The Prince was imprisoned in a transport pod with Raditz and Nappa – at least, that was what he thought. The pod was one of Freeza’s "specials," designed to hold six large warriors and their individual space pods. This one, however, only held three Saiyans, two of them rather large, and two of Freeza’s handpicked guard. Freeza’s men were actually piloting the ship, allowing the Saiyans the time to roam freely around.
Not that there was much to see, Vejiita muttered to himself, scowling in the semi-darkness. He much preferred traveling in the individual pods that were preprogrammed for their destination; all he had to do was get in, punch the automatic pilot button, lean back and sleep. The system would wake him when he was twenty minutes from the final destination, giving him plenty of time to have the computer brief him on the important features of the planet to be conquered, such as the largest population centers, the technology level of the indigenous species, and the like. Plus, he didn’t have to bother with anyone else.
But now – feh! he thought irritably – now he was stuck traveling with that idiot Raditz and the perpetually dimwitted, fawning Nappa. And for what? he growled to himself. I don’t need their help. Part of him was satisfied, though, that ceremony was followed for his sake and that he had a guard not unlike that of his father; another part was pleased that his strength and cleverness was recognized by Freeza, while yet another voice told him to be wary, to be careful of the lizard king. The times when he had been in the presence of the despot were few, but he remembered each vividly and with relative unease.
His mind spiraled back to a chance meeting with the despot several months ago, at one of his father’s interminable public councils. They had literally bumped into each other crossing the large rotunda in the palace, and now that he thought about it, the young prince did not understand why that had happened. He also recalled that he could not rid himself of a pricky, crawling sensation that ran the length of his spine when he looked into the eyes of the lizard creature. There was cruelty and malice in that gaze, certainly; but there was also something unrecognizable to a five-year-old boy that raised the hackles of older Saiyans, causing them to scowl and hover around him in a protective circle. The small tyrant had noticed that as well; chuckling, he had given Vejiita one last long glance, ran his tongue unconsciously across his lower lip, and walked to the opposite side of the rotunda, his tail swaying gently behind him. The Saiyan Elite had watched him go, baring their teeth at his back. Vejiita remembered feeling puzzled at their actions, but hid his confusion under a mask of indifference as he left the area, forcing them to follow him.
Shaking himself out of this uncharacteristic reverie, the Saiyan prince started to roam the ship again, prowling through the storage area where the smaller pods were kept. He glanced at the floor, marking his passage by the number and position of dead rodents along the walkway. When I’m in charge there won’t be any rats anywhere on Vejiitasei, he promised himself. He passed the body of one that he shot while it was trying to crawl up the wall, and shuddered. He felt something odd when he shot the rat, and he had that same feeling again, stirring in the back of his brain … I’m getting soft, he thought angrily to himself, shaking his head. It’s that Guardian woman and her mind games, damn her. She only showed me part of what I needed to know.
The Prince had started to use some of the techniques "that Guardian woman" had unwittingly shown him on other beings. Most of the time they weren’t successful; however, when they worked, they worked immediately and in full measure. He was able, with very little physical assistance, to subdue a whole planet that had been classified a level 5. Normally, this meant that an entire Saiyan squad was to have been sent in to exterminate the local inhabitants. The prince, however, simply breached the minds of the military leaders of the planet, causing great confusion and consternation among their armed forces; and once their full moon was visible their planet was lost, as there was nothing that was beyond the ability of the Saiyan Oozaru. He had led a small Saiyan party into battle, directing his troops with little more than a thought in their direction. They had obeyed instantly – none of them even realized that he had been in their minds.
But his greatest conquest, he felt, was the woman herself. It was obvious that he was her master; the ease with which he inserted himself into her mind and controlled her actions spoke for itself. I can’t read all her thoughts yet, he thought to himself smugly, but that will come in time – and we will have plenty of time together. He smirked, remembering her horror when she discovered how fully he controlled her and her body the last time he saw her. She had been so engrossed in her sparring match with her sensei that she hadn’t realized he was there, watching her try to kill the bungling Saiyan. It had been a pure sadistic pleasure to watch and feel her realize the full extent of his power over her. She thought we were all stupid brutes, like Nappa and her sensei, the little Prince thought , a vicious grin on his face as he shot yet another rat. She’s learning now.
