The Namek Saga covers the upcoming chapters of Pan's Ascent in their entirety.
Who Is Towa? Kaio-Ken!Edit
The following is at least partially a synopsis due to my inability to write out the chapter proper.
After having a senzu bean to heal from her battles prior, Pan listened as both Chronoa and Trunks explained who Towa was:
Towa hailed from the Demon Realm, having a talent for science and technology, but had little to no influence in her home world. In the early days of the Time Patrol, they needed assistance in building and sustaining the Time Patrol's tech, so the two decided to recruit her. While she never trained for combat, she flourished, helping in the early years of Toki Toki City.
They acknowledged her brilliance, but then moved on to what happened: Towa attempted to alter the main timeline for her own gain, which Trunks had to stop. Afterward, she went rogue, leaving Toki Toki City and attempting to alter the timeline several times. Years had passed since her last attempt, and with her being behind the latest attempted alterations, Chronoa and Trunks realized the idea of Towa giving up or moving on was too good to be true. With what Towa had pulled off so far with her power-ups and this ally of hers called Mira, both feared the worst had yet to come.
As the four of them left the library, Pima went ahead through the gate, understanding he was not needed yet, but stating he would be training for if a day were to come where he would be. Pan decided if nothing else was needed of her, she would depart as well, but she found her path blocked by the bearded owl she had encountered prior, whom Chronoa introduced as Tokitoki.
When Pan asked if Tokitoki was Chronoa's pet, the Supreme Kai of Time explained that he wasn't her pet, but that she was Tokitoki's caretaker and had been so for millions of years. After Pan got over her shock at both Tokitoki and Chronoa's astounding age, the Supreme Kai of Time elaborated that Tokitoki, being a divine bird, was incredibly important to their universe and time itself, and that ensuring his safety was of paramount importance.
Once Pan inquired if Tokitoki was very powerful, Chronoa elaborated that physically, he wasn't much to brag about, but he has power over time, making him vital to producing time itself. Even after this clarification, Tokitoki did not take the small jab lightly and flew up to Chronoa, cawing at her angrily. After Chronoa argued back at Tokitoki, telling him to watch his language, Trunks insisted it may take a while and that they'd get back to Pan at another time.
Instead of heading back to her housing unit, Pan sought out Amura, eventually locating her along with Umiu. Her two fellow patrollers in training asked her what it was like to tackle such massive events and battles, but Pan immediately changed the subject upon revealing she saw the Kaio-Ken and a technique of Nappa's, both of which Amura used against Pan herself in their spar long ago. Amura revealed that a large variety of techniques wielded by countless warriors throughout history could be learned by the patrollers and that she had picked them up from others.
Having seen how the Kaio-Ken boosted a fighter of Goku's caliber, Pan requested that Amura teach her how to use that technique, to which Umiu asked the same. Amura agreed to teach the two the technique, but warned that even for her to use it as briefly as she did before took months of training, and that the slightest error could put both their lives in danger. Both accepted the risk and accompanied Amura to the academy's training grounds.
From there, Amura tried to describe the process as basically as she could: that it was multiplying one's ki for a fraction of a second, greatly enhancing power, speed, and even senses, but takes a great toll on the body over time. Since Amura herself had yet to master Kaio-Ken times three or four, and as Pan and Umiu had never attempted it prior, she only wanted them to try working towards the standard version. Amura stood in place and demonstrated the technique first, both Pan and Umiu taking a step back from its power, as well as Pan sensing it was far stronger than when Amura used it in their battle. The two of them were instructed not to move around and just to try to get their power to multiply, then stabilize it.
Pan and Umiu charged up their ki, then shouted "Kaio-Ken!", seeing their ki briefly grow and take on a red hue, then immediately reverted back. Amura believed they weren't timing it correctly and taking too long to multiply their power, and waited for them to attempt it once more. In their second attempt, Pan and Umiu's ki grew moreso and remained red somewhat longer, but still lost it again. For their third try, Pan and Umiu's Kaio-Kens finally resembled Amura's and lasted for several seconds.
Seeing their progress, Amura wondered if they should try moving, but then saw that Pan's ki continued to grow even further. She told Pan to stop and power down, but Pan found she couldn't, feeling a great strain and seeing her muscles greatly increase along with her ki. Umiu had the same issue, but also seemed to grow massively, beginning to tower over the two of them. Both fell to their knees, their veins visible across their skin and struggling to breathe as Amura called for help. Pan and Amura finally managed to exit the Kaio-Ken, but after falling to their sides, they both lost consciousness.
Pan awoke, once again seeing Beetro watching over her.
"Kaio-Ken..." he started. "Perhaps one of the most common cases I heal patrollers from. So many attempt it, but very few master it."
She looked down at her arms, which were still bulkier than usual and the veins, while smaller, were still easily noticeable.
"It will take a bit more time for your body and Umiu's to revert to normal, though if you two continue to train with that technique like your friend Amura, it will take less time going forward."
Aside from her mind wandering back to her first experience using Kaio-Ken, she thought back to the discussion regarding Towa and her former status in the Time Patrol.
"Beetro, you're a non-combatant, right?"
"Yes. In fact, I joined the patrol on the condition that I'd never have to partake in battle."
"Are you the only one?"
"No, there was also To..."
He paused for a moment.
"I really mustn't discuss it."
"Myself and older members make an effort not to discuss Towa with newer members... but since you're clearly aware of her, yes, she also joined as a non-combatant. We had that in common."
"Know her well?"
Beetro reflected on the past, and his earliest years in the Time Patrol.
"She was very dedicated to her craft. Always strove make everything here better. When we first met, she had already helped to upgrade the patrol's medical tech, which certainly helped me in my endeavors."
"Did she keep to herself?"
"No, not necessarily. Like you, she had been going through a tragedy from her home. We could tell Towa was trying to make the best of what she had here, up until...
"An accident at the academy, which injured more than a dozen recruits and nearly killed... Hale."
Unknown to Pan and Beetro, Hakusa walked by the room, then stopped upon hearing that last statement.
"I mean, he wasn't a commander back then. Hale was a recruit at that time. But his wound from what transpired was the gravest of the bunch. "
"Just what happened?"
"I never saw it occur first-hand: only the results of it."
The door opened and Hakusa had their attention.
"I'll tell you what happened: Towa had just developed a new training bot, one designed to push us to our limits to aid in battles."
"The Saiyans that heckled Hale happened there, correct?"
After Beetro's comment, Hakusa paused, then continued.
"Right. It was them that went first. The bot seemed weak at first, but once they got cocky, they were taken down with ease. Hale tried next."
"But wait..." Pan inquired. "I thought you said you weren't there, Beetro."
"I wasn't. That was what Hale told me."
As Hakusa continued right after, Pan felt a change in the Saiyan's voice.
"Even after their loss, they still underestimated him. The bot powered up and it looked like Hale was done for, but he pushed himself forward, matching it and taking it down."
As much as Pan found something of a happy ending for Hale from that, she had to know...
"But if Hale won, then where was the accident?"
Hakusa crossed her arms, taking in a deep breath.
"Towa called it a wrap and tried shutting it down, but there was a malfunction. It attacked everyone around it and kept increasing its power. It knocked Trunks away and it would've killed..."
Hakusa was trying hard to not let emotion slip through.
"It would've killed those Saiyans were it not for Hale. He got in its way, taking a beam through his torso. It was after that when Trunks came back with his sword and cut it in two."
Trying to wrap it up, Hakusa turned to Beetro.
"Then Trunks flew Hale to you, right Beetro?"
"Indeed. I had to treat him for several days, both due to the extent of his wound and how much of our resources went to the other injured as well..."
Hakusa knew Beetro wasn't finished recollecting what she didn't want to hear.
"And if I recall, your leg had to be treated."
She couldn't hide it anymore and bit the bullet.
"Hale saved my life that day... even after how me and the other Saiyans treated him."
"It's in the past, Hakusa. You and they grew into what you are now."
All the times she had been in Hakusa's prescence, Pan never saw anything remotely close to Hakusa acting condescending towards anyone. Even when Hakusa lightly pointed out Pan's then-lower power level with Trunks, it was done out of concern rather than arrogance.
As much as part of her tried to imagine Hakusa and other Saiyans acting snobby towards someone like Hale, her focused turned towards...
"Beetro... how soon can I get back into action?"
"Not too long."
She saw Hakusa about to leave, but the Saiyan turned back to her.
"Just be sure not to rush it Pan, okay?"
Deep within her lair, Towa turned toward her inquiring creation.
"If our goal is to fight back against the Time Patrol's interference... why did you make me spare that patroller?"
"That is a fair question, Mira. This girl serves them, yes... but she isn't an unquestioning pawn. There is more to her."
"What would you propose we do when we encounter her again?"
As she considered an answer to his second question, Towa began tinkering with her formula. An idea sparked...
"We will see what happens and go from there."
Pan spent the following weeks in Toki Toki City working alongside Umiu under Amura's instruction to perfect their use of the Kaio-Ken. Neither had to return to Beetro's care since their first attempt, but both still found the technique difficult to hold.
"Now I want you both to spar using Kaio-Ken. Not times 4. Not times 3. Just basic Kaio-Ken."
Umiu walked back, then turned with his stance as Pan followed suit in the opposite direction.
Both let their ki flow through them to better ensure control of it.
Pan and Umiu were interrupted by Commander Hale stepping in between them.
"I regret that I am cutting your session short, but I'm afraid..."
"You need Pan for a mission?" Amura asked bluntly. "...not that I would know anything about her missions. I mean I know they're pretty important, but none of the specifics..."
"It's quite alright. And yes, you are correct."
They made their way through the Time Nest towards the library.
"Don't get discouraged," Hale began. "It took Goku months just to get Kaio-Ken to work."
Even as Pan remembered just how well Goku used Kaio-Ken in his battle with Nappa, she also remembered the tremendous strain it put on him against Vegeta.
"Don't forget, you advanced to the 30's without it."
"Commander Hale, if you don't mind me asking..."
"Please... what's on your mind?"
"That day... the accident..."
The topic didn't thrill him, but Hale remained ready to answer.
"How did you get through that?"
"My earliest days in the Time Patrol were hard for me. I was one of the first of Frieza's race to join and not all of my fellow patrollers were thrilled at the prospect."
"When I saved them from the training bot, things improved... but healing from that wound was a trial."
"That's when you met Beetro, right?"
This caused Hale to pause right at the steps and turn away from her for just a moment. Pan began to regret prying into his affairs.
"What am I doing? I'm treating Hale like an open book."
"I'm sorry, Commander. I didn't mean to pry."
He turned back to her.
"The truth is I don't believe I would have survived without him."
The library's doors opened quickly, Trunks' gloved hands visible to them.
"Pan, get in here now!"
Both ran through the library at a fast pace, Trunks' hand gripping Pan's wrist tightly to keep her from falling back.
"What's the situation?"
He didn't answer.
They remained silent after until they made it to the round room. Trunks finally let go of her, then zoomed toward the scroll.
"Trunks, would you please tell me what's going on?"
He stretched out the scroll and placed it into her hands. From what she could see...
Bulma and Krillin, both on an alien planet, watched something unfold in shock and terror.
Vegeta lied on the ground in front of them heavily bruised, one of his shoulder guards broken off. He was slow to get up, grasping his chest in pain and spitting out blood as two men approached him:
One tall, green-haired and green-skinned with an aura of elegance, and the other bulkier with pink skin, spikes across his head and wrists, and much less refined in manner.
Zarbon and Dodoria! Vegeta in Peril!Edit
The following is at least partially a synopsis due to my inability to write out the chapter proper.
Pan watched the rest of the scenario play out: Vegeta fighting in vain against the two figures, eventually being knocked unconscious, and being picked up and flown away. She realized what made Trunks so tense before showing her the scroll: his father's life was being threatened by Towa.
