ACT 1: SPACE BOY MEETS EARTH GIRL
No one would have believed, in the latter years of the twentieth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their affairs they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
They were probably correct to not believe that.
However, the reasons they were correct to not believe this were not happy ones. Unfortunately, the intelligences out there were none too different to men's in magnitude and they didn't really care enough to scrutinise man's affairs closely. In all honestly the inhuman intellects had simply stumbled across Earth on a scouting mission and were just carrying out a quick appraisal to work out how much they could get for it when they turned it in to the employer run by a megalomaniacal Frost Demon boss with a Napoleon complex.
A white egg-shaped vessel drifted through the velvet void, engines glowing faintly.
"Recon-officer Gerabanzo's report, day…" the speaker sighed, "nine hundred and ninety eight. I am following the radio signals captured in passing System 93292-b, investigating a previously unknown alien species. Interceptions of their communications show them to be both stupid and weak. And I am very, very bored."
He scratched his chin with his tail. Join the Recon Corps, they'd said. Be the first one to discover new worlds. Earn your fortune from finder's fees. Live out on the frontier. Get your own pod.
No wonder other people had laughed at him when he signed up. What an idiot he'd been. Nearly a thousand days since he'd seen another saiyan. Most of the time he'd been stuck inside this little pod. It'd been so long since he'd had a proper meal, rather than just protein weave from the dispenser. He'd only occasionally got to land on alien worlds and vent by killing things.
And here he was in the back-end of nowhere. Knowing his luck, he wouldn't even get a reward for this.
He wasn't sure how this day could get much worse.
"Beginning final approach," he continued. "I am beginning surveillance of their feeble dwellings. Sensor readings indicate that the population of the local dominant species is… around six billion." Steepling his fingers, Gerabanzo looked at the screen in mild consternation. That was somewhat higher than he could face on his own. And what if they were a powerful warrior race who… oh, wait.
"Sensor readings also indicate that most specimens of this pathetic race have a power level of one. I repeat, one. Not one hundred. Not one thousand. One. Maybe they're not the dominant species. I mean, what kind of species has a power level of one? Maybe they were bred for calibration of scouters! What a pathetic little orb."
Adjusting his scouter, he scrutinised the world below. "So little power. I could kill hundreds without breaking a sweat." Adjusting his instrumentation, he zoomed in on one of the population centres he had detected. "Pah! They look like saiyans, but they're so weak! It's an insult!"
He was so lonely. The only conversation with another saiyan came when someone replied to his reports, and that was rare. He doubted anyone even cared about his endless 'nothing of value found' reports. He rarely even got responses. Here he was, monologuing about the inferiority of this very inferior race doing their inferior things on their inferior world, and he didn't even have anyone else gloating about their inferiority with him.
In theory, he should perform an investigation here, and then report his discovery in full. Once that was done, he should move swiftly onto his next prospective site.
Well, there was no chance of him doing it. Nearly a thousand days of lonely travel had given him a very good idea of how much a low class warrior like him was worth to those damn high class snobs. Oh, look at them with their power levels of ten thousand or more. Thankless work like this had a certain way of breeding resentment.
Gerabanzo cracked his knuckles, and leaned back in his seat. Well, time to investigate this primitive foolish world. This investigation would probably involve eating a lot of their food. And killing and eating wildlife. His stomach grumbled. That sounded like a good idea. At the very least he should be able to get some g… some tolera… some meals that weren't just junk from his pod's dispenser.
He glanced at a map of the globe below him, closed his eyes and jabbed his finger at it. He opened his eyes. The middle of the ocean. He tried again. A collection of islands next to the biggest continent on the planet.
Gerabanzo began his descent. The very fate of the world would depend on whether he could get a good meal. If he couldn't, he'd probably blow up the city.
The traditional form of an alien invasion involves giant floating spaceships appearing over the capital cities of major world cities and destroying famous landmarks. Gerabanzo's invasion - by sheer chance - did in fact manage to begin in Tokyo. However he entirely missed the Tokyo Tower and instead smashed into a car park, leaving a sizable crater.
