Meanwhile, At The Red Ribbon Army Headquarters...
Dribbles of blood collapse onto a clean, marble wood floor. Each and every drop evaporates and fuses with its target. Heavy panting is heard from a man in a blue suit with a purple tie. "Haaa..." His multi-thousand dollar business attire is now stained with permanent injuries as he is pinned up against the wall. Gigantic, solid steel pins have been shoved into his shoulders and legs so he is unable to move. Blood continues to boil through his veins but he has no strength to resist.
"What's the matter, Iceburg?" A taunting voice echoes from in front of an Executive of the Red Ribbon Army. "You look a little...stuck. Bahaha!" Iceburg remains silent and avoids contact with the man laughing at his pain. "Huh?" The stout and short man questions. He has multiple patches of baldness over his skull, with just a smidgen of hair centered in the middle of his head. Furthermore, he has a fairly round face and a small nose that seems completely out of place. Currently, he is sporting dress pants and a sports jacket. The colors of his clothes are completely different and do not match in the slightest. "Well...You're supposed to cry, you knows? Stop mwaking this boring!"
Around the room are three Red Ribbon Soldiers glued to the walls, awaiting any orders that may come there way. Just behind Iceburg and the man taunting him sits Fleet Executive Phoenix Graham, the man who was captured by the Freeborn Military and traded in order for the safe retrieval of General's Dr. Fiasco and John Giant. Phoenix has his hands folded together and pressed up against his chin. His eyes are closed, but he can hear everything that is transpiring around him.
"Idiot!" Iceburg receives a swift blow to his gut and instantly coughs up blood. It lands on his torturer's sports jacket, bringing out a look of sheer pandemonium. "Did you just...cough up blood on mwe?"
Iceburg looks at the man with a tint of fear but he attempts to suppress it. "I apologize, Fleet Executive Pluto. Please forgive my insolence." Iceburg grits through his teeth and bows his head down to his superior.
The man named Pluto grins at this for a second before frowning. "Newp!" He slams his fist into Iceburg's gut once again, but the Executive manages to hold in the blood this time. Who knows what might happen to him if another drop of blood lands on Pluto. "Nwot good enough!" A bombardment of blows are shoved into Iceburg's gut with no rest.
Suddenly, everything goes silent. A man steps into the room with no sound beneath his thick boots. His long and white hair breezes back as he towers above everybody around with his massive height of nearly ten feet. He glares over at Iceburg with disgust. "This insect is still alive?" His deep voice echoes throughout the room and all around are firm and still. "Kill him."
Phoenix Graham snaps open his eyes and glares at the man who just entered the room in shock. "Are you serious, Geo?" The man known as Geo doesn't even attempt to acknowledge Phoenix. "What he did was traitorous, but he does not deserve the death penalty. Iceburg has been in the Red Ribbon Army for nearly a decade now! He's powerful and cunning. It would be unwise to end him here and now."
"Phoenix." Geo mutters through his thick teeth. "Had those idiots at the Freeborn Military been anything more than that, your life would have been taken because of this man's actions. We cannot overlook that."
Fleet Executive Phoenix Graham stands up fast, knocking his chair to the ground in the process. "Do you honestly think trash like them would have been able to end my life? I was exactly where I wanted to be."
"Nonetheless, even an attempt to take the life of a Fleet Executive results in the death penalty. Do we want to look like spineless weaklings in front of the army? The world? We need their support now more than ever. Iceburg will die here and now. End of discussion."
"Heh heh." Geo grins at the fact that he shut up his colleague so easily. "Pluto, end him."
"Y-y-y-yes, Geo!" Pluto responds to the man of equal rank in fear before turning back to Iceburg. "Say bwye bwye!"
"No! Please! Don't kill me! Anything but that!" Iceburg shouts, his whole body shaking. Ki is built up in Pluto's hands and he places it on Iceburg's stomach. Just before it's released, Geo raises his right hand and everything goes silent once again. Instinctively, the Ki Pluto was charging is dispersed and he peers over to the side.
"You do not wish to die?" Geo questions with a cold stare. He begins walking over to Iceburg. "Very well. I'm a reasonable man." A glimmer of hope writes itself over Iceburg's face. Geo turns around to one of the guards on the wall and points his devilish finger at him. "You. Find out where his family lives. Kill them all. I want it streamed live in here. Do it now."
