Home Sweet Home
Calla was thrilled to be back in the air. The force of gravity was so much lighter than it was back home making flight require little to no ki at all. She never got enough of feeling the cool breeze rushing through her hair and watching everything go by. After leaving the desert behind, Calla had been oohing and ahhhing the various landscapes planet earth had to offer: a giant desert full of mushroom like stone towers, a vast body of water known as an ocean, small towns, a large cities, areas of untamed wilderness and lush forests.
While most planets Calla had visited in her lifetime were normally made up of a single type of environment, Earth seemed to be a strange mixture of everything. Hot, cold, temperate, wet, dry, polluted, clean, it had it all. The best part was feeling the sun warming her back as it traveled across the sky. The clouds had also been a major point of fascination. They weren't poisonous at all but just big puffy mounds of water vapor, according to Gohan. Calla found endless enjoyment flying in and out of them, waving her hands and making shapes or making body imprints to every single one they passed.
Ophrys had been hardly able to contain himself during this trip. He pointed to oddity after oddity, gaping, smiling and even squealing like a girl. Sorrel, as he normally was when traveling to a new place, tried to look indifferent but Calla smiled when she saw his eyes occasionally grow wide with amazement. Forcytha, despite getting off on the wrong foot with the earthlings, was also enjoying himself. Chatting up Gohan about life on earth and asking his universal question.
"What are the women like here?"
The question made Gohan go red in the face as he struggled to find the right words.
"They're…great, I guess. I'm a married man myself and my wife is one of the best in the world." Gohan said in shy tone.
"Interesting, best in the world how? Best in the looks department? Best physically or best in the-"
Calla decided to fly back a bit before hearing the rest of that conversation. Every single place they went, for a mission, for anything, there was only one thing on Forcytha's mind.
Azera was enjoying a light conversation with Goten, the latter asking all kinds of questions about space and how he could make his ki armor. Azera was not the best with kids, he never seemed to know what to do with them. He was so careful with his choice of words describing the empty void of space that it took him over a minute to get out an entire sentence, but Goten was patient and not the least bit bothered. It wasn't until the veteran soldier was asked about his adventures that he began to lighten up a bit more and relax.
"There was this one time, I managed to ride giant sand worm on the desert planet of Utrata.." He said, referring to an old scouting mission that he had told Calla many times growing up. "It was in my younger years, when I had become an adult but it was one of the most exhilarating battles of my life. I was engaging hostile invaders of the Cold Empire, but I saw that mighty worm rise from the sand and thought to myself, 'why not?'. So I hopped on it, grabbed its antennae and urged it towards the enemy lines. That armored monstrosity bulldozed through their entire unit in one go." Azera chuckled to himself.
"How big was the worm?" Goten asked eagerly.
"Real big. Bigger than our space ship." Azera smiled, reminiscing his past glories.
"Wow, the dinosaurs around here are big, but they're not that big." Goten exclaimed.
"What are these dinosaurs?" Ophrys asked, butting into the conversation.
"Oh they're these giant lizard-like animals that live in the wilderness not too far from home. Some are small, while others are gigantic." The more Goten talked, the Ophrys' excited expression got more intense. "I grew up with them kinda, so a few of them are my old friends. Would you like to meet them?"
"YES PLEASE!" Ophrys said rapidly nodding his head.
"Remember the mission brother! We are not here to sight-see!" Sorrel called back to his brother.
"Oh, pack it in for one day Sorrel! This could be a life form our race has never encountered before. It would be a crime against science not to go get a closer look."
"You can save your scientific pride for after we win the war." Sorrel growled before flying ahead of the two. Leaving Ophrys and Goten to return their conversation on animals, while Azera moaned on how he had been left out.
Clemartis had stayed silent for most of the trip but was just as overwhelmed by the Earth's scenery like the rest. She paid most attention to the ocean and the tall trees of the forest as they approached the mountains. Calla was glad to see her queen look so at peace after so many years of constant work, but there was something in Clemartis' eyes that looked almost sad.
