Chapter 5

 

            Pazru was beyond frustration; things weren’t going to plan at all.  At first, the only hitch was that Bardock was incapacitated in the regen tank for some unknown amount of time.  That he could work around.  However, this business with the infant could very well sabotage the whole plan. 

 

Pazru pinched the bridge of his nose and began to massage his forehead beneath the bandage, being careful not to touch the large, scabbed-over laceration underneath.  Sighing in frustration, he ripped the itchy bandage off of his head and stuffed it in the pocket of his tunic.  The wound began to tingle as the cool air hit it and Pazru rubbed at it carelessly, gritting his teeth as his fingers hit the tender, healing skin.  He mumbled an expletive and quickened his stride down the long, brightly lit hallways, not caring where he was going.  The events of the day turned over and over in his mind with no sign of ceasing, and he felt that he would soon go insane.

 

*           *           *          

 

Soon after his hasty retreat from the regen-tank room, Pazru had picked up a quick lunch and headed towards the nursery.  Even from quite a ways off his sensitive ears were able to pick up Kakarot’s cries, and he soon came to the large windows that separated the hallway from the main nursery.  Eyes squinted so as to see past the glare of the overhead lights, Pazru approached the nearly floor to ceiling length windows, amazed that the child’s cries could pierce the thick, tempered glass. 

 

He carefully scanned the room, trying to make sure that Scleren wasn’t lurking somewhere inside, waiting to catch him out of quarters. Save for Kakarot and two attendants sporting thick earplugs, the nursery was empty.  Trying to act a casual as possible, Pazru strode inside and was nearly deafened by the force of Kakarot’s cries.

 

“That kid sure has a set of lungs on him,” he thought as he had stared at the small Saiyan infant howling in the bassinet.  He suddenly frowned.  I sure hope his brother isn’t near as noisy as he is, for my sake as well as his.”

 

Pazru walked past the wailing baby towards the private nursery in the back, waving to the nearest attendant. Seeing the gesture from the corner of her eye, she slowly straightened, hands pressed against her lower back, and grimaced as a few low pops issued from the aching joints.  She nodded wearily in Pazru’s direction and gave him a strained smile before bending back over the low counter she was scrubbing.  Pazru walked past her to the rear door panel, which opened into the private nursery.  Fingers moving deftly, he punched in the access code on the side control panel.  The door slid open with a faint hiss, and Pazru eagerly stepped through into the private nursery.

 

Which was empty.  The two bassinets in the center of the small room were open and had been scrubbed clean, the padding removed for cleaning.  Not quite believing his eyes, Pazru walked over to the bassinet where he had last seen the child.  He ran his fingers lightly over the dull gray bottom of the bassinet where the padding would have lain.  “He must have gotten out somehow and hid,” he thought, trying to dissuade himself from the awful truth.

 

Pazru crouched to the floor and began to search in every nook and cranny behind the counters and trays in which the child could be hiding, but with no luck.  Beginning to panic, he frantically threw open the doors of all the cabinets, which, like everything else in the room, were immaculately clean and empty.  Pazru shook his head in disbelief. Had he not been present for the child’s birth, Pazru would never have known that he had existed.

 

 Leaving the room in disarray, Pazru ran back into the main nursery, nearly colliding with one of the attendants.  Not bothering to apologize, Pazru grasped the startled woman by the shoulders and demanded to know where the child had been taken.  Large dull red eyes widened in shock, the attendant looked at him as if he were insane and motioned towards the screaming baby in the center of the nursery.  Patience waning quickly, Pazru asked, between clenched teeth, about the other baby, only to receive a blank look from the frightened woman.  He gave a forceful sigh, released her, and ran out to the hallway, mumbling an apology as he went.

 

The next few hours were near hell for Pazru.  He darted from room to room, looking for any staff members that may have known where Kakarot’s twin had been taken.  He was able to track down only a few, who unfortunately knew nothing about the child or his whereabouts.  Kicking himself for not acting on his plan and taking care of the child earlier, Pazru wandered aimlessly through the winding hallways of the vast complex, miserable and on the verge of giving up his search.

