Warning: there is cursing, violence, gore, and ooc’ness in this piece, but for the sake of the story, I hope it works. There are some lines quoted straight from Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST. Hopefully those work to. And for the sake of plot, Frieza isn’t stronger then the King Vegeta, at least not by very much.
Some of this may seem strange, or technical, but go with it… don’t let terms or visions of Star Trek bog you down and you should do fine. Now… on with the show.
I don’t own DBZ or any of it’s characters.
"The government I cast upon my brother, and to my state grew stranger, being transported and rapt in secret studies… Bring once perfected how to grant suits,…new created the creatures… to the tune what pleased his ear… - Prospero (1.2)
If it's true that history repeats itself, then the quiet still of the night would have been broken by the warning cry, "The Saiyans are coming! The Saiyans are coming!" Instead, the artificially cooled air of the Briefs' master bedroom was silent except for the soft singing of the professor to his daughter. His three year old daughter, Bulma, who had nightmares on a regular basis, could only be consoled back to sleep by being held in her fathers arms. Her trembling and crying would stop as she listened to his strong baritone voice as it quietly hummed the songs whose words he had long forgotten.
"Is she asleep yet, dear?" his wife asked from the bed where she was lying under a thin sheet, her body illuminated by the moonlight poring through the windows.
"Yes," Dr. Briefs paused in his song long enough to reply and then started again.
"Then why don’t you take her to her room and then come to bed?"' she asked, but she already knew the answer.
The doctor did not reply, only continued to fill the space with hushed melancholy lullabies and wear circles in the rug at the base of the bed. The quiet peace of Bulma's breath and the moonlight and the breeze ruffling the curtains made the rest of the world seem farther away. The weight of his own flesh and blood nestled in his arms, against his chest made the demanding workload of his days fade to meaningless static. The smell of her freshly washed hair, as it tumbled in a delicate blue cascade over his cheek and neck turned the existence of the Council of the Federation and the threat of an alliance with the Saiyans into the stuff of dreams that your forget once you wake.
A shift in the air caused his daughter to rouse slightly and shift in his arms, sighing deeply, her breath shuddering before calming back into the cool silence of deep sleep.
"Shhhhhhh," he whispered, his lips poised on the crest of her pink cheek. "I'm here, Bulma-chan. Your father is here. He will keep you safe and stop all the evils of the world from hurting you."
"You know that isn't true."
Briefs and his wife both gasped as they turned towards the sound of the strange voice. A dark silhouette was outlined behind the fluttering curtains. Slowly the figure stepped past the pale lavender drapes and into the faintly moonlit room.
"You know as well as I, that if you keep her here she will have to face the darkness of humanity and all it's flaws. You also now that, in these times, very few escape unscathed."
"Who are you?" Briefs whispered harshly, causing Bulma to stir in her sleep again.
"The bringer of bad news, I'm afraid." The solidity of the voice joined the solidity of the body as the intruder wandered further into the light. Hard, shinning armor, erratic rigid hair, dark, like the eyes, and one swishing furry appendage that swayed in the space behind him. "I'm here warn you. Warn you to leave Chikyuu tonight and never return. To will tell you to pack up only your most prized possessions and flee without looking back
"What do you want Saiyan? You know that nothing you say will convince me to turn away from my people and my world. Don't waste your breath or my time. I won't leave. The people need me…"
"You won't leave? Not even if I told you that your people don't need you any more? You won't go? Not even if I were to say that your assistant, Dr. Gero, has usurped so much of your power that the people only listen to his voice now? That their listening to his voice right at this moment as he is convincing your council to join forces with the Saiyans and telling them that you have become incompetent as a scientist and a politician. You won't leave even though I've come to warn you that your partner and my king have joined forces to destroy you… and your family."
"I'm listening…" the professor said through gritted teeth. "What is your message, warrior?"
Something about the urgency in the man's voice, a man of a usually stoic race, made his gut wrench as well as his curiosity peak.
"As I have all ready stated, Gero and My Liege have made an alliance. Gero promised to give over the power of Commander-in-chief to my king, allowing Saiyan soldiers into Chikyuu space under Saiyan command, as well as a tidy tribute every year in return for Saiyan assistance in over throwing your influence in the council. The short of it is, we get Earth if we take you out. Their plan is to arrest you from your beds later tonight and have you executed without trial, you and your family, as well as anyone loyal to you. I suggested to the king that you be spared your lives, but he has promised nothing, so I came alone, to warn you." The Saiyan stood with his shoulders squared and his chest raised. "If you leave now, taking only the necessities and fleeing with your family, you should be able to escape from Gero's betrayal. I believe that if you are gone, Gero will forget about you, as long as you are no longer a threat to his power."
"You're suggesting we run?" Dr. Briefs said with a bit of irony. "Would you run, Saiyan?"
"No, but then again, I'm not as weak as you, and my loved ones are old enough to fend for themselves. Besides, I'm hardly an innocent."
"And my people here?"
"Without you, they are no threat."
Briefs stood silent once more, weighting the out comes of all apparent options. "We leave." he said and handed his daughter to his stuttering wife.
"Now. Gather some things and get Bulma to the emergency escape pods, I'll be right behind you," the professor had the kind of tone that his wife knew not to question.
"Alright, but hurry," she said before rushing out of the room.
Dr. Briefs moved to the desk he kept in the corner of their room and began downloading all the files he thought he'd need into the EEP's main computer system. The Saiyan stood silently behind him and waited while the doctor worked. That done he put a security lock out on all of the computer files he knew that Gero would be drooling for access to once he was out of the way. In little or no time he had lessened Gero's victory from to complete to technical.
Finished with that he turned and almost ran into the tall alien warrior. "I thank you for your assistance, but I think I can manage it from here."
"I'll wait till you've departed."
"Ok," the doc sounded unsure and as he looking into the obsidian eyes of the informer he saw only truth and honor and remembered the debt that he owed this stranger. As he was walking past the tall alien a question passed through his mind and he paused to ask, "Why are you doing this? Why help a few weak humans?"
"I am a man of honor. My people believe in facing our enemies in broad daylight, in fighting without shame and facing defeat or victory with the same passion. But what this man Gero has convinced my king to do regarding your family is cowardly and a disgrace to all Saiyan kind. That is why I have come to warn you, so that I can save my liege from murdering children in their sleep and undermining all that I thought Saiyans stood for. We may be cold-hearted warriors, but we are not with out honor and morals, and I am not without mercy."
Dr. Briefs considered this and marveled at his ability to remain prideful and arrogant in the face of his own seemingly humble acts.
"Can I ask your name?"
"Well, Bardock, I never thought I'd see the day that a Saiyan would stand against murdering innocent people…" Briefs said as he scooped up some of his possessions and headed for the door, the Saiyan trailing behind him. "It about time."
Just before entering the escape pod, the doctor turned around and put his hand on the door frame. "Thank you," he said simply as the door slide shut and closed off his view of the man that had saved the lives of him and his family. "Good bye," the professor added as the computer announced it's launch and sent the small pod shooting faster then the speed of light through the cold expanse of space towards the unknown.
"By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune,… hath mine enemies brought to this shore…" – Prospero (1.2)
"Come on, Teed-yar, I have to get this food replicator up by dinner time, or we're going to have to eat dad's stewed Yamen root for dinner again." The voice that came from inside the guts of machine against the wall was firm, but full of good humor and determination. It made the small, blue figure leaning curiously over a chunk of mettle and wires that resembled robotic road kill, turn immediately. Teed-yar quickly replaced the drooping light to shine on the mass of cables and tubes on the inside of the malfunctioning equipment with only a slightly guilty shrug.
"Sorry, Lady Bulma."
The headless body sighed and then tensed again as "Lady Bulma" reached to the back of the contraption. "How many times…" struggled, but patient words floated out of the old fashioned looking replicator. "Hand me that adantine circuit we got at I-trade today, would you?" A hand appeared and then quickly disappeared with the requested tool, "…have I asked you…." there were a few grunts and metal clinks, "…NOT… neutron regulator… to call me… almost got it…"
There was an electronic chirp and a fizzled shock. "Ow!" she exclaimed and made and a rapid exit from inside the machine barely missing hitting her head on the top of the hole. "Lady Bulma. It's just Bulma." She sucked on the long cut and burn on her finger.
"As you wish, Lady Bulma." Teed-yar said with an innocent smile. If she hadn't known better she'd have thought him a child. In appearance and sentiment he was, but he was almost ninety years old, and as good with a soldering iron as any earthling engineer. He was a handsmar Yardrat, simple, childlike, peaceful, but not, by any means, stupid. Handsmars often had trouble grasping the idea that their human neighbors and friends did not want to be their superiors. Their deep respect for them kept them from being able to reply with that simple request.
The Headrma, however, understood and could be trusted to only use their first name. They understood that, thought they were revered as "Protts perro o'milan" (House of metal dwellers) among the handsmar and had brought many gifts to the Yardratins they did not seek this notoriety, but only to help and live in peace. They respected the Briefs for their humility and didn't promote their worship among the other part of the population.
Bulma, just sighed and sucked on her finger. Deep down she knew her battle would never be won and stood up to replace the front panel. "Well, I think it's fixed."
Teed-yar smiled up at her. "No more of Duk's stew" Duk was Yardratin for Lord or Great one, and although the small alien looked up to her father, she knew he understood about her father's stew.
"That's right. No more of father's stew." She encapsulated her tools and took her small friend by the hand. "Lets go find him and tell him the good news." She also wanted to get back to her personal lab and putt the finishing touches on her latest invention…
I the long maze-like hallways they passed several smiling Yardrats that waved and greeted them warmly. Bulma couldn't help but smile. These were her friends, this people of small, bright, kind aliens that had welcomed them with open arms, and hadn't taken no as an answer as far as hospitality was concerned.
It was times like these that she wished things would never change. That she would always be safe amongst her blue family, but there was also certain sadness that she felt, knowing that they would not always be safe.
She had found a copy of SISC, (Saiyan's Intergalactic Species Compendium), and looked under Yardrat. It had a few numbers and statistics that she didn't find interesting, but a couple lines at the bottom had stuck out at her and been sitting bad with her ever since.
"The Yardratin are docile, blue humanoids that are the main inhabitants of the Planet Yardrat (Quadrant 716C, Spectronide Galaxy). They are sentient, but primitive, and have no advanced technology. Projected date of Class P6-3 assimilation: 3.29.3856"
She'd looked up Class P6-3 assimilation and found it just the chocolate covered way of saying purge. That had sent her reeling with a momentary panic attack until she realized that it wasn't scheduled for another 200 years or so. The "Primitive Yardrats" weren't a priority, being so far out of the way and just an none technological threat they only required six third class soldiers for the entire planet, or so the empire seemed to think. And Bulma wasn't about to inform them otherwise, but since her family's arrival thirteen years earlier, Dr. Briefs had turned the planet Yardrat from sitting target to well protected fortress.
At first, the doctor had been hesitant about sharing technology with the natives, not wanting to alter their culture and hoping to live in quiet isolation with his wife and daughter. However, after a few weeks of curious Yardrats breaking through his intricate defenses, proving their ability to adapt and understand complex concepts, he opened the doors and let them in.
They quickly learned anything he would teach them, and the doc started to see that the Yardrat weren't primitive because they were stupid, but merely because they had no reason to be otherwise. On the contrary, they were very intelligent, and, after they were convinced by Dr. Briefs of the need for security, extremely inventive and productive.
There were a few conditions, though. After being brought before the Yardrats "Supreme council" they made he promise not to teach them build any weapons or items of destruction. The professor was ok with that, in fact, preferred it, because, although his love for their culture motivated him to try and protect them, he did not want to change their peace loving ways.
That was why, thirteen years later, the planet was equipped with several defensive mechanisms. Sensory equipment controlled from the Briefs own home, an electromagnetic disrupter field around the planets orbit, and a few other localized touches, underground bunkers, energy cloaking devices, and tractor beams were scattered across the face of the small green planet.
There was factory production and mining started by the Yardrats themselves, and anything they couldn't produce naturally they could purchase at I-Trade a solar system over. Dr. Briefs had managed to set up his own private laboratory with inexhaustible recourses and unlimited, anxious-to-help workers. It was a dream come true.
Rounding the corner, Bulma and Teed-yar spotted Manka-yar, a his family member of some sort. (the Briefs had yet to grasp the Yardrat family system, or even learn how they reproduced… they figured it wasn't polite to ask…)
They spoke briefly in Yardrat, and then Teed-yar begged Bulma's forgiveness, and ran off with his kind on some urgent errand.
'See you later…" she said, amused and continued on her way. As she was rounding the last corner she came face to face with a dark-haired, hunched, and badly scarred man. She shrieked a little and then calmed as she realized who it was. "Oh, Yamcha, you scarred me!" She exclaimed, and hand on her chest.
Yamcha sneered and sniveled a little before retorting defensively. "Sorry, Bulma, I should have a bell around my neck to warn you when I plan to show my ugly face, that way you can run away and avoid me as usual."
"I'm sorry, Yamcha, I didn't mean it like that." Bulma starred at the floor guiltily. "I don't know why you have to get so upset. You just startled me, that's all." Bulma felt bad, because she knew he was partly right. Every time she saw his looked at his face she cringed and wanted to look away.
Kind-hearted as she was, she knew that this hurt him, especially since she knew that he liked her. Logically, they made sense. He was the only human man she could remember ever seeing, besides her father, and they were light years from Chikyuu, but she could hardly stand to be in his presence.
Her parents had found him at I-trade, a slave to a vicious clan of pharynges who had beaten him mercilessly about a year and a half after they had escaped from Chikyuu. He was only nine, and evidently had been a slave for less then a year. News of Gero's exploitation of third world peoples had resulted in such an ethnical and moral monstrosity.
Feeling guilty for abandoning his people to Gero's insidious power, her father and mother had freed the small boy and brought him back with them, but the damage had been done. He'd been violent in the beginning, throwing fits and wreaking whole rooms at once, but Bulma's mother had persisted with unconditional kindness and patience. Eventually he'd calmed down enough to be taught by her mother and then employed by her father. He'd been a great help in the fortifying of the planet, but as the years passed and his affection grew for Bulma, things got difficult. She wanted only to be his friend, and her rejection of him as more caused him to get bitter and resentful, and since her mother's death almost a year before, his moodiness and complaining had gotten almost unbearable.
Bulma had pleaded with her father to send him away, but his fear for the planet's security held his hand. They couldn't risk him running into anyone from the Empire and spilling their little secret hideout all over Gero and the Saiyan Kings 'things to destroy this week' list.
"Maybe if you weren't so frail, maybe if you weren't prancing about instead of working like the rest of us, you wouldn't have been here where my hideous face could startle you," he spit hurtfully. He putt his face closer to hers, and she was forced to look at the wrinkled red skin that covered half of his face and smell the perpetual stink of burning flesh. She smelt in anytime she was close to him, but figured was more her over active imagination, then really there.
The things he'd been through that year of his life were horrible, and most definitely not his fault, but she couldn't keep from turning her head away and gasping for air.
"That's right, turn from me. Ugly Yamcha, only fit to do the work you see as beneath you, not worth looking at, that's me." He pulled back, snarling and stepping back. Bulma couldn't help sigh in relief. "Someday… You'll.." he stopped and held his face in a disfigured frown. "You're father wants you in the command room."
"Thank you," she peeped and stepped around him, fighting not to run down the hall to her father's call.
"That's right, I’m just the messenger, not worth your spit, but one day…" Yamcha sneered and then followed her down the hall, limping slowly.
"Any idea where we are?" The tall Saiyan king asked angrily. He sounded like he was about to start blasting lieutenants. After being pulled from hyper-sleep, he'd been informed by a now deceased soldier that they were "lost."
"No, My Liege, we are still having trouble with our navigation computer." The captain of the ship said bravely, "My estimate is we are somewhere in the Lukra or Spectronide galaxies. One of our best technicians is working on fixing it as we speak."
"I don't want your estimates, I want to know where we are. The King of the Great Saiyan Empire does not get lost!"
"We're doing all we can…"
"And we're just supposed to cruise blindly through space until you get the damned thing fixed?!" the king shouted? When there was only oppressed silence, he consciously calmed himself and lowered his voice. It wasn't wise to panic.
"Gero, why don't you go have a look at it? Your supposed to be a technical genius after all."
The old man leaning casually against the far wall shrugged. He'd been awakened with the king and joined him on the bridge a few minutes earlier. "Space navigation isn't my specialty, but I'll have a look." He followed a petty officer out of the room with a confident stride and left the king to his ranting.
"Sir, scanners have picked up a habitable planet only 14,000 parsecs from out current location and closing," one of the pilots called out.
"Scan it for energy readings…" the Captain started.
"Don't bother," King Vegeta scowled pridefuly, "Saiyans don't stop for directions. Just get the damned thing fixed. I'll be in my quarters."
"Sir, the ship is closing fast. Readings now indicate a small Saiyan royal transport. Energy scans are picking up two dozen regular Saiyan readings, and six or so higher level readings, three of which are extremely high." The words stuck Bulma as she entered into her father's control room.
She exchanged nervous glances with her father, Yamcha's harassment forgotten, and stood against the railing with her serious looking father.
"It's probably safe to assume that the king is aboard, as well as the prince and possible Lord Frieza of the Koldin Clan of the Planet Icera, as well as a couple elite soldiers… What are we going to do, father?" Behind them Yamcha entered silently and placed himself in the shadows against the back wall.
Dr. Briefs ignored his daughters frightened tone. "Are the on an intercept course?" he asked the small Yardratin sitting at the front of the room. There was a tense pause and then…
"No, it looks like their course passes right by us. Then must just be on their way through." Everyone sighed.
"Good, radio all the settlements, tell them to put up their energy cloaking shields and lay low. With any luck they won't even notice we're here."
Yamcha took that as his cue to slither up next to the professor and whisper in his ear, "What could the king, the prince, and the kings fight-hand man be doing all the way out here?"
It was the question they were all afraid to ask. If Bulma's assumption was correct, then what were the odds of the king an his closest subjects doing out here on the edge of known space?
"And if Frieza is with the king," Yamcha continued, "the what's the likely hood that Gero is with him also?" Complete silence.
"Is there any extremely low power readings onboard?" Briefs asked.
"I didn't see any… oh, wait, there it is. One human range reading." More silence
"10000 parsecs and closing." Pause.
"Have they sent and sub-light communications since coming into range of our sensors?"
"Isn't this fate? Here's your chance to bring that traitor to his knees…" Yamcha tempted.
"The last thing I want is the three most powerful monsters in the universe pissed off and on Yardrat. We wouldn't stand a chance."
"That's not true. You know Bulma's completed her little secret weapon, with that you could bring the empire crashing down. You could save the universe. The opportunity had been handed to you…. take it while you have the chance."
"Sir, don't let this slip through your fingers…"
"Shut up, Yamcha." Bulma hissed. "We're not ready. People would die, and I'm not sure…"
"Who would die, them or us?"
"I'm not sure we could deal with them anyway. My invention hasn't been tested yet. I don't know what side effects it could have. They might be permanently damaged, or worse, killed."
"Good, better for us and the rest of the universe!" Yamcha argued.
"No!" Dr. Briefs interrupted. "Enough! I will not risk becoming them, even to stop them.
"1000 parsecs. They will soon be passing by," came a Yardrat's mechanical reply.
"Put it on screen," the doctor ordered softly. A satellite image of the ship appeared on the front wall. Bulma glanced sideways at her father. She knew he wanted to do just as Yamcha said. Take them down, make them pay, but he was too good a man, to kind a person to be able to.
On the other side of her father she could see Yamcha seething. Bitter and vengeful he had more reason to hate Gero more then any of them. He had seen, first hand, the changes Gero's power hungry appetite had made on Chikyuu. He'd dissolved the council, taken total control and handed it over to the Saiyan's rule in return for complete control. Over the years they had heard news through travelers at I-trade. Gero had been climbing the ladder with his technical achievements by making weapons beyond any man's imagining. He'd turned Chikyuu into a wasteland, mining his recourses and exploiting the general populous until the human race was not much more then slaves, miners, and drifters. And Vegeta and Frieza were worse.
Her father would be completely just in ridding the galaxy of the tyrants, but no. Bulma knew they would pass safely by and go on their merry path-of-death-and-destruction way.
On the screen a small explosion rocked the aft side of the spaceship.
"What the hell?" Her father exclaimed. "Geedge-yar, what happened?" he leaned frantically over the railing, but kept his eyes fixed on the screen watching the speeding ship start to tilt from the explosion and move towards the planet's atmosphere.
"There appears to have been an explosion, caused possibly from impact with a foreign object, or maybe it was something internal…" Geedge-yar's voice faded off as everyone watched in horror a the ship began sinking towards Yardrat.
His world was red and glowing, and there was noise, painful shouting and roaring. Prince Vegeta's newly wakened senses flinched under the blaring environment. His head was pounding and swimming as he tried focusing his eyes.
