Pandora's Box: Chapter 2
aka Unexpected Guests
Vegeta of Vegeta once ruled them all...
Vegeta of Vegeta had a great fall...
No help from the horses...
No help from the men...
And Vegeta couldn't put Vegeta together again...
Again the darkness suddenly turned into light, temporarily blinding him. He blinked away the spots in front of his vision, then was able to confirm that he arrived at the time the androids would be making their debut. Not sensing any ki, he wondered if the fight had yet to begin, or if...it was already over. He hoped it was the first of the two scenarios his mind produced, and hurrying, he put the time machine back into its capsule form, neatly putting it away.
Flying at a reasonable speed to cover a good amount of ground, but to also keep his ki hidden, he made it to the island by South City in a few minutes. Nothing was destroyed, so his hopes about the androids not attacking yet were fueled. Gazing across the landscape, he noticed an aircraft with the Capsule Corp logo upon it on a nearby cliff that overlooked the city. Curious, he flew down to investigate only to find Bulma and Zarbon sitting down across from one another. "Hey. What's going on?" Trunks decided to be brief as he landed.
Bulma turned and exposed the small child that she was cradling in her arms, "The boys are down there."
Trunks' ears heard the answer, though it was nearly muted out by his mind, which was focused on the child in her arms. He had expected to see some sort of baby version of himself. Some small child with light purple hair like his own. Some being that would carry his name. What he did not expect was for Bulma to be holding a baby that seemed to take on a resemblance to Zarbon. A small child with light green hair and pale blue skin. Some being that was half-human half..whatever Zarbon was. Trunks nearly collapsed from surprise as he suddenly realized that this timeline was much different from the one that he knew of. And more confusing than he could ever dream. Bulma glanced at Trunks and quirked an eyebrow, "What's wrong with 'Mystery Man'?"
Trunks shook his head to snap himself out of it, "N-Nothing! I'm fine! I'm going to go look for the others, I suppose. Um...would you happen to maybe know where...Vegeta is?" He really wanted to see more of his father, though it didn't appear that this was the case in this timeline. Here, he had no family.
Zarbon gave a laugh, though he looked rather disgusted, "I think he's back at home nursing a hangover." Trunks felt himself becoming defensive even though he didn't know his father all too well. His mother said not to expect much from him, but he couldn't be that bad, could he...?
"What do you mean..?" Trunks asked cautiously, aiming his question towards Bulma since it seemed that Zarbon was more biased than this past version of his mother.
"Exactly what it means, 'Mystery Man'. Vegeta was up drinking all last night, like he always does. He probably couldn't even tell you his own name if you asked him, so don't expect him to come socializing," Bulma sneered before turning her attention to the squirming baby in her arms.
"I see..." the purple-haired teen replied after a moment of thinking, "..Has he been training?"
Zarbon laughed again, quickly answering, "Only for alcohol tolerance."
The unease in the air made Trunks turn the subject away from Vegeta, "So uh...is that your son?"
Bulma glanced at him and a smile graced her face, "Why, as a matter of fact, yes! I think he's turning out quite nice considering the type of species he's formed from." She paused to wink, then continued, "His name is Keichii, out of honor of one of Zarbon's old friends. Cute little guy, huh?"
Trunks nearly forced a smile to his lips - it wasn't the fact that the kid was ugly or anything (which he wasn't) it was just that, well..he was supposed to be in his place - and he gave a nod, "I'd say he's turning out just fine."
Bulma extended Keichii towards the demi-Saijin, "Do you want to hold him?"
Trunks' eyes widened a bit, "Uh...no. No, thank you."
Bulma smiled and cradled her child again, "Alright. You only need to ask 'Mystery Man'."
Trunks, realizing that revealing his name wouldn't endanger anything, calmly introduced himself, "Trunks. My name is Trunks." Zarbon glanced at him but kept his gaze directed at the city below them.
"Hmm...Trunks. That's an interesting name," Bulma commented, pushing her bangs out of her face.
"What I'd like to know is why couldn't you have told us that before?" the taller man asked, "What exactly are you, or were you, hiding?"
Trunks cleared his throat before replying in a quieter voice, "I really think that's none of your business."
Zarbon seemed shocked by the sudden coldness that radiated off of the teen, but decided to shrug it off, "Alright. Fine. Play 'Mystery Man' forever. New and improved and now with an alias! Trunks the Mystery Man..hmmm..has a very strange ring to it. Don't you think, Bulma?"
She looked up from Keichii and gave a shrug, "I guess."
Suddenly, a figure came over the edge of the cliff and landed on the grass with a sigh. "Hey Yamcha. What are you up to?" Trunks questioned. He mentally kicked himself for being too negligent of his duties, 'You did not come back in time to play Private Detective or Mystery Man, Trunks! You're here to stop the androids!'
The desert bandit put his hands on his hips, resembling a disgruntled postal worker, "Hey Mystery Guy-!"
Bulma cut him off to add in, "Trunks." Yamcha looked over at her because of her rude interruption. "His name is Trunks," the blue-haired lady informed before shrugging off her ex-boyfriend.
"Trunks," Yamcha started again, a little more irritated this time because of Bulma, "There are no androids."
The demi-Saijin fell over from surprise and he stared up at Yamcha from the ground, "W-What!? ..You're aware of the entire situation?? But Goku gave me his word!"
