Ki-Blind: Chapter Ten

When Vegeta stepped out of the shower, he walked out into a scene of cheerful reunions. Chi-Chi and her refugees had rendesvoused with everyone else, and now the lab was filled with old friends (or, as Vegeta mentally tagged them, halfwit bakas) renewing their acquaintance and sharing stories of spiders they'd escaped, attacked or killed.

He searched for Bulma among the crowd of idiots, but before he could find her, he was assaulted by Goku.

"Hey, Vegeta! It looks like we've got a chance now, huh? The gang's back together!" Goku enthused, throwing his arm around Vegeta's shoulders. Vegeta glared at him.

"What a thrill, Kakarrot."

"Yeah, isn't it?" Goku agreed, oblivious to the sarcasm. "Just about everybody's here except Tien and Chaotzu, and Bulma's ki detector can probably find them, too."

"Speaking of Bul--"

"And the shapeshifters can still change shape, which is another advantage we've got, and fusion works, which is really fantastic though I can't quite figure out how it's possible --"

"Yes, but Bul--"

"And we've got Kaiobito on our side, and Dr. Briefs says he thinks he can figure out how to neutralize the spiders; I mean, we can't lose, Vegeta! It looks like we've finally--"

"Kakarrot!" Vegeta yelled in his face. "Where is my mate?" he inquired in a more neutral tone.

"Jeez, Vegeta, you don't have to yell," Goku said. "She's over there with her father." He pointed.

Vegeta managed to shake himself free of Goku's friendly armlock and pushed his way through the throng (earning a deathglare from #18 when he elbowed her out of the way) to where Bulma, Dr. Briefs, and a few others, including Kaiobito, were clustered around a weird-looking contraption.

"-- but I think there's a possibility the low-frequency radiation could interfere with the transmitter unless you use more shielding," Bulma was saying.

"It's possible, dear, but I don't see where I could possibly put shielding that wouldn't block the transmitter. If it turns out the waveforms interfere with each other, we can recalibrate to compensate for most of the distortion."

"Recalibrating in the field wouldn't be a good idea. It might have completely unforeseen effects on the spiders. If you don't allow for every --"

"I don't mean to barge in," Kaiobito interrupted hesitantly, "but is there any possibility that this might harm humans or animals? Hey, watch it," he added as Vegeta shoved him to one side to see better.

"Or #18?" Kuririn asked, standing on tiptoe to see the device. He was holding a sleeping Marron in the crook of his arm.

Bulma shook her head. "No. To Earth creatures, it won't be any more harmful than normal background radiation, and #18 is constructed much better than these creatures. It was just luck that Daddy found the particular frequency that would shut down the spiders."

"Frequencies, not frequency," Dr. Briefs corrected his daughter. "I imagine it was programmed in as an emergency override in case they ever rebelled or got out of control, because it's unlikely such a thing could happen by chance. It's actually a very complex waveform with --"

"You've found a way to neutralize the spiders?" Vegeta inserted.

Bulma looked up at him and broke into a wide grin. "Yes, we have! We haven't field-tested it yet, but it worked like a charm on the one in the lab."

"Which could mean nothing," Dr. Briefs reminded her, "if every one of them has a unique frequency."

Bulma shook her head. "That doesn't make sense. There are just too many of them. They had to have been produced on an assembly line, and it would be riduculous for each one to be individually calibrated. At most, we might encounter a few distinct types, but we can prepare for that too if we rig up some sort of band-scanner that will find the right combination of waveforms a million times faster than we could do it by trial and error."

"But you've found a way to neutralize them," Vegeta persisted.

"Yes." Bulma hesitated. "The only problem is that the radiation we need to use is very low-frequency and doesn't carry well through Earth's atmosphere."

"Meaning what, woman?" Vegeta demanded impatiently.

"Meaning we can't rig up some kind of long-range broadcaster," Dr. Briefs answered him. "The spiders will have to be neutralized from close range."

