Ki-Blind: Chapter Six
He was dreaming.
It was a peaceful dream, a happy dream. All around him, blue-green grass rippled to the horizon. The sun was warm, and he had a book in his lap. There were no demands, no responsibilities, no complaints, and particularly ...
... no irritating relatives ...
"Rise and shine, BAKA!"
He rolled over, resolutely ignoring the voice.
"On your feet! Up and at 'em! Early worm catches the bird! MOVE YOUR BUTT, BOY!"
With that, a bucket of water was unceremoniously dumped over his head.
The god of all creation opened one eye, then the other, and thought wistfully of the days when he was the ONLY god of all creation, and he had his planet all to himself, before a certain boy pulled a certain sword out of a certain rock ... He squinted up at his fifteen-generations-removed ancestor, who was wearing a purple jogging suit and a Walkman.
"What do you want," he mumbled, channeling his inner Kibito.
Another bucketful of water appeared out of nowhere above his head. Kaiobito rolled adeptly to one side and it splashed harmlessly on the soil of his homeworld.
"Is that any way to talk to your honored ancestor? On your feet! We'll start with a few laps around the planet and a couple hundred one-armed pushups and then settle down to the day's business."
Kaiobito dried himself instantaneously and climbed to his feet. Of all his ancestor's transitory interests, this fitness craze was turning out to be by far the most annoying. It was even worse than the week when he'd taken up the bagpipes, tuba and kazoo all at once.
"Or maybe I could go back to bed," he said hopefully.
"You don't need to sleep at all, idiot!"
"I know," Kaiobito sighed, and resignedly went through a few rudimentary stretches while his ancestor watched him like a drill instructor. "So what's going on around this part of the galaxy today?"
"Uprising on Tiuranis-IV. Star about to go supernova in Sector 3 ... that one might require attention soon. Some sort of mass ki disruption on Earth ..."
Kaiobito stopped stretching.
"Earth? The Earth?"
"There is only one," his ancestor said. "Thank ME," he muttered under his breath.
"Why didn't you say anything?" Kaiobito snapped. "Why didn't you do anything?"
"It's not as if we're exclusively responsible for that planet, you know," his ancestor pointed out. "For a change, this problem is unlikely to affect any planet BUT the Earth. The nova is much more pressing ..."
"I have friends on the Earth!"
"You can't get sentimental about mortals, boy. That's always been your problem--"
"Where's the crystal ball?"
Moments later they were both kneeling by the ball. Rou laid his wrinkled hand on top of it.
"I refuse to show you anything if you're going to go dashing off without thinking, boy. As I said before: this problem involves the Earth, and only the Earth. It is not a threat to the greater galaxy, which is a far more important responsibility of yours -- and therefore, you would be severely derelict in your duty if you risk yourself to save one small planet. You will not teleport anywhere without asking me first."
"Yes, ancestor," Kaiobito said meekly, eyes downcast.
Rou took his hand off the crystal ball. For a few moments, all it showed was white noise -- static.
"Odd," the ancient Kai murmured. "We seem to be getting a lot of interference ..."
He moved his hands over the ball. "Ah. Just had to adjust for the disruptive effects of the ki-damping field. It appears to be created by several satellites in orbit ... here ... and here ..."
"Is it dangerous to the Earthlings?" Kaiobito asked.
"Not in any direct sense. It doesn't actually disrupt a living being's ki -- it simply prevents those few beings who have learned conscious control of their ki from being able to summon it. There's a slight ki-suppressing effect, meaning that the average Earthling might notice that they're a little less energetic than usual, tired and grouchy, maybe can't exercise as long. But that's about it." He slapped the ball with the palm of his hand. "Come on, come on ... Aha. There we go."
The crystal ball cleared and the two Kais looked upon a battlefield that had once been a city. The buildings were melted piles of slag, swarming with metal creatures similar in appearance to Earth spiders. Most of the damage appeared to have been done by the humans themselves, wielding far-too-powerful weapons against their small, elusive targets. Now the spiders were upon them and they were forced to engage in hand-to-hand combat, but for every spider that fell, two more leaped forward. There didn't seem to be any end to them.
The Kais stared, struck silent by horror. "Did you know it was this bad?" Kaiobito asked at last, in a hoarse whisper.
The old Kai shook his head, momentarily subdued. "The ki-damping field must have prevented me from feeling the mass loss of life. I knew that there was a ship in orbit around the planet--"
"A ship? Where?"
Sighing, Rou tuned the crystal ball and they looked down on the great dark bulk of the ship, drifting in the middle atmosphere above the night side of the planet.
"Can you see inside it?"
Rou shook his head. "The shields around that thing make the damping field on the planet look like gossamer. I can't penetrate them and I doubt you can teleport inside, either. This might actually be a threat great enough to warrant our intervention -- assuming that there was anything we could do."
"What about Son Goku? Isn't he fighting the spiders?"
