Disclaimer: I don't own any of Dragonball/Z/GT.

Corporate Calamity (part 5)

Trunks muddled over some paperwork as the dreaded hour approached. With a depressive sigh he closed up shop in his office and prepared to depart for Satan City. The limo awaited him in its usual place. He muttered his destination to the driver before returning to silence, lost in his own thoughts. He pondered Marron's stance and tried to consider every angle she was using. Business, pleasure, jealousy, power, love, lust, revenge...there were too many potential angles. She had a whole arsenal of fire just waiting to burn him if he made the wrong move. Of course his gut told him it had something to do with Pan and so his thoughts drifted to her as well. Pan, the little warrior who had more saiyan pride than blood wasn't so little anymore. She too, had tred onto the ground of adulthood. His heart was taking him into to two separate directions equally. Pan had fire too, a fire that could threaten his relationship with the Son family. Gohan wasn't to be taken lightly and Pan would convince her father that anything that hurt her would be Trunks' fault. Goten may even take her side. It was likely his family loyalty was stronger than their friendship. Trunks sighed and wondered if he should just drop off the face of the earth. The torment and complexity of females and their emotions and power were and enigma to him and he knew he'd never figure them out no matter how intelligent he may be. The old dictim rang true...can't live with them, can't live without them. Any male who could figure them out would be deemed a god. Trunks knew, that his mighty father fell to such a power, and so he would too. Godhood was not his calling.

In South City, Marron too, was preparing to depart from the office for the day. She had Trunks on the defensive and would test his loyalty to her and the company once and for all. She may not have saiyan senses or martial arts training, but she had a keen brain. She saw a faint flicker of a flame whenever Trunks mentioned Pan, and while Pan was a friend to both, she would not allow Trunks to play them both on the same field. It wasn't fair to any one of them. She knew she had little to offer the 'guy who had everything', but she had enough confidence in herself to know that she had as much to offer as Pan did and perhaps even a trump card. Pan could not threaten Trunks' family's company. She could. That was the Briefs family backbone. Strip that out and they are as helpless and powerless as anyone else. It would be a cruel, cold maneuver, but it could form an ally. Vegeta may take notice in her cold, calculating skill and deem her a worthy mate of his son. Pan had already shown her warrior-like ways to be a bonus to edging Vegeta into an alliance. But then she thought about the other part of the equation. She had more to offer as a housewife than Pan. Bulma would like that. Win the mother and father, and the son may soon follow. Sure this could be considered 'forcing' love, but then again, courting saiyans or even half-saiyans wasn't any typical romantic love story either. Besides, she wouldn't allow Pakar to completely take out Capsule Corp. As a friend, she'd never allow Capsule Corp to fall out of the Briefs family grasp, but she wanted to make a very realistic bluff and test Trunks. If he called her bluff, it'd make him shine evenmoreso.

As both made their way to their rendevous site, Pan was already in Satan City, visiting her Grandpa Satan. He always provided comic relief whenever she felt down. She also enjoyed kicking the crap out of his students at his dojo. For the past week, a certain corporate president rained on her mind, making her snappy and aggressive. She wasn't sure why she was so upset, it wasn't like Trunks was bound to anyone, but ever since the blackstar dragonball hunt, she'd felt a sort of kindred bonding with him. This bond was then translated by her heart as "Trunks-hers." Saiyan or not, she felt the desire to pursue him as a potential mate, whether he returned the feeling or not. Then again, that was the problem...nearly every female was pursuing him as a potential mate. With a huff, she pummeled a few more students, a wall, and some training equipment before hitting the showers. After the workout she wanted food and Spiffy's served up the fastest, meanest, biggest beef burgers in an elegant setting.

Trunks and Marron arrived at Spiffy's simultaneously. It was a knack good executives had. In business, timing was everything and both Trunks and Marron knew this all too well. It also influenced their personal lives. Trunks exited his limo the reached in and offered an arm to Marron which she generously took as she exited her limo. As he led her into the restaurant, they were greeted and served immediately. Business attire had a way of doing that. After being seated, they were served complimentary champagne and left to ponder the menus. Trunks ignored the menu despite his stomach's protests. His brain told him there were more important matters to deal with at the moment, but he couldn't help but grab a freshly baked roll from the bread basket at their table. As he buttered it, he tried to find the right words to say. He wanted to break the uncomfortable silence between them, but he didn't want to spark off an argument. The tension was already all too evident between them. Luckily for him, Marron spoke first.

"Trunks, what is it between us?"

Unsure as to exactly what she was talking about, Trunks played dumb.
"What do you mean?"

"I mean, is there something between us? Is there a personal life or is it merely a friendly business venture?"

Trunks mulled over her questions in his mind. To be honest, he wasn't really sure. He hadn't had the chance to fully ponder the possibilities. "Marron, I'll speak honestly with you. There's no sense in me not. I'm not sure."

"You're not sure? How can that be? You are aware of your actions aren't you? You know if you're interested in a lady or not otherwise, you wouldn't be friendly towards some and cold towards others."

