AN: Alright...don't hate me. I've been gone for...well over a year now... Health problems and severe lack of inspiration... no excuse, I know. I have to get back into the swing of things by re-watching the series thanks to the Kai... I've just not been motivated and the inspiration is running dry. I hope it doesn't show in this chapter, because I try to give it my all. If it seems a bit lacking, I apologize for that. I am thinking of maybe getting a beta to help alleviate this problem, because the last thing I want to do is disappoint anyone. I am also going back and correcting a few minor mistakes made in a few chapters. I plan to eventually do a complete edit once finished, though nothing serious, just cleaning up mishaps and pesky grammatical errors.

Well, here is the next chapter. I hope to have the next chapter out before too long. Thank you all for your support and patience...however few of you readers there are left.

Chapter 22

Vegeta was losing. He hadn't a history of losing fights, and it was only recently that his pride was maimed (the most recent being his battle on Earth). Then, just like now, he had no comrades to help, not as though he'd accept their help regardless. But unlike the previous battle, this one had an audience to witness his ruin. Spectators that weren't joining into the fight on either side, and watched his own humiliation with wide, rapt eyes. They weren't quite his enemies (for sure, how pathetic could he be to consider the bald midget human and blue haired witch and the half breed his enemies?), nor were they close enough to be considered his comrades. No, just a handful of earthlings watching as his body was flung around like a toy. The degradation hurt more than the actual blows from the Ginyus. Neither had a great advantage on him in strength, rather, they had merely the upper hand on the situation and grasped it, having no qualms to use it, no matter how dirty and dishonorable it may have been.

If only he could cripple one of them, render one of the members motionless— then he could take out the second. As it stood, his chance of survival was at a bare minimum. As he was knocked about, the rocks and debris picked up, causing a small film of dust to powder the air. As sick and as savage as the fight was, they couldn't tear their eyes away. The three spectators watched upon with a sick fascination, like passerbyes staring transfixed at a car crash. Two were torn between helping the Saiyan, and the other incapable of even forming a proper stance.

When they witnessed the blow that sent the Saiyan into a grave of rocks, they had feared the worst. His life force still thrived violently and strong, as arrogant as his body was in oppose to defeat. Yet he didn't rise just yet, and the attack seemed to finalize, to condemn, the already dreaded realization; Vegeta couldn't defeat them on his own. The remaining Ginyu members were pleased at the victory the course of events seemed to propose.

Bulma heard their bets on Vegeta's life, and frowned. How could one make such jokes on someone else's life? These aliens were deplorable. If she had the strength herself, she'd do something to wipe those smug expressions off their faces. It wasn't until they heard the rubble stir did a small pang of relief hit her, only to quickly be replaced with dread as the red skinned Jeice took a stance and began to charge an attack. Bulma chanced nervous eyes towards Kuririn, who was watching just as shocked. There was a second where she was about to yell at Jeice to stop and for Kuririn to get into gear, but any breath she could have used was quickly spent.

It was faster than she could have seen. In one instant, Kuririn disappeared and Jeice let loose a large yellow stream of energy. A second later she could hear the impact the beam of light made in an impressive orchestra of thundering and crashing. Her heart jumped into her throat, wondering if Kuririn had helped Vegeta, or if he hadn't managed to escape the blow.

Kuririn knew that he didn't have much time to contemplate when he saw the red alien prepare an attack. It was his own split-second decision that moved him forward, and before he knew it, he was digging Vegeta out of the rocky earth and above the attack. Kuririn was somewhat amazed for a second by his own speed, half wondering if he actually successfully evaded the attack. He was hovering just above when he heard the crash of the energy ball against the terrain, Vegeta's arm held in his grasp, dangling him above the wreckage. He blinked several times, half congratulating himself, and half cursing himself for putting up the risk for Vegeta, of all people.

When they touched down, Vegeta had gained back most of his consciousness. He stood and hastily snatched his hand out of Kuririn's grasp, as if he was poisoned. Kuririn shifted his gaze towards the Saiyan and gulped. He looked furious. His face was almost red with anger as his teeth gnashed and a vain pulsed on his temple. The look he was giving Kuririn now was almost enough to kill.

"How dare you –" He clenched out, fists tightening. Even though his voice was strong, Vegeta looked like he was run over by a stampede. Blood was covering his left cheek and he was marred with much bruising. All in all, he was a formidable sight to behold, and even as he walked with a sort of heavy feel, he still commandeered power.

