This chapter has not been rewritten by Lucillia!
CHAPTER 6: The First Morning
Goku had been awake for some time when one of the nurses finally arrived with the breakfast plate. He was starving and had been bemoaning about his hunger in the empty hospital room for what felt like an eternity, but since the walls wouldn't miraculously hear him and present him with a meal, the breakfast service was more than welcome. Some kind of a medicine the Yardrats had given him the previous evening had relieved his pain, but he still felt a sharp sting in his whole body when he excitedly sat up to greet his Yardratian savior.
"Ow, ow, ow", he winced before pulling yet another lively smile on his face. "Alright! Food!"
He still had a hard time reading the nurses' expressions, but he could sense their fearful alertness each time one of them came close. He wondered why they were so timid. He and the other Saiyans hadn't done anything to them as far as he could tell, and at least Goku didn't think of himself as a mean person.
Either way, he was way too starved to worry about that right now.
"You shouldn't sit up just yet", Turkiis said. After some initial confusion, Goku could finally successfully tell Gult and Turkiis apart. "You're going to prolong the healing process, or worse, you could cause more damage to yourself."
Goku barely heard her. He was staring at the breakfast plate and couldn't wait for the cloche to be removed. What would he get? Rice? Meat? Omelets? Fish? Now that he thought about it, he realized he hadn't eaten any proper food since he had arrived on Namek and left Capsule Corporation's space ship to fight off Ginyuu's weird friends. How much time had even passed since then? He had no idea how long he had spent in that Saiyan space pod, as it had put him into stasis of some kind shortly after he had escaped the exploding planet's surface. It could have been days!
Goku stretched his arms out towards the plate and snatched it from Turkiis' hands the second it was in his reach. The movement caused him a great deal of pain, but he was fortunately able to ignore it thanks to the forthcoming threat of death-by-starvation. To him, hunger had always been way more torturous than any injury could ever have been, and now he would finally get to satisfy it with some tasty, delicious, well-deserved…
He lifted the cloche and fell into a state of blankness.
"…Plants?" he said.
Sure enough, his plate was filled with what looked like a bunch of weird-looking flowers, roots, grass and who knows what else. He could have sworn he was looking at herbivore's dinner and not his own breakfast. The things hardly even passed for vegetables and Goku had never been too fond of those, either.
Disbelief and disappointment stunned Goku. Unable to come up with anything to say, he turned to look at the Yardratian with a hollow smile on his face. He wanted her to say that this was just a cruel, practical joke she had organized and that the real deal was still on its way, but Turkiis just blinked innocently and didn't apparently understand his reaction. To be honest, she didn't look like she was even brave enough to mess with Goku's head.
He wanted to cry.
"What is this?" he whimpered.
Baffled, the Yardrat tilted her head. "It's… your breakfast?" she asked. "It's a mixture of ois buds, medical herbs, viker roots, seeds and…"
Goku stopped listening. He looked at his "breakfast" in utter despair and wondered if people always ate this stuff on this planet. Because if they did, he had met the one enemy he couldn't defeat. He could survive exploding planets and defeat murderous space tyrants, but trap him in a Yardratian hospital and he was done for. He would have to send Gohan a message: "Sorry, Daddy couldn't make it. Daddy ended up on a planet with lots of grass-eating man bunnies."
Turkiis stopped listing the ingredients when she finally realized what Goku's shock was all about. She looked at him with a face that, while oddly expressionless like usual, was clearly offended.
"I'm sorry if it doesn't suit your tastes", she said, politely still. "But even if this is not typical food for you, we did our research and concluded that your body is able to digest it. You don't know you don't like it unless you try it. There are special herbs in it that speed up your healing process."
He let out a bereft sigh. Who knew how long he would have to wait to be able to eat Chi-Chi's amazing dishes again? If Freeza just hadn't turned out to be such a tough cookie, he probably would be on Earth right now, eating delicious food to his heart's content.
"Fine…" he said. Maybe the nurse was right. If he wanted to survive, he needed to eat and he really couldn't be picky about it. This breakfast dish was sure very unusual for a human, but who was someone who never tasted it to judge? At the end of the day, it was still alien food. Maybe it was actually great!
Encouraged by his positive thoughts, Goku grabbed a few plants and put them in his mouth… And spit them out.
