Bulma craned her head up to the sky, nothing but clouds and a vast blue expanse- but she just couldn’t fight the uneasy feeling that had settled in the pit of her stomach. She sighed and got back into her convertible, driving up the meandering road with her brilliant teal braid flowing in the wind.
At sixteen she was already a college graduate, an engineer by title and lifestyle (she did grow up with the leading engineering scientist in the world), however she did not lack the naivety of many girls her age. She had built a radar to detect the mystical and much sought after dragon balls of legend, but with all of its power she currently had only one wish- to find a really cute boyfriend.
Bulma finally pulled up to a narrow path leading to a overgrown and dilapidated house. She put the car in park and looked at the radar in the passenger seat, this was the place…but it really gave her the creeps. She stepped out of the car and proceeded cautiously around the property, finally looking through the dusty windows into the sparsely furnished house. Someone had lived here once, but it sure hadn’t been recently.
Bulma grabbed the door handle and tried it gingerly, and to her surprise the door swung open, the smell of stale, acrid air invading her lungs. She coughed, holding her hand up to her mouth and walked inside, clutching the radar for dear life. The floorboards groaned with each step she took, and dust dance, shimmering in the sunlight that filtered in through a hole in the ceiling.
The girl entered what she thought must have been a bedroom at one time, noticing only a pallet and a broken nightstand. She smiled to herself as she walked over to it and opened the only functional drawer.
“Bingo!” Bulma exclaimed as she pulled out the brilliant yellow orb, marveling at it a moment before cramming it into her backpack. It was the first of seven, and the easiest one of the lot to locate. The other six would take days of travel to find, and would likely take multiple forms of transportation to get to them. But, that was all a part of the adventure.
She took a deep breath and made her way to the front door, not wanting to linger in the ramshackle place any longer than she had to. Just as she passed under the hole in the ceiling, Bulma noticed a shadow come over; she looked up out of curiosity and saw… a ship? A battleship. She ran outside into the yard and stared up at the unfathomably large vessel as it made its way in the direction of her city.
“Oh my god...” She trailed, realizing that the uneasy feeling that had gripped her all morning had been for good reason. The girl stood slack jawed and paralyzed with fear, the rumors were true…the World Trade Organization had arrived.
Bulma grabbed her cell phone out of her backpack and immediately called her father. After a few rings and choice words from Bulma, Dr. Briefs picked up with a distressed greeting that was highly unusual for him.
“Hey daddy, what’s the news?” her voice wavered as she brought up a question that she really didn’t need to ask.
“Well, its not good my dear. Seems the WTO has came to Earth…” He trailed as the sound of the clamoring of his coworkers overtook the silence. “Bulma you need to take your ship to the refugee planet we talked about before. The coordinates are already programmed into the…” He trailed again as she heard a deafening BOOM from the other end.
“Bulma, I love yo…” another BOOM and the line had been dropped. Bulma stared at the phone in shock. She started breathing fast and shallow, feeling as is she would faint right there on the grass. Surely this was a nightmare, a terrible dream…
Another explosion far off in the distance brought her to her senses. She grabbed the capsule from her waist pack and rolled it around in her shaking hands, she never dreamed she would ever have to use this one…how utterly surreal.
More explosions blasted off in the distance, over the hills far ahead of her. She had time, she would be ok…just throw the capsule and be off. Bulma pressed the button on the small tube and threw it to the overgrown grass before her, and what took only seconds seemed like hours as she watched the smoke rising from behind the hills. A brilliant POP brought her to her senses and the bean shaped spaceship appeared, glimmering steel in the sunlight with an emblazoned CAPSULE CORP logo painted across the side.
Bulma ran up to the side of the ship, hurriedly grabbing the handle to let the entrance drop and open the hatch. She was already running up the stairs before they had fully descended and slid in through the door before it had finished opening. She punched the CLOSE button on the inside and threw her backpack down to the floor in haste.
At the pilots station she hurriedly started the opening sequence, the program seeming to take a thousand years to start up and get the engines running properly. She looked out the window and saw that the smoke in the distance had turned into an apocalyptic black mass of clouds. Damn.
“Startup Complete.” The robot voice said calmly, but it was still loud enough to startle Bulma in her fearful state.
