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Price of the Priceless

Chapter 2 Unwanted Guests

by Hatashi Kitty

“. . . Scientists that have been searching for the mysterious object that has fallen from the sky are neither denying nor confirming what it is. But they do not believe it is harmful. In other news. . .”
“This is boooooooooring! Can we listen to some music?” Trunks whined. He reached for the portable radio’s dial.
“No, you can’t. I have to do a report about this for school,” Gohan explained, pulling the radio closer to him.
“But its boring,” Goten joined in.
Gohan just glared at the two of them, and turned the radio up louder.
“Come on, Goten. Let’s go play by the river,” Trunks suggested.
The two of them ran off away from the group of people that had accumulated in the glen around a few wooden tables for the picnic they had planned. Usually at these small get togethers, everyone would be hovering above the food like a swarm of flies. But this time, they had been missing a few people.
Krillin noticed this. “Hey, where’s Yamcha? And Tien and Choutsu? And Picolo?”
“Yamcha said he had planes,” Master Roshii answered. “I have no idea where Tien and Choutsu are.”
“I wouldn’t count on Picolo,” Gohan added. “He never enjoys our little reunions.”
“Thank goodness too,” Krillin said with a smirk. “I always have a better time when he’s not around.”
“It’s touching how you fell about me, Krillin,” a deep voice said.
“Ahh! Picolo! You could give me a little warning before you go sneaking,” Krillin yelled.
“If I had known everyone felt this way, I would not have come.”
“Humph. What’s the matter Namek? Are you afraid of getting your feelings hurt?” Vegeta sneered.
“I’m surprised you even came, Vegeta,” Picolo said with a cool calmness. “Did your wife have to threaten to lock up your precious gravity machine to get you to come?”
Vegeta growled, and would have done something to make Picolo regret that remark, except Bulma interrupted.
“Yeah, I practically had to drag him from that darn thing. I swear, he must love it more than me.”
Vegeta stayed in his seat and pouted.
Gohan leaned closer to the radio to hear what the announcer was saying.
“. . .Police Chief of Orange Star City was completely baffled by the increase of auto stripping. All ready, forty people have found their car almost completely stripped, sometimes in broad daylight. The police are very sure all these incidents are connected although there is no evidence. Police would wish to caution everyone, especially those in the Mountain areas. Now we go to sports. . .”
Gohan quickly jotted down some notes.
Chichi, who was listening also, said, “I guess we’re going to have to be careful. Those car thieves could be around here.”
“Don’t worry,” Bulma reassured her. “All capsule corp. vehicles are equipped with alarms. We’ll be able to hear them.”
“Let’s eat. Turn that off, Gohan. Go get your brother,” Chichi ordered gently.
“About time we eat,” Oolong said.
“Where’s Maron, Hon?” Krillin asked his wife.
18, who had been completely silent all this time, said, “I thought you were watching her.”
“I think she followed Goten and Trunks,” Gohan told them. “I’ll go find her.”
Soon the voices of the adults melted away and were replaced by a small girl’s soft sobbing.
“Maron, are you all right?” Gohan asked crouching down to her level. “What’s wrong?”
“They said I was too little to play with them,” she said in between her sobs, and pointed to some big rocks where Trunks and Goten were climbing.
“Well, come on. It’s about time to eat, “ he said. Gohan lifted the little four-year-old up onto his shoulders. “Hey! Goten. Trunks.”
The two younger boys turned around.
“Time to eat! We’ll race you!”
The last thing Gohan heard before he took off was Goten’s usual protest: “No fair, Gohan!”

