Categories > Anime/Manga > Dragon Ball Z > Illumination: Second Wind

Nalm, Ostia: Comrade

by SilverArmada 0 Reviews

With the appearance of an old comrade, Armada's story comes out for all to see... and maybe a little understanding on the part of her current comrades comes along with it.

Category: Dragon Ball Z - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Trunks - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2006/05/06 - Updated: 2006/05/06 - 6901 words

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[Quick Author's Notes]

Firstly, please be warned that I will be messing with the 'history' of the Saiyans as presented in DBZ, and most specifically the whole idea that the Saiyans took over another planet as their own shortly before Vegeta was born... that's been ignored (in the fic, the Saiyans have lived on Vegeta since their own written history). I don't think the changes are quite enough to make the story an A/U, but it definitely deviates some from the canon.

Also, PLEASE, if you are reading this, leave a review and let me know. If nobody's reading this thing, then honestly there's no reason for me to post the fic. I WILL continue writing it, of course, but if nobody's reading it then it's just a waste of space. Anyway, on with the show!

[End Quick Author's Notes]



Nalm, Ostia: Comrade



Wonder if I've said too much
And we'll never speak again...

--Mad at Gravity, "Walk Away"



"Come on Trunks," Laiserta leaned on her folded arms on the counter as she spoke. "You two can't ignore each other forever."

"That's what you think," Trunks replied flatly as he poured a glass of water from the faucet at the kitchen sink. It had been four days since he'd had any direct contact with Armada, and he wasn't sure how much longer it would last. Nor did he care.

"Trunks," Laiserta sighed and thought a moment before she spoke. "I know Armada isn't exactly a model citizen, but..."

"Oh really?" Trunks turned to face Laiserta and cut her off. "I never would have thought," he added bitterly.

"But," Laiserta emphasized the conjunction as she continued, "she doesn't lie for the sake of lying. There's got to be a reason she didn't tell you."

"Who says I wanna hear it?" Trunks countered, his voice more embittered than angry. He didn't appreciate being lied to, even if there was 'a reason' for it like his comrade proposed.

Laiserta looked at Trunks like a mother about to scorn a child. "Talk to her." Trunks opened his mouth to reject her idea but Laiserta continued. "Look I don't understand all this 'Saiyan' stuff, but don't sit here and deny that you don't want to know what she knows."

Trunks laughed sardonically. "Doesn't matter, Lai." He turned and stared into the glass of water yet again. "I wouldn't know where the lies ended and the truth began."

***

"Captain you must talk to him," Naya pleaded as she watched Armada search her room for a small tool set she'd misplaced.

"He doesn't want to hear anything I have to say," Armada replied, kneeling next to a long chest as she scrounged through it.

"That's not true," Naya responded sharply. "If he didn't care about it he wouldn't have become so angry."

"Yeah, well," Armada closed the chest and stood and headed for her closet, "what he wants to know and what I know are two different things."

"Sounds to me like he wants to know the truth," Naya replied, stepping farther into the room from the doorway she'd occupied thus far.

"Naya," Armada turned to face her, "you don't understand. Trunks thinks that whatever I tell him will suddenly make everything make sense." She paused. "But it won't. What I have to say isn't uplifting, there's no moral, there's not even a reason to it, just like any true war story."

"And your story is a war story?" Naya queried, her interest piqued by the comment since she herself had been a soldier for many years.

"My life is a war story," Armada added. She looked at Naya directly in silence for a moment before continuing. "He thinks he wants to know, but he doesn't. Trust me.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to the hangar," Armada spoke briskly as she strode towards the door.

Naya moved out of her way and then followed her captain into the hallway and down the stairs to the first floor. She wondered why was so adamant about not speaking of the past... did she fear it, loathe it, or was she just ashamed?

When Naya and Armada entered the living room, Trunks immediately moved out from behind the kitchen counter and headed into the living room. Naya shot a questioning glance at Laiserta, who responded with a slight shrug. Apparently neither of them had gotten very far in resolving the situation.

As Armada started searching the kitchen area for the toolset she was looking for, a slight bell-chime sound was heard. "I got it," Laiserta called out as she bounded over to the front door. Trunks was picking up his jacket from one of the chairs as Naya took a seat at the counter. They all heard the sound of the front door opening, and then they heard Laiserta speak.

