Chapter 2


            The nursery attendants looked up from their two new charges as the door hissed open and the doctor and Pazru stepped through into the nursery.  The nursery was rather small and sparsely decorated with the same sterile white walls and smooth gray metal floor as the rest of the med-center.  It also lacked windows, for access was restricted to only med-center personnel.  After delivery, infants were taken to this first, private nursery for a full physical examination and testing of power levels.  Afterwards the infants were given a bracelet bearing the name chosen by their parents and sent to the large main nursery where they could be viewed by anyone walking by in the adjoining hallway.  Installed shortly after Frieza’s population laws were announced, the private nursery was an ideal place to decide the fates of questionable infants.


Without delay Scleren took charge, pointing at a tall, emaciated lizard-like creature. “You, bring me a scouter immediately.”  The attendant hurried over to a small, hovering table of instruments.  She quickly sorted through the different utensils until she came upon the piece of equipment the doctor had requested.  With a self-satisfied twitch of her scaly red snout, she hurried back over to the doctor and handed him the device.  The harsh white light of the nursery reflected off of the elongated rectangular piece of red, transparent glass attached to a short gray-white handle with dark purple finger grips.  This scouter was modified from the ones commonly worn by the Saiyan warriors for the precise determination of power levels in the med-center.


            Hefting the light device in one hand and gently stuffing it in one of the pockets of his tunic, Scleren stepped over to the two cylindrical beds with spherical transparent green lids in the center of the nursery.  Still frowning, Pazru followed, ignoring the concerned looks of the other attendants.  The two men stopped in front of the two fully enclosed bassinets (a necessity for the nearly fully motile Saiyan babies) and watched the two infants.  The older, larger one was furiously sucking milk from a nearly empty bottle, one of many, Scleren noted as he caught sight of a multitude of empty bottles crowded onto one of the small tables next to the child’s bassinet.  The infant’s tail swayed slowly from side to side and his toes curled and uncurled as concentrated on draining each and every last drop from the bottle.


With his free hand, Scleren pressed a small transparent button on the side of the bassinet.  The thick, accordion-like cable attached to the top of the lid hummed and contracted, lifting the lid of the bassinet and exposing the hungry Saiyan infant.  Scleren bent forward and lifted the child into his arms.  The child took no notice of the doctor but continued to drain the bottle.


            The smaller, darker-skinned Saiyan baby in the neighboring bassinet also had an impressive collection of empty bottles cluttering his table, but it was not nearly as large as his older brother’s.  The infant sat in the middle of the bassinet scowling at the two men and his older brother, and waving a teething ring (given to the Saiyan infants in order to protect the nursery attendants) in one hand and yowling.  His tail lashed back and forth in irritation.  His hair, now dry, stuck up in a wild explosion of stiff, black spikes resembling his brother’s.


            Cradling the older infant in his arms, Scleren nodded to Pazru, who opened the second bassinet.  The infant quieted and looked up and around in surprise as the transparent lid above him opened and the tall, narrow-shouldered orange-skinned man leaned over him.  The infant tensed and his scowl deepened as Pazru scooped him into his arms.  “There, there, relax, little guy, I’m not going to hurt you,” Pazru cooed to the annoyed infant.  Faster than Pazru could react, the scowling child pulled back his chubby little arm and smacked Pazru in the face with the teething ring.  Pazru gave a startled cry and stumbled back, nearly dropping the infant.  One of the nursery attendants rushed to his side, but Pazru quickly recovered his balance and, supporting the child in one arm, held up his free hand.  “No, I’m alright, go back to your duties,” he said to the attendant.  She looked at him quizzically and started to clear the empty bottles from the infants’ trays.


