At one time, the saga was going to mark the end of The Forgotten. Ledas was going to come to Earth and meet/fight the Z Fighters, particularly Goku and Vegeta. For the longest time, that was going to be how it was, even when I began to write scenes for the first four sagas (as well as the deleted Kyokatshi Saga). Even in the first draft of the Planet Earth Saga (which I did not post on this site), Ledas was very much an antagonist once he got to Earth. As the story evolved and I modified the Planet Earth Saga in the months before joining this site (which occurred in September, 2010), I realized that I didn't want Ledas to be the final villain. I didn't come up with a final villain before joining this site, however, as The Benefactor was created several days after I joined Dragon Ball Fanon Wiki. I knew, though, that I did want Guva to come to Earth, though at the time, I didn't know that it was going to end up how it does now. I was considering him to be the final villain, but the problem is that he's just too weak. There is no logical way for him to gain enough power to challenge Ledas or the Z Fighters (I did not want him to use the Dragon Balls to wish himself to be the strongest guy ever - that would be incredibly lame). So, as a result, this saga was quite nebulous for a while. Not a word of it was written before I joined this site - it is the first saga for that to occur (this is also true for the Fulfillment Saga).
Now, after I joined this site in September 2010, I began to work on TF quite extensively, though most of my focus was on the earlier sagas. I never had a very defined ending to TF, so this saga was not defined very well during that time. By late October 2010, I had put up a list of 28 chapters for this saga on TF's page based on what I had already written for the story and some ideas I had for its future. This was long before I cut down every saga to be only 12 chapters. There was a lot going on with the plot at that time. I knew I wanted Guva to come back and fight some Z Fighters, and since The Benefactor had been created by this point, I thought that he could serve as the final villain. I also planned on giving Ledas Super Saiyan 3 at the end of the final battle in this saga, which is lightly indicated in the original chapter list. That list can be seen here. As can be seen, only three chapters of that original draft remain ("Paid In Blood", "Sticky Fingers", "Simply Legendary"), though the general idea of the saga (its pacing as a result of the chapter names) is much the same as it is now. Guva was going to arrive, wreak havoc, then TB would appear, take over, and nearly destroy everyone before Ledas ascends to SS3 and beats him. That idea was modified in the three posted drafts of this saga, but for the most part it remains the same. Ledas beating TB in SS3 in this saga is the biggest overall change, as he doesn't ultimately achieve that transformation in this story and he doesn't beat TB here, as it takes another saga for that to happen.
This saga was originally quite tied to the deleted Kyokatshi Saga, with Ishida and Cardinal and whatnot. Once that saga was removed, this saga was streamlined down quite a bit. The Kyokatshi Saga was deleted on January 13, 2011, about a month before I began posting the Planet Earth Saga on this site. By that time, I had only written one line of this saga in my Microsoft Works document - The Benefactor's line that ends chapter 6. Aside from that, no bit of the Reunion Saga was ever written in my Works document. All of it was either written just before posting on this site or in later drafts in Microsoft Word (those drafts were written many years after I stopped using Microsoft Works altogether, though). So once the Kyokatshi Saga was removed, I decided to create the Fulfillment Saga, to stretch the events of this saga's original ideas over two sagas. That would better pace it and allow for every saga to have 12 chapters. As soon as I deleted the Kyokatshi Saga, I reduced this saga down to 12 chapters, which became the 12 chapters of the original draft. That can be seen here.
I began posting this saga for the first time on March 15, 2011, and finished the first draft on April 2, 2011. I don't have much to say about the original draft of this saga. It was moderately re-written during the second draft, and I don't have memories of writing it. I later re-wrote aspects of it in 2012 because I wasn't happy with this saga and thought the plot wasn't good. So from January 10, 2012, to January 19, 2012, I re-edited this saga, changing major plot points and several chapter names. This produced a second draft. Again, I won't be commenting on the specifics of the changes here, though I will note them in each chapter's endnotes below. Now, in 2013, I prepared to the final edits for most of the sagas (I believe PVS and perhaps Outbreak had been done earlier). To do this, I created a notepad document and then read through the entire story, noting what changes I wanted to make for each saga as I read. Once I was done, I realized that most of the changes were in the Reunion Saga and the Fulfillment Saga (I remember writing down for FS, at one point, "just delete everything aside from the finale"). At one point, I even considered deleting all of FS and trying to scrunch the plot back into this saga, but that proved to be unfeasible. So anyway, I did the final edits for this saga from October 7, 2013 to October 29, 2013. It was an exhaustive process, much more demanding than the previous sagas' final edits, because I had to change so much. In some cases, entire chapters were completely or mostly re-written. That did not occur in previous sagas so much. Yeah, I added in some chapters for Lauto Saga and Stomping Grounds Saga, but there was less deletion (aside from the natives plot) and more addition going on there. Here, I was greatly changing the plot as I went. Some of this is due to the butterfly effect - changes in earlier sagas forced me to make massive changes here to keep the plot and characters consistent. That became even more true in the Fulfillment Saga, where almost all of it had to be re-written for the final edits because of how massive the changes in the previous sagas and this saga affected the Fulfillment Saga. So as a result of the butterfly effect, the Reunion Saga was changed extensively during the final edits, though I believe most of the changes occurred in the latter half of the saga, after the chapter "Snow Day". I will get into specific detail on that in the below endnotes.
So now onto my vision for this saga. I have above commented on how I planned this saga - it was always a vague reunion between Ledas and Vegeta and Goku and the others until I got to writing it, really. Even when I came up with chapter names, I didn't have much planned out. I just knew a bunch of fights would happen. I didn't know who would win (other than, by the end, the main villain had to lose for this to be canon-following). My ideas for this saga slowly developed over the months after I first created TF, though it was always in the back of my mind as I did most of the edits. I had this image in my head of Ledas meeting Vegeta and the other Z Fighters in a grassy, bright area away from any cities, sort of like the place that Raditz fought Piccolo and Goku. That setting idea still exists in the final version of this saga today. Once I came up with The Benefactor, this entire saga took more shape, for at first, Ledas was going to get SS3 during his fight against Goku and Vegeta. Now he was going to get it against a bad guy (thus making him a good guy). That plot was of course further modified by the final version. I don't have many nostalgic memories of this saga, whereas I do for most of the other sagas (for SGS, though, that is only for its last three chapters), since I never worked on this saga before I joined this site. In 2010, before I joined this site, it was a golden age of freedom and creative expression for me as I crafted the first draft of TF and had lots of fun doing so. Because I didn't craft any of this saga during that time, some things were missed. I mean, I knew I wanted Ledas to come to Earth and (at the time) fight the Z Fighters, but I didn't write any of that down at the time. So this saga is tied to my memories of this wiki, since I wrote it on this wiki, more so than any saga preceding it.
Another thing I want to mention about this saga is that it is unlike the previous sagas in that it is paced like an actual DBZ saga. The saga is mostly a series of fights with the Z Fighters, with the progression being the progression of fighters who participate. In the original draft at least, there wasn't much of a plot aside from "stop The Benefactor", which is how many DBZ sagas play out. The plot was complicated in later drafts, particularly with Ryori's plot and with the flashbacks and the complex characterization of several characters - those things differentiate my saga from a typical DBZ saga - but there is still this idea that Guva and TB are going through the Z Fighters one by one, eliminating them so that they can get their prize. It's a simple idea (much simpler than even the plot of the Stomping Grounds Saga), but I like it because it reminds me of the Saiyan Saga, where Nappa surgically eliminated all those Z Fighters one episode after the other. I don't know why I like it (maybe it's because of my OCD personality), but cleanliness of it, the definitiveness of him just systematically eliminating everyone until it's just Vegeta, Goku, Krillin, and Gohan, is really cool, and I tried to capture the essence of that plot tonally and spiritually in this saga.
As I mentioned near the end of my anthology of the last saga, there was a reset of themes (for the most part) in the Planet Earth Saga. Some themes carry over from the earlier PTO arc, but not all do. There are two very important themes I want to mention here. The first is the idea of human futility, seen with Ryori and the New Red Ribbon Army mostly. But this idea that the humans are powerless to protect themselves as aliens wage battle on their planet is a notable theme even in DBZ. I expand on it a lot in this saga. A second theme that is important is the idea of nostalgia being an unattainable goal, that the past can never be returned to. This idea, that the future looked so bright for Ledas and Vegeta, yet has not turned out to be quite what they imagined, is quite powerful. It resonates with me the most in the final scene of this saga, which is a flashback to the PVS-era. That scene is my favorite moment in this saga, and one of my favorite overall moments in TF. Ledas' lines, "Do you really think we’ll be great warriors one day, Vegeta? The kind people tell stories about?" are crucial to understanding the thematic, tonal, and symbolic content of this saga in addition to how I've characterized both Ledas and Vegeta. This idea of stories being the only preservation of legend is a sub-theme of that above-mentioned theme, which is mostly based on what I consider to be the greatest sonnet ever written, Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Keep that in mind as well, for this idea that one must have been successful enough to have stories told about them being the definition of legacy is an important characterization contrast between Ledas and Vegeta.
For a while, Guva's special about him becoming the governor of Planet Cooler 92 was tied to this saga. It was eventually deleted outright once I realized I didn't want to write it. I mainly didn't want to write it because I felt like we had already gotten past PC92 and the shenanigans on there. Guva, Banas, and Ledas persisted from that place, but the actual place, and all the PTO stuff related to it was left behind by the survivors. It felt like going backwards, momentum-wise, to write that special, so I didn't do it.
Now, this saga had a span of four theme songs, to my knowledge. The theme song was originally Island In The Sun by Weezer. I mainly picked that out because I liked the song, and when I was writing this saga, I had recently become a fan of Weezer through Destructivedisk, so I thought I'd make one of their songs a theme of one of my TF sagas. However, the song doesn't thematically tie to any version of this saga, so there wasn't really a connection there. I changed the theme to The Good Life, also by Weezer, halfway through my posting of the first draft of this saga, to tie the theme to the saga more overtly. I then changed the theme song for a second time to Waiting On You, also by Weezer, once I completed the first draft of this story on May 24, 2011. That song is very fitting for the thematic and plot content of this saga. Indeed, to this day, whenever I heard that song, I think of this saga, of a shot of Ledas flying over grass with a blue sky above him as he flies to confront Guva and the Z Fighters. However, the song is too relationship-oriented, and during the final edits, I changed it again on October 27, 2013 (just before I finished the final edits for this saga) to The Stars Are Projectors by Modest Mouse. Now that song is a lovely song, though perhaps not one of my top 10 (or even top 20 - I'm not sure) Modest Mouse songs. Sound-wise, it is nice. In my opinion, just the way it sounds goes well with this saga, though I thought that was also true with "Waiting On You". The lyrics really distinguish this song from "Waiting On You", though. I think "The Stars Are Projectors" hits several thematic parallels to my story and particularly to Ledas' relationship with Vegeta in its lyrics. The mere idea of stars being projectors is seen in the final scene of this saga as kid Ledas and kid Vegeta stare up at the stars and guess at their future. So I thematically tied the story and the song together, and I did so in many ways, most of which I won't mention because that would be telling.
This was one of the hardest saga taglines for me to come up with. As I've mentioned before, all of these were created in 2014/2015. This was one of the ones created in 2015; indeed, it might've been the last overall tagline I came up with. I don't remember with 100% if that is the case though. Even if it's not, this was one of the last taglines I created. Even knowing the themes, the plot, the characterization, the overall progression of this story by that point (in early 2015), I was still stuck over coming up with a clear, short tagline that would express the thoughts of this saga concisely. Now that you can see it, it seems obvious. Yes, that works for Ledas and Guva and The Benefactor and Vegeta and this idea of a personal vendetta does drive the saga. But when I had nothing and had to come up with this from scratch, it took me forever to do so. I must have cycled through a dozen other taglines before this one. Anyways, this tagline is important in showing how no one is playing or taking their time anymore. TB knows where Ledas is now, so he immediately goes after the boy. Ledas can no longer delay his reunion with Vegeta. Everyone has to face the facts of the plot as it progressing. They can no longer sit around and scheme and come up with plans. Now, they must act. And all of those actions are based on personal vendettas. TB is super mad that Ledas stole his energy; Ledas is mad that Vegeta won't recognize that he's still alive. Others have such personal matters too. There is lots of emotion in this saga, and it is not being held back by anyone. This time, in this saga, many people are trying to get revenge for wrongs that happened to them in their pasts. This even applies to Cardinal, Silver, and Ryori. So the phrase is very useful since it has such wide breadth.
That is all I have to say about this saga in my opening monologue. I will get into specifics of the differences of the three drafts of it, the consequences of the butterfly effect during the final edits, and how I shaped this saga about my growing realizations about my characters below. That should be fun. I remember as I read back over this saga after completing the final edits that I thought it was severely underrated, as it was never considered to be the best TF saga by anyone I've talked to. I thought it turned out really good and thought it could even be one of the best sagas in the entire story. I'll have to see if I still consider it one of the better sagas now that I've anthologized the four sagas preceding it. I do hope it ends up being at least the second or third best, but I have no idea. I thought the Planet Earth Saga would end up being either the best or second best when I was preparing to anthologize it, and I ultimately ranked it fourth (out of the four anthologized so far), so my old memories are not sure things. Anyways, onto the endnotes!
I don't remember where
the name for this story came from.
I think it was always
in my head.
I can't see it as anything else.
Last Of A Dying Breed
<CAMERA FADES FROM WHITE>
<THE AREA IS QUIET; ONLY THE WIND IS BLOWING; THE CAMERA MOVES UP THROUGH THE FOLIAGE AND TREES; AT LONG LAST, IT COMES TO A CLEARING; THE CAMERA SHOWS THE OUTPOST OF PLANET COOLER 92>
<JUST AS THIS OCCURS, A POD, WORN AND DIRTY, SLAMS INTO THE GROUND TO THE FAR LEFT, BREAKING THE STILLNESS>
<THE OUTPOST ITSELF IS IN SHAMBLES; GUVA’S MAIN OFFICE IS MOSTLY OBLITERATED ON ONE SIDE; THE ENTIRE THIRD FLOOR IS DESTROYED AS IS MUCH OF THE SECOND; THE BARRACKS AND HOUSING AREAS ARE ALSO BROKEN AND ASHEN AS IF PREVIOUSLY ON FIRE; THE BODIES OF MANY SOLDIERS AND NATIVES LITTER THE GROUND; SOME BODIES ARE HANGING THROUGH WINDOWS; QUITE A FEW OF THE BODIES ARE DECOMPOSED QUITE A BIT, SHOWING THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DEAD FOR A LONG TIME; OTHERS ARE IMPALED ON VARIOUS THINGS; THERE IS NOT A SINGLE LIVING BEING AROUND>
<GUVA STEPS OUT OF HIS POD, IN HIS ROBUSTLY ELEGANT ARMOR; HOWEVER, IT IS CHIPPED AND CRACKED FROM HIS FIGHT WITH BANAS LAST SAGA; HE LOOKS AROUND AND SEES HIS PLANET IN RUIN>
Guva: <PRESSING A BUTTON ON THE COMPUTER PAD ON HIS LEFT GAUNTLET> Is anyone alive? Anyone? Respond! <THE COMM REMAINS SILENT; GUVA REALIZES THAT ALL HIS SOLDIERS ARE DEAD; HE KICKS THE DIRT WITH HIS BOOT> Damnit.
<HE WALKS QUIETLY TO HIS OFFICE; HE CREATES AN IMAGE SLASH SWORD, CAUTIOUSLY HOLDING IT AS HE ENTERS; HE ENTERS INTO THE COMPLEX AND FINDS THE LIGHTS TO BE OFF; HE HOLDS THE ENERGY SWORD OVER HIS HEAD AND USES ITS LIGHT TO NAVIGATE THE RUINED BUILDING; HE WALKS THROUGH, NOT FINDING ANYBODY, AND MOVES UP TO A COMPUTER TERMINAL; HE CALLS UP LORD COOLER’S INSTALLATION; HE GETS NO RESPONSE>
<FOR SEVERAL MOMENTS, GUVA STANDS THERE, SPARKS AND DUST FALLING FROM THE ROOFTOP, THE DOOR TO THE OUTSIDE OPEN BEHIND HIM; BUT AS HE GETS NO RESPONSE, HE TURNS BACK AROUND AND WALKS INTO HIS OFFICE; THERE, HE OPENS A CLOSET AND LOOKS ON A NEW SET OF ARMOR; HE GOES TO PUT IT ON>
<THE CAMERA CUTS TO BACK OUTSIDE>
<GUVA WALKS OUT IN UNDAMAGED ARMOR AND SURVEYS THE INSTALLATION; HE NOTICES SEVERAL NATIVES MOVING ABOUT TO HIS LEFT; THEY DO NOT NOTICE HIM, AS THEY ARE JUST SCAVENGING; GUVA WALKS OVER TO THEM>
Guva: <ARMS SPREAD, QUIET ANGER> So, I leave my post for one day and this is how you repay me? I, your governor, let each and every one of you filthy animals live in peace on my planet. I fed you. I gave you shelter and protection. <POINTS TO HIS CHEST> I alone saved you from certain annihilation. And this… this is the thanks I get? All of my soldiers dead and my city in shambles?!
<THE CREATURES STARE BACK WITH FRIGHT BUT DO NOT RUN; THIS ANGERS GUVA GREATLY; HE RUSHES THEM; BEFORE THEY CAN REACT, HE GRABS THE NEAREST ONE AND RIPS IT IN HALF; HE ELBOWS ANOTHER IN THE SKULL, CAVING IN ITS HEAD; TWO OTHERS TRY TO FLEE, BUT HE GRABS THEM BY THEIR SHOULDERS AND THROWS THEM TO THE GROUND BEFORE STOMPING ON THEIR NECKS; HE SEES THE LAST ONE RUNNING AWAY AND DOES A JUMP-KICK TOWARDS IT, KNOCKING IT OVER; HE ROLLS IT OVER AND PUNCHES THE ALIEN MERCILESSLY, YELLING WITH EACH BOW; LONG AFTER IT IS DEAD, HE CONTINUES PUNCHING, AND HE GETS MUCH BLOOD ON HIS NEW ARMOR; BUT GUVA DOESN’T CARE>
<BREATHING HARD WITH ANGER, GUVA JUMPS TO THE SKY; HE EXTENDS HIS PALM AND CREATES A BALL OF ENERGY; AT GREAT LAST, HE THROWS IT ABOVE HIM, BUT ON A CURVED TRAJECTORY, TO THE FOREST>
<AS THE BALL REACHES THE AREA ABOVE THE TREETOPS, IT EXPLODES AND SENDS OFF THOUSANDS AND THEN MILLIONS OF SKINNY, ELONGATED BLASTS OF ENERGY; THEY SHOOT ABOUT, ALMOST RANDOMLY DOWN TO THE GROUND BELOW; GUVA WAITS FOR SEVERAL MOMENTS>
<AFTER DOING SO, HE DESCENDS BACK TO THE GROUND AND FINDS A DEAD SOLDIER; RIPPING THE YELLOW SCOUTER FROM ITS DEAD BODY (WHICH IS STILL SPARKING SLIGHTLY), HE SURVEYS THE PLANET FOR ANY NOTICEABLE POWER LEVELS; AFTER A GOOD SEARCH, HE IS CONFIDENT THAT HE KILLED ALL OF THE NATIVES>
<GUVA RETURNS TO HIS POD AND SITS DOWN IN IT; THE DOOR REMAINS OPEN>
<WITH A SIGH, GUVA BEGINS TO SCROLL THROUGH A COMPUTER SCREEN ON THE LEFT; HE DOES SO SOMEWHAT CARELESSLY AND WITH ONLY ONE FINGER; HE IS LOOKING FOR VARIOUS DESTINATIONS>
<SUDDENLY HE PAUSES AND RECHECKS HIS SCREEN; UPON IT IS EARTH; HE STARES AT IT FOR SEVERAL SECONDS, REMEMBERING THAT THAT WAS WHERE BOTH COOLER AND LEDAS WENT; HAVING NO OTHER THING TO DO; GUVA SHIFTS HIS JAW AND BRINGS HIS FINGER BACK INTO HIS HAND IN A SORT OF FIST; HE CLOSES HIS POD DOOR AND SETS COURSE FOR EARTH>
<AS HE SETS OFF, THE BLACKNESS HE HAD BEEN ENVELOPED IN, IN LAUTO’S CAVE, IS SEEN FORMING AROUND A NEARBY ROCKY OVERLOOK, AS IF WATCHING HIM>
<END OF Hurt>
<CUTS TO NEXT SCENE; IN SPACE; IT IS MAY 8TH, IN THE 774 AGE>
<NEAR PLANET EARTH; VERY SUDDEN PULL UP>
Kindler: You know kid, you really look like a Gary. Has anyone ever told you that?
<LEDAS, WHO IS ONLY HALF CONSCIOUS, JUST LOOKS UP AT HIM WITH ONE EYE; HE DOES NOT RESPOND>
<THE SCREEN RE-FADES IN, STILL OUT OF FOCUS TO THE INSIDE OF LEDAS’ GRAVITY ROOM; SINCE IT IS ALSO A SPACESHIP, THIS IS THE DEVICE THAT CARDINAL AND HIS CREW TOOK AT THE END OF THE LAST SAGA TO ESCAPE BUU; RYORI AND LEDAS ARE BOTH LYING AT KINDLER’S FEET; THE FORMER IS STILL UNCONSCIOUS; AROUND THEM ARE PACKED ALL THAT REMAINS OF THE NEW RED RIBBON ARMY; 80 SOLDIERS AND 10 SCIENTISTS, NOT TO MENTION GENERAL SILVER AND CAPTAIN GREEN>
<KINDLER HIMSELF IS WELL DRESSED; STILL, HIS EYES LOOK A BIT MORE SULLEN, AS IF HE HASN’T GOTTEN MUCH SLEEP; IN HIS HANDS IS A PIECE OF ROPE>
<DEWBERRY IS SITTING ACROSS FROM HIM, FACING THE CONTROLS OF THE SHIP, AND SITTING IN A CHAIR; IT IS ASSUMED HE IS PILOTING IT; THERE IS NO SIGN OF CARDINAL AT FIRST>
Kindler: Hey, Dewberry! What do you think? Doesn’t he look like a Gary?
Dewberry: <LOOKS OVER> The kid? Naw way, man. That little alien looks just like this guy Trey I knew in high school… we would always–
<CARDINAL ENTERS WITH SILVER THROUGH A DOOR ON THE RIGHT; KINDLER AND DEWBERRY IMMEDIATELY TURN THEIR ATTENTION TO HIM>
Cardinal: <STERNLY WALKS OVER TO DEWBERRY> Is there any update on our situation?
Dewberry: <AT HIS STATION> Naw, Mr. Cardinal. It’s still gone. It was the same an hour ago.
Cardinal: <TURNS TO HIMSELF> Perhaps this is only a prolonging of the inevitable. <BACK TO KINDLER> Kindler, how are our supplies?
Kindler: Boss, we’ve got enough for another month or so, if we ration properly, but with Earth being gone and all… <NODS TO THE GLASS WALL AHEAD; CLEARLY THERE IS NO PLANET IN THE VIEW> I don’t think it much matters either way.
Cardinal: Be that as it may, we’ve only been up here for 20 hours. And–
Kindler: And you think the Earth is gonna come back? No offense sir, but that don’t make sense.
Cardinal: But what are our alternatives? Honestly, with everything we’ve witnessed these past few days, I can’t say I know what’s possible anymore.
Kindler: It’s a fool’s hope, sir. That’s all I can say. <BOWS HIS HEAD AGAIN, WATCHING THE SLIGHTLY CONSCIOUS LEDAS> But I’m always right. We’re dead out here. And there’s not a thing I can do about it.
Ryori: <ONLY PARTIALLY AWAKE; HIS HEAD IS COVERED IN DRY BLOOD ON ONE SIDE> Le-Ledas? W-where are we?
Cardinal: <WALKS OVER; SEES THAT THE BOYS HAVE WAKEN> Ah, awakened at last! I had thought my concoction of M99 was too strong for both of you.
<IN THE BACKGROUND, SUPREME GENERAL SILVER CAN BE SEEN STICKING A SYRINGE INTO HIS ARM>
Ledas: <TURNS TO CARDINAL; TALKING SLOWLY, FOR HE HAS JUST WOKEN UP> Who are you? What did you do to me?
Cardinal: <TO LEDAS> My name is Cardinal. And I am many things, my boy. But in this instance, I am only here to keep you from doing any more harm.
Ledas: <NOT UNDERSTANDING> Me?
Cardinal: You are the alien. The menace to my society. It was my duty to remove you before something… catastrophic occurred. As it were, something catastrophic occurred anyway. <GESTURES TO THE WINDOW AGAIN>
Silver: Are we killing them yet? The kids are dead weight. And if Earth is really gone, they’ll just eat up our resources.
Cardinal: <BURIES HIS FACE IN HIS HANDS> No. We can’t risk anything happening up here. We could all die if some–
<LEDAS SUDDENLY STANDS UP; HIS BODY AURA IS SHOWN TO BE BLACK; HE STUMBLES FORWARD, TRYING TO GET TO CARDINAL; HE THROWS HIS FISTS FORWARD, BUT THE DEVICE ON HIS HEAD KEEPS HIS POWER LEVEL DOWN AND THE TRANQUILIZER IN HIS BLOOD PREVENTS HIM FROM MOVING QUICKLY; TWO SOLDIERS CATCH HIM IMMEDIATELY, AND HIS FISTS POUND USELESSLY AGAINST THEIR ARMOR; FROM BEHIND LEDAS, SILVER APPEARS; HE TAKES OUT A LONG SYRINGE HE WAS KEEPING IN HIS POCKET AND STICKS IT INTO LEDAS’ NECK; LEDAS RESISTS FOR ABOUT A SECOND BEFORE FALLING ASLEEP>
Silver: We’re going to have to deal with him sooner or later.
Cardinal: <SHAKES HIS HEAD> Not yet. Not until we need to. I can’t risk damaging this ship.
Dewberry: Uh… Mr. Cardinal! I got a reading! There’s a ship comin’ right at us! <BEFORE CARDINAL CAN ANSWER, EVERYONE FEELS A JOLT AND THE GRAVITY TRAINING UNIT ROCKS VIOLENTLY; CARDINAL IS AN OLD MAN AND THEREFORE ALMOST FALLS OVER> Uhhmm… they’ve docked wit’ us.
Cardinal: <WITH MUCH AUTHORITY> Mr. Kindler, would you kindly take our passengers into the other room? General, line the soldiers up here. Dewberry, open the hatch. Welcome our new guest for me. <HE SMILES, VERY MUCH FAKING IT> If he’s violent, just call us. But I don’t want to use any weaponry unless absolutely needed. It could damage this ship, after all.
<WITH THAT, KINDLER TAKES RYORI AND LEDAS AND MOVES THEM INTO A ROOM IN THE BACK; HE TAKES ONLY A FEW GUARDS WITH HIM, AS WELL AS ALL OF THE SCIENTISTS; SILVER AND GREEN LINE UP THE REMAINING SOLDIERS IN FRONT OF CARDINAL; THEY ARE ALL AROUND A CORNER, SO WHOEVER IS IN THE OTHER SHIP WON’T SEE THEM>
<DEWBERRY GETS UP, COCKS HIS PISTOL, AND MOVES FORWARD TO OPEN THE DOCKING DOOR; THE CAMERA PANS BACK AND SHOWS HE IS ALONE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE SHIP>
- The opening poem for this saga was originally eight lines long. I modified it to be 6 lines long (without removing any words, just rearranging the lines) after I created the Stomping Grounds Saga, which messed up the pattern the poems of the TF sagas. As I've stated before, there is a pattern with the saga/special poems' lengths.
- The actual poem is pretty self-explanatory. I was influenced to have some poems about TF, not just poems about my personal life, when I saw that some of the opening poems in the Death Note volumes were about the actual process of creating Death Note or some fun facts about the series.
- This chapter had other names in the past, such as "Tell Me Governor..." and "De Facto". Those chapter names focused on Guva's plot in this saga and hinted that there was something driving him to do what he's doing (later revealed to be The Benefactor). I changed the name to "Last Of A Dying Breed" during the final edits of this saga. It still refers to Guva and him returning to his destroyed outpost, with everyone dead. He's the last of the PTO soldiers there (not counting Ledas). He's the last survivor of a different time. This title also refers to Ledas, most overtly with regards to his Saiyan heritage, but it also works with his role in the universe, his forgotten friendship with Vegeta, and his place on Earth. Additionally, it refers to the New Red Ribbon Army and Ryori, because, for a brief time in this chapter, they are amongst the only living humans (Mr. Satan being the only human not onboard Ledas' space ship who was still alive in the whole universe). There's this feeling of just hanging on, of being pushed to the brink, and I wanted to capture that in the chapter title. As it relates to Guva, there's a feeling that he's never going back to his outpost after this, that things have changed so much that he cannot ever go back. And that speaks to the macro idea of the collapse and ruination of the PTO, which is not really discussed much in this story.
- "Hurt" is a brilliant song, and I think Johnny Cash's cover of it is one of the greatest song covers of all time. There's a lot lyrically that connects the song to the plot, thematic, and tonal content of this saga's opening scene. It's not all related (the drugs stuff has no relation to this story, for example), but a lot of lyrics are. The song itself implies that Guva is grieving for Banas, even though he refuses to overtly do so. The lines, "I hurt myself today/To see if I still feel/I focus on the pain/The only thing that's real" work well with Guva thinking about killing Banas. "What have I become/My sweetest friend" works with showing Guva's regret for killing Banas. "Everyone I know goes away/In the end" refers to the decay of his installation and how all of the PTO soldiers on it and the people he knew are dead and gone. He probably doesn't know anyone in the universe anymore. Almost everyone he's ever interacted with is dead (Ledas being one of the few who isn't). This mentally isolates Guva and makes him feel the burden of loneliness like never before. "And you could have it all/My empire of dirt" - that line made me use this song, for it goes with Guva's arc in this saga so well it's scary. His empire, his outpost, has been reduced to dirt. It's worthless now. He has no friends, no servants, no soldiers. Cooler is gone; Digranite is dead. Banas and the Plantains are long dead. And yet Guva persists. He alone lives to see the ruin of the PTO (on a micro scale, to be fair). He alone has to deal with the mental pain related to death and destruction. He killed the only friend he had because of his paranoia and he's realized that by this point. Those two lines above signify how Guva wants to return to a better time. He sees no value in the present. He's depressed and living on borrowed time. "I wear this crown of thorns/Upon my liar's chair/Full of broken thoughts/I cannot repair/Beneath the stains of time/The feelings disappear/You are someone else/I am still right here" - the second verse of the song also goes really well with the themes associated with Guva and his characterization after he killed Banas. This feeling that ridding himself of his demons has made him empty and numb is there, as is the feeling that he was a fool to let his paranoia guide him. For all his nobility, Guva has fallen; his image and power are weaker than ever before. And that's why I think this song is so helpful, because it sets the mood for that and it lyrically strengthens the stuff related to Guva. Overall, "Hurt" is one of the best songs used in TF, not only for its musical brilliance, but because it is so closely tied to the actual literary content of this story.
- The actual plot of this chapter hasn't changed since the first version of it was posted way back in 2011. In the coming years, I updated it, mostly in 2012 and finally in 2013, but those updates were usually rewordings and the like. There were a few added lines of scene direction and dialogue, though that mostly occurred with Cardinal's conversation with his subordinates about the Earth being gone. Of course, I also updated the chapter to be consistent with the updates in the previous saga: this was seen with me putting Silver and the other NRRA soldiers in Ledas' space ship.
- The opening scene of this chapter implies that The Benefactor kept Guva on Lauto's planet or took him elsewhere for many years, as Guva met The Benefactor at the end of the last saga in the 766 Age. Here, the story begins 6 years later for Guva - and it still hasn't caught up to Ledas' plot of the last saga. I figure by this point, The Benefactor has broken Guva and trained him well and Guva has asked to get a new set of armor before traveling to Earth. As to how Guva and TB decided that it was Ledas who absorbed TB's power, I'm sure this comes from Guva's report from Lieme that he then told The Benefactor. TB, if you remember, was not certain who it had been who had stolen his power in the Stomping Grounds Saga - maybe that was true; maybe he recognized Ledas in Lauto's cave or maybe he didn't because he was so weak and so preoccupied with the Supreme Kai. All of this information is purposefully vague.
- So it becomes obvious that in Guva's absence (and the absence of the Plantains), the natives staged a successful revolt on Planet Cooler 92. This reminds me of during the first saga when Frieza lamented the the grunts in the PTO army were useful for pretty much nothing except manual labor. There is some thematic resolution to the natives' arc here, with them finding their freedom in Banas', Ledas', and Guva's absences. They regained their agency through violence, through their own volition.
- Guva gets no response from Cooler's installation (likely his new capital planet now that the Stomping Grounds are destroyed). This implies that chaos has overtaken the PTO since Cooler's death - which is true. I of course don't have the ability to show that in TF, since none of that stuff is relevant to the plot or characters, but hinting at it was fun. I will explore that more in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Planet Trade Organization. Guva was actually one of the officers who many thought could take over the PTO with Cooler's death, but when no one found him on his outpost (as he was in TB's custody), they thought he was dead. Here he is returned, unlike anyone else. Guva's rebirth, his return from a supposed death (a non-physical one, please note), is an important part of the final act of his characterization.
- Guva of course was not gone for one day. He was exaggerating in his anger. However, his concept of time has been diminished. He doesn't realize how much time has gone by, since he's been TB's prisoner for so long, but he would know that more than one day has passed.
- The way Guva butchers the natives speaks to his inner anger and resentment not only of Banas and TB, but of himself and what he's done. He's become a slave just like them and has put a little Payar spin on things. Notice the blood symbolism here as he beats the last one to death. Guva doing that to the last native was based on this scene from The Patriot.
- Guva did not actually kill all of the natives with his energy attack, but he did cripple their species. There were less than 50 who survived his attack, and as such, they are expected to go extinct not long after the end of TF. Who knows, though. They may make a comeback. I haven't decided either way. I will be showing this planet in Dragon Ball: Heart of the Dragon at some point, so I will decide on their fate when I get to that story.
- I'm sure by the way Guva's been acting, he's been stalling, saying that he doesn't know where Earth is. As I've said in previous anthology pages, Guva gave Ledas general directions to Earth, not specific ones to program into his space pod, and the boy never questioned it because he was naive. Guva wanted him to get lost and never reach his destination. Now, however, he has actual coordinates to Earth, allowing him to get there by the 774 Age. Otherwise, had he had only the same general directions as Ledas, he would have never gotten to Earth in this saga. I'm sure Guva has kept the fact that he has Earth's coordinates from TB. But now that he's returned to his planet and seen its ruin, he has realized that he has nowhere to go, nowhere to return to. He used the excuse of needing a new set of armor to return, but now that he's seen what PC92 has become, Guva has realized that it's time to go to Earth with The Benefactor. He has nothing else to live for but to help TB destroy Ledas. Of course, he would then lie to TB and tell the alien that he had gotten coordinates to Earth from the outpost, so that TB wouldn't punish him (or perhaps even kill him).
- The blackness watching Guva is obviously The Benefactor. I couldn't outright show him here, or his cloak, as that would ruin the big reveal in chapter 6. Still, the little clues at the end of the previous saga and in this chapter hint that Guva has encountered someone sinister.
- Kindler saying Ledas looks like a Gary is a very meta joke, as in an early review of TF, Destructivedisk (who Kindler is based on) implied that Ledas was a Gary Stu. That was pretty ridiculous even in the original draft of TF. I don't think Ledas was ever a stu, which is why I made a joke of it.
- Ryori is unconscious because he's just a normal human kid. Ledas is conscious because he's a Saiyan and can resist the tranquilizers better.
- I gave specific numbers for Cardinal's surviving force here in the final version of the story, giving a bit of an idea of how big his force is. It's really small, actually. 80 soldiers is not even a mercenary company. But that shows how useful Sonfla has been to Ledas even if Ledas doesn't know about the sacrifice of his last green Saibaman.
- So the gravity room is obviously based on Vegeta's and Goku's gravity units. As such, it's a big circular place without much privacy. To remedy this, I had Cardinal and the others install walls to split the place in two. Additionally, there may be levels of many different rooms stacked upon one another (which I believe existed in Goku's ship, but were unseen in Vegeta's), which could provide additional privacy to the group. The wall, however, is the main one, and it becomes important later in the chapter. Without it, the chapter wouldn't make sense - and it didn't at one point, for there wasn't any wall in the earlier versions. So the scene direction was inconsistent with how the ship actually looked on the inside in earlier drafts. This was one thing I fixed in the final draft of this chapter.
- The Earth being gone is a result of Kid Buu blowing it up. Cardinal and the others would assume Majin Buu did that, but they wouldn't have any idea of how it actually happened. I don't really explain why the Earth is gone because, with the ending of the last saga and the date posted at the top of the second scene in this chapter, it should be obvious to any Dragon Ball fan that this is taking place after Kid Buu blew up Earth. It was fun to look at massive event that from a different perspective.
- M99 is the name of the tranquilizer that Dexter uses on his victims in the tv show, Dexter. It is also what Silver was addicted to in the first draft of the Fulfillment Saga. A bit of his and Cardinal's addiction of that substance remains in the final version of this story, though its presentation is much subtler than before.
- Cardinal's conversation with his subordinates about the Earth coming back is commentary on the varying levels of absurdity often seen in the Dragon Ball universe and also how the humans are feeling powerless to the forces around them. This idea of human frailty and lack of agency is a major theme in this saga overall. Cardinal is a very powerful and wealthy man, but he lacked the ability to stop Majin Buu, and now he doesn't know what to do since the Earth has blown up. This puts him in a very interesting position.
- Ledas' aura being black is also a stylistic change that implies there's something wrong with him. It's the first hint that he's near The Benefactor (remember, Guva appears at the end of this chapter, so TB is in fact quite close to Ledas). His aura turns black around The Benefactor because of TB's energy inside him wanting to return to its master. It's like the corruption of the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings. The closer it is to its master, the more burdened and corrupted its possessor becomes. And this is true for Ledas, who becomes mentally unstable while around TB because TB's energy inside him is making him absorb some of that creature's evilness.
- Cardinal doesn't want to execute Ledas because he fears that the boy will destroy the ship if they go at him. And he also isn't convinced yet that Ledas and Ryori are dead weight. Once he's convinced of that, he will kill the two - but thankfully, that never happens. He would have killed the boys with an M99 overdose to not risk any damage to the ship. But at this point, he hasn't thought of that, and he wants to save the M99 since he's addicted to it, and since Ledas is an alien, he doesn't know how much it will take to make the boy die of an overdose of it. So all of these variables meant that, at this point, Cardinal doesn't know exactly how to safely kill Ledas. Had they had a few more days to think it over, I'm sure he would have come up with something.
- I'm sure Cardinal and the others don't think that the being will be an alien, but another surviving human. An alien is the furthest thing from their minds. Of course it is Guva, who docks with them because the Earth has been destroyed, so it's not where he expected it to be. I did this to foreshadow Guva's involvement later in the saga and also to integrate him with the human plotline.
- Cardinal is wise in his caution. Had his soldiers all been there brandishing their weapons, Guva might've destroyed them. Using Dewberry as a decoy perhaps will save them and also doesn't allow whoever has docked with their ship to know that a large military force is on the ship. It also shows how Cardinal values Dewberry the least out of his men, despite Dewberry having the important task of driving Ledas' space ship.
- Cardinal's use of "would you kindly" is a callback to the Bioshock reference at the end of the previous saga.
The Cruelest Of Atrocities
<A LATCH OPENS; THE CAMERA COMES AROUND THE CORNER FROM THE OUTSIDE INTO CARDINAL’S SHIP; IT FOLLOWS GUVA, WHO IS IN HIS ARMOR, DOWN A SHORT HALLWAY TO THE DOOR>
<AS HE REACHES THE INNER DOOR, IT OPENS FOR HIM; REVEALING ONLY DEWBERRY BEHIND IT; DEWBERRY ISN’T EXACTLY FRIGHTENED, ESPECIALLY AFTER HE SEES GUVA; HE IS STRANGELY UNCHANGED>
Dewberry: <WITH A GOOD OL’ ACCENT> Oh, hey.
<GUVA IS SLIGHTLY WARY AT THIS NONCHALANT GREETING AND HE ENTERS WITH SLIGHT CAUTION; AND HIS EYES SQUINTING>
Dewberry: So uh… whatcha doin’ here, man? Are ya lost?
Guva: <PEERING ABOUT THE MAIN ROOM; IT IS MOSTLY BARREN ASIDE FROM A FEW CRATES AND TRAINING WEIGHTS IN THE CORNER> Do you even know who I am?
Dewberry: Oh yeah totally man. You’re one of those space aliens.
Guva: <SLOWLY> Space… aliens…?
Dewberry: Oh yeah.
Guva: Are you fully conscious?
<THERE IS AN AWKWARD SILENCE FOR A WHILE>
Dewberry: Of course! Why’d you come to visit me?
Guva: <SUDDENLY BUSINESS-LIKE> I am looking for a planet called Earth. My directions seemed to be faulty; it’s not where I thought it was. You wouldn’t happen to know of its location, would you?
Dewberry: Ohhh I get it. You’re going to Earth to harvest some of us up for experiments. <PUSHES GLASSES BACK UP>
Guva: I-I’m what?
Dewberry: I saw it on Syfy, what yar gonna do with us. It’s cool man, I won’t tell anybody. <STANDS UP AND GETS REAL CLOSE TO GUVA’S FACE> I’m on your side!
Guva: <A BIT ANNOYED> You must be one of the intellectuals of your race. But Earth. Do you know of its location? Or am I wasting my time? <HE PULLS DOWN HIS HAND AND SHAKES IT; SPARKS SHOW UP, BUT HE DOES NOT FULLY FORM AN ENERGY BLAST> I don’t appreciate wasted time.
<GUVA GETS ANNOYED AND KICKS DEWBERRY BACK INTO HIS CHAIR; THE HUMAN ROLLS ACROSS THE VAST METAL FLOOR TO A WINDOW, FEET IN AIR; HE SLAMS INTO THE WALL, HARD; HE MOANS>
Dewberry: Oh please don’t kill me! You can take me on board your beautiful ship! Please just don’t harvest my brain–
Guva: <STARING OUT THE WINDOW, TRANSFIXED UPON SOMETHING JUST OUT OF SIGHT> Shut up, you useless ingrate. <HE POINTS OUT THE WINDOW> There! There it is! Why did I not see it on my scanners?
<DEWBERRY SITS UP AND LOOKS OUT OF THE WINDOW; SURE ENOUGH, THE CAMERA SHOWS EARTH OUTSIDE IN SPACE; HE IS IN AWE>
Dewberry: Whoa… when did that happen?
Guva: Out of my way. <HE KICKS DEWBERRY OUT OF THE WAY> I have business on that planet. And if I see you there, you will end up like my quarry.
Dewberry: <EXTREMELY LOUD SCREAM; FROM THE FLOOR> Wait! How many are ya takin’?
Guva: <TURNS TO DEWBERRY> What?
Dewberry: How many are ya gonna take for your ‘speriments?
Guva: <GATHERS UP HIS CAPE AND WALKS OUT> Only one.
<GUVA THEN DEPARTS; AFTER A FEW MOMENTS HIS POD RACES BY IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW>
<AT THIS TIME CARDINAL COMES OUT, WITH KINDLER; KINDLER IS HOLDING LEDAS AND RYORI IN EACH HAND; THEY ARE GROGGY>
Cardinal: <TO DEWBERRY> It all went smoothly?
Dewberry: Oh yeah. <RUBBING HIS SORE STOMACH> The alien guy didn’t wan’ anything. <DEWBERRY POINTS BACK TO THE WINDOW WITH GLEE> And look, sir, the Earth is back!
Cardinal: What? How?
Dewberry: Aw, don’t question it, Kindy. There’s lotsa things goin’ on we don’t know about.
Cardinal: There shouldn’t be.
Kindler: <DEFEATIST> He’s right, sir. No use questioning it. We don’t know what the hell’s going on.