"Ew! Ew! Yuck! That stuff tastes HORRIBLE!" he cried. He reached for the drink, which luckily was just water, and gulped it down in one go. "So bitter!"
Turkiis was apparently so shocked she couldn't even find it in herself to get mad and scold him, not that Goku had cared either way. He had had enough. While he was grateful for the help he had received from the Yardratians and all, there was no way he was going to stay and eat that stuff. He needed to get out and find himself a decent breakfast!
"H-hey! Where are you going?" Turkiis said. She looked in horror when Goku levitated out of the bed and tore the chords off of his skin. "It's not safe to leave your bed yet! You'll be injured!"
Mere floating made his body ache all over. His legs almost gave in when he put his full weight on them and when he took his first step he nearly fainted. Moving was extremely painful, but Goku assured himself that he had been through worse and would get around. He noticed that he still had his ragged pants on him, although they were almost entirely covered in bandages.
Biting his lip, just so he wouldn't pitifully moan out of pain, Goku walked out of the room. Turkiis was left behind, worriedly screaming something about dislocated fractures, ligament injuries and other words Goku didn't understand. Oh well, aliens were probably bound to have some words of their own, anyway.
It was an early dawn and the horizon was only beginning to light up with sunrise when Bardock finally decided to get up. The night had been anything but pleasant for him, what with the vision plaguing him and jolting him awake throughout the wee hours. He was tired but decided against another set of alarming dreams and new, ambiguous additions to his yesterday's vision. It was pretty clear by now that sleeping would not help him relax.
He stood up and stretched his back and arms, allowing himself to loosen up after the restless night. This was the first time he didn't wake up thinking that the previous day had been just a bizarre dream and that he was still stuck in Hell with the rest of the Saiyans, yet he was still relieved to find himself in the same, peaceful forest where he had fallen asleep the previous evening.
The rest of the world seemed to be still sleeping, as it was mostly quiet apart from a few early Yardratian bird creatures that were getting ready to begin their daily choir. When he looked at the morning scenery, he had to admit he much preferred it to the garbage called Hell, where such things as day and night were a joke. Even the damned mountains looked and felt much less worrisome in the calm of the twilight.
It was incredible how two decades of looking at barren and boring scenery could make you miss that ordinary forest you would see on just about every planet with life. Two decades ago, he would probably never have found it in himself to admire a sight like this for more than two seconds, but today he was more than happy to take his time with it. After all, this was the first morning he had seen since… since…
He had to stop to think about it.
Since the day his team took over the Planet Kanassa? That was so long ago that it now felt like a distant dream. When he had died, the hours had somehow turned into years and time itself had all but lost its meaning. He had accepted the eternity he would spend in the unchanging lands of Hell and, during all that, had also quickly lost all hope of seeing another dawn again. It was almost funny that a mere day spent alive was enough to make him wonder how he could ever have tolerated such a lifestyle. Deathstyle, whatever. How could he have forgotten how much fun it was to be alive?
It felt like the moment had officially marked the beginning of a fresh new life for him. Even when everything had been weird enough to legitimately turn out to be just a sappy dream, he had actually waked up to a new day and, to be poetic about it, to a new set of chances and possibilities, as well. Hell might have been infinitely larger in size than this poor planet, but Bardock still felt freer than ever before. He could do anything he wanted and go wherever he pleased. He was free! The mere thought of it was so exhilarating that he almost felt like breaking into dance as if he had been a member of the ridiculous Ginyuu Special Squadron. He would rather have died than given in to that temptation, though.
Right now his first plan was to go visit Kakarot. He had been anxiously waiting for a chance to talk to the person who was destined to take out that monster of a tyrant, Freeza, and he didn't want to wait any longer. It was possible that Kakarot was still knocked out cold, but in the best case scenario an early visit could even allow him to avoid unnecessary encounters with the nurses and especially that annoying Yardrat kid that had been playing with its life the day before. Bardock didn't know how many more questions he could endure before he would finally resort to breaking that brat's neck.
After he was done looking at the view, he turned to his elder son and saw that Raditz was still fast asleep. He was curled up in his own hair, which would probably have seemed weird to Bardock if he hadn't got used to seeing his son do that ever since thirty years ago. An adult or not, old habits die hard.
