I wrote Bluestreaker on April 6, 2014, starting a few hours after I finished watching the first episode of Game of Thrones season 4. I enjoyed the episode quite a bit, so I was inspired to write something. At the time, Destructivedisk was writing Five, and I considered also writing about Nail. However, soon into my brainstorming, I realized that Nail is a boring character and I didn't care about him at all. However, I stayed with the theme of Namek and looked to other characters I could feature. I didn't want to do Frieza, Zarbon, Dodoria, Vegeta, Krillin, or Gohan, so that left me with very little to work with. I soon remembered the Ginyu Force and then started looking over each character's histories to decide on one of them to use. All five of the Ginyu Force members had been given short backstories in an old 1992 DB video game strategy guide. Looking over each backstory, I chose Burter. I simply found his backstory to be the most interesting of the lot. Burter was also my favorite Ginyu Force member in general, so I was happy to finally be writing a story about him.
The storywriting process went somewhat quickly. I improv'd on most of the stuff, just letting the writing take me wherever it should go. I did talk with Hyper Zergling over skype about Burter's brother's name. We went over a few different puns before ultimately settling on Gheer. At the same time, I revealed that I was writing a new one-shot to Destructivedisk, and he started guessing who it starred. I gave him hints until he finally guessed Burter. Other than that, I just sat down and wrote this thing. I did have to do a bit of research looking up some of the references I wanted to make, such as the Ratchet & Clank one, but the writing itself went quickly.
Bluestreaker's name was the hardest part of this story for me to come up with. Usually the name of the story comes to me before I start it or as I'm writing it. With this one, I wrote the entire story before coming up with a name. Bluestreaker was a reference to Burter being blue and being very fast, and to the old Sonic SatAM theme song. It took me a long time to come up with Bluestreaker, however. I think I finished the story a good hour before posting it simply because I didn't have a name for it. I can't recall another story of mine where I had such trouble coming up with its name.
When I created Bluestreaker, I did not expect it to be part of any collection. It was a simple one-shot, like Derelict. However, after I finished writing other one-shots, namely Lionheart, Tyrant, and Brave, I decided to create a collection for all of them, and so Bluestreaker was placed into The Black and White Collection. Bluestreaker is the first story in that collection simply because I think it's one of the more light-hearted stories out of the group and is a good entry into the more serious plots explored in later stories.
Burter had just finished his daily training rounds (which had included a lengthy, laborious dance rehearsal with Jeice and Recoome and a fierce game of tag with Guldo), settled down on his favorite bean bag, turned on the Qwark Classics Channel, and poured himself his favorite alcoholic beverage – the suitably named ‘blue hurricane’ – when a blaring sound started ringing through his small room. Burter was more than annoyed – he was positively angered by such a sudden interruption to his relaxation. Nonetheless, he stood up and scanned the dimly-lit abode for the source of the accursed sonance. He found it soon enough to be coming from his computer monitor, and with the speed only the greatly irate alien could muster, Burter shot over to the device.
Looking down at the screen, which was flashing green and had the words ‘Brother Calling’ sprawled across it, Burter groaned and set down his drink. He hadn’t spoken to his brother in over five years; and he wasn’t looking forward to breaking that streak now. For two moments, Burter considered letting the call go to voicemail – a voicemail he would never listen to, granted – and forgetting about this altogether. But then, the thought that his brother would only be calling should he have something important to tell Burter crept into the alien’s mind, and it was not a thought he could let slip away. Sighing, he pressed an azure finger to the screen and accepted the call.
“What do want, brother?” Burter spoke in a low hiss. “More money for mother?”
“Is that how you would greet your brother, after all these years, Burter?” the other voice asked. It was raspy and cold, just as Burter remembered it.
“You know we have nothing to talk about, Gheer,” Burter spat. “If you have something important to tell me, say it, or I’m hanging up.”
“Mother always thought that you would get over your anger, eventually. I guess that time hasn’t come yet, though. That’s a shame.”
“Mother is a fool and so are you. I’ll never forgive either of you for how you treated me as a child,” Burter breathed. “The Ginyu Force is my new family, Gheer. They are the family I chose, the one I wanted!”
There was a brief pause. Gheer didn’t say so much as a word. Burter’s ire was rising even higher. He was tired from training. He was missing his favorite television program. And he wasn’t in the mood for familial drama. His hissing became screech-like as he spoke again:
“I’ll keep sending money every month so that mother can live like a decent person, but I’m not doing anything else for her. I owe her nothing. And before you ask, I’m not going to send more money each month. What I send is what she gets.”
“Burter, mother is dead.”
“What?!” Burter shot back, through his teeth. His temper hid his surprise.
“She was killed by a couple of bandits a few days ago. I only found out about it today –”
“Why weren’t you there with her?! Why didn’t you protect her?! You’re useless!”