            Pazru rubbed his sore, swelling nose with one hand and stared at the Saiyan infant nestled into the crook of his arm.  The baby smirked at him and began to laugh and gurgle, waving his chubby arms, and the offending teething ring, at Pazru.  “Scheming brat,” Pazru muttered from behind an amused grin.  He swiftly plucked the teething ring from the child’s little hand and handed it to a nearby attendant, who indifferently tossed it back into the bassinet.  At the removal of his weapon the child began to wail disconsolately.  Pazru tickled the infant’s belly and the child swung a curled fist at his chin, which Pazru caught easily.  “Not this time, brat.”  The child stopped wailing, gave him a puzzled look, and tried to remove his fist from the young man’s grasp.  Pazru laughed and said, “Be good and I’ll let you go.”  The child smirked at Pazru and wrapped his tail tightly around the young man’s wrist.  Still chuckling, Pazru released the child’s fist and ruffled the baby’s soft black hair.  The infant gurgled happily and relaxed in Pazru’s arms.


            Caught up in playing with the bad-tempered Saiyan infant, Pazru didn’t hear Scleren until he had cleared his throat for the third time.  Startled, the young man looked over at his mentor, who smiled grimly at him.  “Don’t get too attached to the child yet, Pazru. We still have to check their power levels.”  Reminded of the dreary job they had to perform, the young man’s face fell, and he tightened his hold on the infant, who stirred uncomfortably in his arms.


Scleren pulled the modified scouter from the pocket of his tunic and pressed a small purple button on the outer edge of the handle.  The scouter hummed into life, a small triangular cursor blinking on the modified eyepiece.  “Alright, its ready,” Scleren said as the scouter bleeped three times.  He held the scouter over the contented infant lying sleepily in his arms, the now completely empty milk bottle rocking back and forth on the floor at the doctor’s feet.  The scouter bleeped again as it scanned the child, and a series of numbers began to scroll across the screen.  Scleren and Pazru watched with great interest as the numbers farthest to the left began to disappear and the scouter began to narrow down the infant’s power level.  In a space of a few seconds the numbers on the screen stopped scrolling and the child’s power level glowed bright yellow off of the transparent green glass.


“Hmm, a power-level of 2.3,” Scleren announced quietly, “not very impressive, even for the son of two third-class Saiyan warriors.”  He pressed the button again, clearing the number from the screen and resetting the scouter.  The doctor turned to the infant happily cooing in Pazru’s arms and held the scouter over him.  The child’s eyes widened in interest and he tried to grab at the red eyepiece.  Holding the instrument just out of the child’s reach, Scleren pressed the small purple button again.  The scouter bleeped and the numbers began to scroll across the screen again.  Pazru stared intently at the screen, unconsciously praying that the number would be higher than that of the first infant.


After a few seconds that felt like an eternity to Pazru, the numbers stopped.  Scleren looked at the screen and blinked.  Pazru felt his heart catch in his throat.  Scleren glanced at the gurgling child in his student’s arms and back at the glowing numbers on the screen.  “Power-level 2, . . .2.25,” he said shakily, taking a quick look at both infants.  “I . . . I’ve never seen any so close together before.  There must be some sort of mechanical error.”  Pazru nodded stiffly in agreement.  The doctor gave the scouter a brisk shake and scanned each child again.  The same number popped up on the screen each time.


“Well, I guess we have our answer,” Scleren sighed as he handed the scouter back to the red lizard-woman who returned it to the floating instrument table.  Pazru felt his heart fall.  “Bring me this child’s nametag,” the doctor ordered a petite elfish creature with two pairs of eyes and dark magenta skin.  The attendant handed Scleren a small, silver bracelet.  Scleren turned it over in his hand, the lights glancing off the slick polished surface of the nametag.  “Kakarot, a good enough Saiyan name for such a hungry baby.”  He stretched the bracelet around his fingers and slid it over the wrist of the infant he held in his other arm.  The baby waved its arms in Scleren’s face and began to cry.  “What is the condition of the child’s mother?” Scleren asked the elfish attendant.  The petite man whispered quietly to the doctor, who nodded and handed the infant to the attendant.  “Good, take baby Kakarot to his mother, he needs to be nursed, Kami help the poor woman.”  The magenta elf nodded silently, all four eyes lowered in respect towards the doctor, turned briskly on his heel, and walked out of the room.