Cardinal: I cannot be so complacent! I must know what is happening! <REGAINS HIS COMPOSURE> But regardless, Dewberry, set us a course back home. I need to make a call.
Silver: <LOOKING SINISTER; GRUFFLY> And once we’re on the ground?
Cardinal: <QUICKLY> Kindler will deal with our guests.
<SILVER NODS, SATISFIED; HE INJECTS HIMSELF WITH ANOTHER SYRINGE; KINDLER LOOKS TROUBLED AT THE RESPONSIBILITY>
<THE SHIP FLIES BACK TO EARTH AND LANDS IN A ROCKY AREA WITHOUT ANY FOLIAGE; IT IS HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN; THERE IS NO SIGN OF LIFE AROUND>
<WHEN THEY LAND, CARDINAL IMMEDIATELY OPENS THE FRONT HATCH AND STANDS AT ITS ENTRANCE, STARING OUT>
Cardinal: So nice to be back. But there is much to be done.
Kindler: <MOVES FORWARD; HE IS TIRED FROM HIS LACK OF SLEEP, BUT IS HIDING THAT> Mr. Cardinal… now what will we do with them?
Cardinal: Dispose of them, Kindler. I don’t want to see either of them again.
Kindler: <INCREDULOUSLY> Kill them?! They’re just children, sir.
Cardinal: Children who have seen too much. <HE TAKES SOMETHING OUT OF HIS SUIT INNER POCKET; IT IS A CAPSULE AND HE THROWS IT ONTO THE GROUND> Even so, we were called in to eliminate the alien. There he is <CARDINAL GESTURES TO LEDAS> Mr. Kindler. Do your job. Eliminate him.
Kindler: But si–
<THE CAPSULE TURNS INTO A LARGE MILITARY-STYLE BUS; CARDINAL MOTIONS TO SILVER AND CAPTAIN GREEN TO GET ON BOARD; ABOUT 30 OF THE 80 SOLDIERS GET ON AS WELL, AND ALL 10 SCIENTISTS ALSO DO; CARDINAL GETS IN THE PASSENGER SEAT OF THE VEHICLE AND LOOKS BACK TO KINDLER>
Cardinal: After you are done, go find Mr. Shoekki’s body. It should be where we left the planet from. I’ll leave you plenty of security to get it done, in case the police get involved. I put my full trust in you, Kindler. Clean up these messes and return to me when you are done. That’ll be all.
<WITH THAT, CARDINAL WAVES HIM OFF AND THE BUS LEAVES; KINDLER IS LEFT WITH DEWBERRY, ABOUT 50 SOLDIERS, AND TWO CHILDREN; HE RETURNS INSIDE; HE TAKES THE GUN OUT OF THE BACK OF HIS BELT AND LOOKS AT IT; HE SEEMS TROUBLED BY IT>
<NONETHELESS, HE FINDS LEDAS AND DRAGS THE BOY WITH ONE HAND INTO THE BACK ROOM; HE IS STILL HOLDING THE PISTOL IN HIS OTHER HAND AS HE DOES SO>
Kindler: I don’t know… I can’t do this! I can’t kill a kid, even if he is an alien. I don’t know, man! I-I…
<AS HE IS WALKING; KINDLER TRIPS SLIGHTLY AND THE GUN IN HIS RIGHT HAND GOES OFF; HE GASPS AS HE SEES IT ALL UNFOLD; IT IS A CHIEFLY UNWANTED ACCIDENT>
<THE BULLET HITS LEDAS IN THE HEAD, CAUSING KINDLER TO DROP HIM>
<KINDLER STEPS BACK, WITH A STOIC FACE; HE LOOKS UPON LEDAS’ STILL BODY; BLOOD IS RAPIDLY POOLING AROUND THE CHILD’S HEAD; LEDAS DOES NOT MAKE A SOUND, BUT FALLS SILENTLY>
<LEDAS’ EYES ARE CLOSED AND HIS BODY IS MOTIONLESS>
<WITHOUT ANOTHER LOOK, DESPITE IT BEING AN ACCIDENT, KINDLER TURNS SWIFTLY AROUND AND EXITS; HE IS SHAKING, SWEATING, AND IS GHOSTLY WHITE; HE LOOKS LIKE HE REALLY WANTS TO GET OUT OF THERE>
<CUTS TO ANOTHER PLACE ON EARTH>
<IT IS VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING; THERE IS A GREAT MIST AROUND THE ROLLING HILLS; THERE ARE FEW TREES BUT THE GRASS IS VERY GREEN AND LIVELY>
<VEGETA IS PRACTICING IN THIS WEATHER; HIS POWER LEVEL IS ONLY ABOUT 300,000 OR SO AND HE IS NOT IN SUPER SAIYAN>
<A FIGURE, CLAD IN HEAVY PURPLED AND BLUED ARMOR, AND A DARK CAPE BILLOWING ABOUT HIM, LANDS WITH A THUD INTO THE GROUND BEHIND VEGETA>
Vegeta: <NOT LOOKING AROUND> Who’s there?
<THE CREATURE LANDS AND FEELS HIS HAIR, RUNNING HIS HANDS THROUGH THE STARK WHITE STRANDS OF IT; BUT HIS FACE IS STILL YOUTHFUL AND HIS BODY SPRY>
Unknown: A Saiyan? It seems Lord Cooler wasn’t lying when he said the some of the rats had escaped that sinking ship.
<HE TURNS TO FACE VEGETA; HIS FACE IS CLEARLY SHOWN NOW TO BE GUVA’S>
Vegeta: Saiyan? <INDIGNATION> How do you know who I am?
Guva: <CHUCKLES TO HIMSELF AS HE KNEELS AND FEELS THE WET GRASS UNDER THEIR FEET> I’ve seen that type of hair before, believe me. <HE EXHALES AND CLOSES HIS EYES, STANDING BACK UP AND POINTING HIS FACE TO THE SKY> It’s been a while since I’ve been able to enjoy the relaxing scenery of such a temperate planet.
<GUVA SUDDENLY OPENS HIS EYES AND FORMS A SMALL BALL OF ENERGY, HE THROWS IT INTO THE AIR WITH SURPRISING QUICKNESS; AS THE SCATTERSHOT BALL REACHES A CERTAIN ALTITUDE, IT DETONATES AND SENDS SEVERAL SMALL, ELONGATED BEAMS FLYING IN ALL DIRECTIONS>
<THEY DETONATE AROUND, ON THE COUNTRYSIDE; SMOKE WEAKLY POURS OUT FROM EACH OF THE BLAST’S HOLES; VEGETA STANDS WITH HIS FACE TOWARD GUVA, ARMS CROSSED; HE IS NOT IMPRESSED>
Vegeta: Done playing around, old man?
Guva: <STRETCHES OUT HIS ARMS AND LEGS; STRAINED IN SPEECH A BIT BECAUSE OF THIS> I am not fooling around. I’m on a mission. Tracking down a rogue soldier; a deserter of my installation. He is a Saiyan, much like you. But the Saiyan I’m searching for is just a child… or something like that. I’m not quite sure, actually.
Vegeta: <BAITED WHISPER> Oh yeah? What’s his name?
Guva: Maybe you know him? The little devil went by Ledas. Does that name strike a chord? <VEGETA’S EYES WIDEN; HE STEPS BACK> What, you’re scared of me now?
Vegeta: <CALMING HIMSELF READILY; BREATHING HARD> No chance.
Guva: Good. You are not the one I wish to fight anyway.
Vegeta: Hmph. I wouldn’t waste my energy on you.
Guva: <SCANS VEGETA’S POWER, WITH HIS SCOUTER; IT’S ONLY IN THE LOW HUNDRED THOUSANDS> Oh, naturally. You can’t actually run from a fight if you never do fight after all.
Vegeta: Yeah right.
Guva: I’ve raised my power level high enough. If he is here, he will come to me. Well, go on then. <HE GESTURES FOR VEGETA TO LEAVE WHEN HE HEARS A SHARP BUZZING SOUND THAT NEARLY BRINGS HIM TO HIS KNEES; VEGETA DOESN’T NOTICE; NOW HE IS THE ONE BREATHING HARD> Actually… stay. Yes… I have a proposition for you… once he arrives.
<VEGETA IGNORES GUVA, SIMPLY GOING BACK TO HIS TRAINING; GUVA SMILES>
- This chapter's name is a reference to Europa by Globus. In previous iterations of The Forgotten, there were several references to that song in chapter names. I think this is the only one remaining in the final version of TF. The chapter name refers to Kindler shooting Ledas in the head. Pretty simple stuff, really.
- So for this chapter, it's pretty similar to how it originally was when I did the first draft. During the 2012 and 2013 edits, I did three major changes: I added some stuff to the Dewberry/Guva exchange; I changed Cardinal's later exchange with Dewberry and Kindler over the Earth returning; and I modified Guva's conversation with Vegeta. The basic plot of the chapter did not change from version to version, though.
- So like Toriyama, I like to mix in a lot of comedy with drama. I think the best stories are fluid in genre, and I think one of Toriyama's better traits as an author that he also does has this philosophy (to a degree). As such, the Dewberry and Guva conversation works to characterize both, but it's also just a comedic moment. It doesn't really affect the plot, though it does help with foreshadowing some stuff.
- So basically what happens is that the Earth is wished back as Guva and Dewberry are conversing.
- Kindler and File both got lots of characterization before this chapter (and Kindler continues to until he dies in the next chapter). Dewberry did not. He was basically treated as a buffoon, though he did have a small moment in the last chapter of the previous saga when he talked about guns with Kindler. Regardless, Dewberry was underdeveloped in comparison to those two, and his stuff about space aliens here was a way for me to flesh out his character uniquely. He's not based on anyone in particular, though I was slightly influenced by Larry Charles' love of conspiracy theories to make a conspiracy theorist of my own. There are great thematic ironies here, given that his favorite conspiracy theories relate to aliens; this works more as social commentary for the real world than for the Dragon Ball world.
- Dewberry's inadvertent Syfy joke makes me laugh to this day.
- "You can take me on board your beautiful ship!" - this line is a reference to the criminally underrated song, Subterranean Homesick Alien by Radiohead. I must also mention that that song influenced quite a bit of Dewberry's character in TF.
- I'm really digging this Guva/Dewberry scene on my re-read for this anthology. This is one of the few times in a serious story that I've employed multiple types of comedy. There's sarcasm and absurdity as well as physical comedy and awkward comedy. Great stuff. And yet, at the end, Guva ties it back to the plot of him coming for Ledas when he says "Only one". Such a badass line in an otherwise comedic scene.
- In previous versions of this chapter, Cardinal didn't question why the Earth had come back. That didn't seem consistent with his character, though, so in the final version I added in all of his above lines where he's deciding to find out why the Earth disappeared and then reappeared. Cardinal is a man of power, so when he feels powerless (which happens when he doesn't know what's going on), he has a personal need to remove that powerlessness. The others don't really care because, since finding Ledas and seeing what he's capable of (not to mention Dewberry meeting another alien in Guva), they realize that they don't know what's going on and probably won't ever. That is the stance that Dewberry takes. Kindler is just exhausted and is tired of all this fantasy bullshit and is looking at it with a realist's perspective. Cardinal cannot do so because of his personality and position, and that leads him to later meeting with King Furry, which then even later allows him to reconcile with Ledas. So stuff that comes about in the very last chapters of TF are set up here in regards to Cardinal's character arc.
- After Cardinal learns that the Earth has returned, his entire mentally shifts. He no longer cares about keeping Ledas alive to present him to the UN (or the equivalent leading political organization in the world). His job was to remove the alien threat - he can do so by killing Ledas. That is easier and faster. It's not the best course of action, since presenting Ledas to the other political leaders would show Cardinal's prowess better and legitimize his mission (whereas, if Ledas is dead, it's harder to explain that he's an alien because of his human-like appearance). But now, Cardinal just wants to get that stuff over with because he's realized that there's a lot going on that he doesn't know about. He needs to go talk with King Furry about what's going on with the Earth and all of these aliens. And he can't leave loose threads open (such as Ledas), since they could come back to bite him. It's a wise political move to get rid of Ledas, even if, in the apparent short-term, that doesn't do much for Cardinal. Had the Earth not been destroyed and come back, he would not have had Kindler try to kill Ledas and Ryori. There was a reason why he took them both captive in the previous saga to begin with - but as circumstances change, so do plans, and Cardinal is an adaptive dude, so I wanted to show that in this chapter.
- Kindler's character arc is one of my favorites for a minor character. Him being troubled with using guns and the morality of killing someone, especially children, resonates with me, even if I'm not much like him.
- Kindler's lack of sleep (and being able to hide that, to an extent) is based on Destructivedisk not getting much sleep often - at least, that was the case when I wrote this chapter originally. I'm not sure if DD is sleeping more nowadays.
- Cardinal is quite shrewd when he returns to Earth in terms of what he orders Kindler to do. Nothing gets past Cardinal. However, he does make one big blunder - leaving 50 soldiers with Kindler and Dewberry. He did so in case Ledas started causing problems, but really, what do they add to the situation? If Ledas got free, however many soldiers were there would die. Cardinal slipped up slightly because he didn't fully take into account Ledas when he made that spur-of-the-moment decision. It later costs him, because Ledas destroys all 50 of those soldiers, and that severely cripples the already-crippled New Red Ribbon Army.
- So I had Kindler accidentally shoot Ledas for a variety of reasons - most of them are thematic or related to Kindler's characterization. He couldn't bring himself to do it, as I've built up for the past few chapters, so I thought it would be OOC of him to just shoot Ledas. His internal fears are highlighted when he talks to himself just before shooting Ledas. But once the shot accidentally goes off - and again, this is another pivotal scene in my thematic content about guns in TF - Kindler shows very little emotion. He turns white and starts to sweat, hinting at his internalization of his emotions, probably because he was trained to suppress what he thought by Cardinal. But he doesn't try to save Ledas or yell or sob or anything like that. For him, things worked out rather well. He didn't want to kill Ledas, and indeed, he probably took him into the back room so that he could talk to Ledas and try to let the boy go free without Ledas trying to kill them. But things worked out how they did, and Kindler feels like he was absolved, morally-speaking, from his task. Not true; Kindler still shot Ledas, and had the boy not had those senzu beans, he would have died. I'm playing around with philosophical ideas about action and choice here.
- It was important to me that Ledas makes no sound when he's shot.
- The way Guva runs his hands through his hair was based on something similar my older brother was always doing when he came out to visit my family around the time I was writing this saga.
- The Guva/Vegeta scene came to me very early in the ideas phase of the Reunion Saga. I thought it would be cool for them to have an interaction, since Guva and Ledas have been interacting so much up to this point. It provides a nice contrast between Vegeta and Ledas and also serves to let Guva reveal some cool information to Vegeta. He also states that the Saiyan he's looking for is Ledas - a name Vegeta knows - but Vegeta must've thought that it's a different Ledas, not his old friend (there are probably many Saiyans named Ledas! I bet it's as common a name as Steve). He thinks his friend is dead. At this point, he's not really entertaining the thought of Ledas being alive. His reaction when Guva says Ledas' name is because Vegeta feels a surge of nostalgia and old memories that pain him when he thinks of his long-lost friend, not because he thinks Ledas is alive. It's like when you smell an old perfume or food that brings back memories - those may be good or bad memories, but the visceral memory-inducing process itself often causes quite an emotional reaction, as was the case with Vegeta here.
- Guva's hair comment is funny, but it's crucial. Saiyans have wild, spiky, black hair. That is one of the few ways Guva could spot one. Since he's been around Ledas for so long, he should see Vegeta's appearance as being similar to Ledas. That Guva makes this connection between Ledas and Vegeta is quite interesting. Vegeta could have also gone Super Saiyan to alert Guva to the fact that he's a Saiyan, but I didn't want to do that unless I had to. Vegeta was warming up here - I don't think he would go Super Saiyan so early in his daily training routine.
- "It’s been a while since I’ve been able to enjoy the relaxing scenery of such a temperate planet." - this line implies that Guva was kept in captivity by The Benefactor for a majority of the time between the 766 - 772 Ages.
- "But the Saiyan I’m searching for is just a child… or something like that. I’m not quite sure, actually." - Guva doesn't know everything about Saiyan biology; he doesn't know if Ledas grew to his adult size when he last saw him or if he was still a child, but he suspects not, especially now that he's face-to-face with the much larger (and much more adult) Vegeta. Since Ledas appeared to be a child for over 20 years (during the Stomping Grounds Saga timeskip), this puzzled Guva. This is another hint at characters questioning Ledas' physical aging process. But for Guva, this isn't a big deal, since such trifles don't concern him much. He's aware of Ledas' lack of aging, but it doesn't dominate his thoughts.
- Guva mistaking Vegeta's power level (because Vegeta isn't full powered up) is a classic DBZ trope in the early sagas when scouters were still around. It happened so frequently that I just had to do it myself. Guva's arrogance here is not tied to reality, and it shows how his perception of things can often be cursory and inaccurate. Had Guva actually fought Vegeta, he would have died in about 10 seconds.
- The buzzing sound is The Benefactor. TB wants all of the powerful fighters on the planet to stay nearby (he wants Guva to gather them up) so that he can absorb their power and defeat them without getting hurt himself. TB is worried that the strongest fighters on this planet are stronger than him - and indeed, they are - so he cannot take any risks. He is also assuming, correctly, that the powerful fighters will try to defend Ledas should The Benefactor try to kill the boy and take back his energy from Ledas. So here we get the first hints of that plan. TB is showing his own battle intelligence with this little scheme to use Guva as bait to defeat the strongest fighters on Earth. It's quite ingenious and unique: I haven't seen this type of plan used in canon, and certainly not in any of the fanons I've read on this site.
<KINDLER WALKS DOWN THE HALL BACK TO THE MAIN ROOM; IN IT, DEWBERRY AND RYORI ARE TALKING>
Kindler: <AS HE IS WALKING, VERY QUIETLY> Darn diddly do dat…
<KINDLER PAUSES FOR A MOMENT AND THROWS HIS PISTOL INTO A SIDE CLOSET; HE CONTINUES WALKING, NOW WHISTLING… OR TRYING TO; HE CAN’T ACTUALLY DO IT YET>
<HE ROUNDS THE CORNER TO DEWBERRY; DEWBERRY HAS RYORI STANDING NEAR HIM AND THEY ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A CONVERSATION; AHEAD OF THEM, THE 50 RED RIBBON SOLDIERS ARE SLOWLY WALKING OUT OF THE SHIP, CARRYING CRATES OF THEIR SUPPLIES WITH THEM; JUST AS KINDLER SEES THEM, DEWBERRY PREPARES TO WALK DOWN THE RAMP WITH THE LAST FEW SOLDIERS>
Dewberry: Yeah, he’s cool. <SIGHS> If Kindler was a girl, I would so date him.
Ryori: <GROGGILY STILL> That’s a weird thing to say.
Dewberry: Hey, shut up!
Ryori: You brought it up.
Kindler: <ENTERS; WALKS UP TO THE KID; HE DOES NOT HAVE THE PISTOL WITH HIM> Dewberry, the kid.
Dewberry: What? You gonna kill him?
Kindler: Just give him to me.
Dewberry: <WHINE> Tell me, Kindy. I wanna know!
Kindler: <STRAINED, PERSONALLY> Dewberry, you’re just another one of Cardinal’s underlings. It’s not my place to reveal to you every little aspect of our plans.
Dewberry: <GRUMBLES> Whatever…
<DEWBERRY BEGRUDGINGLY PUSHES RYORI, WHO IS STILL TIED UP, ACROSS THE FLOOR>
<KINDLER TURNS RYORI, WHO IS KNEELING, AROUND AND TAKES HIS HAND TO THE BACK OF RYORI’S HEAD>
<BEYOND IN THE BACK ROOM, LEDAS STIRS>
<AS IS EVIDENT NOW, WHEN THE BULLET ENTERED INTO HIS HEAD IT DESTROYED THE KI SUPPRESSOR THAT WAS KEEPING HIM FROM KILLING EVERYBODY BEFORE>
<IN ADDITION, LANDING AS HARD AS HE DID ON THE METAL FLOOR CRACKED THE SUPPRESSOR AND CAUSED IT TO FALL OFF HIS HEAD>
<AT THIS, LEDAS LOOKS UP, EYES GLAZED OVER; ABOVE HIM IS STANDING A HALLUCINATION OF HIS FATHER>
Layeeck: <HE IS LEANING DOWN OVER LEDAS, HIS FACE INCHES AWAY FROM HIS SON’S; HIS VOICE IS SHAKING> There is no honor in death.
<LEDAS TURNS OVER WITH MUCH PAIN; HE WINCES>
<HIS FACE IS ABSOLUTELY COVERED IN BLOOD, SOME OF IT DRIED; THE SIDE OF HIS HEAD HAS A SMALL BULLET HOLE IN IT>
<HE DOES NOT ANSWER HIS FATHER>
Layeeck: Everything you need is right before your eyes!
<LEDAS BREATHES HARD OUT OF HIS NOSE, HE CRAWLS A BIT MORE AND SLIPS ON HIS BLOOD, WHICH IS NOW IN A HUGE POOL ON THE METAL FLOOR>
<HE STOPS MOVING AND ROLLS OVER, BREATHING HARD, EYES AFLUTTER; HE IS CONVULSING SLIGHTLY>
Layeeck: Think! What do you have, Ledas?! What can you use to save yourself?
<LEDAS RAISES HIS HAND AND MOVES HIS FINGERS IN FRONT OF HIS FACE; AFTER A SECOND, HE LOWERS IT AGAIN>
Layeeck: Do not let yourself be killed by these creatures. Fight! Be a Saiyan!
<LEDAS GASPS AND A FLURRY OF MEMORIES OF KORIN TOWER RETURN TO HIM; THE SMALL WHITE CAT EXPLAINING TO HIM THE VARIOUS MAGICS OF HIS PLACE AND THEN GIVING HIM THE POUCH; THE POUCH TO USE IN CASE OF INJURY>
<WITH THAT, LEDAS SLOWLY REACHES INSIDE HIS SHIRT AND PULLS OUT THE POUCH; HE AGAIN SLOWLY TAKES OUT A SINGLE BEAN AND EATS IT>
<HE LAYS THERE FOR A SECOND, CHEWING AND THEN SWALLOWING>
<NOTHING HAPPENS FOR SEVERAL MOMENTS, THEN LEDAS LETS OUT A LOW, HOARSE SCREAM AND CLUTCHES AT HIS HEAD; HE SCREAMS AGAIN; OBVIOUSLY THE PAIN HAS NOT GONE FROM THE SINGLE BEAN>
<LEDAS TAKES ANOTHER BEAN, THIS TIME ALMOST CONVULSING AS HE DOES SO>
<HE EATS IT AND STOPS SCREAMING ALMOST IMMEDIATELY>
<LEDAS STANDS UP, WIPING THE BLOOD FROM HIS FACE; HE LOOKS AROUND; THE VISIONS OF HIS FATHER ARE GONE NOW; HE IS BREATHING HEAVILY>
Ledas: Dad? <MORE ANXIOUS> Dad?!
<HE LOOKS AROUND AND THERE IS NOTHING THERE>
<LEDAS GOES TO ASK AGAIN, BUT THEN HE HEARS HURRIED TALKING COMING FROM UP AHEAD; HE REALIZES THAT KINDLER IS STILL ALIVE AND THAT RYORI IS IN THE OTHER ROOM>
Ledas: Those humans are still alive!
<WITH A SUDDEN JOLT, LEDAS JUMPS OUT AND DOWN THE CORNER>
<BACK UP AHEAD, KINDLER HAS RYORI IN AN EXECUTION POSE FROM LEDAS’ VANTAGE>
Kindler: <TO DEWBERRY> I took care of the other one. But this kid’s no harm to us or Mr. Cardinal. I think we can…
<AT THIS MOMENT, LEDAS SKIDS INTO VIEW; KINDLER TURNS TO FACE HIM>
<IN A SUDDEN MOVE, LEDAS SHOOTS A KI BLAST AT KINDLER; IT STRIKES HIM IN THE SIDE OF THE FACE, SPLURGING OUT BLOOD AND FLESH; HALF OF HIS NECK IS RIPPED OFF, ALMOST ENOUGH TO SNAP THE ACTUAL BONE FROM THE FLESH>
<KINDLER FALLS SLOWLY; HE IS DEAD>
<DEWBERRY FALLS BACKWARDS, OUT OF THE SHIP AND ONTO THE RAMP; HE TAKES OUT HIS PISTOL AND SCREAMS FOR THE SOLDIERS; HE POINTS HIS GUN AT RYORI (WHO IS JUST AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE SHIP) HOLDING HIM ONCE AGAIN AS A SORT OF HOSTAGE; AS SOON AS THEY HEAR HIM SCREAM, THE SOLDIERS DROP WHAT THEY ARE CARRYING AND TURN BACK TO LOOK AT DEWBERRY>
Dewberry: <AGITATED AS HE HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE> Get back or I’ll shoot! <LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER> Men, get over here! Kindler’s down! Help me!
<DEWBERRY CRAWLS TOWARD RYORI AND GRABS HIM AROUND THE BACK OF THE NECK, PULLING THE PISTOL UP TO HIS HEAD>
<LEDAS COCKS HIS HEAD AND UNWINDS HIS BODY; ONCE AGAIN, HIS AURA IS BLACK, INSTEAD OF ITS USUAL CYAN>
Ledas: You’re next. <WITHOUT A WORD OR SOUND OR CHANGE OF HIS BODY, LEDAS GOES SUPER SAIYAN> Don’t blink.
<DEWBERRY DOESN’T FLINCH BECAUSE HE DID NOT SEE THE TRANSFORMATION TAKE PLACE; HE KEEPS THE GUN ON RYORI; BEHIND HIM, THE LINES OF SOLDIERS HAVE FORMED, AND THEY LIKEWISE AIM THEIR WEAPONRY AT LEDAS>
<LEDAS SMIRKS AND CREATES AN AFTERIMAGES WHICH STAYS IN HIS PREVIOUS PLACE; HIS REAL FORM MOVES AROUND BEHIND DEWBERRY, TOO QUICKLY FOR THE LATTER TO SEE>
<LEDAS PUNCHES HIM, CAUSING THE PISTOL TO BE THROWN AWAY>
<DEWBERRY FALLS OVER DEAD; HIS SKULL CAVED IN>
<THE SOLDIERS IMMEDIATELY FIRE ON THE SAIYAN BOY; HE ELBOWS RYORI OUT OF THE WAY AND TURNS TO FACE THE SOLDIERS; THE BULLETS JUST BOUNCE OFF OF HIM; NO LONGER SMIRKING, LEDAS WALKS DOWN THE REST OF THE RAMP AND STOPS JUST IN FRONT OF THE SOLDIERS; THEY STOP FIRING AS THEY CANNOT BELIEVE THE BULLETS ARE JUST BOUNCING OFF OF HIM; LEDAS KNEELS DOWN AND SNEERS, HIS SHARP TEETH SHOWING; HE CREATES A RED ICE CANNON IN EITHER HAND AND SHOOTS THEM AT THE SOLDIERS; THE BLASTS CONNECT AND DISINTEGRATE EVERY ONE OF THEM>
<LEDAS RETURNS TO RYORI AND UNTIES HIM; RYORI IS IN WONDER AT LEDAS’ SHOW OF POWER; UP TO THIS POINT HE DID NOT KNOW LEDAS WAS AN ALIEN>
Ryori: <ALMOST WITH A BIT OF CAUTION> Ledas… what are you?
Ledas: <REGRESSES TO HIS NORMAL STATE; HIS FACE IS STILL SERIOUS> I’m a Saiyan, like my father before me. I guess I never told you, huh?
Ryori: A Saiyan? What’s that?
Ledas: Well, it’s my species. Y’know, I look just like you, but I have a tail and stuff. <HE SHOWS RYORI HIS TAIL> See?
Ryori: Whoa, a tail. I-I didn’t know! That’s awesome… but what else can you do?
<LEDAS GOES TO ANSWER, BUT SUDDENLY SNAPS HIS NECK AROUND, FEELING GUVA’S SHOW OF POWER; THIS IS NOT SO MUCH BECAUSE OF HOW POWERFUL GUVA IS, BUT BECAUSE LEDAS CAN FEEL HIM AT ALL>
Ryori: Ledas?! What is it?
Ledas: <STANDS UP> I-I’ve gotta go, Ryori. There’s something I have to fix.
Ryori: But what is it?
Ledas: There’s a someone out there I’ve got to deal with. You can’t help, I swear…
Ryori: <STARES AFTER HIM> Are you gonna kill him too?
Ledas: If I need to. <STILL GRAVE; LOOKS AT THE BODIES OF KINDLER AND DEWBERRY; HE SOMEWHAT REALIZES THAT SEEING PEOPLE DIE IS NOT SOMETHING RYORI IS USED TO> Just like these people. They were gonna… I mean he was gonna shoot you!
Ryori: <DROPS TO HIS KNEES> It’s okay, I guess. My brother would have done the same thing. <LOOKS UP> I guess I’ll just go home and see what he’s up to.
Ledas: Oh. <UNCOMFORTABLY; AFTER A PAUSE> Ryori… I think he’s gone… like those two. <GESTURES AGAIN TO THE DEAD> I think one of these guys did it.
Ryori: <TEARY> What?!
Ledas: <STEPS BACK, STILL UNCOMFORTABLY> I-I… I gotta go…
Ryori: <SINKS BACK DOWN, TEARS WELLING AGAIN; TO HIMSELF> He’s dead?! He… <VOICE BREAKS> can’t be.
<WITH THAT, LEDAS RUNS FORWARD ON THE DIRT PATH FOR A LITTLE WHILE, THEN HE KICKS OFF FROM THE GROUND; AS SOON AS HE ENTERS THE AIR, HIS AURA FLARES UP AROUND HIM; HE SHOOTS OFF ACROSS THE SKY; THE SUN IS JUST BEGINNING TO BUD UP OVER THE MOUNTAINTOP IN THE EARLY MORNING>
<RYORI SLINKS TO THE FLOOR, AND REACHES OUT FOR DEWBERRY’S PISTOL; HE GRABS IT AND IN ONE FELL SWOOP BRINGS IT UP, IN HUGGING NATURE, TO HIS CHEST>
<FAR AWAY, BETWEEN ROLLING HILLS, GUVA AND VEGETA ARE STANDING NEAR EACH OTHER; VEGETA IS STEADILY POWERING UP MORE AS HE IS TRAINING; HIS POWER LEVEL IS NOW AT ABOUT ONE MILLION; HE IS STILL IGNORING GUVA>
<WITH GREAT HASTE, GUVA RISES INTO THE AIR, LOOKING OVER THE TOWN WHICH IS CLOSEST BY; IT IS, OF COURSE, WEST CITY, WHERE CAPSULE CORP. IS>
Guva: <TO HIMSELF; HEAD THROWN BACK IN SLIGHT AMUSEMENT> Come out, Ledas, before I torch the entire countryside.
- This chapter's name refers to the moment when Ledas tells Dewberry not to blink (and when Dewberry does, Ledas kills him). It also references how things can change in a blink of the eye. The situations of Ledas, Ryori, and and the remaining NRRA soldiers in Ledas' space ship all have their fortunes reversed so quickly.
- Kindler's "Darn diddly do dat…" is something Destructivedisk used to say all the time. The phrase itself is based something Ned Flanders from The Simpsons says all the time.
- Kindler not being able to whistle is based on Destructivedisk also not being able to whistle when I was writing this chapter back in 2011. He's probably learned how to do it by now.
- Kindler throwing the gun away after shooting it implies that he's disgusted with what happened. Then, he tries to whistle to divert his mind from the atrocity he just witnessed. This speaks to his character arc, which is somewhat complicated in this last chapter he's in. Kindler hasn't exactly been portrayed as evil. He's been pressured to follow Cardinal, even though he has some moral reservations about doing some things for Cardinal. Still, he ends up doing them and tries to emotionally detach himself from their consequences. He was also going to let Ryori go. So Kindler is quite a grey character. He does both good and evil things. In the end, though, Ledas makes him pay for the bad things he does. I also believe the bad things he does outweigh the good things he does, but he's certainly not pure evil.
- Supersaiyian11, who Dewberry was lightly based on, actually did say that he would date Destructivedisk if Destructivedisk had been a girl. It was a bizarre thing to say, and Ryori's response was basically my response to ss11 when I heard him say that. Again, this is a comedic moment just before a lot of people are killed, so I was purposefully changing the tone to make Ledas' confrontation of the NRRA people much more dramatic.
- Obviously, Dewberry heard Kindler shoot Ledas. Ryori didn't hear it because he was either unconscious or quite groggy. Had Ryori heard that shot, he would have been hysterical.
- "Dewberry, you’re just another one of Cardinal’s underlings. It’s not my place to reveal to you every little aspect of our plans." - this line is interesting because it states that Kindler is a higher rank than Dewberry or File or the others. He's basically Cardinal's second-in-command. This implies more about Kindler's worth than Dewberry's, which makes his upcoming death that much more impactful for the NRRA's power. Kindler being a higher rank is implied earlier when Cardinal gave all of his important orders to Kindler, while using Dewberry more like cannon fodder.
- In the two previous chapters, Ledas hasn't been able to do much. He's driven the plot in many ways, influencing Guva's and Cardinal's actions, but he hasn't appeared much at all since he's been under Cardinal's control. He's really only had the one scene in the first chapter when he tries to attack Cardinal. Here now in the third chapter, Ledas' plot begins to really take off. His scene where he's dying and has to take the two senzu beans is a major moment for his characterization, as it is when he overcomes his hallucinations and uses his own abilities to save himself. It's a turning point in more ways than one. Importantly, Ledas also gets a zenkai by saving himself here, which gives him a much-needed power boost to help him fight The Benefactor later on in the saga.
- It was fitting that Kindler's bullet destroyed the ki suppressor helmet Ledas was wearing, for that action is what sealed Kindler's fate. That helmet also saved Ledas, since it prevented the bullet from reaching his brain, and that is nothing to be sneezed at. I would say, overall, Kindler brings Ledas the closest to death out of anyone in TF. The kid was so close to dying in this chapter.
- So I didn't know what I was going to use the senzu beans for when I first had Ledas get them in the last saga. That's how little of the Reunion Saga I had plotted out when I was still writing the Planet Earth Saga. I crafted this plot because I knew I had the senzu beans. Ledas could get shot in the head, since the senzus would be able to help him recover. I don't typically like the senzu beans - they are often a cheap plot device, almost as bad as the Dragon Balls themselves, and if not used carefully, horrible writing will ensue around them. That is why I framed this chapter so carefully and had the senzu beans used in a harrowing way against an opponent who shouldn't have defeated Ledas. Had Ledas used these beans against TB in the mind prison, I think it would have been a bad idea, since that would have reduced all of the drama. Since Ledas isn't actually fighting anyone here (and the humans don't have the ability to hurt him when he's powered up), the senzu beans don't feel cheap.
- The Layeeck hallucination, as seen in the last saga, is Ledas' more rational side. So by having the hallucination here, I can portray Ledas' inner thoughts as he's struggling to survive. This is very hard to do otherwise in drama format. It would be easier to do in regular prose. But I had to work with what I had. The Layeeck hallucination recalling a line from the very first saga (the line he recalls is actually part of Ledas' family mantra) is quite cool, as it shows how Ledas hasn't let go of the past like Vegeta has.
- The Layeeck hallucination never appears again after this scene. Note how the dramatic build up to Ledas saving himself with the senzu beans is driven by Layeeck. But once Ledas has succeeded, Layeeck disappears. This hints at a character progression as well as a mentality shift for Ledas. He's dealing with his PTSD, his isolation, his mental instability better. This is due to his integration in Earth society and his increased socialization around the humans. His friendship with Ryori has also helped him with his mental state. Layeeck appearing in this chapter is mostly because of the major event that happened; Layeeck might not have appeared otherwise. It was the last gasp of Ledas' damaged psyche - in one way. As we shall see, Ledas becomes unstable in a different way when he gets close to The Benefactor. I chose to have these be two separate conditions so that there's a sense of resolution from the previous saga as well as a sense that things are not being drawn out or made stale. Layeeck appearing any longer would be that, in my opinion, and Ledas seeing visions of TB now that TB is actually back would just be confusing and detrimental to the plot. So there was no reason to continue on with the hallucination arc.
- Kindler was going to let Ryori go. He's not totally bad. But he did shoot Ledas. And Ledas thought Kindler was going to kill Ryori. Ledas' perception is not reality here, but it's important to note that that didn't matter. Kindler should have died for what he did to Ledas (in Ledas' view, of course), regardless of what he was about to do to Ryori.
- Ledas' aura being black is something that would appear more striking in anime or manga form. It's a major shift, as he's had a cyan aura in the four sagas up to this point. A black aura implies something weird is going on with him. Since he's acting normal so far, what that is isn't known. What is causing it isn't known either, but it has been hinted that it's The Benefactor's close presence to Ledas. Ledas' black aura serves as foreshadowing for The Benefactor's reappearance later in the saga.
- There was a scene in one of the later DBZ sagas where someone went Super Saiyan without moving or screaming or seeming to strain to do so. I thought that was cool, so Ledas does it here. That Ledas can do that also implies that he has achieved the Full Powered Super Saiyan form by this point in the story.
- One thing that I like about the final version of Ledas vs. Dewberry is that there are these 50 regular soldiers involved as well. It also allows Ledas to save Ryori in a cooler way than if he was just up against the fat and slow Dewberry. Ledas saving Ryori hints at his humanization and acculturation in human society. He values humans now much more than he did at the start of the Planet Earth Saga. Obviously, this doesn't extend to humans who are trying to kill him. But there's no way Ledas would have saved Ryori in chapter 2 or 3 or perhaps even 4 or 5. The progression here is quite big.
- Big moment when Ryori witnesses Ledas kill Dewberry and the soldiers. His friendship with Ledas is never the same after he learns that the boy is an alien.
- "I’m a Saiyan, like my father before me" - that is a reference to this scene from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
- Ledas' scene with Ryori was difficult for me to write. At first, I had to have Ledas explain what he was to Ryori and have Ryori basically get his mind blown without hating Ledas. That was tricky. The next part was even harder - Ledas telling Ryori that Shoekki was dead. I could have waited on this, but if I had, Ryori wouldn't have learned Shoekki was dead until much later in the story. He couldn't have done his revenge plot on the New Red Ribbon Army in this saga had he not known Shoekki was dead. Realizing that Ryori's plot is critically-related to some of the biggest themes in this saga, I couldn't have Shoekki's death be revealed later. I came up with Ryori's plot in several bursts, and it was changed quite a bit with the changes to this saga's plot during the final edits (as a result of changes in the Planet Earth Saga, which produced a big butterfly effect by this saga). But this idea that Ryori wants revenge for his brother and will do so at any cost - even his own life - speaks to how much he loved Shoekki.
- Ledas is not good at helping others go through grief, as he has never had to do that before. Part of him doesn't have time to console Ryori, since he's sensed Guva, and part of him just isn't very experienced in doing so anyway. This is one of those instances where the plot convergences I thought up really helped the scene end before it could get too awkward, thankfully.
- Ryori taking Dewberry's gun is a significant moment of character progression for him, and it continues the gun themes I've presented so far in the Earth arc of TF. One thing to note is that while Dewberry and the rest of the NRRA seems to be waning in power, Ryori is not. He goes from a position of no power or agency to one of total freedom and destructive power in this saga. His arc is in contrast to the rest of the humans', showing that this idea of human frailty is not true for every human.
- Guva expects Ledas to come to him willingly as soon as he senses Guva is on Earth. He's making a lot of assumptions with this strategy, namely that Ledas is even alive. But there is little else he can do. Guva isn't a detective; he doesn't have the skills nor the patience to go searching for Ledas in a more elegant way. This is ironic, since Guva is quite the elegant character. That he's not in this chapter speaks to the fact that he was changed, and not for the better, after he killed Banas and was captured by The Benefactor.
They Call Me Yamcha
<THE SCREEN FADES FROM GREEN>
<THE CAMERA ZOOMS OUT, SLOWLY, FOCUSED ON A SINGLE BLADE OF GRASS; AFTER A FEW MOMENTS OF THIS, THE GRASS IS COVERED BY A DARK SHAPE>
<THE CAMERA PICKS UP ITS ZOOM OUT AND THE SCREEN SHOWS GUVA, NOW BACK ON THE GROUND; HE HAS HIS BACK TO VEGETA, AS HE IS SURVEYING THE SMOKE FROM HIS RUINOUS AFFAIR A FEW MOMENTS AGO>
<AS HE SURVEYS, SEVERAL LOUD THUDS BREAK THE SILENCE BETWEEN THE TWO>
<GUVA LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER, AT LONG LAST; AS HE TURNS TO FACE THE NEW SOUNDS, THE THUDS CONTINUE>
<LANDING AROUND THEM ARE THE Z FIGHTERS; NAMELY, GOKU, GOTEN, TRUNKS, PICCOLO, KRILLIN, AND ANDROID 18>
<GUVA TURNS WITH A WIDE SMILE AND WITH A BROAD GESTURE; AS HE DOES SO, MORE Z FIGHTERS CONTINUE LANDING AROUND THEM>
<TIEN, CLAD IN HIS HEAVY CLOTHES FROM THE BUU SAGA, LANDS; CHIAOTZU LANDS WITH HIM; GOHAN LANDS TOO; HE IS WEARING A SUIT, WHITE ON BLACK>
Goku: <TO VEGETA, WHO HAS HIS OWN BACK TO GOKU, ARMS FOLDED> Hey Vegeta… who is this guy?
Guva: <PUSHES FORWARD, TO GOKU> Who am I? I think the more important question is who you are. And why you all have landed here, disturbing my peace. <HE THROWS HIS HEAD BACK AGAIN, HIS HAIR SLIGHTLY WET>
Goku: My name is Goku.
Guva: <SEEING THAT GOKU IS WAITING FOR HIM TO RESPOND> And?
Goku: My friends and I protect this planet. It’s our job to deal with people like you… who hurt the innocent.
Guva: Oh I see. That’s so cheesy. But carry on if you have more.
Goten: <OUTBURSTING> Hey mister… are you a bad guy?
Gohan: <STEPS TO GOTEN> Quiet, Goten.
Piccolo: <EVER COOL> Hmph. <AT GUVA> So what do you want with us?
Guva: With you? Nothing. As I’ve already explained to this <GESTURES TO VEGETA> Saiyan, my business is with someone else. Someone… <HE SCANS THE SKIES> who is mysteriously hiding. Maybe that’s one of your doings.
Tien: What’s this guy talking about?
Guva: I have no qualms with you; I merely seek to bring enough attention to myself to allow him the awareness of my presence. <SCANS ALL OF THEIR POWER LEVELS, FINDING THEM TO BE DISMALLY LOW> Perhaps he’ll come out on his own. Until then, how about a friendly sparring match? That is of course if any of you are up to it… I am in no hurry. <TO HIMSELF> Keep them all in one place, right.
<SUDDENLY ANOTHER THUD, MUCH LOUDER THAN ALL THE OTHERS BEFORE, SOUNDS OFF BEHIND GUVA; HE TURNS ALONG WITH ALL THE Z FIGHTERS TO SEE A FIGURE, SILHOUETTED BY SMOKE>
<THE SMOKE SLOWLY CLEARS AND IT REVEALS YAMCHA, HEAD DOWN, TURNED; HE IS WEARING A SHIRT, PROBABLY TOO TIGHT, TO SHOW OFF HIS MUSCLES; EVER THE BADASS, YAMCHA ALSO HAS A BASEBALL CAP ON HIS HEAD, BACKWARDS OF COURSE; HE LOOKS UP AND SMILES, SHOWING OFF HIS PEARLY WHITES>
Yamcha: Sure, I’ll fight ya. <HE LAUGHS AND JUMPS FORWARD AT GUVA> Whaddya say?
Guva: <WATCHES THIS> Confident, eh? Very well. <HE TURNS BACK TO GOKU> I hope you have at least a class three medical tank for your friend over here. He seems rather oblivious to what I’m about to do to him.
Piccolo: <TO GOKU AS WELL> Hey Goku, maybe you should pick up some senzu beans before we start. There’s no telling what this one has in store.
