Disclaimer: I do not own Dragonball Z, Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. I do not make money from this story.

Chapter 23

The Waiting Game

Tien's paperwork was all finished and he wanted to hurry to return to his watch over Vegeta; but first he had to make an important phone call. He drove down a side street that was deep in snow. He knew of a phone booth out of reach of any cameras that was on the dimly lit street. As he parked his car he checked to see if anyone was going about, the street was clear and he got into the glass booth. His hands shook slightly as he dialled the number he had written down.

"Welcome to the information call centre, please state the contact you have with Vegeta. All calls will be recorded," The operator spoke in a slow automatic way. It was as if the person had said this millions of times over and over again.

"I found Vegeta. I know where he is right now and I have the proof." Tien said with conviction.

There was a pause and a small snort. "Please wait while we put you through to the correct contact."

He had to endure the light plinking tune as he was put on hold but he didn't have to wait long.

"I don't want any time wasters, tell me what you have!" A deep male voice suddenly snapped.

"I live in North City, I'm a police officer, and I believe I have found Vegeta." Tien replied.

"If you are the police why don't you go to the FBI?"

Tien grunted a laugh under his breath. "They didn't do the real justice I seek. They just kept him as a pampered pet that let him be able to escape, I want him dead in the most painful way possible. The money helps too."

"All payments of anything would be only done after a confirmation of the Saiyan Prince."

"What do you need?"

"Some proof of his DNA, you would have to get very close. Is he aware that you know his identity?"

"I don't think so, I'm a detective I need to ask questions and there have been a few suspicious deaths around this man that is most likely Vegeta." Tien snarled. "It's my job to stick close to suspects in a murder case."

"Understand, you will need to be alive to receive the reward. It would be transferred to you by a Safety Deposit box." The man said over the phone. "The DNA needs to be deposited there as well. So we could arrange for it to a bank near your city."

"How long would this all take?" Tien said gruffly. "I want him caught; the longer we leave it the more likely he will run!"

"Do you think he could?"

"He's possibly committed two murders in his work place, possibly more in the city. We need him contained."

"Then get us a photograph first, we can make some quick arrangements if needs be." The man assured him. "We could not make any full payment until we got a DNA analysis. It would need to be not just a hair but a full follicle, or perhaps some salvia, there would also need to keep the sample clear of any cross contaminations."

"I may not be a scientist but I know my forensics." Tien said. He could see some problems occurring from this task. A photo could be possible. "I may be able to get his fingerprints. That might be more accessible."

"That may be an acceptable solution; with a photo and fingerprints we could wire a quarter of the reward and send the rest on the Prince's capture and full examination on his identity."

"I might be able to do that, we just need the bastard caught and given the justice he deserves."

"We can very much guarantee that our interests are fully shared Mr. Detective."

The conversation continued as Tien gave more details they needed and he received the ones he needed to know. Where to go and drop off his evidence and most importantly for him, where the money would be put once he had given them what they wanted; it was perfectly anonymous just as Tien hoped.

The North City snow continued to fall as the winter weather continued. A storm was coming soon; the full fury would set even more things in motion though Tien was completely unaware. All he could see was the vengeance he sought and he was blind to everything else. The symbolic weather was meaningless to him and the time for Vegeta's take down was coming.

000

In West City the next day, Bulma answered her hotel door as a fellow agent made a visit. She handed over the note in silence with the ripped envelope. She only shrugged at the questioning, she was tired and weary. The long hours in a hotel room with nothing to do was wearing her down.

"Do you want to be moved Bulma?" Agent Magenta asked.

"What I really want is to go home." Bulma said.

"The Tabloid press are starting to lose interest in your story." The Agent said. "Just a few more days."

"I just want to get home to my own bed and gym." Bulma sighed.

"At least two more days, keep it together." Magenta smiled, her smile was sort of frozen unflinching. It was a perfect camera pose photo; Bulma imagined she'd be the type that would always smile the same way in every photo.

"Thanks for taking the time to pick this up." Bulma said trying not to think too much about her inner bitchy comments. She had to keep her professionalism.

"We need to check the room for bugs as well," Magenta explained. "You may need to go down to the café while we scan the place. There are also some confidential reports you need to read and hand delivery seemed like the best way considering the circumstances."

Bulma picked up her laptop on instinct and smiled. "Sure, search away. I'll be where you suggested. I'm incredibly free at the moment."

"All the more to fill in your forms, you don't need your laptop do you?" Magenta asked pointing at the laptop bag she was packing.

"The information I need for the forms is in the laptop." Bulma quibbled back. She knew exactly what this 'search' was all about. She wasn't born yesterday.

