Just a note: Mirai Trunks doesn’t appear in the next few chapters as he is not involved in this battle but near fear he will return again and won’t disappear after that.
Anyway, you know the standard disclaimers so here’s the story….
Chapter 4- Bulma's Rescue
"This is it" Bulma thought squeezing her eyes tight "I hope it's quick and painless." She heard the robotic probe's guns lock and fire a volley toward her and she held her breath as she waited for it to hit her.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" she heard a scream of fear and rage from behind her.
She opened her eyes in time to see the laser beams struck with a beam of energy. The subsequent flash of bright light blinded her before she could turn away. She tried to open her eyes to make-out the figure, which now stood between her and the probe, but her eyes hurt too much and everything appeared to be surrounded in a fog of light. She closed them again and furiously rubbed them hoping the pain would soon stop.
"Who is it?" she thought.
"GATLIC GUN!" she heard a familiar voice cry.
"Vegeta?" she wondered in silence "it was Vegeta that saved me?" She tried to open her eyes once again and this time, although her vision was still a bit blurry, she could make out the figure that stood with his back to her. It was masculine with a muscular frame and a shock of black hair that stood up straight in the air resembling a flame. It was indeed Vegeta.
Although she had to keep blinking she could see that the probe was enveloped in the explosion of energy from Vegeta's powerful attack.
Vegeta looked over his shoulder and down at her. "I told you that you shouldn't of come alone woman," he snapped.
She moved her eyes from Vegeta's face once again to the dissipating explosion. "Not again" Bulma wailed as she saw the probe emerging unscathed.
"Damn!" Vegeta exclaimed as he beheld it as well "What is that thing anyway?"
"I think it's a probe of some kind" Bulma answered relieved to find that her sight was rapidly returning to normal now.
The blue light shot out and scanned Vegeta from head to toe. "What the hell was that for?"
"It was scanning you. Next it will start reciting it's reading of you and then it will start shooting" Bulma replied with concern.
The machine began to whir and beep even as Bulma spoke. "Subject: Male, Saiyajin. Height..." the probe began.
Bulma squealed in surprise as Vegeta turned, scooped her up into his arms, and was airborne in one quick fluid motion.
"What are you doing!" Bulma exclaimed in fear and surprise as her now fully restored vision gave her a perfect view of the ground rapidly falling away below them. As the realization of how high they were going struck her she threw her arms around his neck, held on to him tightly, and focused her gaze on his face. "Where are you taking me?" she asked trying desperately not to think of how high in the sky they were.
"You don't want to be there when it starts shooting again do you?" Vegeta gruffly answered. He ventured to look down at her face and saw the fear traced across her features. Bulma looked on in surprise as his expression softened while he looked down into her face. "I'm taking you somewhere safe," he said in as reassuring a tone as he could manage squarely meeting her gaze with his.
Bulma ventured a timid smile and when he answered it with his own cock-eyed smirk all at once all her fear vanished. As she looked on suddenly Vegeta's eyebrows forked, he tightened his hold on her, his expression hardened, and he looked over his shoulder. Bulma looked over his other shoulder and saw the probe in hot pursuit.
"Now what do we do?" Bulma cried in desperation.
"We loose it" came Vegeta's answer. "Hold-on tight."
Before Bulma had a chance to follow his instructions he whipped around and doubled back on the machine. Bulma shouted not only in surprise, as she had almost lost her grip on him, but also in disbelief because they were rushing at the probe head-on and it started to fire.
Goku, Gohan and Krillan hung in the air above the canyon below looking down at the astonishing sight below them. The first thing that caught their attention was the burning remains of an air car. They landed next to it, spread out, and tried to see if anyone had survived the explosion.
Goku's attention was drawn to a smoking pile of metal, melted plastic and circuits over closer to the strange cylindrical craft in the crater below. As he tried to make out what it had been when he then noticed the knocked over box not far away and, after a quick glance towards the cylinder, went to investigate. When he reached it his heart sank as he read the inscription on top of the box that proclaimed its owner to be Bulma.
"Oh no!" he heard Krillan call from behind. "Come look at this!"
Goku hurried over and reached Krillan just behind Gohan and looked down at the object to which his friend was pointing. It was a piece of the air car and stamped on the side was "Capsule Corporation."
"You don't think that Bulma was in that car?" Krillan said in concern.
"I don't know" Goku said "but I found her toolbox over there." He pointed behind them to the spot.
"Dad," Gohan said, "Do you think she's..."
Goku put his hand on his son's head and ruffled his hair reassuringly. "I don't think she's even here Gohan," he said. With that Goku reached out searching for the Ki of the woman who had been his friend since childhood.
Gohan looked up into his father's face to see the intense look of concentration on it and was about to say something when he noticed another all too familiar Ki approaching from the west. Gohan slipped out from under his father's hand, who didn't seem to notice, and turned to face it.