Goku: Oh yeah, that’s a great idea, Piccolo!
<HE PUTS HIS FINGER TO HIS HEAD, ABOUT TO INSTANT TRANSMISSION AWAY, BUT BEFORE HE CAN, GUVA STEPS FORWARD>
Guva: Now what is this? I don’t want any funny business. Wherever you’re going, I’m sure you can take me along. After all, what do you have to hide?
Goku: Well… I don’t know…
Guva: <GRABS ONTO GOKU> I know that technique. Lord Cooler has used it before. So wherever you’re going, I know you can take me along with you.
Goku: Cooler, huh? You knew him? <SPLIT PANELS; SIGHS> Alright, fine.
<GOKU AND GUVA INSTANT TRANSMISSION AWAY>
Yamcha: <WALKS OVER TO THE OTHER Z FIGHTERS, GREETS THEM; HE ENDS UP FACE TO FACE WITH VEGETA> Hey Vegeta, if I were you, I wouldn’t let Bulma see me fight today. <HE FLEXES HIS MUSCLES, ALMOST RIPPING HIS SHIRT> Yeah, she had a thing for me back in the day… and now that I’m as ripped <FLEXES AGAIN> as ever, you better watch out. <HE LAUGHS>
Vegeta: <STONY FACE THEN SUDDENLY ERUPTION INTO LAUGHTER> Oh, is that right, little man? <HE OPENS HIS MOUTH AGAIN TO TALK BUT PICCOLO STEPS IN>
Piccolo: <STERNLY> Enough, you two.
<CAMERA SWITCHES TO KORIN TOWER; GOKU AND GUVA SUDDENLY COME INTO VIEW, HAVING INSTANT TRANSMISSION’D TO THE MAIN FLOOR>
<AS SOON AS THIS HAPPENS, GOKU LETS GO OF GUVA AND STARTS WANDERING AROUND CALLING FOR THE KITTY KITTY>
<AT THIS TIME, GUVA MOVES UP TO A LONG WOODEN TABLE UP AGAINST ONE OF THE RAILINGS; THERE ARE VARIOUS, WEIRD CONTRIVANCES LITTERED ACROSS IT>
<BEHIND, KORIN COMES INTO VIEW>
Korin: What’s that, senzu beans? You need some, Goku?
Goku: <CHIPPER> Yeah, just a few if you can spare them. That would be awesome.
Korin: <JUMPS UP ONTO THE FAR RAILING> Well that’s nice. But I don’t have any beans for you. Somebody <HE EMPHASIZES THAT WORD AND TURNS TO YAJIROBE> had to go and eat them all!
Yajirobe: <IN THE CORNER, SITTING IN THE SHADOWS> Hey! I was hungry! Stupid old cat…
Goku: What?! You don’t have any?
Korin: <STRAIGHT> Doesn’t look like it, champ.
<BEHIND THEIR CONVERSATION, GUVA PICKS UP A STRANGE DEVICE; IT IS LIKE A PYRAMID, COVERED IN STRANGE LETTERINGS AND WHATNOT; HE MESSES AROUND WITH IT>
<SEEING THIS, KORIN, WITH SUDDEN AGILITY, JUMPS UP TO GUVA AND SWATS THE DEVICE AWAY; IT LANDS ON THE FLOOR AND OPENS>
<WHILE IT IS NOT POINTING AT ANYONE, THE TOP OF THE DEVICE OPENS AND STARTS SETTING OFF A HIGH WIND, SUCKING THE AIR IN; SEVERAL NEARBY TRINKETS ARE SUCKED INTO IT>
<KORIN, WITH INDIGNATION, PICKS UP HIS STICK AND WALKS AROUND BEHIND THE DEVICE, POKING AT THE BACK OF IT; IT IMMEDIATELY CLOSES; HE PICKS IT UP AND GINGERLY SETS IT BACK DOWN ON THE TABLE; HE TURNS TO GUVA>
Korin: <WRYLY> Any of my other priceless artifacts you want to play with? This isn’t a museum, your highness.
Guva: Very well. <WALKS BACK UP TO GOKU AND TAKES HIS ARM, AS IF WANTING TO TAKE A NICE EVENING STROLL IN THE PARK> If that’s all, take me back.
Goku: Oh… right, yeah. Well I’ll see you around, Korin! <HE INSTANT TRANSMISSIONS BACK TO THE AREA WITH THE OTHER Z FIGHTERS>
<GUVA WALKS BACK AWAY, AND YAMCHA MOVES FORWARD INTO A FIGHTING STANCE>
Guva: <CIRCLING; HIS SCOUTER IS FLASHING> I’ve known plants with higher power levels than you.
Yamcha: <UNWINDS HIS SHOULDERS> Don’t underestimate me; I can bite hard. Yeah, you don’t know who you’re up against.
Piccolo: <WATCHING> Looks like Yamcha is stronger…
Gohan: Are you sure, Piccolo? Couldn’t the new guy be concealing his power level?
Piccolo: <GRUFFLY> If he is, then we’re in trouble.
<GUVA DOESN’T EVEN POWER UP; HE STRIDES FORWARD TO YAMCHA>
<YAMCHA DODGES HIM, AFTERIMAGES, AND SHOOTS UP INTO THE AIR, VERY HIGH AND FAST; GUVA LOOKS UP, SURPRISED, AND DOES THE SAME>
Vegeta: <LOOKS AWAY AND WALKS OFF TO SIT DOWN ON THE GRASS BEHIND> Hmph… show off.
<THE TWO SHOOT UP INTO THE CLOUDS; AS SOON AS GUVA STOPS, YAMCHA LAUNCHES HIMSELF FROM A CLOUD COVERING FROM BEHIND AND HITS GUVA; GUVA TURNS AROUND, TRYING TO PARRY BUT IT’S NOT THAT MUCH USE>
<YAMCHA BACKFLIPS, KICKING GUVA IN FACE AS HE DOES; HE JUMPS BACK AND THEN SUDDENLY PUSHES FORWARD; AGAIN, GUVA DOES NOT ANTICIPATE THIS AND IS HIT IN THE FACE; HIS LONG TRUSTED SCOUTER FALLS OFF, BROKEN>
<GUVA GROWLS; HE LOOKS AROUND AND CANNOT FIND YAMCHA ANYWHERE; THE CLOUDS ARE TOO MISTY AND HE CANNOT SENSE POWER WITHOUT HIS SCOUTER>
<AS HE MOVES FORWARD, QUIETLY, A DARK FLASH JUMPS AND SKIDS ACROSS BEHIND HIM; GUVA PICKS UP ON IT AND TURNS; HE SHOOTS A FEW SMALL BLASTS IN A SEMI-CIRCLE IN THAT DIRECTION; HE TURNS AROUND JUST IN TIME TO BE HIT IN THE CHEST BY BOTH OF YAMCHA’S FEET>
<YAMCHA HITS GUVA SIDEWAYS, LIKE IN A “T” SHAPE; AS GUVA HUNCHES OVER IN PAIN, YAMCHA RIGHTS HIMSELF BACK UP AND GATHERS HIS ENERGY>
<AFTER A COUPLE SECONDS OR SO, YAMCHA SHOWS HIS ENERGY, A HUGE SPIRIT BALL, AND THROWS IT RIGHT INTO GUVA’S WIDE EYES>
<IT CONNECTS AND EXPLODES; BEFORE THE DUST CAN CLEAR, YAMCHA APPROACHES AND SENSES GUVA’S PRESENCE; HE LAUNCHES HIS INTERLOCKED HANDS DOWN UPON THE GOVERNOR’S HEAD, CRACKING IT AND SENDING THE LATTER SHOOTING DOWNWARDS; GUVA HITS THE GROUND HARD>
<YAMCHA DESCENDS TO THE GROUND, GRINNING AND CONFIDENT; AT LONG LAST, GUVA STIRS, STUMBLING OUT FROM HIS CRATER>
<HIS ARMOR IS ALL CRACKED AND HIS CAPE IS TORN AND HAS HOLES IN IT; HIS BODY IS SLIGHTLY DIRTIED AND BLOODIED; HE IS A GREAT SHINER UPON THE TOP OF HIS HEAD>
Guva: Impressive. Very much so, my friend. I did not expect you to be able to damage me so easily. But that’s enough from you. <HE RIPS OFF HIS CAPE AND THROWS IT BACKWARD, WITH THE WIND>
<AT THIS MOMENT, YAMCHA LAUGHS AGAIN AND SPRINTS FORWARD, ARMS OUTSTRETCHED YELLING “WOLF FANG FIST” TO NOBODY IN PARTICULAR; HE HITS GUVA, WHO IS CHARGING UP; YAMCHA’S WOLF FANG FIST IS SUCCESSFUL, AND IT KNOCKS THE WIND OUT OF GUVA>
<GUVA, IN INDIGNATION, RISES AFTER A FEW BATED BREATHS AND BACK-KICKS YAMCHA AWAY>
Guva: <WIPES DUST OFF OF HIS FACE; THEN BEGINS TO CHARGE UP> Gah! What was that?
Yamcha: Heh heh, it’s not my fault you let your guard down.
Guva: It’s just common courtesy… I let you charge up and you let me. Now, let’s go!
<GUVA CHARGES TO HIS FULL POWER AND PUMPS UP HIS MUSCLES; THE Z FIGHTERS WATCHING ARE ONLY SLIGHTLY IMPRESSED AS HIS LEVEL IS STILL FAR, FAR BELOW THEIRS>
Piccolo: Hmm… this may be trouble.
Gohan: <TURNS TO PICCOLO> What do you mean, Piccolo?
Piccolo: <ALWAYS COOL> That alien is now far stronger than Yamcha. Even when they were even, Yamcha couldn’t hurt him too much. Now if he’s not careful… he could get himself killed. One of us may need to step in.
<THE LAMER Z FIGHTERS ALL GASP AT THIS>
<AT THIS MOMENT, GUVA TURNS BACK TO YAMCHA, SMILING>
Guva: Are you up for round two?
Yamcha: <BARK> You know it!
<YAMCHA AGAIN RUNS AT GUVA IN WOLF FANG FIST FASHION, BUT THIS TIME GUVA SIDESTEPS HIM AND SWIPES AT THE BACK OF YAMCHA’S HEAD, PARALYZING HIM>
<GUVA TAKES THE WARRIOR BY THE BACK WITH HIS LEFT HAND, AND WITH HIS RIGHT HE READIES HIS BLAST; THE Z FIGHTERS CAN ONLY LOOK ON IN HORROR AT THIS SUDDEN CHANGE OF EVENTS>
<THE CAMERA SLOWLY ZOOMS OUT BACK PAST THE FIGHT AND UP INTO THE SKY>
<STREAKING ACROSS THE DEEP BLUE IS THE SMALL FIGURE OF A CHILD, TRYING HIS BEST TO GET TO GUVA’S POWER OFFPUT BELOW; AT THIS POINT, HE HAS ABANDONED CONCEALING HIS POWER LEVEL>
<THE SCENE CHANGES BACK TO THE MOUNTAIN LEDAS LEFT; THE BODY OF DEWBERRY IS AT THE BASE OF THE SHIP, WHICH IS STILL SITTING IN THE SAME SPACE; RYORI IS NOWHERE TO BE SEEN; HOWEVER, THE CAMERA FOCUSES IN TOWARDS THE CRATER, WHERE THE 50 SOLDIERS ONCE FOUGHT LEDAS; THERE NOW IS BUT A SINGLE SOLDIER, BADLY WOUNDED, CRAWLING ACROSS THE GROUND; AS HE GOES, HE PRESSES A BUTTON ON HIS CHESTPIECE>
Soldier 1: G-g-general… S-silver…
Silver: <OVER THE COMM> What is it, Sergeant?
Soldier 1: The alien… he g-g-ot aw-way… no… survivors… I-I’m sorry, s-sir…
<WITH THAT, THE CONNECTION GOES DEAD>
<THE SCREEN CHANGES TO SILVER’S PERSPECTIVE; HE IS INSIDE A DARK ROOM, WITH A FEW GUARDS AROUND HIM; CARDINAL IS UP AHEAD WITH HIS REMAINING SCIENTISTS; SILVER LOOKS AT HIS FATHER AND SIGHS>
Silver: Father! <CARDINAL TURNS AROUND AND LOOKS AT HIM> We’ve got a problem.
- This chapter was originally called "Losers Fight First". I find that name funny even to this day, but it's a bit too mean. I eventually changed it to "They Call Me Yamcha" as a reference to They Call Me Sonic. The chapter name refers to the absurdity (and unintentional humor) of Yamcha's confidence in this chapter, despite his power level being quite low compared to most of the Z Fighters (and Ledas and The Benefactor). This is one of my favorite chapter titles in the entire story.
- This chapter has overall remained much the same as it was during the first draft. During the final edits, I added in a small dialogue exchange with Piccolo and Gohan as well as a scene with Silver's surviving soldier, and really that was about it. There were some minor dialogue/scene direction rewordings, but nothing major.
- I have not mentioned this yet, but I think that this saga is paced more like a DBZ saga than the previous TF sagas were. That specifically starts happening in this chapter. But it's noteworthy, since the entire saga takes place in one day - not counting the flashbacks - and this pacing is in-line with how almost every DBZ plays out (especially the two parts to the Saiyan Saga and the Majin Buu arcs). I don't think it's a pro or a con that this saga is like a DBZ saga - it's just different from what I did before. Of course, I think I succeeded in what I did, otherwise I wouldn't have posted it on this site.
- The opening to this saga is the only green screen fade in the series, if I remember correctly.
- The timeskips between the ends of chapters and the beginnings of the next chapters in this saga are the shortest of any saga in TF. Most of the chapter endings are immediately picked up in the next chapter. This is done very infrequently in all of the other sagas, but quite often here. This is part of why this saga feels like a saga of DBZ to me, in terms of some of the pacing decisions.
- I wanted Ledas to meet the Z Fighters since the first stage of TF's existence. The moment where they all land was going to be the big first moment in the original version of the story. I decided to change it to have them first meet Guva because I thought it would be too awkward to have Ledas meet them all so formally. And since he's not the villain anymore, it just wouldn't work. Guva's meeting with the Z Fighters is basically what I would have done with Ledas meeting them had he been the villain (and if this saga had been the first saga).
- "<HE THROWS HIS HEAD BACK AGAIN, HIS HAIR SLIGHTLY WET>" - I mentioned this in the anthology of chapter 2, but again, this is a reference to a thing my older brother would do with his hair when he came out to visit me (he lives in a different state and I don't see him often), back when I was first writing this saga in 2011.
- I did quite a bit of mocking of the Z Fighters in this chapter. It's based on mannerisms of all of them (particularly Goku), mostly seen in the Majin Buu sagas. The Z Fighters, as much as I like them, can be irritating and annoying as fuck and naive and cheesy and dumb. So it was fun to use Guva - my fanon character - to mock these classic, but not exactly great, character traits in the canon characters. I don't particularly like how the characters progressed in the Majin Buu sagas, so there was commentary on that here as well.
- As Guva reveals in this chapter - which was not so clear in the first or second drafts of this chapter - he brings up the idea of sparring with the Z Fighters so that he can distract them and allow The Benefactor to drain their powers. TB, unlike Guva, realizes that many of the Z Fighters are stronger than him (at the very least, that would include Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, and Gotenks (though he doesn't know about Gotenks, obviously)). So he needs to deal with them before he deals with Ledas. He has to remove the threats to himself, elsewise he could die. And he doesn't want to die, so he enacts the plan to use Guva as a new kind of bait.
- Yamcha's entrance in this chapter is DBZ style on steroids. Again, I'm doing a lot of mocking and satirizing and parodying of some DBZ tropes. This one is amongst my favorites. I don't like Yamcha much - he was annoying and whiny and died easily and cheated on Bulma. He's not a sympathetic character for the most part, at least not in DBZ. So the way I'm portraying him as this amazing badass who has appeared just in time to save the day is me mocking him. He's the second-weakest person there. He can't even beat Guva by himself. That's how pitiful he is. Yet, the tone contrasts Yamcha's nature and the way that most DBZ fans see him on purpose, to highlight how terrible he becomes in DBZ.
- The Cooler reference to Goku's instant transmissioning is a great moment. It's a lucky happenstance that that scene came together to allow Guva to get to Korin Tower so fluidly. As to why Guva had to go to Korin Tower, I thought he was the best one to mess with Verlate's mind prison; it didn't seem like any canon character would, save for maybe Goten, and I don't see why he would go to Korin Tower.
- Yamcha vs. Vegeta never gets old. Yamcha's arrogance is so misplaced, it's laughable. It doesn't matter how strong he has become - he will never compare to Vegeta in terms of power.
- Ah good ol' Yajirobe eating all the senzu beans. That was the best. Senzu beans are, for the most part, a plot crutch, so having them not be available was me illustrating how I'm diverging from some of the bad tropes in DBZ. Of course, I do later use senzu beans to heal all of the Z Fighters, but this is long after the battle is over. Senzu beans taken during battle is usually - though not always - a bad idea, and I try to refrain from doing so if possible.
- This chapter marks the second time Verlate's mind prison is shown. People should now be taking note of this. It was seen in the previous saga when Ledas found it; and here it is again. Why would I repeatedly show a worthless trinket? Why would I devote so much text space to an unimportant pyramid box thingy? The answer is I wouldn't. It will obviously become important. This is very overt foreshadowing on my part, since Verlate's mind prison would appear to be deus ex machina if it wasn't handled properly. I took great care to have it foreshadowed and appear to be a realistic progression of the story. This also meant that, by that previous point in the Planet Earth Saga, and certainly by this point, I had already decided I was going to have Ledas and The Benefactor sucked into Verlate's mind prison at the end of the story. I just didn't know exactly how I was going to get there yet.
- God there's so much comedy in the Korin Tower scene. I had forgotten about that. My favorite line is when Korin says, "Any of my other priceless artifacts you want to play with? This isn’t a museum, your highness." I can hear his English voice actor saying that in my head, even now.
- "<WALKS BACK UP TO GOKU AND TAKES HIS ARM, AS IF WANTING TO TAKE A NICE EVENING STROLL IN THE PARK>" - this saga in particular has a lot of scene direction lines like that. This is the first saga where scene direction comedy really comes to the forefront. There were a variety of reasons I did this - I was getting tired with being so serious all of the time, and I liked making fun of the Z Fighters. This was noted by several reviewers on this site way back in the day, and I'm glad they liked the change up, because it was quite fun for me to write that stuff.
- This chapter takes on a much different tone than the rest of TF. The way I have all of the Z Fighters commenting on the fights never happened much in previous sagas. Lieme and Meloon did have one scene I remember where they commented on a fight. But in DBZ, in canon, this was a common thing, so I had to put it in here. There is a definite tonal shift towards more of the DBZ style by this point.
- Piccolo and Gohan think Guva is concealing his power, and he is slightly. But he's not concealing it by much. What's funny is that so often in DBZ, the villain is underestimated. Here, they are really overestimating Guva. First Piccolo wanted Goku to get some senzu beans before Guva could fight any of them (like they would need them if he fought anyone with a decent power level) and now he's worried that Guva may be concealing his power level. Again this is me playing with some common DBZ tropes.
- Guva losing his scouter is a significant moment, since he can't sense power levels. That puts him at a severe disadvantage for the remainder of his life (which isn't much longer!).
- Guva getting physically damaged is thematically important. Guva's image is deteriorating. He is someone from the past who is not doing well as he comes into the future. Banas died nobly; Guva's death will not be so, and that starts with the ruination of his appearance. This ruination was foreshadowed in the previous saga when Guva fought Banas.
- The way Guva rips off his cape and throws it behind him was inspired by how Piccolo does something similar when he takes off his white weighted clothes.
- Guva not being allowed to charge up is another bit of mocking by me. It always seems like the people in DBZ - good or evil - are allowed to charge up their power, even if doing so would mean certain doom for their opponents. I don't get why their opponents don't prevent the power ups more often. So that's why I had something like that happen in this chapter.
- "<THE LAMER Z FIGHTERS ALL GASP AT THIS>" - one of the worst aspects of DBZ is this. Everyone is always moaning, being drama queens any time anything happens. It got old about 2 episodes into DBZ. It's just bad writing. I don't fault the voice actors, since they are just reading their lines. This is on the plot designers, mostly of the anime. This didn't seem to be as much of a problem in the manga by Toriyama, weirdly enough.
- The battles in this saga were mostly influenced by Nappa and Vegeta vs. the Z Fighters and how Nappa systematically took out so many of the Z Fighters. I wanted to recapture that clean, awesome plot progression here. So Guva takes out a few of the weaker fighters - namely Yamcha and Chiaotzu - because he can't win against pretty much anyone else. That leaves the rest for The Benefactor. So I did change up how I had all of the fighters taken out. They weren't all destroyed by the weaker foe (Guva/Nappa). Instead, TB takes out most of them. Interestingly enough, Vegeta doesn't kill any Z Fighter in the Saiyan Saga, so that is a big departure on my part. Of course TB can't kill any Z Fighters for this story to be canon, but he does defeat and take out almost all of them from the fight, so it's essentially the same thing.
- Notice how Ledas only appears in one small paragraph just before the scene with the New Red Ribbon Army soldier. This is his smallest role in any chapter of TF ever. This speaks to his overall diminished role in this saga compared to others and why it has a more DBZ feel. The story goes right on even if he's not in the majority of the chapter, and that was something I was quite proud of. The other characters can drive the story. Ledas isn't needed for every scene. I made sure Ledas was in this chapter, in that one small paragraph, because by this point, I was making sure that a chapter didn't go by (since the prologue) without Ledas in it, at least in some form.
- Ryori being gone from the space ship area hints at him already deciding to get revenge on the New Red Ribbon Army.
- So why have the soldier scene? Simple: without it, Silver and Cardinal wouldn't have known that Ledas and Ryori are alive and that Kindler, Dewberry, and 50 of their 80 soldiers are dead. Knowing those facts influence the NRRA plot for the rest of the saga. They wouldn't have gone after Ledas had they not known he was still alive, and because of that, they likely wouldn't have been destroyed in this saga had that soldier not gotten that message to Silver. Funny how luck can turn into misfortune so easily.
<THE SCREEN COMES UP SUDDENLY, AS A GASP CAN BE HEARD>
<YAMCHA HAS CHARGED AT GUVA, BUT THE LATTER HAS EASILY BRUSHED HIM ASIDE, TAKING OVER DOMINANCE>
<GUVA TAKES HIS LEFT ARM AND PUTS IT AROUND YAMCHA’S NECK AND ALMOST CASUALLY DROPS TO HIS OWN KNEES AS HE STARTS TO SUFFOCATE THE Z FIGHTER>
<THE GOVERNOR TURNS HIS HEAD TO FACE THE OTHERS; HE MOCKINGLY SMILES TO THEM>
Chiaotzu: <IMMEDIATELY> Let him go!
Yamcha: <CHOKING; CLENCHED TEETH; TO CHIAOTZU IN PARTICULAR> I… don’t need any… help…
<YAMCHA STRUGGLES, BUT CANNOT BREAK FREE OF GUVA’S GRIP; MANY OF THE Z FIGHTERS ARE QUIVERING WITH ANGER, MOST NOTABLY TIEN AND CHIAOTZU; AFTER A FEW MOMENTS OF THIS, CHIAOTZU IGNORES YAMCHA’S REQUEST, GETS UP, AND SHOOTS FORWARD>
Chiaotzu: <JUMPING FORWARD TO CHALLENGE GUVA> Stop that, you big meanie!
Tien: <MOVES FORWARD TO BRING HIM BACK> Chiaotzu! No!
Piccolo: <HOLDS OUT HIS ARM TO STOP TIEN> No Tien. If he wants to fight, let him.
Tien: But… he’s not strong enough! He’ll just get beaten.
Piccolo: <GRUFFLY> Maybe. But he’s stronger than before. They may be able to pull it off, especially if Yamcha is still able to fight. If he can’t, then I’ll step in and put a stop to this.
<AT THIS, TIEN SETTLES DOWN A BIT AND MOVES BACK; HE AND THE REST OF THE Z FIGHTERS CONTINUE TO STAND STILL AND WATCH THE FIGHT>
Guva: <TO CHIAOTZU> What’s this? Another one here challenge me? Why, I haven’t finished this one off yet! <HE TIGHTENS HIS STRANGLEHOLD ON YAMCHA; YAMCHA SPUTTERS AT THIS>
<WITH A YELL, NOT WAITING FOR ANYTHING, CHIAOTZU FLIES FORWARD AND KICKS GUVA ACROSS THE FACE; GUVA DROPS YAMCHA AND STANDS UP; HE IS STILL IS CALM>
Yamcha: <COUGHING; HOARSELY; TO CHIAOTZU> I-I told you not to help me!
Chiaotzu: You weren’t going to make it without some help, Yamcha! I couldn’t stand watching him do that to you. Come on, let’s get rid of this bad guy!
Guva: So… you both want to fight me… at the same time?! Do you have no honor, no sense of the perfect tranquility of this duel? I only fight one at a time. That is the ultimate skill.
Yamcha: <COUGHING; HOARSELY> May’e… may’e you’re just scared, huh? You don’t want to lose. <STANDS UP> Well let me tell you something, buddy, if you can’t take on me and him together, there’s no way you’d stand a chance against Goku or Vegeta. They’re way stronger than us.
Guva: <GROWLS> Uuaah… <HE RIGHTS HIMSELF BACK UP> Silence!
<GUVA SENDS OUT A BLINDING DISPLAY OF KI, WHICH SENDS HIS TWO OPPONENTS BACKWARDS>
<GUVA SENDS OUT SEVERAL KI BLASTS, BUT YAMCHA AND CHIAOTZU DODGE THEM; THE TWO SPLIT OFF AND GO IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS; THIS GREATLY CONFUSES GUVA WHO HAS TO STOP SHOOTING OFF KI BLASTS AND LOOK FOR THEM; AS HE DOES SO, HE DOESN’T THINK TO PUT UP HIS GUARD; BOTH YAMCHA AND CHIAOTZU HIT HIM, CRACKING HIS ARMOR EVEN MORE>
<GUVA DROPS TO A KNEE, IN PAIN, AND SHOOTS AWAY YAMCHA>
<GUVA AND CHIAOTZU BEGIN DUELING AGAIN AND GUVA QUICKLY REGAINS HIS ADVANTAGE; HIS STYLE OF PUNCHES AND KICKS ARE HIGHLY ORNATE AND SOPHISTICATED AND DESPITE CHIAOTZU’S SMALL SIZE, MOST ARE LANDING>
<YAMCHA RECOVERS AND SHOOTS INTO THE AIR, LANDING, WITH A PUNCH, ON GUVA’S BACKSIDE; GUVA DID NOT SEE, HEAR, NOR EVEN ANTICIPATE SUCH A MOVE AND AS SUCH IS HIT HEAD ON; HE FALLS FACE FIRST INTO THE GRASS, SPITTING UP BLOOD>
<ONCE AGAIN, THE TWO ATTACK GUVA; HE CAN BARELY HOLD THEM AND HE IS BATTED AROUND; HE SOMEWHAT LOSES CONSCIOUSNESS>
<AT THIS TIME, YAMCHA TAKES TO THE AIR AND CHIAOTZU TURNS GUVA AROUND; HE HIMSELF CONTINUES TO PUNCH AT THE GOVERNOR; ABOVE, YAMCHA READIES HIS EXTRA LARGE SPIRIT BALL>
<GUVA QUICKLY REALIZES THIS FATAL MISTAKE AND TAKES CHIAOTZU OUT WITH A SINGLE KICK; HE THEN SHOOTS INTO THE SKY AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME FAR HIGHER THAN YAMCHA IS POSITIONED>
<HE CONTINUES FLYING UPWARD, BUT AS HE DOES, HE SENDS ONE SMALL BALL OF SCATTERSHOT DOWN TO YAMCHA; THIS CAUSES YAMCHA TO GET HIT BY THE KI BLASTS AND DISSIPATE HIS SPIRIT BALL>
<BUT ONCE AGAIN, GUVA DOES NOT ANTICIPATE A SECOND FIGHTER AS HE COMES TO A STOP; BEING AS HE CAN ALSO NOT SENSE KI, GUVA DOES NOT SEE THAT CHIAOTZU HAS TAILED HIM THE WHOLE WAY UP, RIGHT BEHIND THE GOVERNOR>
<CHIAOTZU SENDS OFF AN ENERGY TELEKINESIS SHOT AND IT HITS GUVA, PARALYZING HIM>
<HE COMES AROUND TO FACE GUVA AND SHOOTS A DODON RAY AT THE GOVERNOR; WHILE IT’S NOT SUPER ACCURATE, IT SILL HITS GUVA IN THE FACE AND RIPS APART HIS RIGHT CHEEK; BLOOD POURS OUT AND HE SCREAMS; BEING PARALYZED, GUVA CAN DO NOTHING ABOUT IT>
Guva: I-is… that the best you’ve got? <IN HIS MIND> The little clown thing is weak; much weaker than me. If I can only get him alone for a few moments… <HE GLANCES DOWNWARD, SEEING YAMCHA SHOOTING UP AT THEM> damnit! Don’t they ever stay down?! Individually I could so easily kill them. But together, they’re unbeatable. <BACK TO CHIAOTZU> You! Clown… thingy… uh… if that’s your most powerful attack, you may as well give up!
<AT THIS, CHIAOTZU LOSES CONCENTRATION FOR A MOMENT AND GUVA BREAKS FREE OF HIS PARALYSIS>
<HE SHOOTS STRAIGHT AT CHIAOTZU AND HITS HIM AWAY; AT THE SAME TIME, YAMCHA REACHES THEM AND GRABS ONTO GUVA’S LEG; HE RIPS THE GOVERNOR DOWN AND THROWS HIM BELOW; BUT GUVA TELEPORTS BEHIND YAMCHA>
<HE HITS YAMCHA AWAY, BLOWING OFF HIS SHIRT AND SENDING HIM INTO THE GROUND; INSTEAD OF PURSUING YAMCHA HOWEVER, GUVA INSTEAD TURNS BACK TO CHIAOTZU>
<WITH ONE SWIPE, GUVA HITS CHIAOTZU AWAY INTO THE HILLS>
<HE DESCENDS AND JUMPS ONTO YAMCHA’S LYING BODY>
<GUVA TURNS YAMCHA OVER AND HITS HIM, OPEN PALMED IN THE MOUTH; YAMCHA SCREAMS AND SPITS UP BLOOD; GUVA THEN ELBOWS HIM IN THE CHEST AND BREAKS HIS RIB CAGE; WITH THAT, YAMCHA IS DEFEATED>
Tien: Chiaotzu!! <HIS ANGER SURGES; HE JUMPS FORWARD> I’ll avenge you, my friend. <HE GIVES A DIRTY LOOK TO PICCOLO> I told you this would happen, Piccolo! <TO GUVA> You’re facing me now.
Guva: <PANTING; FIGURE IN SHAMBLES; HE WIPES AWAY BLOOD FROM HIS TORN CHEEK> I’m not here to play games with every little maggot that crawls out of the ground. My quarry is a Saiyan, not a freak with three eyes! You want to die, that’s your problem. Leave me out of it…
Tien: <CALMLY, AS HE TALKS HE TAKES OFF HIS HEAVY CLOTHING; WELL HE TAKES OFF HIS SHIRT CLOTHING> I’m not a freak. But you just hurt my friend, Chiaotzu. That’s unforgivable. <AT THIS, HE READIES A WHITE, LIGHTNING-ISH BLAST IN EACH HAND AND THROWS THEM AT GUVA>
<GUVA HOWEVER HAS ALREADY FALLEN TO HIS KNEES, HIS HANDS CLASPED AROUND HIS ARMS; HE DOESN’T SEEM TO NOTICE WHEN THE BLASTS HIT HIM, NOR WHEN HE FALLS BACK SEVERAL DOZEN FEET FROM THE FORCE OF THEM>
<GUVA’S EYES ARE WIDE AND HIS LIP IS TREMBLING; ABOUT HIM, SOMETHING WHICH NO ONE ELSE CAN HEAR, IS A FLURRY OF QUIET WHISPERING, CONSUMING HIS THOUGHTS>
<AT JUST THIS TIME, ABOVE THE Z FIGHTERS, LEDAS COMES COMES INTO VIEW; HE STOPS JUST ABOVE THEM, EVAPORATING HIS KI AS HE STARES DOWN AT WHAT HAS HAPPENED; THE Z FIGHTERS SENSE HIM AND LOOK UP AT THE FIGURE IN THE SKY; MANY ARE POINTING AT HIM>
Trunks: Hey, look! There’s someone up there!
Goten: I see him! I see him!
<LEDAS NOTICES THAT EVERYONE SEES HIM, SO HE DESCENDS TO THE GROUND; HE LANDS CLOSER TO GUVA THAN THE Z FIGHTERS>
Piccolo: <NOTICING WHO IT IS; WITH FURY> No way! I knew that wasn’t Trunks or Goten!
Ledas: <TURNS HIS FOCUS TO GUVA> What are you doing here? <GUVA DOES NOT RESPOND; HE IS COVERING HIS EARS> Answer me, Guva!
<LEDAS RAISES HIS ARM, FORMING ENOUGH KI TO KILL THE WRETCHED GOVERNOR WHEN TIEN COMES RUSHING IN AND PUSHES LEDAS ASIDE>
Tien: No, he’s mine!
Tien: He hurt my friend. I’ll make him pay!
<TIEN GRABS GUVA AND STARTS ATTACKING HIM; LEDAS WATCHES THIS WITH HIS MOUTH SLIGHTLY AGAPE; HE BACKPEDALS AWAY FROM THE SCENE AND TURNS TO FACE THE Z FIGHTERS, WHO ARE ALL LOOKING AT HIM; HE LOOKS THEM OVER WITHOUT TALKING UNTIL HE LANDS ON VEGETA; VEGETA IS STARING BACK AT HIM; AND WHILE THERE IS DRIED BLOOD ACROSS HIS FACE AND HE HAS AGED SOMEWHAT SINCE THEIR LAST MEETING, VEGETA RECOGNIZES HIM; THEY MEET EACH OTHERS’ EYES>
Ledas: Hi… Vegeta.
- This chapter was originally titled "Chiaotzu vs. Guva". I changed that during my 2012 edits of this saga, when I realized that the chapter name was unbearably boring. Then, I changed it to "The Ones That Really Matter". That was a reference to this scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. That was a little too mean, just like my old name for the previous chapter. I eventually changed it to "Blackwater" during the final edits. Blackwater is the name of one of the best episodes of Game of Thrones. The name is basically referencing all of the chaos that is occurring. This is one of my least favorite chapter names in all of TF now that I look it over, as I think the connection to "Blackwater" is a bit weak.
- I didn't change much from the first version of this chapter to the final version. The big change was when Ledas meets the Z Fighters. In the original two drafts of this chapter, Ledas only meets Vegeta; here, in the final version, he meets all of them, including Piccolo. I realized, when I was reading over this saga and preparing for the final edits, that Piccolo doesn't seem to remember Ledas. That wasn't believable or consistent with the story, so I changed it. There were other minor changes - scene direction rewordings, updated dialogue, etc. - but nothing major aside from the reworking of Ledas' meeting with the Z Fighters.
- Yamcha seems to die or get incapacitated at the start of every saga he fights in. It's no different in TF. It's basically tradition that the overconfident Yamcha gets taken out by a relatively weak opponent.
- I had Chiaotzu come in and help Yamcha because Chiaotzu is trash. He was poorly conceived as a character, even in Dragon Ball - and that is rare. Dragon Ball had great characterization, even for guys like Tien, Yamcha, and Master Roshi. Very rarely did a character suck in that story. What usually happened is that the characters didn't transition well to DBZ, as seen with Tien and Yamcha in particular. Chiaotzu was never good. He's a bad character, useless to the end, and I hate it when he talks. The story wouldn't be different if he wasn't in it. So it was fun for me to have Guva beat up on Yamcha and Chiaotzu; it was my way of taking out my anger on those characters. Another reason why I focused on the human fighters at the start was because I wanted to please Destructivedisk, who for some reason has a human Z Fighter fetish (weird kid). But that wasn't the primary reason Yamcha and Chiaotzu fight here. They would have been beat up even if Guva didn't get them; and The Benefactor would have been far more ruthless with them.
- "If he can’t, then I’ll step in and put a stop to this" - I added in this Piccolo line during the final edits, as without it, the chapter seems slightly weird - why would the Z Fighters put up with watching Chiaotzu and Yamcha get beat up? Well, those two are the masters of their own selves, and they decided to fight. Piccolo won't let them get too hurt, but if they chose to fight, it's not his (nor any other Z Fighter's) place to stop them. If they get beat up and hurt in the fight, that is on them for choosing to fight in the first place.
- I don't think I portray Chiaotzu poorly, despite me not liking him. This is because I don't want TF to suck. I don't want to mimic the bad parts of DB and DBZ. Chiaotzu enters the battle for a very noble reason. I limit his dialogue and try to make it as good as possible. The fight is the main focus here. Sure, I like Chiaotzu getting beat up, but I don't want to just have a terrible scene for that to happen. This was a problem in the original draft of this saga, more notably in the season finale with Goku's Spirit Bomb, but I'll get to that later. I don't think there's a problem here.
- Yamcha doesn't want help because he wants Bulma back very bad. He's being reckless; he's desperate. His actions in this saga are basically a precursor to how Destructivedisk and I portrayed him in Sink to the Bottom.
- "So… you both want to fight me… at the same time?! Do you have no honor, no sense of the perfect tranquility of this duel? I only fight one at a time. That is the ultimate skill." - This is an important bit of characterization for Guva, and something I somewhat believe personally. There is a certain grace in a duel that is lost when more people take part in it. Guva's inability to fight more than one person effectively is one of his weaknesses (part of why he isn't a Stu), and one of the reasons he was so scared of The Plantains in the previous sagas. Even if he was the strongest dude on Planet Cooler 92, he knew he wasn't good at fighting more than one opponent at a time even if he greatly outclassed them. This deficiency has roots in the mental patterns of Guva's species. On Guva's species page, I called this disorder "Terril's Disease". It affects about 40% of Guva's kind, and unfortunately, he is in that 40%.
- I imagine Guva vs. Chiaotzu to look a lot like Legendary Super Saiyan Broly vs. Chiaotzu in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast. Guva isn't nearly as big as LSS Broly, but still the image remains firmly planted in my mind, and that is why I described the opening part of his fight against Chiaotzu like that.
- As with all fights in TF, this one was improvised on the spot. I was mostly influenced by the fighting patterns of various warriors in the video game, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast for this chapter.
- Notice how Guva is getting lit up by the two weakest Z Fighters ever. It's embarrassing for him. His armor is getting cracked, his body is getting beaten, he's spitting up blood. He's losing his graceful image to two pathetic fighters. This is in contrast to how Banas died honorably.
- Guva shooting a small ki blast to dissipate Yamcha's Spirit Ball was influenced by how the game mechanics work in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast. Such a maneuver isn't seen often in the anime or manga of DBZ, though.
- Chiaotzu and Yamcha don't really understand that they can only beat Guva if they double-team him at all times. When Yamcha goes to do his Spirit Ball, that is a critical mistake, showing his lack of battle awareness. It's really quite stupid. Chiaotzu is nowhere near Yamcha's level, and Yamcha isn't stronger than Guva, so why they would decide to have Chiaotzu ever attack Guva alone is beyond me.
- Chiaotzu's Dodon Ray gives Guva a horrendous wound that is much more graphic than what is often seen in the DBZ anime. This again hints at Guva's deterioration as a character. His image is waning now, and the weakest Z Fighter is causing that to happen.
- Chiaotzu has always had weak mental fortitude. It's no surprise that Guva could break the clown's concentration because of that. I was having a little fun with Guva actually calling Chiaotzu a clown though. I mean, it's just bizarre what Chiaotzu looks like and how no one ever brings it up in canon. So, my fanon character is forced to do so. I was quite happy to mock Chiaotzu with Guva.
- Chiaotzu is defeated rather plainly - we don't know the extent of his injuries, other than he was hit into a rubble pile and knocked unconscious. Yamcha, on the other hand, is brutally taken out by Guva. His ribs are broken, he's covered in blood, and Guva gives him much pain. Yamcha is hurt far worse than Chiaotzu. And yet, Tien cries out for Chiaotzu, despite witnessing the horrible stuff happening to Yamcha. This is me mocking Tien's tunnel vision and poor priorities. Him ignoring Yamcha is consistent with his character and is also one of the flaws of his character.
- Tien always undresses before a fight. That I mentioned him doing that with such specificity is me poking fun at that.
- Guva calling Tien a three eyed freak is something later brought up again when The Benefactor fights him (as well, it is referenced in the name of chapter 10 of this saga, "Visionary").
- Guva suddenly goes catatonic because The Benefactor is talking with him. What TB says, no one will ever know. Is it related to Ledas suddenly appearing? Is it because TB realizes that Guva can't win against any other Z Fighter? Is it TB telling Guva that he will have to sacrifice himself against Tien? Is it something else entirely? We will never know. But I'm sure it's something important and something that scares the fuck out of Guva. I'm sure TB may have hinted (off-screen) that he would dispose of Guva once he found Ledas.
- Piccolo meeting Ledas again is a great moment. I'm sure he's shocked, since he's been wondering who he fought in the Planet Earth Saga. He correctly states that he didn't fight Goten or Trunks - so who the hell was that Saiyan kid? It must've been driving him crazy. Piccolo must also be very concerned, since he last met Ledas in battle, and he thought Ledas was a bad guy at the time. He must think so still, which should put him on high alert. He knows that Ledas is much stronger than Guva, as well, so he would probably want to step in and not let weaker Z Fighters fight Ledas. He would want to get revenge on Ledas - payback for the boy defeating him earlier. Piccolo was probably stronger than Ledas in the Planet Earth Saga, but Ledas didn't let him power up all the way before their fight began. Piccolo must know this and must feel like he has a good shot at getting payback if he fights Ledas again.
- In previous versions of this chapter, Ledas barely even saw Guva, which wasn't consistent with his character. He only came to the scene because he sensed Guva. So it makes more sense for him to go to Guva first. So now in the final version, he tries to confront Guva, but can't, since Tien prevents it. Ledas doesn't mind, as Tien, he senses, is strong enough to kill Guva. He personally doesn't like Guva much and was planning on killing the governor had there not been any Z Fighters there. Ledas could have done so, of course, without even powering up to Super Saiyan. But if he doesn't have to, he doesn't feel the need to kill Guva.
- I added in some more scene direction with the other Z Fighters meeting Ledas during the final edits for this chapter. He doesn't have a proper introduction here, but it's better than the old version, where only Vegeta met Ledas. Of course, Ledas' introduction to the Z Fighters is expanded in the next chapter, and greatly expanded in the series finale, so there is much to build off of this first opening, dialogue-free introduction.
- Ledas reuniting with Vegeta at the end of this chapter is a big moment - one of the biggest in the entire series. Since the end of the first saga, Ledas has been trying to get to this moment. He's been trying to find Vegeta, to reunite with his friend, and live out his days in happiness. Now, 40 chapters since they last saw each other, they are properly reunited. Sure, they were technically around one another for a chapter or two in the Planet Earth Saga, but that wasn't a proper reunion, and Ledas didn't let Vegeta know who he was at the time. Here, he has no choice. Ledas sensed Vegeta as he was flying over to Guva, but he couldn't not see Guva. So he decided in his fly over that he would reunite with Vegeta now, even if he is still embarrassingly weak compared to Vegeta. Unlike during the Planet Earth Saga, he needs to reunite now. He had a choice before; he doesn't have one now. He needs to see what Guva is up to, and he can't learn that without also revealing himself to Vegeta. It was a tradeoff he ultimately had to make. This scene is really a big moment of plot and character culmination for both Vegeta and Ledas, and is one of the primary scenes that influenced the name of this saga.
- Notice how Ledas appears only briefly in this chapter. He's really not had much plot so far in the Reunion Saga. In the first five chapters, all he's really done is destroy part of the New Red Ribbon Army, free Ryori, and meet Vegeta. Had I not shown anyone else's plot, I think so far, all of this could have been shown in two chapters. That's how sparse his content is. It really shows how the focus has shifted to a more DBZ-style multi-character focus.