"Who the hell are you?" she asked after giving the stranger on the other side of the door a chance to speak that he hadn't taken thus far.

"I'm here to see Armada."

Two heads snapped around at the sound of that familiar voice with the strange accent. In one, her heart sank and her stomach turned over. In the other, his eyes narrowed as anger and resentment were renewed in him.

"Dax," Trunks said curtly as he stared past Laiserta at the reddish-brown haired Saiyan standing in the doorway.

"Trunks," Dax addressed the mercenary as he strode past Laiserta, who stood wide-eyed at the situation. She subconsciously closed the door as her attention was focused on this man that apparently Trunks-and Armada-knew.

"We never got to finish our conversation," Dax spoke as he finished approaching the slightly taller man.

He must have followed me when I left, Trunks thought. But why'd he wait until today to show up?

"Dax," Armada finally spoke as she stood stoic in the kitchen. Her face showed a definite sadness, although Dax was confused as to why.

"I've been lookin' for you for a while," Dax spoke, taking a few steps past Trunks and towards her. "We need to talk."

"No," Trunks broke in, attracting four pairs of eyes to him, "I want answers. /Now./"

Dax glanced between Trunks and the comrade he glared at. "Am I interrupting something?"

"Trunks is a Saiyan-well, demi-Saiyan," Armada answered Dax, still looking straight at Trunks.

"What?!" Dax exclaimed. He turned toward Trunks, "So wait, that's why you..." He paused and his eyes widened as another realization hit. "You didn't know that Ar... whoa," he shook his head.

"Ah, well," Naya started uneasily, "Lai!" she exclaimed, turning to face the Taydran. "I've got a few errands to run," she then lowered her eyebrows, "and I was wondering if you would like to accompany me," she finished, emphasizing the latter half of her sentence.

Laiserta looked confused momentarily before a wave of understanding washed across her face. "Oh, right," she nodded emphatically at her Tyrian comrade. "Let's go!" She then swiftly followed Naya out of the front door.

The three occupants of the house stood silent for a minute, looking at one another with curious glances. Fed up with how things were going nowhere fast, Trunks spoke. "You two know 'everything,' right? Then why don't you start talking?" He shot a hard gaze at both of them.

"You sure you wanna know?" Armada asked through flat eyes.

"Wait... what don't you know?" Dax questioned, confused as to what exactly the problem was.

"You two start talking," Trunks answered. "I'll tell you when to skip the parts I already know." He paused. "Trust me, it won't be often."

"Well, I've got questions of my own," Dax quickly glanced at Armada, "so why not have a seat and settle in. I know my story isn't short, and I doubt that Ar's is either."

The three ki-fighters seated themselves around the table in the center of the two sofas and one chair, with Trunks facing across from Armada and Dax to the side.

Dax sat uncomfortably for a moment, looking back and forth to the old comrade to his right and the newly discovered 'countryman' to his right. "So... where do we start?"

"The beginning," Armada answered before Trunks could.

"Well, maybe I should start," Dax stretched his neck and shoulders. "I am a little bit older than you," he smirked.

Dax took a deep breath and began. "So..."

"Long before any of us were born, the king of the Saiyans, Vegeta learned that a man with a massive army was on his way toward our home. His army was in the business of ridding entire worlds of their current population to sell the empty world to another people without their own world. The man's name was-"

"Frieza," Trunks answered.

"Well you do know something," Dax paused before going on. "Anyway, by the time this man and his army arrived at our home world, Vegeta had died, and his son, Vegeta, had taken the throne... confusing, I know, but work with me here. He came in and said he was gonna attack us if we didn't give in to his demands. I don't know what his demands were, but the story is the king negotiated with him, and basically set up a system where the Saiyan elite could be contracted out to work for Frieza on select missions.

This system only lasted for about six years. Frieza changed his mind-or it could have been his plan from the beginning, who knows-and attacked the capital. The king wasn't in the palace at the time, but the young prince, Vegeta, and two palace guards were captured. Along with the prince, the eldest child of the six of the Noble Houses were taken as well."

"Saiyan nobility?" Trunks interrupted Dax with his question.