Pazru stood numbly in the center of the room, his face a mask of dismay.  Stiffly, he glanced down at the unnamed and apparently unwanted infant in his arms.  A single tear slid slowly down his cheek and fell on the infant’s tiny nose.  Curious, the child crossed his eyes to try and get a better look at the wet object sitting on his face.  Pazru gently brushed the tear off of the nameless child’s nose, quickly removing his hand when the child snapped at his fingers with sharp, already well-developed little teeth.  The child giggled and grabbed Pazru’s pinky finger in both of his chubby little hands.  Pazru smiled weakly at the doomed baby and looked up to find Scleren’s eyes on him and the infant.


Hands folded behind his back, Scleren slowly walked over to his sensitive young student and the infant.  He gave the condemned child an unsympathetic glance and stared up into Pazru’s moist amber eyes.  “The decision has been made.  Put the child back into his bassinet,” the doctor said in a flat emotionless voice.  Pazru winced as if he had been struck.


“But their power levels are too close together to make an accurate decision, Scleren.  You know how emotions can cause the Saiyans’ power levels to fluctuate.  The twins need to be tested again, I’m sure the levels will change, I—”


“You knew that one of these children would not be allowed to live,” he interrupted in the same flat voice.  “I have made the decision.  Unfortunate for this child as it may be, he must die.”  Pazru clutched the child tightly to his chest.  The child gave a petulant cry and then was quiet. The young green-haired man hung his head and fixedly studied the smooth gray floor of the nursery.  After a few moments he looked back up again and focused his clear amber eyes on Scleren.


“It doesn’t have to be that way, though,” Pazru spoke through clenched teeth.  “This is only one Saiyan child out of at least several thousand born on the planet today.  If he was disguised and taken off of Vegetasei for a while he wouldn’t be missed.”


“You’re right, one less Saiyan child wouldn’t be missed.  That’s why you shouldn’t be overly concerned if he is killed.”


“That’s not what I meant!”


“Oh, Pazru, I understand what you meant.  I understand all too well,” the doctor hissed, leaning forward until their faces were only inches apart.  “So you would risk being brutally tortured and killed by Frieza’s minions to save a third-class weakling Saiyan infant who would eventually grow up to slaughter millions of innocent lives on countless planets all for trivial entertainment?”  The doctor’s heavy jowls shook in anger as he glared at his young student.


“No . . . I mean yes.  Tortured?  No.  I, ah, wait, I . . .,” the young man’s brow wrinkled in confusion and a thin sheen of sweat broke out on his face as he pondered his mentor’s harsh words, knowing deep in his heart that the old doctor was exactly right.  Pazru took a deep breath to steady himself, pursed his lips, and replied clearly without stuttering, “This child is innocent, he has done nothing to warrant death.”  He spoke carefully, avoiding answering Scleren’s question.


Scleren narrowed his eyes and stood up straight. “Hmm.  So I see.  And if this child were allowed to survive, would you say the exact same thing as bravely as you did just now to Lord Frieza?”  Pazru sighed heavily and his shoulders drooped.  Scleren stepped back, scrutinizing the young man’s face, knowing that the battle was won.


“Now,” he continued in a gentler tone, “give me the child.”  Pazru held the child slightly away from his body in reluctant compliance.  As Scleren leaned over to pluck the infant from his student’s arms, the infant suddenly snarled and clambered up Pazru’s arm to his shoulder, where he perched, scowling and baring his teeth at the doctor.  Startled, Pazru looked over at the wild-haired infant clinging to his shoulder.  He could feel the wind generated by the child’s lashing tail rushing by his cheek.