 

It was a stroke of luck that he ran across Eki, caretaker of the older, unused regions of the med-center.  Normally, Pazru would have averted his eyes and just walked on, but driven by desperation, he described the baby to Eki and asked if he knew of the child’s location.  The greasy, scaly-skinned lizard smirked, a malicious glitter in his beady black eyes, and pointed down a narrow, dimly lit hallway.  Not saying another word, he continued his rounds, brushing past Pazru, who grimaced as the man’s dirty tunic grazed his hand.

 

After Eki had disappeared around the corner, Pazru began to wipe viciously at his hand as if it was contaminated with a substance both toxic and vile.  Eki had always disgusted him.  The man was indifferent to his responsibilities and cold, not to mention the fact that he always seemed to be coated in a thick layer of dirt and grime.  Eki had been an attendant in the med-center, but had been demoted to his current position for reasons unknown to Pazru, but which he suspected were to due to patient neglect and general filthiness. 

 

Nauseated by his run-in with the repulsive, filthy caretaker, but excited nevertheless with the man’s answer, Pazru headed down the dark passage.  The hallway, smooth walls having been replaced by cool, slimy bricks, ended abruptly in a grime-streaked, rusty door panel.  Ignoring the dirt and muck obscuring the panel, Pazru quickly keyed in his code and headed inside.  The room was dark and smelled of mold and mildew.  A small, dirty bassinet sat to the right of the door panel. The child lay fast asleep on the filthy padding inside.  Sighing in relief, Pazru began to try and rouse the child but with no success.  Noting the dark circles under the child’s eyes and the dull, gaunt appearance of his skin, Pazru gently laid the child back in the bassinet and headed at near breakneck speed to the nursery to retrieve a bottle of milk and a few food bars.

 

 

*           *           *

 

Pazru stopped and leaned forward against one of the walls, trying to calm himself down.  He stared fixedly at the gray stone wall in front of him, ignoring the loose strands of pale green hair that fell in his face. 

 

“Okay, he thought, “things haven’t been going as smooth as I planned, but the situation isn’t bad as it could be. Scleren hasn’t figured out what I’m up to yet—that’s a major plus—and as far I know, no one else has either.  Most importantly, the kid is alive.  He may have been moved to the dirtiest, most run-down section of the med-center and half-starved, but he’s still alive.”  Pazru closed is eyes and exhaled slowly, smiling as he remembered the brief time he had had with the child earlier.   He then resumed staring at the wall.

 

“Now to figure out what needs to be done.  Time is not on my side, so that scratches Bardock out—it could be weeks until he regains consciousness, if he ever does, and even then, Scleren might be right, he might not care about the other baby.  So, that leaves me with finding out some way to get this kid off of Vegetasei.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to sneak him out of the med-center, especially now that he’s been moved.  No one except for Eki frequents that area.” Pazru gave an involuntary shudder at the mere thought of the disgusting creature.  “Therefore my best bet is to find a path through the abandoned section of the med-center to the pod landing and departure area, which should be fairly easy.  Obtaining an unused pod and clearance to leave the planet will not be near as simple, though.” 

 

Deep in concentration, Pazru began to nibble his lower lip.  “There’s just no way I can do that part by myself, I am going to need some help.  Kyokou is going to be my best bet on that one; he knows the pod system better than anyone else I know of and has snuck off planet more times than can be counted.”  Pazru glanced to the side, lips pursing in a frown.  “But he has such a big mouth!  If I tell Kyokou that I’m planning to sneak a Saiyan infant off of Vegetasei everyone in the complex, alien and Saiyan alike, is going to know what I’m up to within the space of a few hours.” 

