Absolution
by Xero Sky     More by this Writer
The Saiyajins have been brought back to live because of a new parasite species, the Kisei that is taking over planets and infesting people. Vejiita is now the king of the Saiyajins. They have to fight the Kisei now and live with the problems their existence brought, on the universe as well as personal.
Graphic Violence Deathfic



Chapter 01
The warrior was wily and desperate. It was a ferocious, battle-scarred veteran in the prime of life, and it would gladly spend its life in the defense of its young. Thin lips skinned back across razor teeth as it crouched in the darkness of its ruined home, waiting for the killer to arrive.

The building was on the edge of total destruction. Even now, as explosions from elsewhere in the city rocked the ground, the back quarter collapsed in on itself, tearing loose from the rest of the building with a grinding roar. Thick dust rolled down the empty hallways as debris scattered.

The warrior creature stopped breathing for a few minutes, drawing on oxygen reserves stored in its flesh, and waited. A thick coating of dust settled over it as the air cleared, masking it, making its tough, plated armor seem like part of the wreckage. When it was forced to breathe again, the warrior was careful not to dislodge any of this provident camouflage. The enemy was closer now.

Very close! Sensitive ears suddenly picked up the sound of those queerly flat feet moving slowly down the hallway beneath it. Not far away the floor had given way, providing an excellent view of the space the enemy must soon cross. The warrior tensed, knowing that this was a better chance than it could ever have hoped for. If it could catch the enemy off-guard, there was a possibility it could avenge some of the dead, at least. The warrior waited, stifling a snarl as its enemy came into view.

Gah! The thing was disgusting. Pale skin and a tail just began the list of deformities. But there was no time for an inventory. Behind the warrior, carefully hidden in the rubble, a pair of eggs had begun moving softly, their leathery surfaces bulging and subsiding as the young within began to seek the outside. If the enemy wasn’t killed or driven off right now, the hatchlings would give themselves away with their cries.

With perfect timing and a shrill roar that brought more of the walls down around them, the warrior leaped, bringing an avalanche of armor plate and steely sinew down on the enemy. The massive jaws clamped shut on an upraised arm as the enemy spun to face it. Bitterly sharp teeth came together. Claws prepared to rend.

Unseen, the hand down its gullet suddenly glowed brightly. There was a quick burst of energy, expertly timed and released, and then the warrior fell, ashes scattering over the floor like fallen leaves as its charred corpse came apart.

The saiyajin smirked as he fastidiously dusted the last flecks off his sleeve. His glove was smeared with something dark, and he scowled at that, irritated. He enjoyed playing with them, but he hated getting their filth on him. Stupid beasts.

His enthusiasm, if you could call it that, worn down by long days of slaughter, was nearly at an end. Before this had all started, he would never have guessed that genocide could be so tedious. Horrifying? Yes. Grueling? Yes. Emotionally traumatic? Sure. Boring? That hadn’t even crossed his mind.

It didn’t matter much now, though. He was virtually done here, and it was time to go. There was just one last thing to take care of before he left.

With a canny look, he rose up through the hole in the ceiling, sharp senses cutting through the darkness. The rounded shapes of the eggs were clearly visible amongst the jagged rubble.

“Game’s over, kids.”

A moment later the building and most of the remaining city disappeared in a blinding maelstrom of death and fire.

***

The hillside was peaceful now in the late afternoon light. Only small creatures moved among the grass and trees. The scorching light of the double suns had subsided, and it was really quite pleasant now. Some animal was making a sweet, almost bell-like sound, and the scent of the grass was heady. Caught in the rhythms of the seasons, this place, like much of the planet outside the cities, quietly flourished as it had for centuries. The tragedy elsewhere did not touch it.

At least not the top of the hill. At the bottom, where the slope faded into the flat grasslands, two saiyajin spacepods sat in charred craters.

This was the place where it had all begun. With enough altitude, you could see how the destruction radiated outward from it in opposite directions, the progress marked by craters, ruins, and burning cities.

The return of one of the invaders interrupted the rhythm of the place for a few moments, but it resumed quickly enough. The saiyajin walked down to a shady place on the ridge, where he sat down under one of the trees. Breathing in deeply of the clean air, he smiled faintly. He’d been breathing smoke and the miasma of destruction for days. This was almost bliss.