“Set the previously programmed course. Leave immediately.” She called out to the computer, the engines now fully humming with power. She took a deep breath and ran to the pilots seat, buckling herself in and preparing for a takeoff she was still not accustomed to, even after several space flights in the years past.
The ship began to vibrate and hover off the ground, the engine rotated and blasted with energy that propelled the craft with astonishing speed, reaching the outer atmosphere in what felt like seconds. Bulma stared down as the ship ascended and held her breath. The earth was being assaulted in her city as well as one to the north that she could see, visible energy from explosions were scattering at an alarming rate…what horrible power these creatures had, power to destroy every living being on earth in a matter of hours.
Bulma watched in horror as the earth grew smaller and smaller out of her sight. Her stomach rolled and she felt as if she would throw up, but instead she stared glassy eyed as the planet she grew up on disappeared from her sight forever.
After the ship gained cruising speed, Bulma unbuckled her belt and got up on wobbly legs. She paced over to the bedroom on the far side of the vessel and fell back into the bed with a long sigh. She knew that everything she needed was on the ship, that wasn’t a problem- her father had been very adamant on stocking the stupid thing with everything down to a cappuccino maker. My dad…
Bulma immediately sat up and looked around the room for a satellite radiophone, if there wasn’t one nearby it would be on the storage shelf just outside the room. She jumped up and rummaged through the bedroom closet without any luck, but found it on the storage shelf near the kitchen. The girl placed the blocky phone on the floor and sat in front of it cross legged, tuning to her father's signal, waiting for a response. She stared at the blinking red light on the top of the radiophone, counting every time it blinked. 5, 10, 15 rings…
She let it ring for what felt like ages until she finally slammed the phone on its receiver. Maybe its not working, maybe they are too busy to notice… she knew she could tell herself that lie as much as she wanted, but in the back of her mind she would never believe it.
Bulma returned to her bed and wept, and she cried like she had never done so before in her life. She punched the bed, threw pillows and screamed to the top of her lungs. All of the fuss was not enough to quell her anger, her desperate sadness and sense of loss. She fell asleep sometime after, and the ship continued to barrel through space at an unfathomable pace.
Days turned into weeks as Bulma tried to keep busy. She tinkered with small projects made from spare parts she found on the ship. She played pointless games on her phone, tried doing yoga, ate a ridiculous amount of junk food- but mostly she slept or mourned over pictures of her family and friends. She had given up on contacting any of them when she had gotten no answer after twelve days. It was just too hard to keep trying to reach out when all that she was greeted with was an eerie, white noise.
Bulma would occasionally check the map on the control panel to see how far it was to the refugee planet, but some days she just forgot to even look. She was gripped by a deep depression, and by the time she was within a day’s reach of the planet she had slept for over fourteen hours. A loud chime rang through the ship, startling her awake at once. It was the pleasant voice of the computer, calm and happy as ever: “Prepare for docking in one day. This is your reminder that there are twenty four hours left until arrival at Planet 5L07 Ok’Sanii.”
The girl stared at the ceiling, tangled up in her bed sheets with a sigh. Finally…but finally what? What can I expect? Those thoughts plagued her as she tried to go back to sleep. She found no sense in getting up after the alarm, twenty-four hours on the damned ship would be another eternity in her eyes.
Bulma eventually fell into a fitful doze for several hours, until she decided to roll out of the bed to shower and prepare for the landing. Her father had talked about this place in passing at some of the few family dinners they shared, but she didn’t remember much- other than that it was where she was supposed to go if something catastrophic occurred and the earth was destroyed.
The only specific that stood out in her mind was that there would be several alien species there, and she had wondered idly if there would be any cute alien boys. How utterly moronic… She stared at herself in the mirror as she brushed her teeth, thinking about how stupid she had been to even care about something so damn silly. But was that the old Bulma? Had she changed so much in a month?
After packing her backpack with essentials she went and sat in the pilots chair, settling in with a yawn. She stared at her visage in the dark glass ahead, her hair pulled up in a cute ponytail with a bowm and she at this little bit of normality before keeping her eye on the map; the little red marker labeled 5L07 slowly, ever so slowly getting closer and closer.
In the hours before arrival on the refugee planet, Bulma had dozed off in the pilots seat. A chime woke her up to let her know that she had one hour until arrival, and she opened her eyes and glared out the window. She knew it was still too far away to see anything- but she stared into the black and starry distance anyhow. Her stomach turned over into knots and she gulped, feeling quite nervous about this place, especially since she had no idea what to expect.
