Into the Unknown, Pt. II (x100 Grav.) Sept 1, 2020 6:38:19 GMT -6
Post by Duran on Sept 1, 2020 6:38:19 GMT -6
The trail of footsteps left in his wake slithered on for miles, stretching out far into and beyond the horizon. He had walked for hours and hours on end under the blistering desert heat, never stopping, never wavering- always pressing forward.
His encounter with the newly evolved Cultivar had given him a strange sense of inspiration. Far, distant memories of the tiny, frail creatures that trodded the once-lushious Cultivar Region, now the Saiba Wastes, flashed in his mind. The harsh aftermath of war and the sundering of their territory had forced them to go undergo a terrifying, ferocious evolution. No longer were they pitiful runts, no; They had grown into vicious predators to survive in their new environment.
It reminded Duran much of his own life, and that of the Tuffles. They too were once a peaceful, frail people. Asides from their technological marvel, the Tuffles posed little to no threat to anyone. It wasn't until the Saiyans' endless provocation had forced them out of their cage. The Tuffles evolved, using their technological might to great effect...But it wasn't enough. Still, they died. Their people lost, their civilization destroyed.
The remains rose from the ashes, stronger than ever before.
He was the embodiment of those remains.
Now, it was up to him and Iyokan to become like the Cultivar. It was up to them to adapt to their surroundings, and come out as the apex predator. Duran needed more pressure, more pain, even harsher conditions...
He needed to become even stronger.
During his seemingly endless trek through the desert, Duran began to continuously crank up the intensified gravity from his Gravity Device, pushing him further and further into the earth as he walked. As soon as he felt himself grow accustomed to one level of gravity, he increased it further. He would never allow himself a painless moment. He wouldn't allow himself any comfort. None.
Power came from pain, from suffering. This was true for any creature, yet doubly so for one carrying the blood of the Saiya-jin.
And so, Duran had pushed himself all the way toward times one-hundred gravity, the very maximum his augmentation device would allow. For what seemed like an eternity, Duran underwent terrible, ceaseless pain as he felt his very bones quake trying to keep his body upright. The pressure was enough to kill a man; It could easily crush those who were unprepared to death.
Right as Duran started to slowly acclimate to the intense pressure, his destination finally began to come into view near the horizon in all it's grand and imposing glory: The Cacumber Capital.
His feet dug into the sand as he finally saw the gigantic Saiyan-lead City. It's light filled up the dark-red skies, and dozens of tiny specks flew in - and out of the city's outer walls. Spacecrafts, Duran assumed.
Whatever the case, the Capital was bustling. Saiyan society was thriving.
It angered Duran. It wasn't fair- it disgusted him.
Duran sucked in a sharp breath, pressing onward through the sandy wastes.
Into the unknown...
''-And so I grab the thing by the jaws, and tear off it's damn head!'' A loud, booming voice overpowered the various outside noise that littered the outer walls. ''That's nice.'' Another voice replied, speaking curtly and lacking any sort of excitement. Two Saiyan guards stood side by side, obviously quite bored with their work. ''Then I totally spat down his neck!'' ''Sure you did.'' He quickly interrupted with a snort. ''I'm telling you bro, it was crazy!'' The more muscular guard waved his hands around wildly to enunciate.
''It's true! You had to have been there, Toma! One of 'em even crapped itself!''
Toma gave his colleague a quick nod, smiling ignorantly in jest. ''Mhm, sure.'' He replied bemusedly. Letas grumbled, eyes narrowing at the other Saiyan. ''Wait, you just said you didn't-!'' But before he could finish, Toma interjected with a shake of his head. ''No, no. It's a cool story. Very epic, Letas.'' It was pretty safe to say that Toma was lying out of his ass, but the cheeky, innocent grin plastered on his face threw his colleague off completely.
''Gghhrmm...Now I don't believe you, you cheeky shi-...Hey, what the hell is that?''
Letas pointed toward the dunes in the distance. A tall figure drug itself toward them, cloaked in his own shade. ''...Someone's coming, probably bad news...'' Toma grumbled, one of his hands reaching toward a holstered energy pistol. Raspy, distorted breathing soon began to fill the ears of the guards as Duran drew closer and closer. The Saiyan guards both took aim with their weapon, shouting loudly.
''Stay right where you are, asshole!'' ''Hands up or we'll shoot!''