'Where am I?" he wondered, taking in the class in front of him and the metal room with out. 'Spaceship…home from diplomatic voyage… Mayoshins…' Things were slowly clearing up. 'Something is wrong… the alarms… why did I wake up…?'
Suddenly his whole world was shuddering and roaring and he felt his brain rattle inside his head. 'An explosion… We're under attack? Who would dare attack a Saiyan royal transport ship? They must be insane…' and then everything went dark and silent.
After a second, a few emergency lights came on, but that was it. Gravity kicked in slowly and the price sank to the floor of his stasis pod. He still felt incredibly weak, the dead of hyper sleep having not worn off yet, but he managed to put a hand on the glass in front of him. Pushing was no use, his arms were still numb.
'I have to get out, have to push free.' He tried, but he couldn't get his limbs to respond, the pain in his head was still throbbing.
A face appeared on the other side of the casing. White skin, blood red lips and eyes… "Frieza…" the Prince whispered. "What's happening?" He said weakly, struggling to straighten his neck and hold his head high.
"What?" Frieza held a hand to the side of his head. There was a mocking smile on his lips that froze Vegeta's blood.
"There's just been a change in flight plan. Instead of Vegetasei, you'll be getting an all expense paid trip to the next dimension." The white Icein held up a hand and prepared to blast him in his weakened state.
Vegeta had never liked his father's advisor and right hand man, and now he knew why. "Coward…" Vegeta whispered, rolling his head to the side and trying to get feeling to his right side. 'If only I can reach the eject pad…'
Frieza only grinned and collected his energy. Vegeta closed his eyes and prayed for a chance for revenge in the next life…
"Frieza! Something's wrong! I can't get anything but life support online…" In the split second that Frieza's head was turned, Vegeta's eyes flew open and he made one last attempt to escape. Flopping his numb hand against the front panel of stasis pod he managed to spend the last of his energy and hit the escape launch button by his right hand.
Frieza was too late to realize the metal walls closing around the Prince's case and by the time he released his small blast, the circular pod was already streaming towards planet fall. His ki blast nearly rocked it slightly off course, and his curses could be heard throughout the dead floating ship.
Bulma's eyes were wide with fear as she watched the second explosion shake the small spacecraft. It was falling straight towards the planet. A few seconds later they saw the ship go dark and shudder as it hit the planet's protective field.
"Dammit, Geedge-yar, What's going on up there?"
"I believe there was a second impact, sir, and now the ship is caught in out electroma…"
"I can see that, but why?" Dr. Briefs sounded frantic.
The small blue alien turned respectfully in his seat and looked at them with sad eyes. "I don't know, sir, but it looks like we're going to have some visitors." The frantic air seemed to want to scream, but there was only the sound of electric machinery buzz, and agitated breathing.
Bulma's heart seemed to stop in her chest. 'But we're not ready! Just one more day, one day of warning, but not now… ' she thought, her mind was a whirl with all the implications, all the plans that needed to be made in an instant or they were all doomed. 'Run and hide, little friends!' she wanted to yell, but instead her attention was pulled back to the screen.
"Dad, there's a pod!" She pointed and watched as the sphere released from the ship, was rocked by a flash of light and then fell from view towards the atmosphere. Things seemed to move in slow motion. Everyone was silent, but frightened and things were rapidly falling to shit.
"I hope your ready, 'cause here they come…" Yamcha said with half a smirk. It seemed he would be getting his way after all.
The room sprang into action as Dr. Briefs started shouting orders. "Yama-yar, get that pod in a tractor beam. Try and put it down outside of Mandrain-drat, as soft as possible. Geedge-yar, watch the ship. Anymore pods disperse I want them all set down together. They'll be too far out of range by now, but maybe you can contact Yakar-drat and get them to put them down in the Splangy desert or somewhere nearby that's unpopulated. Bulma, get your new invention, Dragy-yar, go with her, bring back the specs to me, I want to get them in production as soon as possible. After you send the specs with Dragy-yar, Bulma I want you out to that pods crash sight ASAP. Bring whoever it is back alive, and don't get yourself killed."
"Yes, father," she replied, jumping forward, Dragy-yar behind her. She raced to her private lab, her mind still anxious, but definitely more at peace. Her father knew what he was doing. He would save them all.
"Gero, what's going on?!" the Saiyan King demanded as he stepped into the stasis room.
"I'm not sure, My liege, we seemed to have hit something. All power is down, except life support. We have to escape ."
The king watched Gero as he moved swiftly for an old human, launching the rest of their company, Nappa, Raditz, Bardock and Frieza, who was now siting quietly in his pod waiting for launch.
Climbing back into his own empty pod, Gero waved frantically to King Vegeta. "Sire, now."
"Where's my son?" the king asked suspiciously, noticing that the princes pod had not been there when he'd entered.
"Your son Vegeta has already launched, and we must go, too." Gero assured the tall man. When the king hesitated he added, "The planed is habitable, your highness. He will be fine."
"Of course he will. He's the prince of the strongest race alive…" the king began anther racial pride rant as he climbed into his own pod. "He is one of the strongest ever, a legendary, a little thing like this is nothing to him!" he was still talking as the class slid down. Hitting the emergency launch pad with his fist he watched the metal doors close around his forming pod as he yelled, "LONG LIVE VEGETA!" and launched into the atmosphere, Gero right behind him.
"The kings son, Ferdinand, with hair upstarting- then like reeds, not hair- was the first man that leaped; cried ‘Hell is empty, and the devils are here’." – Arial (1.2
"Sir, four, no, six more pods have launched from the ship. I've sent word to the command base in Yakar-drat and they said they have the pods in sight. They'll set them down safely."
Dr. Briefs sighed, "Good. Where is the other pod now?"
"About to set down about four nanosecs North east of the village."
"Right, radio Bulma's lab, send her the coordinates so that she can get out there as soon as possible. Yamcha, hold the fort here, I have some things I need to do. Tell me immediately if there are any new developments, and get some trackers on those survivors I want to know where they are and what their doing ever second."
And with that the doctor rushed from the room.
Bulma rushed into the room. It was small and cluttered, but she went right to the blueprints on her desk and handed them quickly to the panting Dragy-yar who was stumbling into the room behind her. His small legs had had trouble keeping up with her tall human ones.
"Quickly, Dragy-yar, take them to the command room," she said as she turned back to her desk and began rummaging through the bits and pieces there until she found the object she was looking for, or kit of objects, as the case was, then she sprinted back out the door and down the hallway to the launch bay. She only hoped she wasn't too late…
On the small hover cycle she sped out of the compound and over the dusty streets of the Yardrat village. All around her were randomly scattered mud houses made of the green dirt that covered the entire surface of the planet.
On the bike's display she had the coordinates sent by Geedge-yar, but she hardly needed them. There was massive amounts of smoke coming from the north east, which she could easily follow. She rode over several small hills until she got close enough to where she was going to smell the smoke and ditched it on the rise of the last hill.
'I need the element of surprise," she thought, leaving the noisy bike and crawling the last few feet up the hill on her stomach, her newest weapon held in front of her like a shield.
As she peeked over the crest and spotted the crash sight, she couldn't help but gasp. She could see the pod sitting in the middle of a crater, at least twenty feet in diameter. 'I guess Geedge-yar missed the whole "gently" part of dad's instructions…' She surveyed the surroundings and then pulled a pair of binoculars out of the field pack she gotten off the hover craft.
She could see the numbers on the side of the pod, it was from the ship "Vegeta III". 'How unoriginal,' she thought as she scanned over. Broken bits of shrapnel, singed metal, and the door. It was open.
'What the…' she didn't even have time to finish that thought before a pair of rough hands grabbed her from behind and pulled her to her feet screaming.
Dr. Briefs entered his own lab, that was larger then Bulma's and much less cluttered and walked to the back of the room with an ominous look on his face. He stopped in front of a black filling cabinet, covered in dust and shadows in the far corner and raised his hands hesitantly.
He knew what he was about to do was against the agreement he had with the Yardratin council, but in his mind, it was the only way to stop them all from being slaughtered. "They will understand," he said firmly and his voice echoed in the large metal room. His hand pulled open the top drawer, reached inside, and removed two red-labeled capsules. Just before he had the chance to press the button on the first one a voice came over the com on his desk.
The doctor jumped and nearly dropped both the capsules. He walked to his desk calmly, trying to sooth his rapidly beating pulse and pressed the "open line" button. "Yes?"
"Thought you'd like to know sir, all the pods have touched down now."
"Good. Where did the last few end up?" he asked grabbing a pen and piece of scrap paper.
" Splangy desert, sir, just like you requested. They're just south of the Keebly Mountain range."
"Give me those exact coordinantes," he said, touching the ink to the paper.
"65 degreed North, by 32.76 degrees west."
"Alright," the professor said, writing them down, "Thanks, Geedge-yar."
"You're welcome, sir." The doc was about to go when the Yardrat asked, "What should we do about the ship, sir?"
"Huh?" Briefs asked, confused.
"Well, it's crashing, sir."
"Oh, right. Radio Manklar-drat. Have them land it close to them. Tell them to treat any of the injured, but keep them in stasis if they can till I give word. Oh, and have a repair team investigate the ship and fix it if they can, just in case."
"Is Dragy-yar back with Bulma's plans yet?"
"Just now, sir."
"Good. Yamcha, run them down to Meek-yar immediately and tell him to start construction ASAP. If he has any questions, Bulma should be back soon and I'll send her down, so have him hold them. Tell him to do just what he can."
There was silence on the other end.
"We just got word that the Yardratin Council wishes an audience with you.." This time the voice was Yamcha's. He sounded pissed, as usual.
"Tell them they'll have to wait, I'm a bit busy right now. Over and out." He released the com and moved back the middle of his lab, holding the two capsules in his hands he pressed the first one and tossed it a few feet away.
A metal casket with glass case appeared out of the smoke, looking much like a Saiyan stasis tube, only the occupant of this one was most decidedly not Saiyan. It contained a beautiful blonde woman. She appeared to be sleeping. Dr. Briefs hesitated, wondering if one would be enough, but then he decided that safe was better then sorry and popped open the other capsule.
It was the same kind of case, only the occupant was a young man with dark hair and perfect skin. Slowly the professor entered the code on the side of the first box and watched the front hiss and slide open and the girl open her cold blue eyes.
She sat up stiffly and looked around slowly. "Where am I?"
"My lab, planet Yardrat. Do you know who you are?"
"Yes." she replied coldly and stepped out of her container. "I am android 18 created in the year 3638 by Dr. Gero on the planet Chikyuu. What year is it now?"
"3653. Do you know who I am?"
"You are Dr. Trunks Briefs, owner and founder of Capsule Corporation and officially, my owner." she looked him up and down with her piercing, ice blue eyes for a second and then looked beside her to the other case. "Are you going to wake my brother?" she asked, curious.
The question took the doctor by surprise, as he had never expected the androids to refer to each other as family. These creations of Gero's were the last thing that he made before betraying his boss to the Saiyans. Dr. Briefs had decided that if Gero was going to steal his life's work, then he would take his. An eye for and eye and all that. He'd grabbed their capsules from Gero's lab just before joining his wife and daughter in the escape pod.
"Yes," he finally replied and moved to do just that.
"Stop that infernal racket!" her captor ordered in a deep, course, male voice, moving one hand to cover her mouth, while holding her firmly against him by the waist with the other. Bulma thrashed and tried to bite at him, but evidently he'd expected that. She couldn't sink her teeth in, at any rate, and so continued to try and scream, though her voice was muted. It wasn't that she expected anyone to hear her. Mostly, she just wanted to piss him off, stupid and counteractive as that seemed, she couldn't help herself. She didn't like being sneaked up on, and she hated being restrained.
The man shook her gently and ordered her to stop again. When she didn't he turned her around in his arms and looked her square in the eye. "Stop that now, or I'll…" his voice drifted off as their eyes connected. She froze, her voice caught in her throat.
'Dark eyes… and handsome,' she thought. He was the only man she'd ever seen, besides Yamcha and her father, but if they were all like this…
'Blue eyes… and gorgeous,' Vegeta was thinking on the other end of that stare. 'She looks human, but like no human I've ever seen…'
Bulma was the first to come back to her senses, surprisingly enough. "Or you'll what?" she asked impertinently.
He seemed shocked, but gathered his thoughts fast enough, scowling at her and shaking her a little more. "Or I'll kill you, that's what."
"Oh," Bulma said, looking down. "You didn't have to sneak up on me like that. You scared the shit out of me."
"Well, just because you're loud enough to hear miles away, doesn't mean the rest of us have to be. You weren't paying attention. It's not my fault you had your guard down, so stop whining and tell me where I am." the arrogant prince demanded.
"No," she said at once, defiant with her chin held high and her eyes not turning from his again.
"No?" Vegeta asked, stunned. He wasn't used to not getting what he wanted, right when he wanted it. "Tell me or I'll…"
"Yeah, you'll kill me, I know, but I'm not accustomed to giving out information to strange men that are holding me very improperly, against my will."
"So, you'd give out information to strange men that were holding your improperly if it was your will?" he smirked.
Bulma's mouth dropped open. 'The very idea of this creep! What an intriguing thought…' she frowned, fighting the desire to blush and swoon. She hadn't been raised a fainting twit, she wasn't going to start acting like one now. "That's not what I meant, now put me down," she said.
"No," the prince responded mocking her tone.
"Ooooh," she huffed and tried kneeing and kicking at him, but he was holding her to close.
"We seem to have a stalemate, little woman. You won't tell me where I am, and I won't let you go. So now I’m faced with the question of whether or not to just kill you and find someone else to torture my location out of, or just wait until you submit to my obviously superior will and tell me." He was smirking despite himself. "And then I'll kill you."
"Well, you'd better just kill me then, cause I'm not going to submit, especially if your going to kill me anyway. Do I look stupid?'
'Not really,' Vegeta thought. "Yes," he said.
"Humph," she said and continued struggling. After a second she remembered she was still holding the binoculars, and her new weapon. Using one hand was difficult, but she managed to pull out a gun looking device from her kit and get one of the small circular disks into place. Then she pressed the gun against his side and pulled the trigger. The disk sank into this skin and quickly dissolved into his blood stream.
"Ouch," he growled, not loosening his grip for a second. "What was that? Some kind of weapon?"
"Kind of, only no weapon you've ever seen. You should be getting weaker in a few minutes."
"Ha!" Vegeta laughed cruelly in her face. "As if some primitive device could slow down the Prince of all the Saiyans, mightiest race in the universe." Truth be told, he was already weak with the lingering effects of the stasis and then there was the crash…
'So, he's the prince…' she logged that information away. "Not primitive," she said with a confident smile, "brand new technology, my own design, thank you very much. You've never seen anything like this before, but trust me, you're going to be feeling it real soon…"
They waited, at a stand still, his arms wrapped around her body and her arms pinned almost completely to her side.
"Dr. Gero created you to be slaves, slaves that would destroy anything they were instructed to. When he betrayed me, I took you with me because I knew the kind of damage he would do if he could use you unrestricted."
"And because you wanted revenge, right, Dr.?" the dark hared, boy android responded.
Dr. Briefs was becoming increasingly disgruntled by these androids by the minute, they treated each other like family, could grasp concepts like revenge and betrayal, and were itching for their freedom. From the moment they had stood in silent greeting to each other they'd both been asking questions like, "Where were they?, and, "What kind of defenses did they have?" Everything seemed to be leading up to, "And how difficult would it be if we just decided to blow you and your family off the face of the planet and escape?"
The doctor was glad he'd installed a failsafe obedience system as a break between major projects a few years back. The system that Gero had initially would have gotten them all killed.
"Irrelevant. We're running out of time. As you have probably noticed, I installed a new voice recognition/obedience/restraining device in your central neuron system. This means you can't hurt or kill anyone unless instructed by me or a member of my family, and you are obligate to fulfill every command under penalty of neural meltdown. I installed them as a precautionary device, and hope that they will only have to be in place for a short duration."
The androids, who had previously been staring blankly at him with their cold lifeless eyes, seemed a bit surprised by this.
"I'm willing to make you a deal." he offered shortly.
"What kind of deal, Dr.?" The android numbered 17 asked, curiosity in his artificial voice.
"I never believed in Gero's artificial life programs. You're too close to the real thing for my likes, and the slavery issue bothers me. I would like nothing else but to give you your freedom and let you go. I can't however, at this point in time."
"They why did you wake us up? Just to give us discourses on AI slavery ethics and a couple history lessons?" Her words were bitter, but her tone remained curious.
"We have an emergency and I need your help." The professor said taking a deep breath and swallowing the lump in his throat.
Bulma hadn't quite realized the implications of their positioning until the uncomfortable silence magnified the awkwardness of the entire situation by a hundred times. She found herself looking at the corded neck of the dreaded Saiyan prince, while waiting for her ki-paralyzing serum to kick in. It was weird, but tons better then looking into his impossibly deep eyes.
As she was avoiding contact, and searching the unthreatening part of his body as if looking for the answers to the cosmos, she noticed the cuts and bruises that were scattered over all of his exposed skin. She could feel little spots of blood starting to seep into her clothes where ever they were touching.
"Your hurt," she whispered and looked up at him suddenly. She hadn't realized what bad shape he was in till now, but it only made sense. With what he'd been through, an exploding space ship, chaotic planet falls complete with not-so-soft landing on hard, green, Yardratin soil, he was lucky to be alive. If her recollection of his pods condition was accurate, he should probably be dead.
"Humph," he grunted and looked away. Vegeta was too busy struggling to stay on his feet to argue with the woman in his arms. What ever she'd done to him was starting to have an effect. He could feel his power draining out of him slowly, leaving him with only his drastically decreased physical strength. Not that he'd let her know. He'd stand there till his head fell off and his body rotted away before showing weakness to such a weak creature…
"Your power should all be gone by now, so why don't you just release me and let me help you?" she said half impatient, half pleading.
"No, I don't need your help." It was all he could do to stop his voice from cracking. 'Damn witch! What did she do to me?' he wondered as his eyes began drifting shut. They snapped open again as she began to struggle. He hung on with all the pride and stubbornness left in him, which was quite a bit.
"Just, give. It. Up." she said through clenched teeth. He still had a pretty strong grip.
"Shut up, woman, and hold still," he growled. "You did this too me. How am I to know you didn't sabotage my ship and bring me here for your own foul purposes. You obviously have the technology…" he admitted grudgingly, although he couldn't remember the existence of any advanced worlds that weren't already conquered in this half of the universe. Not that he really had any idea which half of the universe they were on, but they could not have been that far off course…
"I didn't sabotage anything. Do I look suicidal? We really wanted you to pass by with out any kind of interaction, but, unfortunately, we were left with no choice. The ki-paralyzing serum is for my own protection, and it's temporary. I just want to you get healed and get the hell off my planet, preferably leaving it still intact. " Bulma said solidly.
Vegeta was starting to lose focus. His vision was swimming, leaving the face before him a pair of bright blue eyes, hopeful and determined in the midst of a peach and blue haze.
"You can trust me… I promise not to let anyone hurt you…" he heard as his eyes betrayed him and slid closed against his will. His last thought was an impression of calm relief.
Dr. Briefs sat in anticipatory panic as he waited for the android's answer. Technically, they really couldn't say no to him, and he'd have their assistance either way, but it would just make him feel so much better about things if they were helping "willingly".
"And if we comply with these commands, then, when your emergency is over, we are free?" 18 asked.
"Yes," Briefs replied.
"To go anywhere we want, under your little conditions?" 17 specified. He didn't want to miss out on getting the most from this deal because he wasn't sure what the fine print said.
"Under the conditions I have stated previously, yes. I'll give you a space ship, if you require one, and you will be free to leave. I'll also offer my home as a place of refuge, somewhere where you can get supplies or repairs, or information, anything you need."
The two artificial beings nodded to each other and then looked at Dr. Briefs. "You have a deal," they said together.
"I'm so glad," the professor smiled. "Now, first things first, I’m going to give you these communicators so that I can get a hold of you at any time, let you know what's going on and give you then next task on the list. If all goes well, you should be out of here in a few weeks."
The androids watched with cool appreciation as the doctor rummaged around the room looking very much like an absent-minded professor. He found the sheet of paper he'd written the Saiyans coordinants on and handed it to 17. Then he went to a drawer to find three communicators.
"Your first task is to go here, and find the landed pods and their occupants. Once you find them, keep them busy. Distract them. Beat them up if you have to, but don't kill them or injure them seriously. Gero will probably be with them, so watch out that he doesn't get his hands on you. Just keep them out of the villages and inhabited areas. I don't want the death of any Yardrat's on my hands. Is that all understood?"
"Clearly," 17 replied, looking down at the sheet of paper.
"Oh, and feel free to have a little fun with them, I don't want this to be all work and no play. Have a good time. They should be nothing compared to your strength and intelligence, and Saiyans do so hate to lose at anything and they have pride like… well, they have a lot of it."
"Anything you say, Dr." Android 18 replied with a small smirk. After getting them all equipped the one-time owner of the biggest grossing company if half the Milky Way, turned to go, but stopped to one last thing, almost as an after thought.