An idea struck him as he threaded his way in the dark through the space pods, moving toward the stairs at the end of the hall. I wonder if I could control Freeza’s people that way? It’s worth a try … His eyes snapping maliciously, Vejiita ouji made his way to the opposite end of the bay and to the stairs that led directly to the bridge of the ship.
Running as fast as she dared, Theo sped down the hallways of the royal palace, a nameless dread hard on her heels. Her breath whistled through her mouth in harsh gasps as she rounded yet another corner in the Byzantine labyrinth, a fierce ache spreading through her left side, her violet hued gaze searching frantically for something, anything familiar. Thankfully, there were no Saiyans anywhere near her, and apparently her stupid sensei didn't even realize she wasn't with him.
Panic started to bubble in her mind as she realized she was in an area of the palace she didn’t recognize. No, I can’t be lost, not now! she thought incoherently, I’ve got to get out of here … where’s my TARDIS? … where’s … A movement at the far end of the corridor flickered in her peripheral vision, and she immediately dove for cover in the nearest doorway, flattening herself against the rough material of the postern, willing her body still.
No, don’t look down here, there’s nothing here, nothing, it’s clear … Theo saturated a narrow radius around her body with those thoughts and words, essentially creating a blind barrier between herself and anyone who came near her. She had never dared use power in this way before, as it would be patently obvious to any chi sensing being within 50 meters that something was being used somewhere in the area, but her fear of discovery was less than her fear of that unknown dread stalking her in the palace’s hallways. Go away, there’s nothing here, nothing at all …
The horribly tight, suffocating feeling in her chest was dissipating, as was the pain in her side. Be brave, Theo, she chided herself, and find out what you’re facing down there. Reluctantly, Theo inched her head around the corner of the doorway to slide her gaze down the corridor, her body tense and ready to run at the slightest provocation.
And there was … nothing there. What? That’s not right, Theo thought, baffled. I know I felt something down there … Craning her head around the doorjamb and peering down the hall, she nearly missed the body huddled on the floor near the opposite wall. Squinting from her hiding place, it seemed to be just a bundle of dark, stained clothes … lying there oddly … with red hair … A thought prickled her mind, whisper soft and familiar, as a torn face turned in her direction…
Theo’s arms and legs turned to ice as she leaped out of the doorway and pounded down the corridor, her mind screaming, Oh dear Kami, no, no … She slid to a stop and dropped to her knees in one fluid motion, gasping, "Beryan! Beryan, what happened?" groping behind her friend’s ravaged neck to help support her head. Flesh seemed to peel off in her fingers as she dragged Beryan into her lap, her scalded head lolling.
Bright, pain-filled eyes stared back at her, as Beryan pushed a single whispered word through cracked, burnt lips with the ghost of a smile: “… free …”
”What?” Theo felt as though her world was collapsing inward, crushing her soul to bits. Her mind refused to accept what she saw in front of her – Beryan, her friend, her companion, her confidant – scalded almost beyond recognition, looking as though she had walked through an inferno, her perfect skin appearing to melt off her bones while her clothes were burnt rags around her. Theo had no idea how Beryan’s neck still supported her head, as any skin left intact barely covered the muscle and sinew beneath.
“ … free …,” Beryan mouthed again, her eyes flickering down toward her hands. Theo followed her gaze and stared, slack-jawed, at the furry, bloody appendage tightly gripped in Beryan’s ruined left hand. One end was wrapped around her wrist and entwined so firmly that her fingers appeared blue; the rest of the piece dragged across her body onto the floor, and had left a bloody trail across the pristine tiles.
It was a tail; specifically, a Saiyan tail, cleanly sliced from the body of its owner.