"Right away, Fleet Executive Geo Klush!" Without so much as a stutter, the soldier sprints out of the room and runs downstairs. Iceburg stares at Geo with tears boiling up in his eyes, but does not get any response. A few moments later, that same soldier returns to the room with a small beeper in his hand. He points at the wall opposite of Iceburg and Geo, clicks the single button on it, and live footage of a city appears on the wall.
"Hohoho. South City, is it?" Geo questions as he leans back beside Iceburg. "Quite a luxurious place. You must have set your parents up good with the money you received from the Red Ribbon Army."
"I get the point..." Iceburg musters out fearfully. "Don't lay a hand on them. Please. Kill me if you want but just--"
"Noooo," Geo Klush says slowly in order for the words to leave more of an impact. "I'm in the middle of fulfilling your first request. Zoom in on his house." On command, the video footage zooms deep into the city and two middle aged people are shown sitting in a chair watching the television. Both of them are well into their fifties, but are peacefully sitting down and chatting. "What lovely parents they must have been." Geo stands up straight once again and looks at the same soldier as before. "Blow up the city. Erase it from history."
"NOOOOOO!" Iceburg screams and tears flood down his soiled face. A massive explosion engulfs the entire city on camera, erasing its entirety. With the click of a button, the live stream is turned off and the soldier broadcasting it returns to his position on the wall, next to the others. Phoenix Graham looks down to the table and shakes his head slowly, although he refrains from speaking.
"I believe you had a request." Geo says slowly, glaring at Iceburg with imposing eyes. Ki glows in his palm and he gently places it over top Iceburg's heart. Heavy pants mixed in with volatile tears are the only thing Iceburg is able to get out. "They died because of you. Insect." The blast rips through Iceburg's heart and it explodes on impact. His head drops down and all movement ceases. Without a doubt, Iceburg is dead.
Back At Forte Valkyrie...
Three days have passed since the battle against Pitou and his forces. During this time, all of the Generals that were capable have worked hard to repair Forte Valkyrie again. Although it is far from being back in perfect shape, the flooring's for all of the levels have made a return. Other than yourself, nobody is aware that Rem was killed as of yet. You have held back on telling them due to the pandemonium it would surely cause.
"How is he?" You question, stepping into the Medical Center. Even though you used Recover after the battle, the wounds from your stitches reopening could not be repaired. Fortunately, Dr. Fiasco and Kaiba's brother, Doctor Ed, have been working hard to bring everybody back into working condition.
"Hard to tell." Ed replies as he looks over Echo, who is lying on a bed with multiple medical instruments attached to him. "I know I probably sound like a broken record by now, but he had lost over 80% of the blood in his body. Any normal person would have kicked the bucket long before that."
"Echo's a fighter, that's for sure..."
"I just hope that will be enough."
"If you need somebody to give him blood, then I'll--"
"No, don't worry, Commander. General Blue has already volunteered and has been doing his best."
You look just past Ed to see Blue sitting on a four-legged chair, completely drained. He must be giving Echo a lot of blood. At the moment, he's reading a newspaper. "Looks like the Saiyans attacked South City," Blue calls out. "The entire place was destroyed..."
Paying little attention to the - most likely - inaccurate news, you turn back to Ed. "How's Kaiba?"
Ed grips his fists together and manages to make out a smile. "He's...he's doing okay. Thanks to the Senzu Bean you gave him, he lived. And for that, I thank--"
"Don't mention it. Mind doing my bandaging?"
As Ed wraps you with a fresh set of bandages, your mind begins to wonder. How are you going to tell everybody about what happened to Rem? "I guess things will just have to wait until all the Commanders are back in shape." You realize. Although Thrigon and Joseph were fine after Day 2, Echo and Kaiba are still struggling to live. Dysect hasn't even shown himself since the conclusion of the battle. Fortunately, your Scouter has confirmed that he is in no physical danger.
You stand up, ready to leave. With a nod to Doctor Ed, you head out towards your room. On your way, you stop in front of Rem's quarters. You put a large boulder in front of it so that nobody would go into it, but thinking about it now, not even you know what it inside. You peer to the sides to make sure nobody is watching you, and after confirming this, you shatter the boulder and enter casually.
"What should we do with the bodies?" General Watson asks.
"I don't know man. Maybe burn them or something?" Stiffy adds.