“I have a life too, you know! I have a wife and a child! Mother doesn’t live with us! And besides, I have to work every day just to survive!” Gheer shouted, before his turning his voice softer and more envious. “I’m not as strong as you, Burter; I couldn’t defend her even if I wanted to.”
“Poor you,” Burter seethed. “I bet you want me to feel sorry for you. I bet you want me to pay for your life too!”
“You could afford it! You’re a mercenary! And you’re only a mercenary because mother made you stronger! Mother pushed you to give you discipline! Without her strictness, you wouldn’t be where you are today! And after all she’s done for you, I think she would want you to help me out!”
“Is that what you tell yourself at night?” Burter retorted. “I’m the fastest in the universe because I put in the effort! I work hard every day to maintain my strength! I’m not going to have you reap the rewards of my hard work!”
“Fine then,” Gheer replied. “Don’t help your brother. Don’t do anything for me. But at the very least, come to mother’s funeral. We are burying her in three days. If you want to say goodbye, then be here.”
Burter’s voice was even angrier now. “And what about the bandits who killed her? Where are they?”
“There’s a local gang I know… I’m pretty sure it was them. I can show you who they are when you get here.”
Burter closed his eyes, imagining all the things he’d do to those bandits. “Good. I’ll be there.”
He re-opened his eyes and then ended the call. Burter leaned forward and placed both of his hands on his desk. Now that his brother was gone, he couldn’t hold back his emotions. He felt tears coming to his red eyes and he fought to stay them. Burter trembled violently, causing most of the contents of his desk, including his monitor, to fall off and crash onto the floor.
He hated his mother. She had tortured him as a child. She had made him work like a slave every day. She had hit him whenever he was late or did something she didn’t like. She humiliated him in front of his friends. She belittled him to her associates for her own pleasure. And she had favored Gheer. He never had to work like Burter did. He had never seen his mother hit Gheer. It hadn’t been fair. Gheer got all of the presents, all of the admiration, all the money, and all of the girls because of it. Burter was just his mother’s servant. He became good at being a servant – in fact, his legendary speed only developed because of what his mother put him through. And it was his speed that made Captain Ginyu notice him and allow Burter to leave the hell-hole that was his mother’s house. It was ironic, perhaps, but not unwarranted.
He had become a mercenary thereafter, and the pay was very good. There had been some guilt in Burter after he left his family to join a group of space pirates, even with as cruel as his mother had been to him. He didn’t know why he felt guilty, but he did. So he had decided to send a small portion of his monthly earnings to his mother in order to support her. During that time, he had barely talked to her, barely communicating whatsoever. Sending the money relieved him of most of his guilt, even if it didn’t completely get rid of it. He hated her even then for making him feel guilty. He had escaped his planet, and still his mother had control over him.
Now that she was dead, Burter didn’t know what to feel. His emotions were as conflicted as Zarbon’s sexuality. He felt liberated that the great terror of his childhood was gone, but he felt sad that his mother – the woman who had birthed and raised him – was no longer alive. And of course, he had never gotten along with his brother. So hearing the news come from Gheer just made Burter even angrier.
Burter started hyperventilating. The quick breathing stopped him from bursting into tears as much as it allowed him to vent the pain and stress from his body. He stood there for several more seconds, even as, in the background, the television was showing Captain Qwark take on several Three-Eyed Tyhrranoids and Cragmites in a heroic, epic battle. On a normal day, Burter would relish watching such a quality program, but today, he didn’t even notice it. He looked back down at his blue hurricane before picking it up and downing the entire glass in a single gulp. He blinked his eyes furiously for a few seconds until he was sure they were dry. He felt numb.
He looked back up, shaking his head to get rid of the tingling he felt around his mouth (from the lack of oxygen, surely). He saw his armor set hanging on a hook near his door and strode to it. In one fluid motion, Burter slid into the chest piece. He found his scouter lying nearby and quickly put that on his ear. Slipping on his boots, Burter then found himself completely ready to go back home.
With a deep breath, the azure alien opened the door to his room and ran out, searching for a space pod to carry him back to his homeworld.
It was late, probably close to midnight. No guards were patrolling around the outpost, and Burter didn’t see a single person until he reached the docking zone, which held all of the space pods. Finding his pod parked next to those of the other Ginyu Force members’, Burter opened the hatch and started climbing inside. Yet as he did this, a gruff, kingly voice called out to him.
“Hey, Burter! Glad you made it!”
Burter turned around, stepping back out of the pod. He was puzzled when he saw the stout visage of Captain Ginyu staring back at him. The purple-skinned, horned creature was smiling broadly.
“You got my message, didn’t you?” Captain Ginyu asked him.
“What message?” said Burter, completely confused.