 

Pazru shut his eyes and leaned forward until his forehead touched the smooth, cool wall, letting the faint vibrations from the heating and cooling systems lying behind the wall massage his aching head. Asking Kyokou for help was risky, but he knew that there was no other way of getting the child off the planet.  If worse came to worse, he could always threaten to tell those in charge of Kyokou’s little exploits.  That is, if Kyokou agreed to help him. 

 

Stealing a pod and sending it off planet was dangerous enough.  Stealing a pod and using it to sneak a Saiyan infant to another planet was a whole different story, especially when just allowing the child to live was illegal.  Kyokou wasn’t the brightest person on the complex, but he was smart enough to know that breaking one of Frieza’s laws regarding the Saiyans compounded by breaking pod strip rules bore a penalty of death.  So, it was unlikely that he would agree to Pazru’s plan.

 

Discouraged, but no less determined, Pazru pushed himself back so that only his palms rested on the wall.  He began to rapidly drum his fingers against the wall, his well-manicured fingernails clicking rhythmically on the cool surface.  “Maybe Kyokou doesn’t have to know the whole story,” he thought to himself.  “I could just tell him that I have been really overworked lately and need a vacation, or something along that line.  He would be more likely to agree to help me, and if someone came sniffing around about a missing Saiyan infant, he wouldn’t be able to tell them a thing.  That would keep him, not to mention myself, out of danger.” 

 

Pazru grinned and nodded, satisfied with this idea.  “Yeah, that should work just fine.  All I need to do now is to find Kyokou and try to warm him up to my little idea, and then all that’s left is finding a way to the pod landing and departure area from the room where the child is located.” 

 

His brow furrowed and he frowned.  “Oh, I almost forgot!  This might take Kyokou a few days or even weeks to set up, so I need to make time to sneak out and feed the child and move him to a different room if necessary.  Kami, that could become a problem if Scleren begins to wonder where I’m running off to every couple of hours.”  His long orange fingers began tapping against the wall again.  “Well, it’s risky, but I could always—“

 

A hand dropped down onto Pazru’s shoulder, breaking his concentration and making him jump in fear.  “Paz, buddy, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that wall is going to talk back to you.” 

 

Trying desperately to stay calm, Pazru slowly turned and found himself face-to-face with Kyokou’s broad, lopsided grin.  Well, nearly so; Pazru was over a head taller than the man.  “Speak of the devil,” he thought as he stared down at Kyokou.  “What luck!” he thought.  “I’ll never get a chance like this again.”

 

Kyokou cocked his head to the side quizzically and waved one small, pale, flesh-colored hand in front of Pazru’s face.  “Vegetasei to Pazru, come in, Pazru,” he said, grinning 

 

Pazru shook himself from his thoughts and smiled back at his friend.  “Oh, sorry, Kyokou, I didn’t hear you the first time.  It’s just that Scleren’s been giving me a lot of extra assignments lately and I was trying to remember all the terms for his next lesson,” he lied. 

 

“Hey, no problem, man.  Everyone this side of the complex knows how much of a hard-ass Scleren can be.” Kyokou’s grin widened and he clapped Pazru on the back good-naturedly.  “Tell you what, I’ll buy you dinner to free you from some of those pre-test blues.  Besides,” he added with a teasing smile, “that should keep you from talking to any more walls.” 

 

“Oh, um…that would be great, Kyokou,” Pazru replied as Kyokou began to steer him down to the staff mess hall.  Uncertain of how to ask Kyokou about the pod, Pazru turned and asked, “So, Kyokou, what have you been doing lately?”

 

“Just the same old same old—the pods come in, the pods go out, you know. “ A few loud squawks issued from the scouter sitting in the bulky gray helmet tucked under one of his arms, and he stopped briefly to switch off the communicator inside.  Replacing the helmet back under his arm, Kyokou ran a hand through the unruly mop of brown hair on his head and resumed walking down the corridor, Pazru at his side.  “Tell you what though, Paz,“ he continued, taking no notice of the grimace that passed over Pazru’s face at the mention of his nickname, “I met this girl the other day and—“

 

“Is this the one you were telling me about last week?  The redhead with fins?”  Pazru rolled his eyes, glad that Kyokou was too short and too involved in his current love interest to notice.

