A few days have passed since you instructed the greatest scientists the Freeborn Military has to build the Ultimate Forcefield. At the time, they informed you that because all of the ground work for it had already been completed, it would only take roughly ten days until the finished product was finalized. There is also a team working on the Dragon Ball, trying to find a way to track other one's just like it.
In the meantime, everything has continued as it normally would. Your underlings are hard working and determined. The auditions for the upcoming promotion continued at a rapid pace. At last, they are coming to a close. The four current Commanders have been occupied day and night, facing off against every last potential candidate, in many cases more than once, all in an attempt to finish the job so that they could return to their regular duties.
Two days back, Doctor Ed confirmed through X-Rays that none of the previous captives had been tampered with. You were surprised at first, but the more you thought about it, the clearer it became that Gero had thought the possibility of you scanning their bodies for implants was quite likely, and because of this, decided against it. Although, it is certainly possible that he simply did not think of the idea at all.
As time zoomed by, you did nothing but observe. From the daily routines of every soldier under your employment, all the way to the subtle details of every General and Commander's fighting style. You know everything. All of this was made possible by the lovely room that you once despised: the underground floor where the late General White was murdered. You revisited that area and took it upon yourself to learn everything about Forte Valkyrie, and all who reside here. Naturally, you spent hours at a time down there, doing nothing but glancing at a multitude of different computer monitors. It is clear to you now why that underground floor was made. Rem was once in the same position as you, and strangely, the two of you came to the same solution to remedy the problem: unparalleled knowledge.
This was not all you were doing, however. Learning about those south of your nose is certainly important, but what about those who are not? The Red Ribbon Army and the remaining Saiyans are now both seeking the Dragon Balls. It's probable that Gero has already realized that the Dragon Ball you gave him was a fake, but all things considered, him coming to such a conclusion is unlikely--at least for now. It would be nice if that replica would hold him and the Saiyans back for a short period of time, buying you some good will, but you realized a very important factor in this equation. Once Gero finds out what happened in West City, he'll realize that either the Red Ribbon Army or the FBM has the ball. Knowing Gero and his exceptional analysis abilities, though, there is a good chance he'll deduce that the FBM is in possession of the Dragon Ball. If that is the case, there is no doubt that he'll be coming soon.
On the other hand, the Red Ribbon Army stands tall. You would like to believe that they have no intention of invading Forte Valkyrie until the Saiyans are dealt with, but there are two primary reasons that this might not be true: Dysect, and Phoenix Graham. Unfortunately, Dysect left Valkyrie out of anger. He isn't the calm and logical type like you or Rem, but rather, is very emotional and impulsive. With his personality, and temper, there is a good chance that he'll attempt to wage war on Red Ribbon Headquarters by himself. If he does this, they will definitely take it as a sign of animosity, which could very well result in them gathering their forces and preparing for combat.
Despite being frighteningly plausible, this train of thought is still less feasible than Phoenix Graham setting you up. This man is manipulative and shrewd. Even when he is being honest he's lying. Phoenix might be playing you like a puppet in a vicious ploy to distract the entire Freeborn Military's attention to the Saiyans, and then he'll strike in the darkest hour. The only thing that confuses you is him letting you live. If his true goal was to land a surprise attack on the FBM, he definitely would have just killed you and then proceeded to do so in the confusion, wouldn't he?
There is also the possibility that Gero is still working with the Red Ribbon Army and they've been feeding me false information to throw me off for some time now. Perhaps the Saiyans aren't nearly as powerful as Phoenix hyped them up to be and I'm just playing into their hands by listening to their threats. You take a deep breath and decide that an idea like that is a story for another time. Besides, if they were working together, then surely Gero would have recognized the Dragon Ball you gave him as a fake.
"Kiryu." Piccolo says while patting you on the shoulder, breaking your endless train of thought. "You've been standing there like a statue for the past forty minutes. You alright?"
"I'm just thinking is all."
"Everything." Piccolo cracks a smile at this, accepting that as the sad truth. You gaze around the Training Center and sigh obnoxiously, finally remembering that you came here to call the Commanders together for a meeting but were immediately distracted by your own train of thought and lost track of time. New connections and ideas have been rapidly oozing out for the past few days. It feels different than anything you have ever felt before.
"I've been meaning to give this to you. The Dragon Ball, take it." You pull out your hand and yank the valuable possession from his firm grasp. "Don't lose it."
"I'm not an idiot, but thanks for your concern."
"I don't mean like losing it in the washing machine. Just remember that dangerous people want that ball, and wherever you go, it goes with you. If you screw up and get knocked out or captured, then you can bet your ass that the Dragon Ball will be gone when you come to."
He makes a good point. I should decide on a safe place on where to keep the Dragon Ball, just in case...
A) Have Kiryu keep it in his Capsule. It's safest with him.
B) Give it to somebody and have them take care of it. Who?
C) Hide it. Where?
Piccolo resumes sparring with Krillin. The two are fighting at a surprisingly high level. What Piccolo lacks in sheer Battle Power, he surely makes up with technical ability and proper judgement in clutch situations. Krillin is no slouch in either of these, in fact, he's downright amazing technically, but Piccolo is somehow on another level.
You make a hard right and walk upstairs, all the way to the top floor, and swipe your Key Card to open the locked door. Inside, Thrigon is alone, meditating. A few minutes pass by and it becomes clear that he isn't going to notice you anytime soon, so you gently raise your power without removing your eyes from his firmly built exterior.
