Sovereign was the final Brady Patrick story, although it was conceived weeks prior to the rest of the second generation one-shots. I was on the Dragon Ball Fanon Wiki chat with TeamUnitedNerds, going over potential story ideas. The idea for a story about a Cell Jr. was one of the ideas I randomly came up at that time. I knew when I thought it up that if I were to write it, it would feature a Cell Jr. being blasted into space and taken by Space Pirates.
Weeks later when I was on skype with Destructivedisk going over potential new story ideas, I created the list of 10 that would be the second generation of Brady Patrick stories. The Cell Jr. idea was put in at number 5 because I remembered it from my conversation with TeamUnitedNerds. When I later decided to use all 10 stories, I knew that this would be the last one. Sovereign couldn't be written in the 600-2000 words that all the other stories could, so it had to be the closer.
Around the time I was writing Slick, which was the penultimate story in the collection, I got the idea to put all of the twelve Brady Patrick story names into the story. They were put in in the order of being written, with one each in the first eleven chapters. Additionally, each of the first eleven paragraphs' first word was the first word of the named story. So, for example, the first paragraph is for Sixth, so it has the word sixth in it. The first word of the paragraph is "A", which is the first word in Sixth. This was somewhat tricky for the two stories which started with dialogue, but I was able to manage it just fine. There were really only two difficult words out of the 22 put in - and they were speedball and scelerat. Neither are particularly common words, but I was able to find a way for both of them. Suffice to say, speedball's inclusion is what likely alerts readers to the small easter egg, as sixth and slaved are common words and easily passed over.
Those 22 words were written probably 2-3 days before the rest of the story. As for the writing process of the story, it was quite unique. I wrote the story in four parts, and for the first two parts, I was housesitting for a friend (thus having more privacy to play with my toys). The first twelve paragraphs were written in one go. I created a playlist of my favorite Radiohead songs and listened to those while writing. This is why I had two Radiohead references in the beginning of the story.
The second section was written from the thirteenth paragraph until Crusty Pete's demise. For this one, I listened to no music. This was written two days after I wrote the first twelve chapters, and I don't really have a good reason for not picking a song while writing. It may have been due to the continuation being spontaneous instead of planned, like the other three parts. The part with the space ships exploding and raining down over Crusty Pete and Cell Jr. as they fought was a very colorful image in my mind, and I remember being very excited to write it out.
The third part was written several days after the second part. I had returned home from housesitting by this point. I will note that in between the second and third parts, I went through a brief stint of listening to nothing but Beatles songs. So by the time I came to write the third part, I listened to Let It Be on repeat for the duration. The third section was from right after Crusty Pete to when the Cell Jr. got free and collapsed in the closet.
I wrote the fourth and final part of the story a day or so later. My song of choice for this was While My Guitar Gently Weeps on repeat. I chose the 2004 George Harrison tribute version simply because the solo that Prince does at about 3:20ish into the song is the greatest solo of all time and I also wanted to put the song into the story. My use of the song in the story was improvised as I sat down and began writing that night. I feel like listening to the song over and over again helped get me in a synchronized writing mood with the song and made it flow wonderfully with the fight scene.
All in all, between the four parts, I probably spent more than 10 hours writing the story. A lot of that time was procrastination, though. Only three aspects of the story were pre-planned. They were 1. That the Cell Jr. would survive the Cell Games somehow. 2. The story would not take place on Earth (because that would be illogical and impossible, given the Z Fighter's ability to sense ki) and would include Space Pirates. 3. That there would not be a happy ending. The ending itself reminds me sort of what happens to Kid Buu at the end of In Requiem (a sad piece of the plot that people rarely comment about (but more about that on the IR anthology page)). Aside from those three points, I made everything up on the spot.
The Slagg and Pete references were just an attempt to inject a little humor into an overall sad tale. I felt like I made quite a few references in this story, compared to many of my others. But I'm not sure if that is the case. One thing that irked me about this story was that I never really had a proper name for the Cell Jr. I could call him Cell Jr., the creature, and sometimes Junior. But it bugged me that he didn't have an actual name. It made constantly writing Cell Jr. tedious, but I feel like creating a name would detract from the seriousness and realism of the story (to the Dragon Ball universe).
A moment was all it took to send him spiraling downward. Just minutes prior, he had had it all; power, family, happiness. Now here he was, the sixth Cell Jr., half-buried in rock and ash, barely alive. He had tried to flee Gohan’s attack, but that proved to be a fruitless effort. That young saiyan had, out of nowhere, become insanely powerful. He didn’t understand it. He and his brothers had tried to kill the golden-haired boy together, but not even their combined strength could hurt him. It wasn’t fair. So he had fled for his life, and now lay broken in the dirt because of it. Feeling the waves and waves of pain resonating throughout his small, battered body, the Cell Jr. rolled over and let out a sharp gasp. Even breathing was difficult. As he tried to move, he felt the life force of his six brothers fading out until they were all gone. He growled softly to himself. He wanted so badly to kill that kid. But he was so weakened, standing so precariously on the edge of death, that he couldn’t do a thing to help. He could still get away, though. He would still get away. The small creature pulled himself up out of the small crater it lay in, and began crawling. He clawed desperately at the ground, whimpering and crying to himself as the pain grew unbearable. Still, he moved his ragged body further and further away from the action behind him until he could no longer think or see. The last thing he heard was the dull sound his head made when hitting the hard earth.
The Cell Jr. awoke suddenly to a great commotion building ahead of him. He looked up only to see a maddeningly bright light overcome everything else in his vision. He once again started crawling, this time towards the light. He could feel the power of his father, Cell, up there. And as he walked, he could feel his energy coming back to him, his wounds slowly but surely healing, as his cells regenerated. The Cell Jr. slaved his way as quickly as he could, hoping that somehow his father could protect him if he could only get there. Yet as the small creature got closer to the light, he noticed another power, about as great as his father’s. Rage and fear shot through his veins as he realized it was Gohan. The Cell Jr. stopped himself, noticing he was close enough to see his father and Gohan. They were locked in a beam struggle, fiercely trying to kill one another. He could see neither had an edge, that neither was going to win just yet. While the Cell Jr. had wanted to save himself before (especially after how aleatoric his survival had been), now that he could see his father was in such dire straits, he felt an insatiable urge to help. He was still extremely weak, and stumbled and faltered as he tried walking forward. Even if he could just distract the saiyan, maybe that would be enough to help his father win.