 

“No, no, no, that was last week, Paz.  The redhead’s long gone, and besides, this girl is absolutely gorgeous!  No kidding, man!  You should see her!  She’s got these legs that never seem to end, a great ass, and these eyes, oh buddy, you have no idea!  All three of her eyes are this brilliant red color, sort of like…” he scratched his head, oblivious to Pazru’s total lack of interest, “…well, they’re like the lights in the pod departure area.  You know, that deep red color that’s dark and bright all at the same time?  I’m not big on the three-eyed girls, but I’ll make an exception for her sake.”  He grunted suggestively and nudged Pazru with his elbow.

 

 “Anyway, I was in the bar down at the other end of the complex, and I saw her sitting at the table in the back so I went over and I said to her, ‘Hey, what’s a gorgeous babe like yourself doing in a place like this?’  Then she said, ‘Oh nothing, I was just waiting for a handsome stranger like yourself to join me for a beer or two.’  Then I said, “Baby, anything for you.”  And then she said….

 

Kyokou’s voice resounded off the walls of the corridor as he continued his word-by-word recount of his encounter with the three-eyed girl.  Many months of practice had taught Pazru to block out the majority of things that popped out of Kyokou’s mouth without Kyokou knowing any better.  Pazru gave a well placed “oh,” or “is that so,” or “wow” every now and then, and that seemed to satisfy Kyokou just fine. 

 

It wasn’t that he didn’t like the man.  Kyokou was one of his best friends, and the first to show him any kindness when he had first arrived on Vegetasei.  He could be very annoying at times, but his general laid-back attitude and genial nature made him a favorite among his coworkers at the pod strips and other staff members in the complex.  Working at the pod strips also kept him in close contact with the Saiyans and he was in good standing with many of them.

 

 Kyokou definitely wasn’t the brightest person at the complex; in fact, Pazru continually found himself questioning the man’s intelligence.  However, after hearing about Kyokou’s many exploits off planet from the other pod strip attendants, Pazru decided that Kyokou was one of those people who was definitely smarter than they look.  His big goofy grin and large, innocent blue eyes were enough to fool anyone.  This was probably what had continually saved Kyokou from investigation and punishment for sneaking off of the planet. 

 

As they approached the staff mess hall the corridors became more and more crowded.  A group of pod strip attendants stood deep in conversation along Pazru’s side of the corridor.  As he and Kyokou passed, they raised their helmets in greeting to their coworker.  Without breaking stride or the endless stream of words flowing from his mouth, Kyokou nodded in their direction and raised his helmet in a similar fashion, being careful not to let the scouter inside roll out and fall to the ground.  Staff members of all races and professions greeted Kyokou warmly as they passed.  If he hadn’t known better, Pazru would have thought that he was invisible. 

 

They turned left down another corridor, which was splashed with warm orange and yellow light that issued from the open doors of the mess hall.  The noise of the crowd inside assailed Pazru’s ears, almost, but not quite, blocking out Kyokou’s voice as they entered.  The many light panels above glowed with a soft yellow light, contrasting greatly with the harsh glaring lights of the corridors.  Pazru studied the wide, low-ceilinged room and the many people clustered around the small circular tables inside.  On his right, a group of med-center personnel were deep in a game of Valbonat.  One of the players suddenly stood up and gave a triumphant shout.  Jumping up and down, she waved the winning colored brick in the air.  A collective moan rose from the rest of the players, and they dejectedly began to collect their remaining bricks from the large, oblong box in the center of the table.  Pazru caught the eye of one of his coworkers, a petite young woman with pale green skin who was glaring at the winner enviously, and waved.   Her features immediately softened and, blushing slightly, she gave him a shy smile and waved back with a tiny, six-fingered hand. 