But Duran didn't stop. He continued to drag himself through the sand toward the gate, unphased by the threat.
''HAND.'' Duran's exhausted voice erupted through his mask. The guards wavered, their stalwart expression blown aside for a brief moment. ''W-...What?'' Toma mumbled, confused. Panting loudly, Duran approached the guards even further, finally revealing himself from the thick, blackening shade. ''Does it look like I have two hands...!?'' Duran exhaustedly shouted, presenting his weaponized arm.
''Whoaaah, easy there bolt-brains, we're just doing our job.'' Toma scoffed, holstering his weapon again. ''Fellow Saiyan, huh?'' Letas mumbled, holstering his weapon as well. He looked Duran up and down, and clicked his tongue in dissatisfaction. ''You uh, okay buddy? Your gravity belt is still on, by the way...''
''I know.'' Duran curtly interjected, heaving loudly as he gestured toward the Capital. ''Can you let me through? I'm...Expected, somewhere.''
The two Saiyans hummed in unison, but who were they to deny access from a fellow Saiyan? Even if Duran seemed like the most shady person ever, guards like them saw training-crazed Saiyans that ventured into the Saiba Wastes on the daily, so it wasn't that unordinary. They stepped aside for Duran, who quickly passed them without uttering a single word.
And so, Duran found himself in the very heart of Saiyan society. As far as his memory served him, this had been one of his worst nightmares.
He looked around to see Saiyan warriors of all shapes and sizes walk around scattered, men and women alike. Weak Power Levels surrounded him from all angles, the so-called 'Low Class Warriors' of the Saiyan Kingdom. The buildings surrounding him were old, and run-down. Taverns that dotted the streets were filled to the brim with loud and rowdy Saiyan grunts. Violent arm-wrestling matches and bar fights didn't even seem to phase anyone that passed by.
Unbeknownst to Duran, he had found himself directly in the Radditsu District, the lowest of the low when it came to Saiyans. Apes in the purest way imaginable. Duran scoffed as he passed the filth of the lower class. While his expression was grizzled and steeled, the core within his chest was beating wildly at the adrenaline rushing through Duran. The prospect of a single Saiyan near him shook his heart with a sense of danger. But hundreds...? Thousands?
Still, Duran pressed on, knowing that his physical appearance was enough to fool these people of ever suspecting him for an enemy. As long as he kept his mouth shut and moved forward, he would find what he was looking for: Supplies.
As he moved, a single noise began to stand out from the scattered prattle of the Grunts that surrounded him. A high-pitched voice, that soon began to distinguish itself by the sheer pain and desperation in her tone. Curious, Duran peeked over the numerous heads infront of him. There, standing in the midst of an open square stood a young Saiyan woman with a petite figure. She cried out for help, reaching out toward every single strong-looking individual that passed her.
Annoyed retorts and jabs were sent back to her as they yanked themselves away. Stepping closer and closer, her eyes eventually set themselves onto Duran, who did stand out considerably from the common Soldiers around him.
''Y-You! Please, wait, wait!'' She immediately leapt for Duran, eyes wide in a clear panic. Her hands clasped together in prayer as she stood before Duran, looking up at the towering Cyborg with hopeful eyes. ''C-Can you help me?! It's- it's my husband, he! He...!'' She gasped and panted, limbs shaking- this woman was clearly having a panic attack. Duran grumbled under his mask, and held up his hand. ''Slow down.'' He told her clearly. ''Breathe, slowly. Then talk.''
As much as Duran simply wanted to cast her away, he felt a strange obligation to at least hear her out, seem like a member of their society.
It took a few moments, but after some choppy breaths and rapid nodding, the Saiyan managed to get a grip on her breathing. She swallowed, and looked Duran in the eyes. ''I-I'm sorry...My name is Turri. It's...It's my husband, you see! That stupid oaf got into a drinking bet with the other guards, and now...! Now...'' Her eyes shut tightly, hands clenching into tight fists as she desperately fought back the tears. Still, they managed to escape her eyes, and rolled down her cheek.
''He went to the Saiba Breeding Grounds!! He wanted to prove himself, that idiot!!'' Turri cried out in anguish. Burying her face in her hands, she began to sob loudly and uncontrollably. Duran felt...Conflicted, and confused. His gruff expression remained plastered on his face as he tried to get more information out of her. ''Calm down. Why is this an issue?'' The Cyborg asked flatly. He assumed she meant the Cultivar Hive, but a Saiyan would have no trouble there, would they?