With a hiss, the pod doors unsealed, and he emerged from the clouds of coolant into the brand new world. His sniffed the air. He could smell burning tar, rubber and oil. That had probably come from the products of the primitive society he had crushed on impact.
Behind him, a car caught fire.
But no matter! With a short hop he leapt out of the crater, pushing his way past the gathering crowd of stunned onlookers. Of course it was natural for such primitive beings to be stunned! He cut an imposing figure as a saiyan warrior! Certainly, he might not have been quite as muscular as the ladies liked and his dark brown hair was shorter and less spiky than was fashionable, but at least he avoided the premature balding that happened to afflict many high-class warriors! It was natural for them to be awed to silence at the very sight of him.
A salaryman in a dark blue suit carrying a briefcase hesitantly stepped up to him. He nervously cleared his throat. "Um…" he said, peering down into the smoke-filled crater. "Are… um. Are you an alien?"
Gerabanzo gave him a pitying look of contempt. "No," he said. "You're the alien."
"Um. Did you crash here?" the man tried again. "If so, I'm… I'm sure that the government would be willing to help you repair your ship. Perhaps now it is time for humanity to take its place on the galactic stage. Indeed, yes," he continued warming to the topic, "perhaps your arrival is a sign of the growing maturity of mankind as a species, what with our development of advanced technology such as atomic weaponry, the internal combustion engine, and the end of the Cold War. If so, I hope that the guidance of such enlightened beings such as yourself from beyond the stars can lead us away from conflict and towards a brighter tomorrow where we can-"
Yack yack yack. These 'humans' were boring him. And away from the crash sight, Gerabanzo felt that he could perhaps smell some kind of fried animal in the air. That sounded very edible and he was hungry.
Ignoring the attempt at first contact, he kicked off from the ground and launched himself into flight, searching for something to eat. Below him, the city stretched out, the streets packed with cars. Brightly lit advertising signs plastered the skyscrapers.
He found what he was looking for some distance away in a cloud of steam rising from what he assumed to be an eatery of some kind. As he flew through the steam, he could smell multiple kinds of animal, cooked in sauces containing many different unnatural additives and a great deal of salt.
A single tear welled up in the corner of his eye. How incredible! This far from home, he had found an alien race who had mastered a basic element of saiyan cooking. Landing in front of the shop, he glanced at the sign, and let his scouter translate their strange alien script for him.
"If You Can Finish Our Super-Sized Ramen Bowl In Just Fifteen Minutes, Your Meal Is Free," he read out loud, complete with capitalisation. "Ah ha! Fools! You dare challenge a saiyan warrior? I will destroy you all! And your ramen too!"
He wasn't sure what ramen was, but it sounded like it was probably related to saibamen. It might be a challenge, but he should be able to crush such beings if it was a one-on-one fight.
The door of the ramen shop burst open at the hinges, bouncing off the wall. Gerabanzo stomped in, twisting slightly to get his shoulder pads through the narrow entrance.
"Bring me one of your Super-Sized Ramen Bowls!" he bellowed. "The fate of your whole city depends on it!"
Nine and a half minutes had passed.
This city would live for now, Gerabanzo decided, sucking on his teeth. They had earned that much. The salty brown liquid provided in a glass bottle had helped the large tub of 'ramen' down, at least once he'd taken off the lid so he could drink it properly.
He slammed his fist down on the table, cracking its surface and sending a spoon flying.
"Tolerable food, primitive!" Gerabanzo barked at the serving girl. "You may possibly live when the saiyans conquer you! Now, another! And quickly!"
"You, uh, want another Super-Sized Ramen Bowl?" the girl asked faintly. She was the owner's daughter and was just helping out. All things considered, she really didn't deserve what was happening to her.
"Of course! Did you not hear what I said, woman?"
She glanced at his feet, which he'd put on the table. Wisely, she decided not to say anything about it. "Another bowl," she said. "I'll bring it over."
"And be fast about it!"
She ducked into the kitchens, and sighed loudly away from the strange customer. "I think he's an American tourist," she muttered to her father. "He's being very rude. And he's wearing what I think is sports gear. And he's got something attached to the back that looks sort of like a tail."