Theo felt her gorge rise in response to all the unsaid implications the ownerless tail presented to her. ”How … whose …,” she started, forcing herself to speak – but suddenly, she knew, and she knew what she had to do. Beryan was too weak to forge a link with her, so Theo simply shifted a bloody hand around the back of Beryan’s head and dove into her mind.
Moving smoothly, its drives purring, the saucer ship arranged itself above the planet Vejiita, synchronizing its orbit with the largest population center, the capital city in the northern hemisphere. As he stood at the observation window, Freeza licked his lips in silent anticipation, his eyes smoldering and his tail slightly twitching behind him. The monkeys will certainly be surprised, he thought, cruel satisfaction threading through his mind. Unexpectedly, something at the edge of his vision drew his attention to one area of the planet; he peered out the window more closely and frowned His face twisted into an unpleasant expression as his tail snapped back and forth more briskly.
Zarbon noticed the change and dared to look where his master’s eye was held. Seemingly unending streams of mercenaries were pouring out from the bowels of the saucer ship; it also looked as though each stream converged at the same point. Large groups of the warriors appeared to clump together, only to be blown apart by a gigantic chi blast that scattered them in every direction. This happened several times, with the convergence point getting closer and closer to the body of his master’s ship. Squinting, Zarbon thought he saw one person – is that a Saiyan? he wondered incredulously – that was the focus of all their attacks.
"Zarbon-san," Freeza said through tight lips, giving a hard stare at the melee outside the ship.
"Sir?" Zarbon responded immediately, whipping his gaze back to the tyrant, trying to read Freeza’s mood through the subtle movements of his arms, folded negligently across his chest.
"Open the upper hatch," the despot ordered quietly, never taking his eyes off the scene outside.
The significance of Freeza’s words caused both henchmen to react strongly; Dodoria simply looked shocked, but Zarbon’s color paled slightly as he stammered, "But … Freeza-sama … our men are out there …"
The little despot stood with his back to his subordinates, still watching the fracas outside the ship. At Zarbon’s words, however, his armored tail flicked behind him once and he unfolded his arms, holding them loosely at his sides. The atmosphere in the observation room subtley changed, becoming charged and electric. Both Dodoria’s and Zarbon’s eyes widened in dismay.
Zarbon’s intake of breath was audible as he felt the energy change from Freeza. "As you command!" he gasped and ran out of the room, chased by his fear of Freeza.
Dodoria remained with his master, obviously nervous, his face beaded with sweat.
The expression in Beryan’s eyes was one of relief as she felt Theo link with her. Keeping the pain at bay, pushing it into another part of her mind, Beryan opened to Theo like a flower, unfolding parts of her memory piece by piece. How Beryan had shepherded all the other Guardians out of the infirmary under the noses of the Saiyans; and then how she had tried to slip away unnoticed, carrying more of the crystals that powered the TARDIS with her. How Oshinko, the hated lead physician, had watched her leave with a bundle under her arm, and become angrily suspicious. How he had made a scene, hauled her back into the room by her hair and flung her to the ground, causing the crystals to break and scatter about the infirmary floor like so many fine shards of glass. How he became even more abusive when he realized she was trying to take something without permission and started beating her mercilessly in front of the infirmary staff. And how, after years of his molestation and abuse, Beryan finally snapped.
Beryan gasped, her breathing becoming more labored, her head lying on Theo’s now soiled tunic; her movements brought Theo back to the surface of her mind. The women were bent together, motionless, on the floor of the corridor; had anyone merely glanced their way, they would not have noticed them. Theo, still connected, looked with despairing eyes at Beryan’s devastated face; she gently stroked her one whole cheek, reassuring her, and this time dove farther into Beryan’s mind.
Pulling the last remnants of her strength together, Beryan unfurled her memory again for Theo, trying carefully not to overwhelm her. Even though Theo was expecting the memory of enormous physical pain, the amount and manner in which Beryan endured it would have been enough to engulf even the most powerful Guardian.