''Rettus is...A Low Class...He only has a Power Level of 1,500...'' Turri whined through her erratic sniffles. Duran's eyes lowered skeptically. How suicidal would a man have to be to venture into the Breeding Pits with such a low Battle Power? Whoever this 'Rettus' was, he was undoubtly absolutely insane. All of these Saiyans were...Perhaps however, Duran could make use of this woman's desperation. Duran drew her attention with a curious hum, and raised a brow at her.
''...What will you offer me in return, if I choose to help?'' Duran asked, to which Turri's eyes widened. Her sniffling ceased, and she looked up with a hum. Her eyes began to scan Duran up and down, lingering on his metallic parts. Turri put a hand to her chin, and hummed. ''I, uh...My dad's a mechanic. He could probably give you a fixer-upper? No offense, but your parts seem a bit...Beaten up.'' Turri paused, pointing to Duran's belt region. ''You know your gravity device is on, right?'' She sounded skeptical. Duran grumbled, and replied curtly. ''Yes, I do.''
Helping a Saiyan...The very thought made him feel sick to his stomach. But being offered a mechanic's help? This might've been Duran's only realistic shot at finding someone that could assist him further. As much as he hated the idea, it was time to cast aside his petty judgement. Just this once.
''I will help you, Turri.'' Duran stated, nodding confidently to the Saiyan woman.
Immediately, her eyes lit up, sparkling with gratitude as she gasped aloud. ''R-really?! Oh kai's thank you! Thank you so much!'' Turri began to frantically nod her head toward the towering Cyborg, before she reached out and grabbed him by the arm. ''Come, come! You have to meet my father first!'' She yanked Duran by the arm, dragging him along the streets much to his chagrin. The grizzled Cyborg glared and grumbled inaudibly, but ultimately kept his mouth shut.
Eventually, the pair reached a relatively humble looking building. A holographic sign was placed on the outside with strange symbols Duran didn't understand, although they looked like the Saiyan language. ''Okay, here we are.'' Turri nodded, letting go of Duran's arm. The doors to the marble-white building opened automatically, sliding open with a distinct sound as she hastily stepped in.
''FATHER, FATHER!'' Turi called out, running over to an older man wielding a soldering iron. He had a full, grey beard and a wild mane of grayish white hair. He turned to face Turri. ''Fer heaven's sake Turri don't jus' come runnin' in like that! Yer gonna give me a damn heart attack...'' The older man grumbled, before turning back to his workbench. ''But, but dad! I found someone who said they would save Rettus for me!'' Turri leaned over the workbench, trying to get her pops' attention.
And if that revelation wasn't enough, Duran's heavy footsteps began to echo through the building. The metal of his hulking form slammed down onto the floor with every step he took, finally getting Turri's father to pay attention.
''Eeehh!? Where the hell did'ya find this guy!?'' The old man's jaw fell open as he laid eyes on Duran, his sights immediately falling to the massive gunblade that replaced his left arm. ''Hooo boy, I ain't seen craftsmanship like that since I was your age, Turri!'' He spoke aloud, obviously very impressed by Duran's cybernetics. Why wouldn't he be? Tuffle technology was far superior than anything this chump could offer. However...
Duran's eyes began to scan the entire shop, and he'd be lying if he said the cybernetic parts displayed on the walls weren't appealing...
''What's yer name, laddy?!'' The older man snapped as he suddenly stood right infront of Duran. ''Hm? Oh,-'' Duran took his eyes off the various parts, and looked down at the elderly Saiyan. ''Duran.'' He stated flatly. ''...Hmmm...Yes, yes...'' The mechanic suddenly began scanning Duran with a scouter, and running all sorts of random tests on his body. Tapping the steel of his gunblade, looking at the barrel of his cannon with a magnifying glass, and testing the flexibility of his fingers. ''Okay Durian!'' ''Duran-'' ''Tell you what boy, if you can manage to get Rettus back for my lovely Turri, I'll let ye pick out whatever ye want from my shop! Howzzat sound?''