Paid In Blood
Vegeta: <BORED> Who are you?
Ledas: <BREATHLESS, NERVOUS> Ve-vegeta…? That’s you, right?
Vegeta: <IRRITATED> What do you want?
Ledas: <TREMBLING STILL> Vegeta? <HE WALKS UP CLOSER> It’s… it’s me, Ledas.
Vegeta: <YAWNS> Who?
Ledas: <A BIT LOUDER; A MIXTURE OF DISTRESS AND ANGER IS IN HIS VOICE> Don’t you remember me?!?!
Vegeta: Hmph. <TILTS HIS HEAD AWAY>
Goku: <DESPITE THE ACTION AROUND, HE WALKS OVER TO VEGETA AND LEDAS; GOHAN, GOTEN, AND TRUNKS COME WITH HIM> Whoa Vegeta… who’s this guy?
Vegeta: <STILL SOMEWHAT IRRITATED> Bah… <HE OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT AND LIES DOWN ON THE GRASS, ARMS BEHIND HIS HEAD; HE CLOSES HIS EYES AND PRETENDS TO SLEEP>
Ledas: <STANDING OVER VEGETA; BLACK AURA FLARING UP AROUND HIM; HIS EYES ARE SHINING> Come on! Look at me! Remember!
<THE CAMERA CUTS TO A TOWN; IT IS BRIGHT, SPARKLING SOMEWHAT, NEAR THE SEA; AS THE CAMERA PANS BACK A BIT IT SHOWS OFF RYORI, SULLEN AND DIRTY; HIS HANDS ARE FREE BUT HE IS STUMBLING DOWN THE ROAD>
<AS HE WALKS BY HIS COAT BILLOWS AND IT CAN BE SEEN THAT HE HAS A PISTOL IN IT; IN RYORI’S HAND HOWEVER IS A SMALL PIECE OF RED CLOTH WITH THE NEW RED RIBBON ARMY INSIGNIA; HE GOT THIS OFF OF DEWBERRY>
<AFTER SOME TIME, BREATHING HARD AND IN SOME KIND OF ANGUISH, RYORI STEPS INTO A SIDE BUILDING; THE PLACE IS A FANCY ONE, WITH ELEGANTLY CARPETTED FLOORS AND WALLS, THERE IS EXPENSIVE (OR AT LEAST WHAT LOOKS LIKE EXPENSIVE) ARCHITECTURE AND FURNITURE ADORNING THE PLACE; THE MAIN WALKWAY TO THE DESK IS CLEAR OF ANYTHING, INCLUDING PEOPLE; HE TAKES OUT THE PISTOL AND MOVES FORWARD; HIS FACE IS TEAR-DRENCHED AND PALE>
<THE CAMERA RETREATS BACK OUT THE DOOR AND SHOWS THE BUILDING; OVER THE ENTRANCE IS A SIGN THAT READS "NEW RED RIBBON ARMY LOCAL HEADQUARTERS" WITH ITS INSIGNIA JUST BELOW IT>
<THE CAMERA CUTS BACK TO GUVA AND TIEN>
<GUVA HAS SLIGHTLY RECOVERED FROM HIS WEIRD FIT EARLIER AND NO WHISPERING CAN BE HEARD>
<TIEN, WHO IS OBVIOUSLY ANGRY, RUNS AT GUVA AND ELBOWS HIM; AS GUVA DOUBLES OVER, TIEN SWIPES HIS LEGS FROM BEHIND, CAUSING THE GOVERNOR TO FALL UP; THEN, TIEN CHOPS HIM IN THE CHEST AND SENDS GUVA FLYING AWAY>
<HE PURSUES AND BEGINS TO BEAT UP ON GUVA>
<BUT AS THIS IS HAPPENING, THE CAMERA MOVES LEFT AND BACK TO THE Z FIGHTERS>
Ledas: Aw, Vegeta, don’t you remember me? We used to play together all the time… like remember that time in the snow? <VEGETA DOESN’T ANSWER; LEDAS GETS ANGRY AND SCREAMS AS HIS AURA GETS LARGER; HIS TEETH ARE SHOWN TO BE QUITE SHARP> I grew up with you!! Look at me!
Goku: <TO LEDAS; HE NOTICES LEDAS’ TAIL; ENTHUSIASTICALLY> Whoa, are you a Saiyan too?
Ledas: <BACK TO GOKU, SCRATCHES THE BACK OF HIS HEAD; AURA DIES DOWN> Oh, yeah… you must’ve seen my tail… <HE HIMSELF TURNS AROUND TO LOOK AT IT> It’s always falling off <LAUGHS> but I can always grow a new one! <LOOKS AT VEGETA AND GOKU> Hey… where are your tails?
Goku: <MATTER O’ FACT; A LITTLE PROUDLY> I had mine removed a long time ago.
Ledas: That’s stupid. You’re not a true Saiyan without a tail.
Goku: <IN HIS GOKU VOICE; LIKE WHEN AROUND RADITZ> From what I’ve seen, the Saiyans aren’t very nice people. They just go around hurting and killing and–
<GOKU IS INTERRUPTED BY GUVA BEING SLAMMED INTO THE GROUND NEARBY; GUVA IS EXTREMELY WEARY FROM HIS LAST BATTLE WITH YAMCHA AND CHIAOTZU; REGARDLESS, TIEN IS FAR STRONGER THAN HIM AND THIS FIGHT IS NOT EVEN AT ALL>
<GUVA DODGES OUT OF THE WAY, ON THE GROUND, AS TIEN TRIES TO LAND A MOVE ON HIS LYING BODY; GUVA ROLLS AWAY AND FIRES A SCATTERSHOT, BUT IT IS NO USE AS TIEN IS EASILY ABLE TO BRUSH IT ASIDE>
<TIEN RUSHES AT GUVA AND SENDS OFF A SOLAR FLARE; OBVIOUSLY THIS BLINDS GUVA FOR A MOMENT>
<TIEN USES THIS FREE TIME TO GRAB GUVA’S SHOULDERS AND THROW HIM INTO THE AIR; ONCE IN THE AIR, HE HIMSELF SENDS OFF A DODON HAIL, WHICH PIERCES GUVA MANY TIMES, BLOODYING HIM EVEN MORE>
<WHEN GUVA LANDS HARD INTO THE EARTH, HE DOES NOT GET UP>
<TIEN WALKS FORWARD SLOWLY AND SHOOTS A ONE HANDED KI CANNON AT GUVA; WHEN THE DUST CLEARS, GUVA IS CRITICALLY INJURED, NOW ONLY BARELY ALIVE>
<TIEN PICKS HIM UP WITH HIS RIGHT HAND AND HOLDS THE FORMER GOVERNOR BY HIS NECK; BLOOD IS NOW POURING FROM GUVA’S BODY; THE CAMERA SPINS AROUND FOR A SECOND AND HIS BLOOD CAN BE SEEN DRIPPING FROM HIS FEET, WHICH ARE ONLY HOVERING A FEW INCHES OFF THE GROUND>
Tien: Get ready to die!! <HE LIFTS UP HIS LEFT HAND AND BEGINS TO FORM ENERGY FOR A SINGLE-HANDED KI CANNON>
Guva: Let’s… let’s just talk, like gentlemen! <TO HIMSELF; HEARING THE WHISPERING AGAIN; PANICKED> I… I need a few more seconds!
Tien: You hurt Chiaotzu! I can’t feel him at all! <TRAILING OFF; LOOKING AT SOMETHING FAR OFF> He was my good friend…
<GUVA LEANS HIS HEAD BACK AND SPURTS UP SOME MORE BLOOD, HE CROAKS OUT A LAUGH>
Guva: Honestly, I…
<SUDDENLY TIEN DROPS GUVA AND RUNS PAST HIM>
Guva: <IN A PAINED WHISPER> Wh-what… are… what are you doing?
<HE TURNS AROUND TO SEE WHAT TIEN IS WANDERING OFF FOR; FROM THE RUBBLE BEHIND, CHIAOTZU STAGGERS FORWARD>
<TIEN SMILES AND LAUGHS, LONG AND HARD, HE KNEELS DOWN TO TALK TO CHIAOTZU AND INSPECT THE SERIOUSNESS OF HIS WOUNDS; INDEED, CHIAOTZU LOOKS TO BE CRITICALLY HURT>
<GUVA, BEHIND THEM, GETS SUPER ANGRY; HE HEARS THE WHISPERING START AGAIN AND HE FREAKS OUT>
Guva: No!! I can hear it again! <HE PULLS AT HIS EARS AND YELLS; HE TURNS TO TIEN> Bastard! Get back here! Finish me now! <HE THROWS A SMALL OVAL SHAPED BLAST AT TIEN> Screw the plan! I can’t take it anymore!
<TIEN IS KNOCKED OVER FROM THIS, BUT WHEN HE GETS UP AND TURNS AROUND, HE SEES THAT GUVA HAS ONCE AGAIN FALLEN TO HIS FEET, NOW AUDIBLY SCREAMING; HIS EYES ARE WILD AND BASICALLY POPPING IN THEIR WIDE GAZE>
<TIEN IS NOT MOVED BY THIS DISPLAY OF EMOTION AND SWIFTLY GRABS GUVA AGAIN; THIS QUIETS THE GOVERNOR DOWN>
<TIEN TAKES HIS BLAST AND BRINGS IT TO GUVA’S FACE, BUT HE HOLDS BACK FOR A SECOND, UNWILLING TO GO THROUGH WITH IT>
<LEDAS LOOKS THROUGH THE GROUP OF Z FIGHTERS AND SEES GUVA BEING HELD BY TIEN>
Ledas: Guva! <BUT GUVA DOES NOT HEAR HIM>
Guva: <LAUGHS AGAIN> Hahahahahaha. Do it. <NOW HOARSELY AND SPITTING> Come on, you spineless coward! Do it. <GUVA THROWS HIS HEAD BACK AGAIN, AND THIS TIME HE SEES LEDAS STANDING FAR OFF; HIS EYES WIDEN AND TEAR UP; HE STARES AT LEDAS AS HE SPEAKS HIS LAST SENTENCE> DO IT!! DO I–
<GUVA GOES RIDGED, MIDSENTENCE; TIEN DROPS HIM; AFTER A COUGH, HE FALLS DEAD ONTO THE GROUND; TIEN MOVES BACK, STEPPING AWAY FROM THE CORPSE; HE APPEARS SHOCKED BECAUSE HE DID NOT KILL GUVA; HE DISSIPATES THE BLAST IN HIS HAND>
<STICKING OUT FROM THE BACK OF GUVA’S CRACKED AND BLOODIED ARMOR IS A KNIFE>
<CROUCHING OVER THIS ALL IS NOW A FIGURE, DARKLY HOODED, CALMLY WATCHING>
<THE FIGHTERS HADN’T NOTICED HIM UP TO THIS POINT, AND WHEN GUVA’S BODY FALLS, THEY ALL LET OUT A GASP>
The Benefactor: <PULLS KNIFE OUT OF THE NOW LIFELESS CORPSE; HE LOOKS UP TO THE GROUP WATCHING> Did ya… miss me?
<ABRUPT TO BLACK>
- So this chapter's name refers to The Benefactor's re-emergence and Guva's death at that dude's hands. It is also a nod to the name of TB's special, Outbreak: Paved In Blood.
- So this chapter wasn't changed a tremendous amount during the final edits. I modified some Guva and Ledas dialogue, mostly, to make their scenes better - for Ledas, this was mostly to make his character consistent with the arc I wanted to put him on in this saga (with regards to TB's power inside him corrupting him); for Guva, this was mostly to make it clearer that the whispering he's hearing is driving him (towards insanity) and is also something he's greatly afraid of. This is the last bit of foreshadowing before The Benefactor's appearance, so I wanted it to be quite dramatic. The major change to this chapter, overall, was Ryori's plot. This is where the butterfly effect for this saga truly starts going. Because of changes I made to the Planet Earth Saga during that saga's final edits, particularly with the creation of the New Red Ribbon Army, Cardinal's plot was changed. Here, after he orders Kindler to kill Ledas and Ryori, Cardinal's plot is still changed. He still has a guard of soldiers and is operating the resurgent army. In previous versions, there was no army, so Ryori snuck up on Cardinal and attacked him directly in this saga (starting with his plot in this chapter). That was no longer possible with the army being around and with Silver shadowing his father. So, I had to change Ryori's plot rather severely. In previous versions, Ryori entered the town and had no idea where Cardinal was (the cloth also had Cardinal's insignia, not the insignia of the NRRA) and had to ask for directions from a woman. Now, there's a local New Red Ribbon Army location (which was set up in chapter 6 of the Planet Earth Saga, remember), which he just walks right into. Overtly, the scene direction isn't that much different, but there are a few major differences. That there are soldiers and that Ryori knows where Cardinal is changes up how his plot continues beyond this chapter. But more on that when we get to those chapters.
- Vegeta not acknowledging Ledas is perhaps the least expected thing for him to do. I had Vegeta do this because it felt consistent with his character, and it also allows Vegeta to finally accept that Ledas is real in the season finale. Part of the reason why Vegeta doesn't think Ledas is real, despite Ledas talking to Vegeta, revealing his name, and revealing his appearance, is that Ledas is just a kid. Vegeta is an adult. Why wouldn't the Ledas he grew up with look older? That concerns Vegeta; he thinks Ledas is a faker because of it. Additionally, he was told Ledas was dead, so seeing him alive now is not something that Vegeta is expecting or thinks is possible. Finally, he thinks that this may be a joke Goku or someone is playing on him, so he's not giving Ledas the time of day because he doesn't want to be embarrassed or tricked. And really, can you blame him? If a long-dead friend of yours suddenly appeared, claiming they were who you once knew, despite not being the right age, would you be skeptical? You should be. Vegeta was, as a result. I tried to portray his reaction realistically.
- Notice how Ledas' aura goes black when Vegeta ignores him. This is the evil inside him clawing to get out now that The Benefactor is nearby. And Ledas not being able to control his energy now is a big development in the remainder of the saga. This is one of his big character arcs of the Reunion Saga, and it is first hinted at in this chapter's opening scene.
- Vegeta seems to have forgotten who Ledas is. Ledas pleading with him to remember may seem like a small moment, but it's basically the reason why this story has the name it does.
- Ryori wasn't exactly a static character in the last saga, but he didn't have as much of a character arc as most others. He did have developments, but nothing as big as he has in this saga. All of his actions in this saga are a result of him learning that the NRRA killed his brother. Importantly, he doesn't know who killed Shoekki (or how Shoekki died), so he's planning on killing any and all of them. It's reckless and stupid and noble and sad. One of the major improvements to this saga during the final edits, in my opinion, is the way I portrayed Ryori. He's defiant in trying to exert his will, to show the world that humans aren't completely useless. Everywhere else in this saga, humans fail and die. Not with Ryori. He is driven by vengeance - perhaps misguided - and this gives him some interesting character development. Notice how when he enters the NRRA headquarters, his face is tear-drenched. The kid's going through a lot, and I've used the tragedy of Shoekki's death to really shine a light on Ryori's character and flesh him out into someone quite compelling. In my view, he is the most compelling human in TF because of what he goes through in this saga.
- It was cute when Guva fought Yamcha and Chiaotzu. But now Tien has stepped in, Guva has no chance. Tien is many times stronger than Guva, so the fight is basically over. Guva can't compare to Tien, and if he can't, then what chance does he have against Ledas or the others? Why would he come to Earth to fight Ledas in the first place if he hasn't gotten much stronger than he was when he fought and killed Banas? There's no logic to this, and that should be making the readers question what is going on. Indeed, Guva is just bait, and that should start becoming obvious by this point. He has no chance against most of the people on the planet. How am I going to end this saga? How am I going to have some actual fights with really strong people happen? It certainly can't happen with Guva as the villain, so that implies that there is another villain lying in wait.
- Ledas mentioning the time he and Vegeta played in the snow is not a scene that was shown during the Prince Vegeta Saga. Readers should understandably not get that reference. However, that scene appears in the next chapter in a flashback, so it was foreshadowed here - and it's a bit weird to foreshadow a flashback, I know. Still, that Ledas even mentions the day it snowed on Planet Vegeta is rather cool on a subtle, thematic level, as that snow day was also an important day for The Benefactor, who is about to make his reappearance in this chapter.
- Notice how Ledas is getting really angry as Vegeta continues to ignore him. He has these flares of rage that spring up and die down quickly. Ledas doesn't usually act like this, so something is going on with him. What is truly happening is that TB's energy inside Ledas is affecting him. I tried to make this as obvious as possible through repetition in the text, since it's not exactly something that is easy for me to overtly say or for readers to pick up on.
- Ledas rightly chides Goku and Vegeta for losing their tails. I've mentioned this before, but the Saiyan tail is a defining trait of that species. Those who have their tails removed aren't as cool and aren't as Saiyan-like as a result. Ledas, ironically enough, has kept his Saiyan spirit in that regard even more so than Vegeta, who is otherwise a fanatic about his Saiyan heritage and culture.
- Goku's comments in this chapter echo what he's said several times before in DBZ. It's not bad dialogue, but it is naive. It's a black-and-white view of a species with xenophobic undertones. I don't like that. Not all Saiyans are bad; not all Saiyans are good. Heck, good and bad are relative terms to begin with. So I wanted to have Goku say that to highlight his ignorance; this ignorance is pervasive in DBZ itself, but it was necessary to have him repeat himself here to allow the readers to definitely see how Goku's world view is in contrast to many of the themes of TF.
- Tien utterly ruins Guva. Guva was damaged quite a bit by Yamcha and Chiaotzu, but Tien really puts the finishing touches on. As I've mentioned before, this idea of Guva's image being ruined, of his embarrassment, was done by me specifically to contrast him with Banas, who died nobly. Guva does not die nobly. He's erratic, paranoid, pathetic, physically ruined. Despite Guva defeating Banas, Banas should get the last laugh as Guva has the far more pathetic death.
- Notice how Tien nearly kills Guva about halfway through the chapter. That was done to remove any doubt that Guva was going to lose. DBZ fights often get reversed, but not so here. There's no chance; Tien is just too strong. And now that Guva is about to die, a big villain void is appearing, and this should but the readers on edge - for who can replace Guva? There is no one, it appears, who can. But I have foreshadowed The Benefactor for quite a few chapters now, so perhaps some readers have picked up on that by this point.
- Guva needs a few more seconds because The Benefactor either isn't there yet or isn't ready to reveal himself. That's a weird thing for Guva to say. So again, all these weird things should add up to the readers questioning Guva's motivation and dialogue. If TB is not there, Guva has no reason to say he needs a few more seconds. That he does say it implies that something is going on that Guva is not revealing.
- Tien is a good guy now, but he would have legitimately killed Guva had Chiaotzu been dead. Tien thought so at first - he couldn't sense Chiaotzu - but it's not true. Chiaotzu was just wounded really bad and had his power level lowered to almost nothing. Tien isn't really put in a position like this after the Saiyan Saga, so it was fun for me to give a canon character some interesting character development. Tien seems to be foreshadowing Ledas' own turn towards his ferocious side. But in the end, Tien doesn't kill Guva, and once he realizes that Chiaotzu is alive, he intends to show Guva mercy, which is consistent with his character post-Saiyan Saga. I don't particularly like Tien, but I think I portrayed him as quite the good guy here, especially when he gives up on his thoughts of revenge to go tend to Chiaotzu. There is some thematic implication in that - note the contrast between Tien and Ryori.
- Guva's dialogue after Tien runs off to tend to Chiaotzu reveals a lot of information. Guva is hearing things, he can't take that anymore, and is now abandoning a plan - notice that there is an actual plan he is a part of! This is big news. I couldn't have revealed this earlier, for it would have messed up the pacing of the TB reveal. When I do actually reveal that fact, it is so late in the chapter that the readers have little else to do but read on and find the near-immediate payoff. This was a specific literary strategy on my part in terms of the pacing.
- Guva screaming is scary, since he's never been seen so lost. He's always been this calm, collected, powerful dude. Now's he's been reduced to a screaming, bleeding, broken man on the grass. It's a striking transformation of character.
- It was important for the fulfillment of Guva's character arc that he sees Ledas before dying. In his last moment alive, he realizes that he has succeeded in drawing Ledas to The Benefactor and also realizes that, as a result of his success, he will die. That is why he starts to cry, and Guva crying brings further humiliation to him.
- Guva's death was based on this scene from Lost.
- The last five paragraphs of this chapter were the only lines of the Reunion Saga written in my original TF Microsoft Works document, where I came up with most of the scene for the first four sagas before joining the wiki. I wrote that on the document after joining the wiki, but it was the only part of the Reunion Saga ever put on there. I had that scene written out long before starting the rest of this saga.
- The Benefactor's dialogue is a reference to a line the Master Chief says on the firefight voice preview screen in Halo: Reach.
- This chapter's cliffhanger is amongst the best in the entire story, in my opinion; it's better than some of the season finale cliffhangers, even.
- The Benefactor revealing himself here, after killing Guva, implies that he was using Guva as bait the entire time. That he was using Guva as bait then implies that he's here for Ledas. I don't outright state any of this - it's all implied plot (and true plot, to be sure), which helps make the cliffhanger that much more powerful.
- It should also be mentioned that though Guva's death is overshadowed by The Benefactor revealing himself, it's still a major death. Guva is one of the most important characters in all of TF; he is one of the most reoccurring characters, as well. I think only Ledas, TB, and Vegeta are in more chapters than him. It's a major moment. And yet, no one cares that he's died; no one pays him any notice or remembrance. He goes out with a whimper, not a bang. That is the culmination of his character arc. From the moment he was introduced, Guva was the big bad guy; he was the governor of Planet Cooler 92, elegant, powerful, arrogant. And his arc has been one of the slow, long fall. His arc resolves in contrast to how Banas' does. The way Guva goes out is the culmination of the themes surrounding Banas and Guva and their friendship/rivalry. It is serves as commentary on death in general - how everyone goes eventually, no matter how powerful they are. And finally, Guva's death is also tied to the themes of being forgotten and reaping what you sow, which are two of the major overarching themes of this story.
<THE CAMERA COMES INTO A LARGE ROOM, WHICH IS VERY TALL; IT IS PANELED WITH VARIOUS STONE TILES, COVERING THE VAST GROUND; THERE IS OF COURSE A ROOF TOO, BUT IT IS VERY HIGH UP, MAYBE 100-150 FEET; THE SIZE OF THE HUGE ENCLOSURE IS ABOUT THAT OF A NORMAL STADIUM>
<IN THE ENCLOSURE ARE 4 BEINGS; TWO ARE HUGE, LIKE GREAT MONKEYS; THEY ARE NOT WEARING ARMOR, BUT ONLY TRAINING PANTS>
<THE OTHER TWO ARE FLYING ABOUT FRANTICALLY; THEY ARE BOTH SAIYANS, IN FULL ARMOR; IN FACT THEY ARE WEARING MORE THAN THE REGULAR SAIYAN ARMOR, THEY ARE WEARING FULL BODY SUITS COVERING EVEN THEIR FACES AND TAILS>
<AS CAN BE ASSUMED, THIS IS BECAUSE THERE IS A POWER BALL AT THE CENTER OF THE ENCLOSURE, AND THE TWO UN-TRANSFORMED SAIYANS DON’T WANT TO TRANSFORM THEMSELVES; THEY SEEM TO BE TEACHING>
<THE TWO GREAT APES LUNGE AT EACH OTHER, CLEARLY NEITHER IS SENTIENT; THEY ROLL AROUND, FIGHTING AND HACKING AT ONE ANOTHER; IN ADDITION BOTH SEEM TO BE RANDOMLY SHOOTING OFF ENERGY BLASTS IN ALL DIRECTIONS AS IF THEY CANNOT CONTROL THEIR POWER>
<THE TWO ADULT SAIYANS ARE ONLY WATCHING AS OF NOW, BUT ARE STILL WEAVING THIS WAY AND THAT, DODGING THE TWO’S ENERGY>
<THE TWO SAIYANS STOP AND SHOOT UP HIGHER INTO THE AIR TO LET THE GREAT APES COOL DOWN FOR A MOMENT>
Layeeck: <SHOUTING OVER THE COMMOTION> I don’t think it’s going to happen today. They’re still far too wild.
<THE OTHER SAIYAN IS FAR OLDER THAN LAYEECK; HE HAS A BEARD AND HIS HAIR IS A SILVERY BLACK>
Lascon: You’re too impatient, Layeeck. Give them some time to get used to the new form. They’re only children after all! <HE LAUGHS, HEARTILY> Do you remember how long it took you to master that form?
Layeeck: That was a long time ago.
Lascon: You were almost 11 years old, if I remember.
Layeeck: Those were different times. Besides, my son is far stronger than I was at his age.
Lascon: <LEANS FORWARD, PEERING DOWN> And that makes it so much harder… look, they’ve tired out. This is our best chance.
<BOTH SHOOT BACK DOWN TO THE FLOOR; THE TWO GREAT APES ARE STILL TRANSFORMED, BUT ARE SPLAYED ACROSS THE GROUND ASLEEP>
<LAYEECK DESCENDS AND WALKS TO THE SAIYAN NEAREST HIM; LASCON GOES TO THE SAIYAN IN THE FAR CORNER>
Layeeck: <INTO THE EAR OF THE UNCONSCIOUS BEAST> Ledas! Ledas, wake up! <IN MORE OF A WHISPER> Ledas?!
<AT THAT, THE GREAT BEAST’S ARM RUMBLES AND GRABS LAYEECK; WITH A LAZY AND TIRED THROW, IT PUSHES LAYEECK INTO THE GROUND, HARD>
<LAYEECK LETS OUT A MUFFLED SCREAM; THE BEAST IS STILL ASLEEP>
<HE GETS UP, LIMPING FROM HIS FRACTURED KNEE, AND CAUTIOUSLY RE-APPROACHES LEDAS>
Layeeck: <ONCE AGAIN INTO LEDAS’ EAR; WHISPERING> Ledas?! It’s your father, Ledas! Wake up, we’re…
<LEDAS OPENS ONE EYE, LOOKING AROUND; HE SPOTS LAYEECK; AT THIS, LEDAS SITS UP WITH SUDDEN HASTE, THE MOTION OF IT KNOCKING LAYEECK BACK DOWN; STILL SITTING UP, HE TURNS HIS BODY TO FACE LAYEECK; LAYEECK IS EASILY DWARFED BY LEDAS’ PRESENCE; LAYEECK HOLDS HIS GROUND>
Layeeck: My son. Ledas…
<LEDAS PICKS HIM UP WITH HIS HAND, CLUTCHING TIGHTLY AROUND LAYEECK’S BODY; HE GROWLS, SHOWING HIS TEETH; HE SLAMS LAYEECK ONTO THE GROUND; LAYEECK KEEPS AS QUIET AS POSSIBLE; LEDAS KEEPS HIS FATHER WRAPPED IN HIS HAND AS HE DOES THIS>
<LEDAS SNARLS AGAIN>
Layeeck: You remember me. Look at my face! Look at me! I am your father, Ledas. Your father! Look at me! <LEDAS DOESN’T MOVE; HE IS ROARING, AND NOT LOOKING AT LAYEECK> I said look at me!
<LAYEECK SENDS A SHOCK BLAST DOWN THROUGH LEDAS’ BODY, JARRING HIM BACK TO REALITY; LEDAS GROWLS IN PAIN AND LIFTS HIS FATHER UP, CLOSER TO HIS FACE; HE INSPECTS LAYEECK ALL OVER; AS LAYEECK CONTINUES TO STARE INTO HIS SON’S EYES, LEDAS STARES BACK AT HIM; HIS STANCE LESSENS; HIS EYES GLAZE OVER AND HE SHAKES HIS HEAD; WHEN HE LOOKS BACK AT HIS FATHER, HE HAS MORE PURPOSE IN HIS LOOK>
Ledas: <IN GREAT APE VOICE> I am.
Layeeck: <RECOVERS> Ledas?! <LETS OUT A BREATH OF AIR> My son… is that you?
Ledas: <CHEERFUL> Yeah! <HE HOLDS OUT HIS HAND AND NOTICES IT’S ALL HAIRY AND WHATNOT> Whoa, what’s this?
<LEDAS SETS DOWN HIS FATHER AND STANDS UP; HE ADMIRES HIS BODY; HE JUMPS AROUND, TESTING IT OUT>
<LAYEECK LOOKS BACK OVER TO WHERE LASCON WENT; THE SAIYAN ADULT IS HOVERING ABOUT 20 FEET IN THE AIR, WITH HIS ARMS CROSSED; BEHIND HIM IS AN AWAKE, YET UNMOVING GREAT APE; LASCON SEEMS UNTOUCHED AND HIS WHOLE “SENTIENCE” MISSION HAS GONE WITHOUT INCIDENT>
<LEDAS NOTICES THE OTHER GREAT APE; HE TURNS TO FACE IT IN A BATTLE STANCE>
Ledas: Awright! We can fight for real now!
<THE OTHER APE LAUGHS HIMSELF, BUT DOES NOT SPEAK>
<LEDAS JUMPS AND LUNGES AT THE OTHER APE, WHO HAS TAKEN A DEFENSIVE STANCE>
<RIGHT BEFORE THE TWO CONNECT, LASCON TURNS SUDDENLY AND SHOOTS A KI BLAST AT THE POWER BALL, DESTROYING IT>
<LEDAS REVERTS IN MID-LUNGE, AS DOES THE OTHER AND THEY TUMBLE INTO EACH OTHER AS THEY REGRESS>
<LASCON AND LAYEECK WALK UP TO THE TWO, LEDAS AND VEGETA, AND THROW THEM TOWELS>
Lascon: <AUTHORITATIVE> Now that’s enough, boys. Your training for today is done.
Ledas: <UPSIDE DOWN, A TOWEL AROUND HIS NECK> You mean we get the rest of the day off, grandpa?!
Lascon: I don’t see why not. It would be quite mean of me to keep you boys locked up in here all day… when it’s snowing outside.
Ledas: <IN AWE> Snowing? What’s that?
Lascon: A rare occurrence on Planet Vegeta. I suggest you make the most of it. <HE SMILES, WARMLY>
<LEDAS GETS UP, EXCITED; VEGETA GETS UP TOO, BUT HIDES ANY EXCITEMENT HE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE>
Ledas: Thanks, grandpa! <HE WAVES THE ADULTS OFF AND RUNS TO THE DOOR; VEGETA WALKS, SLOWLY BEHIND>
<LASCON AND LAYEECK STAY BEHIND A BIT TO CLEAN UP>
Lascon: Today was quite an interesting day, wasn’t it Layeeck?
Layeeck: Yeah, it was unbelievable. I mean… they just got right up and ran out after all those hours of being in that form. I don’t even think I could do that! <LASCON LAUGHS> Or you, for that matter.
Lascon: It’s you, not me, who promised young Ledas a father-son trip off planet. So I don’t need to keep pace with him. But I sure hope you didn’t lie to him about going.
Layeeck: <SIGHS> No, I’ll get around to it eventually. I’m just not looking forward to it, I guess. Kind of unnerving when you’re not in control any more.
Lascon: <LAUGHS> When have you ever been, son?
<THE CAMERA CUTS TO A BIT LATER IN THE DAY, OUTSIDE; THE ENTIRE AREA, WHICH IS SLIGHTLY WOODED, IS BLANKETED IN SNOW>
<VEGETA AND LEDAS ARE BOTH STANDING IN IT; LEDAS PLAYING AND JUMPING AROUND IN IT, AND VEGETA MERELY STANDING, HAUGHTILY OBSERVING>
Prince Vegeta: <SHOOTS A SMALL BEAM OF ENERGY, WHICH DOES NOT DISSIPATE AS HE TALKS, INTO THE SNOW; HE MELTS A CIRCLE AROUND HIMSELF> So what? It’s just frozen water…
Ledas: Yeah, but it’s fun Vegeta! Come on!
<LEDAS DIVES HEAD FIRST INTO THE SNOW; AFTER A SECOND HE RESURFACES A BIT TO THE RIGHT; HIS HAIR AND FACE ARE BOTH COVERED IN SNOW; HE SMILES>
Prince Vegeta: Hmph. I don’t get the big deal.
Ledas: <LAUGHS> Aw Vegeta, just try it!
<LEDAS THROWS SOME SNOW AT VEGETA, IN A BALL; YES REALLY>
<IT HITS VEGETA IN THE FACE AND HE BRUSHES IT ASIDE>
Prince Vegeta: <ANNOYED> Stop it! <HE TURNS, SWIFTLY WITH HIS CAPE>
<AT THIS, LEDAS JUMPS, LAUGHING AND TOPPLES ONTO VEGETA, CAUSING THEM TO BOTH FALL INTO THE SNOW; VEGETA IS NOT HAPPY>
<LEDAS JUMPS BACK AND READIES MORES SNOWBALLS; HE THROWS SEVERAL AT VEGETA>
Ledas: <GIDDY> Betcha can’t hit me!
<VEGETA STANDS UP AND IS ABOUT TO RESPOND, BUT HE IS HIT IN THE FACE AGAIN WITH A SNOWBALL>
<VEGETA, WITH SOME RESTRAINT, PICKS UP SOME SNOW AND FORMS IT INTO A BALL HIMSELF; HE SHOOTS UP INTO THE AIR AND THROWS IT AS HARD AS HE CAN AT LEDAS>
<THE TWO JUMP AROUND, DODGING EACH OTHER’S SNOW BALLS AND HAVING A GOOD TIME>
<THE CAMERA CUTS BACK TO A HOUSE, WHICH IS QUITE SIMPLE AND PLAIN; IT IS NOT IN A VERY POPULATED PLACE; NO OTHER HOUSES ARE AROUND; THE SUN IS SOMEWHAT SETTING BEHIND IT, AND IT IS ON A HILL WITH A SINGLE TREE TO THE LEFT>
<JUST OUTSIDE WALKS LASCON, WHO IS STILL IN HIS FULL ARMOR; WITH A SIGH OF HIS OWN, HE TAKES OFF HIS ARMOR AND HANGS IT ON A SNOW-COVERED RACK AGAINST HIS HOUSE’S WALL; HE WALKS FOR A FEW FEET THROUGH THE SNOW AND THEN WINCES, FALLING OVER AND CLUTCHING AT HIS SIDE; HE BREATHS HARD FOR A FEW MOMENTS THEN GETS UP AGAIN>
<NOW SOMEWHAT TREMBLING, HE WALKS FORWARD THREE STEPS; SUDDENLY HIS HEAD SHOOTS UP AND HE TURNS AROUND>
<THE CAMERA IS FACING LASCON FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN ONLOOKER, JUST A BIT BEHIND HIS LEFT SHOULDER; HE IS SITTING IN THE SINGLE TREE, WATCHING LASCON>
<THE INTRUDER IS DRAPED ALL IN BLACK; HIS FACE CANNOT BE SEEN; HE SITS ABSOLUTELY STILL IN HIS SILENCE>
Lascon: I recognize you! I saw you watching me and my grandson fighting the other day. I bet you have been watching us for some time. So what is it?! What do you want with us?! Who are you?!
<THE FIGURE DOES NOT ANSWER; INSTEAD, IT JUMPS OFF OF THE TREE AND APPROACHING LASCON>
Lascon: I’m warning you. Get back! I won’t put up with you any longer! My grandson’s training is none of your concern! <HE STEPS BACK AND SHOOTS A SMALL ONE HANDED ENERGY BLAST AT THE CREATURE; AT THE SAME TIME HOWEVER HE FALLS OVER, TRIPPING BACKWARDS INTO THE SNOW>
The Benefactor: You have done enough; you have seen enough. Lord Frieza doesn’t want my presence known to anyone.
Lascon: Lord Frieza?! What do you mean?
The Benefactor: He wants me to deal with this problem.
Lascon: No! He would never…!
The Benefactor: <QUIVERING> Your grandson and the Prince. Lord Frieza wants them both. You will only get in the way of his goals.
Lascon: You can’t do this! I’ll kill you first!
<THE CREATURE GOES BACK TO BEING QUIET; IT CLAWS THE FACE OF LASCON, MAKING HIM FALL BACKWARD; LASCON FALLS INTO THE DOORWAY OF HIS HOUSE AND RETREATS A BIT FURTHER IN UNTIL THE BENEFACTOR JUMPS ON HIM AND PINS UP AGAINST A WALL; LASCON BOWS HIS HEAD, AND THEN WHEN HE LOOKS BACK UP, HE SENDS OUT AN EYE BEAM AT THE CREATURE; IT HAS NO EFFECT; WITH A GRIM LOOK, HE SLUMPS HIS SHOULDERS IN DEFEAT>
<THE CAMERA TURNS AGAIN TO BEHIND THE CREATURE, AND AS THE ALIEN MOVES FORWARD, IT COVERS THE ENTIRE SCREEN>
<THE CAMERA CUTS BACK TO LEDAS AND VEGETA>
<THE TWO OF THEM ARE STILL PLAYING IN THE SNOW; VEGETA SEEMS TO HAVE WARMED UP TO THE IDEA OF IT>
<THEY TUMBLE DOWN THROUGH SOME TREES INTO A SMALL VALLEY; THERE IS A STREAM RUNNING THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF IT; AT THE NEAR END, THERE IS A FALLEN TREE THAT IS SPANNING ACROSS IT LIKE A BRIDGE>
<VEGETA AND LEDAS JUMP ONTO IT AND CAREFULLY START TIP-TOEING ON IT>
<VEGETA, WHO IS IN FRONT, TURNS AROUND AND, WITH A GRIN ON HIS FACE, GETS IN A BATTLE STANCE; LEDAS INTERPRETS THIS CORRECTLY AND ATTACKS; THE TWO START FIGHTING, IN CLOSE COMBAT; PUNCHES AND KICKS FLY FOR SEVERAL MOMENTS; NEITHER HAS THE EDGE>
<THE TWO GET INTO A BLOW EXCHANGE ON THE TREE AND SEND FLURRIES OF PUNCHES AT ONE ANOTHER>
<AT LONG LAST, BOTH OF THEM FALL OFF AND LAND ON THE ICE; IT CRACKS AND THEY FALL IN>
<THE TWO BOYS ARE SWEPT UNDERWATER, AND WHEN THEY TRY TO RESURFACE, THE ICE IS THICK ABOVE THEIR HEADS>
<BOTH ARE TOO COLD AND WEARY TO BREAK THROUGH IT, POUNDING ON IT WITH THEIR FISTS>
<AT LONG LAST, NEARLY RUNNING OUT OF AIR UNDER THE WATER, LEDAS AND VEGETA GRASP HANDS TOGETHER AND COMBINE A GALICK GUN BLAST, TO SHOOT THROUGH THE ICE>
<IT WORKS AND BOTH COME FLYING UP AND BACK ONTO THE SNOWY TURF; BOTH COLLAPSE, EXHAUSTED; LEDAS IS SHIVERING FROM THE COLD>
<ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, LEDAS’ SCOUTER GOES OFF>
<HE WEARILY GRASPS AT IT FROM THE SNOW AND PICKS IT UP; IT IS LAYEECK CALLING>
Layeeck: Ledas, are you there?
Ledas: <TIRED> Whaddizit?
Layeeck: Ledas, I need you to come meet me at your grandfather’s house, immediately.
Layeeck: <PRESSED> Immediately.
<LEDAS PICKS UP ON HIS FATHER’S IMPORTANT TONE AND JUMPS INTO AIR; HE DASHES OFF, SPRINTING IN THE AIR>
Prince Vegeta: <WATCHES HIM GO, STILL PANTING> Bye, I guess… <HE LAYS HIS HEAD BACK DOWN AGAINST THE SNOW AND CLOSES HIS EYES, HIS ARMS BEHIND HIS HEAD, ALMOST LIKE HIS ADULT FORM WAS IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER>
<LEDAS SHOOTS TO HIS GRANDFATHER’S HOUSE WITH MUCH HASTE; HE LANDS, FACING HIS FATHER AT THE DOOR>
Ledas: What is it, dad?
Layeeck: <SAID MONOTONE, WITHOUT EMOTION> Your grandfather is dead. But do not lower yourself to tears. There is no place to be soft here.
<LEDAS TEARS UP, BUT DOES NOT LET LAYEECK SEE IT; BEFORE HE CAN SPEAK, LAYEECK TURNS BACK TO THE HOME>
Layeeck: The traditional Saiyan burial isn’t possible here.
Ledas: <IN TEARS> But why?
Layeeck: <STILL> There’s not much of him left. I can’t get what’s left of him out of the house… So! <BRISKLY> We will do it as we can. Stand back, Ledas. Help me give him the proper respect. And then we’ll find the monster who did this to him.
<LAYEECK GATHERS HIS ENERGY AND SHOOTS OFF A HUGE BALL INTO THE HOUSE, EXPLODING IT AND CAUSING IT TO GO UP IN FLAMES>
<AT THIS TIME, LEDAS HAD SUNK TO HIS KNEES, BUT HIS FATHER RIGHTS HIM BACK UP; HE HELPS LEDAS PUT HIS OWN ARM OUT>
<LEDAS, UNDERSTANDING, LETS OFF A SMALL BLAST OF HIS OWN TO ADD TO THE FIRE; LAYEECK HELPS HIM KEEP HIS HAND STEADY; THE FIRE BURNS BRIGHTLY FOR SOME TIME AND THE TWO STAND IN SILENCE, WATCHING; NEITHER SPEAKS A WORD>
<THE SCREEN PANS BACK TO THE SINGLE TREE ON THE LEFT OVERLOOKING THE LONELY HOUSE>
<PERCHED ATOP IT, WITHIN THE SNOW ITSELF IS A BEING, DARKLY DRAPED, HIS FACE UNSEEN; AS HE WATCHES FOR SOME TIME, THE HOUSE COLLAPSES IN ON ITSELF; AS THE FIRES COOL AND ALL TURNS TO ASH BELOW, LAYEECK AND LEDAS FLY OFF>
<SEEING THIS, THE FIGURE, THE BENEFACTOR, JUMPS OFF FROM HIS TREE AND WALKS AWAY; AS HE TRUDGES THROUGH THE SNOW, HE CALLS UP HIS BOSS>
The Benefactor: <INTO HIS SCOUTER> Lord Frieza, it is done. If we take the prince and his friend now, we can eliminate the rest of the Saiyans without any suspicion.
<THE SCREEN PANS BACK TO SPACE AND SHOWS THAT MUCH OF THE ENTIRE PLANET IS COVERED IN SNOW; THE SCREEN PANS BACK FURTHER AND SHOWS FRIEZA’S SHIP HOVERING OVER THE PLANET>
- The name of this chapter refers to the fact that it snows on Planet Vegeta in this flashback. Pretty simple title, which has existed since the very first version of this saga (one of only three chapter titles to hold that distinction). This is the last straightforward chapter title in the series; the remaining 17 chapters do not have straightforward chapter titles like what is seen here, and, more often, in the Planet Earth Saga.
- I updated this chapter several times, including the big updates in 2012 and 2013 (which happened with most of the other chapters as well). During those updates, I did a lot of rewording of scene direction and dialogue, though I also added in TB questioning Lascon in 2012. I updated that in 2013 to what it is now, as TB's previous reason for talking with Lascon seemed to indicate that he was randomly obsessed with Ledas. That was one of the major problems of the last few versions of this saga and the next saga, so it was swiftly replaced during the final edits. Where that conversation goes now is much different, and that is a sign of me completely retooling both TB's plot and personality in the final version of this story. This is the first chapter where that truly becomes apparent.
