CHAPTER FOURTY-FOUR: OOZAROU

 

 

 

 

            Back on earth, something was about to happen that might have been prevented had Zarbon and Zangya not been detained on Planet Zun. If they had been able to come in time, perhaps all of the events that happened later would have happened differently. Whether it would have turned out better or worse can never be known, and we must accept things the way they are.

 

***

 

            It was late at night, and the moon was full. Bardock walked through the forest that night, thinking about what he was about to do. He stared at the ground while he walked in order to avoid any unnecessary exposure to the Brute Rays from the shining white orb in the sky that would turn him into his race's pride and joy. Any Oozarou transformations would have to wait for now. Prudence must be taken into consideration first. And careful planning and strategy deserved their places, too. He wanted to turn his sona nd grandson into real Saiya-jin, and there was nothing better for a real Saiya-jin than a full moon, now, was there? Nothing at all.

            Kakarotto didn't have his tail anymore, and that was a shame, but that didn't mean that he couldn't be forced to develop a true killer instinct, now, did it? No, of course not. There were several tail-less Saiya-jin back on planet Vegeta, although they all had better stories than having had theirs cut off by friends at an early age.

            Of course, there was the matter of Gohan, the boy. Now HE still had a tail. he possessed the ability to transform into what every Saiya-jin dreamed of being- a full-blooded killer. Without morals, without scruples, without guilt, without thought. Pure killing rage and destruction, that was what it meant to be a member of the Elite race of warriors in the Universe. No fear of killing, no fear of death. Even those Oozarou who had learned to control themselves while transformed experienced the almighty power of the Bloodlust, a need for killing and for death that could only be satiated one way- the most direct, straight-forward, and obvious way. One who was Oozarou needed to smash things.

            And Bardock would bet his tail that Gohan hadn't even gone Oozarou yet, much less learned to control himself. Not only that, but apparently Kakarotto didn't even know what Oozarou meant, and had no recollection of his several transformations over the years.

            The only people who knew were no doubt sleeping like babies right now. Let them sleep. This wasn't a public event, anyway. Any public interference would no doubt end in the deaths of many useless idiots. Of course, Bardock didn't really give a flying hoot in hell about the ididots, like tha bald midget, or the three-eyed freak, but they held sway over Kakarotto and his son. The interference of Kakarotto's friends could possibly ruin everything that Bardock had planned for all this time, what he had been training in secret for.

            Everything.

            That would not be acceptable. No, not at all.

            Bardock glanced over to the igloo-style house and decided that now was as good a time as any to begin.

            He walked up to Gohan's bedroom window and tapped lightly.

 

***

 

            Gohan woke up to the sound of someone tapping at his window. Being the young little boy that he was, the half-Saiya-jin didn't think anything of the fact that it was three in the morning, and someone was either trying to get in or trying to scratch Chichi's beautifully clean windows. In fact, he thought that maybe, just maybe, Santa Claus had come for an early visit this year!!!!! To Hell with the chimney act! It's Santa!

            Gohan sprang from bed, dressed in his cute little blue PJ's and ran to the window, absolutely giddy with glee at all of the presents that he was sure to get when he saw who was actually out there.

            "SANT-" Gohan started before he noticed that the jolly old fat elf wasn't standing outside his window with a bag of presents in hand.

            bardock waved a hand to shush him.

            "SSH! Be quiet!" he said in a hoarse whisper that would have been a shout had he been using his voice. "Don't wake up your mother!"

            "What are you doing outside my window?" Gohan asked, all illusions of Santa Claus having been dropped for the time being. But there was always hope.

            "I came to talk to you, of course!"

            "Then why are you outside my window after bed-time?"

            "Silly, grownups don't have bed-times!" Bardock said in an oddly patronizing voice that Gohan did not trust.

            "But it's after mine," he said in return.

            "Gohan, it's too hard to talk to you in the daytime. Other people always want you, like your dad, or your mom, or Piccolo." The way that he said that last name was full of a kind of disgusted emotion that not even an idiot would have missed. Somehow, though, by some amazing miracle, Gohan did not notice it.

            "And besides, I want to show you something special that only comes out at night," Bardock continued on before he opened the window from the outside, possibly breaking the latch but not caring.

            He extended his hand to Gohan. "Come with me, I have something to teach you."

            Gohan looked at the hand, and as trusting as he was, began to reach out and grasp it with his own. He looked up and stopped short.

            There was somehting in his grandfather's face, some strange gleam in his eye, that didn't quite fit. It was too similar to the look that was in Toma's eyes when he had kidnapped Gohan and stuffed him in a space pod.