"If there is a Saiyan there called Bardock, then that Saiyan is not to be harmed, but instead treated with as much respect as is appropriate. I own him my life and the life of my family."
"Understood." 17 replied. It seemed they could also grasp the concepts of gratitude and respect.
Bulma could tell she was going to have a heck of a time getting the Saiyan prince from around her body and onto her motor bike. He was like lead weight on her stomach as she laid there underneath his collapsed form struggling to get free. It took her almost ten minutes to wiggle out of that prison of warm arms and chest and crawl out into the cooling air of the day. She ran to her bike, drove it over to where he was lying on his stomach, his face in the dirt and breathing with difficulty, and rolled him over on his back.
Using the bike's small first aid kit she decided to patch up some of the worst of his wounds before trying to move him. Dad wouldn't be pleased if he bled to death before she got him home. She scanned over his prone form and decided to just start at the top and work her way down. He had so many cuts and abrasions, she didn't know where to start otherwise.
She used an antiseptic cloth to clean the cut on his forehead and the abrasion on his chin. All the while she studied his features. Heavy brow, still creased in a stubborn frown, high cheek bones, sharp features and straight, proud nose and chin. And then there was his hair, straight, tall, course looking, but actually soft to the touch… Everything about him shouted royalty and power, even in his weakened, injured state. She partly wished he would open his eyes and let her see into them again, but then she wouldn't be free to gaze at him so freely.
Now that the threat was gone she found her self being able to admire the prince's qualities. She finished with his face and moved to his neck and shoulders. His clothing was ripped and torn to be more of a nuisance then functional, so she used the kits scissors to cut his shirt from his bleeding body. He'd been wearing some kind of clingy stasis suit that luckily had two pieces instead of one. She was enjoying the view of his exposed chest, smooth and defined… but she wasn't sure she was ready to see anymore then that. Mom had explained the difference between boys and girls at a young age, and as far as she knew Saiyans and humans were almost identical as far as outward anatomy was concerned. She could quote name and function for every body part on both Human and Saiyan, but she didn't really want to SEE it.
She tried to clean the wounds on his back, as well, but this proved very difficult. She rolled him on his side and tried to reach him that way, but he kept rolling into her lap. The difficult part was she found herself wanting to leave him there.
She allowed herself to sit for just a minute, her arm behind his neck and her hand on his chest, and just look him over, despite the fact he was covered in blood
"Amazing…" she whispered. "He is so beautiful." She ran her hand over the defined ridges of his shoulders, down over his pectoral muscles, brushing her finger tips lightly over the rough skin of his nipples and then down over his stomach.
"Two, four, six… eight…" she marveled that, despite his short frame, he could fit in an eight pack. He had a perfect, belly button, a shallow inny, and his whole body flexed when she ran a finger over it. 'So,' she thought with much amusement, 'the Saiyan prince is ticklish.' She wanted to laugh out loud, but knew it would spoil the quite mood. She sighed and rolled him over again to continue her first aid.
She cleaned the wounds on his sculpted back, and pondered the meaning of several crisscrossing scars that ran over the length on his shoulder blades. As she moved lower she felt her anticipation grow as she grew closer and closer to his tail that was curled around his waist. There was a small cut near the base of his fuzzy length that she wasn't sure she should bother. She knew how sensitive their tails were…
Curiosity, combined with some mischievously risky part of her, made her continue lower. Hesitant fingers brushed against the base of his tale, not-so-accidentally, in her attempts to clean the small cut, and she froze as she realized his whole body had tensed as if preparing for great pain. She couldn't move her hand, the back of it pressed lightly to his tail. 'If they are this sensitive then maybe I shouldn't be touching it…' the thought left quickly as he seemed to relax when no pain came.
She continued cleaning his cut, being much more thorough then was probably necessary, it wasn't even bleeding very badly. She found herself extremely amused at the muscle in his back that would twitch every time she brushed her fingers against his tail.
After all the blood was gone, and she realized that it wasn't even bleeding anymore, she abandoned all pretenses and decided to try a little experiment. Slowly she wrapped her nimble fingers around his tail and began petting it softly. When he seemed used to that she used a little more pressure until she realized that there was a faint vibration coming from his chest. She listened carefully. 'He's purring!' she wanted to giggle and laugh until she couldn’t breath anymore, but she also wanted to make sure he didn't stop. It was such a pleasant sensation, the vibration passing from where her right leg was pressed against his back that was moving up her stomach and touching her heart with a warm buzz.
It was almost like a drug, that purring, and she wanted more. She carefully unwrapped his tail from his waist and was surprised when it moved easily into her hands, almost of it's own free will. She stroked and caressed it, and let it's soft fur run through her fingers. The purring was getting decidedly louder, and penetrating her even more deeply.
She leaned back, closed her eyes and let herself become overrun by the softness of the curious appendage and the purring, and the warmth and… something else. A small smile fixed itself on her face and she continued, not caring about anything. Not caring that her father was waiting for her at home, and not worried that there were probably several deadly members of the Saiyan race wreaking havoc somewhere on her beloved planet. And she wasn't concerned in the least for her new weapon, that was now sitting forgotten in the green Yardratin dirt. Her mind was blank, only letting waves of emotion pulse through her.
She was just getting a hold of herself, thinking that her first encounter with a non-family or mutant man was turning out to be rather a success when the purring stopped abruptly.
Amidst the rubble of the scarred earth and battered pods, things had been quiet for almost a minute when the first struggling body appeared. Gero lifted the pod's door with a bloodied knuckle and crawled onto the side of the crater with heaving breaths. "I'm too old for this," he said as he collapsed against a large bolder and lay in the shade it afforded. He let his breathing slow and the pain in his body numb to a hazy ache while his eyes wondered over the crash sight before him. Four pods were cradled in the planet's strange green earth, crater upon crater. By his calculations there should have been six pods. The princes pod was absent, as expected, but the other two should have been near by…
One of the other pods shook and then rolled over, the door blasted off it's hinges. The king crawled out of his pod, anger on his face, and his eyes searching for answers.
"Your majesty, thank the kai's you're all right."
"Of course I’m all right, Gero, don’t be a simpleton. Where's my son?" King Vegeta demanded with solid royalty.
Gero just glanced at the other pods and shrugged non-committedly. The king started towards the two, still occupied pods and began rummaging through the wreckage. Punching his hand through the side of the first one he ripped a hole in the theoretically indestructible pod to reveal an unconscious Frieza. As he was tossing the limp Icein to Gero's feet, the other pod was cracking open to reveal a slightly flustered Bardock.
The whole scene was like some kind of bizarre hatching of prehistoric dinosaurs, only these dinosaurs were primates, not reptiles. Well, except for Frieza, and no one was really sure what he was.
"Is he dead?" The king asked, nodding to his white right-hand man after he'd surveyed the landscape and decided there were no more pods in the vicinity that he could punch holes and drag half dead bodies from.
Gero stumbled over and checked Frieza for life signs. They were relatively strong. "No," he managed to creak out through chapped lips.
"Where are the other pods?" Bardock asked, speaking for the first time. He was sitting atop his own pod.
"I was just wondering the same thing…" Gero said trying to pear over the crest of the large pitted crater. "Surely they would be close by."
"Nappa, Radditz, and…" Bardock paused, "and the Prince."
"They aren't close by," the king said, that much is obvious. Bardock, put on your scouter and see if you can get any readings."
Following his master's bidding as quickly as possible he retrieved his ki scouter and levitated into the air. Taking a panoramic reading, rotating slowly in a circle he called down to the others. "There are may low-level readings, barely registering, so the planet must be inhabited." He paused. "Two high level readings about sixty clicks to the north. Looks like Radditz and Nappa." He finished his circle and sank unenthusiastically back to the ground. "Nothing else." He swallowed and looked at his king with the dreaded explanation in his eyes. "There's no sign of your son."
"He's probably unconscious, or trying to keep his power level low so as not to attract any unwanted attention. You said he launched earlier, Gero? Which way would he be?"
"If my calculations are correct…" Gero started, staring at the sky in contemplative searching.
"And they always are…" Bardock whispered a little bitterly under his breath. Gero already new, and he knew they knew he already knew, but he always put on a show anyway.
"Then he should be several hundred clicks in that direction," Gero said pointing to the east.
"Well, then, wake up Frieza so we can get looking for my heir." King Vegeta said, rising out of the crater and drifting towards the direction Gero had been pointing. The other two pods forgotten, they began their search.
Radditz and Nappa, first class Saiyan warriors and elite royal guards of Prince Vegeta, found themselves in a much different situation then the other five survivors of the Vegeta III. Currently they were standing in the door way of a now demolished hanger bay, watching the smoke clear and double checking to make sure there weren't anymore little blue aliens running around. They all seemed accounted for in the charred smelly pile of fried Yardratin.
Neither of them were smart enough to recognize them as Yardratin on their own, but had been told by the blue weaklings that had introduced themselves with smiles and hands outstretched before the blasting had begun. Sadly, both of the tall Saiyans were the "kill first, ask questions later" type, and it had proved fatal to the naïve, trusting, and altogether too friendly Yardrats.
After dusting off their hands they gathered anything they could find worth salvaging from their pods and began searching the compound. They were indeed curious as to how they had ended up on this third-rate planet of idiots, but didn't think to ask any one, but instead just killed anything that dared cross their path.
Dr. Briefs stumbled back into the main control room, nearly out of breath, and gasping questions on their status. "Where… are the… Saiyans… now? Is… Bulma back, yet? What's the word on the… spaceship?" He slumped into his chair and waited for answers.
"Well, sir, as I said, they were all brought down in the Splangy Desert, but after I took a close up reading by satellite I found out that only four of them reached the desired destination. It seems that the Slether-drat settlement on the North West boarder grabbed two of the pods with their tractor beam and laded then in their docking bay."
"What!?" Dr. Briefs gasped sitting up in his chair and staring at Geedge-yar like he's announced they'd decided to announce Fridays as Hawaiian shirt day. "What's the word?" he asked, trying to calm down.
"We lost contact with them about two minutes ago." Geedge-yar said, looking down.
"Why wasn't I contacted immediately?" he demanded answers, looking first at Geedge-yar and then turning to Yamcha, who was crouching against the side wall.
"It just happened so fast…" Yamcha tried to cover, "and I knew you'd be back here soon, I didn't want to worry you." Yamcha was close to whimpering now.
The professor merely ground his teeth together and tried to get a hold of himself. 'We just lost hundreds of innocent Yardrats and he's whining. He makes me sick…' was the first thought that popped into head, but then he took a deep breath and calmed his nerves. From the moment the Saiyan ship had started coming down, he knew that casualties were inevitable, but that didn't mean he had to like it.
"What about Bulma?" he asked hoping for a more favorable answer then he'd gotten from his first question. From the look on Yamcha and the Yardrats faces he knew he wasn't going to get one.
"Still no word. She's just sitting out there with who ever came out of that pod." Geedge-yar said, when Yamcha only glared at the floor pitifully. He brought up the satellite picture on the big screen. It showed two red dots, side-by-side, on the edge of a large depression with many heat spots, much like a wreaked pod would look.
There was silence in the room once more.
"Should we send a rescue crew?"
Pause. The doctor knew that sending more people could put his daughter et even more risk then she already was, and if she wasn't in danger, she'd be upset that he hadn't trusted her. But he didn't want to just leave her there to fend for her self. Competent young woman that she was, she was still his daughter.
"Not yet, wait a little longer." It took everything in him left to say it. For all he knew he was condemning his only family remaining to a painful and horrible death, but it was all he could do. Besides pray.
Trunks Briefs, scientist and ex-entrepreneur, slouched in his chair and sighed, "I'm getting too old for this," under his breath.
"What the hell do you think your doing?" Vegeta growled after grabbing the woman's hands and holding them away from his tail. He'd woken slowly, feeling the familiar sensation of someone petting his tail, and wondered why his father hadn't woken him when they'd landed. At first he supposed he was on Vegetasei being treated to a welcome home gift, per his father's harem, and wasn't about to object at all. For some reason he was exhausted and ached all over. A little physical pleasure would be just what he needed.
He'd opened his eyes, and glanced over his shoulder at the woman giving him such a thorough tail job, and caught his breath. She was beautiful, gorgeous even. Long blue tresses, full pouting lips, pressed together in concentration, and her body arched to show off it's dimensions nicely. She was leaning back, her eyes closed, his most sensitive appendage in her hands, wrapped casually around her forearm and twitching like a feline that had just been fed. And her skin… was glowing, with a green tint.
In a matter of half a second, he realized that her skin wasn't glowing, it was dusted lightly in green dirt, green dirt that covered the planet he'd crashed on.
When he'd realized this and come to attention he'd stopped purring, and she'd opened her eyes and looked down at him with a visible traces of fear and surprise on her face.
"What the hell are you doing?" he asked again.
Bulma was so surprised that he was awake she was having a hard time thinking, and the crushing grip he had on her wrists wasn’t helping either. "I…" she glanced at their tell tale positioning and noticed the blood on her hands and swallowed heavily. 'What was I doing?' she wracked her mind, trying to remember, but everything was blurry. "Well, I was…" she looked at his back, twisting away from her and noticed the cleaned cuts. "I was cleaning your wounds, and I'm done now, so I needed to wake you so you could get on the bike, cause there's no way I’m ever going to be able to carry you and you wouldn't wake up and so I thought maybe… and I suppose I got… a little… carried away…" She rambled on trying to cover, and hoping he couldn't read the blush on her cheeks as anything more then embarrassment.
When she shut her mouth, finally, he glared into her eyes, trying to read and see if she was lying. She raised her chin and dared him to call her a liar. He just stared into her face, studying her, memorizing her features, and she could feel the heat rising up her neck and onto her cheeks.
Then, with out warning, or ceremony, he nodded, seemingly convinced, and promptly passed out again.
Bulma heaved a sigh of relief, glad she didn't have to face his insanely intense eyes for another second and let her hands rest on his side. His ringers were still wrapped around her wrist, but they weren't quite as tight as before, so she managed to pull her hands free after only two attempts.
She was free, but that had not solved her problem. He was still lying against her, unconscious and as heavy as a small bolder.
"Now what?" she wondered aloud and slapped herself mentally on the wrist when the first idea that popped into her head was, 'his tail is free, now, he's asleep again…'
"This is going to be a long day…" she said and rolled Vegeta on his stomach.
"Yamcha, I want you out on reconnaissance. Follow those two that got out of hand. Warn all those in their path to evacuate. I don't want you to do anything, other then get people out of their way. Hopefully, they'll join up with the others as soon as possible."
"But…" Yamcha started to object.
"But nothing. I don't want you getting under foot here at the base, and I need someone out there. Just keep in close contact with the base and don't take any steps to stop them yourself." Dr. Briefs said and stood from his chair. "I've got some things to do. If you need me, I'll probably be at the council later, so…" his voice faded off and he exited.
He was fighting the impulse to wish Yamcha would screw up somehow and get himself killed, because that wouldn't be very human of him, although it would fix some of his long -term problems. Knowing his luck, today, however, it would never happen. Yamcha would be safe and not get killed by rampaging Saiyan warriors. He tried to smile as he made his way out of the compound and towards the gardens.
"Split up. Stay with in sight of each other, but if we spread out we'll be able to cover more area. I want my son found, as first priority, and then we'll figure out a way to get off this rock," King Vegeta said as they took off, heading East.
Bardock flew to the north and the king dodged to the south, leaving Frieza, who was carrying Gero, in the middle. When the others were out of even Saiyan hearing range, Frieza turned a purple glare on the old man hanging from his fist.
"What the hell went wrong, Gero?!" he spat maliciously.
"I'm not really sure. Everything was going according to plan until the stupid power went out," he replied. Gero was doing his best to sound official and calm, although that was exceptionally difficult, considering he was being flown fifty feet off the ground, by an exceptionally pissed off, not to mention powerful, Icein with a headache.
"So, your explosions knocked out the power to the ship. I should have known you would batch so simple an assignment…" Frieza growled.
"It wasn't my explosions. My calculations were exact, and the charges set nowhere near the power grid. What happened wasn’t my fault. Besides, who are you to accuse me of botching things up? It was I who disabled the navigational system, and set up the charges that would disable the engines, and got you free time with the little prince, but you couldn't manage to pull off one simple little murder. Now we're stuck searching this hideously green planet for the one person who should be space dust right about now." Gero responded defensively with more then just a touch of condescension in his voice.
Frieza brought Gero up face to face with him and stopped flying suddenly. "You pathetic little weakling, it you that distracted me from doing my job. If you had waited just two more seconds, we wouldn't be worried about finding the prince in one peace and ready to take my head off!" Frieza was very nearly yelling and Gero was starting to become afraid that the others would hear.
"Arguing will get us no where. We still have a very good opportunity to rid ourselves of the weak Saiyan king and his lousy excuse for an heir. The first chance we get you have to dispose of the King and his mindless body guard, and then we'll continue the search for the prodigal son on our own. He has to be injured and weakened after a blast like that. He won't be any problem at all. In fact, there's a good chance he's already dead." Gero said with his sickly, evil grin.
"That still leaves us with the task of hunting down those other two morons and getting rid of all the evidence." Frieza argued a bit more, not quite ready to be at peace with his traitorous companion.
"A simple feet. If you get rid of the two idiots, I can figure out a way to get away from here and figure out a cover story. You might have to destroy the planets population, to get rid of witnesses and make for a good revenge story about local natives killing the king and his son in their sleep or some other such Saiyan bull shit. I'll be so glad to get rid of their useless carcasses."
"Just don't forget the deal, Gero. I become ruler of the Empire and you continue to work for me. I certainly hope you would consider putting a knife in my back just like you are the King of the Saiyans. Remember, that with out me, any third class warrior could take you out and claim the throne."
"I'll remember. There is some advantage to being a genius, and good memory and judgement are just a few of them." Gero said and then the laughter began. The senseless, maniacal laughter of madmen and murderers, after all, they were.
Yamcha was also leaving the compound, only by the garage instead of the gardens. There was a serious scowl on his marred face and a muttered curse on his breath. He knew Dr. Briefs was just trying to get him out of the way, sending on him on some half-assed important job any simpleton Yardrat could have done.
Yamcha was getting tired of being taken for granted, and not being trusted. He had to find some way to get the respect he deserved on this shit-hole of a planet. The Briefs thought they were better then everyone, playing god and king and ruling over everyone, although they were too good to pay any real attention to the ones who did the real work. Except when they were ordering them around. Unless you were working, you weren't worth their time. Or so they thought…
Yamcha felt a little guilty about thinking bad about the family of the woman that had saved him and taught him everything he knew. Mrs. Briefs had been decent and patient with him. And now she was gone. The only one worth knowing was dead.
He'd put the others in their place and they'd see what their wife and mother had seen in him. She'd believed in him and trusted him, and soon Bulma and her father would, too.
"What is it, Bardock?"
"My lord, there is someone coming on the horizon, but I’m not getting any reading." Bardock said, squinting through his scouter and looking towards the East. He'd flown close enough to call to Frieza and Gero, who had, in turn called to the King and they were now gathered together once more.
"Yes, I can see it, too," the king replied stopping in mid-air. "There's two of them, flying this way, but, if they have no power reading, then how can they fly?"
"Do you suppose they could be a threat?" Frieza asked.
"Most likely," the king grunted. "It's best to be prepared." He took a mid-air ready position and they waited.
Frieza took advantage of the last few seconds before the approaching pair arrived by quickly depositing Dr. Gero behind a rock on the ground before he flew up to take stance beside Bardock and the king. They all waited with tensed shoulders and fists clenched as the two figures grew and became more detailed and focused.
Flying side by side, with immaculate precision, the two androids stopped with in ten feet of waiting warriors, who were, needless to say, very shocked to see a pair of human looking youths approaching them with such calm abandon.
"Who are you, and what is your business with the King of the Saiyans?" Bardock demanded, hovering ever so slightly in front of his king protectively.
"Just a pair of curious siblings who are wondering what such famous warriors are doing on our small, humble planet," the dark hared male replied, the faintest hint of humor in his voice. He exchanged meaningful glances with the blond woman and then they hovered closer, not seeming to move any part of their bodies.
"To what do we owe the great honor of having the great King Vegeta and his… associates?"
"Maybe we should be asking you," Bardock stared them down, not impressed or intimidated by the pair in the least. "Our ship was damaged in space by some unknown source and we were forced to crash land here, but I get the feeling you already knew that, didn't you?"
"How very astute of you," the boy responded. "You may take relief in knowing, however, that if we had been responsible for the damage to your ship you would be dead..."
"Not stranded," the woman finished. "It appears that whoever tried to kill you, screwed up royally," she punned, looking first at Frieza with a cold stare and then glancing down at the ground where Gero was peaking from behind a small boulder.
Gero saw the woman turn her head towards him and jumped back behind the rock. "It can't be…" he muttered. He looked back around the rock and squinted up at the hovering group. "If only I could see better…"
In the sky, Frieza was challenging the pair of androids with a livid scowl on his face. "Surely you can't hope to survive facing the greatest warriors in the galaxy. Why did you really come out here, other then to get yourselves killed?"