The prince of saiyajins sighed after a few moments and started to remove the soiled gloves from his hands. He didn’t know the exact nature of the alien bodily fluids staining them, but the bright yellow was nauseating. Throwing them down, he incinerated them with a gesture. He had no idea how his father managed to keep himself so neat in battle. Vejiita’s gloves never looked like that. Nor did he ever look quite as exhausted as his son and heir currently felt.

He leaned back against the tree and crossed his legs, breathing the sweet air and letting the warmth soak into his bones. There was still a faint tinge of smoke, but this was where they’d started from, and most of the fires had burned out. The view from the ridge was of clean skies and quiet fields. It was a good place to relax and wait for his partner to show up.

Eyes as blue as the skies of his homeworld grew heavy, and he let them shut. There was nothing sapient left in the area, and he would know long before anything complex enough to have measurable ki showed up. Drowsing for a few moments wouldn’t hurt. He wouldn’t truly sleep until he was on his way home again, anyway.

The saiyajin no ouji dozed, his rest the reward for two days’ hard work. Had there been anyone left to see, they might have noted that he was unlike the natives of this planet in almost every way. He only had two arms, for one thing, and he lacked the exoskeleton. His body hadn’t been built for such low gravity, either. He was heavily muscled, with the chiseled contours easily visible underneath the torn body suit. The chest armor did nothing to hide the excellence of his physique as his muscles relaxed and he nodded towards sleep. Nature had designed the saiyajins for war, and he was a shining example of his kind.

Exhaustion took its toll. He didn’t so much as twitch when the other saiyajin arrived.

The newcomer wasn’t quite as lean as Trunks, but he was somewhat taller, and the extra bulk was all caught up in muscle mass. Dark spandex stretched over a fine form, and a dark, glossy tail was neatly coiled around his waist. A handsome face was lightly streaked with dirt and sweat, but the short, spiky hair was, as ever, impervious to such things. Unlike the prince, he’d kept one of his gloves spotless, though the other was dark with gore. He carelessly pulled them off and dropped them to the ground before kneeling next to Trunks.

Dark eyes took in the royal form with deep appreciation. After days of alien slaughter, any saiyajin would have been remarkably easy on the eyes. This one, though… this prince, his friend… Seemingly mesmerized, he didn’t move for several moments. Then he slowly leaned forward and pressed their mouths together.

Blue eyes flickered open and looked into black as Gohan drew back.

“Careful…” Trunks said softly, reaching up to touch his face.

“I’m always careful. And I always know what you want…”

“What I want and what I can have are two different things…” Trunks said, tracing high cheekbones with the back of his fingers.

“Would anyone have to know?” Gohan asked, catching that hand and pressing a warm kiss to the palm.

Trunks sighed and looked away from the handsome saiyajin who was once again offering him everything he couldn’t have. He wasn’t even frustrated anymore, only sad. He smiled, trying to finish another wasted opportunity on a safer note. It was a weak effort, and he knew it.

“Father would find out somehow, Gohan. You know what he’s afraid of.”

Of course he did. The words didn’t even need to be said, but they somehow naturally fell into the gap between them. Vejiita feared the same thing everyone else did, though his stake in it was more intimate. As with most things saiyajin, it all came down to blood and pride and the tangle of kinship, and it had consequences that reached far beyond them all.

Gohan sighed and drew back fully, moving to lean up against the tree with his prince. “Sometimes I wonder. I don’t know if my father would mind anymore. It’s been a long time now.”

“Remember what happened at New Year’s. We can’t risk it. ”

“No. I guess we can’t.”

Silence settled in between them, but it was comfortable enough. Their desires for each other were fairly recent if unfulfilled, but their true feelings went deep. They weren’t allowed to be lovers, but they were close friends, and they had been ever since circumstances had driven them together. Since the day everything fell apart.

“Sucks being the responsible type, doesn’t it?” Gohan said after awhile.

Trunks smiled faintly and nodded; there wasn’t much to say to that.

Stretching, Gohan stood up and keyed the chronometer function of his scouter. He looked around at the peaceful landscape and smiled. It almost looked like Chikyuusei.

“We made good time. You want me to get us some dinner before we head back?”

“That’s the best damned idea I’ve heard all day,” Trunks said, standing up and swishing his tired tail back and forth. Neither of them had eaten over the past two days. “I’m going to report in.”

“Okay,” Gohan said, already rummaging through a pouch on his belt for the capsules. “I hope the crew remembered to pack extra for us this time.”