“Oh, I left it on your voicemail,” Captain Ginyu began. “Well, I left it on everyone’s voicemail. But none of them are as fast as you, right Burter? Heh heh.”
Before Burter could reply, he saw Jeice, Guldo, and Recoome come strolling into the hanger bay. They waved at the Captain and Ginyu whooped back at them. They all began striking patented Ginyu Force poses as their greeting. Burter, as distraught as he was, could only muster up a few half-hearted poses himself. Still, he did not know why the other members of his team were here.
“Captain, why are we all here?” Burter asked, after the poses were complete.
“We have a new mission, boys. It’s top secret!”
“Where to, cap’n?” Jeice piped in.
Ginyu scratched the back of his head, trying to recall the answer. “Oh, it’s this place called Namek. We’re going there to retrieve some dragon’s balls or something. We’ll get more details on the way.”
“Permission to sit this one out, captain,” Burter then said, rather curtly.
Captain Ginyu replied cheerfully, “Permission denied.”
“B-but why?!” Burter sputtered out. “I need to take a few days off.”
“No can do, Burter,” Ginyu said in his ever-chipper tone. “Lord Frieza gave this mission to me, himself. We’re going to see it through.”
“Captain, I can’ t go. My mother has just died. I must return home to see her buried.”
“I can’t help you, Burter. Lord Frieza’s mission is our priority,” Ginyu replied, matter-of-fact. “We can’t refuse Lord Frieza. He’ll put us out of business if we start refusing his job. And the team matters more than the individual. Isn’t that right, boys?”
The others grunted and nodded.
Burter flushed, but because his skin was blue, there was almost no discernable change. He felt the tingling in his face move down to his fingers while his fury continued to build. “Come on, Captain! Just this once! Can’t you make an exception?”
“Looks like you aren’t thinking about the team, Burter. Maybe I should have you replaced!”
Burter sneered. His anger hit its boiling point and he could no longer hold back. He lunged at Captain Ginyu, blue energy spheres materializing in either hand as he went. Before Ginyu could react, Burter had pinned him to the ground and was raining a stream of energy at the captain’s body. Recoome and Jeice rushed forward and attempted to pull Burter off of their commanding officer, but in his rage, the blue hurricane pushed those two back as well. Ginyu, now seeing what was happening to him, quickly thrust the taller alien off of him and stood up.
“All right, you wanna go! Huh? I’ll show you who’s the fastest in the universe!” Ginyu yelled, preparing a purple energy blast in his own hand.
Before he could shoot it, Burter lunged at him again. A blue streak sped by, and before Ginyu knew what had happened, a small cut formed on the edge of his chin. He growled in pain and looked for where Burter went. The azure alien had indeed landed behind him and was preparing to attack again when Jeice and Recoome appeared and pinned him to the floor.
“Where’d you think you’re goin’, big guy?” Recoome blurted out.
“Get off of me, Recoome!”
“Burter! Hey! It ain’t worth it, mate! It ain’t worth it! What cap’n says, goes. He’s in charge!” Jeice shouted, as he struggled to hold Burter to floor. “Come on Burter, ya just gotta calm down.”
Captain Ginyu then appeared, standing over the three of them. He looked down at them, and even as he wiped away the blood from his chin, he couldn’t help but chuckle. “So you don’t want to be replaced, do you?”
“No!” Burter screamed.
“Heh, good. You’ve got some spirit in you, I’ll give you that,” the captain laughed. “Let him go, you two. Come on, enough fighting. We have places to be.”
Recoome and Jeice instantly jumped off of Burter, leaving the blue alien to stand up on his own. As he did, he stared down Ginyu with unchecked rage.
Ginyu stared right back, utterly undaunted. “The Ginyu Force isn’t just a team; we’re a family. And a family doesn’t abandon one another, right?”
Burter blinked. It was the first time he had ever heard the captain call them a family. Burter had secretly thought of them as such – he especially considered Jeice to be like a brother to him. But the entire team as a family? Hearing Ginyu say it sent shivers down Burter’s spine. He rage cooled as he processed it. “Right family…” Burter replied solemnly. “My family.”
“Good. So if you want to stay in this family, you’re going to go on this mission to Namek with us. After it’s over, you can take some time off and go visit your home. And the faster we complete this mission for Frieza, the faster you can do that.”
Burter nodded. He looked up with his lip trembling and spoke, “All right, I’ll come with you, Captain.”
“And Burter,” Captain Ginyu continued, “for attacking me, you’re going to lose your television privileges and all candy for a week!”
“No, captain! Anything but that!” Burter pleaded, blushing profusely. How could Ginyu be so sympathetic in one breath and so callous in the next?