After she asked where Vegeta, Krillin, and Bulma were, Trunks took a breath, then explained after Piccolo's death, the Dragon Balls were turned to stone, and that Krillin, Bulma, and Gohan went to Namek to use the Dragon Balls of that planet to revive Piccolo, in turn reviving the Earth's Dragon Balls. He then revealed that not only Vegeta, but also Frieza and his forces sought out the Namekian Dragon Balls as well.
When Pan asked why Vegeta was against Frieza this time around, Trunks told her Vegeta was defecting and found an common ally in the Z-Fighters there in order to stop him from gaining immortality with the Dragon Balls. Pan saw this as a point of redemption for Vegeta, even after what he did when he first arrived to Earth.
Now that she knew the context of their being on Namek, Pan asked what was going on in that instance on the scroll. Trunks explained that Dodoria wasn't supposed to be there, both him and Zarbon were far more powerful than they should've been, and instead of just killing Vegeta, they were going to deliver him to Frieza. Their one advantage was they both had more time before any negative effects could creep in due to Vegeta not being killed from that battle, but even then, time would run out soon.
Handing Pan the scroll, he told her to be careful and to protect Vegeta, both for his own sake and Bulla's. Pan clenched the scroll and closed her eyes, disappearing from Trunks' sight.
On Planet Namek, Pan arrived nearby Krillin and Bulma's location, the former holding a Namekian Dragon Ball in his hands. As Bulma explained that Gohan was off tracking another Dragon Ball, Vegeta flew in and landed nearby, demanding they hand over their Dragon Ball. Her thoughts on Vegeta soured when he threatened both of them, especially his future wife Bulma. Just as the situation looked like it would lead to Krillin having to battle Vegeta, everyone's attention turned to Zarbon landing from across Vegeta.
Bulma wondered if Zarbon was there to save them, to which Krillin told her he was one of Frieza's men. Zarbon intended for Vegeta to reveal where he hid Namekian Dragon Balls, but also hoped he'd have to beat Vegeta within an inch of his life for an answer. Vegeta scoffed, informing Zarbon that Saiyans grow in power immensely from near-death, and that it was a mistake for Zarbon to have had him healed. As Vegeta taunted Zarbon to transform, a flash of light emerged next to Zarbon, then began to reveal someone to Vegeta's shock: Dodoria.
At first, Dodoria appeared confused as if he didn't know where he was or how he got there, but once a purple aura flowed through him, he recomposed himself. He turned to Krillin, remembering him and Gohan ambushing him and Krillin blinding him while fleeing. Krillin warned him that he was more than strong enough to defeat him this time, but Dodoria reassured the Earthling that he would let him live for now, as his main focus was getting revenge on Vegeta. The Saiyan Prince tried to hide his shock at Dodoria's survival, telling him that he still stood no chance against him. With a grin, Dodoria charged his newfound ki, unleashing a gust that gave even Vegeta pause. As Zarbon began to question just where Dodoria had been, Dodoria asked him "What do you say to us working together to bring down this Saiyan?" Just then, the same aura enveloped Zarbon, who then answered "For once, we are in agreement. And gladly."
As much as Krillin despised Vegeta, having seen even the proud Saiyan begin to lose his composure made part of him consider joining forces with Vegeta against a greater threat. Seeing Krillin take a step forward. Pan flew in front of him, signalling him and Bulma to get to cover, then stepped to Vegeta's side, keeping an eye on the two newly-empowered elites of Frieza. Vegeta warned her that this did not excuse her transgressions against him on Earth, and they would settle their score after they survived this battle.
Zarbon flew at Vegeta first, going for a kick to his neck. The Saiyan Prince stopped it with one hand, still standing, but being forced downward as he saw Dodoria running in for a ducking uppercut. Zarbon grinned, keeping Vegeta unable to stand or evade the incoming attack.
Dodoria found his uppercut intercepted by Pan blocking it, but the sheer force caused a whirlwind around the area. Vegeta and Pan were sent rolling, and the Saiyan Prince was immediately intercepted by Zarbon, who took him into the air. Pan saw Dodoria ready to take off and flew in his way.
"Getting in my way, are we, girl?"
Pan fired off several ki bullets, which Dodoria knocked away with his spiked wrists, then moved them quickly to block Pan's impending punches. None of the blows successfully harmed Dodoria, but each sent him grinding backward. Even still, he kept his balance, never wavering.
"Dodoria was on Vegeta's level..." inquired Pan. "...Right?"
"Right..." began Trunks. "...but after his defeat on Earth, my father's power increased dramatically, allowing him to easily overpower him."
"...so you're saying Vegeta should mop the floor with both of them."
"At this point in time, yes, but now Towa's made them more than a match for him."
Vegeta broke off his clash with Zarbon, both floating in midair. Zarbon saw Vegeta sweating while his light green skin was without any bruises, let alone blemishes.
"How?!" shouted Vegeta, who lost his composure as Zarbon began to cackle. "You couldn't best me without your transformation, and now I'm stronger than I was before!"
"Who knows, Vegeta..." began Zarbon. "Perhaps Saiyans aren't the only one whose power increase from battle after all."
Pan glanced away for just a moment to see what was happening on Vegeta's end, witnessing the dread on the Saiyan Prince's face.
After Dodoria's comment, he disappeared from Pan's sight.
"I've got to focus!"
Pan tried to sense him, putting up her ki shield in advance, but just as she heard him again, he struck with his hand, managing to hit before her shield covered her completely. His five fingers' nails dug into her back, Pan wincing from the sharp pain, as Dodoria struck at the shield with his other hand. Instead of breaking it, the shield held, but Pan was knocked to the ground, Dodoria's other hand still on her.
"A force field, huh?"
He tossed her towards a wall of rock, finally letting her loose, but leaving an extended scratch upon release. Due to her shield, she bounced off the structure upon impact, but found herself on her back, one hand on her wound.
"He's far faster than he looks. I can't lose Dodoria again or he'll really gut me."
She noticed Dodoria planting his feet firmly into the ground and putting his arms back. Pan then caught a faint glow from between his lips.
"Quick!" shouted Trunks. "He's firing a...!"
She put both her hands out, glowing fast, as she quickly shouted...
Pan fired a quick Kamehameha burst at Dodoria's head before he could fire his mouth beam, sending him onto his back.
"Not much power, but enough for now."
She used her time to tear off a small piece from her cape, then wrapped it around her from underneath her jacket and over her shirt. The whole time, she watched as Dodoria slowly got to his feet, his face with a few marks from the attack. His joyous smile from before melted away into a near-snarl of annoyance.
He put one foot forward.
"Now I'll really crush you!"
His foot dug into the ground, leaving cracks as Dodoria flew at her head-first. She swiftly ducked as Dodoria tore through the entire rocky structure with a headbutt. Even as it crumbled on top of him, Dodoria simply stood, dusting off the top of his head.
"Talk about hard-headed..."
"I think you mean thick-headed," Trunks replied.
"Now's not the time for that," Chronoa reminded them both.
Meanwhile, Pan saw Vegeta's arm forced against his back by Zarbon, who then proceeded to knee the Saiyan Prince in the back.
"Shoot! Vegeta needs my help!"
She zoomed upward, but then found a barrage of ki projectiles in her path courtesy of Dodoria. As Pan had to place her focus in maneuvering around the barrage, Dodoria made his way up to Vegeta, where the two comrades attacked the Saiyan Prince at once. Vegeta tried to block one attacker with each arm, but was soon met a punch to the face from both Dodoria and Zarbon simultaneously, an impact that slammed him into the ground.
Pan, the barrage behind her, saw Vegeta's impact, as well as Zarbon and Dodoria side-by-side in the air, never more unified than in this moment. Zarbon put his hand out, the other hand steadying his aim as Dodoria performed the same motion.
"How is this...?" went Trunks in astonishment. "Dodoria's performing one of Zarbon's techniques."
Vegeta, still getting up, saw the dual Elegant Blasters ready to fire at him. Instead of trying to get out of the way, he put both his wrists out, believing he could deflect both of them.
"What is my father doing?! Against two of them and with their power-up, there's no way he can withstand them! That arrogant...!"
The two attacks fired just after Trunks' comment, to which Pan flew in front of Vegeta, gesturing him so her back faced the beams. She put up her ki shield, but she was unsure if that alone could stop the combined attack.
The shield doubled in size upon the attacks' collision. A massive explosion, one large enough to engulf the body of land they stood upon, sent Pan and Vegeta in the shield flying back before the two rolled closer to Bulma's cave where she and Krillin watched in shock. Once she deactivated the ki shield and her Kaio-Ken, the Saiyan Prince shoved her off of him.
"Get off me! What is this, woman?! You attack me on Earth and here you nurse me!"
He made it onto his feet, then pointed up at Zarbon and Dodoria, who floated above in no hurry to continue.
"You had a clear shot! You should've attacked them! Did you think I needed your help?!"
Pan kept it together in appearance in front of him, but she kept trying to justify putting up with it to herself.
"He's just like this now! He'll change! He'll become a better person!"
"Vegeta's difficult, I know," went Trunks. "At this point, he's still not much better than Zarbon and Dodoria, but Krillin and Gohan needed his help just to survive until Goku arrived. And even then, he was paramount against Frieza' forces."
"Hey!" shouted Dodoria from above. "Are you two just going to lick your wounds or will you at least put up a fight?!"
"I'm going to shut him up," declared Vegeta.
Zarbon prepared to advance, but Dodoria put out his arm in front of him.
"Let me take the Saiyan Prince. I'll make him beg."
Instead of arguing against this, Zarbon grinned.
"Be sure that you do, Dodoria. I won't give you long."
Dodoria scoffed, then slowly hovered downward eying Vegeta, who turned back to Pan.
"Don't delude yourself, girl: you are on your own," warned Vegeta. "If you can't handle Zarbon, I'd sooner watch you Earthlings die than spill one drop of my royal blood to help you."
Pan simply nodded as she eyed Zarbon, who waited with crossed arms. Vegeta's ascent began slowly, but then sped up rapidly as Dodoria did the same with his descent. A midair collision caused a big shockwave, senting them both back and causing sides of the cave to shed small pebbles.
"Will he be a better match against Dodoria as he is now?" asked Pan.
"Maybe..." began Trunks. "...but I fear my father will still underestimate Dodoria, much more-so than he did Zarbon. Should things get worse for him..."
"You know I'll step in if it comes to that."
"I know you will, but Zarbon will need your focus."
Pan made her way up to Zarbon's level, who turned his head, his green ponytail following.
"You surviving against the likes of Dodoria is impressive. I'd offer you the opportunity to join Lord Frieza's forces, but judging by the look on your face, you've already rejected it."
As much as Pan wanted to tell Zarbon she would never join the likes of Frieza, she kept it to herself and readied herself for battle.
"Such a waste. Oh well."
As soon as they began trading blows, Pan could already tell that Zarbon fought much more precisely and elegantly.
Whereas Zarbon seemed to have the complete edge over him earlier, Vegeta found Dodoria a much more even battle. Granted, he had yet to overpower him as of yet.
"Surprised, Vegeta? You thought I wouldn't be a match for you. Well I'm not just a match..."
"About to call yourself a forest fire?" Vegeta taunted.
"Not this time! This time, I'm a...!"
"What, a flaming hurricane?"
This further infuriated Dodoria into lashing out, but even then, Vegeta's taunt didn't gain him much more than a few free shots.
"Damn it, Father! You should've learned the stakes from Zarbon!"
Zarbon flew upward, firing an orange arrow-shaped down at Pan, who flew out of the way. She fired ki blasts in retaliation, but then heard a shout from Vegeta: Zarbon's attack nearly struck him from below, exposing him to a hit from Dodoria.
She turned back to Zarbon, just barely avoiding a kick from him. He looked down at Vegeta, then back to her, seeing the concern she tried to conceal.
"Ah. Loyalty to Vegeta?"
