Disclaimer: I don't own DBZ or the characters.
This story started out as a fleeting idea I had while driving years ago coming home from some class in college. The title came from a TV show my mother and I used to watch that has been off air for a while. It's been a long time since then and I never imagined it would be as popular as it is. Looking over the past chapters, I realized there was a lot of room for description and that the chapters changed with my writing ability, so I decided to start re-writing the first part of the story. It will be slowly updated, a new chapter replaced each week, before I continue working on the second part. None of the major events will change, but if you want to re-read, go right ahead. :D
Special thanks to KaiserKnight, now Kaise, for the cover art.
Also, I'm going to thank reviewers of each chapter for the chapters being re-written. For Chapter 1, special thanks to: hi its me, SilverMistt, preciousjade76, Goku-Time, howlin4you, hey-sasstiel, threeam inkblot, Krazydbzfan, SSLakes, and LVR4Trunks-n-Vegeta.
"Paranoia: the irrational fear that someone's after you." - Desperate Housewives
"So, how long until landfall, Vegeta?"
The one voicing the question was met with a cold stare by a flame-haired man. He crossed his arms, replying to his subordinate. "Kakarot, shut up," Vegeta growled. "I thought we already discussed that when on missions and around others you call me by my title."
The palm tree-haired man rubbed the back of his head, almost nervously as he said, "Yeah, but well…it's weird."
Vegeta's scowl never faltered as he rolled his eyes. He too found it weird, seeing as he and Kakarot had been best friends since childhood; however, with his father being the king and his friend's family being "below" them, he had to draw the line somewhere between business and friendship. "Suck it up and do it, Kakarot. I don't want to risk my father finding out I have given you any special treatment."
Kakarot sighed in defeat. "Yeah, okay."
"Landfall in twenty," a computerized voice said. "Be seated and fastened for landing."
"I guess that answers your question," Vegeta scoffed irritably. Kakarot nodded numbly, not looking forward to what they were about to do.
After landing, Vegeta and Kakarot, both adorned in colored spandex (Vegeta in royal blue and Kakarot in deep red and black) and pale white armor, exited their space pods and looked around. They landed in the middle of an abandoned city. Their eyes widened at the sight the befell them. Shock took over their entire being.
"Wow, looks like a bomb went off here," Kakarot stated in awe of their surroundings. Vegeta ignored him and started to walk into the dismal looking wreck in front of them.
It was…bad, desolate, decrepit, and everything in between. Kakarot was right; it did look like a bomb went off. Worse than that, even. The landscape in front of them was completely annihilated. If Vegeta was easy to scare, then the random bangs and noises from broken wires and crumbling buildings would have made him jump out of his own skin, but he wasn't easy to scare. He had seen much worse, caused much worse, in his lifetime. Nothing about this total destruction worried him.
It was when he flew around the city and a few of the neighboring cities that he felt uneasy.
"Vegeta…I mean Prince Vegeta, I just checked all the cities south of here and there is no sign of life…not even any animals," Kakarot's voice rang out through his earpiece.
Vegeta nodded at his analysis. "Same, in the northern parts…someone or something has already eradicated all life on this planet."
"But who or what, and how?"
Vegeta and Kakarot were stumped. Earth was uncharted territory. It was a fluke that Kakarot's father had even seen in the latest scans. The fact that someone had beaten them to the planet did not sit well with them. Who else could have known of the mudball's existence? There had to be some way to find out. Whoever it was might have just messed with the wrong race.
"Something is off," Vegeta stated. "I'm going to go look around here some more. Find food and we will reconvene at the ship."
"Yes, sir," Kakarot said reluctantly through the communication device. It's official, he thought. Titles suck.
Vegeta checked out some of the abandoned buildings and noticed that some of the technology was similar to Planet Vegeta's, their home, which he was not expecting. Not many races were on the same level as theirs. Of course, even their race would not have been as advanced as they were had they not had the influence of their former allies. Vegeta shook himself free of the treacherous thoughts of his mind before they took root. He had a job to do, or more figure out who had stolen the job from them.
He began to observe what was left of the broken technology, hoping to find answers. Of course, most of the technology was destroyed. Whatever had happened must have taken a huge toll of the circuitry and also the population. Surprisingly, there weren't even any remains or bodies. Whoever had purged the planet had done it with complete accuracy, leaving no trace of the former inhabitants. All Vegeta could gather from their signs and billboards was that at least one of the species was humanoid, such as his own race. It started to make more sense that the race would have similar technologies.