Captain Ginyu was already getting into his space pod, laughing and motioning for the others to do the same. He didn’t even bother replying to Burter’s whining. So Burter, begrudgingly, stepped into his pod as well. The chocolate and television punishments were bad enough, but he had also just been humiliated in front of the rest of the team. But Captain Ginyu had said they were a family. And the good captain had told Burter that he was a part of that family. For some reason that made him feel okay. Even after talking with his brother about his mother and attacking his commanding officer, that simple statement had soothed Burter in a way he didn’t fully understand. The anger and stress seemed to evaporate like an open cup of champagne kept in the refrigerator for nine months. The sudden and acute emotions he had felt moments prior were gone. It seemed like a life-age ago that Burter had felt so angry and sad.
He was home, he realized. He didn’t need to risk everything to go and see the body of his late mother. She was in his past. She was dead. There was nothing else there. The Ginyu Force was his family now. They were his brothers. At that moment, Burter felt a warmness, an inclusiveness, a purpose that he had never felt before (even when he had first joined the force), and he never wanted that feeling to go away.
- The Qwark Classics Channel is a reference to the Ratchet & Clank series.
- The blue hurricane drink was one that Burter invented and named after himself.
- In Burter's backstory, his mother's strict nature caused him to become very fast. In this story, I expanded upon that plot point and made Burter hate his mother for the way she treated him as a child. Ironically, it was her treatment that made him into the success he was by this story's beginning.
- Gheer's name is a pun on ghee, which is a type of butter. Of course, Burter's own name is a pun on butter, so I wanted to keep the family names consistent with one another.
- There's an interesting dynamic between Burter and Gheer that is hinted at throughout the story. Basically, Burter's mother favored Gheer, but Gheer never amounted to anything. Heck, he never made enough money to leave his homeworld.
- Though Burter purports to have hated his mother, he was genuinely devastated by the news of her death.
- I always imagined Burter's homeworld to be like Vietnam - very much a jungle with tribe-like villages and a lot of crime. So when his mother was killed, it made sense that she could be taken out by bandits, as the world was somewhat of a hell-hole in general.
- Burter likes to hide his emotions, so him not crying was something that was very important to me. The tears would come, yes, but he would hold them back. He replaces his sadness with anger, showing that he is a very strong individual.
- The bit about Zarbon's sexuality implies that Burter knows that Zarbon liked other males.
- Three-Eyed Tyhrranoids and Cragmites are enemies featured in several Ratchet & Clank video games.
- The mission Ginyu called his soldiers together for is the mission to Namek. This just shows how close Burter's and his mother's deaths are. It was also a neat way to tie this story into the existing Dragon Ball universe.
- Burter attacking Ginyu is the culmination of his emotional state. He doesn't cry, he attacks. This is because Burter is a warrior at heart.
- I looked up quotes for each of the Ginyu Force members to make sure I got their dialogue correct. Jeice in particular was fun to write for because of his accent.
- I didn't give Guldo any lines because Guldo sucks.
- There is implied tragedy in Ginyu allowing Burter to return home after they complete the Namek mission, for any reader would know that Burter dies during the Namek mission.
- Burter losing his television and candy privileges was a moment of comedy I wanted to put in to light up the mood at the end. The Ginyu Force members can be rather ridiculous with their rock-paper-scissors stuff and other shenanigans (seen on Planet Namek), so I also wanted to show a bit of that in this story to keep them consistent with their canon personas. It's ridiculous that Burter gets so angry about losing his candy, but funny too.
- Burter seeing the Ginyu Force as his true family is his emotional arc in this story. He's been on many missions with them before, but it's only at this point, right before Namek, that he truly feels like a member of their family. I think it's because he had just lost his mother and he was emotionally vulnerable. It's a touching moment that shows how Burter isn't all bad. He's not a black villain. And this is what The Black and White Collection is all about - showing the good and bad in both heroes and villains. No one is black or white. Everyone is a shade of grey, and Burter is a prime example of such.
- I always wondered what Gheer would think of Burter not showing up. Maybe he thought his brother had slighted him. I don't think he would have thought Burter died, and he would have hated Burter for never saying goodbye to their mother.
- The bandits who killed Burter's mother surely got away. This shows that the bad guys do not always get served with justice.
Bluestreaker is a story I enjoyed writing and one I also enjoyed re-reading for this anthology commentary. I think the dialogue of the Ginyu Force members is the greatest part of this story. It's highly accurate for all members. I spent a considerable amount of time making sure it would be so, and I'm glad that it turned out good. The descriptions were all enjoyable for me to read, and Burter's inner thoughts were both interesting and tragic. Adding a layer to a very unexplored character is always fun for me to do, and I've done it to my own satisfaction here. Making Burter into a conflicted grey character was great too. Perhaps a bit more added in on the end about Burter attacking Ginyu and the consequences of that could have been added, but overall I'm fine with how this story turned out. I'd give Bluestreaker an A+.
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Part 32 ---->