Pan knew she couldn't answer, but even with the Vegeta she knew growing up, her best friend's father, a Saiyan unrelated to her by blood, but that Pan sometimes treated like an uncle being long gone, she wouldn't allow either Zarbon or Dodoria to do anything to this brutal younger Vegeta.
"I highly doubt it's love."
With a shout, Pan struck Zarbon's cheek, but found herself immediately met with a barrage of kicks with the last sending her downward. She caught herself in midair, then flew back up for another punch. Zarbon swerved backward, then struck Pan below the chest, forcing her backward.
"You have exceptional beauty, Earthling... but your power isn't enough against one of my caliber."
He covered the distance before Pan could fire off a ki blast, and took hold of her by her neck with one hand. Zarbon felt Pan gripping his wrist, but continued speaking with the same calm as before.
"You're stronger than that bald brute Vegeta ordered around, but not anywhere near myself, let alone the universe's last Saiyan."
He saw Pan's arms finally drop, believing her will to fight to be gone.
"It's a shame to snuff you out, but those who stand against Frieza must perish."
His other hand began to charge with ki as he was then startled to see Pan's hands against the side of her face.
Blinded, Zarbon let go of Pan, covering his eyes with both hands, and still keeping himself afloat, but trying to maintain his altitude.
"You! You insufferable little...!"
Pan knew this was her one chance to end things quickly.
A gut punch caused Zarbon to spit out dark green blood and forced him to release his eyes. His vision had not yet returned to him as he tried to follow what he could only perceive as a red blur zooming around him. Pan attacked all around him for as long as she felt she could before he could successfully hit back, but knew both that her window would soon expire and that her body couldn't hold Kaio-Ken forever.
A two-handed slam into the back of Zarbon's head sent him falling at a high speed. Pan followed him, booting his chest with both her legs to further accelerate his descent. She flew as fast as she ever had before, feeling her body tire, but knowing she had to land before Zarbon did.
"Come on, come on!"
As she landed, her feet practically embedded in the ground, she put both her hands out and caught the high-speed Zarbon by his back. Pan didn't feel anything close to Zarbon being crippled like Goku had done to Nappa, but she could tell from his cries that it was not something he'd recover from soon.
Pan reverted back from Kaio-Kan, dropping Zarbon just from her body trying to recover. She remained on her feet, but had to crouch over just to catch her breath.
"So... leave Zarbon as is, right?"
"The damage you've done to him was a bit much already, so..."
As Chronoa tried to finish, Pan saw Dodoria kicking Vegeta multiple times in midair, then knocking him down.
"Hurry!" shouted Trunks. "My father's...!"
"In trouble. I know."
Dodoria landed to the ground hard, causing Vegeta to stumble as he saw his adversary about to unleash Maximum Blaster.
"Go down alread...!"
Dodoria felt a crushing pain across his throat, causing the massive yellow beam to fire off from his hands into the sky instead of his intended target. Pan wrapped her legs around his sides, then pulled back with her family polearm with all her might. As Dodoria tried to grapple Pan, Vegeta took hold of both his arms and slammed both his feet into his stomach before tugging on them.
"That's it, Pan! Just keep Dodoria in place!"
"You already told me everything I could want to save your skin before! You have nothing to bargain with now!"
Pan didn't care to see Vegeta's sadistic side and just wanted the battle to be done with.
"What are you waiting for, Vegeta?"
The Saiyan Prince was surprised to hear her refer to him by name for the first time, but still scoffed at her.
"If you want Dodoria dead that badly, then do it yourself!"
In the midst of Vegeta's berating, a sphere-shaped projectile struck Pan's back, causing her to lose her grip on Dodoria and the Power Pole, her weapon dropping to his feet. Vegeta turned, seeing Zarbon, even after the beatdown he took earlier, having had enough power to fire off this attack.
"Damned brat should've finished him off first!"
He turned back to Dodoria, hiding his gasping for air with a look of intended wrath.
Just as Dodoria began to lift Vegeta off his feet, the Saiyan Prince quickly let go of one of his hands and fired off a blast at Zarbon, knocking him back. Just as he prepared another for the top of Dodoria's head, he felt his leg being tugged and was slung helplessly downward.
Pan, trying to reach for the Power Pole, saw it rolling away from her down towards the water, then lost sight of it: Dodoria grabbed her by the head, obscuring her vision with his palm. With a roar, he slammed Pan into Vegeta's chest, taking chips out of his armor and causing him to spit out blood. Before Dodoria could perform another attack on Vegeta with Pan's body, she fired at his face, forcing him to let her go. Just as she landed, Dodoria struck with a titanic punch. Pan guarded against it, but she was still floored by its force, leaving her exposed to a kick.
"Stay out of this, Earthling!"
He sent her rolling towards the cave's entrance, where she saw Krillin and Bulma watching her approach, as well as the figure that approached Vegeta.
"I'll be with you space trash in a minute."
Vegeta, who finally made it to his feet, lost sight of Dodoria as he finished his sentence.
Dodoria was behind Vegeta, grabbing him by his arms. For Vegeta, a nightmarish reminder of what he had done to Dodoria. For Dodoria, a reversal he was in control of this time.
"Prince Vegeta, was it?"
A tug caused Vegeta to spit out, followed by a shout of pain.
"Enjoying yourself, prince? It's fun on the other side, isn't it? ISN'T IT?!"
Pan watched as Dodoria continually pulled Vegeta by both his arms to the sound of the Saiyan's cries, fully intending to rip him in two.
"I'll take your arms, Vegeta! Let's see you get stronger from that! From bleeding to death!"
"Wait!" shouted Zarbon, who even admist the power-up looked deathly terrified at what Dodoria was doing. "Lord Frieza wants Vegeta alive! For the Dragon Balls he stole from us! It was an order!"
"Aww shove it!" Dodoria retorted. "Make an excuse! He'll summon the Ginyu Force to finish up here anyway! The prince is mine!"
Before, Dodoria was content with beating Vegeta down and returning him to Frieza, but after Vegeta had him at his mercy for the third time, he wanted nothing more than to make Vegeta feel the same agony he had felt each of those times.
Pan, seeing Dodoria's back turned, floated quietly to him. She grabbed his shoulder with one hand as the other delivered a chop to the back of his neck...
...which was followed by Dodoria striking her with the back of his head.
"You thought that measly chop would knock me out!? Now leave me to my fun!"
She swerved her body back upward, then tried wrapping both arms around his neck, but even as she tried to tighten her grip, it was to no effect.
"Ha! Go ahead! Try and choke me to death! Without your precious pole, your arms might as well be hugging me."
Every time Pan was in combat with someone, she had always been told not to go too far, whether it be ringing out Piccolo, knocking Raditz into the path of the first Special Beam Cannon, or nearly flying Vegeta and herself into orbit. Here, she was faced with all efforts to down Dodoria turning up short.
"I don't know if I can get him unconscious! What would you have me do?"
She knew Dodoria was supposed to have been killed earlier and that his prescence here alone invited alterations to history. Pan waited to hear what to do in this situation, but she heard nothing from either of them.
"Trunks! Chronoa! What do I do here?!"
Pan knew they were both as stumped as she was.
"He'll kill Vegeta! Your father, Trunks!"
As Pan clearly became more panicked and after hearing what would befall Vegeta, Trunks and Chronoa both desperately attempted to come up with what to do.
"My father killed him... but Towa pulled Dodoria out before he was killed. So if he's here now, surely..."
"Vegeta is supposed to kill him. That is how history is supposed to be. Anything else would be..."
This deliberation between the two did nothing to help Pan, who kept waiting for confirmation. She could see Dodoria beginning to grow impatient with his attempts to tear Vegeta in two.
"This is taking too long. I'll just end this right now."
Pan immediately recognized that same glow from Dodoria's mouth.
"Nighty night, sweet prince!"
"I won't let Vegeta die."
She didn't know what would happen as a result of this, but Pan saw no other choice.
Dodoria felt a huge aura around Pan, and her grip on the top of his head and chin were far tighter than before, almost digging into his skin. As he hurriedly tried to fire his mouth beam at Vegeta, Pan swerved his head sideways...
...breaking his neck and causing the beam to avoid hitting Vegeta. Said beam struck a tall landscape, practically vaporizing it upon impact.
"Pan... what have you done?!"
Pan heard the shock in Chronoa's voice as she let go of Dodoria, who fell to the ground on his side, his dead eyes and shocked face frozen in place.
"You've... killed Dodoria."
Consequences! Zarbon Remains!Edit
As Vegeta eyed Zarbon, Pan continued to look back at Dodoria, whom Vegeta was meant to kill and whom she had just slain herself. She didn't know what the consequences would be or if her entire mission was for naught because of it.
"Did I change history?" Pan pondered . "Is what I've done...?"
"Pan, you should've waited for us to..." began Chronoa.
"Dodoria was about to kill my father!" interrupted Trunks. "If she had waited any longer, history would've changed. Now look, none of us expected Towa to be capable of this. We were both caught off-guard and we didn't know what you should do, Pan, so you made a call. As far as I can tell..."
Trunks looked at the scrolls nearby, looking for any evidence of alteration caused by Pan's actions, but found no purple glow emanating from any of them.
"You see, Chronoa? Pan didn't change history by killing Dodoria: she secured it."
"But that's the problem, Trunks: we don't know exactly how she secured it."
"Perhaps after Pan killed him, Dodoria returned to the afterlife from the point he was taken by Towa. So with that, no harm done."
Chronoa pondered, but seeing the lack of distortions that Trunks noted...
"That would appear to be the case, Trunks..."
Having heard Trunks making the argument she had done no harm, Pan was starting to relax, raising her head.
"But from now on..."
Chronoa's tone was lightly stern.
"...this will never again be done lightly. We got lucky here, but in any other case, you might have done something irrevocable. Do you understand?"
"Yes..." began Pan, realizing she was not in the clear from what she had done after all. "I understand, Chronoa."
She turned, seeing Vegeta looking back at her impatiently.
"Are you done moping?! What, you didn't have the stomach to kill before?!"
The two heard Zarbon grunting, then saw their adversary finally making his way back to his feet, wiping dark green blood from below his lip with his hand. As Pan took a step forward, Vegeta shoved her to the side.
"Now get out of my way while I finish Zarbon off like you should have earlier!"
She didn't appreciate Vegeta's gesture, but kept an eye on him and Zarbon.
"I'd say step back for now," advised Trunks. "As Zarbon is now, I believe my father should be able to finish things as per history."
Pan began to walk around the cave, nearly out of sight, as she watched Vegeta flying straight towards Zarbon at high speed, ready to collide with him with both fists...
...but both caught a glimpse of Zarbon's smile as he glowed purple, followed by his muscle mass increasing nearly instantaneously.
With a single fist, this hulking Zarbon slammed Vegeta into the ground, leaving him bouncing before he caught himself in midair.
"...but how?! I wore him out!"
"It looks like Towa restored Zarbon's energy."
Zarbon, now monstrous and his skin scaled in appearance, pointed to Vegeta as he spoke:
"Is your memory that short? Oh wait... earlier, you told me to transform from the start. I didn't even need it against your so-called 'increased power'. Now you'll wish for death before I bring you to Lord Frieza."
"Ha!" scoffed Vegeta. "I've fought that form before, so now I know how to beat it."
"Oh please. You'd need to be a Great Ape to overpower me. Now that you've lost your tail, all that's left is your arrogance."
"While we can only hope Dodoria gave them some fatigue..." Mira began. "Are you certain that Zarbon has the sufficient strength to defeat them both now?"
Towa, watching the action alongside her creation, grinned.
"We shall see."
Vegeta charged ki in his hands, then shouted as he unleashed a purple beam at the idle Zarbon. Pan flew forward the moment the beam left Vegeta's fingers, taking aim at the monstrous figure's armor. In response to the Saiyan's attack, Zarbon simply swatted at it with his right palm...