"Well there were seven houses of nobility," Dax continued, "and they were all seated in the capital around the palace. Each family had children around the same age bracket, except for one family, in which the ruling lord and his wife were newly married and had no children yet. Frieza took the kids as hostages," Dax moved on, "to use as a bargaining tool when he did get the chance to talk to the king.

"Anyway, after ransacking the nobles and the palace, he set fire to the city and began attacking the Saiyan elite. The elites were weakened since many of their members were off-world at the time, but they held Frieza's men at bay and managed to save part of the capital from the fires. When the king heard the news, he went directly to Frieza to retrieve the prince and the other captured Saiyans.

"No one's quite sure what happened in their meeting, but we do know that Frieza killed the king. He then ordered another attack on not only the capital, but the entire planet. He sent every last man he had, and the entire Saiyan population gathered together to repel them. Realizing that while the Saiyans could defend much better than he'd previously thought, Frieza himself went to battle and destroyed the entire planet with one attack.

"Not only did our people die, but most of his army perished as well. What drove him to such a reckless action, we'll never know."

"What about...?" Trunks began but Dax answered the question he assumed Trunks was going to ask.

"The children? Frieza decided to keep them and draft them into his army. He knew that Saiyans were very capable fighters, and most of us were young and naïve enough to believe that if we didn't resist, they'd let our families go. It was a long time before any of us knew the truth."

Dax saw the odd look that Trunks gave him, so he continued. "The nine Saiyans Frieza took into his army included the young prince Vegeta, Nappa, Radditz, myself, Tren, Cain, Dheihar, Hirlos, and," he motioned toward the woman to his right, "Armada."

"Wow," Trunks sighed, rather sullen. "So that was it? You guys were all that was left?"

"I wouldn't say that," Armada cut in as Dax opened his mouth to speak. "I think there were probably a lot of Saiyans off-world at the time, but once they heard what happened..." She paused. "I've never bothered to look for any of them. I'd... I'd just be a disappointment to any of them."

"Funny that you say that, Ar," Dax laughed slightly, " 'cause I felt that same as you."

Trunks, unsure of which topic to pursue, simply asked the first question that came to mind. "How'd you guys make it through all that? I mean, as kids and all."

"Well, I was only seven at the time, and Ar was four," Dax paused as he thought for a moment, "Tren was four, also, ah... Cain was the oldest; he was sixteen, and Dheihar and Hirlos were both ten. Oh, and the prince was six, Nappa was in his late 20s, and Radditz was about ten years his junior, I think. Since Cain was the oldest of the nobles' kids, he taught us about Saiyan history, among other things. The palace guards weren't interested in any of that. Anyway, we-"

"Wait a minute," Trunks broke in. He looked at Armada. "That's not possible. You said you're as old as me, right? All of this happened way before I was born. You'd have to be..." he trailed off as he tried to calculate the number.

"Fifty-six," Dax supplied as he too looked toward his old comrade.

Trunks shook his head. "More lies. Why am I not surprised..."

"It's not what you think," Armada finally responded.

"Obviously," Dax cut in. "I noticed when I first saw you in Ute... you're different. I mean, I can tell that it's you/, but what happened to your scars? And why do you look so young?" Dax paused. "Or how about the fact that I didn't even know you were /alive for nearly twenty years," he stated rather than asked.

Armada sighed. "After..." she stopped. "Tren, Cain, Lex and I were sent to Junxing," she started over. "You weren't there when we left, but it wasn't supposed to be a hard mission. Junxing was a large world, however, so that's why he sent all four of us, plus three battalions of regulars..."

.-.-.-.-.-.

The king of Junxing was short, old man, dressed in an assortment of green decorative robes, and he stood behind a podium with a switchboard on the front. The battered people of the city, along with a fair amount of surviving soldiers, surrounded the stage upon which he and the cabinet of the large world stood. He leaned forward and spoke with ferocity:

"We will not let the barbarians win!"

The crowd cheered, but in a melancholy way. It was as if they knew they were going to win, but they were sad about it...

A shocked and confused Armada turned around towards her blue-skinned, green-haired comrade when she realized what was about to happen. "We must leave at once!" Lex barked at her. She only stared at him with wide eyes, unmoving in the slightest.

"Order the retreat!" he shouted at her, panic evident on his face.

