TitleAnother Life: Return of the Fallen

Chapter Five – Mission


With food in her stomach – whatever it was she had eaten – Dés escorted Pan back to her quarters. It turned black inside after the door closed so she smacked the wall as she had seen Totan do earlier and the dim light came to life. She flopped down on the mattress, which slid it a couple inches across the floor.

Dés had taken her to get her scratches cleaned, but she wouldn't have them bandaged; she was proud of her scars. He stayed with her while she ate and, although he was boring, he knew how things worked. If she agreed to work for Lord Rhoune she could expect the usual beginning wage – five pieces of iron. That hadn't seemed like much to Pan, but after it was explained to her, she understood that most of the metals she was accustomed to on Earth (and the foreign ones from alien planets that she had never heard of) were valuable here. Anyone who dealt in intergalactic trade needed money that everyone had, and that was it.

Rhoune already seemed to think that she had agreed to work for her, but it wasn't official yet. Pan didn't even know what kind of work she would do. She fell asleep trying to figure out what kind of job she would have.

There was a kick at the door when she opened her eyes, then another, then a voice shouting, "Kaka!"

It took her a moment to recognize the voice. It was Totan. She rolled off the mattress and stood up.

"What?"

"May I come in?" he asked.

"Yeah, sure," she said.

Pan bent down toward the black intercom box, said her password and stepped back as the door slid open. Totan's long tail was stretched on the floor behind him and he was making a "come here" gesture with his hand.

"What?"

"Come, you get to go on your first assignment. I will tell you about it on the way to the pads," he said.

How could she be sent out on an assignment when she hadn't even agreed to work for this pink-haired bitch? Well, she hadn't agreed verbally, at least. And it was so soon too. Still, she followed Totan down the hall as he spoke. They were going to Corinthin, one of the moons of a planet that she didn't catch the name of. If they destroyed this planet, which was a gas giant that discharged chunks of space rock that was damaging their moon, then the Corinthins would give them the other three moons and a generous sum of aluminum.

"I'm no rocket scientist, but if we blow up the planet, won't it throw off their moons orbit?" Pan asked.

"It will be their problem if it does."

She shrugged as they trudged up the ramp that led into the hangar, thinking that she didn't really care either – she didn't have any reason to. Two other aliens met them in the dimly lit room, which was lined with rows of spherical space pods, several mini-crafts and many busy bodies. One of the aliens was a mammoth, purple being; the other was rather human-looking, but the golden horn protruding from the center of his forehead said otherwise. There were four white pods being rolled out onto the launch pads.

"Do you know what those are?" Totan asked.

Pan shook her head.

"Saiyajin space pods. I thought you were Saiyajin," he said, smiling, and cocked his head slightly to the side.

"I am. It's just… I've lived on another planet and haven't been able to see stuff like this," she said lamely.

"Venirre come/come on, I want t'be back by meîla'ann meal time," the man with the golden horn said.

"No worry, you get your dumb meal," the purple behemoth growled.

Oh great, Pan thought. The pretty boy kept lapsing into whatever other language it was he knew, and the other one could hardly speak understandably. She hoped she didn't have to work too closely with them.

--

The cell was so small that if he were to lie down he had to bend his knees in order to fit on the floor. Piccolo pressed his hands against the smooth wall, as hard as he could, and tried moving it down. His hand skidded down with an annoying eek eek shweek sound. He slid his shoes across the floor; they had no grip. He pulled them off and tried moving his foot, slightly dampened, in the same manner – it didn't move so easily. Piccolo braced both hands on the wall and lifted a leg to reach to the opposite wall, stretching it as much as he needed until he had it stuck, then put his other foot up as well. The small burns on his flesh protested painfully, but he worked his way further up the wall, first moving a hand up, then the other, then his feet. He stopped when his fingertips brushed the ceiling and looked down at the dark floor below.