"How close is 'close'?" Kuririn asked.

"It depends on conditions," Bulma said. "Probably no more than a few hundred yards."

"It'll take forever to get every spider on Earth that way," said Piccolo, who was also observing the machine.

"I don't think 'forever' is the right term," Kaiobito murmured. "But a long time, certainly."

"Depends on how many people we have working on it," Bulma said. "Now that we've found the right frequency, most devices that produce some form of radiation can be easily modified to broadcast in that spectrum, though the range will depend on what you're using. Portable TVs, radios, even flashlights can all be used. We can turn most common household appliances into weapons. It'll just be time-consuming to do it."

"This is all assuming that whatever is in that spaceship doesn't decide to pay us a visit," Goku said from behind Vegeta.

"True," Bulma agreed. She bit her lip. "We may not have enough time."

"So we'll split up," Vegeta said shortly. Honestly, did he have to do ALL the thinking for this bunch? "We certainly have enough people here. Some will stay to combat the spiders, and some will attack the spaceship directly." He knew which group he intended to be in. Fighting with flashlights wasn't his style.

"Attack with what?" Bulma retorted. "A bicycle and a BB gun? In case you hadn't noticed, Rambo, we don't happen to have any capsule warships lying around."

"I do not intend a frontal assault, woman," Vegeta said stiffly. "On a ship so large, a small group of individuals should be able to easily penetrate its defenses."

"And then what? The thing's the size of a city, and we can't scan it," Bulma said. "You could wander around in there for years."

"Are you forgetting I've spend most of my life on spaceships? Freeza's fleet contained many different kinds of ships, and I can pilot them all. No matter how alien the design, certain elements are common to all spacegoing vessels. I doubt if it will present much of a challenge for me."

"Nice to see your ego's still intact, Vegeta," Kuririn said with a grin.

"Hey, Bulma! Look what I found!" came a shout from behind them.

With a mostly recovered Pu'ar hovering over his head and trying unsuccessfully to stop him, Yamcha waded into the group of people clustered around the machine, cheerfully swinging a sword around his head. Everyone ducked, some with shrieks of terror -- except for Kuririn; the sword cleared his head by a good two feet.

"What are you trying to do, idiot, behead us all?" Piccolo demanded.

"Oh. Sorry." Yamcha grinned sheepishly. Pu'ar buried her face in her paws in dismay.

"Where'd you get that?" Bulma asked.

"I found it in one of your closets. I guess I accidentally left it here when I went off after the Cell Games. I'd given up fighting by that time; I wondered where it got off to, every once in a while ..." He tested the edge on the blade. "I bet this'd go right through spider carcasses, huh?"

"Why don't you go try it out and leave us alone," Vegeta snapped at him.

"How about I try it out on your neck?"

Vegeta bared his teeth in a predatory grin. "You're forgetting who you're talking to, human. I could disintegrate your body with one punch."

"Not anymore," Yamcha said, his eyes widening as the realization hit him that, for the first and probably the last time, he might actually stand a chance against Vegeta.

"Boys! Stop it!" Bulma yelled at them, and then, confronted by this particular example of juvenile behavior, she suddenly realized that she had a lab full of the strongest fighters on the planet with nothing to occupy their time except by fighting each other. In a moment of panic, she looked around the room. Gohan was sparring with Gotenks in a corner, their flailing limbs narrowly missing destroying Dr. Briefs' priceless prototype pocket particle accellerator (it was only three feet in diameter but sixty miles long through the fourth dimension), while Mrs. Briefs determinedly tried to serve them cookies. Nearby #18 was testing her reflexes by tossing flasks of highly explosive chemicals and catching them. In another corner, Oolong, bored, was throwing capsules to the floor to see what came out of them; at the moment Bulma happened to be looking at him, he'd just uncapsulated a carton of milk which burst upon contact with the floor, splattering the biplane and the yellow submarine that he'd most recently enlarged. Videl and Chi-Chi were fending off a battered but persistent Master Roshi with (respectively) a Bunsen burner and a large briefcase labeled EBOLA SAMPLES, DO NOT OPEN.