            Gohan hesitated as he looked up at Bardock. Something was wrong here. Something was very wrong. Bardock's face was... not right. Gohan pulled back, all of his red-alert signs in his head telling him not to go, not to take Bardock's hand, and not to see whatever nasty, horrible thing was out there that probably ate little boys.

            However, since Gohan was afflicted with the same disorder that robbed the afflicted of common sense, he went against all of his instincts and took his grandfather's hand.

            "Excellent," bardock said,half to himself, "That's my boy. Excellent."

 

***

 

            Gohan started to feel more and more uneasy as Bardock led him through the woods behind their home, in a completely unfamiliar direction. Well, not TOTALLY unfamiliar, as Gohan looked to his left he could see the small lake where his daddy generally caught the Big Fish to eat.

            They passed the lake, though, and went on still further in the woods. Gohan wondered to himself if mommy was up by now, somehow sensing that her baby wasn't home, and was throwing another one of her screaming fits. Gohan doubted it. For some strange reason, tonight seemed like the kind of night where Gohan could disappear off the face of the earth and his mommy wouldn't notice it. Things were getting too weird.

            GOhan suddenly realized something: What if bardock was KIDNAPPING him? Mommy had always told him never to go with strang men, even if you had known them for a while! Of course, the fact that Bardock was family didn't occur to Gohan. he was too busy wondering what it was really like to be KIDNAPPED, STOLEN FROM HIS HOME BY A STRANGER, or LOST IN THE WOODS INSTEAD OF DOING YOUR HOMEWORK. Gohan felt excited! he felt something else, too, a sort of raw animal instinct to hurt poor little forest creatures.

            An owl hooted to gohan's left, snapping him out of his train of thought. SLowly the feelings of excitement and murder began to abate as he was inharmoniously sent back to reality again.

            "Hey, Gohan! It's right back here!" Bardock said, still in a harsh whisper, from just behind some of the trees and outside of Gohan's range of vision.

            Gohan, happy that this strange little excursion was going to be over soon, and desperately wanting to go home and go to bed, ran after Bardock's voice, and out of the woods into a small clearing.

            There was nothing there. Nothing at all.

            "I don't get it," Gohan said, puzzled, "There's nothing here."

            "look up at the moon, Gohan," Bardock said, smirking.

            Gohan's face wrinkled. "No! My daddy always told me that if I looked at the full moon at night, a big monster would come down and eat me, just like it ate HIS grandpa!"

            Bardock rolled his eyes. "There are no monsters that will come down out of the moon and eat you, Gohan. now just look up."

            Gohan frowned. "No," he answered, "I don't want to be a bad boy and disobey daddy just to look at the crummy old moon!"

            Bardock laughed and disappeared.

            Gohan ran out into the middle of the clearing, to where his grandfather was. the grass was still bent from Bardock's footprints, but he wasn't there anymore. A harsh laugh came from somewhere in the woods. Gohan switched immediately from little-boy mode to Piccolo-trained fighter mode as he realized what was happening. His grandfather had snapped, somewhat, and was going to kill him. Or so he thought.

            Gohan turned around and scanned the woods for any ki signatures. he couldn't find anything. Gokou had taught Bardock to hide his ki early in their training together.

            "Grandpa? You're scaring me!" he said, frantically trying to appeal to bardock's better instincts, if he had any. At this point Gohan was beginning to doubt that.

            He backed up and into Bardock. Gohan's Saiya-jin battle instinct flipped on at that moment as he turned around and aimed a punch directly at Bardock's stomach, as Piccolo had tught him.

            Bardock caught the tiny fist and picked the little boy up by it.

            "Now, now," he said, "You should know better than to try to hurt grandpa, my boy. I want you to look at the moon, and when I tell you to do something, you had better obey me- unless you want me to get mad. Do you want to see me get mad, Gohan?"

            Gohan went pale with fear. His grandpa was no longer there. Something had taken his place instead. SOmething in that moon, which was reflecting off his eyes right now in little pale circles that covered the pupils.

            Gohan frantically twisted, hoping that his natural little-boy flexibility would help him get out of Bardock's grasp, but found that he couldn't budge. bardock grabbed the back of his head and turned him around so he faced the moon. Gohan shut his eyes so tightly that it hurt.

            The fingers of Bardock's hands forced them open.

            "Go ahead and struggle, it helps your nature to fight. That's a good boy, now look."

            Gohan suddenly realized in the back of his head that not once tonight had Bardock actually looked directly at the moon itself, when all conscious thought left him.

            The throbbing sound of a giant's heartbeat penetrated the woods.

 

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