*********

Puar had been pacing the apartment for the last half hour. Her anxiety was making Yamcha just as nervous. Every move he made unsettled her, and the blue cat would snap at him.
“He’ll be here any minute. Very soon,” she told herself.
“Puar, just relax. It will be okay,” Yamcha comforted his friend.
He expected her to say, “Your right, Yamcha,” or “Okay, I’ll relax,” according to her calm nature. But the warrior was taken back as she shouted. “No, I won’t relax! It will only be okay when HE leaves!”
Since then Yamcha kept his mouth shut.
Sooner or later, the door bell rang. Puar screamed once, short and high, and latched herself onto Yamcha’s arm. When she realized what she had done, Puar let go, took a deep breath, and smoothed down her fur.
“All right. Act normal,” was her last order.
Look who’s talking, Yamcha thought before he opened the door and froze.
Standing on the other side was a short, thin woman. “Hi, is this where Puar lives?” the woman asked.
Yamcha’s fear of women rose up into his stomach. The woman in front of him wasn’t a drop dead, sexy body female that always left him in a stupor, but just the fact that she was a woman left him speechless.
“Is this the wrong address?” the woman asked her eye brows turning down onto her big purple eyes. “Hello?” she asked confused.
“Uh. . .no. This is Puar,” Yamcha finally said, pushing the blue cat in front of him.
“Puar,” the woman said happily. “It’s nice to finally meet you. I’m Hatashi Sukiyaki.”
Hatashi took hold of one of Puar’s paws and shook it.
“Nice to met you too,” Puar said shakily.
Yamcha took the time to look at Hatashi from a distance. All of her black hair was pulled up into a pony tail except for two long stands of a violet hue framed her face. Around her neck was a light-blue scarf that complimented her pale skin. She was adorned in a light blue sleeveless shirt and black genes. But the strangest thing she wore was a large orange furry hat like blob on her head.
“And who’s this?” Hatashi asked pointing to Yamcha, who stumbled back at the attention.
“This is my friend, Yamcha,” Puar introduced.
“Nice to meet ‘cha,” Hatashi said boisterously. “Nice tie.”
Yamcha looked down at what he wore. He had on his nicest black suit, but in the confusion of the day’s events, he put on a multi colored tie that seemed too bright for anyone to look at it for long. “Th-thanks,” he stuttered, blushing a bit.
“So,” Puar started to say and paused a bit. “Where is he?”
“Oh,” Hatashi grunted pulling a tired face, and pointed at the strange furry thing on her head. “Hey! Get up, Stupid!” She poked it.
The furry thing seemed to mold out an arm that waved at her. “Leave me alone, Dork.” The thing rolled over and a tail flopped into Hatashi’s face.
“I said OFF!” she yelled and yanked on the tail hard.
The orange thing tumbled off and caught itself in midair before it hit the ground. As it fell, the ball suddenly turned into a little orange kitty almost similar to Puar except different tan markings. “Puar!”
Yamcha was only able to see the orange cat for a second before it latched onto Puar.
“PuarImissedyousomuchIlookedeverywhereforyouandnowIfoundyouandImissedyouImissedyou. . .”
“Um…hey, Tay,” Puar stuttered as the orange kitty continued to speech impossibly fast. Puar gave Yamcha a pathetic look. He didn’t notice. “Hatashi, you and Tay come in, and sit down. I’ll go get snacks.”
“Snacks!” Tay shouted excitedly, and let go of Puar. “Yeah!”
Hatashi went into the room Puar directed her into, and sat down while Tay hovered near her shoulder.