"Here are your report forms," Magenta said. "You have a pen, I assume."

"Of course," Bulma said mildly irritated.

She didn't let the young woman talk to her anymore and just left, leaving the unimportant packed suitcases for them to 'search'. She was glad she had her gun taken away as Bulma had never felt the need to go on a rampage as badly as she did now. If she was a teenager all over again she would have whipped out some automatic from a capsule and let loose but she was an adult now and knew of the consequences. She was already feeling from her impulsive actions on the mission. She had gone over her actions so many times; wondering what would have happened if she had taken more self control.

Bulma took her time going down to the café. She had a few books on her laptop she could read. She doubted these forms would take her long to fill out. It just needed to copy all her previous statements. She was half tempted to just stand outside her room and see if any other people entered while the search continued. Bulma had every mind to move rooms once they were done just in case their search for bugs was to place some of their own.

'No, I just need to let them spy on me if that's the case.' Bulma thought. 'I need to be one step ahead. Someone in the Agency doesn't like me and wants me fired.' It was a depressing thought but it had been one that was hanging over Bulma since this happened. She doubted Tao had the smarts or the need to go this far. He enjoyed being passive aggressive at her at every turn. She really doubted it was him. She was never his favourite and he mocked her at every turn, but this was not his style.

She took a seat as she ordered her coffee and took her time as she thought things over. Her actions had been fine, really, she had acted on her instincts but it was within reason. The alien was a dangerous risk that needed to be taken down quickly before she released her spores. She had seen the secretors ready to release, she knew that any operation to remove her spores would have taken out those release points. She had meditated over the situation and had come to only one conclusion. It was a cover up of a huge proportion and one Bulma was overwhelmed with how much she had been taken down. It would be just a waiting game while she hoped whoever was behind this would make a mistake. She just wondered if the injustice of it all could let her wait. Bulma was starting to grow impatient.

000

The latest newspaper fell down on Vegeta's desk, brought to him from the staff room from one of his subordinates. He made his thanks to the workman as he left and skimmed over the front page, Bulma wasn't there. He checked inside and his smirk appeared as he saw the familiar face. Bulma was now only third page news. It wasn't much of an article and more going over the previous day's news. The infant Bulma had shot was dead and having a government burial along with her mother who had died on the scene. If it was the species Vegeta expected them to be the bodies would need to be burned. The toxins of that species, especially from the females were potent.

Vegeta pulled out his scissors and cut out the article. It was another one for his collection. It was perhaps damning if found, but then he could always say he was a fan of her work. He smiled at that idea, he was also unsure himself why he continued to focus on the woman. She was the first one to ever speak to him as an equal, though she was far inferior to her. He was careful to put it away; he could feel a certain energy coming closer.

The small bug had become more of a mild irritation and was now almost a threat. A threat however would need to be dealt with and Vegeta felt that he had come to the end of his life in North City as comfortable as it currently was. He turned the page on his paper and didn't look up as the expect knock came.

"Come in." He said as the Detective entered.

"I've just got a few more questions Mr Hoang, hope you're not too busy."

"Shipments are all done for the day." Yasai Hoang said, his mask slipping on perfectly. "Ask away Detective…I forgot your name…?"

"It's Detective Tien Crane."

"Crane?" Hoang asked intrigued. "Is that your full name?"

"Yes, I usually go by Tien, please call me that or Detective." He said as he scanned Vegeta's face for any sign of nerves but he was completely relaxed.

"I see, Crane is not a name to be ashamed of." Vegeta smirked. "I heard it is quite an interesting martial art in the mountains near East City."

"That's where I'm from." Tien said sitting down and taking out his notebook. He was hoping to spot anything, a mug, a hair but the place was spotless. It was fine if he could keep up the innocent talk and keep "Yasai" no, he was Vegeta he was sure. There was no power level from him but then there shouldn't be any. He was neutered by years of imprisonment and was technically powerless but he would still have the abilities of a normal human. He looked into those strange blue eyes. They were cold and unsmiling unlike his face. They could so easily be contacts.

"I might move there at some point." Yasai said. "Nice weather, not like here I assume."

"Ah, yeah it's really hot in summer but not that cold in winter. Certainly no snow like here." Tien said.

"Got another storm coming soon." Yasai said. "So, what are your questions, Detective Tien Crane."

"I just needed to confirm when the last day that the previous foreman was seen."

"The Friday, as you know, it was his weekend of his big night out." Yasai laughed. "He bragged to everyone about it as he left. I wished him luck with his hussies and went to the mountains. I never saw him again."

"You never saw him in the mountains?"

"I don't go bear fighting, that would be suicide." Yasai smirked.

"You do know Shanks ended up in the mountains as well."