“Mom would take the skin off anyone who shorted her babies on food,” Trunks said, and both demi-saiyajins laughed. Bulma Briefs was still a force to be reckoned with.

Gohan started setting up the meal while Trunks walked a little ways away. He wasn’t looking for privacy, but for the space to clear his mind before speaking to his father.

The technology that allowed for almost instantaneous communication across the vastness of space was well over a century old now. It was one of the things that had allowed Furiza’s empire to exist.

The technology that made possible the quick transmission of matter across such space was a much more recent invention. It was his mother’s, in fact, inspired by events of the day Goku had first tried to kill her.

All she had done was thrown a metal beaker at the back of Vejiita’s head after he started to walk out on a fight with her. Even if his reflexes had inexplicably failed, the beaker couldn’t have hurt him, and they both knew it was simply an act of frustration. After all their years together, they understood each other well. Vejiita would have shrugged it off this time the way he always had, but there had been a witness to this particular fight, and that had made all the difference.

Goku had caught the beaker in mid-air, crushing it and then leaping at her, snarling. It had taken everything Vejiita had to prevent Goku from killing her, but Bulma hadn’t really noticed. Her eyes had been wide and unfocused as an idea overtook her. Though no one else knew it, faster-than-light travel had just been invented, even if it took her another six months to work out the details.

Trunks had only the most general understanding of how it all worked. If his own life hadn’t shifted so radically, he might have had time to work on it with her. As it was now, he only used the things she’d invented, putting his power and his skills to use in other areas. Mass murder, destruction, and bureaucratic details: all in a day’s work.

He keyed a menu change up on his scouter, and then chose the option he wanted with a flick of an eye. Encrypted channel communications. The scouter scanned his ki and his cornea and opened the channel immediately for him.

“Torankusu, Saiyajin no Ouji, to Bejiita, Saiyajin no Ou,” he said clearly, using the once-dead language of the saiyajin royal court. The number of beings who understood that oddly ornate language now could be numbered on his fingers. It was an improvement over how things had been when he’d been born.

“Report.”

He found he had to look up this world’s name before speaking. He’d already forgotten it.

“Planet Seris-3 has been sanitized. The sapient species have been purged. We found only one enemy nest here, which was burned out before the first hatching. No other signs of offworld infiltration.”

“Excellent. Come home. Vejiita out.”

And that was it. Everyone’s dead here. The enemy didn’t get these people before we did.

Good boy.

My would-be lover and I just wiped out everything that can think on this damned dirtball, and my father approves. Who says life isn’t good? Trunks thought, grinning mirthlessly.

But he knew by now where such thoughts led, and he pushed it all away again.

It was how things had to be. His father had done this work for decades before Trunks was even born. Everything but the killing was different now, but there was still no other choice. So what else was there to say?

Nothing.

Shrugging, he went back to where Gohan now had their meal spread out on a table that had traveled in the same capsule. It smelled better than great. It was so good that he could forget the reason they hadn’t eaten in so long, without so much as a faint twinge of conscience. Genocide no longer spoiled his appetite, but purges demanded so much concentration that he rarely remembered to eat. There was too much at stake.

Indulging in lavish meals at the end of a purge was another of the tricks of the trade that his father had passed along. This necessary hedonism focused the mind on life, his life and Gohan’s, and indirectly on the lives that they were protecting. They were young saiyajin gods, and they had defeated the enemy today, depriving it of this planet and its resources. This was the way the war would be won.

Pulling his armor off, Trunks sat down opposite Gohan and smiled tiredly at him.

“Vejiita have anything new to say?” Gohan asked.

Trunks smirked. Gohan was very careful to observe protocol back home, in front of the people who cared about that sort of thing, but when he and Trunks were alone together, everything was as casual and familiar as it had been in the old days. It was one of the things about Gohan that meant the most to Trunks. And it was by far the safest one to think about.

“‘Good. Come home.'” he repeated for Gohan’s edification, doing a passable imitation of his father. The other saiyajin laughed around a mouthful of food.

“He’s always been eloquent.”

“No shit.”

“Runs in the family, I see.”

Trunks grinned and tore into the food, wolfing it down.

It was funny how quickly the appetite returned. The first time he’d gone on a purge… No, that wouldn’t bear thinking about. Neither the condition he’d been in when he’d gotten home, nor the things his father had said to him afterwards.

It was hard not to, though, when the scars were so deep.

