the back door closed and the truck sped off. Pan remembered she was told not to use her abilities, but in that moment, she wanted to fly off right after that truck and stop it...
But she wasn't the only student around. Several witnessed what had happened and were looking over in that direction. And while some might not have known her in particular, enough could at least recognize her if she decided to do something out of the ordinary.
Pan mentally paced back and forth, debating whether to risk being spotted or leave Colm to whatever terrible fate his abductors intended. She knew she couldn't do nothing and tried looking for any nearby areas where she wouldn't be seen. Sure enough, she saw that if she crossed the street into an alley, it would give her the cover necessary to go after the truck without being easily recognizable.
Once she saw the opening she needed where no one was looking, Pan floated over to there as quickly as she could, her lack of footsteps ensuring no one saw her and even someone who felt her zoom past would mistake it for a breeze. Once far enough in the alley, she flew upward, getting a view of where the truck was going. Upon spotting it, Pan made her way down several roofs to stay hidden, then managed to descend onto the truck's roof, lying on just the right spot not to be seen by onlookers.
She listened closely to what was going on inside: from the sound of it, there were several more people besides Colm and his kidnapper.
"What do you want with me?!" asked Colm in a panic. "I don't have anything that you'd want!"
"Zip it, kid!" shouted the man who grabbed him. "And you're wrong: you're what we want."
"Your pops'll pony up big money for you," went another thug. "Give us a cut of the profit."
"But you'd be taking that money from people who truly need it. From the village! Without it, they'll...!"
"I said zip it, kid!"
Pan did not like hearing the threats made to Colm, and should she had sensed any of them intending to harm him, she would have been willing to stop the truck right then and there regardless of being seen.
"Hey," started a third man, whom in contrast to the other two, didn't sound like a brute. "Don't hurt the merchandise. We have to show his father that he's in good condition. Then the old man will give us what we want to keep it that way."
Thankfully, it wasn't long before they pulled into a car repair shop attached to a taller building. Once its garage door closed and their truck was now hidden from view, the driver exited, wearing a delivery uniform and cap. He then opened up the back, allowing the three inside to exit with their hostage:
The masked man that grabbed Colm in the first place, another in a tanktop who was quite muscular, and the last dressed more sharply in a buttoned shirt and formal pants.
Another man, dressed like a mechanic and much bulkier than the other four, approached the ringleader.
"Don't you worry, boss. They won't be able to identify a scrap of this truck when I'm done with it."
The boss had his hand out.
"Did you find us something that flies?"
The mechanic placed a capsule in his hand.
"It'll have room for all four of you and the brat."
He held it up in his hand for his men to see.
"Perfect. They'll be looking all over for this truck on the ground. They'll have no reason to suspect anything in the air."
This seemed as good a time as any for Pan to spring into action, but she realized Colm would easily recognize her and her face would be visible to everyone there. With that in mind, she opened her backpack as quietly as she could, took out her orange bandanna, placed it over her nose and mouth, then tied it in a knot over her ears.
But even with the minimal cover, she knew Colm would immediately know her voice the moment she so much as talked. While it sounded goofy, Pan didn't have any other ideas:
"Let him go!" went Pan with a deeper tone of voice, hopping off of the truck.
At first startled at someone having followed and overheard them, their concerns dropped upon seeing her simple attempt at a disguise.
"Just got out of school, little lady?"
"You trying to sound like a superhero or something?"
Pan didn't have time to humor them and began walking towards the group. Their leader, not paying her any mind, took Colm into an elevator.
"Don't take too long taking out this trash."
Right after the elevator doors closed, the masked man ran in first with a punch, but Pan easily caught his arm, then flipped him onto his back. The other three felt his impact with the ground and saw how swiftly he was downed with ease. The driver and the other thug charged at her with a pipe and wrench respectively from opposite sides. Pan ducked to avoid the pipe, then forced him onto his knees with one elbow as the other believed he had a free shot with her back turned to him.
He swung the wrench downward with confidence, then saw that Pan had instantaneously turned around from his perspective, catching it with both hands. He tried to push down, but not only found that Pan's legs never nudged a single bit at his efforts...
But that with a turn of her wrists, the wrench bent. The shock left him entirely exposed to being tossed into the ceiling, hitting his back before being caught by Pan.
"You're good, girlie, I'll give you that..." went the mechanic, who began rolling up his sleeves. "But they were small-fries."
Instead of a brutish stance, this bulked man actually had proper fighting gestures prior to running towards her. He threw fast jabs, all which Pan was avoiding until she blocked and redirected one followed by catching one of his wrists. Even with his other arm still free, he found Pan squeezing his wrist to be excruciating. With a single punch, he was sent flying, sliding across the ground before hitting a tool rack and being covered in its contents.
With the four now taken care of, Pan went up to the garage door and began lifting it open with both hands. Once it was all the way up, she took to the skies, heading over the building as fast as she could.
Having emerged from the elevator on the roof, the ringleader held Colm with one arm and used his freed hand to throw the capsule onto the ground. From it poofed a helicopter for his getaway.
"Alright kiddo, now here's the deal..." he started saying to Colm.
"You're going to let him go or I'm going to come over there."
The man turned around speechless, not believing the voice he had heard:
Pan had somehow made it to the roof not long after him.
"How did you...?"
He tried to rationalize.
"You got away from my men and ran up the stairs?"
"No. I took them out."
"Very funny. You're not even in their weight class."
Pan decided to get her point across by stomping the ground with her foot, the impact being felt by him and Colm.
"No... that's not..."
Now done humoring him, she took another step, stomping with the same effect.
"If you don't let him go now, I'm going to take you out too."
Not liking where he stood in regards to the difference in power, the ringleader went with his last resort:
He drew a gun from his pocket and pointed it right at Colm's head.
"Back off girlie, or this kid gets it!"
As much as Pan knew she could move quickly, she didn't want to risk Colm's life and remained where she was.
"Now you're gonna turn around, walk into that elevator, and head back down. You turn around or so much as look over your shoulder, I'll kill him!"
Pan didn't like this, but it was better than possibly flying in too late to stop the shot. She did as instructed, turning her back to him and walking away. But then Colm caught a grin beginning to grow on the man's face as he took the gun off him and pointed it right at Pan.
But Pan had already suspected as much and began charging the smallest amount of ki necessary in her hand. Once the elevator chimed and the doors began to open...
The leader fired, the bullet speeding through the air towards the back of Pan's head...
...as she swerved downward, ducking, then turning to fire a small projectile right at the gun. It struck, breaking the top of the gun off and partially searing the man's right hand. In spite of the pain, his other arm remained around Colm's neck.
Now the man was sweating, knowing that he was completely out of his league against Pan, and that at any moment, she could come to him. There was nothing he could do to stand a chance of getting out of there...
...until he looked to the side of him.
In that moment, right as Pan ran towards him, he decided getting away in one piece was worth more than the money Colm was worth.
With the biggest toss he could manage with one arm, he threw Colm towards the edge of the roof...
...and over it. Seeing this and hearing Colm's scream, Pan changed course away from the ringleader, whom ducked and braced himself, practically shivering as she just passed him. She dove off the roof, catching up to the descending Colm, who saw he was seconds away from touching the ground and closed his eyes...
...but when several seconds passed, he opened them, then saw not only that he was still alive, but that he was going up through the air at a controlled ascent instead of falling down uncontrollably.
"Am I... flying?"
He looked down at his chest, realizing he had two arms wrapped over them and under his arms keeping him up. He looked up over his shoulder, seeing the young woman who had just saved him, but since he was unable to see how she was doing this, he inquired...
"But if you're holding me... whose holding you?"
Pan couldn't help but give a small chuckle...
...but in mid-flight, she realized her bandanna was coming undone. It flew off, to which Colm instinctively caught with his hand before it could fly away. Now looking back, he saw her face and realized...
"P... Pan? Is that really you?"
"At that point, the gig was up. I couldn't lie to him."
"Where did you go from there?"
"He directed me to where he was staying and we kept out of sight."
Colm pointed Pan in the direction of a hotel room balcony, to which he let the two in through its sliding door. The interior of the room wasn't overly fanciful, but of a decently high quality for someone doing business.
"I certainly do miss home, but it is nice, all things considered."
Pan just realized:
"Oh shoot. I never got in touch with my dad. He and my mom are probably wondering where I am right now."
"Do you have to go?"
Pan reached into her backpack, taking out her phone which had several missed calls.
"I should probably call him first."
Colm looked at the room's phone and it occurred to him...
"I should call mine and let him know I'm..."
As Colm was saying this, a door creaked open and a man donned in a green jacket and cap entered, at first with his head down and disheartened in posture...
...but upon hearing his voice...
He lifted his head up, revealing his blonde and slightly grayed hair with a few on his chin.
The two ran over to one another, hugging with Colm being close to smothered by the jacket.
"Are you alright, son? I looked all over for you! I was starting to lose faith. I thought..."
Colm's father noticed a silhouette on the floor and turned his head, seeing Pan, who had tried backing away to the sliding door.
"Just who are you, missy?"
Colm took the moment to break off the hug, allowing him to catch his breath, then answered...
"She's one of my classmates at school here. Her name is Pan."
"Oh yeah? And what do you think you're doing here in our room?"
"We... I..." struggled Colm to put a reasonable explanation into words. "I invited her in."
"And this was before or after someone nabbed you in front of that school?"
As happy as Colm's father was to see his son safe and sound, now he wanted answers to what had been on his mind for the past few hours. And seeing that Pan had tried getting out of the room earlier, he pointed at her.
"You have something to do with it?"
Colm stepped next to her.
"It was a bunch of thugs. Said something about holding me ransom to blackmail you."
His father seemed to ponder, as if thinking about potential candidates who could've gone through with it.
"But I'm here now, Papa."
"Okay... then how did you get away from those thugs?"
"Well, I was... I had help from..."
As Colm stumbled to say what happened without stating Pan was there, his father noticed something in Colm's hand.
"What's that now?"
Upon looking closer, he saw that it was an orange bandanna.
"Now why would you be carrying...?"
"Oh, this? This is Pan's."
He hurriedly gave Pan back her orange bandanna and while she would've put it back on her head, the current mood of the room would've made the gesture inappropriate.
"They told me the one who grabbed you was wearing something to conceal their face..."
He walked over to Pan, then yanked the bandanna out of her hand.
"Maybe something like that!"
He held it up with both hands, as if trying to visualize Pan wearing it over her nose and mouth to hide herself.
"Papa, please, that's enough! I already told you, it was thugs!"
He wasn't in the best mood, but Colm's father didn't want to take out his frustration on his son. But even then, he still wasn't ready to let this go without an explanation.
"Now I'm going to ask you one last time, and this time, you'd better give me an answer, missy..."
Now he was pointing at Pan with her bandanna in his hand.
"Did YOU have something to do with it?"
Pan tried as hard as she could to keep her normal demeanor, but she couldn't come up with any lie in regards to how she saw Colm's kidnapping, then just so happened to meet him later.
Colm intervened once again.
"Papa, believe me, Pan, she... she..."
As much as he wanted to come up with a lie, Colm couldn't bring himself to do that to his father. He looked to Pan, seeing if she had doubts about what he was about to reveal to him. Ultimately, she nodded, letting him go ahead.
"Pan... she saved me from those men. Saved my life."
Now his father went from distrusting to absolutely lost as his initial viewpoint on Pan began shifting at the seams.
"One of the men threw me off a roof and if Pan hadn't caught me, I would've..."
Colm didn't finish, since he began to see tears going down his father's eyes at the thought of what Pan had prevented. He first stretched out his hand with the bandanna, no longer gripping it.
"I've misjudged you."
Pan slowly took the bandanna back, but after this gesture, Colm's father then crouched over and hugged Pan. She could tell that his heart had changed entirely upon hearing what she did.
"Bless you... bless you for saving my boy."
"So did you head home?" inquired Trunks.
"No. I called my dad and he, my mom, and Grandpa Hercule came over. Hercule convinced Colm's dad not to tell everyone I saved his son. Instead, everyone believed that Great Saiyawoman rescued Colm."
"That was a superheroine alias my mom used when fighting crime alongside my dad's, Great Saiyaman."
The thought of Gohan being a superhero of sorts actually brought a smile to Trunks' face.
"And after that, what did your parents think?"
Upon arriving home, Hercule was heading to bed and saw off Pan first.
"Now you get a good night's sleep, my little superheroine, you."
He lightly pinched her cheek, then left for his bedroom. Once the door closed, Gohan and Videl both approached her.
"They were pretty steamed."
"Do you realize what could've happened if someone recognized you?" started Gohan. "If anyone saw you flying?"
"I couldn't just stand there and do nothing," Pan responded.
"Pan, we know you meant well..." began Videl. "But you should've called the police. Told them what you saw. It's their job to handle that. You're a student."
"If I hadn't gone after them, they would've gotten away with Colm, or worse. And didn't you help the police fight crime at my age?"
Videl was caught off-guard and couldn't seem to find a rationale for why it was different for herself and Pan.
"That's not the point," her father scolded. "We've taught you not to fly or use your abilities where people could see. You should've known the risk."
"I did! And I chose to save someone who was in danger!"
Pan, feeling like her father was condemning her for what she did, was losing her ability to keep calm with him.
"You're acting like I did something bad! So I should've left Colm in their hands, is that it?!"
"We're not saying that at all, Pan," went Videl, trying to calm her daughter down. "But had you been seen and word had gotten out of what you did, people would be all over you."
"You know I wasn't doing it for attention or for fame."
Gohan had lost all his patience with his daughter.
"And you are not ready to be making those kind of decisions! Not until...!"
"Not until what?! I'm 18?! Yeah, give me a few more weeks and then I will be!"
Videl saw how heated this was getting and tried to keep the peace.
"Look, let's all just..."
"Grandpa Goku wouldn't have let that...!"
"That's enough!" Gohan shouted, a large gust from around his body shaking a few pictures on the wall.
The three of them went silent after this. Gohan simply pointed to Pan for one final ultimatum.
"If this happens again, we're pulling you from school. No exceptions."
Pan turned away from her parents and opened her bedroom door, not wanting them to see how her face was twisting.
"I thought you would've been proud of me."
Pan wanted to slam the door with all her might, regardless of how it'd undoubtedly break the door off its hinges, but she knew her strength and only slammed it enough to get across how she felt.
She tore her bandanna off her head, threw it onto the ground, then lied against her drawer. She put her head onto her arms which sat upon her knees, not holding back how she felt. That something good she did was being treated like a mortal sin.
But even amidst her anguish, Pan could hear her parents discussing something.
"Now Gohan, you remember the Golden Warrior, right?"
"This is completely different. I realized how easily I could've been figured out and took measures."
"And we both know how well those measures did when we first met... and I mean both times."
Gohan realized his point was less than great and sighed, trying to find the answer to best explain his feelings on the matter.
"It's one thing for us to go out there and do this, but not Pan. Not our daughter. I know how much she's trained, but if there's even a small chance she gets hurt, or does something irreversible, I..."
Videl took off Gohan's glasses, realizing there was a droplet on one of the lenses.
"You okay, honey?"
He lied his back against the wall, which Pan could hear and feel.
"My dad may not have considered himself a hero, but he died doing what he felt was right. After I made the worst mistake of my life..."
"Don't do this to yourself again, please..."
"He would still be with us if I had just..."
He composed himself just enough to move on regarding his father, but what he had to say was still heavy on him.
"I know these have been peaceful times and I know Pan is more than capable, but the thought of losing..."
Seeing him struggle to finish that sentence, Videl crouched down to his level, lifting up his chin.
"We're not going to let that happen because we're both looking out for her."
Pan heard all this and began to understand what drove her father, even if he couldn't find the right way of putting it earlier. Just a few seconds later, she heard a knock on the door.
She didn't move from her spot, but she did respond...
Gohan could sense her remaining in place, and elected not to open the door.
"I apologize. I didn't mean to come off... how I did."
He put his head up against the door.
"You know how much your mother and I both care for you... so, so much."
Pan wiped some tears from her eyes, now starting to get back to herself.
"Which is why we're going to make sure you won't have to go into action again."
"And how did they do that?"
"They began patrolling as Great Saiyaman and Saiyawoman again any time there was trouble. First time in years, since I was pretty young."
"I take it Colm left right after?"
"While his father was done having him go to my school, he and Colm still stayed for a few days afterward."
"My family invited both of them over. Colm's father was eager to meet the parent and grandparents of the person who saved his son."
Leaving the adults to talk in the living area, Pan and Colm walked through the hallway, passing by several photos on the wall:
Baby pictures, a young Pan and Hercule with a dog, her at an amusement park with a massive statue of a gentle giant mascot in the background, and Pan in a Halloween costume consisting of her usual attire with insect wings and two antenna holding what looked like a large big-eyed baby bee.
"And here we are."
Pan opened the door to her room and let Colm through. It seemed basic enough with a bulky computer monitor sitting atop a desk, and a bed set on the opposing side. As he noticed the relatively plain walls lacking posters, Pan realized she had left her closet open, leaving old toys kept from her childhood in plain view.
She scrambled towards it at first to try to close it, but saw Colm didn't scoff at any of its contents.
"That's the baby bee from the photo."
He pointed over at the large stuffed bee, whose colors were slightly faded, wings partially bent, and eyes a little fuzzy.
"Yep, it is."
Pan remembered the moment the picture was taken: her cradling the bee toy like she was caring for it, then turning in the direction of the camera, already smiling.
"What about those?"
Seeing how Colm was legitimately interested in her old toys, she decided to pick up and present each one herself.
A dark green chubby-looking monster with two whiskers akin to a catfish...
"One of its whiskers is cut."
"Yeah... that was with scissors."
A shiny metallic-looking red apple.
"It's... quite fascinating."
Inspecting it further, he saw what he thought were teeth marks. A little embarrassed, Pan simply replied...
"Wouldn't recommend eating it."
A fighting robot figure composed of three smaller ones.
"So you're saying it's actually three toys together as one?"
"Right. Well, actually, there was a fourth one... but I broke it on accident."
And finally, a giant tiger whose proportions seemed more suited for hopping around than running.
"Does the tiger bounce?"
"It did, except falling from high places wasn't good for it in the long run."
Once Pan put all the toys back, Colm looked over at a picture of Pan with Bulla. Without him even asking, she explained...
"That's my best friend Bulla. We've been friends since we were little."
"And who is that?"
He pointed to a picture of her most inspiration figure.
"That's my grandpa Goku."
"And what's he like?"
"...he passed away when my dad was a teenager."
"Oh. I'm sorry."
"But even though I've never known him, I've heard so many stories about him. All the amazing things he did... that he could do."
Colm could tell from both the tone of her voice and her expression just how much she took Goku to heart.
"I hope that one day, I can measure up to him."
After pausing to reflect, Pan was ready to get going.
"Well, guess we should probably get back and..."
He sat down on her bed.
"Since I'm leaving in a few days, I wanted to ask you something."
"Sure, go ahead."
"You learned how to fly, right?"
"Can you teach me how?"
"All these years, I never expected anyone would ask me to teach them."
"So how did you do as an instructor?"
"It wasn't easy..."
"And at first, Colm had doubts about himself..."
The two were outside in an area near a forest, far enough from any potential onlookers, with Pan gesturing to Colm as he stood, trying as hard as he could to float.
"Ease into it, Colm..."
In spite of this, he was getting frustrated and instead pushed himself harder, starting to sweat.
"I said ease. Ease into it."
He fell onto his knees, disappointed in himself.
"Yes, you can, Colm. It just takes time."
"Time?! Like how you've had years?!"
Realizing he had snapped at her, he sighed, then composed himself once more.
"I apologize for my outburst, Pan. It's just been frustrating."
She gave him a friendly jab to his shoulder.
"I promised to teach you, didn't I? And I can guarantee you'll know before you leave."
"Didn't make the next attempts much easier, but he slowly worked his way up to floating. And just the day before he had to leave..."
Both were floating off the ground by a few inches as Pan beckoned him while going up slightly higher.
"Okay, now just a little more..."
Colm matched her height, then saw Pan going further up.
At this point, Pan started using her arms to stay afloat as she began leaning over frontwise.
"You know what to do."
Seeing the ground beneath him, Colm was getting a little nervous.
"You'll catch me if I fall, right?"
Pan hovered down below him.
Colm closed his eyes.
"Okay, here goes..."
He opened them again as he tipped over...
...and saw neither Pan nor the ground seemed to be getting closer to him. Realizing he was in a flying stance, Colm's eyes widened and his dropped jaw gave way for an open smile.
"I... I'm flying."
He couldn't stop himself from laughing.
"I'm actually flying."
Pan flew up to him and pointed him in the direction of the trees.
She went forward, but keeping at a slower pace as she waited for Colm. Sure enough, she was met by Colm giggling in awe at his accomplishment.
After going above the trees, the two saw a nearby pond and Colm was eager to fly down to it. Now hovering just above the water, Colm could see his reflection as gusts of wind blew pedals towards him.
A few tickled his nose, resulting in a sneeze. As he went to cover his nose with his wrist, he saw himself starting to lose control and flailed his arms about. Pan quickly grabbed hold of Colm's right hand, keeping level so he wouldn't fall in.
"Close one, huh Colm?"
While being held above the water, he touched it with his left hand, gliding it across while being guided by Pan. She saw him laughing away with child-like delight, like he had discovered a whole new world.
As Pan had to soon change directions, she lifted Colm back up and nodded to him, letting him know she was letting go of him. Once she did, he at first flailed again, but soon regained control, ascending and keeping next to her.
On their way back to where they started, Pan noticed a bird flying to her right. To her left, Colm was astonished at seeing himself at the center of a flock of birds in the air. He turned to Pan, the biggest smile his face could muster, overjoyed. Pan couldn't help but giggle, covering her mouth with her hand as Colm found himself giggling as well.
"The thing I remember most about that day was just how happy flying made him."
"I would imagine going his whole life up to that point not knowing it was possible, then actually flying..."
"Then came the day he was leaving. Colm and his dad wanted to see us before taking off for their village."
Colm's father shook hands with Pan.
"You are welcome to come to our village any time. Our home will be your home, Miss Pan."
"Sure thing," Pan nodded.
His father walked over to shake hands with Gohan and Videl, Pan not quite catching what they were talking about."
There Colm was, a suitcase in his left hand.
"Well, I guess this will be good-bye... for a little while."
"Just a little while."
Even though she had the night prior to think about what to say, Pan couldn't think of anything in that moment. She reached out her hand to him.
"Best of luck with everything back home."
Instead of meeting her right hand with his own...
...Colm let go of his suitcase and hugged her.
"Thank you, Pan... so much... for everything."
She put her hands behind him and hugged him as well. She still didn't know the right words to say, but she let the shared warmth between them make up the difference.
Once Colm let go and picked up his belongings, he and his father both turned back one last to Pan and her family before heading out in their car. His father waved.
Colm waved soon after.
Pan returned the wave with her own.
"See you next time."
But right as Pan wrapped up her story, Trunks noticed her going quiet for a moment.
"Those were the last words I ever said to him. 'See you next time.'"
Trunks didn't even have to ask what came next.
"My family might've gone to his village to visit after I graduated... were it not for..."
He didn't know if this was the exact right thing to say or possibly one of the worst, but he went ahead and said it.
"You got to experience how happy those moments made you. Those good memories will always be a part of you."
While worried he might've fumbled it, Pan seemed to find something to lift her from it.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. I can always think back on those happy memories."
A thought occurred, which Trunks immediately put into words.
"I realize I'm prying by asking this, but..."
Pan noticed his hesitance in finishing his sentence.
"Would you say you and Colm were... close?"
After he said this, he was already scolding himself in his head.
"Oh, what am I doing? Digging into her personal business!"
Pan thought long and hard on what Trunks had asked her, but even she wasn't sure if she knew herself.
"I can't really say. We were friends, certainly."
She tried recalling what her ideal thoughts of going to visit Colm at his village would've looked like, and what might've resulted from it.
"Maybe if we spent more time together..."
Try as she might, she couldn't create the image of her and Colm together.
"...but I don't know... and I never will."
"I'm sorry, Pan. I shouldn't have asked you that."
She could tell Trunks was working himself up about it and tried to steer him clear of that.
"No, it's fine. Really."
He sighed to himself, convinced he had messed things up, as he felt he was naturally prone to do. Pan put a hand on his shoulder.
He turned to her, giving his full attention.
"After what happened, part of me forgot that I had those moments."
He saw Pan's expression of mournful reflection begin to fade, like a ray of light had reemerged.
"But talking about it with you... it brought them back to me. Made me remember that they did happen."
She nodded, then took her hand off him and looked upward at the clouds flowing above the city. Trunks, no longer beating himself up, worked his way back to saying what was on his mind.
"Pan, I just want to let you know that..."
He was interrupted by a ringing on his wrist communicator, and one which he was already dreading as he answered.
"Supreme Kai of Time?"
"It's just as we suspected:"
Chronoa looked over a scroll with a purple glow."Towa's using the Ginyu Force."
Mighty Ginyu Force! Results of Training!
Hurrying across the Time Nest, Trunks and Pan made their way through the library to meet with Chronoa. The two were handed the scroll, seeing what would transpire without intervention:
Guldo and Recoome, neither with a single sign of damage, stood triumphantly with a purple glow as the bodies of Krillin and Gohan lied before them. Vegeta, who appeared to be playing dead, zoomed off into the air to try to escape.
He found his path immediately blocked by Burter, the same purple glow around him as his comrades, who nonchalantly had his back to Vegeta. He struck the Saiyan Prince's face with a backward palm and as Vegeta tried to recover in midair, Jeice grabbed hold of him by his neck with one arm while the other struck his back.
Just then, a blade of ki pierced through Vegeta's chest. Once Jeice deactivated the blade, Burter flew over and was ready to stomp on his head with both feet. Jeice seamlessly let go right at the moment Burter struck the Saiyan, leaving Vegeta falling straight for the water until he was caught by Recoome.
The massive member of the Ginyu Force placed Vegeta’s feet on the ground, then proceeded to slam his fists onto Vegeta's shoulders thrice, each hit knocking Vegeta deeper into the ground. Now left with only his arms and head sticking out along with his severe wound, Vegeta was in no condition to do anything as Recoome took poses while shouting...
"RECOOME... ERASER... GUN!!!"
A massive beam of pink ki fired from Recoome's mouth headed right for Vegeta, who put both hands out to try to stop or repel it, but it was all in vain as he was obliterated on contact.
As unnerved as Pan was seeing the three deaths, she knew this wasn’t the true history and that it could be stopped.
"What’s the change?"
“That’s just the thing, Pan...” began Chronoa. “I’m not sure. All I can tell you for sure is that Guldo should’ve been out of the picture by that point.”
“So maybe Guldo was enhanced, followed by Recoome.” pondered Trunks, his gloved hand to his chin. “Towa’s covering her tracks well.”
“Since we don’t know for sure the exact moment when the change will occur, I will have you go back fairly early,” explained Chronoa, scrolling back to right before the start of the battle. ”Just keep out of sight for as long as you can until we can assess it.”
“Alright Pan,” went Trunks, the scroll handed to him by Chronoa and offering it to Pan. “This battle’s what Taino’s been training you for.”
“That’s right,” answered Pan.
She knew Taino still had more lessons for her, and could only hope it would be enough for what was to come as she closed her eyes and gripped the scroll tightly. Within seconds, she vanished from the room and traveled through time.
She emerged back on Namek, hiding behind a hulking set of land above the ground which gave her several points by which to view what was occurring without being easily spotted. Pan peered over at Krillin, Gohan, and Vegeta, who appeared uneasy in the presence of the five members of the Ginyu Force, who already had five of the Dragon Balls in their possession.
While not hearing them clearly, she could tell that Captain Ginyu was asking the Saiyan Prince to hand over the Dragon Ball he held. Instead, Vegeta threw it as hard and as far as he could instead, believing it would escape the Ginyu Force’s grasp…
...but then Burter, whom Pan had been learning was known for his speed in battle, intercepted the Dragon Ball in midair, then flew back to Ginyu in little time at all. Vegeta then turned to Krillin, who held the last one, and shouted at him to destroy it. Krillin prepared his fist for a punch, but by the time it should’ve met the ball, it disappeared from his hand and was in the hands of Guldo.
"I didn’t even see Guldo move," Pan thought to herself. "Did he just stop time?"
"That’s right," Trunks began to explain. "The time stop is completely instantaneous to everyone else. He can’t hold time for very long, but when he does, Guldo can elude just about anyone around him."
Pan turned her attention to Ginyu, the seven mystic balls at his feet. He lifted the Dragon Balls into the air without even touching them, then began walking in her direction.
"I shall deliver the Dragon Balls to Lord Frieza,” Ginyu began. ”Roshambo among yourselves. The winner takes Vegeta and the runner up shall have those two."
He turned back to his comrades.
All four made poses, raising a fist as they shouted “Yeah!” back to their leader. Ginyu flew off into the distance as the four Ginyu Force members casually played a four-way roshambo, which wrapped up with...
"Fooey," grumbled Guldo. "I got the small fries."
"Alright!" exclaimed Recoome. "I got Vegeta."
Recoome then pointed over to Guldo.
Guldo grumbled under his breath...
This had been the longest Pan had stood back and watched prior to a battle taking place, seeing as how nothing out of the ordinary had occurred, at least that she could tell.
As Krillin and Gohan powered up in front of Guldo, the shortest member of the Ginyu Force began to get nervous. The two then flew into the air and fired down blasts at Guldo, who was astounded by their speed and power.
"Pan!" shouted Chronoa. "Get behind cover, now!"
Pan already suspected what was coming next and did as asked.
Guldo held his breath...
And time itself around him froze completely. The blasts Gohan and Krillin fired at him and the other three on his team being less than supportive of him. He moved out of the way of the blasts, but also saw no signs of Krillin or Gohan, who had flown off after firing. He ran around with the little time he had left, trying to find their whereabouts.
“Where in the heck did those two shrimps go?”
But something caught his eye...
He saw what looked like a yellow sheet sticking out behind a rocky structure…
“Now why would that be out here?”
He started piecing it together…
“That’s… a cape. But whose cape?”
Guldo walked around it, seeing...
Pan frozen in time, her back against it.
Time resumed, with Krillin and Gohan seeing the aftermath of the blast, but no sign of Guldo. His teammates also noticed him missing, though it was nothing out of the ordinary until…
“Who are you?!” Guldo shouted, falling onto his back, then scurrying back out of Pan’s path.
"Oh shoot!" she thought.
"But you took cover," began Trunks. "Unless you stuck out an arm or leg..."
Pan looked over at her cape, the wind blowing it back and forth from cover.
"Now I’ve really done it..."
Krillin and Gohan, hearing the commotion, saw her along with the retreating Guldo. Burter flew over as well, seeing Pan with her back against the structure.
"Ah, snooping around, are we?!"
Recoome and Jeice followed soon after, also seeing her.
“Trying to wait us out, were ya?” scolded Jeice. “You’ve got a lot of nerve hiding, girlie!”
The largest member of their team, however, didn’t seem as upset at Pan’s presence.
“Wow, look at that cape. So cool...”
Pan was not expecting anything close to a compliment from the likes of Recoome or any of them.
“It’ll make a nice trophy!”
"...and there's the catch." went Pan in her head.
Guldo pointed over at Pan.
"I bet you know that monkey and those two wimps!"
Gohan and Krillin saw that Pan was becoming the center of attention.
"Well..." whispered Krillin. "At least they've stopped looking for us."
"Have we now?"
Krillin turned, seeing Burter right above him and Gohan. The two flew to the ground, then found Burter having beaten them there again.
"Aha!" shouted Guldo, pointing to them. "They were playing a ruse! Acting like they were the only ones here while she was waiting in place to... to..."
"To what?" asked Jeice.
"I don't know. Uh… ambush us, I guess.”
As Guldo stumbled with making his explanation sound good, Pan had a thought.
"The only upside to this is that they’re not attacking my dad, Krillin, or Vegeta right now."
"Perhaps..." started Trunks. "But I suspect Towa will show her hand once they do."
She saw the three other Ginyu Force members less than impressed with Guldo’s talk thus far.
”I mean, yes, we’re the almighty Ginyu Force, so even a measly ambush shouldn’t really be a problem for us…”
After taking a breath, Guldo suddenly spoke far more confidently and with greater resolve.
“...but using such tactics is just dirty, regardless of our overwhelming power!”
"Did he..." went Pan, astounded at the shift and working out what changed with Guldo. "Did he really just stop time to give himself a pep talk?"
“How low they stooped instead of fighting us with honor! And for their deception, let's attack them all at once!”
Pan was terrified at the notion, realizing just what would come from it in theory.
"Crap," Pan mused. "I’ve jeopardized the entire mission."
She saw Guldo raising his fist into the air with fervor.
”Now who's with...?!"
"Now hold on!" Recoome butted in, completely neutering Guldo’s confidence. "You've still got those two and I still got Vegeta."
"That leaves Burter and I..." Jeice pondered.
Just then, he and Burter both exclaimed.
"I've got it!"
"We'll take this one..." began Burter.
"...while you two keep to your matches." continued Jeice.
"I'm good with that," agreed Recoome. "How about you, Guldo?"
“But guys...” pleaded Guldo. “This is...”
After quietly mumbling to himself, Guldo crossed his arms and nodded.
Privately, he was dreading how fast and powerful his two opponents were.
"I'm already regretting my diet."
But as he turned to Burter and Jeice, then back to Pan, he grinned.
"At least against those two, she’s done for, for sure."
Vegeta, hearing and looking over at all the upheaval, was not pleased with the development.
"Damned Earthling girl. If she had just kept out of this..."
He turned and saw Recoome walking over to him.
"Looks like we're fighting now. You ready?"
Pan got herself ready, watching as Burter and Jeice were back-to-back.
"You seem pretty sneaky, but now let's see how fast you are."
"And if you can even fight."
All four Ginyu Force members began to glow purple, after which they all went on the attack at once:
Recoome going for a chop as Vegeta narrowly avoided it. The Saiyan Prince punched rapidly, but found the giant catching and redirecting them with his hands.
Guldo fired beams from his eyes, forcing Gohan and Krillin to jump over them. He flew upward in a spiral around them, firing projectiles to keep them occupied as he made his way above them.
Jeice and Burter hopped backward, then stood waiting for Pan to make a move.
"I should wait them out. Let them make the first move."
But then she recalled one of her lessons from Taino.
”Even if you can keep up with Burter, if he’s given the chance, you might miss him if you so much as blink. The key to combating him is anticipation.“
As she looked over at the two, seeing them converse, Pan knew they were planning something collaborative for her.
"I need to figure out where he might go and plan accordingly."
She kept her eyes right on Burter the whole time…
...and even then, Pan lost him.
"Remember your training!"
She felt a brush of air to her side.
"Okay, he flew past me!"
Pan turned, ducking in case of an immediate ambush, but saw Burter, his back against the wall with his arms crossed.
“Made you look.”
Pan realized she hadn’t paid any attention to what Jeice was doing and by the time she looked over her shoulder, Burter’s comrade had thrown a red orb at her.
She fired at the ground to propel her out of the way, the Crusher Ball flying past her and piercing through the rocky structure. Pan felt another breeze and turned in midair, seeing Burter in her path about to swing at her. She leaned as far back as possible, seeing Burter’s hook over her.
Her two hands readied ki to fire at him…
But upon her feet touching the ground, the momentum of her movements caused her to slip, throwing off her intended shots and leaving her falling onto her shoulder. Pan rolled on the ground before stopping herself, then saw Burter overhead, descending for a landing on top of her.
"Get up! Up!"
She propelled herself back once again, Burter’s intended stomp falling short…
...but then Pan felt her back striking a hard surface.
"The rock wall... I completely forgot where I was..."
But Burter coming in for another jab left her little time to ponder as she side-stepped it. Even with his speed, Burter’s punch breaking through left no question as to his striking power. He took a step forward, then swung again with Pan stepping back to get out of the way. It repeated again with the opposing arm, then Burter aimed his next swing, intending to hit where she was going. Pan was forced to duck, seeing more dirt and rock from the impact.
"We never went as fast as this in our sessions..."
Just then, Burter saw an immediate opening and charged into Pan with his shoulder. She was first knocked back-first into another structure, then span across the rest of it before finally falling onto her back.
"I’m a sitting duck on the ground!"
Pan leapt upward and took flight, seeing Burter remaining for the time being. But as for Jeice…
"He’s not there! I can’t afford to lose him after what I saw!"
Pan turned in mid-ascent to see behind and below her...
...and sure enough, Jeice with the blade of ki she feared coming up for her. All she had time to do was to swerve to avoid the first swing, to which Jeice span his body to go for another. Realizing they were both traveling upward, Pan stopped herself in midair, the next swing going over her head. This still didn’t stop Jeice, who was now swinging straight downward.
As fast as she could, Pan reached for the Power Pole and held it out over her head. The blade of ki clanged against the polearm as Pan shoved forward, repelling Jeice. With a swing of the Power Pole, she forced Jeice to block it with the blade, which appeared to be less than pleasant for him.
"That ki blade is especially great for offense. Defensively, and against non-ki especially, it takes a bigger toll."
Jeice’s blade was in flux, the Power Pole getting closer to slithering past it. But from a glimpse of what may have been a reflection on her family heirloom...
"They’re taking turns..."
She broke off from Jeice and turned around, the Power Pole blocking a kick from Burter. The sheer force still sent her rocketing away as Pan now saw both Jeice and Burter flying at her with their fists.
Not wanting to take the time to put away the Power Pole, she turned it clockwise and counter-clockwise as each went for punches. With Burter’s being unleashed even more rapidly, she was forced to redirect on his side more often.
In the midst of this, Pan glanced that, even with Towa’s power-up, Guldo was resorting to retreating far more often than he did attacking, disappearing in bursts from her view before Gohan and Krillin found him again and again.
"He's stopping time like crazy," began Burter, also witnessing this. "Guldo's losing it."
"He just needs to get his head in the game" argued Jeice. "If he can just get on top of them..."
"Let's make a bet. If Guldo loses..."
"Oh, I know your gig, Burter. You're not conning me like Recoome."
Pan was astounded at how casually they spoke with each other while fighting with her in that moment.
"Fighting at this speed... and just chatting away like this is nothing..."
Pan knew she couldn’t keep this up forever and quickly generated ki around her. Letting go of the Power Pole for just a moment, Pan crossed her arms and unleashed a burst, sending Burter and Jeice back enough for some breathing room.
As she zoomed down, catching the Power Pole, she recalled Jeice bringing up Recoome, who, as far as she could see, hadn’t dealt any major damage to Vegeta as of yet.
"How strong was Recoome, Trunks?"
"Much stronger than my father at that point," he answered.
"Then with the power-up, Recoome should be even more overwhelming... but he hasn’t gone all-out yet."
"Recoome has a knack for not taking fights seriously and goofing around with his opposition."
"So he plays with his food."
"In a way."
"If Towa wants them to win, shouldn’t she be making Recoome go for the kill?"
"The formula seems to enhance everything about them, but as for overwriting their personalities completely, it takes considerable power. It’s why it’s only happened in short bursts."
"So they’re still themselves."
"Right. And Towa herself had to be on the ground to control someone remotely, as was the case with Krillin."
Just then, from above, Pan caught a glimpse of a purple vortex.
"I know this one… they’ve joined together for..."
She didn't have to ponder further as a massive barrage of purple orbs fired down upon her. With the blasts spread too far out for her to simply fly forward, Pan instead traveled upward, swerving to avoid them.
"Hitting them while they're together's going to be tricky, but..."
Just then, the purple vortex began to change...
"This is something else..."
She then saw it swerve downward after her. Pan narrowly slipped past it, but saw it course-correct, leaving a purple streak as it flew back towards her. The feeling was akin to avoiding a giant purple Spirit Ball.
"Move it, Pan! Move it!"
The last pass struck her on the cheek, the impact alone knocking her downward. As she recovered, Jeice tossed another Crusher Ball towards her.
But as she avoided it...
"But then Burter's..."
Another breeze behind her...
...followed by rapid kicks by Burter. Pan kept her arms moving as fast as she could, but even she was starting to waver.
"Am I going too fast for you?" taunted Burter, his naturally red eyes now glowing. "This isn't even my top speed!"
"He can't be serious..."
Right after, the kicks came in even faster, and what she could at least keep pace with before were now slipping past right as she moved to guard them. Burter stopped the barrage, then fired a blue blast at the reeling Pan.
As she was sent back, Pan saw Jeice coming in with his blade of ki once again. She didn't know if what she was about to try would work, but Pan couldn't turn around and didn't have time to take out the Power Pole.
"Don't fail me now, ki..."
With ki covering her hands, Pan reached her hands behind her back to catch it...
...and succeeded in catching it, stopping it from gutting her.
But even then, the smallest point of the blade of ki pierced her back. It gave off a burn, like a searing hot needle.
Another breeze and Pan feared Burter was intending to guarantee the blade of ki killed this time. As much as it hurt to do, she turned and tugged Jeice sideways. She caught a glimpse of Burter slowing down, then zooming around, not wanting to kick his comrade by mistake.
She had to get Jeice back and started by letting go with one hand while quickly firing a projectile at him before he could push forward. It nearly struck his face, taking enough of his focus for her to push herself away. Now able to intercept the blade in front of her, she caught his wrist, then swung and threw him downward. Just then, a hit to her back sent her rocketing down.
After crashing into the ground, Burter was already standing there waiting for her to get up.
"Let me help you up..."
He picked up Pan from under her arms and lifted her up.
"No so high up, Burter!" shouted Jeice.
Burter kneed her back, then placed her knees-first onto the ground while crouching himself and having his knees atop of her feet, putting his weight on them. Now effectively pinned, Pan saw Jeice walking over as he generated his blade of ki once more.
"Keep her still. This blade's already tiring me out."
Pan looked over to her side, seeing Guldo with his hands out as Gohan and Krillin were stuck in place. Not completely frozen, as they were still clearly trying to move, but trapped all the same.
"Does this look right, with Guldo?" she inquired.
"After Gohan and Krillin exhausted his time stop..." began Chrona. "He used telekinesis to pin them, then tried killing Krillin with a makeshift projectile. Before it could hit, Vegeta... well..."
"...yeah," sighed Trunks.
Pan saw Guldo taking a log and sharpened one of its ends with his telekinesis, then turned it facing Krillin...
...but just then, the makeshift spear began to move forward to his left, then rotated to its side...
"That's not right..." went Trunks. "He shouldn't be..."
Pan realized then and there that the formula made Guldo no longer content with going for one kill.
"He's trying to get both Krillin and my dad!"
She looked around for Vegeta, but still saw him battling Recoome.
"Your dad's being stalled by Recoome."
"Then there isn't much time. You have to stop the projectile yourself."
Now that Pan had confirmation to act, she put her hands to the sides of her face, a gesture Jeice didn't bother to try figuring out.
"Ain't that cute..."
And with both oblivious to the technique...
Pan faced Jeice, the blinding flash stopping his intended stabbing as he covered both his eyes with his hands. Pan then tilted her head upward as quickly as she could at Burter, blinding him as well.
"Aww, no fair, you cheater!" shouted Jeice.
"Ah, blasted...!" began Burter.
While Burter had yet to let go of her, Pan struck his face with the back of her head, forcing him to grasp his face. Now freed, Pan flew towards Krillin and her father with all haste.
Prior to this, Vegeta was tackled to the ground by Recoome, pinned down and with only his left arm free. Recoome placed his right hand over Vegeta's wrist, keeping Vegeta from aiming his ki effectively as his left was raised.
"It's been fun, vegeta, but now it's time for a dirt nap."
As Recoome was ready to bring his fist down...
...something caught his eye. A faint flash of light near Jeice and Burter.
Vegeta noticed it as well, but also saw Guldo completely exposed. His hand had dug into the ground, grabbing a clump of dirt. With Recoome distracted just long enough to loosen his grip on Vegeta's arm, the Saiyan Prince threw the dirt into Recoome's face, getting both eyes.
Vegeta booted Recoome off of him during the confusion, then flew towards Guldo to make use of the opportune moment for a kill while it lasted.
Pan couldn't wait for Vegeta as she saw Guldo already readying his hand to launch the spiked log.
"You want me to hit the log without striking Guldo, right?"
"It would be for the best not to hit him, yes." answered Trunks.
She headed straight for Krillin to intercept it, but couldn't help but shake the feeling that she wouldn't make it in time at her current speed.
"If I'm not fast enough, it's going to...!"
Not wanting to take the chance, she took the risk of Guldo hearing her approach.
"Kaio-Ken times three!"
Guldo noticed it, but instead of cowering at her and the immense power he could feel near him, he threw the log with maximum force with a smirk.
"That’s right. Make your move."
With even greater speed for this short burst, Pan zoomed in front of Krillin, activating her ki shield as the spiked log reached her.
The log turned to splinters upon contact and the shield was large enough to keep them from hitting both Krillin and Gohan. At the same time, Vegeta swooped in, his arm and hand ready to chop at Guldo’s neck at high speed.
"No stopping time now!"
A blue finger tapped on a button on a control panel.
Vegeta flew forward, confident that the decapitation he had pulled off felt utterly effortless.
"Like a hot knife through butter."
Krillin and Gohan, now freed from the telekinetic hold Guldo had on them, saw Pan floating before them, her shield and Kaio-Ken deactivating. The two flew around to see her.
"You really saved our butts that time," began Krillin.
"Thanks again for..."
"Too close..." mused Pan.
The two realized that a piece of the log stuck out from one of Pan's abs, having undoubtedly slipped through before the shield covered her completely.
"A millisecond off and the whole thing would've skewered me."
"That doesn’t look too good," Krillin pointed out as he directed her attention to the wounded area in question.
"You helped us, so let us help you," bargained Gohan.
"Let's all touch down over there and figure out what to do here."
After Krillin pointed down to an ideal place to land, the three slowly made their way back to ground level. Vegeta overheard this and paid no mind to Pan.
"Aww, the girl's got a wound? She got herself caught and that's the consequence. If she can't defend herself, then she shouldn't be here."
But now he turned, eager to see his latest in a long line of kills...
Gohan, Krillin, and Pan turned upon hearing Vegeta's shock.
"But Guldo was right here!"
All four of them saw no sign of Guldo anywhere near them.
"He was completely exposed! He had no idea I was coming! How could he have slipped through?!"
Pan already suspected who was responsible for his disappearance."If Towa grabbed him up now... there's no telling what she's planning to use him for."
Rampaging Recoome! Change of Plans!
Pan sat on the ground, both Krillin and Gohan looking at the splintered piece of the wooden spear in her abdomen. She put her hand around it, pondering whether taking the spear point out would help or if she was better off leaving it until it could be properly treated. After concluding that it would give her opponents a vulnerable point to hit, the consequence being splintering or pushing the spear point further…
”This is gonna hurt...”
Pan gritted her teeth as she slowly began pulling the spear point out.
“Whoa, whoa!” went Krillin, putting his hands out.
In spite of that, she had torn it out, the end of the spear point red. Gohan noticed how deep the wound went, as well as caught Pan’s initial attempt to stop the bleeding with her gloved hand.
“You have to seal that wound,” began Gohan. “...maybe we can make something like stitches with what we can find here...”
As impressed as Pan was that her father, even at that age, came up with that idea, she knew time was of the essence and such an endeavor would take too much of it. Generating a small amount of ki in her palm, she gritted her teeth as she felt the heat around the wound. Gohan and Krillin both saw what she was going to do as she moved her hand even closer.
“This is going to hurt even more...”
Pan put her other hand on her wrist, closed her eyes, and finally pushed down.
Vegeta, keeping his back to the Earthlings and Pan after giving up his search for Guldo, and the three remaining Ginyu Force members who stood together all turned in her direction upon hearing an echoed shout of pain.
When Pan moved her hand, she, Gohan, and Krillin all saw that the wound had been seared closed. Not clean or pretty-looking, but now her abdomen bleeding wouldn’t be an issue. As she tore off part of her cape, lifted her blue shirt partially over her stomach, and wrapped a makeshift bandage around the wounded area, Vegeta approached the group.
Before, when Vegeta talked to her like that, Pan tried to be mindful, considering the Vegeta she knew growing up. But now having seen the full scope of the past Vegeta’s deeds combined with his generally demeaning attitude towards his supposed inferiors was no longer tolerable to her. She glared, then told him something she’d never dare say to her world’s Vegeta:
“Oh shut up.”
The three around Pan were surprised at this, both because she generally didn’t speak much and also because it was her first showing of disdain for someone who wasn’t one of their enemies. Vegeta, having only encountered her as someone dedicated to protecting the Earthlings and Goku on Earth, then having her save him from Zarbon and Dodoria in spite of that, was caught off-guard.
”Last time, this Earthling girl went out of her way to fight alongside me. Protected me. Refused to leave me to them. Almost like… she cared about me.”
Seeing the three looking at him contemplating in that moment, he went back to his usual self to hide it.
“Huh. Maybe you do have a backbone after all.”
“Hey, Vegeta...” started Gohan. “Did you find Guldo?”
“Damned imp vanished completely. Can’t sense him anywhere.”
“I don’t think he even knew how to hide his power from us,” went Krillin.
