Mission 1: Dark Sprout
Upon a rocky outcropping stood a stocky man, his thick tufts of ebony hair fluttering slightly in the breeze. A puckered scar on his cheek creased slightly as he smirked. The man wore white gloves, black body stocking over his legs, white boots with thick, golden plated tips, and form fitting torso armor that lacked sleeves, but had a long shoulder pad that extended nearly two feet from the shoulder. His powerful arms were crossed over his burly chest as he gazed at his son on the plain below, a man that was built just like his father, but had pink hair and eyebrows. His accoutrements were much the same, sans the shoulder pad, and blue body stocking over his legs instead of black. He gazed back at his father, smirking just as much as he took up a combat stance, his power flowing through his veins as if it was his blood.
For all intents and purposes, it was. Both of them were Saiyan warriors. The scarred man was a Captain in the Saiyan Army, named Sprout. His son, while half-Saiyan, was named Gum, and they both came out to this barren area often for sparring practice. Warriors had to keep their skills up, even in peacetime, ready to answer the call to war at any moment.
“You ready son?” Sprout taunted as he took up his own stance, his furred tail unfurling from his waist, fluttering for a moment before re-wrapping itself. “Or do you need a little more time to loosen up?”
“Hah! I’ve been waiting on you old man!” Gum taunted back, grinning openly now. This was, as they called it, ‘Guy Time.’ It was not that they had anything against Aize, the mate of Sprout and Gum’s mother. She could fight as well as anyone in the army. No, this was the time that only the ‘boys’ would fight, strengthening the bond between father and son while Aize looked on. She would analyze their fight, and comment on where each of them was weak or exceptionally good so they could improve further. The informal rules for this little practice match was that they could fight in any way, but there was to be no transformations. Strength and polish would be best accomplished before adding their Super Saiyan power to it.
“Ok boys, get ready…GO!” Aize’s singsong voice called from her perch several yards away. A creature of magic, Aize had changed her form to match that of a Saiyan, down to the littlest detail. Although some aspects of her true form came through in the pink tinges of her hair, pink eyes and pink tail, she walked, talked, and fought just like a Saiyan. Wearing a form fitting blue body stocking that accentuated every sexy curve of her body, her torso encased in strong and equally form fitting armor, white boots and gloves, she smiled as she waited for her mate and son to make the first move. Even from so far away though, her keen eyesight would not miss a single detail.
Without warning Sprout charged forward, flinging himself towards his son as the rock behind him crumbled, a fist drawn back for a powerful blow. Gum had charged forward, leaping upwards and trailing a cloud of dust from his departure.
A shockwave filled the air as they collided, and the fight was on. Blow after blow flew, blocked or deflected deftly as punches and kicks were exchanged. Both men grinned as they fell into the flow of the fight, looking for openings in each other’s defense while Aize watched with a grin of her own, her arms crossed under her generous breasts.
Yet, deep within the psyche of Sprout, within the deepest, darkest reaches, something evil lurked. Waiting for the perfect opening to reach up and take control. An evil spirit, powerful, and infinitely patient had found its way onto Sprout many years before and secreted itself deep within his mind, so far hidden even the Saiyan had no clue that he had picked up a hitchhiker. The spirit had bided its time, building strength and observing everyone around the warrior, gaining valuable intelligence as it had slowly extended its tendrils of control to every facet of Sprouts being. The process had taken years to accomplish; a Saiyan was strong in mind as well as body, but now, it was complete. All the spirit had to do was wait for the right moment to flood into those pathways it had set up, and take over this powerful body and use it for it’s own dark purposes, imprisoning Sprouts personality into the darkness that the spirit currently resided.
All it would take…was just the right moment.
** ** **
Hundreds of miles away…
On an island nation far from where the two warriors sparred, a thriving city was slowly falling under darkness. From a large structure in the city, pinpoints of light would rise up and head into the sky at incredibly speeds. Upon closer inspection, one would see that the structure had a huge landing pad behind it, with a large, bustling hanger bay and all manner of beings conducting work on highly advanced equipment, highly advanced in comparison to that made on the planet currently. Upon even closer examination, one would see hairy creatures doing mechanical work upon what were clearly ships of some kind. Starships, snubfighters, vehicles, and crates were scattered throughout the bay, in various stages of repair or outfitting. Small machines puttered about, making assorted beeps and whistles as they went about their task. Over the hanger bay doors, under the brilliant floodlights that lit up the landing pad and the larger freighters parked there was a large sign.