Oshinko had grabbed Beryan’s shoulder with his left hand and methodically smacked her in the face with the back of his fist; up, down, left, right, diagonal left, diagonal right, and then started the pattern over again. Her nose was broken and her head flopped uselessly after every blow. The doctor made sure that Beryan noticed the rest of the Saiyan staff crowding around them, smirking and watching him beat her; his aim was not only to master her physically, but also to humiliate and dominate her mentally. When one of them called out to Oshinko that he should really start working on her body now and then go back to her head, Beryan went a little insane.
She no longer cared what happened to her - all she wanted to do was kill the bastard Saiyan in front of her. Beryan walled herself off from all the pain and disorientation of her body and pulled power from the wellspring – just barely under the Saiyan sensing threshold, quite enough to do what she wanted.
She wrapped the power into coercion, then breached his mind. Oshinko never knew what happened to him; he was so focused on punishing her that he never felt the slight energy pulse at his arm, never realized that his tail had curled away from his waist to wrap itself in her fingers. While he was viciously slamming his fist into her body, he didn’t realize the ideas for him to demonstrate the amount of chi needed to remove a Guardian collar and the exact location where the chi was applied were anything but his own thoughts. Snap! went the doctor’s chi at Beryan’s collar; it opened as if it were on a spring, flew apart and dropped, forgotten, to the floor.
Clever girl, Theo thought, continuing to sift through Beryan's memories.
That was the opportunity Beryan needed – not only was she collarless, she now knew how he removed it.
”Bastard,” she had hissed between swollen lips – and instantly drew in enough chi to power the entire city for weeks on end, and threw it, roaring, at Oshinko’s face.
The blast caught Oshinko by surprise and essentially vaporized his upper torso, flowed behind him and into the crowd of watching Saiyans, killing them, and destroyed the back of the room. Unfortunately Beryan had forgotten that raw power had a huge residual potential; she didn’t duck and was caught in the backlash. It was a testament to her spirit and determination that she had made it as far as she did, stumbling through the corridors and finally crawling on her hands and knees to collapse here, so close to the TARDIS. Beryan severed the tail from Oshinko's remains before leaving the wrecked infirmary, as well; a perverse part of herself demanded that she take a trophy from her kill, and she clutched it tightly in her hand.
Theo came up from the depths of her mind, wondering how close ARE we to the TARDIS? and would have disengaged completely except that Beryan pulled her back for a moment.
…take this with you … brushed against Theo’s mind, the first thought from Beryan that wasn’t an image. Puzzled, Theo expanded around the node of energy Beryan offered, then realized what it was – the knowledge of how to remove the collars, and the location of the TARDIS relative to where they were.
We're really close, Theo thought with relief, so it won't take that long to - A buzzing warmth penetrated her neck for a moment, then a loud crack! followed by a dull thud startled her. Nani …? Glancing down at the floor, Theo saw a huge, golden collar, something that looked big enough to fit around the necks of several Guardians, lying open on the floor. Sliding her astonished gaze back to the woman in her arms, she caught the hint of a smile on Beryan’s ruined face.
Now … you’re free … It was a colossal effort for Beryan even to think the words. Theo could also feel something odd happening between them … as if the essence that was Beryan was moving away, out of her grasp, going somewhere else.
Beryan, what are you doing? Stay with me - don't go anywhere -
That ghostly smile stayed on Beryan's lips as she looked fondly at Theo. ... no choice ... drifted back to Theo's mind. Theo felt her deliberately disengage, almost like a yeoman casting off from the dock. ... my journey, not yours ... ... always loved you Theo ... Her eyes slid away and became fixed, the light in them gradually dulling, then dying.
The challenge rang over the battle noises raging outside the saucer ship. Over one thousand of Freeza’s hired mercenaries were outside the interstellar vessel, flying in an extended artificial atmosphere that was kilometers in diameter, spreading in all directions from the ship, all trying to kill one Saiyan. And it was that Saiyan that screamed a challenge to the lizard king, the veins in his neck throbbing, his shock of black Saiyan hair flashing against the light from the angry red surface of Vejiitasei.