Her gaze shifted from the lieutenant and fell down towards the ground. /Now...now I can finally... /Explosions resounded in the distance from the capital. It was starting. The Junxing people were serious; they weren't going to lose their world no matter what it meant to their survival. They wouldn't let their beautiful planet fall to a war-mongering nation, regardless of the cost to themselves.

A black-haired soldier came running towards the two with panic written across his face. "They're gonna blow the planet!" Tren shouted. He glanced between his two commanders. Confused as to why the two were simply standing there, his panic rose. "What the hell's goin' on! We gotta go, /now/!"

"Order the retreat!!" Lex shouted once more at Armada, anger more prevalent in his voice this time.

"Armada, wh-what are you...?" Tren stammered, fearing the reasons why his friend and team leader silently refused to call for the retreat order.

"God damnit Armada!" Lex shouted, grabbing his commanding officer by the collar of her uniform and nearly lifting her feet from the ground. "If you don't call the retreat, we're all gonna die!!"

No... the thought suddenly hit her. Lex, Cain, Tren... //I-I can't let them die too! "A-all troops, fall back!" she screamed out loud enough for all troops in the vicinity to hear.

Lex dropped Armada, and she fell to the ground, too shaken to bother landing on her feet. Lex gave her an angry yet pained look before he ran between his two comrades and headed for the city outskirts where their ships awaited them.

"Armada," Tren said quietly, his pale complexion and the sheer confusion present on his face enough to reflect what he really thought of the situation. The regulars ran past the pair and Armada kept her gaze turned away from Tren-she couldn't bring herself to look at whatever gaze he had fixated on her. Tren then shook his head slighty and flew after his Kalvanese comrade, Lex.

As the explosions increased in their frequency and intensity in the heart of the capital, Armada finally got up off the ground and flew back to her troops. She was still their leader, and owed it to them to make it back in one piece... even if the temptation to throw herself into the burning wreckage of the city was almost too much to bear.

Once Armada made it to the three ships her current charges shared, she glanced behind herself to see that the city had been almost completely destroyed... meaning the explosion they were primary concerned with was about to occur at any second. She rushed inside the ship and flew straight to the bridge where she met her three lieutenants and a few regulars.

"Okay Cain, get us out of here!" Lex ordered, despite the fact that he wasn't the leader at the moment.

"Right," was Cain's curt response as the ship he piloted rose from the ground and accelerated out of Junxing's atmosphere.

Armada breathed a sigh of relief. They made it out alive. She hadn't failed her men.

"Cain!" Tren screamed from the weapons control console. "Junxing's heating up like crazy, it's about to-"

Before the Saiyan warrior could finish his sentence, the deafening sound of the explosion of the planet beneath their ship cut him off and shook the ship violently, causing it to start spinning uncontrollably.

"Cain!" Lex shouted as he tried to grab on to anything he could for support.

Cain let out a yell as he used all the strength he could must to steer the ship's controls against the blast that was hurtling them beyond their initial-and even maximum-speed.

Armada was on hands and knees on the 'floor' of the bridge, her head spinning. If Cain just got control of the ship, they'd be fine-or that's what she thought until the second explosion occurred.

Molten rock went hurtling through space as Junxing fully exploded. The Saiyan-led fleet of three battalions were still in the sights of the people of Junxing, as intensely-hot pieces of their world chased the three ships down.

Two of the ships were hit by debris directly and as the superheated rock melted through to the engines, they exploded in space, with no chance for any to survive either of the two wrecks.

The ship in which Armada rode, however, was not hit by debris-but the wave of heat that smashed into the ship was enough to do them in. The metal of their craft instantly jumped to thousands of degrees beyond even the hottest atmospheric entry conditions, and the soldiers suffered burns from where they clung to the ship.

As if the searing heat to melt them wasn't enough, fires broke out across the ship, and the engine exploded, sending the superheated spacecraft hurtling through space without any means of control. "Ahhh!" Cain screamed in pain as he released the ship's controls which were burning into his hands-blood ran down to the floor and /boiled/.

Armada prayed that their pain would soon end, as she knew none of them would make it out alive, when suddenly another explosion resounded nearby. She looked up to see that the weapons console had been the source and fire had overtaken the entire bridge.

They were going to burn alive.