"We were sent by our… employer…to stall you." Android 17 said, dropping all pretenses and crossing his arms over his chest. "And we're going to do just that."
"You think you can stall us?" the King spoke for the first time. "Now that we know your true intentions, how are you going to stop us from leaving?"
"We just are," 18 said slowly, mimicking her brother and taking a wide shouldered stance.
The king and his subjects might have started laughing at a frail looking woman threatening to take them all on, if it hadn't been for the serene confidence in both their faces. The eerie half smiles on their faces making their blood drop a few degrees.
"Permission to put these crazy children out of their misery, your majesty," Frieza said, clenching his teeth and fists, his tail twitching with anticipation of the fight.
"Denied," King Vegeta said firmly. "Just beat them up a little. I want them conscious and able to give information."
"Understood," the Icein growled in grudging obedience. He flew forward suddenly to attack 17, but he just wasn’t there when he went to land his punch. Frieza looked shocked as he turned to look at 18, who was only three feet away, and smirking at him like he's just fallen for some hilarious prank.
"You missed," she said, moving closer and whispering in his ear before she nodded slightly to the spot just above them.
Frieza looked up just in time to see the bottom of 17 foot as it connected with his forehead. Frieza shot to the ground like a falling comet and connected with a thunderous crash. Dust flew everywhere and blocked their view of the fallen Frieza.
Bardock was staring in amazement at the dust cloud at their feet. When he looked up, he was startled to find 18 only inches away, looking at the ground as well. He gasped slightly and jumped back a few inches.
"Well he didn't last long, did he?" she asked, looking up slowly and fixing him with her almost translucent blue eyes. Before he knew it, his arms were pinned behind his back and his tail was being tugged on ever so slightly. He winced, preparing for pain, but it didn't come, it had been only a warning tug.
"Now, I suppose we should give you the options of doing this the hard way, or the easy way. Just as a matter of procedure, you understand. I have the feeling you are all going to insist that we continue doing this the harder way." Bardock heard the female's voice in his ear.
He ground his teeth together and bit his tongue.
"Well," she insisted, giving his tail another pull.
He hissed and tried twisting from her grip, but found it was beyond his capabilities. "Go, your majesty," he whispered finally. "Get away. Find your son. I'll keep her busy." He glanced at the ground where there was still no sign of the fallen Icejin.
"I will not run." Vegeta said, standing his ground and starting towards them slowly.
"Good for you…" came a voice from above. "You wouldn't have gotten far anyway. It was a good plan, in theory," 17 said, floating down between the still bound Bardock and the King, "but it was missing one very important fact." 17 punched Bardock in the stomach. He would have doubled over if 18 hadn't been holding him. "Me," the android leaned in and said to Bardock's contorted face. "and the fact that I'm faster then all three of you put together."
He caught the king's foot, seconds before it connected with his side and twisted it, sending the king flying in an out of control spiral.
"King Vegeta!" Bardock yelled and twisted in 18 arms again. He managed to find a weak link somewhere, (or more likely, she let him go), and pulled away speeding towards his falling monarch. That, however only made it easier for 17 to clothes line him.
Bardock fall part way before gaining control and looking towards an in control, although still flustered Vegeta. He had a tortured, helpless look on his face.
"Stay back, Bardock, and don't try to help…" the king growled, starting towards 18 again.
Android 17, who had begun flying towards Bardock with the intention of sending him the way of Frieza froze in mid-air and looked at Bardock with a calculating gaze.
"So, you’re Bardock." He said, folding his arms over his chest. "Too bad."
And with that he turned and flew back to assist his sister, although she was having no trouble dodging everything the Saiyan king threw at her.
"This day just keeps getting weirder by the second," Bardock, whispered flying up to stand with his king.
"Oh, Gerddie. Things have fallen apart, and I don't know if I can fix it this time…" Dr. Briefs said while he stood beside his late wife's grave, looking down at the rose vines that covered her mound and tombstone. "I wish you were here to tell me everything would be alright. If you were here I think I could think of some way to get us all through this alive…"
He sighed and stood quietly for a second. "I'm so worried about Bulma, dear. I don't know if she'll deal well with these rough Saiyan men. I'm going to try and keep her away from them as much as possible. She's got such a wonderful spirit. She's so kind and selfless, I don't want her to be subjected to their harsh reality." Trunks Briefs chuckled. "I suppose it was inevitable, though. I can't keep her locked up here like an artifact in a museum, even if the glass case would stop her from being ruined."
"I so wanted her to have everything we had. Love, family, comfort, someone to look after her and let her just be herself, and give her money and supplies to keep building her inventions…" His mustache twitched and he felt the forbidden swelling of heat under his eye lids. "You would have said I sound like a scientist trying to be a father, but all I ever wanted to be was a father, who was sometimes a scientist."
The quiet of the air seemed filled with words wanting to be said. It was almost overwhelming; at times like these he could almost feel his wife's presence… "I miss you, Gerddie…" he whispered.
Just then, the sound of a hover bike could be heard coming over the hill towards the compound.
Bulma was driving incredibly slow, trying to keep the unconscious Saiyan balanced, while steering the bike. Vegeta was sitting in front of her, his face forward, completely knocked out. She was beginning to think he had slipped into a coma, or something comparable.
In her attempts to load him onto the bike she'd had to lie it down next to him and roll him onto it. That had been the easy part, all though she was sure she'd opened a few of his cuts doing it. The hard part had been getting the bike upright with his heavy weight pulling down on it. Driving was no easy task, either, since he seemed to want to do nothing more then slide off one side or the other.
She couldn't leave him, and she didn't want to stay out in the open any longer, and so she was forced to push onward.
By the time she drove over the last hill, she was utterly exhausted, bruised, cut, and very frustrated. She might not have made it to the garage if her father hadn't come running around the side of the house, from the gardens, and caught her just as she herself was beginning to fall.
The hover bike came to a halt as soon as her weight was off the seat, and surprisingly enough the Saiyan prince stayed slouched over the handlebars. Bulma saw this from her father's arms and laughed bitterly.
"Sure, now he stays." She pooled the last of her strength and stood, the professor's help. She limped over to the bike and shut it off. Her father never moved his arm from around her waist, and the look on his face was near panic.
"Bulma, are you all right?" he asked. She thought he looked close to tears.
"Yes, yes, but he isn't. I gave him the ki sedative and he seems to be experiencing adverse side effects. We have to get him to the med bay, as soon as possible. You can put all that amazing technology that's been going to waste to work."
"You first. You need help, you can hardly stand."
"No, him first. I'm fine, I don't need help…" She reached to pull Vegeta off the bike, but fell to her knees instead. "Ok, maybe a little help would be fine. I can't carry him on my own." Bulma looked at her father with near panic in her eyes and pain in her voice. "Please dad, he can't die. You have to keep him alive until I can…" she looked down wondering herself what she wanted to say. 'Until I can experiment on my drugs? Until I can check on him myself? Until I can get to know who and what he is…?' Her mind wasn't functioning properly. 'Why am I so exhausted? Sure, it was a long trip, but I feel like I've been sucked dry…'
"Please dad, save him…" She was so insistent, that he really had no choice.
"Someone! Come quickly! We need help!" Briefs called at the compound. Almost instantly Yardratins started pouring from every door, as if they'd been watching, waiting for the call and too afraid to disturb the pair until then. They helped them carry the prince and Bulma inside, while one of them put the bike away. It wasn't far to the med lab, and once there, Bulma collapsed on the nearest table. Behind her they were dragging in Vegeta.
"Help him first, he might have head problems, too," she whispered coarsely, the last of her energy fading.
"What about you, Lady Bulma?" one of the med assistants asked, checking her pulse and vital signs.
"I'm fine! I just need… a little… nap…" she pushed the hands away and rolled over on her side. She tried to keep her eyes open and watch as they went to work on the Saiyan prince, but that proved futile. So as soon as she could see he was being cared for properly, she let them fall closed and went into a deep sleep.
Dr. Briefs watched as they healed the Saiyans wounds and hooked him up to monitors. In his hand he held his daughter's hand and he was squeezing it subconsciously as he remembered the exchange with his daughter earlier and her insistence to keep the Saiyan alive.
'What happened out there?' he wondered. Looking over at his daughter he felt his heart jerk in his chest. She looked so pale, so colorless. He called in more Yardratin to care for her more properly.
"Is there anything more you can do?" he asked a taller alien that was looking over some medical instruments.
"No, she is just exhausted. Some sleep and she'll be good as knew, Duk Briefs."
"All right. I have to go see the council now, I want you to alert me the second one of them blinks an eye lash." With all the stress in his life at this moment, the last thing he needed was his daughter lying on a med lab bed, no matter how minor her condition.
As he turned to leave he gave on last look to the unconscious Saiyan lying on his own table not three feet from his daughter. "What have you done to my little girl…?" he muttered before walking out.
"What is’t? A spirit? Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir, it carries a brave form, but is a spirit." Miranda (1.2)
Whizzzzz, bang! Shhwooosh, bam!
Radditz finished taking out the last of the Yardratin in the streets before joining Nappa in the small singed building on his right.
"This is getting rather tedious," he snarled, knocking over a table and chairs not big enough for his Saiyan stature. "We're no where near finding out where we are, and why we're here, or where the king is."
"Shut up, Radditz," Nappa said, sniffing the air. The room was dimly lit, and a few of their blasts had destroyed half the lamps in the room anyway. "Do you smell that?" He sniffed some more and jumped over the long table on his left. "It smells like… " he stopped. He'd found what he'd been looking for. He pulled a large cask made of unknown material up and set it on the table, a faint grin on his face.
"This must have been a temple of some kind," Radditz observed, looking around at the plain decorations and simple arrangement. Then back at Nappa, "That's what I think it is, isn't it?"
"Yes it is. Lamrasta Wine. Some of the best in the universe. A keg this big would cost more then a small fortune." Nappa said with awe in his voice. Any one on the elite force could have told you that Nappa liked his liquor. He pulled open the cork and took a big whiff before letting out an extremely satisfied sigh, complete with stupid grin. "Can't let it go to waste on these rotting pigs now, can we?"
"We really shouldn't, Nappa. We need to find the King an the others and make sure they're alive so we can get off this despicable rock. This vacant blue faces are starting to give me the creeps." Radditz stated stoically. Truth be told, he wouldn't mind a little taste himself. He wanted to be drunk at this point. Walking up with your face in control panel of your pod and stepping out to find your self in the midst of little blue men with sickeningly curious and admiring expressions can have that effect on a Saiyan.
"Lighten up, Radditz. For all we know the others are dead and we're stranded on this dead beat planet. Let's make the most of it, or the least of it, by drowning our worries in this gloriously tasty wine." Nappa's eyes never left the hole form which he could see the "glorious" liquid. The deep crimson reflected in his pupils and made him appear a little moon crazed.
"Well, I said my peace. Don't make me say I told you so. Now, where's a cup?" Radditz sat down on the table and stretched out his achy legs. Nappa just laughed and looked for something to served the wine in.
It appeared to Bulma that she was dreaming. Most the world was a hazy "almost-there" that she associated with dreams, but the door in front of her seemed very real. She put her hand against its rough would grain surface and gasped. If she slid her hand downwards, she was sure to get a splinter, but this couldn't be real. She'd never seen this place before, never been anywhere like it, and hope she would never have to be in a place like this in real life.
Everything was creepy and foreboding, all shadows and cobwebs, flying buttresses and long haunting hallways with columns. All the scene was missing was a few suit of armor. She pushed on the door, feeling a sense of urgency and morbid curiosity to see what was on the other side.
At first, all that greeted her was darkness, and cold, but after her eyes adjusted she could see the shape of a person against the far wall. She took a step towards then, and noted with inane detail that her feet made no sound. She walked slowly until she stood a few feet from the strange figure that appeared to be chained to the wall.
"Hello?" she whispered softly. She wasn't afraid, per say, just shivering from the cold and damp of the large room. The person lifted their head. Hair fell from their face and they connected eyes.
'Blue eyes,' she thought absently, 'just like me…' The light in the room increased, for no apparent reason, and she saw that it was, indeed, her.
She looked at herself with less then shock but more then indifference and moved to speak, just as she was addressed by the woman chained to the wall.
"Why did you do this to me?" the other she asked, pleading and hiding anger. "I'm so weak. I can't move and I can't get away. Why? This is killing me, can't you see. I can't stay like this, I need to be free, need to be strong…"
"I'm sorry, I didn't know…" Bulma tried to explain to herself, but she couldn't find words, explanation or otherwise. Things were fading and she was starting to lose touch with her surroundings.
"Sorry," she whispered one last time as the world disappeared.
He couldn't move. His legs and arms felt impossibly heavy and there was weight pressing on his chest. It was even difficult to breath. "Where…" he said hoarsely, trying to see through the blaring lights. The white light was blinding, and he struggled to even crack one eye, until a shadow moved over him, between his sensitive eyes and the bulb above. When he finally opened his eyes he could see himself leaning over his self.
"Why do you keep struggling? Just lie still and let me help you." Vegeta watched his other tell himself. It was like talking to yourself in a mirror, only with out moving your lips.
"Why am I restrained?" he growled, trying to sit up once more.
The other Vegeta seemed sad, remorseful and apologetic. Not like himself. "I’m sorry, but its for our protection. We can't very well let you go around killing us all, now, can we?" Vegeta 2 said, touching Vegeta 1's shoulder. "Just let us do this, and they you can go and you'll get your strength back."
"I promise, not to… hurt… anyone…" he said hesitantly. He was desperate to have the weight lifted.
"I wish I could trust you not to go on a killing spree, but till then… sedatives for you, buddy."
Vegeta never called anyone "buddy". Something was wrong here. Something worse then even his incapacitation and the lights. Something in his head. And something in his chest.
About the time he noticed the other him had no tale, the lights were growing so bright again, he had to close his eyes and just let the red glow overwhelm him…
The red glow of light through the blood in his eyes lids stayed with him until he was able to focus on the rest of his body. He was slowly becoming aware of the pain that pulsed weakly through most of his body, and the fact that he was lying on his back. He opened his eyes and found himself staring at a white, tiled ceiling. He could sense the presence of several others in the room and turned his head to the side.
In the back ground he could see several small bluish figures moving around, but more immediately he was faced with the sleeping face of the beautiful girl that had… accosted him… in the desert.
As she opened her eyes slowly, he fought the urge to smile at seeing her awake. She was so gorgeous. Not just her features, there was something in the depth of her eyes. Something he'd never seen in the eyes of any other woman before. What was it…? Intelligence…? Innocence…? Kindness…? A little of all of those, mixed with a passionate spirit he'd be hard pressed to find a rival for.
He was torn between raging anger at being so weak because of what she'd done, and the urge to go to her and promise his eternal loyalty. Something about her…
When she held out one half-limp hand he reached out with his own, as if on instinct, and laced his fingers with hers.
'What's wrong with me…?' he wondered. 'Besides the fact that I have no strength and I'm stranded on and unknown planet amongst strangers.' He had always been a man of short temper and quick reflexes, but at the moment he felt all the anger dissipate and was content to just lie looking into her face. 'And why do her eyes enchant me so…?'
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
"I promise not to hurt anyone…" he heard himself say, although later he would hardly believe it.
"Ok," she said and closed her eyes once more.
He watched for a second more, and then welcomed the invading sleep that fell over him in waves. For now, the feel of her fingers in his was enough.
"Human Briefs, you have broken your promises to us and we require explanation." One of the tallest Headrma Yardrat said from his place in the half-circle.
"I don't understand great ones," Dr. Briefs said, his hands folded respectfully in front of him. "What have I done to break our agreement?"
"The weapons, Duk Briefs. The one surrounding our planet that incapacitated the Saiyan ship and the ones we just discovered your daughter has used against the Saiyan Prince," a Yardrat next to the first answered.
"These are only weapons of defense, good council. They are only used to minimize casualties on our side…" the doctor explained quickly. It was true he had rationalized putting up the disrupter field, and Bulma's newest project had pushed the bounds of defense weaponry, but he had never thought that they would have to use them. They were precautionary only, but trying to explain precaution to the naïve Yardrats was like explaining nuclear physics to his wife.
"Never the less, they are weapons… and we may have let these pass, had you not the two abominations you sent out to meet the other survivors…"
Trunks Briefs felt his heart drop. He'd know he was crossing the line on that one, but in his mind, he'd seen no other choice. He told the Yardrat council this, but they only shook their heads sadly.
"There is always another choice. We are prepared to face the wrath of the Saiyans, but you have brought death and war to our planet, and we must as that you remove you and your family from our culture."
"But, you have to understand…" the professor started.
"We do understand, even better then you do, and this is our request to you. We will face our fate, but we will not ask the same of you. You are free to go."
"With all due respect, I don't think I can do that. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I just fled and left you all here to be slaughtered. I've lived amongst you and loved you too much to abandon you. Now, I know I have betrayed your trust, and I will honor your request to leave, but not until after I have removed the Saiyan threat." Briefs was hurt and panicking and he was feeling the heavy pain of loss under his ribcage, but he managed to speak calmly and rationally as he argued his position. "If you'll allow me, I have a plan that will see to it that the Saiyans leave in peace, with out any of their deaths. Those "abominations" as you call them have been instructed not to kill, and they are unable to disobey that command. I just have to work through a couple more things and then I think I can get them to go with out a fight. Please, I'm begging you to give me a chance, at least, and then I'll take the Saiyans and my family and go." He finished with pleading and sadness in his voice, but his earnest _expression and honest heart were what persuaded the Yardrat council to give their consent, with the condition that no lives were to be taken by his or his servants hands and that when he left, he left the planet just as it had been when he'd arrived.
"Do you realized the implications of that demand?" Dr. Briefs asked.
"We do. We will miss your family and all you have brought to this planet, but we lived with out it all before, and we will live with out it again."
"I understand," the doctor replied, bowing his head and feeling the pangs of loss increase. "I will try and accomplish my goals as soon as possible, so that we may leave you in peace."
"That will be well." The first Yardrat replied. "We will watch your progress and pray for your success."
"Thank you," the human responded and turned to go. "If you'll excuse me, I have many things to see to," and with that he left, never to see the council again.
The androids 17 and 18 had decided to devote most of their attention to beating the recently recovered, funny looking lizard man because he was the most aggravating with his mouth. He was constantly spouting idle threats and annoying insults that were growing tiresome.
It didn't take much to dodge the other two while they taunted Frieza with easy hits and laughter at his lousy attempts at retaliation. Occasionally, they would send the Saiyan king sprawling, but neither of them touched Bardock at all, after finding out his identity.
Gero had watched from the ground with ever growing amazement and ever growing rage. 'Those are my creations! The ones that were stolen from me the night that fool, Dr Briefs, took his family and fled. And now, here they are. If they are here, then there was a good chance that Briefs is here, as well, and if Briefs is here, then that would explain the power outage on the ship. My old partner must have put up some kind of protective shield…' the mind of the genius was suddenly at word, concocting an insidious plan.
High above, both the androids had sensed the almost non-existent ki emanating from the ground below. The tossed each other meaningful looks before 17 knocked Frieza unconscious again and held him up by the neck as they and turned to the king.
"You did know you are befriending one of the most despicable creatures of your time, don't you?" 18 asked with a snide smirk.
"And who would that be?" the king asked, a little out of breath. Truth be told he was aware that both Gero and Frieza were… despicable… and as such was not sure which on they were eluding to. If they had not both been a valuable part of his hold on the Empire he would have dispatched them long ago.
"Well, for starters, that man, Gero, that is hiding amongst the rocks down there." 17 said. "He is the one who made us, you know."
"Made you?" Bardock asked. "And what do you mean by that?"
"We are his creations," 17's voice was soft and bored sounding. "He built us out of metal and wires and made us the spectacular beings we are today."
Recognition dawned in the king's face and he drifted down and settled in front of Gero. "What is the meaning of this?"
"It's true, your majesty. These appear to be the prototypes for the army of androids I began constructing after our first alliance, but alas, they were stolen from me before I could complete them for you. Stolen from me by the man you had vowed to help me destroy, my old partner, Dr. Briefs. It seems this is the planet he's taken refuge on. He must have been the one to attack our ship and bring us here so that he could kill us all with his stolen technology."
Bardock was struggling to keep his astonishment suppressed. He looked like he wanted to say something, but held his tongue, never the less.
"Well," 17 chuckled a little, "you're part right. We were "stolen", if you will, by Dr. Briefs, and this is the planet he has lived on for quite some time now, since he was betrayed and forced from his own home."
"But he is not responsible for the attack on your ship, at least not the initial attack, and he has not sent us here to kill you. Only to entertain you, as his guests," 18 said with a lazy smile.
"What kind of man entertains his guests by attacking them?" Gero asked spitefully, forgetting, perhaps, that he was probably that kind of man.