Slowly the doors on a bubble hatch at the top of the spacecraft slid apart. A white, horned helmet appeared from the top of the craft, gently but inexorably pushing through the portal. It moved upward to reveal an unsmiling Freeza sitting in a hoverchair, his tail draped regally over one side, its tip twitching lightly.
The Saiyan approached him, his eyes appearing a bit crazed, his body tense with anticipation, muscles coiled for action.
"Now, everything changes!" he shouted to Freeza in a clear tenor voice, his eyes dark and challenging. "The fate of the planet Vejiita –"
Ah, this is the one they call Bardock – they said he had been infected by aliens, and now he can see the future, Freeza mused to himself, glaring at the Saiyan as he raised his right arm, his index finger glowing with a small ball of chi. Those warriors stationed behind the ruler goggled at the waves of power they could feel coming from him and tried to move out of harm's way.
Bardock continued, his eyes bright and savage as he spoke: "—my own fate … Kakarotto’s fate … as well as your fate … all changes here!" The warrior held up a small, glowing ball of chi, positioned exactly dead center in Bardock’s fist. Freeza’s seasoned warriors who were stationed around Bardock took one look at their monarch’s face and moved back a discreet distance.
I wonder how far into the future you can see, monkey boy? Freeza thought to himself, grimly amused. His manipulated chi was the size of a marble, sitting on the end of his index finger that was extended straight up in the air.
" This is where it ends!" Bardock shouted, his face contorting into a grimace of fury, flinging his huge ball of chi straight at Freeza.
Had Freeza been any other being, Bardock’s weapon would have effectively eliminated him. But Freeza was not like any other being – he was, in his own opinion, the smartest and the strongest being in the universe. The lizard king watched Bardock’s ball of energy approach him; without warning his face changed expression and he started chuckling, then laughing maniacally. His eyes gleamed and his teeth flashed a brilliant white as he expanded the marble-sized chi at the end of his elegant index finger to a sphere of monstrous proportions, hundreds of meters in diameter. It was controlled entirely by the little tyrant, suspended at the end of his index finger, and dwarfed Freeza and his hoverchair, his spacecraft, and the mercenaries outside the ship. It was an awe-inspiring sight, and struck fear into the hearts of those close enough to see it.
Bardock’s effort now looked like a boy throwing snowballs into the sun as Freeza’s sphere absorbed Bardock’s energy blast effortlessly.
"What?" the Saiyan cried, gaping in obvious disbelief at the enlarging sphere above him. Freeza’s henchmen, hovering around the warrior, could do no more than stare, frozen in place, at the pulsing mass of energy.
Still laughing, Freeza’s face changed again, the insanity and cruelty that was the bedrock of his soul now quite plainly etched on his features. Wiggling his finger as if giving a slight reprimand to errant boys, he loosed the chi sphere and sent it on its way toward Vejiitasei – however, the trajectory he used forced the energy globe to take a path through the men he had hired to serve and protect him, those who had tried to stop Bardock on his fool’s errand.
Screaming in terror, the mercenaries tried to get out of the way of the sphere, but to no avail; the huge energy globe absorbed everything in its path, including all living beings. Freeza had intentionally sent the sphere straight at Bardock, making sure at least in his mind that each and every Saiyan was eliminated from the face of the universe; no thought was given to the survival of the other beings behind the Saiyan. As far as Freeza was concerned, they were simply incidental.
His eyes glittering in anticipation, Freeza watched his destructive ball of chi weave its murderous way through the cloud of warriors in front of his ship and continue on its inexorable path toward the surface of Vejiitasei, his dark lips pulled back in a demented grin.
Theo sat on her haunches staring into Beryan’s face, her body absolutely still and her mind totally numb. Beryan? she sent softly, pushing at her friend’s mind – but felt nothing in response. Beryan, what are you doing … Beryan …? Gradually Theo became aware of Beryan’s eyes, fixed on a point somewhere in the distance, and her shallow breathing that had stopped. The beginnings of panic settled into Theo’s mind as she frantically pushed again and again, Beryan? Beryan? Beryan, please …, simultaneously shaking Beryan’s shoulder, trying to shock her into breathing. There was no response – Beryan’s head moved, but after Theo stopped shaking her shoulder, her head stopped moving and hung at an odd angle, motionless.