***

He’d kept his composure all the way to his father’s rooms that day. Once he was there he’d smiled at his mother before crashing to his knees and vomiting. When he’d raised his face again, only Vejiita had been there, his eyes hard.

“Get up, Trunks. You can’t allow yourself to do this.”

Trunks had grinned manically at his father. “I just killed a whole fucking species, Papa. The cities were easy, but then I had to hunt the families in the little villages down, adults and children and … and… I am… covered in them,” he’d said, holding up his filthy hands.

He’d laughed at that, until the tears ran and he was left kneeling at his father’s feet, weeping.

To this day he didn’t know what he’d expected from his father. The boot under his chin hadn’t been it, though. His head had snapped back and he’d crashed into the wall. Stunned and betrayed, he hadn’t had time to react before Vejiita had knelt down and dragged him forward by the hair so that they were face to face.

“You get up on your feet right now, and you go clean yourself up,” Vejiita had hissed. “There is no safe place for you to be weak, not here, not anywhere! You are the saiyajin no ouji, Trunks, so you suck it up and grow a pair, boy! If you fail, how are the others going to go on?”

Trunks had managed to snarl out a response, but it was senseless, the protest of a teenager from a different lifetime. It had nothing to do with him. Even as he said it he was ashamed of it. “You don’t understand!”

Vejiita had just looked at his son, his eyes cold and fathomless. He had let go of his hair, but he hadn’t relented. It was a turning point, and they had both recognized it.

Trunks had forgotten about his own pain and disgust for long enough to recognize the saiyajin in front of him. His father, hard and unloving except in utmost privacy. His father, with the fastidiously clean gloves and near-mania for scalding hot showers. His father, who had spent so much of his life in Furiza’s service, and who was now overseeing the deaths of billions.

“Bury your shit, boy, before it buries you,” Vejiita had said, and Trunks had nodded, breathless and appalled. No one understood better than his father.

The missions never got easier, but he’d adapted. He’d done exactly what his father had said. He buried it all. He still had nightmares, and he’d adopted his father’s glove fetish, but he held his head up high. It was his duty, and it was the only way he could function. He didn’t even know how many planets he’d cleared so far. That kind of bookkeeping was unhealthy, and the details didn’t’ matter much anyway. What mattered was that he kept going.

Weakness meant failure, and failure would be the death of everything.

***

He turned his attention back to the feast in front of them, only occasionally glancing up to see Gohan doing the same thing.

At length they were done, as full of food as they could be. They didn’t bother repacking anything. Lazily, Trunks hitched a foot under the table and sent it, with its freight of dishes, tumbling downhill. There was no one left to object to his poor manners, after all.

Stretching out his legs, he eased back in his chair to watch the sunset for a while before it was time to go. Gohan did much the same thing, only sprawling in the grass on his stomach and pillowing his head on his forearms. His tail flopped back and forth, thrashing the bluish green grass.

It was good to be quiet for awhile, not doing anything, not harming anything, merely breathing.

The silence stretched comfortably before he noticed Gohan fidgeting. He playfully smacked Gohan’s tail with his own, encouraging him to spit out whatever was bothering him. It worked.

“Trunks?”

“Yeah?”

“My dad… You have to promise you won’t tell Vejiita.”

Trunks sighed. What he was being asked was common enough between friends, especially those who had grown up together. No big deal, right? Except that it was, because his royal title meant something now. His father was king. Keeping secrets from him was an act of treason.

Keeping secrets about Goku from him could be suicide.

“Gohan, I can’t.”

But Gohan was already nodding. “I know, I know. I wouldn’t ask except that I don’t think it’s something your father needs to know right now. I wouldn’t even say anything about it, except that I have to… I want to tell someone.”

Trunks searched his face, and then nodded after a few moments. “I won’t tell him now unless I have to, okay? Does that work?”

“I trust you,” Gohan said, and Trunks closed his eyes, touched despite himself.

At least this was different than reminiscing about a past that wouldn’t bear thinking about.

“Dad was late for breakfast a couple of days ago,” Gohan began after a moment. “He’s never late for food, you know? I asked Vejiita, but he was in a really bad mood, and he just blew me off. I could barely feel Dad’s ki. Sometimes he suppresses it, when he wants to be alone, but it didn’t feel right this time, so I went looking for him. He was in the shower…”

He broke off, staring into the middle distance, remembering his father’s blood in the warm water spiraling down the drain. Goku’s calm, sad eyes and his rough whispers had stayed with Gohan every second since then.