The sound became deafening as the creature ventured closer to his enemy. There was so much power, so much ki being put into the struggle that the air around him was sparking and popping. He lowered his head and trudged forward, cutting through the wind being generated by the impressive energy. Finding Gohan to be using but a single arm in his attack, the Cell Jr. realized his task would be easier than he thought. Grinning slightly, he shouted ‘Destructo Disk’ and conjured up a sharp yellow disc of energy. Preparing to use it to sever Gohan’s last good arm – or at least stall the kid - he stepped forward and planted his dominant foot. The Cell Jr. arced his arm back to throw when a loud explosion went off behind him and he was swiftly engulfed in blue-white light. Like the loser in a professional game of speedball, he was flung upwards into the sky, as his limbs were torn to pieces. Heat and disorientation covered the remainder of his body and he remembered no more.
It was in a small, confined room coloured in dull brown, that the Cell Jr. thence found himself. He had no memory of how he had gotten there, nor if he was dead or alive. Standing up, he found that he had arms and legs again; though this was not wholly unusual. Given that he was also in no pain, he guessed he had been given sufficient time to regenerate from his fight with Gohan. He let out a shriek and threw himself against the nearest wall upon remembering what the saiyan had done to him. He didn’t know what happened to his father, but for himself, he was sick of being second-best. Composing himself for a moment (and, perhaps, in an effort to find a way out), he walked over to the entrance of the room, and found the door to be a glass-like material. Gazing out, the Cell Jr. saw empty corridors and closed rooms. No sign could he see of where he was. Becoming quickly annoyed at his imprisonment, the creature closed his fists and slammed them against the clear door. But they just bounced off, doing no damage at all. He turned back around, to look at the wall he had slammed moments before. It too was undamaged. He was shocked; for at his full power, the Cell Jr. should be able to destroy that with little effort. He attempted making a ki blast to shoot, but as he formed it in his palm, a great force of suction came from the ceiling, and pulled the ki from his fingertips into a tube above. Curiosity flickered in his eyes. He had no idea what was going on. So he decided to do another attack, this time an energy wave. Yet the same thing happened as before, only this time, it caused the creature to collapse to his hands and knees, feeling so drained of power.
“Where didya think ya were goin’, little imp?” a mordacious voice spoke, before laughing to itself (spinelessly laughing, by the way). As the Cell Jr. looked up, he noticed a lavender-skinned bipedal being come into view; and clearly, he was finding it hilarious that the Cell Jr. had lost the strength to stand.
He, being our protagonist, looked up with a sneer. Were it not for the glass separator between the two, he would have ripped the laughing alien’s head right off. The blue creature lunged at the glass again, only to be denied, and flung back to the floor. This caused another riotous uproar from the alien, and he stamped the floor and howled in delight. The Cell Jr. noticed the alien was not the same species as Gohan, or any of the other fighters at the tournament. The alien was clothed in baggy pants, with no shirt to hide his large muscles, and a three-pointed hat lay on his head. His hair and beard was a deep red, and on his shoulder was something akin to a mechanical parrot. Or at least that’s the best comparison I can make for human readers.
“Please don’t hurt me ship, if you can help it! Aharharhar!” the alien bellowed, before quieting down. “Ah, I guess yer wonderin’ why yer here, eh? The name’s Slagg. I’m the captain of this ship. She’s called the Sovereign, not that ya care, eh? Heheh. We found ya floatin’ in space yesterday and brought ya onboard. Yer a strong little bugger but you won’t be fer much longer! Har har! That room yer in will suck out alla yer energy ‘til ya got none left. Then I take yer energy and power me ship. Then when you regain some energy, I start the whole process again! Brilliant, huh?” the alien said, tapping on the glass. He noticed the Cell Jr.’s livid face and continued in a more serious voice. “Listen, little guy, we ain’t lettin’ ya go. No point fer ya ta skulk around. These here walls are katchin. Strongest metal in the universe, if ya didn’t know. There’s no way yer breakin’ through with how much energy we’ve already took! Now you stay quiet. I’m gonna check me other prisoners. Heheh.”
It’s perhaps lost in the gravity of the situation that the Cell Jr. didn’t notice his vastly decreased power when he first became conscious on the ship. In fact, by this point (a day or so after Gohan killed Cell), the Cell Jr. had so much of his power taken from him, that he likely could not have beat up a weak fighter such as Krillin, like he had once done so easily on Earth. The Cell Jr. did not give up so readily, and stubbornly punched and kicked at the walls and door until he had exhausted himself. Then, falling into the corner of the room, he curled up into a ball. At this point, a panel in the wall opened up, and a small dish of cold soup was presented to the creature as a meal. He didn’t even know if he (biologically speaking) needed to eat; still, he hastily drank down the watery muck, and just as he was licking his lips, he noticed the suction machine come alive yet again. It was a great deal more painful when it wasn’t sucking up materialized ki, but instead his life-force. The Cell Jr. screamed in agony as the machine literally ripped the energy from his cells and pulled it upward. Then, after a few moments, it turned off, and left the crumpled figure alone.
There was little reprieve during the coming days. The Cell Jr. got weaker with each passing session. As much as he had scoured his small prison, he found no way to escape. The problem had been that with every time his energy had been ripped from him, he had suffered bouts of hallucinations. Sometimes, they were so severe and long-lasting that they would blur together and he wouldn’t even notice when the suction machine would come on. His mind suffered as well, as he became unable to hold a thought, or think things out. He had only memories and the constant presence of Captain Slagg, the nasty scelerat, who, of course, liked to sit around and chat, to sit around and chew the fat.
After another tortuous week, the Cell Jr. had learned that Slag’s first mate, Crusty Pete, was a great musician. He was the only company the Cell Jr. could endure without fits of rage. Every day or so, Pete would come by the cell that our protagonist was staying in, and play him another serial portion of his most recent composition. While the Cell Jr. was often hallucinating during these sessions, he could tell that Crusty Pete could, at the very least, play a mean belly. As this specific day wore on, the Cell Jr. ate his gruel and submitted to another torture. It seemed to him that they were becoming more frequent and straining on his small body, for after it was over, he keeled over and spit up blood. Then, trying to stand back up, the Cell Jr. immediately threw up. The small creature fell back down and started crying in pain. This time, it had hurt far more than any time before. He could tell there wasn’t much left inside him. To make matters worse, the hallucinations were gone; he no longer had any sort of distractions from his miserable state.
