The next morning, Gohan awoke to the sound of scampering feet and a booming female voice. It was little Trunks doing what he did best, being a brat and riling his mother. Glancing at the clock, Gohan noticed it to be 5:34AM. He yawned and prepared to start the day. Breakfast may even be his last meal.
As he found his way to the kitchen, little Trunks halted mid-stride and looked at him curiously. The sight of Gohan in his home that early was a break from routine. Gohan was out-of-place.
"What're you doin' here this early?"
"Good morning to you too Trunks."
"Yeah, so why are you here?"
"He's going on a mission."
"I know. I am too."
Trunks smirked evilly. "Dad doesn't think too highly of you right now."
"Well it was nice knowing you while I had the chance Gohan. Say hi to dead people for me." Trunks cheerily waved as he dashed off to get ready for school before his mother could thwap him.
Gohan was a bit stunned. For little Trunks to refer to 'dead' so quickly meant only one thing. Vegeta wasn't pleased with his space partner. With a gulp, Gohan continued on his way to the kitchen. Upon arriving, Bulma turned her had from the stove and nodded his arrival and to take a seat. Vegeta was already seated and paid no attention to the newcomer. He was too busy gobbling up large portions of pancakes and sausage links. That was a good thing for Gohan. He really was hungry and wanted a least one bite before locking horns with the saiyan prince.
Bulma placed a heaping portion of pancakes and several sausage links on a plate and set it in front of Gohan. He licked his lips in anticipation as his nose picked up the warm whiffs of the hot meal.
"Thank you Bulma." he replied courtesly before digging into his own plate. Vegeta eyed him, but said nothing. He couldn't. His cheeks were bulging from the amount of food crammed into his mouth. Gohan refused eye contact and continued his meal. There was no need to challenge the prince just yet.
Breakfast continued quickly and without incident aside from the burst of one little Trunks darting off to school.
With breakfast over, an eerie silence loomed over the table. It drove Bulma nuts.
"Gohan this is Vegeta. Vegeta this is Gohan. I hear you two will be sharing a space adventure." she said in a half-sarcastic tone.
Vegeta gruffed and balked as Bulma knew he would. With her presence, he would remain neutral. The unknown was Gohan.
"Look Vegeta, I'm not liking this any more than you do. But I made the mistake and I realize it now. And so, I have to go. "
Vegeta didn't respond. So long as his woman was within earshot of his words, he would retain his impassive neutrality.
Bulma winked at Gohan. She knew she had the saiyan prince around her finger. He would remain tame so long as she held her almost regal presence. Besides both were in her realm now...the kitchen. Males knew better than to start any incidents in the realm of a female, especially after she slav--err cooked for them.
"The ship is nearing full power. It's in its final fueling stage now and the electrical systems are fully charged including the back-ups. She's stocked with more food and water than a grocery store. To compensate for all the food, you have less uh, luxuries. Two fold up cots instead of beds, one bathroom with no tub, just a stand-in shower, camper stove instead of a regular one, and so forth. There are three fridges, four freezers packed with all sorts of meats, and two more supplemental capsules of food. I couldn't encapsulate to make up for space however. It would be too risky not knowing the precise measurements when the things pop out." Bulma explained, in hopes that a subject change would keep the half saiyan son of Goku alive a bit longer.
Vegeta rose from the table and departed. Gohan was about to ask if he was headed towards the ship, but Bulma informed him that Vegeta was likely going to train, shower, and change before heading for the ship. Vegeta would NEVER break his early morning routine for anything.
Gohan let out a sigh of relief. At least his food would have a change to digest properly. He remained seated in the kitchen safely in the protective cover of the female realm. He was a momma's boy and whether it was his mother or another, he knew instinctively to seek shelter around them in times of trouble. They had some sort of power that was stronger than that of any other in the universe. Bulma's ability to tame and domesticate the once evil Prince of Saiyans was a prime example.
In a few hours, Vegeta reemerged from his training and changing. He was still rubbing some of his spikey hair dry with a towel. He looked at Gohan with disgust. Gohan couldn't tell however, if it was for his lack of training or for the incident they were soon to deal with. Bulma shrugged her shoulders. This time, her mate was an enigma. Gohan was on his own from this point on.
Bulma led them to the launch bay. Before them stood a strange ball like contraption that looked like a modified and enlarged saiyan spherical ship. It was a similar design that both Goku and Vegeta had utilized in the past. She didn't have time to design any other. Off to the side, Gohan noticed another ship, half finished and half draped in a cloth. It was the time machine Cell had once stolen. Time machine #2 as they referred to it since Future Trunks took the other, supposedly original one. Gohan wished Bulma had repaired the thing and made it workable. It would save him a lot of time and trouble. It also would have gave him higher odds of returning alive. But, the Son family luck was not with him on this day. He had to ride in close quarters with one upset saiyan prince.
Vegeta paid no heed to the looks of the ship's exterior. He simply glanced at his mate and nodded. This was her only aknowledgment of a farewelll from the prince. He never showed emotion or feelings around her when others were in their company. He then boarded the ship.
Gohan stepped forward to follow. "Thank you Bulma...for everything." Gohan replied, his voice hitching as his mind read this as more of a 'I'll-never-see-you-again-because-I'll-be-dead' speech. Bulma waved and smiled smugly, proud of her creation. She sometimes amazed herself at the speed and skill she had in building space-worthy ships.
Gohan entered the ship and noted that Vegeta was already in the cockpit pilot's seat. He plopped his bags down in one of the storage hatches and scrambled to his seat in the cockpit. Vegeta had already ignited the main engines and the ship was straining against its earthbound restraints. Just as Gohan clicked his seatbelt, the ship lurched forward having snapped the binds. The loud thunderous roar of the engines and the smoky fire trail they left behind them soon droned out Gohan's fear momentarily. Vegeta would be preoccupied with the flying and navigation of this ship to worry about killing one half-saiyan shipmate.
And so, Gohan occupied himself with the view of the stars and blackening sky once again. It felt almost nostalgic as he recalled the last ship flight he had back when he, Krillen, and Bulma had departed for Namek. He was a little boy then. On this flight, he was a man. But, would that be enough to stand up to one rather ticked, once evil, saiyan prince? Only time would tell.
to be continued...