Nature vs Nurture
What had once came down as rain has now turned into crystals. They float down and cling to Naida's messy curls and long lashes. A bitterly cold breeze envelops her body until a quake of shivers erupts from the top of her head to her feet. She stares expressionlessly at the moist ground. The foliage is just starting to frost over under the cover of the trees. A light coat of snow dusts the forest floor.
There has been no sign of Saji. Not a footprint or clue to be found. She could be going in circles. She hasn't been too late so far, but there is no telling how many more times she will have luck on her side. That monster has not hurt him yet, that she hopes. If it was going to kill him, he would have done it already, right? Does anyone ever believe that nonsense? Naida stops and puts her face in her hands. She wants to cry, scream, or have some kind of reaction. Have her emotions gone dormant again? Her hands feel warm against her cold nose.
"Where could he have gone..." She whispers softly, looking side to side. The wet snow clings to her legs when she jogs through the underbrush. Naida comes to a clearing and yells for Saji. Her voice echoes off of the rocky outcrops and fades into the distance. She walks over to a snow-covered mound and sits down. "Warm?" She leaps off the surface and her hand jerks to her chest. All her hairs stand on end. She stands motionless and surveys the mound. One of her feet takes a step forward and she hesitantly brushes the snow off the mound. Grey-brown scales emerge and she jumps back and falls on her rear end.
She had not seen it before, but can now make out the dinosaur shape laying across the ground. It is so obvious now, it's shocking how she had missed it. "Is it dead?" It's still warm, but it had not moved when she sat on it. She gets to her feet and steps back. Her foot presses on something strange and she looks down. A red mangled boot. Not just any boot. It is Saji's, it's almost unrecognizable, but she knew it has to be his. He is the only little kid wandering around these woods so late at night. She picks it up and she can barely control the shaking in her hands. She looks up and her eyes fall on the t-rex's face and mouth.
Naida's heart races. She runs over to its head, but she slips on the animal's blood pooled on the forest floor. It is just starting to congeal. Her hands reach out to break her fall and a sharp pain shoots up her right arm when her limbs make contact with the ground. The dark red blood stains her pants and starts to soak through them. The pain in her arm is insurmountable. It throbs and she can barely move her fingers. Her stomach turns and her blood rushes to her face. Naida pulls herself away with the other arm and tries to get to her feet. Her face scrunches when she accidentally uses some muscles in her bad arm. A tear slips out and slides down her cheek.
"...you stupid klutz." She grumbles. With her left arm, she lightly touches the right and winces again. "Ouch, ouch, ouch." Naida's teeth press together. She braces it against her body at waist level. It starts to swell and a visible dark bruise has formed already. She picks the boot back up and notices some tracks lightly covered in the snow. She kneels down and touches them. There is more than one kind of print. Maybe there is hope? Did that monster do this? She wonders as she looks over to the dead animal. "Oh please, please be okay." She looks up at the night sky. Snowflakes tumble down and melt on her rose-tinted cheeks. Lights shine through the trees and land on Naida.
"Over here!" An unfamiliar voice shouts through the forest. Naida tries to block the bright light to protect her eyes. "Raise your hands!" A female officer shouts. Naida slowly raises one of her arms into the air. "Both of them!" The authoritative voice commands. "I-I can't. I think it's broken." Naida's voice squeaks. The anxiety in her chest brings a bit of relief, ironically. Perhaps she's not completely numb. She can't go to jail, the thought terrifies her. Why did she run away from them she should have asked for their help. Will they listen now? "Please, my son, he's missing. I can't find him anywhere." A few tears run down Naida's face, so the female officer lowers her gun. She sighs.
"Keep your hands - or hand up." She approaches Naida with caution. Is this the one they are looking for? The officer contemplates. It has to be, there is no one else out at this hour. "Do you have any weapons on you?" Naida's mouth opens than she catches herself. "...yes, I do." The officer looks at her with a brow raised. "Where?" Naida motions to the left pocket of her jacket, so the officer puts her hand in and takes the handgun the mother stole from Mosley. "For Kami's sake, your the woman that we're looking for aren't you?" She looks at Naida in disbelief. "Why did you run? We could have helped you?" Naida doesn't respond. The officer looks to her partner still holding the gun up in her direction. She motions for him to lower his guard.