By the time Crusty Pete had come around this day, the Cell Jr. had quieted down. The first mate sat down on the floor, and lifted his shirt to prepare the belly song. This time, the Cell Jr. got his first proper look at the alien. He was of the same race as Slagg, though no hat covered his slick red hair. He wore an orange suit, and appeared much skinnier than the good captain. And between the sweet notes Pete was hitting in his most beautiful nocturne yet, the Cell Jr. realized something. Fragments of thoughts began piecing themselves together as he stared more intently at the first mate. Something about the alien’s clothes had set off a memory for the Cell Jr., but he couldn’t quite remember it. The Cell Jr. looked down at the mess of blood and vomit that he was sitting over, blinking his eyes furiously. Then, looking back up at Crusty Pete, he realized what he was trying to remember; the orange clothes reminded him of Goku. Then, at once, the Cell Jr. knew exactly how to escape the ship. He stood up, and howled, pumping his fists in the air for the sake of victory. This, surely, caused Pete to stop his piece, and stare up annoyed at the prisoner. Then, the Cell Jr. showed his fangs to Pete (they were quite sharp), and placed two fingers to his head.
“Instant transmission!” he yelled in a feeble voice before vanishing. Reappearing outside, in the silence of space, he looked at the Sovereign for the first time. He didn’t have enough power or focus to instant transmission much farther away, though he figured that could be fixed with a few hours of recuperation.
It was a truly massive cruiser. The Cell Jr. couldn’t see around it, over it, or through it. The ship took up the entirety of his vision. Flying about it were hundreds of smaller ships, clustered about every inch of the ship like bunches of flies; clearly, the Sovereign housed an entire empire within its katchin walls. Seeing this, the blue creature turned away, and started flying as fast as he could. After only a few moments of freedom, he could already feel his power returning – though he was nowhere near his maximum. At least his regenerating cells were fast workers. He could probably be back to normal within a day. As the Cell Jr. moved farther and farther away from the ship, he became distinctly aware of something creeping up on him, and throwing his head around, he found it to be a brigade of one-manned ships.
They opened fire on him, releasing a blanket wave of plasma through the void. He tucked into a roll, veering downward to avoid the blasts. Yet so numerous were they that nowhere could he have gone to dodge their attacks. Several burning bolts hit him, covering him in waves of stinging heat. He cried out in pain as much as frustration before retaliating. The Cell Jr. mustered his energy and flung himself around, straight towards the oncoming fighters. As he reached them, he started shooting off ki blasts, which cleared a nice path in front of him. The fighters, however, took note of his capabilities, and started bobbing and weaving about to dodge the oncoming attacks. They regrouped and surrounded him on all sides. Then, they unleashed their payloads all at once on the small figure.
The blue creature, in turn, began charging up an attack, even as he was riddled with plasma and explosives. Just as the explosions began to envelop his figure, he released a super energy wave. This caused a massive explosion, as the ki wave flew outwards from his body. Every vehicle it touched, it blew to pieces, sending fragments of metal and pilot in all directions until the entire brigade was wiped out. Then, the Cell Jr., seeing a nearby asteroid field to his right, made way for a landing, and a much needed rest. But as he hit the surface of the nearest asteroid, he felt once again that someone was watching him. Turning around, to face where the Sovereign would be (in the far distance), he was viciously hit by a fighter. Just before the impact, he noticed the pilot eject; and then the ship plowed into him and cut him in half, destroying everything from his lower torso up in a violent explosion.
The pilot landed opposite of the two legs of what once was the Cell Jr. Crusty Pete shook his head, and sighed through the mask on his face, “Bastard wasn’t worth the risk. Better to take him out and not lose the fleet…”
Then, the first mate pressed a sequence of buttons on the forearm of his suit to call for a ride home. As he waited, he looked up at the Cell Jr’s feet drifting aimlessly a few feet above the asteroid’s cratered surface. He began warming a weapon on his forearm to eliminate the remains of the creature. As he watched, he noticed the legs begin to pulsate. Within a few seconds, they were vibrating rapidly. Cursing to himself, Crusty Pete slapped his arm to make the weapon charge up an attack faster. And then, all at once, a new head, torso, and arms burst out from the remains of the body. There, once again, was the Cell Jr. And this time, he had a look of utter malice on his face.
He rushed at Crusty Pete. Pete fired the partially charged blast at the Cell Jr., but it completely missed the errant demon. Punching and kicking wildly, the cyan monster then put the first mate on the defensive. As they fought, numerous remains of destroyed ships from the earlier battle rained down around them. They dodged around anything that landed too close; but for Pete, his ability to multitask was limited. As he tried to dodge the remains of his space-comrades, the Cell Jr. overtook him, and broke his guard. Then, the creature started pummeling him mercilessly, vanishing and teleporting around him so that the first mate remained completely disoriented. A particularly savage hit left Pete falling to the ground, yet before he could hit it, the Cell Jr. teleported above him, and slammed a pointed foot down through the alien’s back. Pete was thrust into the rock, creating a massive crater in his wake. He rolled over, screaming as blood seeped through his suit and began filling his helmet. The Cell Jr. landed next to him.
With a livid look, it ripped open Crusty Pete’s suit, pulling back the folds of space armor and orange underclothes until his belly was bare. Then, the Cell Jr. plunged a hand deep into the first mate’s stomach. The alien screamed in his suit, but his voice soon fell quiet as the harsh space environment, coupled with being impaled, quickly killed him.
“Masenko!” Cell Jr. yelled at the now dead Crusty Pete. The energy dissolved the alien quietly, until he was no more.
It had been a while since the Cell Jr. had smiled. But after killing this long-hated alien, he felt joy creeping onto his face. Thus, like any good slave to his emotions, the Cell Jr.’s preoccupation with his victory kept him from hearing the sound of another fighter come and land behind him, for another alien to exit the cockpit, and for that very alien captain to sneak up from behind, and hit him over the back of the head until his vision went dark.
The Cell Jr. cracked his eyes open, instantly blinding himself with a wall of pure white. After several seconds of furiously blinking away the painful light, he could tell that he was once again within the ship. This was a different cell from before, and indeed, he soon felt that he wasn’t resting on the ground. Around each of his four limbs he saw bright yellow rings of energy subduing him to confinement. Floating in the air with his arms and legs splayed in various directions was surely better than being tied to a chair, only to be tickled by an old man. And the blue creature quickly noticed his regenerated power to be gone yet again; he had not the strength to even tug at the painful binds.
