BY : silverlady
Category: Dragon Ball Z > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 5025
Disclaimer: I do not own DragonballZ, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.


thanks for the reviews, everyone!  Too bad I couldn´t get a beta this time, but I think it´s readable. If anyone can help me with spelling mistakes, I´ll be very grateful, thanks.




Crouched on a thick branch at millions of meters above the ground, Vegeta fumbled with the radio of the scouter, more out of stubborness than for hope of understanding anything. After Taurus realized that Vegeta wasn´t a "savage", the messages exchanged by the pirates via radio changed for an incomprehensible language the prince never heard before. Frustrated, he finally turned it off. The only thing that kept him from smashing the contraption was the fact that he still needed it to get the signals of the so-called "dragon balls", including the one that once belonged to him. Funny, Vegeta never had understood completely the reasons why he had kept the sphere, aside a childlish craving for having something his. Who could ever guess that a simple toy would be his ticket out from that hell shaped like a jungle?

What the pirates and namekuseijin needed the dragon balls for didn´t interest Vegeta now. He´d eventually figure it out. His head was busy finding the best way of taking advantage from the invaders. None of the ships would stay there after one of the groups had all the spheres - unless they ended up killing each other. Absently, he opened one of the small bags of the belt that once belonged to Garana, took out a piece of a lizard he had killed recently and started munching it, even having no hungry. Cleaning hurriedly his greased hand on his right thigh, he arched his legs and jumped. 

During a few seconds his tan body looked like frozen into the air. Then his tail stretched out and wrapped itself on a branch above Vegeta´s head, helping him to impulse towards the farthest tree. Anyone who could watch his acrobacies at the top of the trees would be speechless at how quick and agile he was. However, such ability just filled Vegeta´s heart with shame and frustration. Acting like that, he was giving reason to everyone who once called him a "monkey Saiyan". Worse, if he could fly, he would be able to make an entire turn around the planet in less than an hour. And he couldn´t even allow himself to think about his loss.

Many kilometers ahead, his ears caught a small, but suspect bustle. Immediately, Vegeta embraced the trunk of the tree he just had jumped on with his arms and legs, hiding himself behind it. At distance, he could be taken by some giant tree-frog, if it wasn´t by his furred tail and pointed mane. From his hiding, he realized that the noise had been caused by giant squirrels running away. Probably they had smelled him. The naked Saiyan climbed the thickest branch of the tree and rested on his crouched legs, musing about the problem. At the day before, he had cleaned himself the best he could from the mud and Garana´s blood; he was still a little dirty, but his subtle smell was perceptible enough to frighten the animals away. Shit. Vegeta had no time or stuff to fabricate his usual camouflage of animal greases. All he could do was hoping that those pirates were too thick-witted to notice that the beasts were running from something that not the pirates themselves. Apparently, the only one among them sensible to subtle clues was their boss, Turles.

"Tracked out by another Saiyan. Who´d ever guess." he thought, slightly amused.

Interesting to know that there was another Saiyan besides himself, Nappa, Radditz and Radditz´s little brother, Kakarott. From Vegeta´s point of view, Turles had to be a Saiyan. Nobody would be crazy to call their child with a name so typical of the most hated race in the universe, besides the Icejins. Probably Turles was sent to another planet when he was a baby but the pirates found the brat and raised him. Or Turles had joined them after he grew up, whatever. "If I only knew that there was a Saiyan living among the pirates, I wouldn´t have lingered so much on contacting them. So I wouldn´t have given time to Freeza to send me away.

Resting his eyes on his own bare feet, he thought enviously of the pirate uniforms. He had taken Garana´s belt, scout and laser gun, but the alien´s clothes were useless for him. The blasted purple fool was too thin and long limbed; even if the cloth stretched forever like Saiyan´s uniforms, it wouldn´t fit Vegeta well. "I have to find something to wear soon. It would be very humiliating if those goons caught me wearing nothing besides this belt." 

Until recently, he didn´t care to be naked because there wasn´t anyone else around to see him besides equally bared animals. As if, until that moment, Vegeta felt that he wasn´t different from those stupid beasts, for having allowed others to fool him in that shameful exiling scheme. But, now, he was coming back to world of the rational, civilized beings. Well, technically civilized, whatever. For the first time in years he felt his mind clear, free from the constant numbness that kept him as a sort of robot, thinking of nothing but hunting, eating and sleeping. Despite his precarious situation, Vegeta felt almost happy now.

