The sound of creaking floor boards woke Sorrel from his sleep. He opened his eyes slowly only to shut them when the light of the risen sun blinded him. Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes and they adjusted. From the sound of the commotion outside, some of the others were already awake, inspecting the gear Forcytha and Azera had brought back last night. Not wanting to slack off, Sorrel hoped off the couch and brushed off his clothes. His arms were a bit stiff from the less than pleasant sleeping conditions but all it took was a few stretches to work it out. On the other side of the couch, Sorrel could see that his brother had buried himself in the blanket, as if to block out the sun. Once again, Sorrel would have to be the one to motivate his brother to do anything.
"Oi brother, get up. Its time to get to work." he called over. No response. Sorrel's eyebrow twitched. It was going to be one of those mornings. "Ophrys this is no time for sleeping in. Get your ass up before I have to use force." Still nothing. Gritting his teeth, Sorrel walked over grabbed the blanket and pulled it off.
"I told you to-" he said to a stack of pillows, his brother nowhere in sight. Sorrel growled at his brother's arrogance and threw the blanket to the ground. Here he tried to do something for his brother while Ophrys got the amusement of humiliating him? He would pay next time they met. He walked into the kitchen and saw Chichi cleaning up a stack of dishes. The rest of the team had already eaten were preparing for the move. He said good morning to the lady of the house and she gave him a warm smile.
"Your friends didn't want to wake you until they were ready. But I saved you some breakfast if you like. "
"Many thanks, my lady." he said, giving Chichi a bow.
"Its going to be sad not having you as a helper around here. Feel free to come back here anytime you want to learn more about cooking."
"I would appreciate that. My mother would certainly enjoy having something like this." He said grabbing his plate. Though, truth be told, he wasn't sure what his mother would think about his new interest. Most, if not all alien creations or cultures did not interest her in the slightest. In fact she detested most of them.
Considering their race's superiority, Sorrel could understand her reasoning but surely discoveries such as this would be worth sharing. Maybe if he substituted earth ingredients with ones from home. Would it still taste the same? The sauce Chichi had used would be very hard to come by. He continued to think the process over as he quietly ate his food. Once again, the flavors of the morning meal were like nothing he had ever had before. He would have to ask Chichi for the instructions before the fleet arrived to take them home. Finished, he took his plate over to Chichi.
"Oh, let your brother know that I've got another one for him if he would like something to eat before you go." Chichi called to him before he left the kitchen. Sorrel stopped in his tracks. Ophrys hadn't eaten? This wasn't an unusual occurrence but given Ophrys' enthusiasm about Earth food, Sorrel thought it was extremely unlikely for him to join the others without at least stopping by the kitchen first.
"You...haven't seen my brother yet today?" Sorrel asked.
"No, I thought the two of you were still sleeping. Even Goten is sleeping in this morning so I'd thought you could have breakfast when you were ready." A bead of sweat rolled down Sorrel's cheek. His brother and Chichi's youngest son were both unaccounted for. Troubling given the topic of their conversation yesterday.
Would you like to meet them?
"That idiot!" Sorrel yelled as it finally hit him.
"What's wrong sweetie?" Chichi asked. Sorrel winced, and looked back to her. If she found out her son had left without her knowing, there was no telling how big her outburst would be. Best to keep the situation under control.
"Oh, nothing. It's just...foolish of my brother to have slept in for so long. Don't worry I will get him."
"Don't be too hard on him" Chichi said. "You both had a big day yesterday and I don't want you pushing yourselves." After she had turned back to the kitchen, Sorrel growled as he ran for the front door and went outside. Most everyone was there in front of the pile of mechanical parts and containers that had been left on the lawn.
Queen Clemartis was listening intently to Azera who had begun to tinker with the remains of the communication device. Forcytha stood to the side inspecting the energy damper. Calla was relaxing under a nearby tree. Goku, Frieza's supposed killer, was poking at the various parts, turning a few on by accident.
"...it's going to take at least another day to get our communicator functioning. And unfortunately, one of the tools required was destroyed in the crash."
"Then what is your recommendation?" Clemartis asked.
"Once we set up camp, I'll get to work on creating a device that can mimic the damper's effects. No better way to protect ourselves than hiding our power levels from them."
"Very well. Make it so."
"You want me to go wake up the tykes your majesty?" Forcytha asked.
"Like they'd want to see your ugly mug first thing in the morning." Calla laughed. Forcytha winced.
"Lay off the face insults babe. I haven't spent all these years perfecting my already fabulous good looks just to please the kiddies."
