Chapter 10

 

             “Mo! Mo! Mo!”  Tiny fists pounded on the floor in indignation.

 

            “No, I’m sorry, but I don’t have anymore!”  Pazru quickly stepped aside, an airborne teething ring just barely grazing one of his cheeks.  At his feet, the baby began to caterwaul loudly, tears pouring down his flushed face.  The corner of Pazru’s mouthed curved down in a frown as he observed the temper tantrum.  This was not a good development at all.  Ever since the harrowing vision he and the baby had shared yesterday the child had been acting oddly, uninterested in play, crying often, unable to sleep.  And now he here he was, lying on the floor screaming so loud that Pazru was surprised that the whole complex hadn’t rushed in to see what all the noise was about. 

 

            Pazru kneeled and gently laid a hand on the child’s heaving shoulders.  The baby stiffened immediately and darted away from his caretaker, a low growl rising in his throat. 

 

            “Mo!” he demanded.

 

            “I told you, I’m all out of food bars right now.  If you can wait a little bit, I’ll run back down to the mess hall and grab some more,” Pazru replied, his hands outspread in a placating gesture.  The Saiyan’s face clouded, the rumbling in his throat increasing in volume.

 

            “No!  Mo!” he barked, tail lashing angrily behind him.

 

            “Alright.  Alright.  Just come here and I’ll take care of it.”  Pazru inched forward a bit and reached out to pluck the child from the ground.  He was instantly thrown backward onto the hard floor as the Saiyan infant hurtled into his chest and jumped up onto a nearby countertop.  The wind knocked out of him, Pazru struggled to his feet, and gaped at the baby, who was scowling at him and readying to pounce again.  “What’s your problem?  You know I can’t leave and get you more food unless I put you back in there,” he said raggedly, gesturing towards the open bassinet.   Gleaming black eyes followed the young man’s hand, narrowing suspiciously when the child realized what he wanted to do.  With an angry shout, he darted on all fours to the opposite end of the room.  Pazru sighed wearily and rose to his feet.

 

            “Now come here.  I won’t hurt you,” Pazru pleaded as he crept slowly to the back of the room.  The child met his eyes, hesitating slightly.  Pazru stopped several feet from the infant and lowered himself to the ground in a crouch.  “It’s okay,” he cooed quietly.  “You know me, right?  I’m the only one here you can trust for a meal, kid.”  The child lowered himself to the ground, ready to run if necessary, but some of the fierceness had drained from his features.  “That’s right, I don’t mean you any harm,” Pazru said encouragingly, his hands beckoning the baby to come to him.  He advanced slowly, repeating more of the same, gentle platitudes, and was pleased when the tiny Saiyan allowed him to lay a hand on top of his head.  Pazru ruffled the sleek, spiky mass of hair, then scooted closer so that he sat in front of the infant. 

 

The child, still looking unsure, slowly sat back on his haunches and leaned into the Orange Man’s caress.  He inhaled deeply then relaxed, tiny tail coming to rest around his waist.  The Orange Man reached out and scooped him into his lap; the warmth and closeness was comforting, and the baby wriggled as close to his caretaker as possible.  There was a great pain in his head, right behind his eyes, that began to pound each time he saw the strange images.  Those were frightening enough, but that inexplicable pain and the feeling that something was squeezing something deep in his chest, making it hard for him to breath, was downright terrifying.  Warm, soft, long-fingered hands slid reassuringly up and down his back and he sighed resignedly.  The soft rise and fall of the Orange Man’s voice somewhere above him was distantly soothing, and the child began to feel drowsy.  His eyelids fluttered, then slid shut, his jaw falling slack and his tail loosening its grip around his waist.

 

White.  Red.  Flying hunks of black and brown coming towards him.  His brother.  The man.  Wait a minute, the man looked like his brother, looked like him.  Who was this man?  Red, lots of red, all over the other people.  There were three people, one who was fat and had hair on his face, another that was very large and muscular with hair only on the sides of his head, and a small person with delicate features.  Why weren’t they moving?  The Look-alike Man looked at those people and he was angry.  Angry and sad.  Suddenly there was another man, covered in red but moving.  He talked to the Look-alike Man then stopped moving.  White.  Blindness.  Pain.  More of the red.  Something was coming closer.  Something that was big and dangerous.  It came closer and closer.  Suddenly, brilliant yellow-white light exploded across his vision; he felt his body burning.  Someone was screaming.

 

Pazru’s scream reverberated in the small back room, sounding over the child’s more muffled cry.  Muffled because he had his teeth imbedded in the soft stretch of flesh between Pazru’s thumb and index finger.  Shaking with pain and shock, Pazru gazed numbly down at his injured hand and the Saiyan who was firmly attached to it.  Blood began to well up in the bite, and oblivious to everything except the sight of the blood, his blood, seeping from his body and the fear of serious injury, Pazru jerked his limb away.  It came back easily, the child releasing him immediately and looking blank, as if he had just woke up from a nap or a deep trance.  The Saiyan blinked a few times, wide, stricken eyes rolling around the room aimlessly.  He opened and closed his mouth, licking away the blood on his lips and teeth, completely unaware of the bitter taste in his mouth.  A shudder worked its way up his small back, the child’s eyes rolled back to the whites, and he flopped gracelessly over onto his side. 

