a rewrite of _Nakaruru_ by Dot
Chapter 4: Negotiations
The next morning, the adults gathered together again for a brainstorming session. Vegita, suspecting that the exercise would be pointless, offered no opinions and tuned out most of the proceedings.
It was, as expected, a total disaster. The discussion kept going in circles, with each party unaware that the other was using the same words to describe a different mindset. The farce continued for a while before Bulma closed the meeting with some platitudes about vigilance and teamwork.
After the others filed out, she pulled him aside before he could disappear into the wild blue yonder. “We need to talk.”
Already half-guessing what she wished to discuss, he grunted in mild annoyance but remained where he was. “I’m not going to ‘make friends’ with her.”
She held onto his hands. “But you’re the only one who has any chance of getting through.”
He shook his head. “It wouldn’t work.”
“You haven’t even tried yet! What makes you so sure?” She stepped in until their noses were on the verge of touching. “You’re not scared that she’ll blow you off, are you?”
He didn’t budge. “You’re being childish.”
“I am not!”
Exhausted from having to deal with so many idiots in the space of so little time, He decided to let her have this one small victory. “Fine. I’ll talk to her.” Of course, he still couldn’t resist firing back. “But I’m not responsible for what happens next.”
As he predicted, her eyebrows rose so high they almost disappeared into her bangs. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He refrained from commenting on the gray hair he spotted. He wasn’t ready to step on that particular landmine, not at this time of day. “It means whatever you want it to mean.”
He was already impressed when she didn’t take the bait, but what she said next floored him. “It’s a risk I’m willing to take.”
He knew by her body language and tone of voice that she wasn’t playing one of their games this time. “Kakarrotto and I can take care of this.” Without trying to seduce a Saiyajin young enough to be his daughter, he almost said, but he was still trying to wrap his mind around the idea that his wife was the one to suggest that first.
She held his gaze. “And by ‘take care of’ you mean kill anything that moves and blow everything else up for good measure?”
Now he scowled. They’ve had this conversation before. “You still haven’t come up with a plan B yet.” Bulma was about to protest when he clarified: “One that isn’t completely ridiculous.”
This time, her irritation went up a notch. “I don’t see you coming up with any better ideas.”
He shrugged and headed for the kitchen. All the talk about thinking made him hungry. “I don’t see why I need to.”
< - >
Piccolo meditated, floating cross-legged at the center of Karin’s Tower. Soon, he had tuned out the hubub of the living and became one with the energies of the Earth, its towering mountains, burgeoning streams and howling winds.
Even so, the presence of the invaders brushed against his mind, prickling like a thousand pins. They hid themselves well; they were undetectable with any of the normal methods, but they could not erase their gravitational shadow nor silence all of the particles that hammered against their monstrous ship. With each day, he grew more certain of their flight path, and by the end of their deadline he’d be able to pinpoint their exact location. While most of them agreed that a preemptive attack may provoke an attempt at mutual destruction, he wanted to be prepared to take the fight to them should the situation call for it.
He found it difficult to believe that these Suponjin would cross such a vast expanse of space just to wipe out their enemies. They had to be either planning some sort of suicide operation or looking to take over the planet once its strongest defenders were eliminated. In either case, he could expect massive collateral damage.
And then there was that Saiyajin. Was she serving the Suponjin or was she true to her old loyalties? Or maybe she was neither, playing both sides against each other to ensure her own survival.
That seemed the most possible option. She should have discovered by now that she would have been welcome with open arms despite anyone’s objections. As it was, her attitude and behavior was just ambiguous enough that it could be interpreted as beneficial no matter how one looked at it.
“Are you sure the anomalies you’re picking up are real?”
Piccolo’s ears reacted before he did, swiveling in the direction of the approaching Saiyajin. He had been so lost in thought that he hadn’t noticed her until now. Even now, although he knew she was floating just outside the boundaries of the barrier he and Dende set up when they first noticed the Suponjin approaching, she had such a tight rein on her ki that if she had not spoken up he might not have realized she was there at all.
“Well, you know General Lufa. He doesn’t want to take any chances.” The other voice came from the same direction as the Saiyajin–through some sort of earpiece, perhaps. He didn’t know how keen her senses were, so he did not try to get a visual of her.
She made a frustrated noise, then sighed. “Orders are orders, I guess.” Drawing in another breath, she sent out a wave of energy. Piccolo let it wash over him, his years of living in sync with the planet making it easy to mimic the same rhythms as the air around him. “How long do you want me to keep this up?” She asked, continuing to scan the area. “And what am I supposed to say if someone notices and shows up to ask me what the hell I’m doing? I’m treading a thin enough line as it is. They can’t wait for an exuse to jump me.”
“But I thought you said those were just empty threats.”
“From the half-blood, yes. But the Saiyajins–Vegita in particular–if they’re worth their salt at all, they’ll make their move if I get too careless.”
“Just a few moments longer.”
“All right. But I’m turning this line off.”
“Why? What for? You don’t think the natives have the technology to pick this up, do you?”
“It’s not out of the realm of possibility.”
For a moment, the other voice did not answer her, but Piccolo could hear murmured discussions. Then, the answer, reluctant: “Very well. Disconnecting.”
Piccolo felt the prickling sensation in his antenna stop, and then he realized that the irritant he had sensed was a high-frequency transmission. The Saiyajin herself descended in an area near the Tower and hid her energy from all but the keenest of senses.
Piccolo toyed with the idea of confronting the Saiyajin when he picked up Vegita’s ki approaching the area.
< - >
“I know you’re around here,” Vegita declared, although this wasn’t quite true. He had nothing to go by except a hunch and the slightest sense of irritation in the back of his mind. “Now, for some reason, even my wife has the crazy notion that you can be talked to like a normal person and not an enemy combatant, so get your ass out here before I decide that you’re not worth wasting my time.”
“Your wife, huh? I suppose I should thank her, then.” She still wasn’t visible, but she used the surroundings to project her voice in a way that he couldn’t quite pinpoint her exact location. “Or at least not keep her around long enough for her to see that her kindness would lead to unspeakable tragedy.”
“Keep this up and the only tragedy that’ll be happening is the summary eradication of you and your so-called cohorts.”
“It”ll eventually boil down to one side or the other–or maybe both–getting slaughtered anyway, so I don’t see how that threat is the least bit effective.” But she emerged anyway, sitting on the remains of a pillar with her legs crossed in a laughable imitation of a dainty young noblewoman. “Either way, I’m fucked.”