"Ma'am, we have to take you back to the station." Silence. "Ma'am?" The officer crouches beside her and places a soft hand on her shoulder. "You're shaking...we will help find your son, but you have to come with us." Naida looks up at her and nods slowly. "Plus, we need to get that arm looked at." At the hospital? Naida grimaces inwardly. "Kami no, not there." Her head shakes back and forward. The officer looks perplexed than remembers the doctor that called in earlier. "Well, we need to get you out of this forest for now." She looks for her partner and does not see him. "She jumps to her feet than catches sight of him. "Pattelli, look at this." She walks over in his direction but stops in her tracks, eyes wide.
"My god, did it do this…"
Saji yells out with joy into the damp night sky, as Cell Junior zips passed cliffs and trees. He ascends higher and higher. Saji stares mesmerized by the twinkling lights of the town below as it comes into view. "Where?" Junior asks. Saji looks up at him and meets his hard gaze. He looks back at the town trying to make sense of the blurb of lights and buildings. It is hard for him to recognize anything from up here at night. "Ummm, try down there." He points to the town in the distance. If they get closer he might be able to see something to give him some direction. Junior swoops down and rockets towards the town. Saji screams out in shock. So fast, he can barely keep his eyes open, let alone breathe.
Tear bubbles fleck out of the corners of his eyes and into the night sky. Crystals start to form on his eyelids. Saji rubs his eyes and sees the town coming towards them at an alarming rate. Just when he starts to feel dizzy their speed drops. But, not much. Juniors hands slowly release their grip on Saji until they both are airborne. His head whips in Junior's direction fists bunched. "What are you doing!" He yells at the blue imp who can't respond. A jolt of fear rushes through the youngster's body like electricity. "Oh no, Wake up! Wake up, Mikio!" He doesn't know why he used that name. It just came out, but there is no response from the blue boy.
Saji reaches out to grab him, but the wind is too strong. He flails and moves his body all kinds of ways to reach his friend. Saji inches nearer and finally grabs ahold of Junior. The boy tries to shake him "Wake up!" He yells as loud as he can. The android's eyes open up. He looks at Saji's fear-stricken face and yawns. "What are you doing! Fly you, idiot!" Junior looks casually at the ground below. "We're going to hit the ground if you don't do something!" Junior grins wickedly and grabs the little boy. He rockets towards the ground and Saji screams hysterically. He swoops just before they hit and sores back up into the night sky. Saji's sniffles. His eyes are almost popping out of his head. Junior grins from ear to ear, but Saji snaps a glare at his friend.
"Are you crazy we almost got squished!"
Feeling annoyed Saji looks back over the town and notices a familiar sight. The glowing convenience store sign breaks through the dark sky like a beacon of hope. "Pew, finally." Saji is starting to grow tired of falling victim of his friend's sense of humor, literally. "Down there!" He points at the sign in the distance and Junior bursts forward taking Saji by surprise again. "Wah! Slow down!" Junior looks down at the human boy with slight disgust. "Slow down? Why when we can get there faster?" But, the youngster didn't answer. The wind hitting his body made it hard to breathe and he is growing weak. Junior senses the drop in Saji's energy and slows down just enough to preserve his friend's consciousness.
He lands on the ground softly. But, what's soft to him is not so much to the human boy. Saji falls to the ground and wretches all over the parking lot. Junior watches with curiosity and amusement. Weird? He thinks. Than erupts with laughter. "You're funny!" Saji falls back on to his butt and looks up at Junior. He rubs his tummy and watches in bewilderment. "You're so weird..." Saji grimaces. Junior goes expressionless and silent, but Saji is used to this by now. "Where's the candy?" Junior asks again. Saji gets up and starts walking towards the convenience store. "This way."
Saji gets a bit frightened by the approaching drifter. "What are you doing out here by yourself -" Saji can barely make out the man's expression through his scraggly beard and long matted hair. The man stumbles back at the sight of Junior. "Y-your one of those monsters." Saji and Junior look at each other. The little red-haired boy scratches his head. "What monsters?" I mean he can be a bit of a jerk, but a monster? "Kid come with me! Quick, make a run for it!" He's making a big commotion and Saji starts to get worried the police will show up again. "It's okay, he's not a monster. He helped me." Saji tries to reason with the drifter, to no avail. "No way, you're too young to understand. That thing will eat you! It happened in Nicky Town!"