 

Pazru glanced over at Kyokou, who had interrupted his story to chat with a few of his friends at the next table, and thanked his lucky stars that Kyokou hadn’t noticed the girl.  If he had, he would torment Pazru to no end about her.  He turned away from the girl and the table, shaking his head from side to side as he remembered the last time Kyokou caught him flirting with one of the female staff members at the complex.  At the time it had seemed that he had would never live it down: Kyokou was always popping up, elbowing him in the side, and asking with a twinkle in his eye what Pazru was going to name the kids.  Pazru smiled and looked over at his friend, who was now chatting with one of the mess hall attendants.  Kyokou could be extremely annoying at times, but Pazru knew in his heart that he meant well. 

 

Laughing, Kyokou waved goodbye to the mess hall worker, walked over to Pazru, who was staring off into space with a silly grin on his face, and slapped him on the back.  Pazru jumped, shook his head slowly, and allowed Kyokou to lead him to the far side of the room.  He stopped at a table where a trio of maintenance workers were sitting and began to sit down, but was stopped by Pazru, who had grabbed his arm just above the elbow and was pointing out a small table set against the wall.   Kyokou gave the workers an apologetic grin and joined Pazru at the table. 

 

“Sorry, Kyokou, I’m…uh…just a little tired and I didn’t feel quite up to making conversation with a bunch of strangers,” Pazru lied as he glanced at the menu screen imbedded in the table before him. 

 

“Hey no problem, Paz, I understood that perfectly when I saw you talking to that wall,” Kyokou said with a grin.  He set his helmet on the tabletop and began to struggle with his wide-shouldered armor.  Finally managing to wriggle out of the thick, light blue material, he plunked the armor on the floor beside him.  “Now, what to eat,” he muttered to himself as he studied the list of dishes displayed on the menu screen at his seat.  He pressed his index finger to the upper right side of the screen and dragged it down slowly.  The screen began to scroll down, and Kyokou looked at the new meal selections that came into view.  “Hmm, never seen that one before, yuck!!  Wow, that actually looks pretty good…but look at the price!” 

 

Pazru smiled at his friend’s commentary of tonight’s meal choices.  He also scrolled through the menu, studying each dish before moving on to another.  He decided on a dish native to his own planet: a large bread roll stuffed with tuber peels and small chunks of meat from a large, rodent-like animal.  He set his finger on the selection box next to the meal description and waited.  In a few seconds, a payment screen with a large circle in the middle came up and asked for identification by handprint.  Pazru lowered his hand, palm-down, to the screen.  Kyokou’s hand darted across the table and grabbed his wrist.

 

“Now you didn’t think that I would go back on my word, did you?” he said with a grin.  “When I say I’ll buy you dinner, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!”  Kyokou released Pazru’s wrist and placed his own hand in the center of the large circle on Pazru’s screen.   The circle flashed twice in confirmation and Kyokou removed his hand from the screen and leaned back in his seat. 

 

“So,” he said slowly as he scrolled back through the menu and selected his meal, “I heard you had a run-in with Toma a few days ago.” 

 

Pazru snorted and rolled his eyes.  “You and everyone else on Vegetasei,” he muttered.  Kyokou removed his palm from his screen and looked up, grinning.

 

“You can’t help but be the talk of the complex after you literally run into a Saiyan and live to tell the tale, or should I say ‘tail’?”  Pazru grinned in spite of himself.  Smile widening, Kyokou said, “Then again, knowing Toma, you probably had a better chance of survival than with most other Saiyans.” 

 

Interest piqued, Pazru looked up at his companion.  “What do you mean ‘a better chance’?”

 

“Well,” Kyokou began, “I’ve known Toma—not to mention Bardock and the rest of his crew—for quite sometime, and I know that for a Saiyan, Toma is about as laid back as they come.” His brow furrowed momentarily and then he continued.  “I take that back.  Except when it comes to Bardock, Toma is about as laid back as a Saiyan can be.  So, I guess maybe your chances were as good with Toma as with any other Saiyan at that particular moment.”