From this vantage, the Cell Jr. could see, out from his little prison with the clear door, another cell opposite his. Within it were others – not the same species as Slagg or Crusty Pete (god rest his soul) – but much maligned and sickly-looking slaves. They were grey-skinned and tall, and there were dozens of them crowded in a cell not meant to house even two people. They seemed absent-minded, for none looked at the Cell Jr. and his plight. He, in turn, chose to waste away his hours by growling and spitting at them. If he weren’t in shackles, he would gladly kill them for ignoring him. Had his father given him the suction cup on his back to suck up people, he would do that too. But alas, his father hadn’t bothered.
It was a while before the suction machine came back on, and when it did, the Cell Jr. noticed it start up in the cell opposite at the same time. With the numerous, weak aliens in there, each time one was caught in the suction’s path, it ripped the skin from their bones, pulling their miniscule energy out with such force that they could not survive it. Becoming numb to the pain he was feeling as well, the Cell Jr. peered ahead with ravenous eyes as countless aliens were torn to pieces, their bones and flesh falling into a great pile. While he didn’t feel happiness or satisfaction, the Cell Jr. looked on to the carnage without a speck of remorse or pity.
The Cell Jr.’s energy binding dissipated when the suction machine had started up, and he had remained crouched on one knee throughout the process. As soon as it was over, as if by cue, Captain Slagg walked into view, petting his mechanical parrot with the fervor of a girl climbing through a bathroom window to get a glance at Paulie (or wear his trousers like any good Samaritan would do). Regardless, upon seeing the captain, the Cell Jr. stood up, and pressed his face against the glass, scratching, gnawing, biting, and hacking at the door. He was so delirious by now he could only process the most primal urge of revenge.
The captain, however, was in no mood to play games. Upon his face was a look that could even frighten someone pretty tough. “Ya killed me first mate, Crusty Pete. He was a good pirate. Aye, a good pirate!” he shouted, pressing his hand to the glass to show the Cell Jr. a particularly nasty gesture. “Ya saw those in the other room, huh?”
The Cell Jr. hissed.
“Good. Now don’t think I don’t know yer different. Ya are. We found ya driftin’ in space, I told ya. You were missin’ half of yer body, and we didn’t know if ya was alive. But you was radiatin’ a ton of energy from yer body, and we just had to take it. Watchin’ you regenerate in your little cell… well, that was quite a sight. I knew I’d hit the goldmine! Ya don’t get it, ya know? Who I am, what I do… well, I’m a space pirate. And yer energy fuels me ship. Old Crusty Pete figured you came from Earth. But we never went there. Too many high energy levels, fer me taste. I may be a pirate, but I ain’t a stupid one. I don’t mess with things that I can’t win at.”
The Cell Jr. pounded his fists against the wall. “Shut up!!”
“Them in the other room are only good for one time. So I have to find lots of planets to keep the ship runnin’. But now that I got you… well that changes everything. I just bring you to an inch of yer pathetic life and then I let you heal a bit, then I do it again. And who gives a fuck how much pain it puts ya through? Fer killin’ Pete, I ain’t gonna show you sympathy. Yer an animal, a filthy little beast. Ain’t no one out there comin’ to find ya. I promise ya that!”
“Instant trans-” the Cell Jr. shouted, quickly throwing his hand to his head.
“Not this time!” the Slagg yelled. He conjured up several energy bindings and once again put the Cell Jr. under their confinement. The creature struggled mightily, albeit unsuccessfully. And without use of his hands, he had no way to use the move.
Satisfied, the angry captain left. As he left view, the Cell Jr. let his head fall forward until he rested his chin on his chest. Just before he closed his eyes, the lights went out. He wasn’t a beast or an animal. He delighted in pain and suffering, but he had his thoughts, his consciousness, his feelings. His savagery had been broken on several occasions since being captured, not least of which at this moment. He hated that captain for torturing him. But he couldn’t deny the truth in that alien’s words. There was no one searching for him. His brethren were all dead. He felt Gohan annihilate them all. His father, Cell, was likely dead too. His father hadn’t won the beam struggle – and it had practically killed Junior, and he wasn’t even hit by it. Those who still existed either hated him or wanted to exploit him. And he couldn’t feel too sorry for himself, for they had no reason not to.
His goal was still escape. Yet every time he tried to get out, they pulled him back in, removing much of his power (quite painfully) in the process. He had no hope of escape while he remained in the prison. No, he had to at least get out of the path of the suction machine before anything else. He felt the suction machine come on again, and the energy rip from his muscles and bones. The pain was overbearing on his sore muscles.
At this point, a most curious thing occurred. The Cell Jr. felt heat rush to his face that had nothing to do with the terrible machine above him. His eyes started watering, then uncontrollable streams of liquid poured from them down his face. He saw no way out of it this time; no way to hide from the pain. Before, against Gohan, against Crusty Pete, he had fought so hard for his survival. But not anymore. Now, he just wanted to die, to make the pain go away.
Eventually, the lights came back on, and the Cell Jr. watched as some armed guards escorted more aliens (of a different species) into the cell ahead. He noticed that he must have fallen unconscious at some point in the past few hours, since the cell had now been cleaned of the bones of the previous occupants. He couldn’t even muster up the energy to hate the new prisoners. He didn’t care anymore. It was all meaningless. Every action, every breath was just another moment between ungodly suffering.
He watched the group die as the suction machine came on. He remembered them for only a day – and solely because of the loudness of their screams. In time, they were replaced, and the cycle started again. The Cell Jr. rarely saw Slagg during these times, as the captain was busy conquering worlds with the Sovereign. Every now and then, the Cell Jr. would notice the captain walking past him; and never once did the captain look at him. He wasn’t even a being anymore, just a tool to be used by the space pirates’ for their unending needs.
One day, the Cell Jr. had just gotten over a particularly nasty session with the machine when he noticed an alien slowly walking by him. He was of the same species as Slagg, though he was much shorter and fatter. His clothes were stained and torn and he wore an undersized hat upon his bald head. Moving about, he held in his hands a ratchet, clanking about on the walls with it, attempting to repair any damages. Getting to the Cell Jr.’s door, he looked up once at the broken, destitute creature before returning to his work.
