Prologue - 2
There is a time in everyone's life when change is inevitable, and even more plausible when it is forced. How we each deal with it is irrelevant, but be safe in the knowledge that everything happens for a reason.
The Saiyajin mind is a complicated thing, its dynamics as confusing as they are determined. Take our hero. Vegeta Ouji. Now he belongs to a predetermined and implacable conception. It is a trial to his life that is as ridiculous as it is intriguing. For a creature such as he, it is hard to live life from one day to the next, because each is as unclear and uncharted as the other. That is the judgment of bordering insanity.
Fate, however, has its own plan and even though you may think that it is swayable, you can never wholly sidestep it. Subtlety never comes clawing to pin cognisance by the scruff of the neck. Events will eventually transpire to hold you to the way your life was predestined to be.
You see Vegeta had something taken away from his life. Most could take a guess at what it was, if indeed they were given the opportunity to know that it existed, but of course they weren't. He would not let it be seen. Would not allude to anything that he didn't want to investigate himself. So he was viewed as he was supposed to be. He put it to the side on a daily basis, hid from the stark truth that it presented his psyche with, and remembered that everything would be ok just as soon as he could train enough to attain the level of Super Saiyajin.
On the inside, he could assert, that there was very little to be happy about, other than the fact that he was still alive, which was as disturbingly degrading as it was misplaced. He was stuck on the back of some horrendously peaceful and comfortable planet, in the general dirge and backwaters of the armpit of the universe, where the inhabitants had literally only just managed to scramble their way out of the primordial soup. He had to endure their ceaseless happiness and good humour, because it was not honourable to decimate a race before the strongest of its inhabitants had been defeated.
Of course Vegeta Ouji was Vegeta Ouji, and he always managed to find something to augment his agitation.
Restraint was not an attribute that sat well with his character, but he knew he had to display it, because as much as Vegeta wished it were not so, Kakarrot was more human than Saiyajin. He could do nothing with greater purpose until his revenge had been exacted.
It was grudgingly admitted therefore, that staying on planet was the only way forward. Despite his better judgement of course, the invitation he had received to gain quarters, albeit temporary, on the planets surface, and which had been boasted as large and accommodating, had been far too in accordance with his plans to be refused.
There was an old saying that Nappa had great delight in reciting to his prince. Keep your allies within spitting range and your rivals truly gobbed on. Not the most eloquent of phrases it is true, but the basics were correct. A saying indeed, that might just as well suit the disgusting ningen's, as it did himself.
On the whole he was resigned to the results. There was nothing untoward about the situation. The ningen's whom had invited him, were everything he could expect of such a backward planet, but there were hints that perhaps they were not as repulsive had he had at first thought. Of course it was all irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but the grounds were large, the house was comfortable, and most importantly, the food was well put together and served in abundance. Putting up with the occasional air-headed conversation was, in his opinion, better than being destitute.
He shifted back on the large black railings. The sun beat down on his bare chest and the smell of freshly cut grass drifted up from the gardens below. Vegeta was bored, but there was very little that could be done about it until his training room was completed. For some reason the quiet was getting to him. He wanted something to do. So totally bizarre, he had never had so much time to himself, and so little to occupy his mind. It was truly unsettling.
Again he looked over the veiled calm of the city. He was satisfied. It was much more worth looking at than the industrial clamour the previous room had to offer in way of a view. Still the inactivity was getting to him. He didn't want to go down to the main living area because then he'd get caught into having to be civil. It was hard enough trying to stay his hands as it was, without the added complication of the ningen's incessant chatter. Did they all want to die? They were certainly pushing for it.
What did a warrior do in times of peace? It was a question he could not answer, because it was something he had never known. For decades he had dreamed of this moment, of being free from the shadow of Lord Frieza and his kind, but still he could not find any comfort from it. If anything it annoyed all the little traits of his character even more. He had never been idle. One mission was immediately replaced with another under the Ice-jin's rule.
Ugh! This was pointless. A warrior shouldn't be susceptible to thought this long. Too much time devoted to it was always dangerous. He had no regrets, but still… He growled, visibly showing his distaste for such an occupation.