Bulma came to the conclusion that her lab was not by any means the safest place for this group of people.

She clapped her hands together. "Hey! Everybody!"

No one noticed her. Goku and Kuririn were trying to drag apart Vegeta and Yamcha, while a disgruntled Piccolo had his hands full (literally) with Marron, who had been shoved into his arms when Kuririn went to keep his friend from getting pulverized. Over in Oolong's corner, there was a shriek of terror as the pig accidentally opened one of Dr. Briefs' experimental ZooCaps(TM); this one contained a velociraptor, or rather, had contained it.

"HEY!" Bulma yelled at the top of her lungs. She picked up the bazooka lying next to the spider neutralizing apparatus and aimed it over their heads, at which point she was tackled by an alert and horrified Pu'ar. It was like being hit with a small, blue, fuzzy cannonball; Bulma dropped the bazooka, which went off and sent a shell spinning into the opposite wall, killing the velociraptor, singeing Oolong, and most definitely getting everyone's attention.

There was a moment of silence as the smoke cleared. Mrs. Briefs was the first to start moving again; with the speed of long practice, she grabbed a fire extinguisher off a nearby wall and went to put out the small spot blazes before they reached any flammable chemicals.

"Well, now that I have your attention," Bulma said into the dead calm, plucking Pu'ar off her arm and handing her back to a stunned Yamcha. "Once you people clean up the lab, why don't we see about dividing into groups and hunting some spiders?"

"Us?" Yamcha said in disbelief, stroking Pu'ar to calm her down.

"Yeah, who wrecked it just now?" Oolong demanded, sticking his snout out from under the lab table where he'd taken shelter.

"Oh, quit complaining." Bulma picked up the spider neutralizer ray, which looked as if it had been cobbled together out of old appliance parts and a cannibalized satellite dish -- which was more or less true. "Now this is the most powerful one we have, but my father's already made two more small ones and we can modify just about everything in here that can broadcast on any frequency. We can send out teams of two or three people to start shutting down the spiders and take more neutralizers to the military and anyone else who'd be able to help. We have more than enough capsule planes for everyone."

"What about the other part of it?" Kuririn asked, taking back Marron. "Infiltrating the ship?"

"I think Vegeta and I are doing that," Goku spoke up.

The prince glared at him, still trying to smooth over his ruffled pride. "Who the hell invited you, Kakarrot?"

"You certainly aren't doing it alone," Bulma snapped at him.

"I'm the logical one, Vegeta, because we can fuse and then we'll be a lot more powerful than we are now," Goku said.

"Fusion. With you."

"Yeah," Goku said, grinning. "C'mon, we've done it before and you know we work very well together."

"I have no intention of going through that ordeal again."

Goku's jaw took on a stubborn set. "Vegeta, you don't have a choice. We need the power boost. It's more important than your pride."

Vegeta gave him a long, inscrutable look. Goku glared steadily back at him, not dropping his eyes. Surprisingly, it was Vegeta who looked away first.

"Do you have any idea how much you annoy me, Kakarrot?"

"But Vegeta ... if I bother you that much, all you have to do is stay away from me. You keep coming back."

Vegeta opened and closed his mouth a couple of times. "You're an idiot," he said finally, falling back on his default response to anything Goku said.

Yamcha and Kuririn watched in fascination. "It's so weird," Kuririn said. "I still can't get used to it. They really are friends, or something like it."

"Goku's probably the only guy who could be friends with Vegeta," Yamcha said, releasing Pu'ar, who floated up to hover above his shoulder. "He's the only one who'd take the abuse."

"Well, him and Bulma," Kuririn said, then snapped his mouth shut, flushing, when Yamcha shot him a sharp look.