The Cell Jr. did not appreciate being ignored, and raised his voice as high as he could. “Hey!”
The janitor looked up with two lazy eyes. He sighed to himself, then went back to his work.
“Stop!” the creature yelled hoarsely.
The janitor looked up again with annoyance. This sudden distraction to his work had caught him off-guard, and he didn’t like it. “What do you want, slave?”
The Cell Jr. stared into the janitor’s eyes for several seconds before responding. Then, with a tepid voice, he spoke, “Kill me.”
The janitor shook his head like a parent would upon hearing their underage child ask to take the car out for a spin. Then, he moved on with his work. The creature pleaded with him, though no words could get that alien to look up again. Soon, he moved out of sight, and the Cell Jr. was once again alone.
He was crying again, though he barely could tell from his numbed senses. The Cell Jr. instead looked to other options. How else could he die and end the pain? Though his mind was now quite the scatterbrain, he could remember one move that would surely work; one move that he had only his genes to thank; that of Chiaotzu’s self-destruct.
He prepared himself with little thought. His short life had held no memories worth saving. But maybe this would let him see his family again. “Self-destruct!” he yelled, then. And his voice echoed in the silence.
Yellow ki started surrounding his body, and he felt a surge throughout his body, as his bones, muscles, and organs began overloading. His body swelled up, and he started screaming (as such an action pained his sore body greatly). But then, it all went away. In an instant, the ki filling his body evaporated, and the pain stopped. Puzzled, he looked around for what had stopped this. And then another wave of pain came on, this time hurting much more. He looked up, and saw the suction machine on, realizing that the production of ki had triggered it. A few moments later, it was done, but the pain it had inflicted on him was more than just physical.
He couldn’t even kill himself.
Days blurred together. The only notable moments were when the suction machine came on and when pirate lackeys would come to gawk at his wretched condition (and replenish his energy bindings). Everything else was a haze of self-loathing and suicidal fantasies. As time wore on, the Cell Jr.’s arms and legs became exceedingly raw from the constant bindings.
He began tugging at the bindings; despite knowing that he could not break free, the constant pain left him no choice but to fidget. And it was, at the point, he realized how weak he actually was. After a few tugs of his arm, the Cell Jr. felt a terrible, sharp pain running down his arm. It didn’t matter to him, and he continued to struggle. Then, he felt and heard a soft crunch in his arm, and then felt himself break free from the energy binding. He looked to his arm, and saw the hand still in the binding, with everything below the wrist torn completely off. While his blood sprayed from his open wound, the Cell Jr.’s mind was elsewhere; for he knew how he could yet escape. Now, it is no use describing in detail him ripping off his other three limbs, but it is accurate to say that it hurt him mightily.
Once on the ground, the Cell Jr. sat in a pool of his own blood until his limbs regrew. When he felt new hands shoot out of his arms, he placed one to his temple, concentrated with all of his power (which was not easy), and then teleported out of the compartment. He found himself in a hall of the ship, and after checking for any pirates, and finding none, he made way through the ship. Finding a small room, the Cell Jr. snuck inside, and fell to the ground, too tired to bother trying to kill himself again. He instantly fell asleep, allowing himself to recuperate and regenerate in peace.
He could sense the ship was in panic before even lifting his eyelids. Not only had the pirates lost their prized energy source, but now they didn’t even know where he was. The Cell Jr. sat up and surveyed his position. He was in a small, crowded closet, without a light. Through the crack below the door, he could see a light on outside – though it was not the normal white he had gotten so used to, but in actuality red. Alarms were sounding, and he could hear the footsteps of many aliens running back and forth outside. He yawned and felt his energy; still, his body felt sore and worn, but much of his power had returned to him. He was confident that no one could capture him now. Not that it mattered. He was going to use instant transmission to get out.
As the Cell spawn placed two fingers on his temple and concentrated on where he wanted to go, he was struck by the fact that there was nowhere to go. He realized that Earth would be hostile and unbefitting, and that staying here would be even worse. While he contemplated finding a remote planet to live on alone, the door behind suddenly rustled, and burst open, bathing the cyan creature in flashing crimson light. He turned to face whatever alien had been foolish enough to walk in on him.
It was the janitor.
The Cell Jr. snarled, dropping to all fours. In an instant, he created ki around his body, and dashed into the janitor. Fueled by revenge and hatred, the force of his dash sent the small creature right through the torso of the alien, crashing through the wall, and bursting out into another hallway of the Sovereign. The Cell Jr. looked behind him, at the path he had made, tearing a hole through the (clearly not katchin) walls. He saw the dead janitor on the ground, blood spurting out from the massive hole in his chest. In his right hand he still clutched the ratcheting socket wrench. The janitor was probably returning to the closet to get more tools, having no idea the prisoner he had refused to help was inside. And the Cell Jr. felt no remorse for ending his life.
Hearing more footsteps coming upon him, the Cell Jr. backed out of sight. He watched a group of heavily armed and armored pirates run by him. After they had passed by, he once again walked out into the hallway. Killing the janitor had completely changed his mindset. Dejection and suicidal thoughts were gone from his mind. With his power restored, and no home to return to, he had but one course of action: to make those who wronged him pay.
He ran at a light pace down the path, sensing for where Captain Slagg was. After rounding a corner, he came face to face with a slew of prison cells. He slowed to a walk in order to peer at them. How he wished he could absorb their power, if only to speed along his own recovery. Reaching the end of the room, he continued walking. However, this caused massive uproar from the prisoners. Clearly, he wasn’t of the pirates’ species, so the Cell Jr. had to be their savior, their hero if you will. But the noise irritated the Cell Jr. He owed them nothing, and the way they begged him just infuriated him. Stopping at the end of the room, he looked into the last cell.
“Shut up!!” he said, seething between his teeth. They didn’t. In fact, that caused the prisoners to raise their voices even louder. The Cell Jr. scrunched his face in distaste and growled. He had had enough of them. “Galick Gun!” he yelled, creating purple energy in each hand. Then, he released the powerful attacks on each cell, mercilessly killing every one of them.
Once their screams had died down, the Cell Jr. moved on. He wasn’t happy with what he had done; more accurately, the necessity of his genes had pushed him to strike at those who expected pity, who expected mercy. He simply had none to give. He pressed on, finally locking onto the Captain’s power reading. After his previous stint of blowing apart an entire prison wing of the ship, his confidence had grown. He no longer feared the pirates.