Someone has already purged the planet, but who? Vegeta asked himself. He was of course met with no answer. His search was proving to be fruitless. Angered by this, Vegeta stormed back out into the fallen city. As he left the building, he noticed a large dome in the center of the city and was highly intrigued. It looked like it was the most durable building, evident by the fact that it was still intact with little damage; there were plenty of defense systems outside, thought they had been activated and then crushed. With so much defense, there must have been something very important inside, though what was so important about this building? Vegeta couldn't tell, at least not from the outside.
The door of the building fell when Vegeta lightly pushed it. He was a little taken aback, but entered anyway. The building had a lot of electronic equipment and looked to be a place where weapons and battle vehicles were constructed. Vegeta's attention was drawn to the cut, dangling wires as they mixed with water. He knew that he'd better stay away from them. Electrical shock treatments were the Saiyans' way of torture, after all, he mentally noted.
Vegeta continued to check out the building and found a series of rooms up the stairs. There were as many rooms as was in the king's summer home. Whoever had lived here must have been very wealthy, he thought as he slowly ascended the stairs and walked passed the closed doors.
All of a sudden, Vegeta had the strangest feeling and turned to his right. He was facing a door that was partially opened, unlike all of the other doors. That alone was enough to tell him something was off. With a small shove, the door revealed a tattered room that used to be very well put together. That wasn't the shocking part. What shocked the prince the most was that there was a girl, lying on the ground, naked next to tattered clothes, and she wasn't responding at all to his presence.
The girl looked young, though her youth was somewhat conceal due to the blood caked on her. She was sitting, holding her knees with her arms and staring at a spot on the floor. The girl looked as if she hadn't moved for a while, nor had she eaten as was evident by how thin she was. Vegeta walked up to her and stood over her with his arms crossed. The girl still didn't react, almost as if she was in a catatonic state from trauma.
"Girl," Vegeta called, but he received no response which greatly angered him. Vegeta picked the girl up by the throat, but she just let her limbs dangle, still staring out in front of her. She had no fear in her eyes, no hate, no anything. This girl had no emotion reflecting in her eyes. If Vegeta hadn't felt her pulse under his grip, then he would have mistaken her to be among the dead. He let go, letting her drop and crash into the floor.
She was now in a position where she was lying flat on her face, almost as if he had just dropped a rag doll. Vegeta raised a confused eyebrow at the girl. He had never seen anyone so lifeless, surprisingly since he had already decimated his share of races. Something about this girl was tugging at his non-existing heartstrings, though, and he looked around to find something to cover her up. It was obvious by now that she was the last of her race, and he wasn't planning on leaving her, not when she could have the information he needed. His father would not be pleased simply to know that someone had found the planet before they did. He would want to know who their next enemy.
Thinking of his father, Vegeta grimaced. His father was always pushing him to get a 'concubine' from one of these purges, though the idea never sat well with him. This had always disgusted Vegeta, and everyone who knew him knew that. He could never subject someone to that fate, not really. If he brought the girl back, regardless of the information they could gather, he'd probably have to declare her as his property. If not, she would either end up in the dungeons until becoming responsive, or his father would damage her beyond repair, possibly killing her.
No one should die when they were already dead on the inside, and no one should suffer the mental abuse she must have already received.
All the clothes the girl had available were either short or tattered and would not protect her from the cold and arid environment outside. He settled for a knit blanket that was at the top of the closet and brought it over to the girl. He carefully wrapped the broken girl up in the blanket, trying to be careful with her. She finally had some emotion in her eyes along with some tears. Vegeta was almost too stunned to move as she finally spoke.
"Ma…ma…" she said while grasping on to the blanket. That must have been who knitted the blanket, Vegeta concluded. Not that it matters now.
"What happened here, girl?" Vegeta asked softly, unusual for him seeing as he did not want to scare her back into submission. The girl shook her head and clenched her eyes shut. Vegeta sighed knowing he wouldn't get an answer right away, but it didn't matter. What did matter was getting the girl something to eat and drink or he would never have his answer. "You're coming with me," he whispered in her ear.
The girl nodded indicating that she understood or at least heard him. Vegeta took that as a sign to blast through her roof and fly back to the ship. Causing more damage to the broken building didn't even matter anymore.
"Hey Veg…I mean Prince Vegeta…dang it," Kakarot muttered. Then he noticed the girl Vegeta was carrying. He stared at his friend blankly. "Who's she?"
"The only survivor," Vegeta replied. "She's not very responsive."