"Thank goodness. The universe has enough troubles without you breeding." Calla smirked.
"Well, your certainly in a chipper mood." Forcytha raised his eyebrow. "I thought you'd be grouchier than a forest wraith. Did you actually manage to fall asleep out here?"
"Not for a while but it was pretty nice once I did. The temperature was perfect and the grass was really soft. You should try it."
"I think I'll pass. Besides, something tells me that's not all that happened." Forcytha walked over to her and leaned in, examining her contented face.
"As if I would tell you." Calla said turning her head away. She knew that she had information Forcytha wanted and she loved baiting him. Forcytha's brow furrowed.
"Come on, can't you tell a childhood friend? I won't tease you I promise."
"Fat chance of that."
"What? Is it because of last night? Come on Calla I told you it was a joke!"
"Your, "joke" is getting really old, really fast. I can't see why it's any of your business anyway." Forcytha's eyes suddenly narrowed.
"Damn it! You flew off to flirt with the natives didn't you?" he yelled.
"What in the galaxy made you think that? It was the dead of night!"
"I know that face of satisfaction anywhere. I've seen it on many a damsel who has been fortunate enough to be in my company. The fact it was late isn't an excuse. You know how many weirdos can come out at night?"
"A vague idea considering you seem to know so much about it. And for that matter, get over yourself-" the arguing continued as the rest of the group watched on.
"They seem to do this a lot, don't they?" Goku asked Queen Clemartis. She sighed and nodded.
"It's as annual as the scheduled seasons." She walked towards the two and using a bit of ki, made a loud enough clap to silence them. "That is more than enough you two." Forcytha and Calla regarded each other before looking away from each other. "Forcytha, go and wake up the twins. We'll need to move the moment Gohan is ready."
"No need." Sorrel interrupted. "Ophrys and Goten are already gone."
"What do you mean, already gone?" Azera asked.
"I mean, they've already left for the wasteland on their own. I would like to find them before my brother does something stupid."
"If he's with Goten, they should be fine. Gohan took him out there a lot when he was little and he's strong enough to defend himself." Goku said.
"Does your wife have the same compunctions?" Sorrel asked. Goku's face went white, answering his question.
"I'll...go check on Gohan." Goku said with a nervous smile before running over to Gohan's house and knocking repeatedly.
"Our first priority will be to look for Ophrys and Goten's ki. The second we reach the wasteland, spread out and raise your power level if you find either one of them. Knowing Ophrys, he is bound to be near wild life." Clemartis ordered. The team, saluted and accepted their orders.
"Gohan, hurry!" Goku pleaded.
"Be right there dad! I'll be back in a bit Videl." Gohan called into the house, making the smart choice of telling his wife. "Alight guys follow me!" he called out as he took to the air.
"Alright. Leave the supplies for now Azera. We'll move it once we find a suitable camp site."
"Yes your majesty." The group leapt into the air and began to fly off. But a shrill cry stop everyone in mid-flight.
"GOKU! WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR GOING?!" Chichi shrieked from down on the ground.
"Sorry Chichi, but I have to go with them!" Goku called back.
"YOU MOST CERTAINLY WILL NOT! YOU PROMISED ME THAT YOU WOULD DO SOMETHING NICE FOR ME TODAY. NOW GET BACK DOWN HERE!"
"Oh, that's right I did." Goku said surprised as if it had just dawned on him. "Sorry guys but I gotta do this first. I'll come and find you later!" he said as he floated back down to the ground. The group stared in awe as he happily went back down to the angry woman.
"If I were him I would have flown away as fast as possible." Forcytha remarked.
"That's my dad for you." Gohan smirked. "Come on, the wasteland is this way" He flew off with everyone else following close behind.
After crossing over a bit of what Gohan had called the ocean, they arrived at the Wasteland. The plains were expansive with little to no trees whatsoever. Mountains the size of the largest trees back home were scattered all around, some that would be the perfect refuge from the monster-like creatures Sorrel spotted lumbering around on the ground. Just before the group split up to search, Sorrel got a lead on his brother's ki and followed it to the source. Near two very tall two-legged monsters, Ophrys was floating directly in front of them and was already typing notes on his personal tablet. Goten had taken a comfortable seat on the mountain side to the left. Sorrel growled as he flew in closer.
"So tell me," Ophrys was asking the giant sharp toothed creatures as they circled him. "On average, what would you say your weight is?" The beasts eyed him carefully, before the one in front of him lunged. Its glistening white fangs bearing down on him. Ophrys quickly moved out of the way, causing the monster to collide with its partner.
