An Altered Vision (Serori)

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An Altered Vision (Serori)
Date of Cutscene: 05 May 2015
Location: The Citadel - Medical Wing
Synopsis: Serori comes to realizations about her future.
Cast of Characters: Serori
Tinyplot: A Wish for the Future

The regeneration tank hums as it works.

Toma's body floats amid the glass-walled tank's pale green fluid. Various tubes feed into his emaciated body, providing respiratory support, restorative medicines, and supplements meant to keep him strong enough to withstand his magnified healing process. Each time he breathes, bubbles disrupt the fluid in great clouds. Each time his heart beats, the external monitor produces a soft beep.

Serori stands outside the tank to watch as Toma's wounds knit themselves closed. It's a gruesome process, but she finds it more fascinating than repulsive.

He'd been brought to her the night before as a barely-alive husk. Drained of his vital energy and much of his physical mass, keeping him alive had seemed an impossible task, but the Citadel's medical teams had operated on worse. Stabilized by feats of magic and technology, Toma's survival was guaranteed; his recovery, however, was not. Would he regain consciousness? If he did, would he still have his senses? His personality? His memories?

Would he ever again be as strong as he had been before he followed Kakarot to Reptilon?

He was likely the oldest of Kakarot's lieutenants, and the most experienced. Toma had once served as a member of Bardock's team. He had never been a renowned fighter on the Planet Vegeta known to Serori, but any close ties to Bardock was sure to get his name in the rumor mill from time to time. Bardock was an unusual saiyan whose acts of heroism always got a lot of attention, so even as a child she'd known plenty about him and his lucky squadmates. Looking at Toma in his current state recalls her to those days, whenever a saiyan risking his life for the sake of his squadmates was a strange enough event to be worth talking about at length. Compassion for one's own people -- imagine that!

The saiyan species had always been savage. Clinging to life with tooth and nail, saiyans had survived the destruction of their ancestral planet, only to then instigate a second planetary apocalypse after they'd gotten strong enough to threaten Frieza. In their short existence, they'd never outgrown their barbaric reputation, by most standards. No uniforms could tame their bloodthirst. No warlord could feed their ambitions. The moment they'd threatened to eclipse their limits and improve their society, they'd faced destruction. Twice.

Was it happening again?

Dread sinks its icy claws into her stomach, and Serori looks away from the silent figure fighting for his life. She had seldom felt this kind of doubt. The last time she faltered, she'd ended up going through dramatic actions to recover her confidence. She'd attacked Raditz. She'd broken away from Vegeta. She'd dedicated herself to the Confederacy, and begun an assault on a number of worlds, betraying friendships and establishing herself a villain in the process. It had given her purpose; it had given her hope; it had given her the resources and reputation she needed to potentially rescue her people from extinction. Though the cost of her change from warrior to leader had been steep, the gains had been exorbitant.

She had gained so much from her change, in fact, that she'd become complacent, and had begun to trust that her dreams would be achieved in time even if she stopped fighting for what she wanted each day of her life. She'd stopped taking risks. She'd stopped sacrificing. She'd settled into the comforts of her new home, took for granted the constant support and care of what love she'd found, and acted on the Confederacy's behalf only when called to do so -- no longer because she had something to prove. In a way, going out to collect the Dragon Balls had been an attempt to set her tail on fire again -- to prove her worth to the saiyans Vegeta had found, an unnecessary exercise when she already believed herself their superior -- but the whole plan was also a selfish attempt to protect the lifestyle she'd established, too. Some part of her wanted to maintain the complacency she'd earned.

Disgusting.

Serori looks back to Toma in his tank. Here is a warrior who knows what is to stake his life on something important. Toma's loyalty to his King had no doubt been won years ago whenever Bardock first saved his pitiful life; naturally, such loyalty would extend to Bardock's son. Hadn't Serori won similar loyalty of her own? In climbing the Confederate ranks, hadn't she befriended others who were willing to put their lives on the line for her sake, for her dreams? She had thought for so long that she was only ever affecting herself in pursuing the goals she did, but that's not really true, is it?

She owes it to those people to remain ambitious, strong, and hungry for victory. She owes it to them to be the leader they need. It's not her own standards she needs to rise above; its their expectations, too. If immortality brings her the safety and security she needs to fulfill all her plans at the cost of her hunger, then it isn't the solution she thought it was.

It's not just her Dragon Ball wish she's doubting, though. It's the saiyan people, too -- their future. What kind of society does she want to create? Vegeta's vision hasn't ever quite lined up with her own. She had wanted to rule a fearsome society of conquerors as she'd known it, but such savagery had resulted in near-total extinction twice in the history of her people. She had vainly believed she could avoid the same pitfalls and arrogance which had led to their previous doom, but now, with the proof of Kakarot's attempts before her, she wonders if she has the wisdom, fortitude, and discipline to manage such a thing.

Yet neither Gohan, Taylita, nor Raditz are suited to rule; they lack the capacity to make hard, ruthless decisions. Vegeta isn't suited to rule on his own, either, no matter his upbringing. It may be her pride talking, but she can't help feeling like of all those who are left, of all those who are trustworthy, she alone is in the best position to lead the Saiyan Empire for the first time along a course that won't end in chaos and self-destruction. She would share her power and her vision with Vegeta, whose influence over her people would be equal her own, but where he would be the one to stoke the flames, she could be the smith to temper the steel. To put herself and her saiyans in the best possible position would require significant divergence from her current path, however.

Change. Sacrifice. Such had propelled her to great heights in the past.

But if she is to change...how? If she is to sacrifice...what?

And...when?

Serori crouches in front of Toma's tank, and watches the bubbles rise.