CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: PREPARATIONS

 

"I can't believe it," Bardock said to no one in particular, "My son, still alive. And in spite of that, he's more powerful than some Elite soldiers! I don't know what this planet did to him, but..."

"That's just what I've been meaning to talk to you about," Zarbon interrupted, "Your son, Kakrotto- Gokou, I should really say, is from a completely different world than you, as far as his lifestyle goes. You were raised to be a warrior, to kill and destroy, and he obviously wasn't. You and I both know that not all planets share the same philosophy as the Saiya-jin about survival. He seems more involved with defending the weak and innocent than with being a fighter."

"And your point is?" Bardock asked, "He's still my son, and he still accepted me."

"He accepted you as his father for now, but for how long? He obviously sees what we do as wrong, and I don't think that much time can pass before he confronts us about it."

"Hmph. If that's what you really think, then go ahead and think it. Kakarotto has the blood of a Saiya-jin, and we are always true to our own kind. If he sees things differently now, he won't later."

Zarbon sighed. "Go ahead then. I did warn you. So, to change the subject, what are you wearing to this 'barbeque' that they invited us to?"

"My normal uniform. What else?"

"Considering that we are trying to make the best impression possible on these people, I don't think that's a good idea," Zarbon said, smirking, "I'm going in my dress uniform. It might impress them more. Besides, there's blood on your armour."

"So there is," Bardock said, "I guess I should have let go of that little bald guy after I broke his nose."

"Speaking of good impressions..." Zarbon trailed off, then went back to change.

"Hey," Bardock called back," How's Zangya doing? She's been quiet lately."

"How do you expect me to know?" Zarbon asked back.

"I just thought that you'd know, since you two seem really close and all."

"Where'd you get that idea?" Zarbon asked as he went back into his quarters.

/Because you're the only person she really talks to,/ Bardock thought, but did not say.

***

"Hey, come on, people! Move it! They'll be here any minute now!" Bulma barked orders to everyone she could see. She wanted this meeting with GOkou's father to go off without a hitch. "Hurry! Get those decorations up! Where's Gokou? NO!!!! GOKOU! DON'T EAT- KURIRIN, STOP HIM! WHERE'S KURIRIN? You mean he hasn't arrived yet? Yajirobee! You get away from those hors d'oeuvres! Come on, people, I told you to MOVE IT!"

"Uh, Bulma?" Yamucha lightly tapped on her shoulder, "This is a barbeque, not a formal gala. I don't think that you need to-"

"Only a barbeque?" she shouted, "ONLY A BARBEQUE??? You idiot! This is Gokou's father we're talking about! And on top of that, we're peacefully meeting aliens- from another world! This has to be PERFECT! Now why can't you-"

"Uh... hi, Bulma." Kuririn interrupted, having just arrived, wearing his best suit, tie, and fedora combination, "Am I needed here?"

Bulma turned toward Kuririn, "You're finally here! What took you so long! I've been waiting for In don't know how long for you to arrive here, with a bunch of idiots for help and..." She continued on, while Kuririn tried to get a single word in edgewise.

"Uh... Bulma... Thanks- I mean, Bulma... uh... Thanks, Bulma... but... idiots? Bulma..."

"...And Yajirobee won't keep away from the food, and we really need your help to set up inside, and Yamucha's being an idiot, and-"

"HEY!" Yamucha shouted in protest. Bulma continued on undisturbed.

"...And I really need you to watch Piccolo for me, and Master Roshi keeps harassing Lunch, and They'll be here any minute, and-"

"But, BULMA!" Kuririn shouted, finally building up some nerve, "How do you expect me to do all of that? You're really taking too much of a workload! Just delegate, or something!"

Bulma stared at him, openmouthed. "...That's... that's a good idea, Kurirn! Thanks! Hey, could you go help Chichi with the cooking?"

"Cooking?" Kuririn said as Bulma started pushing him toward the kitchen, "But... but I DON'T KNOW HOW TO COOK!"

Bulma threw Kuririn into the kitchen, and slammed the door. She turned around to find Gohan staring up at her with an incredibly cute and mischievous smile.

"You're funny," He said, smiling like the devil.

"What's funny?" Bulma said, smiling and squatting down to Gohan's level.

"Nothing!" Gohan said, scuffling away, thus leaving Bulma totally confused.

"Cute kid, isn't he?" Piccolo said from just out of Bulma's sight.

Bulma started and jumped up, straightening herself in an attempt to look intimidating. "And just what do you think you're doing here?" She asked curtly, putting her hands on her hips, "I don't remember you being invited."

"I don't remember being NOT invited," Piccolo responded, "And besides, I think you owe me my invitation after I've helped you."

"Hmph. You only helped for your own sake."

"Not true. I helped for Gohan's sake, too."

"I don't believe that."

"Ask his father."

"I will not! He can't think for himself! Remember his last decision?"

"Of course I do. WHy don't you go ask the old man over there?"

"Okay, I will!" Bulma said with a smirk. "Master Roshi! Should we let Piccolo in?"

"Of course! He helped us out! Let's help him!"

Bulma's face dropped. "Come on in. Just make yourself useful somehow." she said as Piccolo walked into the heavily-decorated Capsule Corporation building. "Why do they need to decorate the inside of a building for a cookout?" Piccolo asked without expecting an answer.

***

 

Zarbon finished deleting ten more messages from Prince vegeta. He had half a mind to tell the King to spank his boy more often. How old was that prince now? Thiry? Thirty-five? And he still acted like a teenager on a power trip. If he'd been raised Imperial, he would have been so much more mature. What a waste of a good fighter. He enjoyed the messages that he got from Salad every day, though. they almost mae it worth it to wade through vegeta's rants about how much he wants to get off-planet and away from his father, and how many people he'll kill if he doesn't get his way.

"So, are you ready?" Zangya said from behind him.

Zarbon turned around. "Yeah. Dress uniform and everything. What about you."

"I'm fine as is," She said quietly, "Do you really think everything's all right?"

"Of course I do," he said, getting up, "At least for right now, that is. Where's Bardock?"

"He's changing. Said something about too much blood on his uniform."

Zarbon smirked. Good for him.

A few more minutes later, Bardock stepped into the room, having just changed uniforms.

"There. Are you happy? I changed."

"Good for you," Zangya said in a way that can only be translated as sarcasm.

"How do you like my dress uniform?" Zarbon asked, also sarcastically.

bardock looked him up and down. "It's not any different except that you have a full bodysuit on under the armour. And besides, your hair's messed up."

"What?" Zarbon said, his eyes widening.

Bardock smiled. "You missed a braid."

Zarbon quickly checked over his hair, then began to fix it.

"If you put a ribbon in that, I will kill you." Bardock told him as he headed for the door.

Zarbon rolled his eyes as he kept trying to fix his now-tangled braid.

Damn Saiya-jin. They never had to work on their hair.