 

“You’re not making me feel much better, Kyokou,” Pazru said amiably and chuckled.  Kyokou rolled his eyes and gave him an amused grin.  He smoothed out the wrinkles on the sleeves of his light-blue shirt, slumped back into his seat, and crossed his arms behind his head. 

 

“Okay, okay, I know how you feel.  It was a close call any way you slice it.  Think of it this way: you’ve managed to get out of your normal duties for the past—what—three days or so.  And that has to have made getting that gash on your forehead worth it.”

 

Pazru’s shoulders shook in silent laughter.  He looked up at Kyokou and shook his head from side to side.  “I wouldn’t say that.  Being confined to your quarters for three days is no fun, especially when you have important things to do that just can’t wait.”  Pazru began to trace circles on the cool, smooth surface of the table with a long orange finger, not realizing the monumental slip-up he had just made.

 

Kyokou, looking quite puzzled, replied, “So what are these important things that just can’t wait, Paz?” 

 

Startled, Pazru looked up from his invisible drawing pad on the tabletop.  Completely baffled as to what to tell Kyokou, Pazru opened his mouth to speak.  He was saved from making an explanation by the menu screen, which emitted a loud buzz and flashed several times.  Kyokou’s screen made a similar noise.

 

“Oh look, the food’s ready.”  Hastily, he left the table and headed over to the large counter that stretched from one end of the room to the other.  Kyokou, still looking confused, followed Pazru and began to search for his meal among the many steaming dishes that were spread out on the pristine surface of the counter.   Trying to avoid any questioning Pazru quickly found his meal and carried it back to the table.  Avoiding Kyokou’s eyes as he sat down at the table, Pazru immediately became absorbed in slicing the large roll steaming on his plate into bite-size pieces.  Eyes never leaving his friend, Kyokou slowly set into his own meal.  Popping a chunk of the thick, juicy slab of meat sitting on his plate into his mouth, Kyokou looked at Pazru thoughtfully. 

 

“So,” he muttered around the piece of meat in his mouth, “what do you have to do that is so important?”  Fork halfway to his mouth, Pazru stiffened and looked up hesitantly into Kyokou’s troubled deep blue eyes.  He stuffed the bit of food into his mouth and looked out towards the other tables.  He had no clue whatsoever how he should answer Kyokou’s question.  Just then, fate intervened and the petite, green-skinned woman from the Valbonat table walked past them towards the food counter.  As she passed, she turned back and smiled coquettishly at Pazru.  Pazru stopped chewing and stared wide-eyed at the girl, who, blushing furiously, had turned away and gone to pick up her meal.  He began chewing again so as not to alert Kyokou and looked at the pretty young woman thoughtfully.  All of a sudden he knew exactly what to say. 

 

Swallowing noisily he cleared his throat and began to speak as nonchalantly as he could.  “Well, I’ve got to tell you, Kyokou, since the day we met a lot of your ‘skills’ have rubbed off on me.”

 

Grin returning, Kyokou stuffed another large chunk of meat into his mouth and replied, “Really, and which ‘skills’ of mine have you picked up?”

 

“Your way with the ladies, for example,” Pazru said, smiling mischievously.

 

Curiosity aroused, Kyokou set his fork and knife on his plate and leaned forward.  “Yeah, and….”

 

“Well, to make a long story short, I’ve picked up my own little…,” Pazru searched for a word that Kyokou would use, “…fox.” 

 

Kyokou’s grin widened and, meal forgotten for the moment, leaned forward even further.  “Yeah, yeah, so tell me about this little ‘fox’ you found,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. 

 

Pazru leaned back in his seat and idly picked at the half-eaten bread roll with his fork, trying to buy some time to think.  He glanced back over at the girl, who had stopped on her way back to her table to talk to two other women.  He looked her up and down, taking in the silky black mass of her hair, her large, gentle green eyes, her small, yet curvaceous body, and her long, shapely legs.  He then looked back at Kyokou, who was completely absorbed in Pazru’s yet untold story.