He tries to grab Saji but gets knocked to the ground by a tremendous force. The man lays motionless on the ground. Saji looks on in fear as Junior walks towards him. "What are you doing?! You can't do that?!" Saji yells in shock.
"He was annoying us."
"But, we can't hurt people…that's not allowed."
"Why?" Junior sounds genuinely curious.
"Why?" Hmm, Saji thinks hard. He isn't exactly sure why. Those are just the rules. His parents taught him that since day one. "Didn't your mom or dad teach you that?"
"No." In fact, his father encouraged it. He kicks the body, but the person doesn't respond.
"Please don't do that, he won't bother us anymore."
He didn't even have a good argument or explanation for why exactly he shouldn't. He thinks back to his days in preschool. He pulled one of his classmate's hair when she took one of his snacks. She cried and the teachers made a big deal out of it. Mom was not happy about it. His dad found something amusing and mom wasn't too pleased with him either.
His attention moves back to Junior crouching beside the unconscious man. He slowly starts to come too. Junior grins and pulls his mouth open, sticking his tongue out, and teases the frightened civilian. The drifter jumps to his feet in terror and runs off leaving the two alone. Saji sighs, how is he going to teach this kid to be nice when he can't really explain why 'nice' is so important. "When you hurt someone it makes them cry and people get mad." Junior stops laughing at the man running away and looks at Saji. How does he explain why that is so important?
"And…." Saji thinks really hard, but the thought leaves his head. Dang, he had something. Something important. If Mom was here she could probably explain it.
Junior yawns really big and it makes Saji sleepy too. His jaw stretches open and he rubs his eyes. "Oh never mind…" The young boy leads the way to the storefront. When a cat crosses their path, it leaps in the air, hissing at Junior. "Boy, even animals don't like you…" The android mimics the cat and it tears off into the night. "Let's just get inside, before you do anything else." As they approach the big glass doors, Saji stops in his tracks. "Oh no, you might frighten the shopkeeper…" Maybe if he covers him up they won't be so afraid.
Saji takes his hoodie off and hands it to Junior. "Put it on. Then you will look like me and they won't freak out." But, he liked when they got frightened. Oh well, he will humor him. Junior does as told and slips Saji's red hoodie over his head. The little boy looks over the blue imp. No good, his legs are visible. Saji looks at his own pants. "Here, take this too." He removes his grey jogging pants and hands them to Junior. He puts them on. "There!" Saji smiles. Junior's wings stick out from under the hoodie a bit and it looks a little unnatural, but it will do. The cold wind nips at Saji's bare legs and arms as he stands outside in nothing but his t-shirt and underpants. "Burrr!" he wraps his arms around his body and shivers, "Let's get inside." Junior follows Saji into the building.
Light jazzy music plays and the warm air of the building bring instant relief. Junior looks unfazed. The cashier is nowhere to be seen. Good, Saji thinks. He looks to his left and his friend is gone. Saji looks around in a panic, but the tall shelves filled with merchandise block his view. "Hey, where did you go!" He whispers as loudly as he can without drawing too much attention to himself. "Hey, kid!" Well, so much for that. Saji hunches his shoulders and looks at the shopkeeper rushing over to him in shock and concern. "Where are your parents? You must be freezing!" The young man runs out of the store and looks around.
It isn't every day a half-naked kid walks into a gas station convenience store, surely his parents are nearby. Saji takes his chance to check down the aisle for Junior. "Where are you?" He jogs past each aisle than finally locates him down the magazine section. He runs over to the android with relief. "We have to go their -, what are you doing?" Junior smiles revealing his perfect white teeth. He looks at his alien friend with a sucker in his mouth, a bunch of candy in his pockets, and a magazine that read busty beauties.