...sending it into a nearby island. Just then, Zarbon swung his arm at Pan, who was forced to call off her intended punch and descended, rolling as his fist struck her former position. Vegeta covered the distance and both his hands came down towards the back of Zarbon's head, but were instead met by a swinging wrist. It didn't just block the attack: Vegeta was forced downward.
Seeing Zarbon ready to step on Vegeta, Pan punched at his exposed back repeatedly. She found Zarbon was aware of the hits, but suffered little harm from them. He turned quickly, his leg outstretched.
"That tickled!" Zarbon taunted as the kick landed.
Pan blocked it with her wrist, but was soon floored several feet away onto her stomach by its sheer might. Zarbon charged at her, nonchalantly firing a blast behind him at Vegeta who was about to fire his own. Pan was unsure her ki shield could withstand the incoming punt Zarbon intended for her head, and she was aware her efforts a moment ago were fruitless. She put a hand in front of her face and shouted as fast as she could:
The kick was caught, Pan not even being pushed back before she tossed it aside. She rose, using her arms to keep Zarbon's down before going for a headbutt. She found it matched by Zarbon's own, then they both stepped back. In their next clash, Pan struck first, delivering a jab to his cheek, which was visibly a discomfort to Zarbon, but only left a small bruise. From there, Pan found herself able to keep Zarbon at bay, but unable to overpower him.
"That technique caught me off-guard before..."
He caught both of Pan's hands in his palms, keeping her in place.
He lifted his foot...
"I match it!"
Pan cried out as that foot stomped on her own. Zarbon let go of her, then punched with both hands simultaneously. Right as Zarbon watched Pan tumbling back, he felt a bolt strike his back. Vegeta saw a hole in Zarbon's cape from his projectile, as well as light bruising on his armor, but found Zarbon moving at him faster than he anticipated.
As Vegeta leapt upward with Zarbon in hot pursuit, Pan recovered, having deactivated her Kaio-Ken. Before, it overwhelmed Zarbon after she blinded him, but now...
"He's right. My Kaio-Ken isn't enough anymore."
Seeing Vegeta slammed downward, Pan knew she had to hurry.
"I don't know if I can withstand it, but I have no choice."
"Pan, wait...!" warned Chronoa.
She channeled her ki around her...
Both Vegeta and Zarbon felt the increase in Pan's ki and saw a large gust of dust around her.
"This is..." Zarbon started before witnessing Pan colliding with him, her body covered with an even greater aura of red over her than before.
As he was being forced backward, Zarbon gestured his hands to aim for Pan's face, but by the time ki fired from them, she left his sight and he was only being pushed back by their momentum prior. He turned around looking for his opponent, then saw the red burst approaching him once more. Zarbon went for a double axe handle, crashing his hands into the ground, but once he realized the lack of Pan lying in the impact point, he found her fist colliding with his face.
Zarbon flew backward standing up, a small purple cut between his eyes and mouth, and his feet dragging across the grass leaving parallel trails of dirt. Seeing a structure behind him, Zarbon put his hand to his back to stop himself from crashing through it. He succeeded, already dreading looking forward.
The moment he so much as saw red, he jabbed with his right. Pan swerved to the side, the fist just missing her head, then delivered an upward hook into his left side. He was lifted off his feet, time seeming to slow as he rotated, then witnessed Pan hopping upward for a spinning kick. After it connected with his chest, he was sent rocketing across on his back.
"She's doing it! She damaging Zarbon and he can't even touch her!"
Trunks seemed excited at Pan's performance.
"Her training with Amura is already paying..."
He paused for a moment when he looked back at Chronoa, who was far more concerned over what they were watching.
Coming to a halt, Zarbon started to lift himself upward, trying to dust his massive arms of dirt and pebbles.
"What is this?! That girl could barely harm my true form earlier... but now... not only can she... she's faster than me. She's almost as fast as Bur..."
The dreaded aura zoomed back and he was determined to finally land a hit on Pan. He went for an uppercut, but found it blocked, then followed by a punch to his stomach area, one that send him skating back...
...only to be met by another punch from the opposite hand with the same result. Now Pan was unleashing a barrage of punches, revealing cracks in that region of his armor as they traveled.
"It's working! It's...!"
Just then, a brief pause in between: Pan's muscles began to ache.
Having endured the beating thus far, Zarbon jumped at the momentary pause, grabbing hold of both her arms. Using their shared momentum, he fell onto his back, lifting Pan and slamming her into the ground on hers. She bounced further away as Zarbon stopped himself, then prepared Elegance Blaster.
Ki gathered in his palm as his other hand kept his hand steady to aim as Pan finally stopped moving...
...but just as the blast left, Vegeta snuck underneath Zarbon, punching at his armor in the same damaged spot Pan left at the stomach. Pan saw the blast coming her way, then going over her head, just missing her. Vegeta looked upward at Zarbon, seeing not a face filled with pain and anguish, but rather annoyance.
"How could I forget about you, Vegeta?"
The Saiyan Prince quickly stepped back and readied a blast, but a swift backhand knocked him away towards Pan's path. Seeing that Zarbon took a moment to revel at his two feats, Vegeta crawled, then rose over Pan, who lied on her back with her muscles partially bulkier from Kaio-Ken.
"This... this is what Kaio-Ken times three did to Grandpa Goku. My whole body..."
"What is this?" questioned Vegeta. "You can't be finished already. Not after what you did to Zarbon."
He lifted one foot...
He kicked her side, getting Pan's attention, as well as causing her to reel from it.
"You take one hard hit and now you need your beauty sleep, is that it Earthling?"
He crouched down, gripping Pan by her left arm. Already, this was painful to her in her current state.
As he yanked her up, his grip tighter...
Pan couldn't stop from shouting in pain. Vegeta released her left arm, seeing her crouched over with her right hand over it.
"Oh come off it! I barely even touched you!"
Seeing Zarbon walk slowly towards him, Vegeta turned back to Pan and scoffed at her condition.
"Oh fine! Wallow for all I care! I don't need anyone's help... let alone a woman's."
The Saiyan soldiered forward as Pan slowly made her way back to her feet, each small movement a trial.
"I can't keep up Kaio-Kan like this... but nothing else I've done has hurt this form of Zarbon otherwise."
As she saw Vegeta and Zarbon trading blows, she pondered what to do.
"My mistake was using Times Three for as long as I did. It needs to be in shorter bursts... but even then, what can I do otherwise?"
She thought back to her time with Tien in the Training Chamber over the course of six months, and that one of his most important lessons was to win through tactics, not just strength alone.
"If I can't hurt Zarbon as is..."
Pan had an idea.
"I can set him up."
Vegeta and Zarbon traded blows as Pan was out of action. Slowly, the Saiyan Prince began to get overpowered and lost his footing, allowing Zarbon to strike him upward, then chopped him back down.
As he was about to take hold of Vegeta by the collar...
Several projectiles struck Zarbon's back, none of them terribly harmful, but all of them noticable.
He turned, seeing Pan back on her feet, then proceeded to stomp on Vegeta, embedding him into the ground further.
"Wait right here. I'll take care of this real quick."
Zarbon charged at Pan shoulder-first, seeing her hardly move an inch save for her cape flapping with the wind. He didn't feel anything when colliding with her, then plowed straight through rock. As he came to a stop, noticing the lack of her...
"Without that red glow, that girl was nowhere near this fast. She couldn't have acted out this whole time to trick me."
His back was struck by a larger projectile, this one more than a mild irritance compared to the others.
Zarbon leapt in the direction of Pan's taunting voice, bringing his fist down on her shocked face...
Only to have apparently missed once again and met by another hit to his back from afar.
"Can't you go any faster?"
A snarling lunge towards an idle Pan.
"Of course!" said Trunks aloud.
"Of course what?" inquired Chronoa.
"Pan knows she can't do much in the way of serious damage to Zarbon in her current state, and she recalls first-hand what happened with Goku against my father's Great Ape form. She's keeping Zarbon occupied and outwitting him until my father can get back to the fight. Then they can do some real damage collectively."
Vegeta took notice of Pan's ploy as he recovered.
"A moment ago, this one couldn't drag herself up without me doing it for her, and now she's leading Zarbon on a chase, making him look like a lap dog."
He rose onto his feet, clenching his gloved fist.
"But I will be the one to finish him off."
Instead of approaching her this time, Zarbon fired a beam. Seeing zero semblance of any sign of Pan in the ensuing wreckage only to see her untouched from the corner of his eye, he fired once again.
"Ah, I see now..."
As Zarbon said this with a sense of renewed confidence, Pan made her way across from behind several structures, keeping as quiet as possible.
"You were never in any of those places I hit... or rather, you were, then left some kind of hologram behind... an afterimage."
Vegeta, behind a different structure, eyed Zarbon while also looking around for Pan, seeing no sign of her.
"You meant to tire me out, and all this time, you've been working your way close to me so that when I least expected it, you would strike..."
The Saiyan Prince caught a glimpse of a shadow...
Zarbon turned with a kick aimed right at Pan's jaw...
But when it struck, his leg phased through her, the area it passed fuzzy for a brief moment. Then what began as a tug on his cape transitioned into Zarbon being lifted off his feet over Pan's head. As she was about to swing him back down into the ground, Vegeta crashed into Zarbon's torso with both feet. Immediately after, he flew upward, charging ki...
"Move or be blown apart!" Vegeta shouted quickly.
Pan heeded this as Vegeta looked down from high above, firing a barrage of rapid, but destructive blasts at Zarbon. Bulma and Krillin peered out of their cave to see what was happening, then felt the ground beneath them shaking, as well as part of the landmass cracking. The area Vegeta was blasting began to sink, water rising from it.
"You and your pieces can rest at the bottom of the ocean!" cackled Vegeta...
Until he caught a glimpse of Zarbon flying upward, his armor chipping, cape torn, and lip bleeding. He raged onward unhindered even as the blasts rained down around him and Vegeta frantically adjusted his aim. With a thundering knee, Vegeta was exposed, enabling Zarbon to grab him by both arms and descend rapidly. Unable to aim his hands, Vegeta could only watch as his screaming reflection in the water below came closer and closer.
Pan saw she couldn't intercept in time at her current speed, so she quickly fired off Kaio-Ken. Zarbon caught the red aura, but proceeded, figuring if she tried an attack, he could have Vegeta take the hit for him. Instead, she grabbed hold of Vegeta, then pulled with no effect initially.
"Kaio-Ken Times Three!"
Almost blinded by it, Zarbon felt Vegeta slip through his fingers. Once he could see clearly, he saw Pan flying with Vegeta in her arms, even as he protested her carrying him.
"Let go already!"
Zarbon then noticed Pan's aura in flux and created an orb in his hand. Pan deactivated Kaio-Ken, then began to drop.
"Learn to fly, will you?!"
As Pan began to float upward again, she and Vegeta caught Zarbon's attack too late. The sphere struck Vegeta dead-on, knocking him out of Pan's hands and sending him crashing towards the shore by the cave.
Zarbon landed in front of Bulma and Krillin, who began to stumble out of the cave and saw the condition of his armor and ragged cape. He tore it off from his shoulder pads, then tossed it aside, not intending for it to be grappled a second time.
Vegeta could barely get to his knees, coughing up blood while Zarbon simply wiped his lip and grinned.
"I told you to wait, Prince Vegeta. But no matter: you have my full attention now."
Even in the state he was in, knowing Zarbon was in far better condition than he was, Vegeta rose onto his feet. Whether it was his Saiyan pride driving him to do this or the true spirit of a warrior refusing to give up in the face of his demise, Vegeta began to raise his fists as Zarbon walked forward.
"I am the Prince of all Saiyans, and I will not cower before a..."
He paused once he saw Pan standing in front of him, taking a defensive stance before Zarbon.
"What in the hell is this?! We fought on Earth... she and that damned swordsman cost me my tail... and yet she's... protecting me? I don't get it!"