- This chapter caused some controversy amongst DBF readers back in the day, if I remember correctly. I think even a few reviewers mentioned this chapter as being a con to the saga and story as whole. What can I say? Everyone has their opinions. Obviously I think this chapter is necessary and does a lot to further the themes and characterization of several key characters, otherwise I wouldn't put it in. But I'm not really interested in mocking other people's opinions. I get why there was some backlash. I changed up the pacing here. I pulled the ol switcharoo. Instead of continuing the plotline after the monster cliffhangers from the previous chapter, I go in a completely different direction. This has happened in too many television shows and books to count, so it's not a unique idea. But it is the first time I've done something like this in any story of mine (as of writing this commentary, it's also the only time I've pulled this trick). This has happened several times in DBZ as well. Of course, the severity of such a move is amplified here as I don't have filler chapter or as many chapters as DBZ in my story, so each chapter has a bit more weight to it. Additionally, as I'm writing this commentary in early December 2015, I'm struck by how similar it is to the plot and pacing switch up that occurred with episodes 3 and 4 of The Walking Dead season 6. What I did here is quite similar to that, actually, although on a more broad scale (as my divergent chapter deals with more characters than TWD's did). I don't remember how I came up with this idea - it's a radical one, so I'm surprised I don't remember. Regardless, this idea of a flashback chapter or two was on the table from the start of my planning for this saga. It's the Reunion Saga. Reunions are tied to flashbacks to contrast and parallel old friendships and bonds to how they are now. This is a recurring theme in this saga. I don't use too many more flashbacks, but I still use way more than I did in any previous saga, and the scenes, particularly the one in this chapter, are far longer than they were in previous sagas. Indeed, I can only think of a few very short scenes in the Lauto Saga as flashbacks. Other than those, these appear to be the only other ones. Again, this is due to the thematic parallels and contrasts they bring up between the past and the present. There is other stuff going on - a bit of plot explanation and fleshing out and some interesting character development for several characters. As well, I did it just for fun. I wanted to show Ledas and Vegeta playing in the snow, having fun, being kids. That wasn't really an option too much in the Prince Vegeta Saga, since they were always going on missions, so it was nice to have a place to show their true bond of friendship here. Since they are no longer friends in the present (or estranged, rather), that contrast highlights important character traits about both of them.
- Originally, Lascon was named Noscal (a name Destructivedisk gave me). I eventually switched it almost completely around to continue the tradition of all males in Ledas' bloodline having names starting with the letter "l". Also, in the past few drafts of TF, Lascon didn't exist in the Prince Vegeta Saga, so this was his introduction and death. When I went back and did the final edits, I put him in the first saga, which somewhat diminished the shock of Ledas' grandfather being both introduced and killed in this chapter.
- This chapter was also just a fun way for me to show exactly how Ledas (and to a much lesser degree, Prince Vegeta) became sentient in the famous Great Ape form.
- So I had a bit of a problem since Layeeck and Lascon would transform into Great Apes too under most circumstances. They thought it best not to, however. I guess if they were apes, they couldn't maneuver as well and would intimidate the boys into fights more easily. The tech I use to not have them transform is basically inspired by a space suit. I figure it's somewhat rare, but does exist for some Saiyan teams to use when they want to have full control over when and how they transform into Great Apes (especially if they aren't sentient in that form).
- Ledas and Vegeta even getting this training is a sign of them being a part of the super elite. The members of Bardock's team, for instance, were never fully sentient in their Great Ape forms. I didn't want to just give Ledas all these cool forms and abilities. I wanted it to feel like he earned he stuff, be it Super Saiyan or sentience in Great Ape. He has to gain experience and go through training/trials to achieve these things. That means that when he ultimately does achieve these things, it feels rewarding, both to him and to the readers. This is a problem I have with HZ's writing, for instance. He does too much telling and not enough showing (starting off chapter 1 of The Nomads with a fight song/scene is an example of this - he didn't build up his characters to the point where we would care about them before blowing his load and trying to reach that "cool" moment; it was a rookie mistake and one I tried not to make in my own stories - coolness and abilities have to be built up to and feel earned... you cannot tell me something is cool (and TN's chapter 1 fight scene was a clear attempt at that), you have to show me the coolness itself).
- Layeeck's first line of dialogue mentions that they have been training the boys in their Great Ape forms for several days - this is important because it shows how I didn't have Ledas and Vegeta become sentient too quickly. As well, I didn't spend time showing all of those failed days because there's not much value in doing that. I think they spent about a week training before this point.
- Lascon's dialogue here was at first meant to imply that he was Layeeck's father. This is known much earlier in the text now that I added in scenes with him in the final version of the Prince Vegeta Saga. Still, this scene spends a lot of time on the subtleties of Layeeck's relationship with his father. There's a lot going on between the two of them - jealousy, feelings of inadequacy, awkwardness. Lots of stuff that influences their characterization and relationship with each other.
- Layeeck doesn't shy away from stating that Ledas is stronger than him, however. This says a lot about his character that was not revealed in such detail in the Prince Vegeta Saga. Also, this was a subtle way for me to give a vague date of when this chapter took place. It's certainly after the introduction of Frieza at the end of chapter 6 of PVS, because of Ledas' power level, and it's also after chapter 8, for if you remember, in that chapter, Lascon offered to train Ledas and Vegeta in their Great Ape forms. Ledas eagerly agreed, and yet that scene was never shown. Why would I mention it there if I never planned on showing it? The answer is that I did plan on showing it, just in a different capacity. This chapter takes place during the timeline of the Prince Vegeta Saga, but thematically (and also based on what we already know about all of the characters), it has a much different feel to it. Themes are about tones, about what has been built up before, and by separating this chapter from PVS, I can show how apparent that is.
- In earlier versions, Layeeck promised to go on a mission with Ledas, causing the Great Ape to wake up. That felt too mean, so I pulled it back. Layeeck was still going to say that, even here in the final version of the scene, but he's interrupted before he can overtly say something so cruel and heartrending.
- Layeeck's attack certainly helped Ledas become sentient in his Great Ape form. This is similar to how King Vegeta became sentient in his Great Ape Form in Dragon Ball: The Great War.
- Ledas' "I am" exclamation is more than just him responding to his father.
- Notice how Lascon isn't injured by Vegeta, but Layeeck is injured by Ledas quite severely. His physical ruination mimics the mental guilt Ledas has unintentionally given his father (because he's so quickly surpassed Layeeck in strength).
- Ledas' reaction to learning about snow is a cute moment based on when I first learned about snow when I was little. Lascon takes the position of my own dad here; his conversation with Ledas about snow is based off of my own life.
- Planet Vegeta has always been arid and whatnot, so I felt that it made sense that snow would be a relatively rare occurrence - thus four-year old Ledas has never heard of it before now. Snow being rare gives it an auspicious feel, which is a good symbolic connector to both Ledas and Vegeta. However, it's also ironic, since this day doesn't ultimately turn out to be very lucky, at least after Lascon is murdered.
- Notice how Vegeta refuses to emote around the snow. Ledas is having the time of his life. He is emoting enough for the two of them. This is paralleled with their energies in the present, when Ledas meets Vegeta in this saga. Vegeta is indifferent, wants to suppress his emotions, doesn't want to talk to Ledas. And yet Ledas is emoting all over the place, and later that becomes a very major problem as TB's energy inside him begins to corrupt him. So I was deliberately developing that theme here, if only in a subtle way. The comparison to the present, with how Ledas is acting and how Vegeta is acting, was done to really highlight how, while some things change, other things don't.
- Layeeck is quite selfish. He doesn't want to go on a mission with Ledas because he's ashamed that the boy has outclassed him physically. Therefore, he prevents an important type of father-son bonding in Saiyan culture. It's quite sad for Ledas. Part of the boy's psychological problems may be related to how inadequately Layeeck parented him.
- Layeeck and Lascon' conversation about being in control has a lot to do with the old PVS plot related to Layeeck's character. It's also a subtle comment on how Ledas is losing control of his emotions and identity in the present timeline of this saga.
- I figure the snowball scene is how most of Ledas' interactions with Vegeta went. He really had to coax Vegeta to do anything fun. Vegeta is just like that. It's also quite a funny scene, which I had forgotten. Vegeta getting pummeled in the face by a snowball never gets old.
- "Betcha can’t hit me!" - that line is based off of this.
- Lascon's single tree with The Benefactor in it has symbolic meaning of course. On the tonal level, it strikes me as rather Gothic, but I'm not sure if that's technically accurate. It's just the sense I get when I think of Lascon trudging through the snow while TB watches him from above in a leafless tree.
- Lascon falls for the first time because he's weary from training the Great Apes. He took some wounds too, though he didn't let Layeeck see that. That says a lot about Lascon's character.
- Lascon reveals some info that wasn't known before this point about TB. Indeed, TB was watching Ledas fight with Lascon, though Ledas (and we, the readers) didn't know that. Lascon did, and that is quite the bombshell. It implies some things about Ledas' importance in Frieza's overall plans for the Saiyan race.
- The Benefactor kills Lascon primarily because he saw TB earlier. TB doesn't want it to become known that he's watching Ledas, lest that raise the suspicions of other Saiyans. He was coming to kill Lascon just for that. That idea was a change from previous versions. In the original version, it appeared TB kill Lascon for no reason at all. In later versions, he wanted information about Ledas and seemed obsessed with the boy. Here, he's following Frieza's orders. This is the cleanest, most logical version of the scene in my opinion. TB was ordered to watch Ledas and Vegeta. And now he's been ordered to dispose of Lascon, since Lascon saw him earlier. Frieza doesn't want his plans to take Vegeta and Ledas to yet become apparent, for that could mess up his own plans with the species.
- TB only tells Lascon that he's helping Frieza prepare to take Ledas and Vegeta without incident because he's going to kill the man - so the information will die with Lascon. As well, this alerts the readers to TB's true goals. His goals here were made more realistic than in previous versions of the scene. That was one of the major changes I made to this saga during the final edits. My goal was to make everything logical; plot had to come from characters, not the other way around. I don't fit the characters into the plot; the characters and how they act define the plot.
- Lascon is one of the few characters to fully give into defeat once he realizes his cause is hopeless. That is a unique trait of his.
- The way I formatted the TB/Lascon scene between two Ledas and Vegeta scenes was meant to contrast the tones of the different scenes.
- So the Ledas/Vegeta scene that takes place just after The Benefactor kills Lascon was meant to go with Freefall by Two Steps From Hell. There isn't a music cue there because the moment isn't dramatic enough for a music cue, but I still lightly choreographed the scene to that song. It was never an official thing though. I didn't listen to the song while I wrote that scene, for example. When Ledas and Vegeta start fighting on the fallen tree trunk above the frozen river and get into a blow exchange, I imagine this part of the song to start playing. Of note is that in the early, early versions of the Prince Vegeta Saga, "Freefall" was one of the saga's theme songs.
- Ledas has not really dealt with grief by this point in his life (or really at all in the first saga), so when he learns that his grandfather is dead, it is a nice moment of characterization for him and for his father and a good moment for me to work on their relationship. Notice how Layeeck is being quite stoic and formal. He's not normally like that. He's hurting a lot inside. But he can't show it. Just like Lascon couldn't show Layeeck that he was injured. Like father, like son. Ledas himself deals with grief in a different way - again, he is quite emotive. That was a hard scene for me to write, as it's hard to write grief just right. I want it to be realistic without being over-the-top, and the line between those two is not a clear one.
- Layeeck telling Ledas not to cry is part of his traditional Saiyan parenting technique of being quite emotionless and brutal towards Ledas. I'm sure Layeeck was raised the same way by Lascon, so it's quite interesting that a bit of Lascon's legacy is being brought up like that.
- I don't go into what a traditional Saiyan burial method is because, well, I don't know what it is. I don't want to make that up here. But I did want to mention it to give a sense that there are aspects of culture here that are different from those on Earth. In truth, it didn't matter what the traditional Saiyan burial method was, because whatever it was, I was going to have it be impossible to do here (because Lascon was torn apart by The Benefactor) so that Layeeck and Ledas would be forced to burn Lascon's house. The burning of the house has major symbolic implications.
- Ledas doesn't let Layeeck see his tears. This is important to note, as it shows how the two aren't emotionally close. Even at this young age, Ledas intuitively understands the divide that exists between him and his father. It's quite tragic, since Ledas isn't responsible for any of this. His father was the one who forced the divide between them because of his own selfishness and guilt.
- It's also interesting to note that this moment is a bit of foreshadowing for Layeeck about his own fate. He will end up being butchered in a similar manner as Lascon by the same being who killed Lascon. He doesn't know that yet - nor could he even expect such a thing - but it is interesting that he found Lascon, saw what TB did to him, and experienced his own grief about that. Again, like father, like son.
- This chapter revealing that Lascon was killed by TB is another interesting thing, because it means that both of the preceding male members of Ledas' line were killed by The Benefactor. It appears to be Ledas' destiny to die at the hands of that creature as well. That is certainly implied here. It's quite dark foreshadowing, though of course not accurate, since Ledas isn't actually killed by TB in this story.
- Layeeck helping Ledas put his own hand out is a surprisingly touching moment, given how the two have been acting around one another. It appears, though perhaps briefly, that the two are bonding over a shared tragedy. Layeeck continues to hide his emotions, but he is a bit more fatherly at the end of this chapter. Ledas is unlike his father and grandfather in that he emotes where they do not. He is different somehow, perhaps special. This is reflected in his own life diverging greatly from theirs, and his Super Saiyan abilities and whatnot. Layeeck followed in his father's footsteps, but Ledas did not. I was playing with the idea of destiny vs. free will a bit here.
- Make no mistake, the fire, the small candle burning amongst a sea of snow, has great symbolic meaning not only as it relates to the characters involved, but also to the themes of this saga and the story as a whole.
- TB watching Ledas at the end of this chapter implies that he's been basically stalking the boy throughout the latter half of PVS. It's quite creepy. It's also interesting how neither Layeeck nor Ledas notices him. That's probably because TB didn't want to allow himself to be seen and the two had poor awareness due to their grief.
- TB reveals that Frieza's plan to take Ledas and Vegeta and wipe out everyone else was close to happening at the end of this chapter. And yet it didn't. Why didn't it? Tune in next time to find out!
- It's interesting to note that this entire chapter is a flashback. There's no return to the present at the end of the chapter. The flashback is the entire thing. This subtly implies that perhaps the flashbacks aren't over yet. And indeed, they are not. We need to figure out why Frieza didn't take Vegeta and Ledas at that moment and kill everyone else. Had he done so, Goku and Broly would have both never escaped the planet alive. So it has quite big DB universe implications that Ledas and Vegeta weren't taken during this flashback.
- This chapter is quite long - indeed, it's more than twice as long as the chapter proceeding it. I'm not sure that happens anywhere else in TF. I considered splitting this chapter into two parts, but considering that I knew that I had further TB/Frieza/Guva flashbacks to get to, and the present timeline plot to get back to, I couldn't afford to spend three total chapters in flashback form. Incidentally, the fact that I spent two chapters in flashback form at all forced me to spend the first four chapters of the next saga getting Ledas and The Benefactor into Verlate's mind prison. Had these flashbacks not been in this saga, those two getting sucked into that device would have likely happened at the end of the second season finale chapter of the Reunion Saga.
<THE CAMERA IS ON FRIEZA’S SHIP, WHICH IS HOVERING OVER PLANET VEGETA; THE PLANET IS SHOWN TO BE COVERED IN WHITE>
<INSIDE, THE HALLS ARE ABANDONED AND VERY QUIET>
<THE CAMERA MOVES DOWN THE MAIN CORRIDOR, WHICH CIRCLES AROUND INTO A ROOM, WHICH IS BARELY LIT; THE ONLY LIGHT IS A BIT SEEPING IN FROM THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE OPEN DOOR; ONLY FRIEZA IS IN IT; HE IS STANDING, FACING THE WINDOW, STARING DOWN AT PLANET VEGETA>
<QUIETLY, A NEW BEING ENTERS; IT IS THE BENEFACTOR; HE IS STILL CLOTHED COMPLETELY IN BLACK>
Frieza: Ah, Captain.
The Benefactor: <WALKS UP TO BEHIND FRIEZA; HE KEEPS ABOUT A 3 FOOT DISTANCE BETWEEN HIM AND HIS LORD> You called, Lord Frieza?
Frieza: Have you prepared everything?
The Benefactor: I have found quarters for the prince and his partner. Everything is ready.
Frieza: <BREATHES SLOWLY> Good. I trust the monkeys down there <HE SCOWLS AT THE PLANET> didn’t give you any trouble.
The Benefactor: Only the other’s grandfather suspected anything. I eliminated him. He’s not a threat anymore.
Frieza: A threat? He was just a monkey, Benefactor.
The Benefactor: <UNRESTRAINED> A monkey who could have alerted the king and his entire army.
Frieza: Be that as it may, I am not ready to kill them all. I must consult with Zarbon and Dodoria first.
The Benefactor: <TURNS TO LEAVE> Very well, Lord Frieza.
Frieza: <RAISES HIS HEAD; PAUSES FOR SEVERAL SECONDS BEFORE CONTINUING> Wait. The day Zarbon and I found you, we found all but a small group of your species had been exterminated. This was before my team had even touched down. Someone on the planet had done us a great favor. We had been spared the most laborious work. <HE STARES AT THE BENEFACTOR> And I never thanked you. But Benefactor, know this: I saw potential in you that day we found you. I spared your life. <LEANS HIS HEAD BACK> Don’t you see? I chose to give you a place on my ship because of your power.
The Benefactor: I don’t see a question here.
Frieza: <NOW FULLY TURNS TO THE BENEFACTOR AND WALKS FORWARD TO TALK TO HIM FACE TO FACE> You and the Saiyan boys are not so different. Only it will be me, not them, who exterminates their race. Perhaps that is where you hold the edge. I do not want to see them killed, however. They are as important to me as you are. Should you do anything to them–
The Benefactor: Trying to scare me, my lord? <RAISES HIS HEAD SLOWLY, REVEALING HIS EYES> I can’t feel anything.
Frieza: Can’t? Or won’t, Captain? <THE BENEFACTOR IS SILENT> Then you will heed my orders. One day, the boys may be as strong as you. Until then, play nice.
<CUTS TO A DIFFERENT FLASHBACK>
<TWO PODS ARE SHOWN ON THE SURFACE OF LAUTO’S PLANET; BOTH DOORS ARE OPENED; SUDDENLY ANOTHER POD LANDS; IT HAS THE NUMBER 54 ON ITS SIDE; OUT FROM IT COMES THE BENEFACTOR; HE SURVEYS THE AREA AND THE STEPS FORWARD>
<THE SCENE CUTS TO INSIDE THE CAVE; THE BENEFACTOR WATCHES A MASSIVE FIGHT – THOUGH NEITHER FIGHTER CAN BE SEEN, THEIR VARIOUS KI BLASTS CAN BE; HE IS UP ON A LEDGE ABOUT TWO STORIES ABOVE THE GROUND; HE WATCHES QUIETLY, FIXATED ON THE BATTLE BENEATH HIM>
<HE JUMPS OUT OF HIS TRANCE AS THE FIGHTING STOPS BELOW, AND HE HEARS THE VOICES OF BANAS AND GUVA SPEAKING; HE WATCHES IT ALL UNTIL GUVA KILLS BANAS>
<THEN AT GUVA’S SLUMPING UP AGAINST A WALL, THE BENEFACTOR OUTSTRETCHES HIS HANDS AND CLOSES HIS EYES; GUVA BELOW, SOMEHOW HEARS SOMETHING THAT SPOOKS HIM; EVEN IN PAIN, HE RIGHTS HIMSELF UP, IN A SLUMPED POSTURE, PEERING AROUND>
<THE BENEFACTOR INTENSIFIES HIS POWER OUTPUT, AND GUVA IS DISTURBED BY THIS; THE BENEFACTOR LOWERS HIS ARMS AND JUMPS OFF THE ROCK HE IS PERCHED ON; HE LOWERS HIMSELF TO THE GROUND AND BRINGS THE DIRT INTO HIS HANDS, FEELING IT FOR SEVERAL MOMENTS BEFORE LETTING IT ALL SLIP AWAY>
<HE STANDS UP AGAIN, IN FULLEST OF POSTURE>
The Benefactor: <ECHOING IN THE CAVE; MOUTH WIDE, WITH TEETH OUT> What are you doing here?
Guva: <TIRED> Who… who are you?!
The Benefactor: <MOVES UP TO GUVA AND PINS HIM AGAINST THE ROCK WITH A CLAWED FOOT> I will ask the questions.
<GUVA RESISTS, CREATING AN IMAGE SLASH AND SWINGING IT WILDLY AT THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR CATCHES IT IN HIS HANDS AND BREAKS IT, EASILY; GUVA’S EYES WIDEN IN HORROR; HE REALIZES THAT HE IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND UP TO THE BENEFACTOR; HE SIGHS AND BOWS HIS HEAD>
Guva: I d-don’t want any trouble!
The Benefactor: <QUIETLY AND DELIBERATE> Tell me your purpose.
Guva: I came here to take part in a duel.
The Benefactor: <SWIFTLY> Why here?
The Benefactor: Speak or I slit your throat.
<GUVA APPEARS TROUBLED AND DOES NOT SPEAK FOR A MOMENT AS HE COLLECTS HIS THOUGHTS>
Guva: Very well. I am the governor of Planet Cooler 92. I authorized an expedition to this planet many years ago. A soldier of mine – a Saiyan boy – came back from here a good deal stronger. He stopped aging, too. My captain wanted me to tell him what happened… if he beat me in a duel. The truth is, I don’t know what happened here.
The Benefactor: <QUIVERING> What Saiyan?
Guva: Ah, his name was Ledas. But he’s gone now. I couldn’t keep him on my leash.
The Benefactor: Gone where?
The Benefactor: <STARTS TO CHOKE GUVA AROUND THE NECK, READYING AN ENERGY BLAST IN HIS FREE HAND> I will not make this painless if you continue to waste my time.
Guva: <WITH A CROAK> E-earth!
<THE BENEFACTOR PICKS UP GUVA AND THEN THROWS HIM AWAY INTO THE DIRT, CREATING A SMALL CRATER; GUVA IS BLOODIED AND TIRED>
The Benefactor: Clean yourself up. After you are healed, you will take me to Earth. And if you want to live, you will do this quickly.
Guva: <PANTING> Why do you want him? What use could he be to you?
The Benefactor: <SNARLS> If you want to keep your tongue, then keep it in check.
<WITH THAT, THE BENEFACTOR WALKS OUT OF SIGHT, BACK INTO THE DARKNESS; AS HE GOES, HE DROPS A SMALL COIN-SHAPED BLACK ENERGY BLAST ON THE GROUND; IT LANDS WITH A HEAVY THUD AND DOES NOT EXPLODE; GUVA SINKS BACK TO THE GROUND, STILL PANTING>
<CUTS TO A DIFFERENT FLASHBACK>
<GUVA AND THE BENEFACTOR ARE ON EARTH; IT IS EARLY IN THE MORNING; GUVA IS HEALED AND IN SPLENDID SHINING ARMOR>
The Benefactor: There are many powerful beings here. Draw them to you and stall them for as long as possible.
Guva: <SIGHS> Very well. But I don’t know that I can beat them.
The Benefactor: You aren’t supposed to.
<THE BENEFACTOR IS CROUCHING IN THE GRASS, LOOKING AHEAD; THIS SCENE DISSOLVES INTO THE NEXT, WHERE THE BENEFACTOR IS SITTING IN THE EXACT SAME POSITION IN THE GRASS; ONLY, THIS TIME, HE IS SITTING OVER THE DEAD BODY OF GUVA; HE IS STARING AT VEGETA AND LEDAS>
<CHIAOTZU AND TIEN ARE IN FRONT OF HIM, AND THE REST OF THE Z FIGHTERS, SANS THE DEFEATED YAMCHA IN THE CORNER, ARE BEHIND THEM>
<THE BENEFACTOR’S NEW PRESENCE HAS EVEN DRAWN THE ATTENTION OF VEGETA AND LEDAS, WHO ARE BOTH STARING JUST AS FASCINATINGLY AS THE OTHERS>
The Benefactor: <TO HIMSELF, QUIETLY> Well, we’re all back. Frieza would be so proud.
Piccolo: <SUDDENLY> Who are you?
The Benefactor: <STANDS UP, WALKING FORWARD> I am here for him.
<HE POINTS TO LEDAS, CAUSING EVERYONE TO TURN THEIR HEADS TOWARDS HIM>
Ledas: <CLENCHES HIS TEETH, HIS BLACK AURA VISIBLE> You’re not taking me anywhere!
Gohan: What did he do to you?
The Benefactor: <QUIETLY> He stole my energy. And I’m taking it back, even if I have to rip it from his lifeless corpse.
Ledas: <SHOUTS; GOES SUPER SAIYAN> No! I didn’t take anything from you!
The Benefactor: <SO VERY ANGRY> You were there in the cave. You stepped into the light. You saw the visions. And you took all the energy without thinking about who it came from, who it belonged to. <STOPS WALKING> I know this. Your old governor sold you out.
Ledas: <REALIZING THE EVENT THE BENEFACTOR IS DESCRIBING; HE IS STILL IN SUPER SAIYAN> Oh, god! That was you?!
The Benefactor: Now you will return to me what is rightfully mine.
Ledas: <ANGER SURGING AS WELL> If you couldn’t hold onto your energy, then you don’t deserve it! It’s not yours anymore!
The Benefactor: <IGNORES LEDAS; TO THE Z FIGHTERS> Just step aside and let me take him.
Ledas: <MORE TO HIMSELF THAN TO THE BENEFACTOR; LOOKING DOWN WITH HIS FISTS CLENCHED> I’m not going anywhere.
Tien: <FROM BEHIND> Wait! <EVERYONE TURNS AROUND TO LOOK AT HIM> Then who is that? <TIEN POINTS TO GUVA’S CORPSE>
The Benefactor: <CHUCKLES> A pawn in this game. He drew the boy to me, and now–
Tien: He hurt Chiaotzu!
Krillin: <ANGRY AS WELL> And Yamcha too! What do you have to say about that?
The Benefactor: Get out of the way and you won’t end up like them.
<MOST OF THE Z FIGHTERS FLARE THEIR AURAS AT THIS, REALIZING THE BENEFACTOR IS THEIR FOE>
<TIEN GOES TO SPEAK, BUT THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS A FINGER BEAM AT HIM, KNOCKING HIM TO THE GROUND; IT DAMAGES HIM SLIGHTLY, BUT NOT TOO MUCH>
The Benefactor: I’ve heard enough talk. Step aside or die like your opponent did. <THE CAMERA PANS TO GUVA’S BODY YET AGAIN>
<TIEN STANDS BACK UP LAUNCHES HIMSELF AT THE BENEFACTOR; HE YELLS WITH RIGHTEOUS ANGER; THE ALIEN LOCKS HIMSELF INTO A DEFENSIVE POSITION, READY TO TACKLE THE ENRAGED Z FIGHTER>
- This chapter was originally called "Story Of My Life". Not a bad title, not a great title. I changed it during my 2012 edits to "Furcifer Pardalis", which is how it remains to this day. Furcifer Pardalis is a very specific reference to a species of chameleon, the one which I thought most resembled The Benefactor in terms of appearance and abilities. This chapter was solely about The Benefactor, so that is why I chose it.
- There were hints of bad Benefactor stuff in previous sagas, which I fixed during the final edits. Indeed, in previous draft, The Benefactor wasn't in the second and third sagas. So there wasn't much of the old, bad TB stuff in previous drafts. Most of his bad dialogue and motivations came in the Reunion Saga and beyond, and this chapter is the true start of that. I changed quite a bit about his character in the final drafts. And this is where the big stuff truly comes into play. I made a lot of small, nuanced changes to his character before, and the butterfly effect of those small changes is evident in this chapter. This chapter had 3 wildly different drafts. The first featured TB flashbacks to him killing Ayale and Loriphim in Outbreak, escaping from the snow planet that Zarbon abandoned him on, and stuff with Frieza, Guva, and Lauto. In the second draft, the Outbreak flashbacks were removed, and all of the others were significantly re-worked. If I'm being honest, I think the 2012 draft is worse than the 2011 draft. My changes were highly unsuccessful. The way I portrayed The Benefactor and Lauto having a sort of quasi-intellectual conversation before TB killed Lauto was one of the worst moments in TF history. The dialogue was atrocious and the philosophy behind their words was empty. In 2012, the draft stated that TB gave Ledas his power willingly. And this goes back to a horrendous idea I had around that time - my first change in the TB plotline. Basically, in the first version of the story, TB was randomly interested in Ledas. To fix this, I had TB become a sort of mentor to Ledas, trying to train him. Thus, he willingly gave Ledas his power in Lauto's cave. This is a unique idea, of course. Ledas getting power from the main villain, realizing that the main villain just wants to teach him, and seeing the parallels and contrasts between those two characters (TB wanting to make Ledas end up like him, with Ledas fighting back against that in an exertion of his will) is not a bad idea. The idea was there; the execution was not. Incidentally, while I can appreciate the quality of the idea, I don't much like it, and this was one of the first things I decided to change during my preparations for the final edits. The second version featured a better scene with Guva and The Benefactor and explained their strategy in the first half of this saga really well - I used aspects of that in the final version of the chapter. But for the most part, the old drafts of this chapter were discarded. Much of the opening conversation with Frieza and The Benefactor was also re-written during the final draft. I think if one goes through the old drafts (viewable in the Reunion Saga's history), it will become clear how much the dialogue improved in my final edits. There was a lot of nuance added, and I strove to remove all of the awkward, cringe-worthy dialogue. Additionally, the flashbacks themselves were streamlined and made consistent with the new final edits I did to the previous sagas. So much of it was re-written, line by line, that it feels like this chapter is new - it feels like, for the final edits, I had to basically write this one from scratch. That isn't entirely true, but it's the first that had such extensive re-writing done to it in this saga. I particularly like how TB and Guva's scene turned out in this chapter's final version. Also, in the final edits, I greatly expanded the closing scene, which is the return to the present (the first time this has happened since TB revealed himself at the end of chapter 6). This included discussion between Ledas and TB as well as other stuff. All of those changes greatly impacted the flow, pacing, and plot progression of this story. Of note is the fact that I had to do a lot of editing even on that final scene to make it consistent with how I had changed TB in the final edits of previous sagas. Now, he doesn't want to give Ledas his power or has a random fascination with the kid. Now, he's out for revenge. He's learned that Ledas took his energy from him, and he wants that energy back. It's a pride thing, an alpha male thing. TB doesn't let people walk all over him. He wants to get back what is rightfully his. This is a marked difference from his personality in previous versions of the story, but is also more logical and badass, in my opinion. Also, the story is not so one-sided anymore. The Benefactor does have a legitimate complaint about Ledas taking his power (even if Ledas didn't know at the time that he had). So there should be a bit of hesitation coming from the audience. Justice here may be on TB's side - he has a right to his energy, after all. But Ledas deals with that argument in this chapter, rather early into his conversation with The Benefactor. If TB was so weak to lose his energy, then it was his fault. The weak lose their power; the strong maintain it. TB was weak (also, not his fault, as Frieza and Lauto put him in quite a bind), and through that weakness, he lost his power. That is Ledas' main argument; he knows that he can't give up the power he took from TB without getting severely injured or perhaps killed. And he doesn't want to give a power boost to someone trying to kill him, either. So from Ledas' point-of-view, there's no reason to listen to TB. Each side has an argument to be made and flaws to their senses of justice. So it's not as clear-cut as it was before. This was me playing with archetypes and standard ideas of the "good guy" always being right.
- Notice how the flashback in this chapter picks up right after the end of the last chapter. The flashback is essentially continuing on from the last chapter, but the shift moves away from Ledas and focuses on The Benefactor.
- Oh Lord Frieza needing all those consultations. It says a lot about him, though, that he would want to talk with Zarbon and Dodoria before wiping out the Saiyans. And also, he doesn't want to talk with The Benefactor about that. He doesn't seem to value TB's wisdom very much.
- The opening of this chapter gives a nice little confirmation that all Frieza wants is to bring Ledas and Vegeta on his ship so that the two can train to be some of the most powerful elites in his empire. It's quite fatherly in a way, though perhaps a little creepy too. There's a sense of lost possibility here, of a lost destiny for Ledas and Vegeta together that was missed, and ultimately screwed both of them up because of it. Had they grown up together on Frieza's ship, so much would be different. I don't think either of them would be as broken as they are in the present timeline had they been able to stay together.
- Frieza's speech to TB is very important on a thematic level. Notice the parallels between TB and the two Saiyan boys (particularly Ledas). Interestingly, The Benefactor himself doesn't seem to notice this parallel.
- So interesting that Frieza ordered The Benefactor not to kill Ledas and Vegeta, for Frieza knew what TB was capable of. He wanted everyone to play nice on his ship. And yet, look at the contrast now. In the current timeline, TB, Ledas, and Vegeta are all reunited, and TB wants to kill them. There's no Frieza to save them this time! It's quite weird that Frieza was playing the hypothetical savior for the two boys (ultimately, it never came to pass, since both TB and Ledas disappeared before Vegeta became a member of Frieza's ship), considering how poorly the two Saiyans think of him because of what the tyrant did to their race.
- I purposely don't explain why TB returns to Lauto's planet. In previous versions, he was already there when Guva and Banas arrived to fight. Now, he arrives after them. Notably, his mannerisms seem to suggest, perhaps, that he is surprised they are there. He might've been using Lauto's planet as a rendezvous point. Also, the fact that he has the space pod from Planet Cooler 54, perhaps suggests that he ultimately did attack that planet's outpost (remember, in the Stomping Grounds Saga, he thought it best not to). But the garbage truck is gone now. King Vegeta, Layeeck, and the other corpses have truly been abandoned by this point. I think it's more likely that he just stole a pod instead of destroying the outpost on PC54, but you never know.
- It was really fun showing Guva's and Banas' fight from TB's perspective. All the time when I was writing that fight, even in the first draft, I knew TB was there watching it. That was only subtly hinted at to the readers in the last saga. It was really nice to be so overt here. The different perspective really shows how different people see things differently. There's no emotion, no sentimentally, as was seen from Guva's and Banas' perspectives. With TB, he's only interested in the fight and who wins. That speaks to his character and his emotional differences from the other two.
- The way The Benefactor feels the dirt in his hand is a reference to Maximus doing the same thing before each battle in the movie Gladiator. This reference actually carried over through the various drafts of this chapter, though in previous drafts, The Benefactor felt the snow between his hand on the planet Zarbon left him on. As to what this little ritual actually means, I'll leave that up to the readers to figure out.
- One change I made during the final edits was to make TB less introspective and calm during his meeting with Guva. Now he's ferocious, no-nonsense, impatient. It's far more entertaining this way, I think. It shows the contrast between the two characters. Ledas was afraid of Guva, but even Guva is nothing compared to TB. The Benefactor even frightens Guva.
- Ah, poor Guva, revealing everything to The Benefactor like that. Notice how TB quivers when Guva first mentions Ledas. He realizes that it's either Ledas or Vegeta who stole his energy, and once Guva confirms it with a name, he must be mindblown and furious. His whole goal, the whole reason he ended up on Lauto's planet to begin with, was to find and kill Ledas, and now he learns that Ledas was the mysterious alien who stole his energy in that dark cave as TB struggled against Lauto. It's quite shocking. There's a sense of fulfillment with that, though. This idea of revenge that TB had seems to not have worked out rather well. I speak a lot about the idea of revenge in this story and how it can destroy one and not help one reach mental peace. In this case, TB is greatly punished for trying to gain revenge on a kid who didn't do anything to him (on purpose).
- Guva is utterly humiliated in this second scene. He was once a proud, fearless governor whom Banas, Ledas, and the others looked up to. Now he's being shoved around and being made quite pathetic. Though this second flashback takes place, timeline-wise, much earlier than Guva's death, this seems harsher than his degradation at his death, at least to me. This works, in terms of build up, for this story, but it is not really how the timeline itself played out. Guva's treatment in this chapter is more about showcasing TB's personality as well, since Guva is already dead in the present timeline and can't get more characterization there. So I spent most of the time focusing on how Guva's interactions with TB affected TB.
- The energy blast TB uses at the end of the second flashback is a Planet Buster - an attack that will rend a planet in two. He did this to destroy all echoes of the past. He did this also at the end of the Outbreak special as well, so the technique should be familiar to readers. As well, this foreshadows him later using the attack on Earth itself. This was a bit more dramatic in previous versions (though not as good), because Lauto was still alive when The Benefactor did it. Now, it's a solemn, melancholic, mono no aware-inspired goodbye by the alien. He's spent a long time on this planet, but everything must go away. The past must be forgotten. Because The Benefactor has too much pain in his past to want to think about it. But regardless of all of that, there's still this sense that The Benefactor has a wistful nostalgia passing through him as he drops the Planet Buster.
- The last flashback pretty much states TB's plan with Guva. It's unsettling, to me at least, that TB and Guva had such close contact at this point. Remember, this conversation took place after the first couple of chapters of this saga. After Guva was in the same space ship as Ledas.
- The scene change from the third flashback to the present time is one of my favorite transitions in all of TF. It shows how much things have changed, how easily Guva was used as bait for The Benefactor's own strategy. How such an important character was, in the end, just the pawn of a monster, and how he met such a ruinous, pathetic end.
- Notice how when the story returns to the present, TB is staring at Ledas and Vegeta in particular. This calls back to the start of the chapter, when the three of them were the subject of Frieza's long monologue.
- Notice how the Z Fighters are wary of giving Ledas up, even though Piccolo doesn't like Ledas. They are getting (correctly) a very bad vibe from The Benefactor. And yet, it's The Benefactor who seems to have a legitimate complaint. If the roles were reversed, wouldn't the Z Fighters try to help Ledas get his energy back from The Benefactor? Probably. Perception influences one's sense of justice.
- Great moment of payoff when Ledas learns that the energy he absorbed was The Benefactor's. That must make him feel very uncomfortable and horrified. There's literally a darkness trapped inside him that he can't let out. That of course has major thematic implications as well. He's now beginning to realize that The Benefactor's energy may have had something to do with his psychological meltdown (that, to an extent, is ongoing even now, though in a much different capacity than it was in the previous saga).
- Ledas refusing to give back TB's energy (particularly the way he says it), and his line, "I’m not going anywhere.", is showing some character development. Ledas isn't taking shit from people anymore. He's standing up for himself, for what he wants, for who he is. He isn't hiding anymore. He isn't going to be a coward. He's a Saiyan, like his father before him.
- Tien's question about who Guva is is quite important, and without it, the Z Fighters might not have gotten involved in Ledas' rivalry with The Benefactor. When they learn that Guva was with The Benefactor and that TB didn't care if any of them were hurt by the governor, they realize he's the enemy. He then confirms it when he says he will kill them if they don't step aside.
- The Benefactor is quite the unique DBZ-era villain in that he's not interested in conquering Earth or fighting the Z Fighters. All he wants is his power back. Such a unique motivation. That is one of the big changes I made during the final edits of this saga. It makes his character more memorable in my opinion and is a far better motivation for coming to Earth than his motivations in previous drafts of this saga.
Blood Of My Blood
<WIDE ZOOM IN>
<KRILLIN JUMPS FORWARD FROM THE Z FIGHTERS’ GROUP; CLEARLY, A DARK FOG CAN BE SEEN AT THEIR FEET, THOUGH NO ONE TAKES NOTICE OF IT; WHILE IT APPEARED THAT HE WAS GOING TO ATTACK THE BENEFACTOR, THIS IS NOT ACTUALLY TRUE; TIEN, HOWEVER, IS RUSHING TOWARDS THE BENEFACTOR IN THE BACKGROUND; THE CAMERA FOLLOWS KRILLIN AS HE GOES; HE LANDS BY YAMCHA’S CRUMPLED BODY; BY THIS TIME, YAMCHA IS ON HIS SIDE, FACING AWAY FROM KRILLIN; HE IS NOT MOVING, YET HE IS STILL BLEEDING; HE IS COVERED IN BLOOD>
Krillin: <KNEELS DOWN TO YAMCHA> Hey, Yamcha! Yamcha? Hey, are you there, buddy? Yamcha?!
<YAMCHA DOES NOT ANSWER>
Krillin: <TURNS BACK TO THE OTHER Z FIGHTERS, GRIMLY> He’s hurt pretty bad, guys. Are you sure there aren’t any senzu beans for him?
Goku: <SHAKES HIS HEAD, CONCERNED; BUT FOR SOME ODD REASON HE IS STILL MOTIONLESS> Nuh-uh. I don’t have any.
Krillin: <TURNS BACK TO YAMCHA, PICKS HIM UP> Then I’ll have to take him to Dende myself.
<TO HIS FAR LEFT ARE GOKU, VEGETA, AND LEDAS; LEDAS PARTICULARLY IS STARING AT THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT LOOKING AT HIM; INSTEAD, HE’S FOCUSED ON TIEN; TIEN REACHES THE BENEFACTOR, AND THE BENEFACTOR STARTS BLOCKING HIS ASSAULT>
<JUST AS KRILLIN STARTS TO LEAVE, THE BENEFACTOR STUNS TIEN, AND TURNS TO FACE THE BALD MAN; THE ALIEN THROWS UP HIS HAND, FINGERS SPREAD, STOPPING KRILLIN IN MIDAIR; WITH A SMALL PUSH OF HIS HAND, KRILLIN IS BATTED DOWNWARD BY SOME UNSEEN THING AND YAMCHA IS THROWN AWAY>
<KRILLIN GETS UP AND RUNS AGAIN TO YAMCHA’S BODY, BUT HE IS STOPPED AND BROUGHT UP INTO THE AIR, ABOUT A FOOT>
<THE BENEFACTOR IS NOW FACING HIM, BOTH ARMS OUTSTRETCHED; HE HAS KRILLIN IN STASIS>
Krillin: <AGITATED> What are you doing? Can’t you see my friend over there is hurt?!? I need to get him help!
The Benefactor: <TO KRILLIN> No one is leaving here.
<THE BENEFACTOR MOVES HIS HAND SWIFTLY ABOUT, IN AN ARC; IT BLOWS KRILLIN BACK INTO ROCKS BEHIND HIM; HE IS COVERED IN RUBBLE; KRILLIN DOES NOT SURFACE; AS IS USUAL ALL THE Z FIGHTERS DO THAT THING WHERE THEY MOAN IN AWE FOR LIKE 10 MINUTES>
<TIEN SUDDENLY COMES INTO VIEW, SLAMMING HIS BOOT INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S BACK; THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS FORWARD, BUT STEADIES HIMSELF; HE RETURNS TO TIEN AND STARTS BEATING HIM, SWIFTLY AND VICIOUSLY; THE Z FIGHTERS WATCH THIS, REMAINING ON GUARD; PICCOLO AND GOHAN ARE SEETHING; THEY LOOK LIKE THEY ARE JUST ABOUT TO STEP IN AND HELP TIEN>
<THE CAMERA FOCUSES IN ON LEDAS AND VEGETA>
Ledas: It’s him! He was on Frieza’s ship! You have to remember. He gave us our first mission. Vegeta?
<VEGETA WATCHES LEDAS AS HE TALKS; WHEN LEDAS FINISHES, HE CLOSES HIS EYES AGAIN>
<AFTER A FEW SECONDS OF THIS, WHERE THE AIR IS STILL AND EVERYONE (SANS OUR PROTAGONIST) IS WATCHING THE BENEFACTOR, LEDAS’ EYES DART UP AND NARROW; HE SUDDENLY LAUNCHES HIMSELF AT VEGETA>
Ledas: Don’t you ignore me!
<VEGETA IS STILL SITTING ON THE GRASS BEHIND IN BOREDOM, HIS ARM IS ON HIS KNEE; HE IS COMPLETELY UNPREPARED BY LEDAS’ SUDDEN ATTACK>
<LEDAS BARRELS INTO HIM, AND THEY BOTH TUMBLE DOWN INTO THE GRASS, LEDAS PUNCHING, VEGETA IN A DAZE OF CONFUSION; HE IS ONLY BLOCKING>
<LEDAS LANDS ON TOP OF HIM AND BATTERS VEGETA’S DEFENSE BACK AND BEGINS TO WAIL ON HIS FACE, PUNCHING AT HIM RELENTLESSLY; HIS BLACK AURA IS COVERING HIS BODY>
<WHILE MOST OF THE Z FIGHTERS ARE NOW WATCHING THE BENEFACTOR FIGHT TIEN, GOKU IS WATCHING LEDAS ATTACK VEGETA; HE QUICKLY RUNS UP TO LEDAS AND PREPARES TO DEFEND THE PRINCE>
<CUTS TO RYORI, WHO IS IN THE NEW RED RIBBON ARMY HEADQUARTERS; HE SEES A DOOR OPEN AND DUCKS BEHIND A COUCH, PISTOL DRAWN; HE PEERS AROUND THE SIDE OF IT AND SEES THE SOLDIERS, CARDINAL, GENERAL SILVER, AND CAPTAIN GREEN ENTER>
Cardinal: Here, general. <HE HANDS SILVER A BOX FULL OF SMALL CAPSULES> These should get rid of that child.