"You can get in trouble grabbing all this stuff." The front door bings when it opens. "Hey, kid, where did you go?!" Saji pushes Junior down the aisle "We have to go. We will get in trouble if they catch you with all this!" Junior doesn't resist and they round the corner of the aisle. He spots the bathroom and tries to drag him to it, but loses his grip. He looks back at his friend trying on a pair of sunglasses, but they slide off his face and clack on the tiled floor. "We have to go, what are you doing!" the little boy hisses. He decides not to bother and grabs the glasses then proceeds to push Junior into the washroom. He lets the door close then locks the door.
Junior could care less. He is content with all the candy he collected. He flops on the floor and stuffs his face full of more sugar. "Stop it. We're going to get in trouble, you didn't pay for that." Saji says somberly.
"Yeah we have to use Zeni or that's stealing." Saji looks on with concern.
Junior opens the magazine, ignoring Saji. Stealing is bad, scaring people is bad, doing what you want is bad...boring. He turns it upside down and sideways as he looks at the pictures. Saji sighs and flops on the floor and watches his friend flip through the pages with no expression. He can hear the man outside the door calling out for him. "Maybe…" Junior watches Saji raise to his feet. "...I can distract him and you leave out the front door."
Junior gets up and nods as he stuffs the magazine down his hoodie. Now we're talking. "But, you have to leave that stuff here." Nope, Junior's smile turns into a frown with a degree of menace. He shakes his head slowly. "We have to, or we will get in more trouble than we already are." Junior continues to frown at Saji. "Please, we can get more candy later. When we find my mom, she can pay for it. I have more of that candy you like at home too, be reasonable." Reasonable? What's in it for me exactly, Junior ponders. "No."
"But we can get more," Saji grumbles.
"No," Junior says again as he pulls out a small carton.
He sits down and pulls out one of the slender paper sticks. "Those are cigarettes," Saji says, "they're bad for you."
Junior rolls his eyes than smells it. His face scrunches up in disgust. Weird, he thinks to himself. He bites down on it and shivers "Yuck!" Okay, maybe the boy was right this time. Junior opens a pack of gum and dumps the whole thing in his mouth. Saji takes the chance to grab the carton of cigarettes out of his hands and dumps them into the toilet. He pulls the lever and they both watch them swirl around. Good riddance. The water rises higher and higher and one cigarette floats to the top. "It's clogged," Saji says.
A loud smash causes the little boy to almost leap out of his skin. He turns to Junior blowing bubbles and looking inside the back of the toilet. Saji's hand's jerk to his head grasping his red locks "Ahh!, don't do that, he will hear us." Junior looks at Saji than the door. The gum pops all over his face as the man pounds on the bathroom door. "Hey, kids? open up...please."
"He heard us." Water wets Saji's socked feet. He looks at the toilet, but he's not there. Then over to the taps. "No!" The taps are on full blast and Junior is trying to get the sticky tar-like substance off with little success. "You're flooding the floor!" Saji runs over to turn them off but he is too short. All he can do is watch helplessly as water rains down from the lip on the sink and spatters on the dull bathroom floor.
Junior jumps down with an 'aha' expression on his face. He picks up his sunglasses and sticks the gum to both sides of his ears. Then, places the glasses on his face while pressing the two prongs into the gum. He flies over to the mirror and laughs victoriously, with a big grin across his face. Saji groans as he looks at the mess the imp caused. Broken bits of candy and wrappers float in the puddle forming into the middle of the floor. The toilet lid lay smashed next to the toilet bowl. "Boy, you are good at making a mess." The toilet bowl is filled to the brim with water and a few cigarettes float at the top. I guess he helped with that one.
The doorknob starts to turn as the shopkeeper uses his keys to unlock the door. Saji looks at Junior standing with his hands on his hips still grinning. Saji's eyes narrow into a bitterly. "This is all your fault." The door opens and the man stares in disbelief at the two kids. They were only in here for a few minutes. "What in the world?" Jaw hanging open, he looks around scratching his head. He sighs then observes the two kids responsible. One-half naked and the other pale, with sunglasses, hooded, and with pockets bursting with candy.
"Do you have any parents, kids?" Saji nods his head up and down. "Than where on earth are they?" He says in a stern voice. Saji looks down at his feet in shame. "My dad died, and my mom...I don't know where my mom is?" The man's face relaxes and he looks at the boys with empathy.