"We'll have a memorial." Another voice comes into the mix. Both Watson and Stiffy turn around to see John Giant behind them, gently patting their shoulders. "It would be wrong to melt the bodies that God blessed them with. We will bury all of the deceased just outside of Valkyrie and commend them for their hard work..."
"Bury them? Look at them all!" Stiffy barks. "There are easily hundreds of bodies. It'll take all day to make graves and--" A hand grips Stiffy's shoulder, causing him to stop and look over. It's Watson. His friend simply shakes his head which shuts Stiffy up.
"Stiffy, please fly all the bodies down outside. I'll start digging graves. Watson, if you could, please notify one of the Commander's of our plan so that they could get the word out. We'll have the memorial at midnight."
"Got it." Watson walks out of the room to leave Stiffy and John Giant alone with each other.
"Guess I'll start flying everybody down." Stiffy picks up the bodies of two Elite Soldiers and bursts out of the window.
As he does that, John Giant jumps out of the window of the second floor and drops down from the skies. "I need to get stronger. So many lives were lost because I was unable to protect anybody! I won't let this ever happen again!"
"Hmph." You bitterly mutter. Minus a few desks knocked around and a bit of blood on the ground from Piccolo taking a beating, nothing appears to be out of the ordinary until a thought strikes you like a bolt of lightning. "That's right." You rush over to Rem's bookcase and pull out a CD from the top shelf. It is still in its case, unopened.
You have a seat on Rem's couch and fold one leg over the other. "I'm supposed to gather all the Commander's here and watch this video with them..." Wondering what is inside the case, you pop it open to see letters jotted across the CD and it reads: "Rem's final will and testament." How professional.
Thoughts of what Rem spoke to you about during your final meeting with him flood into your mind. "Echo and Kaiba need to hurry the Hell up and recover! Just what exactly is inside this CD, Rem!?"
"Commander Kiryu!? Commander Kiryu!? Can you here me!?" A somewhat familiar voice continues to call your name but it takes you a few seconds before you can fully realize who it is. General Watson. He appears across from you with a puzzling look on his face, most likely because you are sitting alone in Rem's Headquarters.
"Come on in," you direct with a wave. He nods and walks towards you. "What is it, Watson?"
"Commander, myself and two other Generals are organizing an event for midnight and we were hoping to get your approval and support."
"It's a, uh, memorial. So many people died against Former-Commander Pitou. Generals, Frontier Agents, Elites, Soldiers, and perhaps...perhaps even Commanders." You glare at him for that last comment. Echo and Kaiba will not die. "Anyway, we just thought it would be best to give the fallen one last send off for all their hard work. After being dedicated Soldiers and dying for our cause, I think that it's only right."
You grapple your chin and rub your trimmed hair slowly. "Yes. I agree. What do you want me to do?"
"We'll handle all the leg work. You just need to make an announcement for everybody to come down to the Graveyard tonight, at midnight, and we can do it together."
"Very well. Go ahead. I'll make the announcement when it is time."
"Thank you, Commander." With that, Watson runs out of the room.
"Is it really me, Rem?" You ask yourself. Hours fly by until the day is nearing its end. You walk over to the Microphone that Rem used to make announcements from and cough into it. "Right, I need to turn it on." With the flick of a switch, everything said will be broadcast. "Everybody, this is Commander Kiryu. I want everybody in the Freeborn Military to head outside of Forte Valkyrie at twenty to midnight. We are having a memorial for all those who died. I hope you'll come down and join us for one last goodbye. That is all." You turn the Microphone off and walk out of Rem's quarters, heading downstairs yourself.
Dim lights from lanterns brighten the area around you. It appears that nearly everybody in the entire Freeborn Military is out here, each staring at the graves that were made up by John Giant. General Stiffy begins to put Soldiers into graves. Everybody merely watches and says their goodbye's. Dead silence succumbs the area.
You step up to the front and stand beside Thrigon, who is crossing his arms and looking down at the ground. He gives you a nod but neither of you open your mouths. General Hugo is put into one of the graves near the front and you frown. If you hadn't let Bebi into Valkyrie, then maybe...no, it's best not to think about it like that.
General Transny, who was always completely useless, didn't appear to make it as well. It has similar wounds to that of Hugo's. Poor Chi Chi won't even get a grave because of her body being blown to bits.