The voice of Earth's hero came from behind Trunks, "Yeah, well. I did keep my promise, Trunks. It was Piccolo who told everyone about the androids coming."
The teen spun around, stumbling to his feet, "Goku?? What do you mean?"
The Namek landed beside the group with his arms folded, "He means I overheard the little conversation you two had. I decided it wasn't fair for only Goku to change his destiny, and so, I decided to share the said information about the androids coming."
Trunks shuffled his feet for a second before he asked, "You didn't tell them anything else, did you...?"
"Don't worry, kid. I'm just sorry mom and dad didn't turn out to be..what you thought they were," Piccolo said coolly, but his expression showed off sympathy towards the demi-Saijin, "Although, if I were you Trunks, I'd do my best to find excuses for some things that may cause some controversy later on in the event if someone really thinks about some certain aspects pertaining to you."
Trunks took the subtle hint and nodded in agreement, 'If anyone questions me on why I can go Super Saijin I better have a damn good excuse considering I'm not even born. I don't need them knowing all the details of my life and another timeline that's so far askew from this one. On the other hand..maybe it wouldn't really matter then?'
Piccolo took a breath and looked outward towards the sea, "Anyways...We finished scouting out the entire island and there is no sign of any androids. What do you have to say to that, Trunks?"
The teenager took a few moments to think, 'This is insane! What am I supposed to say to that!? Everything's out of control and nothing's holding true to my timeline! The best I can do is give them a theory on why the androids haven't shown up and the only thing I can think of is that, perhaps in this time, they aren't ready yet.' Trunks looked across the now anxious group of Z Fighters, with Krillin, Tien, Gohan, and Chao-tzu as the new arrivals, "In all probability. The androids aren't..ready for release yet, as Dr. Gero is a perfectionist, although, I can't really say for sure."
Goku gave a nod as he folded his arms, "You guys might be going a little too hard on Trunks. We're tampering with the timeline, remember? Things will be different. Things are definitely different than they were supposed to be. This isn't exactly a perfect science or a fine art - this is something almost completely out of our control, you know."
Bulma blew her bangs out of her face before she decided to contribute, "Goku's right, guys."
"So what are we supposed to do?" Krillin asked while taking a seat, "Just wait?"
Goku gave a brief nod, "I think that's just about all we can do. So..until then...?"
Trunks suddenly grasped onto Goku's arm to stop him from leaving, "Hey Goku? Can we have a talk again?"
The Saijin gave a nod in response, "Anytime, Trunks." They waved goodbye to the others as they flew off to a more secluded area. After they got far enough away that even Piccolo could not hear them, Goku spoke up, "What's up, Trunks?"
The purple-haired teen glanced over at Goku, "It's just that...it's....This timeline is so different than what happened in mine, Goku. I think it's..way out of control. I'm sorry. I think I might have disrupted everything beyond the point of repair. I think my coming was a bad decision."
Goku abruptly stopped their flight, a look of anger on his face, "Trunks! How can you say that!? You came back to do something good - to save the world! Do you think that this is worse than what has happened in your time? Do you? There might be a chance that the androids are more powerful than us, even with our three years of training, but damnit, Trunks! I don't care! I'd rather have the chance to fight them than be killed off by some lame virus! Stop worrying, Trunks. Worrying never helped anything."
Trunks looked down, unsure of what to say, "I..."
Goku sighed and continued, "What matters here is your intentions, Trunks. Your intentions are good and have always been good. What happens now is not your fault. What happens now is beyond anyone's control. The future is now."
Trunks looked up at the taller man and gave a small nod, "I just wish..I could do more."
Goku shrugged and gave a smile, "You've done enough, Trunks. Plenty. More than enough. Let us handle things now, ok?"
Trunks gave another nod, a weak smile on his lips, "Thanks, Goku. You're...everything mom said you were."
Goku laughed, rubbing the back of his neck, "Yeah. That reminds me...I'm sorry about that. I had no idea that Zarbon and Bulma..."
Trunks paled, remembering what had occurred a few minutes before, "Yes...I....don't know what to say. My father....they said...."
Goku's smile faded and he slowly folded his arms, "Yes, well...I haven't seen Vegeta in a long while. I just heard about him recently. I.....I hate to admit that I'm worried..but I can't stop it. You have to understand, Trunks, I usually never worry, but I can't stop this time. ...I know it's bad, I just don't know how bad. I mean, he stopped training for god sakes. I don't know if I can do anything, and if I should even try.. I must sound so stupid..worrying over Vegeta, the man who tried to kill me..." He gave a half-hearted chuckle and his head a shake, "Maybe it's because he's the only Saijin left, but I guess it doesn't really matter..."
Trunks swallowed a lump that had appeared in his throat, "Goku, if it's alright, will you take me to go see him? I want to talk to him. Even though he isn't my father in this timeline, he is still my father."
Goku nodded firmly, "Sure. That won't be a problem." The black-haired man placed his hand on the teen's shoulder while the other hand placed two fingers to his forehead, and after a moment, they were gone. The next thing Trunks knew, they were in front of Capsule Corp. "Look, Trunks," Goku said while withdrawing his hand, "If it's alright, I'm going to go train while we wait for the androids. If you need anything, I'll be out by the forest near my house, ok?" Trunks nodded and watched Goku use his "Instant Transmission" to depart. He stared off into space for a moment before he headed inside, scouting around for his father's form.