Thence, he took to flight, and flew through the ship with great speed. As he went, the Cell Jr. created many ki blasts, and threw them around, blasting the ship to pieces as he went. Pirates and prisoners alike were vaporized on sight. And with every second, his power grew more and more. He finally came to a stop upon seeing a large collection of pirates standing in his way. At their helm was the second mate, known affectionately as the second mate. As soon as he saw the Cell Jr., he pointed his hand, and ordered them attack. The crew aimed their alien weapons at him, and fired. Bursts of energy, much like that of the space ships’ (though on a much smaller scale) came flooding through the hall to meet the Cell Jr. Many brushed and bounced off his hardened body armor, and many more were swatted aside.
The Cell Jr. shot forward, diving through the blasts. They felt like mosquito bites at best, no more painful, and no more annoying. Cutting through them, he reached the second mate. Flipping over the salty pirate, the Cell Jr. shoved an elbow through the back of his head. The mate’s brains, eyes, and teeth splattered across the far wall as his body fell limp before it had even reached the ground. Then, turning to the rest of his enemies, the Cell Jr. created a super energy barrage, shooting off dozens and dozens of yellow homing blasts into the crowd of marauders. Each was struck by the blasts, sometimes dismembering them horribly, other times instantly killing them. Regardless, the Cell Jr. then landed, and walked through the crowd of bodies and wounded. Some of the wounded pirates tried still to attack – and they were met with swift backhands or kicks which shut them up for good. Then, the Cell Jr. came upon a great door that they had all been standing in front of. Inside, he sensed the power of the Captain. Without hesitation, the Cell Jr. opened the door and walked inside.
At the ship’s wheel stood Slagg. In the midst of the chaos, he stood steadfast; in the sea of confusion that was around him, with many of his crew running this way and that, and his prized energy source completely missing, not to mention multiple hull breaches coming up on his systems report, he stood calm. Grasping the wheel with full command, he piloted the ship forward, using his long-range power level reader to search for the Cell Jr. Little did he know those sensors were useless; his quarry was just feet behind him.
Upon hearing the door open, he spoke without turning his head, “That you, second mate? What’s the status of those breaches?” After hearing no response, the Captain’s curiosity was piqued and he turned his head around, grinning slightly. “Hey, why aren’tcha answerin’, ya dirty fool-”
He stopped midsentence upon seeing the Cell Jr. Before he could do anything or say anything, the Cell Jr. spoke, “Super Kamehameha!”
(While My Guitar Gently Weeps reaches 3:28)
The Cell Jr. waited until the last second before materializing the blue blast. Then, at once, he lifted his hands and pointed it at the dreaded captain. The blast swept through the small control room, blowing apart the entirety of it. As the blast broke the window looking out into space, the vacuum of space took over, pulling out rubble and crew in one unforgiving breath. The Cell Jr. resisted it easily and stood there with a maddeningly unhappy look on his face.
Then, from above him, came a flash of black, and the creature was hit in the face with a boot. Dropping from the ceiling was Slagg, whose torn and tattered cloak blew from the suction of the vacuum. Tragically, Slagg’s mechanical parrot was gone, clearly destroyed in the blast. Picking up the fallen creature, he began punching the cyan monster in the face repeatedly. The Cell Jr. took each one of these hits without attempting to block. In his hands, he created a small ki blast, and threw it into Slagg’s stomach. This caused the old pirate to yell, and drop him; he stumbled back, hugging his burnt stomach. The Cell Jr. followed this up with another energy barrage, covering the alien with burning energy.
As the Cell Jr. took a moment to recover his energy, the captain shot out of the cloud that had formed from the explosions against his body. He took the creature by surprise, and slammed his head against a nearby computer panel. The Cell Jr. flipped over the alien’s arm, and pulled it back in an attempt to break it. However, Slagg quickly countered this by creating a ki sword with his other hand and slicing at the Cell Jr. The Cell Jr. felt immeasurably terrible pain run down his body as he was vertically cut in half. His grip loosened on the captain’s arms, and he floated back as his body was paralyzed by the pain. The Captain took this as his opportunity to finish him. Slagg dissipated his attack, and then aimed his hands at the floating Cell Jr. Creating a massive green energy blast, he then fired it at the bisected creature. Following up the huge ball, he fired another, smaller, blast into its back to hurl them both into the Cell Jr. at a screaming speed.
The dust cloud cleared, and there was no sign of the Cell Jr. “Damnit… I shouldn’t have killed ya…” Slagg spat. Turning around, he made way for the door, to get out of the damaged room. As he did, he was suddenly tripped forward. He saw a blur of blue before being pummeled by a multitude of punches and kicks. This all sent him flying into a nearby wall. As he staggered up, he noticed the Cell Jr. charging him. In both hands was a large ki sword, mimicked from his recent attack.
The captain created his own sword at the last second, and parried the power attack. Dodging to the side, he cornered the Cell Jr. against the wall. The two traded blows, furiously slicing and hacking at one another. As the Cell Jr. began to regain more power, he slowly overtook the captain, pushing him back. Dodging attacks that split walls and chairs like a knife through a baby’s heart, Slagg soon found himself with his back to space. Being that he couldn’t breathe in space, were the Cell Jr. to push him much farther back, he would die. Taking a final stand, he stepped forward, battling the creature furiously. Due to the Cell Jr.’s small size, he was able to weave back and forth easily. Jumping through the captain’s legs as the alien made one last, desperate charge attack, the Cell Jr. turned around, and found the back of the pirate to be unguarded. With one strike, he had plunged the ki sword into the back of the captain. He saw the alien jerk, then try to roll over, but the Cell Jr. held the sword firmly in place. After a few more seconds of fighting it, the captain’s body went limp. The creature let out a long sigh then screamed.
He had won.
The Cell Jr. walked back into the undamaged part of the ship with much pride. His chest puffed out; his face barely suppressed a grin; he walked over the bodies of those he had killed. He had been through so much, had so much unfairness burden him down. Yet now here he was, victorious through it all. He didn’t know where to go yet. Maybe he would travel from planet to planet in search of things to bring him fun. He heard the door blow open behind him, but didn’t turn around. The ship was likely about to fall apart.