"Well, the attacking part was mostly our own idea, since we were created for the purpose of killing and destroying, in fact he told us not to hurt you too bad…" 17 laughed as he tossed Frieza to the ground. "It's probably a good thing that Briefs stole us. Don't you agree, your majesty?" he said to the king. When the king didn't answer right away he continued. "After all, never trust a man with an all powerful android army. I’m sure, given time, we would have been sent after you, had we been allowed to remain in Gero's hands."
"Yes," 18 agreed, as if the idea had just occurred to her. "So, in reality, it's Dr. Briefs you should be thanking, and this ass you should be turning your anger on…"
The king considered it, but then shook his head. "You won't be able to turn us on each other so easily."
"You might listen to what they have to say, your majesty," Bardock spoke up from behind. "With all due respect they do have a point. You know, as well as I, that Gero is a greedy, devious man that would turn on you in half a second, given the chance. And he has, on more then one occasion, convinced you to fall to paths deemed unworthy by Saiyan tradition."
"What are you saying, Bardock?" the king asked with not quite anger in his voice, but something close.
"Just that we need to investigate this Briefs matter further before we decide any final course of action," Bardock said, bowing his head respectfully.
The king considered this until Gero spoke up again.
"It has always been a mystery to me, your highness, just how Briefs knew of our planned attack and managed to escape unscathed even before the first alarm was sounded…" Gero glared at Bardock with blatant insinuation. He'd always had his suspicions, but now he was almost sure.
There had never been any love between Gero and Bardock, to say the least, and the king had been aware of the tension between them since the beginning. But they had never come right out and accused each other of betraying him. The king was confused to say the least. And a confused Saiyan often becomes a frustrated and irrational Saiyan that will often resort to unnecessary violence without thinking of the consequences.
They were saved any erratic displays, however, by the tilting of the android's head and a blank _expression on their faces as if they were listening to something. After a few seconds they nodded and looked back to the puzzled trio.
"Well, as fun as it has been reminiscing, we must leave you for a while," 17 said as he started flying backwards slowly. "Don't do anything rash, while we're gone."
"See you soon," 18 said and blew then a kiss before turning and flying away with her counterpart. They flew at speeds so fast that the Saiyans in the group had a hard time watching them go, and Gero didn't even have a prayer.
'Well, this puts an interesting twist on things…' he thought, glancing at the unconscious Frieza lying a few feet, and wishing for the first time ever that the disgusting Icein was awake.
When Bulma opened her eyes the second time she was acutely aware that she had a splitting head ache, and that the cut on her finger was burning. When she moved to put the offending appendage in her mouth, however, she came to another realization. Someone was holding her hand.
She focused her eyes and they came to rest on a pair of dark, furrowed eyebrows and a firm frown. The eyes that belonged to them were searching her face seriously. The Saiyan Prince's gaze held hers steadily and she felt her blood freezing and boiling at the same time. Her face was hot and her hands were cold and her heart… was on fire.
She took a deep breath and pulled away, pulling her hand to her chest and sitting up. That caused the pain in her head to increase substantially and she put her other hand to her temple.
"Mmmmm," she groaned in pain. "Ow," she looked up again and found several Yardrats in long white coats looking at her expectantly. "How long have I been out?" she asked in a hoarse voice.
"Only a couple of hours," one of them answered timidly.
"A couple of hours!" she squeaked and turned to jump off the bed, only when her feet hit the floor another jolt of pain went through her head and she almost fell. Grabbing onto the bed she yelped in pain. "God Damn!" she yelled and slammed her had down on the table. That made her finger hurt more and so she stuck her finger in her mouth, let out another muffled curse and kicked the bed and stubbed her toe.
About that time, Vegeta grabbed her around the waist and pulled her onto his lap. "Woman, stop hurting yourself, or I'll make you stop," he growled in her ear, sending shivers up her spine. She just screamed and tried to get away, to no avail.
"Are you finished, yet?" he asked snidely after she'd stopped squirming.
"Yes?" she squeaked.
"Good. I'm going to release you, and I don't want to screaming or tumbling around like a crazed dragorat… got it?"
"Yes," she whispered, taking a couple deep breaths.
Very slowly Vegeta set Bulma back down on the floor and turned to stand himself while she straightened her clothes and got a hold of herself. She unconsciously started to suck on her finger again.
"Whers m fadr?" she asked the Yardrats that were just standing around and staring at the prince in curious fear.
"He's down in the production lab, My Lady, working on your new prototypes as we speak. He wanted you to join him as soon as you awoke," one of then replied.
"Ok, good," she turned to go. When she heard foot steps behind her she stopped and turned around, coming nose to nose with the Saiyan Prince. "You stay…" she took a step back and tried again. "You stay here."
"I will not," Vegeta said crossing his arms stubbornly. "I have nothing to do with these blue midgets. You are the one that can cure what you've done and I’m not leaving till I've got every ounce of my strength back." He sounded very resolved.
"You are going to stay here whether you like it or not, buddy. I won't have you following me around like some rabid puppy dog just begging to let him bite me." Bulma also sounded resolved. She put her hands on her hips and stood her ground in the middle of the doorway.
Something in her words struck a cord with him and he remembered the dream he'd had and gasped silently. Quickly he recovered and glared down at the girl, taking a step closer. "I will not hurt you, but I demand you free me from this physiological prison."
Something about his eyes, the way they were pleading and begging with her to give him back his strength, despite the rest of his hard features reminded her of staring into her own face with same _expression on it. For a second she almost gave, feeling a bit of his helplessness and wanting to show mercy, but in the end her pride conquered all.
"I'll see what I can do about getting things sorted out, but for now you'll just have to stay the way you are, right here."
Vegeta saw the flash of guilt and felt something in his chest tug at it, but he was not going to give in to this fiery wench. In a quick movement he picked her up and swung her over his shoulder. She commenced the screaming and pounding on his back and he commenced the wincing and the irritating ordering of the Yardrats to take him to the "production lab".
Bulma was furious as they started down the hallway following one of the smaller more frightened Yardrats. Despite the fact that she'd removed his ability to manipulate energy, he was still massively strong. She was contemplating adding a muscle relaxant to the mix when the reached the lab. She was still kicking, fighting, and demanding she be put down and he was still marching forward confidently. He was evidently healed and in perfect physical condition, again.
This was the scene that was presented for Dr. Briefs and the two androids as the stood looking over the last of the newest additions to his contraband arsenal.
"What in Kami's name…?" he stuttered staring at the couple as they came forward. Vegeta set Bulma down next to him after he was with in several feet. The androids had slipped into the shadows as soon as they had seen others entering the room. The doctor had instructed them to remain out of sight as much as possible around the Yardrats, and especially his daughter. She didn't know about them and he wanted to keep it that way. They just took the new equipment that the doc had given them and left quietly.
Once Bulma's feet were on the ground she scrambled to collect her self and sent a few eyefuls of daggers at Vegeta.
"What's going on here?" Briefs asked again looking very angry at Vegeta himself.
"I should ask you the same thing," was all Vegeta said, crossing his arms over his chest again.
The professor looked at his daughter for answers but she only sneered at Vegeta and said," He wanted to come."
"Right…" the doctor said, looking back and forth between his scowling daughter and the smirking prince. "Well, Bulma I’m glad you're here. I just sent out the next stage in my plan and I need your help."
"First, things first," Vegeta interrupted. "I demand an explanation. Who are you and why have you brought me here under such… disagreeable conditions?"
Bulma snorted. "And those "disagreeable conditions" are supposed to be our fault? You're the one that snuck up on me and attacked me. Not the other way around."
"If I'd attacked you, woman, you wouldn't be standing here now, you'd be dead, so just be thankful that I showed a little restraint and didn't blast you to hell the first time I saw you," Vegeta said, growling and leaning closer.
"Restraint? HA!" Bulma said folding her arms and not backing down a bit. "Just because you’re a barbarian that didn't kill me right then doesn't mean you weren't going to do it later. I tried to warn you, but you forced me to shoot you with my ki stunner gun. It's the only way I could ensure you weren't going to freak out and start killing anything that moved!" Bulma yelled in his face. They were inches apart, hissing and scowling like two tom cats preparing to fight.
"As if you'd be worth the energy it'd take to kill you. You're so weak I could kill you all right now, but I haven't and what thanks do I get? Telling and screaming from you and suspicion on every other side. Besides the fact that you should be bowing down and worshiping at my feet. I am the Prince of the civilized part of the universe, even if you aren't under the Empire's rule, yet!" Vegeta yelled back.
"Enough!" Dr Briefs yelled, silencing them both. Neither of them moved, though. Their pride wouldn't let them back down so easily.
Vegeta just stared into her blue eyes and fought the sudden urge to grab her and kiss her till she couldn't breath anymore. Another part of him just wanted to grab her and shake her.
Bulma was fuming. She'd never been this angry about anything before in her entire life, but at the moment she was experiencing her first homicidal thoughts. She was also experiencing her first urges to be in the arms of a man other then her father.
The whole time he'd been carrying her like a sack of parts down the hallway she'd been amazingly aware of his hand on the back of her thighs and the incredible amount of muscle under her stomach. Because his shirt had been destroyed he'd been given one of the Yardratin robes that was no more then a tight shirt to him. It's flimsy fabric was nothing between them. She wanted something from this man, and she only had a vague idea of what, so until she figured it out she was on mega-defensive mode.
Dr. Briefs couldn't believe the similarities between the Saiyan man and his Human daughter. They were both standing with squared off shoulders and arms crossed, both trying to kill the other with their eyes and both really ready to… well, you know.
Bulma had always had a stubborn, determined streak, but she had never been an angry child in the least. Having grown up mostly among the peace-loving Yardrats had rubbed off on her, till now, that is. He could see the kind of passion in her face that he'd seen in his wife's before they'd fallen in love… Or maybe while they were falling in love…
Another plan was forming slowly in his mind. Something that would fill in all the missing gaps and assure a relatively happy ending for everyone. If things went well… He took a moment to pray that he was doing the right thing before speaking again.
"Children…" he growled in warning.
Slowly, and more or less in unison, they each took a step back from each other and backed off a little. It was several more seconds before they let their eyes leave each other and return to Bulma's father.
"Now," Dr. Briefs said, feigning annoyance at their argument, "In answer to your questions, Prince Vegeta, I am Dr. Trunks Briefs, and this is my daughter Bulma, although you two seemed already well aquatinted." Vegeta grunted and Bulma snorted.
"We are human refugees, fled from Chikyuu when I was betrayed by my partner Dr. Henry Gero. We've been here for more or less 13 years and now that you and your people have…landed… things have become just a bit uncomfortable for us."
"I remember my mentor, Bardock, mentioning you and your family to me several times when I was young. He seemed to think my father's actions concerning your family... inappropriate." Vegeta said, calming considerably.
"Yes, well, betrayal is never really pleasant." Briefs seemed touched by Vegeta's respectful tones when he spoke of his teacher. "Bardock, is a Saiyan that I have a profound resect for. He is honorable and has a good heart. I owe him my family's lives."
There was a moment of understanding that passed between Vegeta and the professor. Bulma had only heard her father speak Bardock's name once before. After her mother's death, her father had told Bulma the story of their flight from Chikyuu and Gero's betrayal. Before that she'd had no clue that her father had been such a powerful influence on such an advanced planet.
"If Bardock was your mentor, then maybe there's hope for you yet…" Briefs said under his breath. "Now, since your ship decided to crash on our humble planet, my daughter and I have been trying to protect the peaceful people that live on this planet, the people we've grown to love during our stay here. That is why I sent Bulma out to get you and bring you back here, so that I could judge what your intentions were and go from there."
"The rest of the ship did crash, then?" Vegeta sounded just a bit anxious. For a Saiyan. He'd been wondering in his Father and ship mates were still alive.
"Yes, but the survivors are being cared for and your ship repaired. I hope to get you and your companions out of here as soon as possible. Hopefully, with the planet still intact."
"I have no fight with your planet, or it's people. I do, however, have some personal business that I need to see to as soon as I'm reunited with my… companions." Vegeta growled and clenched his fists. He grinned as he imagined the look of Frieza's face when he ripped his head from his body.
"I had hoped so. I just have a few more things that I need done and then you can be on your way." The doctor looked at Bulma. "I'm going to need your help."
"Ok, what's going on? What did you have in mind?" she asked, suddenly very focused in helping her father.
"Well," Dr. Briefs glanced at Vegeta before saying, "I have someone setting up the other half of your project in the desert, just as a precaution." His voice hinted that there were more to it then that, but he didn't want to say anything in front of Vegeta. There were still some sensitive issues that he didn't want the young prince taking the wrong way.
"Right," Bulma said, indicating that she understood. Her father had completed the ki sphere and was activating it around the King and the others. "What do you want me to do?"
"I need you to undo the damage we've done to this planet during our stay here," came the cryptic response.
"What?" Bulma asked, wishing Vegeta weren't there so that her father could just tell her his plan.
"Now, listen to me carefully. The council has asked that we leave and take with us everything we brought. We have to leave things as we found them, so you have to remove some of the factories and mines as well as a few other things before we leave."
Bulma was both shocked and hurt. "What? No! Why?" she stuttered for words, shaking he head and fighting tears. She understood now, what her father meant. He'd always told her how bad he felt for changing the Yardrat's way of living, no matter how much they'd welcomed it, and wished things had been different. But this was her home, her people, her family and leaving was not going to be easy.
Dr. Briefs placed his hands on his daughter's shoulders and let her adjust to the idea. After a minute of quiet rejection, and even quieter acceptance Bulma nodded her head and looked up at her father with bright eyes from the unshed tears.
"All right. What do you want me to do, exactly? This is a pretty big job." She tried to sound strong and confident, and there was only a little quiver in her voice.
"Take my cruiser. It's the fastest transport. Move east, taking out all the biggest settlements, Evacuate the occupants and then…" The doctor's words faded off and he looked at Vegeta, who was still standing, arms over chest, looking at them with a blank _expression. If his guess was right, the doctor thought he was probably smart enough to have a good idea what they were talking about.
"Take Prince Vegeta. Give him the anit-suppressant and he can help you with the rest. That is, if it's all right with you, Saiyan no Ouji?"
Vegeta considered it. The idea of spending several hours with the woman was both terrifying and enticing, but if it would get them to undo what they'd done… "All right."
"But, dad!" Bulma burst out. "I don't need his help! And besides, how do you know that he won't just kill us all once he has his powers back?"
"No buts, Bulma. He'll speed things up considerably. You'll just have to trust me on this one. I think we can trust him. Besides, he was right. Powers or no, he could have killed us all by now, anyway. If he'd really wanted to."
Vegeta smirked at Bulma and she glared at him, putting and humphing. "Fine, he can come, but this is my job. He doesn't even know what he's doing." She turned on Vegeta then and pointed a finger squarely at his chest. "You listen to what I say, or else. The first sign of you screwing around and I shoot you full of ki-suppressant again, got it?"
"You're welcome to try…" Vegeta bated her.
"That won't be necessary, I’m sure." Briefs said, trying to stop the fighting before it got out of hand again. "Now hurry and get on your way. We don't want to detain the Prince for too long."
Vegeta growled his approval as the doc left with a wave of his hand.
When her father had gone Bulma glared at Vegeta some more and then started to leave. "Come on!" she growled, in a very Saiyan way. Vegeta just followed her, a confident smirk on his face.
"No, precious creture. I had rather crack my sinews, break my back, then you should dishonor undergo while I sit lazy by." – Ferdinand (3.1)
"Do yu remmemmbr that raaaid on Ysssmar whenn Bar duck got sedusssed byy thaat Yaaassmeereean shhhhaaap shftr?" Nappa slurred from where he was leaned over a toppled chari and watching the rivlets of blood dry into hardened red mud on the floor.
"Yeah," Radditz said. He was just as drunk, but was using slightly more diction. "He wnt to bed with a womann an woke up with a ssnnnake!"
They rolled with laughter made mostly of drunken hiccups and drooling snorts until they came to settle next to each other leaning against the side counted with their heads lolling slightly to the side. They chuckled for a few more seconds before Radditz took a deep breath and sighed loudly.
"Yeah, mum never forgave himm for that one…" he said sadly. Bardock's mate had been killed during a purge a couple years before and Radditz only talked of her when he was too drunk to remember that Saiyan warriors, especially first class warriors, were not supposed to have attachments to anyone. Even kin.
"Doo yu supposss wlll evver get bacck?" Nappa asked.
"Do you evenn wannt to go back?" Radditz asked a frown on his face. "If evvry one else is deadd, then thingss are gong to be verry nassty by the time we get bacck. Nnott thatt they wrr so grrrreat to beginn withf."
From the door way there came a creak and a thump. Both of the Saiyans raised their hands and blasted the door off it's already lopsided hinges. If they hadn't been drunk, the person trying to listen to their conversation would have been dead. But as it was…
"Shhow yoursself!" Radditz ordered.
"Who's there?" Nappa called out, suddenly feeling more sober.
A hunched figure in dark cloak wadded out of a dark corner and into the partially lit room where it remained cast in shadows. "Some one that can solve all your problems…" a grating voice said coldly.
It was getting darker out side. The bright orange sun was drifting below the rise of the green hills and the whole settlement was taking on an elongated look. As such, the first sign of the intruder, coupled with the amount of highly potent wine in their blood had the drunken warriors seeing a large, imposing monster, deformed and terrifying.
The shied away, sliding clumsily towards the back wall, while the figure stepped closer letting it's hood fall back and revealing a bit of flesh, twisted and marred, pink and obscene. The two usually tough and stoic Saiyans let out frightened yells and covered their faces.
Yamcha growled and grabbed them by the front of their uniforms and drew them to their feet, still yelling. "Oh, shut up, you fools!" he threw them against the counter and they both tumbled backwards, cowering and trying to cling to one another.
"I can't believe I've been sent to baby-sit a pair of brainless, sloshed Saiyans. This is SO degrading." He slammed his hands down on the counter and then turned to the still struggling Saiyans. "I don't suppose you’re the brains of the Saiyan Empire, are you?"
When he received no answer, only whimpering and whining, he threw his arms up. "Could you please shut up for a minute, I’m trying to think." He turned and began pacing. "I didn't know that the Saiyans were such cowards…" he said under his breath.
Nappa and Radditz's Saiyan ears picked it up, however, and the conditioning they'd had since birth snapped then back to their senses.
"Saiyanss are nnot cowardss," Nappa said and he stood as tall as he could with out toppling over.
"No, just drunks…" Yamcha sneered bitterly.
Radditz stepped forward and grabbed Yamcha by the throat. "Take that back…" he growled fiercely.
"All right, fine. You're not drunks. You just consume enough alcoholic beverage for a small planet, but the smell of things, and expect your bodies to function just as they would when your sober, although I find drunkenness and stupidity often produce the same effects, so you could be correct in that assumption." Yamcha choked out.
"Huh?" Radditz asked. He glanced back at Nappa for support, but the old skin head just shrugged.
"Don't worry about it friend, we have more important matters that your diminished IQs. I rather hoped we could discuss this humble planet's administration?" he mused, prying Radditz's fingers from his neck.
Again the large words caught the two Saiyans in a stupor and so Yamcha sighed trying again. "How would you like to be in charge of this planet?" he asked again, speaking slowly.
Understanding dawned on their faces and Radditz looked at Yamcha with a grin. "What did you have in mind?"
"So what exactly is this?" Vegeta asked as he watched Bulma shoot the contents of a large syringe into his arm with out flinching.
"Anit-suppressant," she said shortly. She was, evidently, still angry about him getting her father on his side.
"And what dose it do?" Vegeta pressed.
"It counteracts the suppressant. Hence the prefix anit-," she replied facetiously.
"And how does the suppressant work?" he pried again, enjoying her agitation.
"You probably wouldn't be able to understand if I told you." She dismissed him, turning her back to throw the used syringe in the disposal bot.
"Try me," he said lightly.
"It blocks the neurotransmitters from releasing in the part of the brain that controls the manipulation of ki energy," she said a bit arrogantly.
"So, basically, my powers are still here, I just can't use them because you messed with my head?" he asked sounding slightly angry.
"Right," she conceded grudgingly. If left to experiment with it, I'm sure you could figure out how to find your energy again, but using it would be a lot more difficult then originally. You wouldn't have as much control and would probably drain faster," she continued, enjoying the sight of him squirming at the idea. "And, if left under the suppressant long enough, the part of your brain would eventually just shut down, leaving your permanently handicapped."
"That's enough," he growled. "I get the picture."
"But I thought you wanted to know all about it, Veggy?" she said with innocent cruelty, twisting his name into some kind of pet reference.
"Do NOT address me so lightly. You will call me, your highness, or your majesty." He scowled watching her arrange some of the equipment on a table near by.
She had the audacity to laugh at him. "I don't think so, princey pooh."
Vegeta growled, but restrained himself from flying across the room and strangling the woman where she stood. She had gathered several things and placed them into backpacks of some kind. She handed him one with a sickly sweet smile and started out of the door. "Come one, Vegetable head, we can't hang out in my lab all day coming up with new and interesting nicknames for you. We have work to do." The taunting humor in her voice faded, leaving only grim determination to help her father.