He passed the den when he stopped and backed up to look into the room again. The room was dark for the afternoon, and he stepped inside to check it out. There was quite a few beer bottles, as well as beer cans, scattered about on the floor. He moved around the couch to look at the front side, and there was his father - asleep. Trunks frowned, feeling overwhelming sadness overcome him, and he knelt to examine the figure.
Stomach down and half hanging off of the piece of furniture, Vegeta's hand still loosely held onto a large bottle of vodka that had a few drops left in it at best. His tail wasn't moving for once, it just hung over the side of the couch limply. Trunks felt his chest tighten as Vegeta suddenly groaned a bit, his tail twitching before lazily swinging back and forth. He held his breath as Vegeta's eyes slowly, almost forcefully, began to open. Vegeta blinked a few times before he began to stare at Trunks with a tired expression on his face - in truth he felt too comfortable in his position to move at the moment. Trunks, feeling awkward that they were just sitting there not saying anything, decided to speak up, "Hey." Vegeta merely blinked slowly, wiggled his nose for a second, inhaled deeply, and continued to lie there. Trunks sat himself down, folding his legs indian style, "Are you alright?"
Vegeta swallowed before murmuring, "...not so loud..." His voice was quiet, as if Vegeta didn't have much energy at the moment, and he carefully moved himself into a position on his back. He sighed deeply before pulling his arm up, putting the bottle to his lips. He extracted what was left of his vodka before chucking the glass container out of sight - it landed on the carpet somewhere near the window with a heavy thunk. Vegeta rubbed his forehead before searching for another bottle. He felt around on the floor before reaching under the couch. A smile graced his features when he pulled out a bottle of gin. He opened it and immediately began to chug it down, Trunks watching wide-eyed the whole time. He stopped after about a quarter of the bottle was gone and gave a sigh of appreciation. He put the lid back on before stretching his body, his tail puffing out before the hairs slicked back into their normal positions. "Hnnn...what are you doing back so early?" Vegeta questioned, his voice wavering just a bit.
"Uh..." Trunks shrugged slightly, "I came to help fight the androids."
Vegeta's eyebrows raised and he clicked his tongue, "Really? It's been three years? Hm. Well, I'll be damned." A sigh as he leaned into the cushions of the couch, "Who gives a fuck.."
Trunks faltered for words, "So why haven't you been training?"
Vegeta released a bitter laugh before he decided that that was too much noise for his ears and quieted down, "Oh yeah, now that sounds smart! Let's train and train to try to be better than Kakkarot! Pssh..like that'll ever happen. Yeah. Right. Who cares?"
Trunks frowned and leaned back a bit, "So you've....been drinking?"
Vegeta opened his bottle and took a swig before answering, "What's it to you?" His tail lashed a bit to express defensiveness before he added, "You can't have any. I think you're too young anyways according to these stupid Earth laws."
Trunks waved his hands, "No, no...I don't want any anyways."
Vegeta's lips pulled into a tight smirk, "Good." His tail swung back and forth leisurely, and he took another long drink before putting the lid back on again, "Is that all, then?"
Trunks felt a bit confused, "Uh...no...? ..How've..you been?"
Vegeta merely laughed in response. Finally, he decided to put the boy in his place, "Why aren't you fighting the androids?" Maybe the brat would get the message - he isn't welcome.
Trunks looked away for a second, "Because they're..not here yet."
The prince smirked and gave a nod, "Oh. I see. I suppose they'll be here any second, ready to cause Earth's downfall and kill us all off. Stalking around city to city blowing random things up and killing anyone in sight for fun. Laughing maniacally after laying punch after punch after punch into the forms of 'Earth's Special Forces' until their internal organs can't handle it anymore and split and burst causing internal bleeding that can't stop and they choke on their own blood, and even then, they'll toy with the dead bodies some more.
"..I suppose I should be saying my last prayers before they march right in here to kill me for fun, kicking me back and forth until my rib cage breaks and punctures my lungs, leaving me unable to fight, and then they'll use a ki blast to the head and blow my brains across the wall and leave me there looking like some psychotic form of modern art..with the random drops of blood and brain matter painted in a spatter effect that would cause the best interior decorator to be jealous." Trunks sat in shock as his father spoke so casually of all of this. Vegeta's tail stopped, twitched once, paused for a moment, and began to swing again. He blinked and calmly looked at Trunks, "Or do you think Kakkarot can destroy them?"
Trunks searched for words to say after that monologue, "I, uh...I think he can do it." Vegeta tilted his head back, "Oh. Well then. I guess there's no worry."
"Actually, I think you better embrace the idea about becoming modern art," a young man's voice suddenly said. Vegeta and Trunks both turned towards the voice in an instant, their eyes laying upon a man who had shoulder length black hair, light blue eyes, earrings, and quite an interesting outfit. Trunks gasped and backed away in both shock and fear.