“He’d cut himself open,” Gohan said softly. “Down his arms and his chest and stomach. The cuts went all the way to the bone in a couple of places. It had to hurt, but he didn’t act like it. He was just standing there under the water, bleeding.”

“What the fuck?” Trunks said, alarmed. “What do you mean, he cut himself?”

Gohan shrugged helplessly. “There was a knife. I think he must have charged the edge of it with ki and suppressed his own, because otherwise it could never have hurt him. I could smell the blood as soon as I went into his rooms. When I found him, he wasn’t upset or anything. He just said ‘Hi, Gohan’ like he was really tired.”

“What…? Why? Why would he do that?”

“He said…” Gohan started, and then sighed, rubbing his face with his hands. “He said it was how he remembered the price of happiness.”

“Damn…” Trunks whispered, repulsed and saddened all at once.

“He let his ki come back up to normal and a few minutes later all the wounds had healed. He washed up and got dressed, and it was like nothing had ever happened. It didn’t even scar. He had the shower go through its cleaning cycle, and that was it. By that time he was his normal self, cheerful and about to starve to death if he didn’t get any breakfast.”

“Did he say anything else about it?” Trunks asked, sitting forward and staring at Gohan.

“Nope. Wouldn’t talk about it anymore. That afternoon you and I had to leave for this job and… here we are.”

Vejiita would have said something earlier if there’d been any problems. Hell, he would’ve called them back home immediately. Still, Trunks couldn’t help but worry. “Do you know what he was talking about?”

“Yeah, and so do you,” Gohan said evenly.

Trunks grunted slightly. “Yeah.”

He knew. He just didn’t want to think about it.

Goten.

Everything had started with Goten.

There were three different Gotens living in Trunks’ memory now. The exuberant child. The 16 year old boy who had given him his first kiss. The wreckage he had found Goku weeping over that day. The further he pushed the last one into the recesses of his memory, the farther the other two slipped away. For his sanity, as well as for the last few drops of sweetness that Goten’s name brought him, he had to let it go for now. He had to think about something, anything else.

Like the way Gohan wouldn’t look at Trunks right now, and the way his tail had wrapped tightly around his waist again.

Was it bizarre that they could still feel such grief for loved ones lost and damaged, when they had killed so many themselves? Trunks didn’t know. To quote his father: “This isn’t something you analyze. Tend to your own dead, but look after the living first.”

Good advice, from someone who knew.

Trunks slid down onto the ground next to Gohan. The other demi-saiyajin was a decade older than him, but that mattered even less to them than it would have to the humans they’d been raised with. He put a hand on Gohan’s shoulder. “Hey, it’s alright. It’ll be okay.”

Faint, weak words. He knew better than that. A saiyajin didn’t rely on such pathetic expressions. Well, what then? The things he really wanted, even needed, to do were forbidden.

By his father. Who was literally millions of miles away from here right now.

“Gohan?”

“What?” Gohan’s head was hung low, as if in defeat. It didn’t suit him. He was strong, almost impossibly strong, the rock that Trunks stood on. Trunks might be the prince, but Gohan… Gohan was always at his back, always there for him. Gohan had lost even more than the rest of them had, and yet these moments were rare for him. Would it hurt so much to let him know that Trunks understood?

He cupped that strong chin with his hand, and turned Gohan’s face towards his own. Smiling fondly, he brushed away the always-errant lock of hair from Gohan’s face. He knew him so well. He could almost feel the ache behind those eyes. Gohan’s universe had lost all semblance of order the day the slaughter began. All he had left now was his father, who wandered along the cliff’s edge of sanity, Pan, and Trunks. He hadn’t dared to build anything more for himself in all these years, but everyone relied on him. And the one thing he’d asked for had been denied him, by Vejiita, by Trunks, and by his own sense of responsibility.

But maybe…

Perhaps they couldn’t have everything they wanted, but surely there was something…

Trunks leaned over and touched his mouth gently against Gohan’s. It was a soft kiss, and a gentle one, and chaste at first in case either one of them wanted to pass it off as a lark or a mistake. Neither one did.

Trunks let himself go. Nothing wrong could possibly come from something so sweet. His tongue played over Gohan’s, then slid deeper, their mouths opening for each other in the fundamental act of trust that was any true kiss. He wrapped his arms slowly around Gohan’s waist, feeling the taut muscles under thin cloth. He had wanted this for so long that it seemed unreal now.

