Holy crap, have I really not updated this story since January? Jeez…

Well I have an excuse…I have lots of drama going on and a ton of schoolwork to make it worse, so yeah…the joys of high school life.

Anyway, hopefully it won't take me so long to get the next one out. Maybe I should just focus on a single story for a while…school's out in 5 days, so I'll have more time to write…until I get a job…

Anywhoozles, story now. Sorry if it's full of errors. Edit tomorrow...or, not at midnight.

Disclaimer: Dude if I was Akira Toriyama I'd totally have made Vegeta SSJ3. Also, screw GT.

Song Prompt: Haunted ~ Skylar Grey

Chapter 5: Step 1.

She felt renewed, but suspicious, and so she walked around the halls with two guns instead of her usual one, and looked over her shoulder twice as often as she usually did. She knew something; she knew something! She knew a single fact that may as well be the catalyst for Frieza's downfall.

The man in the Core is a Saiyan.

And not just that! While that one fact was the key to a very large puzzle (and of this she was one hundred percent sure), she had other things up her sleeve! Satoru was a Saiyan, and not just any Saiyan. He was Goku's father and he could see the future.

Really, it was like God was just dumping good things into her arms.

Now, what she could do with this information was a little bit more complicated. The only thing she was undoubtedly sure of was the fact that if she got the nameless man out, it would put Frieza at a severe disadvantage; and not only that, the man surely had more than enough power to defeat Frieza himself. He may not know the best fighting techniques, but if anything Satoru had said was true, it was that Saiyans had a natural instinct for fighting.

She could do this.

Now, how she would do this was an entirely different story. Frankly, she didn't really know what to do.

Except wake up the man, of course.

She felt nervous at the "get together" the day after, which just ended up being the gang talking and chatting. The girls teased Muura half to death, and when the poor girl tried to turn the tables on Vani and her obvious interest in Ingo, the pink haired alien shrugged and said, "Yeah, I know he's hot. Keep your hands off, by the way."

Bulma wanted to laugh and joke, but she felt nervous and timid, like they were going to find out her secret and rat her out. Could she trust them? They seemed like good, friendly people…but let's be honest here. Like Satoru had kindly pointed out, these people were purgers, and there was nothing she could do to change the fact. She didn't know where their loyalties lied, and she was afraid of asking. She was afraid of knowing.

Raint sat very close to her, and he smiled shyly. His black hair brushed her shoulder when he turned to answer something his brother had said, and Bulma smelled pine.

It was time to get started. She couldn't put this off any longer, or it'd never get done.

So Bulma skipped lunch again, and stayed in the Source Room, and when Turin finally left, she lowered the dosage.

It was a small reduction; she rewired the computer so that it would still say 17 units, even though now the man would be receiving 16.9. She had to be careful about this, wean him off it. She feared she'd kill him if she dropped the dosage too quickly, he'd go into withdrawal.

That could not happen. There would be no way to get him medical attention.

She just had to be careful.

So, day by day, she lowered his dosage by .1 units. This, however, seemed to be getting her nowhere, but that was fine with her. She hadn't quite worked out what to do with him if he woke up and escaped anyway.

On Day 17, the man was on 15.3 units. Bulma clacked away at the computer, rigging it to only show a smaller portion of his brain waves in the same way she had rigged the dosage meter, while Muura sat a few computers away, completely oblivious to the human woman's actions. The two were the only scientists left in the room; all the others had quit for lunch. Bulma glanced over at the purple haired woman every so often, but Muura showed no signs of being privy to what she was doing.

Exhaling somewhat nervously, Bulma turned back to the computer. The man's brain activity had been increasing lately, and it couldn't under any circumstances cause suspicion. It had augmented quite a lot, actually, almost like that of a conscious person. Hope fluttered in her chest as she read the numbers…perhaps, in a few days, she would see some real progress. That, of course, depended on how similar this man's brain patterns were in comparison to a human's. By Earth standards, he shouldn't awaken for a few weeks yet.

She sighed and rubbed her temples, exhausted and stressed. Muura glanced at her, and the two smiled halfheartedly at each other. When Muura turned back to her work, Bulma let the forced smile drop. Each time someone was in the room (and this was more often than not) she felt like she would be discovered. She was lucky to have as much genius as she did, otherwise by now she surely would have been found out. But Bulma Briefs could cover her tracks well, and she knew it, so for now, she was safe.

She sighed again, leaning back in her chair. She swiveled around to look at the monitors under the containment chamber, and what she saw nearly made her shriek.

He was looking at her.

He was looking at her!

She stared at him, and he stared at her. His eyes were the darkest shade of black she'd ever seen, much darker than she'd imagined, and she could swear he was reading her mind from the look in them. They were slightly muddled, like he was only half conscious, but for God's sakes he was looking at her!