 

Smiling, Pazru began, “Let me tell you, she is very easy on the eyes.”  Kyokou, mouth open slightly, nodded.  “This girl has a body that could just make you thank Kami for women.  Legs to the sky, curves to no end, a….,” he glanced back over at the girl, “cute little nose, eyes so deep you could get lost for weeks in them, and the smoothest, softest, most perfect skin that could make you just weep for joy.” 

 

Kyokou was completely under his spell now.  He stared at Pazru, slack-jawed, and nodded at each word that issued from his lips.  Pazru smiled and stuffed another bite of the bread roll into his mouth.  He chewed slowly, enjoying the utter silence that was coming from the other side of the table. 

 

“I tell you, Kyokou, if you ever saw this girl you probably would go straight out of your mind.”  Kyokou nodded and his eyes widened, wanting to know more.

 

“So how did you and this girl meet?” Kyokou managed to blurt out as Pazru picked up another chunk of food and stuffed it into his mouth.

 

“Oh…,” he continued hesitantly, “…you remember when I went over to Frieza #32 with Scleren a few months ago?”  Kyokou nodded eagerly and Pazru continued.  “She was…ah…working at the base there, and was running an errand at the time when…, ” Pazru looked away, trying to think of a convincing situation.  He noticed one of the pod attendants limping to a table across the room.  Eying the large bandage wrapped around the man’s ankle, he said, “…all of a sudden she tripped on one of those squishy little creatures that literally cover the planet and just never seem to go away —you know what I’m talking about, right?”  Another rapt nod from across the table.   “Anyway, she sprained her ankle, and—lucky me—I just happened to be in the vicinity and I bandaged her lovely little ankle.  Well of course she couldn’t very well finish her task when she couldn’t even walk so I called over one of her coworkers and had him take care of it.” 

 

Pazru looked up at Kyokou, who was staring fixedly at him and nodding so much that it was a wonder that his head hadn’t fallen off yet.  Pazru smiled and continued, “You should have seen it, buddy, tears welled up in those big beautiful green eyes of hers and she said ‘I just don’t know what I would have done had you not been there to rescue me.’ Then I said, ‘It’s all part of the job, miss.  Is there anything else I can do for you?’  She batted her eyes at me, wrapped her arms around my neck, and asked me to take her to her quarters to ‘rest’ as she said it.  So I did that and then….well, let me just say we both got a ‘rest,’ several ‘rests’ at that.”  Pazru smiled roguishly, happy with this spicy little ending and his increasing skill at lying.  He was lucky that Kyokou didn’t know—or rather, didn’t remember—how shy he was around women.  Pazru knew it would take at least a million years before he ever worked up the courage to pull off a little stunt similar to what he had just told Kyokou. 

 

Kyokou stared blankly at him, a trailer of drool running down his chin.  He suddenly shook himself awake, playfully punched Pazru in the shoulder, and said, “You dog, you, why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?”  Unsure of what to say, Pazru just shrugged his shoulders and finished off the rest of the bread roll.  Kyokou tilted his head back and laughed loudly, drawing a few stares from the occupants of a nearby table.  “I just can’t believe that you never told me about this, Paz!” he shouted, drawing even more stares.

 

Pazru leaned forward and gestured for Kyokou to quiet down.  Glancing around the room to make sure that no one was paying attention to them, Pazru whispered conspiratorially, “That’s where you come in, Kyokou.  You see, ever since those few blissful weeks on #32, I’ve been trying to find a way to get back to her.” He looked Kyokou straight in the eye to make sure that his words were sinking in and found his friend completely and hopelessly taken in by his little ploy. 

 

A little hesitantly, Pazru said, “I know you have expertise in this area—sneaking off Vegetasei I mean—and I was wondering if you would…um—“

 

“—Help you get back to your little fox? Well, it will be difficult but…”  Pazru bit his lip, hoping that Kyokou would agree to help him.  “I guess that I can manage to find you a way off of the planet—if it’s for love and everything.” 

