Just a note: If you didnít like my Yamcha/Maron (Kirillanís exgirlfriend) pairing she is his date in this chapter. Itís nothing major and sheís just present for some comedy relief so donít throw tomatoes please!
The Disclaimer Featured in the Prologue still applies.
Chapter 1: Adventures In Babysitting
It was a beautiful summer night and all the business associates, reporters, acquaintances and personal friends of the Briefs family attending the dinner party at the swanky and newly completed Satan Towers Hotel (yes yet another edifice named after the two-bit phony) were milling about contently enjoying the evening. Everyone who youíd except to be there was there. The rich, the powerful and the influential filled the large banquet hall. There was, however, a rather strange looking group sitting at a reserved table. Not that all of them were strange in a bad way. There were four women who ranged from drop-dead gorgeous to very pretty, one man who many would recognize as a former baseball player, and another who wasnít all that unusual except he was short and didnít seem to have a nose. The real oddballs of the group were a triclops, a strange doll-looking little man, an old man who insisted on wearing sunglasses even though they were inside and it was night, a floating blue cat, and a pig.
"Oops" said Muten Roshi "I dropped my fork. Itís going to be so hard to get it with my bad back." He sadly patted his lower back. "Would one of you ladies mind helping me out?"
Oolong grinned in anticipation.
"Iíll get it" Maron said happily. Krillanís former girlfriend was there that night as Yamchaís "just a friend date". The other women, although they found her ditsy behavior annoying, didnít relish the idea of her falling prey to the old pervertís ploy. When the blue-haired woman began to bend down, causing her low cut top to start to fall open unbeknown to her, she found an arm in her face.
"No you wonít" said 18 with a dangerous glare to the old martial arts master. "Youíre back is feeling much better now isnít it Muten Roshi?"
"Yes" Yamcha agreed cracking his knuckles "I think it is."
"I guess youíre right," said the old man nervously and he dived under the table very quickly.
"Maron I would make sure youíre knees are together" Lunch whispered in the other womanís ear.
"Why?" the scatterbrained female asked.
"Let me clue you in" Yamcha said. He leaned over and whispered in his dateís ear causing the womanís face to become bright red, pushed her knees together, and she sat up as straight as a stick.
"Did I just see a flash bulb go off under the table?" Puar asked suspiciously.
All of the women, who were wearing short skirts, which didnít included Chi Chi, shifted nervously. Another flash of light was seen.
"All right Roshi" Ten said loosing his patience seeing Lunch uncomfortable. "Come out from under there now!"
Krillan who had sort of tuned the whole thing out being used to being around Roshi and his shenanigans, yawned. "Its always the same old thing" he said. All of the women, except for Maron, looked at him peevishly. Krillan sweated nervously. "I didnít mean it like that!" he protested.
Roshi came up nervously and laughed straightening his bow tie. "I think Iím going to go out for some air," he said.
"Iíll join you," said Oolong conspiratorially.
"Not so fast" said Chi Chi angrily. "You didnít answer her question."
"Look at that!" Roshi shouted and pointed. "Vegetaís about to blast someone!"
Everyone looked in the last direction they had seen the saiyajin prince and Bulma only to see him very bored, but well behaved, standing by his wife while she chatted with an old couple. Realizing it was a trick they all looked back to find Roshi and Oolong gone.
"I just found the cmera guys" Lunch said "and its and instant one which means they have pictures."
"It figures," said 18.
"Well at least now we can relax a little with him gone" Yamcha commented.
"I personally was hoping for a little more lively party," Krillan mentioned.
"Well Krillan it is a business function" Chi Chi said. "What did you expect? Weíre here to support Bulma not to have a good time."
"Well," Krillan commented tugging on the collar of his shirt "at least Iím not the only one whoís uncomfortable. Vegeta looks like heís enjoying this thing even less than I am."
Krillan was right. Vegeta was incredibly uncomfortable. He suppressed a growl for the thousandth time that evening. "Pleased to meet you" he said half-heartedly not shaking the hand that was offered.
Bulma glared at her husband. "Iím sorry Mr. Murphy. Weíre just not used to saying hello that way."
"Ah shoooot! I forgot" he guffawed and bowed instead.