"He must've used his time stop to get away," Gohan guessed in an attempt to answer his own question.
"But he was exhausted from using it earlier," Krillin added. "He couldn't stop time and hold us with telekinesis at the same time... or could he?"
Towa, having gone a moment, saw Mira at the controls, as well as...
"Where... where am I?"
Guldo stood between the two, at first dazed from the travel, then utterly panicked by his new surroundings just as Towa was surprised at his unannounced presence.
"Who the heck are you?!"
Fearing for his life, he began to hold his breath...
...until a chop to the back of his neck by Mira knocked him out. Mira and Towa stood in silence until she finally broke it.
"Why have you brought him here, Mira?"
"Our aim is to alter history, is it not?"
"That doesn't answer my question."
"Like Dodoria, his disappearance is inconsequential. We can keep him on hand."
Towa took a moment to consider what Mira had done.
"He's taken initiative. Acted without me instructing him."
While part of her was concerned, another part of her was intrigued.
"I wonder what Mira may come up with next..."
She turned back to him, hiding her smile and keeping her tone neutral.
"I commend you for your efforts... but now let's get back to our objective at hand."
Mira stepped aside, picking up Guldo with one hand, as Towa took back the controls.
Recoome, Jeice, and Burter decided to give their opponents a respite for now as they also wondered where Guldo had gone.
"Find him yet?" inquired Recoome.
"I'm not picking up Guldo anywhere..." went Jeice, scanning the area around him with his scouter. "He's gone."
"You think Guldo really ran out on us?" inquired Burter. “Actually turned tail and left us?”
"He's a coward, but even Guldo wouldn't pull something like that. Captain would kill him if he did."
“Well we don’t wanna keep them waiting on us,” Recoome reminded them. “And I still got a match.”
As their bulkier comrade left them, Jeice stopped Burter for a moment.
“Got an idea.”
Vegeta turned upon hearing Recoome’s voice.
“We didn’t finish our scrap!”
He clamped his chest armor with his gloved fists, then pointed back to him.
"You used a dirty trick to get away. Use as many as you want. I'm still going to win."
Pan saw Burter and Jeice approach on foot as well and tried getting herself ready for round two against them.
"Tell you what, girlie..." began Jeice, addressing her directly. "We'll give you a little break for now. And once Recoome's done with Vegeta, we'll roshambo for our next match."
"Then all three of us will fight one-on-one," Burter added. "Sounds fair, right?"
Pan didn’t know what their play was, but stood by and watched as they flew off.
"Besides..." went Jeice privately to Burter. "It'll give you time to recharge. Gonna need you at top speed for the next round."
"Same for you and your Crusher Ball," responded Burter. "Need it to hit fast and hit hard."
Now that the two were away, guaranteeing Pan didn't have to fight, at least for now, she had time to recover.
“So Trunks, Chronoa...” she began. “History back on track so far?”
Recoome looked over, seeing Pan looking away as if talking to someone else.
As she waited for an answer from the two, Pan turned to the shouting Recoome.
“Aren’t you going to watch my match?”
Vegeta saw his opening and his flying punch rocketed Recoome into the air. Pan watched as Vegeta unleashed an onslaught against him in midair.
“Okay, now it is...” answered Trunks.
”You know the drill,” started Chronoa.
“Right...” began Pan, getting out of sight behind cover…
“Where do you think you’re going?”
Burter stood next to her, arms crossed.
“Damn. Can’t get out of sight with him keeping an eye on me.”
“I hope you haven’t forgotten about our upcoming match. Hate for you to leave.”
”Guess I’m staying a little longer, then...”
The both of them then saw Recoome come crashing back to the ground followed by Vegeta firing blast after blast before he could get up. She could tell Vegeta was putting as much into each as he could, desperate to bring Recoome down right then and there.
After he stopped, panting heavily, Krillin and Gohan turned back to him.
“You did it, Vegeta! You…!”
“Quit your celebrating, idiot!” shouted Vegeta at Krillin. “Can’t you both sense it?!”
“He’s...” shivered Gohan. “He’s still alive.”
The dust began to settle...
Recoome stood, his armor almost completely gone save for part of his chest piece and one cracked shoulder, his black sleeves and shorts partially tattered, and some of his hair missing.
“I told you, Vegeta. Even with your dirty tricks...”
He spat out a little debris from his mouth, then grinned, showing a few cracked teeth. Then with a stomp as he took a pose...
The impact shook the four of them, but Vegeta especially in the midst of his exhaustion.
Vegeta would’ve likely avoided it at any other point, but in his current state, even trying to move his feet to get out of the way, was struck in the chest.
Pan remained where she was, watching the Saiyan Prince bounce off the ground, then fly back to Recoome, not backing down even with the odds stacked against him. But in just a few moments, it was all for naught as Recoome took a strike to his stomach, then overpowered Vegeta and slammed him head-first into the ground, the Saiyan Prince’s legs and lower body poking out.
“Hey look! I planted me a tree!”
”Right now, Recoome should be picking my father up,” Trunks explained.
Instead of doing what Trunks described, Recoome hopped backward, beginning another pose as the purple glow around him increased.
“It’s been fun... but now to finish you!”
Burter, recognizing the technique, tapped Pan on the shoulder.
“Now this, you have to see...”
He pointed past Vegeta’s location to the distance beyond him as his comrade shouted…
“Namek’s gonna look a lot different,” explained Burter.
Seeing that she didn’t have much time, Pan went ahead and formed a plan based on something her grandfather Hercule had done long ago:
She crouched over, grabbing her stomach with one hand and groaning, catching Burter’s attention.
“What’s the matter with you?”
Instead of looking over at Vegeta slowly making his way out of the hole, Burter looked more closely at her hand grasping her stomach as Recoome continued…
“You got a stomach ache or something?”
Now that Pan had him looking where that hand was, her other hand charging ki went undetected at first. By the time Burter’s scouter picked up a build-up in power…
“Wait a minute…!”
Pan had fired at the ground below Burter’s feet, causing one foot to sink.
She flew towards Recoome, ready to strike the back of his head with a kick…
...as she saw Krillin coming in from another direction intending to do the same.
“Hey, watch out!” he shouted, trying to steer around her and still get to Recoome first.
...but then he heard Krillin behind him and actually turned toward him, his mouth foaming with ki as he was about to unintentionally fire at the Z-Fighter instead.
“Krillin!” Pan shouted as she, not having the time to push him out of the way, fired a blast at Recoome’s face.
The impact forced Recoome to turn away as the Eraser Gun finally fired, Krillin bracing himself as it flew past him. But Pan saw he was turning back towards Vegeta. Pan knew she had to act fast and flew forward to the back of his head, finally going through with the kick as originally intended.
She saw that the impact, which sent Recoome onto the ground on his chin, didn’t stop the Recoome Eraser Gun from going towards Vegeta...
...but then Pan saw Gohan flying in and grabbing Vegeta, saving the life of someone who had tried killing him, his father, and everyone he knew just weeks ago.
"That’s my dad,” she thought, seeing that even at that age, her father did exactly what she knew he would do.
Now the Recoome Eraser Gun finally went into the far off distance as it was meant to, causing an explosion that shook the very planet.
“Pan!” shouted Chronoa. “Do you realize what you almost did?!”
”I didn’t know Krillin and my dad were going to save him,” Pan tried to explain.
”You went in without sensing where they were. They were close! That might’ve tipped you off!”
“Or maybe YOU could’ve told me what they were going to do so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself!” this time, Pan practically shouted.
Just then, Burter stood in front of her, waving his hand at her face. She flew back after that surprise, then saw Jeice flying next to him.
"Again?!” began Burter. ”We agreed on matches and you're still butting into everyone else's!"
"You really have no honor at all, do you?" scolded Jeice. “Few things tick me off more than that.”
Recoome, getting up, began feeling for his teeth.
“Aww no! My teeth!”
He turned to Pan.
“Oh, I’m really gonna get you now.”
Jeice flew in front.
“Now hold on. You haven’t finished Vegeta yet. Burter and I will take her.”
As Pan saw the two getting ready to face her once again…
The two turned back to Recoome.
"I wanna take her and Vegeta. Is that cool with you?"
Burter at first stumbled at this, but then scoffed.
"Fine. Go ahead.”
The two moved out of Pan’s way, allowing her to fly down towards Vegeta.
“Then that just leaves you and I the two runts, eh?” went Jeice.
“Let's roshambo for which of us takes which pipsqueak," replied Burter.
As Burter and Jeice played roshambo, Pan saw Vegeta, lying on the ground with Gohan covering him, shoving Gohan off of him.
“Moron! You should’ve attacked him! Makes me sick…!”
”Ungrateful little...” Pan began angrily at how Vegeta treated her father.
Knowing the battle was about to commence, she lifted the Saiyan Prince onto his feet by the back of his armor’s collar. He took notice of her expression, but focused on Recoome stepping forward.
"All I’ll tell you is that Recoome will not go down easy. Underestimate him because of his dim wit and he'll turn your bones to powder."
Taking heed of Vegeta’s warning, Pan tried calming herself and focusing on their opponent at hand.
”What’s my play here?” Pan inquired. “Do I try to leave?”
”Because of what you did…!” Chronoa at first shouted before taking a breath. “After what you did, now Recoome’s locked on to you. He should be going after Krillin and Gohan.”
”Goku will be arriving to the battle in six minutes, and Krillin and Gohan need to be...”
Trunks stammered to explain until finally...
”Recoome nearly killed them both. If he doesn’t, Gohan won’t get a boost he needs for later.”
Pan hated the thought of it, but…
”How likely are they to join in the fight?”
”It’s highly probable,” started Trunks. ”...but you can’t afford to hold back against Recoome. Goku only beat him because his gravity training on the way to Namek pushed him far past my father at the time. And I’m not sure you’re there yet. Just… just survive.”
Pan began to approach Recoome on foot, her impending opponent cracking his gloved knuckles.
“You fought Burter and Jeice… both at once. You’re no slacker.”
She figured letting him talk bought her more time.
“But now you face Recoome. My name rhymes with doom. Those who hear it feel gloom. And now...”
“Get on with it!” shouted Jeice, still in the midst of his game with Burter. “Or are you gonna talk her to death with a poem?!”
“I just had one more bit,” Recoome replied, his hand gestured toward his comrade in the form of a “one” sign.
”Wrapping up any second now…” Pan thought to herself.
“And now...” Recoome began again, taking on a stance akin to a football blocker. “...you’re gonna be hurting real soon.”
Just then, he flew forward, Pan ducking to avoid a swiping chop. Before she could get on the attack, she had to block a knee with both hands. He went for a grapple, which Pan avoided by jumping upward, but by the time she was ready to fire at him, she saw him nearing her in midair.
"He's not just all about strength... Recoome's fast."
His style began to remind her of Spopovich when he fought her mother in the 29th tournament. A hulking figure that didn't just stomp across the ground, but could zoom across and fly.
Krillin, Gohan, and Vegeta watched as Pan and Recoome clashed with their fists in midair. The two from Earth couldn’t even speak as they saw how Pan was doing and hoped she would pull through. Vegeta, trying to remain standing, at first looked up in astonishment.
“First she survived against Burter and Jeice, and now she’s fighting Recoome… this girl is much stronger than she was against Zarbon...”
But in spite of his initial praise in his head, he then saw Pan knocked back by a powerful gust of air from Recoome’s palm followed by her having to counter a barrage of projectiles. As he then saw Recoome slam into Pan, being sent down in spite of blocking, Vegeta crouched over, both due to his physical state and because of a terrible realization:
”...but even all four of us are no match here.”
As the battle between Pan and Recoome further transpired...
"Ro... sham... bo!"
Both Burter and Jeice drew rock. All this time had passed and their continual tie was still going.
"Wha..." stumbled Jeice in shock. "How long have we tied for?"
"I know. It's almost never gone this long... well, except for that time Captain Ginyu and Guldo went at it forever."
"'course, Guldo only won because he stopped time before the captain drew."
"Hey guys!" shouted Recoome.
Jeice and Burter looked over at Recoome, his armor having received further damage with his bout with Pan, stopping for a moment to talk to them.
"Can I take all four of them? Please?"
"Oh, you've gotta be..." went Jeice, at first baffled, but then realizing this was just how his comrade is... "Okay, fine! But you'll owe us big time for this."
Gohan and Krillin both realized they were now targets and Vegeta the fact Recoome would come back to finish him one way or another.
"You, with the six forehead spots!"
Krillin, hearing Recoome call him out, looked over in sheer terror.
The Earthling hopped backward, firing as many projectiles as he could to try keeping Recoome from reaching him. He looked over at Pan and Gohan, the look on his face calling them both to help him without saying a word. As she saw Recoome tearing through the projectiles with ease, Pan got ready to sprint towards Krillin to defend him...
"Hold it!" shouted Chronoa.
After receiving those two words, Pan stopped herself. Gohan saw this, then tried getting to Krillin himself. Both watched as Recoome finally caught up to him, then with a punting kick...
...Krillin was sent into the distance, not moving at all to try to slow or catch himself. Once Gohan and Pan reached him, they realized why...
All four of his limbs seemed bent out of shape, and they and the rest of his body didn’t even move an inch save for Krillin still being able to open his mouth and talk.
“All that power Guru gave me… and I’m done in by just one... lousy hit.”
So far, Pan hadn't taken a single unguarded hit from Recoome, but now having seen Krillin downed and unable to fight any further after receiving just one...
...and Gohan crouched over by Krillin, seeing a friend he had spent months with in such a broken state physically, as well as in spirit.
“We came to get the Dragon Balls… and now... it’s all for nothing. It’s… it’s game over.”
For Jeice and Burter, however, they looked over in pride at what Recoome had done.
"Heh. Now I'm curious if he can actually pull this off. Save us all that work."
"Even if he doesn't, we'll just pick off the last one."
Gohan's shock and hurt at what happened to Krillin slowly shifted as he turned over at Pan...
"Why didn't you stop this?"
He got onto his feet and, despite the height difference between them, his aura of anger towards Pan made her step back from its intensity.
"I saw you! You could've made it in time!"
The boy who would become her father, one step from snarling, registered as far more unleashed than her father had ever been when angry with her.
"You saved him earlier, but you stopped yourself!"
Pan couldn't keep a blank expression, which broke down as he continually confronted her, and as she was backed into a corner...
"Tell me why!"
Once her back hit a rocky wall, she felt like Gohan would've stopped her from leaving, no matter which direction she tried to go. Even as an adult being scolded by a kid, she very much felt like one being scolded by her father.
Pan crumpled down against the wall, trying to stop tears from leaving her eyes and failing. She knew her duty prevented her from telling him anything, but she couldn't bring herself to lie with an on-the-fly excuse either. Pan looked her father in the eyes and told him how she truly felt in that moment.
A part of Gohan, seeing that he had made Pan go into tears, began to regret how he had acted.
Towa and Mira looked over at Pan in that moment.
“Chronoa keeps forcing her to restore history, even if it means watching the Z-Fighters… those she cares about… suffer.”
She then looked over at Pan, weeping after Gohan demanded an explanation.
“She wanted to tell the young Son Gohan what was happening. It pained her not being able to when deep down, in her heart… she wanted to.”
“The patroller is struggling with the orders she has been given.” Mira added. ”Perhaps if pushed enough, she will be unable to follow them any further.”
”And the sooner she does, the sooner the patroller can help me… and I can help her.”
"Aww, whoops," went Recoome. "Guess I just don't know my own strength."
He tauntly shouted to Krillin…
"You okay there?!"
...then saw no movement on his part.
"Bummer. I wanted to have more fun with him."
Now Pan was left to wonder what to do next.
"Do I need to sit back and watch from here?"
"The time frame's off," began Chronoa. "Everything's happening earlier. Goku's still four minutes out."
"So can I help my dad or not?!"
After the Supreme Kai of Time gave an audible sigh...
"Up until the point Gohan needs to take the big hit."
Pan practically did the same as Chronoa in her head, not looking forward to being told to stand by when it was meant to happen, but knowing she had to, inquired...
”What is the hit?”
”A kick to his neck.”
Pan did not enjoy her mind creating a mental image of it, but now she knew what not to stop.
"Just give me a heads-up when that’s coming up."
Recoome, while not approaching Gohan and Pan's position, circled around them.
"You two almost ready?"
Gohan turned away from Pan, facing Recoome's direction and getting ready for battle.
"I'm not going to run away! I'm going to give everything I've got!"
He then turned to see Pan standing to his side. He nodded to her, then she returned the gesture with her own.
“All right!” went Recoome, excited and banging on the remains of his chest armor with a palm. “Now let’s go!”
As the two moved towards Recoome, Gohan put out his hands and performed a familiar gestured before shouting...
Gohan fired a Masenko at Recoome, which both Pan and Vegeta saw was greater in power than the one he fired at Nappa…
"Kakarot's brat... can he actually stand up to that brute?"
...but Recoome, with his breath alone, deflected it back at Gohan. He tried getting out of the way, but his legs locked up and he could only step slowly to the side. Pan shoved him aside and put out both her wrists to block as her shield began to envelop her.
Her father’s attack had her grinding backward while standing, but her shield held, though it appeared to crack. But her efforts to protect Gohan had left him in the path of the charging Recoome, who was going in for a punch. She flew forward and stuck the Power Pole in front of Recoome’s leg to trip him...
...but it didn’t quite succeed as she was sent back. He only stumbled slightly, his punch being sent partially off-target and hitting Gohan’s cheek instead of the center of his face. As Gohan rolled, Pan hopped over Recoome, putting the Power Pole to his throat and keeping it in place with her legs while punching at his head with her hands.
“Thanks for that. Now work on my scalp.”
She could tell from that statement that Recoome was hardly affected by it. In fact, her gloved hands hurt slightly just from hitting him.
”His skin… it’s like metal.”
She then saw Gohan charging with ki and flying straight at Recoome, colliding into his chest with his fist. Pan could see that the last of Recoome’s armor broke off from the impact, clattering to the ground…
...but also saw Recoome smiling.
“Ah, good try!”
With a chop, Gohan was knocked out of his sight. Pan saw this, but put her focus back on Recoome, striking him once again, but then she saw Recoome looking up at her…
Just by blowing air on her face, he pushed Pan back, exposing her to being grabbed by her arms.
In the midst of the slam, Pan saw Gohan getting back up…
...then nothing but dirt.
Recoome got ready for another punt…
“For the goal!”
But then Gohan slammed into him, actually making him lose his footing for a moment. After digging herself out of the dirt, she saw what her father was pulling off.
“Recoome didn’t even flinch at that punch, but now… he’s actually moving him.”
But Recoome grabbed hold of him, then threw him upward. He pursued right after, kneeing Gohan in the stomach, then throwing him back down to the ground. Pan saw Recoome falling with an elbow to hit the back of Gohan’s head at high speed…
”He’s not going to survive that...”
“Kaio-Ken Times Three!”
She flew over Gohan, her wrists and shield back up and even greater in power than before. This time, Recoome saw his elbow had barely any impact on her at all.
Then by separating her arms, Pan unleashed an explosion outside of where she stood, knocking Recoome into the far distance and quickly wrapping up Kaio-Ken. Gohan, while unharmed by Recoome’s elbow thanks to Pan’s intervention, coughed up blood as a result of the knee from before.
Pan offered him a hand up, which he took, getting to his feet. He then let go, grasping his stomach with that hand. Pan saw in his other hand was the Power Pole.
“This is yours, right?”
Pan nodded and took it from him.
“Your father’s... and my grandfather’s.”
But both sensed something rapidly accelerating…
“Don’t forget about me!”
Both hopped out of the way of a two-handed slam into the ground, the impact practically creating a tidal wave of dirt and grass. He fired rapidly as they ascended, forcing the two to swerve to avoid them. Then while spinning like a top, he chopped at both Pan and Gohan. Her father was sent crashing down and her too despite blocking his hit with the Power Pole.
Right as she recovered, she felt the ground shake with Recoome touching down in front of her. She held out her Power Pole to block whatever was coming, but he already grabbed hold of it with both hands, then shoved it forward into her forehead. Afterward, he grabbed her by her face and slammed her into the ground. Believing her to be dazed, he flew off right away towards Gohan.
Pan, lying in the ground in a hole shaped like her, heard Recoome calling out to her father.
"You're really something, kiddo. I'm impressed you're still going…”
Gohan, cuts on his face and blood down his lips, was hunched over as Recoome chatted with him.
”...even though you're still going to lose."
Pan, slowly climbing back out, saw Gohan stand in defiance of the odds.
"I'm the son of... Son Goku..."
And with what he had left…
“...and I won’t...”
Gohan flew at him for a punch.
"...I won’t give up!"
Pan had a feeling how this was going to go…
“This is it, Pan...” Chronoa confirmed to her.
Recoome didn’t quite jump over Gohan. Or rather, he simply flipped from a standstill, swerving over the intended punch, then with his stuck out leg…
...delivered a kick straight to Gohan's neck.
She saw that once Gohan landed, he didn’t move a muscle, just like Krillin. Unlike Krillin, his face was completely frozen in place, not even giving a single twitch.
Recoome stepped back, then turned to his comrades.
“See? What’d I tell you?”
“Well done, Recoome,” congratulated Jeice. “First, you put 'the mighty Vegeta’ in his place...”
“...and now those two are easy pickings.”
While Recoome had his back turned, she put her fingers to Gohan's neck, desperate for signs of life...
...and her father still had a pulse.
"Oh thank goodness!"
“Too bad about the poor kid...” began Burter, him and Jeice facing Pan.
“Spine’s broken,” continued Jeice. ”Won't last long from now."
She then heard Vegeta speak…
"I thought the runt would step up!”
...then after spitting blood onto the ground, followed up with another terrible remark.
Seeing the inch-from-death condition Gohan was in along with her mind wandering back to Vegeta's killing of the Namekians made her snap at him once again, only this time more-so.
"Zip it, murderer! Or would you prefer I leave you to the hounds?!"
Seeing the three Ginyu’s relatively healthy, even as Recoome lacked armor and had clear damage across his head and body, the Saiyan Prince hated what he was resorting to.
"Fine," followed by whispering to himself, “Why waste my breath?”
"Lowering myself to doing as this girl says… to survive. We’re still no match… but at least now, if they focus on her, I have a chance at getting away… and when I recover..."
Towa saw Mira looking over at the controls, trying to gesture her to move aside.
She moved aside, seeing him ready to operate once again.
"What are you doing now?"
“I wish to try something.”
"Hey guys,“ began Recoome. ”Vegeta and those two are done for, right?"
Jeice and Burter didn't nod, but Recoome knew they agreed.
"Just one left standing.”
The purple glow overtook Recoome once again.
”How about we all finish this... with style?"
Both Jeice and Burter's eyes glowed along with their bodies as they smiled back.
"Yeah, let's do that. Three-on-one."
Trunks, seeing the three Ginyu Force members slowly walking towards Pan, their bodies glowing purple and their eyes red...
"Wait... they shouldn't be acting like this."
Then as they began their attack...
As Pan avoided a hook from Recoome, Trunks continued.
“Towa… she's targeting you. Getting you out of the way to get my father, Krillin, and Gohan easier."
After avoiding a kick from Burter, Pan asked...
”What’s my grandfather’s ETA?”
"Goku should be there in just two minutes. They should stop once they sense his ship touching down."
"I'll hold them off until then. Just tell me when to break for it."
Then after a swing from Jeice’s blade that she ducked under, she saw the other two trying to circle around her to keep her from moving.
”Just need to space this out over two minutes...”
Pan closed her eyes and charged with ki as the three charged at her.
”Just two minutes...”
The three were blown back by a massive gust, aghast at her glowing red aura. With her first move, she zoomed into Jeice, grabbing hold of and throwing him as far as she could. As she saw Recoome running in swinging, Pan simply turned her head to avoid it, then tossed him as well. Burter was stunned at her speed.
“I could barely keep up with that…!”
But he got into position to move.
"That’s it! Top speed, now!”
He flew to her and found that Pan had met his attack head-on with her wrists. He broke it off and continued the attack, but found she was still keeping pace.
"This is my top speed! How is she… as fast as me?!”
But Pan knew if she kept this up, her body would break down, so she went on the attack herself, Burter keeping up, but struggling as her frenzy continued.
”Need to slow him down… or else he’s going to overwhelm me the moment I exit Kaio-Ken.”
After forcing both his arms downward, she lifted her hand quickly to poke him in his eyes. Pan followed this up with two blows to his chest and an uppercut. She caught Burter and headbutt him, dazing him enough to leave his legs exposed. Grabbing his arm to keep him in place in the air, she kicked at the side of his thigh, then flipped him. By the time he tried to recover, Pan chopped at his other thigh, then kicked him downward towards the water below.
She landed, exiting Kaio-Ken now that Burter would take some time to return. But as she tried to catch her breath, she saw Jeice and Recoome returning.
“Now that the fastest one is out of the picture… just a little longer until my grandfather gets here...”
She traded punches with Jeice as Recoome hopped over her.
“Mira, what are you doing? The plan was to stall her. Keep her focused on protecting the Earthling, Gohan, and Vegeta.”
Mira at first kept silent as the two watched Pan fending off the three while going in and out of Kaio-Ken. But as they saw a timer had expired...
Trunks and Chronoa both looked at the scroll, waiting for what they needed to happen.
"It's been two minutes," went Trunks. "Goku's ship should've arrived by now. What's keeping him?"
A charging Recoome punch was dodged, Pan hopping past him. As she began to flip over, she saw Burter flying in for her.
"Do you see him approaching?" Pan asked Trunks.
He looked through the glowing purple scroll, seeing a lack of Goku's spaceship anywhere near Namek. He then scrolled backwards while covering the distance it traveled over the course of the six days after his departure...
...and saw nothing.
"How can this be?"
Pan grabbed hold of Burter by his leg as he flew past her, then swung him into Recoome.
"Trunks! Do you see my grandpa?! Is he almost here?!"
"Get out of there, now Pan!" shouted Trunks.
In mid-discussion, Recoome slammed his fist downward, Pan stopping it with both wrists. As she tried pushing upward, Burter flew in between her legs, knocking her off her feet with his shoulder pads. Landing with her hands, Pan hopped backward as she saw Jeice firing projectiles at her.
”I’ve used Kaio-Ken too much. Even if I tried now...”
Recoome flew in for a flying knee, which Pan barely avoided by catching and pushing herself off the knee before it could strike her. Just then, Burter flew in for a high-speed tackle, rocketing her away.
"They're all over me!"
After managing to break out of it, heading back to the ground, she saw Jeice already heading right for her, his blade of ki swinging below her waist.
She winced as it struck the side of her left leg towards her knee. As Jeice lifted that arm, intending to swing it at Pan's neck, she caught it with ki-covered hands.
Jeice's other hand was free, which he took advantage of to punch Pan in the gut, causing her to crouch down and loosen her grip on his other arm. Jeice then decided to go for a chop to the side of her left shoulder.
Unlike the leg, which was a quick cut, this cut continually burned as Jeice tried pushing it to the left. Jeice went for another gut punch, which Pan stopped by catching it with one hand...
...but now Jeice could push the blade further sideways with one less arm stopping it. It cut and burned deeper.
Unknown to Pan, Burter was coming in from the distance behind her, intending to take advantage of Jeice trying to take off her arm.
Summoning all the strength she could in her left arm, she slowly pulled Jeice's wrist out of her shoulder. With a roar, she finally got the blade out of him, then, as Jeice tried to go for a stab, she redirected it past her head...
...into Burter’s chest.
For a moment, Towa was in awe at what had resulted from Mira's manipulation, believing that history may change if Burter's wound was fatal.
"Has he done it?"
Jeice looked in horror at what he had inadvertently done.
As Pan let go of him, he ran over and held up his comrade, trying to hold him up with one hand while putting pressure on the wound with the other.
"Hang in there, mate!"
She looked back at them, seeing Burter in bad shape, struggling to even speak.
Her task was to hold them off and now she couldn't stop asking herself...
”Did I... kill Burter?”
A massive punch by Recoome met the distracted Pan’s side. As she slid, she practically felt a crunch from the attack’s impact.
”His first punch...”
Pan pushed herself upward, but the pain to her side caused her to fall back down.
”...all this… this damage...”
As she tried figuring out how many ribs had been broken, she saw Jeice trying to stomp on her head. She rolled out of the way, then saw Recoome running in with his arms raised while Jeice span for a slash. Pan took out her polearm and aimed it carefully at the two.
"Power Pole Extend!"
It struck Jeice, stopping his intended slash, as well as Recoome from delivering an axe slam to her head...
...but both his hands struck her right shoulder, dislocating it.
She dropped the Power Pole, then was met by a two-handed swing upward to her chin. Pan rolled upon touching the ground, too dizzied by the impact to try slowing herself with ki from her other hand.
Once she finally stopped, lying on her stomach...
"Nearly took my head off..."
Pan felt a partial looseness in her jaw.
"...almost dislocated it."
But this thought was immediately interrupted by the Crusher Ball, finally hitting its mark, burning a hole through her cape and searing at her back before detonating, sending her further back.
“Get her out of there!”
After Trunks shouted this to Chronoa, she prepared to return Pan to the library...
...a blue blur was seen overhead, causing Chronoa to stop.
As Pan lied down, trying to lift herself back up...
Burter came crashing down towards her. Pan put out a hand to fire and keep him from aiming for her head. But as she fired, he didn't...
...landing on both her legs instead. She rolled in pain, causing Burter to stumble off of her as he tried to aim a blast with his hands. Even as he tried correcting it, his wound combined with the impact of his landing made him lose his footing soon after.
"Can't feel them... can't feel my..."
It was like when Piccolo crippled her grandfather by taking the use of all four limbs from him. So far, she still had the use of her left arm.
To her horror, upon looking at her broken legs, from a hole in her pant's right knee...
...a bone stuck out.
Towa looked in horror at the crippled Pan. Before, when Pan was merely an obstacle, nothing more than a pawn of the Time Patrol, Towa felt nothing when Raditz had nearly killed her. But when she saw Pan go against their directive to try saving Yamcha, Towa hoped there was more to her. And now that she knew that was the case, that Pan too suffered from events costing her home which she was forbidden from changing, and might've convinced Pan to join her...
...and to see her tortured...
"Not like this..."
She put both her hands on Mira, him turning and seeing her distraught face.
“Why are you doing this, Mira?!”
“To remove the patroller from the equation,” he answered matter-of-factly.
She tried getting him to move aside, pleading with Mira to stop what he was doing.
"Have the Ginyu Force stand down... then stay over her so the Time Patrol can't retrieve her. Then I'll go down and..."
He shoved Towa back as lightly as he could, being mindful not to knock her off her feet.
"The patroller dies."
Even still, Towa had to stop herself from hitting a nearby console. Once he saw this, his cold face slowly shifted with some regret.
"I... I am sorry..."
But after his apology, he went back to form.
”...but if she is dead, then there is no one to stop what you’re doing. By the time they find a replacement, it would be too late. You will have already won.”
Towa knew if she stopped Mira now, then that would jeopardize everything she had already done. As much as she wanted to look away from what was to come for Pan, she watched solely for the sake of the mission.
"I hope you can forgive me, patroller..."
Now Recoome stood over Pan, grabbing hold of her and lifting her up by the collar of her cape. During this, Pan turned to Burter, who was kept standing up by Jeice, spitting blood as he taunted...
"You have lost!"
The only thing Pan had to be thankful for was that Jeice's attention was on his comrade's condition. As he looked at Burter's wound, then the person who caused him to hurt his comrade, Jeice turned to Recoome.
"Take out this trash."
"What are you waiting for?!" cried out Trunks at the sight of Pan’s broken legs.
"If we try it now…” Chronoa explained as she tried to keep calm. ”We will grab Recoome as well, or maybe only him. You know what that'd bring..."
"If Goku's not coming, I think history's already changing!”
Trunks’s temper was beginning to overtake him.
“And Guldo getting nabbed hasn't ended the world yet! What harm would there be to grabbing one more person?!"
“Trunks, you know what will happen if we’re reckless…!”
“I’m going in!”
He tried taking the scroll from her, but Chronoa pulled back.
“You know you can’t!”
“I don’t care!”
“We can’t risk it!”
With a shout, Trunks went Super Saiyan, then yanked the scroll from her, causing Chronoa to fall over. Both the Supreme Kai of Time’s hands were ready to conjure whatever spell needed to stop Trunks when he looked down at her…
...realizing what he did had left a bruise on her chin. Once she saw the look of regret in Trunks’ eyes, Chronoa’s hands stopped glowing.
“Krillin, Gohan, and your father. All three would see you. If they see you now before you meet, you will not be a stranger to them on Earth. History will change… and you know what will become of all the lives that stem from the main timeline.”
Knowing the cost of changing the future still haunted Trunks, and worse, he realized...
”Even if I saved Pan from those three… she would cease to exist because of it.”
He exited Super Saiyan and let go of the scroll. Chronoa caught it without touching it, then took hold of it while Trunks offered a hand up.
“Forgive me, Supreme Kai of Time.”
As Pan overheard the start of their commotion, she tried to think of how to get out of what was likely her impending demise.
"I could slip away... but without my legs... and even if I could get away, Recoome would catch me in no time."
“You gave us a good run there...” went Recoome, giving his props to her just like he had her father.
Now she saw a pink glow in his mouth, not unlike that from the Recoome Eraser Gun. Pan’s brain worked as fast as it could, trying to think of what to do.
“Kaio-Ken can’t help me...”
Then she thought about how to slip away unseen.
”Of course! I could use…!”
It hit her that she needed two arms to pull it off.
”I need to buy time. Keep Recoome from firing...”
He was surprised that she addressed him by name, but also found it was partially mumbled due to the state of her jaw.
“Say... you guys are pretty strong.”
As she talked to him, her left arm moved its way upward past her chest.
“I want to join your team. I mean you’re short one member, right?”
Both Burter and Jeice looked over at Pan puzzled at her talking like this to Recoome.
“Can I join you?”
Her left hand was on her right shoulder, but she still needed to find the right area of it to grip.
“Thanks for the interest, but Ginyu doesn’t recruit enemies.”
Now Burter and Jeice saw where Pan’s hand was and started to piece together what she was doing.
"Now say 'night-night'."
The glow reached its apex as he finished his sentence, appearing even more intense due to the lacking cover from his remaining teeth.
With a tight grip and a tug...
...She relocated her right arm.
And now with the very last moment she had before the blast, she moved both hands towards the side of her face. By the time Burter and Jeice tried to cover themselves and their warning was about to leave their lips...
All three were blinded...
“Agh! Not again!”
...as Pan squeezed herself out of her cape that Recoome held, his pink beam just barely missing her head. She then used a small burst to push herself away from Recoome, but from here, she was in no condition to flee any further.
"This is our one shot."
Trunks, hearing Pan and seeing her at a sufficient distance as to not grab anyone else with the teleport, shouted…
As the three Ginyu Force members ran over to Pan to apprehend her...
...a flash of white...
..and then she was nowhere in sight.
Unlike before, where Pan leaving unseen reverted history back to normal and their memories of Pan's presence disappeared...
...everything was still changed. Burter still grasped his wound from Jeice's blade of ki and all three of them still looked for her.
Recoome, holding her yellow cape in his hand, looked at the back of it and realized it had a massive hole from where the Crusher Ball struck.
"Aww, Jeice! You put a hole in my trophy!"
"Sorry," went Jeice sarcastically, holding the Power Pole in his hands before handing it to Burter. "Obviously quite hard to maneuver my Crusher Ball behind fabric."
The two laughed followed by Burter, his pained laughs slowly sounding better as he planted it on the ground to help him stand up on his own.
But now that Pan was gone, they turned back to their three targets.
"Well..." began Recoome. "Let's finish up here."
Krillin, his memory of Pan still there as well, wondered...
"Did she abandon us?"
Vegeta, knowing he was no match for any of the three now...
"I knew it. The Ginyu Force would be the end of us. Even Kakarot couldn't turn the tide..."
And Gohan, frozen in place due to his broken neck, could only think to himself...
"Dad... I failed... I'm sorry..."
Trunks, knowing that Pan was about to land in the room, took off his coat and placed it on the ground. Just then, Pan emerged, lying on top of it.
"Hang in there, Pan. Beetro should be here soon."
Pan, seeing Chronoa looking over at the scroll in her hands...
Even in her current state, Pan had to know...
“Where is my grandpa?”
Chronoa focused on Earth, then scrolled back to the day Goku was meant to leave, seeing no departure of his ship.
"He never left."
She scrolled, overlooking the exact moment that Goku left the hospital, then followed him all the way to Capsule Corp...
...only to see a figure that wasn't meant to be there. Just then, battle erupted between the two.
“He’s... being stalled. Kept from leaving.”
Pan, seeing Chronoa with her back turned as she paced back and forth, caught a glimpse of the unfolding event. And the person fighting Goku..."Is that... my grandpa in Saiyan armor?"
The Terrible Turles! Intended Delay!
Goku, having left the hospital and flying his way towards Capsule Corp, seeing Dr. Brief with his wife Panchy and the spaceship he had created for Goku...
...as well as a strange visitor in Saiyan armor whose hair was not unlike Goku's from the back.
"Is that you, Goku?" inquired Dr. Brief. "You look... different from before. Did you get a tan?"
"That's an interesting costume you're wearing," added Panchy. "Is that one of those space monocles?"
The two got no answer from the stranger, who only grinned as he knew who was coming.
"Dr. Brief! Panchy!"
They saw Goku landing right nearby.
"That you, Goku?" Dr. Brief asked until he saw that it was unmistakably Goku. "How strange. This man looks just like you."
"Are you okay, Goku?" went Panchy, seeing how serious Goku was acting.
"Get inside! Now!"
After Goku shouted this warning to them, the two did as he said and ran into their home.
"Ah, how noble of you, Kakarot..." began Turles. "...but utterly pointless."
"Perhaps I am your brother, Kakarot."
Goku looked over at him in utter disbelief at the notion.
"... I have another one?"
After hearing the shock in Goku's voice, Turles couldn't keep himself from laughing.
"I jest. I am not a son of your father... though we are both low-class Saiyans."
"Is that why you look like me?"
"And you, me."
Turles began to crack his neck as Goku asked "Did you come here to talk... or to fight?"
"To fight, of course. Thought it would be nice to kill some time before killing you."
Goku hopped back as he saw Turles taking on a stance, a massive amount of ki surging around this new Saiyan.
Six days later...
Burter, Jeice, and Recoome looked over at the defeated Krillin, Gohan, and Vegeta. Goku had not arrived to turn the tide in this critical moment.
Gohan, after watching Vegeta and Krillin be no match for Recoome, was now lying completely helpless as he approached. He couldn't move a muscle or make a single sound as his impending death was a stomp away.
"Sleep tight, little guy."
Recoome lifted his foot into the air, about to finish the son of Goku...
...when time stopped. Frozen completely with a teal hue across everything.
Chronoa was using her power to stop the alteration of history, which thus far was being carried out successfully due to Goku's delay in the past.
"How long can you hold this?" asked Trunks.
"Hours at best."
"But you stopped a change for six days."
"Yes, but that was me simply stopping a change in the moment. This change is occurring from far away and is still in motion. It's affects are already apparent, making the strain far greater."
Even with her estimate of hours, Chronoa was clearly straining even as she spoke.
"If this keeps up, then Goku never arriving will become the new history. Krillin, Gohan, and your father will perish at the Ginyu Force's hands."
Trunks looked over at Pan, who was still in bad shape from her battle earlier, and was now being looked over by the Saiyan medic Beetro, as he realized...
"Neither of us will be born."
Pan looked over as Beetro crouched down by her knee, the bone still sticking out from before.
"Senzu bean won't cut it?"
"It will... but first, I need to put this bone back into place."
Putting on a pair of gloves, he slowly moved his hands toward it.
"Let me know when you're ready."
Pan gulped at how painful this was going to be, then closed her eyes.
"Okay, I'm ready."
Beetro began to slowly press down on the bone as Pan gritted her teeth trying as hard as she could not to make a sound even as small ones escaped her.
In the midst of this, Pan turned over to Trunks and Chronoa.
"That Saiyan... fighting my grandpa... who... who is he?"
Chronoa, while not looking over at Pan, answered:
"Throughout the nearly infinite number of timelines, the smallest of differences may result in someone existing or not existing. In the case of Turles, he was not born in the main timeline, but exists outside of it."
"It would seem Towa found him and recruited him to her cause," Trunks speculated.
"Is he related to my grandpa?" Pan inquired.
"Both Goku's father and Turles were bred from a low class template, so they do share some physical qualities... but no, they are not of the same bloodline."
Finally, Beetro had finished: the bone was back in place below the skin and muscle of her knee.
He gestured Trunks over, who walked over to Pan, handing her a senzu bean. After crunching it in her mouth...
The wound on her shoulder had healed, as had the burning wounds on her back. Pan sat up, looking over at her knee, then feeling it with her hands.
"Pan, I know you've been through enough today..."
Despite what Trunks was trying to say, Pan interrupted, "I'll go fight Turles".
Back on Earth by Capsule Corp, Goku had been battling Turles for some time and already realizing the difference in power between them.
"He's even stronger than Vegeta... but he's holding back. Why would he do that if he said he wanted to kill me?"
So far, Turles only attacked Goku with minimal power, just enough to keep the Saiyan raised on Earth on his toes.
In mid-fight, a voice came to Turles through an earpiece.
"Turles..." began Towa...
...watching over the events on her screen.
"You're toying with him, Turles."
"The objective is to delay Kakarot, is it not?"
"Delay or kill, Turles. You're not taking this seriously."
"I could tell you what I'm doing is tactical, to wear him down... but in all honesty, I want to enjoy myself before I get my wishes. And since it fits with your objective at hand, I do not see the issue with..."
Towa noticed Turles pausing, then caught a flash at the corner of her screen...
...and Pan, emerging and standing next to Goku.
Mira was just as stunned.
"She is back already? And they have found us?"
"Not surprising, what with their medical tech. And I knew it would only be a matter of time until they did."
Mira then caught a sigh escaping her lips.
"What is it?"
"This is why I wanted the Ginyu's to target the three on Namek: to keep her at bay to allow Turles as much time as needed."
He began to realize the initiative he took earlier had put Towa's entire operation into jeopardy.
"I did not see the full picture of what you were doing. If I had, I wouldn't have..."
"Mira, that discussion can wait. Let us focus."
Goku and Turles both stopped what they were doing upon seeing Pan enter, her grandfather particularly stunned at something different about her.
"Whoa. Your power's gone way up since last time. You must've trained a lot since I last saw you."
Pan simply nodded.
"Heh. He's technically right."
As for Turles...
"Ah. More prey!"
He fired a blast at Pan, which she responded to by firing a counter-projectile. The explosion that resulted knocked her and Goku back.
"No, Turles!" shouted Towa over her communications.
"What is the issue?" asked Turles.
Mira saw Towa quite concerned.
"You may kill Goku, but you are not to kill her."
"You did not tell me there would be interference, Towa."
"I didn't say there wouldn't be."
"Well I won't let her just run free. The cost of her transgression is death. "
Mira watched as Towa went from panicking to recomposing herself.
"Put her out of commission, but I want her alive."
"This wasn't part of our agreement."
"It is an alteration I'm making."
"And here's my alteration: I will get this girl to you alive... IF you give me a fourth wish."
Towa groaned, turning around and pacing for a moment.
"It is no issue. I still have three wishes guaranteed for my service. I'll just go ahead and..."
"I'll do it!"
At first shaking in her response, Towa then composed herself once more.
"Spare her life and another wish will be yours."
"Ah. Good. Then I'll have her gift-wrapped for you once I'm done here."
With their conversation over, Towa watched the battle closely, ensuring that Turles kept to his word. But Mira grew concerned over how much leeway he perceived Towa to be giving Pan.
"Do not take this as an objection on my part, but isn't Turles not trying to kill the patroller a threat to your operation?"
Towa tried to rationalize her decision.
"Turles will alter history. Then once the patroller is brought here, she will have no reason to return to the Time Patrol. She will join us."
"And if she still refuses..." began Mira, looking over at a mask, one to cover the forehead and eyes of the wearer with a green gem on its top. "We have other means, do we not?"
Towa saw the mask and immediately covered it with a sheet.
"No, Mira. She will join us of her own free will."
Even as Turles' mind seemed to be elsewhere, neither Pan nor Goku felt he was truly vulnerable to attack in that moment. Goku especially knew his capabilities from all their sparring so far...
...and even then, Turles seeming to disappear in front of him caught him off-guard. Pan was struck with deja-vu of Raditz seeming to do the same at the start of her battle against him, but then she focused, ducking underneath a swing.
Goku watched as Pan seemed to be keeping pace with the Saiyan who had thus far been completely overwhelming him. He then noticed her turning to him as she trapped both of Turles' arms.
"Goku! Get on that ship, now!"
In spite of her advice in regards to keeping to history, Goku not wanting Turles to go on a rampage combined with continuing a battle that was pushing him led him to stay instead.
"...well, it was worth a shot."
Turles managed to fire in Goku's direction, forcing Pan's grandfather to hop backward. After a quick headbutt to daze her, Turles seemed to disappear once again.
Goku hopped upward, finding it hard to see through the dirt and debris launched from the last attack. In what seemed like a flash upon seeing Turles headbutt Pan to break out of her grip, he lost sight of the evil Saiyan...
...then felt something tripping him. Turles caught him by his feet before he could recover in midair, then Pan saw Turles swinging Goku around not unlike her grandfather's dragonthrow technique. After Goku was flung towards a building at high speed, she intercepted and caught her grandfather, preventing the collision.
Unfortunately, by the time she could sense Turles' location, she felt a ki blast striking her back.
"Heh! I counted on that!"
She was rocketed to the ground, letting go of Goku upon impact, who was left to roll across the ground and recover on his own. As she tried getting back up, Turles landed on her back with one of his legs with as much impact as he could muster, then proceeded to put more pressure on it.
"You're going to kill her!" shouted Towa. "You promised she'd be...!"
"You're the one who neglected to give me specific guidelines." Turles answered more calmly by comparison. "Whether unconscious or an inch from death, I'll bring her to you alive as promised."
Even while still conversing mentally with Towa, he nonchalantly stopped and caught a kick towards his head from Goku.
"Now leave me to my work."
As he got ready to swing Goku back down to the ground, a brief stumble: Turles was no longer standing on Pan. Goku managed a punch to Turles' right cheek, his first successful hit against him since they began, and Pan followed up with a sweep kick. As Turles saw himself upside down, Pan had her hand out to his face, charging ki.
The resulting blast sent him back a ways, but Pan saw that his face, while given some bruising, wasn't seriously harmed by it. He floated upward, then began formulating a plan:
"Let's test your two bleeding hearts..."
Turles fired in two opposing directions:
One blast was headed for a building, which Pan and Goku could sense was filled with people. The other, right for the spaceship Goku needed to get to Namek.
In that instant, as Pan headed straight for the spaceship to prevent its destruction, she saw Goku fly right into the path of the other blast.
Both blasts were powerful, more than capable of tearing straight through their intended targets like paper, forcing Pan and Goku to exert more and more power to stop them and keep themselves from being flung back.
But then Goku saw Turles turn and fire with both hands at the Capsule Corp building. He realized he was too far back and at the rate the blasts were going towards Dr. Brief and Panchy's location...
Pan saw Bulla's grandparents looking over at all that was transpiring from their doorway. As she was growing up, she remembered Dr. Briefs' hair thinning and Panchy's hair graying. But with Turles' next attack, they wouldn't live to reach that age...
"I'll save them, Bulla!"
She intercepted the blasts intended for the two, the strain on her shield greater than before compared to the singular intended for the ship seconds ago. Pan fell to one knee, that and her standing foot being pushed back, and her jacket's sleeves began to sear. Stopping the blasts was out of the question.
"No...! I won't let them die!"
If she couldn't stop them, she had to redirect them. With an upward swing of her arms and a shout, Pan saw the blasts only strike bits of wall as they were forced into the sky.
Turles came down with a crashing chop, forcing Pan down even as she stopped it with her wrist, then his other hand aimed right for the nearby spectators.
"Like a bug on the kitchen floor..." he thought in amusement.
Goku shouted this as he then tackled Turles away to prevent the deaths of Bulma's parents. As Goku hopped backward, Turles could tell that the Saiyan raised on Earth was furious at him for the deed he had attempted twice.
"Unless we take this elsewhere, I'm done fighting you!"
He had tolerated Turles sticking to fisticuffs and basic blasts, but now that he was trying to wipe out others around him including the parents of his oldest friend, he refused to allow Turles to carry on in this fashion in the city.
"This will work to our advantage," Turles thought. "More time to kill."
He broke off his fighting stance and crossed his arms, nodding.
"Very well, Kakarot. I will oblige. If only so we can both go all-out."
Pan already knew Goku had been delayed enough just from fighting Turles prior to her arrival, but now...
"No, Goku! You can't...!"
Seeing the two flying away side-by-side into the distance, Pan could tell her grandfather had already made up his mind.
"If you keep wasting time like this... my dad... your son... will die."
Trunks, overlooking what was transpiring, was just as frustrated at the development.
"Damn it, Goku! You're playing right into Towa's hand!"