Time slowly passes until every last soldier is put into the graves. Sand is thrown above each of them, covering them from the world. Prayers, farewell's, and R.I.P's are spouted by the surrounding Soldiers. Ready to take your leave, you turn around and begin disappearing into the crowd. You see Joseph Pike sitting alone, behind everybody. He has his eyes closed and arms folded. You will tell him about Rem later.
All the fires around you burn out and darkness overthrows the light. You step back into Forte Valkyrie and walk alone. Is this the true nature of the world? No matter where you go -- death. Perhaps hope truly doesn't exist. Perhaps pain and sadness is the only emotion the world truly knows. Perhaps happiness will completely vanish from this world.
"No," you correct yourself. The true purpose of the FBM is to correct this false logic. The means could never hope to justify the end, but just maybe the world's current evil's can be overthrown and destroyed. "Just maybe..."
The day comes to a close and so does the next. Four more days pass until finally, Echo and Kaiba awaken. Although they are far from even half of their strength, they can finally walk. You decide that it is time to call all of the Commander's together. With haste, the announcement is made and the most powerful fighters the FBM has all head towards Rem's quarters.
"So we're all here." You announce, leaning back on Rem's couch.
"Not quite," Joseph corrects you. "What about Dysect and Rem?"
The makeshift door to Rem's room creaks and a figure suddenly emerges from it. "Dysect...!?"
"I'm here." You, Echo, Thrigon, and Kaiba all stare at him in shock as he stands before you all. "What's the matter?" He asks plainly.
"Your arm! What happened to it!?" Thrigon yells.
"I lost it in battle. But it is nothing to fret about. Is there a meeting going on here or what? Where is Rem?"
You clutch your fists together. All the Commander's turn towards you and await an answer. "Rem...Is dead...!"
Kaiba is the first to speak. "W-what did you just...say?"
"He died in the battle against Pitou. After Echo was knocked unconscious, Rem saved me. But he was unable to defeat Pitou and was killed in the process."
"Impossible..." Thrigon mutters.
"You can't be serious!" Echo adds.
"Bull s***!" Dysect snaps, smashing his fist into the glass table and breaking it to bits. "Don't give me that s***, Kiryu! Tell me what REALLY happened!"
You stand up and walk towards the flat screen television embedded into the wall. You slip the CD into the DVD Player underneath it and turn around, waiting for it to start. After having a seat, the television flashes and Rem appears on the screen.
"Rem!" Kaiba yells in rejoice.
"It's a pre-recording, dummy." Joseph finally speaks up.
"Shut up!" Dysect roars.
"Hello everybody, it is I - Rem." The video begins playing. "If you are watching this tape, it means that I am no longer living. I apologize for this. As you probably know, I am not a hum-" Rem is cut off as you fast forward the tape for a few seconds. It might be best for the Commander's to stay ignorant of the fact that Rem is not a Human. You press play again and it continues. Dysect shoots you a dirty look for doing that. "But putting that aside, let us get down to business. Is everybody present?"
The tape stops. "You again, Kiryu?" Dysect barks.
"Maybe the T.V broke?" Kaiba asks.
"I am present." Joseph says.
"Oh, looks like it needs to here our voices or something." Echo finally adds.
"I'm here too!" Thrigon finishes.
"Good." The tape continues. "I will now bestow all of my knowledge to you six. On this Planet, there are seven mythical orbs known as Dragon Balls. If one is able to gather all seven and place them under the sun, it is said that an omnipotent Dragon will rise. One that is capable of granting any wish he or she desires." Everybody stares at the video in shock, completely unaware of such a thing. "Presently, those known as Fleet Executives of the Red Ribbon Army are seeking these balls. With President Red dead, nothing is holding back these seven personal advisers from doing anything necessary in order to take control of these Dragon Balls. I have recently come to the conclusion that the one known as Phoenix Graham is capable of reading the mind's of anybody he wants. With this power, searching for the Dragon Balls is an easy task for the Red Ribbon Army. Anybody who has any knowledge on them will be interrogated. In this new era, it is dangerous to have such knowledge."
"I knew we shouldn't have gave him back!" Echo snaps.
"One more word and I'll take you life, Echo." Dysect boldly speaks up. You peer over toward him and get a good look into his eyes. He isn't joking.
Rem continues. "I can no longer protect you all from the Red Ribbon Army. If word gets out that I have been killed, it will only be a matter of time before they strike Forte Valkyrie. You must avoid this confrontation at all costs!"