Vegeta looked at Trunks in detached interest, 'If the kid killed Freiza and he's afraid, then...' He looked back at the man leaning against the doorway and then he focused behind him where two other people stood - a girl whose form was similar to the man's except she was blond, and another guy who was very tall with a red mohawk, 'These must be the androids.' Vegeta looked back at Trunks and calmly said, "Hey. I think the androids are here." He took a swig of his gin before looking at the intruders again. "You don't want to fight me," he said, "My power level isn't even one million."
The black-haired one looked back at the red-head, "Sixteen, is this true?"
The android looked at the prince for a moment before stating, "It is true, Seventeen. Vegeta's barely over three hundred thousand."
Vegeta took another large gulp from his bottle before he looked at Trunks, "They don't seem so bad."
The demi-Saijin leapt up, his fists clenched, "How can you say that!? They'll kill everyone!"
Vegeta shrugged, stretching again and sitting up, "Oh. Boo hoo. The pathetic earthlings will die. Cry, cry." He stood up and began to walk towards the androids, his posture slouched and his feet dragging. Trunks' eyes nearly popped out of his head, but Vegeta stopped in front of them. He looked down at his bottle of gin, then up at the androids, then at the gin, then at the androids, and then he pushed the bottle into Android Seventeen's hands. "There you go," he said, "Moseltav or whatever, I don't know these stupid Earth languages. Oh, and if you're going to kill me can you wait a minute? I'd really like to eat something before I die." He turned towards Sixteen who was blocking his exit, "Coming through." The big guy side-stepped for Vegeta and everyone watched as the Saijin dragged himself over to the fridge and looked through it. He pulled out a steak and looked over at the androids, "Do you want anything?"
Trunks raced into the room, "Vegeta! What do you think you're doing!?"
The brunette took the steak off of the plate and ripped off a piece. While chewing on it, he replied, "Hey. They're guests, kid. Don't you have any manners?"
Trunks was too stunned by all of this. He sat down, "I-I can't believe you!"
Vegeta swallowed the piece of meat in his mouth and went for another bite, "So..do you guys want anything?"
The girl spoke up, "Sure. I'd like some new clothes."
Seventeen rolled his eyes, "Eighteen!"
She put her hands on her hips, "What?" Vegeta held the steak by his mouth and motioned for them to follow. Trunks tagged along as they went upstairs towards his mother's room.
Vegeta opened the door and took a bite off of his steak, "Here you go, miss. Take whatever you want."
Trunks ripped the steak from Vegeta's hands to get his attention, "Are you completely nuts!? How can you do this!? Don't you care about Bulma!?"
Vegeta snatched his food back and he glared at the purple-haired teen, "No. In fact, I hate her. I'd kill her myself if it wasn't for Zarbon. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must tend to my guests."
Trunks stood in the hallway with his mouth open. After a moment he found words again, "You...You are nuts!" He raced down the steps and out of the door.
Vegeta padded over to Eighteen, "Sorry about the kid."
The blond flipped her hair before she continued looking through the drawers in Bulma's dresser, "It's ok."
Vegeta leaned against the wall, taking another bite of his steak, "How about you guys? Anything I can do for you?"
Seventeen put his hands into his pockets, "Not unless you have a car."
Sixteen spoke in his normal monotone, "Goku."
Vegeta looked down in thought, taking another chunk out of the meat before something caught his eyes: car keys on Zarbon's dresser. The full-blooded Saijin gestured over at the keys, "Knock yourself out, Sir Seventeen." He looked up at Sixteen, "Sorry, I can't help you."
"GOKU! GOKUUUU!" Trunks screamed at the top of his lungs, flying around the forest at Super Saijin speed. Suddenly, the full-blooded Saijin appeared in front of him, and Trunks, startled, nearly ran into him. Catching his breath, he clasped onto the taller man, "The-The androids! They're at Capsule Corp right now!"
Goku's eyes widened in surprise, and he instantly replied, "How's Vegeta!?"
Trunks shook his head, "He's fine. He's...he's talking to them. I don't think they'll attack him, not yet at least. We have to get over there now!"
Goku paused to think about it, "I agree, but the longer we can hold this off, the better. We have the element of surprise so far, and that's good. Were Bulma and Zarbon at Capsule Corp too?"
The demi-Saijin shook his head, "No."
Goku nodded and then took another moment to think things over again, "Ok. I think we should find them. To keep Keichii and Bulma out of this mess."
Trunks agreed, "I think that's a wise idea."
Goku tipped his head back and closed his eyes, concentrating. He placed his hand on Trunks' shoulder, and they faded out.
Bulma sighed as they got seated, glad to be off her feet. She opened the menu and browsed the different entrees when suddenly the lady behind them screamed. Bulma shut her eyes, unsure of how to react to more stress.
Suddenly, a familiar voice shouted out, "Opps! Wrong booth! Sorry!" She spun around to see Goku and Trunks next to a lady who sat across from her friends. Goku and Trunks quickly made their exit over to Bulma. "Hey Bulma," Goku greeted with a smile, he turned to Zarbon and gave a nod - who nodded back - and he bent over and said hello to Keichii. Trunks ahemed to get the hero's attention and Goku gave a laugh. "Oh yeah," he said out loud to himself before looking at Bulma again, "We're here to tell you not to go back to Capsule Corp."
Bulma's eyes widened and she slammed the menu down on the table, "WHAT!?"
Goku laughed again, "No! Don't worry! Just until we get the androids out, ok?"