Zarbon saw the confusion on Vegeta's face regarding Pan standing between the two of them and couldn't help but chuckle.
"Even now, you stand between me and Vegeta. Perhaps it is love, after all..."
Pan couldn't even begin to register what Zarbon had suggested.
"I know I can't say anything, but... he cannot be serious! That's just... ugh!"
Vegeta, on the other hand, scoffed at it.
"As if. She'll pay for what she did to me on Earth."
This resulted in another snicker from Zarbon, who then addressed Pan directly.
"Your efforts go entirely unrewarded. Not even a hint of gratefulness from him."
She could tell what Zarbon was trying to do.
"Go on, then. There's no need to waste your charity on Vegeta, where it is unappreciated."
He signaled for her to move aside and even Vegeta seemed ready to step around her.
"He's trying to get in Vegeta's head: make your father fight him alone while he's vulnerable."
Her back blocked Vegeta's path once again. Zarbon was perplexed at Pan still remaining between them.
"You bleeding-hearted Earthling..."
Zarbon noted Vegeta's reaction.
"I am just as puzzled as you are. But no matter."
He took a step forward.
"Just sit tight while I walk through her."
Pan put her hands together, then took on a stance Vegeta knew all too well from Earth.
Zarbon tauntingly approached slowly, one foot at a time.
"Oh please. Do you really expect that to stop me in the shape you're in?"
"Just try it!"
The Kamehameha fast approached Zarbon, who didn't move a single leg. Instead, he put out his left hand, stopping the blast not unlike the way Raditz had against Goku.
"This didn't even stop Dodoria. What makes you think..."
The beam doubled in size, pushing the standing Zarbon back a few steps. It took more effort for him to block it, but he still laughed aloud. She knew what it did to her body earlier and what it might do to that and her ki with such a technique.
"Kaio-Ken Times Three!"
The moment this super-powered Kamehameha left her hands, even more massive, Zarbon was forced to guard against it with his entire arm. Once it made contact, he felt an intense burn and for a brief moment appeared terrified at the possibility of the Kamehameha reducing him to nothing.
"It appears Zarbon's reached his match. The formula can't save him now."
"Don't be so sure, Mira. With just a little tinkering..."
Pan caught a glimmer of purple emanating across Zarbon.
"Oh, don't tell me..."
His arm, which had begun to burn, now radiated with the formula and appeared to be withstanding even her Kaio-Ken Times Three Kamehameha.
"No, no, NO! This is bad!"
Now Zarbon began running through it.
"Damn it, I'm...!"
The Kaio-Ken fluctuated and her Kamehameha became more narrow. With that, Zarbon span to the side, breaking off from the waning blast, then continued towards his intended targets.
"No afterimage will save you now!"
Having used up so much ki and her body further thrashed by the triple Kaio-Ken, Pan knew she couldn't evade Zarbon now. Vegeta quickly fired a beam at Zarbon just as the beast's left hand grabbed Pan by the back of her head. He didn't strike between his eyes as intended, but managed to leave a scar on Zarbon's cheek.
The Saiyan Prince was grabbed as well and with both him and Pan in tow, Zarbon leapt high, the water below them. Bulma and Krillin watched as the three thunderously descended out of their sight, a massive splash almost as high as the cave resulting from their impact.
Underwater, Zarbon slowed their plunge, wanting to savor the moment until all three could see Namek's ocean floor.
"Once they've had their fill, I'll drag them both to Lord Frieza."
Neither Vegeta nor Pan could break free from Zarbon's grip and while both had ki to spare, it was a question of aim, which their current angle made difficult, as well as how much they'd need just to do any serious damage period. Both desperately tried holding their breath, but could do nothing about their nostrils whereas Zarbon didn't have this issue in his true form, only needing to close his mouth.
While only thirty seconds passed, to Trunks, it felt like an eternity. With Vegeta's beatings and Pan tired out from Kaio-Ken times three, he dreaded their odds against Zarbon.
"I can't watch anymore! I need to get in there now!"
Chronoa stood before him.
"We've got a bigger problem."
"Bigger than this?!"
She unveiled another event occurring adjacent to the current battle:
"Gohan is about to pass the point Vegeta's supposed to intercept him. This is critical."
Trunks, seeing both events playing out, tried to think of something.
"I could... let me get to my father and Pan first, then I'll..."
"If you save Pan and your father now, he will go down a dark path of no return."
Trunks only had to imagine what would occur if Gohan arrived to the cave and a waiting Vegeta: two Dragon Balls, one stolen from Vegeta, within the Saiyan Prince's grasp, and immortality only three kills away.
Trunks' Ploy! Towa's Gambit!Edit
"If you save Pan and your father now, he will go down a dark path of no return."
Trunks hated this predicament he was in.
"I don't know for sure how it would go: whether Vegeta would kill all three of them..."
Trunks pictured his mother, Krillin, and Gohan slain at his father's feet.
"...or if Krillin and Gohan might kill him..."
Now he saw Vegeta dead at Gohan's and Krillin's feet.
"...or if both your father and any one of them would be dead."
Whoever the Earthling casualty was, none of the possible scenarios were any less devastating.
"That's why you have to intervene with Gohan now."
"But even if I intervened now, it'd be too late..."
Chronoa took the scroll and began to turn back the time on Namek prior to Gohan nearing the vital meeting point.
"...which is why you're going farther back."
Trunks hung up his coat nearby, revealing a dark grey long-sleeved shirt and the full length of his brown gloves.
"Obviously I can't afford to be noticed..." he began, strapping what appeared to be a watch on his right gloved wrist. "...so I think this will do the trick."
Now having found the ideal place to drop him off, Chronoa handed him the scroll.
"Keep Gohan from getting there. I'll let you know when the time is right."
"Watch over Pan. Please."
She noted the concern in his voice.
Wrapping both his hands around the scroll, he closed his eyes as a beam of light covered him. Once he disappeared completely from her view, Chronoa took the scroll and moved time forward to Pan's current predicament...
Sinking, Vegeta to her side, and neither of them able to escape their impending descent towards the bottom of Namek. She had overheard the crisis Trunks and Chronoa were in and, as much as she had hoped for it, she wasn't going to get back-up.
"Do what you have to do, Trunks."
Now on Namek minutes prior to Vegeta's final battle with Zarbon, Trunks made his way to cover, sensing Gohan flying in his direction. He clicked on the watch's screen.
The young Gohan, the Namekian four star Dragon Ball in his hands, stopped in midair upon noticing a white glow from behind a large rock.
"What could that be?"
From behind it, a figure floated upward, donned in Saiyan-esque armor and shoulders pads, white gloves and boots, and a mouth-covering helmet not unlike those worn by the Frieza Force, but with a dark visor that made his eyes difficult to see.
"Stop right there, uh... scum!"
His mask had a built-in voice changer, distorting it to the point that it would be unrecognizable to Gohan, unlike any voices had heard or would hear up until the Cell Games.
Gohan tried flying around him, forcing Trunks to fly in front of him without going faster than anything Gohan had seen so far.
"That Dragon Ball belongs to Lord Frieza! Hand it over!"
He fired a ki blast past Gohan, which the young half-Saiyan perceived as a warning shot.
"That was your one warning! I'm taking it from you... now!"
He flew in Gohan's way again, then swiped the Dragon Ball from the son of Goku's hands.
Trunks made his way to land, Gohan in pursuit.
"Give that back!"
Seeing Gohan about to fire at him, Trunks turned his head and anticipated the angle of the shot.
Trunks could easily avoid it, but as the blast left Gohan's hands, he maneuvered in such a way for it to strike the Dragon Ball head-on, knocking it out of his hands. He gestured as if he was shocked and grunted, then he and Gohan both followed it as it rolled towards a hill. Both fired bolts to stop or slow down the other, Trunks' always just close enough for Gohan to think he was in danger.
As the ball finally came to a stop and Gohan tried picking it back up, Trunks fired at Gohan's feet rapidly. In a fashion akin to his father's reaction to Launch firing bullets at him, Gohan hopped on both feet repeatedly to avoid Trunks' barrage of ki blasts.
"He'll pick up that I'm toying with him unless I change things up."
He stopped firing, then flew in front of Gohan, his foot standing atop the Dragon Ball.
"Tell you what, Kid..."
Gohan waited to see what this mysterious Frieza Force soldier would do next.
"Last one breathing gets the Dragon Ball."
He tried taking on a menacing pose.
"Get ready to meet your maker."
He found Gohan trying to hide any nervousness he may have had, ready to fight.
"I won't run away!"
Upon touching the ground, Pan and Vegeta were both held down, trying to move their faces out of the sanded floor. Suddenly, a thought sparked in Zarbon's head...
One he found delightful.
"Dodoria was right! This is so much simpler! I'll just tell Lord Frieza that Vegeta chose death over facing him!"
He grinned as he mused over this new plan.
"I'll bring the one Dragon Ball as collateral, then Ginyu can find the rest. Oh, this will work out perfectly."
Chronoa already feared the worst.
"Zarbon shouldn't be acting like this. He should want Vegeta alive. But now..."
"He'll kill us both." mused Pan, whose vision was already beginning to blur.
With her left arm stuck, Pan couldn't manage a Kamehameha, and even with a one-handed one, had to assume it wouldn't be enough to get out of the water.
The Surpreme Kai of Time knew she should stay the course, but even now, she was conflicted.
"Pan and Vegeta will die. They'll drown unless I do something."
The scroll in her hand, she readied her hand to swipe time backward to get in contact with Trunks.
"I just hope he has kept Gohan at bay long enough..."
Pan went to reach for the Power Pole's case on her back...
"I forgot. It's not there. It fell into the water after Dodoria..."
She paused in mid-thought when she took a closer look to her right at something nestled between rocks...
"Grandpa's Power Pole!"
Chronoa stopped what she was about to do.
"You found it?"
I just need to...
Pan reached in front of her, managing to touch it with her fingertips, and slowly dragged it closer.
Finally, she held it in her hand and tried to aim with it. She knew a simple jab of it would only slightly irritate Zarbon, so she had to hit something that would leave him vulnerable. As far as she could tell, his head was turned away from her...
Zarbon eyed Vegeta, smirking as the Saiyan shook violently, bubbles flowing from the sides of his head.
"The Prince of all Saiyans... snuffed out by water. I'm going to savor the last of your life leaving your body."
"There isn't much time, Pan!" warned Chronoa. "You have to act, now!"
Pan agreed, especially now that it was harder to see the very Power Pole in her hand. She thought of the size of Zarbon's head, as it was in this form, and tried to account for where it would be from where she lied and where Zarbon stood. Too much to one side, and she'd simply jab his right cheek. Too high up, his forehead, and too low, his chin.
"POWER POLE EXTEND!!!"
It extended, one side digging into the ground. The other struck rose to her intended target and Pan put her strength into the thrusting polearm...
Just then, a muffled scream followed by the smell of blood.
Now that Zarbon's hand no longer held her down, she turned and saw dark green in the water, as well as tons of bubbles spreading out from his mouth.
Pan knew even if they both swam now, they might both lose consciousness by the time they got out, if not drown beforehand.
"Chronoa... how far can the Power Pole reach?"
"Goku reached the Earth's moon with it."
Pan planted the Power Power downward, then took hold of the other end in her left. She look to her right and saw Vegeta on the ground, turning over with ki in his hands for an attack. She reached out with her right hand...
"You'd better take me up on this, Vegeta..."
Not about to wait on him, she grabbed hold of his wrist, grabbing hold as tight as she could. On his face, she could see him flustered at what she was trying to do.
"POWER POLE... EXTEND!!!"
She felt herself rising upward as Vegeta felt the same while in Pan's grip.
Krillin and Bulma stood looking over at the water below. Vegeta, Pan, and Zarbon were so deep below the two of them couldn't see anything of them.
"I should have done something..." Krillin mused. "Guru unlocked my potential... and all I did was..."