After only a few agonizing seconds, Tren raised his right hand to his chest. "Aahhh! I can't take it!" He screamed through the searing flames. He charged a ki blast in his right fist and blew a hole through his own chest, unable to endure the pain.

Blood splattered across Lex and another regular, and Armada couldn't help but stare into Tren's pained and deadened eyes. Not that she blamed him-the pain was enough to make her go insane, but at the same time her nerves were burning away so she almost felt numb while still undergoing excruciating pain... an odd paradox, indeed.

Armada only kept consciousness for another thirty seconds, but those seconds felt like an eternity as she witnessed the carnage. She watched as Lex screamed and writhed in pain, and Cain's flesh began to /melt/... after that, she just felt heat and saw darkness.

.-.-.-.-.-.

"I thought we all died," Armada continued. "I didn't think there was any way we could make it out of /that/... alive.

"The wreckage of our ship landed on Kipling, sister planet to Junxing. The locals found the crash site and investigated. Everyone on board had died, except for one who somehow still had the tiniest ounce of life left."

"You," Trunks answered, still shocked and yet amazed at the horrific story she'd just told them.

Armada nodded. "They took me back to their city and saved my life," she said almost... bitterly? Trunks couldn't tell for sure. "Even with their advanced technology, it took two years to recuperate. I didn't even wake up for the first seven months."

As if expecting their next question, Armada went on. "Every day I studied their technology. It was far beyond what we had under Frieza. After several years, I began work on my own ship, as well as the digital armor."

"They just let you hang around?" Trunks queried.

"I wasn't... I was an experiment to them," Armada looked at Trunks. "They didn't mind me sticking around for a while because I'd help them out, plus they had something they could /study/... you'd be amazed at what an incredible thirst for knowledge they had."

"That doesn't sound much like you, Ar," Dax commented. "Hangin' around to be someone else's research specimen."

"Yeah," Armada laughed bitterly, "well, I just killed all of my comrades and was, as I figured, assumed dead. I wasn't in a big hurry to go anywhere," she finished rather darkly.

"So, I stayed on Kipling for nineteen years," she added.

"What made you leave?" Trunks, without realizing it, had just asked the most important question either of them had asked her thus far.

"There was... an accident," Armada's gaze fell. "Some experiment the Kiplonians were working on exploded, but the building... it was still standing. Something had happened to the building. They sent people to look for survivors, but they never came back out.

"When I heard about what happened, I offered to go look for survivors. The Kiplonians were all normal; none of them could control ki. By comparison I was far stronger and more suited to 'rescue' missions.

"When I opened the door to the building," Armada paused a moment. "Inside, everything was completely white... it looked like a void, with the horizon stretching on forever."

That sounds like... Trunks though briefly, but let her continue without interruption.

"So I went in. Within a few seconds, my head started to feel... strange. It... my... I stopped walking in to try and get used to the feeling. That when was I realized that I felt like time was moving in reverse. My memories started to rewind, like I was watching them backwards in my head, but at the same time I knew that after I'd watched them they hadn't happened yet... but they were my memories so they had to be in the past..." Armada's voice lowered and she stopped talking for a minute. The room sat in silence, waiting for her to keep going.

"It's an indescribable feeling... knowing that your life is flowing in reverse but not believing it." She sighed. "I passed out as an internal defense mechanism against going insane. I was only a few feet in the building, so two other people ran in and dragged me out.

"I don't remember anything about when I woke up a few days later, but they said I was delirious and inadvertently killed three people while they attempted to calm me. When I did wake up, I had no idea who I was, and I could only speak in broken syllables, with words mashed together from multiples languages that I previously knew. After a few weeks, once I got a grasp on speech again, they explained who I was-what they knew, at least... which wasn't much."

"But you obviously remembered some things, right?" Trunks queried. "You wouldn't have been able to tell us everything you have if you didn't."

"Over the years, memories have come back to me, but I don't have much of a recollection of anything that happened on Kipling," Armada replied.

"All of that's nice information to know," Dax spoke up, "but my question still hasn't been answered. Why do you look so... young?"

Armada grimaced. "The reason I lost my memories, as I soon discovered, was because inside the building, space and time had been altered. Time flowed in a different direction, and at a different rate, and... and I..." She swallowed, as if she were getting choked up. "I had aged backwards, and by the time I was pulled out... I was a child again. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen; I don't know for sure. The few scars I still had gave me a general idea, but most of the more prominent battle wounds I had..." Armada trailed off as she raised her left hand to her throat, "were gone."