She closed her mouth and swallowed, then glanced back at Muura. The alien woman didn't seem to have noticed Bulma's gasp of surprise, or the fact that she had practically jumped onto the back of her chair. Bulma's eyes darted nervously from Muura to the man again, and thinking quickly, she typed something on the computer. A few moments later, a computer on the far side of the room began beeping.

Muura looked up sharply, her eyes flashing that strange purple color that was only there for a second each time. "What in the world?" she wondered out loud.

"Muura, can you go check that for me?" Bulma asked politely, still typing furiously.


As soon as the maroon haired woman turned her back, Bulma turned towards the man and hurriedly motioned for him to close his eyes. He just stared at her and blinked, very slowly.

She glanced back at Muura, who was still trying to figure out why she couldn't log into the computer, and waved at the man again, as though she didn't already have his full attention. She put her hand over her eyes and then took it down to see if he understood, but he still continued to look at her, his eyes wide open.

"I can't figure out what's wrong with it!" Muura cried, sounding as though she might start to panic.

Bulma laughed nervously and looked back at her, pulling on her blue ponytail. "I'm sure you can get it, don't worry!"

"I'm trying!" she wailed. "Oh, what if I broke it?!"

"You didn't break it, hun, gimme a second," Bulma's gaze darted from the computers to the man to Muura and back, and finally she clutched her hands pleadingly at him, mouthing, Please go back to sleep!

"Bulma!" Muura cried.

Bulma whirled, her fingers deftly tapping two keys on the keyboard of her computer. Immediately, the beeping one shut down. Muura blinked, her mouth falling open, and she sputtered, "What?"

Bulma shrugged. "Must have been some fluke," she said dismissively, crossing her fingers behind her back desperately.

Muura blinked. "But…it –"

"Hey," Bulma said brightly, quickly stepping up beside Muura and putting her arm around the woman to keep her from turning. "Can you do me a huge favor and go down to the cafeteria and get a water bottle? I'm parched, but I have to finish this program."

Muura frowned at the computer, then said, "Sure…"

"Thanks, Muura!" she said, a little bit too loudly, and pushed the shorter woman towards the door. Muura nearly stumbled, and looked back.

Bulma froze, and fought the urge to look at the man. But Muura only asked, "Are you sure you don't want something to eat?"

Bulma laughed shakily. "No, no, I had a food capsule. I'm fine, thanks."

"Okay…" Muura looked at her strangely (although whether this was because Bulma was acting strange or because of the fact that she'd actually eaten a food capsule instead of a real meal was unclear), and her eyes flashed purple again, but she didn't say anything else before she left. The door shut behind her, and Bulma felt herself holding her breath until she looked towards the containment unit again. To her surprise, the man's eyes were closed.

Had she imagined it?

She took a deep breath and let it out, and walked up to the machine. Her heartbeat thumped hopefully in her chest, which overshadowed the majority of her fear, but not all of it. She swallowed when she got close, and hesitantly reached out to press her hand against it. The moment her fingertips touched the glass, the man's eyes opened just a bit, and his onyx eyes quietly studied her through thick lashes.

Her breath caught in her throat, and her hand fell away from the glass as she took two steps back. His eyes followed her movement before eventually drifting up to her face. He blinked, very slowly, and his eyes opened further.

He was awake.

By God in heaven, he was awake.

She swallowed and looked him over, and finally she murmured, "Hello…"

He blinked again, but the sedative and healing liquid slowed the motion quite a bit.

Bulma cleared her throat and stepped closer. "Can you hear me?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

His eyes seemed to come in and out of focus; they narrowed for a moment, squinting, and he blinked again.

Bulma opened her mouth to ask another question, but then she stopped and slapped her forehead. "You probably can't even register what I'm saying. I bet you're still half asleep."

He looked at her, and his black eyes moved around the room.

She stepped closer, and he looked at her again. He made no movements – he couldn't – but simply floated there limp, just as he had for the past 17 years. Bulma cleared her throat again and said, "I don't know if you can hear me, or even understand me, but I want you to know that I'm a friend. I'm going to get you out of here…eventually. But for now I need you to stay the way you are, and stay calm. If anyone comes in, you need to pretend you're asleep, okay? Can you do that?"

He looked at her, and his chin lifted, ever so slightly.

She was delighted. "You can understand me! Oh, this is so exciting! I can't believe it…" Her mouth turned up so widely that her cheeks hurt, and she sat down in front of the chamber in disbelief. "It's really starting to happen…"

His eyes followed her wherever she went, and she beamed with pride.