A cold, hard fist clenched around Theo’s heart as she stared into Beryan's face, leaving a weight as heavy as granite pressing her down. "Beryan," she whispered, barely able to speak, closing her friend’s eyes by passing her palm across her face. "Oh, Beryan."
Theo sat next to her body for several minutes, her head bent and pushed into her hands. She then seemed to gather herself in hand, pulling herself to her feet, her eyes dry and souless, and looped Beryan’s leaden arm across her shoulders. She turned and pushed off down the corridor, moving in the direction of the rotunda and what she thought was her only salvation, the Guardian’s TARDIS.
It only took a few minutes for her to move through the corridors but Theo felt as though she had been traveling for years. The corridor seemed to get narrower the closer she moved towards its end, but eventually she did come to its mouth as it emptied into the vast pavilion. Saiyans were moving across the open space, bustling on their way to their various appointments, the higher ranked arrogantly pushing the lower classes out of their way.
Glancing across the area with eyes that were sticky and dry, Theo spotted the TARDIS at the far edge. Taking a deep breath, she strode into the busy thoroughfare, carefully keeping her face averted and pulling Beryan’s body close to hers.
Oh, damn, I forgot,Theo thought, looking at Beryan’s left hand through bleary eyes. Belatedly Theo realized that Oshinko’s tail was still in Beryan’s grip. Nasty looking thing ... eech. Just act natural, and no one will notice …
She was about three quarters of the way across the rotunda when she saw Meryth and several other Guardians move from the shadows around the TARDIS to the front, as if they had been searching for something and finally spotted it. They were looking for us, Theo realized; automatically she turned to shift Beryan’s weight against her side. As her head turned toward the other woman’s body, she saw several large Saiyans charge out of one of the other corridors that spilled into the rotunda near the forest garden and come to a sliding stop. They had the typical Saiyan scowl on their faces, but were out of breath and seemed more excited and angry than usual – and when one of them saw Theo and Beryan in the crowd, he let out a bellow loud enough to be heard at the opposite end of the city. Most Saiyans stopped to stare at him, incredulous that someone would start screaming in the middle of the royal palace.
Theo pulled up and stared at them, dumbfounded, clutching Beryan to her side as a large Saiyan male shouted and pointed directly at them, "Get them – don’t let them escape! Those are the Guardians that killed Oshinko and his entire staff! Look – the little one still had his tail in her hand!"
Before the Saiyans within earshot could react, a high pitched voiced started screaming, "Theo! Theo, drop Beryan and get to the TARDIS! We can't afford to have both of you dead. Theo, get over here before they murder you!" Swiveling her head around, Theo saw Meryth’s plump form dancing up and down, waving her arms over her head like a crazy woman, gesturing for Theo to run to her. "We’ll cover for you, Theo! Just get over here!"
I’m not leaving Beryan to these animals – I will DIE first! was her savage reply, and by the shocked look on Meryth’s face, Theo had made her point – until Theo realized that she had not spoken a single word aloud. What --
An audible mental gasp sounded, and then: Theo, your collar – it’s--
And with a quick indrawn breath, Theo realized what had happened. The collar, that hated symbol of Saiyan dominance, was gone; and with it, all restrictions that had been imposed on her for the last seven years were gone as well. I’m free, she thought, overwhelmed, staring at Meryth and the other Guardians. And –
A whistling sound and a whoosh! of superheated air rushed past her ears as a large chi blast slammed into the knot of Guardians standing near Meryth, vaporizing them and tossing Meryth to the side as if she were made of paper. Whirling around, Theo saw the Saiyan and his comrades that had denounced her to the population at large charging toward her, auras glowing and ready to fire.
