"Cheelai! How's it goin' over there?"
"Just a second! I almost got this damn cable in... Alright! Give it a try!"
Stepping back from the truck, Cheelai wiped the sweat and oil from her forehead with a rag. Bom, the truck's owner, worked the steering wheel, his pink tongue sticking out while he concentrated. Stomping on the pedal, the truck's engine came alive again, rumbling and twitching loudly. There was a long, grating whine inside the engine, the kind Cheelai had heard twice before when she thought it was fixed. Curling her lip, she already mentally prepared herself to dig in back there when the whine suddenly stopped and the truck's tires started moving forward.
Bom squealed in delight, his blue, bubbly face lighting up with a great big smile. "Yes! You did it! It finally works!"
"Thank goodness too," Cheelai sighed. "I was worried I'd never get it moving again."
"Ha! You and me both!" Another delighted sound came from him, this time a laugh. "You've done me a big favor, what do I owe ya?"
"Oh, nothing at all!" She smiled, shaking her head. "Like you said, it was just a favor."
"Yeah but I don't feel right, you spendin' the whole morning fixing this clunker fer nothing," He stared past her, rubbing his chain and making his whole head comically bob. "I got it! Why don't I and the missus invite you an Lemo for dinner tonight?"
"That's really not-" Cheelai stopped herself mid shake, her brain stopping her mouth from doing something stupid. Lemo already said he'd spend most of the day out in the fields, picking up berries or carrying equipment around with no return trip for lunch. Accepting Bom's offer would free her whole afternoon up for some things...
Changing her expression into a thoughtful one, Cheelai bit the inside of her lip and tilted left and right in fake consideration. Letting the act go for a few seconds, she let out a fake sigh. "Okay, okay, if you insist. At least I won't have to listen to Lemo complain about my cooking tonight..."
"Specially after he tries my wife's!" They shared another laugh, Bom driving off slowly to the fields. Cheelai waved him goodbye, collected her own tools and made her way home. Okai village was a small place, built deep in the woods of planet Kwest, deep in the outskirts of the known galaxy. There were only a couple hundred people, most of the tech was pretty low-key or straight up outdated. It was a place for a simple, farming life. For a couple of former Freeza Force goons wanted by the Galactic Patrol, it was a good a place as any to lay low.
Saying hi to a few folks through the village's square, Cheelai reached the south end where she and Lemo lived. It was a decent sized, one-story hut made out of stone and wood. It was big enough for two, close enough to town and fields so neither of them had to walk very far and spacious enough for a few personal effects.
Closing the deep curtain serving as their door, Cheelai left her toolbox on the sole table of the room and glanced at the wall on the opposite end of the entrance. She stared at it for a few moments, a wave of varying emotions passing through her all the while. Using them to stave off whatever fatigue from the mornings truck tinkering, Cheelai crouched in front of her bed and pulled out another box entirely, one containing the highest bit of tech on the planet: a computer.
Sitting on her bed, back pressed against the cool stone wall, Cheelai placed it on her knees and watched it boot up. Taking out a pair of bulky headphones almost too big for her head out. She typed away to the data she wanted, a damaged audio file. Recovered from what was left of Freeza's ship just before she, Lemo and a few other survivors ditched Earth for good. Just as it had so far, the file was a jumbled mess of noises, some whines, others crackling static. But, every so often, the log momentarily let out a voice she recognized very well.
"Miserable, that's the word I'd use to describe our second year in the war..." Paragus said before the crackles and static drowned him out again. Angrily, she typed away some more, using whatever program she had to clean it up or fit the pieces back together. She was no expert at this stuff, learning as she went but there was no way that little detail would stop her. The answers were literally in the palms of her hands and she'd get them.
The furious listening, typing, piecing and learning went on and on. Cheelai ignored the soft ringing in her ears from the noise, the cramped feeling of her back. All attention was focused on whatever scraps of audio she could dig out. Paragus' voice came back only two more times, the first referencing some ritual fight, the other a shouting match with himself over lies. It was something but not enough, not nearly to satisfy her...
"Ggaaahhh!" Screaming, Cheelai's whole body snapped away from the voice suddenly talking to her. Flailing her arms, she slapped a hand away before realizing the tilt sent the computer off her knees. Fear took over, that it would break and take all the information with it. But crashing onto her side on the bed meant there was no way for her to try catching it. The fear changed to panic until an orange hand caught the computer in mid-air.
"Good grief," Lemo sighed, gently taking the computer in both hands. "For someone so obsessed over this, you sure are quick about breaking it."