Vegeta caught his mateís Ďif-you-blow-this-deal-for-me-then-you-can-forget-about-having-any-bedroom-fun-tonightí look, which he answered with his Ďyou-should-have-known-better-than-to-blackmail-me-to-come-here-in-first-placeí look, which he punctuated by crossing his arms over his chest.
Bulma gave Vegeta a smirk to say Ďyou asked for ití and the put on a serious face for the couple. "Iím sorry that my husband is being so uncivilized tonight" Bulma apologized "but you really canít blame him. After all considering his background."
Vegeta raised one eyebrow in alarm. "She wouldnít use that ridiculous story," he thought.
"Oh really!" Mrs. Murphy exclaimed excitedly.
"He was raised by apes," Bulma said in a hushed tone.
"What!" the woman and her husband exclaimed simultaneously.
Vegeta was in shock. He hadnít really believed that she would actually do as she had threatened. Quickly Vegeta suppressed the angry outburst that he felt was ready to fly from his lips over the cleverly veiled insult at his heritage. One thing was for certain; he wasnít going to let her get away with it.
"Bulma dear," he said sweetly. "You forgot to take your medicine today, didnít you?"
"Medicine?" questioned Mrs. Murphy.
"Yes" he said with a sigh. "She has delusions without it. The last time she had one I was an alien prince from a distant planet that had been destroyed."
Bulmaís jaw nearly dropped open before she forgot proper decorum as they looked at her with pity.
"Stop kidding around dear" Bulma said with clinched teeth. "Iím NOT crazy and you know it."
"That is a matter of debate," he said in answer to his mate.
"As is the size of your brain," she retorted.
"And the size of your mouth!" he snapped back irritably.
"Kami have mercy on us" Dr. Briefs said to his wife and the little black cat on his shoulder as the loud argument ensued between his daughter and his son-in-law. "The evening has barely started and theyíre already at each otherís throats. Why did she insist on bringing him any way? Whenever she does they end up alienating another client."
"It would look rather strange if her husband didnít come to the celebration of her being given the company honey" Mrs. Briefís replied.
"Not any worse than it makes me look" he answered "for handing the company over to her when she looks like a raving lunatic."
Mrs. Briefs immediately left her husbandís side and darted over. Laughing she stepped between the bickering couple. "I think weíre all a little high-strung right now with all the changes going on" she said. "Iíll tend to the guests and I think you two should take a little break right now." Thus said she steered the clueless couple away from the quarrelsome one.
As her mother took the Murphys away Bulma noticed that all the eyes in the room seemed to be on she and Vegeta. They were whispering too, which wasnít a good sign. Even her friends, who all sat at the table she reserved for them, appeared to be staring and discussing things about them. Needless to say this made Bulma feel more than a little self-conscious. "I think my mother was right" Bulma quickly told her husband "and Iím going outside to get a little air."
Vegeta watched his mate leave the room remaining in his same spot and position. "What the hell are they all looking at?" he grumbled irritably feeling the eyes, both strange and known staring at him. He had no intention of doing anymore Ďminglingí as his mate called it. He just wanted to blend in with the shadows and watch the proceedings. It was then he noticed someone coming towards him. Of all people it had to be it was that stupid baka Mr. Murphy and this reminded him of the reason why he stayed close to his mate when she forced him into coming to these ridiculous parties and receptions. If he was with her she was generally able to steer the conversations around him but if he was alone then inevitably someone tried to corner him into a conversation. Deciding he would much rather be outside with his mate than inside and at the mercies of an idiot he headed out in the same direction as Bulma.
"HA! HA!" Trunks laughed holding the controller above his head in triumph "I won again!"
"You cheated" Goten claimed dejectedly.
"I donít have to cheat" Trunks said smugly "Iím just better at this game than you are, just like Iím better than you at everything else."
"You are not!" Goten pouted.
"Okay name one thing youíre better at than I am" Trunks demanded.
"I can eat lots more than you!" Goten exclaimed proudly.
"So" Trunks said shrugging his shoulders.
"So Iím a better eater than you," Goten answered.
"Thatís not even proper speech Goten" Trunks pointed out.
"Is too" Goten whined. "Youíre just mean like your father."