"Don't call me Vegetable head," he growled, lugging the heavy bag over his shoulder. Why he put up with her mockery, he wasn't quite sure, but he wasn't going to take much more of it…
After the androids had deserted them, the king had insisted they continue their search for the prince, only this time they stayed closer together. Bardock was stuck carrying both Frieza and Gero, as it was un-kingly of the Saiyan no Ou to play vehicle to anyone. They were flying low and keeping their eyes on the sky, and the ground at the same time. Bardock was tempted to just drop the two dead weights, but his "good heart" and "honor" kept them safe from such a fall. Frieza would survive, it might even wake him up, but Gero would flatten like a pancake.
"Your majesty, do you think we could rest for a minute. These two aren't exactly light and we need to discuss a plan of action. As much as I know you want to continue the search for the Prince, we should decide what to do about those androids," Bardock spoke up.
The king looked about to object, but recognized the wisdom in what he said and agreed. "We'll set down over there, where's there is partial cover and we can see the monsters comin-"
As they were moving towards the ground the energy cut out from under them and they all began to drop like rocks. Heavy ones.
"The ki dispersers are activated," Android 17 said into the com on his bandana. He was watching high above as the four figures fell to towards the ground. "We have contact. The monkeys have landed, repeat, the monkeys have landed."
If they had been any higher up, they'd have been in trouble, but seeing as how they were only forty feet in the air things weren't as bad as they could have been. Bardock managed to nobly use his body to save Gero, a man he hated, from his death, and received a plethora of broken ribs for his trouble, where as the king and Frieza sustained only superficial injuries. Gero was rattled, but mostly unharmed.
They four beings lie stunned on the ground for a few seconds trying to get a grip on their situation. Bardock pushed Gero off of him and tried to sit up, but winced in pain. The king crawled to his knees and tried to stand and Frieza just lay there wondering if the day could possibly go worse for him. He was sick and tired of getting knocked around.
The anger welled in him, but it was empty. He tired powering up to present the physical manifestation of his anger, but there was nothing. He let out a frustrated scream and jumped to his feet.
"This can't be happening!" Frieza yelled, clenching his fists and glaring all around. "I hate this God Damn planet! As soon as I get my strength back, I’m obliterating it into fucking space dust!"
"Calm down, Frieza," the king ordered firmly as he stood. "Getting angry will not fix this."
"But, I can't gather energy. I can't fly, I can't blast those stupid robots to smithereens and I can't even protect myself."
Being defenseless was not a comfortable feeling for a greedy, power hungry fiend like Frieza.
"None of us can," Bardock growled lifting his hand and attempting an energy blast. Nothing came.
"Things have just gotten a whole lot worse…" King Vegeta said, his face turned to the sky. The androids were descending slowly, their arms folded and their faces creased in triumphant smirks. They were unaffected by the Ki- dispersing sphere because they used a slightly different type of energy.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" 17 asked, his grin widening.
"Looks like two monkeys, a lizard, and a worm…" 18 answered with an child-like innocence.
"Your cowards," Bardock said, squaring his shoulders and standing his ground. "Only monsters would remove their prey's only means of defense before slaughtering them like sheep. It's disgusting."
"I agree, and hey, we are only what we were created to be," 17 said as he looked at Gero accusingly.
"Lucky for you, we're not here to kill you, but give you food and supplies so you can rest from your weary travels. You aren't to go anywhere for a while, but you aren't being left to fend for your selves." 18 said bringing out a capsule and tossing it in front of shocked group. When a table of food appeared they were all hesitant. "It's not much, but we figured you couldn’t be picky at this point."
"I don’t trust you, or your master…" King Vegeta said. "If he means to show us hospitality they why has he rendered us powerless?"
"Yes," Frieza added. "Why and how?"
18 floated closer to Frieza until she was only inches from his face. "Magic…" she whispered dramatically. "That's how."
"As for why, it's just a precautionary measure to insure no misunderstandings occur."
"Just as we are a precautionary measure to help insure all possible misunderstandings are sorted out before decisions have to be made." 18 added to her brothers explanation. The intended vagueness wasn't satisfying the king at all.
"All the same, all these precautions aren't exactly inspiring trust on our part. If you were us, you wouldn't trust you either." The Saiyan no Ou situated himself on a rock and folded his arms resolutely.
"Yes, but if you were us, you'd be taking precautions against you, wouldn't you?" 17 asked, playing the king at his own game.
The king considered it. "I suppose, but that only leaves us exactly where we are. At a stand still."
"Well, good. You stand still, we're going to eat." 18 said as she moved to the table.
"You eat?" Bardock asked, curious.
"Yes," 17 answered. "We are part organic, after all. Aren't we, doctor?" Gero said nothing, only frowned.
"Lovely weather we're having, isn't it?" 17 said, talking a seat next to Frieza, a large chunk of bread in his hand.
"Don't argue, woman. My way will be much faster. "Vegeta was standing between Bulma and her father's cruiser with his arms folded. "You know I’m right, so just stop being stubborn."
"I'm not letting you fly me. How do you know your strength is all back. You're just trying to put us at unnecessary risk." Bulma tried to push past Vegeta once again, but he blocked her way.
He quickly lifted a hand and blasted a hole in the garage wall. "There, see. Back to normal. Just give up."
"This is too important to argue about and you know it." she said stamping her foot like a temperamental child.
"You're right on that point. It is too important, so I don't see why you don't just let me do this the easy way." Vegeta said not budging an inch.
"Because… you don't know where we're going and you'll get us lost, and I don't trust you and…" she was blabbing almost incoherently, stalling and making excuses and they both knew it. After she saw the unconvinced look on his face she looked down and whispered, "because I'm afraid of heights…"
"What?!" Vegeta had to keep from laughing. He succeeded, mostly, but Bulma gave him a warning look anyway.
"You heard me."
"No, I'm not sure I did, could you say that again?" He was just teasing her now.
"And here I thought I'd read Saiyans had extraordinary hearing, guess I was mislead, now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do." She managed to push around Vegeta's shoulder, but he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her into the air before she could climb into the vehicle.
"Don't worry, woman, I’m not going to drop you," Vegeta whispered in her ear as she squeaked and clung to him like a frightened animal. His voice caused another type of panic to seep into her bones as she realized the close proximity of their bodies.
"Let me go! Put me down!" she yelled, struggling. When she turned around in his arms and saw how high they were flying already she jumped and wrapped her arms around his neck quickly. "Don't drop me. Please, don't let me go."
Vegeta laughed. "Make up your mind. Up of Down?"
"Up," she peeped, burying her face in his chest. "I hate you…" she said in a high pitched voice, close to hysteria.
"Well, which way?" he asked. "I wouldn't want to get us lost…" he said in his deep gruff tones, and Bulma felt warmth and calm spreading over her.
"Um, that way." She pointed slightly to the north east with out looking up. "Just let me know when we get there…" her voice was muffled by his shirt and the wind, but he felt her breath through to his skin and it's light warmth made his whole chest tingle.
'Maybe this wasn't such a good idea…' he thought as he held the woman close, his arms around her back. 'This woman has a strange effect on me… It's like nothing I've ever felt. I should stay away from her as much as possible…' That thought was almost physically painful. He suddenly realized that he enjoyed her arms around his neck and her breath on his neck. More the that, he like the way her hair was almost purple in the fading light and the way she smelled of oil and electricity and peaches…" He shook his head trying to clear it, but the thoughts persisted.
'I find her feisty attitude refreshing and her stubborn nature almost equal to mine, and the way she seems so fragile and helpless in my arms…' Every now and then he'd swear he could almost hear her thoughts and feel her emotions.
A frightening thought occurred to him, but he could see the first settlement up a head, and was forced to put the idea in storage for the time being. The small mud huts were strangely contrast to the looming shadow of the large metal factory. As the last of the sun disappeared, they touched down out side their first destination.
Bulma moved away from Vegeta as soon as her feet were firmly on the ground while she regained her composure. She seemed even more angry then before, but it was different anger. It was the anger of defense, and standoffishness that accompanied guilt and fear of losing control. It was the same anger he wanted to feel, but somehow, was unable to.
"Let's go. We have work to do…" she said coldly as she walked away from him.
'What have you done to me, little one…?" he wondered as he followed behind her with a confident stride.
The scene would have reminded Yamcha of a late twentieth century Chikyuu gangster film if he'd been up on his ancient American entertainment. The three of them were seated around a rather large table two against one, Saiyans against the Human. The lights were dimmed and the room cast in film noire type shadows, and they were leaning towards each other and talking in whispers, despite the fact that there wasn't another living thing within 100 parsecs of them.
"So, there's a great sstore of technolgy and resorsses here on planet Yamrat?" Nappa asked, still with traces of slurring in his words.
"Yardrat," Yamcha corrected, "and yes. Wealth, beyond your imagination, just waiting to be tapped."
"You want us to be the brawn behind your little instillation. But what's in it for us?" Radditz asked.
"We split the gain, forty, thirty, thirty, and you get to let the universe know you’re a power to be reckoned with. I'll just run the business here on Yardrat while you get to be the face for our institution."
Radditz considered it. Nappa had already decided, pushed along by the Lamarast wine, to be sure.
"All right. We go with you, kill the old man and forced the workers to follow your orders, and after that we're filthy rich and feared by all creatures. Sounds good." Radditz stood, Nappa followed shortly after.
"Le's go, thiss plassse is getting borrng." Nappa said, tripping towards the door,
"There's just one last thing," Yamcha said, still firmly in his seat.
"Briefs has a daughter. She's mine, you hear. You aren't to kill her or touch her at all. Is that understood?" He said, very seriously.
"Sure, scar face, now let's geta move on before we decided we don need you and your uggly carcss," Nappa sneered crudely.
Yamcha frowned, but rose and followed the two stupid Saiyans out the door. He'd have to tolerate them for now. He needed them, but as soon as he could afford real help, these two drunks were history. He sighed impatiently as Nappa grabbed a keg for the road.
Bulma was surprised when she rounded the corner and found all the Yardrat's standing in the streets in front of the factory.
"What's…" she began to ask, but one of the representative Headrma Yardrats had already stepped forward.
"We received word from the council that you would be arriving to destroy the factory, so we took the liberty of evacuating it for you," he said with as much sadness as the Yardrat ever showed.
"Thank you," Bulma said, her head down in morning. "Are you sure that everyone is out?"
"Double checked and accounted for 100%," came the almost robotic reply.
"Ok, well, I guess this is good bye," Bulma said stepping forward and offering her hand.
"Good bye, Bulma Briefs. We have enjoyed your spirit."
After a moment of respectful silence, Bulma asked the Yardrats to stand back, and then turned to find Vegeta watching with a curious _expression.
"If you would be so kind as to level this building," she said to him, her voice mellow and mournful.
"Sure, my pleasure," he said with a slight smile.
"Just the factory," she reminded him with firm tones. It unnerved her that he seemed to take so much pleasure in destruction.
Vegeta rose into the air slowly, still facing her. "You may want to stand back a bit yourself," he called down and then rose high above the metal structure until he disappeared into the black sky. The stars weren't out yet and none of the four moons was due to rise for another hour or so.
Bulma walked back to stand by one of the cool mud structures nearest the factory and leaned against it's wall waiting for the Vegeta to undo the nights calm stillness. She didn't have long to wait before a great ball of light started to build in the sky. It gathered mass quickly and then, suddenly, went shooting down towards the tall metal facility.
Just before it was destroyed, the metal walls glowed with the orange light of Vegeta's energy blast. Bulma watched as long as she could, silent tears streaming down her face, and then she covered her eyes and turned around her back to the sight as the settlement roared. The whole ground shook and the air was bright and smelled of smoke for a minute before she could turn around. Her shoulders were shaking with the lose and the tears and the pain.
When she turned around, Vegeta was walking towards her, his frame back lit by the smoldering ruins. He stood beside her for a few minutes as she watched the flames die and the ashes settle. It was amazing the amount of intensity and control that he had over his ki energy.
The factory had not been more then a hundred yards from where she stood, and it was obvious that the heat used to destroy it had been unimaginably high. For such a fast, complete job it would have taken a fire of at least 100,000 degrees Celsius, and yet, from where she stood, it had felt like no more then sitting next to a camp fire on a warm night.
When there was nothing left but a large melted disc of metal and ask on the ground, Vegeta grunted, showing his impatience to be gone.
"Ok," she sighed, pushing her sorrow back, "Let's…" she started towards her father's cruiser. That is until she realized that they hadn't brought it. "Oh, no,"' she groaned, "Not again. I can't deal with this all right now…"
"You're going to have to. We have work to do." Vegeta said coldly, over her shoulder.
Bulma gritted her teeth, closed her eyes, and held out her arms waiting for him to pick her up. When she received only laughter, she opened one eye and looked at Vegeta, still standing a few feet away.
"What's so funny?" she asked, irritated. She was in no mood to put up with his sardonic sense of humor.
"You," Vegeta continued to laugh. "You look like a frightened child asking for a piggy back ride."
"I’m not a child," Bulma fumed, "and you know why I’m frightened."
"No, really, why are you frightened?" Vegeta stepped closer, suddenly serious. "It can't still be because of the height. I told you I wouldn't drop you and I meant it. Why else would you be frightened?" He was so close now, she could smell the faintest hint of sweat, she was trembling in her shoes. "It could't be me you're frightened of, could it?" He sounded like he wanted her to be afraid of him. She wasn't going to give him the satisfaction…
"Don't flatter yourself. Just because you said you wouldn't drop me doesn't mean I trust you not to, and even if I did, it's not like you can snap your fingers and talk me out of my phobia." Bulma had her chin raised defiantly and her best brave face on.
"Then you aren't uneasy about me being so close to you?" He asked, his chest touching her shoulder, he was so close. Bulma shivered slightly at his breath on her neck.
"N…no, not at all," she lied, trying to keep the tremble from her voice. She was being partly honest. It wasn't fear she felt, it was different, and what fear she did feel didn't come from him, per say, but from what she felt when he was so close.
"Sure your not…" he inched even closer.
Bulma was suddenly aware that a whole village of Yardrats was watching them. "Back off!" she yelled and stepped away. "I have work to do. " She turned and started walking east, out of town.
"Where are you going?" Vegeta asked, surprised a bit.
"I'm walking. I refuse to fly with you and your inflated ego any lo…" she let out a scream as she felt herself fly up into the air. Once again, she was in the Princes arms, and once again, he had swept her off her feet.
I think I can take over the androids control if you distract them for me, or something close to it was scrawled in the green dirt at the king's feet.
King Vegeta shot Gero a look that read, "Are you sure?"
Gero nodded slowly, very aware that his creations' eyes were watching him with very sharp interest. The king waited for a few seconds before standing and walking over to the table of food.
"Tell me, androids, what is this Dr. Briefs like, from your perspective?" he said as he picked up a piece of strange looking fruit and put it to his lips. It was sweet and sent juices running down his chin and over his goatee before they dripped onto his crimson cloak.
"Honest, hard-working, do-gooder type," Android 17 began with a slight smile on his face.
"You forgot genius and loving father," 18 added, the same smile on her face.
"Yes, but he does seem like the king of guy that would be into naughty magazines…" 17 said with a chuckle. "You see, his wife died a while ago and since then he's had no human female companion ship, besides his daughter, and, although they're close, I don't think they're that type of close."
"Yes, he's very protective of his daughter, just as you appear to be of your son." 18 dug that little point in, reminding the king that he had yet to see anything of his son since they'd left the Mayoshin negotiations.
"Tell, us, kingy, what's the royal heir like?" 17 asked with a bit of sadistic charm.
"Some say my son is weak. Some say he loves his people too much, and shows too much emotion and attachment to things, like people. Some say he is the legendary, due to become the first Super Saiyan in over a thousand years." The king said, staring into the bite marks his teeth left on teh fruit as if they contained all the answers.
"And what do you say?" 18 asked, sounding partially curious.
The Saiyan no Ou looked up, and with unmasked pride said, "I say he will be the greatest king of Vegetasei my planet has ever see. I say he is all they say he is and more. People ridicules me when I put him under the joint instruction of Nappa and Bardock, but I can see that he is both wise and strong."
Bardock looked shocked at the king's words. He'd never heard the king talk of his son with anything but disgust and criticism.
"It is true that on occasion he has shown attachment to things and people, but I believe it is those attachments, and the feelings that come with them that make him the great man that he is. He will be the legendary, and all the universe will bow at his feet."
The androids fell to their faces stiffly. Gero stood behind them his hand still hung in midair.
"Good work, Gero. Now, can we use them for our own purposes?" The king asked, changing moods immediately and going to work.
"Yes, I believe I can reprogram them to respond to my commands…"
"My commands," the king insisted. Gero blanched visibly.
"Of course, My Lord. Your commands."
Things were going pretty well, considering… Bulma had gotten used to the idea that she was basically going to fly around the entire planet in Vegeta's arms. She'd just accepted the fact that she was going to spend the entire night with her eyes either squeezing her eyes shut or having them filled with tears. She was on such an emotional roller coaster that she felt her heart starting to give out. Eventually she just knew she was going to drop dead and that would be it.
Their task was progressing well, though, so she couldn't really complain. They almost done and it wasn't even midnight yet.
"It's a good thing this planet is several times smaller then Vegetasei," Vegeta said as they landed at their next location. Bulma had explained that they were only concentrating on the larger settlements, since almost every Yardratin village had some improvements, but they could been taken care of by the people of that village. That being the case, they only had fifteen or so sights to destroy. They were on number thirteen.
When they touched down, Bulma was surprised to find that there wasn't a group of Yardrats waiting for them as there had been before. Instead, the people seemed to be carrying on as usual, some were working hard, rushing back and forth carrying large, heavy looking equipment.
Vegeta seemed surprised to see one Yardrat carrying an extremely large chunk of sheet metal that was three or four times his size. He was wising he had a scouter to find out what kind of power level the average Yardrat had.
"They're quite strong…" he mused to Bulma. She gave him a shocked look and he covered by saying," for non-Saiyans."
Bulma wanted to laugh but kept it at a half smile because she figured he wasn't the type of guy you laughed at and kept your head attached to your shoulders. "Yes, well that's because when my father came he had to lower the…"
"Lady Bulma!" came a small cry from across the street.
"Teed-yar!" Bulma called back, smiled and waved. I didn't know this was your home," she said as the small blue alien joined them.
"Yes, Manklar-drat was by beginning place, and I lived here before going to work at the Duk's place."
"What is all the excitement about?" Bulma asked, looking at the scurrying groups of Yardrat's.
Teed-yar looked at Vegeta suspiciously before motioning her to lean over. He whispered in her ear, casting sideways glances at Vegeta all the while. Vegeta just folded his arms and looked annoyed.
"Hey, Veggy, do you think you could get started. We do have a deadline…"
Vegeta just grunted, glared, and took off.
"So, the survivors are here, hu? And the wreaked ship? How is that coming along?" she asked getting down on her haunches and looking the small Yardrat in the eye.
"It's almost fixed. We thought the repairs would be difficult, but the ships technology is actually ver primitive. It wasn't hard to fix the computer and we figured out why the ship started to crash in the first place."
"What?" Bulma asked with a frown.
"Bombs. Simple ones, on the insided." Teed-yar said simply. Bulma's frown deepened.
'Bombs on the inside? That means it was sabotage… but who?" she wondered. "How many of the ship's crew survived?"
"All of them. Saiyans are hard to kill. They're all in healing tanks in the factory now."
"What?!" she said. Looking around, she realized her mistake.
Teed-yar looked hurt by her outburst. "They are in the factory close to the ship, we didn't want to move them far. They can be very grumpy…"
"Yeah, I know…" she said absently, trying to think fast. "Didn't you evacuate the factory for us?" she asked.
"Oh, yeah, the council said to finish the repairs first. We're almost done… The sent me to tell you not to destroy it yet." Teed-yar said, completely unaware of her mistake.
Bulma glanced at the sky and started running towards the tall metal building. 'Maybe it's not too late…" she hoped, and for the first time since her mother's death she prayed.
"Please, Vegeta, don't do it yet…" she said, searching the dark sky. There wasn't any sign of a blast. "Oh, good, I can still stop him. But, how do I talk to him…"
Just then a bright ball appeared in the sky…
"Do you know who I am?" Gero asked the male robot he had dubbed Android 17 so many years before.
"Of, course. You are my master and creator, Dr. Gero." the android responded.
"Good, you are to do as I say and not give me any arguments, do you understand?"
"Of, course, Dr. Aren't you going to activate android 18?" he asked looking to the ground where the other android was lying, eyes closed.
"Not yet. I want to talk to you first and find out just how many other surprises Briefs has up his sleeve."
"What are his defenses? Is he able to track us using some kind of global positioning system? How much power does he really have?" King Vegeta added, being more specific.
"Almost none. 18 and myself were the only true offensive tools he had. He has spent 13 years cultivating technology, but all of it is of a practical or merely defensive nature. He has no weapons, and his defenses won't really help him now that' you've landed on the planet. His goal was to keep invaders away from the planet, but now that you're here he has almost no defenses. That is why we were activated. He does not wish war upon the Saiyans. He just wants to be left in peace, but he does value the lives of the natives of this planet," 17 explained calmly, dusting off his clothes.
