TitleDetermination

Author – Toreina-Mei a.k.a. Jenna

Important Note – This is the ALTERNATE ending. Meaning a few things were done differently. To catch you up as to where this is starting: Pan had actually tried to get Vegeta out of the Gravity Chamber and succeeded, she had gotten Trunks (but still not Goten) and they arrived to an already in progress-battle… Or perhaps I should say a concluding one? Either way, Gohan did not die in this version and, since the ship was blown up, Pan had no chance to get on it nor any reason to get on it.

Happy reading!

Chapter Five, Version Two

:

Some Were Meant to Suffer

*****

There was no way to prepare for the scene that I arrived upon. Trunks landed behind me and I'm sure he was just as shocked as I was. The field of various remains, blue body parts still leaking a mucky yellow blood, made me feel queasy. I felt vomit working its way up, but I swallowed to push it back. I scanned over the vile sight, keeping my chest puffed out to seem tough. But really I was sad. I didn't know how I should feel; I was so confused. A rancid stench assaulted my nostrils and a put a hand over my nose to keep it out. When it seemed disrespectful to keep gaping, I turned away.

Then I saw the crater - the enormous crater that still gave off wisps of smoke, which was blown in my direction by the breeze. I made my eyes go wide. It didn't look like a spacecraft had crashed; it looked like it had been blown up. Pieces of metal scraps, melted and bent irregularly, cluttered the charred and disturbed ground around the crater.

Vegeta, who I had managed to lure out of the Gravity Room with promises of a fight, was standing at its edge, peering down into it. It looked as if he was going to fall forward and in. I blamed him for this huge mess of repulsiveness. Did he blow up their ship? And did he do it on purpose? Just in case he had meant to do all of this, I eyed him warily and intentionally stayed away from him.

I looked over to my papa, who kicked away one of the aliens with a stiff kick to the head. He wouldn't have killed any of them, would he? Piccolo might have, though. I walked up to Piccolo slowly, my heart distressed and numbing to the surrounding massacre.

"So what did they want?" I asked.

"You, actually," Piccolo said pointedly and my eyes grew wide in question, "Trunks and Goku as well. They were searching for Dr. Myuu and believe that you had kidnapped him. They also wanted that Black Star Dragon Ball you took from them."

"We took that from them months ago!" I sighed, "I can't believe we fought over that."

"They also wanted you executed for your crimes."

I shrugged. That didn't mean much to me, I knew I wouldn't be getting killed today or any time soon. I was still young and I didn't have to worry about death yet, I wasn't going to be killed in battle – it couldn't happen to me.

Trunks, Vegeta and my father came up, sweating and spattered with dirt. Vegeta, especially, was covered in soot and grime. He had definitely been the one to create that huge crater.

"What are we going to do with them?" Trunks asked, then looked back at the serious mess of separated limbs and parts, "or what's left of them?"

"Kill them," Vegeta growled.

It was comments like that that made me wary of him, but I refused to fear him. I merely rolled my eyes.

"No, that's not even funny," my father said. Did he really think Vegeta was kidding? "We could put them in prison."

Piccolo snorted and I turned away, hiding my brief, sarcastic amusement.

"They could break out too easily. They may not be strong, but they are intelligent. Besides, think about how the humans would react. They scare too easily."

I took offense to Piccolo's comment, though he wasn't directly speaking about me. It wasn't meant for me at all, but I couldn't help it. Human weaknesses were a sore subject with me. I was three-quarters human and I couldn't help but be touchy about it. So I embraced my Saiyan heritage, even though I knew very little about it, because they were stronger than any person on Earth was. They were superior and I liked that notion.

The stench of roasted flesh was making my stomach uneasy. It was impossible to get used to and if I had to smell it any longer I was going to puke. And I had nothing to puke up, so I wondered if I could even do that. I turned to leave and fly away, but I stopped abruptly. It hurt too much. It felt as if my stomach had been seized by a giant hand and squeezed and twisted just to torture me, then constriction in my throat returned with a relentless chokehold.

I couldn't breathe. My eyes started to water and my hands instinctively went to my throat. Oh, Dende! Air! I needed to breathe!

"Pan!" my papa shouted, rushing to my side and placing an arm around my shoulders. I didn't want him to touch me.

I was desperate for oxygen as my forehead dropped to the sandy ground, irritating my skin. Papa rubbed my back – I didn't want to him to, it was a bothersome gesture and tried to jerk away from it. Just stay off me! I gave him a nasty glare and he frowned, I knew he understood, but he still kept trying to soothe me.

My throat finally relented and loosened, allowing me to breathe again. My stomach was still twisted like braided hair, but I had air and, momentarily, I felt relieved. Then the pain seemed to sharpen suddenly and I held my tongue so that I didn't make any noise. I kept my head down, audibly sucking in air to prolong a confrontation with my father. Anything to prevent questions and worrying that I just didn't want.

"Pan, are you all right?"

I didn't answer; I didn't want to answer. He knew there was something wrong, that little episode proved it, but I didn't want to confess to that.

"What's wrong?" he asked again.

I couldn't breath and now I can't move! I really couldn't move. My muscles were too tense and my body wouldn't function when I tried to make it move. That worried me. I began to feel light-headed. The ground appeared to shift and the illusion made me tip over. Eventually, my vision was rimmed with darkness and it spread until I was unconscious.

*****

I was groggy when I awoke, my eyelids were sticky and hard to open. I couldn't breathe. My hands curled into balls, fisting the sheets I was lying on. A bed? Well, obviously, my head was on a pillow. I arched my back and groped my hands around blindly, wildly. Then the attack passed and I was left gulping in air urgently.