“Yamcha, go talk to them,” Puar hissed.
Yamcha was baffled. “Puar, I can’t. You know how I act around women.”
Instead of sympathy, she whispered, “Be a man,” and went into the kitchen.
Yamcha went, and sat down on the opposite side of the couch as Hatashi. In serious concentration, he stared at the wall.
Hatashi peered at his profile.
Yamcha could see her in the corner of his eye. Concentrate on the wall, he told himself.
“Where did you get those scars?” Hatashi inquired bluntly.
“Tashi! You’re so rude! I can’t take you anywhere!” Tay shouted.
“Oh and you’re not rude! Falling asleep on my head, and not even getting up to see your sister isn’t exactly common courtesy! You stupid head!”
Yamcha had broken his contact with the wall as soon as the woman and cat started bickering and name calling. Soon it became physical with Tay biting at Hatashi’s arm, and the later pulling on the cat’s tail. When Puar came in carrying a tray load of cookies, the pair stopped sheepishly, and sat still.
Soon after, Puar and Hatashi started in a conversation about Tay, and how he found Puar. Tay meanwhile wolfed down the cookies Puar brought, and occasionally interrupted to add his two cents. Yamcha sat in his corner of the couch listening to the conversation, trying to build up as much courage as he could to say something. Just when he was about to do it, Hatashi looked down at her watch.
“Holy doughnuts!” she cried out. “We have to leave.”
“Awww, do we have to?” Tay whined.
“Yeah, I’m afraid we have to. If we don’t go now, I’m going to miss my appointment to look at apartments.”
“Apartments?” Yamcha managed to say Hatashi’s last word in the form of a question.
“We’re sort of moving out here for a while. I was transferred here because of that big fighting contest thingy that’s going on here.”
“You mean the tournament?” Yamcha asked, happy that he said something.
“That’s it,” Hatashi said and slapped her hands together. “I’m a photographer, and it’s my job to take pictures of the contestants. But anyway, let’s get going, Cat.”
“Can’t you leave me here?” Tay whined.
Yamcha sensed another argument, so he jumped in. “H-he could stay here for a while, if you’d like.”
Hatashi looked at him almost pleadingly. “Would you?”
Behind her Puar gave him a dirty look. She was going to kill him. Oh well.
“Sure. He’d be no problem.”
“Thank you so much,” Hatashi gratefully said and boldly threw her arms around him.
Yamcha blushed and his muscles tensed as the female body pressed against his. “Your welcome,” he squeaked.
Hatashi quickly gave them the number she would be at, and said her good-byes. As she left skipping to her car, Yamcha smiled goofily as he watched her go.
Puar glared at him. “We should probably write down the number she gave us, in case I go crazy, and try to kill you,” she grumbled at Yamcha. She turned to the desk that had paper and pens on it. “Wait a minute,” she gasped as she stared at the lonely paper. “Where did my pens go?”
Tay sweat dropped as he heard what Puar said.
“I know there were some here. I just bought some new ones,” Puar shouted nearly at the end of her ropes.
“What am I going to do with you, Tashi?” Tay whispered to himself remembering her bulging pockets as she made her hasty exit. “Don’t worry about it, sis,” Tay shouted putting on his happy face and grabbing his sister’s paw. “I remembered it. Let’s go do something, ‘kay?”
The blue cat couldn’t protest as Tay demanded every inch of her attention.