Zarbon looked up at Goku with an eyebrow raised, "The androids are at Capsule Corp?"
Trunks spoke up for the first time since they got there, "Yes. They're..." His mind finished the sentence, '...having a discussion with Vegeta.' He decided to scratch that and bend the truth, "...being distracted by Vegeta at the moment."
Zarbon chuckled a bit, "Oh. And you said he wouldn't be social, honey."
Bulma grit her teeth together, "Shut up, dear." Zarbon smirked and extracted a magazine from his jacket. "Thanks for telling us though, Goku," she said, a smile gracing her face, "I don't think I'd like to go home and die, you know."
Goku laughed again, "Yeah, that would not be cool." He leaned over to the other table he appeared in, "Hey! Once again, sorry about scaring you like that! My mistake!" The Saijin looked back over at his friends, "Okay, I better go now. I've got androids to kill. Later!"
He turned around to put his hand on Trunks' shoulder when Zarbon suddenly yelled, "NO, WAIT!"
Goku looked over his shoulder, "Yeah? What is it?"
Zarbon tugged on Goku's pants to drag him over, "Look at this!"
Bulma leaned over, and able to read upside down, began to recite, "Although not much is known about Dr. Gero, he did mention to us that his laboratory was somewhere within the Northern Mountains, as he likes no interruptions, and peace and quiet to work."
Trunks repeated, "..within the Northern Mountains.."
Goku slammed his fist on the table, accidentally making a large dent, "I have an idea! Trunks! I want you to go back to Capsule Corp and keep those androids distracted for as long as you can! If you have any trouble, get out of there immediately, just don't tell them anything about anything!
"Bulma, I want you to get out of any fairly large city, or any city for that matter! Go out into a cabin in the woods but stay away any place that involves the Z Fighters. I want you to stay safe.
"Zarbon, I want you to find the others, and get Gohan last, that way we have everyone rounded up and no one's left behind. After you're together, tell Gohan to contact me. I'll tell him where to meet me, that way I won't have to send a signal and attract the androids' attention. Remember to keep your ki low! We want to stay out of the way as long as possible and have the element of surprise! Oh! And Zarbon?"
The blue-skinned man stood up, ready to start on his mission, "Yes?"
Goku smiled again, "Do you have a mental link with Bulma?"
Zarbon huffed a bit, "I'm no Saijin, but I can sense where she is better than anyone else can."
Goku nodded, "Excellent." He turned to Bulma, "If all goes well, we'll need to find you later. Keep your ki at max." He winked before turning to Trunks, "Go on, Trunks! Remember what I told you!" Trunks nodded frantically, and raced out the door, followed by Zarbon, and then Bulma with Keichii. Goku, left alone, caught a glance at the ladies he frightened earlier. "Hey, are you going to eat that?" he asked as he noticed the one woman appeared to be finished with her meal.
"Uh...n-no.." she stuttered.
"Ah!" he reached over and picked up the half of sandwich she didn't eat, "Thanks!" Taking a bite, he phased out leaving the women completely stunned.
Trunks ran out into the street as Zarbon blasted off - out of sight. Bulma called a cab and was whisked away, leaving Trunks by himself. He examined his coordinates through his watch, trying to get a bearing of which way Capsule Corp was, when all of the sudden, the busy crowd around him began to scream. He turned just in time to see a car smash into him. He began to fall forwards after impact, but he used his ki to push himself up, pull his legs out from under the car, place his hands on the hood, and flip himself over so that he landed in the passenger seat which was thankfully empty. He looked over to see who had hit him and came face to face with one of his nightmares: Android Seventeen.
"Hey kid," the android said, "Sorry about that, I thought you were a human. Should have noticed the hair though." Trunks was stunned, and was pretty sure that Zarbon would be as well if he knew this android was driving his car. The fact of this was not previously known to Trunks, but considering the steering wheel had the name "Zarbon" embroidered into it, there really was no guess who it belonged to. The car sped over a curb, and Seventeen stomped on the gas as he shouted "Get out of the way or die!" in an overly chipper voice. Trunks grabbed onto the steering wheel, but Seventeen pushed him away, "No touchy!" Trunks stared wide eyed as the android gave them both a joy ride from Hell.
Meanwhile, the owner of the car had just arrived at the Kame House and began to explain the situation to the Z Fighters that resided there. "Alright then," Krillin said, standing up, "Let's not waste any time. Let's get Piccolo and Gohan and let's go."
Zarbon nodded in agreement, "Yes. But where's Piccolo?" Everyone looked at each other for a moment.
"Uh," Krillin suggested, "Let's go find Gohan, he'll know where Piccolo is." Zarbon nodded and opened the door, blasting off in the direction of Goku's house with the other warriors behind him. In a few minutes, they landed outside the front door which Krillin knocked on.
Chi-chi opened the door and looked across them, "What are you all doing here?" She was suspicious already and she clutched the door a little too tightly.
Krillin turned to her, "We need to see Gohan!"
The woman's eyebrows instantly narrowed and she took a deep breath before yelling, "Oh no! He just got back! You are not dragging him off to go fight now! He has his studies!"