Silver: <TAKING ONE OF THE CAPSULES OUT AND EXAMINING IT CLOSELY; IT IS A BULLET> How many did your men make?
Cardinal: Oh, there’s enough poison in these any one of these bullets to kill half of our population. I’m sure they will suffice.
Captain Green: Aren’t you coming with us, sir?
Cardinal: <SIGHS> No, I’m not. I must go see an old friend. He’s the only one who can explain why there are aliens here on Earth. <SHAKES HIS HEAD> But anyway, I expect both children to be dealt with by the time I get back. We have a duty to humanity and we must see it through. Do you understand?
Captain Green: Yes sir!
<SUPREME GENERAL SILVER HAS ALREADY POCKETED THE BULLETS AND BEGUN WALKING OFF; CARDINAL NODS TO HIM AND EXITS THROUGH A SIDE DOOR OUT OF THE CRIMSON ROOM; THE REMAINING 30 RED RIBBON ARMY SOLDIERS COME UP BEHIND CAPTAIN GREEN AND THEY ALL TROOP OUT OF THE FRONT DOOR; ONCE THE LAST OF THEM IS GONE, RYORI FOLLOWS THEM>
<RYORI SEES THE SOLDIERS LINED UP OUTSIDE; CAPTAIN GREEN WALKS DOWN THE ROAD IN FRONT OF HIS SOLDIERS AND INSPECTS THEM AS THEY LINE UP; RYORI SEES THEIR COMBAT BUS BEHIND THEM AND SNEAKS AROUND IT; HE HEARS THE SOLDIERS SPEAKING AND THEN HEARS THEIR FOOTSTEPS GETTING CLOSER; PANICKING, HE JUMPS IN THE BACK OF THE BUS, BETWEEN SOME CRATES WHERE NO ONE CAN SEE HIM; HE PEEKS OUT OF THE BACK OF IT AND WATCHES WHAT HAPPENS>
<CAPTAIN GREEN IS LEADING THE SOLDIERS RIGHT TO THE BUS IN A RIGID LINE; THEY PILE IN AROUND RYORI WITHOUT NOTICING HIM; HOWEVER, THERE IS ONE WHO DOES NOT; RYORI NOTICES THAT SILVER HAS NOT GOTTEN IN THE BUS WITH THE REST; HE HAS A MOTORCYCLE AND A SINGLE SOLDIER JUMPS ON TO DRIVE HIM>
Silver: All right, Private Wisconsin. Drive fast and smooth. I don’t want to get flipped in a pothole today. My shoulder is still sore from last time.
Private Wisconsin: No worries, sir! I’ll get you to the alien as quickly as possible. You can count on it.
Silver: Good. I want to kill him myself.
<THE MOTORCYCLE SPEEDS OFF WITH WISCONSIN DRIVING; THE BUS THEN FOLLOWS BEHIND, LAGGING QUITE A BIT; IN THE FAR DISTANCE, SMOKE CAN BE SEEN RISING FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE>
<CUTS BACK TO LEDAS AND VEGETA; LEDAS CONTINUES TO HIT AND PUNCH VEGETA’S FACE, WHO IS NOW PARRYING AND FIGHTING BACK; BUT CLEARY HE IS NOT POWERED UP, NOR WAS READY TO FIGHT; AND HIS STRENGTH IS, THEREFORE, MUCH LOWER THAN LEDAS’>
<LEDAS READIES A PLAYFUL GALICK, PERHAPS IN IRONY; HE RAISES BOTH HIS HANDS ABOVE HIS HEAD AND BEGINS TO FORM THE CYAN ENERGY BLAST; VEGETA LOWERS BACK HIS HEAD AND COUGHS UP BLOOD, PREPARING TO BLOCK THE ATTACK>
<RIGHT BEFORE LEDAS LOWERS AND FIRES THE BLAST INTO VEGETA’S FACE, IN CLASSIC DBZ QUASI-DRAMA, GOKU JUMPS FORWARD TO STOP HIM>
Goku: Hey! Stop, you two! This is no time to be fighting!
<LEDAS LOOKS UP, KINDA LIKE A PERSON’S CAT WOULD UPON RIPPING APART SOME VALUABLE POSSESSION, LIKE AN “OH DID I DO THAT” KINDA THING; THEN HIS FACE CONTORTS INTO A SNARL AND HE SHOOTS HIS BLAST AT GOKU; GOKU WAS UNPREPARED FOR THIS AND IS THROWN BACK; IN AN INSTANT, HE JUMPS UP, GOING SUPER SAIYAN AND JUMPS AT LEDAS>
<LEDAS KICKS HIMSELF OFF OF VEGETA AND MOVES BACK TO GOKU; HE LOOKS VERY ANIMALISTIC RIGHT NOW, WITH HIS TEETH BARED AND HIS FACE SNARLING; HIS BLACK AURA IS ALL AROUND HIM; HE PUNCHES GOKU, THOUGH THE TALLER SAIYAN DODGES HIS ATTACK; THEN GOKU TELEPORT-PUNCHES AT LEDAS; LEDAS IS HIT STRAIGHT IN THE CHEST AND FALLS BACK, PREPARING ANOTHER ENERGY BLAST; BUT GOKU IS ON HIM INSTANTLY>
<GOKU PUSHES LEDAS TO THE GROUND, PINNING HIM AND CAUSING HIM TO DISSIPATE HIS BLAST; LEDAS KICKS AT HIM, SCREAMING AND RESISTING AS BEST HE CAN; AT LAST, HE PUSHES GOKU OFF OF HIM; GOKU FALLS BACK WITH MORE FORCE THAN HE SHOULD; HE IS PANTING HEAVILY>
Goku: Wh-what’s wrong? Why am I so tired?
<HE LOOKS AROUND BUT DOESN’T SEE ANYTHING; THE BLACK MIST THAT IS JUST RISING OFF THE GROUND IS PULLING AT HIS BODY, BUT IT’S SO FAINT HE DOESN’T NOTICE IT; SEEING GOKU DEFEATED, LEDAS SHOOTS AN ICE CANNON AT HIM, CAUSING HIM TO FALL INTO THE GRASS; LEDAS TURNS BACK TO VEGETA>
Ledas: Vegeta, stop acting like this! This is serious!
Goku: <FROM BEHIND, NOT GIVING UP, TIRED AS HE IS> Look, if you two have something to settle, you can do it later… right now we gotta deal with that other guy… Come on, we have to focus on this!
<HE GESTURES TO THE BENEFACTOR WHO IS FIGHTING TIEN>
Ledas: I don’t want to fight him. You can do it.
Vegeta: Enough of this! <HE STANDS UP AND LOOKS AT LEDAS, SEETHING THROUGH HIS TEETH> I know you aren’t real. You’re a trick… something that thing <HE NODS TO THE BENEFACTOR> made up to try and fool me. Well it won’t work. I know you’re fake.
<LEDAS’ EYES WIDEN; HE DROPS TO THE GROUND, HIS LIP TREMBLING; HIS EYES GLOSS OVER HE REVERTS TO HIS BASE FORM; IN HIS FACE IS THE LOOK OF DEFEAT; HE CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT HIS CHILDHOOD FRIEND JUST SAID; HE LOOKS DOWN AT HIS HANDS, SEEING THE BLACK AURA>
Ledas: What is this? What’s happening to me? <HE LOOKS BACK UP TO VEGETA> I-I didn’t mean to attack you, Vegeta… I-I don’t know what’s going on! There’s something inside me I can’t control.
Vegeta: Bah, save the talk. You’re just a vision. But I am Vegeta! I am a mighty warrior! And I won’t be fooled so easily!
<EVEN AS LEDAS SITS THERE, TRYING TO CONTROL HIMSELF, HIS BLACK AURA IS ONCE AGAIN OVERCOMING HIS BODY AND HIS EYES ARE SHINING GREY; HE SHAKES HIS HEAD LIKE A RABID DOG, TRYING TO STOP IT, BUT IT IS NO USE; FINALLY, LEDAS STANDS BACK UP, HIS HEAD BOWED>
Ledas: <CALM VOICE AGAIN> You think I’m not real? You think I’m not me? Then let me show you what I’ve got… Prince of all Saiyans. I’ll show you what a real warrior is.
<THE SCREEN MOVES BEHIND HIM, TO TIEN; TIEN LOOKS LIKE HE IS ABOUT TO BE DEFEATED; PICCOLO AND GOHAN ARE NOW RACING TOWARDS HIM; GOTEN AND TRUNKS ARE AS WELL; ANDROID 18 HAS RUN TO WHERE KRILLIN LANDED; GOKU IS STRUGGLING TO GET UP AFTER BEING ATTACKED AND HE LOOKS OVER AT THE BENEFACTOR; HE DROPS BACK TO ONE KNEE, BREATHING HARD>
- This chapter was originally called "Latchkey". I'm not exactly sure where that name comes from. It could be from Halo: Reach, but I'm not 100% sure. I also don't remember how the chapter name relates to the chapter's content. Maybe it never did. That could be why I ultimately changed the title to "Machination Master" in my major 2012 edits of this chapter. That name simply had to do with The Benefactor's strategic maneuvering in this chapter (and saga as a whole). Then, during the first phase of my final edits for this chapter, I renamed it to "Triumvirate Of Hate", which had more to do with Ryori, Ledas, and The Benefactor and the way hate is driving all of them in this chapter. Then I removed the name and later renamed this chapter "The Warrior Race". That name didn't seem right to me, so I then proceeded to change it to "Blood of My Blood" a few hours later. That chapter name is a reference to the tv series, Game of Thrones. It refers to Ledas and Vegeta being like brothers back in the Prince Vegeta Saga (which was also seen in the chapter "Snow Day") and how that is no longer how things are with those two, and to the fact that the same energy runs through Ledas' and The Benefactor's veins. This chapter must've had the most chapter name changes out of any chapter in TF, but I'm glad where it ended up. The current name is quite clever and refers to several different characters in different scenarios, so I'm happy I was able to use that phrase.
- So this chapter changed a lot during the various revisions. One of the things that was changed completely in the final edits was Ryori's plot in this chapter. It was originally just him walking through town searching for Cardinal and eventually finding him. It's much, much different now. The new plot was basically written from scratch for the final edits. This is due to the plot and character changes I made related to Ryori and the New Red Ribbon Army in the previous saga, as well in earlier chapters in this very saga. Also, the way TB does his energy draining technique is now much more subtle so that the Z Fighters won't notice it. And Vegeta's confrontation with Ledas is much more expanded than it was in previous versions of this chapter. There was a lot more emphasis placed on Ledas going insane now that TB is around him. Ledas also trying to exert his will and stand up for his existence was made more prominent. So yeah, a lot of changes in this chapter. This will become the norm from here on out, for the most part. All of the changes in earlier chapters and sagas are becoming more important by this point. Those earlier changes forced me to change a lot about how this chapter worked.
- I wanted Krillin to survive what happens to most of the other Z Fighters so he could help save everyone after TB is dealt with. I also did this because DD loves Krillin and I <3 DD. I also did this because Krillin survived the Saiyan Saga, and that was a major inspiration for this saga.
- The dark fog shown at the start of this chapter is TB's way of dealing with the Z Fighters. He came up with this strategy after realizing Guva wouldn't be any use aside from acting as bait. But since Guva was acting as bait, TB was able to use this attack and have it appear around the unsuspecting Z Fighters. Even now, they perhaps notice it, but don't really care about it, since they don't expect it to have any ill effect. They probably just assume it's a part of TB's presence.
- Krillin is disposed of in a way to allow him to come back later, unlike pretty much every other Z Fighter. I knew even at this point that I wanted him around to do some important stuff in the next saga.
- Notice how, particularly by this point in the saga, I am using the scene direction to make fun of the Z Fighters a lot. That was deliberate. I really was annoyed by some of their collective mannerisms and by this late point in TF, writing scene direction was somewhat tiresome, so any time I could entertain myself, I tried to. There are a few such funny lines in this story. The one about the Z Fighters moaning for 10 minutes in this chapter still makes me laugh - and it's quite an accurate thing I'm making fun of. Go watch an episode of DBZ, and see. All they do is moan in awe or fear. That's one way to milk the 20 or so minutes per episode.
- One thing I did during the final edits that was important was to show how the Z Fighters aren't just sitting back to watch TB beat up everyone one at a time. Tien is trying to get revenge on TB for Guva hurting Chiaotzu, but as soon as TB defeats Tien, the other Z Fighters plan on stepping in (or if they see that Tien is failing). They aren't just going to let Tien get destroyed, though they are respecting his right to start this fight.
- Ledas attacking Vegeta is quite unexpected. He's spent all this time trying to find Vegeta, and now that he has, and now that Vegeta's disappointed him, he attacks him. This is partly because of TB's influence corrupting Ledas, but it's also because Ledas is so frustrated and heartbroken by how Vegeta is treating him. By attacking Vegeta, he is subconsciously trying to remind the Saiyan Prince that he too is a Saiyan. He's trying to make Vegeta remember the times they sparred together so long ago and also to remember that Ledas is quite powerful too. He is one of the last Saiyan warriors; he doesn't want Vegeta to forget that, to forget him.
- Ledas' black aura being around him as he attacks Vegeta helps show how TB's energy inside him is corrupting him. This is more apparent in the manga version (or it will be, if I ever draw that or have someone else draw it).
- I couldn't resist having Goku step in and have a small scene with Ledas and Vegeta. This was the only place I was planning on having Goku fight Ledas in the entire story. At one time I wasn't going to have him fight Ledas at all, but decided to after realizing that it's a missed opportunity to not have my Saiyan go up against the protagonist of DBZ.
- Silver and his men would have been dealt with in a different way had Cardinal gone with them (because Cardinal can't die in this saga - he has too much to do in the next saga). But him not going was something I came up with during the final edits. It's less to do with plot and more to do with his character arc and with the themes of this saga. I'll speak more about that when we get to Cardinal's next scene.
- Cardinal's scientists (the ten of them who escaped Earth's destruction in Ledas' gravity training unit) created those poisoned bullets for him. Basically, I needed a way for the New Red Ribbon Army to think like they could deal with Ledas - and quickly, as this entire saga, sans the flashbacks, takes place in one day. The poison is so potent that each bullet could kill half of the population of the world. It's appropriately over-dramatic for the Dragon Ball universe. That level of poison is also severe enough that it should make the readers question if Ledas could actually survive being hit by one of those bullets. It's an unknown. Does his power level mean he can resist poison? We don't really have anything to base our answers off of. I worked out the plot to go like this deliberately to build up tension. The New Red Ribbon Army obviously cannot challenged Ledas, so this is the only way to keep them relevant. And who knows, maybe their poisoned bullets will kill him. Nothing is certain at this point.
- It's a bit sad to think that the NRRA scene in this chapter is the last time Cardinal sees his son alive, even though they are both bad people.
- Ryori wasn't planning on getting in the bus at first; he was just following them. He was forced to run in there once he heard them walking towards him so as to not be seen. It's risky for him to be in there - which is why he wasn't planning on getting in there in the first place - but it also allows him to go with them to where Ledas and the others are fighting The Benefactor. Had he not jumped in the bus, I'm not sure he would have been able to find a car or taxi or bike or something to follow them.
- Silver and Wisconsin being on the motorcycle was done for numerous reasons: most apparent is that it's just badass (soldiers on motorcycles always looks cool); the second reason is that this allowed me to fluidly introduce Private Wisconsin, who becomes briefly important at the beginning of the next saga; the third reason is that by having the motorcycle I can later have the motorcycle fall on Wisconsin so that Ryori will think that the private is dead. From this point, I knew all of those things would happen. I planned all of my final edits before doing any of them so that I could keep things consistent and be able to write nice build up and foreshadowing scenes.
- Silver wants revenge on Ledas, and Ryori wants revenge on Silver. This trail of revenge draws a distinction between Ryori and the other humans, for his reason for wanting revenge is more legitimate than the NRRA's reasons. And this is why, ultimately, Ryori prevails, and the NRRA soldiers do not.
- Goku going Super Saiyan against Ledas was done so that Goku would lose his power faster than most of the others. Since he is by far the strongest Z Fighter at this point, that needed to happen for him to be defeated by The Benefactor. When Goku goes Super Saiyan, a bigger drain on his power reserves occurs with TB's black energy mist attack sucking more and more of his ki out because he's using more of it. This becomes even more apparent when Goku later goes Super Saiyan 3.
- Super Saiyan Goku vs. Super Saiyan Ledas seems to be a fight right out of my original idea for this story, with Ledas being the villain and fighting all of the Z Fighters. However, how we got to this point is much different, much more thematically-motivated, and therefore, I find it to be a much superior idea to my original idea, even though the scene that comes out of it is much shorter than the one that would have come out of my original idea for this story.
- Ledas is almost going feral in the last scene of this chapter. That is similar to how he became quasi-feral when he got very emotional after learning that his parents and most of his species were definitely dead when he was with Lenomi. He has the capacity to do this even if TB isn't unconsciously influencing the dark energy inside of him. But TB's unconscious influence of the energy Ledas stole from him does make Ledas' actions much more feral and barbaric and desperate than they would have been otherwise.
- Ledas and Vegeta are on the edge of the mist, thus it isn't affecting them as much as it is affecting Goku and the others.
- The way the mist is pulling at Goku's body and is making him tired pretty much overtly confirms that this attack is sapping the Z Fighters of their power.
- It's funny seeing Goku so powerless and being ignored. He's the main character of DBZ, but he's not my favorite character - not by a longshot. This story isn't about him. He's not the focus, not even here. The little scene where Ledas completely ignores him (after perhaps defeating him in battle) is emblematic of my effort to push the focus away from Goku. Goku has been too much the focus in DB media, and he's really just a boring character. He always wins, always defeats the bad guy in every saga and movie. It's just boring and predictable. So I sought, in this story, to rally against that trope and completely deconstruct it, even down to the small level of him being ignored in a conversation. Yes, he's the voice of reason, but his voice is still being ignored, and that is the most important thing about that.
- It is logical for Vegeta to assume Ledas is a trick. Regardless, that news devastates Ledas. Him losing his Super Saiyan state shows how this news is like a hard punch in the gut to him. He can't believe his friend would forsake him like that. He doesn't truly understand the absurdity of his appearance and his existence, so he expects Vegeta to know that he's real. But Vegeta can't. Not yet. He doesn't want to give into the possibility that his best friend is alive. That will just bring back memories of pain and sadness, and he doesn't want to bring that upon himself, since he doesn't see it as likely that Ledas is really alive.
- Importantly, Ledas sees his black aura for the first time in this chapter, just after he is rejected by Vegeta. That jars him back to reality, and he realizes that something is wrong. This idea of "what have I become" is a theme also associated with Cardinal and Guva, though this theme works differently for each character. It's a really heartrending scene for me to read, even now as I'm doing commentary. It's just so sad that Ledas is rejected by Vegeta and then sees that there's something wrong with him. He's spent so many years trying to find Vegeta, and all that time was wasted. The happy times in his memories can never be returned to, he thinks. And it's all his fault, he also thinks. He's blaming himself on some level for Vegeta rejecting him because of his black aura. It's thoroughly depressing. There's a thematic message here, but I won't go into that. Ledas seeing himself as broken reminds me of Bran seeing himself the same way in his last chapter of A Clash of Kings. I don't know the name of the emotion this evokes in me - it's a quiet sadness and an appreciation of the desolation of that sadness. The feeling I get is the same when I think about both Ledas and Bran in their related chapters.
- Much of Vegeta's dialogue at the end of this chapter was taken directly from dialogue he's said in canon.
- Ledas, in his normal personality, would be likely to sulk and cry after learning what Vegeta said. He tries to shake away the darkness, to hold it back, but he can't. The Benefactor is too close, and Ledas can't properly control TB's energy inside him. That energy wants blood; it wants war. Ledas does not. But he can't control it. He doesn't have control over his self, his identity. He's become what The Benefactor is, despite all of his efforts not to.
- Now, all of that said, Ledas' quote ("You think I’m not real? You think I’m not me? Then let me show you what I’ve got… Prince of all Saiyans. I’ll show you what a real warrior is.") following Vegeta saying he's a mighty warrior who can't be fooled by the Ledas vision, is one of the most badass things Ledas ever says in this story. Ledas isn't much of a quote machine - though he has his moments - but this is one of the most memorable things he says in the entirety of TF, in my opinion. It says quite a bit about his personality development and his attitude right now. Also, it shows how, though the darkness seems to have overtaken him, there's still a bit of Ledas' own will in his actions. That isn't TB's energy talking; Ledas' last lines of this chapter are all him, all his rage, sadness, and frustration. It's him at peak Saiyan rage, which is then augmented by TB's energy inside him.
- Ledas' struggle in this saga is, to an extent, an existential one. Vegeta doesn't think he exists - but Ledas knows he does. He is being ignored because people don't think he's powerful or real or legitimate. Those thoughts are battering Ledas' will and his individuality and his ability to form and maintain an identity. He doesn't want to be "the forgotten". He's doing everything in his power to not end up being "the forgotten".
- The last paragraph of this chapter shows how desperate the situation for the Z Fighters is. Even though no one except Yamcha and Chiaotzu is out yet, it isn't looking good for them. Expect most if not all of them to fall in the next chapter or two - that is what the last paragraph is inferring.
<SCREEN FADES IN SUDDENLY>
Tien: Let’s go!
<TIEN PUNCHES AT THE BENEFACTOR AGAIN; HE IS BLOODY FROM THE POUNDING HE TOOK IN THE LAST CHAPTER, BUT UNWAVERING>
<TIEN SCREAMS AND LAUNCHES HIMSELF AT THE BENEFACTOR, WHO PLAYFULLY AND COYLY LEAPS BACKWARDS, ARMS FOLDED; CHIAOTZU ALSO LUNGES FORWARD AND BEGINS TO ATTACK AT THE BENEFACTOR, EVEN THOUGH HE IS SO WOUNDED; HE CANNOT STAND SEEING HIS FRIEND BEING HURT>
Chiaotzu: No, Tien! I won’t let him hurt you!
Tien: <IN HIS MIND; AS HE IS FIGHTING> Chiaotzu?! What’s he doing attacking this thing?! He’ll get himself killed!
<THE THREE CONTINUE FIGHTING; THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT REALLY DOING ANYTHING BESIDES LAZILY DODGING AROUND>
<AFTER A FEW MOMENTS; THE BENEFACTOR DODGES LEFT AND SENDS OUT AN INVISIBLE PULSE INTO CHIAOTZU’S FACE; IT HITS THE LITTLE CLOWN THING FULL ON AND KNOCKS HIM BACK, BLEEDING AS HE GOES, INTO THE GRASS BEYOND>
<CHIAOTZU IS DONE>
<THE BENEFACTOR LANDS AND TIEN DOES AS WELL>
<TIEN BEGINS TO RUN FORWARD TO CHECK ON CHIAOTZU’S BODY, BUT THE BENEFACTOR USES HIS TELEKINESIS TO PICK UP CHIAOTZU FIRST AND THROW HIM INTO THE PILE OF RUBBLE WHERE YAMCHA AND KRILLIN LIE; HE THROWS HIS ARM BEHIND HIM WHEN HE DOES THIS, BUT DOES NOT MOVE HIS BODY WHILE DOING SO>
<TIEN BEGINS TO OPEN HIS MOUTH, BUT THE BENEFACTOR STOPS HIM; CLEARLY, LIKE ALL OF US, HE’S TIRED OF THIS PANIC OVER CHIAOTZU>
The Benefactor: Your turn.
Tien: I’ll make you pay!
<THE BENEFACTOR LATCHES ONTO TIEN’S CHEST AND SCRAPES IT BADLY; TIEN SCREAMS AND TRIES TO PUSH HIM OFF; THE BENEFACTOR GLADLY LAUNCHES HIMSELF OFF WITH SOME ENERGY; TIEN CONTINUES TO PUNCH AND KICK AND THROW ENERGY BLASTS AROUND, BUT NONE HIT>
The Benefactor: <SPREADS OUT HIS ARMS> One, two, three. Look at me.
<THE BENEFACTOR DODGES MORE BLOWS; AND TIEN JUMPS BACK, EVEN MORE TIRED NOW; HE SHOOTS OFF A ONE HANDED DODON CLUSTER BEFORE FALLING TO ONE KNEE, PANTING AND DRIPPING WITH SWEAT; OBVIOUSLY, THE BENEFACTOR IS NOT HARMED BY HIS ATTACK>
The Benefactor: <DODGING BLOWS> Can’t you see me? I would think with your special advantage… <HE LAUGHS; A RARE SIGN FROM HIM; IT SOUNDS HOLLOW, ALMOST EMPTY>
<TIEN DOES NOT MOVE; HE CONTINUES PANTING HEAVILY>
<THE BENEFACTOR OPENS HIS MOUTH AGAIN TO TALK, BUT TIEN SUDDENLY UPRIGHTS HIMSELF AND LETS OFF A YELL, FORMING A NEO TRI-BEAM IN FRONT OF HIS HANDS; HE SHOOTS IT AT THE BENEFACTOR>
<THE BENEFACTOR GOES TO BLOCK AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME THE ATTACK ACTUALLY TEARS INTO HIM, PUSHING HIM BACK>
<TIEN SENDS OFF CONTINUOUS BLASTS OF THIS FOR SEVERAL SECONDS, BUT IT DOES NOT LAST; THE BENEFACTOR REGAINS HIMSELF, READYING HIS OWN BLAST; IT IS AN UNDERHANDED SPIKE OF ENERGY; HE BRINGS IT UP OVER HIS HEAD AND THROWS IT AT TIEN>
<THE STRIKE HITS TIEN, LIKE A SPEAR, AND GOES THROUGH HIS UPPER CHEST CAVITY; THE BLAST DOES NOT DISSOLVE, BUT STAYS STUCK IN HIM; BLOOD SUDDENLY BURSTS AND RUNS OUT AROUND THE WOUND; TO THIS, TIEN SEEMS TO TAKE NO NOTICE>
<THE TWO LEAP AGAIN AT EACH OTHER AND THE BENEFACTOR DODGES AROUND BEHIND TIEN, UNDER HIM AND TO HIS BACK; HE HITS TIEN WITH A BACKHAND ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD; THE BENEFACTOR THEN FOLLOWS IT UP WITH A TELEPORTATION TO TIEN’S FRONT-SIDE, KNEEING THE Z FIGHTER IN THE CHEST; HE THEN CLUBS DOWN ON TIEN’S BOWED HEAD AND HITS HIM INTO THE DIRT>
<TIEN IS KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS AND UNABLE TO FIGHT ANYMORE; HE IS DONE>
<AT THIS TIME, PICCOLO AND GOHAN REACH THE BENEFACTOR; THEY LUNGE AT HIM, PUSHING HIM AWAY FROM TIEN; IN UNISON, THE TWO KNOCK HIM BACK AND SHOOT A COMBINED ENERGY BLAST AT HIM TO PREVENT HIM FROM RISING AGAIN; UNLIKE TIEN OR THE OTHERS, THESE TWO ARE ABLE TO DAMAGE THE BENEFACTOR>
Gohan: <TO THE BENEFACTOR> What’s your problem? Can’t you just leave us alone?
The Benefactor: <SITTING UP> None of you have any meaning to me. That one <POINTING TO LEDAS> is my only prey, Whom I hunted long… and far…
Gohan: You’ve hurt our friends… <GESTURES TO TIEN, YAMCHA, AND CHIAOTZU WHO ARE ALL LYING UNCONSCIOUS; KRILLIN IS PROBABLY THERE TOO, BUT HE'S HIDDEN BENEATH THE RUBBLE; OUT OF THEM, YAMCHA IS THE ONLY ONE WHO IS SERIOUSLY INJURED> We won’t let you just get away with that!
<THE BENEFACTOR DOES NOT ANSWER THAT, BUT MOVES FORWARD TO FACE LEDAS; LEDAS STILL STANDS BEHIND GOKU, FACING VEGETA; HE IS MORE FOCUSED ON VEGETA THAN THE BENEFACTOR>
<BUT INTO THE BENEFACTOR’S WAY MOVES GOHAN; HE TAKES HIS BUSINESS SUIT OFF, THROWING IT AWAY SO THAT HE HAS ONLY A WHITE UNDERSHIRT ON; HE IS SCOWLING AT HIS FOE>
Gohan: I said you weren’t going anywhere, creep. I’ll fight you if I have to.
The Benefactor: <UNAFRAID> Try it.
<HE QUICKLY GOES SUPER SAIYAN 2; BUT SINCE HE HAS HAD HIS POWER UNLOCKED BY ELDER KAI (ULTIMATE GOHAN), HIS HAIR DOES NOT CHANGE COLOR; STILL HE IS AT HIS MAXIMUM POWER>
<PICCOLO LIKEWISE CHARGES UP, THROWING OFF HIS WEIGHTED CLOTHES AND GETS INTO A BATTLE STANCE>
<THE TWO LOOK AT EACH OTHER, NOD, AND THEN JUMP AT THE BENEFACTOR; THEY START ATTACKING HIM IN A HIGHLY COORDINATED WAY; THE BENEFACTOR IS THROWN ABOUT LIKE A RAGDOLL AS THE TWO KICK HIM INTO THE DIRT; HOWEVER, THE FOG IS GETTING LARGER, AND IT IS STARTING TO OVERTAKE THE AREA>
<GOHAN ELBOWS THE BENEFACTOR IN THE HEAD AND PICCOLO GRABS THE ALIEN’S ARMS, PULLING THEM BACK; GOHAN THEN DOUBLE-KICKS THE BENEFACTOR AND PICCOLO SHOVES HIM TO THE GROUND; IT LOOKS LIKE THEY HAVE BEATEN HIM>
<HOWEVER, AT THIS TIME, GOHAN FALLS TO ONE KNEE, BREATHING HARD; THE FOG IS NOW CLEARLY ENVELOPING>
Gohan: What’s happening? I’m out of energy…
Piccolo: <HE IS PANTING HARD, STARING AT HIS HANDS> No way… we barely attacked him…
The Benefactor: Is that all? Then it’s my turn.
<THE BENEFACTOR HOWLS AND JUMPS UP; HE KICKS PICCOLO IN THE HEAD, SENDING HIM FLYING INTO THE DUST; HE FOCUSES ON GOHAN, ATTACKING HIM WITH A DAMAGING FLURRY ATTACK WITH HIS CLAWS; GOHAN CRIES OUT IN PAIN AS HE TRIES TO BLOCK; IN SO DOING, GOHAN GETS HIS SKIN TORN APART; THE BENEFACTOR GRABS HIM BY THE HAIR AND YANKS HIS FACE DOWN INTO A BLAST HE PREPARED IN HIS OTHER HAND; AS GOHAN IS BLASTED BACK, THE BENEFACTOR GRABS HIS LEGS AND SLAMS HIM INTO THE GROUND; HE THEN STANDS OVER GOHAN AND BEGINS CHOKING HIM; AS HE DOES SO, PICCOLO RETURNS AND STARTS BLASTING THE ALIEN WITH WHAT LITTLE ENERGY HE HAS LEFT>
<THE BENEFACTOR STOMPS ON GOHAN AS HE STANDS UP; HE RUSHES AT PICCOLO, ELBOWING HIM IN THE STOMACH; HE TELEPORTS BEHIND THE NAMEKIAN AND KICKS HIM UPWARDS AND THEN SHOOTS AN ENERGY BLAST AFTER HIM; PICCOLO RECOVERS IN THE AIR AND TRIES TO STRETCH HIS ARM AT THE BENEFACTOR IN ORDER TO GRAB HIM, BUT THE BENEFACTOR GRABS ONTO HIS ARM AND CUTS IT OFF WITH HIS KNIFE; PICCOLO CRIES OUT; THE BENEFACTOR DASHES UP AT HIM AND KICKS HIM DEEP IN THE CHEST; PICCOLO COUGHS UP BLOOD AS THE BENEFACTOR WRAPS HIS CLAWED HAND AROUND HIS HEAD AND THEN THROWS HIM DOWN TO THE GROUND; THERE PICCOLO STUMBLES OUT OF A CRATER AND INSTANTLY COLLAPSES, DEFEATED>
<GOHAN HAS RECOVERED SLIGHTLY; BEHIND HIM ARE GOTEN AND TRUNKS; GOKU HAS RUN UP TO THEM AS WELL; BUT VEGETA AND LEDAS ARE STILL STARING DOWN ONE ANOTHER; HE CAN SEE ANDROID 18 OVER BY THE PILE OF RUBBLE WHERE TIEN, YAMCHA, AND CHIAOTZU ARE, LOOKING FOR KRILLIN; AS HE WATCHES, HE SEES GOTEN AND TRUNKS FUSE TOGETHER TO CREATE GOTENKS>
The Benefactor: Enough of this!
<HE SHOOTS ANOTHER IMPALING BEAM AT ANDROID 18; SHE DOESN’T EVEN NOTICE HIS ATTACK; IT PIERCES HER THROUGH THE LEG; SHE SCREAMS OUT FOR HALF A SECOND BEFORE HE LANDS ON HER, PUNCHING HER INTO THE DIRT; HE PINS HER TO THE GROUND, RELENTLESSLY PUNCHING HER FACE UNTIL SHE STOPS MOVING; HE THEN LOOKS UP AND IS HIT BY GOTENKS>
<GOTENKS IS ALMOST EXHAUSTED BY THE TIME THE BENEFACTOR LOOKS UP AGAIN; HE READIES SOME KIND OF ENERGY BLAST, BUT THE BENEFACTOR SWIPES IT AWAY WITH HIS TAIL; HE GRABS GOTENKS BY THE SHOULDERS AND HEADBUTTS HIM; THEN, THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS AN ENERGY BLAST FROM EITHER HAND POINT-BLANK INTO GOTENKS’ FIGURE; AT ONCE, GOTENKS THROWN TO THE GROUND; THE BENEFACTOR BRINGS BOTH ELBOWS DOWN ON HIS NECK AND THROWS HIM UP INTO THE SKY; INSTANTLY, THE BENEFACTOR TELEPORTS ABOVE GOTENKS AND KICKS HIM BACK DOWN; JUST BEFORE GOTENKS HITS THE GROUND, THE BENEFACTOR TELEPORTS AGAIN AND GRABS HIM BY THE HAIR, THEN THROWS HIM RIGHT INTO GOHAN; AS THEY TUMBLE TOGETHER, THE BENEFACTOR CREATES A LARGE BLACK ENERGY BEAM AND SHOOTS IT AT ALL OF THEM; GOTENKS INSTANTLY SEPARATES, AND AN UNCONSCIOUS GOTEN AND TRUNKS ARE THROWN TO THE DIRT; GOHAN STAGGERS UP, BARELY ABLE TO KEEP HIS EYES OPEN; HE TRIES TO FORM A KAMEHAMEHA BUT THEN COLLAPSES ON THE GROUND>
<THE BENEFACTOR KICKS HIM WHILE HE’S DOWN THEN GRABS HIM BY THE THROAT, PICKING HIM UP; AS HE HOLDS THE Z FIGHTER, THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS A BURST OF ENERGY INTO HIS BODY WITH HIS FREE HAND; GOHAN IS NOW UNCONSCIOUS SO THE BENEFACTOR THROWS HIM TO THE SIDE>
<STANDING BEFORE THE BENEFACTOR IS GOKU, THE LAST OF THE Z FIGHTERS STILL ABLE TO FIGHT; HE IS PANTING TOO, BUT HE LOOKS AT THE BENEFACTOR WITH A FROWN>
The Benefactor: <HE WALKS PAST THOSE HE HAS DEFEATED TO GOKU> You would be wise to run.
Goku: I’m not letting a monster like you get away. I’m here to avenge my friends!
<THE BENEFACTOR PUNCHES GOKU; GOKU BLOCKS IT AND STEPS BACK; GOKU HAS SETTLED DOWN INTO BEING FOCUSED; HE SAW THAT, PERPLEXINGLY, HIS SONS AND PICCOLO WERE UNABLE TO POWER UP; HE POWERS STRAIGHT TO SUPER SAIYAN 3, BYPASSING THE FIRST TWO TRANSFORMATIONS; HIS AURA COMES UP BRIGHTLY AND PUSHES BACK THE BENEFACTOR; THE FOG IS DISINTEGRATED AROUND HIM; HE FACES THE BENEFACTOR, ALL SERIOUS-LIKE>
Goku: <IN THAT DEEP SS3 VOICE> So, how do you like this?
<THE BENEFACTOR DOES NOT ANSWER>
<CUTS BACK TO VEGETA AND LEDAS; LEDAS IS ADVANCING TOWARDS VEGETA>
Ledas: <ANGRIER THAN HE HAS EVER BEEN> What do I have to do to make you see I’m me?! I’m Ledas, Vegeta! Are you blind?
Vegeta: <UNCARING> I knew a Saiyan by that name years ago. He died with the rest of my race.
Ledas: <SPITTING; ENERGY FORMING IN HIS HANDS> I survived! Look at me! I’ve been spending my entire life trying to find you!
Vegeta: Pssh, you’re a kid. A trick. The boy I knew would be an adult by now. So save your breath, fool.
Ledas: <ANGER BUILDING EVEN HIGHER> If you don’t believe it’s me… then I’ll pound it into your stupid skull! <HE SCREAMS AND RETURNS TO SUPER SAIYAN> We’ve sparred so many times, Vegeta. You’ll have to know it’s me! <HE LOOKS AROUND, SERIOUSLY> And if you don’t… I’ll destroy this stupid planet myself.
<WITH THAT, LEDAS ATTACKS VEGETA ONCE AGAIN, IN DESPERATION AS MUCH AS ANGER>
- This chapter's name is making fun of Tien having three eyes. The Benefactor also makes fun of Tien's three eyes within the text of this chapter.
- The first major change to this chapter happened in my 2012 edits of it when I removed the long fight sequence between The Benefactor and Piccolo and Gohan. In the updated version, I had the two Z Fighters basically collapse immediately when they tried to power up. This was due to TB's fog attack. In my final edits for the chapter, I returned the fight scene, as it made the chapter more interesting, but I still kept aspects of the 2012 plot, for eventually, the two tire out and TB easily beats them as a result. A lot of re-wording of dialogue and scene direction occurred in this chapter as well. It was, for the most part, minor stuff, with adjustments meant to align this chapter with the rest of the final edits before it and with how I changed TB's character and Ledas' arc in this saga. As well, much of TB's fight against SS3 Goku was moved to this chapter, which was not the case earlier. That was due to me changing how this saga ends in the final version, with Goku's confrontation thus losing some of its importance. I will get more into how and why I chose to do this in the next two chapters.
- Chiaotzu pulled a similarly stupid move in the Saiyan Saga (that ultimately cost him his life). In a way, I was parodying that here with Chiaotzu's actions.
- One thing that I realized even during my first draft of this saga was that I didn't want the Z Fighters to stay around much longer. They were taking the spotlight away from Ledas, and that was unsustainable. So, in this chapter, I resolved to deal with them all rather quickly. I pace TF a lot differently than DBZ paces its episodes, but this one is much like that sequence of three or four episodes where Yamcha, Tien, Chiaotzu, and Piccolo all die. Of course I don't have 30 episodes per saga, so this all had to be put into one episode. Much like in the Saiyan Saga, here I had my villain deal with the Z Fighters systematically and eliminate them cleanly. This goes for everyone except for Krillin, who didn't actually fight TB. Had he fought TB, I'm sure Krillin would have been taken out as well.
- "CLEARLY, LIKE ALL OF US, HE’S TIRED OF THIS PANIC OVER CHIAOTZU" - this is another humorous line of mine, but it's also a belief I hold in general. Chiaotzu has never done anything noteworthy. I don't get why people care about him. Everyone is always shocked when he's getting beat up or cry when he dies. He literally has no impact on anything, so their anger and sadness when he's losing is forced and not very realistic in my view. Again, this panic over Chiaotzu is contrasted against the lack of panic about Yamcha or Krillin.
- The Benefactor doesn't joke often, so him joking about Tien's eyes should raise some eyebrows. Why is he doing it? There are of course reasons I had him do so - it wasn't just a random thing. Perhaps The Benefactor is bored with his competition and how they aren't challenging him. Perhaps he just wants to mock Tien and make him angry. Perhaps he's never seen a dude with three eyes before and it's blown his mind.
- Tien's Tri-Beam, for whatever reason, always damages much stronger opponents. I decided to use that to let Tien have at least one moment where he's winning, or at least a moment where he doesn't appear to be totally useless. However, much like Tien's Tri-Beams in canon, this series of attacks does not last long and doesn't ultimately do much damage to his foe. It's a pretty risky attack - taking some of his life-force with every bit of energy released - and if it's only used to stall, with no hope of killing his opponent, I don't see why he would ever use it in the first place. But often times, Tien isn't rational - he's emotional. And I wanted to portray that. Tien, despite me not being that fond of him in DBZ, is actually one of the more thematically-tied Z Fighters in the entire story. In particular, his character acts as a nice comparison and contrast character to both Ryori and Ledas.
- As I said before, Piccolo and Gohan gave Tien the respect he deserves - it's not their place to step into his fight. However, once it becomes clear that Tien can't win and that he will die if they don't do anything, they have no choice but to step in and save him. This sense of honor is common, even outside of DBZ, but it really helps The Benefactor with his strategy. Had all the Z Fighters attacked him at once, there wouldn't be a Fulfillment Saga. But having them all attack TB, especially at this early point in their encounter with him, would be out-of-character. The Z Fighters have a frustratingly stupid sense of honor sometimes, and that shows up here. What is honor? Nothing. It's man-made. It's a fabrication of culture. It has no inherent worth. Honor is a sense, like morality, that is shaped by culture and experience. There is no single definition of honor; it varies for each person. I was specifically commenting on the impracticality of the Z Fighters' sense of honor here - how it is both naive and selfish, and how it could end up getting everyone on Earth killed as a result.
- Even at this point in the story, the scene direction doesn't list Krillin with the rest of the defeated Z Fighters. That is a clue to him not being out of the game quite yet.
- The Benefactor only wants Ledas, but he also wants to deal with the Z Fighters, knowing that they could be a problem and seriously challenge him. He simply lies to Gohan when he says they don't matter to him. From an emotional perspective, they don't. He doesn't care about them in the sense that he doesn't feel for them or think about them or care what happens to them. But he's still had the intent of taking them all out. He can't reveal his fog draining attack yet, because it hasn't fully incapacitated the strongest Z Fighters yet. Once it does though, expect him to gloat. The Benefactor is on this planet for Ledas and for the energy Ledas stole from him. But he understands that he will have to take out the Z Fighters to get to Ledas, despite all of his warnings to them to get out of the way. He doesn't understand why they would be protecting him, either, since he's not the kind of alien dude to have friends. So that frustration of not understanding why they are protecting Ledas (he can't or chooses not to see his own evilness) comes out in his dialogue quite often in the back-half of this saga.
- It was important to note that the Z Fighters are primarily fighting The Benefactor because he and Guva attacked their friends (Yamcha, Tien, Chiaotzu, and Krillin), not because they care about Ledas. Most of them don't even know Ledas, and those who do (Vegeta and Piccolo) don't seem to like him. So Ledas is quite isolated here, more so than The Benefactor realizes.
- The Benefactor isn't as strong as he was in previous drafts of the story. Indeed, he would have died (or been defeated, if they showed him mercy) at Piccolo and Gohan's hands had his fog attack not been present on the battlefield. The Benefactor is smart and quite aware of his own shortcomings (he would perhaps blame Ledas stealing some of his power for that), so that is why he used the Locke's Ruse attack to begin with. He knew the best Z Fighters were stronger than him because he sensed them training. I'm sure he expected his attack to drain Gohan's power a lot quicker - he didn't want to get beat up by the dude - but it still works out rather well for TB in the end. Gohan and Piccolo defeated him, and yet he comes out on top.