His first thought to himself was to join in and stop Turles himself, but he already knew that would be exactly what Towa would want. Instead, he communicated with Pan directly.
"Whatever you have to do, protect Goku and defeat Turles as quickly as possible. The sooner he's stopped, the sooner Goku can save your father."
"Okay, but neither one's making it easy."
After hearing Pan's reply, Turles turned to Chronoa, seeing her visibly sweating from stopping the impending change on Namek.
"You can't keep this up forever and Goku's getting further delayed. Is there anything else we can do?"
Chronoa collected her thoughts, but then she had the spark of something, a light bulb over her head.
"I might have an idea. Trunks, take the scroll."
He didn't understand at first.
"But if Goku sees me before we first meet..."
"Goku won't see you because you're not going to meet up with him. You're going to Capsule Corp."
Goku and Turles touched down at the closest uninhabited desert region with Pan right behind them.
"There. Is the location of your grave to your liking, Kakarot?"
Goku didn't say a single word in response to Turles' taunt and neither did Pan. Turles received word from Towa.
"Now will you stop playing around with Goku?"
"My, aren't we demanding? If you really must insist upon it, I will kill Kakarot the moment I lay hands on him again."
As Goku saw the slightest movement of Turles' feet, he lost sight of him again, then saw Pan stepping in front of him...
...stopping Turles from striking Goku's face with his palm by catching it, then booting him back.
Having just arrived at Capsule Corp, Trunks hid from the view of Dr. Briefs and Panchy, who stood outside overlooking all the damage outside their property.
"Okay, now what?"
"Tinker with the ship's engine to increase its speed."
"Oh, I got it. So regardless of Goku's delay, he'll still touch down on Namek right on time."
"Yes... but it's critical that what you do be as slight as needed. Too fast and he'll arrive a day early, but too slow and he'll be too late."
As Trunks began opening a panel and taking a nearby wrench to begin his work, the severity of the task hit him.
"No pressure, then."
Goku tried participating in the fight time and time again, but found that Turles always vanished on him and Pan kept Turles from attacking him.
"I can barely keep up with either one of them right now."
Finally, he saw Turles clear as day firing a projectile at Pan. Instead of avoiding or blasting it, Pan covered one hand in ki and struck the projectile, tearing through it and flying through it to Turles before it detonated.
"In all that time I spent in the hospital, she's gotten that strong. Amazing."
After feeling a brief gust from behind, Goku turned to see Turles lifting both fists upward, then finding that Pan held them so he couldn't swing downward. Goku struck Turles in the gut, then saw Pan lifting and slamming him behind her.
"She's been at my side since Piccolo at the 23rd tournament, and while she looks about the same, she's grown with each battle."
Turles hopped away, firing a barrage of weaker blasts numerous enough to keep the two at bay while he recovered. He realized a drop of blood escaped one of his nostrils.
"You'd better deliver on that fourth wish, Towa... because I'm starting to get annoyed with her."
"You should've taken this seriously from the start," entered Mira's voice. "She wouldn't even be a factor if you had."
"Insinuate that again and I'll tear you apart with my bare hands when I'm finish up here."
"Well, then by all means, finish up there."
Turles didn't care for Towa's companion openly talking back and down to him. Seeing through the fading dust that Goku was waiting for him, he reached into one of his armor's side pockets.
"I suppose one can never be too careful..."
Goku gasped at the item Turles was holding in his hand:
"What... what is that?!"The Fruit of the Tree of Might.
Turles' New Power! Running Out Of Time!
One day ago
After completely ransacking the planet he was on, Turles looked up at what he had grown the day before:
The Tree of Might. Towering over the buildings of what was once a populated city. The area around it, once filled with plants and life, were now completely dead with the tree being the only living plant remaining.
He was somewhat disappointed that out of all the fruit the tree had produced, only one of them had sufficiently ripened enough.
Still, his prize dangled and he happily took it from the branch.
Turles was relishing the look on Goku's face regarding what he held in his hand.
"You're right to be fearful of this. With a single bite of this fruit, my power will be beyond both of you. I'll crush you both without effort."
The thought of what he would unleash on them both was no longer sufficient: Turles was going to make it a reality. He saw Goku taking no action to stop him as the fruit came closer to its intended destination.
"Now, Kakarot... you will be..."
The fruit exploded in his face. Pan had fired a blast before he could take a bite from it.
"Wait, you knew what that was, Pan?!" asked Chronoa.
"I didn't. I have no idea what that fruit thing was or what it even does. I just didn't want Turles using it."
She turned her focus back to Turles, who was blinded at the moment by some of the splattered fruit getting in his eyes. Goku didn't make any moves against his opponent even admist his previous actions at Capsule Corp, but Pan immediately went on the offense.
Turles found himself struggling to fend her off, hits constantly getting around his defenses.
Both Towa and Mira saw what Pan had done.
"She did not let him use the fruit," began Mira. "A tactical move on her part."
"Unlike Goku, she doesn't want her opponent to power up in the midst of a fight," added Towa. "...but imagine how much it will hurt her when she is ordered to let the likes of Frieza power up. For "history's sake"."
While Turles didn't hear a single word from either of them on the comms, he already had a good idea of how they were perceiving his current predicament.
"Laughing at me, are they?!"
Managing to wipe what was left of the fruit from his eyes with his wrist, he snarled back at Pan, managing to block her incoming attacks.
Pan could tell he was in a fit of anger and Goku, seeing his opponent having recovered, leapt back into the fray. Turles didn't find it to be much of an issue stopping him, but even admist his rage, Pan was keeping up.
"I despite this form... what it does to my mind. But now, without the fruit... I have no choice."
After allowing himself to be struck down onto the ground, Turles reached down into the dirt below him and, right as Pan tried to strike him again, threw dirt into her face. After knocking her onto her stomach, he stomped on her back to pin her down as well as to keep her from effectively aiming at his next move.
"No interference from her this time..."
With a quick flick of his wrist, Goku was knocked back, allowing Turles the time and space needed to create a power ball in his hand. Seeing Goku's eyes go big, Turles smirked before tossing it high into the air. As it began to travel upward quickly, he began to close his hand.
"Burst open and mi...!"
A blast fired up at the artifical moon as Turles was about to finish...
...and upon contact, it was completely destroyed.
"No, this is...! That girl...! But she's...!"
He looked down at Pan at first, seeing that she looked as shocked as he did. He then turned to Goku, seeing his stance was that of one who had fired a blast seconds ago.
But as he recalled how Goku had acted prior, he couldn't process this move.
"You didn't hit me when I was blinded. Because you love a good fight! You should've let me transform into a Great Ape!"
Goku, breaking off his stance for just a moment, explained.
"The first time I ever saw someone with a power ball, I knew nothing about it or what it could do. Once I recognized you using it, I countered it. That's all."
Pan, having humored Turles enough to hear Goku's explanation, fired at the ground, launching herself and Turles back, then flew into his chest with her fist. His armor began to chip as he stumbled backward only to be met with a flying kick to his knee.
Turles' leg bend and he couldn't bring himself to move it in that moment, remaining grounded. She grasped his tail, pulling it to stop him then and there, but found herself launched back with a swing of it.
Pan shouted to her grandfather, "Now, Goku!" and the two fought Turles from his left and right. Turles turned side-to-side, firing at whoever had just attacked him only to see them avoid it, then finding himself struck on the opposite side.
Pan managed to slip past his intended guard with a double axe handle, striking the back of Turles' head and flooring him. After grabbing Turles' tail a second time, before he could launch her away again...
Now the grip on his tail was even more intense and he couldn't summon the strength to move it or even lift himself up.
"Keep him right there, Pan!" went the Supreme Kai of Time. "I'm about to get Goku back!"
Trunks, still at work on the inner mechanisms of the Capsule Corp spaceship, was listening in to Chronoa.
"Wait, how long do I have until Goku gets here?"
"Less than a minute," she answered. "I'll tell you the moment Goku leaves, and once I do, he'll be there instantly."
He began to realize how this would be possible.
Pan and Goku suddenly sensed something entering the area...
They turned to see Mr. Popo standing atop his magic carpet.
"Mr. Popo?" went Goku, not expecting to see him there.
"Goku, climb aboard. There isn't time to discuss it."
He looked over at Pan, seeing her Kaio-Ken beginning to take a toll on her.
"I can't..." he stumbled.
During all this, Turles was crouched over, looking at the dirt.
"This cannot be happening! Me, at the mercy of an Earthling girl and a Saiyan weaker than me! If she hadn't destroyed the fruit... and if Kakarot hadn't destroyed my power ball, I'd have crushed them with ease!"
Pan saw her grandfather hesitating to leave and shouted to him, "I've got him! Now get going!"
In his rage, Turles finally began to lift one of his arms.
"No! I can't allow them to disgrace me!"
He slammed his fist into the ground, then began to lift up his head.
"I refuse to allow their mockery of me to continue any longer!"
He then struck the ground with it, which Pan immediately took note of.
"You can't afford to dawdle, Goku," went Popo hurriedly. "We must make haste!"
Seeing Goku wasn't heeding Popo's words and instead looking at Turles, Pan was losing patience with him.
She stopped, catching herself, then saw that Turles tried getting up and that his hair began to change shape.
"You will feel the wrath... of TURLES!!!"
A massive gust of ki, one that pushed Popo and his carpet back. Pan was rocketed away, deactivating her Kaio-Ken as she landed. Goku was launched as well, seeing that he had landed right near Popo's carpet.
All three saw Turles, his hair sticking up as a dark crimson aura flowed across him.
"What is that?" Pan wondered. "That can't be... Super Saiyan."
"It's not Super Saiyan..." answered Chronoa. "...but whatever it is, his power's gone up."
Goku saw Popo get onto the carpet first, but seeing what Turles was doing now, still didn't join Popo.
"Krillin and your son need you, Goku."
"I can't leave, Mr. Popo."
Pan tried to gesture to her grandfather as calmly as she could, even in the face of the immense prescence in front of her.
"They need you more than I do, Goku."
During all this, Turles waited...
A conversation taking place between him and Towa.
"Do you hear me, Turles?"
"Of course I do."
"Your new level of power will be more than sufficient for the task at hand."
"Do you still wish me to kill Goku?!"
"It is not necessary. You could let him go and he wouldn't get back in time. Now..."
Towa looked over at Pan, still trying to convince her grandfather to leave.
"Just focus on the patroller. Alive, just as we agreed."
"Leave this to me, Goku," Pan continued to plead.
"I can't leave you by yourself with that guy. I'm staying."
Pan was getting frustrated, knowing she couldn't tell him exactly why he had to go.
"I can't reason with my grandpa... unless... I reason with him as a fighter."
She took a step forward.
"Please... let me have this. I need this battle."
Pan didn't believe the last thing she said, but she could see Goku ruminating before begrudgingly putting one foot onto Popo's carpet.
"After everything you've done for me, I guess you've earned it."
He turned back to her.
"But you'd better be alright after this."
After Pan nodded back to him, he sat down on the carpet across from the standing Mr. Popo. And in what seemed like a flash...
...both were nowhere to be seen.
"Ready, Trunks?" asked Chronoa.
Trunks, having closed the hatch to the engine and ensuring it wouldn't accidently open during travel, nodded towards the sky, knowing Chronoa would see it.
Trunks did so behind the Capsule Corp building as he saw Popo and Goku basically materialize not far from the spaceship.
"Thanks for the ride, Mr. Popo," went Goku graciously before hopping off towards the ship.
He turned back to Mr. Popo, who simply smiled and waved as Goku did the same with a chuckle. Just as Popo vanished away on his carpet...
"Ah, Goku, there you are..."
Dr. Briefs approached him alongside Panchy.
"We were worried about you. Now that all the commotion is over, let me show you around."
Trunks quietly groaned, realizing Goku's delay was still ongoing.
"Do you need me to tweak the engine some more?"
"We can't risk it," answered Chronoa. "At this point, we need Pan to get back to Namek as soon as possible."
A task that had just become more complicated by Turles' seeming new form.
"You don't want to make the first move?" he asked Pan, seeing her trying to remain composed. "Fine. Then I will!"
Pan got ready to guard a punch from the front, but right as he was about to make contact, he zipped around her and struck her side. Right as she came to a stop on the ground, she saw him already in front of her about to bring his foot down.
She caught the kick as she powered up, but saw that he was toying with her, only pushing down with minimal effort. He finally went with all his might, the foot and her blocking arms slamming into her chest. Pan quickly fired off with both hands to fly back, but he already floated above her, firing a burst of purple projectiles.
Pan turned and saw them, moving to avoid them, but they were too fast even with Kaio-Ken, hitting and slowly bringing her back down. Seeing Turles about to intercept her, she threw a punch only for the Kaio-Ken enhanced fist to be caught with one hand. He quickly grasped her other wrist before she could throw another punch.
"You made a fool of me... but tell me..."
He began squeezing Pan's clenched fist.
"Who is the fool now?"
As he began crushing her hand, Pan let out a cry, but in the midst of it shouted, "Kaio-Ken times three!"
Now Pan could break out of Turles' grip, delivering the punch as intended, knocking him back while still on his feet. Knowing she couldn't keep up the form for long, Pan zoomed across, striking at him from several angles, but while a few landed, Turles was keeping his guard up. All throughout, Pan felt her body just trying to keep it up.
"His power's better sustaining itself than mine is. If I can't wear him down first, he'll outlast me and then I'm finished."
But then Turles took to the sky, charging a yellow energy between his stretched out palms...
"Pan, look out!" shouted Chronoa. "Don't let those rings touch you!"
She saw a yellow ring form, then fire at her soon enough. Pan first flew past it, then saw him moving back and quickly charging another one. This one struck her shirt's shoulder, just a hair from touching her. The third fired so fast Pan couldn't avoided it by moving. Instead, she narrowed herself as straight as she could, to fly straight through the ring.
Pan slammed into Turles' chest at high speed with two fists, seeing clear chips in his armor, but he was on the offensive soon after. A dodged punch broke off his right shoulder piece followed by Turles pushing Pan back with a burst of air. As she tried to recover, she felt the full strain of the form as he came crashing into her in midair, then flew the two of them into the ground.
A crater formed with dirt displaced and flying around it as he stood over Pan, whose Kaio-Ken times three finally gave out.
Towa and Mira saw the drained Pan lying half-buried after the last collision with Turles.
"Good, Turles," Towa went in congratulation. "Now remain where you are and keep her..."
"Actually, Towa..." Turles interrupted...
...as he lifted up Pan with one hand by her neck. She couldn't hear his conversation with Towa, but could see his face morphing from rage to contentment.
"I don't need that additional wish now."
"We made an agreement..." pleaded Towa. "Four in total if you bring the patroller to me alive."
"Well I've had a change of heart."
Now Pan could feel him fully squeezing her neck as she gripped his wrist with both hands to try pulling him back.
"I can't condone what she did to me, so I'd prefer execution. Is that going to be a problem for you?"
"We gave you this opportunity, Turles. You won't be able to get a single wish without us."
"Oh? Is that an ultimatum brewing, Towa?"
An invisible eye beam struck Turles' face, causing his head to go back...
...but his grip on Pan never waved and Turles showed no damage from the impact.
"You will get no wishes unless you stop this now! Do you hear me, Turles?!"
His other hand reached into his ear, taking out the earpiece.
He held the earpiece, between his thumb and index finger...
"This is your last chance! You better listen to me right this...!"
...then crushed it.
Towa couldn't believe it as she heard the loss in radio contact.
"He has gone rogue," stated Mira.
"That does it!" began Towa. "Mira, I'm sending you down there to...!"
Towa stopped as Mira put a hand on her shoulder.
"Her demise will serve your mission. Without her, the Time Patrol will lose too much time. By the time she's replaced, you will have won."
As Towa tried to come up with a response, Mira continued.
"You told her you would go to any length, correct?"
She still didn't say a word back, but nodded to him.
"Then we must not intervene."
After the dust-like brittle of the earpiece flew out of his hand with the wind, he turned that hand to Pan's throat as well.
"Can't break out of one hand... and now..."
Turles' grin only grew as he saw Pan's hands letting go of his arm and dropping.
"Lost your will to survive, have you?" he playfully taunted.
He cackled, seeing the patroller who had humiliated him earlier finished and whose life was now in his hands.
"I'm going to enjoy watching the life leave your eyes..."
In his moment of sheer satisfaction, Turles' eyes were locked onto Pan's twisting and squirming face...
...while below, her hands had formed two pink orbs that grew.
"If this can't do it, nothing else will..."
By the time Turles finally picked up a pink glow emerging onto Pan's face and below him...
The two had combined together and Pan thrusted this massive orb forward into his chest. The force alone caused him to release Pan and not only did it sear away at his chest armor, it also seemed to pull him closer to it even as he tried to get away from it.
Pan was crouched over keeping herself off the ground with her hands, coughing and just trying to breath again as she knew the orb wouldn't last much longer.
Sure enough, it detonated, and Turles was sent a distance from her onto his back, but not long after the back of his wrists struck the ground he lied on, he lifted himself back up.
"No more taking my time! Now I'll finish you for good!"
Pan saw him clearly telegraphing an intended blast, and didn't like the odds.
"Even if I avoid it, he'll just fly in and beat me there."
Just as she finished that thought, she saw Turles had already covered the distance. Right as he fired, Pan managed to duck underneath between Turles' legs, then grabbed onto his tail once more. As much as it seemed useless with his power-up, at least at the moment, she was out of his sight.
He swung his tail so he could strike at the dangling Pan, but she fired a gust with one of her hands to send it and herself the other way. After this happened a second time, Turles flung his tail upward, launching Pan into his back. This allowed him to grab her by her ankles and slam her into the ground. He put out a single palm, not intending to delay the killing blow with a single word...
Right as the blast was about to fire, the built up ki so far faded and Turles fell to his knees, that hand now gripping his chest.
"My heart...! No... not now!"
Pan didn't understand what was happening, but now that Turles was vulnerable, she finally shouted, "Kaio-Ken Times Four!" and flew past him multiple times in a blurry frenzy of red.
Turles was in no condition to defend himself, even with the form he had, as bits and pieces of his armor flew around him until he received a gut punch of such force that he was launched into the air. He couldn't control his ascent, unable to stop or redirect himself as he saw Pan gathering blue ki in her hands while chanting...
If Turles couldn't move in midair, he would at least snuff her out first with a blast of his own.
"Now you're taking your time?!"
Turles' attack was now fully charged.
It moved towards Pan quickly, massive enough to envelop her.
"You can regret it in Hell!"
Right as the blast looked like it was about to incinerate her on contact, a massive Kamehameha tore straight through it, the purple blast splitting like a log as it neared Turles.
As he put out his hands in a vain effort to protect himself, he shouted in his head, "Towa, get me out of here! Now! Please!"
It then occurred to him that in his rage and vendetta against his opponent, he had crushed his earpiece, ridding himself of his own support.
"I really am a fool..."
Pan watched as Turles was flung farther and farther into the sky screaming until she lost sight of him completely. Once she was assured that Turles was finished, Pan stopped her blast and exited Kaio-Ken...
...she fell onoth her back, muscles massive and aching from all the energy she had used.
"That... was too close..."
All around her was a familiar flash of light...
...and as she emerged back in the Time Nest library, Beetro crouched over to her side.
"I am sorry, but there is no time for a proper recovery."
Pan saw Chronoa's posture all the worse since earlier......and then saw the Supreme Kai of Time collapse onto the ground.
Increased Power? Impending Arrival!
"Supreme Kai of Time!" shouted Beetro, who ran over to her right as she collapsed.
"No, Beetro," went Chronoa, declining his help as respectfully as she could even in her condition. "Pan needs your help more than I do."
Heeding her words, he made his way back to Pan, retrieving another senzu bean.
"I'm afraid after this one, we'll be in short supply," he warned.
Even in the state of exhaustion Pan was in, too tired to move her arms and legs and feeling like she would fall asleep the moment the back of her head so much as touched the ground, Pan focused on the toll the Supreme Kai of Time had taken.
"Give her the senzu bean," suggested Pan. "With what she's doing..."
"It won't work," Chronoa explained. "For someone like me, it's practically just snack food."
Once Pan finally took the senzu bean and was back on her feet, she regrouped with Chronoa.
"Where have we stopped?"
Chronoa looked at where time had been frozen: Recoome about to step on Gohan. Neither liked what they were seeing and were silent from the shock and dread until Pan stumbled...
Pan desperately tried thinking of what she could do.
"...just need to go faster than I've ever gone bef..."
"It's not enough time to act," interrupted Chronoa. "Even if I get you right next to him, by the time you so much as touch down, it'd be too late."
Pan tried to keep her next choice of words as respectful as she could.
"Okay, so you have to keep the change from advancing and I can't act fast enough where it is..."
Then it hit her.
"Can you send me a minute back?"
"No," answered Chronoa, leaving Pan to wonder if the spot they were in was truly unwinnable...
...until the Supreme Kai of Time continued.
"I can't turn time back... that far."
"How far back?"
"A few seconds at best."
"If you do that..." Beetro began to caution Chronoa, a hand out to her. "That strain combined with everything you've done so far..."
He didn't finish, but Pan was already fearing how severe the consequences to the Supreme Kai of Time would be.
"Is there any other way?"
Right as Pan asked this, the determined expression on Chronoa's face answered before she did.
"However many seconds I can manage will allow you to act. I have to do it!"
Beetro made clear with his posture he would not attempt to stop her. As Pan waited, watching Chronoa prepare...
"Here..." went Beetro, handing her Trunks' coat.
Pan realized over the course of her two battles, both requiring her to recover via senzu bean, that her jacket and shirt had become covered with increasingly large holes.
"Well... it'll certainly offer some protection."
Once the coat was buttoned up, Chronoa held out the scroll in a hurried fashion, and Pan immediately took hold of it.
"You'll have a straight path to Gohan, so fly fast."
The moment her vision became clear, Pan turned her head left and right, seeing the same teal-green grass and rock formations around her.
"Come on, come on...!"
Recoome's voice. She turned around, seeing him standing over the immobile Gohan, her yellow cape wrapped around his left bicep. So far, he and the other two members of the Ginyu Force took no notice of her entry or presence, their eyes on Pan's father.
"No time for Kaio-Ken..."
He lifted his foot into the air, about to finish the son of Goku...
For one of Recoome's strength, upon wearing down an opponent, especially one so small, stamping their skull flat like a pancake would be a breeze.
The impact of the resulting stomp alone caused massive cracks and a shake that would make normal humans tumble.
He began to chuckle along with Burter and Jeice.
"Poor little thing..."
"Almost felt bad for 'im..."
Recoome peered down to his foot...
The puzzlement of Recoome was followed by that of Jeice and Burter's when they looked as well.
"The kid ain't there!"
They turned to their left, seeing a trail in the ground from something dragging across it...
Pan lying on her side, holding Gohan in her arms. Her father remained frozen, blankly staring out at the sky as she held him close.
"From here on, I won't let anything happen to you, Dad."
Chronoa's eyes shot open.
"She's done it?"
Once she saw Pan with a still alive Gohan, she even smiled.
"She's done it! She's..."
But then she crumbled onto her knees.
"Stop!" shouted Beetro. "Now!"
She finally let go of the scroll and her power over it dissipated, no longer needed in that moment.
"Supreme Kai of Time!"
He saw her about to hit the ground and caught her.
She heard the terrible state Chronoa was in.
"Keep them alive, Pan... until your grandfather arrives."
Beetro turned Chronoa onto her back, then saw that her eyes were starting to close.
"I'm sorry, Pan... but from here on... you're on your own."
After these words, the Supreme Kai of Time went unconscious.
Pan could tell everything was on her now, without Trunks to offer his guidance or a time frame for anything about to happen.
But she immediately turned to the three who had now discovered her, gently lying Gohan down on the ground.
"I didn't even see her," began Jeice.
Burter didn't give a response, not wanting to admit that he, the self-proclaimed fastest in the universe, missed her zooming past him.
"Where did she come from? She completely vanished earlier!"
"Hey, wait a minute..." began Recoome inquisitively. "Something's different about her."
His hand went up, pointing at an imaginary light bulb...
"Oh, I know!"
...then to Pan.
A light, for anyone else, hit to his shoulder by Jeice.
"No, you big lug! She's totally recovered from just a moment ago!"
He checked his scouter.
"And not just that..."
Burter did the same and his mouth slowly opened before revealing...
"Her power level's gone up."
Jeice, however, scoffed the shock off after a second look.
"...only a tad bit slightly... but still."
Pan stood at the ready, whether they planned to attack her or her father.
"Now, Mira... back to the original plan."
Towa's formula's purple glow overtook the three and Pan saw their gaze was not straight towards her direction...
...but to one of the other Z-Fighters nearby.
Pan flew to their intended target first, stopping a swing from Burter. As she was about to strike him...
...she saw his wound on his chest from before.
"No! If I kill him...!"
With that brief moment to act, Burter slammed her downward with his other hand, then stepped aside. Recoome lunged over for a punch of his own for Krillin, to which the lying Pan blasted him backward. Jeice's approach suddenly stopped, after which he turned around.
As she tossed an attacking Burter away from Krillin, she saw Jeice heading in the Saiyan Prince's direction, his blade of ki drawn.
Pan pushed the crouching Vegeta away, then barely avoided the slash herself, a massive searing cut in the ground. She reached behind her for her Power Pole...
...realizing Burter had seized it prior. Right as she fired back at Jeice, she saw a red blur in front of the high-flying Burter, then realized he was spinning the red polearm like a propeller.
Throwing Vegeta as far a distance as she could manage in the heat of the moment, she then hopped over Burter, not wanting to be on the receiving end of the Power Pole spinning that fast. He then tossed it like a javelin, her dodging it, but by the time she tried to retrieve it, Burter was already in front of it.
"Now Vegeta's away, but what about...?"
Recoome stood over Gohan once more.
"OKay, let's try this again..."
After raising a foot, he saw Pan grab hold of his ankle before he could bring it down, then swung him rapidly with the Dragonthrow technique.
But even then, she saw Jeice and Burter already picking their next targets, and Pan was forced to release him.
As the two watched Pan pursuing and trying to stop the Ginyu Force, each time more desperate than the last, Mira turned to Towa.
"I understand now. Their power is already greater than hers, so by having the Ginyu Force target those three..."
"It is only a matter of time until they hit their mark and one of the three is slain."
Pan's terrible tribulation continued, the cycle repeating more times than she could count.
"Where in blazes is Grandpa?!"
Earlier that day, she was virtually defeated by the Ginyu Force, only managing to escape in the nick of time. Then her battle with Turles followed, and with how well she fared against him, Pan was certain her recovery had boosted her power...
...but even after recovering from her miracle win against Turles, this battle wasn't going any differently from before.
"After two battles... I should be..."
Now that she once again struggled against the same opponents as before...
"Either I've gained so little... or Turles was weaker than these three..."
Now Burter, Jeice, and Recoome were starting to split up more, one or two going after a downed Z-Fighter while the other took advantage of an opening in Pan's defenses.
There she was, trying to hold back both Recoome and Jeice from hitting Krillin at once, a burst of Kaio-Ken only being enough to keep them from advancing.
Already, Burter zoomed over to Vegeta.
Dragging Recoome and Jeice by hand across the ground as she pursued Burter, Pan then tossed them together in Burter's path. The speedster used the Power Pole to halt just in time, his two thrown comrades crashing into rocky structures.
Now at Kaio-Ken times three, Pan could actually keep up with his Power Pole attacks, finally catching it.
"This is mine..."
And with a tug, Burter's end of the pole was now aimed at his gut.
"Power Pole Extend!"
He was disarmed of her weapon and flew into the same structure as the others...
...who had snuck around their skirmish towards Gohan, about to blast at him.
She stood in their way, knocking away the projectiles with chops. But even with her success, Pan's body was already straining.
"I can't keep this up..."
Now as Towa and Mira looked at the battle from above, it looked to be a rapid streak of red zooming to three points of a triangle. It seemed the three members were all now targeting their own individual target, forcing the Kaio-Ken times four-using Pan to constantly stop their intended kills.
In the midst of her continual defense, Pan felt a presence...
"He's here! I can sense him!"
From the corner of her eye, the fumes of the landing rocket clear in the far distance...
...but still no break from the Ginyu Force.
"Grandpa's landed, but they're completely preoccupied. Not paying him any mind."
She sighed in mid-punch of Jeice's face as he tried gutting Krillin, then made her way to Recoome to stop a double-axe swing to Vegeta's head by lifting him up, then slamming him deep below ground.
Burter firing at Gohan.
Even with the immense speed increase, she could see the blasts near her father.
Pan lunged in front of him, firing a blast at Burter while intercepting his blasts with her ki shield up...
...but the moment her Kaio-Ken gave out, her shield was in flux, allowing the shots to hit her. Pan flew over Gohan, then rolled across the ground, finally catching herself, but struggling just to stand up.
"Hey, look," taunted Jeice to his fellow comrades. "She's tiring already. She's gonna be easy pickings once we finish those three."
All three members stood over a Z-Fighter, prepared to strike at any moment, and now that Pan couldn't keep up anymore...
"Damn you, Towa..."
A massive current of air could be felt...
...even the three Ginyu Force members under the formula's influence turned to see the cause of it.
"You made it..."
To Pan's relief, she finally saw Goku arrive first-hand.
"Hey, who the hell are you?" asked Recoome, whom Goku simply paid no mind to.
"Leave him," Jeice practically commanded. "The new guy's power is nothing impressive. We'll deal with him when we're wrapped up here."
Hearing this, Pan flew forward, shoving Jeice back to keep him from attacking Vegeta while firing at Burter and Recoome, neither of whom had any trouble knocking away her projectiles.
Jeice swung down with his ki blade, Pan falling to her knees as the Power Pole was all that kept it from reaching her face.
She, Burter, and Recoome saw Goku crouched down next to Gohan...
...followed by a gasp from Gohan and him actually sitting up.
"Hey!" stumbled even the massive Recoome. "That guy's healing them or something!"
Jeice, still vying to kill Pan, but turning his head just enough to acknowledge this, was stunned at this. He quickly tried to recompose.
"Stop him, you two!"
Burter tried to preemptively kill Krillin with a stomp on his neck, but Goku zoomed behind him, then tossed him away by his arm. As Recoome tried to get to Vegeta, he saw Goku feeding Krillin a senzu bean.
"Whoa! He's healing them with snack food or something!"
Jeice couldn't help but look back at Goku after this comment. Pan, not wanting to let go with either hand due to the force of the blade pressed down against the Power Pole, instead began chanting...
"What's this?" Jeice questioned.
"What are you blabbering about?"
Instead of ki eminating from her hands, a light glow came over her feet.
With a blast from her feet, Pan shot upward, Jeice in tow until she shoved him back with the Power Pole. Seeing Recoome about to strike Vegeta, she tossed the polearm at his back...
...only to the effect of mildly irritating him as it bounced off him.
"Who threw that toy at me?"
But by the time he turned back to Vegeta, he was already chewing a senzu bean.
Jeice, seeing all three of the Z-Fighters from before now fully healed couldn't believe any of this.
"No biggie," went Recoome after. "We beat the three of them already. We'll just do it again once the healer's taken care of."
"R-right..." answered Jeice with some hesitance. "We'll beat them once more."
"I knew this would happen..." mused Towa upon seeing the three cease their attack.
"The formula should be keeping them on the objective..."
"Should nothing out of the ordinary occur for them. Unfortunately, as I feared, Goku's presence alone has taken their focus."
After tossing Pan back the Power Pole, Recoome approached Goku, who barely registered an emotion on his face regarding the impending battle with the towering man.
Pan looked over to the other three Z-Fighters spectating alongside her, unsure whether history was back on course or not, and if she should stay or try to hide.
"I just hope I'm not doing any more damage than I've already done..."
To the shock of all four of them...
Recoome was brought down with a single elbow to his stomach.
"Even in Kaio-Ken times four, I couldn't do that much damage to Recoome... let alone, in one punch."
Then both Burter and Jeice attacked the Saiyan from Earth together, side by side, but neither could slip past his defenses or outpace him. Not even Burter, who was going at his top speed, or at least as fast as the formula allowed with his wound.
"Please don't kill him, Grandpa..."
After both lost track of him, Goku kicked Burter hard into the air, his armor chipping, as he pursued, then elbowed him back down. More chips of Burter's armor rained as he descended, then was caught hard by Goku, similarly to how Goku had crippled Nappa on Earth, only this time...
"He didn't even use Kaio-Ken..."
But her immediate worry about Burter's wound and Goku striking it dissipated once she could sense...
"He's still breathing..."
"Even with the formula ordering him to fight, Jeice refuses," Mira observed.
"He has seen Goku's capabilities. The formula can't overwrite his fear."
"Is there anything we can do to give him motivation?"
After this question, Towa decided...
"There is something I can try..."
Right as Goku told Jeice to take his comrades and leave, the last standing elite warrior mused over everything he had seen...
"We're the mighty Ginyu Force, and yet... this one bloke..."
He caught a purple glow...
...emanating from Recoome.
Pan and the Z-Fighters saw him make his way back up.
"I've still got one more round in me!" he cheerfully announced.
Recoome saw their unconscious comrade, but instead of being discouraged, he turned to Jeice.
"Come on, Jeice! Let's deck 'em good... for Burter!"
Now with new resolve, he landed next to Recoome.
"I like the sound of that."
Jeice was now overtaken with the purple glow, Pan noting his speed increasing as he came to Goku.
"I warned you!" shouted Goku as he charged up for more power.
"Goku shouldn't be..." went a familiar voice in Pan's earpiece.
"Supreme Kai of Time!"
Her head lying down on a pillow, but still overlooking the events, Chronoa warned Pan.
"Jeice should have fled by now. If Goku takes out Jeice, he can't report to Captain Ginyu."
Pan recalled how clearly terrified he was after Burter was defeated, then recalled just what snapped him out of it...
"Right. Towa has revitalized him. You have to..."
Chronoa struggled to continue speaking as Beetro took her hand.
But Pan already had an idea of what the Supreme Kai of Time was telling her to do.
"Save your strength. I'll take care of Recoome."
And with one last exchange...
"Thank you, Pan."
Pan was back on mission, seeing Recoome standing before Krillin and Gohan.
"I didn't forget you two..."
But then Pan clashed with him, the two trading punches even as she was painfully aware of the power difference, especially in her condition.
"You're open!" Recoome spouted after managing to knock both of Pan's arms down.
She then found herself in a bear hug, his hulking muscles threatening to snap her like a twig.
"Body... if you have anything left, now's the time."
A headbutt interrupted her.
"I'm sorry, what was that?" he taunted.
She swerved her head to try and avoid another hit...
Still, Recoome struck her before she could speak.
Every fiber of her being didn't want to have to literally beg her grandfather for help, but with everything at stake...
A third headbutt.
"You gotta talk faster than that!"
Everything a blur with a touch of red to her right, she could tell Recoome was tilting his head back for one more headbutt, likely a knockout blow.
She hoped one of them would help her now...
A rogue blast struck Recoome's back, forcing him to let Pan go. Not just that, but he actually fell onto his arms and knees, struggling to get up from that.
As Pan could slowly see again, she saw the shocked faces of Gohan and Krillin...
...and Vegeta, a gloved palm out sizzling from his attack.
The two Earthling Z-Fighters helped her to her feet as Vegeta looked over at his work.
"Oh, thank you, Vegeta... thank you."
Pan was ready to thank him for saving her in that desperate moment...
...but his face turned to a glare upon looking at her.
"What the hell were you doing!?"
Vegeta, since having fully recovered and being completely rejuvenated with the senzu bean, went from being silent in defeat to his usual demoralizing self.
"You're of no help anymore! Not with Kakarot and my newly powered self!"
Seeing Recoome, whose skin seemed impossible to pierce, actually have a crater-like wound on his back from Vegeta's attack seemed to confirm this.
"Neither of us could come close... but one senzu bean later and Vegeta's already that much stronger... than me."
Vegeta then pushed her back.
"Get out of here, brat!"
She lied on her back, still looking over at him in shock. Gohan, while normally somewhat timid when Vegeta spoke, finally snapped.
"Don't you talk to her like that!"
"Yeah!" went Krillin, also working past his cowering demeanor in the face of someone more powerful than him. "She's saved your ass from Frieza's goons... and from me!"
The Saiyan Prince pointed to Krillin.
"You're a worthless human!"
He then pointed to Gohan.
"You are a half-breed spawn! And you..."
Now Vegeta pointed at Pan.
"...you are no Saiyan. That much I can tell."
Many of Vegeta's words had wounded her, but that struck her heart the hardest.
"Now go back home and leave this to the real Saiyan warriors!"
As Pan struggled to keep a straight face from how hurt Vegeta had made her feel in that moment...
...a loud groan from Recoome as he stood back up.
"That actually hurt, Vegeta!"
Now he was in a boiling rage from how much he had been damaged.
"All of you have just gotten a one way ticket to Hell..."
The four of them stepped back as a massive amount of power emanated around Recoome, each trying to decipher where the attack would come from.
Pan watched as Vegeta kept his distance, clearly more than capable of getting away even as Krillin and Gohan didn't know what to expect or if they would even survive.
"Fine! Leave us to die!"
Seeing Goku standing completely still after hearing Recoome shout his name, Jeice swung his ki blade...
...but it was stopped right as Recoome shouted "Ultra...!"
"There's... no... there's no way...!"
...by a chop of Goku's own hand.
He quickly followed this up with a simple thrust of air to rocket Jeice away as he turned in Recoome's direction.
Pan stuck close to Gohan and Krillin, readying her ki to shield them at any point, even if she didn't know if she would survive.
"Chronoa... Trunks... if either of you are here, I could really use a tip right about now."
With nothing on their end, she put a bubble of ki around herself.
"Stay behind me!" she shouted to them.
"Fighting...!" continued Recoome.
"Please... please hold enough to keep them alive..."
And at its apex...
Goku slammed into Recoome at high speed, then went on a high speed frenzy, striking Recoome before he could even act.
As Recoome crashed to the ground, trying to fire off one final mouth beam towards the three, the purple aura faded away and he found himself losing consciousness.
And with the last of the formula gone, Recoome was finally unable to continue.
"No, no, no!" went Jeice, seeing Recoome down a second time and frozen in the air. "None of this is right!"
"Go on, Kakarrot!" Vegeta practically ordered. "Finish him off!"
"No!" Goku shouted back.
"You lot just wait right here!" threatened Jeice, even as he was clearly shaken. "Once the captain gets here, you're all gonna pay!"
As Jeice fled, Pan recovered her cape, then made her exit as Goku and Vegeta argued amongst themselves...
...but even as far as she had gotten, she heard a crackling sound...
"Vegeta! What are you doing?!"
Then a blast, after which, a source of ki was now gone for good.
"They were defeated... unconscious... and he slaughtered them..."
"How could you?!" her grandfather cried out. "They were completely helpless!"
Pan took cover inside a cave, her thoughts of Vegeta soured all over again.
"I just want to be off this planet..."
A flash of white next to the entrance..."Pan, are you alright?"
What of Chronoa? Prepare for Ginyu!
“Pan, are you alright?”
She looked up at Trunks, smudges of oil across his forehead and one of his cheeks. As much as seeing him should’ve been a comfort as this meant her exit from Namek would soon be underway, Pan’s mind couldn’t help but wander back to the agonizing minutes that passed without him on comms.
Even without her asking him “Where were you?” directly, Trunks could read it on her face.
“I’m sorry I went quiet. I had to tinker with Goku’s ship so he’d arrive on time.”
“And after?” she responded.
“I couldn’t afford for Goku to see, let alone sense me before our first meeting. Once the coast was clear, I tried getting to you. By the time I arrived, you were gone… and I lost contact with the Supreme Kai of Time.”
Pan looked down, the scowl that initially emerged now turning to sympathy.
“You lost her, too...”
“She managed to get me back... and she can return us both.”
He put his gloved hand out.
“But we need to get going now.”
As the two took their first steps outside of the cave, a flash of light beamed over them.
Prior to being sent back to Namek, Pan had seen Chronoa at her limits. Now Chronoa, her pink skin a much paler hue and lying in bed, could barely keep her eyes open, let alone lift her arms or legs.
Pan couldn’t help but think of how much worse things could have gone had she failed.
“What happens if Chronoa doesn’t make it? What becomes of the city… the Time Patrol… of time itself?” Towa would strike... and time would be...”
She caught both Trunks and Beetro looking over at her as she contemplated this, the medical Saiyan breaking the silence.
“I can assure you her condition is stable.”
“How long will she need? A couple days? A week?”
“As a Kai, the rules are a little different for her biologically to say the very least,” answered Beetro. “As such, the time frame for her recovery isn’t clear.”
“So what now?” Pan inquired to Beetro.
“I will be remaining here to ensure her recovery goes well.”
“And I’ll be here as well,” said Trunks to Pan’s shock.
“Both of you?”
“I’ll be taking over for the Supreme Kai of Time until she’s made a full recovery,” Trunks added.
They could all hear Tokitoki chirping from outside.
“Excuse me,” bowed Trunks before leaving the room to perform his new duties.
“Is there anything else I can do to help, Beetro?”
“The thought and offer is appreciated Pan, but all we can do now is wait and see.”
Pan, realizing that alongside Trunks, she would not be able to speak with Beetro for some time, decided to make the most of it before leaving.
“Can I ask you a few questions?”
"You said senzu beans were in short supply now."
"It takes considerable time to grow even one Senzu bean on Earth. Here, they grow even slower. That is why we rely on our medical technology to heal and only use senzu beans sparingly."
"...and to think Yajirobe had an entire bag full of them at a moment's notice."
The next question would be especially weighty and Pan tried to put it as delicately as she could.
"Are pure blooded Saiyans stronger than Saiyan hybrids?"
Beetro carefully considered what he knew as he answered.
"Even with our extensive database and all our knowledge, we still have much to learn regarding Saiyan hybrids. From where I stand, the results of combining Saiyan DNA with others simply cannot be predicted. Same with their potential."
It wasn’t the answer Pan had hoped for.
“And that’s probably just the case for half-Saiyans...”
Still, she didn’t want to appear ungrateful towards Beetro for his efforts, so Pan, turning away for a moment to get her facial muscles into a more neutral state, put her hands together and light bowed her head towards him.
“Thank you for your time, Beetro.”
Just as she put her hand to the door knob, Pan heard a light groan from Chronoa, whom, while trying in vain to articulate with her hand, was clearly trying to gesture to Pan.
“Wai...” was all that escaped the Supreme Kai of Time’s lips as Pan immediately made her way to her, crouching onto one knee and putting her hand atop of the Supreme Kai of Time's.
Now seeing Chronoa much closer and hearing only faint noise from her, Pan couldn’t help but imagine what would happen if Towa struck history again during all this.
“If Chronoa’s still like this... still recovering... it will all come down to me again...”
Her mind wandered to the two senzu beans she needed just to keep going and how even after the second one, it still seemed like nothing had changed.
“I trained for the Ginyu Force... and I wasn’t ready. I almost failed. I powered up twice and I almost failed.”
Chronoa, seeing Pan’s face swimming in thought, slowly wrapped her fingers around Pan’s hand as she tried to speak again.
She then saw Pan look her in the eyes with determination.
“I promise you, Supreme Kai of Time: I will be better than I was here.”
Pan saw Chronoa’s eyes open much wider and felt the grip on her hand tighten.
“Don... don’t be...”
A cough interrupted her as she turned away.
Chronoa’s request for Beetro was followed by rougher coughs, after which she let go of Pan to cover her mouth. Beetro came between the two with a glass of water at the ready as Pan backed away to give him space.
“Supreme Kai of Time. You mustn’t expend so much. You need to rest.”
Pan finally opened the door to leave, but still, Chronoa gestured to her.
Thinking her presence would only make the Supreme Kai of Time expel more and hurt her recovery, Pan lightly closed the door. With a breath, Pan looked over to her way out of the Time Nest.
“Chronoa knows what’s at stake. She needs me to step it up.”
As she walked towards the doorway, she caught Tokitoki from the corner of her, standing on his perch and appearing down.
His chirp sounded like a dejected sigh.
"He knows Chronoa's in poor shape."
Trunks, standing by the mystical bird, knew Tokitoki could understand Chronoa, so he tried thinking of something to tell him to lift his spirits.
"She'll be alright."
Even then, Tokitoki's demeanor didn't change.
Another downcast chirp followed.
"Not comforting for him now, even if he can sense it to be true," Trunks ruminated. “He knows Chronoa better than anyone and if he’s worried...”
He heard the sound of the gate and looked over to Pan putting one arm through it, but having not yet exited. She turned to him and both found each other having simultaneously paused in place, the same realization that the two would be apart for some time hitting them at once.
“Trunks will be needed in the nest now,” Pan thought to herself. “I mean it’s not going to be six months apart like before... at least I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Neither knew what to say or even thought to wave or anything. Pan proceeded, leaving the Time Nest as Trunks turned back to Tokitoki, who took note of this.
“You’re right,” Trunks responded. “Pan does have a lot on her plate right now.”
“I’m needed here... so it’s up to her, Hale, and Taino now. I’ll be here waiting for her.”
A sigh followed his contemplation.
“If I had just gotten to that desert faster...”
The next day
"So..." began Taino, standing at the academy grounds. "Get all the rest you need?"
Pan, not wanting to divulge how she felt the day before, looked at her still-veiny arms.
"To tell you the truth, I'm still a bit sore from all the Kaio-Ken yesterday."
"I've been tasked with teaching you all there is to know about Captain Ginyu, but we'll focus on performing techniques for the time being."
Starting off with...
"There's some technical name for it Ginyu has, but we've come to call it Dynamite Punch."
The name reminded Pan of one of her grandfather Hercule's show moves, the dynamite kick, only she imagined the damage inflicted would live up to the name.
Sure enough, after Taino landed an elbow on the face of a training dummy, the barrage of punches that followed left it in pieces afterward.
"Seems simple enough..."
The dummy reassembled soon after Pan's thought.
"Next... Strong Jersey."
Taino glowed, a purple sphere of energy around her until she flew at the dummy with a charging elbow. Its head split from the impact, the top of its head sent flying before returning and reattaching.
"That's something on Recoome's level."
Taino generated and fired a fairly sizable purple wave. The dummy's chest caved in significantly.
"What an odd name..."
With just a finger gestured, Taino fired small, but destructive orbs, demonstrated by the dummy standing with only one appendage still attached.
"So much power from just one finger..."
As Taino's hands glowed purple, spheres forming...
"You might want to step back, Pan."
Pan did so, then saw blast after blast not only strike the dummy, but cause the ground they stood on to shake violently. Once Taino stopped, wiping over her eyes with her gauntlet, the dummy was reduced to so many pieces it looked more akin to a broken puzzle than an actual figure.
"I'm not sure even that bot can come back from that."
Slowly, the pieces of the dummy flew or even crawled back over to the center, almost looking like a gray puddle as they gathered.
"A tough little dohickey, huh?" asked Taino, seeing Pan's surprise as the process continued. "They're perfect for demonstrating techniques."
A pile formed and began to take the shape of the torso, its limbs and head forming out of it.
"To fight a self-repairing machine..." went Pan openly. "It wouldn't stop..."
"Well, it can come back from these kind of attacks. The higher up ones, not so much. And them fighting was off the table after Towa's..."
Taino paused after catching herself mentioning Towa and could tell from Pan's expression she was already aware of the fateful event of Towa's prototype dummy attacking patrollers. She cleared her throat, then continued.
"That's why the projections in the Training Chamber are the only ones allowed to attack. Because we can pull the plug on them."
Pan saw the dummy had reconstructed itself entirely, then saw Taino stepping aside.
"Here. Now you try. Whichever technique you want to start with."
Days passed as Pan worked at getting the techniques to work for her. She tried generating Milky Cannon, but found the projectile unleashed was much smaller and burst apart right before it was fired.
"Your posture's not right."
Taino tried nudging Pan's arms and legs into place.
Along with that, Pan generated a sphere around her, but as she went moving for an elbow, it seemed to go unstable.
"Gotta get that ki under control or you'll lose that extra bit of damage."
Then Pan fired off one orb from her finger successfully only for more to fire rapidly, causing her arm to jolt upward and her to fall over.
"Keep it at a controlled firing rate, and steady your arm."
Lastly, Pan created orbs in her hand, then fired two beams right at the dummy. Taino saw them strike the dummy and waited to see more, but instead saw Pan crouched over.
"I put way too much into them," went Pan. "Need to use much less if I want to fire off more."
Taino could see Pan was starting to see what she needed to work on without having it explained to her.
"You're catching on," she replied back. "In no time, you'll..."
Taino paused and Pan turned to see that someone was watching over their session.
"Commander Hale," went Taino before standing up straight and bowing her head to him. "What brings you here?"
"I see you've been going over Ginyu's techniques... but have you engaged in sparring as of yet? It's important she knows how best to deal with them in action."
"We haven't as of yet, but we'll certainly do so..."
Taino saw Pan clearly exhausted.
After hearing this, Pan allowed herself to lie on her back on the ground with an exhale.
“Phew. I dodged a bullet there.”
"And what of Ginyu's most dangerous technique?" continued Hale.
"Well, we've certainly been firing off some..."