It said simply, “Welcome to Earth, and the ReBeL Store.”
The ReBeL, or RBL Store, was one of the premier, if not the premier, structures for other worldly gear, medical supplies, food, weaponry, armor, ships and technology. Provided that no laws of any nation or that of the Galactic Alliance were breeched, anyone with proper credentials could purchase anything they wanted. Arms dealers had attempted to muscle in, but they were soundly rebuffed by the owners of the place. Criminals had also attempted to get what they wanted without penalty, but they found that doing so was much more difficult than anticipated. For the owners were well trained fighters in their own right, and one was a combat veteran of numerous battles from his universe. Petty criminals and arms dealers were no match for them, though none recall ever having been struck by the two men, or any of their employees. They just had a calm way about them that seemed to cause trespassers to leave of their own volition with apologies. Those individuals who were more persistent, would invariably find him or herself face to face with one of the many employees of the Store; the Wookies. Massive, strong, and highly intelligent, if not loyal, usually it only took one ‘visit’ by a Wookie to cause the malefactor to quickly change their mind and leave post haste. Those that did not, would suddenly discover just how well armed the Store was as hidden weapon systems would suddenly open up from the ceilings, training blaster barrels at their targets with incredible precision, guided by an Artifical Intelligence known as Darcy20 from deep within the computer core that ran all functions within the Store.
The owners had taken no chances. The owners were Jedi, and knew that they had to make sure not to bring unwarranted attention upon themselves, while at the same time maintaining a strong posture as they worked to help keep the spread of new technologies at nice safe pace, guiding Earth towards eventual inclusion with the universe at large. They had another mission though, which was to clamp down upon black marketers, and to follow the will of the Force.
Deep within the Store, underneath the hanger, sat one of the owners in a large chamber. A gravity chamber, much like that used at Capsule Corp, it was the most likely place to find Tank, if he was not working up in the Store Front or the Hanger Bay itself. He sat with his legs crossed, eyes closed as he breathed deeply, fully immersed into the Force. He wore a comfortable tan gi over a green shirt, his tanker boots folded underneath him as his short red hair fluttered slightly from his breathing motions. His mind flowed along the unending pathways of energy that made up the Force. An energy field that surrounded and binded all things, certain individuals were able to tap into the power, giving them incredible abilities. Some for good, others for evil. The Jedi Master known as Tank was more a maverick compared to most Jedi. He trained no apprentices, and his powers and abilities had attributes of both good and dark sides of the Force. Yet he was not a Dark Side user. He wasn’t gray by any means, but he wasn’t what one would say a “proper” Jedi either. Which suited him fine.
Having trained in a gravity chamber at ten times gravity, and recently at nearly thirteen, he was a powerfully built man, yet highly agile and flexible, both in his physical attributes and in his powers. A human from a distant planet, he survived the subjugation of his home world years ago by sheer luck; though, he had wondered if it was the will of the Force at work. He went from being a tank crewman on his planet, to a pilot, and then a commander, as well as an engineer. At the same time, he began to learn how to use the Force under guidance of others trained in the Force. Years passed, and he passed through Luke Skywalkers Academy on Yavin IV for a short stint before he returned to flying in space and finding his own path in the Force.
His path had brought him here, on Earth. A strange subspace anomaly had disabled his fighter, and he passed through a dimension into this universe, where he barely made a controlled crash landing. With new friends, some of whom had also been stranded, he found that the anomaly was more or less stable. Once more questioning if it was the Force at work, he immediately set up the RBL Store on the planet, knowing perfectly well that pirates or other groups from his universe would arrive not long after his report made it to Luke Skywalker. With the other owner, a clone of himself, he kept watch over the planet. He nor CloneTank, or CT, could interfere with the planet itself, but via mutual understandings between the governments of Earth and the Galactic Alliance, Tank did have jurisdiction over any non-Earth vessels that came to the planet.
Things had been quiet for awhile now though, and, following a nasty fight with a being named Darth Char, Tank had returned to furthering his training. He had made incredible progress, but he intended to make more. And he was certain that he would find it.