"Are you all right back there?" Gohan asked, it seems he had picked up on Clem's demeanor as well. Calla breathed a sigh of relief as Forcytha flew to the back of the group in an attempt to cheer Azera up.
"Oh? Yes, I'm sorry. Your home is so beautiful, it is a lot to take in." Clem replied. "I guess, this is how I wish our planet was."
"What's wrong with your planet?" Gohan asked. It was an innocent enough question, but Gohan winced when Clemartis' sad expression got worse. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean that as an insult, I just-"
"No, it is perfectly alright." Clemartis said, forcing a smile. "Our ancestors made our world a lifeless husk for the sake of progress. As a result, our people were forced underground in order to survive. It required numerous sacrifices in order to make a single city. We've managed to eke out a living by gathering energy from other worlds but its been never been enough to restore what we lost. " The more she told this story, the more depressed Clem was becoming.
"My gosh, I'm sorry to hear that." Gohan consoled. Clemartis nodded, appreciating the sympathy, but it didn't seem to improve her mood. Calla knew that was her cue to step in and lighten things up a bit.
"All this trouble because some old windbag wanted to prove that his tree was bigger than everyone else's." Calla said flying beside the two, upside down. Clemartis let out a tiny giggle.
"Tree?" Gohan asked, suddenly very confused.
"That's how we gather energy. We make genetically altered trees that can take and store huge amounts of ki. The non-harmful ones take gather it from sunlight, like most trees do. The harmful ones, take it right from the planet's soil." Calla explained. "Now that we know how to use them properly, they're created to be weapons of last resort. Still it doesn't change the fact that without that first Tree of Might our home planet's surface would still be able to support life."
"Tree of Might?!" Gohan said, looking a little alarmed.
"You've heard of it? I thought you said that this was the first time you encountered our race?" Clemartis asked.
"A Tree of Might was planted on earth back when I was a kid. I don't remember too much but some guys from Frieza's empire brought it here in order to become more powerful. Thankfully, my dad destroyed it and the guys responsible." Gohan said, as he tried to remember the attack. It had been so long ago it was difficult to recall all of it, but he would never forget the sight of that monstrous tree.
"Thank goodness. And your planet doesn't seem to be any worse for wear. Though I wonder how men from the Cold Empire managed to steal one of our most dangerous weapons." Clemartis thought aloud.
"I'm afraid I can't help you with that one." Gohan said looking apologetic.
"Would your father know more?" Calla asked.
"I guess. You can try asking him when he catches up."
Clemartis still looked troubled as she turned to face Forcytha.
"Forcytha, we've had spies scattered through the Cold Empire's ranks for years, is it possible that one of them was given a Tree of Might seed for a mission?" Clemartis asked looking very stern. Forcytha raised an eyebrow and looked at his queen like she had just grown three heads.
"That would be a negatory your majesty. Neither me or my father would have authorized a seed to leave the planet when it could easily fall into enemy hands." He replied.
"But your family is in charge of planet wide military, who else has clearance to use the Tree's development plant?" Calla scratched her head.
"Uhh, guys-" Ophrys started to say before Sorrel covered over his mouth.
"Keep your big mouth shut for once in your life!" Sorrel whispered. Ophrys looked down looking almost ashamed.
"What's wrong Ophrys?" Calla said looking back to the boys.
"Huh, oh it's nothing Calla. I was just thinking that whoever took the tree knew what they were doing with it at least. Just a few minutes of contact with a planet this full of life would germinate into a full-grown tree in no time at all." Ophrys said with a worried smile.
"That's because it did." Said a deep voice coming from behind them. Everyone looked back to see that Krillin and Piccolo had finally caught up.
"Took you long enough." Forcytha smirked. "I thought Namekians were supposed to be fast." Piccolo grunted but didn't bother with a retort.
"Where's dad and Trunks?" Goten asked.
"They said they were going to check out the enemy ship, make sure no one was hiding with those little gizmos." Krillin said as he flew into formation next to Forcytha.