Taino paused, then realized...
"Oh, THAT technique."
"Be sure that you go over it in your next lesson. It's importance is absolutely paramount."
With Taino wrapping up, Pan slowly lifted her upper body upward, left wondering...
“After all these attacks... what could be his most dangerous one?”
During this session, Pan found Taino even more serious than usual.
"This move we're about to go over is the most dangerous tool in Ginyu's arsenal. It's entirely unique to him and his person, so I can't perform it. Instead..."
Two circles were drawn onto the ground, a fairly short distance between them. Taino stepped into one and Pan the other.
"This part is absolutely critical: when I face forward and shout "Change now!", you need to be out of the way."
Pan stood at the ready, waiting for the first word.
Pan began to move her feet...
As she moved to the side, she saw a fast-moving line stretch from Taino's circle to her own.
Pan looked back at the circle to see that it turned red.
"Not fast enough..."
Taino stepped out of the circle momentarily to show Pan that her arm was just at the edge of her own circle.
"That is the speed at which Captain Ginyu's body change travels."
Pan had seen and heard of many strange techniques, but the name alone of this sounded almost unbelievable to her.
"Now it's not likely Ginyu would target you with his body change... but if he were to land it... if you were to come between him and his target... you would both swap bodies."
Pan didn't need to follow up this thought in regards to what it would mean in mid-mission as Taino continued.
"The change to history would be beyond catastrophic... especially if he were to use it once more on someone else."
Now Pan imagined a terrible scenario in which Ginyu in her body switched with all the other Z-Fighters on Namek, misplacing them all.
"As long as the body he's in has the ability to speak words, Ginyu could go back and forth between several if he so chooses."
A battle against Ginyu with others in the vicinity was starting to make battling him sound like an impossible endeavor.
"How could anyone stop someone like that... like Ginyu?"
Taino then realized she needed to clarify a few things.
"That said, Ginyu's power doesn't carry over to the bodies he switches with. And considering how powerful he is already, he won't use the body change unless he believes his opponent to be stronger than himself. That and the body change being a straight shot are the only legs up you'll have on the technique... but you still can't afford to be anywhere near it."
“Roger that,” Pan nodded.
Taino hopped backward, then took on Ginyu’s stance.
“Let’s see if you’ve absorbed my lessons so far.”
The spar that followed had Taino, knowing Pan was in the process of improving her strength, keeping her power below that of Ginyu’s and closer to the Ginyu Force members Pan had previously battled with. Several more occurred over the next few days with Taino slowly increasing her power to gradually acclimate Pan to Ginyu’s level...
...but even then, Pan always felt like she wasn’t measuring up physically.
“I know the techniques by heart...”
After clashing with their elbows, Pan and Taino rapidly punched at each other, but within seconds, Pan’s hands were hurting just from meeting Taino’s and she felt breezes from Taino jabbing near her head, her arms having snuck past.
“...but Taino’s still outpacing and overpowering me.”
With a quick shout of Kaio-Ken, Pan punched at Taino faster and harder, but Taino stepped it up as well with the same result as before.
“She won’t let me go Times Three or Four... but even if I did...”
Taino finally landed a hit to Pan’s side, knocking her upward, then flew above her as Pan tried recovering. Knowing Taino was waiting for her, Pan began building up energy, covering herself in a sphere. Taino swerved as Pan, the energy now focused around her elbow, managed to glance her cheek. For a moment, Pan saw an indent from the hit, but then saw Taino, as she took the hit, had already prepared her own elbow.
Pan was struck down, putting a hand to her cheek as she exited her Kaio-Ken.
“Recoome nearly took my head off. Burter took Kaio-Ken to keep up with, let alone outpace. Jeice has absolutely lethal ki techniques I’ll have to deal with again.”
She imagined all three figures standing side by side, then merging together.
“And now... I have to prepare for someone with all of that and more.”
Taino, at first landing and awaiting Pan’s approach, instead saw her lightly put her fist to the ground.
“Is everything okay, Pan?” Taino inquired with genuine concern, no longer looking to combat her.
“It’s always the same damned thing...” Pan groused in her head.
“You know how I did against the Ginyu Force...”
She had been informed, especially in regards to the Supreme Kai of Time’s state, but Taino could tell Pan found it to be one of her lowest moments.
“The fact that you survived... and it wasn’t just because of training with me...”
“Surviving may not be enough next time. I can’t afford to just survive.”
“But you did more than that. It’s because of you that everyone survived until Goku arrived.”
While Taino’s words were meant to lift Pan’s spirits...
“Goku took the Ginyu Force apart with such ease, and there I was at their mercy... twice.”
Pan transitioned to sitting with her legs criss-crossed.
“I just want to know how he did it. Was it all just from recovering from Vegeta?”
“No, it wasn’t just that,” Taino began to explain. “Goku was stronger afterward for sure, but it was his training before he arrived that really got him to that level.”
“Training? But once he recovered, he spent a week getting to Namek.”
“The Capsule Corp ship had gravity controls at his request. The entire week he was on the way there, he trained in one hundred times Earth gravity.”
“A hundred times?”
After all these sparring sessions ended the same way and nothing she had tried thus far made any difference, Pan’s eyes lit up: she now knew how her grandfather did it.
““So that’s what I need to do...”
Now inside a gravity chamber, one not dissimilar to the one she stood in by Bulla’s home, Pan slowly turned a knob, seeing the number on the screen increase from two digits to three at one hundred.
“Three hundred would be suicide... but a hundred... if that’s what it takes...”
And with the push of a button...
Pan remained on her feet and didn’t crouch over, but felt she was slouching from the intense force pushing down on her back.
“Posture’s not great... but I’m still standing.”
She took steps, seeing she wasn’t struggling completely to move, but wasn’t sure about moving up to leaping or flying.
“All well and good, but I know Grandpa didn’t just jog around his ship.”
Pan stepped forward, jabbing in front of her. Another with the opposite leg and arm. A turn with a greater thrust forward resulted in her falling onto her side. Gritting her teeth, she tried lifting herself up with just one hand.
“Shouldn’t need two...”
A push to the ground soon led to her back up again, but swinging her arms to keep from losing her balance. Once she had it, Pan raised one leg and kicked into the air. Her foot touched down, the weight of the gravity causing her to kneel. Slowly making her way back up, Pan span on one leg before launching herself like a torpedo, landing on her back towards the console itself.
She elbowed the ground, trying to lift herself from the floor without using her hands. Nothing so far.
Another dual elbow, only the back of her head and neck lifting up.
The third attempt had her rising up, but also stumbling towards the controls, catching herself with them. As much as part of her wanted to continue, Pan saw the switch right in front of her.
“It’s possible. I can do more...”
Putting her hand over it...
“This is just the first sample.”
And one push later, the gravity she had endured dissipated. Even then, she used the console to keep herself up for the time being.
“I’ll work myself up to minutes... then in time, a week.”
She heard the door open and saw that Commander Hale had entered.
“I see you are stepping up your gravity training considerably, Miss Pan. Though I must say what you’re doing... even for one of my species, it doesn’t come easily. Acclimating to such gravity...”
“Whatever I need to do to be ready for the next mission,” Pan answered, feeling sweat slowly slink down just from a minute under it.
“Could’ve used this much earlier...”
“How goes your current training with Taino? It has been a week.”
“It’s been a week already?” went Pan, realizing how much time had passed since she started again.
“Indeed it has. It’s been all the more noticeable without...”
Chirps akin to a ringtone could be heard on his scouter.
He stepped aside, pressing on the side to engage in communications.
"What's the situation?"
Pan tried not to eavesdrop, but her ears couldn't help but catch...
"The prisoner's condition has stabilized."
Hale responded that he was on his way, then as he looked back at her, Pan couldn't hide the look on her face from what she heard. Finally, she openly inquired about it.
"The Time Patrol has a prisoner?"
Hale sighed, then answered "Only as of recently."
"Like days ago?"
Pan thought back to each mission she had been in, quickly crossing off the ones where the only alteration was Towa’s formula and proceeding to those with clear additions. First to Mira and Towa in person, who departed after their appearances, then to Dodoria, who had been added to join Zarbon’s battle with Vegeta, but was recovered by the Time Patrol as a dead body by her hand...
...but for the third...
“There’s no way...”
Pan had to know for sure.
As hesitant as he was to go along with her request...
Hale projected a hologram from a device on his gauntlet, showcasing a 3D image of a pod of sorts with a figure frozen in place...
...one with tanned skin and hair all too similar to Goku’s.“T... Turles survived?”
No Time For Rest! Train Harder, Pan!
Leading Pan down a flight of stairs, Commander Hale showed her the holding area for the Time Patrol's prisoners, which only had a few cells, all of which were completely empty...
...save for one where the pod containing Turles resided, a monitor showcasing the status of his vitals.
Pan remembered her Kaio-Ken Times Four Kamehameha countering Turles' last blast, after which she saw him being rocketed into the sky in sheer terror in the face of his own demise...
...but now seeing him alive in front of her, even as he was frozen in a pod, left her in utter disbelief.
"How? How did he survive?"
"Turles is nothing, if not stubborn, Miss Pan."
It began to make sense as Pan thought back to Vegeta, who not only managed to escape Goku's own Kaio-Ken Times Four Kamehameha that overpowered his Galick Gun, but also survived being struck by the first Spirit Bomb and the fall back down to the ground after.
"...but that was Goku at that point in time. I've endured foes stronger than Vegeta was on Earth since then. It should've been even stronger."
Along with that, she simply had a simple, but important question:
"Who picked up Turles?"
"But he was stranded in the desert after tinkering with Goku's ship."
"Indeed... but then Trunks found Turles. When Trunks returned to the Time Nest with him in tow, I was summoned to bring Turles here."
Looking further back, Pan recalled that initially, she had the advantage over, or at least matched Turles, namely keeping him at bay from Goku who at that point in time was outclassed. Then she had him at her mercy by gripping his tail, keeping him from Goku as her grandfather was free to depart with Mr. Popo. But then it all changed once he went into a rage with a red aura around him and his hair.
"I know I destroyed that fruit he was carrying... but something powered him up in that moment."
"Did he have Towa's formula?"
Hale, scrolling down what looked like a virtual list emanating from his gauntlet, read carefully before answering.
"No. He didn't have any formula of Towa's in his system."
"How else did he suddenly get so strong?"
"I do believe Turles did not go Super Saiyan... but it was as close as he could get to the form without truly achieving it."
Even without it being a true Super Saiyan form, Pan recalled the toll facing it had on her, to the point of Turles outlasting her Kaio-Ken and being free to strangle her.
"Without that opening... he would have killed me."
That opening was when he fell to his knees, his hand on his chest in pain.
"Did the form get to his heart?"
After scrolling further down to what seemed to be a side note...
"What Turles does have... is a virus."
Stretching the virtual screen to a larger size, almost like a computer screen or a larger TV, Hale accessed and showcased what he could on the subject as he spoke to Pan at length about it.
"A virus genetically instilled into lower class Saiyan warriors. It was designed to afflict the heart of a Saiyan the moment their prime ended."
"Don't need to guess whose idea it was..." Pan thought, knowing all too well who was ultimately responsible for the fate of the Saiyan race.
"But it mutated," Hale continued. "The Saiyans who eluded the destruction of their race on Planet Vegeta began dying of it. Not just the old, but even younger Saiyans who hadn't reached their peaks."
Hale continued, discussing Turles having soldiered on his own in several timelines, as well as the fact that her grandfather Goku was also afflicted with the heart virus, which came to affect him some time after the battle of Frieza, but Pan's mind was wandering back to that critical moment.
"Turles had me beat. He was faster, stronger..."
Being outclassed by opponents wasn't new to Pan, but compared to Raditz, Vegeta, and Zarbon's monstrous true form, where she still had her part in the team effort to guarantee the victory against them...
...in Turles' case, like the Ginyu Force, all she felt she accomplished was delaying the inevitable.
"I didn't catch him off-guard or outsmart him..."
She saw Turles vulnerable and simply struck him when he was unable to defend himself effectively.
"If he had just gone for the kill immediately..."
Hale, about to discuss how the heart virus was likely to have struck Turles due to his power-up, saw Pan's mind afloat and her typically neutral expression slowly giving way.
"Instead of playing around with his food... with me, and my grandfather..."
She realized Hale had stopped speaking and simply looked over at her musing.
"My apologies, Miss Pan. I did not consider your experience at his hands..."
It wasn't, but Pan tried appearing to have shrugged it off.
"Unless there is anything else you'd like to know, we'd best be going."
The two exited, Hale leading Pan out as Turles, even with him no longer physically present, was still on her mind.
"I won... survived... because of a fluke. I cannot do that again."
"Now remember..." Taino began. "If I say 'Change now' and you're in front of me, that's a wrap."
By day, Pan trained with Taino, trying to last as long as she could until said phrase, to which continuing or stopping the session came down to Pan managing to avoid it or not.
Towards what would be night for her elsewhere, Pan was back in the gravity chamber with a hundred times gravity. She was starting to move more freely there, though flying was proving to be a challenge, as was moving at faster speeds.
Once she was finished, Pan returned to her quarters, using medical packs to help her recover before closing the blinds and going to bed.
Taino has lost track of how long it had been since she began training Pan for Captain Ginyu, always seeing her return again and again. To that end, she noticed Pan was initially improving since she started her gravity training and was relatively consistent in her performances. As Taino slowly began to fight even closer to Ginyu's level of power...
...Pan began to struggle.
An all-too-familiar beep from Pan's leg being within range of the technique.
In the gravity chamber, Pan hovered and tried taking flight at high speed, but came crashing into the ground on her jacketed arm.
"I miscalculated there."
Clashing in midair with Taino, her face covered in sweat, Pan suddenly lost sight of her. By the time she sensed her instructor, Pan was tossed downward, landing on her back before she could correct herself.
"I lost focus."
Instead of flying, Pan kept to the floor in increased gravity, running in circles around the room. Out of nowhere in mid-run, she felt one of her feet slip and had to put out her hands to stop herself against the wall, preventing a worse collision.
"I've gotta get it together."
Back in her housing unit, Pan pulled up her pajama's sleeves and pant legs up to her elbows and knees, allowing her to apply healing wraps around them, her wrists, and ankles. She'd grown accustomed to doing this before going to bed so that her body would be mended back into working condition for the next day.
Turning off the lights, Pan looked up to the Power Pole above her bed before closing her eyes.
"It wasn't easy for Grandpa. I just need to keep this up. Gotta push myself harder."
Now Pan was in a simulation of a ruined metropolis, more wasteland than city. This exam would move Pan up to the rank of the 40's should she successfully complete it. So far, she had knocked out a tall orange-skinned demon, one of his two horns broken.
"Three to go..."
She fired two blasts in front of her, one forcing Angila, a light blue-green skinned demon adorned in caped robes, to step to the side, and the other nearly striking Medamatcha, a shorter frog-like demon, who ducked underneath it. Now only one continued to advance.
"Here comes Wings."
This massive demon with orange-brown skin with armor, spikes on his wrists, and wings on his back to increase the speed of his approach. He found his clawing strike had phased through an afterimage, after which he felt a burn in each of his wings...
Pan having hopped over him and blasting through both, putting a hole through them. As her winged opponent winced, she crash-landed into his back with her feet, stomping him to the ground. After hopping off of him, she quickly turned, firing at Angila once again, but then felt the heat of an energy bullet passing in front of her. Pan couldn't believe she only now just caught its presence.
"How did I miss that?"
Medamatcha stood in place, firing a barrage from his unusually flexible arms. Pan couldn't fly upward in time, so she was forced to fly straight through it, adjusting to avoid the energy bullets as they approached. One finally came in too fast and she was forced to guard with crossed wrists. Pan fell back, but landed on her feet, screeching to a halt and finding that the barrage had ceased.
"Out of juice?!"
She lunged forward...
Then felt herself being grabbed by her ankles, then yanked straight down onto her front. She peered to her side, seeing Angila with his arms stretched into two holes underground before realizing...
"He's holding me in place."
Pan turned back to Medamatcha, seeing an extra assortment of arms growing on his back.
"Is that the Four Witches technique?"
But soon, she could clearly see four small clones peering over his shoulders before taking to the air. Along with that, she caught Angila's mouth glowing, a beam about to fire.
"There's no time..."
As the four clones tried grappling onto her akin to Saibamen…
Pan managed to stand back up, then jabbed with her arms fast enough to strike the four in rapid succession, nearly piercing through them with the sheer force of her fists. Without the time necessary to wrestle out of Angila's hands, she ducked to avoid his mouth blast. Medamatcha, however, was too late, being struck and rocketed away by friendly fire. Seeing Angila ready to fire once again, she began lifting upward with her legs.
"Kaio-Ken Times Three!"
Now with the further boost, Pan lifted herself off the ground, standing on her hands as Angila's stretched arms began to be pulled out of the dirt, now no longer hidden. With a swift and powerful spinning handstand, this demon was lifted off his feet and helplessly spun along with her, feeling his arms tangling together.
Seeing the winged demon trying to get in a ranged attack on her during this, Pan timed her last spin, falling onto her back and firing at Angila's arms, finally forcing him to let go of her ankles. The speed built up launched him straight at Wings, knocking that demon onto his back as Angila continued flying backward. Instead of flying after him, Pan hopped upward, then landed straight on Wings' chest, the impact nearly shattering his armor's chestpiece as he spat out. With another hop off of him, further crushing into Wings' upper body, she caught Angila in midair, then struck him back down with her feet.
Now Angila was being dragged across the floor, Pan practically standing on him like a board before hopping off him. As he came to a complete stop, Angila, his arms practically knotted together to the point of being numb, desperately tried charging for a mouth blast to save himself. Pan had already charged one of her hands with ki and fired down at his face right as the blast left his mouth. The combination of her blast firing at him and Angila's own being knocked back left him with smoke emitting from his mouth, ears, nostrils, and even his eyes.
With Angila defeated, now Pan was halfway through this simulation.
"Now let's see... Wings and that frog guy. Just gotta find them."
As Pan turned behind her to check the status of Wings...
She was met by a high speed tackle by the winged combatant. In spite of the seared holes through his wings and the grievous blows to his chest from Pan's landing and takeoff, he was still going strong.
"I should've sensed Wings a mile away...!"
Upon impact, Pan felt Kaio-Ken becoming more difficult to hold.
"Kaio-Ken shouldn't be petering out already...!"
She was slammed into a wall, and upon his feet touching the ground, Wings tried striking her forehead with his left wrist. She caught it with her right, then her left hand redirected a clawed palm from his right, which was pinned to the wall behind her. But as she tugged his left arm away from her, Pan felt her control over Kaio-Ken floundering once more.
"No, no! I've held Kaio-Ken longer than this! I shouldn't be this...!"
Wings managed to move his left spiked wrist back towards her face, to which Pan slowly forced it away from her head and neck. Even then, her opponent seemed to match her before his wrist could move past her arm, intending to finally strike her with it once given an opening.
The moment Pan's Kaio-Ken petered out, the spike closest to his elbow stabbed into her right shoulder. As usual, the simulation wouldn't allow fatal injuries, but this was still an intense pain.
She spotted a knee intended for her stomach and countered it with a hopping dual knee of her own, both her arms dedicated to pushing back his left arm. He struck with his right arm, piercing through the wall, but Pan had ducked, finally severing herself from the spike.
As he tried grabbing hold of her with both hands, she rolled to his left, then kicked directly at the spike he struck her with. The impact created a bend and generated an audible reaction from her virtual opponent. A swinging kick struck the side of his face so hard he span. The moment his back was exposed to Pan, she grabbed hold of his wrist spike, then, after a quick shout of Kaio-Ken, tore it off his wrist and held it like a knife.
"Come on, Wings! Come here!"
Dodging his enraged punches, she then managed to pierce the back of his left hand with his own spike. As he reeled, she leapt into Wings, kicking his left hand into his side, causing his limb to be pinned to him.
He couldn't free his left hand with Pan on offense, so he tried fending her off with his right arm, only for her to slip underneath and chop below his right armpit, then kick the back of his right knee. As he knelt, Pan took hold of both his wings and lifted him off the ground by them before slamming him back down as hard as she could.
Letting her Kaio-Ken dissipate afterward, she then knelt by the top of his head and threw punch after punch to his exposed forehead, only stopping once she saw Wings' arm no longer moving upward to stop her barrage. As she slowly made her way back up, Pan saw Wing's unconscious face, his brown-orange skin covered with dark purple spots and both horns on his head broken to the point of tiny pieces of them being scattered across his chin and chest like crumbs.
"I might've gone a bit overboard there..."
She looked over her shoulder, then turned around, knowing she was missing just one last confirmed KO...
"He was hit pretty bad earlier..."
She looked off to where she last saw him, but aside from a dirt trail from after the friendly fire struck him, Pan didn't see any sign of him. Nearby was Angila's body, his stretched arms knotted together from her spinning rapidly with him in tow...
...when he grabbed her legs from underground. Two massive rectangular holes remained from this...
"Ha, ha!" cackled Medamatcha, whom leapt from one of these holes towards her.
Pan swerved to avoid his lunge, but his clawed hands caught onto her side, clamping onto her.
She reached over to grab him, but Medamatcha crawled up to the right side of her back.
"Get off me!" she shouted aloud.
Pan finally caught him with her hands...
...as a dual fanged bite struck between her neck and right shoulder. Another sharp pain, the points much more thin, but managing to have dug deeper.
Pan yanked Medamatcha off of her and, with as much might as she could manage...
"AWAY FROM ME!"
She threw him into the same wall Wings tackled her into before...
...the impact not even putting a crack into it as Medamatcha caught himself. And after this feat, Pan crouched over, her left hand to her neck and feeling partially drained.
"Thanks for the energy!" taunted Medamatcha.
Instead of approaching her, he stood right where he was charging ki in both hands.
"You look tired, dearie," he jeered. "Here... I'll help you go to sleep!"
A massive blast fired from both his hands and Pan didn't have the time to charge and fire off a Kamehameha. Her left hand still tending to her wound, Pan charged ki in her right hand and fired a one-handed blast to stop and counter Medamatcha's. Not only had it not repelled Medamatcha's two-handed blast, but his threatened to overtake her completely, the heat of which drew ever closer to her.
"He'll fry me..."
Now seeing her jacket's sleeve begin to sear away, exposing her wrist and elbow that began to turn red from the heat...
"Either this works or I fail the exam..."
The difference was at first inconsequential, with Medamatcha's blast inches from her. The heat grew even more intense and she closed her eyes to shield her eyes from both that and from looking directly at it.
Her one-handed blast grew immensely, finally turning the tide and not only overpowering, but practically engulfing Medamatcha's and soon Medamatcha as well. Once Pan could sense that he was no longer firing, Pan stopped, getting out of Kaio-Ken and opening her eyes.
"It shouldn't have gone like this..."
She fell to one knee, then felt her eyes stinging, both from the heat she'd endured and from the copious amounts of sweat trying to get into them. She felt the top of her training jacket, the material having been thinned and tattered, exposing her blue shirt that wasn't untouched either.
"I shouldn't have had this much trouble..."
A grunt in the distance.
"You're kidding me...!"
Medamatcha, severely burned, crawled towards her.
Pan fired a ki bullet at him, but, despite the damage, Medamatcha continued dragging himself forward.
One ki bullet after another fired, each striking the target dead-on, but still Medamatcha remained and kept proceeding onward.
She took a step back, but the uneven terrain left her falling onto her back. As far as she could tell, it looked like Medamatcha was preparing another lunge. Whether he'd try another bite or not, Pan was desperate to stop him here and now.
"NO! Not again!"
Both her hands fired as rapidly as she could at his location. With dirt scattering to the point of covering the area Medamatcha resided in the midst of this volley, Pan couldn't see him. She didn't sense him or his ki either, but with how her senses appeared to have failed her several times already, she just stayed the course, not relenting or even trying to get up.
"Can't stop! Can't let up! Can't...!"
A green flash above her...
The familiar font spelled out "Finish!"
She finally stopped, sitting up to see what remained of Medamatcha as the environment around her began to dissolve away...
...the dust settled and what remained of Medamatcha in the aftermath looked more akin to a silhouette than a figure. She hadn't just slain the projection of Medamatcha: it was almost completely vaporized.
Amura and Umiu stood in the hallway to the training chamber's entrance, awaiting their turns for the exam.
"Uh... no, not at all."
As much as he tried to hide it, Amura could read it on the pink-skinned Namekian's face. Umiu heard this simulation, despite having less combatants than the last, would be trickier due to their distinct abilities.
"Hey," Amura went with a friendly slap on his shoulder. "You've been putting in the work. You've got this."
"You... you really think so?"
"Since we've trained together, all three of us are sure to..."
She paused upon hearing the doors to the training chamber open: Pan had finished the exam. They heard her footsteps and saw her shadow...
"Never had any doubts," went Amura, turning in Pan's direction with her arms to her sides in a Hercule-esque pose.
"Yeah," Umiu added while trying to mimic Amura's pose. "In no time, you'll..."
He paused with Amura not knowing why until she too looked over at Pan more clearly...
Limping, a hand over her right shoulder, the upper part of her jacket in tattered condition with burn marks, and her right arm exposed and partially red.
"They see me..."
She stopped, crouching for a moment.
"Damn it! Not here!"
They stopped what they were doing and approached her.
"Pan, are you...?" stumbled Umiu.
"Can we help...?"
"No...!" Pan shouted, not forcefully or loud, but getting across that she declined their assistance.
She didn't want to shove either of them, but once she made it back to her feet, Pan maneuvered around them. The two didn't make any further moves towards her, but kept watch of Pan as she tried to move faster.
"I should've been on top of this! After all this time in a hundred times gravity, I should not have done this badly!"
Instead of feeling triumphant at her having advanced to the 40's, all she could see was her shortcomings in her performance.
"It's still not enough..."
Pan's wounds still fresh and a burning feeling in her right arm, all the times she lost track of her opponents, was caught off-guard, tired out, and struck replayed in her head.
"I'm getting worse..."
She tossed and turned in her sleep from a recurring dream:
Pan standing in a dark void, her grandfather in front of her.
"Your power..." he began.
From behind him, Vegeta emerged.
"It's absolutely pathetic!"
Now Goku appeared inquisitive.
"You've been slacking off in your training?" inquired her grandfather.
"No," she answered. "I've been training this whole time."
"Oh please," Vegeta interrupted. "What training of hers could possibly measure up to our own?"
Vegeta suddenly emerged in front of her, akin to teleporting instantaneously, startling her into falling over.
"She doesn't know what it's like training to near death, then back to it again."
"You're right, Vegeta," went her grandfather uncharacteristically. "And she never will."
Goku turned his back to her and appeared to be leaving.
"You're not built for this. It's too dangerous for you."
"Grandpa, wait!" Pan cried out, now seeing and hearing herself as a young teenager.
"Don't join me anymore. I don't want to have to keep saving you."
"Don't leave me, please!"
"Go home, Pan."
Those were the last words of her grandfather before she lost sight of him. She found herself crawling forward until she saw something hovering just slightly off the ground...
The Flying Nimbus.
It was like an early memory of her having first seen it as a child and eager to ride it.
She lifted her foot upward to take a step onto it...
...only to see herself go straight through it and then fall, the floor beneath her no more.
"You're a disappointment," taunted Vegeta's voice. "All you can do..."
Pan tried to swing her arms or stop herself, but it was as if she had no ki at all.
The last she saw of the dream was herself fast approaching the floor of the gravity chamber.
The sheets flew straight up into the ceiling, then back down as Pan sat up, grappling with the words given to her by her grandfather and Vegeta.
"All you can do... is fall."
"I have to be better."
"I don't want to have to keep saving you."
"I can't let it come to that. Not again."
Taino saw Pan waiting for her at the academy just as she had arrived.
"You sure are early today," began Taino.
Pan couldn't help but notice Taino pausing for a moment, looking at her with a look of concern.
"Are you doing alright? You look a little..."
"It's nothing. I'm ready to go."
The two stood on the grounds, taking on their stances. Once again, Taino seemed to appear worried.
"You sure you're up for this? We can take a day if..."
"No. I can do this."
With that, the two flew around each other, Pan trying to get in the first hit. She kept up at first, but soon, Taino had her outpaced completely.
"Taino's flying circles around me! She's really picking up the pace now!"
She went for a punch, Taino evading it, and then countering with one of her own. Pan felt it glance past her cheek, then their fists clashed several times. Even with her gloves, the impact was starting to get to her fingers.
"My hands... she's punching at Ginyu's level, I bet."
Pan knew it was only a matter of time until Taino went on the offense and sure enough, now Pan was forced to get into a defensive position. Blocking several hits with her wrist, they too began aching from the sheer striking force.
"She's been building me up for this. All these weeks..."
She took to the sky to get some distance, finding Taino in hot pursuit. Once they clashed in midair once again, Pan couldn't help but notice that while she was defending against Taino much better than she had seconds ago, Taino was gradually attacking slower.
"Why is she slowing down? Why now?"
The look on her instructor's face soon made the reason clear as day.
"Taino was looking for an opening! She just found one!"
She saw Taino going for a punch to her face and went for the block...
...but Taino's fist only brushed off Pan's wrist straight into her right shoulder, after which Pan cried out, immediately descending from the sky and grabbing hold of it.
"It was all healed up... and now after just one hit... has Taino gone all out all of a sudden?"
She took a moment to think, then disregarded the entire thought.
"No. She's been gradually going up each session. I'm just..."
Now she saw Taino running over to her, offering to help her up.
"Pan, I'm sorry! I didn't see...!"
As she was being lifted by her left arm, Pan tried to minimize her current discomfort.
"No, no. It's alright."
Upon standing, she couldn't help but put a hand to her right shoulder.
"Let me just..."
"Pan, you're not feeling well. I'm telling you, you just need to stop for just a..."
She couldn't believe what Taino was asking her to do.
"Stop?! When I need to do this now more than ever?!"
Pan backed away, waving her left arm as if to keep Taino from getting a hold on her.
"No! I can't afford to stop! If I'm not ready for Ginyu, then I... I...!"
Looking over at Taino clearly uneasy from what had transpired, Pan caught herself and stopped.
"What am I doing?! I shouldn't be acting out this badly! Get it together, Pan!"
She put out her hand.
"I'm sorry, Taino. I didn't mean for this... you've done so much for me. I'm just not..."
Unable to think of how to finish the thought, as well as trying to minimize everything so far, she put her hands together and tried to wrap up everything as neatly as she could.
"Let's call it a day for now. I'll get it together and then I'll be back here tomorrow... okay?"
Taino didn't answer vocally, but did nod to Pan.
"I'll see you then, Taino. Good day."
She turned, making her way off the academy grounds...
...but Taino already had an idea of where Pan was heading.
It had been hours since her session with Taino ended abruptly as Pan was performing sit-up after sit-up in the gravity chamber. After pushing herself upward onto her feet, Pan traveled backward with consecutive backflips. As she was close to colliding with the chamber's wall, she stopped on her hands, then remained in place for a moment to test her arm strength.
Now she switched to front flips, noticing she was slowing down a little.
"Come on. Keep going..."
Once having reached the opposite side, Pan stood on her hands once again, but felt somewhat shaky.
"No, no. I'm moving too much."
She was determined to remain in place until she could steady herself for a few seconds.
"Straighten out, straighten ou…!"
Her right arm gave out and her left couldn't hold her up alone in this amount of gravity. Pan fell onto her side, which would have been nothing in any other circumstance, but in this level of gravity...
Both hands grasped it immediately and she rolled onto her other side. She saw the controls across from her, with which she could turn off the gravity right then and there.
But then Vegeta's voice echoed in her head.
"She doesn't know what it's like training to near death, then back to it again."
Pan took to her feet slowly, even as her side continued to hurt.
"This wouldn't stop him... or Grandpa."
She turned her back to the console, let go of her side, and punched in place. As much as she ached with each motion, Pan continued and even began to speed up.
With a spin, she began kicking above her rapidly. Another sharp pain to her side and she stopped, both feet back on the ground.
"This is nothing to them. Nothing to a Saiyan."
Another series of kicks with her opposite leg were followed by her stamping the ground hard for another array of punches. She repeated this several times, building up speed and power with each stamp.
The pain in her side built up until finally...
"Ghh... damn it!"
It was such that she slipped, having to catch herself with her gloved hands to prevent a hard collision on her front. Again, she saw the controls to the chamber.
"No. I can't afford to..."
She tried lifting herself up...
She slowly lowered herself when this first attempt failed, then tried again.
"Come on! Up, up!"
Just then, Pan could feel the gravity reverting to normal. Someone stood at the console.
"Commander Hale? But I'm..."
"I'm sorry Miss Pan, but you're in no condition to continue."
"I have to..."
She tried to lift herself up once more.
"I need to..."
She then tried pushing herself off the ground onto her feet...
...but her arms couldn't manage it in that moment.
"Damn it, he's right."
Back in her housing unit, Hale had helped Pan onto her bed, put wraps on her arms and legs, and was getting ready to place two patches onto her wounds. He pressed the first patch against her shoulder, knowing it had to have stung her.
"You have pushed yourself considerably since your last exam..."
"Even then... I'm falling behind, Hale. Taino's taught me everything I need to know, but it's..."
She paused as the other patch touched her side.
"Taino has informed me you haven't missed a single day training with her."
"If I do, I'll fall further behind."
His hands to his back, Hale walked back and forth.
"Taino has also shared some of her concerns..."
"I know. She's been patient with me, only going up in power gradually, but if I can't measure up, then that undermines the whole process. I'd be holding us both back."
"You're being too hard on yourself."
"Towa will strike soon. If I go easy on myself, I'm doing Towa's work for her, guaranteeing her victory."
He saw Pan's fist tightening.
"That's why I need to get back out there. As soon as I'm able."
Hale turned back to her, helping to pull up her bed sheets towards her hands.
"You've done all that you can for one day."
As he began to exit...
"Please... take care of yourself."
Her unit had gone dark simulating night, nowhere near the time to revert back to day time. She mumbled in her sleep as images flashed in her head:
Goku and Vegeta, always out of her reach. Among these images was herself, aging into an older woman.
"I can help."
Slowly, her hair turned gray and her skin old and wrinkled.
"Let me help."
Now she was on her deathbed and still, the two figures loomed over her.
Even as her body became little more than a skeleton with a thin layer of skin...
"Just let me..."
Even when her body decayed into nothing...
...Goku and Vegeta never left.
She sat up, her hands over her head coping with what she had just seen. Even knowing it was only a dream and a nightmare, it felt like a premonition.
Without a moment to lose, she tore off the two medical pads and slowly undid the wraps around her. Putting on her training attire and jacket, Pan stormed out of her housing unit.
From the distance, someone saw her heading towards the gravity chamber.
Even amidst the pain she clearly felt, Pan was convinced to push through all of it, moving rapidly and swinging harder.
In time, she fell.
"Vital integrity at risk," went the voice of the chamber's systems. "Participant condition critical."
She worked her way slowly to standing on her knees.
"Terminating session in 5, 4, 3..."
As futile as it was, she put out her hand towards the console itself.
"No, WAIT! I can still do this! I CAN STILL...!"
This time, instead of Commander Hale stepping in to shut down the session, the chamber itself did it.
Pan looked down at the floor, both her hands forming fists as tight as she could manage with her gloves.
With a shout, she swung her fists into the ground, the floor seeming to shift upward like a wave on the water before reverting back.
She began her exit through the hallway, a wrist against a wall when she heard a set of footsteps...
...and the face of someone she hadn't seen since her last mission.
Trunks didn't bother to ask "Are you okay?" as he could see from her expression and physical state that she clearly wasn't.
He took a step forward.
"Limping isn't nothing. Grasping your rib isn't nothing."
Pan tried letting go of her injured side after he brought it up, but immediately put her hand back over it.
"Please... just tell me what's wrong."
She sighed, then looked him in the eyes.
"I helped your father defeat Dodoria and Zarbon. We were both beat to hell, but we pulled it off."
She took another step forward.
"Taino trained me for the Ginyu Force. We went over everything..."
Now her back was against the wall.
"I was no match for all of them at once when Towa sicked them on me. And when they went after everyone, all I did was delay them. Towa would have won were it not for... for…"
Trunks tried to be delicate with his words in the moment.
"Goku didn't just appear out of the blue. The mission was always to protect everyone until he arrived. You stopped Towa from removing him from the equation. Goku would not have arrived in time were it not for you."
Pan couldn't take comfort from it.
"My grandpa went from losing to Vegeta to thrashing the Ginyu Force in just one week. I've been training for weeks! I've been in a hundred times gravity for over a week! Instead of getting better, I just keep getting worse!"
She caught herself hitting the wall with her wrist and pointing at him.
"Don't tell me it gets easier with time!"
"You're right. It doesn't."
He approached, but kept to a slow pace.
"But you're clearly hurt. You've been training while hurt."
"You sure are early today," began Taino before noticing Pan's hair was unkempt and her training jacket and pants had burns and tears that hadn't been repaired.
The two stood on the grounds, Taino clearly battle-ready, but seeing Pan's stance was noticeably off.
"You sure you're up for this? We can take a day if..."
"No. I can do this."
As Taino flew around Pan's flight path, she couldn't help but notice that Pan wasn't going as fast as they typically did.
"Taino's flying circles around me! She's really picking up the pace now!"
As Taino clashed fists with Pan, she once again picked up that Pan's strikes weren't as polished or struck as hard.
"She's punching at Ginyu's level, I bet."
Taino slowed down, noticing Pan defending more with her left arm than she was her right.
"Taino was looking for an opening!"
Taino struck Pan's right shoulder...
...nowhere near a high enough level to do damage to it...
...but the impact with the injured shoulder was still excruciating to Pan all the same.
"and now after just one hit... has Taino gone all out all of a sudden?"
Pan realized now that she was not doing as well physically as she had believed.
"You're not getting worse. It's that you're not fully healed."
Still, she couldn't help but imagine Vegeta and Goku doing everything she had done with little to no effort.
"If your father and my grandfather could do it... train to the breaking point and keep going... I need to do the same. It's the only way I'll ever be able to measure up..."
"It was senzu beans!"
As calmly as Trunks tried to keep, he couldn't let Pan continue with this line of thought.
"Goku had a whole bag of senzu beans on hand when he got onto the ship. Each time he reached his breaking point in a hundred times gravity, he took one senzu and started the process over and over. When he touched down on Namek, he only had three left. That's how much of them he needed."
More and more, Pan was filling in all the pieces.
"The Time Patrol has many things, Pan, but we don't have that always-ready boundless supply Earth does. No one in Toki Toki City, not even the toughest Saiyans here, can grow in power like your grandfather and my father did."
This information and context should've been clearing her mind, but instead, her mind kept going back to that day.
"It only took one senzu bean for Vegeta to be Recoome's better. Two later and nothing's changed for me."
Trunks knew better than to try correcting that she had gained at least some power from both senzus and continued listening.
"The Supreme Kai of Time was in that horrible state because I couldn't power-up enough. Next time, she needs me to be better. I promised her."
"The Supreme Kai of Time didn't want you to beat yourself up over it or to work yourself to death so this would never happen again. She wanted you to take it easy... rest."
"How can I take it easy with what's to come?! It'll only get worse with each mission. Towa's counting on me to take it easy."
"You were hard on yourself that day, Pan, but not like this. Something changed."
He put a hand on her shoulder.
"What was it?"
Pan let herself slide down, sitting with her back against the wall as Trunks backed up, then did the same on the opposite end.
"Ever since I saw Turles again... alive... realizing my efforts weren't what won the day... I've had dreams of Vegeta and Goku. And in all these dreams, their sentiment is always the same: that I don't belong there. That it's too much for me to handle. That I'm better off not getting involved. Better off staying home."
She looked away, but Trunks could see a lone tear escape her eye.
"That it's no place for anyone but a pure-blooded Saiyan..."
He scooted forward, but kept a short distance.
"With everything you've done so far, you know it can't be true."
"The last nightmare I had: me, wanting to help, do my part... and having to watch Goku and your father take care of it... again... and again... and again. I keep growing, getting older, and it's still the same: Goku and Vegeta take care of everything always... because they're beyond me."
Trunks kept silent, letting himself hear and take in all the hurt she felt.
"Even as I'm at the end of my life, those two haven't aged one bit, always looking the exact same. My sun sets... but theirs never will. And I never amount to anything."
Another tear came down from the opposite eye.
"Growing up, I thought human potential was limitless. That they could match or even surpass Saiyans. But here, I realize it was only a fantasy of a child. It's so slow. So unbearably slow compared to Goku and Vegeta."
She wiped her eyes with her wrist as she began to tear up more.
"I've been looking down on my humanity. Treating it like a crutch... something holding me back."
She covered one eye with her hand.
"I thought my mother and grandmother were two of the strongest warriors on the planet. But now I can't stop thinking 'What are they compared to Saiyans?' My grandmother fought in one tournament and then she was done. And my mother... she did so much. She won tournaments. She fought crime while she was in school. But all everyone will remember of her was her defeat."
The image from her youth seeing her mother rung out flashed before her eyes.
"Spopovich: that's her legacy. That's all she'll ever be remembered for."
Her nose sniffled, trying in vain to wipe away the snot beginning to leak from her nostrils.
"Every time I think of them, a voice inside me keeps looking down at them. Like they're nothing. Like they're everything holding me back."
One of her hands struck the ground as her sadness mixed with anger at herself.
"I can't stand thinking like this. I don't want to think like this anymore. But that voice... that part of me keeps saying it over and over. I want it to stop, but it won't. It just keeps repeating."
Trunks came as close as he could without touching her, seeing tears streaming down her face as she made no attempt to hide how she felt at this point. It was the most he had seen her break down since she arrived.
"That I'm a failed mixture. That I'm not pure... not like those two are. I hate myself for thinking like this. I want to go back to before I thought like this, but I can't... and I never will."
Both her hands were towards her eyes and she began to hunch downward towards her knees.
"If everyone from my world saw what I am now, they would know the truth: that I'm not a successor. I'm no heir apparent of Goku's legacy. I'm not strong like he is. I'm not tough enough. I'm just a... just a..."
Pan couldn't bring herself to finish and Trunks, tearing up himself, pulled her gently towards him for a hug. He held her close as she freely sobbed into his shoulder just as Trunks had once before when she did the same for him. For the longest time, he couldn't think of what to say to comfort her, so he simply remained in place.
Once Pan finally began to sit back up, Trunks letting her go, he had something to say to her.
"You're not weak. And you're no failure. Not even close. You're struggling and you don't have all the answers, but you will get through this. Not because of your lineage or your bloodline…"
He started to stand up, offering Pan a hand to help her up.
"But because of you... and you alone."
Taking Trunks' hand, she was back on her feet.
"I know you won't stop training any time soon, but give yourself the time to heal and recharge. With everything you've been through and how far you've come, you deserve a breather."
She wiped away what was left of her tears, then hugged him back.
"Thank you, Trunks."
She had descended to a dark place, but now she could take the steps to get out of it.
Taino stood at the academy grounds and saw Trunks nearby.
"Have you seen Pan anywhere? She's always right here before I even arrive and I haven't seen her yet."
"She's taking today off."
Taino was struck by this.
"She and I have been training constantly. She wouldn't take any days off. Yesterday, she..."
"Don't worry," Trunks reassured her. "Pan's resting. I think you would agree that she's more than earned it."
Hale, who hadn't seen Beetro in some time, saw him clear as day in the plaza.
"It's been some time."
"Indeed it has, Commander."
Beetro was caught off-guard as he was pulled in for a hug.
"Just Hale, Beetro. Just Hale."
The Saiyan medic simply smiled as he hugged Hale back.
Pan, her training attire having been repaired and folded neatly, was sleeping soundly in her bed in her pajamas instead of twisting and turning.
Instead of dreaming of her grandfather and Vegeta, she saw herself standing with her mother and grandmother. Pan knelt in front of them, at first sobbing and taking both their hands.
"I'm so sorry. I never meant to... never wanted to..."
"Pan, honey..." her mother interrupted, clearly not angry or upset with Pan.
Both slowly gestured Pan back up, then opened their arms for a hug between all three of them. She put her arms around both as their arms went around her. Even with it being a dream, Pan felt a warmth she had not felt in some time.
"I wouldn't have gotten anywhere without you two," continued Pan. "I won't forget that again. I promise."
"Your mother and I will always be with you."
"We love you so much, Pan."
Pan's regrets soon gave way to a renewed joy as she nodded to both of them."I love you too."
Looming Opponent! Versus the Elite!
These past few days, aside from resting, she had worked on cleaning up the inside of her unit, which had been a mess. With items once scattered about, her bed sheets wrinkled and threatening to slide off the mattress, now her things were neatly placed and her bed coverings made and having been washed.
Along with that, she cleaned herself up, her hair no longer unkempt, her skin without dirt and sweat she neglected to wash before, and her training attire having now been repaired and lied neatly folded. Pan had finally began wearing her pajamas at night instead of just sleeping in her gear, and instead of feeling nothing but soreness, she felt like herself again.
She sat, having a decent meal, but was interrupted by a knock on the door. Pan opened to find Taino had come to check up on her, and her instructor was glad to see Pan all the better from taking the time to let her body recover.
Taino joined her inside, the two discussing the next course of action. There would be only a few more days of training left, then one final session to test Pan to the fullest on everything covered.
These sessions went leagues better for Pan, with her no longer feeling like she was far behind her instructor. Taino saw the improvement as well, even as she began getting herself closer to Ginyu’s power.
Then came the last day of training.
“Here it is, Pan. My final lesson: I’ll fight about as on par with Ginyu as I can, and you will try to stay in it for a whole minute.”
Both immediately took on stances.
Spheres of ki surrounded them as they collided, the energy around them bursting as their elbows clashed. They hopped backward, then came back with a barrage of punches.
In the midst of this barrage, Taino grabbed Pan by her wrist, then tossed her to the ground. Pan saw Taino fly back, almost appearing to slide backward on the floor, as her hands charged with purple ki.
Pan hopped high upward, avoiding the explosions and shaking of the ground that the consecutive blasts created. Taino then saw that Pan had fired off a purple wave right as she concluded her attack.
“That’s the way, Pan.”
Taino was struck back, but then hopped high above the grounds, pointing her finger down at Pan...
...who was also performing the same gesture. The two streams of orbs that fired from their respective Visionary Attacks collided, countering each other perfectly, but making it hard for Pan to see where Taino had gone. She relied on her senses and sure enough, Pan found her:
Taino floated right above Pan, her leg lifted straight up. Pan blocked the falling leg, but saw the floor fast approaching. She span to slow her descent down, then landed on her feet, seeing Taino already waiting on the ground with one leg off the ground.
Now Taino was on a kicking frenzy, Pan guarding and redirecting them with her hands until at last Taino’s final kick left her wide open.
A ki-covered fist struck Taino’s chestpiece, after which she slid and skipped into a wall.
“That’ll buy me a few seconds, tops.”
As much as Pan may had damaged Taino so far, she herself was already starting to tire.
“Has it been a minute yet?”
Pan saw a yellow blur fast approaching and hopped backward, avoiding a slam to the ground with two fists. Right as her feet touched down, Pan blocked a kick of such power that she was sliding backward on her two feet. Taino flew after her with punch after punch, Pan’s guard still holding up, but each threatening to make Pan lose more and more control.
The last had Pan tumble, trying to stop her roll as she came closer to a wall herself. She fired one blast at the floor to get her off the ground, then another at the wall itself to stop her momentum and get her back in the other direction.
While Pan landed it, she was exhausted, about to crouch over. But then she saw Taino spreading her arms upward.
The imaginary beam left Taino towards Pan’s path...
...but missed by just a hair as Pan sidestepped it. Once she didn’t see the line on the ground turn red or hear the same familiar beep she’d grown accustomed to hearing, Pan gave out a sigh of relief.
This was followed by a beeping alarm sound on Taino’s gauntlet.
“That’s a wrap,” went her instructor, clapping her hands together. “Well done.”
Pan went ahead and lied down, her arms behind her head as she began to relax. Taino walked up to her, then sat down with her legs crossed.
“I always believed you could do it, Pan.”
“To be honest Taino, if it had been just a few more seconds...”
“But it wasn’t.”
She gave a friendly tap on Pan’s arm.
“Give yourself some credit. You worked hard getting to this point and, as your instructor, I say that you have effectively passed.”
Pan recalled all too well the downward spiral she was in the last few weeks, trying to push her body to the point she completely ignored how overworked and hurt it was. But seeing that after getting out of it, training better and with much-needed rest, she had succeeded.
“Thanks again, Taino.”
Taino made her way to her knees, then began tugging on Pan’s arm.
“Now come on. Let’s celebrate.”
The two sat at a small outdoor table, each with an ice cream cone in hand. As Pan enjoyed this treat, she couldn’t help but find that the swirled shape of Taino’s ice cream wasn’t entirely different from the way Taino’s hair looked.
“What?” went Taino.
The next day, Pan was out for a walk when Amura and Umiu joined her. The two congratulated her on her success, though Pan realized the last time she had seen them was at one of her lowest points.
“Listen... about how I acted after the exam...”
“You had a rough day, Pan,” Amura interrupted.
“We know you didn’t mean anything by it,” added Umiu.