*********

Space. What an illusion it is. Space makes the universe look infinitely big, but in reality it was small. Space is nothing. No air. No anything. It may look big to someone who will die. Someone who is mortal. But Genkaku isn’t mortal. He had been traveling the universe for eons and eons. He had seen past the illusion, and saw the universe as it is. To him, everything was an illusion. Even death, for he had cheated it. He once was mortal, and thought the universe was big, infinite. He spent that mortal life finding immortality. But a little too late to enjoy it. Forever he will stay as he is.
Every wrinkle in his face and hands dug deeper and deeper. His thin crooked body couldn’t walk far without have to stop and rest. He relied on a cane for balance. What little hair he had left was pure white. His sight was blurry even with his strong eyeglasses on, his hearing was partially good, and he had little teeth left.
Immortality was a curse to him as well as a gift. No matter how long he lives, he will never go back to his youthful state again.
Youth. It too was an illusion to him. He had found what the youth could do; he could do better. So he built. He built machines nobody else could. He traveled far away to distant galaxies and learned what they learned. And one thing old age did not rob from him was his mind, his memory. With his new knowledge, he built. He built more advanced technology than any civilization had ever and will ever see.
In space, sound doesn’t move. There is nothing to see. People have gone mad in space, because space is very boring. It takes a creative mind to keep one sane in space. Genkaku thought he would go mad, and maybe he did for a while, until he joined a very prestigious club. Treasure Hunters Of The Universe ( or THOTU as it was more commonly known as) was the best thing that ever happened to him. He became the most successful of the group, mainly because everyone else died.
But he soon grew board of collecting rare objects. As he searched the universe, he came across a civilization that was dying out. For some reason, he took a few of the people. That was only the beginning. He started going to other planets, and found other civilizations that were dying. He would take people from there as well. THOTU loved the new trend Genkaku started, and everyone started collecting people from dying planets. But finding rare civilizations is. . . rare. So Genkaku decided to make some catches rare. He built a moon-sized ship that could hold his entire collection. Over and over again, he traveled the universe collectimg people, and leaving destruction in his trail.
After so many planets, he arrived to a small planet called Earth.
Genkaku’s gnarled hand rested on the computer consol while the other grasped his cane. “ASU, scan the planet,” he commanded into a small golden cylinder he kept clasped to his coat.
“Scanning now,” ASU replied in a metallic, yet feminine, monotone voice.
Genkaku smiled. ASU was one of his most ingenious inventions. She was the brain, the heart, and the body of his entire ship. She had been dubbed ASU after Artificial Security Unit. She was programmed to take care of him, and to fulfill his needs and desires. She also maintained the ship’s rare cargo in their holding cells. But the best thing about ASU is that Genkaku controlled her, alone. Long ago, it was hard to maintain a ship’s keyboard with all the buttons and levers. Genkaku designed a way for him to control his ship by voice. The golden cylinder clasped to his clothing. The simplest command spoken into the receiver would be sent to ASU’s main computer, and then carried out. And if he did care to do something manually, that too, could be done with the device.
“Search completed,” ASU reported. “Reporting now. The surface of Earth is made up of carbon-based life forms which is dominated by the species Homo Sapien.”
“Bah! Humans. Hardly any power, normal intelligence, they infest millions of planets. A rookies’ prize. They are worthless to me.”
“Also there are a few samples of the species Homo Namekii. . . “
Genkaku raised his ancient eyebrows in interest.
“. . .and one sample of the species Homo Saiyaii.”
“A Saiyin!” Genkaku shouted. “Show me!”
The ship’s monitor turned on, showing the serene scene of the small group of friends having their picnic. Genkaku watched as Gohan, Goten, and Trunks raced into the scene.
“Mongrels!” he shrieked angrily. “Mixed bloods! Half breeds! Worthless! Invaluable!” He angrily hit the console with his cane. He glared at the screen and then gasped as he caught sight of the brooding figure in the background. “Could it be him?” Even though his sight was dimming, he could tell that the figure was Vegeta, The Last Prince of the Saiyins. “At last, you are mine. Vegeta. You have eluded thousands of treasure hunters, but not me.”
You see, when planet Vegeta was demolished, Saiyins became one of the most valuable species in the galaxy. Being of royal birth made Vegeta ten times more valuable.
“Prepare the nets,” Genkaku ordered into the gold cylinder. “I’m not letting this one out of my sights.”