 

The press of dead weight on his ankles brought Pazru’s attention back to his charge.  A small cry of fear escaping his lips, he scooped the child up into his arms and began a frenzied examination of the tiny body, his injury forgotten for the moment.  Skilled fingers in rapid motion immediately confirmed the presence of a heartbeat and breath, and feeling somewhat relieved, Pazru set about trying to rouse the lifeless baby in his arms, only to discover that he was out cold.  Worry lines creased his brow as he rose to his feet and walked over to the bassinet.  He pulled a blanket up over the child’s body, one hand lingering to smooth back the soft black hair.  He hesitated at the door, eyes drawn to the motionless figure lying in the bassinet. 

 

“Come on, Pazru! This isn’t your fault!” 

 

He frowned at the thought and took a step back towards the bassinet.  He had wanted the child to calm down so that he could leave, but this….he hadn’t wanted this, anything even close to this to happen.  Reason confirmed that he couldn’t have possibly have caused the child to swoon by thought alone, but that didn’t stop him from feeling somewhat guilty.  Pazru sighed, switched off the lights, and left the room.  Lost in thought, he began his trek back to his quarters, oblivious to the figure that emerged from the shadows of a nearby corridor and entered the room. 

 

 

*           *           *           *

 

            “Departure is in 2 hours.  What’s our status?”

 

            “The pod is programmed and ready to go, sir.”

 

            “And Kakarot?”

 

            “Sedated.”

 

            “Good. Keep me up to date on any changes.”

 

            “Yes sir.”

 

            Pazru leaned back in his seat and massaged his temples.  Only 2 hours left until Kakarot was sent off to Chikyuusei for his first planet clearing, which was a great relief to the entire nursery staff as he had grown rather combative as of late.  An attendant walked sullenly past him, a large, lumpy bruise purpling and swelling across one side of his face, a mangled hypodermic needle rocking back and forth on the small metal tray resting in his hands.  He shot Pazru an annoyed glance as he passed on his way to the incinerator.  Pazru pointed to his bandaged right hand and gave an indifferent shrug. 

 

            Data scrolled across the screen of the computer panel at his right and he glanced at it periodically, keeping a close eye on the current weather conditions and traffic at the pod zone.  So far all was clear.  Pazru let his eyes wander around the nursery, taking in all the activity with a detached air.  He figured that the next time he saw Scleren he would thank him.  Being in charge of Kakarot’s launch had been a difficult task at first, the past two days being particularly busy.  But now he was able to just sit back, relax, and give direction.  He was able to monitor all activity both here in the nursery as well as in the pod zone, which would greatly benefit him in just under an hour and a half, when he was planning on slipping out to grab the other baby.  Shortly after little Kakarot’s journey began, a second pod bearing his twin would be making its final launch preparations.  Pazru thanked Kyokou under his breath for his good-timing concerning the departure schedules. 

 

            “Sir?”

 

            Pazru looked up from the blinking monitor.  Moira stood before him, a small rectangular box in her hand.

 

            “Did everything go alright?” he asked as he took the box from her.

 

            “No problems whatsoever, sir,” she replied with a small shake of her head.

 

            Pazru nodded eagerly and flipped the lid of the box open, checked its contents, and closed it again, a pleased smile spreading across his face.

 

            “Excellent.  Thank you so much, Moira, I couldn’t have done it without your help.”

 

            She waved dismissively.  “Oh it’s no problem, sir.  I just—“

 

            “There’s no need for formalities.  Just call me Pazru.”

 

            Her smile broadened and she crouched and leaned forward, so that they were at eye level.  “Well, Pazru, I was just wondering why you would want such a thing.  I mean, they’re fairly worthless.  You could get a much nicer piece somewhere else.”

 

            Giddy with how well his plans were working out, Pazru closed the distance between them, pleased to see a faint blush rise on her cheeks.  “Actually, it’s a little something for Kyokou.  You know how he is.  I thought he could give it to one of his girlfriends,” he whispered, his eyes sparkling conspiratorially.  He winked at her and grinned widely.

 

            “Oh I see,” she whispered back, one hand unconsciously pushing a lock of glossy black hair behind one of her ears.  “I can’t quite see Kyokou as the family man, but then again he never fails to surprise me.”

 

            “You’re telling me.”  They both laughed, drawing a few eyes from the milling nursery staff.  Looking somewhat uncomfortable, Moira straightened and smoothed out her uniform.

 

            “So, is there anything else I can do for you?” she asked.

 

            “No.  I can’t think of anything else at the moment.”  She nodded and turned to leave, only to be called back by Pazru, who smiled and motioned for her to come closer so that he could whisper into her ear.  She complied, listening intently.   He finished and she blinked at him a few times, even more confused.