Krillan turned to look at his two friends. He was about to say something to Goku when Gohan broke away from his father took a few steps and faced the West. He then too detected the Ki of the figure fast approaching them.
"Hey guys!" Goku suddenly shouted with glee "I found her!"
"Where is she?" Krillan exclaimed turning his attention back to Goku.
"Is she alright?" Gohan chimed in looking back over is shoulder.
"She's over that way," he said pointing northeast "she seems just fine, and she's not alone."
"Who are you talking about?" Piccolo asked as he joined the group.
"We're talking about Bulma," Gohan said with a smile of greeting to his mentor.
"It looks like she was attacked here" Krillan started in not bothering with a greeting "but got away with someone's help."
"Yeah," Goku added, "she's headed northeast at a very high speed and Vegeta is with her."
"Vegeta!" the others exclaimed in disbelief.
"Yes," Goku said trying to stifle the laugh their expressions generated "and I think there's trouble judging by the rate his Ki is rising." "If they only knew the half of it," Goku added to himself.
"Do you think we should go help?" Krillan asked his friend.
Goku was about to answer in the affirmative when he noticed something emerging from the cylinder. The others quickly turned to see what had caught Goku's attention and were surprised to see an egg-shaped machine hovering toward the ground.
Bulma closed her eyes, buried her head in Vegeta's chest and held on with all her strengthen as they barreled toward the firing probe.
Vegeta opened his senses as far as he could and concentrated on dodging the on-coming hail of laser fire. He successfully avoided several when he noticed that the next volley was coming from all guns at once making it impossible to completely evade. Taking a deep breath he dove down below the machine much earlier than he had planned to. He suppressed the grunt of pain trying to escape from his lips as he felt the hot laser dig into his shoulder much too close to the woman's hands who clung to him in fear. Just as he had hoped, they were safe from further fire for the moment because the underside of the probe had no guns and it seemed to lack the ability to change directions quickly. Vegeta used this opportunity to drop down into a narrow chasm just below him.
Bulma then dared to open her eyes and look out once again. They now were flanked on either side by tall rock walls and a jagged chasm stretched out in front of them. She looked up above them and saw the probe descending. Vegeta apparently had noticed as well because he slowed his speed down to match the probe's. She thought it best not to try and say anything because of the intense look on the Saiyajin Prince's face.
Vegeta fought hard to concentrate as he tried to keep his attention on the two tasks at hand: navigating the jagged crevice's twists and turn's and keeping himself and his passenger out of the probe's line of fire by keeping it just above them. He knew if he got too far ahead of it that it would drop down into the chasm behind them and they'd have no hope of escape. For a while it seemed to work. The probe clearly tried to maneuver the Saiyajin into its line of fire by slowing down and speeding up at varying intervals. It also tried to drop down behind them several times but each time Vegeta was able to counter.
Bulma marveled at the implications of the machine's calculated behavior. It was almost as if it could think and plan. It seemed to have possession of true artificial intelligence, something that had so far the earth's technological geniuses could not create. Suddenly she became aware that they were accelerating very rapidly, looked up and saw the reason why.
The probe was forcing a speed duel as it tried to race ahead of them. Vegeta was finding it harder to split his concentration. The faster they were going the more attention he needed to pay to the treacherously winding path he was racing down. He knew something was stewing in the mechanical mind of their pursuer but he couldn't figure out what it was. He also knew they were fast approaching his destination, the end of the chasm, and he had to be ready to carry out his plan when he reached it.
Suddenly he became aware that the probe had stopped and was dropping down behind him. With the rate of speed they were going it was impossible for him to slow down enough to cut-off the probe's descent. Quickly he did the only thing he could and sped up hoping to leave a big enough gap between himself and the probe to get Bulma to safety before it caught up to them.
In his rush to round the next corner he miscalculated slamming his injured shoulder and one of her arms into a jagged outcrop of rock. The pain from his injured shoulder caused him to loosen his grip around her waist. No longer able to hang onto his neck because the impact had broken her arm Bulma was unable to compensate and with a scream she began to fall backwards. Vegeta felt her slipping from his grasp but there was nothing he could do to regain his grip on her. Unsure of exactly how it happened Bulma found herself falling headfirst toward the rocks below.
Without thinking Vegeta dove head first after the falling woman. In a short burst of speed he was able to reach her and grab her around the waist with both arms and flip over so that they were right side up again before landing on the canyon floor on his feet.
He managed to set her on her feet and slowly released his grip on her but her recent brush with death had left her shaky and unable to stand on her own so she leaned back into his arms once more. The force with which he had grabbed her had pushed most of the air out of her lungs so she breathed deeply trying to fill them once more. In a haze of dizziness caused by the pain of her broken arm and her brief loss of oxygen she looked up to see the probe looming above them.
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