A vast store of hatred and rage had been simmering in Theo, steadily building as her years of captivity passed, finally filled to bursting by the humiliation and defeat she had been forced to endure by the Prince. Incandescent and barely rational in her anger, she bared her teeth, reached out and shifted reality for herself –
– stopping time in the area of the rotunda, dragging through the minds of her attackers to isolate that which made them sentient –
--finding the pieces of personality they had stuck in several places in their brains and twisting them together, winding the strands, linking their minds into one large, cohesive chain –
--which she savagely pulled from the wellsprings of their beings, implanting one single command into their consciousness, a command they were unable to ignore –
"Die, Saiyan – just die!"
Her mind balanced between several planes of reality concurrently, keeping her a portion of her self and her corporeal body on Vejiitasei while the rest of her explored a small part of the realm of the Kaious. She had visited this plane before, when Vejiita’s Elites had attacked her, but had only reacted using an instinct for self-preservation. This time, even though she was defending her life, she had deliberately jumped there, knowing that by yanking their soulstrings from the anchoring disks she would kill them all – and that was exactly what she did, pitiless glee shining from her eyes. This time, they were all going to be dead.
The Saiyans landed on the tiles of the floor in a sodden clump, arms and legs tangled together, bodies sprawled on top of each other. The other Saiyans in the area looked at them, then at Theo, with openmouthed astonishment. When they finally overcame their shock, rage at the effrontery of an alien who killed Saiyans without a visible show of power clouded their brains and they all attacked Theo from every side, leaping and screaming at her with uncontrollable bursts of power.
"I hate you people," she hissed, her eyes flashing and her hair standing around her like a corona as she whirled to face the warriors on either side. "The universe – "
" – will be a better place – "
" – without the likes of you!"
"Die, Saiyans! Die!"
Group after group of Saiyans crashed down to the ground, landing together in snarled heaps, unmoving; male, female, adolescent, young or old – it made no difference to Theo, they were one and the same – they were Saiyan, and as such, they were going to die. Theo was standing in the middle of the holocaust, rooted in one spot, still clutching Beryan with one arm, her face ablaze with an inhuman fire, the color of her eyes changing continuously. She spoke not one word as she continued to slaughter them, again and again and again.
Meryth dragged herself to her feet and watched in horror as wave after wave of Saiyans smashed to the ground. There appeared to be hundreds of bodies lying on the floor; there weren’t very many left to attack Theo, but those that were still living were still trying to get to her. Some of them, however, watched from the relative safety of the forest garden and apparently decided to run and get help. One of the smaller males, an Elite that Meryth remembered, shouted as he was leaving, "We will remember your name, Guardian! YOUR name! We will hunt you, find you, and you will belong to us! You WILL be ours!"
"Really," Theo drawled, dead eyes staring at him from her livid, drawn face. "I don’t think so." She narrowed her eyes as she stared at him, and the Elite crumpled like yesterday’s newspaper and collapsed on the grass. "I’ll see you in hell, Saiyan, if there is one. We’ll talk then."
Theo, that’s enough … we have to leave … Theo, please come with me …
Theo spun in the direction of the thought and pinned her bright, fever ridden gaze on Meryth. The older woman was taken aback when she saw Theo's red rimmed, slightly crazed eyes, but sternly told herself get a grip, Meryth – this is Theo, your best friend’s daughter. Who would cheerfully commit genocide if left to her own devices, a small voice squeaked inside her. Meryth squashed that thought and concentrated her energy on Theo.
"Please, Theo … it’s time to go. Bring Beryan and let’s get into the TARDIS."
Slowly, slowly, Theo’s eyes lost some of the wildness and her breathing started to slow down. Taking a firm grip on Beryan, she waded across the sea of dead Saiyans at her feet, keeping her eyes fastened on Meryth as if she knew that looking at her own handiwork would send her over the edge. As she reached her, the older woman looked deep into Theo’s eyes and saw raw pain radiating from her soul, pain it was obvious that not even Theo understood.
Meryth took Theo’s elbow gently in her hand and said, "Come on, dear. Your mother’s waiting for you, and we’re ready to leave."
Theo swallowed and nodded, allowing herself to be led into the TARDIS.