"Yes, and Bulma, I suppose."

"Sorry, man," Kuririn apologized. "I didn't mean to bring that up."

Yamcha shook his head, and grinned slightly. "It hasn't bothered me in years, to tell you the truth. I mean, sure it was weird at the time, but Bulma and I weren't exactly the perfect match; I think we even knew back then that we wouldn't end up together. I wouldn't have pegged her for Vegeta, of all people, but ... you know. Folks will surprise you." He shrugged. "Bulma especially."

Oblivious to the fact that she was being discussed, Bulma strode to the center of the room. "If you guys are done flinging your testosterone about, or whatever the Saiyajin equivalent might be, does anyone have any ideas for getting onto the alien ship? Anybody?"

"You're the frikkin' genius," Oolong muttered, brushing himself off.

"What's to wonder about?" Vegeta demanded, turning away from Goku. "We send a small group of fighters in a small ship. That's all."

"We saw on the news that they have some sort of laser defense system," Bulma said.

Vegeta crossed his arms and snorted. "Hmph, sure, if you try a full-frontal assault like your Earth military seems so fond of doing. They'll never shoot you if they don't know you're there."

"I'm sure they have sensors, though," Gohan spoke up.

"We do have one capsule ship that's supposed to be invisible to most types of radar," Dr. Briefs said.

Bulma brightened. "Oh, Daddy, that's right! The ZX-72 project."

"The what?" Vegeta said.

Bulma turned to him. "A stealth ship in a capsule. The military paid us to develop it, but in the end we decided not to do it for ethical reasons. It's not as if we need the money, after all."

Vegeta rolled his eyes, though it wasn't clear whether he was exasperated with the state of Earth technology or with the Briefs' finickiness.

"So it's unfinished?" Gohan asked.

Dr. Briefs shook his head. "I finished it as a challenge, though I never told the military that I'd done so. I still have the capsule around here somewhere. I can look for it; hold on."

"Wonderful!" Bulma said as her father rummaged through cabinets. "We can use the ZX-72 ship to get up there. Then, once we're there --"

"We?" Vegeta said.

"Well, of course I'm coming. Who else would be able to figure out what's jamming your ki and disable it?"

"Me," Vegeta said flatly.

Bulma snorted. "Oh, right, you! Mister 'I broke the gravity chamber Onna, fix it now' is going to figure out some weird piece of alien technology that none of us have ever seen before. Yeah, right."

"Aren't you needed here to make spider-neutralizers, Mrs. Briefs?" Videl asked.

Bulma shook her head. "It's more important for me to be there. After all, if we can get you guys' ki working again, you won't need my gadgets. You'll be able to wipe out all the spiders in just a few hours." Her face grew wistful for a moment. "Wow, with my brains, imagine what I could do if I had ki powers like you guys."

Vegeta folded his arms. "Using ki has nothing to do with intelligence, woman."

Bulma's wistful expression morphed into a wicked smirk not unlike Vegeta's characteristic look. "That must explain how you're so good at it, then."

"You walked right into that one, Vegeta," Goku said, grinning.

"Shut up, Kakarrot."

"I can go with Dad and Vegeta," Gohan said quickly in an attempt to head off another argument. "It would probably be better to have as many powerful fighters as we can in the group that goes onto the ship."

"The fusions are more powerful than the rest of us by far," Piccolo pointed out, looking at Gotenks.

"Absolutely not!" Chi-Chi snapped. "Neither one of my boys is going anywhere near that ... that alien monstrosity."

No one heard her, however, because everyone was looking speculatively at Gotenks. Gohan was the one to voice what they were all thinking. "Hey, Gotenks, how long have you been fused, anyway?"

Gotenks frowned up at the adults. "Uh, I dunno. Awhile."

"It's been over an hour," Bulma said, checking her watch.

"But that's not possible," Goku said. "Fusion is only supposed to last 30 minutes."