- Piccolo is a lot weaker than Gohan, which is why it took TB only one attack to take him out. He then focuses on Gohan for a very long time. Some of this is due to Gohan's durability and power, but it is also because The Benefactor is mad at Gohan for attacking him (Gohan instigated the attack and seemed to be the leader of the two based on what he said to TB in this chapter and previous chapters). He is punishing Gohan for standing up to him by torturing the half Saiyan. This is classic TB.
- The Benefactor's cry of "Enough of this!" is because he sees how many Z Fighters are left and how slow things are progressing. As he doesn't care about these foes, he doesn't desire to fight them. He just wants them gone and defeated so he can get to Ledas. But, as of this point, there are still (not counting Ledas and Vegeta) five active Z Fighters. That is unacceptable to The Benefactor. The pace is really picking up in this chapter because of his impatience. He's already taken out 3 Z Fighters in this chapter (more than were taken out in the first eight chapters combined) and is looking for more. He's done playing games. And this is where the plot shifts. For if the Z Fighters are so quickly taken out, doesn't that mean that Ledas will have to fight The Benefactor? This duel has been foreshadowed and anticipated for quite some time, but Ledas has been hiding from TB and not allowing it. That is mainly due to him realizing that he's not as strong as TB and the fact that he cares more about reuniting with Vegeta than fighting a monster. Still, Ledas cannot hide for much longer, and with the Z Fighters being defeated as quickly as they are, Ledas vs. The Benefactor will surely occur sometime in the next two chapters.
- The Benefactor is getting rather brutally double-teamed in this chapter, but it evens out because he has the fog attack active. For instance, when TB attacks Android 18, he is highly vulnerable. Gotenks realizes this and attacks him. Had there been no fog, SS3 Gotenks could have wiped the floor with The Benefactor. But alas, TB put safeguards in place to help him combat multiple opponents. It's crazy to think how different things would be had Locke's Ruse not been active.
- The Benefactor is ruthless and efficient and systematic in his approach to taking out the Z Fighters. But he doesn't kill them. He's not here for them, to kill them. Had he been here to fight them, he would have done so. But he just wants Ledas. Killing the Z Fighters requires a lot of extra energy use, and he doesn't want to waste energy when he doesn't know Ledas' full capabilities. He expects to be off the planet in a matter of moments, though, so he knows none of the Z Fighters he defeated could possibly re-emerge in that time to attack him again.
- Goku was saved for last for dramatic reasons and because it's a common DBZ trope. Of course, Goku always appears at the end of a battle to save the day. But this battle isn't like the others. The weak fighters took forever to be defeated, and once they were, the strong fighters soon followed. Though it appears maybe Goku can hold his own against The Benefactor, things are not looking good for him, and the story is not pointing in that direction. Indeed, I'm actively subverting that trope with the way I progress Goku vs. The Benefactor.
- Goku is significantly stronger than the other Z Fighters in his Super Saiyan 3 form. He's also much stronger than The Benefactor's current maximum power. But even Goku isn't at his maximum power. The fog has drained a lot of his energy. It's a testament to his power that he could even maintain Super Saiyan 3 after losing so much power. This should have TB quite worried. He didn't expect Goku to be able to transform. However, Goku is in a much weaker state anyway. Even though he is a Super Saiyan 3, his base power was lowered by The Benefactor (temporarily) with his fog attack, so overall Goku is much weaker than he would have hoped. This still makes him stronger than The Benefactor, at least for now. Super Saiyan 3 greatly wears on one's energy reserves, so it doesn't seem like Goku will be able to maintain the form for long. He's gotta move fast, yo.
- Notice how Goku's Super Saiyan 3 form burns away the fog attack. That is unlike Gohan's Super Saiyan 2 transformation or the other Z Fighters' power ups. That is because even in his weakened state, Goku is much stronger than The Benefactor, and thus, Goku's aura can overpower the fog attack.
- Vegeta raises a good point about the Ledas he knows being an adult. By all rights Ledas should be an adult. You can't fault Vegeta for being so wary here. A kid Ledas is far more likely to be a hallucination or a trick of some kind by The Benefactor. Since Vegeta knew The Benefactor when he and Ledas were friends as young kids, Vegeta wouldn't put it past the monster to pull such a trick.
- Ledas brings up destroying the planet for the first time in this chapter. Like The Benefactor, he's lost patience and he's going to do something drastic. His drastic move is less logical and thought out than TB's, though. Indeed, it will kill him if he does it. But Ledas is hopeless with despair and he's also being driven to recklessness by TB's energy inside him. The Benefactor has never been closer to him since Ledas absorbed his power than he is now. Only Goku stands between TB and Ledas. So this is causing Ledas to be affected more severely than he ever has been before. The energy inside him is trying to return to its master; it is trying to take part in the bloodshed and destruction it is used to. And thus, Ledas' mind is being corrupted. To an extent, he understands this, but for the most part he doesn't. Because he doesn't really understand what is going on, Ledas isn't questioning his own line of thinking. He's not realizing that he's become far more irrational than before. That is also because of TB's energy influencing him. Of course, TB is not actively influencing the power inside Ledas. He can't do that; he simply doesn't have the ability. It's the energy itself trying to return to TB, to return to its original master, that is causing all of this. I'm not even sure if, at this point, TB realizes what is going on with Ledas. But he will soon.
Testament (season finale part 1)
<WIDE BACK DROP OF THE MOUNTAINSIDE; IT PANS DOWN ONTO THE GRASS>
<FOR REFERENCE, THOSE DEFEATED EITHER BY GUVA OR THE BENEFACTOR ARE: GOHAN, GOTEN, TRUNKS, PICCOLO, ANDROID 18, KRILLIN, YAMCHA, TIEN, AND CHIAOTZU (THOUGH NONE ARE DEAD); THOSE WHO ARE STILL ABLE-BODIED ARE: VEGETA, GOKU, LEDAS, AND THE BENEFACTOR; GUVA IS DEAD>
<AT AROUND THIS TIME, KRILLIN FINALLY JUMPS UP FROM THE RUBBLE AND STUMBLES INTO VIEW>
Krillin: <IN A SLIGHTLY BROKEN VOICE AND WITH A STUMBLE> Hey… guys… I’m… I’m all right! <HE SCANS AROUND NOT SEEING THE Z FIGHTERS; HE IS PUZZLED> Hey guys? Where is everyone?
<THE CAMERA MOVES FORWARD UNTIL IT FOCUSES IN ON THE BENEFACTOR AND GOKU; THEY ARE STANDING CLOSE TO ONE ANOTHER, STARING EACH OTHER DOWN; AROUND GOKU, THE FOG HAS DISSIPATED, BUT ELSEWHERE IT STILL REMAINS; THE BENEFACTOR HEIGHTENS HIS SHOULDERS, PERCEIVING KRILLIN; HE SHOOTS A KI BLAST BEHIND HIM, TOWARDS KRILLIN, HITTING HIM; KRILLIN GOES FLYING BACK, ACROSS THE GROUND, OUT OF THE FOG>
<SATISFIED, HE SLINKS UP TO GOKU AND PUNCHES; GOKU BLOCKS; GOKU’S POWER HAS DRAINED SLIGHTLY BUT NOW THAT THE FOG IS GONE, HE APPEARS TO BE LESS TIRED; HE KICKS THE BENEFACTOR TWICE, FLIPPING THE ALIEN AROUND ON THE SECOND ONE; HE FOLLOWS THAT UP WITH A BARRAGE OF PUNCHES TO THE BENEFACTOR’S BACK>
<THE BENEFACTOR ATTEMPTS A COUNTER, BUT GOKU CATCHES HIS HAND; HE SNAPS IT BACK, FLIPPING THE ALIEN OVER; GOKU ELBOWS THE ALIEN IN THE RIBS AND THEN THROWS HIM ONTO THE GROUND; HE FOLLOWS THIS UP WITH AN ATTEMPTED KAMEHAMEHA; HOWEVER, WHEN HE TRIES THIS, IT DOESN’T WORK; THE BLUE BEAM FLICKERS FOR A SECOND BEFORE EXTINGUISHING; GOKU FALLS TO HIS KNEES, ONE HAND ON HIS SHOULDER>
<THE BENEFACTOR CHARGES AT HIM, CLAWS AHEAD, AND LASHES INTO THE SAIYAN; GOKU BLOCKS SOME OF HIS ATTACKS, BUT HE IS STILL THROWN TO THE GROUND; AS HE GOES, THE BENEFACTOR ROLLS FORWARD AND SLAPS HIM ACROSS THE FACE WITH HIS TAIL; THE BENEFACTOR PINS GOKU TO THE GROUND AND RAISES A CLAW WITH BLACK ENERGY IN IT; GOKU SUDDENLY GRABS THE BENEFACTOR’S HAND WITH HIS LEFT HAND AND THE BENEFACTOR’S THROAT WITH HIS RIGHT HAND; HOLDING THE ENERGY AT BAY, HE SQUEEZES THE VIRIDIAN THROAT WITH ALL HIS MIGHT, CHOKING THE ALIEN AND CAUSING HIM TO FALL OFF OF GOKU; GOKU STANDS BACK UP AND ATTEMPTS TO SHOOT ANOTHER ENERGY BLAST, BUT IT IMMEDIATELY EVAPORATES>
<GOKU SHAKES HIS HEAD AND TELEPORTS FORWARD AS THE BENEFACTOR CLUTCHES AT HIS THROAT; HE BRINGS HIS FOOT DOWN ON THE BENEFACTOR’S CHEST, PINNING THE CREATURE INTO A CRATER; HE LANDS NEXT TO THE HOLE IN THE GROUND LOOKING UNIMPRESSED>
Goku: Get up. Don’t act like you can’t.
The Benefactor: <WHEEZING> Come and get me.
<GOKU FROWNS AND PUNCHES AT THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR SUDDENLY SHOOTS UP AS HE DOES AND DOES A FLIP-KICK IN MID-AIR, KNOCKING GOKU INTO THE CRATER; BY THE TIME GOKU TURNS AROUND, THE BENEFACTOR IS ON HIM; THE TWO ENGAGE IN A BRIEF DUEL, WHEREIN BOTH THROW PUNCHES WITH INCREDIBLE SPEED; SHOCK WAVES GO OFF AS THEIR FISTS CONNECT, BLOWING APART THE LANDSCAPE; AFTER A MOMENT, THE FIGHTING STOPS AND THE DUST CLEARS; GOKU IS DAMAGED, WITH A BLOODY LIP AND A TORN GI; HE APPEARS VERY EXHAUSTED NOW; HE ATTEMPTS TO PUNCH AT THE BENEFACTOR AGAIN, BUT THE BENEFACTOR BLOCKS HIS PUNCH, CATCHING HIS FIST, AND TWISTS IT BACK UNTIL THE BONE BREAKS; GOKU SCREAMS AND REVERTS TO HIS BASE FORM>
<THE BENEFACTOR THROWS HIM TO THE DIRT AND HITS HIM WITH A QUICK RED ENERGY BLAST; GOKU FALLS UNCONSCIOUS; SATISFIED WITH HIS VICTORY, THE BENEFACTOR RAISES HIS HANDS TO THE AIR AND THE BLACK MIST STARTS FLYING BACK TOWARDS ITS MASTER, LADEN WITH MUCH NEW ENERGY>
<CUTS TO THE NEW RED RIBBON ARMY>
<THE BUS OF SOLDIERS AND SILVER ARE LINED UP ON A HILL OVERLOOKING WHERE THE BENEFACTOR AND THE OTHERS ARE; THEY ARE LOOKING DOWN ON IT AS THEY SET UP A FORTIFIED POSITION; RYORI SIMPLY WATCHES, HIDING UNDER SOME EQUIPMENT IN THE BUS>
<SUPREME GENERAL SILVER SIMPLY STANDS AND WATCHES THE BATTLES UNFOLDING BELOW AS THE REST OF HIS TEAM GET SET UP; WISCONSIN IS AT HIS SIDE, NEAR THE MOTORCYCLE>
Private Wisconsin: Sir?
Silver: <COLDLY> Look at how many of them there are. And we thought the boy was the only problem.
Private Wisconsin: He’s still our priority, sir. If–
Silver: You don’t understand anything, Private. Today begins the resurgence of the Red Ribbon Army. Today, all of humanity will know our names. We are going to kill all of those aliens. We are going to save the world. King Furry will have no choice but to recognize us as heroes. Killing that kid will just be the start. <SILVER WALKS BACK TO THE REST OF THE SOLDIERS; WISCONSIN FOLLOWS HIM LOYALLY; TO CAPTAIN GREEN> Captain, is everyone ready?
Captain Green: Aye, sir. We’ve lined them all up like you wanted.
Silver: Scratch that. I want men aimed at every being down there. We’re taking them all out.
Captain Green: <TAKEN ABACK> Uh, are you sure? I-I don’t know if we have the men for it.
Silver: Then pick up a rifle, yourself. Wisconsin and I will take out the kid. You will decide who to divide up for the rest.
Captain Green: As you wish, sir!
<THE SOLDIERS BREAK OFF OF THEIR LINES AND GROUP TOGETHER IN SEPARATE SIDES OF THE HILL; SOME ARE AIMING AT THE BENEFACTOR, SOME AT VEGETA; SOME AT THE UNCONSCIOUS Z FIGHTERS; AS THEY GET INTO POSITION, SILVER WALKS DOWN THEIR LINES AND HANDS EACH SOLDIER SOME OF THE POISONED BULLETS; HE EVENTUALLY REACHES THE END OF THE LINE, WHERE WISCONSIN IS; WISCONSIN HANDS HIM HIS SNIPER RIFLE; SILVER GLADLY TAKES IT AND LOADS THE BULLET INTO IT>
<CUTS TO A LARGE PALACE>
<THE CAMERA PANS ABOUT IT, SHOWING NUMEROUS GUARDS PATROLLING IT; AS THE CAMERA FOLLOWS THE CARPETED ROAD UP THE STAIRS TO A DOOR, YELLING CAN BE HEARD; THERE ARE GUARDS OUTSIDE OF THE DOOR, BUT THEY APPEAR UNCONCERNED>
Cardinal: <FROM INSIDE> You knew about this all along?! And you did not tell me?!
<THE CAMERA ENTERS THE ROOM, SHOWING KING FURRY SEATED BEHIND A DESK; STANDING IN FRONT OF HIM, HIS ARMS ON THE DESK, IS A LIVID CARDINAL>
King Furry: <QUIETLY> Who did you think killed Cell and Majin Buu? Hercule Satan? Please don’t tell me you are that naïve, old friend. Goku and his friends have been protecting this good planet for years. They are not evil. There is nothing to fear from them.
Cardinal: I was called in to deal with one of them! He’s just a boy, but I could have been killed! My son could have been killed! How could you not tell me about this?
King Furry: I don’t know about that. Whoever authorized you to take out that one didn’t tell me about it. It was a child, you said? <CARDINAL NODS GRAVELY> Perhaps it was one of Goku’s sons, but I cannot say for certain. Best let these things run their own course. I don’t want you involved any further, Cardinal.
Cardinal: I’ve already sent my men to go kill him. They have poisoned bullets–
King Furry: <LOUDER> Well, I would ask you take your leave then. Get in contact with your son and call it off. That is if you still want a son. <LOOKS CARDINAL IN THE EYES WITH MUCH SERIOUSNESS> There are things in this world we cannot control. Not even you or me. You have to be resigned to that fact, my friend. You have to let it go.
Cardinal: <THROUGH HIS TEETH> He killed my men.
King Furry: <SUSPICIOUSLY> But was that unprovoked? <CARDINAL DOES NOT ANSWER> Then walk away while you still can. Goku protects this planet, and he’s sacrificed unimaginable things for us. The least we could do is respect him and stay out of his way. The same goes for his fellow warriors. <CARDINAL WATCHES KING FURRY WITH A DAZE; HE IS BREATHING HARD; THEN, SUDDENLY, HE TURNS AROUND TO WALK OUT> Oh, Cardinal. <CARDINAL TURNS BACK> If I were you, I’d take this as a sign to stay away from children with tails. One has already destroyed the Red Ribbon Army once, and if you aren’t careful, another will do it again. This time you are in charge; you have the option to take the right move. Do so, my friend. I implore you.
<CARDINAL WALKS OUT; HE FINDS AN ISOLATED SPOT IN THE PALACE, THEN TAKES OUT HIS COMMUNICATOR>
Cardinal: Silver? Call it off. Get out of there. Do you hear me? I said leave the boy alone. You will end up dead if you pursue him further. Silver? Son?!
<THE ONLY RESPONSE HE HEARS IS STATIC>
<CUTS TO VEGETA AND LEDAS>
<LEDAS PUNCHES VEGETA ACROSS THE FACE; AS VEGETA RECOVERS, LEDAS IS ALREADY LUNGING AT HIM AGAIN; VEGETA PUSHES HIM OFF AND GOES SUPER SAIYAN; HE BLOCKS LEDAS’ NEXT ATTACK, PUSHING THE BOY TO THE GROUND; INSTANTLY, LEDAS JUMPS UP AGAIN AND LUNGES AT VEGETA; VEGETA SWINGS AT HIM, BUT IT IS JUST AN AFTERIMAGE; LEDAS REAPPEARS BEHIND THE PRINCE AND FIRES A PLAYFUL GALICK INTO HIS BACK; VEGETA ROARS IN DISAPPROVAL>
<LEDAS RISES HIGHER IN THE SKY AND RAINS ENERGY DOWN ON VEGETA, TORCHING THE LANDSCAPE AND MAKING THE ADULT SAIYAN RUN FOR COVER; VEGETA LAUNCHES AN ENERGY BLAST AT LEDAS TOO, BUT THE SAVAGE BOY JUST KICKS IT ASIDE; HE THROWS A RAZOR BLAST AT VEGETA; VEGETA TRIES TO BLOCK IT, BUT IT JUST CUTS HIM, CAUSING HIS BLOCK TO FALTER; LEDAS TELEPORTS UP TO HIM AND KICKS HIM UNDER THE CHIN, SENDING THE PRINCE FLYING UP IN THE AIR; LEDAS PURSUES HIM INSTANTLY AND ELBOWS HIM DOWNWARD, FOLLOWING IT UP WITH A QUICK ONE-HANDED ICE CANNON>
<VEGETA STANDS BACK UP, LOOKING TO THE SKY FOR A HINT OF LEDAS; AS HE LOOKS, HE’S MET WITH A SHOE TO THE FACE; VEGETA TUMBLES BACKWARDS AND WILDLY GRABS FOR HIS OPPONENT; HE FINDS LEDAS’ LEG, AND PULLS IT DOWN WITH HIM; AS THEY BOTH HIT THE GROUND, VEGETA ROLLS OVER ON TOP OF LEDAS; HE PINS THE BOY’S HANDS TO THE GROUND EVEN AS LEDAS STRUGGLES WITH ALL OF HIS POWER; AT THIS TIME, VEGETA GOES SUPER SAIYAN 2; SUDDENLY, VEGETA TURNS HIS ATTENTION TO HIS RIGHT SIDE; HE PEERS OFF INTO THE DISTANCE>
Vegeta: <PEERING AROUND A TREE> Kakarot’s power just disappeared. How could that happen?
<LEDAS SCREAMS AND CREATES AN EXPLOSIVE WAVE, THROWING THE PRINCE OFF OF HIM; THE TWO ENGAGE IN A BLOW EXCHANGE UNTIL LEDAS BLOCKS ONE OF VEGETA’S ATTACKS, TELEPORTS BEHIND HIM, AND KICKS HIM AWAY; VEGETA STUMBLES, BUT CATCHES HIS BALANCE INSTANTLY AND PUNCHES LEDAS DEEP IN THE GUT; THEN, HE GRABS LEDAS BY THE HAIR AND THROWS THE BOY; AS LEDAS IS THROWN AWAY, VEGETA PREPARES A BIG BANG ATTACK; LEDAS SEES IT COMING, SO HE THROWS A SMALL ENERGY BLAST AT THE GROUND, WHICH PROPELS HIM UPWARDS, CAUSING HIM TO BARELY MISS THE ATTACK; HE DASHES BACK DOWN TO VEGETA, PUNCHING HIM IN THE NOSE; THE SAIYAN PRINCE STAGGERS BACKWARDS AS LEDAS CONTINUES TO PUMMEL HIM; THEN, VEGETA SEES AN OPENING AND GRABS LEDAS’ ARM; HE PULLS LEDAS CLOSER TO HIM AND ELBOWS HIM IN THE CHEST>
<LEDAS GETS THE WIND KNOCKED OUT OF HIM AND COUGHS; VEGETA GRABS HIM AND PICKS HIM UP, HOLDING HIM BY THE FRONT OF HIS SHIRT; IN VEGETA’S FREE ARM IS A FORMING BALL OF ENERGY; LEDAS WATCHES HIM WITH A SCOWL; HE FORMS ENERGY IN HIS LEFT HAND>
Ledas: Don’t do it, Vegeta! <HE LOOKS DOWN AT THE KYORRA FLASH HE HAS JUST FORMED> I’ll blow up the planet if you try!
<TRUE TO HIS WORD, LEDAS AIMS HIS ATTACK NOT AT VEGETA, BUT AT THE GROUND>
Vegeta: What game are you playing? That would kill you too.
Ledas: <GRITTED TEETH> If this is how you’re going to treat me, then why bother? We were friends, Vegeta! We grew up together! I thought that would mean something to you. But if it doesn’t… then it’s all over! I’m done with this!
Vegeta: I don’t know what you are, but it’s a trick either way. You’re just a kid. Anybody I grew up with would be older. Stop trying to fool me.
Ledas: <LOUDER> I don’t know why I’m not grown up! But that doesn’t change that I’m me! I’m Ledas! And you care more about these stupid Earthlings than me! You’re not a real Saiyan! You’re soft! The Vegeta I knew is dead!
Vegeta: I am the Prince of all Saiyans! How dare you–
Ledas: <HIS BLACK AURA FLARES UP AND HIS EYES BECOME DARKER; HE LOOKS BACK TO THE GROUND; THEN, HIS AURA EVAPORATES AND HIS WILD FACE GIVES WAY TO HIS MORE NORMAL CALM ONE; HIS EYES ARE WIDE> I spent my entire life since we were separated trying to find you. It looks like it’s all been a big waste of time. <HE LOOKS BACK UP TO VEGETA WITH TEARS IN HIS EYES> I didn’t think it would end like this.
<AS LEDAS GOES TO RELEASE HIS BLAST AND DESTROY THE EARTH, A THUD SOUNDS BEHIND HIM; IT IS THE BENEFACTOR>
The Benefactor: Prince of all Saiyans.
Vegeta: <SPINS AROUND> Wha–
<VEGETA SUDDENLY DROPS LEDAS; THE BOY’S VISION GOES RED AND HE FALLS ONTO ALL FOURS; HIS KYORRA FLASH DISSIPATES; LEDAS SHAKES HIS HEAD TO GET RID OF THE REDNESS, BUT THIS IS NO IMAGE; HIS EYESIGHT STILL RED, HE SEES THE FIGURES APPROACH HIM; THE UNCONTROLLABLE FEAR HE HAD FIRST FELT AROUND THE BENEFACTOR IS AROUND HIM NOW, AND HE CANNOT SO MUCH AS LIFT AN ARM TO DEFEND HIMSELF>
<UP AHEAD, HE SEES VEGETA WITH AN ENERGY BLAST IN HIS HAND; HE IS FACING THE BENEFACTOR, PREPARING TO FIGHT; THE BENEFACTOR GRABS THE PRINCE’S SHOULDERS WITH ONE HAND, AND WITH THE OTHER TAKES HIS KNIFE AND STABS VEGETA, UNDER HIS LOWER JAW, UP INTO HIS MOUTH>
<LEDAS WATCHES FOR A SECOND, HIS MOUTH TREMBLING; THEN, HE SCREAMS, BUT HE CANNOT HEAR HIS OWN VOICE; DESPITE HIS EARLIER DISDAINFUL WORDS TO VEGETA, HE CAN’T HELP BUT GET EMOTIONAL SEEING HIM HURT; VEGETA STAGGERS BACK, DROPPING HIS BLAST TO THE GROUND AND CREATING A HUGE EXPLOSION FROM IT>
<THE BENEFACTOR TWISTS HIS KNIFE, RAMMING IT WELL ENOUGH; BLOOD POURS OUT; HE PULLS THE KNIFE OUT OF VEGETA AND LETS THE SAIYAN FALL; HE TURNS AND LOOKS AT LEDAS, THE SMALL BOY, HELPLESS ON THE GROUND, NOW WITHOUT HIS GREATEST FRIEND TO STOP THIS MONSTER; HE LOOKS DOWN AT HIS HANDS, AS IF HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT MADE HIM ACT THE WAY HE DID BEFORE>
<LEDAS ATTEMPT TO STAND UP, BUT AS HE DOES, HE FEELS SOMETHING HIT HIM IN THE NECK; HE FALLS BACK AND REACHES TOWARDS HIS NECK, PULLING AWAY THE WRECKAGE OF A BULLET; WHILE IT DID NOT PIERCE HIS SKIN (HE’S A SAIYAN, YO), THE BULLET EXPLODED, RELEASING SOME KIND OF LIQUID ON HIS NECK; LEDAS’ VISION BECOMES DARK AND HE STARES UP AT THE SKY, BREATHING HEAVILY; ALL HE CAN HEAR IS HIS BREATHING; THEN, THE FIGURE OF THE BENEFACTOR STEPS INTO HIS VISION AND IT ALL GOES DARK>
<END OF Solitude>
- This chapter was originally called "Tier Three" because, in the original draft, Goku went Super Saiyan 3 in this chapter. Once that plot was changed during the 2012 edits, I changed the chapter name to "Make Me". I really like that name and ultimately kept it for the final version of this saga. However, I rearranged some of the plot in the saga, resulting in "Make Me" being made the twelfth chapter. That left this one open. I named it "Testament" as a reference to the opening chapter of the Halo 2 level called Regret. As it relates to the content of this chapter, the name refers to Ledas' and Vegeta's actions (and to a much lesser degree, Goku's).
- So this chapter is where it really gets difficult for me to distinguish between the different drafts of the chapter. The three main drafts were all wildly different. I will say that the first draft mostly had TB vs. Gohan and Piccolo, and then later a confrontation with Goku, who then went to create a Spirit Bomb when TB flew off with Vegeta and Ledas on some unknown mission (TB was intimidating Vegeta to do what he wanted). Of course, the old Ryori plot with Cardinal was here, as I have detailed in previous anthologies of this saga's chapters. It is remarkably different from what I ended up doing even in the next draft. That draft is far more interesting. It wasn't nearly as bad, but obviously, I didn't think it was nearly as good as what I ultimately wrote for the final draft. Basically, the Ryori plot stayed the same, while Vegeta and Ledas fled together from TB into a forest area. There, Vegeta and Ledas fought TB while "Strength of a Thousand Men" played. Then, they tried to combine their beams and kill TB once and for all, but at that moment, the "Solitude" scene where Vegeta is gravely injured by TB took place (and this scene, to an extent, still exists in this chapter). The version wasn't terribly bad, and indeed, I was sad to get rid of Ledas and Vegeta fighting The Benefactor together. It did give a sense of a return to the old times. But there were still numerous problems with that version. The Ryori/Cardinal scene was no good, the cue of "Strength of a Thousand Men" was weak (and disappointing, for such an epic song), and the whole thing just felt off. Vegeta and Ledas escaping to the forest felt weak. So I took all of that into account when I did the final edits. Of course, many of my final edits were necessitated by the previous edits I had made in other chapters (again, the butterfly effect), so that is why Ryori's scene turned out like it did in this chapter. But a lot of the changes were done simply because I wanted to make the plot more logical and I wanted to make it as good as it could. Ultimately, as I brainstormed how to do that, I realized that I had to get rid of Vegeta and Ledas vs. The Benefactor (at least to the extent that it existed in the 2012 draft). For the final edits, much of this chapter was written from scratch. Most of TB vs. Goku was written for the final edits, as previously, Goku was defeated in chapter 12 (in both of the previous versions), as was the entire New Red Ribbon Army scene. The Cardinal scene was written from scratch as well, and Ledas vs. Vegeta was mostly re-written for this chapter. And the "Solitude" scene was somewhat re-written for the final edits. So yeah, I pretty much re-wrote this chapter for the final edits, though a few scenes and fragments remain from the previous versions.
- This chapter is very long. Indeed, it's the fifth longest chapter in the entirety of TF. Yet, at the time of its publishing, "Testament" was the second-longest chapter. Three chapters longer than it appear in the remaining thirteen chapters, whereas only one other one appeared in the first fifty-eight.
- At one time, my little note referring to who is defeated referred to who was still around. Back then, everyone was around except for Yamcha, Tien, and Chiaotzu (and Guva). Now, it's pretty much the opposite. Only four fighters remain by this point, and they are the super heavyweights (only Gohan of the defeated Z Fighters could be considered one of those). I was systematic in my approach to this saga for plot purposes and just because I wanted to have a final epic confrontation between Goku and The Benefactor. It's built up as a standard DBZ plot progression. Now that the Z Fighters have been defeated, it's time for Goku to come in and save the day. I have not ignored the build up, but I do change how things play out to mess with this trope. The influence of the systematic cleanness of the Saiyan Saga is coming through with the way The Benefactor and Guva have eliminated everyone so far.
- Krillin becomes important later, particularly in the next saga. I revealed that he was still in good health at this point (when it would otherwise be assumed that he was not) to hint that he has a larger part to play. I wouldn't bring someone back and show that they are basically unscathed for no reason. Again this was also slightly based on the Saiyan Saga, where Krillin was one of the few Z Fighters to survive the battle against Nappa and Vegeta.
- Krillin is taken out rather quickly by TB again because if he was left around, he would have likely died. Since Goku and Vegeta are defeated in this chapter, I couldn't just have him around (or rather, have TB know that he's around). My re-introduction of him tells the readers that he's still in play, while TB dealing with him removes any suspicion from TB's perspective that Krillin is in fact around. But he will be. I wouldn't just have that scene with Krillin for no reason. He will be back in an important way.
- The fight choreography of Goku vs. The Benefactor was based heavily on SS3 Goku's fight moves in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2.
- Goku is slowly weakening in his fight against TB. That is why, as the fight progresses, his form gets sloppier and he isn't able to damage TB as much. He also takes way more damage as the fight goes on.
- Of course, Goku's energy blasts are dissipating because they are immediately being consumed by the fog. Every time Goku releases an energy blast, he loses a lot of energy that TB will later gain when he absorbs the fog.
- The Goku vs. The Benefactor fight ends suddenly and unexpectedly on purpose. I did this to subvert the common DBZ trope of Goku always defeating the bad guy. Goku had his moment, of course. 1v1 in his strongest form against his opponent. It wasn't totally even - the fog probably cost Goku valuable energy that he would have otherwise used to best TB, but still, he lost. This was the supposed headline fight, and it's over very early into the chapter. This will leave readers realizing that only Vegeta and Ledas are left - and their fight against The Benefactor is the one that will really matter. Just by the pacing alone, it figures that one will come up in the next chapter, so that should be what is expected at this point. No Goku heroics or Goku saving the day. Not from me. It's overplayed, not consistent with the themes of my story, and just not fun to read or watch at this point. Goku has done it so many times that it's just not impressive anymore. It's time he gives someone else a chance. In this case, those someones are Vegeta and Ledas, two characters I think are superior to Goku.
- The first scene ends with The Benefactor absorbing much of the Z Fighters' energy. This will ultimately make him much, much stronger than before. And considering he already took out Super Saiyan 3 Goku, it doesn't appear that he can be stopped now. Of course, he fought a severely weakened Goku, so perhaps Vegeta at full strength could match him. That is, if Vegeta had Super Saiyan 3. Pity he doesn't.
- Silver's speech to Wisconsin is so delusional, it's funny. He has no idea how strong all of the aliens are - he's just a human. He cannot hope to match them. I don't think he realizes that Goku, the boy who once defeated him, is one of the aliens down there. But his speech gets to the heart of my theme on humans in this saga. They want to exert their agency. They want to be strong enough to defend their homeworld. But they just aren't. It's not even close. This last gasp from the remnants of a remnant army highlights the futility and desperation and insanity of them standing up to Ledas, The Benefactor, and the remaining Z Fighters. They don't know how fucked they are. But the most important thing is that they are not sitting idly by and letting their planet and fellow humans get taken out (though it hasn't come to that point yet). They want to defend themselves. They want to show the universe their strength. Their intentions are interesting. But their power makes their intentions delusional all the same. It continues the theme of human futility for pretty much everyone save for Ryori.
- I want to say that if this chapter ever gets drawn in manga format, there will be an easter egg where Naigo's Wakizashi will be seen in a panel as the camera sets the stage in King Furry's palace.
- I would say, overall, this chapter is the single most important chapter for Cardinal's character development.
- Cardinal's conversation with King Furry is cool on a meta level, with him learning the big secret of the Z Fighters, but it's also ironic, since Ledas is not associated with the Z Fighters (yet, at least). So the guy Cardinal was sent to take out was not, in fact, a Z Fighter, and King Furry would have no knowledge of him. From my perspective, it was fun to have Cardinal assume Ledas was the son of one of the Z Fighters or something.
- King Furry is pretty much the only one who can challenge Cardinal. This is a big part of why Cardinal gets some nice character development here. He hasn't been challenged like this in a long time.
- The idea of not being able to control everything is Cardinal's worst fear. He's a control freak. He hates anything not making sense. He only met with King Furry because he wanted to get answers about Ledas and others like him (remember, he noted this in the first couple of chapters of this saga). So King Furry telling Cardinal to let it go, to be resigned to the fact that humans can't compete with the Z Fighters and other aliens, is like a parent lecturing a kid. It also furthers the human futility theme in this story and gives it an interesting angle - one that Cardinal did not consider before, and one that ultimately saves his life.
- The parallel of Ledas and Goku both taking out the Red Ribbon Army (two kids with tails doing so, no less!) only occurred to me as I was writing King Furry's last big bit of dialogue in this chapter. It's pretty cool and it also works to show the divergent paths of the two, particularly within this story.
- The static on Cardinal's phone implies that Silver is dead and gone. Timeline-wise, this may mean that this scene takes place after Ledas' Lightning Strike attack that takes out the remaining New Red Ribbon Army soldiers in the next chapter. Maybe that's true; maybe it's not. The static could just be because Silver is preoccupied with getting the soldiers ready to attack Ledas and the others and isn't paying attention to his father calling him.
- Ledas doesn't appear in this chapter until the fourth scene - until more than half of the chapter is over. That is very odd for a season finale episode, but it speaks to Ledas' diminished role in this saga and how other characters have important things going on with them too. One reason it ended up like this was that I needed the New Red Ribbon Army scene to take place before the Ledas scene, since they shoot their bullets at him at the end of the chapter. Also, it didn't feel right to have Cardinal's scene end the chapter - it's just not dramatic enough a scene for that. So that meant that Ledas doesn't appear until the end, and to me, it gives the chapter a very weird feel to it.
- Ledas and Vegeta's struggle is the only thing that saved them from the same fate as the Z Fighters (getting their energy absorbed by TB's fog technique). They are basically fighting at the edge of the fog, not really realizing it is there, and not getting their energy absorbed by it.
- Ledas vs. Vegeta is again rather even because Vegeta didn't have time to power up. In both of his battles against Ledas in the Earth arc, he didn't have much time to power up, whereas Ledas, who expected both fights, did. This allows the fights to be more even, despite Vegeta having a significantly higher base power level than Ledas at this time.
- Very important conversation between Ledas and Vegeta near the end of this saga. Lots I could go on about, but that would be revealing too much. Do note the themes on nostalgia and existentialism, though, and the fact that Ledas doesn't know why he stopped aging (only that he did). Ledas also saying the old Vegeta is dead is true to an extent and it's also a belief I personally hold. Vegeta was far more interesting as a character before Frieza killed him (and really, up to that point, as Vegeta's defining moment, in my opinion, is his tearful speech to Goku as he's dying). So I had Ledas express my own views on Vegeta, but it's not just my views. Ledas is calling it as he sees it; what he says is accurate to his character and to how TB's energy is making him more reckless. He definitely thinks Vegeta is soft and doesn't even recognize the dude. This of course is how it should be, since Vegeta has changed quite a bit since he was 5 years old.
- Vegeta's friendship means so much to Ledas that he would rather die than live with Vegeta rejecting him. This is mainly because Vegeta is the only bit of Ledas' old life that still remains to give him hope and happiness. He wants to return to the days of happiness. He wants to have his friend back. He's gone so long without friends or a happy life that the prospect of being denied after improbably reuniting with Vegeta just frustrates Ledas to the point of insanity. His suicide threat is also because of TB's energy inside him corrupting him. He would have likely thought about doing so even if the energy wasn't affecting him, but TB's energy inside him has certainly made the kid more reckless and suicidal.
- Ledas was actually going to do it. He was going to blow up Earth and kill everyone. And yet, ironically, The Benefactor prevented all that from happening and saved everyone.
- "Solitude" is a song that I didn't know long before I wrote the 2012 version of this chapter. Basically, soon after I heard it for the first time, I got the idea to have it in one of TF's scenes. It's a good song - not one of my favorite TSFH songs, but it fills a niche. I certainly wouldn't put it in the top 25 songs of theirs, but tonally, it is perfect for the scene it is in. Notably, this song played before "Strength of a Thousand Men" in the last version of this story, and both were in this chapter. I prefer it coming before that song, as this song doesn't really compare to that one, so "Solitude" also serves as build up for that. Also, I want to mention that I consider the part where the flutes (or whatever instruments those are) come in 40 seconds into the song to be the point where The Benefactor first stabs Vegeta.
- It's interesting to see how the final version changed the last scene in this chapter, particularly when "Solitude" starts. In the last version, "Solitude" starts after Vegeta and Ledas work together and create a beam powerful enough to destroy The Benefactor. The Benefactor then pulls a trick and sneaks up on Vegeta to attack him and disperse the attack. Now, in the final version, the same scene is basically reached, but through drastically different means. Vegeta and Ledas are not fighting together, not working together. Ledas was going to kill Vegeta for refusing to acknowledge that he's real and they used to be friends. Funny how these things work out. I didn't mean to have the two scenes be basically opposite in the last two versions of the chapter.
- Ledas' vision goes red because The Benefactor is so close to him. It's like sensory overload. This dissipates soon after, as Ledas maintains a close presence around TB and grows accustomed to being around the alien. Of course, all of this happened in the first place because Ledas has TB's energy inside him. So the energy in Ledas' body wants to return to its master, and this causes pain and some other oddities to occur in Ledas' body. But, the energy soon gets used to the close proximity, and Ledas' vision returns to normal. The fact that he was briefly paralyzed though allowed TB to easily take out Vegeta in a vicious way. Had Ledas not been paralyzed and partially blinded, he would have tried to stop The Benefactor and may have even succeeded.
- The way TB takes out Vegeta is classic TB. But this is Vegeta we are talking about. It appears he may actually die from such a wound. The plot twist is sudden as it is shocking, and this chapter ends on a series of hopeless notes as a result. It seems like pretty much everything is going wrong for the "good guys". That was all done on purpose to build up to what happens in the next chapter.
- The poison is definitely affecting Ledas in the last paragraph, making his situation even more hopeless. There really aren't many options at this point, and overtly, it doesn't really seem like there's anything Ledas and the others can do to prevent TB from winning. I'm quite proud of this, as an uncertain plot is, in general, more interesting than a predictable one, and I don't think that the ending of this chapter leaves the remaining plot of the saga easy to predict. Also, Silver and his men don't die here, which should quiet some speculation that Cardinal was getting static on his phone when he called Silver because Silver is dead. Of course, the way I end this chapter is just misdirection on that front, as Ledas does ultimately deal with the NRRA soon into the next chapter (though Ryori is the one who actually kills Silver).
Make Me (season finale part 2)
<THE CAMERA FOCUSES ON THE PLACE WHERE THE Z FIGHTERS HAVE FALLEN; OUT OF THE DUST COMES KRILLIN, STAGGERING AND BRUISED; HE LOOKS AROUND WITH WINCING EYES UNTIL HE SPOTS HIS WIFE, ANDROID 18, IN THE DIRT JUST AHEAD OF HIM; SHE IS UNCONSCIOUS AND WOUNDED>
Krillin: 18! <HE RUSHES OVER TO HER> S-she’s breathing, that’s good. <HE LOOKS UP> Goku? Gohan? Piccolo? W-what happened to you guys?! <HE RUNS UP TO THEM, ONLY TO FIND THEM IN THE SAME STATE AS 18> Senzu beans… I have to get everyone senzu beans. Wait, Goku said there weren’t any. <A MILLION IDEAS FLY THROUGH HIS EYES> Dende! I’ll go get Dende. <HE RUNS BACK TO 18, KNEELING DOWN TO HER> Stay right here, 18. I’m going to get help. I’ll be right back, I promise. D-don’t worry about anything.
<WITH THAT, KRILLIN TAKES OFF TO THE LOOKOUT>
<CAMERA MOVES TO KORIN TOWER; IT IS ALMOST SUNSET>
Korin: Hey! Princess! Wake up!
Yajirobe: <SLEEPING SOME FEET AWAY FROM KORIN; HE MUMBLES SOMETHING INCOHERENT> I was sleeping, you stupid cat!
Korin: <IGNORING HIM; THROWS A SMALL POUCH AT YAJIROBE, MUCH LIKE THE ONE HE THREW TO LEDAS IN THE PREVIOUS SAGA> Take these senzu beans to Goku. They just sprouted a few minutes ago. Knowing Goku, he’ll probably need a couple by now.
Yajirobe: <GRUMPILY BRUSHES IT AWAY> No way man. Do it yourself!
<KORIN LUNGES AT YAJIROBE; HE HITS THE SAMURAI ACROSS THE HEAD WITH HIS STICK>
Yajirobe: Ow!! What was that for?!?!
Korin: <QUICKLY> Don’t be disrespectful.
<YAJIROBE ROLLS BACK OVER, TRYING TO GO BACK TO SLEEP>
Yajirobe: Hey, if Goku wants to get himself killed, that’s his problem. It’s not my fault he gets all hurt every time he fights. I mean, come on. He’s the greatest fighter in the universe. He shouldn’t get any help. I’m not saving him!
<WITH THAT, YAJIROBE CLOSES HIS EYES AND TRIES TO SLEEP>
Korin: <KIND OF A LONG PAUSE BEFORE HE SPEAKS> That’s nice.
Yajirobe: <OPENS ONE EYE; IN RAGE, HE THROWS HIS PILLOW AT KORIN, WHO LOFTILY JUMPS OVER IT> Shut up!
Korin: <WITH AN AIR OF CONTEMPT; SUBTLE SARCASM> Well if you aren’t gonna give them the beans, you may as well go help them fight.
Yajirobe: <SITS UP> Whatever. I could beat up any of those guys Goku fights. <HE CROSSES HIS ARMS, TURNS HIS HEAD LEFT, AWAY FROM KORIN> I just choose not to.
Korin: <NOW WITH MORE CONTEMPT> You must be big and strong from all that hard training of yours, right?
<YAJIROBE GETS UP, SCRATCHING HIS HEAD, STILL TIRED; HE WALKS TO THEIR REFRIGERATOR AND OPENS THE DOOR, PEEKING IN>
Yajirobe: <SUDDENLY, WITH ENERGY> Where’s all my food?!
Korin: <JUMPS BACK UP ON THE RAILING OF THE TOWER; HE IS FACING YAJIROBE> Hehehehehehe.
Yajirobe: <IN A GROWL> You stupid cat! You ate all my food! <THROWS SOMETHING> You don’t even have to eat!
Korin: <PLAINLY> Get yourself some food after you give Goku those senzu beans. <IN SARCASM> The faster you go, the faster you can fill your belly!