"Because we didn't start the harder missions until after Sunius, and we were all over 20 by that point," Dax added to what she said as he made the connections in his own mind.

"Because I'd killed three people," Armada continued, "I was kicked off of Kipling. I took my ship that I didn't remember building, and my armor I didn't remember designing, and left. I've learned a lot about the Verdandi in the past eight years, but I don't remember everything."

"Where'd you go?" Trunks asked, still curious as to how she made it where she was when he met her.

"The Republic," Armada answered. "I was already on the outskirts, so I figured I might as well head in and see what all the fuss was about. Didn't take long for me to begin picking up work, with my abilities."

"So," Trunks paused, almost nervous to ask but he wanted to know, "what happened to everyone else? The other Saiyans, I mean."

"Well," Dax took a breath, "Dheihar and Hirlos both died on a mission when they were 23, I think. Well, Dheihar died, and Hirlos lost it and sort of went down with her. Ar and I were in a squad together until Lex came along, and the RGDs, so then we were split up-"

"You keep talking about Lex, but who is he? He's not a Saiyan, but you two keep mentioning him in the same group," Trunks asked, curious as to who this mysterious person was.

Dax gave Armada a sympathetic look, as if he was waiting for her approval to speak of the man, but she spoke first. "Lex was an incredibly powerful warrior from the planet of Kalvan. He made a deal with Frieza when we attacked his planet... he would work for Frieza as long as he left Kalvan in peace. Frieza agreed because Kalvan wouldn't have had a high resale value and Lex... he was amazing. Despite what you may think," Armada looked up at Trunks, "Frieza knew how to cut a deal when it benefited him."

"Lex was a tall guy," Dax continued, "had green skin, and blue hair, and pointy ears. He definitely looked strange in the Saiyan armor," Dax laughed dully. "But like Ar said, he was an amazing ki fighter. He really was like one of us, except that his life was waiting back at home."

"He talked about his wife a lot," Armada added, her gaze focusing on a point beyond anything within her sight. "He wanted to go home and have a family. And I... I got him killed."

Dax's face contorted at her words. "Ar, don't-"

"Don't say it, Dax," Armada cut him off. "Don't say that it wasn't my fault, because it was. I've had nearly thirty years to figure it out, and I know what I did and what the consequences were. I know /what I thought and what I felt... You won't make me feel better by saying it wasn't my fault because I /know otherwise."

She's... right, Trunks through resignedly. How do you make someone feel better about killing their comrades? There was nothing he could say, and nothing Dax could say to change things... but that didn't make the compelling want to convince her it wasn't her fault go away. "What are the RGDs?" Trunks changed the subject with yet another question.

Dax looked to Armada who returned his gaze a moment before she answered. "They were genetic experiements. There were three of them-Harmonatta, Symphonocci, and Arrianna. They were created at the will of Frieza by a group of scientists..."

"They each contained several sets of DNA, to try and make them superior to us Saiyans, as well as hopefully be loyal to Frieza entirely," Dax continued. "Harmonatta was made from Lex, Cain, Frieza, and Zarbon; Symphonocci from Lex, myself, Tren, Frieza, and Vegeta; and Arrianna from Tren, Armada, Lex, and Frieza."

"Why was Lex included in all of those?" Trunks asked with a raised eyebrow.

"One huge advantage Lex had over all of us," Armada answered, "was that his race lived for thousands of years."

"Frieza was obsessed with the idea of immortality," Dax continued on what Armada said. "He figured time was the only thing that would ever kill him, so if he was going to make a successor, so to speak, he wanted him to live forever."

"That was the entire point of the RGD experiments," Armada elaborated. "He wanted to create a mate to bear his children."

"Unfortunately for him," Dax interrupted Armada, "Symphonocci and Harmonatta turned out to be male. Arrianna was female, but soon after she was produced he discovered that the RGD experiments had their drawbacks. Symphonocci needed liquid titanium injections into his blood stream regularly to survive; Harmonatta had super-sensitive hearing and had to wear special protective headphones, and Arrianna was ultra-sensitive to light."