"It's rare to see Rem this serious," you think.
"I am going to have to ask you all to hide my death for as long as possible. It is far too soon for you all to engage in a war with them. As for the Dragon Balls, at the time this video was recorded, the Red Ribbon Army had already acquired four of them. Without the ability to search for these orbs like the Red Ribbon Army can, I cannot expect you to gather them all. However, if you are able to get your hands on even one of them, it will delay their actions. With this world's current technology, it appears that developing a machine to track these Dragon Ball's is impossible. However, I do know one thing: the next area that the Red Ribbon Army plans to ravage through will be West City. Even for somebody as powerful as Phoenix Graham, it will be impossible for him to read the mind's of the tens of millions of civilians there. Because of this, I suspect that they will turn the city upside down in order to find what they are looking for."
"Why didn't you tell us this sooner, Rem!?" Kaiba yells, so absorbed in the video that he thought it was the real Rem speaking to them all. "Oh, right..."
"Now, do not make the mistake of thinking that I withheld this information from you all." Kaiba looks at the T.V dumbfounded. "When I made the exchange for Phoenix Graham, I had sent Dysect, Thrigon, and Echo through the underground tunnel to the Red Ribbon Army. They were told to throw a certain device on the Fleet Executive that was returning to the Red Ribbon Headquarters with Phoenix Graham."
"Oh yeah, I remember that." Thrigon says to himself. "Had no idea what it was for though..."
"On this device was a sound recorder the size of an ant. It recorded and transferred everything said in front of and by that Fleet Executive, who happened to be Korn, right back here. I just received this information the day this video was created. Due to Pitou coming so soon afterwards, I simply could not have told you about it. It would have weakened our forces and we would have not won that battle. Forgive me."
"Korn...? I wonder if it's the same one. Nah, couldn't be." Dysect thinks to himself.
"As for my successor, I am entrusting that role to Commander Kiryu. Lead the Freeborn Military into a bright future. As for everybody else, it was wonderful working with you. I realize that I am dead and therefore have no authorization over you whatsoever, but I do hope that you will carry out my last command. Stop the Red Ribbon Army from obtaining the Dragon Balls at all cost." Rem smiles brightly and stares straight into the camera. "Good luck, my children."
The film ends and the CD is ejected from the DVD Player. As soon as that happens, it cracks and shatters to pieces. Each of you remain silent, contemplating on what exactly Rem said.
"So...Kiryu's are boss now?" Kaiba says, breaking the ice once again.
"Now that's something I just can't accept." Echo roars, standing up. "I challenge you to a one on one battle, Kiryu! Winner is the leader of the FBM."
"Very well." You put your palm up and shoot a generic blast into his chest, knocking him into the wall in an instant. Echo coughs up blood and falls to the ground in pain.
"S***...I forgot I didn't recover yet."
Dysect stands up and begins leaving the room. "Where are you going?"
"Doesn't matter to you, Kiryu. You are not my leader." He barks back, frustrated.
"Sigh." You have a seat on the couch once again and gaze at everybody slowly. All of them appear to be awaiting an order. "You're all dismissed. I'll call you back when I have gathered my thoughts." Kaiba, Thrigon, and Joseph all walk out of the room casually. Echo crawls on the ground in pain after them, his wounds nearly opening again. "I can't send them to West City in their condition, can I? If multiple big fish are there, it could mean the end of us. Not even I've fully recovered from the battle. Then again, if only Phoenix ends up going, we have a good chance of taking him out. If we pluck each of the Fleet Executives out one by one, the entire Red Ribbon Army could fall."
You head over to the window and look out of it, suddenly remembering an old thought. "The tournament..." Back when you were travelling with Piccolo and Goku to rescue his son, Piccolo went into town and brought back a pamphlet for a Martial Arts Tournament. "It started on the 31st, if I recall. And today is the 29th...I don't have much time left if I plan on going. I'd have to leave today."
While staring out the window, you begin to gather your thoughts on what to do next. You can head to West City where the Red Ribbon Army plans on rampaging through next. You could head to this Martial Arts Tournament while everybody here recovers. Or you can always stay here and cook up some other deviant plan. "Hmmm...Time is running out."
A) Head to West City.
- Bring anybody?
B) Head to East City for the World Martial Arts Tournament.
- Bring anybody?
Author's Chapter Notes:
The Start of A New Arc.