Under different circumstances, he would have given his son a kick up the ass and told him to go find breakfast, but today he wasn't going to wake his son up. The weakling was not only a hopelessly slow flyer, but the ridiculous grudge he held towards Kakarot was also starting to really get on Bardock's nerves. He knew that he could never in a million years have a normal conversation with Kakarot if Raditz was around. Raditz's childish behavior would only serve to embarrass Bardock and he really did not want the moron to ruin his day before it even began. Oh, no. If he could help it, Raditz would be staying behind.
He turned around to face the mountains once more, and took off. The city was located on the other side, and he would have to fly over unless he wanted to spend hours taking the long route. He just wished it would go better this time around.
The landing was probably the worst of his life. His legs gave away beneath him the second they touched the grass and he fell flat on his face, painfully sliding and rolling along the ground. He lay there for a while, waiting for the pain to pass, and couldn't help but curse his own helplessness. He probably should have been happy that he wasn't in as bad a condition as after the battle with Vegeta, but all the broken bones and aching muscles would still be a huge pain in the butt now that he needed to feed himself.
And boy, was he hungry! He wasn't sure if that whole Super Saiyan thingy had worn the senzu bean's effect off unusually fast or if 10 days had actually passed since the last time he ate one, but it didn't really matter either way because now he was starving and completely out of energy. After leaving the Yardratian hospital, he had immediately headed for the forest where he could safely hunt and avoid the uncomfortable stares everyone was giving him in the city.
Goku pushed himself back up and started to feel his surroundings. He could tell there were quite a few animals in the woods, and that most of them were only a little stronger than the big dinosaurs back on Earth. Good. Even in the condition he was in, he would still have enough strength left to kill them!
But as he soon noticed, he had entirely disregarded the fact that he would have to catch them first.
The animals were fast, much faster than the ones on Earth. Of course, it wouldn't have been a problem for him if he hadn't been half dead and barely capable of moving his limbs. He was still exhausted and his energy levels were pathetically low, and thus even something as simple as levitation took its toll on him. That's why he couldn't go out there and find a lake with tasty fish, like he had wanted. He simply did not have the strength to fly that far.
"Stop running away!" he complained out loud when yet another prey escaped his hands and disappeared into the bushes. "Let me eat you!"
He knew coaxing wouldn't get him anywhere but he was frustrated and desperate. He had crashed into trees when trying to bounce on his prey and wasted his energy throwing ki attacks at the dumb creatures that would just avoid everything and escape to safety. Even the only slow animal he had seen had gotten away by unexpectedly burrowing its way underground.
Goku sat down on the ground to rest and let out a sad sigh.
He wondered if it been a bad idea to leave the hospital, after all. Even if the food had been absolutely horrible, and there was no way he was going to live off of it five times a day, he didn't really want to die again. He had been alive for less than two months and a cool new power had just awakened within him, too, so it would have been a bummer if he had now kicked the bucket simply because he had been too impatient. Furthermore, he was in even worse condition than he had thought and wasn't sure he could even make it back to the city anymore. If only Krillin on Gohan or Chi-Chi had been there with him... They wouldn't have tried to feed him flowers in the first place. They would have understood, and this all could have been avoided.
Goku suddenly felt a ki significantly stronger than that of the average Yardratian creature approaching him from the skies. He became alert and shot his gaze up to the skies in order to see the mysterious stranger. He already knew that it had to be one of the two Saiyans the Yardrats had told him about, but that didn't exactly serve to lessen his curiosity in them. If they were all dead, then why did they keep springing up one after another like mushrooms after rain? He had examined their kis the previous evening and noticed that both of them felt oddly familiar, one more than the other…
Normally, he wouldn't have been intimidated by such a weak ki at all, but this situation was a different thing altogether. If he had just miserably failed at catching an ordinary animal, how could he ever hope to defend himself against this Saiyan, much less hit them, should they turn out to be hostile? It was obvious that he was too weak and hungry to fight, and anyone with eyes would be able to tell as much. Even if he had been told that the Saiyans knew him and they were his "friends", he still had his reasons to doubt their intentions and feel worried. After all, every single Saiyan he had met thus far had readily tried to kill him and his friends.
Soon the visitor revealed himself. Reserved and ready in case a fight would ensue, Goku looked as the man with wild, black hair similar to his own landed on the ground some twenty meters away from him. He was wearing a green Saiyan armor, with a brown monkey tail wrapped around the waist.
"You are hard to find, Kakarot."