*Ahh, so it IS personal. At least I now know that much.* Trunks thought. He remained silent, wondering if Marron would continue to give him clues. His assessment of the situation proved true.

"Look Trunks, our families have known each other for a very long time. You and I have known each other for a long time as well...since we were kids. As kids we were just friends or acquaintences. But now, as adults, there's the possibilty of something beyond friendship. Do you understand?"

Trunks nodded slightly. "Marron, I understand what you're saying, but at this time, I really don't know where my personal life's direction is. I've spent so much time running Capsule Corp and pleasing my mother and father, that I've taken little time for myself. I know you're suggesting the potential for love should we cross the bounds of friendship, but I don't know if I'm ready for that yet. I don't want to destroy what we already have. If we move too fast, it could happen. But from what you're saying, if we move too slow, it could still happen. Do you see the corner you've placed me in? I can't...WE can't be forced into something that may or may not be intended."

"But how do we know if it is or not if we don't take a step in a direction to see what happens?"

Trunks raked a hand through his hair. The dilemma was deeper and more complex than either of them was making it out to be. Rather than work through his reasonings once again, he opted for the other angle.
"But whatever it is between us appears to have implications on business too. At first I thought Pakar was simply trying its hand at expansion, but I think it's more than that. Reading between the lines, I think Pakar's stance is simply a shadow of your own. You're trying to get at me by threatening my family's company?"

*Astute as always Trunks. Vegeta's nose for tactical deception is just as strong in you.* Marron thought while trying to figure out how to approach the stance. One wrong step could send Capsule Corp's teeth onto Pakar's throat and cost her the career she'd always wanted. Trunks would no doubt reveal the whole thing to his mother who would then take it out on her own family...Krillin and 18 were innocent in this, but then again, so were Bulma and Vegeta.

"Trunks, Pakar's trying to improve itself. If it does so, Capsule Corp has everything to gain."

"In general yes, but affiliations would be threatened. As Pakar strengthened, it would place an uneasy competitiveness into Capsule Corp. Two strong companies almost never get along on the same side.One is always waiting in the shadows to weaken the other."

"So it is in Capsule Corp's best interest to keep its affiliates weak while convincing a company to be an affiliate by saying profits, repute, and growth will occur if it does so. An empty promise?"

"No. An affiliate company does indeed gain in profit and repute. It may even grow. And thus, all promises are fulfilled by Capsule Corp. The amount of any three is something very few presidents think about when signing a contract. It's typical. Most people don't read the fine print. It's not my company's fault if the president of another company doesn't read the contract thoroughly."

"Perhaps your other affiliates should know this too?"

"Go ahead and tell them. Most will agree that it is a small sacrafice for consistent profit. Capsule Corp's strong enough to keep them from the red for a very long time. They have little to fear from a recession or threat of takeover from non-affiliated companies. Their stock holders remain confident and the company stocks continue an upward trend. Power isn't in all companies agendas. Often profit overrules power."

Marron looked down at the table. Trunks was right and she now knew that it would be practically impossible to threaten Capsule Corp through Pakar. Trunks was indeed a wiser, more knowledgeable president than he usually showed. He'd smell a trap before it could even be set. Before she could find something to say she was interrupted by Trunks' sudden movements. Looking up she saw the usually confident Trunks looking slightly...fearful? She trained her eyes in the direction Trunks' were and found a possible cause.

Pan had just entered the restaurant and was being escorted to Mr. Satan's usually reserved table. She looked a bit tired, but aggressively lethal as if she'd just kicked some butt and could go another round if provoked.

Marron suddenly realized the most obvious reason for Trunks' hesitation. Why hadn't she seen it before!? Actually she had, but why had she forgotten it in her approach today with Trunks!? Trunks had feelings for both Pan and herself. He likely didn't want to lose the friendship of either of them so he was playing cautious. Her eyes narrowed in slits as the thought of the spoiled daughter of Gohan getting her way again in the form of the man she wanted. Throughout time Krillin, 18, and herself had been shoved into the shadows of the two saiyan families. She refused to sidestep and allow this one to occur. She had as much right to Trunks as Pan did. Saiyan or not, she would not give up without a fight.

After Pan had gazed over the menu and ordered, she looked around as she waited. Sure enough she caught the glimpse of Trunks and Marron across the room. Marron met her stare with a gaze of fire. Pan returned it as she gathered the meaning of Marron's expression. Pan then locked eyes with Trunks. He seemed very uncomfortable and aware of the volatile situation brewing and knew he was powerless to stop it. If Trunks couldn't make up his own mind, then Marron and Pan would do it for him.

Pan stood stiffly as she began her course towards the opposite side of the room. Her destination was Marron and Trunks' table and her goal was to place her deck of cards on the table as well. The ante had just been raised. Now, would Marron call her raise or fold? Would Trunks find the competition for him invigorating as a true saiyan male would or would he be completely turned off by their challenge? Only time knew the answer as this new situation seethed.

to be continued in the near future...:)