She put her hand over her chest to still her heartbeat, and she took a breath. He was beautiful, and he looked so smart. She wanted to hear him speak, and tell her his name. After a moment, she said, "My name is Bulma. I'm from a planet called Earth."

His charcoal eyes locked on her still, memorizing her face.

Muura came back in a moment later with the water, startling her, but when Bulma looked back at the chamber, the man looked dead to the world.

She smiled.

After that, Bulma stopped eating in the cafeteria completely, and always took a food capsule instead (something that was usually reserved for soldiers going on missions, but hey, with her position she could get just about whatever food she wanted…within reason). Sometimes Raint would stop her in the hallways, but she would be distracted while talking to him. Raint was a very handsome man, but getting a boyfriend was the last of her concerns at the moment.

Besides, she had another man to worry about.

She was the prettiest thing he had ever seen.

He could not remember many things about the women in his old home; he remembered his mother's face, and his sister's, and that was about it. His sister had been but a infant, with a face too fat to be beautiful in the same sense, but his mother had been fiercely strong, and that fierceness had shown ferally in her splendor. But this woman…she was soft and delicate, with a gentle face and a kind smile, and blue eyes that were so bright and clear that they put the finest oceans to shame.

She was beautiful.

His mind had started to filter in sounds; he heard vague talking and the clacking of computer materials. He heard a melodic voice, and a smaller, quieter one, but he couldn't decipher anything that was said. After a while the words began to become clearer; he heard the words in Saiyago, but he knew that wasn't the language they spoke.

And then all the Ki's started to disappear, and there was only two left. He decided to risk it, and he forced his eyes open. The first thing he saw was a young woman, with bright blue hair and pale skin, and when she turned, he saw cerulean eyes.

She looked both surprised and horrified, and her gaze kept darting from him to her companion, She suddenly turned and tapped a few keys that ended up causing a horrid noise, which successfully distracted her friend and eventually led to said friend's departure. The woman appeared relieved, and she turned to him again with an awed expression.

She started to talk to him, and he strained to listen. He caught most of what she said; she was asking him to keep his consciousness a secret.

He could do that.

Raint sighed; she'd been avoiding him all week.

"You're just being stupid," Ingo chided, sliding his armor over his head and looking at himself in the mirror.

"I'm not kidding, I think she's avoiding me," Raint insisted, fingering a strand of hair. "I've barely seen hide or hair of her all week."

"Mmhmm. Bull. Hair smhair. You were checking out her ass and you know it."

Raint blushed and scowled. "So what if I was?"

"You're an idiot," Ingo said, licking his canine in the mirror. "You could just read her mind, if you're so curious."

"That's not ethical," Raint muttered.

Ingo snorted.

Raint's green eyes narrowed, and he snapped, "Some of us like getting women the honorable way."

Ingo held up his hands in surrender. "Hey now, I was just kidding. Calm yourself." He paused. "I just meant that sure as hell wasn't your reasoning."

Raint scowled again, but fell silent.

Ingo sighed and said, "You know, if you don't get a move on, somebody else will snag her. She's really pretty."

His twin was silent.

Every chance she got, she would go to see him. Every day, he looked just a little bit more awake than he had been. He watched her movements so closely that it made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. At first, she worried that perhaps he was planning to kill her (Saiyans, according to Satoru, had a low tolerance for annoying creatures, and Bulma knew as well as anybody that she was a complete chatter box) and that he was merely observing her to…well, you know, thou must know thine enemy to properly kill it, yada yada yada…

But eventually she decided that such a thing had to be nonsense, because his stare was too curious…too interested…to be dangerous. Sometimes she would say things to him, and his eyes would spark, and she wished so badly that he could talk.

"Earth was such a beautiful place," she told him dreamily. "Clear blue water and rich plant life, amazing creatures…" she paused and sighed. "You'd have liked it, I think. Goku did. He's my old friend…and a Saiyan like you."

And then his eyes would light up and she'd talk to him for ages, telling him old stories of her adventures as a child, until one day she got to the part about where her planet was overtaken, screened, and sold. Her blue eyes darkened with sorrow, and her mouth turned down deeply.

"It's my goal to avenge them," she murmured. "My people, my parents, my friends…all of them." She looked up to meet his eyes, and saw that they had turned an inky dark, and his brows had knitted slightly. She said quietly, "I'm sure you know what that feels like."

His black eyes narrowed with the promise of vengeance, and her lips pressed together with the threat of the tears that rose in her throat. She turned away and typed on the computer keys silently for a few moments before her fingers stopped, and she looked up again. She glared at the wall in front of her, as though it had caused all of her pain. Her beautiful features twisted in fury, her jaw clenching and something like a growl surfacing from between clenched teeth.

"Frieza will pay."

Turin stopped typing suddenly, and cracked his thin, bony knuckles. "I'm turning in early," he announced. "You are all dismissed."