“No,” went Pan, stopping in place to make her point. “I was in a bad place. A destructive one. I thought I had to tough it out, never take any breaks, or else I was weak. I’m out of it now, but I acted out when you tried to help me. And I’m sorry.”
Neither of the two felt “Don’t sweat it” was an appropriate response, so both instead put one arm around one of her shoulders.
“If you get into trouble, whatever it is, you can always talk to us.”
“Amura and I will do what we can. Just let us know, okay Pan?”
With a nod, Pan’s expression began to morph from mournful to cheerful.
“I will. Thanks.”
Right as they began to continue on their walk, they saw Trunks running, then slid to a complete stop in front of her.
“Oh Pan, there you are!”
She took a guess as to what was the emergency.
“Is it time?”
After nodding to her...
Quickly donning her patroller attire, Pan sprinted into the library of the Time Nest.
This was the first time Pan had seen Chronoa since her last mission, where she had gotten dangerously pale and could barely move at all. Now the Supreme Kai of Time stood before her, the glowing scroll in her hands opened so she, Trunks, and Pan could all see what was set to transpire.
Ginyu floated overhead facing Goku, neither appearing any worse for wear. Just then, a purple glow overcame both Ginyu and Jeice.
Goku saw Ginyu stretching out his arms, but also saw Jeice forming his blade of ki and indicating his intention to strike Ginyu from behind.
"Ginyu, watch out! He's...!"
Even with Ginyu being an enemy, Goku tried to warn him of his comrade attempting to slew him.
Immediately after Ginyu finished, Jeice stabbed him through the chest, then Goku saw a beam coming for him.
Just then, Goku was in Ginyu's body, looking at Ginyu in his own body...
...as well as felt himself gravely wounded by Jeice's attack on his own commanding officer, which Goku realized now was meant to wound Goku after the body change all along.
Ginyu then struck Goku in the stomach as Jeice lifted Goku upward, the blade still cutting and burning him from inside, then tossed him to the ground. The moment Goku made contact with the ground, both Ginyu and Jeice landed on top of his chest with their feet.
A massive puddle of purple blood emerged from behind Goku, who reeled from the crushing blow, but also felt faint from the amount of blood being lost so quickly from the wound. With the guarantee that Goku would not be able to recover, Ginyu and Jeice flew away at high speed to leave the former Saiyan bleeding to death.
“So... aside from my grandfather dying, what’s the difference?”
“For one, Ginyu wouldn’t allow Jeice to do what he did,” answered Chronoa.
“What, the backstab?”
“Just the idea of Ginyu relying on Jeice’s help to win. He wouldn't accept it because for all his villainy, he has a code of honor."
“Towa’s whole mission so far...” began Trunks. “From Piccolo and Raditz to the Ginyu Force now, has been trying to alter the main timeline by making them all act differently... out of character. In ways they would never behave because it goes entirely against who they are.”
“So what is Ginyu supposed to do, Trunks?” asked Pan.
"Ginyu's supposed to wound himself with his own hand. And after switching bodies with Goku, he and Jeice should have taken off immediately after the swap. Towa's determined to make sure they finish the job."
“The one upside to this...” Chronoa continued. “Is that your primary focus will be Jeice. If Ginyu acts out of turn, intervene by all means, but Jeice getting involved is our main concern."
As Pan took the scroll into her hand, she wasn’t feeling overly confident, as even with her preparation over all this time, she knew the stakes of failure all too well. But having completed her training under Taino, she had a sense that she was not just up to the task, but was actually ready for it.
“All set, Pan?” Trunks asked.
She answered with a nod, then closed her eyes and hand, vanishing from the Time Nest onto Namek in the past.
Keeping herself hidden, her cape included since it was what got her caught last time, Pan watched as Ginyu and Jeice touched down in front of Goku, Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta.
“That’s him, Captain!” began Jeice, pointing to Pan’s grandfather. “He’s the one that brought down Recoome and Burter. Killed them too.”
Vegeta couldn’t help but chuckle, shaking his head at them.
“You give Kakarrot far too much credit. He couldn’t even stomach killing them.”
“What’s this, then?” went Ginyu. “Do you admit responsibility for their deaths?”
He cackled, then looked at his gloved hand, their blood metaphorically on it, in pride.
“I savor it.”
In a trend Pan had gotten used to, Vegeta, after being nearly beaten by someone, wherein he actually showcased some fear at the difference in power and realization of the possibility of his own demise, went back to his old and arrogant self once the situation was averted and he had gotten away.
“Yeah... after Grandpa and I saved your sorry behind.”
Pan realized Trunks could clearly hear her thoughts on his father on the comms.
“No, no, it’s fine,” he replied.
She looked back to Goku, turning over to his son and best friend behind him.
“Gohan. You and Krillin get going after the Dragon Balls. Vegeta and I will take care of this.”
He then turned to his enemy-turned-temporary ally.
“I’ll take Ginyu. Take the other one, Vegeta.”
While hesitant to leave Goku alone with Vegeta, Krillin and Gohan flew away with Ginyu and Jeice making no efforts to stop them. Pan’s grandfather took on a battle stance in Ginyu’s direction while awaiting Vegeta to do the same for Jeice.
“Alright. Now let’s do this.”
A scoff from the Saiyan Prince.
“Oh, Kakarrot. I never agreed to help you.”
Goku turned, seeing Vegeta zoom away in the opposite direction of the field of battle.
A purple glow appeared over Ginyu.
“Jeice. Let’s bring this Saiyan down together.”
Jeice immediately noticed something off about Ginyu’s mannerisms.
“Captain, that’s not like you to...”
The same glow overtook him as well.
“Sure thing, Captain. Let's clean up this space trash.”
Pan didn’t have to be told what the issue was.
“Now’s my cue.”
As Goku took on a stance to account for both attacking him at once, he felt something on his left. Now he, Jeice, and Ginyu all saw Pan, with Ginyu being the only one of the three who hadn’t encountered her prior.
“And just who are you supposed to be?” he asked her.
In a flash, Jeice recalled each moment of Pan’s involvement.
“She was helpin’ ‘em too, Captain. Kept interferin’ with our fights. Not a shred of honor.”
Instead of appearing worried, he was self-assured.
“No matter, though. We almost killed her earlier. Her power went up a little bit after, but it made no difference.”
He stepped forward towards her.
“Leave ‘er to me, Captain.”
It seemed odd that Jeice was now set on going against Ginyu’s plan, but him recalling Pan being no match for the three of them had him convinced he alone could take care of her.
“Very well, Jeice. I expect you to be all wrapped up before I am. Understood?”
“You got it, Captain.”
Pan turned to Goku, who didn’t appear worried for her safety.
“You’ve changed again.”
She saw him with a small smile on his face.
“Don’t know how you do it, but I...”
Ginyu struck Goku’s cheek with an elbow, rocketing him away from Pan and then flew after her grandfather.
“That Saiyan monkey’s got no idea what he’s in for,” declared Jeice. “He may have beaten us, but now he’s dealing with the captain.”
He cracked his knuckles, waiting for Pan.
“And you ain’t even gonna get to face ‘im.”
As much as Pan wanted to respond to him out loud, she instead responded with her stance.
“You have no idea. I’ve been training all this time to face your captain.”
“Don’t overdo it, Pan,” advised Chronoa. “Jeice needs to be in one piece for a later event.”
While Goku and Ginyu battled in the skies above, Pan and Jeice remained on the ground as their fists and legs clashed with one another’s.
“The patroller has improved considerably, Mira,” Towa cautioned. “Perhaps we waited too long to...”
“I assure you, it will make no difference,” answered Mira. “The plan will go accordingly regardless.”
Jeice was swinging and kicking away with everything he had, but found he couldn’t get through to Pan.
“Come on! Give me one little opening! Just one!”
Meanwhile, Pan was stopping all of this with only the minimum necessary and without even needing to use Kaio-Ken. As much as a part of her wanted to take pride in the fact she was now matching the likes of Jeice, Pan was quick to remind herself to focus.
“Do not get cocky! Not now! Not on mission!”
She then caught both his wrists, then before he could act, hopped toward him with a kick under his chest. He stumbled backward, then caught himself with one hand on the ground before he could fall to his knees.
“Okay, so you’re a little better than I thought you were.”
Pan couldn’t help but look upward after hearing her grandfather being struck back by a hit from Ginyu.
“But I’ve got a bigger fish to fry.”
Jeice fired at the ground to try creating a distraction with the dust that resulted from it, then fast approached Goku...
...his ki blade drawn.
“Jeice shouldn’t be...!” Trunks exclaimed.
Pan took aim with her Power Pole like an athlete with a javelin.
“Say no more.”
Accounting for Jeice’s speed, she tossed the Power Pole into his path, striking Jeice’s wrist. He span uncontrollably, his blade completely missing his mark as he then saw Pan, whom had caught the Power Pole, swing it downward at him. While blocking it with his ki blade, he was sent downward, but managed to fire a blast at Goku, forcing him to swerve.
Ginyu took maximum advantage of this, flying into and catching Goku in his arms. Jeice was ecstatic to see the result of his efforts.
“He’s all yers, Captain! Finish him off!”
“Don’t worry,” began Trunks. “All of this happening because of Jeice didn’t sit well with Ginyu. He should let go of Goku momentarily.”
Instead, Ginyu began tightening his grip, trying to crush Goku.
“Not how it looks from down here,” responded Pan.
Even with the formula affecting him, getting him to try snapping Goku in two, Ginyu seemed puzzled for a moment, almost trying to fight back against it.
“Come on, Ginyu,” Trunks spoke aloud. “Fight the formula. You know you’re not yourself right now.”
“What am I...?”
But after this comment, Ginyu’s eyes turned red and he began squeezing Goku even tighter, this time, causing the Saiyan to cry out.
“It’s not working! Ginyu’s still trying to crush him!”
Even before Chronoa or Trunks advised her on it, Pan made her way behind Ginyu.
“I’m getting Grandpa out of there!”
While she had been holding back on Jeice since the start of their battle, she struck the back of Ginyu’s head with a double axe handle with no intention of doing the same. The sheer force sent both Ginyu and Goku downward with the captain releasing her grandfather as a result of the impact. He then caught himself in midair, turned around, and flew towards Pan.
“You’ll die for your interference!” he snarled.
She saw him aiming his hands for palm strikes and caught them with her own, the two trying to overpower the other.
“Just tell me when to back off and I’ll...”
Goku flew behind Ginyu and Ginyu could tell his Saiyan opponent wasn’t in a proper fighting stance or attempting to strike him while his back was turned.
“Your buddy helped you just now, then she helped me,” explained Goku. “Now we’re even. Now let’s get back to our match again... okay?”
After Ginyu’s face seemed to wrestle with several conflicting thoughts at once, the purple glow around him dissipated.
He let go of Pan’s hands, then looked downward at Jeice, pointing directly at him.
“You will not interfere any further or I will kill you, Jeice. Is that understood?!”
After a clearly audible gulp from how nervous he was at the prospect of being on the receiving end of his commanding officer’s wrath, Jeice mumbled, then answered “Yes, Captain.”
But then Ginyu turned over to Pan.
“And you, girl... you stay out of this. Wait your turn.”
Pan hovered back, watching Goku and Ginyu getting ready to battle once more...
...when Jeice went for a high speed tackle, which she narrowly avoided before grabbing hold of both of his legs.
“Now to keep him from trying any more sneak attacks on my Grandpa...”
With a Dragonthrow, she span, then tossed Jeice downward. When he began to slow his descent, Pan pursued, keeping him preoccupied with defending against her punches.
“Now is as good a time as any to send in the asset.”
“Beginning preparations now.”
Pan and Jeice both found that since landing below, Goku and Ginyu had suddenly stopped their battle, conversing in midair.
“Good news, Pan,” went Trunks. “That means we’re almost finished here. Goku’s about to show Ginyu his power.”
Jeice, taking maximum advantage of the momentary stop to take a breather for himself, grew irritated once he noticed a small smile from Pan.
“Wipe that smirk off your face.”
“I’ve got an idea of how to keep Jeice out of play.”
Jeice couldn’t hear a single word of Pan’s discussion, but found her expression remained the same as before.
“Is she... actually having fun right now?”
He looked to his gloved hands, seeing them partially tattered just from trying to strike her while she didn’t look any worse for wear.
“Has she been toying with me?!”
Losing patience with her, he stomped forward.
“Okay, now you’re really getting on my nerves, girlie! What in the hell are you so damn smiley about?!”
Pan simply waited for confirmation for her plan.
“Go for it, Pan.”
Goku smirked at Ginyu.
“Check your scouter.”
“Check your scouter,” Pan told Jeice.
Jeice murmured, “Cocky little bugger, ain’t ya?” as he put a hand to his scouter. Then with a clear voice, he responded, “Fine, then. I’ll play along.”
As he waited for Pan’s power level to be scanned...
"She’s completely full of herself. She’s good, but not..."
His eyes enlarged at the sight of the number given.
“How? How could you gain so much power in so little time?”
“I already have a good idea of your peak,” began Ginyu, who prepared his scouter. “Not much higher than eighty thous...”
“Kaio-Ken!” Pan’s grandfather shouted.
Ginyu’s smile soon dissipated as he saw the numbers rocket upward.
“A hundred thousand! A hundred ten!”
Then a gasp from Ginyu so audible Jeice and Pan could hear it even from below.
"He’d never act that way! Not unless that monkey’s power is over a hundred and twenty... there’s no way! No one but Lord Frieza’s stronger than the Captain!”
“Kaio-Ken!” Pan shouted.
His eyes shot out even further.
"No, that’s not... you... you witch!"
Now Jeice’s fear had evolved further into straight paranoia and a complete loss in confidence in himself.
"It ain't natural! It ain't fair! She shouldn't be allowed to do this! It goes against the very laws of...!"
With a burst of air enhanced by her Kaio-Ken, Jeice was knocked back, his feet gliding against the water until he stopped himself. Not only was he in disbelief at Pan’s power, but also at how his always-calm captain was reacting to Goku’s.
“Your power...!” Ginyu screamed. “It’s more than doubled!”
As he made his way back to land, he formed his Crusher Ball, aimed right for Goku.
"Bet yer too busy showin’ off to the Captain to block this, huh?!"
He tossed it as hard as he could at the Saiyan, but then saw Pan had intercepted it, swinging the Power Pole two-handed at it.
Right as he stood on solid ground again, he saw his own projectile flying right back at him. He was frozen.
"Aww, shoot!" exclaimed Pan.
Not wanting Jeice’s reflected attack to either seriously harm him or change the landscape around them, Pan fired at the Crusher Ball, detonating it before it could strike the reeling Jeice.
Left with his ears buzzing from how close the detonation was and struggling to see through the dust in its aftermath, he looked to his left, then to his right...
...to see Pan standing next to him, holding the Power Pole behind her neck casually.
He hopped backward, losing his footing and nearly falling into the water, but catching himself with both hands.
"It’s just like when that Saiyan showed up..."
He looked down, seeing his cowering reflection in the water to his right.
"Look at me! Quiverin’!"
Then as if remembering age-old wisdom from Captain Ginyu, he shouted “No, no! I’m Jeice of the mighty Ginyu Force!” to snap himself out of it.
Drawing his ki blade in his fury, he swung right at the Power Pole in an attempt to disarm her, seeming to ignore the discomfort of clashing with an object his blade couldn’t slice through. Pan remained on defense, using the Power Pole to block and redirect the blade of ki or simply moved to avoid slashes from it.
With a swing to his shoulder, his right wrist was plunged underground, leaving him exposed for a jab. Just then, he caught it in his left hand, keeping it upward away from his head and shoulder. Pan saw the ground near her heat up and realized the ki blade was going to swing upward at her. After a swerve to avoid the first swing, she stepped back to avoid a swing at her neck. Jeice swung rapidly, keeping the Power Pole from interfering while Pan continued to hold onto her polearm while dodging in place.
“Go on, then! Let go of that toy! I dare ya!”
He saw an opening and went for a stab with his right hand, but Pan took hold of his wrist. The standstill turned on Pan beginning to drag his right arm downward, the blade now heading closer to the ground...
“You think you’re clever, girl?”
She then pushed him further down, the tip of the blade now partially submerged into the water. Steam sprouted out from it and Jeice couldn’t lift himself off the ground or turn his head in the position he was in. The steam got into his face, his eyes watering and his scouter fogged up.
She pulled back her right arm, the Power Pole squeezing out of Jeice’s left hand as she then jabbed it right into his stomach. He reeled, grasping the polearm with both hands.
Pan looked out into the distance at a hill-esque mountain on another island.
“Power Pole Extend!”
It jabbed forward, Jeice being sent away and seeing the Power Pole grow in length even as Pan remained in the same stance and position from before. She watched him vanishing farther into the distance towards the hill, then, upon feeling the faintest sensation that it had struck something, had the polearm slowly return to its default size while making her way back to Goku and Ginyu’s location.
"Won’t let you backstab my grandpa any time soon."
“It is time.”
As far as Pan saw, Ginyu hadn’t rekindled his combat with Goku in her absence, with the two simply hovering overhead.
“You are stronger...”
Now Ginyu was laughing, perplexing Goku.
“So much stronger than I am.”
“What’s so funny?” her grandfather inquired.
He took off his scouter with his left hand.
“I like your body.”
Goku seemed further baffled at what Ginyu was saying to him, but Pan, Trunks, and Chronoa all knew what was about to happen.
“You know the drill. Get to a safe distance until it’s done.”
As Pan hovered backward, keeping an eye on everything, she spotted purple overtaking Ginyu as he put his right hand over his chest.
Now Goku was completely dumbfounded upon seeing Ginyu pierce into his own chest with his bare hand.
“What are you doing to yourself?!”
Ginyu, his right palm covered in purple blood, coughed before tossing the scouter high up into the air.
Trunks and Chronoa looked over as Ginyu’s self-injury took place.
“Alright, where should we pick Pan up?” asked Trunks, history seeming to be back on track.
“Hold on...” contested Pan. “With everything going on, this isn’t a wrap, right?”
Chronoa, having considered everything since first glimpsing at the scroll and what had transpired so far, didn’t think it was over either.
“She’s right, Trunks.” Chronoa added. “Towa will still have something in mind for after the body change, so Pan, just...”
A mental shout of panic from Pan’s end.
“What is it, Pan?”
"I...! I can't move!"
She was frozen in the air instead of on the ground.
"...but how is this...?!"
Pan had seen Ginyu hold up the seven Namekian Dragon Balls without even touching them, but it didn’t add up, seeing as how his full attention was on Goku. She recalled that after Ginyu left, someone held both her father and Krillin in midair, the two appearing as stuck as she was now. Then her mind jumped to the moment after when Vegeta, who was meant to kill this member of the Ginyu Force, was shocked to find no sign of him anywhere.
“Last time, Towa abducted him...!”
Just as this member’s name popped up in her head...
...from the corner of her eye, a familiar short green-skinned figure stood below her on the ground, his hands up towards her.
For the briefest moment, she glimpsed something around his head, chrome-esque in color, obscuring his three eyes with green domes.
"Is that a... a mask?!"
But then she put her immediate attention to what was happening in front of her.
Ginyu had spoken the first word of the technique.
"But why would Towa stop me here?! Unless...!”
From behind her...
"Turn your back on me, huh?!"
Jeice, overflowing with purple, was flying straight at her at high speed, one foot out, with Pan unable to do anything but turn her head.
The kick that resulted sent her straight towards the area between Goku and Ginyu. She could feel Guldo's telekinetic hold on her was no more and immediately tried to move out of the way.
Goku was shocked at the sight of the yellow-white beam leaving Ginyu’s mouth towards him...
...but also heard a collision and turned in shock to see Pan flying right in front of him into the path of the beam.
Jeice, seeing what he did, put out his hands towards Ginyu.
But Ginyu couldn’t stop the technique now. Even as Pan desperately swerved...
...it struck her and now she felt locked in place once again as she looked over at Ginyu, who was frozen in his pose. The impact wasn’t like her body tanking blunt force or heat: rather, it was like as if something deep inside her was being tugged on. Not like an organ or another innard, but almost like what she could only think was her very soul.
Her vision soon became a complete fuzz as now she couldn’t even feel her own body, as if her soul was now being rocketed away in a straight line towards its new destination.
From Chronoa's perspective, she saw what looked like projections of Pan and Ginyu emerging from their respected bodies.
She dropped to her knees as the projections then switched places.
“No, no, no...!”
Trunks didn’t see the projections, but he knew what had just resulted from this, falling to his knees as well.
Taino was not in the Time Nest to witness these events, but somehow, she felt a terrible feeling in her chest.
"What if... even after everything I taught her... everything she went through...”
Now Taino couldn’t help but picture what she feared most occurring.“What if Ginyu pulled it off?"
Swapped Bodies! What To Do Now?
Pan's vision was blurry at first. She tried getting the sun out of her eyes with one hand, then noticed her arm’s muscles were much bulkier and she had a gauntlet over her hand rather than her glove.
But then a pain...
She put her right hand over her upper body to cover a deep wound...
She looked at her other hand and not only saw that the blood on her hand was dark purple...
...but upon looking down at her lower body, she saw her feet in Ginyu Force boots...
...with purple legs.
Ginyu, his vision clear, saw his old body in front of him clearly in a panic.
"Poor, poor Saiyan..."
He put out his hand to catch his scouter that he threw upward earlier, but a few things were off:
The scouter fell far behind him, he saw his arm covered by a light grey jacket and his hands in fingerless gloves, and looked down to see light purple pants with chains hanging on his right.
“Wait a minu...”
He gasped after hearing his new body’s voice for the first time.
"My voice! It doesn’t sound like the Saiyan’s at all...!"
“It can’t be...”
He turned around, seeing Goku, who appeared just as baffled as he did.
Jeice, having caught Ginyu’s scouter and coming to the realization of what he had inadvertently done with his last kick to Pan, tried to back away.
"C... Captain... I..."
“Our work with Guldo has finally come to fruition,” started Mira.
“I must say, Mira... I am impressed. They didn’t suspect a thing.”
“It would have been one thing to simply defend Goku and company, but now...”
Mira pointed over to the screen at Pan and Ginyu’s reactions to their new bodies.
“Now Ginyu is in the patroller’s body and her in his. Even they do not have the technology to switch bodies. And what can they do without risking a further, irreversible alteration?”
Towa nodded to Mira, then turned back as the development continued on Namek.
"The patroller will have no choice but to accept our help."
Jeice saw his opponent’s body, now under Ginyu’s possession, snarling at him in rage.
“I should be in that Saiyan’s body, but now, thanks to you...”
Ginyu aimed a hand at Jeice, as if to fire at him.
“I'm in this Earthling's!"
“But you... you can still switch, Captain.”
“The element of surprise is lost. He’ll see it coming a mile away now.”
Goku heard the two conversing, but was more so baffled by how much more this mysterious female ally spoke compared to previous encounters.
“She’s a lot more talkative right now. Weird.”
Upon seeing his captain’s hand glow with purple ki, Jeice practically stepped backward in midair.
“I told you what would happen if you interfered further...”
“It was an accident. Captain, I’m sorry. Please...”
Just as Ginyu’s intended attack was reaching its apex...
...he heard a voice from Pan’s earpiece.
“Pan! Pan, are you there?!”
He let down his hand, no longer pulsing with ki to attack Jeice, as his other hand reached over to his ear.
Immediately after the kneeling Trunks called out to Pan, Chronoa covered his mouth with her hands.
“Wait, Trunks,” she whispered. “The two switched bodies, so now...”
A voice replied to Trunks.
Ginyu with Pan’s voice.
“Who is this?!”
The Supreme Kai of Time tried to stay calm, but knew they were at risk of them and their entire enterprise being discovered.
“You said Pan’s name. We can’t have him put two-and-two together. Now let’s think: how do we get Ginyu to overlook it?”
Trunks thought quickly, thinking of how to accomplish this.
“You better answer me!” Ginyu demanded.
Trunks stood up, ready to reply to him.
Clearing his throat, Trunks took on a new persona.
“Apologies for the technical issues. We’re back on the air, folks.”
Now Trunks’ persona was that of a radio host.
“For those of you just tuning in to this station, ‘Pan! Are You There?!’ will be right back... in a few minutes after these messages from our sponsors.”
The two waited, anxious as to how Ginyu would react to Trunks’ ploy.
“Ah, I should’ve known...” scoffed Ginyu.
Trunks and Chronoa both simultaneously breathed out from how close a call that was.
Jeice, now much more relaxed with Ginyu no longer about to slay him, approached his captain with curiosity.
“She talkin’ to anyone on that thing, Captain?”
“No,” Ginyu answered with disappointment. “I don’t think it’s for communication. In fact, I think it’s for listening to auditory shows.”
“Auditory shows? They still play those?”
“Must be pretty archaic too. Still has advertisements.”
He took the earpiece out.
“I don’t think it’s going to be worth listening to. Sounds like it’s about bread or something.”
Once the two saw Ginyu place Pan’s earpiece in his pocket, Trunks and Chronoa now had assurance that he would no longer be listening in, but along with that...
“He can’t hear us, but now we can’t hear Ginyu’s thoughts,” went Trunks. “We have no idea what he’s going to do now.”
“But that’s not even the worst of it,” continued Chronoa. “Pan’s going in completely blind now. We never planned for what to do in this situation.”
Trunks then recalled something that seemed so minor in the previous mission, but was the key to putting Pan in this situation.
“Guldo. We completely overlooked Towa taking Guldo.”
Even then, something didn’t make sense about Guldo having the element of surprise.
“But Guldo and his comrades had no concept of how to hide their energy. Pan would’ve sensed him the moment he entered.”
One of the last things he recalled hearing from Pan was her noticing something different about Guldo’s appearance.
“She said Guldo had a mask. Was that how Towa did it? Cloaked his ki?”
“Let’s table that theory for now,” went the Supreme Kai of Time, turning Trunks’ attention back to their view of the battlefield, fearing combat was about to commence amidst the confusion.
Pan, having stayed afloat in shock at the sight and sound of her own body acting out a short distance from her, tried to think of what to do without Trunks or Chronoa to call upon.
"I’m in completely foreign territory now. If I make one wrong move..."
But seeing Ginyu no longer threatening Jeice and acting with more comradery, she knew the two would attack at any moment.
"Whether they attack me or my grandpa, it’ll be a complete disaster."
With her body wounded and the possibility of Goku being caught off-guard by being attacked by an ally out of the blue, she knew they had to work together.
"Until I can think of a plan, I can’t have either one of us trapped in a two-on-one."
She approached Goku, to which he initially put up his arms in a defensive stance.
“Wait!” she exclaimed. “I’m not Ginyu!”
"Grandpa, please don't think this is a trick..."
He didn’t appear to be swayed, and made no adjustments.
"Just what kind of tactic is this?" the seasoned fighter wondered to himself.
Feeling like Goku would strike if she came any closer, she pointed over to her Ginyu-occupied body next to Jeice.
“Ginyu’s taken over my body. I’m trapped in his.”
As much as she feared this would give her grandfather too much information on Ginyu’s Body Change technique, she had to explain the situation before Ginyu could try anything to fool him.
"After this battle, everyone’s supposed to head back to Frieza’s ship..."
A horrifying scenario popped into her head.
"My dad! And Krillin!"
Now Goku saw the dread on his supposed enemy’s face.
"He panicked when I showed him my power level... but not like this. He looks afraid... but not of me."
Now she pointed out into the distance where Gohan, Krillin, and Vegeta departed.
“He’ll use my body to trick Krillin... and your son!”
Goku floated closer to Pan, seeing that she made no attempts to take on a stance.
“If you’re really not Ginyu...”
He put out his hand, raised upward and slowly began lowering towards the top of her head.
“This will show me.”
“If Goku reads Pan’s mind, there’s no telling what he’ll find!” went Chronoa in alarm. “He might learn about the Time Patrol... and you, Trunks! He’d learn about everything after Namek!”
Trunks couldn’t even make words, all too fearful of what could occur.
"He’d know about me... and Frieza... and everything that comes after. There’s no telling what he’d do differently."
At first, Pan tried only thinking of her previous missions alongside her grandfather.
"Maybe if I just focus on those moments, he’ll see just enough of me to gain his trust."
But it became clear that the dangers of Goku retrieving more personal and sensitive information was too great a risk to take.
As much as she expected Goku to perceive this as Ginyu showing his true colors, she put her wrist up, stopping his hand from reaching her head.
“I can’t let you see into my mind. I’m sorry.”
Instead of pushing his hand down to get past her wrist, Goku stopped, struck by Ginyu’s strangely apologetic tone.
“Please... you have to trust me.”
Goku pondered letting down his guard in the face of Pan’s sincerity...
...but knew all too well of what happened the last time his kind-hearted nature was taken advantage of.
“But I can’t afford to be tricked by an enemy giving me their word... not again.”
Pan knew Goku had good reason not just to go off good faith, and that she had to give him something concrete.
“This isn’t a trick. Not like Raditz pulled on you when we fought him.”
Upon hearing the name of his brother, Goku recalled the horrors of that battle all too well just as she did.
“You, me... Piccolo, even after we both fought him at the tournament... and Gohan, who landed that critical hit we needed.”
During Pan and Goku’s conversation, Jeice got ready to return to battle.
“Quickly, Cap,” began Jeice, pointing out to their preoccupied opponents. “Let’s wear that Saiyan down while they’re both distracted. Then you can switch bodies again.”
As Jeice flew forward, he found himself halted by Ginyu’s hand holding him back.
“This time, you’d better not interfere with the change. This is your one and final warning.”
Jeice gulped, then nodded.
“Yes, of course. I’ll be a mile away when it happens.”
“I’ll hold you to that, Jeice.”
“When his friend knocked you into our path...” started Goku. “That was meant for me. That’s why Ginyu said he liked my body. He wanted to switch bodies with me.”
Even though Goku was now convinced by her case, Pan was left unsure in the long term as to how to get history back on track.
"Even if Grandpa helps me get back to my body, how do we go from there? ‘Oh hey, just let Ginyu go right ahead with the Body Change. It’ll work out fine. Don’t question it.’."
She practically sighed in her head.
"I need the Supreme Kai of Time right now more than ever before..."
Even with that cloud over her head, Pan knew they had plenty to worry about long before that.
“Get ready in the meantime, Goku. They’ll attack at any mome...”
She paused upon seeing visible shock on Goku’s face. She looked into his eyes, seeing a purple glow reflected from his pupils...
...around Ginyu’s body.
“I’ve got Towa’s formula now.”
Her right arm began lifting up, a palm out as if to fire at her grandfather. She grabbed hold of her right arm’s wrist with her left to stop it.
Goku tried approaching at first.
“Goku, get back!”
“Talk to me!” went Goku, doing as she said, but clearly wanting to help. “What’s happening to you?!”
Pan, trying to turn away or even fly away from Goku, shivered once she realized she couldn’t move any further.
“Something’s taking over! I can’t control his body!”
Her left hand finally let go, her right turning and firing at Goku, who swerved his head to avoid the blast.
“What can I do?!” he shouted. “There has to be something I can do!”
Now Pan felt like she was about to lunge forward, both arms poised to strike.
She flew forward, swinging at Goku, who either moved to the side or redirected Pan’s strikes with his arms.
Ginyu was baffled to see Pan striking at Goku.
“She’s on our side now?”
Jeice, under Towa’s influence, smiled at the sight of it.
“Works for us, right Cap?”
“Well... I suppose so.”
“Damn you, Towa!” Trunks exclaimed at the horrid sight of Pan being puppeteered into attacking Goku.
“It was one thing controlling villains... but now her?! Controlling her through Ginyu’s body... forcing her to kill her grandfather?! You’ve gone too far this time!”
“With Ginyu and Jeice backing her up...” began Chronoa. “And with Guldo somewhere, still on the field… against all four of them at once, even Goku...”
“Supreme Kai of Time...” went Trunks, aghast at her deliberation. “You don’t mean to suggest that Goku would...”
“Whether Goku wins or loses, he might just kill one of them.”
“A change in history is just a single kill away, Mira.”
“Even if Goku’s maximum at this point is stronger than Ginyu with your formula, the patroller will do her part to wear down his strength,” Mira illustrated.
“And with the patroller now in Ginyu’s body, Goku won’t come close to going all out,” Towa clarified. “Because she is a friend who has protected him and his friends and family. He may be forced to defeat her, but he would not want it to come at the cost of her life.”
The two looked at Ginyu and Jeice, who were watching the same event transpire.
“Likewise, the same would be true of Ginyu, as he would not want the patroller’s body to be fatally harmed or else she would remain trapped for good. Goku’s heart has given him an unwinnable battle: two foes he will be forced to hold back against while he is given no mercy.”
“We can only hope that Goku’s frustration is taken out on Jeice.”
“Indeed. Should he be forced to slay Jeice long before Vegeta, then our work will be done, Mira.”
Goku, his back against a rock formation, moved his head left and right to avoid a flurry of punches from Pan.
“No, no!” she shouted aloud. “Stop, stop!”
Pan had dreams where she couldn’t control herself, but now she was living the nightmare as she continued lashing out at Goku.
Goku caught both her wrists to keep her from throwing any further punches.
“It may not be your body, but you have to fight it!” shouted her grandfather. “You have to try...!”
Pan found her left hand opening, charging with ki. It fired at Goku’s face, drawing his attention enough for her to throw a headbutt, dazing them both. Immediately following this...
...she found herself flying aside...
“Wait, I’m backing away now?”
...as Ginyu slammed into Goku, smashing straight through the rocky wall to the other side.
“Thanks a bunch!” went Jeice sarcastically, flying over the structure to Goku and Ginyu, who already clashed high above. She began to hover upward as well.
Goku was holding his own against the two, clearly using just enough to keep them at bay without excessive ki use. Once Pan joined the fray, each time he found himself about to hit her, he hesitated, knowing he was about to seriously harm an ally.
This enabled Ginyu and Jeice to finally land hits on an exposed Goku, including Jeice managing to land a small slash with his ki blade to Goku’s back, just below his Kaio symbol on his gi. Both in frustration at his situation and from the brief pain of the superheated ki, he punched Jeice’s face, the thunderous blow rocketing him downward.
After getting up from a crash landing, Jeice realized his nose bled...
...and his vision was partially obscured by a few cracks on his scouter, as well as a few chips missing from it.
Trunks and Chronoa almost jumped just from seeing the damage to a key piece to history.
“If he had broken the scouter entirely...”
“Goku held back just enough, but even then...”
“If Grandpa keeps this up, he’ll kill any one of them!”
Pan found herself in a pattern: she would mostly float nearby while Goku battled the two, then she would fly in and join the attack, robbing him of his attention, causing him to hesitate, opening him up to attack, and causing him to lash out, especially against Jeice.
After knocking Ginyu, Jeice, and herself away with a gust so massive they were sent a far distance back, Goku wiped sweat from his eyes and realized just going with his base form combined with his leniency against Pan and Ginyu so far was beginning to take a toll on him.
“Whoever’s manipulating all this counted on me holding back to not hurt her or her body. For an evil villain plan, that’s actually pretty brilliant. And with all the hits I’ve taken already, it’s certainly been working so far.”
Now he saw all three of his opponents floating upward, almost in unison save for Pan being behind Ginyu and Jeice.
“I’m sorry..." he mused in his head, readying his arms. “...but I have no choice but to cripple Ginyu. At least then, you’ll still have your body to go back to.”
Even from afar, Pan could already tell from his stance what her grandfather was about to resort to.
“With Kaio-Ken where he’s at now, he’ll rip Jeice apart! Ginyu too!”
Pan had tried getting herself to stop what she was doing to no effect whatsoever beyond her face twisting at her deeds, but now faced with this...
“I can’t let this happen!”
...she felt her fingers twitch. First only slightly, but then...
Within her Ginyu Force boots, Pan could begin to feel herself able to wiggle her toes.
“I have to push back! Take back control!”
Ginyu and Jeice both completely ignored Pan starting to slow down, falling behind them...
And eventually coming to a complete halt.
“What is this?!”
Mira couldn’t believe his eyes.
“The patroller... she’s...”
Pan moved her arms into view, then her hands, slowly, but surely wrestling control of her appendages.
“I’m moving them... the formula’s trying to force them one way, but I’m moving them.”
“She’s fighting back against my formula...”
Ginyu and Jeice heard Goku shout this and saw ki charging around his body...
...but they stayed the course. As a result, Goku didn’t finish, now fending off both attackers.
“What’s the matter?!” taunted Jeice.
“Not enough time to say the magic words?!” went Ginyu, joining in to further demoralize their foe.
Now heading towards a cliffside, Goku’s back was once again against a rocky wall, only this time with Ginyu and Jeice both grabbing hold of one of his arms. Jeice held on with only his left as his right was over his head, drawing his blade of ki.
“This one’s for you, Burter!”
Goku didn’t even look at Jeice about to skewer him...
...as Jeice suddenly stopped, feeling a hand grip the back of his Ginyu Force armor.
“Captain?! No, that’s...!"
With a massive downward swing, Jeice was tossed away by Pan, slamming into the lower cliffside. Before Ginyu could let go of Goku, he was struck by a punch to his cheek by her.
Immediately after the initial shock of seeing herself punched from her perspective, Pan checked on Goku, seeing that aside from his gi being a bit more beat up from before, he was still going strong.
“I knew you could do it.”
As much as Pan wanted to take in the reassurance she felt hearing THE Goku tell her this, she quickly turned to see Ginyu and Jeice’s return. She and her grandfather took stances back-to-back, covering one another now that this three-on-one trial was turning into an even two-on-two.
This didn’t sit well with Mira, who stood back with his arms crossed as Towa tried working on the situation from the console.
“You must have some way of shutting her down.”
“That’s not how the formula works, Mira! No one, hero or villain, would have themselves do that! The effect of my formula is neutral at worst!”
“Are you even trying to stop her?” he boldly asked.
Towa turned to Mira, not panicking or angered, but stern.
“Of course I am. Try as I may, Mira, my formula can’t control Ginyu anymore. Now her mind is in total control of his body. All we can do is empower it.”
Mira stepped forward to the controls, gently gesturing Towa back.
“That’s not all we can do.”
With the press of a few keys...
In mid-battle, Pan’s pain from Ginyu’s wound suddenly struck back. Goku, seeing her hunched over in midair and grasping her wound with both hands, covered for her, stopping a punch intended for her by Ginyu even as he fended off Jeice.
“The wound hurt before, but not nearly this badly! Is Towa increasing my pain?!”
But she quickly realized with everything she and the Time Patrol knew of Towa’s formula so far...
"No. I’ve seen the formula power people up and revitalize them. Kept them going even when hurt. It must have kept the wound in check."
Looking at her hands, trying to keep purple blood from leaking out, Pan realized that her body no longer glowed with the formula’s aura.
“The formula’s gone from Ginyu’s body, and now... I’m feeling the full wound.”
Jeice, overtaken by the formula, directed Ginyu’s attention to the wounded Pan.
“Quick, Captain! While she’s hurt, let’s take her out!”
Ginyu, despite seeing the opportunity to remove one of his enemies from the equation...
“But my old body...”
Now the formula around Jeice glowed even more, his eyes red.
“Well we can’t have her continue to use your old body against us, now can we?”
Normally, Ginyu would not tolerate Jeice talking to him in such a manner, in the heat of battle or otherwise, but upon deliberating...
“You’re right. As much as I’ll miss it... my old body dies today.”
Goku overheard all of this, but was already in the midst of blocking attacks from Jeice while Ginyu took off for Pan.
Pan, seeing Ginyu telegraphing his attack clear as day, let go of her wound to block or intercept the incoming punch...
...but felt partially dizzied and saw that streams of purple dripped down her armor.
Having slipped past as a result, Ginyu struck just above her stomach. His former body’s armor partially chipped as dots of purple landed on his face.
“Mira, what are you doing?!”
Once again, she stood aghast at Mira’s actions.
“Mira, we agreed to this plan!”
“The plan changed the moment she overpowered your formula’s control. If Ginyu’s body is killed, then their situation is irreparable.”
Towa couldn’t counter his last point, as that scenario would indeed mean success.
“Ginyu’s wound was bad before he switched with Goku, and by Ginyu’s design…” Trunks deliberated. “...but not nearly this bad.”
As much as it pained him seeing Pan in this state, he noted that covering the wound with even just one hand wasn’t stopping it from dripping with blood.
“It’s practically oozing.”
“Ginyu wounded his body even worse than he did in history,” Chronoa added, but then stopped to ponder. “But if Towa was trying to use Pan in Ginyu’s body as a weapon, why would she want Ginyu in worse shape?”
“Knowing her scheming...” Trunks began to answer, his thoughts on Towa soured at the moment. “It was all part of a back-up plan in case things didn’t work out as she had hoped.”
He turned, seeing her clearly not sitting well with what was transpiring, but also picking up on her reading into his intentions
“Did you purposefully have Ginyu wound himself more severely?”
He did not answer immediately, his pause all but confirming what Towa suspected. He kept as cool and straight-faced as he always had before.
“Does it not serve our purpose?”
Goku grabbed both Jeice and Ginyu by one leg, then attempted a dual Dragonthrow.
“Get out of here, while you still can!”
He saw Pan slowly hovering away in her current state...
...but then she froze, her arms and limbs stopped as well. As Goku was about to let them both go, he was fixated on this.
Ginyu slipped free of Goku’s grip, though Jeice was unable to do the same. After throwing him, Goku flew in front of Pan, stopping Ginyu.
Pan grabbed hold of her wound once again, then quickly got over that she could move again by flying away once more. Ginyu couldn’t reach her thanks to Goku, but Jeice was free to approach her...
...especially now with her frozen in midair once again. Goku had a sense of deja-vu from seeing this.
“She’s not just stopping for no reason. Not even just because of the wound. Something is keeping her in place.”
Thinking on it, the memory clicked clear as day.
“Just like Chiaotzu did to me against Tien in the tournament. To guarantee attacks landed.”
As he held Ginyu by both wrists, Goku looked down, seeing someone far below them on the grass...
Guldo, who at this point, he hadn’t seen before.
“He’s the one doing that!”
Without using his hands, Goku fired what to normal humans would be an invisible beam from his eyes. The small green member of the Ginyu Force was too preoccupied with his telekinetic trap to even take note of it, to which...
The helmet over his head broke upon Goku’s projectile striking it.
Pan, just barely ducking under Jeice’s swing and landing an elbow to his back before covering her wound, picked up a sudden ki signature.
She saw him on his knees, almost appearing to be catching his breath, as well as the pieces of the helmet covering his eyes earlier.
“That helmet hid Guldo’s ki! That’s why I didn’t catch him before!"
Jeice stopped in place upon catching a glimpse of his only other remaining comrade, both surprised to see him, as well as furious.
"Guldo! Where in blazes have you been?!"
Guldo seemed to be in a daze, trying to figure out his surroundings, but once he heard Jeice’s voice and looked up at him...
“Jeice? That you?”
Ginyu, kicking himself away from Goku, was especially enraged at the sight and sound of the seemingly deceased member of his squad.
"GULDO, SO HELP ME!... if you deserted your unit...!”
Guldo was confused at having the caped girl from before shouting angrily at him, and addressing him and his status with the Ginyu Force.
“Jeice, is that girl working for Ginyu or something?”
“You bleedin’ moron! That is Ginyu!”
He then noticed what appeared to be Ginyu, but wounded with Goku next to him, but then looked back to the girl from before.
“You switched bodies with her, Captain? Why? She really that much stronger than she looks?”
Ginyu crossed his arms, then glared at Jeice.
“No. The Red Magma made sure of that.”
Guldo, still just trying to make heads and tails of what occurred during his absence, asked...
“Where’s Recoome and Burter?”
“‘course you wouldn’t know...” answered Jeice. “Obvious, really... since you left them to die!”
“Is this true, Guldo?” went Ginyu, demanding an explanation.
“No!” Guldo replied in a panic, trying to think back to everything that occurred before his reemergence. “I stayed in it the whole time, Captain. Right after you left to get the Dragon Balls to Lord Frieza.”
“Lyin’ coward!” Jeice barked back. “You trapped the two small fries, then turned tail and ran! Couldn’t even find you on our scouters!”
Ginyu heard the two bicker back and forth regarding Guldo’s disappearance, but his mind couldn’t help but wander back to Guldo’s last response to him specifically.
“Right after you left to get the Dragon Balls to Lord Frieza.”
His eyes shot up.
"Dragon Balls. Lord Frieza.”
Guldo and Jeice both stopped, then looked to Ginyu doing something he rarely did: openly panicking.
“While we’ve been here dawdling, those Earthlings and Vegeta were headed for Frieza’s ship!”
Jeice was struck by the same shock and Guldo, while not present for that, knew anything that caused Ginyu to act like this was especially serious.
“If they’re still there, they might try to find the Dragon Balls... or worse...”
“But Captain...” Guldo began to inquire. “Lord Frieza’s still at the ship, isn’t he?”
“No, he left a while ago to find the last Namekians and...”
Now Ginyu was in an even further elevated state of fear.
“If Lord Frieza gets back before we do...”
None of his comrades needed him to finish his sentence, for they knew exactly the consequences Ginyu feared more than anything.
“That’s it! We’ve wasted too much time here! Back to Lord Frieza’s ship, on the double!”
“They’re leaving?” went Trunks, at first inquisitively, but slowly giving way to relief. “Oh, good. They’re leaving.”
“But Captain...” stuttered Jeice. “We can’t just let these two...”
“This takes precedence over them. I need all hands on deck, Jeice.”
Pan was thankful enough that this whole conversation between the three gave her and Goku a breather, and more so now that Ginyu was prepared to leave, meaning no further attacks on her or her grandfather...
...but now her poor physical state was starting to get worse.
“If fighting breaks out again... I can’t...”
As much as Goku wanted to pursue them...
“I can’t let him get away with taking her body...”
...he noticed Pan starting to descend. He caught her from behind by her arms.
“I’ve got you.”
“The fact Guldo’s presence is no longer a secret could work in our favor over time...” pondered Towa as she and Mira saw Ginyu preparing to leave.
...but Mira continually pressed on keys even as the battle looked to be over.
A glowing Jeice landed close to Guldo.
“You really want to get back in the Captain’s good graces? Then...”
He crouched down and whispered. Guldo quietly replied in the midsts of it, nodding his head as well.
After hearing Ginyu, they felt him touch down behind them. They turned and stood up straight, their arms to their sides.
“Enough gossiping. We are leaving.”
He turned his back to them.
“Either of you fall too far behind and it’ll be treated as insubordination... punishable by death.”
Taking on a runner’s stance...
“Ginyu Force... MOVING OUT!!!”
And with a takeoff that left a small crater where he once stood, Ginyu flew off in the direction of Frieza’s ship. Pan and Goku both noted this, but also wondered why Guldo and Jeice hadn’t yet followed their leader.
“The formula can get them to act different, but even it couldn’t get them to disobey Ginyu.”
Jeice turned, charging ki in his gloved hands. Both tried moving away from it…
“He’s holding them both?!” went Trunks in shock.
Even with this feat, Guldo was clearly straining.
“Jeice! Hurry! I can't hold them for much longer!"
With a smirk, Jeice fired a blast at them both. Pan wasn’t sure it’d even work, but she tried summoning ki around her body to shield herself as she normally did in her own body...
...but Ginyu’s ki did not agree with her, failing to coalesce around her.
“Damn it all...”
Just as the blast was about to hit its mark...
Guldo held his breath, seeing it frozen and just about to touch Pan, and saw Jeice in midair flying away once the blast hitting its mark was all but guaranteed. He sprinted as quickly as he could, then hopped across the landscape to both catch up to Jeice and reach his elevated position.
“This’ll set them back some...”
The moment the two felt themselves freed from Guldo’s telekinetic hold...
Pan was in no condition to move away and Goku couldn’t turn around or get the two of them out of the way in time. He resorted to putting his hands out in front of the blast to intercept it...
...and saw Pan was already doing the same thing, catching it...
...but both were being pushed back and upward.
“The state I’m in now...I can’t...”
“Repelling it from this angle while holding her’s going to be tricky...”
Both gritted their teeth, Pan trying desperately not to have Ginyu’s body give out and Goku not wanting to accidentally drop her.
Sure enough, Goku saw her sliding down...
“Crap, crap, crap!”
...and now Pan was facing a greater brunt with Goku instinctively keeping her from falling, but at the cost of his help with the blast.
“Without his help, I can’t...! I can’t...!”
Her hands giving out and the blast striking her wound were all but inevitable, Pan closing her eyes...
“No! Not like this! Not in this body! Not today!”
...and upon opening them, her expression and stance were that of her last stand.
As she shouted out, Pan was putting everything she and Ginyu’s body had left into stopping this. Her arms began to lift upward and the blast followed. With one final push...
...Jeice’s blast was sent upward away from her and Goku, where it soon vanished into the green sky above. Pan found herself short-winded after this feat, her head looking straight down and her arms practically going limp.
Goku wasn’t surprised at what Pan had accomplished. Instead, he was not only happy for her, but felt proud of what she was capable of even in that moment.
“It’s just like I said earlier...”
His state of mind shifted to that of concern once he heard and felt Pan cough.
