This article, Gift of Life, is property of Kenji-Taichō. Permission is required to alter its content.

‘… Carola…’

He had to reach her…! She was all he had left in the world. So he crawled along the ground on his belly like a worm while blood dyed the ground beneath him. It made his progress slow and slippery but he dragged himself forward using the arm that didn’t hurt so much until he was setting a painful but steady pace.

That mechanical nightmare had been the strongest opponent he’d ever fought! He’d only won because he transformed into what he could only guess was the legendary Super Saiyan. Whatever it was his anger-fuelled attack had resulted in the – android? – being destroyed.

One more hill…!

And there she was. Her brown hair matted with blood but breathe still came and went in shallow gasps. Relieve washed over him and darkness embraced him…

What was that itching sensation? It was really annoying! And he couldn’t reach it now matter how hard he tried. ‘Wait’, he thought suddenly. ‘I can’t move at all!’

He opened his eyes and angrily thrashed against the shackles that held him. But he may as well have been as powerless as a child for all the good his attempts had. Across his wrists, ankles, thighs, and chest where black restraints that looked to be made from some form of steel. Either that or it was a pretty good imitation.

‘Ah,’ he heard someone intone from above, ‘you have awoken! Good. I was so worried that you wouldn’t pull through.’ The voice was getting closer but as he was on the broad of his back on some form of table he couldn’t actually see the speaker. ‘Finding a specimen like yourself and the girl is difficult, you see.’

The mention of a girl immediately angered the bound man. ‘What did you do with her!?’

‘Excellent! You possess such raw hatred! Probably what helped you the most.’ The speaker began clapping in what the bound man could only describe as celebration. ‘That will serve you wonderfully, Saiyan.’

‘Hatred… You don’t know the half of it! If you’ve done anything to harm her there won’t be anywhere in the universe you can hide that will be safe from me.’

‘Humph! We’ll see.’

The voice grew silent then but was replaced by the screeching of machinery. The bed he lay upon slowly altered its angle so that he was now standing upright. A mirror across the hall revealed a muscular physique, spiked black hair, green irises, though he lacked any eyebrows. His armour had been removed and all he wore where his beaten and ripped black trousers and pointed boots. The mirror soon revealed what that itching sensation was.

‘What have you done to me!?’

The skin on the right side of his chest, his ribs, and right arm was beginning to grow back but beneath he glimpsed mechanical components that made his eyes go like saucers in his head!

‘My devices recorded a fierce clash of powers to the south of this lab. When he arrived you and the girl where barely clinging to live. Your injuries where extensive, I’m afraid, but thanks to the miracles of science I revived you.’

‘… Revived me? That’s machinery!’

‘My life-long dream was to make a functional cyborg -- a being of organic life outfitted with cybernetics. But you see I always had one problem, and that was the survival rate. No one ever survived the procedure… I’m quite thankful to say I have found two who did.’

‘Then… She’s alright!?’

‘Oh, yes, the girl is fine though she has yet to awaken. Her wounds where more serious than your own, I’m sorry to say, and you where missing quite a lot of tissue, blood, and bone.’ The man walked into view. He was stooped over and quite old with a mechanical hand and leg. ‘This? It happened in a lab explosion many years ago. My name is Doctor. Monroe.’

‘… Yarō,’ the bound man replied. ‘Now get me out of here.’

‘I’m afraid I cannot do that yet, Yarō. Your wounds have not yet healed. Until they do I will need to monitor your progress.

Yarō accepted that explanation. He didn’t really have much other choice. In them meantime he needed to learn more about this talk of cybernetics. ‘How will this affect my friend and I?’

Dr. Monroe wheeled a chair over and sat himself down carefully. He seemed to have problems moving on his mechanical leg. Good. Yarō could use that if he needed to force the shackles and escape. ‘The circuitry is quite advanced I’ll have you know. Unless you peel back the layers of skin and inspect it, you won’t notice the difference. Though I assume you are looking for the benefits? I’ve augmented your energy levels. You’ll find it much easier regulating and gathering that power you Saiyan’s use to easily. You’ll also find yourself stronger, faster, and more durable. The circuits regulate your condition and even help you heal faster. In addition you are essentially immortal.’

That caught Yarō’s attention! ‘Immortal you say?’ If he were really immortal then he had all the time in the world to discover the truth and, if his suspicions were accurate, escort Frieza to the gates of hell.

‘The same is true for the girl as well.’

‘… Why do this? You have to gain some way. A dream is all well and good, but you don’t owe us anything.’

‘On the contrary, my Saiyan friend,’ Dr. Monroe began rubbing his hands. ‘I owe you quite considerably. My work on you and the girl have brought my research forward. Soon I will be able to replicate the results onto myself. You and the girl have saved me years. I must admit, the resilience of a typical Saiyan is remarkable. You also seemed to get stronger the more you recovered. Completely unprecedented! Your race is truly frightening, Yarō.’

Somehow, though, Yarō didn’t believe it when this little man said that he’d be freed…

Next Story >.