I stood shivering in the knee-deep snow as the wind whipped around me. I turned on the Dragon Radar that we'd been given for this portion of the competition and it sputtered to life. Taking a few readings, it blinked a couple of times briefly before shutting down. I tapped on it and then retried, with limited success before it died again. Trying one more time, it flickered and then died completely: it was totally useless. I cursed loudly at our luck.
"What **** idiot decided to hold this game in Chicago in the middle of Winter and then has the **** balls to **** give me defective equipment?" I hollered through the screaming wind. Iomel just stared mutely back at me. "I was in Cozumel, bathing in the tropical sun. I can't believe I volunteered for this." I shook the Radar and a small piece fell off the top. More cursing.
Iomel still said nothing.
"Why aren't you saying anything?" I asked.
"I think my teeth are frozen together," he said, chattering fiercely, then asked what I'd been wondering: "What is a dragonball? And how do we find one now that our Radar has been damaged?"
"I haven't a clue," I answered. "Let's get back inside and consult the Interwebs."
Relieved to be back inside, I pulled out my data pad. "I sure hope they have free wireless here," I punched up a browser and searched for Dragon Ball.
"Sith's blood!" Iomel exclaimed at all the search results. "There's all kinds of information here."
"Yeah," I answered. "But how do we find one?"
Finally, clicking on each of the links, I ended up at Wikipedia and read through the entry. "Look here," I said, pointing at the content. "It says here that Vegeta has had some of these dragon balls."
"I'm sure the girls found him irresistible," Iomel quipped.
"Maybe he'll be able to help me out," I said, ignoring his comment.
"Well, those balls aren't going to find themselves," Iomel said, clapping me on the back. "You should get going. I'm going to go sit in the hot tub."
"Nice," I answered. Pulling my cloak about me, I headed back out into the biting cold and to Vegeta's lair in West City -- who knew it was this close to Chicago?
Actually, it was a really nice dwelling; didn't have that lair feel about it. I was invited in and shown to Vegeta's workout room. I was about to step in when Bulma held me back. "I'm sure you are very strong, but I think even a Sith Lord would die under the pressure of 300 times normal gravity."
"Ah," I replied, "I think you may be right."
Vegeta stepped out, greeting me with an acknowledging smile, then frowned. "Hey, what's with the big eyes?"
"Big eyes?" I echoed.
He pointed to a nearby mirror. Gazing in, I saw that I'd been anime'd!
"Geez Louise," I whined, "how did this happen?"
"Well," Vegeta began, "it appears you're in my world now. The look suits you."
Turning from the mirror, I began. "Actually, I'm here because I'm taking part in Henchy's World's Toughest Henchmen competition."
He snorted. "Yeah, I'd heard as much," he replied, "Whadaya want from me?"
I wondered exactly how to ask, so I just blurted it out: "I need to know where to find a dragonball."
He laughed at me. And not just a chortle either -- a great big booming laugh that filled the room. Then he slapped his leg as he pulled in a breath to laugh again.
"That's the big question, now, isn't it?" he said as he continued to whoop.
"I'm being serious," my ire beginning to get the best of me.
"So am I," he said, finally quelling his laughing fit. "As if I just had one laying around here to just give you."
"That wasn't my intention," I answered. "But I thought you had experience finding them."
"Of course I do," he responded. "But they scatter and the search process has to start all over again. I'm sorry, but I can't really help you there: they could be anywhere."
This time I snorted and then thought a moment. I watched as Bulma casually went around the room, picking up the place. She then stepped into the gravity chamber and I saw an opportunity: I force shoved the door closed and stepped between it and Vegeta, knowing I was taking a risk. I turned the settings to 10 times normal gravity, slamming Bulma immediately to the floor.
"That wasn't the smartest thing I've known you to do," he said calmly. I have to hand it to him: he held on to his composure very well.
"Possibly no," I answered. "But you have to consider this -- if you attack me, you risk the life of your wife. Or," I paused momentarily, increasing the gravity very slightly, "we can participate in a few negotiations."
"What exactly is it you want, then?" he asked. "I already told you we don't just have a dragonball laying around."
"No," I replied, "but you do have a way to find them, don't you?"
He cursed under his breath.
"How did you know?" he asked.
"Wikipedia," I answered. "Give me the Dragon Radar to use during this competition and you get to keep your wife."
He paused a moment in thought before answering. "Alright," he said, "but don't think this is over -- not by a long shot."
"Vegeta, I wouldn't expect anything less," I answered, reducing the gravity back to normal before opening the door to the chamber.
After getting the Dragon Radar, finding a Dragonball was a cinch. But it was guarded by this strange group called Ginyu Force -- except I don't think they were the real thing. The real guys must have been on vacation and left this group in their place, thinking no one was going to try and take their ball. Boy, were they wrong.
Once securing the ball, I headed back to the hotel and to the hot tub where I could thaw out those body parts that are STILL numb from the cold....remind me again why I volunteered to do this?