"How dare you interfere, human." He took a step forward and Kuririn took two back.

"H-Hey now," Kuririn stammered, wanting to avoid any further instigation. "I just saved your life!"

Maybe those weren't the best words to say. He gulped as Vegeta's eyes widened in anger and his brow crease.

"I don't need help from earthlings!" He roared, the energy around him picking up. Kuririn should have known better than to bring to attention his own weakness, and his sudden explosion of energy forced Kuririn back and he stumbled over. Kuririn once again gulped and crawled back as he watched Vegeta fly at the Ginyu members, who upon seeing the whole display, laughed.

He looked far more battered than before, but the air around him screamed fiercely, and the rage on his face kept them all from fear of concern. Vegeta looked savage, chest puffing, nostrils flared, eyes blood-shot and burning. He stopped just short of attacking, and stared at his enemies.

"So, you did survive, did you? Pity that," Jeice remarked crossing his arms.

Vegeta didn't respond, and instead curled back into a fighter's stance. Bulma was sure that all of his muscles must have been screaming in protest and outrage, but his master control let none of it show through on his features. He bowed fluently and confidently, and Bulma envied his flawless power over his body. However, Vegeta didn't make a move. He oddly stood there, as if waiting for his opponent to make the first hit. Burter was upon him, appearing from thin air and landed a blow that sent the stalled warrior soaring into Jeice's direction. The red skinned alien smiled at the sight of his incoming target and prepared for strike. However, perceiving Vegeta was temporarily incapacitated, underestimated the Saiyan, who, upon being launched at such a velocity, gained the momentum he needed to effectively turn, right himself and smash his sailing foot into Jeice's mouth.

There was a wailing cry of surprise and pain that escaped the red Ginyu member. He stumbled back, holding his mouth, an unusual color of blood leaking from his mouth and covering his white gloves. He stared in shocked horror as he felt something give way, and opening his mouth, out fell two delicate white frontal teeth.

"My teeth!" He cried out awkwardly, "My teeth! How –how could you do such a thing! My precious mouth –my face!"

This happened in only a few moments, and in those seconds, Vegeta had landed from his dive attack, and quickly kicked off the ground in a blur that barely was perceived and ran into Burter, who was still looking on shocked. Vegeta wasted no time in taking advantage of his enemy's distraction and landed an upper cut that rattled teeth. The fast Ginyu was sent flying into the air and barely righted himself in time to block Vegeta's onslaught of punches. However, with his partner engrossed in his vanity, Burter didn't stand a chance, and every counter blow, Vegeta was able to perceive and offset in some way.

Bulma couldn't help but smile somewhat, both at Vegeta's comeback in the battle and the degrading distress he delivered to Jeice. She was glad that finally things were going in his favor— in their favor. Burter, on his part, looked rather rattled on Vegeta's sudden comeback and blast of fiery, Saiyan energy. He grit his teeth and tried to slam a fist into his nose, only to have Vegeta catch it easily in his grasp. The Blue Ginyu warrior looked in amazement at Vegeta's reflexes, surprised that someone had moved as fast as he, and the shock stopped him in his tracks for one, fatal second. It was all Vegeta needed. Grasping the blue fist, Vegeta twisted and crouched in such a way, that it forced the taller warrior to bend over to his smaller form awkwardly, exposing his vulnerable, upper torso.

The Saiyan's strike was like that of a viper's. His elbow collided with his solar-plexus, stealing the wind right out of him, and turned so abruptly that he could smash his other hand into the soft tissue of his neck. His hand cut through like butter, flesh easily gave way to his slice, the head jerked back like a ragdoll. There was a gargled, sputtering from the tall warrior. As Vegeta relaxed his stance, Burter tensed his. With a jerking movement, Vegeta withdrew his hand, and like a marionette that lost its master's control, Burter slumped forward in a heap. There was a thick silence; the savage display effectively diminished any sort of happy response Bulma would have had upon seeing a victory. It only left an ominous, lurch of horror and disgust, reminding her that he was still brutal and merciless, a beast as wild and untamed as a hellion of the Devil's in combat.