Zarbon, being the daring one, pushed past her, and headed towards Gohan's room, "Look. Whatever. It's an emergency." He opened the door and stepped inside, ignoring Chi-chi's bitching in his ears. Gohan spun around to see what was up, and the bald monk raced up to the kid.
"Hey buddy, we need to get going," Krillin said, leaning over so that they were at eye level, "The androids are here and your dad needs your help."
Chi-chi screamed at the top of her lungs, her face red with fury, "GOHAN IS NOT GOING TO FIGHT!"
Everyone in the room winced, and Zarbon resisted the urge to slap her. He would have if he did not fear Goku's wrath. He did, however, scream back, "HE'S NOT GOING TO FIGHT! WE NEED HIM FOR A DIFFERENT REASON!"
Chi-chi blinked a few times in surprise and murmured, "He's not going to fight?" She wasn't used to being on the receiving end of a good hollar. All of the fighters in the room nodded affirmative. She sighed and thought about it for a moment, "Alright Gohan, you can go. But if you do any fighting then you'll be grounded young mister!" Everyone thanked Chi-chi profusely.
Zarbon turned to the pre-teen, "We need to find Piccolo. Do you know where he's at?" Gohan nodded as he quickly changed into his fighting clothes.
"Bye mom! I love you!" Gohan called out before they all jumped out of the window and flew off, following Gohan's lead.
Beside a waterfall, Piccolo sat floating in the air with his legs crossed indian style and his fingers interlaced. The rush of the water to his ears sounded like the most serene music on all of Earth, and it lulled him, and cleared his mind of any unwanted distractions. He was close to slipping into a state of complete, relaxed, awareness when a certain, familiar voice called out, "Piccolo!" His eyes snapped open, a bit annoyed to be disturbed, but a bit worried as to why he had to be disturbed. The Namek flew towards the voice of his former pupil and he came upon all the Z Fighters.
He knew instantly, "The androids."
Zarbon turned to Gohan, knowing better than to waste time, "Call your dad, kid." The demi-Saijin nodded and closed his eyes in concentration. He reached out to that fuzziness in the back of his mind, feeling around for a line that connected him to his father.
He found it and called across it, 'Dad! Where are you?'
Goku's voice seemed to echo back to him, 'Northern Mountains. Tell everyone I found Dr. Gero's lab!'
Gohan's eyes opened and he excitedly shouted, "Dad found Dr. Gero's lab!" Cheers spread across the group and Goku's voice continued.
'Ok, Gohan. Here's what we're going to do: I'm going to give you directions on how to get here and I want you to tell them to everybody there. You, Krillin, Yamcha, and Tien are going to join me here at the lab. I want Zarbon to go get Bulma and bring her here. Tell Piccolo to go check on Vegeta and Trunks and to lay low. Got that so far?'
Gohan turned around so he was facing everyone, "Okay guys, we're going to split up. Krillin, Yamcha, Tien, you're with me. Hold on a sec." He closed his eyes and tipped his head back, 'Daddy? The directions?'
Goku's voice slowly told him on how to get there so that Gohan could remember it all before adding, 'Don't forget to send Piccolo to Capsule Corp!' Gohan dropped the link and quickly explained the rest of Goku's plans, and the directions, so that they could be on their way.
Piccolo felt a bit honored that Goku had sent him off to do the most dangerous mission, which meant, Goku had felt that he was such a powerful and skilled warrior that he could handle the androids on his own. Flying low to the ground, he wove in and out of the forest dangerously, not slowing his speed in the slightest. After a little while, he finally came into view of Capsule Corp, which was still intact. 'Well,' Piccolo thought to himself, 'Vegeta is good for something other than making superb martinis.' (Or so it had been rumored.)
He pressed himself against the walls outside, trying to stay out of sight. He searched for ki while simultaneously hiding his own, 'I sense Vegeta and no one else? Is he alone or...? Wait! They're androids! In all likelihood we'll be unable to sense their ki because they're not technically living! Shit! This fight will not be fun...' He peeked into a window and didn't see anyone. He carefully opened the front door and stepped inside. His ears twitched and his brain caught up to notice that he heard the muffled sounds of a conversation going on. He stepped silently towards the room from which it was coming from, and his eyes widened in shock from what he saw.
"I wonder when my brother will be back from his car ride," Eighteen sighed, folded her arms, and tapped her fingers against her left arm.
Mrs. Briefs giggled a bit, "Well, boys will be boys. Would you perhaps like some tea? I have some cookies and cake if you'd like that too."
Eighteen seemed to be thinking it over and Vegeta spoke up. "Could you get me another bottle?" he asked with a hint of a slur, passing and empty gin bottle to Bulma's mother.
"Of what, dear?" Mrs. Briefs asked, standing up while taking the bottle from him.
Vegeta just grinned, "Anything." The woman giggled and ran off to complete the task. After returning with a different bottle, and handing it to Vegeta, the Saijin smirked, opened it, and instantly began to chug. Everyone watched as his throat constricted with every gulp, and after every gulp, the liquid - whiskey specifically - sloshed around inside the bottle as the level moved down a bit. Vegeta didn't come up for air - he just kept chugging and chugging - until there was nothing left in the bottle. Thereafter, he released a satisfactory sigh and leaned back into the couch. He cradled the bottle in between his arm and his side and Mrs. Briefs got up again to attend to a whistling tea kettle. Vegeta opened his eyes and made eye contact with Piccolo, "Oh look. The Namek's here."