"It´s like I have finally waken up, after a long, full of nightmares sleep. Even if they´ll kill me, I´ll die as a Saiyan, fighting true enemies, instead of mindless beasts. But not if depends on me."  Turning on the scouter again, the Saiyan checked the signals to make sure he hadn´t lost track. No. Both the groups of dragon balls hadn´t moved since his last check. It was the smaller group, the one of namekuseijin spheres, that interested Vegeta - or rather, the people keeping them. "I´m almost there. They must think that, moving their spheres for a different place, the pirates wouldn´t find them. I never thought that namekuseijin were so naive... but even that is good to me."  He couldn´t take over Turles´ ship, but maybe he could face the namekuseijin, if those mysterious people were really from Namek. First, he had to watch them, see how many and how strong they were. If they were just two or three and weak, with luck, perhaps Vegeta could kill them and spare himself from his current plan.  However, something inside him laughed about possibility.

Not because the 'namekuseijin' had killed Beer and the other guy with the annoying voice - Turles´ disdain for them hinted that both probably had been as week as Garana. No, what kept coming back on Vegeta´s thoughts was Sepsi´s mention about the two mysterious, strong signals that had showed up and disappeared. After hearing their talk, Vegeta checked on the scouter every once in a while, but he couldn´t detect anything, either. Stranger yet, Turles didn´t seem surprised at this.  "So they can control their kis at the point they can´t be detected?" he had said simply. Almost as if he expected that.

Vegeta couldn´t help but associating this to the fact that he couldn´t be detected, too. Scouters didn´t get too weak signals, unless you set them for this. Rarely someone did it.  It didn´t worth the trouble of losing itself on the zillion of signals of every weak form of life around; back when Vegeta still served Freeza, there were some rumors of producing scouters that would caught only kis above 100. Something had toned down his own ki so he wasn´t even able to fly. "What Freeza... and his scientists... have done with me? He wouldn´t punish me more even if he had me locked up in one of his torture chambers forever!" 

Without any apparent reason, his heart raced, beating so hard that it started to hurt. Cold and clammy sweat grew on his bare back, caused by a sudden, unexplained feeling of panic, as Vegeta´s sight began to blur. If his tail hadn´t instinctively wrapped around his support, he would have fallen. Quickly, he grabbed the branch with both hands desperately. Those panic attacks came whenever he tried to raise his ki or thought too hard the reason why he couldn´t use it. Vegeta was sure that had something to do either with his sleep at the regeneration tank or his hibernation into the pod; but he never could go too far in his thoughts without feeling that terror, followed by a strong feeling of weakness. Sometimes he fainted, just like after his despaired ranting at the top of the waterfall. 

"Not now..."he moaned through clenched teeth, trying to calm down and regain control of his body "Not now..."

His panic increased, when he remembered that Freeza´s monotous ranting would come soon to flood his mind. It always haunted his head whenever the attack became stronger, like this.  Vegeta tried to force himself not to think of it, but that just make the terror surrounding him stronger. The wood cracked ominously under his clenched fingers. 

"I´m not giving in this time! Leave me alone!" he mumbled, his eyes shutting tight, to keep the dazedness from taking him totally.  

The scouter beeped.

Vegeta´s eyes snapped open. He was still gripping the about-to-break branch, but the sound distracted him enough to shoo that terrible sickness away, almost in a sudden. Four ki signals moved down there on the ground, towards his tree. Very carefully, since he was still a little dazed, Vegeta embraced the trunk and slowly climbed down to a safer branch a few meters below. His sharp ears detected growls and a hard gallop, besides a few laughings. They were still too far from his spot, but they´d clearly would be coming soon. Feeling better, Vegeta climbed down the tree for a few meters, stood on a branch full of leaves and hid among them, leaving only his eyes uncovered.

The gallop thundered closer and closer. "A tetrahorn", Vegeta recognized the sound "Those paws sound too light to belong to a langosaur."


A scream coming from above caused an intense movement on the bushes standing behind a huge, black rock. A shaved head with a nose less face emerged from the leaves and looked sternly up on the sky. 

At least as sternly as it´s possible for someone who just woke up.

Up there, the silhouette of a pterodactyl, or something alike, took something kicking and squirming into its claws. Krillin sighed, both relieved and a little embarrassed for having slept on his watching turn. 