The time went by considerably faster than she had imagined, and she was startled when the chime let her know it was fifteen minutes until arrival; it all occurred in what felt like the blink of an eye. The engines began their deceleration sequence, and Bulma tapped her fingers on the armrest anxiously as 5L07 slowly came into view, a dusty brown marble with a few dark seas spattered across its face.
The ship slowed even more as the computer communicated with the docking port. Numbers and code were hurled across the screen as they connected and Bulma tried to decipher the feed, but she finally gave up as the surface of the planet came into clearer view. She could start to see what looked like a city below, with mountains dotting the landscape all around.
As she descended, the city became an expanse, the vessel pulled away from the core and set its course to the spaceport just outside of the metropolis. The ship started to hover, the engines powering down for the first time in a month, and finally the vessel rested as gentle as a feather on the concrete below. Bulma unbuckled her belt hastily and stood up as the chime from the computer let her know that she had, in fact, landed.
“You are authorized from this port to depart CAPSULE BL-MA, thank you trusting CAPSULE CORP.”
Bulma took a deep breath and grabbed her backpack as she approached the door, her heart rabbiting out of her chest as she gingerly pressed the button to open the hatch. The pressure lock made a sucking sound as it opened and the stairs descended to allow her exit. Bulma shielded her eyes from the glaring sun, glad that she had wore long sleeves since the air was rather chilly as it swirled into the ship.
“Welcome to planet Ok’Sanii, Planet 5L07 of the known universe sector 7, this was once a refugee planet but I regret to inform you that is no longer the case.” A gruff voice addressed her in the universal language, and she squinted to find its location. A dark silhouette of a very large, horned figure loomed in front of her at the bottom of the stairs. She lifted her eyebrows and began to speak when he interrupted.
“Are you a single passenger?”
“We will allow you one day to make plans to depart this planet. A job board is posted inside, if you have a trade.” The alien scoffed, a large blue skinned man in a navy colored uniform, He had two intimidating black horns jutting out each side of his head and a face that only a mother could love. Bulma stared at him in surprise, he was just so gigantic.
“If you have any questions you can take them inside. Good day.” He affirmed, walking away from Bulma when it finally dawned on her what he had just told her. One day? Was this a joke?
“Hey, what did you say? I can only stay here one day?! I just flew in this damn thing for a month, buddy!” She called after him in anger as she made her way down the stairs. He continued walking, infuriating her when he made no attempt to answer. Bulma soon noticed the spiraling buildings and complex structures, and she shook head in awe at the many ships going to and fro in the eerie orange sky. She stood on the last stair with her backpack strap in her hand, staring in awe at the vast port in front of her, soon forgetting about the alien altogether.
Bulma finally made her way inside the massive spaceport, marveling at the variety of people and creatures chattering and making their way to their destinations, minding their own business as if it was a day like any other. She guessed to them, it really was just another day.
She mulled around the food area, which smelled absolutely delectable after a month of frozen and dehydrated meals, and her stomach growled as she sat at a table, pulling out her universal language handbook for reference. She knew enough of the UL to make her way around, but the word she was specifically stuck on was job, since apparently it was that or back to space alone. And that wasn’t an option.
After a few minutes a large, woolly alien with three eyes and a mouth full of teeth approached her. She grimaced as the thing held out a tray and pointed to the surprisingly tasty looking food on it.
“You eatin'? Just 2 credits for fresh Tamhol on a stick.”
“I haven’t got any credits…” Bulma trailed uneasily, bending the UL book in her hands.
“You got anythin' ta trade?” It asked unfazed, pointing to her bag.
“Maybe, what do you want?” She murmured, rummaging around in the side pocket- grabbing some coins, a radio, a dragon ball…
She pulled the dragon ball out but was disappointed to see it was just a smooth and perfectly round stone. She grimaced and sat the rock ball on the table, trying to dig out anything else that she thought might be of value to the alien.
“I’ll take that.” It said pointing to the round stone and handing Bulma a stick of roasted meat with some sort of vegetables skewered on it. She handed the stone over and gladly scarfed down the first fresh food she had eaten in a month, and she was more than surprised that the unsavory looking food was actually quite tasty, indeed.