'Damn you, Vegeta! What do you think you're doing just exposing me like that!?' Piccolo cursed mentally, and decided to go ahead and make an entrance. "What are you doing?" Piccolo asked in a calm tone.
Vegeta scooted over on the couch and patted it, "Come. Sit. Talk."
Piccolo froze in place where he was at, "Uh..no. I'll stand right here. Thanks."
Vegeta shrugged and stretched himself out across the couch, "Suit yourself, Namek. These are androids Eighteen and Sixteen. They're here to cause pain and suffering." Piccolo looked at the male first, probably because he was hard to miss - and noted that he was staring out the window - but he redirected his attention at the young woman who was wearing something vaguely familiar.
"Out of curiosity," Piccolo asked, "is that, by chance, one of Bulma's outfits?"
Eighteen shrugged and took some tea from the returning Mrs. Briefs, "It's mine now."
Piccolo folded his arms and nodded a bit, 'I hope Goku gets here soon.' Just as Eighteen was about to take a sip of her tea, a loud crash was heard outside.
"Damnit!" she cursed, putting her cup down, "Seventeen!" Vegeta's tail wrapped around the empty whiskey bottle and he swung it around in boredom. "What is he up to now?" the blond asked herself while heading for the door, "C'mon Sixteen! Let's go have a look!" The man said nothing, but silently obeyed her command. Piccolo looked over at Vegeta, who looked as though he was falling asleep, and decided to leave him be.
He followed the androids outside where he found the scene before him slightly amusing. Seventeen had crashed into the side of Capsule Corp with Zarbon's car and Trunks was leaning against the wall clutching his chest as if he nearly had a heart attack. "Did you have fun?" Eighteen asked sarcastically while Seventeen examined the damage.
"Oh well," the black-haired android said, giving a shrug, "It wasn't mine."
Krillin and Gohan took lead down the hallway that eventually went into Dr. Gero's lab, and noticed the doors up ahead were ajar. "Goku! You in there?" Krillin called out.
"Yeah guys! Come on in!" Goku's voice replied. Happily, the crew ran into the room, but after throwing the doors completely open they all came to a screeching halt. Krillin instantly grabbed Gohan and hid him behind his slightly taller body, as if out of instinct. The entire group stared at the decapitated form of a hideously old man. "What's the matter you guys?" Goku said, and then glanced over his shoulder, "Oh. Don't worry, he was dead when I got here. Don't touch anything, ok?"
Krillin quickly jumped over the body and scurried over to Goku, "No problem." Gohan, Yamcha, and Tien were careful not to come too close to the body as they passed, but they spread out to examine the lab - cautious as to not to disrupt the machinery. Yamcha came across something with a large sheet over it and curiosity got the best of him. He pulled on the fabric to reveal a green-glowing tank.
"H-Hey guys?" Yamcha swallowed before finishing, "I think I found something!" Goku instantly raced over there to see what was up, and the Z Fighters that were present gaped in mixed awe and confusion.
"What is it?" Tien whispered, tilting his head to the side.
"I..I don't know," Yamcha replied, blinking a few times, "It...looks...like a Chernobyl test tube baby."
Gohan stood on his toes to have a better look and mentioned, "It kind of looks like a bug."
Goku gave a nod, "Whatever it is, we're not messing with it. Not right now, understand? We'll wait until Bulma gets here."
Tien casually replied, "Yeah, I'll go for that. Yamcha, will ya cover it again? It's sort of...creepy."
Yamcha put the sheet over it, "Yeah. No problem, man."
They sat around for roughly an hour before Zarbon finally arrived with Bulma. "Sorry it took us so long," the alien apologized with a rough smile.
"We had to change and feed Keichii," Bulma explained, rocking the child gently, "He slept the whole way here like a good boy. Now what can I do for you boys?" She handed Keichii to Zarbon and approached Goku who waved her over.
"Look at this," he said, pointing to a stack of papers on Dr. Gero's desk.
"Wow!" Bulma exclaimed in a quiet voice, to be sure not to wake the baby, "It's the blue prints to the androids! Amazing!"
Goku grinned and gave a nod, "Yeah, that's what I thought. I know this is gonna be tough, but we need to know a weakness and we need to know now."
Bulma's eyes widened and she slowly turned to look at Goku, "You're kidding, right? It would take weeks to decipher this!"
Goku sighed and bit his lip in frustration, "Look, Bulma. I hate to do this, but...Would you shut up and get to work? We need this now. This is life or death. This isn't some game or anything. Lives depend on this. Earth depends on this. You understand, right?"
Bulma was shocked by Goku's sudden mood swing and by the fact that he had just yelled at her, "Y-Yes." She turned her attention to the papers below her and Goku mouthed a "I'm sorry" to Zarbon who just nodded in acknowledgement. "What's this?" Bulma asked out loud, coming across a paper that was different than the others, "This says....Cell..? Cell seems to be....Dr. Gero's ultimate creation. Huh...."
Yamcha leaned over the table and looked at the blue print, "Hey! I bet it's that thing in the tank!"
Goku agreed, "Yes, but let's not touch it right now."
Gohan's voice suddenly shouted out, "Hey! I found something!" He raced over to Bulma and placed some broken parts into her hand.