"Maybe it has something to do with their low-powered state ...?" Gohan mused. "Maybe it's some kind of imbalance between the two individual ki's that causes the separation to occur, and maybe it's just not happening in this situation."

Chi-Chi's hands flew to her mouth in dismay.

"Do you feel any different?" Piccolo asked Gotenks.

"Different from what?" The boy flexed his arms, and shrugged. "Just more powerful than I am normally, is all."

Chi-Chi looked near tears. "Goten! I knew this wasn't safe! I knew your father shouldn't have taught you to do this! You're too young!" She grabbed the startled boy by the shoulders, shaking him. "Goten, come out of there right now!"

Goku put an arm around her, trying to drag her away. "Chi-Chi, it's okay," he soothed. "Goten's not hurt."

"But ... he's not Goten," Chi-Chi sobbed, all her courage of the last few hours draining away as she was confronted by the most horrible thing she could have imagined: a threat to one of her sons, to his very identity.

"Shh. Of course he is. I've been fused, Chi-Chi, remember? It's still Goten in there. It's just Trunks, too."

Gotenks watched in confusion, unable to understand why everyone seemed so concerned; he felt fine. "So do I get to come along?" he asked.

"I ..." Bulma faltered. "As your mother, I would say yes. You'll be with me and your father, after all. But ... I think it's up to Chi-Chi and Goku, too ..."

She trailed off, looking over at Goku, who was trying to calm down Chi-Chi.

"No!" the dark-haired woman cried, grabbing Goku by the front of his gi. "I can't stop you from leaving; you're my husband. But I'm not sending my children into such terrible danger. I'm their mother! Who ... who will ..." She began to cry. "Who will I have if you're all killed? Please don't leave me alone."

Gohan approached them, and took his mother gently by the shoulders. "Mom, listen. Goten and Trunks have to go. They're probably stronger right now than anyone else; Dad and Vegeta need their help. I'll stay and take care of you, okay?"

"Gohan ..." Goku began.

Gohan smiled at his father. "It'll be all right, Dad. I can do a lot down here, too. I can help Dr. Briefs make more of the spider-neutralizing machines; it'll be important if Bulma is up there with you. And I'm not that powerful right now, unless you and I fuse, and there isn't time for you to teach me the fusion dance."

Goku smiled softly, and gripped his oldest son's shoulder. "Maybe that's best, then."

"You!" Piccolo exclaimed suddenly.

Everyone spun around to look at him. While everyone else had been watching the scene with Goku, Gohan and Chi-Chi, Piccolo had been staring speculatively at Kaiobito.

"What?" the god asked nervously.

"You're a fusion too," Piccolo said. "Can you do anything with your ki?"

"I ... I don't know," Kaiobito faltered. "I guess I just assumed that I was as powerless as all of you." He held up his hands in front of his face and concentrated. Sweat broke out on his face as slowly, a ki ball began to form between his palms.

Goku laughed out loud. "That's great! You too!"

"Oh, good. If we happen to come upon a room with no light switches, we'll be all set. But can you do anything useful?" Vegeta snapped impatiently. "Are you stronger? Faster? Can you teleport?"

"Hmm." Kaiobito concentrated. Suddenly he vanished, and reappeared at the other side of the lab.

There were scattered cheers among the onlookers, which faded out when they saw Kaiobito's dejected expression. "I was trying to go back to Kaioshin-kai," he explained. "It seems that all I can manage is fifty feet or so."

"But that could still be very useful in a fight," Goku said, his cheerfulness undaunted. With a final pat to Gohan and Chi-Chi's shoulders, he walked back to join the others. "Would you be willing to come with us?"

"Of course. I'll help in any way possible."

"I think we should take the shapeshifters too," Bulma said, looking at Pu'ar and Oolong.

The pig quailed. "Not this shapeshifter, lady."

"Everyone else is risking their lives to help. What have you done lately?"