"Jee kid, where are your clothes." does he have a pair of orphans on his hands.
"Um…" Saji looks up at the man than at Junior.
"Never mind, just come with me, okay?" Saji follows the shopkeeper who leads him to a section with tourist driven clothing. Keychains, bobbles, snow globes. All kinds of trinkets amuse the small boy. "Here." The man hands Saji a pair of pants. The boy grabs them and puts them on. They're a bit big, but his legs feel much warmer. The man gathers more items for Saji and brings them over. "This should do it." he smiles at the youngster. What a nice man, Saji thinks while looking at the items before him. A pair of socks, a pair of blue running shoes with a yellow stripe on the side, and a black jacket with the town's name written across the back. Saji puts the socks and the shoes on. He then stands up to pull the jacket over his head. He looks around for Junior, but he has vanished once more.
"Right, your...? brother? Friend?" The man says with uncertainty, looking around.
A bing comes from the cash register and grabs their attention. "Hey, kid get away from that!" The man drops what he's doing and runs over to Junior pulling bills out of the cash register. "No! No! No!" the shopkeeper pushes the drawer closed and picks up the bills off the floor. He places them on the counter. "What's wrong with you kid? Didn't your parents teach you any manners." Junior ignores him and notices something under the counter. He polls the pistol hidden under the counter out. Then turns towards the man. "Hey now…" The cashier puts his hands up and backs away, what is he doing? He should try and take it back, this kid can hurt himself.
"You can shoot your eye out, little man. Hand that to me...okay?" He reaches his hand out to Junior who blows a raspberry and jumps onto the counter with a wicked grin. "Oh no." Saji moans. He knew that look all too well now. He doubts his friend even knows what a gun is, but It's like he can sense fear. He's like a shark, as soon as there's blood in the water there's no stopping him. Junior's sunglasses fall off and bounce from the counter onto the floor. "Awww…" Junior pouts. The man looks at the strange boy's face and raises a brow.
"You wearing face paint or something?"
Naida sits alone in the lobby of the police station, the warm air is pure bliss. She is still wet and feels chilled to the core. Her pants are a mess. The red looks brown now. Naida's broken arm rests against her chest in a sling that the female officer tied up for her. She refused to go to the hospital. She knew they would not greet her warmly there. Not after what happened.
The police station smells of old coffee and newspapers. Coffee would be nice right now Naida muses. Something to warm her aching bones. One of the male police officers speaks to the doctor from the hospital in an office across from her. She can't hear what they are saying. She avoids eye contact with the mans venomous, electric gaze. Yup, she was right not to go.
Naida slouches in the chair and rests her head on the back. Her eyelids weigh a thousand tons and she can't fight the urge to sleep. Even with the pending situation involving her son. A small amount of guilt tickles her. She is enjoying this too much. It feels so good, is it getting darker in here...
"Is that her." A police officer asks the doctor.
"Yes." The surgeon says sharply. "She fought our staff when we tried to help her, then locked us in one of the isolation rooms," he says with disdain, "she's nuts! we were trying to eliminate that monster and she - would you believe it? Saved it!"
"Right well, we will be questioning her." The officer says solely. It is hard to believe Naida is capable of all that. The man's rage feels a bit odd.
"There's no need. She's a loon and should be put away. She's a danger to herself and her kid."
The police officer looks at the small red-headed woman resting on the chair. She doesn't look crazy? Then again do people ever look crazy? Sometimes, but her cooperativeness made him think otherwise. She has been very kind since they brought her in. Perhaps, he doesn't know the whole story.
"I...understand your concern." He motions to the other officer to escort the doctor out of the room. The female deputy greets her partner when she enters the office. "So, is it her?" He shrugs still looking at the mother in the waiting room. "It appears to be so, Pattelli." She nods and they both look at her sleeping in the chair. "She looks rough. I'll go see if I can get anything from her." Pattelli exits the office and walks casually towards the tired mother.
The young mother jumps in her seat and corrects her posture as the officer approaches. "We need to keep you here for questioning." Naida rubs her face and eyes. She didn't know when she fell asleep or if she ever did. She looks at the female officer. Hadn't she spoke to her already? Or was that a dream? "I understand, I really do, but my son - Saji, is still out there with that creature -" The officer cuts her off.