"It looks like...a smashed controller," she said, blinking a few times.
"It must be for deactivating the androids!" Goku said with a huge smile on his face. Everyone stared.
"Dad, how would you know that?" Gohan asked, his eyebrows knit in confusion.
"Why else would the androids kill him? Think about it..the androids showed up at Capsule Corp and they haven't attacked at all, which means that their only function isn't killing, which also means that they only attack when they are threatened or provoked. If this is true, then Dr. Gero must have threatened to deactivate them and so they killed him!"
Krillin laughed, and cheered, "Yeah, Goku! I'm sure you're right! Bulma, do you think you can fix that controller?"
Bulma examined the parts for a moment, "Yeah. I think the casing just got busted. No real damage. I'll have it fixed in five minutes." The whole room erupted in applause.
"Another piece of cake, dear?" Mrs. Briefs asked the black-haired android.
"Yeah, thanks," he said as she handed him a plate, "This is really good."
The blond-haired woman blushed a little, "Oh, thank you very much, you're really kind." Seventeen and Eighteen were treating themselves to everything Mrs. Briefs offered while Sixteen, after learning that Capsule Corp had a garden, went off to submerge himself in nature. Vegeta had recently finished another bottle of something and was making music with all the empty bottles and furniture around him, and surprisingly, it all sounded rather good as if Vegeta had had a great deal of practice with that sort of thing.
"That's kind of cool," Seventeen said after swallowing a piece of cake, "How did you learn to do that?"
Vegeta chuckled, feeling extremely relaxed, "Oh. When you have as much time as I do...." Seventeen gave a nod as he cut off another piece of cake with his fork, scooped it up, and ate it. Eighteen was enjoying another cup of tea, and as she finished, there was a sudden flicker before an empty space in front of the coffee table suddenly became opaque by two figures.
"Goku!" Eighteen shouted, nudging Seventeen.
"Get Sixteen, Eighteen!" her twin replied, standing up as he shoved the last bit of cake into his mouth and swallowed.
She began to move when Bulma interrupted them, "Not so fast! You're not going anywhere!"
The androids looked at each other and began to laugh, "You? Stop us??"
Bulma pulled out the controller, "Say goodnight!" Before they could process what the controller was, Bulma pressed the big red button and the two androids fell into a heap.
Goku patted Bulma on the back, "Good job!"
Bulma looked up at him and smiled before examining the androids, "Hey! Are those my clothes!?" Vegeta laughed so hard he fell off of the couch. "What's so funny!?" Bulma screeched, racing over to the girl to figure out what to do next.
Goku ran over to Vegeta and knelt down beside the prince, "Are you okay? Are you hurt?"
"Well.." Vegeta said with a smirk, his tail flipping around. It lost the grip on the bottle it held, causing it to fly across the room and shatter against the wall, which in turn caused Bulma to bitch at him. He interlaced his fingers and put his hands behind his head, "..I'm not a piece of modern art."
Goku looked at him in confusion when Trunks leaned into view, having just returned from using the restroom, and explained, "What he means is....his brains aren't splattered across the wall." Goku's eyes widened and he looked back at Vegeta who just gave him a nod.
"Shit," Goku muttered, "You've been drinking again." It explained the mellow attitude.
"Fuck!" Vegeta suddenly cursed, "I stopped!?"
Piccolo walked into the room, followed by Android Sixteen. Bulma suddenly screamed, "Shit! I forgot about the other one!" Sixteen's eyes locked with Goku's and a strange uncertain smile crossed the Saijin's face. He felt the danger of the situation, but there was something else there, a faint kindred feeling.
"Oh," Vegeta stated, his tail twitching lazily, "I forgot to mention. He's here to kill you specifically, Kakkarot."
Goku inhaled angrily, "No more drinking for you, Vegeta." The brunette chuckled and searched around for something that wasn't empty, his tail digging underneath the couch for his stash.
Sixteen spoke in his normal monotone, "It's true I was programmed to kill you, Goku. But, I don't want to."
The black-haired Saijin paused for a moment before standing up, "Wait... You don't..want to?"
Sixteen gave a nod, "I can contain the urge to do so for now. I see that you have found Dr. Gero's blue prints. It might be possible for you to deactivate us all, reprogram us, and then reactivate us."
Goku instantly smiled at this, "Yes! Bulma, why don't you?"
Trunks began to plead, "But Goku-!"
Goku shook his head roughly to the teen, "Trunks, they can't help it! They're programmed to do this! They'll be fine once we reprogram them, understand?"
The demi-Saijin nodded, "I know...it'll just be...weird."
Goku gave him a reassuring smile, "Hey, it'll be okay. See? Your coming wasn't a bad decision after all!"
Trunks smiled and gave a nod, putting his hands in his pockets, "Yeah. You're right. Thanks, Goku."
The taller man smiled, nodding in reply before looking down at the prince, "And you did a great job with distracting the androids, Vegeta. Thank you."
Vegeta raised an eyebrow before looking elsewhere, "Yeah. Whatever." He dragged himself to his feet and slipped out of the room.
Goku released a deep sigh and thought out loud, "I really worry about him."
A/N: Thank you Paco for the simple word "martini". Couldn't have done it without you. :P
Part Three |