This was exactly why he hadn’t let the earlier kiss go any further; he didn’t want to stop, ever, even though he had to.

Gohan ran one hand up into fine silken hair and pulled Trunks closer, not wanting to let the prince have any chance at second thoughts. Trunks was warm in his arms and under his mouth, and even though this couldn’t last, he was going to keep as much of it as he could. He tried to memorize everything, every sensation before it was too late, in case this was all he ever had of Trunks.

Hands roamed and bodies pressed together as tails came unwrapped and twined around each other, sending little shockwaves of pleasure through the two saiyajins. Heat built between them as mouths parted to taste other delicacies.

And then it was over. Gohan had to be the one to stop it, because Trunks was already lost. It had to be over right then, or it wouldn’t end at all.

They drew back from each other, skin heated, breath coming in little gasps, eyes half-clouded with lust, and waited, each of them on the edge of temptation, for the other to fall first. A glance, a caress, the casual swipe of a tongue… any of these could have sent them into each others embrace again. Yet the longer they waited, their resolve crumbling, the heavier reality weighed on them, draping them in its folds.

Vejiita had forbidden any relationship between them other than friendship. As with so many things in their lives, it all hinged on Goku, and the unending struggle to keep him stable.

It was the king’s belief that the eldest Son still associated Trunks too strongly with Goten. There were solid reasons to think so.

Breakfast on that last morning in the Son household must have been exciting, Trunks had always thought. He wished he could have seen it. Seventeen-year-old Goten had not only announced that he was gay, but also declared that he was passionately in love with his best friend Trunks. He’d told Trunks only a week before, and although Trunks wasn’t sure to this day what he’d really felt for Goten, he knew he’d cared enough not to turn him away. Goten had always brought a kind of glow to everything, and, really, how could he have refused to take a chance?

Goten, excited and full of energy. Goten, love-struck. Goten, happier than his family had ever seen him. Those were the last memories his father had of him, and all of them came about because Goten was in love with Trunks.

Trunks and Goten. Goten and Trunks.

The next time Goku saw his son, Goten’s lungs had been pulled out through his back and spread out on either side of his spine like flaccid, gory wings, and that was only the beginning of his injuries. No wonder he was so fixated on the memory of Goten in love.

Obsession wasn’t uncommon among saiyajins, but rarely could the consequences prove so lethal. Vejiita didn’t think that Goku could stand seeing Trunks with Goten’s brother; there were too many echoes there, too many memories of death and madness. There was no one with greater insight into Goku’s emotional status than Vejiita, and it was hard to argue against him, especially when all of this had to be kept secret. In the end, Vejiita was king, and he had long since made his decision and declared the subject closed.

It was how things were, and unless something drastic happened, it was likely how they’d continue to be. A kiss and a gentle touch might be all that Trunks and Gohan ever shared.

The prince closed his eyes and turned away from the familiar yet bitter disappointment. His shoulders slumped as he gathered himself.

In contrast, Gohan’s dark eyes remained open and clear, sparkling now with a newly-kindled secret. It wasn’t often that he kept secrets. Gohan was responsible. Gohan was dutiful. Gohan could always be counted on. And Gohan had just had a moment of absolute clarity. He had finally gotten a good taste of what he most desired, and all his resolutions, all his good intentions had disappeared. He gave them up without a struggle.

Simply put, Gohan now had a plan. He would let go for now, back away, and play the part he’d been assigned. No one would suspect him of even this simple deception. Then he would do what ever he had to do. He would have Trunks, no matter the cost. He had spent his life fighting to save the universe. It owed him.

Unaware, Trunks stood up and started putting his armor back on. He risked a glance at the peaceful eyes of his friend and partner, and was glad that Gohan agreed they were doing the right thing.

It was time to go home. They didn’t say another word to each other, but it was again a comfortable, if slightly stunned, silence. Glances and smiles were exchanged, and then the two of them climbed into their pods and took off, thinking only of each other. The planet they had just purged, and the death they had brought to all its peoples, were already forgotten. Another planet won and lost, another system denied to the enemy. Same tragedy, different sector.

Behind them cities burned and corpses stank. Wildlife picked through the remains, and eventually plants would force their way up through the cracked paving. Feral things would hunt along the broad avenues of elegant cities. Wonders of art and architecture would rot away. No one and nothing would remember the day the saiyajins arrived, nor the hour they left. Only ruins would stand in memorial to everything that had been lost. Soon enough, even those would be gone.



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