The tall blue Ginyu member shook slightly, surprising Bulma that he hadn't already died. Calmly, Vegeta strolled towards that spurting, shuddering lump of meat that barely contained life. His partner had watched on, too startled, astonished and horrified to respond, staring with the same sick fascination as the earthling's had earlier. Vegeta offered no final words, no last minute curses, damning the fallen warrior to the beyond, or insult. He just walked over and stopped before him, staring at the creature, garbling and choking on his own vital pearlescent fluids. Burter was left to stare at him, knowing he had lost, barely comprehending how fast it happened, and completely incapable of cursing his executioner, for his throat was completely torn and useless. The ultimate punishment— the ultimate feeling of helplessness and humiliation; the robbing of a dying warrior's final conservable act of maintaining a semblance of pride. He was forced to look into the condemning man's face, his eyes, and accept whatever he said, whatever looks of pity, or disgust, or hatred he so favored and not utter a word. Vegeta had stared for a while, a solid, cold prominence on his harsh features. Burter couldn't even attempt to jumble words; he just hacked uselessly as Vegeta raised a booted foot. In one swift, unforgiving strike, his foot crashed down unto the taller man's mangled neck. A loud, sickening crack was heard, followed by a wet squelching noise as his boot dug deeply into the mangled bits of his flesh. When he lifted his foot, only bloodied pulp was left.

No one dared speak, every breathing person, human or not, stared aghast. Bulma hadn't caught all of this. She only saw when the terrible blow was made, and the slow, condemning foot that nearly severed the head from the body. Bulma felt literally ill. No matter who's side he was on, the act was a shocking one, a disgusting, beastly, carnal act that left all who saw it drop their stomach. It happened so fast. One minute, the two Ginyu members were dominating Vegeta and in a split second, Vegeta had turned the tables, and now one was dead by their feet. It was fearful how quickly and vital every second in battle really was. She saw firsthand that in one split second of distraction, the roles of control could flip and you could be dead before you even saw the blow coming. It honestly scared her.

"You…you…" Jeice staggered back on his feet, still holding his bleeding, gummy mouth. As Vegeta approached, the smaller warrior took more steps back, sensing the predator's intention, and knowing he was doomed.

With his partner dead, Jeice had no chance at victory, no sliver of hope. The walls came crashing down and sealed him in, with no way out. It was in that moment the real waves of dread washed over him. To know these were his last minutes alive, to know that he was going to die, and there was nothing he could do about it. His brain couldn't handle it, panic set in, nerves raced, and fear gripped him with such strength, it paralyzed him. He could almost feel the cold, clammy hands reach up, waiting to catch him as he plummeted into the abyss, to grasp him in their claws and rake him through all seven layers of hell. This was it, he was going to die. Nothing could save him. He would give anything to live, a limb, a promise of submission and loyalty, even his own goddamn children if he had any. But Vegeta never showed mercy or clemency for weak endeavors. Beggars were often killed slower with Vegeta— he had heard the rumors. At the same instance, when all these pleads raced through the mind, a sense of forfeit was made, and surrender was conceived.

There was amusement sparking in his enemy's black eyes. A hunger there, the look of a hunter going in for the kill, to know that the battle was over, the hunt finished, and that he was victorious. He couldn't take his eyes away from Vegeta, who stalked towards him with a calm slowness that Bulma's untrained eyes had no problem following. She saw the terror and fear in the red alien's eyes, as well as the realization, the cruel dreadful knowledge that he was going to die, and the absolute surrendering hopelessness. It was hard to look at someone experiencing that. His eyes were too filled with dreadful emotions and she had to turn her head away. No matter how much she hated the alien, his look was too strong, too intimate with death and fear. How could anyone get used to looking at a man who knows he's going to die? How could someone kill him while looking into those painful terror-stricken pupils?

Jeice's foot had landed on an upturned stone, and the noise it made seemed to set off the timer. Vegeta's form instantly vanished, and his fist seemed to appear before the rest of him. He launched the Ginyu member into the air, and followed his path to meet him. He didn't play with Jeice like Bulma thought he might have. He landed a few solid kicks and punches, and Jeice just slumped around bonelessly, already accepting his fate, and probably too horrified and broken to even feel the blows. He didn't try to fight back, didn't try to defend himself. It was a horrifying discovery. Vegeta fisted the alien's hair, which was now painted and splotched over with his blood. He spun the warrior about before flinging him in the distance. Vegeta, this time didn't follow him, instead, his right hand pulled back and the whirr of energy was formed. The light gathered in his palm in less than a second, but the resulting blast was enough to vaporize his enemy completely. When the dust settled, not even a faint outline could be seen of the other warrior. It was as if he vanished, as if hell itself had opened up and swallowed him whole, leaving not a trace of him behind. The death was lightening; it was fast and silent. Came and went, like grim death itself.