"As you've told me." Yasai said. "They never released any details of his body. I've only got what you've told me. Shanks was found in a bear, well part of him, in the mountains. I always wondered how you found the bear?"

"It was caught coming close to some campers and acting weird, it was running from something."

"Bears don't have many enemies."

"Neither do Cranes," Tien smiled. "Though I'm sure they find some."

"Is that all I can help you with Detective?" Yasai asked.

"More of an update on events Foreman Hoang." Tien said. "I wanted to ask some more about the atmosphere at the work place. I need to ask the men some more things."

"Four weeks ago I was one of those men." Yasai said. "All I can say about Foreman Shanks was that he treated everyone like a drinking partner rather than a subordinate."

"You look down on that style of leadership?"

"Never said I did, every one is their own unique little snowflake." Yasai grinned and Tien wondered if that comment was slightly sarcastic. It was hard to tell, he could almost feel like he was on a razor edge talking to him but Vegeta couldn't know that he was onto him.

"Well, I'll take my leave, I guess nothing has changed since last week but I need to build up my profile of Shanks."

"I'm sure my men will help you out in any way they can." Yasai said. "They still miss him, you might be dredging up some painful memories for them."

"I'll be as cautious as I can." Tien said offering out his hand. Yasai looked at it for a second like it was an alien concept then brought his hand into Tien's for a firm shake. It jerked back as his hidden blade did its work.

"Son of a… what cut me?" Yasai said holding up his hand, there was a small trickle of blood.

"Oh, no, my bracelet has broken, sorry Sir." Tien said as he scrambled and pulled off his bracelet placing it in his pocket. "I hope it's okay, got some band aids I hope."

"That I do…" Yasai grumbled, he watched exactly which pocket the bracelet was put into. He turned his back to get his First Aid kit from the box in the wall. He could hear a clink of something as Tien pocketed something from his desk. Vegeta understood what the Police Detective was doing but decided to play dumb, he had his guard down as much as he suspected who Vegeta was. He was still under some illusion that he had the upper hand. It was a better hand to play this way. Vegeta just had to maintain the act for as long as he could.

"Did you cut yourself as well?" Yasai asked as he fumbled with the box on his desk.

"I'm fine, I'll get this thing fixed. It was given to me by my Girlfriend; she'll never forgive me that I got it damaged." Tien said shyly.

"Just be sure not to lose it." Vegeta said. "Women tend to notice these things."

"You mentioned before you had a woman back home waiting for you?"

"It's unfortunately at one of those off again moments." Yasai said. "We can never make that commitment."

"I understand." Tien said. "I'm almost in the same state with my own girl. Listen, thanks for all your help Mr Hoang, I might call back again if I need anything else."

"Good luck with your investigations." Yasai said. "I'd show you out but I have a few invoices to go through."

"Again, thanks for your time Mr Hoang, till next time." Tien said moving quickly to the door.

Vegeta remained sitting as the door closed his head down. As the footsteps echoed away on the metal walkway, he stood up and looked out of the window. He leaned back at an angle so he wasn't apparent but as he thought Tien placed something in a bag in his car before leaving. He had no questions to ask his men at all.

'That may have been your last chance I gave you little Crane.' Vegeta thought as he saw him speeding away. 'That was really sloppy of me, little mistakes like that are what got me caught the first time.'

Vegeta glanced around his desk, a pen was missing, nothing else, but the blood from his wrist was still bleeding. He slowly licked the small wound. That was not from a broken bracelet but from an obvious blade attached to the bracelet. Vegeta knew he was such a low level now that blades could cut him easily, especially when he was off guard. He had let his guard down around that detective once too often and now the price was being paid.

Vegeta couldn't be certain who Tien was working for, he could guess. If he was being a true police detective he would have got a warrant and made a huge fuss with arresting him or even worse the FBI would have been brought in and he was sure to be captured. This had not happened and the Detective was using such underhanded ways to get any data that could link him to his real identity. He was not doing this by the books and that would work fine for Vegeta.

"Hey, Ben." Yasai said over the intercom. "I'm going home early you're in charge."

"Alright then Boss, have a good weekend."

"You too Ben, see you on Monday."

Vegeta switched out of the nice guy mode and continued to watch the car of the Detective drive away. He had a new prey to hunt. Detective Tien may have the upper hand now but the Prince had no intention on letting that last.

000


Author's Note: Well, looks like Tien has dealt his cards and is planning to get Vegeta captured by some bounty hunters. Though will Vegeta stop him in time? What could Vegeta possibly do to someone like Tien who is probably more powerful than him now?

All shall become a little clearer and Bulma might get a break… maybe.