Wryly amused, Scleren stood upright and crossed his arms over his chest.  “Well, it was obvious that you had grown attached to the ill-tempered Saiyan brat, but I never could have guessed that the brat would have grown attached to you too,” he said mockingly, his ice-blue eyes narrowing slightly.  “Fine, since the brat is going to die regardless of what anyone may do,” Scleren glanced meaningfully at Pazru, carefully enunciating the last few words and continuing, “you may put him back in the bassinet.”  The infant growled and bared his teeth at the doctor, who snorted and turned away from the child and a subdued Pazru.


The young man plucked the scowling baby off of his shoulder and returned him to the crook of his arm.  The baby’s scowl softened a bit and his body relaxed in Pazru’s arms, his tail wrapping affectionately around one of Pazru’s arms.  Pazru gave the child a sad smile and brushed a lock of hair from the infant’s forehead.  He looked up at the doctor’s quickly receding back and said quietly, “What of the child’s parents, what will they say if the child is killed?”


Scleren stopped, looked over his shoulder at Pazru, and replied, “They’ll never know he existed.”


“But the mother, surely she knows?”


“She was on the brink of unconsciousness, she couldn’t tell if she had had one child or ten.”


“Wouldn’t the parents want to know that they have two sons?”


The doctor snorted in amusement before he replied, “With an appetite as large as Kakarot’s is, I’m sure his mother couldn’t be happier that she didn’t have another infant to feed.”


“And the child’s father?”


“Knowing Bardock, he could probably care less about his two new brats and what became of them.  Besides, he already has a son to train.”  The doctor grinned and shook his head slowly.  “I should say Bardock has quite a job on his hands training that one, if Raditz is anything like the baby I remember.”  Scleren’s eyes misted over in reminiscence.  “Yes, Raditz was the terror of the nursery until he was sent on his first planet purging.  The spitting image of his mother but with Bardock’s temperament.  Yes, Bardock couldn’t care less about either of the twins with Raditz on his hands.”


Returning back to the present, the doctor’s eyes cleared and he glanced over at Pazru and the now sleeping infant in his arms.  “Come, Pazru, the day is young and we still have much to do.  Return the child to his bassinet.  The nursery attendants will see to him until his time comes.”  Scleren gestured to the two opened spheres sitting in the center of the room and motioned for Pazru to follow him as he turned and began to walk out of the nursery.


Unmoving, Pazru replied emotionlessly, “And when exactly will that be?”


“Oh, I’d give him two, three weeks tops, figuring on how long it will take to process all the paperwork Lord Frieza requires in such cases.  Why?”  The doctor stopped and turned to face Pazru, his brow furrowed and eyes narrowed in suspicion.  He studied the young man’s expressionless face carefully.  Pazru stared dispassionately back at him for a few moments and then turned and stepped in front of the bassinet.  He did not let Scleren see his look of relief as he leaned over and gently set the infant back into the sphere, taking care not to wake him.  He straightened and pushed the small button on the side of the bassinet, watching as the semi-sphere slid back over the sleeping baby.


Don’t worry, little one.  If it costs me everything, even my life, Kami help me, I’ll find someway out of this mess for you.  No matter what, I won’t let them kill you,” Pazru thought, his countenance hardening in determination as he watched the lid form a seamless seal around the lower edge of the bassinet.  He turned back to his mentor, a sly grin on his face.  “Oh, no reason.  I was just curious.”  The older man narrowed his eyes at Pazru as the young man walked towards him, then smiled and clapped his arm around Pazru’s shoulders.


“Good, I’m glad you understand now, Pazru,” he said amiably as the two walked in tandem out into the hallway.  “There’s no point in throwing your life, not to mention a promising career in medicine,” Scleren looked up at his student from the corner of his eye and winked, “away over one bad-tempered Saiyan brat.”  Squeezing his student’s shoulder in emphasis Scleren went on, “Am I right, Pazru?”


“One-hundred percent, sir,” Pazru said, smiling wryly, a clever plan already taking shape in the bright corridors of his mind.


On to Chapter 3                  Back to Power Struggle               Back to Fanfiction