************* “Mmm. Let’s eat!”

“Pass the rolls, mom.”
“Slow down, you guys.”
“Hey, leave me some.”
“I told you to slow down, or you’re going to choke.”
“Vegeta! Use some manners for crying out loud!”
“Leave me alone, woman!”
Why do I even come to these things, Picolo thought as he listed to everyone’s rambling. They make me sick just listening to them.
It was then that they heard a very loud alarm.
“That’s our car alarm,” Bulma informed them, and started to stand up.
“Wait a minute, Bulma,” Krillin ordered. “It could be those car thieves. Let one of us go check it out.”
“I’ll go,” Gohan volunteered leaping up from the table.
“Us too,” Trunks and Goten said together, and jumped up as well.
Before anyone could protest, the three half-Saiyins were out of sight.
They quickly arrived at the place where the cars were parked. All the vehicles were striped completely down to the metal frame.
“How did they do it so quickly?” Gohan asked himself. He slowly surveyed the scene, and in the corner of his eye, he saw a shadow. “You two, go that way,” Gohan ordered at the younger kids, and pointed in a different direction where the shadow was.
“Come on, Goten,” Trunks shouted pulling on his friend’s arm. “I bet we can find those thieves before Gohan,” Trunks bragged and headed off in the direction Gohan pointed.
Just as he suspected, the two younger half-Saiyins marched through the underbrush, too noisy to sneak up on the deaf. Hopefully their noisy effort will chase the thieves over to him.
With stealth he learned while living in the wild alone, Gohan crept almost silently through the forest, his eyes always darting around, sensitive to the slightest movement.
Bushes ahead of him moved slightly. Gohan smiled to himself as he could see some sort of form hidden in the brush. Still moving carefully, Gohan sneaked ahead until he was right beside the bush. The bush was too thick to see much, but he could make out a hand somewhere near the ground. With lightning quickness, Gohan reached in, grabbed the hand, and pulled it out.
The hand struggled to wriggle free, but Gohan had a strong grip on it. The young warrior stood up lifting up the person hidden in the brush. To his surprise, he pulled out a young girl no older than he was.
“Let me go,” she yelled, her energy flaring up, and kicked him in the gut.
Gohan had to lower her to the ground as he doubled over. That was when she grabbed his hand with her other one. In one swift movement, she had him swinging in the air. When she let go, Gohan quickly righted himself. “Stay where you are,” he shouted in his best Saiya-Man voice. “You are under…ahhh…”
To Gohan’s surprise, the young woman attacked him as he was talking. He had no time to put up his guard. Before he knew it, he was on the ground, his left cheek throbbing. Gohan stood up, and looked around. There was no sign of the girl anywhere. He hunted around for a little while longer, then headed back to the picnic.
Goten and Trunks were all ready there. “What happened? We looked all over for you,” Goten asked.
“Did you find any of the thieves?” Trunks inquired.
“Are you okay, Gohan?” Chichi asked worriedly.
“I’m fine. I found one of the thieves, a girl. But she got away from me,” he related.
“We chased some guy around. He was really fast. Right Trunks?” Goten reported and Trunks nodded.
“What about the cars?” Bulma asked.
Gohan shook his head. “They are totally stripped.”
“Shoot! I guess we’ll have to call the police. Can you give me a description of what the girl looked like? I bet nobody has ever seen them before. It could really help.”
Gohan thought about it. He didn’t really get a good look at her. He closed his eyes and tried to visualize the scenario. “She had long black hair except by her ears. I think it was purple. And blue eyes.”
“Is that it?” Bulma asked. “Do you know what she’s wearing?”
Gohan again closed his eyes. He couldn’t remember what she was wearing. But he remembered some sort of movement behind her, something always waving; like a tail. A Saiyin tail? Gohan shook his head. That couldn’t be it. He was seeing things. She couldn’t be a Saiyin. Yet her energy was so. . . “No, that’s all I can remember,” he told Bulma.
“That should be good enough,” Bulma said as she dialed 9-1-1 on her cell phone.
Gohan turned to Picolo. He hoped his old teacher had felt the energy as well. “Picolo, can I talk to you?”
“Sure,” Picolo responded and the two headed off away from the group. “What is it?”
“Did you feel the energy signature of the girl?” Gohan asked suddenly feeling sheepish about the idea.
“No,” Picolo told him. “Is something the matter?”
“Ah, it’s just when I felt her energy it was so similar to Vegeta’s and my Dad’s, yet different. I was kind of thinking she was a Saiyin,” Gohan admitted.
Picolo mulled over this. “It’s improbable that it’s true since Planet Vegeta was destroyed. But it’s not impossible. Others could have escaped the explosion as did Goku,” Picolo opinionated. “Maybe you’ll meet her again, and find out.”
Meanwhile, Bulma finished talking to the police and hung up. “They said they can’t investigate it today, because they’re so busy. I gave them our phone number to get a hold of us. I guess we just go home,” Bulma related. “Vegeta, you’re going to have to carry me home.” She looked to where her husband was, but the space was empty. “Vegeta?” Bulma looked all around, swearing to herself that Vegeta was there just a second ago. Now there was no trace that he even was there to begin with.