"Ah," her father said, eyes narrow.
"Also, uh, he just drank an entire bottle of soy sauce."
The old man blinked. "Drank… a bottle of soy sauce?" he said, not quite sure of what he was hearing.
"He took the lid off and downed it."
Her father cracked his knuckles. "He did, did he? Well, this is the house's own recipe." He grabbed a container of salt, and a bottle of chilli oil. "We'll see how he likes this..."
After making his own additions, he let his daughter deliver the bowl. Time to see whether this man really wanted to wolf down this food in just fifteen minutes - after already having one bowl!
And then he heard the bellow. "I love it!" roared Gerabanzo. "Much better! The first was bland and boring!" There was a noise which sounded remarkably like a food blender made out of meat. "Bring me another, woman!"
Slowly, the old man sank down. Truly he knew defeat.
Four empty bowls sat in front of the strange man.
"Good food, and free," Gerabanzo said seriously. "You may live. I will be back." Squeezing his shoulder pads out through the narrow door, the saiyan warrior stretched. He should probably check if there were any messages left for him in his pod that he might have missed while he was eating.
The police had surrounded where he landed, but he barely noticed them. One tried to stop him, but the saiyan was in a good, well-fed mood and merely sent him flying with a casual tap. Taking off, he sat back and checked for any received transmissions. There was something.
"Ah, yes, this is Parasnippo," a bored-sounding man began. "Right, so… yes. You say you found life on System 93292-b? Do you have a full report of how useful they'll be for the Galactic Frieza Army? No, of course you don't. Because if you did, you've have sent it to me. I certainly won't file your logs until you send me all the required records!"
Gerabanzo balled his hands into fists. He had no great fondness for Parasnippo - and no small fondness, either. In fact, it would be very accurate to say that he had no fondness at all for that damn snooty functionary who looked down on him all the time and got on his back about his logs.
"In fact, it's just as well for you that I haven't filed them, because Frieza himself has shown up for an inspection. No doubt he's sick of the laxness! That, or he was personally offended by that idiot low-class warrior who ran in and started shouting about how Frieza wanted to destroy us! Ha! What foolishness!"
Shifting in his pod seat, Gerabanzo rummaged around looking for a toothpick. He had something in his teeth. Despite that, that ramen was much more useful than saibamen. He could probably plunder the recipe. And then when he got bored of serving in the Recon Corps, he could settle down back home and set up a chain of eateries and become fabulously wealthy and…
"Anyway… wait, what's that light outside?" Parasnippo's voice receded slightly - presumably as he poked his head ouside. "That's not the sun!" he screamed. Gerabanzo nearly jumped out of his skin at the sudden noise "That's not the sun at all! It's coming right for the planet and… such power! Only one person could do that! I… Gerabanzo! We've been betrayed! Don't come back! Try to find a way to-"
And then - nothing.
A howl of rage and misery echoed out over Tokyo.
Ten hours had passed. Most of these hours had been spent drinking. Gerabanzo was on his eighth bottle and third bar, after the first two had made the mistake of trying to cut him off.
"... and the mysterious arson of two Tokyo bars is currently under investigation, police say," the television in the corner blared out.
Gerabanzo stared at the glass in his hand and the clear spirits within. They burned when they went down, but that was good. It numbed his head. He threw his head back, and downed the glass, pouring out another one almost by instinct. The world itself was lurching and swaying slightly, but he didn't really care.
His homeworld was gone. He knew that for a fact. There'd be no use looking for it. He was a low class warrior, and only a moderately skilled one at that. Anyone who would take on the saiyan homeworld would be able to crush him with ease. And he was in the back-end of nowhere and only had a saiyan pod with him. He might be able to become a space pirate, but pickings would be thin out here.