Not curious, but having nothing else to do Vegeta chanced a lazy glance down from the railings to see which human it was, that as soon as Kakarrot was defeated, was going to die first.
Great. The mother! The thought of blasting her to a crisp was very appealing. In the natural selection of things it was always the dumbest creatures that got annihilated first.
"You should put some sun lotion on if you're going to stay there all day. You don't want to get skin cancer now do you!"
Irritating witch! It bugged him to no end that she treated him like he was an extension of her family. It was bad enough that her small brain couldn't see past the crap on Namek and considered him some sort of shinning example of princely honour, but babying him and having the audacity to show concern, now that was too far!
"Vegeta-Chan? Did you hear what I said? To much exposure to the sun is dangerous!"
He didn't want to answer, but saw little chance of avoiding more persistence were he to remain silent. "Not for a Saiyajin, now leave me be."
"Ah! You say that now, but in ten years time you'll be thanking me. I'll come in and find you a bottle, it won't take more than five minutes."
Vegeta growled. "Simpleton. I told you no!"
His agitation was only added to when he saw that she was completely ignoring him. She picked up the basket of washing, freshly taken from the line, and started to walk towards the house.
Languidly, Vegeta stretched an arm over the railing, gathered the smallest amount of ki possible, and let it drop to the floor.
It exploded on impact, three metres in front of the dizzy blonde. Soil spewed up from the ground and Vegeta closed his eyes, a smirk on his lips, as the back draft of power pushed the warm afternoon air up and over him. There was something so very right about that feeling.
When the dust settled he chanced a look down, tipping his head and smirking evilly under a heavy-set brow. The female was coated from head to toe in a film of dirt, her cheeks slightly red from the mild explosion. Her hand was placed to her mouth in what seemed like affected shock.
Vegeta knew this was the time to make his point. "When I say no, I mean no."
Knowing his point was well and truly made he righted his body and folded his arms back over his chest to carry on with the fascination of doing nothing at all. Therefore he wasn't totally prepared for what came next.
Was that childish giggling he heard. "Oh my Vegeta, you're so bad! Makes me wish I was twenty years younger."
He almost fell from the balcony in surprise. Did the woman have any sort of sense at all flying through that vacant skull?
There was more laughter, gently being carried on the breeze followed by an equally ludicrous sigh. He didn't know how to place it. The woman really was insane! What did he have to do to get through to her?
"I know you princes have your pride. I tell you what… I'll send a house-bot up to your room instead." She continued, "Is that better?"
"If I say yes will you leave me the hell alone?"
"Of course dear!" She tiptoed over the crater in four-inch stilettos, washing basket still impeccably placed, an accomplishment in itself. "Dinner will be at six. We'll be eating by the pool tonight. Such glorious weather! Oh and if you're looking for something to do, Bulma said she needs some help with your training room. She said it was something only you could help with. Now… let me see… she did tell me the problem, but I just can't think what it was, such a long name… was it prola… nope can't remember for the life of me!" She walked into the house.
"Imbecile!" Vegeta cursed, determined to figure a way of intimidating the woman for the sake of future comfort… and as an after thought… sanity.
To his exasperation the mother was true to her word, and he had great pleasure, on receipt of the accursed sun cream, in spin-kicking the infernal machine in half. Normally he would have simply blown it to smithereens, but he liked the room too much to risk its destruction by using a ki attack.
So very unsatisfying! Inanimate was no substitute for flesh and blood. Exacting restraint was no proxy for freedom of range. Perhaps it would do good to see how far the woman was into his project. Denying her his expertise would only mean delaying his own routine for longer.
Grudgingly it was that he left the sanctuary of his room. In the three weeks he had been resident to this place he had still found it insufficient to let him get to grips with the complexity of the house. There were so many corridors to choose from, that the exact placing of the daughter's laboratory was still a mystery to him. He snorted in irritation. Damned if he would ask for help, he continued on. It wasn't like he was in a hurry.
