"What did he say?" he said. "Did he say they're not…?"
"Then who -"
"Bullshit!" Vegeta snarled. "If that's not the right Android, then what the hell is it? Well?"
Kuririn turned to him. "Maybe it's no big deal…history turned out differently anyway, right? So maybe the Androids are just changed from what he knows…"
Tenshinhan sighed. "I hope so."
A shadow fell over the area. Chiyo glanced up and saw a red aircar blocking out the sun above, coming in to land. She recognized it as Bulma's aircar, but she sensed three people's chi, not two.
"It's Bulma and Yajirobe," she called, pointing.
"Watch out!" Trunks yelled at the vehicle. "Don't come any closer!"
Chiyo opened her mouth to ask if they would hear him, but a roar of laughter from Twenty interrupted her.
"I spoke the truth when I said you have no chance!" he shouted triumphantly. "Numbers Seventeen and Eighteen will come for you soon!"
With that he fired a chi blast at the aircar. Chiyo leapt forwards but someone else pushed past her; the aircar exploded and a woman's scream was lost in a roar of sound and shower of falling rock.
It took minutes for the smoke to disappear. Chiyo coughed violently, trying to clear her lungs of dust and smoke, and blinked her watering eyes. Her head and ears were aching from the sound of the explosion.
Bulma! she thought, looking around wildly. What happened? Is she...?
To her great relief she saw three figures huddled on the ground - Bulma, Trunks and baby Trunks. The baby was bellowing but he and Bulma were unhurt. The others were making their way towards them, also uninjured. Twenty was nowhere to be seen.
"Are you okay?" Kuririn shouted over the crying of the baby.
"We're okay," Bulma gasped, getting to her feet. "I owe you, kiddo...!"
"He won't get away! I'll hunt him down!" Vegeta roared. He was still in the air, turning this way and that to catch a glimpse of the escaped Android. Trunks glanced up at him, frowning, and went to him. Chiyo turned her attention to the rest of the group. Kuririn was explaining what had happened in the past three hours.
"Hey, y'mean that old weirdo was the Android?" Bulma said, bouncing baby Trunks in her arms. "There, there. Don't cry."
"Yeah, I think."
"Uh-uh. I think that was Dr. Gero himself," she said. "There, there, Trunks. I've seen his picture in an academic journal." She shook her head. "Weird…did he alter his own body?"
"Really?" Kuririn waved up at Trunks, who was still talking to Vegeta. "Hey! She says that guy was Dr. Gero!"
Vegeta and Trunks landed, both looking angry. There was something about them that looked similar - their eyes, maybe. Chiyo wondered if they were related.
"That Android was Dr. Gero himself?" Vegeta demanded. "What are you saying?!"
"I'm saying that I've seen his picture before!" Bulma snapped back, her temper flaring. "He's pretty famous among scientists. They all say he's a jerk, but he's a genius. He probably turned himself into a cyborg so he could live longer."
Vegeta stabbed a gloved finger at Trunks. "You! Everything you said was a crock! You told us that Gero was killed by the Androids! And now you say the Androids themselves were different!"
"That guy said Dr. Gero was killed," Chiyo piped up, before anyone else could speak. "He said he was called Android Twenty."
"History must have been changed somehow," Trunks muttered, shaking his head. "Could it have been a side effect of my coming to the past once before?"
"He spoke of Numbers Seventeen and Eighteen," Piccolo said. "They're probably the Androids you were talking about. Tell us what they look like – we don't want to be wrong again."
"Right," Trunks replied. "Seventeen is a kid with long black hair and a bandanna around his neck. Eighteen is a pretty girl…clothes similar to mine. Both of them have hoop earrings and icy stares."
Piccolo scowled. "Do they also drain your energy through their hands?"
"No," Trunks replied. "They have an infinite supply of energy."
"What?! That's impossible!" Vegeta exploded. "They have to run out of chi sometime!"
Trunks sighed. "Where's Goku? Why isn't he here?"
"His heart," Kuririn replied. "The disease you told us about – it just now hit him."
"I..." Trunks's eyes widened. "That changed too?!"
Chiyo studied Trunks's face carefully. She was pretty sure he and baby Trunks were the same person, and especially if he was from the future. He seemed strong. She wondered whether he was a Super Saiyan like Vegeta and her father.
Trunks seemed to notice her stare for the first time, and glanced down at her. He smiled, and she ducked her head, embarrassed to be caught staring.
"How dare you, Vegeta!" Bulma shrieked. "Every time you stick your ugly face in front of Trunks you make him cry!" She began to pat the wailing baby on the back. "There, there. Daddy's not going to scare you with that ugly mug of his."