It had been a long night, or so he had felt. Having no clock, Krillin couldn´t figure out if the nights on that planet were longer than Earth´s, or if boredom caused him that impression. At the last afternoon, he and Gohan had taken the dragon balls using one of Bulma´s flying machines, to a piece of woods the farthest away from the hiding place they had chosen for their two weakest companions. After burying all the spheres, they put the black rock on them to hide the messed earth on the ground, and built for themselves a small shelter with bushes. For Gohan´s suggestion, they also built a few traps with cipos and branches, which the kid had once learned with a group of strayed children that ran from an orphanage. "Even if the pirates can fly, they´ll eventually have to step on the ground, sometime", he reasoned.

Gohan had woken up, too. 

"W-What´s up?" he mumbled, sitting and rubbing his eyes groggily.

"It´s all right." Krillin reassured him "I got scared by a scream, but it was just a... pterodactyl, I guess, having its breakfast."

"Really?" now totally awaken, the kid opened up his eyes. Standing up, he spied the sky through the bushes, hoping that the flying creature was still around. Of course it wasn´t, so Gohan sit again, sighing in disappointment.

"It´s just like home. There are always pterodactyls and giant birds flying over our house. Daddy likes watching the nests to see the babies born, but Mom never allowed me to go with him. She´s very afraid of the dinosaurs and says often that Mount Paoz is a dangerous place to raise a child",  Gohan ranted, more out of nostalgia than for conversation, because his friends´ mind looked somewhere else  "But, when Grandpa suggested that we´d move to West City, mom became mad at him. She said that living cost in a city is very, very high, and that there I could have bad companies and become a delinquent." he finished, a confused look in his innocent eyes.

As always, Krillin didn´t know what to say about Chi-chi´s contradictions - or Bulma´s, or even Lunch´s, since all the women he knew apparently had came from the same mold. 

"Well... your mother worries about what´s better for you", he began diplomatically "Maybe too much. Not all the youngsters who live in big cities become delinquents."

Krillin just hoped that someday he could find a girl who wasn´t tyranical or complicated. A sweet, nice young woman, who would be simple but also pretty and smart... Grudngly, he shook off the dream. That wasn´t the moment for it.

"You should sleep a little more," he offered, to change the subject "No one has come yet for the dragon balls, but it´s a matter of time."

"Another reason for me to stay awake!" the little half-Saiyan exclaimed as he jumped to his feet, his small fists clenched for whatever came for them. His stomach growled, breaking his heroic stance.

"I´m hungry", he moaned sheepishly.

"Now that you said it, I´m hungry, too. Let´s see what´s left from our 'dinner'. "Krillin said with a smile, as they both sat again and opened their packs.

  There were two misshapen sandwiches and a fruit left, which they divided. It was one of the fruits that they had picked up in the woods at the last day, before finding the two pirates standing near the ship. Gohan had learned with Piccolo how to recognize poisonous plants, during his training. "Always check if the leaves and fruits have teeth marks or worm holes, brat" his mentor used to say "If they´re not touched, better not touching them." Gohan also learned in the books that most animals and plants that are too bright-colored are poisonous, too. Both these guides also worked with animals and plants of other planets, apparently. The fruit tasted good, but the boy caught himself craving for an apple, which increased his homesickness. He was grateful when Krillin broke the silence.

"I hope that Bulma has finished the signal blocker." the monk commented, a small piece of sandwich still in his mouth "We´re lucky that no one has come for our dragon balls yet."

Gohan blinked, astonished. He didn´t think of that since he had woken up.

"I don´t think it´s luck", he stated, looking too serious for his six years "If they can detect the signals of the spheres out there in the space like us, they can do it here, even under the rock and all this earth. They must be busy with something else." 

Fortunately, Krillin´s last portion of food was very small, or he would have suffocated. Hurriedly, he gulped some water from his bottle, his big eyes reflecting the same worry that his younger friend.

"Bulma", he muttered, reaching for a walkie-talkie in his pack. The young woman had warranted that the small radio thing was safe, because it operated in a frequency lower than the pirates´ scouters.Or so she guessed. 

"Hello? Hello? Oolong?" he called, using the walk - talkie like a cell phone. Realizing his mistake, he quickly correct himself "Monk for Small Ham. Monk for Small Ham. Can you hear me, Small Ham? Roger."  

They heard nothing but some static and a soft sound that suggested someone was around snoring. 

"Oolong" Krillin called a little louder, restraining himself because a scream could get unwished attentions. Unluckily, Gohan forgot that.