"Without his ki, he's little more than an ordinary human," Rou warned, touching the ball. "Odd ... I can't seem to find his ki-signature ... oh, wait."
"His ki's very weak." Rou took his hand away and the image of the ship faded into the interior of a cave, lit by the red light of the spiders' sensors.
Kaiobito gasped when he saw what was happening. "They're about to be killed!"
Rou saw what he was about to do and seized his arm. "Stop it, young moron! If you teleport down there, you'll be affected by the ki field too."
"But I can't let them die. The world needs Goku-san. Besides ..." Kaiobito added, glaring at his ancestor. "... He's my friend, as well."
"Hmm ..." Rou thought for a second or two -- an eternity for the two Saiyajin trapped in the cave. In the crystal ball, the small figure of Vegeta intercepted a spider strike aimed at Goku's head with his own forearm. While it was trapped, struggling to free itself from his flesh, he crushed its body with a rock and then tore his arm free, apparently unaware of the splattering blood. He appeared to be in the grip of some sort of berserker rage. Blood flowed from numerous wounds on his body.
"I'm estimating that the field would take a couple of seconds to affect you," Rou said finally. "You would probably have time to teleport in and back out with someone; just don't stay too long."
"You're giving me permission to go?" Kaiobito looked hopeful, and desperate.
"I am. But don't risk yourself. As much of an idiot as you are ... the universe still needs you around for some reason."
"Thanks ... I think," Kaiobito said dryly, and smiled slightly. "See you in a minute." He vanished.
"Besides," Rou murmured to empty air. "... It would be a bit lonely up here without some young fool to talk to ..."
Snarling like an animal, Vegeta flung himself at his enemies. He didn't feel the pain of his injuries, only an overriding hatred for these puny robots, these unworthy opponents who had threatened his world, killed his friend (Goku might as well be dead; he probably would be in a few minutes anyway), separated him from his mate, and threatened the life of the last remaining prince of the Saiyajin race. He was going to die -- but damn it, he'd die like a Saiyajin, with his hands and teeth sunk deep into his enemy.
Several spiders boxed him in. Vegeta was almost able to match their speed now, even without ki; the Saiyajin equivalent of adrenaline was far more potent than the human variety, and he had so much of it in his system that everything around him seemed to be happening in slow motion. He saw two spiders dart towards him at once, and ducked, sinking through the oddly heavy air as if he was floating in molasses; the hot sensation of the spiders' claws blazed down his back, tearing his tank top to ribbons, but he felt no pain and now he was coming up under them, seizing one in each hand and flinging them into opposite walls of the cave with a primal scream of fury. He spun around to see that another spider was going after Goku ... and this time it was too far away for him to make it in time, even as fast as he was. Goodbye Kakarrot ... I guess I'll see you again soon ... or not ...
... and then a brilliant flash lit up the cave, and the spider flew backwards as if it had been shot out of a cannon and slammed into the wall. Ki? Vegeta thought dazedly. Even with his ki-sense dulled almost to nothing, the flash had been so close to him that he'd felt the bright flare of energy. That was ki ... but how ...?
"Vegeta-san!" cried a familiar voice. Kaio-shin (no, he reminded himself; Kibito and Kaio-shin) was crouched beside Goku, one hand on his shoulder. "Vegeta, hurry and touch me! I can't stay here!"
Vegeta never thought he'd actually be glad to see the little god. The spiders were still reacting in shock to Kaiobito's sudden appearance, and Vegeta flung them out of the way, using his stocky body as a battering ram to force his way to Kaiobito's side.
"Hurry up! Put your hand on my arm!"
"Where are you taking us?" Vegeta demanded, laying his hand on the god's slender arm.
"To my world."
"No, don't!" Vegeta snapped. "Take us to Karin's! Kakarrot's dying -- he needs senzu immediately."
"I --" Kaiobito began.
"I don't have time to argue with you. Take us there now!" Vegeta bore down hard with his bloody fingers on the god's arm.
The three of them vanished, leaving a cave filled with confused spiders, and reappeared on the marble floors of Karin's tower.
"Karin!" Vegeta snapped, spinning about. "Are you here?"
"Where else would I be?" Karin inquired mildly, making his way towards them. "You bunch look a bit the worse for wear. Is it that bad on Earth?"
"Master Karin, hurry!" Kaiobito cried. "We need senzu beans for Goku-san and ..." He stopped. His eyes widened. "Uh-oh."
Vegeta, who was kneeling beside Goku, looked up and frowned. "What's wrong with you now?"
"I did this wrong," Kaiobito muttered. "I should have taken the two of you to my planet, then come back here and got the senzu ... then gone back there ... Oh, Me!" he cursed.
"Maybe it would help you talk if I shake you a few times," Vegeta suggested.
The god of everything looked at Vegeta and Karin. "I stayed in the ki-suppressing field too long. Now I can't teleport either. I'm as helpless as you are."
On Kaio-shin-kai, Rou slapped himself in the forehead.