The Cell Jr. continued walking over the dead bodies of the crew, sometimes brushing up against their cold fingers. While the feeling was annoying, he didn’t let it get to him, for he was trying to clear his mind to instant transmission his way to complete freedom. He closed his eyes, and thought of places he could go. He thought of some planet near Earth that he had knowledge of. No, those were all uninhabited. That would be the epitome of boring. He could continue along the path the Sovereign was on… yes! That’s what he would do. Surely the Sovereign was in a very populated part of the galaxy. He would go from planet to planet and ravage them. It would be fun.
The Cell Jr. started to concentrate on the outside of the ship to instant transmission out of it, but as he did, he found his concentration to be clouding up. He suddenly felt a tingling go down his face, and his ears were overcome with a high-pitched, piercingly shrill sound. He opened his eyes, just in time to fall to his knees. The Cell Jr. had no idea what had happened just now, but it felt like he was getting weaker. He started panting as he looked around. It felt similar to the suction machine had, but without the tortuous pain of it. He screamed, bashing at the floor below him. If there was a suction machine in this room, he would find it and destroy it. The Cell Jr. jumped up, but within seconds, he fell back to the ground, completely exhausted. In panic, he raised his arms and prepared a blast to destroy the room – and he quickly found he could no longer make ki. The recent grueling battle had left him weak and vulnerable and now his strength was evaporating faster than an Amish beard in a barbershop.
As the Cell Jr. fell backwards, he felt something wrap around his body. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the face of Captain Slagg, which was mixed with a curious combination of glee and pain.
“Shhh, lad. Quiet now. Ya ain’t got much time left,” he said, tapping a small box on the side of the Cell Jr.’s leg. “This here has taken all yer energy. Ya can’t do anything now.”
The Cell Jr. raised a hand to try to tear off the device. He realized with horror that as he had been formulating his plan, the feeling he had had thought was him brushing up against the dead crew’s fingertips was Slagg’s placing of the energy suction device on him. His hand was shaking feebly, and he soon found he didn’t have the energy to reach his leg. After a minute of stubborn resistance to Slagg, he finally let his hand fall.
“There ya go. Heheh. In a minute, me medic’ll come and patch me up. We’ll get some new slaves to fix up the Sovereign. It’ll all be made right… But ya little bastard… you ain’t goin’ nowhere. As long as there’s breath in this body, I ain’t never lettin’ ya go. You’ll wish I killed ya today. For tomorrow, I’m gonna start your life of hell. This is for Crusty Pete and second mate, ya stinkin’ bastard! I will make ya feel true pain for the rest of yer life!”
With that, he hit the Cell Jr. over the head, causing the creature to slump into unconsciousness.
- The original description for the Cell Jr. story was "5. Sovereign - a short story cataloguing what happens to a single cell jr who survived the cell games, who is taken as a prisoner by a wayward space pirate"
- This story is named sovereign because that is the name of the ship as well as being an ironic descriptor in a story about slavery.
- This is the only Brady Patrick story with a theme song.
- "A moment was all it took to send him spiraling downward." - this first sentence was very important to me. Not only does it literally describe him crashing into the ground after Gohan shoots him with a blast, but it foreshadows how, in one moment, his entire life is ruined.
- The Cell Jr. is not one of the ones in the manga, as Gohan kills all of them with physical attacks. He is the first Cell Jr. "killed" by Gohan in the anime. Gohan shoots an energy blast at him, which was the only way to keep him alive.
- The use of aleatoric was because I had seen that word earlier as a word of the day on dictionary.com. I was extremely annoyed at how Microsoft word didn't recognize the word as being correct (putting the red lines under it), when it is, in fact, a real word.
- Mordacious was also a word I had seen on a website. I was likewise annoyed that it showed up as an incorrect spelling, when it was clearly not.
- Captain Slagg was based on Captain Slag from the Ratchet and Clank Future series. In those, he's a wily Space Pirate Captain. I was using Space Pirates, so it was a reference I had to make.
- The use of imp in Slagg's speech was due to me recently looking over an old Magic The Gathering card called Bog Imp.
- The spinelessly laughing bit was a reference to Exit Music (For a Film) by Radiohead.
- Slagg's appearance was completely random. The colors and whatnot were not thought up with any pre-planning. I gave him a mechanical parrot because he was a Space Pirate. I'm not sure if Captain Slag ever had a parrot, though.
- Every time I wrote for Slagg, I thought and read it aloud in Captain Slag's voice. I tried to, at the very least, keep accurate speech patterns for an old salty sailor.
- The employment of katchin was dual-purposed. For one, it disallowed the Cell Jr. from breaking free through physical force (likely, even at full power). Secondly, it shows Slagg's vast wealth, to be able to coat an entire prison cell in the hardest metal in the universe. This is also a nod to my earlier story, Scelerat, where Cooler made his sepulcher out of that stuff, which implied personal opulence as well as need of the strength.
- The energy machine was thought up as a way to keep the Cell Jr. from destroying the ship. It also gave a purpose to the pirates. Considering this story takes place in a post-PTO universe, I think it's accurate that pirate ships like these would spring up everywhere. Obviously, Slagg is one of the more powerful and successful pirates, so his ship has better technology. His use of ripping energy from living beings to power his ship is one of my favorite technical plot points I've ever written. Heck, I could probably write an entire fan fiction about Slagg, himself. The post-PTO spacewide power struggle a vast, unexplored area for fan fiction that I barely touch on here, but the way I do so makes it seem like there is nothing but anarchy.
- The bit about wanting to chat and chew the fat is a reference to the Radiohead song, Life in a Glass House.
- Crusty Pete is based off of the Ratchet and Clank Captain Slag's first mate, Rusty Pete. I really find the subtle change in name hilarious.
- Crusty Pete playing a mean belly is a reference to Spongebob Squarepants, where in an episode, Patrick once said he could play a mean belly.
- The thing about Cell Jr. eating was something I didn't know and is never explained in canon. So I had him eat stuff and then throw it up later. He never eats again, implying that he doesn't need to, to survive.
- The purpose of the hallucinations was to show just how delirious and wretched the Cell Jr. was. In these states, he couldn't probably visualize Crusty Pete, and therefore notice that he looks like Goku. Once Cell Jr. realizes that he looks like Goku, he thinks about instant transmission. This is one of those subtle plot points that I really like.