Pan realized she had coughed up some of Ginyu’s blood, dripping down to the blue-green grass below, and that combined with what had left her wound earlier...
...her vision was giving out and she felt increasingly faint.
“Too much of his blood... lost…”
She started to fall, only this time, Goku had a better grip.
“Just... just hold on!”
Pan couldn’t keep her eyes open anymore.
“Towa planned this perfectly. Now I’m...”
Ginyu took a brief moment to stop, checking to see if his comrades had heeded his words after all. At first, there was no sign of either...
...but in a flash, Jeice joined him, Guldo in his arms.
“What kept you two?”
“Uh...” droned Guldo at first. “That monkey in orange tried to stop us... but we got out of there just in time.”
“Is this true, Jeice?”
“Yeah. Just like Guldo said.”
The three looked at the remainder of what lied ahead prior to Frieza’s ship, which wasn’t much farther.
Ginyu had his hand out to Jeice.
"Oh. Oh right."
With his scouter returned to him, Ginyu placed it onto his new body's ear and, after a quick scan of his surroundings, sighed in relief.
"Lord Frieza's preoccupied. He's going to be a while."
Jeice and Ginyu sighed in relief as well, but then saw Ginyu turn back to them.
"With that, and since you two are here now, let's take a quick breather. That... and we have some things that need to be addressed."
Pan opened up her eyes, seeing the green sky.
"Still on Namek."
She looked down at her purple legs.
Then at her chest, seeing a makeshift wrap around it and the Ginyu Force chestpiece.
"I was worried you weren't going to wake up."
She saw Goku crouched over to her side.
"He watched over me?"
He then sat down with his legs crossed.
"Listen, that wound was really deep. I don't know much about this planet's plant life or its soil, but I used what I could find to mend the wound for now."
But now several vital question struck her:
"How long have I been unconscious?! Minutes or hours?! What has Ginyu done in that time?! Was Goku supposed to follow him?!"
Her grandfather saw her trying to lift herself up.
"Ginyu! I've gotta stop him... can't sit by and..."
Just this alone was proving strenuous. Goku stopped her, trying to gesture her back down gently.
"That wound'll reopen. You have to let it settle."
Pan laid the back of her head back down, then saw Goku starting to get up onto his knees.
"Listen: I wouldn't have made it to this planet in time if you haven't taken Turles for me. And you kept Gohan and Krillin alive. For that, I am grateful."
He put his hands over Pan's right.
"I promise you I'll beat Ginyu and force him to give you back your body."
As he made his way back to his feet, he could tell Pan was not content with having to stay behind.
"I know if he did that to me, I'd be just as eager to fight, but for now, rest. Let your body recover. I'll see you again when you're well."
He waved to her, then flew as fast as he could towards Frieza's ship. As much as Pan wanted to try getting sleep or at least relaxing, the questions from before continued bouncing around in her mind, as well as several horrifying ones.
"What if Ginyu switches bodies with Goku... or anyone... in my body? Has he already switched with someone in my absence?"
And for what was even longer than during her second battle with the Ginyu Force in her last mission, she had zero contact with Trunks or Chronoa, leaving her no game plan, advice, or clarifications to call upon. Along with that, she knew that in several missions, she had been picked up to have a brief respite back in the Time Nest's library, but with her current predicament, not only did she know that wasn't an option, but began to fear...
"Without my body, can I even return to Toki Toki City?"
She then thought back to the small changes she had encountered before, namely her fighting side-by-side with Goku in a tournament fight, foes staying in the fight longer or bouncing back, Dodoria out of place in history, and Turles delaying her grandfather. In all those cases, the change was minimal enough and, with their victory over the villains, a non-factor. In this case...
"Has all of this alone changed history to the point of no return? Am I just existing in a new timeline where Guldo lives and Ginyu is me now?"
But the one most damning of all..."Has Towa already won?"
Make Things Right! Ginyu's Ploy!
Guldo and Jeice both stood backs straight and arms to their side like cadets before a drill instructor as they watched Ginyu, who had switched bodies with Pan, pace back and forth.
“This is the greatest disaster we’ve ever faced, gentlemen.”
He stopped, looking away with his head down in reflection and remembrance.
“We’ve lost Recoome and Burter. They were good lads, the both of them...”
But this moment of mourning soon gave way to Ginyu angrily pointing.
“...and YOU allowed this to happen.”
Guldo backed up, his posture taking a turn for the worse.
“No, Captain! I didn’t!”
“You insist you did not abandon them, but where’s the evidence?”
Guldo recalled everything during the battle clear as day.
“I tried finishing the shorter Earthling and that kid, but then I blacked out. Vegeta must’ve knocked me out... or someone else did. Next thing I know, I was...”
He tried thinking further, getting only a glimpse of a strange locale and a foggy figure before him, but couldn’t tell if it was real or just a figment of his imagination. The only further recollection he had...
“...I was here, seeing you two, that monkey, and that Earthling girl floating above me.”
“That still doesn’t explain your disappearance from the field, Guldo... unless all this time, you found a way of hiding from us.”
“No, I wouldn’t dare dream of...”
Ginyu put out his hand, interrupting Guldo, who took this as a sign for him to stop.
“And as for you, Jeice...”
Jeice, gulping, tried keeping his composure.
“I thought we were past this, Captain. I said I was sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t cut it. I would’ve had the body of the next-strongest warrior in the universe, second only to Lord Frieza himself, if you hadn’t thrown this wrench into my path.”
With a step, Jeice nearly tripped.
“Look at what you’ve done! Heck, just listen to me! My strong commanding voice is gone and how am I supposed to perform my poses in this horrid attire?”
He began his iconic pose...
...but Pan’s cape blocked view of him almost completely. Feeling ridiculous as a result, Ginyu didn’t even attempt to turn around and transition to the next phase of it, breaking it off completely.
“If I was going to give up my old body, it should’ve been for one of greater value. Now I am clearly inferior to my former self.”
“I mean, maybe once you’ve gotten used to it, Captain, you’ll...”
“If you truly understood the gravity of your actions... striking this Earthling towards me when you damn well heard my technique beginning... you would not be attempting to feed me such baloney.”
Ginyu clenched his fist...
“I’ve come to a decision.”
Then his hand glowed with purple ki.
“I have to make an example out of one of you.”
Both Guldo and Jeice panicked, waving their arms and hands.
“No, please! Not me!”
“No, Captain! I’m sorry!”
Jeice, glowing purple, began pointing at Guldo.
“Kill Guldo! He’s the turd that left our mates to die!”
Feeling backstabbed, Guldo then seethed with anger as he pointed back at Jeice.
“Yeah, well he’s the moron who put you in that body because of his stupidity!”
“We’d all be celebrating us killing those brats right now with Burter and Recoome if you didn’t turn out to be such a big chicken!”
“You screwed over the Captain personally! If that’s not a death sentence, I don’t know what is!”
The insults towards each other became more and more petty and childish as Ginyu closed his eyes, thinking it over. But he lost patience, a gust of air firing off around him.
“That’s enough, you two!”
His hand was aimed between the two of them.
“There’s only one way to resolve this.”
Now Ginyu gestured his hand back and forth between the two, humming a tune as both Guldo and Jeice followed with their eyes.
Having gotten to her knees and helping herself to some water, Pan stared at Ginyu’s face looking back at her. Ever since Goku left after helping bandage her wound, she wondered if this body she was trapped in was now going to be hers until her dying day... that is if she even survived the results of this new history.
She sensed several large ki sources in the distance. First was her father and Krillin. From there, she picked up three and immediately knew them to be Ginyu, Jeice, and Guldo. As she began to sense what seemed to be an especially massive one...
...Pan sensed something off.
“One of the Ginyu’s just vanished completely!”
From what she could sense, she was able to clarify that Captain Ginyu was still there, which left...
“Was it Guldo... or Jeice that went out?”
She slowly made her way onto her side, sighing as she lied her head on a clump of blue-green grass.
“If Guldo was killed, would it even work in our favor? But if it was Jeice’s...”
She looked over at her hand, as if expecting it to begin turning intangible or to start to fade away.
“How do I know it’s not game over already?”
But while focusing on those two ki sources, she picked up on something else.
“A smaller one’s passing by...”
She got up onto her back, lifting herself upward...
“...headed right for me!”
Pan knew she couldn’t get onto her feet in her current condition, leaving her to hope that whoever approached her was a friendly.
“Captain Ginyu, that you?”
A Frieza Force soldier floated above her.
“What are you doing here, Captain?”
Pan had to try to think of what to even do in this scenario.
“Can’t have him report back. What kind of excuse do I give him?”
The soldier looked down at her armor, seeing the damage done, as well as noticing what were once purple blood stains on it.
“You look terrible.”
He touched down on the ground, to which he caught something that almost made him appear nauseated.
“Is that a makeshift bandage?”
Pan knew this was making her current predicament even worse and finally put out her hands to try saying something.
“Uh, well... you see...”
Despite this, the Frieza Force soldier began putting one hand to the side of his helmet.
“I need to call this in.”
“There’s... there’s no need for that! I’m...!”
Seeing him begin to press buttons, Pan felt like it was all over.
“The whole force’ll know... and Frieza.”
Just as she closed her eyes...
...Pan heard a hit, then a groan from the Frieza Force soldier.
She opened her eyes, seeing him falling onto his knees, then onto his front. After seeing that he was unconscious, she looked up at a familiar dark grey coat with a brown gloved hand in a chopping stance.
“Trunks!” Pan shouted, simultaneously in relief at seeing him, but also in shock at him striking that Frieza Force soldier.
“So, does this mean history hasn’t been irreversibly changed?”
“We are in a pickle, that much is certain.”
Pan saw Trunks reaching into one of his coat’s pockets.
“But I do have these for you.”
First, he dropped an earpiece into her hand. Pan immediately placed it onto her ear and eagerly awaited a response.
“Pan, do you read me?”
A smile on Pan’s face.
“Supreme Kai of Time! I am so glad to hear your voice again.”
“Me too, Pan. We were so worried about you, but to hear that you’re okay...”
“You have my grandpa to thanks for that.”
“You saved yourself too, you know,” suddenly entered Trunks, joining the telepathic conversation.
Once he realized Pan was looking over at him...
“Uh... anyway, I also have this.”
Reaching into his other pocket, Trunks’ other hand revealed half of a senzu bean.
“Can’t have me fully healed...” Pan initially mused.
“Right, but seeing as how Ginyu’s body should be wounded, but not this heavily wounded, this will at least get you back to fighting shape.”
“Ginyu’s bound to try something, so we have to be ready, Pan...”’ added Chronoa. “...all three of us.”
As much as Pan appreciated that the Supreme Kai of Time wasn’t making it sound like any or all of this was Pan’s fault or sole responsibility, she finally had the big inquiry she needed an answer on.
“When the time comes for my grandpa... for him to be switched...”
“We’re working on a plan, but what matters is what we do right now, right this second.”
Having chewed and swallowed the senzu bean half, Pan felt a burst and leapt onto her feet. While she still felt a discomfort in her chest, it was leagues preferable to the agony from earlier when the wound dug far deeper.
“I need to keep an eye on what’s going on at Frieza’s ship, so Trunks...”
“I need you to get Pan there pronto.”
He walked over to Pan’s front, then turned around and slowly floated off the ground.
“Grab onto my back.”
She did, Ginyu’s arms wrapped around under Trunks’ arms.
“I’ll get us there quick, so you need to hold on tight.”
She gripped around him tighter, at first to discomfort on his part, but once his hair began to change shape and ki built up around him...
...with a flash of gold, Trunks zoomed upward and flew straight in the direction of Frieza’s ship.
Elsewhere on Namek, Frieza wasn’t locked in combat so much as playing around with a Namekian warrior, using only his left hand with his right arm behind his back. Even then, he had not just a power and strength advantage, but could easily avoid any and all of this Namekian’s attacks if he so wanted.
But for now, Frieza was content, allowing this completely one-sided spar to continue. He saw the next attack coming so clearly it was as if the Namekian was moving in slow motion.
Just then, he felt something. A massive power. Greater than anything he had ever experienced. For a split moment, he had a feeling of dread of what this sensation could possibly be.
“No... there is absolutely no way... just what in the hell is...?”
Suddenly, he was struck on the face by the Namekian’s fist...
...but it was only irritating in the sense that now something impeded his vision as he suffered no harm from the strike, let alone a blemish to his skin.
“Ah, my apologies.”
With just a gesture of one finger, the Namekian was sent back, his feet digging into the grass before he stopped himself.
“My mind wandered for a moment there.”
Right outside Frieza’s ship, Gohan and Krillin had dug out the seven Namekian Dragon Balls and Krillin, having shouted with his arms up in the air to summon Shenron to grant their wish, realized...
“Nothing is happening.”
Unknown to them, Vegeta hid from their view, using his newfound knowledge of ki to hide his own.
“Where the hell is this so-called eternal dragon?”
Just then, he, Krillin, and Gohan all sensed the same thing in the distance.
“Someone...” started Gohan, trying to assess the situation. “Two coming in.”
“One of the Ginyu’s for sure.”
Crouching behind a rock and hiding their ki, the two looked upward as the two approached.
“Jeice is still alive...” began Krillin. “But that’s not Ginyu with him.”
Once Jeice touched down right in front of the Dragon Balls, so too did another pair of legs.
“It’s her,” revealed Gohan, pointing outward enough for Krillin to notice Pan’s uniform.
“If she’s here, then she must be here to help us with something.”
“But why is she with Jeice?” Gohan inquired.
“Maybe she and Goku defeated Ginyu, so now Jeice has turned over a new leaf or something.”
Krillin started to take a step forward away from cover and stood upward.
“I don’t know about this, Krillin...”
“Relax, Gohan. We can trust her.”
Now standing in plain sight...
Jeice turned around.
“That bald Earthling.”
A young woman’s hand held Jeice back.
“Just like we rehearsed, Jeice.”
The two slowly walked forward as Krillin waved to them.
“You scared me for a second there. Thought you were Ginyu.”
“Nope,” Ginyu answered back.
“You and Goku beat him?”
“Yep. That captain’s out of the picture now.”
Ginyu then crouched over, as if to look down at someone smaller than him.
“Say, where’s the little one?”
Krillin saw Gohan still hiding behind cover.
“Come on out, Gohan,” whispered Krillin.
Gohan sighed, then took a step outward, revealing himself.
“Ah, there you are, little guy.”
Gohan was puzzled by Pan’s tone, but then thought back to what she had said after Krillin’s question to her.
“If you and my dad beat Ginyu, then where is he?”
“Miss him, huh?”
Gohan watched Pan walk over to him, then put a hand atop his head.
“Oh don’t you worry, kiddo.”
Ginyu pat Gohan on the head and began ruffling his bowl cut hair.
“I have a feeling he’ll be here very soon.”
Once this stopped, Gohan couldn’t help but notice something off about their female ally of several battles.
“She’s treating me like a child. Even before...”
After this, Ginyu looked back to the Dragon Balls, then to Krillin.
“May I ask how you found the Dragon Balls?”
”With the Dragon Radar.”
“And did you get your wish?”
“No. Guess I didn’t use the right words or something.”
“Hmm. I see.”
Gohan saw that Jeice simply stood back, his arms crossed as if he wanted to be elsewhere.
“If he were really reformed, Jeice would be more involved right now.”
But then Krillin pointed out something different about Pan.
“Is that a... a scouter?”
At first, Ginyu and even Jeice reacted, realizing they had completely overlooked that.
“Damn it. I knew I was forgetting something.”
“I didn’t even think to tell him to remove his scouter.”
“I don’t think I’ve seen you wearing one before,” Krillin continued.
Ginyu tried to play it off.
“Uh, why that’s silly. I’ve always worn this scouter. It goes with the outfit.”
Krillin had his hand to his chin as if to ponder while Gohan was already calling this bluff.
“No. She never once had a scouter in any of our battles together. Come on, Krillin. You should know that.”
Ginyu, mentally sweating, watched as Krillin looked back up to him face-to-face.
“Well, I guess it’s a good look for you.”
Seeing his ruse continued to succeed, but also trying to keep it going, Ginyu took the edges of Pan’s cape to curtsey back to him.
“Aww, why thank you.”
Vegeta, overhearing all of this, couldn’t believe what was transpiring.
“Are those Earthlings really that dense? How could they both be falling for this act?!”
“You know...” went Krillin, walking up to Pan with curiosity. “You’ve never been this talkative before. In fact, you haven’t even given us your name.”
Ginyu turned to Jeice as if wanting confirmation for something, to which Jeice nodded his head.
“It’s go time.”
“You really want to know who I am?”
“Well, sure. After all our battles together, I’d like to put a name to your face.”
Ginyu crouched over as if to whisper in Krillin’s ear.
“I’ll tell you.”
Gohan, seeing Jeice unable to hide his grin and Pan making a fist while Krillin awaited the answer...
“Krillin, look out!”
Instead of a slap...
...Ginyu landed a thunderous close-fisted backhand to Krillin’s face, knocking him into the side of the ship. Afterwards, he turned to Gohan to reveal his true colors.
Hopping next to Ginyu...
Now with the two joined in unison with brand new poses...
“The Ginyu Force!”
Krillin, a bruise on his face between his eyes and mouth, and his back lodged into Frieza’s ship, finally spoke out.
“The pose kind of falls apart without the rest of them, doesn’t it?”
With Krillin’s words, Ginyu and Jeice were both partially demoralized in mid-pose.
“Agh, I knew it! Even her cape does nothing for it!”
“I really thought the girl’s cape would make up the difference.”
“That’s not important, Krillin!” went Gohan. “She’s not herself! We need to know what happened to her... and my dad.”
Ginyu, hearing something behind him...
“Speak of the devil...”
Zooming past Ginyu and landing in front of...
“Gohan! She’s not...!”
Krillin busted free, then flew back to the group.
“She’s been hypnotized into thinking she’s Ginyu or something.”
“No, Krillin. Ginyu took her body.”
Gohan looked absolutely horrified after his father’s explanation, but then angrily turned to Ginyu.
“Where is she?! And what have you done with her?!”
“Ah, why the long face? It’s not like your friend’s alive to protest.”
But then everyone present felt a massive ki. Ginyu and Jeice both tried to keep their composure, but privately...
“Lord Frieza? No... this is something else...”
“Even Frieza hasn’t shown this much power... but what could it be?”
Krillin and Gohan lost their footing, falling onto their hands, and even Vegeta, still hidden, couldn’t believe what he sensed.
“No! No one could reach that level of power! No one but the legendary...”
But Goku, while aware of it, seemed calm by comparison.
“Don’t be so sure...”
Pan, seeing Namek’s landscape almost blur together from how fast Trunks was flying...
...and seeing him as a Super Saiyan for the first time...
To an extent, Pan could almost feel the power radiating from Trunks’ ki across his body.
“We’re touching down soon, Pan...” Trunks reminded her. “So I’m going to need you to let go of me on three.”
“What about landing?” she inquired. “At the speed we’re going...”
“I’ll slow down just enough after the countdown. And I know you can land it.”
Something glimmered in the distance…
“Here we go, Pan. Three...”
A round structure?
Standing atop spider legs?
“Frieza’s ship,” went Pan, realizing it was her destination.
Pan let go of Trunks...
...and felt herself zooming forward, fast approaching the ship.
“Going to crash right into it!”
Putting out her hands, she used her ki, or rather, Ginyu’s, to try decreasing her speed. But even then...
“Not slowing down fast enough!”
She caught a glimpse of the faintest figments on the ground by the ship’s entrance.
Now she tried redirecting herself away from the ship.
“Hope this works...”
The sensation everyone felt had now completely dissipated with them still reeling from it, but also trying to get their focus back onto the immediate matter at hand.
“‘Don’t be so sure’?” went Ginyu, mocking Goku’s voice. “And what would make you say that?”
Instead of answering, Goku looked upward into the sky. Ginyu, irritated at his opponent’s eyes being drawn elsewhere, turned to see...
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me...”
A purple body fast approached. Jeice shuddered at the sight of Ginyu’s old body reentering the fray.
“I thought she’d have keeled over by now... especially after that blast.”
Pan tried touching down with her feet...
...but skidded, rolling and hopping until she finally caught herself with her hand, digging into the blue-green grass as she screeched to a complete halt.
“Not textbook form... but I’ll take it.”
Gohan, slowly making his way towards her as she rose from a crouch onto her feet...
“Is it really you?”
“It’s her, Gohan.”
Pan looked to her grandfather, who didn’t say a word to her. The look on his face communicated that he did not want her joining the battle due to her condition from earlier, but at the same time, he wasn’t surprised to see her back on her feet to fight by his side.
Ginyu, shaking off his shock, then turned to Pan, his glower shifting into amusement.
“You survived, I see. I suppose this is problematic.”
But Jeice could not hide how unsettled he was at her presence.
“You... you were bleedin’ out from the Captain’s wound. You shouldn’t even be able to stand, let alone fight.”
“You said the Saiyan healed the Earthlings and Vegeta, correct? Perhaps he healed her as well.”
After Ginyu tried giving a rationale for this, Jeice began calming down.
“See, now that makes sense. No way she could have on her own.”
While Jeice continued rambling, Pan peered around for any sign of Guldo. Goku, realizing she was looking for someone, also began to reflect on someone being missing.
“I mean, it’d be one thing if you or I did...” continued Jeice in his digression. “That, I could buy completely... but if she had done any of that, that’d be totally...”
“Where is Guldo?” Pan interrupted.
“Yeah,” added Goku. “You’re missing someone.”
“Well, if you must know...” began Ginyu. “Guldo’s insubordination resulted in the loss of two comrades. He paid for it with his life.”
Pan tried sensing around her to confirm Ginyu’s claim.
“I’m getting nothing. No sign of Guldo’s ki. Other than when he had that helmet, I could always track him.”
She noticed Goku did not take kindly to what Ginyu implied.
“But... but he helped you.”
“That he did, thinking that’d be enough to get him off the hook.”
“Tried getting brownie points, that traitor,” added Jeice.
“So I fried him myself.”
Pan didn’t know what to make of this development.
“If Ginyu killed Guldo, how bad of a change are we looking at here?”
“I don’t know, but we have a more pressing matter,” answered Chronoa. “The time frame’s off. I need you to get the fight started right away.”
While Pan conversed with the Supreme Kai of Time, Goku was infuriated with the fate of Guldo.
“You’re just like Vegeta! Killing your allies like they’re nothing to you!”
“Now’s your chance, Pan!” shouted out Chronoa.
Taking a step in front of Goku...
“Now enough talk!” Pan shouted to Ginyu and Jeice. “Are we going to fight, or are we just going to keep standing around?”
The two last members of the Ginyu Force turned to each other, then back to Pan, battle-ready.
“I think you have the right idea.”
“True. We’ve given you lot enough time to say your prayers.”
Right as Goku and company were ready to lunge forward...
“Don’t kill Ginyu... please.”
Pan’s grandfather, her father, and Krillin nodded back to her, then flew straight for Ginyu. She then made her way to cut off Jeice.
“Aww, why am I always stuck with you?!”
Trunks, hiding and overlooking the start of the battle...
“Supreme Kai of Time, is it time to bring me back?”
“Trunks, I need you to investigate Guldo’s death.”
Taking out a remote from his pocket, he began scrolling through several modes.
“I’ll find where they touched down with Pan’s earpiece. Track where it’s been since the body switch.”
“Now after you transformed earlier, you’re going to need to keep a low profile. I can’t guide you and Pan at the same time, so I’ll be counting on you.”
Vegeta remained where he was, spectating the three-on-one between the Z-Fighters and Ginyu.
“Ginyu’s stronger than any of his men, maybe combined... but he’s not fighting them in his body. He’s fighting them in that girl’s. And with how much stronger Kakarrot has gotten...”
He came to the same conclusion that Pan did as she watched over the same bout.
“Ginyu’s going to lose this one eventually.”
After blocking several attempts from Jeice to punch and get around her, Pan trapped him by gripping his wrists.
“I’ll keep Jeice out of the picture, but what do we do about Ginyu? Do we want him to get KOed or do you have something else in mind?”
“The key is Ginyu’s desire for a stronger body, which he believed Goku to have,” answered Chronoa.
Jeice, unable to break from the grip of Ginyu’s body, tried breaking out with one knee after the other, each of which Pan countered with her own.
“So we need Ginyu to want out of mine.”
“Right. In time, he’ll try to switch again... but we can’t afford for Ginyu to wait that long to do so.”
Once the Supreme Kai of Time finished, Pan caught a glow from above her, seeing Jeice had formed a Crusher Ball in his left hand...
...as well as began forming another in his right.
“Two Crusher Balls?!”
From behind her, Gohan and Krillin were currently clashing with Ginyu with Goku keeping some distance. Pan sensed them and knew all too well Jeice was peering right at the two.
She flipped herself and Jeice, causing the Crusher Balls to fly towards their lower bodies instead of their torsos. With Pan’s warning, Gohan and Krillin both floated upward, watching the orbs pass them. Ginyu saw the Crusher Balls coming for his legs and tried to ascend as quickly as he could, but they struck his ankles, leaving him to flip.
Pan turned her head upon hearing the impact, dreading what the result would be.
“If he broke Ginyu’s... my legs...”
In the midst of this, Jeice managed to get himself into a crouch, with which he was free to kick Pan in the chest with both feet.
As she feared, the pain mostly resided in her bandaged wound. With his arms finally free...
“Ah, so you’re not fully healed after all...”
Jeice was back on the attack, Pan wrestling both her opponent and the injury. Gohan saw Pan’s guard beginning to let up.
Once he had his father’s attention...
“Give Krillin cover!”
Goku did just that, stopping an intended strike for Krillin, after which Gohan flew into Jeice with a flying kick. Jeice stopped it with his right hand and began squeezing Gohan’s ankle, then, as he saw Pan about to go for a punch, held the child up like an awkward dangling shield.
Pan stopped, after which Jeice’s other hand fired off an energy wave. She guarded against it with both wrists, but was being pushed back into a rocky structure, finding herself pinned to and starting to be pushed through it.
Goku saw the situation Pan, as well as his son, was in...
This left him exposed to a punch to his cheek by Ginyu, who openly grinned upon seeing a spot of blood drip from Goku’s cheek.
Jeice continued squeezing Gohan’s ankle, Pan hearing her father’s cries. Pan had to think on what to do without risking Jeice using him as a human shield. Putting her hands out in front of her...
In Ginyu’s body, Pan couldn’t perform the technique. Jeice chuckled at the gesture.
“What was that?”
He mockingly put both his arms out like Pan had.
Gohan knew exactly what Pan was gesturing him to do and lifted his upper body upward, his hands quickly preparing it.
“Mas...” mocked Jeice.
Then he saw Gohan fire.
He tilted his head just fast enough to avoid it, but then felt a punch to his gut by Pan. Gohan slipped through Jeice’s grip, then slowly hovered back down, as Pan floated backward.
“Not going to put too much into this...”
Jeice saw purple ki forming in Pan’s hand...
“No bloody way...”
“Taino taught me Ginyu’s moves. It’s time I put them to use.”
She fired this purple projectile, lower in power and smaller, but unmistakable in its appearance.
Ginyu, while tossing Krillin aside, turned towards Jeice and saw...
Jeice swerved to avoid it, then Ginyu fired off a Milky Cannon of his own to stop it.
“How did you do that?!”
Pan floated over to him, attempting to give off a scoffing tone.
“It’s your body, right?”
This didn’t sit well with Ginyu, just as she had hoped.
“Don’t you act all cute on me now.”
Krillin kept an eye on Ginyu as Goku, holding Gohan in his arms while his child tended to his leg, saw Ginyu and Pan approaching each other.
“How’s it looking, Supreme Kai of Time? Is it a good play?”
“Why don’t you show Ginyu what you’ve learned?” Chronoa almost playfully acknowledged.
Right as Pan heard this, she could tell from seeing Ginyu, in her body like looking in a mirror, preparing his arm for an elbow.
Ginyu threw it, but saw it met by Pan doing the exact same thing. The twin barrage that followed from their Dynamite Punches shifted the air for all the spectators to feel, but Pan’s countering of it left neither reaching past.
“That’s two of ‘em she knows...”
Both backing up, Ginyu immediately pointed a finger at Pan, firing off the tiny orbs of Visionary Attack...
“Let’s see her try...”
...only to see Pan had replied with the same.
“Somehow she’s discovered how to use my techniques just from being in my body...”
Recalling what Pan had just told him, he tried thinking beyond himself and his knowledge to try attaining hers...
...and nothing came to him.
“...but then why are none of her own techniquess coming to me?”
He saw Pan, a massive orb covering her body as she zoomed past him for a charging elbow.
“What kind of witchcraft is this?!”
He swerved downward to avoid Strong Jersey only to find that Pan had fired a burst, breaking it off and launching herself back towards him. The elbow to his back that resulted rocketed Ginyu straight down into the ground. Pan watched as he spat out blue-green grass with dirt on his face, utterly fuming.
Feeling pain along with discomfort from his landing and what it’d mean for the battle going forward...
“This body will no longer do.”
Pan saw him turning his attention back to the very person he was meant to target all along.
“I need to switch bodies with that Saiyan... NOW!!!”
Jeice touched down next to Ginyu to help him up by his arm while their four opponents touched down as well.
“I’m going to give you a chance to give up, Ginyu,” offered Goku.
“You’re both strong, but we outnumber you,” added Krillin.
“What’s the play, Captain?” went Jeice once Ginyu was back on his feet.
After putting his hand to his chin for a moment.
“Attack pattern 35-B.”
Jeice flew around the four quickly, Gohan and Krillin being the only ones having some trouble keeping up with him. Goku flew straight past Jeice to Ginyu, then pushed him farther away with a burst of air. Pan stayed on guard, keeping an eye on Goku while at the ready to defend herself or her two nearby allies.
Ginyu saw Goku approaching and fired right at the ground in front of him. As Goku flew over it, he saw an all-too familiar stance.
‘’“That’s his body changing stance.”’’
But he didn’t see Ginyu looking upward at or directing it towards him at all.
‘’“He’s looking straight in front of him when I’m right above him!”’’
Jeice, suddenly crouching in front of the three he had been flying circles around, plunged his hand into the ground. With a spin, he dug out a massive clump of dirt, then tossed it as a distraction as he fled.
With a two-handed slam, Jeice knocked Goku down towards the ground. Pan caught up, seeing Jeice trying to keep Goku in place.
“This is my one chance...”
Upon hearing the last word, Goku unwittingly lifted and held Jeice in front of him. He then realized just what he was doing.
“Shoot! If it hits him, then she’s...!”
Jeice was horrified at the thought of what was to come.
“I’m about to switch bodies with the captain...”
In that split moment, Pan flew forward as fast as she could with Ginyu’s body.
“Everything you’ve got...!”
Goku and Jeice saw her fly right into the path of the Body Change.
That strange sensation struck Pan again, being frozen and feeling like her very soul was leaving elsewhere.
Once it had finally concluded, Pan suddenly felt that she was standing straight up on solid ground instead of flying as she was before.
Pan put out hands in front of her...
...and saw fingerless gloved hands, each finger moving as she thought to move them, and feeling each one as she did.
“I’m in my own body!”
But right as she celebrated...
She felt several sore points across her body from hits Ginyu had to have taken when Goku, Krillin, and Gohan attacked him all at once. Two of them were still considerably fresh: her back ached from the elbow she delivered to it and her chest stung from Ginyu’s crash landing onto her front.
“That really smarts...”
She looked to her grandfather.
“Hey, you’re you again!”
After he tossed the bemused Jeice away, the look Pan gave him made him recall what almost occurred when he held Jeice in front of him. With one hand behind the back of his head, he couldn’t hide his embarrassment.
“Sorry about earlier. I wasn’t thinking too good with my head there.”
Even then, Pan couldn’t help but smile at his clumsiness outside of battle.
“I’m just glad to be me... myself again.”
The two turned their attention to Ginyu upon hearing him groan. He slowly made his way back up, confused at his hitting the ground after the body change.
“I was standing up. So was that Saiyan. Why am I...?”
In front of him was a shadow...
...two horns atop it head.
“She’s behind me?”
He looked out at the hands that were trying to lift him up...
...the purple arms that stretched out confirming otherwise.
“You’re not going to be able to win this,” Goku called out to him. “Switching bodies has only exhausted you.”
His purple fist struck the ground as he lifted himself back up.
“I didn’t think it’d come to this...”
Trunks, touching down on the area Ginyu and company remained stationary for a time after their initial battle with Goku, looked for clues as to what transpired.
“According to this device, the three stood right...”
Seeing what might’ve been boot prints from Pan...
And in that same direction...
...another pair of prints from Jeice, as well as a seared trail on the ground from a blast.
“Ginyu fired from that position...”
Without other footprints to indicate Guldo’s location, as he stayed on the ground for the most part compared to his comrades, it looked as though the burnt area had to be where Guldo had resided. It all seemed to line up...
...but it still didn’t sit right.
“Even if Ginyu vaporized Guldo completely, there should be some sign of him... something.”
Now speaking to the Supreme Kai of Time instead of just thinking to himself...
“Supreme Kai of Time. Can you replay Ginyu’s feed?”
He knew Ginyu’s thoughts were out of the question since he took the earpiece out, but even with it in Pan’s pocket, they could still hear from his surroundings.
“Around the time I touched down to Pan’s location.”
Jeice returned to Ginyu’s side, staring down both Goku and Pan.
“Now I’m going to give you one final chance,” went Goku with an ultimatum. “Stop this and I’ll let you both go.”
Pan kept her stance up best as she could, but her mind was left floundering at what was to come next.
“This is already different from history. How are we going to convince Goku to...?”
She then couldn’t help but notice Ginyu incessantly tapping on his scouter as he turned to Jeice.
“What do you think?”
“You mean with surrenderin’?”
Trunks listened to the feed and while the quality wasn’t crystal clear, he heard Ginyu speaking in that moment the clearest of the three.
One piece of audio in particular made him nearly stumble.
“Well, Jeice... maybe we should stop.”
Pan was in disbelief at what she was hearing.
“What is Ginyu saying?!”
So seemed Jeice.
Pan then heard Trunks in a panic.
“Wait! Pan, it was all a trick! Guldo’s...!”
...as Guldo took some time running to Goku’s position.
“Agh! Did they have to travel so far back?!”
Wiping off sweat from his green forehead just over his eyes, he then went full speed at Goku, jumping into and hitting him with a two-legged drop kick...
...and being knocked back, as if having hit an immovable object. In stopped time, Guldo seemed to do absolutely nothing to him.
Time resumed once Guldo stopped holding his breath...
...and Goku felt a kick, which completely robbed him of his attention and had him partially hunched over.
Pan, once time resumed, heard Trunks finish.
She saw him standing behind Goku clear as day, as well as saw him with two hands raised up...
...lift and trap Goku inches off the ground. Neither Pan nor her grandfather could believe the predicament he was in.
“This is like what General Blue did to me... and Chiaotzu... but on a whole other level.”
He then thought of when Jeice landed that hit to him, putting him in Ginyu’s path...
“I thought I was sloppy earlier, but what if... he held me in place to be hit.”
Ginyu didn’t bother to gloat and after throwing his scouter into the air, he immediately went back to his infamous stance.
Even while desperately trying to wrestle himself free, Goku found himself stuck right where he was.
“No! Not now!”
Pan knew what she had to do for history’s sake and didn’t make any moves on Guldo, but had to wonder...
“Towa doesn’t want this to happen. She’d want the change stopped. Just what is her play here?”
But as she checked to see what Jeice was doing...
...she saw Jeice standing behind Ginyu, his five fingers pointed right at his back for an all-too-familiar ki technique of his.
“Just like the scroll...”
Without a moment to show hesitation, she flew forward and fired at Jeice, the impact causing Jeice’s arm to miss the dead-center of Ginyu’s chest...
...but still drew blood from his side. She tackled Jeice, dragging him across the grass until he dug his blade of ki into the ground, stopping himself and causing Pan to fly past him.
Once Pan stopped herself, she looked over at Ginyu, grabbing his side to stop purple blood from oozing out of it, and then to Goku, who hopped high into the air. But instead of hearing Goku’s almost child-like chuckle...
...now Pan heard him laugh in a completely different tone. Upon catching Ginyu’s scouter and wearing it himself, the laughter became louder and more menacing.
Gohan and Krillin both flew towards them, but saw Ginyu already relishing his moment of being in possession of Goku’s body.
“Dad, no! We’re too late!”
Pan didn’t even realize their absence until they finally arrived. It didn’t make sense for them to have been held up...
...until she considered the hidden piece in Ginyu’s ploy.
But when she looked back at her grandfather for any sign of him, he had vanished completely. She sensed the ki of everyone around her and tried to pinpoint his...
“I can’t sense him!”
Before, it seemed as though the helmet atop his head was the cause for this, its destruction revealing him. But now she knew that moment when she could no longer sense Guldo, where she considered the possibility of Ginyu having slayed him, was proof of something else completely. Someone that could stop time now had another ace.“Guldo can hide his ki now.”
Ginyu's Game Plan! Protect Goku!
Ginyu, in Pan’s body as a result of Jeice’s meddling, and without Recoome and Burter due to Guldo supposedly abandoning them, was picking back and forth between which of the two he would execute with a blast. Both hypothetical recipients were frozen stiff, believing if either moved, Ginyu would use it as the basis for his choice. His humming of a tune to himself as he went back and forth with his hand only made it even more intense for them.
With the tune coming to an end, Guldo hunched over onto his knees, his arms covering his head. Seeing Guldo duck, Jeice couldn’t help but follow suit. Ginyu took note of this, but kept to the final note.
Ginyu was confused to find that according to his scouter, only one of the two remained.
“What in the...?”
He turned to Jeice, whom the scouter could read clear as day.
“Then that means...”
Looking straight at the ducking Guldo, all four of his eyes closed, he saw that he remained while the scouter couldn’t.
Quickly stepping onto his feet...
“Give me Guldo’s power level.”
He pressed on his scouter, at first scoffing at the idea.
“Not like his is even that much...” he quietly muttered to himself.
But once the reading came back to him...
Jeice was awestruck at his seemingly puny comrade.
“You... you ain’t even being read on this thing!”
Guldo, now feeling like he was not about to be destroyed, stood back up as Ginyu crouched down to look at him at his eye level.
“How did you do that just now?”
“I wish I knew,” Guldo began. “Somehow... I guess I tried to be hidden. Be invisible.”
“Well you didn’t quite do that, but hiding your power...”
Jeice entered in, almost sounding excited.
“That’s just what those Earthlings and that Saiyan have been doing to us, and you figured it out just now!”
Now Ginyu pondered while remaining crouched, stoically frozen like a statue of a thinker.
“Can you teach us, Guldo?” inquired Jeice.
“I don’t even know how I did it! I couldn’t even begin to teach...!”
“You don’t have to,” re-entered Ginyu, who was now standing up, towering over Guldo. “We will make use of this newfound ability. Now when the Earthlings face you, they will be forced to contend with someone they cannot find with their other senses. Only through sight.”
“I can only imagine the look on their faces when they can’t find him,” went Jeice enthusiastically.
But then Guldo had a thought.
“If I might make a suggestion, Captain... what if you and Jeice approach them while I join you unseen?”
“Heh,” went Jeice, back to jeering at Guldo. “Trying to save yourself all the work? Lazy...”
“Now wait a minute...” went Ginyu with a hand out. “So you, Guldo... you’d be lying in wait unknown to the enemy, then when they least expect it...”
But then Ginyu realized something that would put a hole in their plan.
“...but shoot, that Saiyan saw you earlier. He might be awaiting your arrival.”
The three were left to evaluate how to get around it. Jeice had his hand up with a thought.
“How about this, Captain? Maybe you and I could tell ‘em that you greased Guldo for... I don’t know... insubordination for something...”
“Oh geez, are you still on about that?” went Guldo, his arms crossed.
“Oh, of course!” went Ginyu, a hearty fist raised. “We compel them into believing our ruse, and if I am still unable to switch bodies with the Saiyan, then you, Guldo, will set that Saiyan up for my technique. It’s brilliant!”
Ginyu could barely contain how ecstatic the plan made him, but then cleared his throat and recomposed himself.
“Then it’s settled. Guldo and Jeice, your plan is a go.”
The two comrades, whose dislike of one another had previously left them trying to get the other killed instead of themselves, were now looking back at one another with comradery and even some admiration.
“You’re not so bad at the whole planning thing, Jeice.”
“It was your plan, Guldo. Just threw in a few bells and whistles is all.”
Ginyu knelt down, his hand out and lowered so Guldo could reach. With that, Guldo and Jeice placed their hands over his.
“If we pull this off, and Lord Frieza achieves immortality, the sundaes are on me.”
As if they all counted to three in their heads simultaneously, they lowered, then raised their hands into the air while shouting “Ginyu Force!”
“I don’t understand.”
“Understand what, Mira?”
Mira, while his expression was as still as his posture, gave away just enough in his facial muscles to indicate some puzzlement.
“How is it after everything we’ve done... bringing back Guldo... instilling into Guldo the ability to hide his ki... all that time Ginyu spent in the patroller’s body... Goku as himself for far longer than before... and still, Ginyu went exactly the route he took in history.”
“Think of the flow of time like a body of water, Mira. A river. So far, we have been creating ripples. Time, history, corrects itself. The flow and direction remain the same.”
“And what we’re trying to do...”
“Is change the tide. Shift the river in another direction... just as Trunks did long ago.”
Mira returned to assessing the situation.
“Ginyu is where he should be at this point in history: Goku’s body. That much has been corrected.”
“But consider: it took considerably longer to reach this point, Ginyu has switched bodies with two recipients, Goku has a new wound, and Guldo is involved far past the point of his death.”
“Time can correct small differences, just as it has in our prior attempts... but if prolonged long enough and with major changes...”
“Time will not be able to correct itself and Chronoa will have to contend with having failed in her duties a second time.”
Mira heard a clatter, then saw Towa picking up her staff.
“Will the formula work with Goku’s body?”
“I’ve made some adjustments. I will try accessing Ginyu’s mind.”
But then Mira thought of someone she had yet to mention.
“One other factor...”
He turned their attention to someone who had remained in hiding even amidst everything thus far.
“Vegeta will join them soon.”
“Not unless the Saiyan Prince is coerced.”
Preparing to teleport...
“Watch over me, Mira.”
The moment Towa disappeared from his view, Mira made his way to the console, watching over what was transpiring to ensure that not only would her end of the mission be carried through, but that she would be safe throughout.
Ginyu, after his laughter concluded, put his scouter over his eye, then continued looking over the hands of the body he had wanted since reading its incredible power.
“Impeccable. This is the body of a perfect warrior. And now it is mine.”
Goku, meanwhile, grasping the wound on his side from Jeice’s attempt to stab Ginyu during the body change...
He was partially shocked to hear himself speak with a different voice, but thinking back to the deception regarding Guldo that led them to this moment...
“You tricked me! Lied to us!”
“It was a legitimate strategy,” Ginyu retorted with low-key delight. “It got me your body, didn’t it?”
Goku let go of his wound with one hand, so infuriated at Ginyu that he made it into a fist.
“I won’t let you keep it!”
“You’ll never get the chance to take it back. For one thing...”
Pan, getting to her knees, eyed the currently idle Jeice while overhearing Ginyu’s conversation with Goku.
“For one thing... I will never again need to change bodies.”
She already knew this wasn’t to be, or at least it wasn’t supposed to in history.
“Walk me through it, Supreme Kai of Time. What happens with Ginyu?”
“Him being in Goku’s body didn’t work out as he had hoped. He survived only because Krillin and Gohan held back on him.”
“So Krillin and my dad defeated Ginyu?”
“No, it was...”
Trunks, listening in as he waited by Ginyu’s rallying point from before...
“It was my father. He practically crippled Goku’s body.”
“Trying to kill him,” went Pan, catching on to Vegeta’s less than noble intentions before having to be reminded of his character. “So if I were Towa, I’d want Vegeta out of the picture.”
“Supreme Kai of Time, I need you to...”
“I’m looking for your father right now, Trunks.”
Chronoa was turning her view towards Frieza’s ship.
Vegeta, looking out in the direction of the battle that was now transpiring farther from where he was hiding, could no longer see what was happening. He only sensed six ki sources...
...and a seventh.
Then it disappeared, having vanished just after he caught it. He knew all six combatants’ ki clear as day and while it was brief, he knew just whose ki popped up.
“That weaselly green imp...”
Clenching both fists, he was ready to depart straight into the air.
“I’ll finish off every single one of Ginyu’s...”
“You will remain here.”
Towa, her staff to the back of Vegeta’s head, was channeling her formula into him. While trying to turn around at first, once his pupils took a purple hue, he stopped moving.
“I will remain here,” he repeated in a trance.
“You will let them finish each other off.”
“I will let them finish each other off.”
“The wish on the Dragon Balls will be all yours.”
“The wish on the Dragon Balls will be all mine.”
She whispered directly in his ear.
Taking her staff off of him, Towa slowly walked away from Vegeta, who remained still like a statue.
Still repeating back what Towa said even once she left his presence completely...
“Oh, I can’t wait any longer,” went Ginyu, all but salivating at the power he believed was now at his fingertips. “I simply must give this new body a spin.”
Goku saw his body turning back to him, his stance indicating his intent to approach him for combat.
“Starting with you.”
Goku tried taking on a stance, but clearly winced.
“Now wait a minute, Captain,” interrupted Jeice. “You shouldn’t need to sully your new body’s hands with that Saiyan...”
While Ginyu didn’t give Jeice a dirty look, the Red Magna couldn’t help but feel like he misphrased what he meant to say.
“Uh, no offense to your old body.”
Looking back to the two smaller combatants on Goku’s side...
“Then I will test my might with you two.”
Goku saw how fearful both Krillin and Gohan appeared at the sight of his own body under the possession of a villain, which was now about to attack them.
“Gohan! Krillin! Listen! You both can beat him!”
“But Dad, he’s... he’s you!”
“You have the power to do it, but you can’t hold back! Stop him without any hesitation, even if you have to kill him!”
This struck his three allies, Pan especially, who so far had seen her grandfather despise the very notion of killing an opponent when unnecessary, but they all understood that Goku took Ginyu as such a threat to everyone he was willing to lose his own body for the greater good.
“Even if it meant being stuck in Ginyu’s body for good... he was willing to take that trade-off for everyone’s sake...”
As Ginyu attempted channeling power through his new body, Jeice lunged straight at the wounded Goku, a Crusher Ball forming in hand. Pan immediately intercepted, grabbing his wrist with both hands to throw off his aim. The Crusher Ball missed Goku as she had hoped, but its impact with the ground stumbled him all the same.
Taking hold of Pan by the back of her cape, he span her around him, then tossed her downward. Just then, he turned around, seeing Goku jump upward for a double axe handle swing. Jeice grinned, his hand poking out as if to gut him with his fingers.
“Like a fish...”
Before he could muster the ki for his blade, he was struck by a thrown Power Pole to his back. Goku’s swing did not knock Jeice down as a result of his adversary being struck forward, but did strike the back of his head, sending Jeice behind him. In midair after the strike, Goku had to grip his side, to which Pan caught up and tried to help steady him. Just from having her right hand over Goku’s, which covered his ki blade wound, she could tell it was just as severe, if not more so, than the chest wound she endured.
Jeice, turning around and fuming at how he was still being shown up, conjured ki for perhaps his biggest attack yet. Pan and Goku saw not one, not two, but six Crusher Balls above Jeice’s raised arms.
“Now I’ll show you lot!”
One by one in sheer rapid succession, each Crusher Ball fired straight at the two like glowing spherical cannonballs. Pan pushed her grandfather out of the way, then, not having the time to get out of the way, swung her Power Pole at each one. While the first two were knocked away cleanly, each subsequently pushed her back and got closer to slipping past to her directly.
Goku, still floating off the ground, saw Jeice forming a seventh and especially massive Crusher Ball as the fifth and six approached Pan. Seeing Jeice turn his gaze to him, Goku got ready to avoid it as best he could...
...but couldn’t so much as move a single muscle. His hand over his wound, purple blood slipping through the fingers, couldn’t move to adjust to keep the bleeding at bay.
Pan saw Guldo back on the field, holding Goku in place to set him up for a kill once more. She didn’t know if firing at Guldo would free Goku fast enough to avoid the colossal Crusher Ball aimed at him, or if he could even avoid it to begin with in his condition. As it was immediately launched at her grandfather, she decided to stop it herself.
Not wanting to chance that saying “times three” or “times four” would take too much time, she flew right to Goku, pushing him out of the way...
...right back towards Gohan and Krillin’s battle with Ginyu.
Just then realizing Jeice’s projectile was about to make impact with her, she put her hands out to catch it. She was holding it back, but knew it would’ve been with far more ease with Kaio-Ken times three or four.
Jeice, seeing Goku out of his reach and that Pan was still withstanding perhaps his ultimate technique, was beyond embittered at this point.
“Oh that tears it!”
Charging ki into his palm pointed right at his massive projectile...
“Let’s see you smirk this one off!”
Pan quickly put two and two together and prepared to power up.
The blast was coming in too fast for her to finish.
She tried drawing her shield over herself quickly...