The stench of ozone from the resulting blast tickled Bulma's nose. It was the silence that was a painful one that followed. She didn't know if she had a right to feel happy. She just witnessed Vegeta kill their enemies, yet there was no merriment. It felt wrong in a way, and left a bitter, ominous presence in its quake. Even Gohan and Kuririn picked up on the sensation, and stared with an air of appalling consequence in their eyes. They couldn't cheer like they would have usually done when the enemy was destroyed, because it wasn't truthfully the case. Vegeta wasn't one of them, and a victory for him was simply that; a victory gained by an adversary who fought not for them, but for himself.

Vegeta seemed to hover the air for a bit, a nostalgic look on his face as he stared at the particles of dust that were once his opponent, almost as if he could still see the man. He slowly lowered himself down to the ground, and when his feet touched down, not one of them dared approach. He stared off into the distance, and the three wondered what was to happen now. Would he keep his word and help them, or would he simply turn and kill them now that they were weak?

They watched as he suddenly shifted and huffed, then threw back his head and laughed. It was a laugh not filled with mirth, but one of a dreadful victory.

"See now!" Vegeta cackled, "See what has befallen your precious Ginyu members, Freeza! They were no match for me; none!"

He continued to laugh as Bulma's scouter beeped, and her attention was diverted. Her eyes narrowed, and she took off the device, cradling it in her hands before taking a seat on the ground.

Gohan blinked at the scene, then looked down at Bulma, who pulled out a small screwdriver and opened up the inside panel.

"Bulma," Gohan started, "What are you doing?"

Kuririn turned his head away from the laughing Saiyan to look at his friend, who sat with the scouter and a small kit of some sort, filled with all sorts of mechanical doohickeys he couldn't even begin to ponder the uses for.

"Making your job much easier," She answered, narrowing her eyes and she attached one wire of the circuit board to some external battery like object.

With their questioning looks, Bulma sighed before elaborating. "I couldn't very much do this while all the fighting was going on, too much dust around and it could have gotten inside the wirings. Now that the Ginyu force are gone however, we can start to narrow in on the Dragonballs, and in order to do that, we need to get a diversion going for Freeza so you and Vegeta can nab them."

"Bulma," Kuririn sighed, "Did you see what just happened? Did you see what Vegeta just did out there?"

"Yes, he got rid of the Ginyu members, quite effectively, too I might add," She didn't even bother looking up from her device.

Kuririn looked exasperated. "He tore one of them apart! How can you just brush that off! Bulma, this guy is dangerous, you can't honestly tell me that after seeing that you still feel–"

"What I feel has absolutely nothing to do with anything," Bulma interrupted. "I know he's a loose cannon, we both know that, and while I'll admit that that last display was somewhat… distasteful to look at, it doesn't change anything. I knew he was more than capable of that, visual confirmation means nothing. He's still our only option at this point."

Kuririn looked like he was about to argue. "But Bulma –"

"The woman is right."

At the sudden graveled voice of Vegeta, so close to them, Kuririn jumped and quickly turned.

There, standing before them, was Vegeta. The laughter had apparently died and left his face, and in its place was the regular cold glare.

"I am the only one who has a possibility at defeating Freeza, and your best chance of survival is to stay out of my way and not question me."

"But… Goku," Kuririn pushed. "Why can't we wait for him, he can probably–"

Vegeta snarled. "We do not need Kakarrot! I will be the one to destroy Freeza! Not that imbecile!"

"All of you, shut up!" Bulma yelled out, and all eyes immediately turned towards her. "I can't concentrate with all your whiny bickering!"

Vegeta looked about ready to say something, but Kuririn wisely spoke up. "Sorry Bulma, I'm just trying to…"

He trailed off as he noticed she wasn't paying him any attention. Her sole focus was on the device currently in front of her. Her brows were creased in concentration.

"Bulma, what exactly is that, and what did you do?" Gohan asked, the ever inquisitive child.

Bulma didn't even look up from her work.

"Oh, this? It's an external circuitry unit I built a while ago. It allows me to hack and rewrite the terminal codes found in devices that read electronic frequencies."