"And youíre a moron just like youíre father!" Trunks snapped back harshly. Not a moment after the words had left his mouth Goten began to wail and Trunks regretted the words he had said in anger.
"Hey you two" Gohan chided pulling his nose out of his book "stop it now! Itís useless starting world war three over a videogame."
"But Trunks said something mean about Dad!" little Goten protested.
Trunks shrunk back under Gohanís gaze. "You also said something mean about his father too Goten" he told his younger brother "but that doesnít excuse what you said either" he added turning back to the lavender-haired boy.
"Iím sorry Goten" Trunks said softly placing a hand on his friendís shoulder. He knew his friendís dead father was a real vulnerable point for him and so he felt especially ashamed for using it.
"Iím sss-sorry toooooooo!" Goten wailed throwing his arms around the older boyís neck.
Trunks hugged his friend back and gave Gohan a weary look and received a smile. Trunks smiled back in relief. He fairly idolized the older boy and didnít want Gohan mad at him.
"Thatís better" Gohan commended the two younger boys. He was glad that was over so quickly. Usually he barely had to intervene when he babysat the boys. They good-naturedly threw little digs back and forth but they hardly ever really fought but Trunks seemed a little more on edge than usual tonight.
The three boys looked up when they heard a loud alarm signal sound through the complex.
Goten looked up from Trunkís now tear-soaked shoulder and sniffed. "Whatís that?" he asked.
"Itís one of my grandpaís alarms" Trunks said excitedly. "Letís go and see what it is!" Trunks grabbed his friendís hand and ran down the hall.
"Wait!" Gohan shouted taking off after them. He had learned from experience that it wasnít wise to leave the boys unattended in labs or areas with sensitive equipment. Trunks was too smart and too bold for his own good and frequently got he and Goten into trouble when he watched them. When the teenaged boy caught-up to the two smaller demi-saiyajins Trunks was already climbing into the chair in front of the console.
"Be careful Trunks" Gohan cautioned "I donít think your parents would let me watch you guys anymore if you blow that thing up."
"Donít worry" Trunks asserted confidently "I know what Iím doing." With this the young boyís fingers started to fly over the keyboard.
"I canít see" Goten protested standing on his tiptoes.
"Here you go" Gohan said picking up his little brother and giving him a better view.
"Awesome" Trunks exclaimed reading the screen in front of him. "Something just came from space and landed in the wilderness."
"Is it a space ship?" Goten asked excitedly.
"Thereís only one way to find out," Trunks said with a lop-sided smirk just like his fatherís.
Gotenís face lit up with excitement. "You mean if we go look?" he questioned.
"Yep!" Trunks said jumping off his chair.
"Hold it right there!" Gohan said grabbing Trunks shoulder and tightening his grip on the squirming Goten. "Thereís no way Iím letting you two go off to where some spaceship just landed."
"But if you come with usÖ" Trunks began to rationalize before he was cut-off.
"No way" the teenagers said pointedly. "You boys know that both my mom and Bulma would kill me if I took you. Iím responsible for you two and thereís no way Iím risking taking a four-year-old and a three-year-old where thereís danger."
"But Gohan" Goten said in a bemused way. "I thought you were four when you started to fight."
"I was 5 and itís not the same," he said. "I was being trained."
"But my father trains me" Trunks said.
"And you teach me stuff" Goten added.
"Iím not taking you and thatís final," Gohan answered.
"But brother..." Goten started to whine.
"Absolutely, inequivicibly not" Gohan said empathically setting his brother down. "Iíll call Krillan or Yamcha and get one of them to look into it but we are staying here."
"But everyone is at momís stupid Ďadults onlyí party" Trunks protested.
"Then Iíll just call your momís cell phone" Gohan said "and whoever is interested can go check it out."
Both small demi-saiyajin pouted while the teenager picked up the receiver and dialed the number.
After dialing the number Gohan listened to itís ringing for a minute before getting a voice mailbox and hung up. Infinitely patient he tried again. "Somebody pick the phone up," Gohan whispered impatiently into the mouthpiece. At last when he was about to hang up someone answered.
"Moshi, Moshi. Bulmaís cell phone. What do you want?" Chi Chiís voice answered.