Ginyu, a few small bruises on the face of his new body, was increasingly growing frustrated at how well Krillin and Gohan combated him and how poorly he seemed to be utilizing Goku’s power.
“His body measured at a hundred eighty thousand and instead I’m fighting like I can only go twenty, twenty three thousand!”
As he tried holding them both off at once, one with each hand, he saw his old body within view, not appearing in much worse shape from before.
“You had one simple task, Jeice! I didn’t even request for you to do it; you volunteered yourself!”
An explosion in the distance robbed the two attacking him of their attention long enough for him to slip past. By the time they tried to catch him, they were both frozen in place.
“It’s about time, Guldo!”
Guldo, standing atop a structure, glowed purple and seemed well-rested.
“Shall I skewer them now, Captain?”
Goku, perturbed to see Guldo holding his son and his best friend, made his way to him and Ginyu without hesitation.
“Let them go! I’m the one you want!”
Guldo got ready to lift his hand to grab any number of objects below him, but Ginyu put out a hand.
“No, Guldo. I want you to put all your focus and power on holding them... until I kill this Saiyan.”
“A fair fight?” Goku asked. “Just you and me, Ginyu?”
“A fair fight. Just you and me, Saiyan.”
Even amidst his trickery from before, Ginyu’s honor was starting to show through. Though even then...
“Might as well fight him fair. It’s not like my old body’ll defeat his with that wound.”
Jeice floated back down to the ground, watching as the dust settled. With everything he had seen her do so far, he already had more than a feeling that Pan had survived.
And there she was, walking to him.
“You know what, girlie? I’ll give you some credit. You had me beat earlier, I’ll admit...”
All this time, Jeice wasn’t disheartened as her approach was somewhat slow, and he could hear her breathing. Even with all the energy he spent, he was confident that he had more than enough to finish her where she stood.
“But then Ginyu took your body... and you and that Saiyan went and beat yourself up. Must’ve been horrible having to fight yourself. Getting back your body’s all well and good, but you got it with all the damage included. After spending so much energy withstanding my last attack, I bet you’re tired and out of juice. But I have plenty more to spare on the likes on you. And now your odds against me are...”
Jeice’s taunting of Pan was interrupted by her suddenly emerging in front of him, punching him right in the face. He grinded against the ground on his back before stopping, but upon getting back up, he reeled with both hands over his face...
...specifically his nose.
“Damn near broke it...”
He fired one ki bullet at her, which she swerved to avoid without even moving one leg.
Another, but to the same result, again without her even needing to take to the air or so much as roll or step aside. Pan still came to Jeice on foot, her pace increased, and it became clear as day that she had been acting more fatigued earlier than she actually was. He lunged straight for her, his blade of ki desperate to skewer her then and there...
“Try blocking it with your fancy red stick now, you conning little b...!”
...but saw it stopped by not just a ki-covered hand, but her right index finger.
“No, no no! This...! This ain’t fair!”
He swung relentlessly at her, but she continued stopping it with that finger alone.
“You can’t be doing this! It ain’t natural! You’re cheatin’ somehow! I just know it!”
Now using two fingers to trap his blade, Pan tossed him behind her, then began running in a circle around him. He tried following her movements, but it was almost as if an additional Pan blurred in with each cycle.
But as she occupied Jeice, she knew another figure was supposed to be there.
“How long until Vegeta joins the fray?”
“He should be joining any...”
Chronoa, now seeing Vegeta...
“He’s not moving!”
Trunks wanted to fly straight over to free him, but he and Chronoa knew why he couldn’t.
“Trunks, stay still. I’m sending you back now.”
Upon his return to the library...
“Towa knows I can’t meet my father before I enter the timeline and Pan getting to him will expose everyone else. What are we going to do?”
“I will get him out of this, but I’m going to need you to...”
“Supreme Kai of Time... Trunks...” Pan interrupted.
She, while waiting on an answer from one of the two, stopped as Jeice saw, from his perspective, several of her standing in place.
“Pan, she’ll take care of my father.”
Jeice fired at one afterimage after the other, all the more desperate to figure out which one was actually her.
“What’s Goku’s status?”
She realized her grandfather was back in Ginyu’s crosshairs as a result of her actions from before.
From their end, Trunks and Chronoa caught Pan shouting something particularly explicit in her head.
“Pan, is everything alright?”
She crouched, small pebbles starting to float off the ground.
“One second, Trunks!”
Jeice finally found her.
“There you a...!”
Just then, Pan zoomed straight into the air, a small crater resulting from the impact of her takeoff.
“Hey! Get back here!”
Seeing that she had left his line of sight, Jeice hunched over, freely huffing and puffing from how much he had been pushed.
“Damn her! Captain ain’t gonna be happy with me about this one...”
Guldo, and technically Gohan and Krillin from where they were frozen, watched in astonishment as Goku, even with the wound to his side, was fighting almost evenly with Ginyu.
“That Saiyan’s still going strong. Is the Captain’s old body that strong... or is something wrong with the new one?”
But Goku already knew one reason for this.
“Ginyu doesn’t know any of my techniques. Even if he could fight with all my body’s might, he wouldn’t be able to go further beyond.”
Guldo felt wind brushing up against him...
...as well as a grain of dirt getting in his eye. This broke his concentration enough for Gohan and Krillin to free themselves.
Both tried attacking Guldo...
...but he immediately disappeared from their sight, no doubt with his time stop. As they both realized they couldn’t sense his location like they could before...
“Krillin, where did he...?”
Both were suddenly stuck again.
“Can’t find me anymore, can you, you little squirts?”
As Goku clearly put his attention on the three, Ginyu wanted to strike...
...but someone was hovering behind him.
Towa put her staff to the back of Ginyu’s head, to which he froze as a purple glow overtook his new body. Goku couldn’t see Towa, but knew something was happening to Ginyu.
“He had that purple glow before... but not with my body so far. Why now?”
Ginyu didn’t even so much as think as he was suspended in both body and mind. With him in a fixed state...
“Kaio-Ken,” Towa whispered to him.
Pressing on an earpiece...
Goku saw a flash of white light, almost like a pillar, behind Ginyu with only a faint shape of someone in a lab coat of some sort briefly visible to him.
“Was that... a woman? Is she with the girl whose helped us?”
But then he heard Ginyu muttering something aloud.
Goku, Gohan, and Krillin all feared what this meant.
“I don’t know how to use any of Ginyu’s techniques. How could he have possibly figured out how to use Kaio...?”
Surging with a red glow atop of his purple one, Ginyu flew at a higher speed than any Goku had encountered so far against him. He blocked the first punch with crossed arms, but he was sent upward as he saw Ginyu flying over him and turning to intercept him. While Goku could track Ginyu’s speed and anticipate where he’d strike, he found Ginyu’s body couldn’t move fast enough to capitalize on this.
A kick to his back sent Goku careening downward, after which he saw Ginyu on the ground with a palm out...
...catching him while his hand dug into Goku’s armor and chest.
Spitting out purple blood, Goku saw the bandage over his body fly off and felt an immense pain from what it once covered.
“His chest wound... he’s opened it back up.”
Goku grabbed onto Ginyu’s wrist in an effort, vain as it may be, to keep him from stabbing even deeper. Even if he could somehow get Ginyu off of him, he already feared what’d come from the bout going on any further.
“With both these wounds... I can’t fight... not without losing all this body’s blood.”
He tried appealing to the little honor Ginyu had shown.
“You had help, Ginyu. You refused help before.”
“No. I just figured out how to tap into your true power.”
Looking at his fingers from his other hand, an aura of red ki around them...
“Now I could give even Lord Frieza a good fight.”
Guldo’s jaw dropped.
“You mean... you could actually beat him...?”
This comment resulted in Ginyu losing his composure.
“NO!!! I didn’t say that at all! I would never dare to suggest such a thing! I merely said that I could give him a good fight!”
But then he laser-focused on Goku once again, his eyes blazing with red.
He was ready to drive his freed hand into Goku’s face.
“Thanks for the body.”
Gohan and Krillin couldn’t look away, nor could they move their eyelids to close their eyes in the face of Goku’s demise. They saw the arm become a blur...
...but the impact they heard was that of a tackle, not an impaling punch. Pan rolled across the ground with a tight grip around Ginyu as the freed Goku fell to his knees.
“She made it!”
“She saved Dad!”
After booting Pan away from him, Ginyu shouted “Kill them now!” Seeing Guldo while on her back, Pan fired right at him. He vanished, having stopped time to flee, but now Gohan and Krillin were free.
Angered at her interference, this then boiled over upon seeing Jeice slowly hovering overhead.
“Maybe I should’ve made an example out of you...”
Jeice easily read the displeasement on his captain’s face at his failures so far.
“Save it, Jeice. Now you’d better kill one of them.”
Pan rejoined her father and Krillin and they flew straight towards Ginyu and Jeice, the three covering the wounded twice over Goku...
...who gritted his teeth, small sounds of excruciating pain escaping, as Ginyu’s armor gave off a glow and some steam. Once he moved his hands away from his side, the wound from Jeice’s ki blade was sealed.
“Okay, that’s one,” went Goku in his head, then stepped forward to the dread of his three allies.
Pan, while fending off the Kai-Ken enhanced Ginyu, turned briefly to her grandfather, her eyes alone telling him “Don’t do this”.
“If I can still fight, I have to...”
A new female voice spoke to him...
...through a device on Ginyu’s ear.
“Are you the lady with the coat?” he said aloud.
“I’m not. And we need to keep this between us, so don’t talk aloud.”
“I’m not being that loud.”
“No, I meant...”
Chronoa spoke with Goku while Trunks overlooked the battle.
“Just talk with your thoughts. I’ll hear you.”
“Can you at least tell me your name?” Goku asked.
“I can’t, Goku, and there isn’t time to explain, but I’m on your side.”
As he began this new conversation mentally, Goku watched the battle between Pan and Ginyu in his body.
“She’s helped me all this time and I still don’t know her name either...”
Hearing this, the Supreme Kai of Time had to consider the risk in what she was about to tell Goku, but knew leaving him with silence would only push him back to reentering the battle.
“I’m with her. We’re both doing all this to help you and everyone you care about.”
Goku, taking in what he had been told, began to drop his stance.
“It’s how she was able to help me against Turles... and still protect Gohan and Krillin before I got here.”
Chronoa tried thinking of how to go about responding to what Goku was figuring out, but returned to her primary concern.
“Goku, the best thing you can do right now is stay back and leave it to them.”
From what Goku could see, Pan, Krillin, and Gohan weren’t struggling, yet even then, he felt that without another person to help...
“I can’t just leave them.”
“Do you have faith in their abilities?”
“It’s not about me doubting them. It’s all the dangers none of us can see.”
He thought back to how Ginyu in his body wasn’t the greatest threat until after he took on the purple glow, after which he suddenly gained knowledge of the Kaio-Ken. He even went further back to all the times before he had seen purple glows, which was always followed by his opponents becoming stronger, regaining their composure, or just performing slightly better. And back to where it all started...
“Ever since I fought Piccolo in the tournament, someone has been interfering.”
Glancing back to Pan, who was, to him, still a mysterious female ally he knew nothing about...
“That’s why she appeared then and why she’s been helping all of these times. And whoever’s doing all this, I know they’re cooking up more. I can’t just sit back and let them get the jump on everyone.”
Chronoa knew this wasn’t Goku wanting to rejoin the battle because he enjoyed fighting, but because he knew something was wrong and he couldn’t abide by it.
“I completely understand, Goku, but in your current condition, they’ll have the unseen dangers and your health to contend with. If they have to cover for you too, that will put them at a far greater risk.”
Goku mentally groaned, still not accepting this circumstance he was in, but ultimately agreeing with it being the right play.
“I just need to know: will they be okay?”
“Goku, I promise you I won’t let you down... and neither will she.”
Stepping back to where he could watch, but keep his distance, Goku then sat down, allowing himself to try letting his body rest.
Now that Goku had been talked down from fighting, Chronoa took hold of the scroll and began closing it in her hand.
“Trunks, I’m going to need you to watch over me.”
“You don’t mean...”
“Can you watch over me, Trunks?!”
They both knew the risk, but Trunks understood that she wouldn’t be doing this if there was any other way.
“Yes, I will, Supreme Kai of Time.”
“Good. I’ll be counting on you.”
Chronoa closed her eyes, then Trunks caught the scroll as she vanished.
Pan kept an eye on Gohan and Krillin holding off Jeice while she herself was locked into a duel with Ginyu. While she was keeping at Kaio-Ken without a further multiplier to match Ginyu’s, she knew she couldn’t hold it forever.
“You’d better be on your way now, Vegeta...”
Vegeta, immobile like a stone statue, couldn’t even blink due to his state.
He continually muttered this word, his desire, even as he could clearly hear footsteps behind him.
“You’re being played, Vegeta.”
Chronoa stepped more towards his side, but remained out of his sight.
“You know this isn’t the right play.”
“If I let them finish each other...”
“The wish is all mine.”
While she remained composed, she was clearly hiding the lightest shade of frustration. But she was determined to snap him out of Towa’s spell.
“They couldn’t summon the dragon, could they?”
Vegeta’s eyes actually widened as he realized this.
“You couldn’t possibly get your wish.”
“There’s three Namekians left. It’s their Dragon Balls. I’ll get the method... one way or another.”
The Supreme Kai of Time had seen enough of Vegeta’s history to know there was very little in the way of torture that’d be beneath even him.
“Nothing you could say could involve me with those Earthlings. It’s their problem now.”
Now his frozen expression was giving way for the slightest grin.
“They took my tail. Without me, Ginyu will take their lives. A fair trade.”
Chronoa turned away for a moment, all but visibly fuming at Vegeta not just being stubborn, but his true sadism showing through even despite the spell.
“It’s like he isn’t even trying to fight the incantation!”
She audibly groaned aloud from how hopeless Vegeta was making her job to help him.
“Trunks, how did you ever put up with his crap?!”
“You’re not giving up, are y...?”
“No! NO! No, I am not!”
She sat down, trying to get into a more meditative state for the solution.
“Look, I get it. Reasoning with my father isn’t working. Is there any way you can wipe his memory of Towa talking him into this?”
“This isn’t a memory issue. It’s Towa’s formula.”
“We gotta think of something. If we take too long, Nail will give out and...”
“We have more time than that. Half the reason Nail lasted as long as he did was because Frieza...”
With this one word, this name, came a eureka. Now starting to smile, Chronoa turned back to Vegeta, her first step intentionally audible.
“Are you still there, woman?”
“And what if I am?”
“I’m not going anywhere. Waste your own time for all I care, but stop wasting mine.”
“Well alright then. Do what you will.”
An especially big grin came over her.
“Then I guess you have Frieza handled, then.”
His eyes shot up even larger than before, and he couldn’t keep his mouth closed.
“You can take him yourself, right? I mean it’s not like any of those Earthlings or Goku could be of any help.”
She saw Vegeta beginning to twitch his fingers.
“They could be of... of...”
Chronoa looked up to the sky up at Trunks watching over her.
“You know what to do,” she said aloud to Vegeta, and also to Trunks.
As the charade of the thought put into his head by Towa was slowly coming undone, Vegeta turned, seeing no sign of the voice that spoke to him just now.
Ginyu, brushing past a swing by Pan, pressed on his scouter while blocking another successive punch with his freed hand.
“Kill that Saiyan now, Guldo!”
Whether Guldo could find him or not, Pan had to know for sure where her grandfather was.
“Trunks! Find Gok...!”
Guldo looked up upon holding his breath, seeing Pan and Ginyu locked in conflict while Jeice was being dragged back by both arms by Gohan and Krillin. With time frozen, Guldo ran across the area to try locating Goku, but even when he mixed in jumping and flight to give him a better view, it was taking him too long.
“Just where is he hiding?! They can’t find me, but I still can’t find them!”
He took cover and breathed out, taking a break. Seeing a lone tree, he had an idea of how to perform the killing blow to the Saiyan who now possessed Ginyu’s body.
Peering his head out over cover, Goku took just a moment to see how things were going for his allies, as well as to make sure his location hadn’t been discovered yet.
“They’re all doing good. And I know Ginyu will be done just as soon as he...”
Goku turned to see Guldo, a makeshift spear hovering over his raised hand.
“The little guy...”
He was more than prepared to get out of the way of the impending attack...
Yet another female voice unfamiliar to Goku spoke to him, this time close by instead of in his earpiece...
...and something stung at his neck: Towa’s staff.
“The lady in the coat...”
“Stay perfectly still.”
Towa couldn’t manipulate Goku’s mind, so she was instead controlling Ginyu’s body. As such, Goku found he was trapped just as she had wanted.
Guldo, meanwhile, didn’t even see Towa, but saw Goku frozen even as his facial muscles twitched.
“Heh. Works for me.”
“Trunks! Find Goku!”
Ginyu could tell Pan’s mind was elsewhere, but this did little to help him break away from her.
“Forty-five degrees, Pan!” Trunks shouted. “About two o’clock!”
She looked that way and along with a pillar of light saw Goku standing right out in the open, as well as Guldo with a floating spear.
Pan aimed her hand at the spear’s intended path, accounting for speed as she channeled ki for a projectile strong enough to stop it with the little time she had. The split-instant she saw the spear launched, a ki bullet was poised to leave Pan’s hand...
But Ginyu nudged her slightly right as she fired.
Her ki bullet had just missed the spear.
But in that moment of grief and agony of knowing the spear was going to its target unhindered, she saw something faint traveling fast on the ground, almost like...
And instead of hearing the spear stabbing straight into something...
...she heard it suddenly stopped. Both she and Ginyu looked over at the cause of this.
“If Kakarrot is to die in battle...”
Vegeta caught the spear in his hand just as its pointed end was about to touch Goku’s right eye.
“It’ll be by my hand and my hand alone. Not a lapdog of Frieza. Oh, I’m sorry. I meant a lapdog of Frieza’s lapdog.”
Even though Guldo saw Vegeta’s intended throw clear as day, he couldn’t catch the thrown spear with his telekinesis fast enough...
“Killed by my own weapon...”
...but a blast shattered and incinerated it into bits. He had one guess as to who had saved him just now.
“The Captain... he...”
But Ginyu had no such posture for a blast. Peering lower, he saw Jeice floating with his hand out.
“I’ve got you covered, mate,” Jeice answered back as he landed besides his comrade.
As all this transpired below, Pan was gripping Ginyu’s hands to prevent any further blasts below. Now they hovered, spinning and moving in place as neither could break away from the other.
She saw Gohan and Krillin, who thankfully didn’t suffer any injuries as a result of Jeice escaping their grasp, internally debating between helping her against Ginyu or covering Goku and Vegeta. As much as she would have liked the help...
“Help Goku!” she all but ordered them.
Krillin flew off, but she saw Gohan still hesitant.
“But you... you’re...”
“Your father needs you. Please... go.”
While he clearly still showed concern for her safety, Gohan nodded to her, acknowledging her request. Now she saw the two standing alongside Vegeta as the statue-esque Goku was all but unmistakably under Towa’s influence.
“Just like Towa did to me after Ginyu and I switched. Not through the mind, but through Ginyu’s body.”
Though Pan noted that this was somewhat different.
“...except she puppeteered me into attacking him. Now she’s forcing him to stay still.”
But then she and Ginyu collided with a rocky structure, all but pinned in a narrow part of it.
“Maybe if I can keep Ginyu stuck here, my Dad, Krillin, and Vegeta can...”
But now she saw Ginyu glowing purple and completely still. This did nothing to loosen his grip, but Pan knew the cause.
Sure enough, Pan saw Towa over Ginyu’s shoulder, her staff to his head once more. She feared saying her name out loud or even acknowledging her would cause Ginyu to gain insight that’d cause any number of changes. All she could do was watch as Towa whispered in his ear.
Pan couldn’t dare let her finish.
“Don’t do this...” she pleaded.
“Times...” continued Towa.
Pan fired an invisible eye beam to stop her, but a hexagonal field emerged over Towa as the beam was about to make contact.
This was even worse than what Pan feared.
“If he goes Times Four...”
“Kaio-Ken...” began Ginyu.
Pan couldn’t reach him for a headbutt. She then felt her legs were pinned by his to prevent any kicks.
Now having to resort to her eye beams, she found that they couldn’t even get past his Kaio-Ken’s aura. She stared back at Towa, a combination of anger at what Towa had done and dread at what was now inevitable.
Not only did Ginyu’s aura nearly push her away alone, but his grip on her hands tightened immensely. Pan cried out from Ginyu all but trying to crush her hands into dust. Towa didn’t enjoy seeing Pan in this state and quickly spoke.
“You will throw her into the water, then kill the rest.”
“I will throw her into the water, then kill the rest.”
Ginyu began to hover out of the structure with Pan in tow, then upward for the first order he had been given. Pan watched as Towa, floating back to avoid Ginyu’s sight, couldn’t hide the genuine remorse on her face and even her stance for what was about to happen.
“I am sorry, patroller.”
Once Towa vanished away, Ginyu then began something akin to her grandfather’s Dragonthrow only with her hands gripped instead. Even for a human-Saiyan hybrid, the speed Ginyu was spinning her at was becoming especially disorienting, and with how outclassed her unmultiplied Kaio-Ken was compared to his Times Four, Pan knew the throw’s eventual force would be practically inescapable.
“He could throw me straight through Namek!”
Upon Ginyu releasing her, it took merely a second before she splashed down into the vast body of water in the far distance. The moment she finally began to be able to move...
...she was already right at the very bottom with her body digging straight through Namek’s crust.
Vegeta, Gohan, and Krillin saw that neither Jeice nor Guldo made a move on Goku, figuring they were well aware of the difference in numbers and power between the two groups.
“Without the Captain, I don’t think we can win this one.”
“I could stop time all I want, but even with that, they’d still keep me from that monkey in Ginyu’s old body.”
Everyone present stopped after hearing this, looking in the same direction at nothing short of a mushroom cloud shape of water that ascended. Just as it crashed back down, another splash resulting from it, they felt what seemed to be a small earthquake below them, including small cracks.
A thunderous impact then shook the ground and everyone saw Ginyu had touched down with an even more massive red aura than before.
“Sorry I’m late.”
Vegeta knew all too well the further multiplied power-up Ginyu was wielding...
“That’s... that’s what Kakarrot used to stop my Galick Gun...”
But a new thought had him even more unsettled...
“...and that was before he could take on the likes of Recoome and Ginyu.”
But Gohan was less terrified of the power Ginyu now wielded in his father’s body and more distraught at what he had done just moments ago.
“We can’t give up, Gohan!” went Krillin. “You gotta...!”
“I left her with Ginyu,” Gohan answered back, openly sobbing. “She told me to go help my dad. I did what she said and now...”
Below the waters of Namek was Pan’s orange bandanna, having been undone from the impact of Ginyu’s throw...
“Ginyu's even stronger now and she’s...”...gradually sinking farther downward to the darkest depths of Namek.
Times Four Ginyu! Distraught Gohan!
Mira heard Towa beaming back in from Namek behind him, but continued watching events transpire after Ginyu used a Kaio-Ken Times Four Dragonthrow to send Pan straight down into the water.
“The Supreme Kai of Time’s interference may have freed Vegeta...” he began. “But with your improvisation once the patroller sent Ginyu away from the group...”
Upon seeing Ginyu touch down with Jeice and Guldo to face the Z-Fighters, who tried to cover for the frozen Goku, Mira turned around to speak to Towa face-to-face.
“You’ve turned the scenario into an unwinnable situation. I simply must commend you.”
Towa showed appreciation for the compliment he paid her with a nod, but Mira could tell her attempt at a smile didn’t register entirely.
“Once the work is done, she will have no need to mourn for the patroller.”
“We can’t give up, Gohan! You gotta...!”
“I left her with Ginyu.”
Ginyu almost watched with glee as Gohan, who had fought him just earlier, broke down due to one missing person.
“She told me to go help my dad. I did what she said and now... Ginyu’s even stronger now and she’s...”
Goku couldn’t move at all, but from where he unwittingly lied down, he could see and hear his sobbing child. He thought back to the voice that told him to stay out of the fight and how the unknown woman that spoke felt sincere with her concerns and warnings. With things now even worse than before, Goku couldn’t help but feel disenchanted.
“It was all a ploy. Taking advantage of me to make me an easy target and to take that girl out of the picture. It was stupid of me to trust that voice.”
Chronoa was heartbroken to hear Goku speaking out like this.
“She wanted this to happen all along,” he concluded.
The Supreme Kai of Time wanted more than anything else to jump back onto his feed and answer back to him, but knew how futile the gesture would be at that moment.
“He’s done listening to me.”
Gohan couldn’t bring himself to finish his last sentence regarding Pan’s survival.
“Aww, don’t cry, sport,” went Ginyu mockingly. “You wouldn’t have made a difference anyway.”
Vegeta, losing patience with Gohan blubbering over the loss of their comrade, struck the child’s face with a backward palm, not hard enough to cause serious harm, but more than enough to draw his attention.
“Oh man up!” he shouted, openly demeaning Goku’s son.
“What the hell?!” Krillin shouted back, getting between the two. “I’d ask what’s wrong with you, but there’s not enough time in the day to cover that!”
“I’d kill you right now if not for... !”
Ginyu stomped, taking on an instructor-esque pose as Jeice and Guldo stood at attention.
Pan’s ki shield had kept her back covered since she first collided with Namek’s crust, now able to breathe as she was ahead of the waters above, but as she delved deeper, unable to stop, she knew the shield was cracking at the seams.
“It’s taking the brunt now, but once it goes... I don’t want to know what’ll happen.”
Whether it was actually making it to Namek’s core or being torn to shreds before she could, Pan had to stop herself now. Reaching behind her neck, she managed to retrieve the Power Pole from its case on her back and then gestured it over her head, the ends scratching against the crust, but not doing anything to even slow her.
“Power Pole EXTEND!”
It extended out, now breaking through, and with her arms wrapped around the polearm, Pan felt herself finally starting to slow down before screeching to a halt. Now having stopped, she had the Power Pole narrow enough for her to be able to get up from lying on her back and back to her feet...
...when she felt Kaio-Ken finally giving out along with her shield.
“If I was off by just a little bit...”
But from above her, water came rushing down, now having caught up. She thought about making her way back upward, but considering how deep she had delved into Namek...
“I’m not sure I can even fly out fast enough...”
Instead, she planted one end of the Power Pole at her feet. As water was quickly covering where she stood and rising up her pantlegs...
She was completely underwater once again, having to shout the final part while taking water in.
She wanted to cover her mouth and nose, but couldn’t risk losing her grip on the polearm from holding it with only one hand. Pan endured for the time, finding that the Power Pole was rising and lifting her upward at a surprisingly rapid pace. In no time, she was out of the tunnel Ginyu’s throw had created and saw the ever-expanding waters around her.
Trunks, returning to Namek once more, stood by the grassy shore. The one and only figment of Pan remaining, her orange bandanna, sank deeper into the dark depths. He didn’t know if she was driven to the bottom or if Ginyu actually threw her with the force to go through Namek itself.
“Even if you’re in Namek’s core itself, I will get you out of there!”
As he started to take on a diving pose...
...he saw a blur below him rising upward, the bandanna gripped in hand.
“You’ve made it!”
Upon herself and the very top of the Power Pole making their way above water, Pan leapt onto the shore in a roll, coming to a stop after catching herself with her hands. As she coughed up water, she heard Trunks approaching her.
“A half a senzu bean would be really great right now...”
“Afraid we’re out.”
Pan wasn’t slow to get up, but Trunks could clearly see some strenuousness in the action.
“I can keep going. I can even use Kaio-Ken if I have to... but multiplying further... it’s not going to outlast Ginyu’s Time Four.”
“Then don’t try outlasting it,” he quickly answered. “Protect Goku and fend off Ginyu’s men. Let my father take Ginyu.”
Both sensed Ginyu’s immense power in the distance.
“I’m going to need all my energy for this. Flying over’s going to take too much out of me.”
The first solution to come to Trunks’ mind was to have Chronoa beam Pan back to the library, then place her at the battle itself...
...but seeing the Power Pole lying on the grass near their feet...
“I can get you there.”
“But if you go Super Saiyan again...”
“Won’t need to.”
He crouched down towards the Power Pole.
Once he saw Pan nod back to him, he picked it up and held it with his right hand as if about to throw it like a javelin.
“Here. Hop on.”
Pan leapt atop of the Power Pole, trying to keep herself balanced as Trunks held the two while trying to gauge the distance with his left hand.
“You know where you’re throwing me?”
“I’ve never been great at precise calculations, but I think I have it worked out. Ready?”
After being somewhat shaky, Pan’s feet were now steady and she put her arms out to keep herself in position for the impending throw.
Taking a step that resulted in a massive stomp, one that cracked the blue-green grass-covered ground he stood upon, Trunks threw Pan atop her polearm into the distance.
“Good form,” went Chronoa on the comms.
Vegeta and the other Z-Fighters knew Ginyu was getting his men ready and the Saiyan Prince, more than any of the other three, knew what was at stake.
“Ginyu and his men die no matter what... but if they kill any one of us in the process...”
Right as Ginyu said this, Vegeta and company felt the slightest shift in the distance, almost like a small earthquake. They immediately put this off as Ginyu found his path to Goku blocked by Vegeta, Krillin hopped towards Jeice, and Gohan flew straight to a seemingly cowering Guldo...
...but was stuck in midair by Guldo’s telekinesis before he could land a hit on him.
“Aww, you poor, poor thing,” Guldo taunted.
He quickly turned to his comrade.
Jeice, having slid across the grass underneath a double axe handle from Krillin, flew straight to Guldo’s immobilized prey.
“I call this one Cooked Kebab!”
His ki blade was drawn to impale and burn Gohan on impact...
...but a ki bullet from above forced him to swerve around his intended target.
However, Jeice found more ki bullets raining down on him that he was forced to block, coming not from the likes of Vegeta as he presumed...
...but from Pan, who stood upon the Power Pole.
This left Jeice exposed enough for Krillin to grab hold of him by his white hair, then slam him to the ground.
Ginyu, locked in battle with Vegeta, looked to the side quickly to check on the status of his comrades...
...and saw Pan, wielding the Power Pole, and about to bring it down on his head.
“But my throw...! ...with all this body’s power...!”
The swing of the Power Pole combined with all the momentum from Trunks’ throw didn’t just floor Ginyu, but had him sink below with a hole in the shape of Goku’s body as a result. Gohan saw Guldo beginning to panic and from behind Guldo saw the ally he feared had been killed.
“You... you’re alive!”
Towa and Mira both saw Pan landing and re-entering the battle on their screen.
“Ginyu had her in his hands, and yet you...”
“It was a factor of time, Mira. The sooner Ginyu returned back to his men...”
“If he had gone for the kill right then and there when you had control of him...!”
“Vegeta would have already killed Guldo and Jeice had I tried to do that! Even if Ginyu could have, the time it would have taken to accomplish that...”
“So you’re saying Ginyu, even with Kaio-Ken Times Four, would’ve failed?”
“I told you, it was a factor of time.”
Mira turned away, at first intending to punch at the wall close to the screen, but then stopped himself.
She put a hand to his shoulder to try calming him down, but noted he continued looking away from her.
“You had Ginyu throw the patroller to protect her.”
“No. No, that was not my intention at all.”
“Then what was your intention... besides time?”
He turned to see Towa sitting down on the corner of the control console, sighing.
“I thought the force of the throw would be enough to put her out of commission, if not kill her. That much, I miscalculated. I wanted Ginyu back in the fray, so I presumed in the moment that it would be more than sufficient.”
“So you underestimated her chances of survival?”
“I suppose I did, Mira.”
Pan heard rumblings below her and hopped to the side.
“Blast it...” went Ginyu, somewhat muffled by the distance.
Both Pan and Vegeta hopped even further back once Ginyu floated upward, his aura shattering the rocky ground around him.
Looking straight down at Goku from his position, he immediately took aim at his old body. Vegeta flew into Ginyu to throw off his aim, but the blast aimed true all the same.
Pan covered Goku with her ki shield, intercepting the blast as she had hoped...
...but found that it shattered in the midst of tanking the Kaio-Ken Times Four blast. She rolled across the ground, steam stemming from her upper body especially even as Goku remained untouched.
“Knocked me out of Kaio-Ken...”
Streaks of red in the sky zoomed across Vegeta's location, then Pan saw him crash down near her from a blast. She knew Ginyu was about to fly straight down into her grandfather and fired behind her to propel herself into Ginyu’s path once more. As Ginyu went for a hard landing onto Goku with both feet, Pan slammed into Ginyu’s side with a two-legged kick.
Ginyu, while not unharmed, was only sent off-course, the impact shifting his direction just enough to strike and sink next to Goku. Pan took hold of her grandfather’s wrist to help him up, knowing Ginyu would be back at any second.
“Gotta get you out of here!”
Seeing Ginyu’s shadow behind her, she turned around and used the Power Pole to stop a chop. She was floored just from the force of it, then saw Ginyu putting his hands over his head, then together for a double axe handle. As Ginyu crouched to drive his two hands into Goku’s chest, Pan hopped in front with her grandfather’s polearm to block it once more. Once more, the blocking Pan was sent down, this time back-first into the body armor of Goku’s new body.
“Jeice was right about you!”
Now seeing Ginyu about to fire at Goku’s head, Pan swung the Power Pole like a sword into Ginyu’s glowing palm, splitting the beam that followed.
“Interfering with our fights!”
His other hand struck the polearm out of Pan’s hands, then aimed back down at his intended target...
...who wasn’t there.
Along with that, something or someone was tightly gripping his ankle.
He looked down, seeing a purple pair of fingers.
Goku, managing to finally move even slightly in Ginyu's body despite Towa's formula and command, grabbed and held onto Ginyu's ankle.
“Can’t move much... but if I can do something...”
Pan quickly processed that her grandfather had managed to move and used Ginyu’s momentary confusion to shout this. Upon landing a knee to his forehead, Pan then grabbed hold of both of Ginyu’s wrists, then booted his jaw with both feet.
Vegeta, sneering at the heat he could still feel below his chestplate, charged two projectiles in his hands as he waited for the moment he saw Ginyu so much as pause.
Pan saw Ginyu recovered quickly from the hit to his jaw, not even being sent off his feet, and quickly tried to power up.
Ginyu went for a headbutt, which Pan swerved to avoid.
“Not this time!”
Goku, not locked in battle, suddenly sensed ki building up nearby from Vegeta.
Sure enough, the Saiyan Prince's projectiles were launched and struck Ginyu’s back, the impact hurling Ginyu forward with him unintentionally headbutting Pan and dragging along Goku in tow. Once they crashed down, Pan caught Vegeta coming in, prideful of grounding Ginyu without a care regarding Goku or Pan.
“How’s that feel, CAPTAIN?!”
Ever since right before Pan had reentered the battle, Gohan had been trapped in mid-flight, completely at Guldo’s mercy. Guldo should’ve been at least a little tired from this constant use of telekinesis, but Towa’s formula kept his reserves replenished.
The only reason he had yet to attempt skewering the son of Goku was because Krillin, while battling Jeice, was always at the ready to fire if he so much as sensed killing intent from Guldo. But for now, he watched in delight as Ginyu tossed Pan at Vegeta. The Saiyan Prince didn’t blast through her, but also didn’t attempt to catch Pan either, instead trying to fly around to Ginyu.
Gohan was horrified to see that Vegeta was struck by a curved beam, Ginyu having counted on this tactic, then saw the body of his father fire at the rolling Pan with his other hand.
“They’re in trouble... and I’m...”
Krillin, knowing his friend was in danger, shouted this to get Ginyu’s attention, then fired at Ginyu to keep him from punching or firing down. While this was successful, Ginyu practically swatted away the projectiles with Goku’s hands, then nonchalantly booted Goku back with his back turned to him. Due to the fact Goku could only barely move his body, it was all the more difficult for him to slow himself, as well as the impact to his face from the kick.
Once his father stopped rolling, even from that distance, Gohan could see purple blood coming down from his forehead and his nose.
Krillin’s actions had given Jeice plenty of time to plan out his next move.
“Hey! Little Earthling!”
He zoomed right at Krillin’s legs, who hopped over with ease, then flew back with his ki blade. Krillin held onto Jeice’s wrist with both hands to keep it away, but was then met by a knee to his stomach, then a punch from Jeice’s other hand.
As he watched Krillin crashing down, Gohan saw both Pan and Vegeta trying to keep Ginyu from raising his hands at Goku only for Ginyu to rapidly spin to toss them aside.
“They can’t stop Ginyu...”
Jeice was ready to descend down for a bladed strike and Ginyu charged his ki in both hands. Now both Goku, his father, and Krillin’s lives were in peril right before Gohan’s eyes and he was powerless to aid them.
“Without my help, they’re all...”
But in that moment of dread, tears running down his eyes, Gohan’s face morphed from dismay to a combination of anger and determination.
“I couldn’t save Mr. Piccolo... but this time... this time...”
Guldo noticed Gohan's fingers not only twitching, but also glowing.
“He's trying to break free...”
Pan, Krillin, and Vegeta then heard a near-roar, then felt a shockwave in the air surging past them. Even Jeice and Ginyu stopped, their attention robbed by this development. Guldo saw Gohan able to move and quickly tried to get a hold of him once more.
“Oh no you don’t!”
Gohan found himself trapped again and Guldo seemed more determined than ever to keep him that way for good.
“That was just luck! Because I wasn’t concentrating! But now... now you have my full attention. And this time, you won’t...”
But Gohan’s fingertips surged with ki once again and with an even fiercer roar, he raised his arms and ascended. What almost sounded like glass shattering could be heard and Guldo fell over from the stormy gust that resulted.
Ginyu and Jeice couldn’t believe what Gohan had done against Guldo’s telekinesis.
“No one has ever escaped his telekinesis!”
“Not even that Saiyan!”
Gohan zoomed over to Jeice, his punch chipping into his armor, then with a yank of his leg was performing his father’s Dragonthrow. Ginyu was disconcerted with the happenings of both his remaining underlings, but turned his attention back to the near-immobile Goku with a pulse from Towa’s formula.
Seeing Pan’s power pole nearby, Gohan landed, then flew over to Ginyu with all haste.
Pan felt Gohan’s escape from Guldo and caught a glimpse of him attacking Jeice, but sensing Ginyu about to fire once more, zoomed in front of her grandfather’s path, arms outstretched, ready to take the blast regardless of if her shield would protect her this time. Ginyu grinned, firing on point as intended.
“Two for the price of one.”
But right before the ki blast left his hands, he was off his feet…
Gohan had swung the power pole at Ginyu’s legs, his strength combined with Ginyu’s total focus on the kill knocking the captain onto his back. The blast, meanwhile, zapped past Pan, save for searing her right bang.
Once Ginyu touched the ground, Gohan struck at him with the power pole, each swing intending to break past his guarding wrists. Jeice saw his captain wasn’t in complete peril, but was grounded and assaulted by a child. Completely abandoning Krillin, he then found his flight interrupted by the presence of someone who had left Pan a moment ago.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk, Red Magma.”
“My father’s finally fighting Jeice!”
Pan overheard Trunks from her earpiece.
“He’s putting history back on course! Now all he has to do is...”
She heard something electronic explode above her, then saw chips of what was once Jeice’s scouter fall in front of her. What was to come next wasn’t a surprise to Pan at this point.
“He won’t let a single one of them live...”
But something was off about her father and Ginyu: even now, Ginyu still couldn’t fend him off. Was it the sheer rage, speed, or power Gohan was unleashing in tandem with the power pole?
Jeice had been punted farther above by a kick and right as he tried to recover, Vegeta caught up to him with a chop to his side. The armor right above his ribs scattered, and Jeice, despite knowing another attack was imminent, was in too much pain to move his hands anywhere other than atop his new wound.
As Pan saw chips of Jeice’s armor fell atop her head, she brushed it off, then readied herself for the inevitable.
“Jeice dies, then what, Trunks?”
“Ginyu tries changing bodies with my father. That’ll be the ticket for Goku. Now as long as we can keep Guldo out of play going forward, we’re...”
Pan heard and felt the heat from Vegeta firing a massive beam...
...but then saw Jeice crash into the dirt in the distance, as if yanked straight down by an unseen hand.
“Gah, DAMN IT!!!” Vegeta screeched, his guaranteed kill robbed from him.
Krillin grabbed hold of the power pole to keep Gohan from swinging it again. He looked down at the leader of the Ginyu Force that possessed his father’s body...
...his arms covered in red marks.
“No! I hit Ginyu hard, but not that hard...”
He saw one of them with a lone trail of blood.
“No, I couldn’t have...”
A drop fell from towards the tip of the red polearm and Krillin, letting go, saw some blood on his palms. They looked back at Pan and Goku in shock.
“My father did that to Ginyu? Someone using Kaio-Ken Times Four?”
In the midst of their collective shock, Ginyu was yanked back. The four could all see Guldo with his hands out, drawing his captain to him while Jeice reeled as he got to his knees.
“That smarted, you little green s...!”
“Cover me and the captain, then you thank me later.”
Jeice scoffed as he aimed his hands outward in case any of the Z-Fighters tried making a move. With a shift of his wrist, Guldo tilted Ginyu off his back and upward to his feet.
“Guldo’s going to keep dragging this out! This keeps going any longer and Frieza might just...”
Trunks paused upon hearing an audible gasp from Pan.
Guldo’s inquiry wasn’t answered, save for pained groans.
Ginyu’s aura of Kaio-Ken was no more and he stood hunched over, his stolen body’s muscles excessively bulked and veined over.
Pan saw Goku’s body like this before in his battle with Great Ape Vegeta, but this time, it looked even worse.
“If Ginyu dies in Grandpa’s body...”
Ginyu saw everyone, ally and enemy alike, in shock at his condition. All except for Goku, whom had a calmed expression over his face.“You! Saiyan! What have you done to this body?!”
Ginyu's Demise? Last Ditch Effort!
Ginyu’s current state didn’t garner any shock from Goku.
“You! Saiyan! What have you done to this body?!”
“It’s the Kaio-Ken.”
Pan, Krillin, Gohan, and Vegeta all understood this, though Guldo, Jeice, and Ginyu were perplexed at that being the cause.
“That’s preposterous. It made me stronger.”
“That’s just the thing, Ginyu: you overused it. You’re supposed to use it in bursts, especially the higher up you go. You used it for minutes instead of seconds.”
Goku actually managed to lift his top half upward off the ground with his arms, albeit slowly.
“Even with how much I trained my body for this, I can’t use Kaio-Ken forever. I know my own limits, but you had no idea. Times Four would’ve torn you apart had it not stopped when it did.”
“You mean I could’ve killed myself using this...! And you didn’t bother to warn me?!”
“If it meant stopping you...”
Ginyu thought back to his brief battle with Goku, where he was blown away by the Saiyan’s power with Kaio-Ken alone. He chuckled aloud upon hitting a realization.
“To think, Saiyan... you could have finished me off with this power.”
A voice from above.
“And that is why he will never become the legendary Super Saiyan. But me...”
Vegeta channeled ki in his palms.
“I will gladly destroy you where you stand, Ginyu!”
Pan caught just a glimpse of the purple aura, seeing he wasn’t completely under Towa’s control, but was being lightly coerced into this new deed.
“Now you two watch as I snuff out your commanding officer!” he told Guldo and Jeice directly.
Without needing to hear from Trunks or the Supreme Kai of Time on the matter, Pan flew up to block Vegeta’s shot.
“Oh what now?! You have a soft spot for Ginyu all of a sudden?!”
She had to convince Vegeta to spare Ginyu, but in a way that fit with his mannerisms.
“The others... those two...”
He looked down at Guldo and Jeice, who happened to hear Pan.
“What’s this then?” Jeice exclaimed. “Why’s she targeting us now?”
“So you’re suggesting I finish them first? Have Ginyu watch as his underlings drop one by one?”
The purple aura left him and Vegeta liked this prospect Pan had given him.
“You Earthlings aren’t so bad after all.”
Now he appeared to be picking between two targets.
“Between the two, I’d suggest...” began Chronoa.
Pan saw Gohan had already decided to take on one of the two himself, flying right into Jeice, who was forced to hop to the side. Seeing as how she was left with...
“Guldo. He’s been throwing history off since the start, so I figure the sooner he’s out of commission...”
“Put all your focus on him, Pan. Ensure he makes no further changes.”
She prepared to fly forward and saw Vegeta doing the same. The two exchanged no words, but knew they would be working together to bring down the same target. Guldo saw the two aiming for a collision with him and held his breath…
…seeing the two frozen in front of him, Gohan trying to strike a rolling Jeice, and Ginyu walking towards Goku on foot. He held out both hands in front of him, as if grasping something, then clamped them together.
“Have fun with that when time resumes.”
Hopping away from the two, he exhaled…
…and both Pan and Vegeta found themselves slamming into each other before leaving a crater in the ground. Gohan stopped for a second upon seeing this, then barely avoided a slash from Jeice’s ki blade, a few pieces of hair from his bowl cut floating in the air afterward.
“Agh!” went Vegeta in annoyance, brushing himself off. “Where in the hell did he go?!”
He tried using his ki sense to track Guldo, but found…
“I can’t sense him!”
Goku could be heard in the distance trying to move, but couldn’t.
Ginyu saw Goku trapped and prepared to fire…
…when Guldo’s telekinesis was cut short by him having to avoid a ki blast from Krillin, who then stood in front of Goku.
“You want to get to Goku, you’re going to have to go through me!”
Ginyu found the prospect before him, even with his body in the state it was in, to be ludicrous.
“Hah! Jeice told me Recoome brought you down with one kick. And the Saiyan did the same to him with one punch, all without Kaio-Ken. Now what makes you think this will be even remotely fair?”
“Hey!” shouted Goku. “Underestimate Krillin at your own peril. He’s half the reason I’m what I am today.”
This is where Krillin would typically begin to sweat or shiver from nervousness, but instead, he held his position and stance, standing almost stoically.
“You want to push me around? Well go on then. Try it.”
Chronoa and Trunks surveyed the area, witnessing the two one-on-battles, as well as Pan and Vegeta trying to find and pursue Guldo.
“I wanted to double check with you two to make sure it’s okay before I do anything…”
“Yes, Pan?” the Supreme Kai of Time replied.
“If I can land a killing blow on Guldo, should I go for it?”
“After all this time since Dodoria...” Trunks pondered. “Do we know how it works exactly?”
“I believe I have a rationale for it:” Chronoa began to answer. “We remove him from play, dead or alive, and he no longer affects the timeline.”
Pan now flew towards Guldo with greater speed and power than before, which Vegeta found curious, then almost delightful.
“The Earthling girl’s trying to kill Guldo now. Good.”
As Guldo avoided Pan’s fastest and fiercest attack on him so far, Gohan traded blows with Jeice. The Son of Goku, while trying to fight with more control and calm after the damage he inflicted to Ginyu in his father’s body, was still more than Jeice could have anticipated.
“He wasn’t even like this against Recoome. He must be a Saiyan too.”
Ginyu’s offensive still packed power and speed, so Krillin opted to avoid direct blows where he could and redirected otherwise. After hopping over a blast, Krillin flew in for a kick.
Ginyu saw this clearly telegraphed and blocked it with his left arm, intending to immediately counter with ki charging in his right hand.
He reeled just from the blocked hit, his right forced to grab onto his left. Without touching the ground, Krillin repositioned himself, kicking Ginyu repeatedly into the air before slamming him back down with a double axe handle to the face.
Ginyu groaned, the successful hits past his guard even more agonizing than the blocked hit from before, and having pieces of his scouter all over his face.
“Krillin breaking Ginyu’s scouter means we’re back on track!” Trunks exclaimed. “Just keep Guldo at bay.”
From where Ginyu lied, he noticed Jeice sliding on his front from a hit by Gohan, then grasping his side as he was slow to lift himself back up.
“Jeice! Get it together!”
“I’m sorry, Captain. This wound from Vegeta... it’s...”
He used his other gloved hand to cover a cough, soon followed by a rougher one.
“I... don’t think I’m gonna make it...”
Guldo, looking at both his comrades, believed that they, along with himself, were about to lose.
“There has to be something I can do. Something to turn things around.”
It occurred to him that the impact of everyone to the area around them, be it crashing into or striking the ground directly, had led to the grass and dirt being sprinkled with debris.
“All that rubble...”
But trying to decipher the solid rocks from the gravel was proving too much of a hassle, as would trying to launch it with telekinesis in one sitting.
“Unless... with enough force...”
He knew he was about to give out his position to Pan and Vegeta, but he shouted out his new scheme.
“Captain! Jeice! Hit the ground as hard as you can!”
“Hit the ground?!”
“What good’s that gonna...?!”
“Just do it!”
Ginyu, rolling away from a diving kick by Krillin, then made it to his knees, then raised his fists upward. Jeice blasted at the ground beneath him to propel him away from Gohan, then followed suit with his commanding officer. As Guldo saw his two pursuers ready to pounce on him, he picked out a spot at the center of a crater formed from battles earlier to make his last stand.
Ginyu and Jeice’s collective two-handed slams to Namek’s surface caused a noticeable shake and some cracks, but primarily led to countless pebbles and rocks going straight upward amongst the bulk of dirt launched primarily.