"Hmm" Ophrys mumbled, still typing away. "Evidence suggests this species is incapable of speech. Will need to subdue and weigh personally." Attaching the tablet to his belt. He flew down to the stunned monster and looked it over. Using both hands, he raised his power level and lifted the creature into the air. Moving his arms up and down as the beast struggled to regain its senses. "I would hazard a guess around...6 tons." he sad putting it back on the ground. He walked around to the other one, paying attention to nothing but his notes. "Goten," he called, "What did you call these again?"
"Those are T-Rexes!" The spiky haired boy shouted back. Ophrys nodded and wrote it down.
"T...Rex, got it!" Ophrys smiled as he patted the beast on the nose. "They certainly are magnificent. Their size is unmatched by any of the others we've seen so far." Grabbing the creatures' top lip he lifted its mouth open and peered inside.
"And look at the size of these teeth! Only carnivorous creatures have teeth like this. It must be the dominate predator of the region! Oh, I would love to see how it hunts!"
It was at that very moment the beast regained it's senses and attempted to swallow his brother whole. Sorrel's chest tightened when his brother was caught by surprise and disappeared into the creatures mouth. He dove from the air, hoping to slice it in half before it swallowed but he stopped when he noticed the creature struggled to keep its mouth closed. Ophrys was alive though a bit on the slimy side. However to Sorrel's amazement, he didn't look the least bit frightened.
"Fantastic! It's a lot easier to look at the teeth this way. And look Goten, I got a sample of its saliva! My colleagues are going to flip when they see actual DNA of a giant reptilian." With minimal to no effort he jumped out of the reptiles mouth and flew up to Goten's perch. Both monsters looked incredibly confused before giving up the chase and moving away.
"Ewww! You smell." Goten said pinching his nose.
"What, that? I've smelled worse, trust me. But I'd say it was worth it being able to walk away with a sample like this." Ophrys beamed holding out a small vile filled with the gooey substance. "Would you look at that? You'd be amazed how much I can learn about a life form just from one small DNA sample."
"Funny, cause it seems to me that you never learn anything." Sorrel said making a grand entrance. A bead of sweat went down Ophrys cheek.
"Oh hey, bro. I was going to leave a note but we were hoping to be back before the sun got too high. And you have to see these things, they make the giant insects at home look like household pets-ow!" Sorrel promptly decked his brother on the head.
"Geez! If you keep hitting me there I'm going to suffer brain damage."
"Good, then you can have a legitimate excuse for being useless! Now would you stop playing around and do your job for once!"
"Ugh, fine. Killjoy." Ophrys grumbled as he formed his wings and took to the air.
"You two had me worried sick!" Calla called as she flew down to Ophrys and looked him over, grimacing at the T Rex saliva.. Goten looked nervously up at his brother, who didn't look very happy with him either.
"Your not going to tell mom are you?" Goten asked innocently.
"You'll be lucky if she locks you in the house for a year." Gohan shook his head. "And honestly, I can't say I'd blame her. You know better than that Goten." The boy looked down in shame, as he should. Sorrel was intrigued to think of the kind of punishments Earthling parents gave when their children misbehaved. Considering all the trouble this excursion was, he hoped they were painful.
"We can worry about reprimanding these two later." Clemartis said. "Now that we are all here, we might as well go to the place you had in mind Gohan." Gohan nodded and took the lead, Goten directly behind him. "Ophrys, you will not leave my side and you will follow my every order to the letter until I decide what to do with you. Understood?" She said with an icy tone.
"Y-yes, your majesty." Ophrys stammered. The Forcytha snickered at his teammate's predicament while Calla and Azera just looked disappointed. Sorrel bumped his shoulder into Ophrys as the team got into formation. His brother glared at him, flying next to the Queen and the group followed the natives through the wasteland.
It wasn't long before Gohan spotted the location of their to be campsite and moved in to land. Inspecting it from the air, it seemed perfect. It was next to a rocky outcropping so three of the four sides of the clearing were surrounded by rocks, leaving only one entry point, making it easy to defend. It was elevated enough so creatures such as those giant reptiles would have a hard time reaching them. And at the very top, there was a natural spring that trickled down the face of the mountain and formed a mini waterfall. Gohan was able to point out several plants in the area that would be safe to eat but Sorrel would have preferred to just return to the Son's home to make more food that way.