Duran grumbled in thought, weighing his options briefly. ''You wouldn't happen to be in possession of an energy core, would you?'' He skeptically asked, not expecting much. However, the mechanic quickly burst out in laughter, and retreated back to his counter. 'Bwahaha, do I! I fix up robits like yerself every day of the week!'' After some loud rummaging, the elderly Saiyan retrieved a special suitcase and opened it atop the counter.
Inside of the suitcase was everything Duran could ever dream of finding here...A beautifully finished core, made up of only the finest and most expensive parts the galaxy could offer. Even a Tuffle's jaw would drop at the sight of such a thing. Duran's eyes were wide with shock as he laid eyes upon it. Such a Core could easily bring life to a defective Destron Droid...! ''Beautiful, ain't she? Ehehe!! This baby's worth 50,000 Zeni! And judging from that look in yer eye, you really want it, don'tcha?'' The mechanic gave a sly, malicious smile as he closed the suitcase and hid it behind the counter.
''Get my daughter's dumbass of a husband back, and it's yers. Deal?''
Duran fell silent. He could feel his mind darkening in that moment. Did he really have to go through all of this trouble to save a Saiyan? These people were weak, and without protection. No one suspected Duran...He could easily just kill them right then and there, take the core and much more, and leave. It'd be child's play. And still, part of him hesitated. Why did he hesitate? Was it because he feared the consequences of becoming a wanted criminal for Cacumber? Maybe. That is what he hoped he thought, deep down.
''Deal.'' Duran spoke, voice brimming with confidence. He immediately turned to face the doorway, his heavy footsteps filling the room as he prepared to leave toward the Saiba Pits. ''W-wait!'' Turri's voice called out from behind him. Duran paused, gazing over his shoulder. ''Don't you need coordinates or something? The wastes are really big!'' She tried to warn Duran about the dangers, but the Cyborg immediately shook his head. ''No,'' Duran stated flatly. ''I'm familiar.'' And so, Duran silently walked out of the workshop, the mechanical doors sliding shut behind him.
Duran quickly made his way skyward, ignoring the incoming aerial traffic as his sights scanned the distant, sandy horizon. If his estimations were correct, all he truly had to do was trace his steps back to where he was attacked by that pack of Cultivar. Their breeding grounds couldn't have been far from there, all he had to do was track the Power Level signatures on his Scouter.
An aura of purple came to life around him, the loud and powerful hiss of Ki echoing into the distance as Duran blasted himself away, leaving a trail of Ki in his wake. It didn't take long for him to leave Cacumber's airspace, and it was only then that Duran began to realize just how effortlessly and freely he was moving. People kept mentioning his gravity device was still activated, but he seemed to have lost track of when the pain stopped. It simply...Happened?
Duran smiled to himself; Seemed he really had conquered all stages of Gravity...
Setting aside his small victory, Duran's eyes fell down to the Saiba Wastes directly below him. Although faded, he could still make out the imprints in the sand that belonged to him when he made his way to Cacumber. Hastily, Duran flew above the trail of footprints, following them all until he found a large, circling crater that shaved off the sandy surface. This was it; This is where he was assaulted by those Cultivar. Duran stopped, hovering mid-air as he activated his Scouter systems.
His artificial eye began scanning the environment, performing large, sweeping searches that stretched out toward the horizon. After proper adjusting and homing onto places of interest, Duran's scouter began beeping softly.
[SEVERAL POWERS DETECTED]
Well, Duran assumed no future scan would ever come as close to being a proper hint. 'Several Powers' could mean a lot of things, but it could also mean a Cultivar gathering. 'I should've just killed that mechanic when I had the chance...' Duran spat mentally. To think he of all people would extend his help toward Saiyans- it made him feel sick to his stomach. That energy core surely was a nice consolation prize, but Duran could've just as easily torn it from that man's wrinkled, disgusting hands.
After some traveling, Duran reached the entrance to what seemed to be a cave system. The jagged rocks inside were covered with a strange, disgusting slime. Broken bits of shell scattered around the entrance. Cultivar, a dead giveaway.
Duran entered the mouth of the cave, and fearlessly began his descent. As he got deeper and deeper into the cave, he started to hear distant shrieking noises and low grunts. Increasing his pace, Duran eventually came upon a large open section of the cave, lit up by the sunlight creeping in through the busted-open ceiling.
He saw a pack of Saiba-raptors swarm around a heavily injured Saiyan. Rettus, he presumed. He fought valiantly against the beasts, but it was obvious that if no one were to help him, his time would be nigh.