"I'll have you know I saved them!" Oolong snapped, pointing at Kuririn and #18. "And did I get a word of thanks? Huh? Not a chance. Ingrates," he pouted.

"You want him to come?" Vegeta asked his mate in disbelief.

"Yes! Keep in mind, Vegeta: this is a different fight than the ones you're used to. We're going to be fighting with our minds, not our bodies. If you go up against this enemy head-on, like you usually do, you'll die. We need strategy and we need every unexpected advantage we can get. I'd say the shapeshifters are our best bet."

"I'll go," Pu'ar chirped bravely.

"If Pu'ar goes then so do I," Yamcha said, hefting his sword.

Vegeta rolled his eyes. "This is turning into a sideshow, not a war party. Who's next? Her?" He pointed at Mrs. Briefs, who looked back blankly.

"You can take the entire Mr. Satan Fan Club if you want to," Oolong said, planting his feet. "I'm not going."

"If you come with us, I'll show you these," Bulma said, pointing to her chest with both hands.

"WHAT!" Vegeta's voice approached a shriek.

"What?" Oolong echoed.

"You always wanted to see them when we used to travel together. Well, now's your chance."

"Onna ..." Vegeta said dangerously.

"Oh, shut up," Bulma told him.

"Well, yeah, but you were young and pretty then," Oolong said.

He realized his potentially fatal mistake when both Bulma and Vegeta turned on him. Everybody else suddenly found the far side of the lab much, much more interesting. Kaiobito accidentally teleported himself into a stack of Petri dishes with a loud clatter.

"I ... will have you know ... you ... little ... pig ..." Bulma snarled, advancing a step with each word, the gleam of death in her eyes. "I am just as beautiful as I used to be! And just as firm! Isn't that right, Vegeta? Tell him!"

"I -- huh?" Vegeta turned from preparing to pound Oolong into the floor. He actually blushed. Goku started laughing.

"You'll never know if you never look," Bulma told Oolong.

"Will he kill me if I do?" Oolong squeaked, casting nervous sidelong glances at the homicidal-looking Vegeta.

"No. I won't let him."

"Woman, I absolutely forbid you to --"

"You? You have no right to forbid me to do anything. The fate of the world is at stake, and these are my ... assets," Bulma informed him. "You defend the world your way; I'll do it mine."

"I feel so used," Oolong grumbled.

Bulma winked at him, causing Vegeta's hair to bristle even more than it normally did. "Are you coming then?" she asked him.

"Do you promise?" the pig asked cannily.

"Yes. I swear on my, uh ... on my honor as queen of the planet Vegeta!" Bulma crowed in triumph.

Vegeta gritted his teeth, trying to divide his glare between her, Oolong, and the hysterical Goku, who was almost falling down laughing, while Gohan tried desperately to get his father to shut up. "There is no planet Vegeta anymore, woman," Vegeta growled. "It's been destroyed."

"Yes, but if there was, I would be its queen-consort, wouldn't I?" Bulma inquired, tapping her foot.

"Well, technically ..."

"There! You see?" She spun towards Oolong. "So what do you say? This may be your only chance to see a queen's br--"

Vegeta shut her up by simply covering her mouth with his hand. "Mmmph!" Bulma shrieked through his gloved fingers, peeved.

"I'll come! I'll come!" Master Roshi called across the room.

Vegeta spun around, raising his free hand in the attack position. "Final F-- fuck," he muttered, remember that he couldn't use ki.

"I'll go along on your suicide mission," Oolong grumbled. "But only if you keep him away from me. And keep your side of the bargain."

"Deal!" Bulma said, finally managing to work her mouth free of Vegeta's grip.

Vegeta glared at his mate in fury, realizing that she'd just caused him to lose face in front of practically everybody he knew, and let go of her, spinning away from her with his arms crossed. "It's on your head if this idiot gets us killed then," he growled.