- I actually find it quite sad that no one really appreciates Crusty Pete's music. He spends a great deal of effort perfecting songs and doing that which he loves. He even gives free performances to the prisoners. And no one appreciates how skilled and great his songs are.
- Crusty Pete's use of nocturnes as his standard composition type is a reference to Chopin, as he made the type of music quite famous.
- The Cell Jr.'s use of instant transmission comes without him witnessing Goku using instant transmission in the Cell Sagas. This is okay because Future Goku still used instant transmission, so Future Gero would have been able to program Cell with it.
- When thinking about what the Sovereign would look like, I had, in my mind, a cross between the UNSC Infinity, the Super Star Destroyer, and the massive ship from Space Balls. Being that Captain Slagg was so powerful and successful, it only made sense that his ship was absolutely massive and housed hundreds, if not thousands, of loyal soldiers.
- The fight with the ships in space was highly influenced by the space sequences in Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction.
- I wrote Crusty Pete's pursuit of Cell Jr. with the implication that he wasn't going after the creature for deserting the ship per se. He was going to kill the Cell Jr. for leaving while he was performing his piece. It must have broken his heart.
- The fight between Cell Jr. and Crusty Pete was one I could visualize very easily. I could see the ships falling and burning up around them as they fought and it lent to very descriptive text. I really liked reading back over that part.
- "Floating in the air with his arms and legs splayed in various directions was surely better than being tied to a chair, only to be tickled by an old man." - is a reference to the various pages that 35Baragon has created.
- It was important to show the other slaves dying because this implies that that is how the machine normally works. The Cell Jr.'s power is just so high that he doesn't die and his regeneration abilities mean that the machine can be used on him countless times.
- The Cell Jr.'s satisfaction at the other aliens' demise was an attempt to show that he isn't a hero or a noble person. While he is suffering, he is still quite evil. This story is, essentially villains versus villains with no heroes.
- Slagg's explanation about why he never plundered Earth was crucial to the story. Revealing that they found the Cell Jr. unconscious in space (and were able to remove most of his energy before he woke up) explains why they are all still alive. It also explains that they have some pretty good deep-space scouters on their ship. They know about Earth and avoid it, which is pretty much the opposite of every other villain in fan fiction that I can think of. So that really helps expand and make unique Slagg's villainous personality.
- One of the saddest moments was writing when the Cell Jr. realizes there is nowhere for him to go. His family, consisting of his brothers and father are likely dead, and Earth is filled with people who would kill him. It's really a tragic realization, especially after the creature realizes he can't feel sorry for himself anyway. He's still evil.
- "Yet every time he tried to get out, they pulled him back in" is a reference to The Godfather: Part III.
- "In time, they were replaced, and the cycle started again" is a reference to the lore texts of Iname, Death Aspect and Iname, Life Aspect.
- The bit about the Cell Jr. failing at self-destruct was inspired by a bit of stand up that Jerry Seinfeld did, where he talked about people who failed so much that they couldn't even kill themselves. That was a great bit (especially when he started giving them suggestions on how to try to kill themselves again) although my use of it here was not humorous at all.
- The graphic nature of how the Cell Jr. ripped off of his limbs to escape was slightly a nod to the various Saw movies, and whichever one had that girl cut off her arm.
- Since the Cell Jr.'s always spoke their attacks (and our protagonist does throughout the story), I thought it was important to have him speak outside of when he yells some Z Fighter move. Naturally, it would be short speech, but it would be more than the nonsense babble of Kid Buu. I thought this was important with the section where he kills the prisoners. His use of 'shut up' is childish, but quite conscious of the situation. It was a deliberate move to distance the Cell Jr.'s personality from that of Majin Buu.
- The Cell Jr.'s killing of the alien prisoners again reinforces that he is not a good being. He is evil. I think the challenge of the story is to make the reader feel bad for him, even though he's a bad guy, even though he does bad things in the story. He's still being treated poorly, and it's unfortunate to have to go through.
- The sequence for the song montage was improvised. I specifically made him shoot the Kamehameha right when Prince's solo started, however, as that's the climax of the fight and story. The fight was written to be really fast-paced and brutal (especially with space pirate swords) to go with the music.
- The scene with Slagg at the helm of the ship, piloting it as he searches for the Cell Jr. was another extremely visual scene for me. I probably over-described that scene, compared to the text around it, but it was such a striking image to me that I had to. Slagg standing so tall and calm as the lights flared and people ran about him is something I can't unsee when I read that section.
- The second mate remaining nameless was a purposeful move. He wasn't important so he didn't need to be named. This is something I also did in Spindlerun, with not naming some characters whom we all knew would die before the story was over. It's pointless to waste time coming up with names for people like that.
- The Cell Jr. victory is basically how a standard fic would end. He defeats the oppressive captain and walks out in victory. I wrote it like that until the very last second where Slagg grabs him and takes him away. The last moment with the Cell Jr. reaching for the device sucking away his energy - and then being unable to muster the energy to rip it off is his end. After that moment, he has no hope of escape. He lets his hand drop and basically has to accept that he will live forever as a slave. This part was somewhat of a twist ending when reading back, although I never felt like I was trying to write it like that. It's just a natural progression of nothing good happening to the poor Cell Jr.
Sovereign was a rather interesting story for me to do. It's a bizarre plotline, in that the Cell Jr. becomes the energy slave to a Space Pirate. But I pride myself in the plot. At this stage in my writing career on the site, after so many fanons, I do like that I'm able to come up with such a unique story idea and execute it the way I want. Reading back, it's really well-written, and the dialogue is superb. I think Slagg is one of the best villains I have ever created; he's evil, but he's not arrogant; he's vengeful, but he's not stupid; and he clearly knows that those who are stronger than him are people he doesn't want to deal with. The Cell Jr.'s plight is also quite tragic and meticulously explained. With the ending being how it was, with the Cell Jr. not getting away, it's quite unorthodox. I really find the post-PTO universe fascinating, and I was able to explore it in a brief, yet satisfying way in this story. Not only was I able to develop new fanon characters, but the emotional rollercoaster of the Cell Jr. gave an otherwise mindless beast a personality and story, which is very reminiscent of In Requiem. If I were to change anything, I would probably add in another section where the Cell Jr. breaks free, but stays on the ship and learns more about what exactly the Pirates are doing. I'd give Sovereign an S.
<---- Part 23
Part 25 ---->