When I opened my eyes, I realized I was in an unfamiliar room. There was a needle stuck in the bend of my arm and, in trying to sit up, I noticed two thin wires stuck to my chest. I ripped them off swiftly and gritted my teeth against the soreness that left my skin red and tingling. A sound in the room changed. Though I wasn't sure what it was; it became a single, steady hum. An annoying hum.

The door swung open moments later. Someone dressed in a full, white suit entered and I looked at them, startled and bewildered. They found the two wires I had pulled out and tried to re-stick them to my chest, but I batted their hands away.

"Please hold still, m'am."

I snatched the wires from their hands and threw them aside again so that they dangled off of the bed.

"Go 'way," I demanded, irritated.

I felt ridiculous. I didn't know why I was doing what I was. For some reason, I didn't feel safe and they seemed threatening enough to me.

"Please, m'am. I'm Doctor Lark. I need to hook you back up to the monitor," he said.

Doctor?

"Where am I?" I asked rudely.

"You're in the hospital, in Quarantine."

The doctor finally reattached the wires and the droning sound went away, replaced by a soft beeping; it was even more annoying. I tried to ask the doctor – what was her name? – why I was here, but I was still drowsy. I had never been sick before. Was this what it was like?

I grunted at the doctor as he walked over to my side, opened my eyes, grabbed his wrist, and then closed my lids again. It took me too long to feel like talking. Eventually, I forced myself to talk because I wasn't so weak that I couldn't do it.

"Why?" I asked. I sounded like I had a wad of phlegm caught in my throat, which I did.

"You've contracted a virus, m'am," he said, professionally but trying to act sympathetic, "It's effecting your arteries and even the fine veins in your lungs in a way that we've never seen before, so we have to keep you in here until we're certain it's not contagious."

A virus? Arteries and lungs? I wasn't worried; it didn't sound that awful and I was in a hospital anyway, so I could be cured and sent on my way. I waited for the doctor to ask me if I knew where I'd gotten the virus from, but he didn't. That was a bit discouraging because I had wanted to tell him I had been in space. He left and, eventually, I fell asleep.

*****


When I awoke again, there were two, suited in the same kind of outfit the doctor had been in. I didn't recognize who it was until they told me: my parents.

"How are you feeling?" Mama asked, pushing my bangs out of my face.

"Just great," I mumbled.

"Here," said Papa, "open your mouth and eat this."

My eyes were open, but they were heavy, and I saw something held between his fingers. I didn't open my mouth at first since I didn't know what it was. But when it was right at my lips, I finally saw the senzu bean. I opened my mouth then, chewed it, swallowed it and waited. Nothing extraordinary happened. I wasn't miraculously cured. I still felt weak, though I would have liked to trick myself into believing that I felt better. Why didn't the senzu bean work?

Papa picked my hand up off the bed and enclosed it between his own two; my mother went back to fiddling with my hair. They stayed with me until I slipped back into slumber.

*****

I couldn't breathe again. Why didn't they give me any oxygen? I clawed at the bed sheets and I couldn't stay still. I arched my back and thrashed about on the bed. It hurt to move like that. My insides felt like they were stretching on an outdated torture device. Kami it hurt! I wanted to scream, but I couldn't make any sound.

I had my eyes squeezed shut and when scattered images began randomly racing across my mind, I got worried. I didn't know why they were there; I didn't want them. But even when I tried to shun them, they continued their onslaught.

The day Mama and Papa took me over to Capsule Corp. for a reunion when I was four. It was odd to think that I had once been so small that I only came up to Vegeta's knee.

The first Boudakai I went to. I was so full of energy and happy that day. Yeah, I was definitely Hercule's granddaughter.

Grandpa Hercule. He always smelled funny, but I never told him that. I liked him. He was never afraid to let me see him drink or hear him cuss – Ha! Must've picked up all those swear words from him. Thank you, grandpa.

I kicked at the bed and pounded my fists on it. I felt weak. This wasn't right! Breathe, damnit let me breathe!

When I launched myself into space. I just wanted to prove that I wasn't the kid everyone thought I was. I found the button that would make it take off and I waited for Goku and Trunks to see me, then I smacked it.

That stupid robot that swallowed the Black Star ball we were after – I despised that pesky little thing. I shook it until I was sure its synthetic limbs would detach. It wouldn't give up the ball, so we had to bring that stupid thing along.

The white nothingness finally engulfed me and suddenly I became worried – had I been such a bad person that I would go to Hell?

One of the planets we landed on, the one garnished with smooth, placid skyscrapers and such obviously advanced technology. They were so far ahead of Earth. We never noticed anything from that planet board our ship.

Bebe assumed control of Vegeta's body, finding a host that suited him and his power-quest. The destruction he caused in the body of the Saiyan Prince was probably why I was so cautious of him. I vowed not to be anymore.

I never could get the better of Piccolo. Damn him. But he made me stronger and I just hadn't noticed it before – maybe he wasn't as bad as I thought. No, he was as bad as I thought.

I felt dizzy and light-headed. I didn't want to be alone. Where were my parents? Tears leaked out of my eyes and everything was turning white rather than black. That was wrong and it frightened me. I could feel the sheets tearing underneath me, I still had some strength left. The whiteness encroached on me and I kicked frantically – the bed collapsed and I slid forward. My muscles tensed and I couldn't stop my fall. I braced myself for the pain as my face smashed into the hard floor.

The End

*****

Author's Note – Sorry this is late. Heh. Didn't have the weekend like I planned. Anyway. I'm gonna start working on the Piccolo story soon. So hopefully that will be here on time. ;)

Planned Update – 2/17/03