"If it's unexpected abilities that you're looking for ..." Piccolo spoke up. Bulma turned to look at him. "My regeneration skills proved to be quite useful when I was fighting the spiders. They do not seem to recognize my species. I killed several of them by myself." He said it without bragging, matter-of-factly.

"Piccolo, that's amazing! Vegeta and I only got two, and I got hurt bad doing it," Goku said cheerfully. Vegeta scowled at him.

"I can fight them quite effectively as well," #18 spoke up.

Bulma spread her hands. "We can't take everybody! We should leave at least a few of the good fighters on Earth. Keep in mind that Daddy and I haven't even tested our invention yet, and if it doesn't work, there may be a lot of fighting ahead of you, especially if we ..." Her voice faltered slightly. "If we fail."

"Well, then," Goku said, breaking the silence that followed her last words. "It looks like we've got me ... and you, Bulma; and Gotenks, Kaiobito, Vegeta, Oolong, Pu'ar, and Piccolo."

"And me," Yamcha spoke up. "I told you. Me and Pu'ar, we're a team. She doesn't go anywhere I don't go."

Vegeta rolled his eyes.

"That's a good group," Bulma said. "We all have a lot of different skills. I think we've got better than just a fighting chance ... I think we can win this one, guys."

Kuririn cleared his throat. "Hey ... Goku? Bulma?" he asked with unexpected deference.

"Hmm?" Goku looked at his best friend in surprise.

"I'd like to go, too," Kuririn said quietly. "I know I don't really have anything to add to the group; I don't have special abilities, and I don't even fight that well anymore. And I know I wasn't really any help at all against Cell, or Buu, or ... well, even Freeza really. But maybe that's exactly why I feel like I ... I need to do something." He looked down at Marron, asleep in his arms, and then handed her gently to #18. "This is my world, and my daughter is here, my family is here. I haven't been much use at defending it in the past, but I would like to try."

There was a long silence, and then Goku smiled at him. "Of course you have that right," he said, in a voice that was light, and yet at the same time, brooked no argument.

Into the new silence that followed his statement, Dr. Briefs' voice rang out loud and clear from the depths of the lab. "Hey, I found it!" He straightened up, holding a black capsule above his head.

"The ZX-72," Bulma said softly, a slight shiver running through her.

Goku looked around at those who would be left behind: Gohan, Videl, Chi-Chi, Ox King, Master Roshi, #18, and the Briefs. It was a small group to take on the monumental task of eliminating the spiders who had already come to Earth.

As if reading his mind, Bulma stepped forward and handed the ki radar to Gohan. "You guys start making more spider nullifiers, and send somebody to find Tien and Chaotzu and anybody else who can help down here. Get the military on your side. Whether or not we come back, you can still do this; it's a big job, and hard, but it's up to you guys." She smiled. "Go save the world."

Dr. Briefs handed his daughter the black capsule. She took it with a small grin.

"We have two senzu beans left. Do you guys want one?" Goku asked.

Gohan shook his head. "No, you take them. We have all the technology of Capsule Corporation down here to help us if somebody gets hurt. You guys are on your own."

Gotenks and Goku waved to Chi-Chi and Gohan, and then the two groups separated, and Bulma led her small group of followers out of the lab.

The door slammed behind them. It had a hollow, final sound. For a moment, the ones left behind could only stand and stare at the door. Then Videl shook herself and turned to the others.

"Come on," she said, clapping her hands together. "Don't just stand there. Like she said ... let's go save the world."

Gohan, however, continued staring at the door for a few minutes after everyone else had sprung into action. He was still deeply bothered by the fact that his little brother and Trunks had not separated yet. Fusion, he had thought, was a safe and understood and predictable technique ... but obviously fusion in a low-energy situation worked differently, and he couldn't help thinking that his father and the others were being fools to rely, in such critical circumstances, on a technique when they didn't even know what it might do to them.

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Dragonball and Dragonball Z, all characters and situations are (c) Akira Toriyama.