As he meditated, he felt something dark and evil slowly start to enter into his perception. A sense of urgency for action came to him as a scene appeared in his minds eye. A dark figure stood before him, a dark red aura flowing around a powerful body as red eyes seemed to gaze at him. The aura flowed like smoke, or like water. Pure evil, it tainted the Force as it grew and then exploded outwards, jolting him from his meditations. A cold sweat beaded his forehead as he panted for a few moments, letting his body recover from the sudden return. He felt a shiver trail up and down his spine as he thought over the portent. “Something bad is about to happen…something terrible.” He thought to himself, replaying the scene in his mind. Visions weren’t new to him, but they also weren’t something he received on a regular basis.
He reached out with the Force again, and a ball of ice formed in his gut as he could feel the same evil taint permeate the Force. What was worse, he could tell that it was near. Somewhere on the planet this evil being was appearing.
Tank stood up slowly, his breathing normal once more. His blue eyes were hard as he sighed once. The Force had been urging him to do something, and he would do what he could to stop this evil, as best he could. “Darcy, have someone prep my freighter. Tell CT that I’m going to be a little busy for awhile, but should be back soon.” He said to the air as he headed for the large doors of the chamber. From a table by the door he picked up two cylinders, clipping them to his belt before leaving the room.
“Oh, and could you send work to Mel for me? Tell her that she might want to lay low for awhile, I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”
“May I ask what it is you have a bad feeling about?” The Store’s AI asked, rather curious.
Tank shrugged as his boots clattered on the deck. “I don’t know yet, but hopefully I will soon.”
** ** ** **
Back at the rocky plain…
The spirit was ready, and its excitement grew, feeling the moment coming closer and closer. And there it was! With relish it flooded into the pathways it created, spreading its evil influence and control over every facet of this warriors being.
Sprout’s eyes widened as he felt something within him suddenly burst forth in his mind. It staggered him, and Gum, down on the ground, took that moment to rocket himself upwards in a powerful kick to his father’s jaw, sending the older man flying. Fortunately, or not, the blow had stunned not only Sprout, but also the evil spirit, weakening it greatly.
Sprout crashed in a heap against a stone pillar, grunting in pain as he fell to the ground, holding himself up by his hands as he kneeled, panting and shaking his head. Gum was on his feet now, and was about to rush forward when Sprout held up a gloved hand, not looking at his son. His eyes were clenched shut, teeth grinding as the evil within attempted to regain the initiative. “Stay back!” Sprout ground out, stopping Gum instantly.
“What? What’s wrong old man? I didn’t hit you that hard.” Gum said incredulously, not sure what game his father was playing at.
“N-no! It’s not that…something…inside me….evil…taking over! I can’t…can’t stop it!” Sprouts hand clenched as he lowered it, his muscles rippling under his skin as his grunted, sweat trickling from his pores. Slowly he stood up, trembling and struggling with this inner demon.
From her perch, Aize could feel something was wrong. Her aura flared around her, and she flew over to where Gum was to find out what was going on. “Gum!” She called just before landing lightly beside her taller son.
“Mother, what’s going on with him? He said there’s something evil taking over?” Gum said, looking perplexed and confused. Aize looked just as confused as she turned her gaze to Sprout, who was had his back to them. His aura was starting to flare around him as he fought, but the aura flickered between white and dark, the white flaring up stronger, before the black appeared, not quite as strong but quickly growing.
“I..won’t let you….” Gum and Aize heard, before a harsh, evil laugh pierced the air. “You have no choice.” It was Sprouts voice, but the tint of evil was unmistakable, and it caused them to take a step back involuntarily.
The dark aura was flaring more and more now, and as they watched they could see Sprouts ears start to elongate into points, his skin slowly darkening. Every so often the skin would lighten, but it was darkening quicker, as at first a weak and then growing stronger laugh filled the air. It was filled with malice as the black aura flowed around the Saiyan, with the skin turning a nearly deep, crimson, blood red color, which seemed to begin to flow into the aura itself almost as if the flames of hell were beginning to burn its way through his skin. “Such power…I love it! It’s been so long since I’ve had a body, and now I’ve got the best one could get!” Sprouts said, his voice much deeper and harsh, laughing darkly once more before suddenly throwing his down to the side. His fists clenched, he roared out into the sky as he powered up. The evil energy that was released caught Gum and Aize by surprise and sent them flying, slamming them into rock formations nearby, stunning them briefly.
When they had gathered their wits, the looked up to see the energy flare of Sprouts aura burning about him, the signature Super Saiyan warble filling the air, but the color was red, with black edges. Sprouts armor, normally immaculate, had cracked and was destroyed, leaving his torso bare, with but ragged edges of his body stocking at the waist. His skin was a deep red, ears pointed like and elf.