"OOLONG!! WAKE UUUUP!!!"  his screech stung Krillin´s poor ears and scared away a few birds that were hunting worms around the rock. From the walkie-talkie came a strong thud, like a heavy object hitting the floor. Then, after some seconds of suspense, a very angry voice almost made the poor monk drop the radio.

"How do you dare to interrupt the sleep of a pure, beautiful lady screaming like that? Do you know what time is it? I spent the entire night awake and when I finally could sleep, you almost broke my neck..."

"I´m sorry, Bulma-san," Gohan cut her off quick, because his friend was too stunned to say anything "We were worried that the pirates could have found you two."

"Nonsense! We´re perfectly safe here." Bulma´s voice now sounded amused, though there was still some irritation in it.

"Good", Krillin mumbled, his voice finally returning "But why do you have the walkie-talkie instead of Oolong?"

"He must have left it on my table while I was sleeping. I´m not surprised. He always was an irresponsible boy. So, when will you come here to get the machine? I´m waiting for you guys since last afternoon."

"Afternoon?" Krillin stuttered "But you said you spent the entire night awake."

The boys heard something that sounded suspiciously as a sigh.

"Not because of the blocker. It just took me a couple of hours to finish it. After that, I began another new project, and it was so exciting that I didn´t notice the hours passing." Bulma reassured absently.  She probably heard the boys falling on their backs through her walk- talkie, because her light tone became irritated again "You should have remembered to call yesterday, too! I´m always the one who has to think of everything."

"And she calls Oolong irresponsible", Krillin thought, fighting against his will of giving Bulma a piece of his mind. It would be stupid, to not mention useless, having an argument now.

"See you later then. Over." he finished in a dry tone, before turning the walkie- talkie off and looking at his young companion "Gohan, stay put. I´ll get the sign blocker" the kid just answered him with a sad, begging look, and Krillin forced a smile "Don´t worry, I´ll be back soon."

"It´s not that", Gohan explained, his eyes landing self-consciously at his feet "It´s just... I think it would be better if I went to see Bulma and you stayed here, instead. She´ll have to explain how the machine works and there´s also this thing that kept her awake last night..." 

What Gohan politely didn´t say, but the monk could read between the lines, was: "I´ll understand better Bulma´s instructions because I know more science than you." The young man didn´t get offended at this because it was true - actually, he smiled at the offer.  Krillin wasn´t absolutely int the mood to listen Bulma complaining about Oolong´s antics and boasting how beautiful and smart she was, while ranting about boring, technical subjects. However, the idea of leaving Gohan flying all alone poked his conscience.

"Your mother would kill me if she knew I let you walk all alone in the woods, with all these pirates around" he hesitated.

"Mom will never know. Anyway, she´d also kill you if you left me all alone here. And we can´t leave the dragon balls unprotected." Gohan stated in a firm tone, his former shyness quickly melting away. 

There wasn´t how to argue against that. Krillin was about to say yes when they both felt five kis coming towards them. Evil ones, of course. They froze in their places instantaneously. No one of the two need to tell the other to stay quiet. Soon, the sounds of a hunting party started to came to their ears. Screams, laughs, an animal´s growlings and the strong thunder of a gallop.

"They´re even louder than Mom when she´s angry," Gohan thought disapprovingly "I wonder if they never received any training, to behave like that when the enemy can be around? If Piccolo-san was here, he would be horrified."

Now they could understand what the voices were saying.  "This one is mine! Don´t try to escape, silly beast! Your claws will be a great adornment on the wall of my bunker." "And what makes you think that Juice will let you keep them?"  "Don´t kill it yet, Coffee! You´re always a party pooper!"  "Tea´s right. Let´s have more fun, this time."

Both Gohan and Krillin cringed at the word "fun". A growl of pain, followed by laughs and encouraging screams, confirmed to both that the pirates weren´t exactly playing hopscotch with the poor animal they had captured. Krillin saw Gohan´s look hardening and nodded negatively to him.

"I know what you´re feeling, but we can´t expose ourselves," he whispered, since the group was too far yet (and too noisy) to hear.

"They´re too close" Gohan whispered back "I can distract them, take them away from the dragon balls."

"They´re too many", Krillin dismissed the offer in a definitive tone "And one of them is stronger than the others - you know that. Better stay here and pray that they´ll be too distracted by the..."

He didn´t finish it. Gohan had taken off. 


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