Vegeta’s fist approached his view towards him...
...and stopped before it could touch his face.
“I need to stop having these close calls be this close...”
He stepped back, seeing Vegeta and Pan moments from hitting where he stood, but primarily gazed at the dirt in the air around the area standing in midair like frozen rain. Even as it was now, he still had trouble finding which projectiles within the clumps would be the most harmful.
“I don’t have time to figure out what’s rock and what’s dirt! I just need to launch them!”
He reached out with his telekinesis and the moment he felt a mass in his grip, he put out his hands as if launching something in real time. His first target:
“For you, my prince.”
He set up enough for Vegeta that he’d he swarmed all around him. Next:
“And for you, meddlesome girl.”
Once Pan was prepared for bombardment by debris, he leapt out of the hole, making his way to between Ginyu and Jeice’s battles.
“Now for these two small fries!”
As quickly as he could, he arranged all that he could manage to strike Gohan and Krillin. He wasn’t sure if this was the longest he had ever held his breath before, but regardless, Guldo couldn’t hold it for that much further.
“Agh! I forgot...!”
Among his four primary targets was one more enemy
“Can’t forget the monkey in the captain’s old body!”
He took whatever wasn’t already going to launch in resumed time and directed it to Goku.
“It sucks that I can’t break necks in stopped time. It’d make battle so much easier.”
Falling to his knees and hands, he knew it was time.
“Dodge this, you Earthling and monkey scum!”
...almost gagging from how much it took out of him as time resumed.
Gohan, seeing dirt fly upward from Jeice’s ground slam, then heard and felt a ripping in the air:
Rocks whizzed past him, barely missing, as others were on target towards him. Planting his feet into the ground, Gohan punched at them, turning as rapidly as he could in place, trying to discern where and when all of the rest were coming.
“Can’t let one of these hit! At the speed they’re traveling at, at best, it’ll tear skin!”
In real time, Pan and Vegeta both struck the ground with their right fists, the Saiyan Prince striking first, then felt something fly through his hair. He didn’t have time to gasp or be shocked, sharpening his senses to whatever else was flying towards him.
Pan looked straight ahead upon impact, catching a glimpse of a projectile fast approaching. Her right hand chopped this rock, the halves passing by her head, as her left, almost instinctively, reached behind her for her power pole as more and more came in.
She turned around, chopping one coming behind her while her power pole broke another. Pan couldn’t quite sense the projectiles, but tried feeling the air around her for tears. Pan swung her polearm, switching between two-handed swings like a sword and spinning it in one like a propeller, all around and even above her against this swarm.
So far, nothing was reaching her, save for bits and dust vying to throw her off, but having to react to this many at this speed at once was no small feat for Pan. She recalled dodging a bullet, but Guldo’s projectiles...
“They’re even faster!”
Pan didn’t have the time to see how Vegeta was doing...
...who at first stuck to punching and swatting rocks away, then, as he became more comfortable with their speed, fired at them in bursts before they could reach him. He saw a miniature dust storm with red streaks around Pan, looking like it was contained in a dome.
What was merely seconds straight felt to her like she had been defending herself against this barrage for a whole minute. Maybe one rock slipping past her wouldn’t harm her that much, but Pan wasn’t about to risk it. She treated the idea of one striking her like a bullet with a normal human.
“Not one! Can’t let one hit!”
Even with her laser focus, the power pole twirled out of her hands behind her. She scurried to catch it with two more rocks left. A kick hit the first as Pan turned to stop the polearm from touching the ground. The last rock came in lower, almost perfectly towards her crouching.
Like a quick sword draw, Pan turned, the power pole meeting its mark before it could touch her. Two streaks of dusty mist flew behind her as she breathed out, the ordeal over.
“Guldo got really creative with that one.”
She looked back to Vegeta, who continued firing at rocks with little care in the world. He was so confident that as he saw just one projectile remaining, instead of getting out of the way of it, he leaned his head towards it. What seemed at first like a headbutt to knock it away from Pan’s perspective was actually Vegeta catching this piece of rock with his teeth. Upon turning towards her, he clamped down, crunching it in two, then spat out the other half.
But Pan immediately shrugged off Vegeta’s attempt to taunt her when she sensed two of her allies active in that moment.
“Guldo didn’t just target us!”
Pan immediately recognized the voice of the young man...
Gohan, one rock managing to strike his right leg, forced him to fall to his knees as one last rock, one much larger, raced towards his face.
Pan tried aiming her hand to fire, but the combination of her distance from it and its rate of speed meant any blast of hers would be too late to stop it.
“Dad! Get out of the way!”
As she feared, it hit. Gohan dropped onto his back.
She ran straight to Gohan, lifting up his upper body. She first noticed blood on his right pant leg, meaning the first rock to hit him did do damage even to a half Saiyan like her father. This made her all the fearful of what this meant for the larger one that impacted his face.
“Please tell me it didn’t...!”
She didn’t feel any blood on the back of his hair, meaning it didn’t pierce through him.
“But his face...”
She put her hand over Gohan’s face, not wanting to anticipate it with a gory hole in the center of it, but she had to be sure...
...but instead felt his cheek and nose. She then clearly felt air puffing from his nostrils and took her hand off Gohan’s nose. Pan looked at his face, seeing that it wasn’t covered in blood.
“It wasn’t a rock at all.”
“It was just a clump of dirt,” Gohan added before coughing.
He tried wiping his face with his wrists, then stopped, staring off at Pan for a moment.
“What is it?”
“Are you crying?”
Pan didn’t realize she had a few tears coming down her cheeks since she first held him.
“I thought I lost you.”
She thought of wiping her tears, but couldn’t think of how to without letting go of Gohan. He reached over and wiped the tears below her left eye, then winced from trying to move his right leg.
Gohan lifted his head away from Pan for a moment to see another dust storm in the direction of Krillin and his father as she noticed it as well.
This whole time, Krillin was on double duty: protecting himself and keeping others from hitting Goku. Even while Goku could move, he wasn’t going to be fast enough to avoid them freely.
Earlier, the Earthling fired a large orb above him, which seemed to negate some of the rocks above him. Since then, he span around constantly, rapidly firing with ki bullets.
Guldo, who watched this closely, saw a few rocks manage to scratch Krillin’s arms and the sides of his pant legs.
“It won’t take much longer now...”
Krillin persisted, then tilted his arms while dodging some in front of him as what at first looked like small beams came down around him...
...but were actually orbs like the larger one from before.
Almost like remote control, two came down to the sides of Krillin, keeping rocks from getting to him and leaving him able to focus on the front and back. Two more landed near Goku’s sides, protecting him while only his front was exposed. Now Krillin was free to simply dodge them, backflipping and seeing rocks either fly over him or collided with others heading in the opposite direction.
“Think you’re such a clever Earthling, but now your ally will...”
Krillin’s upper body faced Goku and the rocks about to impact him. With one more rapid stream of ki bullets, the rocks scattered before they could make impact with his best friend.
Looking over to see Vegeta, Pan, and Gohan still alive in the distance, Guldo punched the ground himself.
“I did nothing,” he openly mused, his voice hoarse.
With Goku saved from being skewered, Krillin turned to make sure that was the case.
“You okay, Goku? Nothing got you, right?”
“No. Nothing did. That was amazing, Krilli...”
Goku’s initial smile turned sour and his eyes shot wide open.
Ginyu wrapped his arms around Krillin, trying to squeeze him. Krillin’s arms stuck out upward, but the crushing pressure left him unable to aim his hands for blasts at Ginyu.
“Don’t be so down on yourself, Guldo,” Ginyu went, trying to cheer him up. “Thanks to that, now we can take a piece off the board.”
“Make that two, Captain.”
Pan and Gohan saw Jeice, who eyed the child’s right knee.
“Think you can take me with a bum leg, little squirt?”
He drew his ki blade, then flew towards them.
“Let’s see you try it!”
Pan was sure she could roll herself and Gohan out of the way...
“Get down!” her father shouted.
Gohan floated out of Pan’s hands to face Jeice while she lied down. Jeice went for a chop with Gohan almost appearing to have hopped over it. For Jeice, it gave him deja vu of seeing Recoome perform something similar to Gohan...
...and like Recoome had done to Gohan upon dodging it, now Gohan struck his neck with a kick right as he passed his intended target. Jeice rolled, unable to stop himself, as Gohan then landed in a kneeling position.
Once Pan knew Gohan was okay, she then found Guldo, who had tried backing away upon seeing Jeice downed. Once he knew he had been spotted by her...
A small shake in the ground from Pan crouching down, about to fly straight to him.
“I put everything I had into that one! I’m at my limit! If I have to one more time...”
What felt to Guldo like an earthquake nearly made him fall over as Pan rocketed herself towards him with no time to avoid it.
He tried holding his breath as Pan’s fist neared him.
Time froze all around him…
“It worked! It...!”
...but Guldo felt the full impact of Pan’s hand between his chest and stomach.
“Didn’t stop... fast enough...”
A gag in his throat built up just from how much it hurt, the impact of Pan’s fist hitting him being stuck in time. He covered his mouth with both hands to keep it closed and his breath held in.
“If I breathe out now, I’ll be skewered on the spot.”
He tried stepping back, but felt if he did, he would immediately spit out what he now realized was blood.
“I’m as good as dead...”
Try as he might, Guldo couldn’t hold it in, but he figured by moving from this spot, at least he might have a chance of surviving.
“Damn it all...”
The moment he forced himself to step away from Pan’s fist, managing a step aside...
Time resumed and Pan felt her fist then tear through Guldo’s left shoulder piece as she flew past him. She turned around and saw Guldo spit out blood, first into his gloved hands, then onto the ground as he stepped backward. While she still had to take him out, lethally or otherwise, Pan was almost horrified to see not just profuse amounts of blood spilling from Guldo’s mouth, but also the shape of her fist clearly visible on his body.
“I hit him before the time stop. I would’ve tore right through him without it.”
“Hey, Earth girl!” shouted Vegeta. “This one is mine!”
Guldo, trying his hardest to stand, was especially terrified to see him, not the worse for wear from his last ditch effort before, not even a trace of dirt or dust on him.
“Vegeta?! Oh fu...!”
Vegeta zoomed toward his prey, swinging his hand towards Guldo’s neck like before.
“Ugly as this is, it’s how my father dispatched Guldo in history.”
Pan didn’t know if she even heard any impact from Vegeta’s strike as he passed Guldo.
Once Guldo saw Vegeta touch down in a crouch, his hand out like he had just cut something, the Ginyu Force member didn’t feel anything come from Vegeta’s pass on him. No pain, no dizziness.
“Did he miss?”
He pat down his body from his stomach upward to his chest. No wounds, no bleeding. Nothing out of the ordinary.
“He did miss!”
He cackled as Vegeta turned to face him.
“Heh. Missed me, you arrogant, filthy, flea-bitten...”
He stepped back and shifted his arms for a fighting pose...
...to which his head slid off. Guldo’s body even tried catching it, but his head slipped through his fingers, after which his body stumbled onto the ground.
Even without his body, Pan saw and heard Guldo’s head speak.
“You can look away if you have to, Pan.”
Despite Trunks’ words to her, Pan kept an eye on Guldo’s impending demise.
“Not a bad description of me for the most part,” Vegeta began. “But you’re wrong about one thing, Guldo.”
He put out his hand before Guldo’s head.
“I’m not flea-bitten.”
An almost nonchalant blast enveloped Guldo’s head, leaving a notable trail after the fact.
The pain in Ginyu’s muscles had been keeping him from snapping Krillin like a trig in his arms, but he was willing to push it to finally accomplish this.
“You did well, but you can’t break out of my grip. Any last words, Earthling?”
“I’ve got two for you right here:”
He tried putting his hands over to his face, but the squeezing pressure from Ginyu’s arms kept them from reaching for the proper technique.
“Well I’m afraid I’m on the clock, so I’m just going to have to wrap this up post haste.”
“Ginyu!” shouted Goku, not in anger, but as if concerned. “Your comrade!”
It did occur now to Ginyu he hadn’t checked on Jeice or Guldo since trapping Krillin. He first found Jeice on the ground, unconscious or otherwise.
Krillin felt Ginyu’s grip loosen a little, but not enough to comfortably move his arms as he needed to.
But then Ginyu heard a blast and saw the aftermath: Guldo’s head obliterated by Vegeta with only his body remaining. While he had only heard of Burter and Recoome’s deaths, now that he had witnessed this one himself...
Now Krillin could get his arms and hands to his face with Ginyu seeing this stance:
After the blinding flash struck his face dead-on, Ginyu let go of Krillin and stumbled backward.
“Guldo!” went Jeice, finally starting to get back up.
Vegeta was eager to make his way to Ginyu upon hearing him crying out.
“Perhaps Jeice can wait, after all...”
Jeice stood before Vegeta and his commanding officer.
“Is everyone looking away from Guldo’s body?” Trunks inquired.
“Yes,” Chronoa answered. “All eyes are on Vegeta and Ginyu.”
Even with the difference in their power more than clear and his wound still afflicting him, Jeice refused to watch another comrade die.
“I’ll gut you three times, dirty Saiyan:”
As Jeice armed himself with his blade of ki in his right hand...
“One for Burter, one for Recoome...”
Pan caught only a brief glimpse of Trunks crouched over Guldo’s body before he was beamed back.
“...and one for Guldo.”
Vegeta had a flash in his eyes, then his expression became all the more mocking.
“As you’d say, Jeice, you have such shoddy memory.”
“My memory’s shoddy? The hell are you on about?”
“Guldo was the first of you I killed.”
“What sodding mind game is this?! I just saw you kill Guldo!”
He humored Vegeta just enough to look over at Guldo’s headless body...
...to see no sign of it anywhere.
“No way! You blasted his head right there just now! I saw you do it!”
Pan noticed Guldo missing, as well as the trail of the blast having disappeared as well.
“Removing Guldo removed the change?”
Jeice saw the ground lacking said trail and now his mind flashed as well.
“But wait... you killed Guldo earlier! No! He froze that monkey in orange for the body change! AGH!!!”
“He’s remembering both the main timeline’s history and what happened to Guldo just now.”
Jeice grasped his head, trying in vain to wrap his mind around the two streams of memory coursing through his consciousness.
“You killed him, yet ...then how did...?”
Now he turned to Pan.
“Captain Ginyu was stuck in your Earthling body! No, he got the monkey’s right away! Guldo helped me and the captain after he disappeared! No, Guldo died before Recoome even fought!”
At his breaking point, he growled at her.
“What have you done to me, you witch?!”
But Vegeta was completely indifferent to all of this and instead saw it as the perfect opening.
“You’re overthinking it, Jeice.”
Jeice went for a stab to Vegeta’s neck, but Vegeta grabbed onto his wrist, squeezing it until Jeice cried out, his blade disappearing as his hand bent unnaturally. The Saiyan Prince hovered upward with Jeice in tow, Jeice unable to kick himself away. He saw Vegeta’s other arm about to strike and blocked it with his left hand, but Jeice found it easily overpowered by Vegeta’s right palm as it glowed intensely.
“Allow me to clear things up for you!”
And from below, Pan watched as Vegeta killed another of Ginyu’s men with a blast that left nothing remaining of them.
“Now all that’s left is Captain Ginyu. Everything should be reverting back.”
“But there’s just one problem, Trunks...”
Ginyu moved his hands away from his eyes, the pupils completely pale.
“No! I can’t see! I cannot see!”
Goku seemed to already have an idea as to what had happened.
“Kaio-Ken Times Four strained his strength and speed, and his senses... sight among them. I still remember how much sunlight stung my eyes after I used it. Against the Solar Flare, it must be agony.”
Pan now had to consider what possible consequences could stem from Krillin’s actions.
“This can’t be permanent... can it?”
“At worst, it’ll take Goku some time to recover from it,” Chronoa rationalized. “And even then, the healing pod Goku will be placed in would mend it. But first...”
Vegeta landed right in front of the blinded Ginyu.
“Your grandfather’s body needs to be alive long enough for that to happen.”
Goku already saw on Vegeta’s face a smile of delight after having killed Jeice.
“Stop, Vegeta! He’s completely blind!”
“This, I’m really going to enjoy.”
“No, that’s enough! Let him...!”
“You killed all of my men!” entered Ginyu, cutting off Goku. “Even if I can’t see you, I WILL AVENGE EVERYO...!!!”
A gut punch sent Ginyu far above the others on the ground as Vegeta then flew back and forth rapidly, hitting him more and more brutally with each pass.
“You fools went easy on him because he looks like Kakarot! I’ll put Frieza’s dog down!”
Without being able to sense Vegeta’s ki, Ginyu was left entirely at the Saiyan’s mercy.
Pan’s first instinct was to fly up to keep Vegeta from going too overboard and killing Ginyu, but Trunks quickly ordered “Get to Goku right away!”
She did just that, seeing him standing, but only able to move at a slow pace.
“We need Goku to fly for what’s coming!”
“Can you fly?” she asked her grandfather.
“Let me see...”
He started to hover for a moment...
...but only a few inches off the ground and he couldn’t keep above it for long.
“When that lady’s voice spoke to me, this body froze up completely. I’m only now starting to move with it again, but right now, Ginyu’s ki isn’t cooperating.”
Now Ginyu crashed to the ground violently, covered in bruises and immobilized by all the damage from Vegeta.
“This is a nightmare! I need to switch bodies with someone, anyone, now... But how can I find anyone in this blackness?”
“I have you now!”
Goku, seeing Vegeta floating over Ginyu and the unmistakable stance the grounded Ginyu was taking, tried hurrying over.
“He’s about to change bodies with Vegeta! If I can just...”
Vegeta didn’t have a care in the world as to what Ginyu was doing and kept approaching while Goku tried all the more desperately to take flight.
“No! This is my one chance to be me again!”
“I can’t make it in time!”
With his last desperate hop, Goku found himself about to faceplant...
...when Pan grabbed him from behind back to his feet, then held him by his wrists.
Pan span quickly, Goku in tow, then, as if catching a glimpse of Ginyu’s lips about to say the final word, let go.
Pan watched Goku travel through the air into the path of the fourth body change. As Vegeta saw what seemed like a beam fire from Ginyu’s mouth, he tried to guard against it...
...and instead saw Goku come between them.
“The patroller, she...!”
Towa’s screen showed the two projections of Ginyu and Goku switch places with each other back to their original bodies.
“I thought the formula would’ve immobilized Goku enough, but even with that, and Guldo...!”
Mira put a hand on Towa’s shoulder to try comforting her.
“There is one last measure we could take.”
Ginyu was back on the ground, getting back to his feet. A part of him was happy to be able to see again, but knew all too well that his body was no match for Vegeta.
Just then, he felt something explode in his ear.
“What in the blazes?!”
“That takes care of the earpiece,” went Trunks, having it self-destruct once Ginyu was back in his old body.
“I’m back in my body,” went Goku. “I can feel its ki coursing through me again.”
But as he tried moving...
Along with the injuries instilled by both the overused Kaio-Ken times four and Vegeta’s own efforts to kill Ginyu, he opened his eyes to find he could see nothing but darkness.
“I knew it would be like this.”
Vegeta, seeing that Goku was himself again, couldn’t help but find amusement in his state.
“A part of me would almost wish for your loss of sight to be permanent, Kakarot. Then you’d never have the privilege, nay, the honor of seeing me transcend far beyond you.”
“Mira, you don’t mean...”
“I’m going out there!” he shouted sternly before his posture and tone lowered. “...with your permission.”
“Even with your current power...”
“It is what I was made for.”
He knelt before her, his static expression slowly giving way to pleading.
Pan figured she should at least stick around until she knew for sure everything was set.
“So what now? Ginyu’s killed by Vegeta?”
“Goku intercepts the body change with a frog,” Trunks answered.
“But how? He’s all but completely immobili... wait... a frog?!”
Pan saw a small Namekian creature with blue-green skin, red eyes, two antenna on its head, and a tail hopping towards Goku.
“Goku’s right arm is about the only thing my father didn’t break. He threw the frog into the body change’s path and Ginyu was trapped in the frog’s body from that day forward.”
“You may have stopped me before, Saiyan, but with your body blinded and beaten to hell, you won’t interfere a second time!” Ginyu announced as he put his hands out in Vegeta’s direction. “You’re all mine now!”
“The hell I am!” shouted Vegeta as he prepared to get back into a flying stance.
“He used that technique on my dad!” Gohan told Krillin. “And if he uses that on Vegeta...!”
“We barely beat him the last time! This time, he’s even stronger!”
Vegeta didn’t even bother listening to the two and prepared his approach, but Goku knew what Ginyu was about to do.
“Can’t let you do this! But I’m... I’m stuck... and I can’t see.”
Pan just remembered…
“He’s blind! Can he make his mark while blind?!”
“He can sense their ki, so I think he can pull it off.”
“Think he can? Because if you’re going to need me to throw that frog, you’d better tell me to right now.”
She saw the frog hop onto Goku’s open right hand.
Goku moved his fingers, then felt...
“I can still move this arm!”
He took hold of the frog, waiting for Ginyu to start.
“I can sense Ginyu and Vegeta. I just have to get between them.”
Chronoa, looking over at Goku, saw him trying to aim even without his sight.
“He’s working on hitting his mark.”
She pulled up a projection over the action, seeing what looked like an arc of a throw.
“And he’s actually on point.”
“Supreme Kai of Time, does that mean...?”
“Yes, Trunks. Pan...”
“Let him go for the throw.”
Pan stood at attention to ensure Goku’s throw would go off without a hitch.
A flash of light behind Vegeta...
...which gave Ginyu enough pause to stop from trying his technique. Pan saw this.
“Ginyu’s stopping and something’s behind your father!”
Before the Saiyan Prince could turn around and see just what was creeping up behind him...
“Pan, is that...?”
...he had to stop this figure from grabbing onto his neck. Vegeta was successful in doing so, but then found himself trapped, this blue-skinned man in black, red, and white armor wrapping his arms around him.“That’s Mira.”
Mira Emerges! Desperate Struggle!
Pan on Namek and Trunks in the library both watched the blue-skinned individual trying to grab Vegeta by the neck, then transitioning to trapping the Saiyan Prince in a bear hug from behind.
“Pan, is that...?”
Vegeta tried, but couldn’t free his arms from this grip. Even with this, Mira was well aware of his captive’s capabilities.
“He was just fast and strong enough to keep me from breaking his neck. Even if I tried it again right this moment, he would stop me once more.”
The Supreme Kai of Time took a closer look at this adversary only seen by Pan and Trunks until now.
“Is he from the Demon Realm as well? How did Towa go about recruiting someone like him?”
Her focus shifted to Trunks, who wasn’t just terrified, but petrified at what was transpiring.
“My father’s completely trapped in his arms! Towa could just grab them both up any second now!”
“Towa’s not going to take your father, Trunks.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“For the same reason Towa’s never tried taking key figures like Vegeta before: such a deviation would be trackable to us no matter how well Towa tried cloaking over it.”
Aside from easing his thoughts on his father’s situation, Trunks was hit with a revelation.
“It’s so obvious why she chose Dodoria and Guldo: their impacts came to a wrap, so those two being missing at the time of their deaths was minor to the point of overlooking.”
“Towa knows she has that advantage, and until she breaks it, we can’t track her back to her base of operations.”
Pan last encountered Mira blocking a blast from Trunks intended for Towa, but seeing who she likened to a bodyguard now trying to alter history himself left her to wonder:
“Now that the Ginyu Force has failed, is Mira the last resort? But why now and not before?”
This entire time, Vegeta refused to go quietly with whatever Mira had in store for him, even as he felt his hands numb from the pressure.
“Let go, damn you!”
The Z-Fighters and Ginyu had been completely silent since Mira’s arrival, just trying to make heads and tails of what he was doing and what his intentions were, be it as an ally or enemy. But Mira decided to break the silence by speaking directly to one of them.
Ginyu didn’t know what to make of being addressed by this stranger with his target in hand.
“What do you want with me?”
Mira slowly hovered down with Vegeta in tow.
“I will keep him in place for you to change bodies.”
Now Ginyu understood that Mira wasn’t going to get away or taunt him with the prize he desired, but instead was on his side.
“I don’t know who you are, stranger, but for your patronage, you shall be the first of my new Ginyu Force.”
He took his first steps in Mira’s direction, partially due to how worn out his body had been, but also from sheer anticipation.
“Lord Frieza may find me with my crew having fallen, but with our enemies slain and myself in a more powerful body, their sacrifices will have led his empire to far greater glory.”
Gohan and Krillin may have only been temporary allies to Vegeta out of necessity against a greater threat than him, but they knew they couldn’t abide what Mira was trying to do. Both were about to lunge forward.
“No, Gohan! Krillin!”
Goku called out to both of them.
“Whoever he is, his power... it’s on par with Vegeta. Maybe even greater.”
Ginyu didn’t overhear this, and neither did Vegeta or Mira.
“Come as close as you wish, Ginyu. All the better.”
Vegeta reflected on his past with Captain Ginyu, his present, and what would come for them both now.
“For all my life, Ginyu’s power was far superior to my own. Now I have eclipsed his... but with him in my body, he’ll rival me once more. And that’s if I survive all this.”
It looked as though Ginyu was intending to stand just shy of touching Vegeta just to make sure his body change was successful...
...when Pan swooped in between them, a gust pushing Ginyu back a few feet.
“You, again! Your interference may have cost me my men, but you will not stop this! Now get out of my way! I’ll switch with you again if I have to!”
“I insist you do as the captain says,” Mira told Pan. “I don’t think I need to tell what it’d mean for you if you switch bodies with Ginyu again... permanently this time.”
“What do you know of that, stranger?” went Ginyu with some puzzlement at first before dropping it. “Never mind that. I’ll get what I want, one way or another.”
Goku sensed Pan between Ginyu and Vegeta, trying to use her as an anchor for his aim.
“If you can hear me now...”
Pan heard her grandfather speak to her telepathically for the first time since Towa puppeteered Krillin on Earth. She briefly turned to him, the Namekian frog still in his right hand.
“Get out of the way if you have to, but I’m going to intercept Ginyu’s technique with this. I won’t let Ginyu take your body again, or Vegeta’s... or anyone else’s.”
Ginyu did see Goku, but paid no mind to him at all.
“He can’t help you now, all thanks to the Earthling for blinding him, and you, Vegeta, for crippling his body completely.”
While he didn’t regret the action itself, Vegeta did muse that this left him with one less person to aid him in this moment. Ginyu stretched out his arms, waiting for Pan to either move out of the way or stay in place. She didn’t doubt her grandfather’s capabilities, but this was a critical moment, all of history riding on what happened now.
“If Ginyu gets one more body, we’ll be no match for him and Mira.”
She thought about turning around to try freeing Vegeta from Mira, but couldn’t risk countless disasters that could result from it. Standing in Ginyu’s way was the slim, but only sure way she could stop this.
Chronoa looked over at Goku’s location, the visible arc of his hypothetical throw somewhat shaky.
“It was rock solid before, but be it his injuries or the pressure...”
“I’m off! I’m completely off!”
Goku’s sight was out of the question and his senses were only getting him this far.
“Body, I’m going to have to ask you for one more favor.”
The beam fired from Ginyu’s mouth as he heard “Kaio-Ken!” shouted by Goku.
“What is he going to do with Kaio-Ken? Headbutt me to death?”
Pan heard this too as the dreaded beam moved towards her.
“What is Grandpa doing?! Strengthening his body’s not going to help...”
Then it dawned on her.
“Kaio-Ken boosts the senses too, not just the body. He’s not trying to throw the frog harder: he’s boosting his senses to hit that mark.”
Hearing the frog being launched from Goku’s hand and feeling its course right towards her...
“He aimed the frog at me, where I am! That’s how he’ll intercept it!”
She acted quickly, falling onto her side to duck underneath the body change beam as she saw it about to pass above her...
...when the frog came between the beam’s path to Vegeta. Now the Namekian frog was robbed of all its momentum, frozen in place as if held telekinetically. Ginyu realized too late what Goku had planned this whole time.
“NO!!! NOW I’LL BE...!”
Pan remained lying down when she saw the Namekian frog hurriedly trying to land on its feet as it was about to drop directly atop of her. She scurried backward, sitting up as the frog faced her.
As a frog, it was hard to read his facial expressions, but Ginyu’s posture became more anxious with each ribbit.
“He’s trying to say “Change Now,” but can’t.””
She looked over at where Ginyu once stood and saw Ginyu’s body crouched over, his arms and legs in the stance of that of the frog. It didn’t seem alarmed at all regarding its undoubted increase in height and size, and soon hopped away from the proceedings. Ginyu pursued it, ribbiting constantly as he tried catching up.
Goku dropped out of Kaio-Ken immediately after the throw, his body aching after that action alone. But now that he sensed a change in the ki of Ginyu and the frog, he knew...
“It worked. Ginyu’s not going to be any more trouble.”
But now he sensed Mira’s ki increasing rapidly.
Even as his facial expression remained unmoving for the most part, his eyes and his lips gave just enough away to indicate his irritation.
“Son Goku’s blindness changed nothing! And Vegeta missed that arm again! History always wishes to remain the same!”
“Focus, Mira,” went Towa in a calm manner. “There’s countless ways you can alter history still.”
Gohan and Krillin remained by Goku’s side at the ready.
“Don’t worry, dad. We’re here.”
“Yeah. If he tries anything, we’ll be right here to...”
“Leave me,” went Goku to their shock.
He put his right hand to Gohan’s shoulder.
“They’re going to need your help a lot more than I do. It’s going to take all four of you.”
“But Goku, you’ll be a sitting duck.”
“That sure would hit the spot, but that’s not important right now.”
Krillin had a small chuckle escape even as he was trying to be serious.
“Goku, I mean it. We can’t just leave you lying here.”
“The best way to protect me right now is to attack him all at once. Now hurry. He’s going to strike at any moment now.”
Mira felt Vegeta swinging his feet and trying to swerve his body to break free. Pan got back to her feet and faced him.
“Let him go.”
“I will release Vegeta... after I’ve crushed him in my arms.”
While she wouldn’t risk attacking right that moment with Vegeta potentially being a human shield, Pan eyed for any openings she could find. Mira’s muscles and suit visibly bulked around the upper body especially, his words not an empty threat, but definitely plausible.
“I, the Prince of all Saiyans, will not DIE LIKE THIS!!!”
He tried flying upward without the use of his arms, Mira keeping him from ascending, though his upper body did shift to accommodate this. Even with Mira’s arms bulking, this gave Vegeta’s arms the smallest gap needed to move his elbows, both of which struck Mira’s chest. The impact then led to Vegeta’s legs lifting up, and crashing back with a double stamp to Mira’s lower body. The damage was minimal enough not to leave a blemish, but Mira found himself releasing Vegeta, who immediately went to return the favor with a punch to his face.
Mira caught this fist with his palm, but before he could squeeze his hand around it, he had to back away from a kick.
“Treating me like a toy!”
As Mira hopped backward, Vegeta took on his iconic stance.
“I’ll rip you apart!”
But Mira kept his arms to his side, the battle about to commence a fun prospect rather than a concern.
“You are welcome to try.”
He saw Pan with a stance next to Vegeta.
“The combined might of you both is still no match for me.”
Krillin and Gohan then hopped over to join them, Mira now facing four opponents.
“As my dad once said, strength isn’t the only thing that matters!”
“But not when the difference in strength is so great.”
Vegeta flew forward with a chop, but then saw Mira disappear in mid-impact. When he turned, he saw Mira directly behind him, booting him backward. Pan hopped upward to swing the Power Pole onto him, but he blocked it with his wrist before swinging that arm with such force to send her and her polearm downward. Gohan and Krillin then attacked him side-by-side, Mira keeping up with both before two red ki-charged hands struck the ground, the shockwave of this alone launching the two back.
Chronoa and Towa both watched the battle closely from their respective homes, but with polar opposite experiences.
“This isn’t working! We have to figure something out, and fast!”
“You’re doing well. I underestimated you, Mira.”
Vegeta went for a double axe handle, but Mira struck his chest with a punch, causing him to spit out.
Seeing Gohan trying a Masenko at close range, he swung Vegeta at the child of Goku.
And as Krillin tried a sneak attack from behind him, he nonchalantly swung his arm to knock him away.
He then charged red ki in his hand for a blast.
Pan kicked Mira in the face, causing his blast to fire just over Krillin’s trajectory, who still felt its searing heat near him. As Mira swung back at her, Pan could actually block his attacks, unlike before on Earth where one hit alone was too much for her.
“It’s not going to go over in one hit this time! I’ve trained!”
Pan scored an uppercut on Mira, but aside from barely going off the ground, he had anticipated this and went for a punch in mid-impact. Pan rolled backward, grasping her stomach as she stopped herself.
“You think I haven’t?” he retorted back to her.
He then guarded against a barrage of punches by her, and as she lifted her leg to bring it down on him, he blocked with one arm and sent her back to the ground.
“You do fare better now, but the battle is still unwinnable.”
She fired a two-handed blast at him, but he countered with simply one, the two attacks dissipating. He saw Pan standing all around him, his pupils darting back and forth. As they all appeared to move towards him all at once, he had his hand out to catch the real Pan by the neck, then slam her to the ground on her back.
“My orders are the only reason you will survive.”
After her strenuous bout with Recoome, Burter, and Jeice before where they were perfectly willing to kill her and even focused their full attention on attacking her instead of the wounded Z-Fighters, Pan was at a complete loss at Towa’s order to Mira.
“Towa wants me alive?”
He then transitioned to putting his palm over Pan’s face to drive her further into the ground while also covering her mouth. His other hand fired behind him at Krillin, who was forced to descend to avoid it, while he then clotheslined Vegeta with that same arm.
But from his side, he felt Gohan crash into him with a high speed tackle, putting him onto his side and freeing Pan. Gohan then punched at his face repeatedly, the first few hits getting in, but Mira then tilted his head back and forth to avoid the rest. Once Gohan realized all his punches from there were missing, he tried hopping away, but Mira grabbed his right leg and squeezed it, then slammed Gohan down.
“Your leg won’t hurt for long.”
His other arm held an orb of ki to bring down onto Gohan when Krillin struck Mira’s legs, interfering with his stance enough for it to miss and for Gohan to get free. Krillin then grabbed Mira’s left wrist and held it down against the ground while Gohan did the same with the right. Mira saw Vegeta flying straight for him and got ready to fly upward to break this attempted pin...
“Behind you, Mira!”
..when he felt the heat of ki behind him and by the time he tried to float upward and turn his body to avoid it, a blast struck his side. As he saw Pan, hunched over with steam stemming from her palm, he turned back to Vegeta, who crashed into him at high speed with both feet. Mira’s back grinded against Namek’s surface, leaving a trail until he stopped himself with ki from both hands, then launched himself forward to stand before the four.
“Those attacks amount to inconveniences while the damage you’ve received is more consequential. At our current rate, it will only take a few minutes for me to kill all of you.”
“What are you, a computer?!” shouted Krillin. “Talking like we’re all just variables!”
“By my calculations...”
“See, this guy’s a computer...”
“...the only scenario in which I could be overpowered is with the intervention of Son Goku... and he’s in no condition to participate.”
Goku felt the impacts on the ground from the battle, as well as sensed when Mira took damage, but didn’t sense him wavering.
“They’re all getting in hits on him, but he’s just not budging. He’s really tough. If only I could move or just see what was happening...”
Now he sensed the ki reserves of his best friend, his son, Vegeta, and Pan beginning to deplete while Mira’s did not reflect the same.
Mira took to the sky, firing off four purple orbs, his four opponents avoiding them, but then noticing none of the orbs detonated. Vegeta flew above everyone, preparing something while Gohan and Krillin both swung at Mira, who guarded against them both. Pan joined them with the three of them all punching and kicking only to find him successfully stopping all three at once before booting Krillin down with one leg, punting Pan back with the other, and grabbing hold of Gohan by the top of his head.
He attempted to crush the child’s skull, but Pan peppered him with ki bullets while flying back to him. He proceeded to swing and throw Gohan at Pan, stopping her from firing and forcing her to try retrieving her ally. She caught him, but then found Mira had fired a two-handed purple beam, neither able to escape in time. Pan’s ki shield held up at first, but shattered soon after, the remaining beam striking her back and rocketing them away. They struck a rock formation, Pan trying to cover Gohan as they tried to stop their roll downward.
Vegeta finally joined, slamming into Mira and intending to ram him into Namek’s surface, but in mid-descent, Mira slipped past and then directed Vegeta towards one of the purple orbs that lied untouched. Vegeta tried slowing down, but a kick from Mira knocked him right into it, the ensuing explosion clouding where he went afterward.
Goku could feel an explosion in the distance, soon followed by three more in rapid succession.
“Gohan. Krillin. Everyone. I’m sorry.”
Reaching the ground again, Pan stuck out her hand while holding Gohan in her other arm, finally coming to a stop as she heard and felt the explosion from Vegeta colliding with Mira’s mine-like projectile.
“This isn’t working! Whether we attack Mira one-on-one or together, it won’t work!”
As the area around Vegeta remained clouded in dust, she looked up to the sky, but not at Mira, who she could sense with ease.
“Trunks... Supreme Kai of Time... we have to try something else.”
“I could use a disguise,” Trunks suggested. “Then I could get Mira away from there.”
“But how much power would you need to expel to defeat him?” Chronoa asked. “Frieza felt your presence earlier. If you pop up again, he might just investigate.”
“Not if I keep it to the bare minim...”
“What can I DO?!” Pan interrupted. “Me, right now?!”
Mira remained, waiting for any one of his four targets to resume combat with him.
“Mira. You’ve been up there for some time now.”
“All this time they’re here fighting me is time they’re away from Namek’s Dragon Balls. No need to rush things.”
He did peer down upon seeing the dust settle, and three of his targets became clear and visible.
“Let them come.”
Just then, Pan saw Krillin reeling on his stomach nearby. She beckoned Krillin over with her freed hand as he tried to keep quiet while making his way over.
“Gohan, you okay?” he whispered.
The son of Goku had one hand over his forehead, marks from Mira’s grip on it still visible, and tried to keep his right leg still.
“First Jeice, then Guldo, and now Mira have gotten it.”
Now that she had Gohan and Krillin with her, Pan tried to work out Vegeta’s whereabouts.
“It was hard to see, but he tried slamming Mira into one of those orbs.”
She noticed the three remaining orbs, but didn’t spot any marks on the ground from where he could have possibly landed.
“If that explosion didn’t knock him back...”
In the orb’s place was a massive hole.
“At the speed he was going, I think he might have just gone through it.”
Without wanting to use words in case Mira could listen in, she tried as best as she could to direct Krillin in that direction.
“You mean going...?”
She covered his mouth and moved her eyes in the direction of the hole.
“Mira, I insist you strike now while the iron is still hot.”
He then spotted Pan handing Gohan off to Krillin while she looked up at him.
“They’re splitting up. All the better for picking them off.”
As Krillin began to move away from Pan, she fired up into the air at Mira.
“She really thinks that would distract me from the easiest of the prey?”
He simply swatted her projectiles away and zoomed towards Krillin and Gohan, the latter of whom covered his eyes as Krillin put his hands to the side of his face.
Mira had his wrist over his eyes, having counted on this technique for some time.
Pan flew at Mira from behind to trip up his legs, but he hopped over her. He moved his wrist away and saw her flying towards one of the three orbs, turning back to fire at him once more.
“I won’t be led into her trap.”
He fired in her direction, the orb bound to be struck by her or his own projectile, and turned back to Krillin, standing by another orb.
“Leading the wounded towards such a hazard?”
“Power Pole Extend!”
As the orb he fired at seconds ago exploded, he saw Pan standing by another untouched and with her polearm racing towards him.
“Your blasts aren’t fast enough. Why attack with something even slower?”
He caught it in his hand, then pulled it to strike Pan on the other end of it with his right...
...but struck nothing.
He looked back to Krillin, who had called down an orb he had created and launched while his focus was turned to Pan. Now seeing a beam coming down for him, he fired at it with his right while his left dropped the Power Pole and fired at Krillin.
“Your tactics have gone from amusing to irritating.”
Just then, the shrunken Power Pole was between his legs, then swung upward, the impact more than discomforting. As he crouched down, he saw Pan with ki charging into her palms.
“Kamehameha!” she shouted quickly.
The quick burst version would not do much damage to him in the meantime, but did push him back.
“Towa, do you see them?”
“The area’s all but completely engulfed.”
He caught himself before he could crash into the final orb, then noticed how much the sky had been covered by the other two exploding just then.
“You’re the only one I’m seeing clearly, Mira.”
He couldn’t find Pan now, but did see Krillin above him.
“I will finish him right...!”
“Above you, Mira!”
The rest of Krillin’s attack from earlier rained down towards him. The majority struck in an arc in front of Mira, preventing his pursuit, and he was forced to shield himself from the last as it went off along with the orb behind him.
Mira had to wipe his face from all the dust in the air, then flew all around trying to find any or all of them.
“Where could they have gone?!”
“I didn’t see any of them leave.”
He realized someone had not participated in the attack prior.
“Vegeta. Did he escape as well?”
Scanning the surrounding areas quickly, Towa tried locating where they may have gone.
“Unless Vegeta was sent into the nearby waters, he didn’t crash land anywhere that I can see. It could be that he recovered in midair and is lying in wait for an ambush.”
“Of course,” went Mira. “Vegeta would not run from a battle like this. Perhaps he would go for something underhanded, but he would not run.”
Seeing the area clear up around Mira at last, it occurred to Towa:
“What if they fled, but not above ground...”
Mira stood over one of the massive holes his attacks had created.
He hopped down into this one, then began hovering through what looked at first like a tunnel.
Beneath the battleground, Pan and Krillin found Gohan, who had been keeping afloat to keep from walking.
“Look...” he whispered.
He had found Vegeta, lying on his side and with the back of his armor clearly damaged from his collision before.
“Playing us like damned...”
Pan saw blood coming from a wound on his back and tried to bandage it with a torn piece of her cape.
“Do I look like I need to be nursed, woman?!”
Pan covered his mouth and Krillin shushed him, then pointed upward, Vegeta grasping that Mira was above them. The moment she released him, Vegeta pulled Pan towards him by her cape’s collar.
“Do that again,” he threatened with a whisper. “And you’ll need that cape for your body bag.”
Krillin suddenly jumped.
“He’s coming down here.”
Digging a hole as fast as he could, he beckoned Pan and Gohan to join him.
“Quickly!” Krillin’s voice as close to a shout as it could be while still keeping quiet.
Vegeta joined as well, digging even faster than the others. They hopped in, all four managing to fit standing up. Vegeta stuck out a hand to fire at the ceiling above when Krillin pulled his wrist back.
“If we fire something, he’ll sense us for sure.”
Pan used her Power Pole to poke at the ceiling, small cracks and some dirt emerging. With one strong enough jab...
“It’s coming down.”
All four lied down as quickly as they were being rained down on all the faster with each second.
“Deep breaths, everyone!”
By the time Mira had floated down this corridor, he saw only the aftermath: dirt all around with no sense of its origin.
“The ground here’s so crumbled it’s all been coming apart.”
At first, Pan and everyone could see a faint glow of ki even while buried.
She knew attacking him now, even successfully with the element of surprise, would likely reveal everyone’s location to him. Now it was glowing brighter and she felt the blast radius would be gigantic.
“I have to protect them. But he’s broken my shield before. What would stop something like this?”
But then it went dim, vanishing away.
“No use wasting my energy with no guarantee I’ll hit any one of them.”
He then flew straight upward back into the sky.
Towa noticed Mira having left the tunnels.
“Did you cover all the tunnels already, Mira?”
“There’s no point! There was no use looking down there to begin with! They could be on the other half of Namek by now while I have nothing to show for it! Absolutely nothing!”
She could tell Mira wasn’t himself.
“Breathe, Mira. Breathe.”
He stopped huffing from his impatience and slowly worked his way back to a calmer breath.
“I think this was all meant to be a diversion. That if they couldn’t defeat me, they’d keep me preoccupied here looking for them while they regroup.”
“I will search all over for them, Mira. We just need one of them to fall by your hand.”
“Unless what, Mira?”
He looked back to where the battle had first started, where he had entered...
He then zoomed backward that way.
“Son Goku! Of course! Killing him will be a far easier endeavor!”
Pan and the others had gotten out of the hole and overheard the two words that he spoke aloud.
“He’s going for my grandfather now!”
They flew off in Mira’s direction, but didn’t sense him changing course at the least.
“We won’t catch up to him in time!” mused Gohan.
Pan grabbed hold of Gohan by his hand, then flew even faster. Krillin tried reaching out to Vegeta, who didn’t bother to help him and zoomed off instead.
“Damn it! You better catch that guy!”
Chronoa saw that Mira’s current trajectory and speed compared to Pan’s and Vegeta’s made it most likely...
“He’ll kill Goku before they can stop him!”
“Unless what, Trunks?”
“Can you bring Goku here?”
She began to channel her energy.
“Yes. But I need to focus.”
Trunks took a step back.
“Okay. I’ll just stand over there and...”
“Trunks, I need you to leave the library and hide your ki.”
He already worked out the reason for this.
“Okay, just come get me when it’s all...”
He hurried out of the room as she tried to pull this off.
Goku felt the mass of ki heading for him. All he could do is use what was left of his ki in his right hand to try any number of things. But even with everything he had now...
“It won’t be enough. I’m just about drained.”
Pan and Vegeta could finally see Mira himself, but by the time they tried to fire at him, he had already descended downward straight toward Goku.
“Dad!” Gohan cried.
A red-black orb charged in Mira’s hand that he would slam straight into Goku’s head.
“Namek will become your grave!”
Krillin, having finally caught up, saw Goku just a second before impact with Mira.
Pan almost didn’t want to look and instead saw the reactions of her father, Krillin, and Vegeta.
But when she finally looked down to where her grandfather lied and where Mira now stood...
...she saw that he hit nothing. Goku was nowhere to be seen.
“Kakarrot?! Where the hell did you go?!”
The Supreme Kai of Time had brought Goku to the library, his pale pupils looking in her direction as if staring right at her.
“Please tell me he can’t see me or this room.”
None of the four, other than Pan, had any idea what Mira was talking about.
“Patrollers?” went Krillin.
Mira’s disappointment in his intended killing blow being robbed from him was minor compared to what he felt this meant for their situation.
“If Chronoa was forced to interfere herself...”“My victory is already assured.”
Chapter Name Pending
Work in progress
Pan, Gohan, Vegeta, and Krillin had all raced to stop Mira from getting to Goku only to come up short...
...yet right at the moment of what should have been the death of Goku, they and Mira found that the Saiyan raised on Earth had completely vanished.
“Patrollers,” Mira muttered to himself.
“No matter. My victory is already assured.”
Towa monitored not only what was above and around Mira, but also his vital signs, seeing that he had taken little damage from the battle thus far. Despite his supremacy over the three Z-Fighters and Pan, Mira’s boasting gave Towa some concern.
“Your four remaining opponents are still combat capable. And Goku is out of our reach.”
“But Chronoa can’t possibly interfere any further. Should any of the others disappear as well, not only would it leave less able bodies to face me, but whoever remains will become increasingly distrustful of the patroller’s part... as I suspect they are already.”
Vegeta broke off his combat stance and turned away from Mira, then floated upward to get in Pan’s face.
“Oh great. What’s his beef with me now?”
“This kind of stuff always happens when you’re around! Where is Kakarrot?!”
Trying not to lie, but not wanting to leave him without acknowledging the situation...
“He’s not here. Not that I can sense.”
“Oh, of course. Why didn’t I think of trying to sense him?”
He grabbed her cape’s collar for the second time that day.
“Enough with that drivel garbage! Now cough it up! You know more than you’re letting on!”
Pan could see Mira with his arms crossed, either waiting patiently to resume battle or actually enjoying Vegeta going on a tirade.
“This alone is already turning them against her. ”
Just then, Mira began formulating something.
“Towa. If Chronoa is going to relocate our prize, perhaps we should do the same to the prize they protect.”
“The Namekian Dragon Balls? But Mira, if I take those from Namek back to our base...”
“You won’t steal them off Namek, but rather move them elsewhere on Namek.”
Pan finally shoved Vegeta back.
“Focus on him, Vegeta!”
The two saw Mira uncrossing his arms, poised to attack.
“She’s not wrong.”
The Supreme Kai of Time, while keeping a close eye on Mira and the Z-Fighters on Namek, had to be sure Goku was still in a state of blindness.
“It’s one thing for him to fight alongside Pan until history’s restored. If he sees me or this room, Goku might just retain a permanent memory.”
She heard him speak aloud, even if not directly to her, but knowing he wasn’t alone.
“The floor’s really cold. And the air’s different too.”
He turned his head right towards her, Chronoa hoping that this was a result of him locating her by sensing her ki.
“Where am I?”
“I’m afraid I can’t say.”
“You... the voice in my head.”
“The voice in the earpiece.”
He laid his head back.
She then saw his face go from having a bit of a smile to showing remorse.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“I thought you were the bad guy or working with one. That you meant to trick me earlier. I’m sorry.”
“It’s all right, Goku,” she assured him in the moment even as she focused elsewhere. “You were put in a really crummy situation. I understand.”
To be continued