“What…Father!” Gum cried out as he stood up and began to run towards the older Saiyan. “No-what Gum!” Aize yelled, reaching for her son as she picked herself up.
Her reach was too short though as he closed in on Sprout. With a sudden flicker of pseudomotion Sprout backhanded Gum away, sending the pink haired man to crash and indent the rocky face of the cliff behind them. Aize froze, in shock at the callous strike Sprout had just performed.
“Sprout! What’s gotten into you!” She yelled, her aura flaring around her as she glared at her husband. Lover or not, she wasn’t going to let him get away with that.
“Sprout? Heh, I’m not that weakling. But if you must call me something, call me…” Sprout finally slowly turned to face Aize, and she suddenly lost the will to fight, a ball of crystal ice forming in her gut as fear struck her. “…call me Dark Sprout.” He finished as he sneered. His canines had become longer and sharper, much like a vampires. The most fearsome sight though, where his eyes. They were pupil less, glowing a bright red that seemed to bore into her very soul.
“As for Sprout, you won’t be seeing him ever again. I’m here to stay, and there’s nothing you can do.” Dark Sprout sneered once more as he started to walk slowly forward. “He’s still in here…” He said, tapping his temple, “…but I have waited a long time to do this and I have absolute control. He can see and hear, but that is it. He’ll be my little plaything in my mind. And to start off with the fun…I think I’ll kill his mate and son first, and then destroy his beloved Army.” Dark Sprout laughed as he continued to slowly approach.
Aize was slowly stepping away, too horrified to think of fighting as tears rolled down her cheeks. From his crouched position, Gum also had tears in his eyes as he glared at the evil monstrosity that was his father not but a few minutes ago.
The Saiyan raised a hand, a dark orb slowly building up as he added power. For added drama he stopped and then raised his hand, still laughing and enjoying this feeling of incredible strength and control as a deep rumble began to fill the air.
“And now…say good bye…” Dark Sprout said before a series of powerful blasts crashed into the ground where he stood. “What?!?!” He roared as he looked up, but before he could get a fix on whatever it was, a continuous series of blasts fell upon him, causing him to grunt before being covered in smoke and dust.
Aize and Gum blinked and looked up and had to wince as the blasts came out of the sun. The deep rumble grew as more and more smoke and dust filled the air, followed by an incredible explosion as a blue ball shot forward faster than the eye could follow and crashed into the spot where Dark Sprout had stood, sending debris and dust flying everywhere. Aize and Gum raised their arms to protect their faces, their hair whipping in the breeze before it faded. When they lowered their arms, dust and smoke obscured everything in front of them. “Is he…” Gum said softly before a shadow fell upon them.
Instantly on guard they looked up and saw the most bewildering sight: a large ship hovered over towards them, a ramp lowering underneath as the vessel spun slightly on its axis, the large cannons in their pylons tracking the spot where Dark Sprout had been before opening fire again with loud thrumming blasts.
Gum and Aize looked at each other and then nodded, before leaping up and onto the ramp, rushing into the ship quickly. The ramp immediately began to close behind them as the ship tilted upwards, the powerful bank of engines growling and then roaring as it shot up into the sky. The two family members looked around, looking at the advanced tech around them with wonder, before feeling a compulsion to run down the corridor, heading towards the front of the ship. A bulkhead door swished open, and they could see out the large canopy into the sky, which was fading fast. Within a few moments the ship was in space.
“Sorry for dropping a proton bomb so close to you guys.” A man in one of the chairs in front of them said apologetically. His back was to them as he flew the ship, keeping part of Earth in the view port a head of them, heading for the dark side of the planet.
“Who are you?” Gum said without preamble, his mind and emotions already a confused mess, and he was looking for a target. “Did you just kill my father?!” He demanded, fists clenched. Aize put a hand on her son’s shoulder, but he shrugged it off brusquely.
The man in the chair tapped a few keys on a console, before turning his chair around to face them. “My name is Tank, and no, I didn’t kill your father. He’s still alive, though I did try to change that I admit.”
At the mention that his father wasn’t dead Gum’s fists dropped as he looked at Tank in surprise. “Wha-he’s not dead? But…you shot him!”
Tank nodded. “With some pretty strong weapons, but he’s not dead. Maybe weakened a bit, but not dead at all.”