"We've located what might be your son. There was a sighting at the gas station just off the main highway. A drifter. That creature scared the pants off that man."
"Than why hasn't someone gone and got him? He's barely 5 years old."
"Don't worry. Help is on the way, but we need you to answer a few questions."
"Whatever you want," Naida replies.
"What do you know about that monster?" Pattelli only knew what that doctor told the police and she needs him to be wrong.
"I doubt I really know anything more than you. I hit it with my car than took it to a hospital. They were going to kill him - it, so I stopped them and took it to the vet. It was dead. There was no heartbeat. I listened to it myself."
"Patelli? We need to go, they're calling in backup." Back up? Naida's heart races.
"Wait, why do they need back up?" The worry sick mother asks.
"Don't worry everything will be okay...we are going to get your son."
"Please, you have to let me go with you."
"You have to say here, ma'am. We are trained to do this."
"So were the army, but they were murdered along with my husband!" Pattelli's stomach turned. The doctor was right.
An officer takes Naida by the arm and guides her to an interrogation room. "Please, you can't just leave me here?!" The officer closes the door and Naida watches helplessly as they gear up in a hurry, then race out of the building. She hears the sirens turn on and listens to them as they get quieter. Naida tries the door, but it's locked. No surprise. She can't stay here and do nothing. This is ridiculous. She wishes she had an undo button, a 'ctrl z'. She feels helpless stuck in this room waiting for what? Some police to get her son back. They have that little blue imp to go through. The thing is nearly indestructible. It had no heartbeat and it came back from nothing. The whole army could not stop Cell who was well over three times the size of the young one.
She looks at the window and tries to open it with her one good arm, but its stuck. Looks to be done purposefully. "Makes sense." She walks over to the glass panel and knocks to get the officer's attention. He looks at her and comes to the door. "Can I get a coffee?" Naida asks. He smiles and nodes. "I still feel chilled." She feels a tad guilty for using him, but it's not the worst thing she has done all night. Technically morning, she corrects herself. He walks over to the coffee station leaving the door open. Naida stares at the door than at the officer. "Okay…?" Naida makes a run for it. "That was easy."
Naida runs down the street and hangs a left down the back lane, to try and lose the man. She can't hear him behind her, but she keeps making twists and turns, cutting through buildings until she loses her breath. The cold air makes her feel sick. She shivers and rubs her arms. A truck pulls up beside her and a gruff voice calls out to her. "Get in," her head jerks up to see Mosley behind the wheel, "I'll take you." He had been parked outside the police station for some time. He was there to speak to Deputy Pattelli, but he when he saw Naida run out he knew he wouldn't have another chance to help.
Naida doesn't hesitate and runs around the front of the vehicle and climbs in the passenger's side. "Do you know where we are going?" She looks at him and nods. "The convenience store off of the highway, do you know the one?" Mosley looks at her with a brow raised and a smirk. "You mean, do I know the one and only gas station in this one-horse town?" Naida feels a bit bashful, "yes I know the one." He chuckles.
Red and blue lights flash outside and more begin to follow. Saji looks to the windowed storefront and sees what looks like the entire police force lining up outside. A loud shot fires and a light goes out. He looks at Junior staring at the gun in surprise. The storekeeper is crouching on the floor with his hands over his head then looks up at Junior. "Are you crazy, kid!? You're going to get someone hurt!"
"COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP."
A loud ringing follows and the high pitch stings Junior's sensitive ears. He covers them in annoyance. "We're in big trouble." Saji's voice is shaky. Junior looks at the frightened boy than jumps down from the counter and drops the gun on the floor. It goes off again and pierces a milk jug. The white liquid floods the floor until it empties. The Cashier's hairs stand on end and he slowly ducks back behind the counter.
Junior looks outside at the lineup of cars. He's mesmerized by the lights. Finally, some action in this place, he thinks to himself. "I wanna go home…" Saji crumples to the floor and hugs his knees. Junior looks at his friend and back at the police. The door jingles, grabbing Saji's attention. "No, don't go out there! They will take you away!" Worried to lose his one and only friend, Saji gets up and runs after him. Despite his fear and his lack of better judgment. Junior stands before the police who stare on from behind their vehicles. Two kids? They were told one? A police officer approaches the two kids but stops halfway.