The botanical level was on the first floor. The communal family rooms on the second and the private quarters were above. It was therefore logical that the laboratories were on the ground floor.
Even for a creature such as himself it was hard to see in the shaded living quarters after having been in the glaring sunshine for so long, but it did not slow him. If the truth were told then he preferred the dark. He had spent so long living in space that it was almost comforting. Liberty had its appeal at first, but every being, no matter how twisted, craved for a sense of norm. Vegeta was no different.
As he floated over the stair rail and slowly descended down to the main hall, he congratulated himself on his own intellect. The disturbing pastels of the Capsule Corporation living quarters were muted as he descended and were replaced with corridors that looked much more sterile, and suited for work rather than pleasure - Odd, considering that to two of the three inhabitants, work was considered more of an enjoyment than paid inconvenience.
The only problem he was faced with was differentiating each in particular room. The ningen's dialect was well known to him. He had made a point of programming his space pod to teach it to him before he landed on Chikyu the first time, a little over a year ago. Unfortunately being able to speak the words and being able to read them were two very different matters.
He paused a moment. Trial and error seemed to be his only option. Picking a door, he tried the handle. Locked. The next three were the same. The fourth opened, but proved to be nothing more than a two-foot square closet. Only two left to try.
He smirked as the next door opened and revealed what was unmistakably a laboratory. There was very limited light in this room. Half slanted blinds only let stark lines of sunlight enter. Was that disinfectant he could smell? He concluded this must be the right place. He could not, however, see any activity.
There was a large metal table in the middle of the room, spread with an assortment of machines, all in various states of either repair or categorization. He looked closer, picking them up and scrutinizing them each in turn. "Feh! Far too bulky to be of any use off planet," he murmured, "Still… adequate I suppose."
"Should I take that as a compliment?"
Vegeta was surprised. The woman had managed to sneak up behind him without him sensing her arrival. That was another of the problems with this planet. The inhabitants were too weak for him to be able to sense properly. He didn't let the surprise show… merely let the machine fall from his palm, enjoying the fact that a couple of important components shattered on impact.
"You should take it as it was meant woman. An idle thought delivered out of boredom."
He turned slightly to look at her out of the corner of his eye.
"Is it ready yet?"
"Not far off." She replied.
His eyes followed her as she walked around the room, laying a stack of files on the table, and ending up sitting on the surface next to them. The long white lab coat she was wearing opened enough to allow a shapely leg to cross over its counterpart.
"It hasn't been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Dad did a load of research whilst I was on Namek. The space pod Goku used had something very similar to what you want fitted."
Vegeta wasn't happy. "If you already have the technology, then why is it taking so long?"
She put her hands up in defence. "Hey don't be getting all pissed off at me. I said similar not the same." She pulled out a file and handed it to him. "You see it was all incorporated into the spaceship design. Look." She pointed to the schematics he held, "It relied on the ship being in use for the force fields to work correctly. It's taking a lot of changes to make it adaptable for stationary use. That's why I need you to help."
Vegeta looked thoughtfully down at the papers. "You want to use the spare spacecraft?"
She ruffled a hand through her hair, "Yeah… It makes sense don't you think?"
"If that is how it was designed before… then yes."
"Easier too because I don't actually have to build the thing from scratch… but I really need to find a way of redirecting the power to stop it from overheating. The dampeners just can't support that much energy, not without a system to cool them. I've tried everything I can think of… nothing has worked for prolonged use. I could fit up a cooling unit for each, injecting regulated amounts of dry ice, but it would still only support a couple of hours use at most. I'm kind of hoping you can tell me how the problem was overcome in your old training rooms."
Vegeta took another look at the complex equations. Some of them he didn't understand, but he'd be damned if he would say as much. "I am not sure. There were several rooms per deck, but as most of the training was done off world, then they were run along very similar lines to Kakarrot's prototype…. If I had a scouter then it would be no problem trying to find the data you need, but as it is… I'm not sure I can help."
"A scouter?" She repeated. It sounded almost as if she were pouncing on the information on purpose. "Would it really have everything on there?"