''H-Hey, hey you! Help me out here, yea?!'' The Saiyan shouted toward Duran upon noticing him. Duran stepped further into the cave, but paused. Did he really have to save him? Duran could simply stand by and watch him die. It'd be one less Saiyan that plagued the world. He could return his corpse, simply say he was too late...
''ARE YOU DEAF?!'' Rettus screamed, narrowly dodging a set of claws. ''HELP ME!''
Duran stood still, contemplating. Conflicted.
Was his life worth any less?
Just because he was a Saiyan?
''...!'' Duran seemed to change in that moment. In an instant, a fiery aura of Ki came to life around him. The Cyborg took aim at the pack of Cultivar with his cannon, and fired loose a terrifying beam of scorching energy. The pained screeches of the Cultivar beasts were drowned out by the powerful noise of Duran's Ki, before fading entirely. None were left. Nothing but smoldering ash.
''Why...? Why did I...?'' Duran collapsed to one knee, stuck staring at the shake in his hand. He saved a Saiyan; Purely by his own choice. What was happening to him...?
His thoughts were smacked away as he felt a hand grip his shoulder. It was the Saiyan grunt, Rettus. ''Bahaha! Good stuff, man. You're lucky I softened 'em up for you!'' The Saiyan chuckled optimistically. His face and body were littered with cuts and gashes- he was losing blood at a rapid rate. How was he even still standing...?
Duran confusedly stared back at the man, his mind still chaotic with questions and a sickening, conflicted feeling. ''I...?'' Duran mumbled, to which Rettus chucked dazedly. ''I...It's okay- uuff....I don't feel so good, man...'' The Saiyan let out a last wheeze before he collapsed forward, his limp unconscious body slamming into Duran's hulking form. Duran looked down at his wounds, quickly realizing that he would probably die if he didn't get help soon enough. Well, a Saiyan like him could probably take a beating and come out fine.
He threw Rettus' body over his shoulder, and looked up at the large hole in the cavern's ceiling. Duran flew up high, and looked out toward the distant horizon. He could see Cacumber as a vague smear in the far distance- it'd only take a few minutes for someone with Duran's speed.
The wind howled past them as Duran flew toward the Saiyan Capital. Sometime during their flight, Duran could feel the Saiyan's body shift on his back. ''Hhhrooah...-'' Rettus let out a large, pained grunt. ''H-Hey buddy...Thanks for savin' me back there...'' He humbly thanked his unknown savior, before promptly going back to sleep. Duran remained silent, unable to give a response. The Saiyan's genuine thanks caused a strange, sickening feeling to sink into his stomach. It wasn't distaste; It felt more like Duran felt disgusted at himself. But why? Why couldn't he accept this Saiyan's thanks?
Was it because he couldn't accept himself for choosing to save his life? Was Duran losing his own identity? He simply hummed, lacking any emotion, and flew forward. His family must've been waiting.
The remaining travel toward Cacumber was quiet, with only Duran's own thoughts to accompany him. His mind was chaotic, and he couldn't find an answer to any question he posed himself. It ate away at his sense of self, but he said nothing. He showed nothing. He simply kept flying.
Eventually, Duran found himself in the streets of the Radditsu District once again, recognizing the streets Turri pulled him through. He followed the landmarks he remembered from his brief visit, until he eventually saw the workshop in the distance.
The sliding doors opened as Duran approached, holding Rettus in his arms.
''R-RETTUS!! YOU FOUND HIM!'' Turri screamed aloud as she saw her husband again, the noise immediately causing Rettus' eyes to open slowly. ''T-Turri? That you...? Heheey...'' He laughed weakly, climbing back to two feet with the assistance of Duran, who set him down.
Turri immediately jumped into her husband's arms, burying her face into his shoulder as she began to cry from relief. Rettus smiled to himself, placing a hand behind his wife's head to calm her down. ''Sorry for making you worry, Turri...!'' He spoke softly.
Duran looked at the two Saiyans from a distance. Silent, motionless. He caused this. He reunited two people of the race he swore to destroy. They were happy, and he was the cause of it. If not for Duran, Rettus would've certainly died...
''Hey laddy, good job out 'dere.'' The elderly mechanic interrupted Duran's train of thought. ''How's about that core, ey?''