Junior's predatory, bright eyes scan the cars curiously. His head caulks to the side. Usually, these people scramble in fright at the sight of him. Why aren't they scared? His inquisitive little hands trace his jawline. Oh yeah, the hoodie. Junior pulls it over his head. A commotion erupts amongst the police. The android has 15 guns pointing in his direction. He looks on at the frightened faces. That's more like it, Junior smiles. He has no clue why his presence evokes so much fear, but it is pretty amusing.
The imp takes a step forward then looks down at this legs. He pulls the restricting pants off and continues to approach the cars. The female officer sneaks around the back in an attempt to coax Saji over, but the little boy is too afraid to move. "Come over here, Saji," Pattelli says softly. She extends her hand to the boy. "Everything will be fine, we have your mom with us at the station." Moms with them? Saji perks up a bit. Wait, why is she at the station? Did she get in trouble? Are they going to put him in jail? He steps away from her and she moves towards him quickly. "No, don't be afraid, I can help you!" Junior turns around to assess the commotion. His smile dissipates. What's going on here?
Saji sees Junior appear in front of the female officer. She jolts in surprise. The little android turns his head and looks at Saji behind him. Is she trying to take my things? The small android frowns in annoyance than fixes his sharp eyes on hers. I think not, lady.
Naida and Mosley hit the highway, Just as a helicopter flies overhead. It looks military to Naida. Another cop car flies by, passing them from another town. "They're bringing in reinforcements from outside, I haven't seen that in years." Naida looks at Moseley, with curiosity. "Why would they need to do that?" She had the answer. She didn't really need to ask. Before Mosley could respond and helicopter spins into view, swirling out of control as a fire engulfs the cockpit.
"Look out!" Naida screams. It flies overhead and crashes into the mountainside. Mosley slams on the breaks and their bodies press into their seat belts. The helicopter rolls onto the road, blocking their path. "We should help them," Mosley says somberly, as he quickly undoes his seatbelt. "But, Saji?" Naida presses him. "I need to get to him."
"We're not going anywhere with this contraption blocking our way."
"But, we can find another way around!"
"For Kami's sake, woman! These people need help, they are going to die-"
"So does my son! He's practically a baby. He can't defend himself."
"Then you go do what you must, but I'm staying here to help as much as I can."
Naida watches Mosley run towards the blazing heap of metal. It is awful for her to think, but those pilots are probably dead. However, there is a chance Saji is still alive. She runs over to the railing beside the helicopter. She can just make out the sign through the trees further down the road. She isn't that far off, She could make it if she ran. There isn't really a way around the helicopter without doing something dangerous. She takes a deep breath, then steps over the railing slowly. Naida starts to tremble when she looks at the drop below. They almost went over this cliff in the car earlier. It brought back the memory and Naida grasps onto the railing with her one good arm. Her palms begin to sweat, as the wind pushes against her body.
"Saji, I'm not going to give up on you." A powerful shock hits into her body, the sound is so loud it makes her ears ringing painfully. She looks over to the gas station and a plume of smoke and fire rises into the air.
...Somewhere near the foot of Mount Paozu…
"There it is again!" The eleven-year-old stands up in his chair, fists clenched. A recurrence of energy has been bothering him for hours. What's going on? It felt identical to Cell. "But, I killed him. There's no way he could have revived himself. I put everything I had into that Kamehameha." The boy's energy swells as he tries to focus in on the energy. He hoped he wouldn't feel it again. That would only mean more lives lost. Those jolts of energy were strong enough to hurt people, there is no doubt about that. It is pretty far north. Had he failed? There is only one way to find out for sure. If he hurries he might make it.
"Gohan, what's all that yelling in there! You better be finished your studies!"
Hello readers, terribly sorry for the absence. Because of current commitments, I'm a little tied up, but those commitments will let up at the end of January. Hope you enjoyed this chapter. Thank you for all the reviews, both helpful and kind. Happy new year!