It was both tiring and agonizing to keep himself stretched out at the ceiling, but he had to do it. Rhoune had mentioned starving him, which meant that prisoners must be fed some time. He didn't know when they were fed: daily? Weekly? Piccolo hoped she hadn't actually intended to starve him.

Some hours later - not quite a day - he could finally hear a shuffling of feet outside the cell. The movement stopped, the door clicked and then slid open.

"Food ti-" the voice stopped mid-sentence when they saw the empty room.

Piccolo dropped from the ceiling, kicking the tray up into the alien's face. He swiftly moved behind it – it looked female enough - wrapped his arms around her neck and purposefully dug his wrist into her jugular. The alien thrashed helplessly, lacking the strength needed to even get away from a ki-stripped Namek. After several minutes she went dead weight in his arms and he dragged her further into the cell, slumping her on the back wall. Piccolo looked through her outfit for something like a key that would get the Block off of his neck, but the gorilla hadn't been lying; the only one who could take it off was the one who had put it on. He swept out of the room and examined the door, trying to figure out how to close it, but eventually gave up and moved quickly down the hall.

He kept close to the wall and peeked around the corner, finding a pair of aliens in Saiyajin outfits some distance away. Looking down at his own attire, Piccolo realized that he didn't exactly blend in. So he headed back the cell, stripped the alien of her attire, ditched his own clothing and put on the deep blue suit that surprisingly contoured to fit his body. It was sweaty and unpleasant against his skin and he shot a disgusted look at the unconscious body.

As he slipped back out into the sparsely lit hall, Piccolo reached up to the Block and half-heartedly tried to fit his fingers underneath it – they wouldn't fit and he couldn't pull it off anyway. He pulled up the collar of the suit to hide the Block and strode back down the hall. The two aliens he had seen before had moved on. He continued, forcing himself to keep a normal pace and try to act as if he was part of the crew. Around the corner someone bumped into him, a small brown thing, and he moved around it before it could get a good look at him.

"Watch it, shitpile," the stout alien hissed.

Piccolo ignored it and moved on, glancing at doors and open archways, trying to discern if any of them were a possible exit.

"Hey, you, wait a moment."

He pretended it wasn't talking to him.

"Hey, green," the brown alien called again.

He pretended his skin wasn't green.

"Shitpile!"

He didn't have to pretend that he wasn't a pile of rancid waste. The alien grabbed his wrist, much to Piccolo's dislike. He turned and jerked his hand away, glaring at the smaller being. It formed a glowing ball of ki in its four-fingered hand.

"You were brought in as a prisoner."

"You must be mistaken," Piccolo said calmly, even though he knew he was caught.

"You tried to walk away," it said.

"I was in a hurry," he replied casually.

Then an idea sprung to mind. This isn't the man I saw brought in, he projected the thought into the alien's head, hoping that he might mistake it for his own inner voice. Look at his outfit. Piccolo wondered how fast he could run if this didn't work.

"Where were you going?" the alien asked skeptically.

Piccolo's tongue was swift with the answer, though he wished now he knew more about machinery and all of its quirky, technological names. "Spaceships. I've got… work to do." He thought about the kind of work Vegeta had done.

He forced another thought into the alien's mind, Let him go.

"Get away then, I know Master Rhoune does not like waiting for things to be done."

Piccolo moved by him swiftly and down the corridor. He only had to convince a shipful of galactic beings that he was part of the crew, not a prisoner. The hall branched off to the right, but also continued ahead. The ape had taken him right and led him to Lord Rhoune's cozy little chamber, so he decided he would keep straight. A few aliens glanced at him and a couple of them stared too long, recognition in their eyes. He looked away and acted as if they didn't exist. They didn't follow him.

A few minutes later he came across another fork in the hall: go straight, turn right or turn left. He went left, opting to stay as far away from Rhoune's quarters as he could.

"Isn't that him?" a voice said down the hall.