"They shouldn't have gone there alone. I'll send two of my men to assist them." Clemartis said before looking to Azera and Forcytha but Gohan flew next to her and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Its okay. Trunks knows how to take care of himself and my dad is one of the strongest warriors on the planet. Energy shields aren't going to make much of a difference." He said with confidence.
"Perhaps, but this is our war. You've already become more involved than I originally intended. I cannot ask you to fight our battles for us in good conscience."
"Yet it's perfectly fine to allow weapons like the Tree of Might to slip your notice and endanger innocent worlds?" Piccolo shot back.
"Hey back off! My lady had nothing to do with that. If she'd known she would come here and dealt with the criminals herself." Calla said glaring daggers at the Namekian. He glared back unfazed.
Despite his off putting stoicism and rudeness, Calla still got a strange feeling her gut whenever she looked at him, forcing her to break eye contact. He looked so similar. Almost identical to how Torga was in his younger days. But the similarities it seemed were only skin deep. Calla felt no comfort with him around. Why did Namekians all have to look so similar?
"He is right Calla." Clemartis said, calling Calla back to the present. "It was an enormous oversight that should never happen again. You have my sincerest apologies for whatever damage it caused." Clemartis said looking back to Piccolo. "Forcytha, even if you didn't order it, the minute we return home I want this matter investigated, understood?"
"Sure thing your majesty. Nobody touches my toys and gets away with it." Forcytha smirked.
"Why am I not the least bit reassured?" Piccolo muttered under his breath.
"It is a shame though." Ophrys said in an upbeat tone. "That we got off on the wrong foot like this. If we could plant some of the solar trees here after the war is over, we'd have a great springboard for restoring the power we lost in all the fighting."
"Indeed. If it is alright with our hosts, I would think an interplanetary alliance would be in order." Azera added. "That way we can put our Namekian friend's worries at ease."
"Sounds good to me." Forcytha chimed in. "I'd need some more time to check out this planet's babe pool during shore leave."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves." Clemartis cautioned but the happy look in her eyes showed she was just as hopeful. "Let's finish the present conflict before we start discussing peace. From what Gohan has told us, I wouldn't want to throw planet Earth into a partnership it isn't ready for."
"Sorry about that." Gohan said embarrassed. "But if it's any conciliation, I would help you guys with whatever you need."
"Same here!" Goten chimed in.
"Like I keep saying, its about time we made some friends in high places." Krillin added. Piccolo still didn't look too convinced but he said nothing.
"Alright guys we're almost there." Gohan announced as the group approach a lush mountain range.
Calla was immediately struck at the thick woods that covered the mountains. The very image of it all seemed to symbolize tranquility iteself. Tiny but clear creeks could be heard bubbling down from the snow capped peaks, giving life to a forest full of tall fruit bearing trees and tons of a strange pole like plants that she had never seen before. Just as Gohan had said, the number of homes began to dwindle as the area became even more remote. Creeks, turned into rivers, and rivers fed into waterfalls and pools where one could see straight to the bottom, all bursting with aquatic life. This was to say nothing of the mammal life forms that they could see passing by. Oprhys was so excited to go down and explore, Sorrel actually had to restrain him. Clemartis eyes were wide with awe, her mouth was open but no sound came out.
"In all my travels, I've never seen a place like this." Their queen was barely able to speak. Calla smiled but stayed quiet. She had the same feeling going through her gut. This is what they were hoping to achieve for their planet. This is what they had been fighting for.
"Our house is just down there." Gohan said pointing to a pair of houses in a clearing below. He began to descend with everyone else not far behind. Calla raised her eyebrow at the odd dome shape of the houses, one yellow the other white. Both were about two stories tall and had vehicle storage units around the back.