"What about our powers? What have you done to them?" Bardock asked curiously.
The faintest hint of smile could be seen on 17's face. "That is a gift from Briefs daughter. She's quite the little inventor herself. It's nothing more then a disrupter field located around a secured area. Once you leave the area, your powers will return."
"This is good news," the king said, standing up taller. "Wake the other android, Gero. We need them both to help fly us out of this dead zone." He turned to 17. "You will take us to this Dr. Briefs, so we can get better aquatinted with our host."
"Certainly, your highness."
The back of Vegeta's mind was itching. If he hadn't been so angry at the woman for brushing him off for that lousy excuse for a being, he might have noticed that something was wrong. As it was, he was grumbling to himself as he flew higher and missed all the warning signs.
"Stupid, baka, woman, who does she think she is?" He didn't notice the group of Yardrat going in and out of the building below him.
"Doesn’t she know you can't treat a Saiyan like some small child, let alone the Saiyan Prince?" he completely missed the pile of wreckage, the wreckage with Saiyan markings on it, growing on the north side of that building.
"She's keeping things from me. She must think I'm stupid. I'll show her…" he ignored the sense of panic that had started growing somewhere in the hearing part of his brain.
Gathering his energy he began to build the large ball of ki that would obliterate his own ship and people, as well as several hundred Yardratin.
'VEGETA!' the voice shot through his head like a bullet. He was so startled, he let go of the ball of ki, not fully made and shook his head. "What the…" he looked around. In the light of his still rather large ki ball he could see the ground below begin to light up. And he could see the woman, running towards the building it was about to hit, looking up at that ball with nothing but fear in her face.
With out even thinking about what he was doing, he dove towards the ground as fast as he could.
It wasn't even a matter of seconds. Bulma had seen the ball forming, called out at Vegeta in her head, knowing he wouldn't hear her voice, seen him release the ball, and then, like a flash drop towards her.
She'd had time to think, 'Never make it…' The ball of light had been going to fast towards her. She was going to die… and then… the light had been going away from her. Shooting towards the north instead of down. At that point she'd felt the pain seeping into the edge of her consciousness and seen Vegeta falling to the ground in the light of the fading ki ball.
"Vegeta!" she screamed and started sprinting towards the area that he was falling towards. There was an explosion as the deflected ki ball hit the pile of wreckage and sent shrapnel flying in a great radius. Bulma ignored the small pieces of fire and metal landing all around her.
By the time she reached the fallen prince he had rolled on his stomach and was trying to push up with his arms. There was a large part of his left side and arm that looked burnt and singed.
"Vegeta! Are you alright?" she asked, sliding to her knees at his side. She put one hand on his back and one on his stomach in an attempt to support him, but he pushed her away angrily.
"Of course, I am you baka, woman. It takes more then my own blast to disable me. What were you thinking, woman?"
"Well, you LOOK beat up, and I thought…" she started, her tone defensive and angry.
Vegeta growled and shook his head, sitting up slowly. "No," he interrupted. "What were you doing so close to the plant? You knew I was going to blast it. Are you suicidal?" he sounded really upset. He was gritting his teeth and wincing at the pain in his side.
"What? No… I was trying to stop you. There are still… people inside. I was trying to get close enough to call to you when… what happened?" she stopped mid thought, sounding curious.
"I heard you yell and I… knew your father would not be happy if you got fried on accident so I…"
"Nuh uh…" she denied.
"Uh hu. The only reason I saved your pathetic hide is because I need your father’s help to get off this god forsaken planet." It was almost too hasty, as if he was trying to convince himself as well.
"Oh," Bulma looked hurt, "but I meant, I didn’t yell. Not until after you’d started falling…"
"But, I heard you. I’m not lying."
"Well, I’m not lying either." Bulma put her finger in her mouth again. It was burning all the sudden. In fact… for some reason… her whole body hurt. "It all happened fast, but not that fast. I would have remembered yelling." She said stubbornly, her cheeks bright with anger, and reflecting the glow of the burning wreckage. If it hadn’t been for the chaotic destruction all around them, Vegeta might have found the sight of her… cute. Except she kept sucking on that damn finger…
"What is wrong with your finger?" he demanded and pulled it out of her mouth, looking at it with a fixed look on his face.
"I cut it. Yesterday… I guess it was. Before all this started." She looked around uncomfortably. Vegeta was looking at her finger very fixedly. ‘It is rather ironic,’ she mused, ‘that he’s looking at my little finger cut while he’s almost bleeding to death and has just been in what most people would call a "serious accident".’
She pulled her hand away. "It’s nothing, really. It shouldn’t even hurt. I thought it was getting better, but spending so much time with you seems to have aggravated it."
Vegeta grabbed at it again. It was bleeding slightly and the area around it was a faint red, as if it was infected. "You say it should have healed by now?" he asked, his brow deeply furrowed.
"Well, yeah, it’s weird, but not really major enough to merit such discussion." She tried to pull away again, but found Vegeta had quite the grip on her hand.
"And you didn’t scream before I shot the ball of energy?"
"No…," she was worried now. "Let go, Vegeta, you’re hurting me…" she was looking at him with the slightest hint of fear.
Vegeta released her hand slowly. "What did you do while I was unconscious earlier, woman?"
"When? When you were passed out? Before I brought you home or after?"
"Before…" he said, remembering the dream and feeling the pieces slip into place. "It would have had to have been before."
"Well, I…" she blushed, remembering the tale incident, "I just cleaned your wounds, got all the blood of off you and then put you on the bike and brought you home and…"
"Did you get my blood on your hands? On your finger, more specifically?" He kept drilling her, and she was starting to get really worried.
"There was blood everywhere. I don’t know… it’s possible." Bulma was searching his face for answers.
Vegeta just sighed and shook his head. He looked like he was giving in to something. "And does your head feel like it was sat on by a seven hundred kec Drabidion? And your side feel like it was stabbed repeatedly with hot pokers?"
"Well," she looked at him as if she were starting to worry about his mental health, "I am in a bit of pain, but it's not… that intense…" Vegeta sat in silence, his eyes closed his face blank. "What is it?" she whispered quietly. When he didn't answer, she got irritated. "Will you just tell me what the FUCK is going on?"
Vegeta looked up, his face still blank. "We are bonded," he stated simply as if announcing the menu for dinner.
"We're what?" Bulma asked blankly.
"In Saiyan culture, males and females have the ability to bond their mental and physical aura's through a special component in our blood. No one has ever tried bonding with a non-Saiyan. It was always assumed impossible because all know species lacked that special component. Evidently… it is possible, although the bond seems weak."
"Well, so… what your saying is…?"
"We can read each others thought, read each other's emotions, and feel each others pains and… pleasures." The last word was said after only a small swallow.
Bulma was so stunned. "And how long till this goes away?" she asked not too worried, but a little curious. This might warrant some investigation, as long as it wasn't permanent...
"It doesn't. It's permanent."
"WHAT!" Bulma screamed and jumped up.
"Stop yelling, woman, you're making my headache worse… or hadn't you noticed?" Vegeta sneered.
Bulma pointed an accusing finger at him. "Don't you dare laugh about this, Vegeta. This ISN'T funny." She began pacing back and forth, a spot of blood dripping down her temple. Vegeta noticed the slight pain in his own temple and wondered when she'd started bleeding….
"This is all your fault. You Saiyans should all come with disclaimers or something. 'Don't touch our blood. It's toxic and you'll end up reading our nasty little thoughts for the rest of your Goddamned life!'" Even as she screamed her head ached, but she wasn't about to let that stop her.
'Calm down, Woman. The little blue things are watching," she heard in her head. It took her a second to realize that Vegeta's lips hadn't moved. She was about to rail on him to get out of her head when she saw he was right. A crowd of stunned and singed Yardrats was beginning to gather around them. She stopped her pacing and dropped her arms to her sides.
"Lady Bulma?" one of the closer Yardrats said tentatively.
"Yes?" she asked, having calmed considerably.
"Are you all right?"
"..Yes. I’m fine. Was anyone hurt?" she asked, taking a deep breath and stepping closer to the group of her alien friends.
"Not seriously. The Saiyan's blast was deflected soon enough. Fortunately for you, too. You would have been killed, Lady Bulma!" It wasn't the urgency in his voice, or the fact that all the Yardrats were looking at her with unmasked concern. It was the realization that Vegeta had saved her life.
"As long as no one was injured then…" she looked around. Out of the smoke and still falling debris more Yardrat's began to emerge. There were some starting to emerge from the building now, running frantically and searching for the cause of the loud roaring crash and earth-shattering explosion. Other's were starting to form a line to put water on the flaming refuge pile.
"You saved them…" she whispered looking around. "You saved them all…" Vegeta might not have heard her if he hadn't been concentrating on her fully. He merely grunted and looked around at the emerging aliens.
"I didn't even know they were in there. They were supposed to have evacuated," he said as he stood shakily, the pain in his head increasing as he stood. He started to walk towards her.
"Don't touch me!" she said, holding up her hands. "I'm still mad at you." She turned to the nearest Yardrat and began to give instructions for cleaning up Vegeta's mess.
"Woman, they can handle it. We have more work to do." Vegeta growled impatiently. Bulma ignored him, barely taking the time to cast an annoyed look over her shoulder.
"Woman!" Vegeta growled, even louder.
"What, Vegeta!" she turned on him. "I have things to do. If you aren't going to help, go away."
"Are you supposed to destroy this sight?" he asked with barely contained rage.
"No!, now leave me alone!" she turned her back on him again. And act that was causing Vegeta's eye to twitch. No one turned there back on him. No one ever had. No one had ever been stupid enough to. He picked her up and swung her over his shoulder.
"Do you think you need our assistance?" he growled at the Yardrat Bulma had been speaking with.
"No, Prince Vegeta. Not really."
"Good. We'll be on our way then." He said, ignoring Bulma pounding fruitlessly on his back. "Silence, woman. You're screeching is going to give us both a headache."
"This is strange a maze as e’er men trod, and there is in this business more then nature was ever conduct of. Some oracle must rectify our knowledge." – Alonso (5.1)
"Sir, I’m picking up several blips on the radar screen. It appears to be four life forms, and two mechanical entities. They are headed this way." Geedg-yar said from his position at the scanner panel.
Dr. Briefs, who had been standing next to his chair and chewing nervously on a fingernail, dropped his hand to his side and stepped up to the railing between his command chair and the operations deck.
"Is there any word from Yamcha, yet?" he asked without hope in his voice.
"No, sir. I'll stay on the monitors and let you know."
"Okay, I'm going out side to greet our guests. Keep the command center locked down as soon as you evacuate everyone we don't need. I want minimum personal only."
"Understood, sir." Geedge-yar said as his boss turned and walked to the door. "Sir, can I just say, that it has been an honor working with you," the small Yardrat said as he turned back to his duties.
"Thank you, Geedge-yar." He paused. "Ditto." And with that the doctor walked from the room to face his fate.
"You have to speak to me sooner or later, woman." Vegeta said, Bulma was across his arms, her eyes tight shut and her arms folded across her chest. 'You can't ignore me forever…' he finished in her head.
"Stop that!" she hisses, opening her eyes and glaring at him with a look that would have physically hurt a weaker man. "Stay out of my head. I plan on doing just that. Ignoring you and your stupid bond and… eventually… I won't have to try to keep you out of my head anymore. It will just come naturally."
Vegeta shook his head.
"You are going away, and I'm going away, and we are certainly not going away together. I plan on putting several galaxies between us, if not a universe. You said this bond is weak. We can out distance it…" Bulma kept searching for answers, her voice getting weaker and less sure as Vegeta continued to shake his head patiently.
"It would drive us both mad," he explained.
"Well, you're already mad, and being around you is making me insane… so I guess either way I'm…" she was cut off by Vegeta's lips covering hers.
Bulma's first kiss was awkward and quick and 50 feet in the air… but it took her breath away anyway. Vegeta's lips on her own were not only a shock, but an amazing sensation as well.
'Soft…' was all she could think, her anger gone, and Vegeta smiled against her lips. Not a smirk or a greedy grin of victory, but a real smile.
'Is that all you have to say, woman?' he thought back at her, letting her know he'd been privy to her thoughts.
"You get kissed by a prince an all you can think is… soft?" there was only the slightest hint of mockery in his voice. "That's not what I call…"
It was Vegeta's turn to be cut off. Bulma threw her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his. Vegeta tightened his grip on her, pulling her closer inside the circle of his arms.
'I don't know if it's the bond, or if I felt this before, but there is something about you, woman. Something that…' His thoughts insider her head as they kissed stopped suddenly as the began to fall.
Bulma pulled away. Looking down at the ground rushing towards them. 'Vegeta?' she asked inside her head, her fear and panic seeping through the bond they shared.
Vegeta glanced towards the ground before looking her calmly in the eye. 'I won't let you get hurt,' he thought in the last few seconds before they would hit the hard, green Yardratin soil below.
"Do you think could possibly be more gentle?" Gero asked 17 with venom in his voice. The android had been carrying Gero by the back of his clothing, and had dropped him rather unceremoniously on the ground a hundred feet or so from the large white complex.
"Sorry, master," 17 said with half a smirk. 18 landed, King Vegeta, Frieza and Bardock next to her.
"Now, that was fun," the Icejin said sarcastically.
"Where is this Dr. Briefs?" The king said, surveying their surroundings with a careful eye required for all top-notch warriors.
"Here!" A firm baritone called from the entrance to the compound. "I hope your stay here hasn't been too inconvenienced too much."
Gero snorted and the king stepped forward. "I expect you have an explanation for all of this," he said, his face creased with displeasure. "Crash landings, hostile robots…"
"Ah! I'm sure 17 and 18 explained things to you, did they not? Although for the life of me I can't figure out why they brought you here. I've almost finished making some arrangements, and I expected them to keep you in the desert until we could afford to retrieve you."
"Arrangements?" The Saiyan no Ou said skeptically.
"Yes, the repair of your ship and healing of it's crew. I expected you would want to leave this planet as soon as possible, was I wrong in that assumption?"
The king's eyes widened, Frieza gasped, Bardock chuckled and Gero let a sickly grin slid up his wrinkled face.
"I don't think I understand. Didn't you sabatoge my ship? Why strand us here only to fix our ship and send us on our way. It seems rather unnecessary to me. If were suicidal you could have just haled us… Why all the trouble?" The king asked, feeling more at ease around the small human man, but more uneasy in general.
"Unless he's lying, which is more then probable," Frieza said quickly.
"Ah, you see, that all comes out of a little misunderstanding," Briefs started, ignoring Frieza completely. "I was not responsible for the malfunction of your ship. As I thought the androids explained to you…" he frowned disapprovingly at 17 and 18, who only smiled contently at him. "I was informed by the mechanics working on fixing your ship that the explosions were caused from the inside." He took a second to look past the king at Gero and Frieza. "It seems you have a traitor in your midst. One at least…"
The king looked at his company with a shrewd understanding in his gaze. "Yes, I think things are starting to make sense now…"
"Oh, please!" Frieza started. "Don't tell me your going to believe this off-worlder loony and his lies. He has no proof. He's just trying to throw the blame aside. We are you're most trusted servants, he is a crazy scientist with cause for revenge. Don't be a fool your majesty…"
Vegeta considered that, his diplomatic experience scanning all the details and trying to make sense of everything. Even with all his experience as a king could not put his mind to rest, and the recent loss of his son was weighing on him heavily.
"If it's proof you want…" Briefs said, drawing the king out of his deep concentration, "There's someone I think you'll trust more then I that can tell you the traitors identity. I was under the impression that he knew exactly who was responsible for this unfortunate… episode."
"And that would be?" Frieza said unbelieving. He didn't notice the look on the kings face.
"Why my son, of course. You haven't forgotten about him, have you Frieza?" Vegeta said, turning slowly to face the Icejin. "I sure hope you haven't given up on him. Unless you had a reason to think him dead…"
Frieza froze. "Surely not, your majesty…" he stuttered after regaining his composure. "What reason would I have to think him dead, I just assumed, since we haven't seen nor heard from the prince that… Well, I admit I had forgotten about him, but…" he continued trying to find excuses, watching the king's face harden in understanding and anger.
"You…" Bardock said from his stance at his king's side.
Frieza bolted, taking off and flying away as fast as his ki could carry him.
The king turned with calm anger to 17. "Retrieve him," he said coldly.
In a flash Frieza was locked in 17 grip and gaping in shock before the king. "You're highness… I can explain.. I…"
"Save it, Frieza. You're just lucky you failed. Otherwise I wouldn't be allowing you a humiliating trial before all the empire before you're put to death for treason on the palace steps. If my son was dead, I'd kill you right here."
Bardock grunted. "Lucky you." He sneered at the traitor.
The king turned his back on Frieza, who had bowed his head in defeat and was shaking with rage, and looked again on the slightly frowning Dr. Briefs. "If it was in my nature to I apologize, I might say I owed you one…" he started, sticking out his hand for the doctor to shake.
"None is due, King Vegeta, I assure you. Had I been in your place…" he accepted the hand, and understanding passing between them. "But maybe, my daughter and I might be returned the things we lost when we were forced to flee for our lives…"
The king frowned. He knew the conflict between Briefs and Gero… Sure he trusted Briefs more, after knowing him only a few minutes, and Gero less after knowing him for so many years… but a king's word was his bond, and he had made an arrangement with Gero…
"I think not…" Gero said stepping forward. "You were supposed to be out of my hair thirteen years ago…" Gero glared at Briefs, "but I guess better late then never… as the saying goes…"
"Gero, what are you doing?" the king asked his frown deepening.
"Ridding myself of a long-time thorn, your highness," Gero spit, mockery on his tongue. "18, rid us of the doctor if you would…"
"Android…" the king warned, "disregard that."
18 just smiled at the king and fired a bright blast at the doctor, catching him unaware and throwing him back several feet. He slid along the ground, his body limp and singed and came to a halt several feet away.
Bulma let the name fly from her lips as Vegeta set her down, and she sprinted towards her father's prone body. "No, no, no," she kept saying again and again. "Daddy, no…" The eyes of all the survivors were on the Prince and the stunningly beautiful girl he had suddenly arrived with. Both of them looked like they'd been through a great deal, clothes in tatters, burns, cuts, green dirt smugdges…
She was crying as she knelt next to her father and picked up his head to cradle it in her lap. She ignored the surprised group of strange men that watched her in shock and dismay.
"Gero!" the king shouted. "What is the meaning of this?" The Saiyan king turned on the small human and stepped towards him menacingly.
"18…" Gero said jerking his head towards the Prince, who was watching Bulma with a frown on his face. In less than the blink of an eye, 18 was restraining Vegeta the younger, just as 17 was the white icejin.
"Take another step and your son dies," Gero threatened.
"Gero…" The Vegeta no Ou growled, but stayed where he was.
"Gero!' Frieza called. "Tell this twisted piece of sheet metal to set me free."
Gero got a sickly smile on his face. "Yes, 17, set our flawed accomplice free… of all his worldly cares…"
"With pleasure…" 17 said and ripped Frieza's head from his shoulders. Frieza didn't even have time to blink, but the really amazing thing was that 17 was so fast, he managed to not get a spot of blood on his clothing. Blood was, however, just starting to pour out all over the green ground, like some kind of twisted Christmas montage. Vegeta growled, feeling his revenge ripped from his fingers in a blur of carnage.
"Bravo, 17," Android 18 said. Vegeta was sneering and struggling to get free, but to no avail.
"Yes, bravo indeed," Gero agreed and stepped back from the rapidly spreading blood puddle.
"Two down… four to go… But who to choose next?" Gero scanned the remaining survivors. Vegeta, locked in 18 arms, still struggling slightly, Bulma sobbing over the broken form of her father, Bardock, standing with his fists clenched, afraid to move, the king at his side, watching with deadly intent on his features, "Eeny, meeny, minny… mo…" Gero's grin widened. "I think the Saiyan king will be next to go…17!"
Seventeen raised his hand.
Vegeta started to shout and squirm.
Bulma just stared in horror at Gero and his minions.
Bardock stepped in front of his king, but, was promptly pushed aside, by the king himself.
"I think that is quite enough…" Dr. Briefs said as he sat up. "I think we've proven our point, don't you?"
"Certainly," 17 said and lowered his hand, "but are you sure I can't kill him?"
"Yes!" Briefs said as he sat up.
"Daddy?" Bulma said softly and threw her arms around her father's shoulders.
Dr. Briefs caughed. "Careful dear. Android 18's blast may have been fake, but it still hurt like…"
"What is the meaning of this!" Gero shouted. "17, I said kill King Vegeta!"
"Yes, I heard you. I do have amazing auditory sensory, as you well know."
"But… I activated my failsafe voice command chip. How…?"
"That was the first thing I removed…" Dr. Briefs said as Bulma helped him stand. "The thing you activated was a generic look-a-like chip that I installed this morning. The androids were under my direction to pretend to be under your direction, just long enough to show to the king what a disgusting traitor you really are, Gero."