Holding onto the bar, he glanced around the room. He was drunk enough that reading his scouter didn't come naturally, but after a few goes he verified there were no secret high-level warriors here. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe that'd do it. He'd go crush this world and rule over it as its tyrant. Turn into a giant ape and wreck whatever pitiful opposition could stand up to him. It wasn't like they had their own giant apes. They had a giant ape gap. And then when he was sitting on the golden throne of this world - if they didn't have one, he'd make them build him one - he'd… he'd show them all! Everyone who said he'd never amount to much! He'd show them that he could be a conquering warlord! And…
His drunken megalomaniacal fantasies were interrupted by the growing argument in the background between two humans. A male and a female were shouting at each other. Their voices grated at his ears. Eventually, he had had enough. Pulling himself to his feet, he weaved his way over to them, staggering slightly. The male was skinny, dark-haired and wore spectacles, while the female was shorter and had short brown hair.
"Either shut up, or leave," Gerabanzo said bluntly, gesturing with his glass. "Some of us are trying to drink in peace. I've had a very bad day. Don't make it worse."
The male turned to glare at him. "I'm sorry for being loud," he said, in a voice dripping with sarcasm. "It's just my girlfriend is being ill-tempered and…"
"Very ill-tempered," the man continued, ignoring her objection. "So if she'd just be quiet, I'm sure that she'd stop bothering you."
"Oh, that's it!" the woman snapped. She pushed her way out from where she'd been sitting. "You," she said to Gerabanzo. "I'm drinking with you now. My boyfriend has decided that he'd rather be a big baby rather than man up and not be a little passive-aggressive child."
"No you don't," the man said, rising to grab her. Unfortunately, he managed to knock Gerabanzo's wrist. The drink went over both him and the saiyan warrior.
And things just rather went downhill from thereon.
The woman stared out the broken window. "Wow," she said, very impressed. She leaned out. "And Masaaki? We're over! Don't ever speak to me again!"
He may have replied, but if so it was sort of lost in the groans.
"Well, how about I buy you a drink to make up for that?" she asked Gerabanzo.
That seemed entirely acceptable to the saiyan, and so he followed the woman back to the bar. The man behind the bar seemed about to say something to the strange man who'd just thrown someone out the window, but news had got around and there was something about Gerabanzo that seemed to suggest that it'd probably be bad for his health to object. And might result in him also going out the window.
"So where are you from?" she asked him. "I'm a student, studying for my bioengineering degree. I'm looking to get a doctorate after that."
"I'm not from around here," Gerabanzo said, feeling ill at ease. "And I work in the world trade business."
"World trade business? You're an office worker?"
"No, I work out in the field," Gerabanzo said honestly. "Finding new markets."
She was looking him up and down, and he suspected she wanted a fight. He made sure to check her power level, and reassured himself that she wasn't a meaningful threat. Unless she had some way of hiding her power levels. But she still looked as if she wanted something from him...
"Your Japanese is very good," she said breezily, and then laughed. "Oh, I'm sorry. My name is Yui, by the way."
"My name is Ge-" Wait. He was going to have to hide. They might come looking for him. There was no point in making things easier for them. He'd need a false name. Something that no proud saiyan warrior would ever pick out for himself. "… Dough."
"Sorry, you're slurring. Gedough. Gendo?"
"... that one."
"The second one."
She laughed. "I think you're drunk. I think I'm drunk. Well, nice to meet you, Gendo."
Mentally, he shrugged. "Yes. That is right. That is my name." Well, it'd do. At least while he waited for other saiyans to find him. He could put up with it for a few months. He could probably find something to amuse himself for long enough to-
"You're cute," the alien said, clinging onto his arm. She was massaging his biceps in a not-unpleasing way. "And you just threw my now-ex-boyfriend through a window. Mmm. I'm very interested in getting a closer look at those muscles. If you know what I mean."
Gerabanzo - newly christened as Gendo - worked his shoulders. Ah. At least the local aliens appreciated muscles. And they did look a lot like saiyans, albeit all soft and squishy and rounded. If he had to be stuck somewhere, at least he wasn't stuck in a place where the aliens were as ugly as a frost demon.
"You want a closer look?" he asked.
The alien looked at him through narrowed eyes. "How big is your bed?" she asked bluntly.
He thought of his saiyan pod. "Cramped," he said.
"Right. My place it is, then. My flatmate should be out. And I'm very interested to see what's under that outfit of yours."