The area outside was well kept, with trimmed flowering bushes and a lawn of grass that looked like it was being kept short. The road traveling down the mountain looked like it lead to a small village but fortunately there were enough trees and pole-like plants that isolated the two houses from the rest. Calla knew Clem would appreciate the privacy, but she couldn't help but be curious as to what went on in an Earthling town. Especially when they could have such large homes all to themselves. Behind the smaller yellow house was a small field, with large sprouts already surfacing from the soil. Calla giggled when she saw how messy the crop rows were. Whoever had done this had little to no knowledge of how to do it properly.
The group landed in from of the yellow house, with Gohan looking a little apprehensive. Calla began to get a bad feeling looking at the others and realize all the other Earthings were on edge. Goten slowly moved behind his brother, attempting to push him toward the front door. Krillin was attempting to clear his throat and fidgeting with this fingers. Even Piccolo had moved at least three feet away from everyone.
"Are you sure we can't talk to Videl Gohan? Maybe we don't have to get your mom involved." Krillin said with a shaky voice.
"I wish we could, but she's visiting her dad in Satan city for the day. She won't be back till this evening." Gohan said as he inched his way toward the door. Calla looked back to her queen and crew mates, getting the sneaking suspicion that they were putting their hosts in great peril.
"Um, if we are imposing you in any way, we can find another place to stay." Clemartis said, beginning to look just as nervous as the rest of them.
"Oh no, its fine. I'm sure she'll love you. Its just...hard to get in a word in with her sometimes. Just let me try to smooth things over first." Gohan said waving his arms to emphasize that this was no problem. His nervous smile said otherwise.
"You make it sound like you need to appease a beast with a blood sacrifice." Sorrel said offhand.
"You're not too far off." Piccolo commented as he maneuvered behind the closest tree.
"I could always do my poor street urchin routine." Ophrys said raising his hand. "The ladies always seem to go for that one."
"And if a sacrifice is required you can use my brother as well." Sorrel smirked.
"Not cool bro." Ophrys gave Sorrel an exasperated look.
"Your planet has some strange aesthetics. But that aside, I'm impressed Earthling commoners can have such big houses." Forcytha mused. Homes with multiple levels belonged only to the wealthy on Alastromeria, while the common people were only allowed to live in a single room inside large apartment complexes carved out of the underground trees. One of the many freedoms that had been sacrificed long ago to keep the population in check.
"You'd don't think she's going to be too mad, right Gohan?" Goten asked.
"Hard to say. You know she doesn't like us taking off without telling her." Gohan voice was dropping as he began to realize his position. He swallowed hard as he reached the door. "Oh well, got to face the music sometime."
He knocked on the door.
"Hey Mom! We're back!" Gohan called out. There was a rumbling noise from inside that seemed to get louder the closer it got. Goten gripped tighter on his older brother's shirt, trying his best to stay hidden. Krillin began trembling as the noise got even louder. Calla could have sworn the very ground was starting to shake as the noise kept building and building. She looked back to Piccolo who had his hands placed tightly over his ears.
"Wake me up in the middle of the night JUST TO FLY OFF TO GOD KNOWS WHERE WITHOUT EVEN TELLING HIS OWN WIFE?! I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS GOKU! HOW IS GOTEN GOING TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION AT SCHOOL IF YOU KEEP TAKING HIM AWAY FROM HIS STUDIES? WE ARE NOT REPEATING WHAT HAPPENED WITH GOHAN!"
The house's front door flew open as a very angry black haired earthling woman stormed out, her screeching voice almost deafening. From her appearance, she seemed to be the family matriarch, older but not incapable of taking charge when it was necessary. Her figure was slim but her muscles looked toned, like she had been trained in martial arts. Her ki was a far cry from her sons, but she seemed more than capable of defending herself.
Both Sorrel and Ophrys ducked behind Calla for cover, though she was so terrified she could hardly move. Both Forcytha and Azera stood in a mixture of fascination and horror at the sheer volume of the woman's voice. Clemartis did her best to hide it but she was just seconds away from joining the twins.
"Hey Azera, remember how you said YOU wanted to get a life mate someday?" Forcytha said with smug smile. Azera, still fixated on the angry woman, nodedly slowly. "Take a good look my friend. THIS is what they turn into after a few years. Two if your unlucky."