 

            “Okay.  I don’t really understand why, but that wouldn’t be too difficult,” she replied, glancing at him in a confused fashion.

 

            “Great.  Thank you so much, Moira.”

 

            “Sure, no problem,” she called back, giving him once last bright smile before leaving.

 

He watched her go, the broad smile on his face fading to a thin line.  Lying to her made him feel even worse than he had when he had lied to Scleren and Kyokou.  She liked him, no doubt about that, and he was attracted to her as well.  If she found out why he really had wanted her to do these little jobs for him she would probably never want to see him again.  Then again, if word trickled down to her about what he was about to do, it would probably reach other ears.  Ears with the power to lock him away for life or send him to his death.  Either way, she would be lost to him.  Pazru sighed noisily, glanced at the time displayed on the screen and rose from his seat.  This was no time to concern himself with girls.  He needed to get moving, or else he would miss the small window of opportunity to grab Kakarot’s brother. 

 

Seribu.”  The bruised attendant looked up at his supervisor apprehensively.  Pazru put a gentle hand on the man’s shoulder.  “I noticed you had some difficulties tranquilizing the kid.”  He nodded to the mangled syringe that lay in the incinerator chamber along with the remains of several other pieces of equipment that Kakarot had managed to destroy.  Worry lines snaked across the man’s bruised face and he opened his mouth to explain.  Pazru silenced him with a finger.  “Don’t worry about it, I got caught up doing something else and I didn’t get to see how you finally managed it.” 

 

“Oh, sir, I see.  Well, I just slipped one of these,” Seribu placed a bottle containing a mass of bright blue pills into Pazru’s hand, “into a food bar and gave it to the bra--, I mean, child.” 

 

Pazru laughed heartily and clapped the man on the shoulder.  “Good thinking.  Well, with Kakarot out in dream-land, things should go a lot faster.  Why don’t you head down to the infirmary and see if they can patch up that contusion.  It looks painful.” 

 

“Yes, sir!” Looking relieved, Seribu nodded gladly and wove his way through the busy nursery to the door.  Pazru scanned the label of the small bottle.  Satisfied, he quickly slipped the container into the front pocket of his tunic, making sure that no one saw him.  Taking one last look at the data displayed on the computer screen—no problems—he stood and headed across the room towards the door.  Pazru laid a hand on the shoulder of a nearby attendant.

 

“I have some personal business that I need to attend to.  I should be back before Kakarot is taken down to the pod area, but if I’m not, I would like you to take care of things in my absence. “

 

The woman nodded briskly and returned immediately to her duties.  Pazru stepped into the hallway and strode over to one of the windows.  Kakarot looked so peaceful lying asleep in his bassinet; it was hard to believe that in a manner of hours he would be set loose upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of some distant planet.  A sigh passed his lips as long-repressed, blood-soaked memories clouded his mind.  Born strong and ruthless and given no opportunity to be taught basic morals, the Saiyans were truly a fighting force to be reckoned with.  Fighting was their past, their present, and their future.  If they weren’t currently involved in the planet-clearing business, they would probably be picking a war with some other people elsewhere, maybe with their own.  He couldn’t justify or agree with the endless bloodshed the Saiyans had inflicted throughout their turbulent history, but nor could he deny his own beliefs and allow the deliberate murder of their young.  Life was a sacred and precious thing, something he had seen with his own eyes fleeting like a puffed out flame from the bodies of his own people, victims of a planet-clearing several years ago, or from the fatally wounded soldiers rushed into this very infirmary.  What a person chose to do with his life was his own business.  The Saiyans had chosen to destroy life and just about anything else in their paths; he had chosen to preserve and protect life, regardless of the negative or positive impact that life strove to achieve. 

 

Scleren may be capable of shrugging of the life of a young Saiyan baby, his basis of judgment resting on what came natural to the Saiyan race and his own innate desire to keep himself and those he cared for safe, but that was his choice, shaped by his own extensive personal experience both as a doctor and as the victim of a planet-clearing.  Pazru realized that the years would probably harden him as well, but it made him feel good to strive for the ideals he held so dear right now.  Both of these babies would grow up with the need to fight and kill.  Experience and genetics would mold them throughout the years into unique individuals.  The shallow whorls and lines of his fingerprints would be imprinted on these lives forever, and the knowledge that he had been given the blessing to touch these lives like this approached something close to bliss for him.   It made him feel connected to this world in a way nothing else really could.  Maybe it was his own proud, narcissistic attempt at immortality.  Perhaps he felt this need for interconnectivity because his race and planet was lost.  It was pointless to spend so much time exploring the reasons why.

 

Time.  What was the time?  Pazru glanced at the timekeeper he had strapped to his wrist this morning and grimaced.  He needed to get moving if he wanted to keep to schedule.  Taking one last glance at the sleeping baby in the nursery, he set off for the deserted section of the med-center.

 

 

 

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