"And none of them could bear children," Armada's gaze was elsewhere as she spoke. "They all had great skill as ki-fighters, but they were useless to Frieza for his initial intent."

"That was when he started looking into myths about how to achieve immortality. And only a few years after that Radditz was sent on the mission that killed him," Dax supplied.

"Earth," Trunks said without thinking.

"Yeah, that's right," Dax commented when suddenly his next thought hit him and the expression on his face changed accordingly. "Wait, how'd you know?"

"It's my home," Trunks replied.

Armada's face lit up as if she was suddenly remembering something. "He was sent because Frieza found out that there was supposedly a Saiyan sent to that planet years ago, before our home was destroyed."

"Radditz was also supposed to investigate a myth pertaining to that world that Frieza had uncovered," Dax added.

"The Saiyan that had landed on Earth shortly after his birth... his name was Goku," Trunks spoke, his gaze falling to the floor. "He bumped his head when he landed and was raised like a normal Earthling. Well," Trunks laughed slightly, "as normal as he could be raised."

Trying to put two and two together, Dax spoke. "Was he your father?"

"No," Trunks shook his head. "Goku and another warrior, a Namekian named Piccolo killed Radditz. Then two more Saiyans showed up-"

"Vegeta and Nappa," Dax supplied. "They left right after we heard about what happened to Ar's crew." Dax paused. "Needless to say, Vegeta was not happy."

"Vegeta killed Nappa for losing a fight, and after also losing, Vegeta fled Earth," Trunks picked up the story once more. "After Frieza's defeat on Namek, he came back to Earth, where he met my mother..."

"What?!" Armada sat upright and her eyes widened.

"You don't mean you're..." Dax was equally stunned.

"Yes, Vegeta was my father," Trunks answered.

"Then that means..." Armada looked at Trunks directly again, then turned to Dax, "he's the prince."

"Oh, guys," Trunks put both hands up in a 'stop' fashion, "please, it doesn't matter. I don't expect you to treat me special because of it."

"Lineage is still lineage," Armada replied and looked away.

"Wow," Dax was blown away. "Never would've guessed Vegeta was your father." Dax hesitated before going on. "I take it... he's not alive anymore?"

"He died when I was still an infant," Trunks answered. "I... never really knew him."

An uneasy silence fell over the room until Armada spoke. "Dax," he looked at her, "what happened to you? How'd you end up with Rieve?"

"Well, after everybody was dying off-or so we thought," Dax answered, "I was sent to go attack Wen... by myself. It was a suicide mission, or rather Frieza sending me to my death," he laughed bitterly. "I was captured, of course, and thrown into jail. Sat there for..." he rolled his eyes upward as he mentally calculated "twenty months, give or take. After that I stayed for about four years, then I left to back to Kalvan."

"Why?" Armada asked with concern.

"I made a promise to Lex before you guys left for Junxing. If he couldn't come back to take care of Jen, then he wanted me to," Dax replied.

"Jen?" Trunks inquired.

"His wife," Armada quickly supplied.

"When Lex joined us, he was several hundred years old, but the equivalent of our mid-twenties," Dax continued. "I was... twenty at the time, so Ar would've been seventeen. Anyway," Dax went on, "I went to see Jen, and I found out she had died several years before I'd arrived. However," Dax looked to Armada and smiled, "Lex got his wish. Right after he'd left with us, Jen discovered she was pregnant. When I made it to Kalvan, I met the sixteen year old daughter of Lex... Hana.

"Hana, however, was in trouble with a mafia I'm sure you two are familiar with..." Dax looked accusingly at the two mercenaries in the room.

"Rieve," Trunks shook his head.

"That's how you got involved, isn't it?" Armada inquired.

"I promised I'd work for 'em if they let her be. After showing them what I could do, they agreed, and I suited up," Dax laughed. "After all, I made a promise to Lex, and I wasn't about to break it." Silence descended upon the room once more for a minute. "Been working for Rieve ever since... Well, I was employed until you two ended that." He smirked.

"Trunks gets all the credit for that," Armada broke in. "I couldn't fight... it was all him."

"Well, a job well done, either way," Dax commented with a smile. "Now Ar, the reason I needed to see was because..." He took a deep breath. "I know this is gonna be hard to believe, but reliable sources have told me there's a red-headed woman looking for Saiyans..."