"Your not serious," Azera blinked not wanting to believe it. After taking a deep breath, the woman opened her eyes and realized the target for her rage was not who she had intended it to be.
"Oh, Gohan! There you are. Are you okay? All your father said before he and Goten flew off was that we were being invaded again." she said, checking Gohan from top to bottom for any injuries.
"Yeah I'm fine. It was nothing too bad. But uh...about 'being invaded'" Gohan tried to say but had to put on hold when his mother discovered Goten hiding behind him. Worry changed to angry disappointment as she grabbed Goten by the ear and pulled him out of hiding.
"Oh no you don't mister! You have got some serious explaining to do. I let you go to the movies the other night only because you said that you would look through the list of schools that I gave you. Just because your father goes to fight aliens doesn't mean you have to. No more fighting for you unless its for exercise."
"Ow! Okay, alright I'm sorry mom. Please let go!" Goten pleaded. His mother indulged him as the poor boy rubbed his sore ear.
"Now you march right inside and get to work. You've wasted half a day as it is!" she ordered.
"About that Mom, we kinda have a favor to ask." Gohan spoke up, speaking to his mother like a tamer trying to appease a ferocious animal.
"If its about making you lunch, I don't want to hear it! Not until you boys start your work for the day." His mother said as she turned to go back inside. Completely oblivious to the group of aliens gawking at her.
"About the alien visitors dad mentioned, well, it turns out some of them are friendly and don't have a place to stay since their ship crashed. I was hoping, if its alright with you, about letting them stay here until they can go home?"
It was about that time that his mother turned to around and saw the Yousari team. Now that they had been put on the spot, no one in the group could do more than giving the woman a small wave and hope that they didn't appear too imposing. Clemartis cleared her throat and was about to step up and introduce herself but stopped dead when the mother shot her a death glare.
"Gohan," the mother said in a calm voice. "Do I look like your personal maid? Do you expect me to take care of all these perfect strangers while you go off and do nothing but fight?! Don't give me that look young man. I've humored you and your father enough over the years, first with Icarus, then Piccolo for those years you spent training with your father, but no more. If you keep taking in strays, they'll just keep coming back begging for more." her volume increased dramatically as her rant continued.
"It will only be a little while mom, a day at least!" Gohan said raising his voice just in order to get a word in edgewise. "Then we can find them another place to stay while they repair their ship."
"And how do expect me to be a good host, to ALIENS mind you, when I don't even know who they are or what they need, hmm? Your asking for too much Gohan!"
"Mayday, mayday we're losing her," Calla mumbled under her breath.
It was times like this that called for thinking on your feet, which was one of the reasons Calla had lived for as long as she had. With her leader too nervous to jump in, and all the boys were content to watch in horror from a distance, Calla decided to take matters into her own hands.
"Psst, boys." She whispered to the twins before grabbing their collars and pulling them to either side of her. "Do you think she's spotted you yet?"
"No and I wanna keep it that way!" Ophrys whimpered.
"Good. Then stand still and follow my lead." Before the boys could even respond, Calla delivered a quick but weak punch to their guts. Ophrys and Sorrel dropped to their knees in agony staring at Calla with utter confusion, and maybe a bit of vengeance from Sorrel. "Sorry but this needs to be authentic," Calla said with a smile. Clem saw what she was doing and silently mouthed to her old friend, 'What are you doing?'
"Don't worry your majesty," Calla mouthed back, "We got this."
"What do you mean we?" both twins said in a loud whisper.
"Just trust me and play along." Calla angrily whispered as she picked the twins up and threw one over each shoulder. The pain of having her bony shoulder digging into their stomachs made the twins moan even louder. Loud enough to achieve phase one of her plan and getting the mother's attention.
"Oh, please don't mind us ma'am" Calla said trying to look at pathetic as possible. "We know when we are not wanted. I guess I'll just have to take care of these children's injuries out here, in an unknown wilderness...alone." Seeing the twins made the mother rush over to look at them, her eyes full of worry.