"Wait...!" interrupted Bulma, pointing... "Down there!"
They saw two blurred figures coming upward, along with some kind of red pole...
"Wait, that's just like..."
Followed by Pan holding onto the pole and Vegeta, and both coughing up water and gasping for air. At this point, all Pan could see was yellow and orange blurs atop green-blue blurs.
With a swing of her right hand, she threw Vegeta towards land. Krillin, unintentionally standing in Vegeta's path, caught him.
Pan felt her grip slipping...
And saw herself falling...
When her left hand was gripped by both of Bulma's, who crouched over, trying to keep her footing. With a pull, she yanked Pan to shore, then lowered her down onto her back gently.
"You're okay. Just stay with us."
Krillin did not receive the same treatment with Vegeta, who pushed him away.
Both him and Pan simply looked upward at the sky, their vision slowly unblurring, coughing out all the water they took in, and taking this moment to let their bodies recover from their near-drowning at the hands of Zarbon.
"I promise you, Bulla... I will keep your father safe."
"The second Zarbon is done with his bath, I'll make sure he rests at sea."
Perhaps too soon, Zarbon arose, his right hand covering his right eye. Pan and Vegeta quickly hopped to their feet as Zarbon let go, revealing his right eye had turned the same color as his blood. He pointed at her with his bloodied hand.
"You wretch! You nearly gouged out my eye!"
With a snarl, Zarbon was out for blood, slamming his fists towards the two of them. Bulma and Krillin made their way to cover, stumbling from the impact, as Vegeta and Pan had just managed to get out of the way, then went for kicks. Frieza's right hand managed to block both, Vegeta's striking his right arm to no effect...
But Pan's kicked his left, whose burns from before were far more visible, the impact more than irritable. She noticed unlike before, there was no purple aura.
"Chronoa... you don't think there's any of Towa's formula left, do you?"
"Zarbon shouldn't have been able to block your times three Kamehameha earlier. That formula encompassed his arm, allowing him to withstand it... but from the looks of it, I think it used itself up doing so. So now..."
As Zarbon reeled from her first kick, Pan's second struck his right side. Vegeta, seeing an opening, flew past him with a punch to his face.
"There's no more power-up."
She took on a similar approach to Vegeta, flying past Zarbon while delivering a punch. Once Zarbon began to turn around, he was met by a simultaneous punch from both of them, then two blasts to his chest, knocking him farther away from the water.
From there, Vegeta flew upward, firing several ki bullets at Zarbon, whom shielded himself with his right arm while firing a charged beam with his left. Seeing Vegeta falling out of the sky, Pan flew forward to keep Zarbon at bay.
This time, Zarbon side-stepped her intended punch, then grabbed hold of Pan by her cape. He slammed her downward, then took hold of Pan by her shoulders as he tilted his head backward.
"Come on, body!"
She was interrupted by a headbutt from Zarbon.
He then tilted his head back once again.
"But no more."
Another headbutt, leaving Pan further dazed.
Vegeta, seeing this transpire, began to charge up ki for a blast. From this angle, he'd end up blasting through her to hit Zarbon. Pan saw this and tried getting her ki shield up.
"Damn it, Vegeta..."
Zarbon headbutt her once more, shattering the shield and leaving her exposed for one more.
As his head was about to go forward...
Two feet crashed into it, followed by Zarbon being tunneled underground by Vegeta's hit.
"He was about to blast us both... but he did that instead."
Seeing Pan staring at him, Vegeta crossed his arms to her.
"I..." stumbled Pan. "Thank you."
"You think I did that for you? I saw an opening. That's all."
In spite of this, Pan grinned back at him.
"It's baby steps..."
Just then, an explosion from below her feet expanded through the ground she stood on, knocking her back into the water. From this crater rose Zarbon at his angriest by far.
"No more talk! No more playing around! I'll rend your spine here and now, Vegeta!"
Vegeta, however, was at confident as he had ever been.
"I'll enjoy watching you try, Zarbon."
The two charged towards each other, neither intending to avoid the impending collision and preparing their own killing blows. Pan, taking hold of the massive Power Pole, which shrank as she made her way to land, did not like Vegeta's odds.
"Zarbon may be in bad shape, but Vegeta's not any better."
She saw Zarbon's exposed back and pondered if her Power Pole could do something.
"Tripping him might not be enough and I'm not sure throwing it will do much at this point."
A thought occurred to her and as much as her muscles ached at it, Pan knew what was at stake.
"You can hate me later, body."
She began running on foot herself...
She readied her Power Pole like a javelin.
Zarbon heard this, but disregarded it as he saw Vegeta grasping his stomach with his other hand.
"My fists'll turn your bones to powder before your hand can reach me!"
Pan saw him starting to raise both his fists and finally pushed herself to say...
The thrown Power Pole struck the back of Zarbon's leg, causing him to stumble. Zooming toward the bouncing Power Pole, Pan retrieved it, then, as Zarbon tried to slam his fists down on the approaching Saiyan, Pan struck his back with the Power Pole, causing him to step forward into the path of Vegeta's fist, which pierced his stomach.
"You did it, Pan!" shouted Chronoa. "Now hurry, while everyone's looking at Vegeta."
Pan flew behind the cave with what was left of her Kaio-Ken. Bulma and Krillin did look in her direction initially, but looked back at Vegeta upon hearing...
"Wait, Vegeta! Don't kill me, please!"
Back on Trunks' end, he had spent all his time since being sent back to stalling Gohan with their battle. This whole time, he had to hold back extensively so as not to hit or harm Gohan while simultaneously appear as if he intended to.
"C'mere, you little runt! Fight me up close like a... a monkey!"
Immediately, Trunks knew he had to work on his evil henchman banter. Then for the first time since he arrived, he heard Chronoa's voice declare...
"Pan did it, Trunks!"
The good news left him exposed to a hit from the slowly angered Gohan. The hit didn't cause too much harm, but Trunks flew backward, flailing and acting like it was a far greater hit.
"Agh! How are you this strong?!"
"Supreme Kai of Time, what should I do now?"
"Wrap things up here."
Gohan, not buying his act earlier, flew around Trunks repeatedly, hitting him with each pass. Trunks knew in any other context, he could easily block and counter each of these, but he had to keep taking the hits.
"Awww nooo!" cowered Trunks.
As he fell down, he felt Gohan charging his ki for a more powerful attack, one that he recognized immediately.
Trunks covered himself with his hands, then allowed himself to be pushed down towards the water below.
"This can't be! AUUUUUUGH!"
As he was sent into the sea, he finally let the beam pass him, then hit himself from Gohan's view. He sensed Gohan's ki, hoping he'd finally grab the Dragon Ball and leave, but the son of Goku didn't.
"He's waiting for me. He knows I'm still here. I'd better get back up there."
He made a big splash and gave a huge gasp, as if he was lucky to be alive. He crawled onto land, looking over at Gohan, who remained suspicious of him.
"You're not fooling me."
Seeing Gohan about to make another move, Trunks put out both his hands out nervously.
"Wait, wait, please!"
He crouched onto his knees, his hands over his head and looking down at the dirt.
"The Dragon Ball is all yours."
He looked back at Gohan, appearing to shiver in fear.
"I'm done working for Frieza. I'm going to leave the force and rethink my life."
At last, Gohan grabbed hold of the Dragon Ball, not seeing Trunks making any moves or sensing him preparing ki for a back stab.
"I know you're not as evil as the rest of them," Gohan suggested.
He began to float off the ground.
"I hope I see you as a good guy some day."
Gohan watched as Trunks slowly waved to him before flying forward towards his originally intended destination.
"Good luck, kid."
He stood waiting for the all-clear.
"...and Gohan is headed back at the right time. Well done, Trunks."
He clicked the watch again, deactivating the disguise and allowing him to be free of the helmet.
"I couldn't see in that thing."
"It's not over just yet. When you get back here, I'm going to send you forward in time to do one more thing."
Bulma and Krillin saw Zarbon begging Vegeta to spare him while Pan listened to it behind the cave.
"We... we can work together! Together, we... we can defeat Lord Frieza!"
In spite of this plea, Vegeta caught his bluff.
"Loyal to Frieza to the end. Well don't worry: he'll join you in Hell soon enough."
With a beam piercing through his back, Zarbon was launched off Vegeta's hand and left everyone's view with a massive splash.
Mira didn't hear a single noise out of Towa even as Zarbon was slain by Vegeta. As far as he could see, she didn't have a hint of anger on her face.
"Zarbon has failed and yet you are not... upset."
"Seeing as how this patroller had far exceeded my expectations prior, I had planned for the probability of her success here."
"Just what is your contingency?"
"It is a risk, but it will be worth it, Mira."
Pan, her back against the cave just to keep herself standing up, eagerly awaited her departure.
"Is it time for me to head back yet?"
"Not just yet," answered Trunks.
She heard a conversation begin between Krillin and Vegeta.
"You should've thanked her, Vegeta."
"Ha! For what?"
"Even after the hell you put us through, she still saved you."
Knowing what he had done against both Dodoria and Zarbon, Vegeta turned to look over at the latter's body...
...but didn't see it.
Back in the round room, Trunks and Chronoa looked over the deceased Dodoria's body as the former waved a scanning device over the body, finding....
"Hold on a minute..."
A chemical compound of some kind and its components were being identified.
"Towa's formula! It's still there in Dodoria's body! With this, we could decipher it. Maybe find a way to counteract it the next time."
"Wait a minute..." Pan began to inquire, overhearing them. "You have Dodoria's body?"
"Right as my father was finishing Zarbon, I flew in and grab Dodoria's body unseen."
"What for? It wasn't going to disappear?"
"Dodoria's in the correct place in the afterlife, but not his body. Seeing as how his body will remain intact without my father having destroyed it, we'll hold onto it for the time being."
Chronoa put her hands over the scroll, readying it for Pan's return.
"Alright, it's time to bring you back, Pan."
Pan let herself slide down and sit, letting herself relax.
"Good, because let me tell you two, all this Kaio-Ken has..."
She saw a flash of light encompass her surroundings, but... it wasn't from her going through time.
"What... what is this?!"
Trunks and Chronoa were shocked at what had happened.
"What... what is thi...?!"
Suddenly, Pan's feed had gone completely silent. Trunks saw no sign of her at all.
"Where did she go?!"
Chronoa created a globe of Namek and tried searching for her, but...
"I... I can't read her location!"
Sins of the Past! Towa's Intent!Edit
"Even after the hell you put us through, she still saved you."
As he heard Krillin telling him off, Vegeta turned towards Dodoria's body...
But saw no trace of it.
"She saved you."
A flash occurred right after Krillin's remark and Vegeta looked puzzled at Krillin and Bulma.
"That blue-haired Earth woman saved me?"
Krillin didn't even know what they were just talking about: both their memories were that of the true history.
"Earthling, I believe we still have business to discuss..."
Krillin saw Vegeta walking closer and eyeing something behind him.
"Regarding your Dragon Ball."
Pan watched as the flash of light she was caught in revealed an entire different part of Namek. She sat on what looked like a round spot of land surrounded by pillar-esque structures. Sitting on a tree stump...
Towa, cradling her staff.
"You...!" snarled Pan.
"I'll admit I underestimated you in your first three battles. I took precautions for this one and you still exceeded my expectations."
Even as her body felt sore, Pan began to turn away, ready to fly out.
"What's to stop me from leaving?"
"Nothing... although a sizable number of Frieza's forces are gathered outside this field..."
Pan put out her hand past one of the structures, seeing a field that made itself visible momentarily before vanishing.
"Should they spot you, they will likely report you to Lord Frieza... and that would alter history. You wouldn't want to do that, now would you?"
With a sigh, Pan realized Towa was right.
"So I'm your hostage, is that it?"
"It's simply incentive for us to talk. They will pass us in due time. There is a reason I wish to speak with you..."