Bardock started to chuckle. "Clever…" he said and stepped closer to Gero. Gero shrank away in fear, tripping backwards and cowering behind his raised arm.
"Mercy!" he cried, crawling back and shaking in his boots. "Please, My Lord!"
"How is it that the really evil guys always think the good guys will suddenly forget that they were about to be killed by said evil guy and forgive him and let him go so he can be stabbed in the back later?" Bulma said.
Most everyone just looked at her with blank stares.
"Huh?" her father asked.
"I'm sure that somewhere… there's an idiot that would just let him go… but unfortunately for the crazy doctor here, we aren't him," Vegeta said.
"Oh, and speaking of letting go…" Bulma said, giving 18 the evil eye. "Would you mind?"
18 grunted and dropped her hold on Vegeta.
"Thank you," Bulma said sweetly, a kind of terrifying promise of pain under her eyes that made Vegeta shiver. 18 read the 'get away from my man' look and stepped back, bowing her head slightly. It was obvious that Bulma hadn't yet forgiven her for blasting her father.
Bardock and the king watched the exchange with curiosity.
"What are you going to do with him, King Vegeta?" Briefs asked, turning their attention back to the still quaking Gero.
"About the same thing I promised Frieza before Gero had his head removed, only his death will be much slower… for sure," the Saiyan no Ou said with a tight frown. "And just for your information, Gero, you don't make a very good villain. Most of the time you just sound like an idiot…"
Gero looked like he wanted to be insulted, but was too afraid to change his _expression.
"Take him and secure him in the ship at Manklar-drat," Briefs said. "That is, if that’s all right with you, your majesty…" Briefs said.
"Fine…" The ruler of the Saiyan Empire growled.
"And if you would be so kind as to bring the ship back here, as soon as it’s ready…" he suggested to the Androids. They both nodded and took off, fast as lightning. Everyone watched them go as long as they could, (only a few seconds for even the keen sighted Saiyan king), and paused in awe.
The king turned to his son after a second of silence. "I’m glad you decided to join us. We had almost decided to leave you."
Vegeta smirked. Both of them. And an understanding passed between them that was built upon years of little or no emotional display and harsh physical punishments.
"Shall we head inside?" Dr. Briefs interrupted the silence and motioned towards the large white structure.
"Certainly," the king said, following the small human as he walked, leaning on his daughters shoulder. "I think we have much to discuss."
"Even more then you think,,," Briefs explained. "You and your crew aren’t the only ones that have found it necessary to leave. My daughter and I have decided to depart as well…"
"I see… " The king said glancing between his son and Briefs’ blue hared daughter.
"I was hoping we could reach an agreement…"
"I’m sure something can be arranged…"
Briefs nodded and turned to Bulma. "Did you finish your task?"
"Yes, well, nearly. "The Yardrats said they would take care of Manklar-drat, because the compound was still needed for the repairs on the Saiyan ship, and Slather-drat… well, it was already in ruins…" she stared at the ground sadly.
Dr. Briefs passed a fleeting though for Yamcha, but let it go quickly. He had more pressing issues at hand.
And then his hands were empty, and he was sprawling on the ground again. Bulma was ripped from his hands before even she knew what was happening. Once again she found herself in the air, in the arms of a dark hared Saiyan. Only this time, the hands were clumsy… and greedy.
"Bring her here!" the doctor heard a familiar voice command and turned to watch as Yamcha, who was being carried by a large, bald Saiyan, landed on the ground nearby.
"Yamcha!" Dr. Briefs yelled, standing quickly despite his old age and his injuries. He didn’t like the hungry look on the scarred human’s face.
Radditz growled at having to take orders from the weaker human, but complied anyway. Years of obedience school paying off. He nearly threw Bulma into Yamcha’s arms, and she screamed as she fell several feet towards the man that she could barely stand to look at.
The King, Bardock, and Gero just looked confused, and Prince Vegeta looked furious. Bulma squirmed against Yamcha’s chest, but found his arms stronger then they looked. One was twisted slightly with scars and the other was smooth and strong. He pulled her tight against him and ground his hips into her suggestively. She only shuddered and pushed away from him.
When Dr. Briefs began to step forward, Radditz stood in his way. "Yamcha what is the meaning of this?" he demanded crossly.
"It seems that I’m the one with the power now. For years I’ve put up with your family treating me like an inferior and ordering me around. Well, now it’s my turn to rule and make the orders."
It was right about then that the King and Bardock noticed the keg that had been in Nappa’s other arm.
"Radditz, Nappa!" He barked angrily. "What the HELL is going on?"
Both the Saiyan warrior’s eyes fell on their king and then say him for the first time since going into hyper sleep. Both of them dropped to their knees instantly and began babbling excuses. Nappa let the keg fall to the ground with a thud and s slosh.
"Drunk while in the midst of a crisis?" Bardock said, looking at his oldest son with disapproval. "I could have sworn I’d taught you better then that…"
"My chief security officer, and the trainer of my son and heir… " Vegeta no Ou said, shaking his head.
"We beg forgiveness, your majesty. "Radditz began.
"Please have mercy. We were confused, and took up with this weakling human as means of preservation. We had no idea if you had survived or not. No way of knowing…"
"And the…" the king sniffed the air, "Lamastra wine?"
They had no answer.
"I have lost too many subjects today as it is. You will be dealt with later, but only as foolish soldiers, and not as traitors, like these others… I can’t waste good help just because then have a taste for wine…"
Radditz and Nappa muttered their sincerest thanks and saluted their great and wise king. As Yamcha watched he felt his empire crumbling beneath his feet. Vegeta had never taken his eyes off Bulma, and the man holding her too closely.
"Let her go…" he growled. "Now."
"No!" Yamcha shouted turning Bulma around in his arms and pulling a sharpened piece of scrap metal from his pants. "Step back or I’ll…" he placed the makeshift knife at Bulma’s throat, "I’ll kill her!"
The doctor and Vegeta both froze.
"Where are you going to go, Yamcha? You can’t get out of this one. Just let her go…:" Dr. Briefs stepped forward.
Yamcha pressed the shiv closer into Bulma’s flesh. Vegeta saw her flinch and felt a twinge of pain at his own throat. He watched, his anger building as a trickle of blood ran down her throat and under her collar.
Dr. Briefs stopped. "This can only end badly, Yamcha. Let her go now before someone gets hurt."
"You don’t’ believe me?" Yamcha yelled. "I’ll kill the little bitch, I will!"
Bulma winced at the loud voice in her ear. Her eyes moved rapidly from Vegeta to her father, to the King and Bardock, and back to Vegeta. His face was consciously blank, but his eyes… were a light with the rage that she could also feel shifting inside her chest like liquid mercury, cold and burning and shimmering inside her. "… never gave me a chance… couldn’t see me as a man… always thought you were so much better…" Yamcha was ranting quietly under his breath as he retreated slowly.
Vegeta’ mind began cycling through all the possible strategies to get Bulma away form the crazy man without getting her hurt as Yamcha began backing away, taking Bulma with him.
It was such a simple task, but the anger in Vegeta’s brain was making his thinking slower. And he failed to notice Frieza. Or what was left of him…
In his moment’s hesitation, Yamcha took another step back, and got his foot tangled in the cold heavy limbs of the dead Icejin. He tumbled backwards, pulling Bulma with him, his arms flailing to gain some balance. There was a slick swish as Yamcha landed in the mud made by Frieza’s blood and Yardrat’s green dirt, and a sick thud as Bulma twisted and fell on top of Yamcha. A few gasps, and a silent pause.
Bulma recovered from the stun and looked beneath her. Right below her she could see Yamcha’s half deformed face. ‘He might have been handsome…’ she thought briefly and then looked past him at the dirt below.
Frieza’s blood had darkened to a purple as it soaked up oxygen from the air and now contrasted with the green dirt in such a way that Bulma found herself fighting the urge to laugh., and never stop. The urge faded, however as she saw another color moving among the green and purple. A red brighter then Frieza’s blood ever wanted to be. She coughed slightly as she felt strong hands pull her off of Yamcha and turn her on her back.
Vegeta laid Bulma down and then picked up Yamcha and threw him several hundred yards where he slammed against the side of a Yardratin dwelling.
His previous insanity had shifted from anger to confusion in the midst of the shock of falling and he looked down. The front of his clothes were splattered with blood, and his hand. His good hand that had been holding his knife…
‘Where is my knife?’ he wondered vaguely as he snapped let the dark waters of insanity engulf him.
Dr. Briefs watched as Vegeta tossed Yamcha aside like a rag doll, and then turned to kneel beside his last remaining family. Bulma slowly raised a hand and looked at it, covered in the sticky red substance. That’s when his eyes moved lower, and beheld the shiv protruding from her chest, just about where her heart had been.
"Bulma…" he muttered and dashed forward.
Vegeta could feel her going. The blade in her chest had opened a flow of blood, like a babbling brook or silent fountain and she was bleeding to death. The part of his mind where he’d felt her for the last 24 hours was slowly emptying, draining through some crack he couldn’t stop.
"Woman…" he choked, feeling her fear and panic sharply as it began to fade. "Don’t…"
‘Don’t what?’ he heard faintly in his head. ‘Don’t die? Ok, sure. I’ll stay her with you then, shall I?" Her voice in his mind was soft as a whisper and drifting away like fog in the wind. Before it was gone he felt the pain as it surged past the initial shock, and took hold of her for the first time.
Bulma winced and clenched her fist on Vegeta’s collar. After a second she opened her eyes and gazed at the deep, intense dark eyes above her.
~~~ ‘I won’t let you get hurt.’ he thought in the last few seconds before they would hit the hard, green Yardratin soil below.
Bulma had never though you could feel peace and panic at the same time, but at that moment she did. She closed her eyes and waited for the impact. Inside her mind she suddenly knew. Her ki disrupting field… Her father had probably had it set up in the desert, over Vegeta’s father and the others, and they had just flown into it.
In her mind she saw the large sphere, invisible, but solid… She calculated… 50 + feet… a mile radius, brings the curvature to… and Vegeta’s height, measuring the curvature of the sphere…
Luckily for them, Vegeta was also getting her thoughts and calculations, although he barely understood them. The last part, however, he got loud and clear… other wise there wouldn’t have been time.
‘Fly, Vegteta! The field should be clear closer to the ground…!’
There had been a flicker of gold, and they’d stopped barely two feet from the ground, hovering in mid air.
"No more close calls, Vegeta." She’s said as he’d set her down to catch her breath, "I don’t think my heart can take anymore of them…"
"You’re heart…" he whispered…
"I love you…" she whispered quietly for almost no reason, coughing again and tasting blood in her mouth. It just suddenly seemed true. Vegeta leaned forward and kissed the blood from he lips.
"Woman… Bulma… I…" he started, stammering. Vegeta, the Prince of the mighty Saiyans, stammering. If she hadn’t been dying from the piece of metal protruding from her chest, she might have died from laugher.
"I know," she said, placing her hand on his face. And then she was gone… leaving only a bloodied hand print on his cheek.
The professor, a creator of many good things, helper of many good people, and father to one amazing daughter, knelt slowly and reached for her.
"Don’t touch her," Vegeta growled, his eyes still locked on her face.
Trunks Briefs pulled his hand away and watched the strange prince hold his only child as her body started to cool. It as in that second that he felt the most foolish.
The king placed a consoling hand on his son’s shoulder. Probably the only affectionate gesture of both their life times, and in that second, Vegeta the younger felt all the power inside him usless to get him the thing he wanted most. A chance to know this gorgeous young woman. And opportunity to spend a lifetime arguing with her and challenging her wit. The occasion to fill her with his seed and give her a child, an heir of his own.
Vegeta’s ki flared, knocking both Bulma’s father and his own away from them both. A roar of grief and loss ripped from his throat. Pain… in it’s purest emotional form pulsed in his veins, and filled that empty space in his head, expanding and glowing, shifting from evil black… to gold…
Bardock’s breath caught in his throat. "The legendary…" he muttered and raised his arms to protect his eyes from the amazing power, the awesome light that was emitting from Vegeta. He listened to the prince yell in agony of soul, for what seemed like an eternity, before he began to notice the others gathering.
The small blue creatures, their eyes so large with trust and love for everything, everyone, were forming a circle around the turbulent sphere of energy that Vegeta was putting off. In the roar of all his princes grief he could not make out the words, and thought he probably wouldn’t have understood them anyway, but they were all saying something. The same thing, chanting together.
He had just started to wonder what purpose this might have when the strange vision before him went from amazing to a miracle. Vegeta’s light began to surround Bulma’s body making her glow as he did, team with power and… life… as he was.
Seeming to run in reverse, the flow of her life force moved over the ground and her clothes and back under the blade and into her body. Slow at first, and then faster, until the ground was left only muddled green and purple. Vegeta having also noticed the amazing change, placed his hand on the knife and yanked it bitterly from her chest. Like a needle it seemed to pull a thread of breath into Bulma and she gasped for air an opened her eyes.
Vegeta dropped the knife clumsily at their side and took her in his arms, kissing her firmly and passionately.
‘He will be a good king..’ he thought as the lights started to dim.
"Bulma…" Dr. Briefs said, not believing his eyes. At first, the blast of energy and the intense light had left him feeling clobbered and defeated, and he’d lain, sprawled on the ground waiting for the end to come… the darkness. But there was only light, bright and unwavering.
Slowly he sat up and tried to peer into the source. Vegeta, he could see had stopped crying out, and was, instead, using his mouth to claim the mouth of his daughter. His very much a live daughter. And that’s when he heard the chanting.
13 years on Yardrat working closely among the people, and he still knew relatively little about them. He had managed to pick up a bit of their language, and could make out some of the words.
"Gift of life something power to bestow life something something joining something love…" he blocked it out and tried to stand. It was becoming easier. The light surrounding the kissing couple was starting to fade. Slowly the electric feel of ki saturated air faded and the light dimmed.
Vegteta’s hair, which had been glowing golden blond, resumed it’s black flame and the air ceased to buzz. Bulma pulled away and looked into Vegeta’s eyes.
"I think I like them better black then teal…" she said, so that he could barely hear. He wondered at that… but dismissed it as the urge to hold his daughter tight and sing her sweet lullabies over came him.
"Have you got everything?" Dr. Briefs asked Bulma for the twelfth time.
"Yes, dad," she responded patiently, for the twelfth time. "It’s all capsulated and waiting in the briefcase in the launching bay. I just wanted to say good bye to some friends before those androids get here with the ship. Ten minutes you said?"
"Eight!" he corrected.
"Ok, eight, don’t leave with out me…" she left the room leaving the men to watch in wonder at her being up and moving around.
"What happened out there?" Dr. Briefs wondered aloud.
"The legendary…" he heard Bardock say.
"A mating bond…" The king said cryptically. There was only the slightest hint of disapproval in his tone, and that was mostly attributed to insecurity. Vegeta the king had spoken in private to Vegeta the prince and his "bride" shortly after the "resurrection incident". Vegeta had explained about the accidental bond, and the king had had only one question.
"But what of the sexual endorphins required to release the blood compound after the blood exchange?"
Bulma had blushed. Vegeta hadn’t told her about that part…
"Surely that couldn’t happen by accident?"
"You’d… be surprised…" Vegeta had said and left it at that.
Now, the androids were due to arrive with the repaired ship at any moment and they would be on their way. Final arrangements were completed. When they launched, the evacuated compound would self destruct leaving almost no trace of the Briefs presence on the planets surface. Once in space they would destroy the de-activated satellites and surveillance probes scattered throughout the solar system. And the Yardratin councils last request would be filled. The planet would be left defensless… technically, but King Vegeta had promised that he would personally have it removed from all purging lists, and have a ban placed on the system. As long as his royal line controlled a good part of the universe, the Yardrats would be safe to live out their lives in peace.
"Now, when this place goes it’ll take out the planetary core gravitational system I had to install so that we could all walk around without a grav-bubble out side our home. You can’t imagine the trouble we had keeping Bulma inside. Her mother was always so worried she would slip out and get squished flat…" Briefs chuckled at the memory. The Saiyans stared at him blankly. He guessed they wouldn’t understand…
"The gravity on Yardrat is 100 times stronger the Chikyuu’s." he explained. "Vegetasei is only 10 times Chikyuu’s gravity."
"Oh…" all the Saiyans said.
"That is why they were all so strong…" Vegeta mused under his breath.
The entrance way was filled with the roar of engines and the silhouette of a large ship entered the doorway. "They’re here!" he called out above the noise.
They all gathered their assigned loads and waited for the transport to land. Nappa was assigned to carry the babbling Yamcha, lost forever in a sea of madness, while the others had cases of capsulated equipment and supplies.
The ship landed, and the ramp lowered. Several of the crew ran to see whether tales of the King and the Prince’s survival were really true, (most Saiyans were not trusting by nature), and smirked with racial pride to see their royalty pull through such an ordeal with nary a scratch… well… too many scratches. And none were too sad about the death of Frieza or the report that Gero was shackled in the brig. Nither of them had ever been very trusted or liked.
Everything was loaded aboard and Briefs made the final parting call to Geedge-yar outside the compound walls. The only thing missing…
Vegeta stood at the bottom of the ramp and waited, his arms crossed over his chest, not-so-patiently, and his toe tapping slightly. Finally, seconds before her father sent out a search team, she came walking slowly through the door and towards the ship. She had something in her hand. Something she wouldn’t take her eyes off of. Vegeta put an arm protectively around her shoulder and led her on board.
"What is that?" Trunks asked his daughter. She was holding a small golden ball in her hands and looking at it as if it was both fragile and magnificent.
"Vegeta’s son…" she said, softly.
"What!" everyone, including both Vegeta’s cried out. Everyone except Yamcha, who slid to the floor as Nappa rushed in inspect the object in the blue-hared woman’s hands.
"The Yardrat’s…" she began to explain. "Their offspring… they come from sampled life-forces of two prospective parents. The ritual… combines them, with blood and flesh and creates a whole new being… inside this little shell…" she paused staring at it with glowing eyes. "Teed-yar gave it to me. He said it was from the Headrma of this village. They could use it to pull my life back into me because of the amazing ki force that Vegeta was… and because of our bond. There was still enough of me left in him to…" she chocked up.
"Amazing isn’t it…?" Dr. Briefs said. Inside the translucent sphere he could see a purple glow forming around what looked suspiciously like a mini chicken… with a longer tail…
He reached back and absently pressed the "door close" button as he continued to watched the mixed expressions of the Saiyan crowd.
"Ready for launch?" 17’s voice came over the com.
"Yes…" Briefs said absently. He wanted to laugh at the looks of shock and pride… and disgust that were alternating across Vegeta no Ouji’s face.
Behind him Yamcha slipped unnoticed out the not quite closed door. Later he would be missed, but not really. The doctor imagined that he might have wondered, like a lost child until he found Gertty Briefs grave, which Bulma and he had decided would remain on Yardrat, where he might have laid down among her roses until gravity kicked in and smothered the life from him. It was a merciful way to go.
Bulma shed a tear for him, because he could have been a good man, but forgot about him almost instantly there after as she was caught up in the joy surrounding her new husband, and the small bauble that contained the fruits of their bond.
"Was’t well done?"
"Bravely, my diligence. Thou shalt be free." –Ariel and Prospero (5.1.)
While the excitement about the Prince’s heir had died down, and things seemed to be settling in their natural order of things… more or less, the doctor still had one last item of business.
On the bridge of the ship he found them, standing, looking bored, and watching the comings and goings of command.
"I suppose your side of the bargain has been completed…" he said softly standing before them. "and as such…"
"Yes, yes," 17 said. "Was it all to your liking?"
"Indeed, there is very little I would change, though at the time…" he frowned remembering the emotional roller-coaster ride of the last day or two. "Then I owe you a ship…" he looked around. "I don’t seem to have one handy at the moment, but I’m sure once we arrive of Vegetasei…"
"That won’t be necessary…" 18 said.
"Just two of your pods should do." 17 finished.
"Very well…" Briefs said slowly. "I was wondering if… well, what you planned on doing with your freedom?"
"I was considering going into shipping. Something with business…" 18 said.
"I’m with her, only I think I’ll just be traveling and doing the tourist thing. I never did get into that who productive life-style thing. But my sister… she really gets off on the money and power."
He didn’t know if they were joking or not…
"And… do you think you’ll be… ripping off many more heads?" he finally worked up the courage to ask, just before they walked out the door.
"No way. It’s too messy." 17 said with a smirk and left, his sister following after a quick wink in the doctors direction.
For some reason… he had a good feeling about those two. And if they only killed those like Frieza… Trunks Briefs decided finally take his wife’s advice. He left that part of the universe on someone else’s shoulders and let it rest. He needed a break.
"Now I want spirits to enforce, art to enchant; and my ending is dispair unless I be relieved by prayer, which pierces so, that is assaults mercy itself, and frees faults. As your from crimes would pardoned be, let your indulgence set me free." – Prospero (Epilouge)