"Oh my goodness!" she cried, "Are they alright? Whats wrong?"
"This one was injured in the crash," she said motioning to Ophrys, giving him an extra nudge to make him moan louder. "And this one was foolish enough to try and eat the local plant life before we found out it was poisonous." Ophrys who was finally picking up on Calla's tactic began to moan even louder, favoring his right leg.
"The pain, its overwhelming! Please, leave me and save yourselves." Ophrys cried, pouring it on a little too thick. Calla saw the mother's curious face and tried to play along to make it look convincing.
"Don't be ridiculous! I promised your mother that I would bring you home safe and sound. Even if I must sacrifice my own life, I will take care of you." Calla noticed the woman put her hand over mouth, with tears beginning to well in her eyes. "Besides, what would your little brother do without you? So small and helpless, with no one to look out for him, forced to grow up a only child."
"Jump for joy just as much as the day you drop dead," Sorrel mumbled, leading Calla to give him a good jerk to the corner of her armor was right on his injured gut, making him tear up.
"I can't...I can't take it." Sorrel gasped, adding nicely to the tears. It didn't take long for the mother's tears to spill over.
"So sorry for all the trouble we've caused you ma'am." Calla said about to turn away.
"Good heavens, don't go!" the mother called out as she ran up to Calla and reached for Sorrel. "Give him to me dear, you've done enough. Gohan don't just stand there, help take the other one and get him inside!" Gohan snapped out of his dazed stupor and came over to grab Ophrys. "The rest of you can come in. We can talk once these poor dears are taken care of."
"Are you sure?" Clemartis asked nervously, "If we are intruding we can find another-"
"Nonsense! What kind of human being would I be if I turned away children in need. My name is Chichi by the way, please make yourselves at home." Chichi cradled Sorrel like he was a baby and rushed him inside. He managed to mouth a 'help me' before disappearing inside the house. Calla stood tall as the rest of the group gawked at her.
"Was that really necessary?" Azera asked, nervous. He never liked lying but he looked even more worried about being yelled at if they were found out.
"Who cares? We got her to calm down, and get a place to recuperate. Sounds like a win to me." Forcytha said before he went inside.
"Not bad Calla." Gohan breathed as he took Oprhys from her.
"Eh, mothers are easy to figure out if you know the right buttons to push. I could even be considered a mother myself with how much I've had to take care of these little scamps." she smiled mussing with Ophrys' hair.
"I felt my delivery was a bit off in that last line. Do you think she noticed?" Ophrys asked
"No way, you were awesome!" Goten exclaimed as he followed Gohan inside.
"Do you think you might help me smooth things over when I have to tell her Goku won't be back for awhile?" Krillin asked eagerly.
"I'll do what I can but no promises." Calla winked as she was about to head in. She noticed Clem was still standing in the same spot. Calla smiled when she recognized Clem's 'I didn't do enough, how can I make it better' face. She walked over and put her hand on her friend's shoulder.
"The grass won't grow faster if you keep staring at it like that." Calla teased. Clem smiled back.
"I always end up having to rely on you." Clem said sadly. "You'd think all that training in diplomacy would have helped out in a situation like this."
"Doesn't seem like any amount of training could prepare you for a person like that." Calla said. "But that's what I'm here for. To take care of the stuff you can't on your own."
"I guess your right." Clem's face brightened. "This planet is nothing like I expected it to be. All the more reason to protect it when the time comes."
"Couldn't have said it better myself, your highness." Calla gave a small bow. Clem walked inside the yellow domed house, and bowed to Chichi as she entered. Chichi smiled and waved for her not to worry. Calla was about to follow when she realized that Piccolo had not moved from his place by the tree. His eyes were narrowed at Clemartis, watching her movements inside the house. Calla broke his eye contact and glared.
"Aren't you coming in?" she asked in an angry tone.
"No thanks." he said simply before he crossed his legs and floated off the ground.
"Suit yourself." Calla huffed and she went inside and shut the door behind her.