Towa crossed her legs, sitting more casually and relaxed.
"And why I had Mire spare your life."
"You expect me to be grateful?"
"You are owed an explanation."
Pan turned back to Towa and sat on the ground.
"You care for them... the Z-Fighters. Goku. Gohan. Even Vegeta. More than professional courtesy."
Towa tapped her staff and the ground beneath Pan began to rise and shape itself, soon resembling a chair.
"You thought about ringing out Piccolo at the tournament, as well as pulling on Raditz's tail so Goku didn't have to die, but you weren't permitted to act on them..."
"She's figuring me out..."
"And yet you warned Yamcha before his death."
In anger, Pan's ki shattered the chair Towa had created for her.
"You don't get to talk about him!"
"You're acting as if he was meant to survive that battle. That was his death in history."
Pan pointed at Towa.
"You're the one powering up villains!"
Towa's grin shifted into a neutral expression.
"It was not my first call, but villains are far easier to utilize."
"All just to kill everyone?"
"Changing the past is never without casualties. Trunks knows that first-hand. One of the many secrets he kept... such as who his father really is."
Towa decided to stand up, her staff touching the ground.
"My last alteration on Earth and this one you stopped would've had positive effects."
"Like Trunks never being born?!"
"Like a smaller body count. Innocents killed by his hand living longer lives instead."
Towa noticed Pan's silence.
"You believe all his evil actions stemmed from Frieza... but that is a fiction."
Pan stepped back, trying to find a counter to this.
With a tap on the ground from her staff, a holographic image emerged of...
"A village of Namekians."
To Pan's horror, she saw Vegeta firing into the crowd.
"All murdered in cold blood by him..."
An all-too-familiar object was in his hand afterward.
"All for a Dragon Ball. He did all of this while going rogue against Frieza."
Pan felt sick to her stomach seeing this as Towa's staff formed another hologram of an event that the patroller had participated in.
"Him having Nappa and the Saibamen kill four of the Z-Fighters on Earth, then trying to destroy the planet."
As she saw the holographic Vegeta laugh at the deaths of Yamcha and Tien, Pan could practically hear the memory of those moments.
"All of this... behind Frieza's back."
Another hologram of a planet of insectoid-like beings.
"Arlia. This was a planet he and Nappa stopped at on their way to Earth."
They saw what appeared to be the tyrannical king of the planet being slain by a rock launched by Vegeta.
"They freed its populace from tyrannical rule, it's people grateful to them."
Indeed, Pan saw the Arlians celebrating what Vegeta and Nappa had done and joyously saw them off.
"And what did Vegeta choose to do?"
Pan almost didn't want to look. Before entering his pod, Vegeta fired a massive beam...
"He destroyed it. And Frieza didn't even order him to do so."
Seeing the destruction Vegeta caused nonchalantly combined with her sore body led her to fall onto her knees.
"Are you convinced, or would you like me to go further back than the last few months? Or perhaps a preview of what's to come will help."
Now she saw Vegeta standing in the World Martial Arts Tournament ring, the crowd packed all around him. He fired off a beam behind him without even looking, leaving a colossal hole in the stands where hundreds of spectators once stood. Upon seeing Vegeta, a strange mark on his forehead, smiling with glee, Pan rose to her feet.
She charged ki in her right hand and aimed it right at Towa.
"I know what you're trying to do!"
Towa didn't show any semblance of fear.
"If you believe my intent is to lie and deceive you... that I've made this all up just to sully him..."
She placed her staff on the tree stump.
"That I am a monster."
Pan couldn't believe it: Towa stood with her arms stretched out, fully intending to take the blast.
"Then kill me. Mira won't stop you this time. I will perish and my fiction with me."
Towa closed her eyes, as if at peace with what could be her death at the hands of Pan.
"All of this... it's..."
Pan's mind went back to her last day on her Earth: Frieza's invasion and destruction of her home. After he taunted Vegeta with his past deeds...
"...had you succeeded in killing Goku, you would have conquered the Earthlings, if not destroyed the planet."
"...after all the people you've killed, all the innocents you slaughtered... do you really think starting a family resolves you of your past?"
She then looked back at Bulla, who tried helping her father up.
"Dad... everything he said... is it...?"
Back then, Pan couldn't believe it, but now, after everything Towa had shown her...
"Everything he said... is true."
A tear leaving her eye, Pan lowered her hand, ceasing her intended attack.
"Just tell me... why did you turn on the Time Patrol?"
Towa took hold of her staff once more and sighed, indicating she wasn't fond of what she was about to discuss.
"Toki Toki City was my home after I lost Dabura. Once my brother was taken from me, the Demon Realm descended into chaos... and I couldn't do anything about it."
Pan could feel the pain in Towa's voice wasn't that of a deceiver. In fact, the tone was all too familiar to her.
"I cherished my time in the Time Patrol... I truly did. Then came the accident."
"Your sparring bot."
Towa remembered what happened clear as day. For the first demonstration, it was pitted against a group of Saiyans, whom initially seemed too much for it, but once it powered up, they were all defeated. The next to battle the bot was Hale, the recruit from Frieza's Race.
The Saiyans who were defeated prior heckled Hale, including Hakusa, but everyone was shocked to see him match the sparring bot even admist its increases in power. When the bot was downed, Towa shook his hand and congratulated him. She went to her control panel to shut her creation down for the day...
An error. Its power kept growing and its inhibitors keeping it from going too far were overwritten. As she tried to fix this, Towa watched as her creation was out for blood, critically injuring several before preparing to fire at the group of Saiyans. Hale, whom she just shook hands with, got in front of the sparring bot, taking the beam himself.
As she looked in horror at the hole in Hale's chest as he fell, Towa tried everything she could to shut it down then and there. Finally, the console was operational again and just as she activated its shutdown, Trunks descended upon the sparring bot, cutting it in half with his sword.
Then she saw the surrounding patrollers, those injured and those tending to them, all looking over at her and what her creation had done.
"I'm so sorry."
She ran, covering her face as she couldn't bear to look them in the eye.
"I was devastated. I couldn't bear what I had done. I ran into Chronoa's library..."
After closing the massive doors so she could be alone, Towa accidentally bumped into a shelf of scrolls, knocking over several before sitting against the shelf's side. When a few of them opened to reveal their contents, she noticed several notable events, including Goku as a Great Ape destroying Pilaf's castle, Goku and Piccolo's confrontation with Raditz, and onward. But one caught her eye... an event she knew by heart...
"A scroll showcasing the one moment I would give anything to change..."
She took the scroll into her hand and squeezed it, then found herself leaving the libary back to...
The Demon Realm, her brother, Towa as a child, and a short creature that oozed pure evil.
"The day I lost everything to that monster Babidi."
Dabura stood in front of the younger Towa to protect her.
"Leave, Towa! I will dispose of this warlock!"
Once the young Towa was at a far enough distance, he drew a sword, ready to do battle.
"Now I will show you why I am the Demon King!"
As Babidi readied a spell...
Towa emerged from behind the warlock, putting her staff in front of his neck before pulling it towards her, choking him. Dabura was stunned at this.
"T... Towa? Is that you?"
Babidi tried to slip free.
"Quickly, brother! Slay him, now!"
With a grin, Dabura pointed his sword at Babidi.
"With pleasure, sister."
He then readied it for a decapitating swing.
"Just when I was about to change his fate..."
Another flash followed by the glow of Super Saiyan hair and the clang of two blades meeting:
Dabura was puzzled at this stranger and his strength, but was also infuriated by his interference.
With a forceful shove, Dabura was sent onto his back, watching as Trunks then grabbed hold of Towa and flew away from them.
From a distance, Towa as a child, hiding behind a boulder, watched as with a single spell, Dabura fell to his knees before Babidi.
The adult Towa, trying to wrestle herself out of Trunks' grip, saw the same event as a child, but at a new angle. Now she saw Dabura's face showcase a struggle to overcome this fate, but once an M-esque mark formed on his forehead, his expression was blank as if he ceased to be his own self.
Once Dabura rose at Babidi's command and the two departed, the young Towa fell to her knees, burying her face in the rock as she sobbed while from above, tears streamed from the adult Towa.
Back in the Time Nest, Trunks and Chronoa both desperately tried to figure out just what had happened.
"Towa could've taken Pan anywhere." Trunks began, panicking.
As Chronoa was looking closely at the scroll at the moment of Pan's abduction, her eyes opened wide.
"She could be in another timeline for all we know!" continued Trunks. "Who even knows what Towa will do...!"
"Trunks, calm down!"
She gestured Trunks closer to her.
"Look at this..."
She pointed over to the flash of light, which traveled upward, but never exited the planet's atmosphere.
"The trail doesn't exit Namek itself. Pan's still there."
She saw the trail curve and travel back downward before seemingly vanishing.
"I can tell she's on this half of the planet, but from here, Towa's trail seems to cloak itself."
Trunks began to recollect about Towa's last meeting with Pan.
"Towa seems to have found a way of making her location invisible to us and blocking our signal so we can't hear what's on Pan's end."
Now the both of them were attempting to find a means of tracking their location. Just then, a metaphorical light bulb floated over Trunks.
"I think I've got it."
He took out a vial of a sample of...
"The formula in Towa's staff gives off a unique ki signature. That's how Goku managed to find her back on Earth."
He inserted it into a scanning device.
"With this, I could scan for her formula. I'll be able to find them."
Chronoa handed him the scroll, having been moved back to the moment of Pan being taken.
"I know you will. Just make sure no one sees you."
Towa and Pan sat on the ground across from each other, Pan having taken in what Towa told her and Towa waiting until she was composed enough to continue. Finally, she started again.
"I watched my brother fall victim once again, as powerless to stop it in that moment as I was as a child."
Pan could only recall when she was willing to bet it all to change her past and save her family and home. She imagined herself trying to stop Frieza from killing Bulla and Hercule only for Trunks to take hold of her and fly her away, having to watch Bulla killed by a beam to her chest and Hercule choked to death once again.
"If that had happened..."
She then imagined herself in space having to watch the destruction of Earth.
"I don't want to think what I would've done."
She noticed Towa wiping her eyes.
"When I was brought back, they both deliberated on what to do with me..."
Across from Towa was bunches of scrolls knocked over. While Towa sat there listening to what Trunks and Chronoa were saying, she couldn't help but look at one scroll that struck her in particular...
One showing Trunks emerging from a time machine, then flying to confront the newly cyborg Frieza, his father King Cold, and the Frieza Force.
He and Chronoa turned to her, then saw her holding out this scroll, watching Trunks slay these enemies of the Z-Fighters.
"You did all of this."
Chronoa put her hand out and tried explaining.
"Towa, what happened there was..."
Further down, she saw Trunks handing Goku a capsule containing medicine designed to prevent his death by a heart virus.
"He wasn't doing this preserve history... he changed it."
She got onto her feet and pointed at Trunks.
"You took it upon yourself, didn't you?!"
"What Trunks did..."
"You stopped me..." Towa interrupted. "...and you let him get away with this. All of this!"
"And what did they decide to do when I pointed this out?"
"Towa..." began Chronoa. "You will be sent back to the Demon Realm with no memory of your time here."
"So I ran out of there, taking only my creation with me. For what was only a short time in Toki Toki City, I spent years back in my old home, now ruined remains of what it once was."
"You tried changing time again..."
"Indeed. Without the Time Patrol's resources, it took me what seemed like ages, but eventually, I discovered a means by which I could travel back in time. With it, I tried again and again at several points in time to change everything and save my brother, but Trunks always came in and stopped me."
Once again, Pan imagined herself in the shoes of Towa: having who were once her friends stop her from what she was trying to do for so long that now she saw them only as her arch-enemies.
"But you stopped at some point."
"Only because I realized my efforts had gone fruitless and I had to rethink my strategy."
"That and I finally realized after all those years a way of keeping Trunks at bay: he couldn't afford to show himself prior to his first appearance in the timeline, lest he risk undoing everything he had done. That, I believe, is where you came in, to do what he couldn't."