 

“Yes, I was hoping you would say just that!” Pazru nearly shouted as he stood up, one finger raised triumphantly above his head.  This time it was Kyokou who gestured for him to be quiet. 

 

“I think I can probably get you a pod to #32 in about, let’s say, oh, two or three months.”

 

Pazru’s heart sunk at the mention of the time frame.  Forgetting all self-control for the moment, Pazru grabbed Kyokou by the shoulders, startling the man, and said, “No, it has to be now and it can’t be to Frieza #32!” 

 

A little miffed, Kyokou gulped and pushed Pazru’s hands off of his shoulders.  “What’s the big deal, Paz, you’re not that hard up that you can’t wait a couple months to see this girl, are you?  Because in the meantime I could find you a cute little thing to take your mind off of this other girl, your ‘fox.’  And why not #32, I thought that’s where she’s located?”

 

Pazru, mouth agape, stared at his friend.  He began to stammer out bits and phrases of words, causing Kyokou to stare at him as if he was crazy.  He shut his eyes, took a deep breath, and finally managed to say, “We both decided to keep our love a secret so that neither of us would get into trouble.  She suggested that we meet on a different planet, one that is, for the most part, deserted.”

 

“Yeah, yeah, I get that, but why now?”

 

“Well, you see, within the next five or six weeks, she’s going to be transferred to another planet—she doesn’t know which one—and we might not be able to contact each other ever again.  So,” Pazru continued, kicking himself for making up this lame excuse, “it has to be within this month.” 

 

Kyokou stared at him thoughtfully.  Deep in thought, he turned away from Pazru and looked out over the now emptying mess hall.  He nervously began to drum his fingers on the blue-tinted faceplate of his helmet, the lens of the scouter inside flashing bright green as the overhead lights struck it.  Kyokou leaned over and began to massage his face with his other hand.  Pazru anxiously chewed on his lower lip, awaiting Kyokou’s decision with dread.  His explanation had been really weak, and he knew it all too well.  He just hoped that Kyokou didn’t see through it.

 

After what seemed like hours, Kyokou finally sat up and turned.  He nodded wearily and gave Pazru a weak smile.  “If it’s for love, I think that I can manage to find you an unused pod in a couple of weeks or so.” Pazru’s eyes brightened and he opened his mouth to thank Kyokou, but was cut short.  “But your selection of destinations is going to be limited then—it’s near impossible to manipulate the flight logs in such a short amount of time—so you should contact this girl of yours and find a new get-away.  I’ll find you a list of available destinations and let the two of you choose from there.”

 

Pazru felt like jumping for joy and dancing around on the tabletop.  Unknowingly, Kyokou had totally exceeded Pazru’s expectations of him.  Pazru knew that he had to get the Saiyan child off of the planet, but he had never thought to where he would send the kid.  Now all he had to do was scan the list of destinations and check for the most hospitable planet.   Pazru smiled in elation and, stammering thanks, stood up to clasp his friend in an embrace.   

 

All frivolity suddenly disappeared from Kyokou’s face and he gripped Pazru’s shoulder tightly, forcing him back into his seat.  “This is very important for my sake as well as yours, Pazru.”  Pazru blinked in surprise at Kyokou’s use of his full name.  Kyokou continued. “I may be able to find a free pod within a few hours, so you need to be ready at all times.  If you’re not ready, I’ll have to let the pod go.  Also, a lot of questions can pop up if certain authorities find out about your little escapade and the role I played in it, and their method of questioning can be quite painful.  So I advise that you keep absolutely silent about this, for your sake as well as mine.  Do you understand me, Pazru?”  Amazed by Kyokou’s sudden change in demeanor, Pazru nodded dumbly. 

 

Kyokou’s face suddenly softened and was split by a wide grin.  He held out one of his hands and Pazru clasped it.  “For love,” Kyokou said and pumped his hand. 

 

“For love,” Pazru replied, stunned that his luck was finally beginning to turn for the better.

 

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