Piccolo looked over his shoulder. Another brown creature, taller and lankier, was pointing a finger in his general direction. The black gorilla, Shoruum, was standing next to it and snarling. He would have bet that the alien was one of the ones involved in capturing him.

"Yes, it is," Shoruum said gruffly. His knees bent and his long arms fell lower, his knuckles touching the floor and propelling him forward in small leaps.

Piccolo ran, his eyes searching for an open door. All he found was a ramp that led up and so he darted up it, his large ears picking up the sound of pattering behind him. He had found the escape route he had been looking for, but he had hoped to have been undiscovered when he got there. There were Saiyajin space pods launching outside and rows of them in the hangar. Several aliens were inside.

"Get him!" Shoruum bellowed.

They all swarmed around him, cutting off any chance of an exit. Shoruum leapt onto him and they both topples onto the ground, the gorilla's weight pinning him to the ground.

"How did you get out?" he demanded. His breath was foul.

"Good behavior," Piccolo said evenly.

Shorrum punched him in the nose and dragged him up onto his feet. A purple liquid was dripping down onto his lips that he recognized as blood. He never bled so easily.

"Weakling."

"Take off the collar and see how weak I am," said Piccolo, raising his brow challengingly.

"I'm not stupid, unuck a vulgar name," Shoruum growled and wretched Piccolo's arms behind his back, pushing him forward roughly. "And you are going back to your damn cell. No meals."

He didn't eat anyway.

--

There was a spaceship following him that had come from the planet he had passed a short while ago. Somehow it had managed to tap into his communication system and was creating a horrendous amount of static. Then finally it cleared and there was a voice speaking to him in a foreign tongue. Vegeta eyed the intercom sourly and held down the switch to speak.

"Wrong language," he said.

"So you speak the universal tongue. What is your business in our galaxy?"

"What concern is it of yours?" Vegeta countered.

"This is a dangerous quadrant to be in. We only wished to warn you," the voice said.

"About what?" he asked.

There was more static from the system and a broken voice, which eventually fixed itself.

"I suggest you leave this galaxy while you still can."

"I'm looking for someone. I believe he might have been captured," said Vegeta. He had an idea as to what was going on, and just where he was. "Do you know where he might have been taken?"

"Perhaps, perhaps not. If you were intelligent you would leave."

There was more static and he waited for it to disappear.

Vegeta smirked darkly. "Tell me what you know and I might not kill you."

A long silence ensued and crisp static began to constantly come and go.

"Come wi… us. If… want informa…n… might cost y… something."

They wanted to swindle him, he realized. Their planet was more towards the outskirts of the Frieza's claimed territory and if he had left it alone there probably wasn't much to make a profit off of. These idiots had to get money some way, but it wouldn't be from him. He could blow up their planet with his pointer finger if they gave him reason to.

"Very well," Vegeta sneered, not intending to pay them anything. "How much?"

"A battle. Defeat… champion and we will tell y… what… want to know."

Too easy, Vegeta thought. He grabbed the controls and turned the ship in a slow one-eighty and followed the other vessel back to the purple and blue planet. He couldn't believe the trouble he was going through just to find that blasted Namek.


Author's Note – I apologize for the shortness of this chapter. It couldn't really be helped. ^_^;; And I also apologize for the lateness… I got sidetracked writing an X-Men fic, playing around with an X-Men Evolution idea, and finally began a Chaozu/Tien fic that I've been meaning to write forever. *sighs* But fret not, I shall continue with this. *grins*

Remember to review! They make me happy.

Thank You's To – My beta-reader, Steve. And my lovely reviewers: Cyndi (I love you, in a non-sexual, non-lesbianish way. Hope the Piccolo-ness of this chapter made you happy), Xzanayu and Dreamwraith. *scratches head* Gee, not quite the amount of reviews I was hoping for… ah well. I love you all anyways! And thankies bunches!

Planned Update – Rough estimate? 6/18, my birthday!