Bulma made her way through the port to the 'trade and employment' section, which was surprisingly empty aside from a few skinny aliens that passed her going the opposite direction. She found a vacant desk, a few scattered chairs of different sizes, and a large board spattered with ads and various propaganda posters slamming the WTO.
She glanced at the wall for several minutes, reading over many ads in broken universal language as well as some in totally alien writing. She ran her hands over the board, grimacing as most of the ads she was finding were for brute labor, transporting goods, and handling crates. She finally spied something promising, and she reached up far above her head and took down a scrap that caught her eye. The ad simply stated that a 'mechanic was needed for a ship at dock 7L, must be under 3 meters tall'. She inhaled, folding the paper and putting it in her pocket. Here goes nothing…
After wandering through the port for nearly a half an hour, Bulma finally came upon dock 7L. She inspected the bean shaped ship and immediately noted it was incredibly similar to the one that Capsule Corporation had found abandoned on Earth. It was from that spaceship that her father had reverse engineered, making earth a space faring planet- for better, or worse.
“Can I help you?”
“Huh, oh yeah.” Bulma replied sheepishly as she approached the incredibly tall alien that walked out from behind the ship. The spectacled man was wearing a thick bundled scarf and flowing clothes of earthen tone. He was bald save for his antennae, his skin color green, his ears large and pointed, and she could see his teeth were dangerously sharp.
“Yes, I was replying to the ad you posted.”
“Is this some kind of joke?” The alien grimaced, and Bulma made an incredulous face at him, throwing a hand to her hip.
“It absolutely is not! I’ll have you know I am an accomplished engineer and mechanic, daughter of Earth’s most brilliant…”
“I don’t care whose daughter you are, I'm looking for a good mechanic to get this ship moving and in tip top shape so I can get my freight out.” He interrupted condescendingly. She removed her hand from her hip and gestured to the ship.
“What’s it doing? Let me take a look.”
Bulma tinkered in a compartment on the ship, one of which she suspected the problem to lay. She ran her fingers through the wiring and found a simple loose wire which was likely causing the shuddering and power loss. She reconnected it, but also checked the entire engine area for damage or maintenance issues.
She grabbed a wrench from her pack and tightened up many bolts, finding a few cracks in some of the pipes that needed immediate repair. The tall green alien watched her suspiciously at first, but he was pleasantly surprised at the fact that this puny female creature was able to find her way around the vessel with ease.
“Do you have your own tools? Do you have a ship?” He asked her as she wiped her hands off on a cloth.
“Absolutely, although to be honest I never expected to need them today. And yes, I have a ship.” She smiled sadly.
“Well. Get your tools. Do what you want with your ship, I’ll give you three hours to get your things in order or I’m out. If you wanna' work for me, be here before then.” He glared down at her, putting one large hand against the side of his spacecraft.
“I’ll see you then!” Bulma smiled, turning her back to him and making her way back to her Capsule ship with a wave.
Bulma found what she needed, put it all in a bag and encapsulated it. Her father had added a good variety of tools on the ship, but a few that she really needed were missing. She bit her lower lip and looked around the vessel- she would have to sell the ship to make up for the missing tools, since she really had nothing else of any real value in the situation she had found herself in.
She stuffed several outfits and toiletries into a suitcase, encapsulated it as well and then sat in the middle of the floor miserably. She held her head in her hands and cried silently, never imagining it would be this hard to sell the ship her father had built just for her.
At this point, having a way off of the planet as well as a job was much more important than her ship, even if it had been a gift from her father, and It didn't take her long to find a buyer in the market area. She knew for certain she was getting ripped off, but she had made enough to buy her tools with some credits to spare- all in just enough time to reach dock 7L before departure.
“Well, well, you showed up.” The alien gave her a half smile and Bulma returned it.
“Of course. I was lucky though, you know. Your ship is so similar to ours, well…the one I had.”
“So you sold it?” He asked, and she nodded.
“Ah yeah, I needed a few tools...Also, what was your name, I never got it?”
“Scargo, and since your gonna' be working for me I might as well know yours.”
“I see. Well, its time to depart, Bulma.” Scargo motioned for her to follow and walked to the bottom of the ship. “Piccolo” he muttered, and the door to the hatch lowered at once.