<YAJIROBE MUMBLES AGAIN, IN A CHORUS OF “STUPID CATS” AND OTHER UNMENTIONABLE THINGS; HE PICKS UP THE POUCH OF SENZU BEANS AND TAKES OUT A CAPSULE; HE THROWS IT AND IT FORMS INTO A CAR>
<TO CLARIFY, THIS CAR IS BLUE, AND IS DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE THAT LEDAS DESTROYED THE SAGA BEFORE; INDEED, YAJIROBE (OR KORIN, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU SEE IT) DOES HAVE SEVERAL CARS; SHOCKER, I KNOW>
<AT THIS TIME, KORIN MOVES SUPER FAST AND THROWS SOMETHING INTO THE CAR; THE CAMERA IS NOT FAST ENOUGH TO SEE WHAT IT IS, AND YAJIROBE ISN’T AWAKE ENOUGH TO NOTICE IT>
<KORIN RETURNS TO HIS PERCH AS IF NOTHING HAS HAPPENED, HOWEVER NOW HE HAS A VAST GRIN ON HIS FACE>
<YAJIROBE JUMPS INTO IT AND SPEEDS AWAY>
<CUTS TO LEDAS>
<HE IS BEING HELD BY THE BENEFACTOR; HE STARTS TO STRUGGLE AGAINST THE CREATURE; AS HIS VISION RETURNS TO HIM MORE – EVEN AS IT REMAINS SLIGHTLY RED – HE SEES THE BENEFACTOR IS HOLDING HIM BY THE NECK; INSTINCTIVELY, LEDAS CREATES AN ENERGY BLAST IN EITHER HAND; A KYORRA FLASH IN HIS LEFT AND AN ICE CANNON IN HIS RIGHT; HE SHOOTS THEM AT THE BENEFACTOR’S HEAD, CAUSING THE CREATURE TO DROP HIM>
<HE SITS ON THE GROUND FOR A MOMENT, SIMPLY WATCHING THE BENEFACTOR ON THE GROUND, ROLLING IN PAIN WHEN HE FEELS ANOTHER STING ON HIS NECK; HE REACHES DOWN AND FEELS THE CRUMBLED METAL OF A BULLET; HE FEELS HIS NECK AND NOTICES THAT THERE’S SOME LIQUID ON IT; WHEN HE PULLS HIS HAND AWAY, HE SEES SOMETHING GREEN DRIPPING FROM IT; IN AN INSTANT, THE PAIN THAT THE POISON BRINGS COMES TO LEDAS AND HE HOWLS OUT IN PAIN, DROPPING HIS HEAD TO THE TURF AND POUNDING HIS HANDS AGAINST THE GROUND; A RASH FORMS ON THE SKIN WHERE THE POISON HAS TOUCHED HIM, AND IT BURNS>
<HE TURNS HIS HEAD TO WHERE THE BULLETS CAME FROM, AND ON THE FAR HILL HE CAN SENSE A GROUP OF HUMANS; ANGRILY, HE THROWS HIS HAND OUT TOWARDS THEM, SENDING AN INVISIBLE BLAST THEIR WAY; THEN, LEDAS ROLLS ONTO HIS STOMACH AND PULLS OUT THE POUCH OF SENZU BEANS; HE DUMPS THEIR CONTENTS ONTO HIS OUTSTRETCHED PALM ONLY TO WATCH A SINGLE BEAN FALL OUT; JUST AS HE’S ABOUT TO EAT IT, HE SEES THE FIGURE OF VEGETA JUST AHEAD OF HIM; THE SAIYAN PRINCE IS LYING IN A POOL OF HIS OWN BLOOD, THOUGH HIS CHEST IS STILL HEAVING>
<LEDAS CRAWLS OVER TO HIM, CRYING OUT IN PAIN AS HE GOES; UPON REACHING VEGETA, HE SEES THE SAIYAN PRINCE HOLDING HIS WOUND AND TRYING TO BREATHE – ALTHOUGH HE’S NOT TOO SUCCESSFUL ON THAT VENTURE; VEGETA’S EYES STARE UP AT LEDAS, HOPELESS AND SEEING DEATH; LEDAS SITS THERE FOR A MOMENT AS HE WINCES MORE AND MORE; FINALLY, MUSTERING UP ALL OF HIS QUICKLY SAPPED STRENGTH, LEDAS BREAKS THE BEAN IN TWO AND SHOVES VEGETA’S HALF DOWN THE PRINCE’S BLOOD-COATED THROAT; THEN, HE EATS HIS OWN HALF>
<BEHIND THEM, THE COUNTRYSIDE EXPLODES AND THE NEW RED RIBBON ARMY IS DECIMATED>
Ledas: <WINCING, AS HALF A BEAN ONLY HEALS HIM PARTIALLY> V-vegeta…
Vegeta: <SITS UP, LOOKING AT LEDAS CAUTIOUSLY> You could have killed me there.
Ledas: I’m not with that other guy. And I’m not a trick. I’m just… me. <HE LOOKS DOWN AT HIS HANDS; THE BLACK AURA IS FAINTLY AROUND HIM> I don’t know what’s going on with me, but I can’t control it. But deep down inside, I couldn’t let you die. Even with all I’m feeling. <HE LOOKS BACK AND SEES THE BENEFACTOR IS GETTING UP; HE STANDS UP; LEDAS POINTS TO HIM> He’s responsible for all of this! He’s the one who’s doing this to me. And he wants to kill me, Vegeta. But I’m not gonna let him. <LEDAS TURNS TO FACE THE BENEFACTOR; TO HIMSELF, THOUGH VEGETA HEARS HIM> Saiyans don’t run from fights. <TO THE BENEFACTOR> Well come on then.
The Benefactor: <COOLLY; ON APPROACH> You will give me back that energy you stole.
Ledas: <DEFIANTLY> Make me. <HE LOCKS DOWN INTO A DEFENSIVE STANCE> It’s my energy now. You were weak to let it go.
The Benefactor: Why do you resist? That energy is damaging your mental stability. Mere moments ago, I watched as you fought that old prince and swore you would destroy the planet. You hated him. And then you saved him. <PAUSES> You think he’s soft for living with the Earthlings, but have you not done so as well? It seems you don’t know what you are. But you are a fool to keep with this madness.
Ledas: Shut up and die! <LEDAS CHARGES UP TO THE MAXIMUM LEVEL HE CAN MUSTER> You’re the problem, not me!
The Benefactor: Being so close to its master, my energy inside you has come alive, dominating your every thought, corrupting your every action. And though you try to resist, it will overcome you eventually. Why not give it back? Allow yourself to return to your own ways? Let this quarrel end now.
Ledas: You would kill me if I did. I won’t let you!
The Benefactor: All I require is what is mine. I will take it and leave, and you may continue your life. As long as I am near, the energy which is inside you will betray you.
Ledas: Then I’ll kill you first. That will solve everything.
The Benefactor: So be it.
<THE BENEFACTOR SHOOTS A BLACK ENERGY BLAST AT LEDAS; LEDAS SHOOTS HIS OWN PLAYFUL GALICK BACK AT IT, STAVING THE BEAM OFF FOR A SECOND; THE BENEFACTOR’S ATTACK QUICKLY DOMINATES LEDAS’ AND LEDAS HAS TO JUMP OUT OF THE WAY JUST BEFORE HE LOSES THE STRUGGLE; HE JUMPS IN THE AIR AND BRINGS HIS FOOT DOWN ON THE BENEFACTOR’S HEAD; THE BENEFACTOR PUSHES HIM AWAY AND SHOOTS A STREAM OF RED ENERGY AFTER HIM, WHICH CUTS HIS BODY; LEDAS’ CRIES ARE MUFFLED BY THE BENEFACTOR’S SWIFT BACK SLAP ACROSS THE SAIYAN’S FACE; LEDAS RECOVERS AND SHOOTS AN UNRELENTING ENERGY BURST AT HIS FOE; THE BENEFACTOR RETREATS AT THIS, ALLOWING LEDAS A MOMENT TO BREATHE>
<THE SAIYAN BOY CHARGES AT THE BENEFACTOR; JUST BEFORE HE REACHES THE ALIEN, HE SPLITS INTO SEVEN FORMS, ALL OF WHICH READY AN IMAGE SLASH IN THEIR RIGHT HANDS; THE BENEFACTOR GOES TO DODGE A PARTICULAR ONE WHEN ALL SEVEN BLADES COME DOWN; HE GUESSES INCORRECTLY AND SIX OF THE BLADES HIT HIM, CUTTING DEEP THROUGH HIS CLOAK INTO HIS SKIN; HE HISSES AND RELEASES A PULSE OF ENERGY TO DESTROY THE FAKE SAIYANS AROUND HIM; THE REAL LEDAS GOES TUMBLING BACK, ALLOWING FOR THE BENEFACTOR TO JUMP AT HIM, BUT AGAIN THIS IS ONLY AN AFTERIMAGE; BEHIND HIM, LEDAS KICKS THE ALIEN’S FEET OUT FROM UNDER HIM AND PUNCHES HIM INTO THE DIRT; SO VICIOUS ARE LEDAS’ PUNCHES THAT EVERY SINGLE ONE SENDS THE BENEFACTOR FLYING BACK SEVERAL FEET; AS LEDAS CONTINUES TO PUNCH THE BENEFACTOR, HE TELEPORTS IN FRONT OF THE BENEFACTOR’S TRAJECTORY AND SHOOTS A KYORRA FLASH AT HIM; HOWEVER, THE BENEFACTOR BATS THE BLAST ASIDE, REGAINING HIS FOOTING; HE SHOVES A CLAW INTO LEDAS’ CHEST, RIPPING AWAY THE CLOTHES AND SKIN AND THEN IMMEDIATELY SHOOTS A SMALL BLAST (WITH THE SAME HAND), WHICH KNOCKS THE SAIYAN OVER; AS LEDAS STAGGERS TO GET UP, THE BENEFACTOR PLACES HIS HANDS TOGETHER, LEAVING A TRIANGLE SPACE BETWEEN THEM AND FIRES OFF A RED BEAM; LEDAS IS HIT WITH IT AND DOES NOT GET UP>
<THE BENEFACTOR STEPS OVER HIM AND PLACES A HAND ON LEDAS’ HEAD; LEDAS STRUGGLES, TRYING HIS HARDEST, BUT THE BENEFACTOR SLAMS HIS HEAD REPEATEDLY INTO THE GROUND; LEDAS TRIES SEVERAL FINGER BEAMS WITH BOTH HANDS, BUT THEY ONLY GRAZE THE BENEFACTOR’S ARMS; WITH A LAST POWERFUL PUNCH, THE BENEFACTOR HITS LEDAS IN THE FACE AND KNOCKS HIM UNCONSCIOUS, CONCUSSING HIM IN THE PROCESS; LEDAS FALLS LIMP AS THE BENEFACTOR PLACES HIS ARMS OUT AND PREPARES TO RIP THE ENERGY FROM THE BOY’S BODY>
<THE BENEFACTOR IS SUDDENLY THROWN FORWARD INTO THE DIRT; HE REELS AROUND AND SEES VEGETA STANDING WITH A LOOK OF HATRED ON HIS FACE>
Vegeta: You’re going to pay for that, freak!
<VEGETA THRUSTS OUT HIS ARMS AND HE QUICKLY ASCENDS TO SUPER SAIYAN 2; HE STARTS SCREAMING AND THE GROUND SPLINTERS AND EXPLODES AROUND HIM; LIGHTNING FLASHES AROUND HIM AS HE SLOWLY WALKS UP TO THE BENEFACTOR; THE BENEFACTOR STANDS UP AND ANGRILY SHOOTS AN ENERGY ATTACK AT VEGETA, BUT IT SIMPLY DISINTEGRATES IN VEGETA’S AURA; HE KICKS THE BENEFACTOR AWAY>
<Strength of a Thousand Men REACHES 0:45 NOW>
Vegeta: I’ll show you the true power of a Saiyan!
<VEGETA’S AURA EXPLODES IN BLINDING WHITE LIGHT; A LARGE GUST OF WIND PICKS UP, THROWING LEDAS’ UNCONSCIOUS BODY AWAY; THE BENEFACTOR STRUGGLES TO SHIELD HIS FACE WHEN VEGETA COMES ROARING THROUGH AND PUNCHES HIM ACROSS THE FACE; THE BENEFACTOR CAN SEE VEGETA’S HAIR HAS CHANGED; IT IS NOW LONG LIKE GOKU’S HAD BEEN, ALTHOUGH VEGETA DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE THE FATIGUE THAT GOKU DID; AS THE BENEFACTOR RECOILS, VEGETA BASHES HIM WITH PUNCHES AND KICKS, NONE OF WHICH THE BENEFACTOR CAN BLOCK>
<VEGETA GRABS THE BENEFACTOR AND SHOVES A PURPLE BALL OF ENERGY INTO HIS FACE, CAUSING THE ALIEN TO BE FLUNG INTO THE AIR; THE BENEFACTOR RETALIATES BY FIRING A GROUP OF ENERGY BLASTS; VEGETA EASILY BLOCKS THESE AND TELEPORTS UP TO THE BENEFACTOR, PUMMELING HIM AROUND IN THE AIR UNTIL THE BENEFACTOR IS ABLE TO DODGE OUT OF THE WAY; THE BENEFACTOR CHARGES UP TO MAXIMUM, HIMSELF, THEN DASHES AT VEGETA; VEGETA DASHES AT HIM
<THE BENEFACTOR ATTEMPTS TO ELBOW VEGETA, BUT VEGETA CATCHES HIM, AND TWISTS IT; THE TWO ERRUPT INTO A BLOW EXCHANGE WITH EACH PUNCH AND KICK CREATING A SONIC BOOM; AS NEITHER SIDE YIELDS, THE BENEFACTOR TAKES HIS KNIFE, WITH HIS OTHER HAND, AND SPINS THE OTHER WAY, AND CUTS VEGETA ACROSS THE FACE WITH IT; VEGETA LETS GO OF THE ALIEN AND SHOOTS A ONE-HANDED ENERGY WAVE VOLLEY, WHICH THE BENEFACTOR BLOCKS>
<THEN, FROM ABOVE COMES VEGETA; HE KICKS DOWN, SENDING THE BENEFACTOR INTO THE GRASS BELOW; HE GRITS HIS TEETH, CREATING A MAXIMUM FLASHER; HE SENDS IT DOWN AFTER THE BENEFACTOR; THE ALIEN JUMPS OUT OF THE WAY, BUT HE IS STILL THROWN BY THE EXPLOSION THAT THE BLAST’S IMPACT GENERATES>
<VEGETA LANDS AND HITS THE BENEFACTOR OVER THE HEAD WITH HIS ELBOW; EVEN AS HE DOES SO, HIS SAME HAND HOLDS ENERGY AND HE FIRES IT DEEP INTO THE GUT OF THE BENEFACTOR; VEGETA TELEPORTS BEHIND THE BENEFACTOR AND SWIPES HIS FEET OUT FROM UNDER HIM, WHILE NOT EVEN FACING THE ALIEN; AS THE BENEFACTOR FALLS, VEGETA TWISTS TO HIS RIGHT AND PUNCHES THE CREATURE; THE BENEFACTOR FLIPS UP, CLAWING AT VEGETA AS HE GOES>
<THEY ARE BOTH QUIET FOR A MOMENT ONCE THE BENEFACTOR LANDS, JUST LOOKING AT ONE ANOTHER; THEN, IN UNISON, THE TWO READY THEIR STRONGEST BEAMS AND FIRE THEM AT ONE ANOTHER; FOR THE BENEFACTOR, IT IS HIS RED WIND, A RED BLAST; FOR VEGETA, IT IS HIS FINAL FLASH ATTACK, A YELLOW BLAST; THE TWO BEAMS OF ENERGY SHOOT TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER, CLASHING AND COVERING THE SCREEN IN WHITE>
<CUTS TO THE NEW RED RIBBON ARMY>
<IT IS DARK; THE HILL IS TORN APART; BODY PARTS OF MEN LIE AROUND, SUPPLIES ARE LYING DAMAGED AND BLOWN APART, AND THE TRUCK IS ON ITS SIDE; NOTHING MOVES FOR A LONG WHILE UNTIL RUSTLING CAN BE HEARD FROM INSIDE THE TRUCK; OUT FROM IT COMES RYORI IN HIS DIRTY CLOTHES; A STREAK OF BLOOD IS RUNNING DOWN FROM HIS FOREHEAD AND HE HOLDS DEWBERRY’S PISTOL IN HIS HAND; HE WALKS PAST BODIES OF MEN WHEN HE HEARS NOISE UP AHEAD; DRAWING THE PISTOL UP TO HIS EYES, HE MOVES FORWARD>
<UP AHEAD HE SEES SUPREME GENERAL SILVER ON THE GROUND; IN HIS LEG IS A LARGE SPLINTER OF WOOD OR METAL WHICH IS PREVENTING HIM FROM STANDING; HE IS BLEEDING; NEAR HIM IS PRIVATE WISCONSIN, WHO IS ALSO BLOODY FROM THE LIGHTNING STRIKE; HE IS PINNED UNDER THE MOTORCYCLE AND APPEARS TO BE EITHER UNCONSCIOUS OR DEAD>
Silver: Private! Wake up! Private! I order you to wake up! Help me! Don’t ignore me! Private! <RYORI WALKS UP TO HIM, SOLEMNLY; SILVER NOTICES HIM> Y-you?! What? Impossible! How are you here, kid?
Ryori: You killed my brother.
<RYORI RAISES HIS PISTOL AND PUTS A BULLET THROUGH SILVER’S HEAD; THE SHOT ECHOES FOR A WHILE AND THEN FADES OUT; SILVER’S BLOOD BEGINS POOLING AT RYORI’S FEET BEFORE HE GOES TO WALK OFF>
<THE CAMERA PANS BACK, SHOWING THE VAST DEVASTATION OF THE NEW RED RIBBON ARMY’S LAST STAND; THE CAMERA SHOWS WHERE THE Z FIGHTERS ARE STILL LYING UNCONSCIOUS, GUVA’S DEAD BODY, AND EVEN LEDAS’ STILL UNCONSCIOUS BODY; THERE IS NO SIGN OF VEGETA OR THE BENEFACTOR; INSTEAD, LARGE CRATERS AND DEEP GASHES IN THE EARTH ARE SCATTERED OVER THE LAND – NONE OF WHICH WERE THERE A FEW HOURS AGO>
<THE CAMERA FOCUSES IN ON LEDAS’ FIGURE AND THEN HIS HAND, WHICH IS LYING OUTSTRETCHED; THE SCREEN MATERIALIZES TO ANOTHER PLACE, WHERE IT IS NIGHT AS WELL; LEDAS’ HAND IS IN THE SAME POSITION; SUDDENLY ANOTHER HAND GRABS IT; THE CAMERA PANS BACK, SHOWING VEGETA HELPING HIS FRIEND STAND UP; THE PLANET IS SMOLDERING AND THERE ARE BODIES EVERYWHERE; BOTH SAIYANS ARE WEARING PLANET TRADE ORGANIZATION ARMOR AND APPEAR TO BE THE SAME AGE AS IN THE FIRST SAGA; THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A FLASHBACK>
Ledas: This one didn’t take long.
Prince Vegeta: Of course not. We’re Super Saiyans.
Ledas: <SCRATCHING THE BACK OF HIS HEAD, CHUCKLING> Wewll, not yet…
Prince Vegeta: But soon. I can feel it. <HE LOOKS UP TO THE SKY AND LEDAS DOES AS WELL; THERE ARE NUMEROUS STARS UP THERE> Once we are, all of that will be ours. Frieza’s pathetic empire won’t be half the size of ours! We’ll be unstoppable. No one will stand up to us!
Ledas: Do you really think we’ll be great warriors one day, Vegeta? The kind people tell stories about?
<CLOSEUP SHOT ON THE PRINCE; VEGETA SMIRKS>
Prince Vegeta: I’d bet my life on it. Look how strong we already are. Most of Frieza’s best soldiers aren’t even this good. And we’re still kids. It’s crazy. I mean, who could have it better than us?
Ledas: <LAUGH> Nobody!
<THE CAMERA PANS BACK, SHOWING THE TWO BOYS WATCHING THE STARS AND LAUGHING AS THE SCREEN SLOWLY FADES TO BLACK>
- <END REUNION SAGA>
Cue Great Spirits. Credits roll during this time.
- This chapter's original name was "Spirit Bomb". That was because, in the first draft of this chapter, the chapter ended with Goku throwing a huge Spirit Bomb at The Benefactor. When I changed that plot in the second version of this chapter, I had to thus rename the chapter, since there was no longer a Spirit Bomb in the story. The name of the chapter became "At The River's Gorge" then, because of the part where The Benefactor went to a river's gorge, hunted a deer brutally and then formed a huge energy wave that destroyed much of the nearby city. I removed that plot in the final version of this chapter, and instead used the 2012 name of the previous chapter here - "Make Me". That was mostly because the piece of dialogue where Ledas says "Make me" was originally in the previous chapter, but during the final edits, I moved it to this one. I really liked the chapter title "Make Me", so I transported it to this chapter.
- The first version of this chapter is so bad that I'm embarrassed even to talk about it. The only good part of it - and the only part of it that remains in the final version - is the scene with Yajirobe and Korin. Other than that, there was a scene with Ryori and Cardinal finding Shoekki's body and Cardinal knocking Ryori unconscious. Then, there was a scene with Vegeta and Ledas going to Cardinal's base for some unknown reason while Goten and Trunks pursued them there. Ledas saw Cardinal (who had the unconscious Ryori) in that building and then chased after him. Then, TB confronted Goku, who was prepping a Spirit Bomb for the alien. The chapter (and saga) ended with Goku throwing the Spirit Bomb at The Benefactor. Needless to say, this original version was rather bad, and The Benefactor's conversation with Goku is one of the most cringe-worthy things I ever wrote. It's interesting for me to look back on this old draft and see how much I've improved as a writer since then. The second draft (the 2012 draft), was not ultimately much better. It retained the Yajirobe/Korin and Cardinal/Ryori scenes with few changes to either of them and that version also introduced Krillin's opening scene that, to this day, still opens this chapter (though it has been modified slightly since it was originally published). After that, the plot was completely changed. Ledas' and Vegeta's and The Benefactor's plotlines were changed. This is a result of the last chapter's 2012 changes as well - as a result, Goku and Vegeta were already incapacitated before this chapter, which was stated stated in the 2012 version of the previous chapter. What happened was that The Benefactor took Ledas to an underground bunker and revealed that he ordered Lauto to give Ledas some of his energy all of those years ago and that he wanted Ledas to become his pupil. When Ledas refused, The Benefactor flew away angrily, killed a deer, and then formed a huge energy wave that tore apart much of the city (and caused Cardinal to lose his right arm and break his back). Ledas then found a door underground, leading him to an underground Red Ribbon Army base. I'm not sure which version is worse, but both of these two versions are rather bad. TB's scenes with Ledas in the second draft are really, really bad and the plot is nonsensical. There are some good things there, though, such as TB attacking the deer (that has some nice symbolic value) and Ledas shooting a rat like Kid Vegeta does in the anime flashback of the Saiyan rebellion against Frieza. But overall, neither of these versions was very good, aside from the Korin/Yajirobe scene and the Krillin scene, so for the final version, everything aside from those two scenes were deleted and replaced. The final three scenes were written from scratch for the final version. This was necessitated by the build up I came up with in earlier chapters during their final edits (particularly with the new Ryori scene). For the Ledas/TB/Vegeta scene, I just wanted to make something more interesting than what existed here before. This chapter didn't really feel like a season ender in previous drafts, so I amped up the battles and badass moments and whatnot. The final scene, which is flashback to the Prince Vegeta Saga era, was done on the spot. I vividly remember writing the rest of the chapter, thinking that it would end with Ryori killing Supreme General Silver, and then deciding to have a flashback scene right then and there. It wasn't in my final notes plans - and this is notable because it's the only such scene that was written in the final edits of this story. Everything else was pre-planned at least to a general degree.
- One thing I want to mention about the original draft of this story was that I had Goku use the Spirit Bomb because I was trying to subvert the DBZ trope of the Spirit Bomb always being used to great effect in the series and movies. It was annoying move because it was so often used. There was so little variety because of that. I wanted to make fun of that and have similar set up without having the usual payoff - in the next saga, in the original draft, The Benefactor was not hurt by the Spirit Bomb and then quickly took out Goku. It was a fine idea, but the execution wasn't there, and I think the story is better without a Spirit Bomb at all, parodied or otherwise. I kept this theme, spiritually, in the final version of the story, with how I had The Benefactor defeat Goku in the previous chapter. That was a similar subversion of a DBZ trope related to Goku. The Spirit Bomb was a more specific trope, but as a result, it made reading the original version of this chapter just not fun, even if I was trying to parody it. In the final version of the previous saga, I was careful to make Goku vs. The Benefactor be a cool, badass fight, even though I was subverting tropes at the same time. The contrast between these two scenes is a good example of how I think I grew as a writer - it shows off a myriad of my better writing techniques during the final edits.
- This chapter is the third longest chapter in TF, and it was the longest chapter at the time of its publishing. It broke a 39 chapter streak that the chapter "The Day I Had 60 Pokémon" (chapter 21) held since its publishing. So this chapter broke a very long streak; unfortunately, the streak for "Make Me" doesn't last much longer - only eight more chapters.
- I had to get Krillin to go towards Korin Tower somehow - and him wanting to bring Dende back to the battlefield to heal everyone seemed like the most logical way to do that, since he knows that there are no senzu beans (at least yet - some will be sprouting very, very soon!). He will never get to Dende, though, since he will meet Yajirobe before then. As to why I had the senzus sprout instead of using Dende, that was simply because I thought Krillin having a conversation with Dende and having Dende slowly heal everyone would be boring and impractical. It is more interesting to have senzu beans so that they could potentially be used by the active fighters as well. Additionally, having the Yajirobe scene in this chapter (plus the numerous ones in the next saga) was a more appealing idea to me than having a Dende scene, since Yajirobe is funnier and just a more interesting character. Of course, this also makes this saga continue to have a parallel to the Saiyan Saga, with both Yajirobe and Krillin having pivotal roles while the rest of the stronger Z Fighters have been defeated. The Reunion Saga does not completely parallel the Saiyan Saga, but in many ways it does, and this is one of those instances.
- "Hey, if Goku wants to get himself killed, that’s his problem. It’s not my fault he gets all hurt every time he fights. I mean, come on. He’s the greatest fighter in the universe. He shouldn’t get any help. I’m not saving him!" - funny and true, in my opinion.
- I like the Korin/Yajirobe dynamic. I wrote long comedic conversations for them in the previous saga multiple times, so any time I get the chance to, I like doing that. I personally find their scenes to be highly entertaining. Adding in comedy here was also done because I want to keep TF in the spirit of DBZ - it has lots of action and serious things going on, but there's time for comedy too. There's not one specific genre of fiction here. The lines have been blurred. Toriyama did well with this in DB and DBZ, and I tried to do my best as well.
- What Korin throws into Yajirobe's car is Verlate's mind prison. The most astute readers might've picked up on that at this point, since the pyramid has been mentioned twice (and what else could Korin throw in there?) already. Anyways, Korin's action is significant - so much so that it directly leads to much of the plot of the next saga. Such a little thing, and such big consequences. It's quite amazing. As to why Korin did that, who knows? I'm sure he does; I won't be revealing that. Regardless, there're clues as to why he might've done it throughout the Earth arc.
- The third scene of this chapter - the Ledas/The Benefactor/Vegeta one - is one of the longest single scenes in this story. It's 1739 words just by itself - that's longer than almost half of the chapters in TF! That fact is a big part of why this chapter is ultimately the third longest chapter in the entire story.
- The poison the New Red Ribbon Army shoots at Ledas might've killed him in this chapter, had he not healed himself. They have been so close to killing him twice, but those cursed senzu beans save the day every time! It must be really frustrating for them - at least it would be if any of them were still alive.
- Important to note is how easily and casually Ledas deals with the New Red Ribbon Army soldiers. It's not even an entire paragraph. Yeah, they hurt him, but he took them out so easily with a Lightning Strike. All that planning, all that preparation, and they all die just like that. And Ryori is with them. Thus, even though it is such a short scene where the NRRA are dealt with, there is high drama involved. This was done on purpose to build tension and leave the readers questioning if Ryori died or not. The quickness with which the NRRA soldiers are dealt with is the culmination of the human theme on frailty and irrelevancy in this saga, as it relates to most characters. Ryori will have a bit more to do with that theme, himself, later on. But what happened to the NRRA soldiers is emblematic of the waning power and agency of the humans and their inability to protect their planet from aliens and whatnot. Now, the NRRA dudes are bad guys, so this theme isn't as overt as it would be had they been good guys, but the theme is still there.
- Ledas' struggle - whether to eat the bean to save himself or to give it to Vegeta - is real. It adds some drama with the senzu bean so that the bean won't be deus ex machina or bad plot progression or anything like that. It also allows Ledas to have some nice character development. He's been basically going through a tantrum since the sixth chapter since Vegeta refused to talk to him or admit that he's real. But now, with real problems going on and with both him and Vegeta dying, his personality softens, and he pities his old friend. Giving Vegeta half of the senzu bean is a moment of character growth for Ledas, and a significant one at that, for that action convinces Vegeta that Ledas is really alive.
- Notice the drawback of Ledas saving both himself and Vegeta - neither one of them is healed fully. That fact is pretty much why Vegeta fails to defeat The Benefactor in the first chapter of the next saga. It also removes the god-like abilities of the senzu beans to an extent. Both characters survive, yes, but they aren't fully healed, and it doesn't look like they have enough power to fight The Benefactor. I had the senzu bean have a drawback here so that it's not a rehash of Ledas' using two beans in the third chapter of this saga and so that, in general, it's not a random way to save the characters. Ledas has been carrying that last senzu bean all saga, and for two chapters of the previous saga, so it's certainly not deus ex machina.
- Vegeta realizing that Ledas could have killed him and didn't is basically what makes the prince accept that Ledas is really who he says he is. A moment of compassion for his old friend was all it took. Ledas had to change to get Vegeta to change.
- Ledas is in rare badass form after healing himself and Vegeta. He's so defiant to The Benefactor. Now that he's kind of getting an inkling that Vegeta isn't ignoring him anymore, that has put Ledas in higher spirits. His Saiyan pride and confidence has returned, to an extent.
- Ledas' line of "Make me" is something that he would not have said in the first two sagas, and probably not for much of the third saga. This idea that he's the master of himself and that no one can order him around anymore was a crucial personality development for him in the Planet Trade Organization arc, particularly in the second and third sagas.
- "It’s my energy now. You were weak to let it go." - Ledas knows that line will piss of The Benefactor (and it does), but he doesn't care. This newfound confidence of his is partly because he just saved Vegeta and got a mini-zenkai out of it. Still, he doesn't realize just how outclassed he is - not yet. I'm building up the plot to suggest that Ledas will pull out a miraculous victory against The Benefactor here, and I don't fulfill that. Gotta mess with the tropes and expectations sometimes.
- The Benefactor's lines following the above quote basically were written to tell Ledas what the readers already know but he doesn't perhaps realize fully. His line, "It seems you don’t know what you are", specifically develops the Existential theme in this saga.
- "Being so close to its master, my energy inside you has come alive, dominating your every thought, corrupting your every action. And though you try to resist, it will overcome you eventually." - this idea has been inferred all saga long, but I had The Benefactor outright state it here at the end of all things so that every single reader would understand that. It's important to understand, so by this point, I needed to make sure everyone did.
- Ledas is right. The Benefactor would certainly kill him in the act of taking back his energy. Ledas is fighting for his life. This isn't about the energy so much. It's about how The Benefactor was humiliated and how he wants revenge for that. He doesn't want to let anyone who humiliated him (even unintentionally) live.
- The Benefactor is planning on leaving Earth and the Z Fighters intact, provided they don't attack him again. He doesn't care about them. He just wants to do what he wants to do and to get his energy back. It's a radical idea - one that is not seen in any other villain in the history of the Dragon Ball universe. It's understandable to a certain degree, but at the same time, Ledas' point is valid too. The Benefactor was weak to let his energy go. It's not his anymore. He needs to give up and accept that fact. The battle that is about to take place between TB and Ledas is as much about pride as it is about justice.
- Like with SS3 Goku vs. The Benefactor, Ledas vs. The Benefactor was pretty even until the brutality of TB ended the battle. The way Ledas' head is rammed into the ground and he's knocked unconscious is absolutely savage. He seems to be quite vulnerable there. And this also gives the chapter an odd twist, since because this is the last chapter of the saga, shouldn't Ledas come out on top? That is what is expected, and yet, rather quickly into his battle against TB, he loses - and he loses badly. But he didn't go out like a wimp. He went out like a Saiyan; he went out like a warrior.
- The entire Ledas vs. The Benefactor fight took place in probably about a minute or so, which is why Vegeta didn't step in sooner. He was still recovering from his grievous wound. But once he saw Ledas go down, he had no choice but to step in, lest he watch his old friend die before his very eyes.
- Vegeta deserved Super Saiyan 3, plain and simple. It's ridiculous he never got the form in the anime or manga - and he may get it in Dragon Ball Super, but at this point, that's a bit pointless with him having Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan. I figured that after the zenkai Vegeta gets from his fight against Kid Buu (Hyper Zergling argues that he got two, which makes this even more feasible), he should have the ability to ascend to Super Saiyan 3. What made him ascend? It's a bit vague - he could have already had the form and just decided to use it now. Or, seeing his long-lost friend, whom he thought was dead, sacrifice so much to help Vegeta before getting almost killed by The Benefactor, might've roused an emotion in Vegeta that caused him to ascend for the first time right here. I don't answer that in the story, and I don't care to. That's not important. What is important is that Vegeta has one of the most badass moments when he transforms to one of the best TSFH songs ever, "Strength of a Thousand Men". The moment where he ascends to SS3 and then fights The Benefactor has to be one of the greatest moments in TF. Even to this day, as I'm re-reading the story for this commentary, that scene still gives me chills.
- "I’ll show you the true power of a Saiyan!" - this line by Vegeta, followed up by the part of "Strength of a Thousand Men" that begins immediately after he finishes saying it is one of the single best moments in the entire story, in my opinion.
- Many of SS3 Vegeta's attacks in this chapter are based on SS3 Vegeta's super attacks in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2.
- The screen going white at the end of the third scene is a bit of a nod to how this chapter ends in the original draft, with the screen going white after Goku throws his Spirit Bomb at The Benefactor.
- Notice how nothing is resolved between Vegeta and The Benefactor at the end of the third scene. The expectation is that this scene will be picked up later, but alas it is not. That is left for the next saga. As to why this saga ends on such a cliffhanger note, that is the nature of the middle sagas in each arc. The Lauto Saga, for example, ended on a similar type of cliffhanger, for it was the middle saga in the Planet Trade Organization arc.
- Notice, though, that the biggest moment of this chapter is when Vegeta goes Super Saiyan 3 and starts fighting The Benefactor to defend Ledas. It is not Ledas who gets the big moment, not Ledas who is taking on the ultimate bad guy at this point. Ledas has a diminished role in this saga, but that plot progression was more about the reality of the situation (Ledas simply not being strong enough yet to defeat The Benefactor) and the fact that I didn't want Ledas to be a Gary Stu. So many writers would have had their fanon Saiyan have the big moment at this point in the story, and I think one of the things that separates TF from the other stories on this site is the fact that I don't do that. It feels more real this way, more interesting, less cliched.
- The fact that it is night at the beginning of the fourth scene shows how I'm not resolving the TB/Vegeta fight in this chapter. It also reminds everyone that this entire saga, sans the flashbacks (and Guva's opening scene of the first chapter, which could be considered a flashback), takes place in one day. The day has ended, and so has the saga.
- Only Silver and Wisconsin survived the Lightning Strike - everyone else was literally blown to pieces. Why would Wisconsin still be intact if he wasn't going to be important later? It's these little clues, these little bits of foreshadowing that really hint towards the coming plot. If Wisconsin had no further role, he would have not been there. But the motorcycle saved him from the blast and pinned him in a way that Ryori couldn't tell he was alive. All of that luck eventually helps him capture Ryori before the start of the next saga.
- As to why these two weak humans didn't die in the Lightning Strike, it's rather simple. Ledas shot a quick attack at them while he was very weak. He couldn't properly judge how much power he was expending, and he didn't even know how much energy it would take to kill them. So it was a guess on his part, and he couldn't even fully control how much energy he released. As a result, Silver and Wisconsin, who were positioned away from the main group, were not blown to pieces, although they each took significant wounds anyway.
- The thing that was fun about the Ryori scene was how suddenly he kills Silver. There's no discussion, no time for Ryori to hear Silver's explanation. Ryori simply doesn't care. He stated what he believed to be a fact - that the New Red Ribbon Army killed Shoekki. And yeah, they did. Silver didn't do it specifically, but he's the only one left whom Ryori can get revenge on. Ryori shoots him so suddenly that it's a little jarring. One would expect that he would at least listen to Silver and perhaps let Silver live, since Silver is a canon character after all. But nope, Ryori just shoots him. It's cold, efficient, and highly emotional in its emotionlessness. Ryori's character arc was one of being a helpless boy who turns to revenge after learning about his brother's death. This whole saga, he's sought revenge, and now he's found it. Unlike the other humans, Ryori is able to exert his agency, his will, his identity in a coherent way. He defends himself. He hurts those who hurt him. In that way Ryori is separated from the other humans in TF. But make no mistake, Ryori's character is not about power. It's not about killing. He did that to fulfill his plot. But he's one of the best examples of a non-powerful character in this world of power characters of mine who I think gets some pretty damn good characterization. I am particularly proud of how I portrayed Ryori's grief about Shoekki's death in this saga, and especially in this chapter. So much is understated with him, so much is left open to interpretation. It's why he's my fifth favorite character in all of TF.
- As of writing this commentary, Supreme General Silver (formerly Colonel Silver) is the only canon character (of note) that I've ever killed in one of my fanons (note: I don't count my retellings of canon character deaths (like King Cold's by Future Trunks' hands, for example) as being in this category).
- The devastation of the land and people - all the NRRA soldiers, the body of Guva, and Ledas' unconscious body - gives the ending of this saga a melancholic feel. Also, revealing that Ledas is still lying there unconscious hints that The Benefactor and Vegeta are still fighting or at least that something has happened to The Benefactor to prevent him from safely returning to Ledas - otherwise, he would have. Notice all the gashes in the landscape. A big battle took place that was not seen. I chose not to show a portion of Vegeta vs. The Benefactor to let people use their imaginations to come up with what happened during that time - and not much happened, to be honest. A lot of fighting happened, of course, but nothing was resolved. Neither character overcame the other. The important thing to note is that The Benefactor hasn't been defeated either, otherwise Vegeta would have come back for Ledas. Vegeta not being able to defeat The Benefactor (since their power levels are essentially even now) proves to be his downfall in the next saga, but I'll get to that when I anthologize that saga.
- The transition from present-day Ledas to Prince Vegeta Saga Ledas is one of my favorite transitions in the series, and it has great thematic importance. The scene goes back in time, and yet Ledas' hand looks the same in both. Ledas has been the same guy all this time, to an extent. He's changed a lot, but his fundamental personality has not.
- The flashback that ends this saga shows the contrast between the present day and the past mostly from a characterization standpoint.
- The last scene is sad in a way, because it shows how differently things went for Ledas and Vegeta compared to how they expected their lives to go. They ended up both being much more mentally damaged than they anticipated, and that affects them even now in the present timeline.
- The entire last scene was very much based on this scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This idea that one only lives on through their legacy is a major theme of this story, and it becomes more important and notable in the next saga, but it's always been present in TF. Ledas isn't a hero - he's not like Goku or the other Z Fighters. He's a grey character. And as such, there's this question of if stories will ever be told of him. This is seen when Ledas asks, "Do you really think we’ll be great warriors one day, Vegeta? The kind people tell stories about?". Ledas hasn't gotten the renown of the Z Fighters yet, despite all he's gone through. So in a way, he's drifted through life, through the universe, without making much of an impact. From a legacy standpoint, if he makes no impact, he gets no legacy, and he doesn't live on in history. This is also a major theme of Percy Shelley's sonnet, "Ozymandias". I went over how that poem and the themes in it relate to the last scene of this saga in the opening monologue at the top of this page. The contrast between Ledas and Vegeta here becomes evident - for Vegeta has made more of a name for himself in life. And it also calls back to the above posted link to The Two Towers. In that scene, Frodo says, "Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam". In many ways, I consider Ledas to be Vegeta's Sam. I could say a lot more about this theme and characterization contrasts, but I'll leave the rest up to the readers to figure out. Do note, however, that I consider this theme as it relates to both Ledas and Vegeta to be one of the most important themes in all of TF.
- Vegeta saying, "I mean, who could have it better than us?" and Ledas responding, "Nobody!" is a reference to the famous Jim Harbaugh's catchphrase - one which he used often while he was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers (an NFL team I root for). Additionally, the dialogue exchange is ironic, since the two characters really don't have it very good in the present timeline, despite Vegeta recently ascending to Super Saiyan 3. So much has changed since that flashback. These characters are much more broken than they were before. So who actually has it better than them? Almost everyone, at least in the present timeline.
- Notice how this saga ends on a rather quiet, subdued note, both with Ryori's scene and with the flashback. That was a specific tonal thing I tried to do in all three versions of this chapter. It's somewhat similar to the tone of the Planet Earth Saga's finale, although thematically, the two finales are wildly divergent. Still, after all the battling, screaming, taunting, and transforming that's gone on, I ended up going with a non-battle scene flashback to end the chapter and saga. It was important for me to give the saga a definitive closing that is thematically accurate to what has come before it. The change in tone highlights the importance of the scene and draws the readers' attention to it, making them question why I would do such a thing. And in investigating why, it is my hope that they can come to understand at least some of the important themes of this saga.
- The theme song of this saga ("The Stars Are Projectors") is closely tied to the last paragraph of this saga in particular. Thematically, the two are related, so that should give a clue about why I ended this saga with kid Vegeta and kid Ledas watching the stars in the night sky. It wasn't just a random aesthetic choice.
For my own reference, the chapter word counts are as follows:
- 1: 1794
- 2: 1667
- 3: 1587
- 4: 2024
- 5: 1437
- 6: 1262
- 7: 2535
- 8: 1628
- 9: 1780
- 10: 1859
- 11: 2548
- 12: 2933
Now that I've re-read this saga, I can confirm my suspicions about it being underrated. In my opinion it's quite good, definitely better than the Planet Earth Saga and Lauto Saga. The thematic richness of the saga is something I had forgotten about. All of the stuff about existentialism was something I had no memory about before doing this commentary, for example. But it's quite good. There's a subtlety to this saga, especially in "Snow Day" and the last chapter, and this has some of the best character development for any of the secondary characters so far in TF. Ryori's plotline is a highlight of this saga, as is Vegeta's. Guva's own tragic end is also very aesthetically-pleasing to me. This saga has more of a DBZ saga feel to it compared to the other sagas before (and after) it. The main plot is deceptively simple, and all of the side plots, be they with Ryori or Yajirobe or Guva, are all very interesting, I think. I also think I did some interesting things with Ledas in this saga that I hadn't remembered doing before making this commentary. His role is significantly diminished, but he's still the main character - everything in the plot still relates to him in some way. His characterization is something I am very proud of; like many other things in this saga, it is understated, subtle, clever. His turn at the end, in chapter 12, when he finally shows Vegeta compassion, resulting in Vegeta realizing that Ledas is truly his old friend, was such a cool moment. And then all of the fight scenes are just really good. They are just how I want them. Yamcha and Chiaotzu vs. Guva, SS3 Goku vs. The Benefactor, Ledas vs. The Benefactor, and SS3 Vegeta vs. The Benefactor are the most memorable ones to me, with the last one being the clear fight of the saga. Vegeta's SS3 transformation is one of my favorite moments in the history of TF. It's just so epic. Only Ledas' SS2 transformation in the next saga is better than it, in terms of song-assisted scenes. And the very last scene of this saga is my favorite scene in the saga, easily. Great moment of characterization and thematic content with some cool things going on with the tone too. Other memorable things include Guva's death and The Benefactor's reveal, the "Snow Day" chapter, and Kindler shooting Ledas in the head (and Ledas' ensuing conversation with a hallucination of his father). Lots of great moments in this one, and it's a better saga than I would have expected. I will rank the sagas, for now, as follows: SGS #1; PVS #2; RS #3; LS #4; PES #5.
<---- Part 29.5
Part 29.7 ---->