"No way," Armada looked at Dax. "She died even before I left!"

"I'm just saying," Dax raised his hands in defense, "that if somehow she is alive, she's looking for us. So be on your guard, okay?"

"I think I can handle that," Armada nodded.

"Secondly," he continued, "there's a bounty out for you guys. Some of my sources claim the paper trail leads back to a Senator from the Republic, so I'd be watching my back if I were you."

"A Senator?" Armada shook her head. "I doubt it. The bounty itself doesn't surprise me, but why would a Senator want anything to do with us?"

Dax shrugged. "I was hoping you could fill that in, but I guess not." After staying silent for a moment, he stood and stretched. "Well, I've gotta go; I have things to take care of, and I've stayed long enough as it is."

Both Armada and Trunks stood. "Dax," Armada began, but her voice was lost to her as she couldn't bring out the words she wanted to say.

"I know," Dax smirked, "'don't be a stranger,' right?" He laughed as he straightened his jacket. "I'm sure I'll run into you two soon enough. And who knows," he continued, "maybe when I finish taking care of all of my business I'll spend more time with you guys. It'll be just like the old days, Ar; we'll pick on the new kids," he nodded toward Trunks and laughed.

"Sure," she half-heartedly nodded to him and followed him to the door.

Once the door opened, Dax stopped and took one last look at his old comrade and newfound Saiyan brethren. "See you later, Ar." He gave a curt nod and bounded out the door, on his way to whatever 'business' he had to attend to.

Armada closed the door and sighed, her back to Trunks. "So now you know," she said lowly to him. "All of it." She turned to face him. "Doesn't tell you much, does it?" she looked at him with a face that almost seemed... ashamed.

"It tells me about /you/, Armada, which is way more important than knowing everything there is to know about the Saiyans," Trunks replied. "Knowing you... knowing why you are the way you are..." he trailed off.

"Don't care about me," she said and briskly moved around him, heading toward the hallway.

"What makes you say that?" he asked, a slight annoyance in his voice.

She stopped at the edge of the hall and turned to face him once more. "My comrades died because of me. They /died/. No one should care about me... I'm not worth the effort."

Trunks stood in the living room, somewhat stunned. Who would have guessed the 'heartless bastard' of a captain they had felt unworthy of sympathy? "Armada," he walked over to her, "if none of us cared about you, we would have left a long time ago."

"I know you /do/, that's why I'm saying you /shouldn't/," she added.

"Well I'm not afraid that you're going to hurt us," Trunks countered. "Lai told me you were a stoic," he continued and her eyes widened, "but you wanted to die anyway. I didn't believe it at first, but then it started to make sense. I believed it for a while, but I didn't understand why. But, when Naya was arrested and you turned yourself in for her, for /us/... that was a real sacrifice."

"I didn't do that for Naya," Armada's gaze fell away from his. "I did that for me."

"That's what I thought, too," Trunks added, "until I saw the look on your face when we saved you. It wasn't disappointment that you didn't get what you wanted... it was relief that we showed up and got you out of there."

She took a step back and started to walk away, but Trunks reached forward and took her left wrist in his right hand. "You don't have to hide anything anymore," he said with sincerity. "And nobody's going to hate you for your past. I just wish... you would have told me sooner."

She shook her wrist away from his hand and looked at him directly. "I didn't want you to feel any... obligation toward me," she dodged his gaze with the last half of her sentence.

"To me," Trunks spoke, "the Saiyans are a dead race. And, while I find it important to know their history, I have no plans on trying to 'save' our race. Besides," he laughed, "what kind of prince can I be when I'm only half Saiyan?"

"Armada," he continued, his voice more somber than before, "I have one request. No more secrets, and no more lies, please," he pleaded. "There's no reason for you to not trust me."

After mulling it over, she nodded. "You're right. No more secrets, and... no lies." The pair stood silent for a brief moment. "I've gotta get back to work on the ship," she added, and moved past him into the living room once more.

"You know," he turned and his eyes followed her movements, "I'm willing to help, if I can."

She stopped and looked at him. "All right," she nodded. "I was looking for a specific tool set, but I can just buy another one on our way over."

Trunks laughed at the sly way she said 'yes.' "Okay, let's go," he added and headed for the door.

-+-+-+-+-+-

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