"Mom its Gohan" the teenager said.
"Oh Gohan" Chi Chi said in concern "Nothingís happened has it?"
"Not to us" Gohan said reassuringly "weíre just fine but something has happened. Is Krillan or one of the other guys there?"
"Yes" Chi Chi answered. "Whatís going on Gohan?"
"Iíll tell you later but I have to talk to one of them first" Gohan insisted "Iíll tell you later."
"Alright" Chi Chi answered.
Goten, being a normal 3-year-old boy, almost instantaneously grew tired of waiting for his brother to finish his conversation on the telephone and his eyes and mind began to wander. Fortunately for Goten Bulmaís lab happened to hold a myriad of fascinating things that could keep a small boy entertained for an infinite amount of time. One particular object caught the demi-saiyajinís eye almost immediately. It was in a corner of the lab occupied only by a computer terminal and large flat table (the kind you see in doctorís offices) that had a huge object, covered by a white bed sheet, on top of it. Of course being 3 years-old he immediately not only noticed that the figure looked suspiciously like a human body that also it was very big and this conjured up frightening thoughts in his young mind.
Trunks not being your average 4 year-old was attentively listening to Gohanís side of the conversation and not paying the least bit of attention to his friend so he was surprised to find Goten tugging on his arm.
"Trunks" Goten asked his friend once he had captured the older boyís attention. "What is that?" he said pointing to the figure.
Trunks followed the other boyís gesture and saw the familiar figure. "I donít know," he answered truthfully. "Itís one of my momís crazy projects. Itís been there as long as I can remember."
"It looks like a dead body," Goten said in a whisper still hanging onto his friend.
Trunks, who up until now had never given the figure a second thought, had to agree with his friend. "You know youíre right Goten" he said. "Wouldnít it be cool if my mom was making a monster like Dr. Frankensteinís?" the lavender-haired youth asked mischievously.
"No" Goten answered calling to mind the scary American movie he and Trunks had sneaked to watch one time when he was spending the night.
"Come on" Trunks said dragging his friend behind him toward the table. "Letís look and see what it is," he told his friend.
"No" Goten answered.
"Ah" Trunks chided, "is the baby scared?"
"Iím not a baby," Goten asserted. "I'm 3 years-old."
"Then stop acting like a frightened weakling and like the saiyajin warrior you are" Trunks said crossing his arms over his chest.
Goten stuck out his lower lip. "Okay" Goten said "but if the monster grabs you I wonít help."
"Okay" said Trunks. "You go on that side and Iíll go on the other and on the count of three weíll pull it off."
The boys took their positions and steadied themselves. Trunks began the countdown and his heart began to race. "One."
Goten gulped and clutched the sheet tightly in his hands.
"Two" Trunks continued tensing his muscles as he a Goten shared a tentative yet determined glance.
"Three!" he shouted.
The two boys yanked at the sheet and then jumped a foot off the ground screaming when they felt a pair of hands grab them from behind.
"Hey!" Gohan shouted as the boys turned around a looked at him with relief. "Just what do you two think youíre doingÖ" he began before catching sight of the uncovered figure. "Oh my Kami!" he exclaimed in surprise. "I donít believe it!"
Bulma gazed sadly up into the night sky. The millions of tiny pinpoints of light winked back at her while she contemplated her life as it stood in this moment in time. She was beautiful, wealthy, married, had a beautiful son and in another few moments she would be President of the familyís multibillion-dollar corporation. Her father was retiring and leaving everything to her. Everything that she had strived for her entire life at last seemed to be happening and yet she still felt that something was missing. Although she couldnít exactly put her finger on it she knew that it had to do with Vegeta. There was something missing from their relationship, it wasnít that she was unhappy; it was that she felt it could be more so than it was. Vegeta and she had a close knit, though it might be called slightly dysfunctional, family. Although he never said it she knew that her husband loved both she and their son but he was never able to escape that dark mysterious cloud that seemed to hang over him and this kept both she and Trunks at a distance. After having spent almost five years with him there were still so many things he kept from her. She still knew next to nothing about his past and was no closer to understanding the strange drive he had to be the strongest that kept him to an intense training schedule despite the relative peace that had existed on earth since the Cell Games. He was restless and not completely satisfied with his life and she wished he would open up to her because if he did then maybe she could find that missing ingredient and they both could at last truly be completely content.