"Bulma, will you forget about the child for one minute?!" Vegeta snapped. "Do you know where Gero's lab is or not?"
"I think it was in the mountains by North City. There was a rumour he converted a cave into a lab...if he hasn't moved, of course. But I had no idea Dr. Gero was connected to the Red Ribbon Army."
"Yeah, but it'd be too late to follow him there," Kuririn said. "He's probably long gone."
"Maybe not," Vegeta replied. "Nobody saw him fly away, did they?"
"What do you mean?" Chiyo asked.
The Saiyan snorted impatiently. "I'm saying Twenty is trying to escape on foot, which means he probably isn't very far away."
Piccolo nodded. "All right. Then we're going to destroy Seventeen and Eighteen before Gero has a chance to return to his lab and activate them."
"I would never do something that cowardly!" Vegeta shouted, turning around. "I want to be the one to destroy those Androids with my own hands! Those other two weren't even worth my time."
"NO!" Trunks shouted. "Don't underestimate those Androids! Piccolo's right – we have to find the lab and destroy them before they're activated. And if we can't make it in time, we should avoid a battle until Son Goku gets well."
"We don't need to wait for Kakarrot! Can't you see? I've become a Super Saiyan too! And as a Saiyan prince, I must be much more powerful than he is!"
Vegeta smirked and began to rise into the air. Trunks blocked him before he could fly away.
"What's a labradree?" Chiyo asked her brother.
"Laboratory," he corrected, ruffling her hair. "It's a place where scientists do experiments and study. Like scholars."
"So do we have one?" she said. "You're gonna be a scholar, right?"
Gohan laughed. "Our house is too small."
Trunks landed, scowling. Chiyo glanced up; Vegeta was gone. Obviously, he had ignored everyone's advice and had gone after Twenty.
"It's true that he has seemed stronger than Goku since he became a Super Saiyan," Piccolo admitted. "He may be able to defeat them, indeed."
"That's only because Papa was sick," Chiyo said, scowling.
"That's not it!" Trunks said. "I can turn into a Super Saiyan, too – but I was still powerless! That's how powerful they are. I'm going after him! He's a fool – but I'll never let Dad die again!"
"Dad?" Bulma wondered, as Trunks left. "Did he say Dad? What did he mean? Was his Dad killed by the Androids too?"
"There's no point in keeping it a secret anymore," Piccolo said. "His name is Trunks. His father is Vegeta. He's that baby, grown up – your son."
Gohan, Tenshinhan and Kuririn exclaimed in surprise.
"I knew it!" Chiyo said triumphantly. "They look the same." She shook one of baby Trunks's tiny hands. He smiled at her, drooling.
"Now that you mention it, there is a resemblance," Kuririn said, shaking his head. "How 'bout it."
"You don't say," Bulma said, inspecting the baby. "At least I know you're gonna look hot when you grow up! I was worried – I mean, you're such a mean-looking baby..."
"Bulma, could you let Dad know about this?" Gohan asked. "And that we need him when he gets better?"
"Sure, but how am I going to tell him? My plane exploded."
"Gohan, you take them," Piccolo interrupted. "We can handle the Androids by ourselves, if we're in time."
"Okay...just be careful."
A clatter of rocks made the group jump. Chiyo felt a small chi flare moments before a fat hand stuck up from a nearby pile of rubble.
"A little help!" cried a muffled voice.
Kuririn grinned sheepishly. "Oh yeah…we forgot about Yajirobe."
Chiyo seized the hand and pulled; Yajirobe tumbled out amidst a shower of rubble.
"Watch it, kid!" he complained, rubbing his arm. "You almost pulled my arm off!"
Gohan, Bulma and Yajirobe left a few minutes later. Within moments they were nothing but a dot on the horizon, and Chiyo was left with Piccolo, Tenshinhan and Kuririn. She waited for them to tell her what to do.
They'll probably make me go home, she thought half-heartedly. At least I'd beat Gohan there.
To her surprise however, they took off. Chiyo followed, dodging and ducking the mountain peaks to catch up faster.
"Hey, wait up!" she called, speeding up. The men stopped and turned around.
"Silence!" Piccolo growled. "Do you want to give away our position?"
"I'm sorry," Chiyo replied, quailing under his furious look. "You forgot about me."
Tenshinhan and Kuririn exchanged a glance. Piccolo hesitated for a moment; he seemed to be thinking.
"You have good eyesight, don't you?" he asked. Chiyo nodded. After a moment he said, "You can put them to good use now. Keep up and be quiet."