"Why empower villains?"
"Heroes didn't take to my formula. The demonic energy... or evil, if you prefer... would always be refused and cast out. Villains were the only suitable candidates, as much as I would've preferred otherwise."
"But you got it to work on Krillin. What changed?"
"That was a test, actually. I speculated on if it were used on one in a moment of killing intent whether it'd overwrite their restraints. Time will tell if it works consistently."
"So when the villains kill everyone... when you win... what happens?"
"Every attempted alteration of time releases these..."
Towa opened her hand, revealing to Pan...
"Distortion shards. Their essence can be converted into a source of power. Should I successfully change history, the amount released would be incalculable. With that much power behind my experiments, not even the Time Patrol or Chronoa could stop me from changing the fate of Dabura."
"But what happens to the timelines branching from the main one?"
This blunt answer gave Pan pause. Towa saw this and circled around her.
"What do you think happened when Trunks changed history?"
"He didn't know..." thought Pan. "He couldn't have known."
"All the original branches are no more, gone for good. That was the cost for Trunks making Earth a better place."
"And you're willing to do the same knowingly? All those lives and worlds lost?"
""Him saving Goku, warning the Z-Fighters of the Androids, and the rest of his interfering birthed new timelines whose people knew better lives. How many more would've lived better without Babidi ruining and ending them... or Frieza?"
Pan tried as hard as she could not to show emotion from hearing that name.
"I may not know who you are or where you come from, Patroller, but I know your anguish. Like me, you want more than anything to go back, save what you lost, and having that chance refused. What would you give to change what happened?"
"I... I can't end worlds for it."
"You had to have tried once."
She still couldn't believe how spot-on Towa was regarding her.
"Yes, but if I had know what it would've done."
"But your family... your loved ones... they must be worth it. Dabura's worth it to me, and I will take centuries if I have to."
She then noticed Pan putting her head down.
"What is it?"
"If you win... my world will cease to exist... and so will I."
Pan noticed Towa moving her arm and lifted her head back up, realizing the enemy of the Time Patrol was putting her hand out to her.
"I want you to join me."
Pan didn't know what to think. She didn't like what Towa was doing and as a patroller, she had stopped Towa's machinations four times now, yet here Towa was now, making her an offer.
"If you join me, I swear to you I will do whatever it takes to ensure your world's survival. I can create better timelines and you can save your world. Just imagine knowing peace for the rest of your life."
Pan's mind jumped to that of her most ideal scenario of her life back on her Earth with all her friends and family. Thinking of how long it'd been since she heard their voices, saw their faces, or felt the warmth from hugging those she loved and cherished.
"Please, let me help you."
For a brief moment, Pan moved her hand towards Towa's...
But she hesitated, her hand frozen in place. Towa simply waited, letting Pan decide for herself.
"If there was a chance to save everyone, I would take it...but this...I can't..."
Both suddenly noticed a shift in the barrier above them, followed by...
Towa and Pan both saw Trunks hovering downward, but still floating above them both.
"Trunks! Haven't you tormented me enough?"
"You tried to have my father killed!"
"My mistake. I should've done that before he slaughtered that village. Then those Namekians could've lived out their lives."
In spite of his anger at Towa's actions and words towards his father, he slowly morphed to his more calm and friendly demeanor.
"Please, stop this. All of it. We can work something out with Chronoa."
"You really expect me to believe that after what you both tried to pull on me?"
"No... I didn't..."
"I'm not a fool..."
Then she directed Trunks' attention towards Pan.
"And neither is she."
"Step away from Pa..."
He almost let Pan's name slip.
"Her. Step away from her, now!"
"She's seen your father for the monster he really is. How many innocents was it over his career?"
Pan saw what Towa's words were doing to Trunks, whose fists began to clench and who began to look down.
"He didn't deserve offspring, yet he had you. You're not the son of a hero. You're the son of a murderer... a monster!"
His teeth were now visible, trying in vain not to grind against each other.
"Tell me: how many Gohan's did you erase?"
With a shout of anger, Trunks put out his hand and began charging ki.
"Trunks!" Pan shouted. "Stop!"
He didn't head her warning and fired a blast at Towa, who, like earlier with Pan, had no intention of avoiding any intended attacks towards her. Trunks watched as his ki bullet approached Towa...
Then he realized Pan was standing in front of Towa, intending to stop the projectile.
"What have I...?"
But before it touched Pan, a flash of light emerged in front of her, then the projectile bounced off...
"Mira!" began Towa in surprise, followed by frustration. "I told you not to be here!"
Towa's creation turned towards her.
"I can't risk your demise at the Time Patrol's hands. We're leaving."
Both his arms wrapped around her as Towa tried to wiggle her way free.
"No! I'm not leaving! Not without her!"
"I am sorry to disobey your order, but we are leaving now."
Trunks, now having recomposed himself, tried to reach out to Towa.
By the time his hand was about to reach her, Towa and Mira had vanished from their sight. For a moment, all he could think about was their first exchange in years and how poorly he acted in response.
"Towa knew just which of my buttons to press. I was so stupid."
He sighed and turned back to Pan, then clicked on his earpiece.
"Alright, Supreme Kai of Time. Send us back."
And with one last flash, both of them left Namek.
Now having been returned to the Time Nest, Pan let herself crouch over, grasping her stomach.
"Pan..." began Trunks, noticing the makeshift wrap across her stomach to her back she made from her cape. "Are you okay?"
He put a hand on her shoulder...
"Don't touch me!"
She smacked his hand away, then made her way back to her feet.
"After what I almost did..." he thought to himself. "I had that coming."
Pan pointed at him.
"You promised me..."
"I haven't lied to you about anything."
"'My father is difficult.' It's half-truths all over again! You're always finding technicalities!"
She then turned to the Supreme Kai of Time next to him.
"As for you Chronoa..."
While she and Trunks didn't hear any of Pan and Towa's conversation, she already knew what was coming.
"You're going to admit what you and Trunks did. Towa didn't just turn on you: you both tried to wipe her memory! You did this!"
She saw Trunks fumbling to say something.
"Both of you!"
"No!" interrupted Chronoa. "Trunks didn't!"
Pan waited to hear her explanation.
"He didn't. I... it was my fault."
Upon reemerging in the library, Trunks let go of Towa, whom fell to her knees, then lied on her side, sobbing. He didn't know what to say, but he eventually spit out the only thing he could think of.
"I am so sorry."
After hearing this, Towa looked up at him, her sorrow replaced with anger. She sat up on one leg, then jabbed him away from her with her staff. He was bumped into a table, knocking over several scrolls.
"WHY?! Why would you stop me?!"
Chronoa was furious.
"Do you realize what you could have done?! Did you even think about what would happened to EVERYONE HERE?!"
Towa couldn't even speak.
"Any of the patrollers born after that event would've ceased to exist! Gone for good!"
"I didn't know..."
"You were willing to sacrifice your fellow patrollers for..."
"I DIDN'T KNOW!!!"
In spite of seeing and hearing Towa's sadness and regret, Chronoa didn't change her tone or posture for even a moment.
"You've broken our trust. There is no second chance after this."
As Towa began to notice something about the scrolls near her, Trunks stepped in front of Chronoa.
"Supreme Kai of Time, please... please reconsider."
"When Towa questioned us, I made the decision to wipe her memory then and there."
"You will be sent back to the Demon Realm with no memory of your time here."
Towa looked terrified after hearing Chronoa's sentence for her. Trunks, however, was desperate to stop this.
"You gave me a second chance for what I did. Please, give Towa..."
Chronoa's hand glowed. Towa took a few steps back, dreading what was to come.
"Please, Chronoa, don't...!"
Towa turned and ran, trying to get away as Chronoa fired from her hand.
Trunks flew right behind the fleeing Towa, intercepting the blast before it could touch her. As Chronoa ran over to Trunks, shocked at what she had done.
"Once I realized what I had done, Towa was gone."
Pan's entire view on Chronoa and Trunks would never be the same after hearing what had transpired with Towa.
"After I recovered..." Trunks began. "The next time I met Towa, I stopped her trying to change history in the same place as before. I tried to bring her back with me, but she escaped. This happened again and again until I became synonymous with Babidi: the one that kept taking everything from her."
"Having been at war with you for so long, Towa has forgotten what you did for her." thought Pan.
While no tears emerged from Chronoa's eyes, this was the first time Pan had ever seen her with such remorse.
"At the time, I stood by what I did, but as time went on, I realized what I had done."
"That's why you stopped me from doing what Towa did..." realized Pan. "So I didn't become the next one."
"I realized too late I should've had compassion for Towa instead of casting her out. In my millions of years of life, that was the worst mistake I've ever made."
She fell to her knees, looking down.
"She was our friend... and I did this to her. Look at what it has wrought."
Trunks knelt next to Chronoa, trying to comfort her, but unable to find anything to say.
"After I was so heartless... we don't deserve your help..."
"If you don't want to do this anymore, we understand."
Even with all they had done and with the offer Trunks began, Pan wasn't about to knowingly stop protecting history and those she cared about.
"I won't stand by while Towa does harm, temporary or otherwise..."
At first, Chronoa and Trunks felt reassured, but Pan's tone made it clear she was done being kept in the dark.
"But if I even think either of you are keeping anything from me, you can wipe my memory and send me home for all I care! You understand me?"
Both nodded to her, but this did not suffice.
"I want to hear you say it!"
They looked Pan in her eyes.
Trunks struggled to do so, but finally...
"Yes, Pan. We understand."
Now having her answer, Pan left, waiting until she was out of their sight before letting herself limp from her condition. Tokitoki saw Pan pass him, then flew into the library to Chronoa and Trunks.
Chronoa turned to answer him.
"I don't know anymore."
As Pan lied on her bed, bandages over her wrists and upper body, and her muscles not yet back to normal, her mind kept coming back to her best friend Bulla's lineage.
As she saw Trunks and Bulla with their mother and father, Pan couldn't stop seeing flashes of Vegeta's horrible deeds.
"How did you...?"
She then narrowed her focus to Bulma, who had children with Vegeta.
"You didn't know what he did? What he was?"
Trying to think back to her world's Vegeta did nothing but remind her of all the life he had taken, both unnecessarily and joyously.
"...what he is."
Chapter Name PendingEdit
Work in progress
Pan stood in a black void, only able to see herself. At first, there was silence.
"I killed them! All of them!"
A large image of the Vegeta from the past towered over her followed by the sound of his laughter.
One to her left.
One to her right.
"Entire planets worth!"
And one behind her.
Four laughs overlapped each other.
"I enjoyed my kills! Every single one of them!"
As the laugher started again, Pan tried shouting back to him. Every thought she was thinking about what he had done...
But she couldn't hear her own voice. As if she was shouting into nothing. All she could hear was the voice of Vegeta and his echoing laughter.
"And you know what the best part is? You can't undo any of it! You're forbidden to!"
Even trying to cover her ears did nothing to keep their voices and laughs out. She struggled to stand, turning and seeing them circle all around her.
"Stop me and Bulla is never born... or Trunks... or YOU!"
Pan fell onto her knees and hands, then saw small cracks form from where she landed. She rolled onto her side to avoid an impending hole, but then saw the entire void began to crack. It then shattered like glass to reveal an endless sea of Vegeta's around her.
Unable to fly or halt her descent, Pan saw the Vegeta's beginning to take on a familiar stance, purple ki growing in their hands.
"Who knows how many more I'll kill after Namek. But you already know..."
All of them fired Galick Guns in perfect unison towards her.
"You're in checkmate!"
Pan shouted as her ki sent her bed sheets flying off of her and several items into the walls of her unit. She took a moment just to hear her breathing and to feel the bed she lied on. While her dreams of Frieza destroying everything were still the worst nightmares her mind could muster, this stood among them.
To be continued