"Why did you bring her?" Kakarot asked. Vegeta usually didn't bring a living being anywhere, unless you would count Kakarot in that.
Vegeta narrowed his eyes at his friend. It was wrong for his subordinate to question him, not that he cared when they were in private. "She knows something of what happened, I'm sure, and we need answers," he answered with authority. "Besides, my father wanted me to find myself a pleasure slave sometime. You must admit that she's attractive."
He wouldn't have said it had his father not been listening in through their earpieces. To him, the words were just something to justify bringing the girl with them. Had Kakarot not asked, his answer would not have been necessary. It bothered him, though, when he noticed the girl in question tense at his words. He had already had an idea of the horrors she faced. Oh well. It was something she needed to face, so he would not apologize for stating what he did, even though he would never act on this technicality. In his mind, it was only to keep her away from his father and still getting the answers they needed. He wasn't doing it for any other reason.
"I guess," Kakarot said hesitantly in response to Vegeta's worse. "You know I already have a mate, though, so I won't comment on that."
"Fair enough," Vegeta responded. "Did you find a water source or food?"
Kakarot frowned. He had searched everywhere on the planet, even in buildings that used to be markets. Whatever food had been there, someone else had gotten to it first, or it was spoiled and inedible. "No, and Planet Vegeta is about two weeks travel."
"Hn. We will stop at the nearest planet and restock. It should only be a day or so away. This one needs food and water." He motioned to the still unresponsive person in his grasp.
"Well, then I guess we better leave now," Kakarot suggested. "It's pretty safe to say that this planet is clear."
Vegeta nodded in agreement. "Let's get the hell off this rock."
Vegeta took the girl into the ship and lied her down on his bed. He still couldn't believe how she was behaving. By this point, she should have at least been a little more compliant. She was obviously reacting to his words meaning she knew he was there. It made no sense why she barely spoke, especially when he had inquired information. Though, maybe, she was avoiding answering him to get more time. Maybe she believed she'd be killed if she answered, possibly the reason she was so reluctant and reacted so strongly.
He positioned her on the bed, lying her on her back, and was surprised when she rolled to her side. She could see out the small window of his ship and a few tears escaped her. He noticed them, his brow furrowing. He had seen that look before, when prisoners were taken or slaves were taken from their home worlds. Vegeta could tell what she was thinking.
"Look, girl. Did you want to stay on this abandoned planet and starve to death?" he asked quite harshly. "If so, I would have left you to die in that house."
The girl flashed her eyes his way and then back to the window. "Home," she muttered.
"What was that?" Vegeta asked, although he had heard her. He thought maybe attempting to converse with her would bring her out of whatever defense she was in.
She looked back up at him, her speech very disconnected as she tried to form words. "Home. Earth. Leaving?" The sound of her voice seemed quiet and hoarse, more prominent when she voiced more words. Vegeta nodded, not really sure if he wanted to interrupt her, and the girl looked back outside. "Sad," she said quietly as her eyes returned to the window.
It may not have been much, but Vegeta had gotten something out of her. Little did he know that eventually the things she would say would be the most intelligent and important things he could ever hear.
The ship started to shake and Vegeta moved the blanket to make sure the girl was covered. "We are about to take off," he explained. "Stay here and do not move until I come to get you or you'll be hurt by the pressure. Understand?"
"Yes," the girl said as she nodded. He could tell that she really had by the sincerity in her eyes.
Vegeta started to walk away from her when he heard her say something else. "Bulma."
He paused in his stride, tilting his head over his shoulder. "Excuse me?" Vegeta questioned.
He froze for a moment, and then turned to face her. She had given him her name, conveyed it to him with her limited set of words for the moment. Another line of communication had been drawn. To get what he needed, he would have to keep it open. There was only one way he could do that. "Vegeta."
A/N: So, after re-writing this chapter, I can tell you there's about 1,000 more words give or take XD It sometimes surprises me how much my writing style has changed over the years. So, as I said, not really much plot wise has changed. I've only added more description and started making the sentences flow a little better. Some of the dialogue has changed, or at least some has been added. After re-reading these chapters, I just felt like some of the discussion was a little curt and I don't know...just, off. I can't really explain it. Anyways, I hope everyone is still enjoying Part II. For each Part II chapter I post from now on, there will be a re-written chapter.
And I'll be acknowledging the past A/N's. For example, did you know when I posted this first chapter I was apparently sick and had a doctor's appointment scheduled? I didn't XD And I had missed a few college classes too! I hate that...you have no idea...lol.