When Vegeta set foot on the balcony he saw his mate staring off into the sky with an almost sad look on her face. He didnít like seeing her unhappy and especially when he knew how much this evening and Capsule Corporation meant to her. She had been putting in a lot of extra time at the office to Ďmake the transition smoothí as she took over the company. He had been seeing a lot less of her lately and this made him uncomfortable. It just felt strange to go to sleep at night in an empty bed and wake up to her slumbering beside him when he got up in the morning to train. They had barely talked and when they did they had nothing but fights, and not their typical good-natured word spars but real arguments. She also had been saddling him with taking care of Trunks because of her busy schedule and he didnít really have the time or patience to deal with the brat. He treated his son as a saiyajin should but this only upset Bulma because she said he was too harsh. Not to mention it slowed down his training. He didnít like feeling the tension between he and his mate nor could he ignore the fact his brat seemed to feel it too.
Bulma noticed some movement out of the corner of her eye and looked over to see Vegeta leaning on the balcony railing with his back to the view. "What do you want?" she asked defensively.
"Nothing more than to escape from the bakas in there" he said gesturing his head toward the hotel meeting room they were using for the celebration. "I find your company less objectionable than theirs."
"Really?" she asked in mock surprise. "Lucky me" she grumbled gazing back out towards the horizon.
Vegeta didnít like being ignored and especially not tonight because she had promised him if he came to this stupid gathering she would spend the rest of the evening alone with him making up for her recent neglect. "Yes you should feel lucky woman" he replied, "It is not to everyone I give the honor of seeking their company. Especially after theyíve treated me as you have this evening."
Bulma smiled slightly knowing he was trying to egg her into one of their typical word battles but her feelings were much too hurt for that. "Yes I guess that was a rather mean thing of me to say but you deserved it" she replied. "The least you could have done was just incline your head a little to them but, no, you have to pull your pompous act." She wheeled around at him shaking an angry fist in his face "For once I wish you could just do something and put up with things that inconvenience you for my sake. You have no idea how much this means to me." Bulma felt the tears leaking from the corners of her eyes and turned away wiping them away so he couldnít use them as a proof of her supposed weakness.
Vegeta hated it when she became so emotional because it was difficult to know what to say and so he came up behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. "I know that you are tired because you have been working day and night on this damned thing" he said soothingly. "I also know that I am considering destroying the place because itís making you neglect your duties as my mate and mother of the brat."
"My duties?" she said questioningly unconsciously leaning back against him.
"Yes like cooking that poison you call food, making sure the brat is entertained andÖ" Vegeta said in a breathless whisper near her ear "making sure Iím entertained."
Bulma smiled, turned around, placed her hands on his chest and looked deeply into his ebony eyes. "Now that the transfer is over I wonít have to spend so much time at the office and I can get back to entertaining myself with you and some of my other favorite projects."
"And how can those stupid machines keep you half as entertained as I can?" Vegeta wryly asked pulling her to him.
"By giving me the key to unlocking artificial intelligence," she said snuggling up to him.
"You are speaking of that monstrosity of Geroís arenít you?" he asked slightly irritated at the idea.
"Of course" she answered, "what other project do you know of that Iíve poured so much time and energy into as that one?"
"You know I do not approved of you rebuilding that abomination," Vegeta said reprovingly. "Those androids are counterfeit living beings and have no place in universe. Despite how much you and your friends, especially the runt whoís setting up housekeeping with one, try to pretend that they are normal nothing could be farther from the truth. They are just corpses with electrical circuits in them that make them move and talk."
"Even if thatís the case 16 isnít like 17 and 18" she said, "Heís more of a machine than they are. Heís just a fancy robot that uses a few human body parts."
"And that makes it better?" he asked. "You know that I donít share your love of machines. They have their place and it is not proper for them to masquerade as real people."
"Letís not talk about it anymore Veggie-chan" Bulma said kissing him passionately. She sighed as he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her back. She had been away from him too often lately and it felt good to be in his arms.