She chanced a glance at her friends, and by the looks on their faces, she continued. "Okay. The scouter has many different uses, you see? The most common being the ability to detect the electromagnetic signals given off of living organisms; what you guys refer to as 'ki.' It also doubles as a communication link between all networking scouters. They are all linked up to one main satellite, to allow people to communicate with each other, like a radio broadcast or a cell phone. With my device, I was able to trace the tracer in a sense. By hacking the satellite correspondence, I can control what frequencies the scouters pick up, and also alter and limit what energy readings scouters can access."

Gohan was the first to speak, his eyes growing wide. "Are you telling me that Freeza can't trace our ki now? Because you hacked their scouters?"

Bulma winked. "I sure do. That wasn't hard. I could have done that anywhere with just my scouter alone. I did that as you started the fight, though, so he has no idea that most of his Ginyu squad are dead," Bulma's eyes twitched as the device beeped. "As of right now, I need to finish this, which could take an hour or so. If all goes well, Freeza and Ginyu's scouter will give an emergency call from across the planet to where a few of his stray henchmen stumbled upon a temperamental Saiyan hiding the Dragonballs…"

There was a brief paused before Gohan smiled brightly. Kuririn also sighed heavily and grinned. "Bulma, if this actually works… you're a genius."

Bulma grinned in response, rolling her eyes. "I already know that."

Vegeta just gave a decidedly unimpressed humph and crossed his arms and Bulma couldn't help but feel disappointed. Didn't anything she do impress him?

"If it works," Vegeta added giving her a nasty sneer.

Her eyes narrowed. "It will, just you wait."

Vegeta's eyebrow rose. "Oh? And what if he simply sends Ginyu instead of going himself? Or what if he takes the balls with him? Then what will you do?"

"He'll go himself, trust me," Bulma said flatly. "I don't think he trusts Ginyu to beat you. He's too worried right now about him messing up to send him, and Freeza won't be moving the Dragonballs. He's too arrogant to think that anyone would have the guts to attack his ship. All our power levels will be picked up several thousand miles from here, so there would be no immediate threat."

"And you know Freeza this well, do you?" Vegeta pressed.

It was Bulma's turn to raise a brow. "I don't know, you tell me."

Vegeta was silent for a while before he gave a dignified humph. "Freeza is over-arrogant enough to do something so foolish. You better just hope that he falls for it long enough for me to grab the Dragonballs and make my wish."

Bulma's immediate swelling victory was mottled somewhat by his vocal admission of "me" and "my wish" instead of including them. She chose to ignore it for the time being, and went to picking at the wires on her scouter.

True to her word, about an hour later Bulma finished.

"Done!" Bulma suddenly beamed. Quickly she detached the scouter from the device and closed it back up, positioning it back on her face. The three had stood patiently by, awkwardly silent and uncomfortable. Gohan had spent the majority of the time asking her questions about her work, and Kuririn did his best to ignore the Saiyan for all he could. The wait was a painful one, and reminded him of his wait back on earth for Goku to arrive. Vegeta was there to, only now they were waiting for a different foe altogether. Vegeta for his part had refused to look at anyone, choosing instead of walk off a short distance (making sure to keep them all in eyesight in case they ran off) and ignoring their very existence.

At her call, they all turned their attention to her, Gohan looking excited, Kuririn nervous, and Vegeta skeptical and impatient.

"Well? Did it work?" Kuririn asked, jumping to his feet.

"We'll find out now, won't we?" Bulma bit her lip nervously. This was it. While she was confident that Freeza would take her bait, there was always that faint underlining of worry that itched at her. If this didn't work, they were in trouble. The terrible gut feeling alleviated when she read the powerful energy spike hit her scouter.

That was when all three warriors felt the ever-powerful reading of Freeza sky rocket across the sky. They all felt his power as he jetted overhead in an impressive stream of light. All at once, the three earthlings smiled and exhaled the breath they were unconsciously holding. This was it, he fell for it.

"You did it Bulma!" Gohan smiled. "He's gone!"

"And the Dragonballs…?" Kuririn timidly asked.

Bulma clicked a few times on her scouter. There was a pleasant chirping sound of a cluster of Dragonballs several miles away from them, but thankfully, not moving.

"Are still and sitting for our taking," Bulma finished, smirking triumphantly.