Clemartis inspected the raised clearing, making sure it was structurally sound and checked the water and the nearby foliage before admitting that it would do. No one wanted to argue though it was obvious that after being introduced to more comfortable living, going back to the life of a soldier wasn't going to be easy. Regardless, the group followed the queen's orders without question and began to set up the camp. It took a good part of the day just carrying everything to the spot and it was into mid-afternoon by the time the site was halfway set up. All three men of the Son family joined them and offered to help though once they did, they need more than a little instruction on how to set up things like perimeter barriers and power generators. Goku almost set himself on fire with trying to aid Forcytha with his solar generator.
"Careful with that!" Focytha yelled. "That was one of the three we were able to recover! If you break it, I'm billing you for all you own."
"Relax. I can figure this out." Goku said pushing a few buttons. Miraculously, the device worked, only for Goku to forget to move his hair out of the way of the panels, singeing his spiky locks. As Sorrel filled containers with the spring water, he listened in on the Queen and Azera's conversation.
"Alright, that should do it." Azera smirked as he placed a small metal plate on the ground. "This is the best I could do on such short notice but this little guy should hide the power levels of everyone within the camp site. Heh, I would love to see the look on their faces when they can't sense were we are any more."
"Won't they able to pinpoint our location from their last reading?" Clemartis asked.
"Not if we keep our power levels low enough to mimic the surrounding wild life. We won't even need to sacrifice flight."
"Good. Then I want you to build a communicator right away. With Gladolous at the helm, I know the fleet won't be idle. But I'm still uneasy about those other ships."
"Sad to say your majesty but that's were we have a slight problem." Azera sighed. "Even with what we managed to save from the ship, I'm still missing a key component of our communicator."
"What do you need?" Clemartis asked leaning down to inspect the mangled parts Azera had spread in front of him.
"All I need is an amplifier to boost the signal far enough to reach the fleet." Azera looked over to the Earthlings. "Do you know anyone on your planet who can make a part like this to the specifications I need?"
"Oh sure, Bulma's the best when it comes to that kind of stuff." Gohan nodded.
"She's an old friend of mine, and the smartest person on the planet." Goku smiled, "I just hope she isn't still mad about yesterday." Azera gulped loudly, probably nervous that this woman would be no different from Lady Chichi.
"You seem to make a lot of woman mad at you Goku." Forcytha smirked. "What did you do? Forget to call? I always have that problem."
"No, well, I do have that problem sometimes like when I didn't let her know I was training on her birthday, but no. She was upset that I made Trunks late for his test or something."
"Oh! You mean this Bulma is Trunk's mother?" Ophrys said looking up from his work, only to have his tent pole hit him in the face.
"Yeah, I told her what happened with your ship and she said if you needed a new one, she and her dad could give you one."
"My my, just like that?" Calla asked.
"Sure, her dad has a spare ship from when I traveled to Namek. Though it might be a bit small for all of you, but I'm sure she'll be able to make a bigger one ." Azera sat quietly contemplating the new information.
"I would need to see this ship personally to know if I need to make any of my own modifications but making use of an Earth space ship sounds ideal." he said. The queen nodded before, oddly enough, laughing. "Your majesty?"
"Forgive me, heh. I just find it funny that we are only finding this out now." Goku looked confused at first but returned the smile.
"Sorry about that. We haven't needed it in so long that I kinda of forgot about it till she brought it up."
"That is perfectly alright. If your friend Bulma doesn't mind sparing it, then it would be rude to refuse. Could you take a few of my squad to inspect it?"
"I can show you!" Goten said as he ran over. "I go there to see Trunks all the time."
"Very well. Forcytha, I want you and Calla to back up Azera as he inspects the Earth vessel. The twins and I will stay here to finish setting up camp. Return before the sun sets."
"As you wish your majesty." the three said in unison. Goten floated in the air and beckoned them to follow. They flew off to the west, fading into the horizon.
"So Goku, forgive my curiosity but," Clemartis asked, "what was the recreational activity that you decided to do for your wife?"
"Oh that? Just something we haven't done as a family in a long time. If you guys have nothing better to do, you're welcome to join us."
"You sure about that?" Sorrel cut in. "Lady Chichi may enjoy our company for now but I wouldn't want to risk over staying our welcome."
"It'll be fine. If you guys have been fighting for such a long time, you need to get as much down time as you can." The twins looked to their queen for a decision. Though she seemed hesitant at first, she smiled at the thought of seeing more of the planet.
"Sounds like a splendid idea."