"Yes, it had a very complex data base. But that is not practicable now is it?"
He was somewhat astonished when she didn't reply. In fact he was downright infuriated, as she seemed to totally disregard his presence and rushed to the opposite end of the room.
He stalked after her, catching her shoulder and spinning her violently around. "How dare you ignore me ningen? Show some respect!"
He caught the spark of indignation in her eyes. He was pleased at its presence. It flamed across her face and he could practically feel the anger emanating from her chest. Her small mouth parted as though she wanted to retort, but it was just as quickly clamped shut. It looked as though her jaw would shatter any second there was so much tension in it.
Then… it was gone, cleared with a single exhale.
Not for the first time he wondered why that word sounded so wrong on her lips.
"I didn't mean to be rude. Come here… I want to show you something."
Confusion was replaced with intrigue. Apology accepted, he nodded curtly and walked behind her.
She escorted him to where there was a large storage complex. Rows of carefully labelled metal boxes were sunk into the smooth wall. It almost reminded him of a miniature morgue.
One of her long fingers glided over its surface. "Ah hah! Here it is." She punched a series of commands into the keypad, and it opened with a hiss. "Take a look inside."
Vegeta looked at her momentarily. Her motives were unclear. There didn't appear to be any malice on her features, but he wouldn't be secure. There was no telling what was in the box. Suspicion won over curiosity.
"No." He answered, "If it is that important, you will show me."
He chuckled slightly as she huffed in annoyance, glad that she mistook his abstinence for pride.
She reached slowly inside, and goosebumps danced up her arms. "Shit!" she giggled, "That's cold!" Extracting her hand she dangled her prize in front of his face and rolled her eyes sarcastically. "There… and it took so much effort as well."
He took the small machine from her hands. "Where did you get this?"
"That's for me to know. Can you find the data now?"
Vegeta looked down at the mangled scouter. "It's broken."
He growled, "Watch it woman."
Automatically she shut up. He frowned. Why did compliance from her feel so unnatural?
"Yes I can get the relevant data from it, but it will need to be properly repaired first."
"No big deal. I can get it done in a couple of hours. I'll bring it to dinner tonight and you can use it then. Ok?"
"Good I'll see you then. I'm all done with you now. You can go back to sunbathing."
"What the…?" The door handle paid for Vegeta's displeasure, being bent in two by his powerful grip.
All he could hear was Bulma's laughter, followed by, "I recommend factor thirty, you can never be too careful with such delicate skin!" More laughter.
"Stop laughing!" he demanded.
She sobered slightly as he glared at her, but couldn't totally control it. A couple of chocked giggles echoed around the room.
"Woman I'm warning you!"
Her face was twisted glowing a peculiar shade of red, but she had at least managed to stifle any noise. Satisfied that at least she had tried, Vegeta went to leave.
"You know… you really need to lighten up."
He didn't look back as he left the room. "When I have something to be light about I'll let you know."
Vegeta decided at that point that humans as a whole were very disconcerting. What the hell did he need to be happy for? What was their preoccupation with it? Well at least he knew one thing for certain. Thinking would be reserved as a nighttime activity from now on. Too much attention was drawn to it during the day. He would find something else to occupy his time until food was served. The question was what?
He wandered aimlessly outside. Finding himself on a large paved area, surrounded by the mother's god-awful rose bushes, an idea hit. Well… it wouldn't be as rewarding as doing real training but at least it would serve as a distraction whilst he waited. Carefully he paced out the area. It was the perfect size for standard formwork. It had been so long since he had gone through his foundation forms, but his whole life had changed within the past few weeks. It wouldn't hurt to test them out.
He tried to think back to his childhood on Vegeta-sei and his instruction under his father's watchful eye. He grimaced. It was so foggy. There were times when he fully believed that he couldn't remember a godforsaken thing, but there were others, such as now, when he remembered precious little titbits of information about his life as a young prince.
Guh mi hyung would be perfect for this situation. There was no ki or flying involved, just simple, controlled and precise stances and strikes. It would barely make him break a sweat, but it was better than inactivity.