Cheelai's mouth hung open, she didn't know what to say first: thank him for saving it, or curse him for making her panic in the first place. Eventually, she decided to curse him for something else. "I'm not obsessed!"
"Really?" He put the computer onto the table. "Is that why you've been stuck here for ages and haven't even cooked anything for us? Even though it's your turn to do it?"
Glaring at him, Cheelai was about to say she wasn't there for ages until a glance at the small window behind Lemo said otherwise. The bright suns that were high up in the sky before were almost under the mountains. The sky was a very, very dark blue and only scant bits of sunlight were left shining. It had been a few hours at the very least since she'd seen Bom. Not that she would admit it to Lemo.
"For your information, I'm not cooking! Bom invited us over tonight for dinner!"
"And that left you loads of free time to waste chasing ghosts. Makes me wonder if you were hoping for something like that to go down in the first place."
"I am not chasing ghosts!" She shouted, rising from the bed and stomping her feet. "I'm looking for answers! I wanna know why all of that crap happened to us! What's so wrong about that?!"
Lemo glared back after that. Just as she expected it to. This wasn't the first time they'd talked or rather argued over this. "Looking for answers isn't the problem, sitting here, closed off from the whole world isn't! You haven't even gotten anything to eat since this morning, have you? Or how about taking a shower?!"
"I'll do both in a few minutes!"
"Yeah?" He scowled harder. "And what happens down the line when you spend more and more time on that thing? When you stop eating or sleeping even longer? Hell, I wonder what you'll do when the batteries for that croak!"
The thought actually quieted her down for a second. At first, her temper flared. Lemo never pulled that card on her before. But then she started picturing things going down this way. Her spending a whole day combing through the files, maybe reaching the full story at last only for the damn thing to die on her... The thought sent another wave of panic through her. Licking her suddenly dry lips, she tried to think of a retort to throw him off. But her damn imagination just kept going back to that what he said might happen...
"That's what'll happen," He said with a sudden softness, all the anger going away from his face. "You're going to freak out, panic even worse than you are now just thinking about it."
Again, she stayed quiet, not even pulling back when Lemo's hand landed on her shoulder.
"It was messed up, what happened. All of it..." He sounded ten years older. "If I had any idea things would get that bad, I would've flown both of them away somewhere and told Freeza nothing."
Then, he looked at the wall opposite the entrance, his eyes becoming glazed over. "I don't want you to stop looking Cheelai, I wanna know what made Paragus push things along too. But not at the expense of your life."
Lemo looked back at her. "Take it from an old man who wasted his, kid. It's not worth it."
That wasn't what she expected. Usually, they shouted it out until they both just swept it under the rug until next time. Looking at that sad, wrinkly face that took care of her these past few months, Cheelai couldn't stay angry. She just felt very, very tired and hung her head in shame.
"I'm sorry," She said, realizing she meant it this time versus all the others.
"I believe you," He smiled. "If you're feeling too tired we can just go to sle-
"No, no. I'll take a shower, that'll wake me right up. Besides," She smiled back. "I know what it's like going to sleep hungry, not very pleasant."
"No, no it is not," Moving his hand away, Lemo walked over to the entrance curtain. "I'll head over to Bom's and tell em you'll be a little late."
"Thanks, I'll try not to take too long."
With a nod and another smile, Lemo left. Keeping her word, Cheelai picked up some spare clothes, towels and a little shampoo they salvaged from Freeza's ship. Lastly, she took the computer and with a lot more ease of heart than usual, put it away under the bed. When she too reached the entrance to her home, she cast another look back at the opposite wall, at Bah's pelt hanging there, burned but recovered from Earth.
This time, she managed a smile at it before walking away into the night.
A/N: With that, the (rewritten) story of Broly is over! Wow, almost a year since I decided to write the project it has reached completion. Though I have some regrets about ideas that didn't pan out, I am overall very happy with what's been accomplished here. For those wondering, Vegeta's epilogue was supposed to deal with Paragus' logs but as I thought about it, it didn't feel nearly as organic as Cheelai doing it, hence why his material was scrapped and reincorporated into hers.
I hope you guys got some enjoyment reading the story and that I'll see you for whenever the sequel drops. Not to spoil too much but it will deal with the Moro storyline and serve as the final Dragon Ball Super story before Goku meets Oob at the end of the OG DB manga. However, if you want more DB stories, check out my account on ekrolo2 for just that type of content!
Until we meet again guys, sayonara!