Bulma blinked, and her heartbeat quickened. "Do you mind if I stay for a bit longer and finish this up?" she inquired.

He shrugged. "Not at all, but don't break anything valuable. And if you do break something, don't try to cover it up. I'll find out anyway. I always do."

Bulma forced a strained smile at her new boss's retreating back. Once he and the other were gone, she rolled her eyes, her lip curling in disgust. Turin thought he was so smart, and yet the old coot couldn't even distinguish her false data from true readings.

"Idiot," she muttered hatefully. She missed her days under Citadel.

Sighing, she stood up and walked over to the containment chamber, touching the glass without hesitation. The man's brows knitted, and his eyes opened, and he looked at her.

She smiled. "Evening, Saiyan person." She chuckled. "I've got to find out your name so I can stop calling you that…God, I wish you could talk."

His eyes twinkled with amusement.

"It'd be so great if you talked as much as me," she chattered on. "Although I doubt it. Sometimes you look so serious. With good reason, I mean! But you don't strike me as the kind who won't shut up…if you could talk, you know what I mean."

Behind his oxygen mask, his lips moved slightly. Bulma brightened; he gained a little bit more control over his body with every lowering of his dosage. Granted, it was an extremely slow process – weaning him off the sedative was difficult, and besides, she wasn't entirely ready to escape. But, after 8 days of him being awake, 14.4 units were being given, and he could blink with an almost proper speed, and his mouth had started to move.

She blinked suddenly, and asked, "Do you stay awake all day or do you sleep most of the time still?" Then she blinked again and sighed. "I guess you can't answer that. Oh, this is such a bother…where's a twin when I need one…"

He imagined she was talking about the two telepaths (whom he didn't know much about, since they discarded their scouters as often as possible) . He didn't really know if he actually wanted them around…the thought irritated him for some reason. Did they deserve to be in her presence?

One thing he did know, however, was that if he could talk, he'd tell her that he forced himself to stay awake solely for that one hour in which she was the only other person in the room.

The computer she sat at beeped, and she stopped talking suddenly, turning to see what it was. He wanted to grin; his stats looked pretty good, all things considered.

She typed a few things and printed out the files, then quickly erased them and came up with new data. The speed at which she worked was impressive; the woman truly was a genius, and boy did she know it.

She grinned wickedly. "Man, what I wouldn't give to see Turin's face when he finds out we're long gone, and right underneath his nose…" She trailed off suddenly, glancing at the clock. "Aw, shit, I'm going to be late for curfew!"

She finished the fake data with a few more clicks of the mouse and gathered up all her papers and stuffing them into the small bag she kept on her shoulder underneath her lab coat. She turned and smiled brightly at him as she turned off the florescent lights, and only the light of the chamber remained. She said, "Goodnight," softly and warmly, and his eyes fluttered shut again.

Her smile widened – she could only imagine how difficult it must be for him to be conscious, even if he was used to a greater amount of sedative. She'd sure as hell not want to sleep much if such a thing had happened to her, for fear of not waking up again.

Glancing around the hallway she was in, she quietly took out a few of the papers from her bag and looked them over. She hadn't been able to look at them very closely, and she didn't want to wait until she got to her room, because by then the first thing on her mind would be a shower and sleep. Besides, no one really roamed this particular quadrant of the ship at this time anyway.

Her blue eyes gazed over the data; his brain waves were impressive. The frequency was about 12 hertz so far, which was much higher than it should be, all things considered. The sedative drugs he was given put a lot of blue in his brain scans, but in the places that weren't overridden with blue, there was a lot of bright yellows and dark oranges, which meant that he was both intelligent and healthy, despite much of his brain not currently being in use (for instance, the lobes that controlled mobility, speech, and taste).

She smiled.

That smile fell off her face a moment later when she rounded a corner and literally crashed into Ingo. The papers spilled from her arms, and alarm bells rang fiercely in her head.

"Bulma! God, I'm sorry," Ingo apologized as she quickly started to gather the papers again. "Here, let me –"

"NO!" she cried. He stared at her. "I mean," she added, blushing with embarrassment, "I've got it, it's fine. No big deal."

Her face paled as he frowned and squatted to help her anyway. "Now what kind of man would I be if I just let you…" he trailed off suddenly, and Bulma nearly trembled.

In his hand, there was a graph. A graph that showed the brainwaves of a person with an impossibly high level of consciousness.

She felt a curious but suspicious touch brush the surface of her mind, prying only slightly and not digging deep. She looked at her friend, and his striking green eyes met hers behind long silver bangs.

"Bulma?" he asked, the friendly warmth in his smooth voice gone. "What is this?"

Have fun with that cliffy, dears :3