Half an hour was past in no time at all as he started out with a very basic warm up. Shaking his limbs out and cracking his neck from side to side, Vegeta decided he was ready to begin. His starting position was a low horse stance. It was a peculiar sensation, not calling on his ki at all to level it out. He grinned slightly. It might be trickier than he had at first thought.
His diaphragm tightened as he exhaled. It echoed around his throat, but he was satisfied when there was no ki to join it. Pointing his fingers and setting his feet firmly he began. Joining fingertips he moved both arms slowly to the sun, blocking the rays with each digit. Then in contrast his feet moved quickly as he delivered a spear hand, and took a step back turning to block again, one hand forward the other behind. The rest was a blur. Both feet together…Turn… spinning knife hand… inside turn kick… ridge hand… double block… step… turn… double block… crane stance… side block… punch… palm strike… middle knuckle punch… cover… cover… spinning hook kick… strike… double crescent punch… double palm strike… sumagi guan… side kick…
Several hours were lost in this manner. He progressed through several forms and became slightly more adventurous as time drew on. It was quite an unexpected rush, not relying on ki energy. He even went as far as to admit that he was actually enjoying himself.
The sun beat down, but the freshness of the now cooling evening breeze, caressed gently over his heated skin making it more than comfortable. He was more than a little disappointed therefore, when the daughter emerged from her laboratory and announced that it was close to dinnertime. If truth were told he was a little surprised, had he really been doing it for that long? He didn't want to stop. There was something so very addictive in it, even though he doubted it was actually making him any stronger.
"Five more minutes!" He shouted, not willing to relinquish the feeling so readily.
"Ok… just don't forget to shower first."
He continued, but something didn't feel right. He looked to the left. "Onna!" He said, not letting up, "Don't you have anything better to do? I don't need an audience."
Was it his imagination or was she blushing? No… must have been a reflection of the sunset on her skin, what was there for her to be so flustered about? It was just that he was moving so fast.
"Um… yeah." She stammered. "I was just going to put the… um… thing in the… thing… and… Yeah!"
She hurried away, but Vegeta could have sworn there was a "Damn!" added onto the end of that speech, when she thought she was out of hearing. Whatever it was, after she left, he let out a breath and came to a stop. The low spin kick was forgotten as he fell to the floor, resting on his elbows, his chest pounding.
After he had regained his breath and de-beaded his brow of sweat, he frowned. "Shit… that really took it out of me. I'll have to remember to do it more often. Who would have guessed doing something so simple could be so rewarding, or perhaps I'm just getting out of shape with all this lazing about."
He smirked. "I guess I have something to do until the training room is functioning properly." He made a mental note to inform the mother that this section of the garden was to be kept clear at all times.
Picking himself up he went over a couple of the forms again, before reluctantly moving away and floating up to his balcony to get cleaned up.
The pool area was teaming with life as he walked in from the indoor entrance. No one had noticed him yet which was just the way he liked it. Maybe if he were really lucky then he would be able to grab his share of the food and disappear before anyone realized he was there.
No such luck.
He growled low in the throat as the young Namekian approached. The child bowed once in respect. Vegeta raised an eyebrow in astonishment. Usually Dende would hide behind one of the elders and not dare to so much as make eye contact. This sudden reversal was… well for lack of a better word… weird.
"Good evening Vegeta-Sama!" He greeted. "Bulma-San asked me to tell you that she's taken your food upstairs."
"Why… what the hell for?"
"She said that the scouters fixed, but she doesn't want to bore us all with technical stuff over dinner. She said it wasn't polite."
He sneered, "And yet it's fine to bore me with it."
Dende looked back as though he didn't know how to answer.
"Don't look so concerned brat. It's not like I'm going to kill the messenger." He chuckled low.
The young Namekian gulped, and took a step back.
"Now… now" Vegeta continued, laughing cruelly, "Where did all that courage go?" He turned and walked away. "Don't sweat it kid. Once I've defeated Kakarrot, I'll remember to make yours a quick death, for showing at least a little backbone."
With no other word he left the room.