"What do you say about us skipping the party?" Vegeta asked Bulma seductively kissing her neck eliciting a giggle from her.
"I canít do that itís in my honor," she protested as he nuzzled her neck.
"Thatís never stopped us before" he replied nipping at her jawbone.
"I have to at least stay until after the dinner and the presentation" she said her resolve weakening as he nibbled her earlobe.
"Very well" the prince replied gazing deeply into her sky-colored eyes "we eat, you make your speech and then we can go somewhere more private."
Just when she was about to reply Bulma caught sight of the glimmer of a bright light in the sky. She looked up at it and saw a bright shooting star blazing across the sky. "Look thereís a meteor," said excitedly "I hope it doesnít burn entirely up."
Vegeta turned; leaving one arm snaked around Bulmaís waist and looked up at the sky. He found it very relaxing to star gaze and didnít mind the interruption. After a heíd watched the object for a moment he couldnít help but notice there was something odd about this particular one. "Itís not a meteor," he said to his mate.
"What do you mean?" Bulma asked.
"Itís slowing down the lower it gets in the atmosphere" he commented.
"Youíre right" Bulma exclaimed "and that means its using counter thrust which means it has engines and Iíve never heard of a meteor with engines."
"Iím going to go check it out" Vegeta told her.
"Not without me or my friends you arenít" Bulma informed him firmly.
"Why should I take you?" Vegeta demanded. "Youíd only get in the way if there was trouble."
"Because youíll probably blast it before we know if its friendly or not and if Iím there Iíll make sure you donít get carried away" Bulma answered pointedly.
Vegeta sighed. He knew that heíd might as well take her with him. "Iíll take you" he said scooping her up "but Iím not waiting for those weaklings. They wouldnít be of any use any way."
Just as they began to take off Krillan burst through the balcony doors followed by the entourage of the other Z warriors and company.
"Hey you two!" the former monk called flying up to meet them.
Vegeta cursed under his breath, stopped and glared at the small man impatiently.
"Gohan just called and said that the instruments at Capsule Corporation showed that a spaceship landed near here," he told Bulma trying not to be nervous about the way Vegeta was glaring.
"We saw it" Bulma informed him excitedly "and weíre going there right now. Care to join us?"
"Of course" Krillan exclaimed. "No offense Bulma but thatís most boring party Iíve ever been to."
"Then I suggest we waste no more time" Vegeta snapped and rocketed away.
"Hey guys" Krillan shouted down to the others "follow Vegeta if youíre coming." This said he took off after the fast disappearing couple.
One after another they flew away. First 18, then Yamcha, Ten and Choatzu.
"Well" Muten Roshi said to Chi Chi, Lunch and Maron with a twinkle in his eye "it looks like I have the pleasure of the company of you lovely ladies this evening."
"How nice of you Muten Roshi" Maron beamed grabbing the old manís arm. "What a gentleman!"
"Donít hog them all," said Oolong sidling up to Maron "thereís more than enough to go around."
"LOOK PIG!" Chi Chi shouted in Oolongís face. "Donít even think about it. She may be clueless but Iím not and I wonít allow you to work any of your schemes." She then turned to Muten Roshi. "And as for you hand over the pictures you took from under the table" she ordered.
"Me? Pictures?" Roshi nervously replied sweat drops beginning to bead on his forehead.
"Donít play innocent with me" Chi Chi said powering up. "Hand them over NOW!"
"I donít have any pictures" he insisted.
"Sure you do," said Maron pulling them out of his pocket helpfully. "Hey!" she protested when he snatched them back.
"MUTEN ROSHI!!!!" Chi Chi screamed at the old man.
"Okay Chi Chi donít get you underwear in a knot" he said handing the pictures over.
"If you say one more word about womenís undergarments Iím going make you pay," she said snatching the pictures away from the old man. She then grabbed the blue-haired woman by the arm and led her away.
"Yeah" Lunch added. "Donít try anything. I have a feather and Iím not afraid to use it."
Oolong and Roshi stood speechless as they watched the ladies go.
"What did I do?" Oolong asked.
* * * * *
Thatís it for now. Whatís coming up?
Everyone arrives at the landing site and somebodyís watching...
Chapter 2: Discoveries