Thrigon responds by snapping his hand forward and launching a green pellet at full speed, which you easily bat away. He opens one eye and smiles.
"What's going on?"
"Want to meet me in the Meeting Room? I have a few things that I'd like to discuss with you all."
"Yeah, sure. Give me ten minutes. I just want to get a quick shower in."
"Do me a favor and bring the other Commanders along with you." Thrigon gives you a quick nod and hops to his feet. You waste no time in turning around and exiting the Training Center, returning to the second floor.
It's a quiet day in the Forte. Few are wandering around at this time of day, and the elevators are empty. Even the Training Center had little action going on. On your way to the Meeting Room, which is where Rem's Quarters used to be, Tien confronts you in a solemn manner. One good look on his face and it becomes clear that he's serious.
"You're a hard man to find, as it turns out."
"Its been a busy week."
"Have time for a chat?"
"Follow me." You walk past Tien and direct him into the Meeting Room. Despite being offered a seat on one of the most comfortable couches known to man, Tien chooses to stay standing. You, on the other hand, stretch your legs out and lean back on Rem's couch.
"Transfer me to East City." Tien demands. "I'll help build the base with whoever else goes."
"Hm? Why do you want to return to East City? I hope it isn't because of our sparring session from before."
"It isn't. Well, not in the way you're thinking." You give Tien a puzzling look while stretching your neck back. "I'm not ready to be on the front lines yet. I'll return when I fix my problem."
"How do you intend on getting over that internal fear of yours?"
"By going back to where I started. I need to know why I'm like this. If I get sent out to war in this condition, I'll only be a burden up until my swift death." Tien gulps as he clenches both fists, struggling to look you in the eyes. "I just have one request..."
"I'll do my best to accommodate it then."
"Let me be the man in charge of the base in East City. I promise to keep it afloat at all costs."
X) Okay. You can be in charge of the East City Base.
Y) I'll think about it and decide later.
Z) The answer is 'No.' You aren't fit to command.
Not long afterwards, the four Commanders gather at once. Kaiba leisurely lies down on one of the couches, Thrigon sits on the arm of that same couch, Joseph hogs one of the chairs to himself, and Echo remains standing--though he does lean forward on one of the couches.
"Glad you could all make it." You say, getting ready to cut straight to the chase. "The auditions came to a close earlier today, correct?" They all nod, with the exception of Kaiba, who holds in an abrupt yawn. "Well then, I'd like to hear your thoughts. Are there any worthy candidates to be promoted?"
"I already mentioned him, but again, General White has potential." Joseph is the first to speak. He does it in a bold yet confident tone, one that screams arrogance.
"Hmm..." Thrigon thinks aloud. Before he can speak, however, Kaiba cuts in.
"Piccolo!" the young man yells. "I actually lost to him when we fought..."
"That's pathetic, Kaiba." Echo laughs.
"He didn't really lose. As usual, the idiot chose not to transform." Thrigon adds.
"Good ol' Kaiba, eh."
"Shut up you guys. Either way, he's strong and smart. Oh, and I hear he's a good leader too, which is all the better. I recommend Piccolo!" Kaiba shouts rather loudly.
"That Tien guy you brought back from the tournament is strong," Thrigon admits. "But he didn't audition, so I never got to fight him. By Power Level alone, though, I'd say he's on our level."
"He's mentally fragile." You inform. Thrigon frowns at that fact. "But if he can get himself together, then I would certainly consider him for the position."
"I also thought that bald guy was good. What was his name again, Echo?"
"Killin, I think. That bald dude was a beast."
"It's Krillin..." Joseph corrects.
"Sure, whatever. Anyway, he's the strongest guy I fought by far. Make him a Commander."
"He's a bit stupid, actually. I talked to him for a minute or so and he's against killing. He's the worst type of person."
"I don't think having morals makes somebody stupid," Thrigon says with a bit of disgust. "If I were a betting man, which I am, then I'd wager he would win in a fight against you."
"Not a chance. I'd kill him before the thought even crosses his mind. I'd cut my own head off before I relied on that type of person for anything."
"A little bit of an exaggeration if you ask me."
"Guys! What about Piccolo? Kiryu, promote that guy! He's awesome!" Kaiba continues to say, hardly paying attention to the debate at hand.
"It isn't an exaggeration," Joseph persists. "General White is unbelievably inferior to Krillin, yet I would still recommend him for the position before I did Krillin. He's worthless."
"Guys, guys! Piccolo! Lets just promote Piccolo!"
"Shut up Kaiba!" Echo screams.
"He isn't worthless at all. Man, what's your problem?" Thrigon yells, starting to get annoyed at the attitude of Joseph.
"My problem is idiots like you who don't know a thing about the real world. I can guarantee you that if Krillin gets promoted, a time will come when you'll rely on him to do something in combat, and mark my words, you'll regret it. Again, White, whose base power is a fraction of Krillin's, would still be more reliable in battle."
"I think you're wrong."
"I think you're an idiot."
"Alright, alright!" you scream, getting tired of their banter. You've heard enough. "So the three recommendations are Krillin, Piccolo, and White?" Everybody is quiet. This meeting seems to have ruined all of their moods. Hmm...Krillin is the strongest, Piccolo is probably the best leader, and White is arguably the most reliable. I could simply promote all three of them if I chose to, but that might not be all that wise.
1) Choose Who To Promote, If Anybody.
Author's Chapter Notes: