Disclaimer: I do not own DBZ or any of the characters featured therein. If I did, there'd have been less bad hair. Yeah, I said it. Don't you pretend there wasn't a lot of bad hair.
Author's notes: So apparently I'm writing DBZ again…I've been away from this stuff for a while, so let's hope it works out :D This chapter is a prologue of sorts, I think. Future chapters will be significantly longer. Scout's honour.
"Shit, Blue, they're coming. Shit, what do I do?"
"Calm down, don't panic." Bulma said, trying to reassure the man on the other end of the radio. "You have the ghost loaded, right?" Silence. "Sable? SABLE! Do you hear me?" She cursed her inability to use his real name; she'd never before failed to get his attention by screeching his name at the top of her lungs, or by whispering it in his ear.
"Yeah, yeah, sorry. Thought I heard someone." She could practically hear the nervous sweat running down his face as he willed the computer to finish processing. "Okay Blue, I'm into file 36 BAC but it's asking me for a code." She rattled off a series of numbers, which he typed in, both sighing in relief as the computer chimed their success. One slip could trigger a security mechanism that would bring the whole army down on their asses. They'd already drawn enough suspicion by hacking into the network with Bulma's specially designed ghost drive.
"Now I need you to copy the files onto the ghost drive and secure it." She heard him mutter his assent, already working to complete the task.
"Shit, it's going so slow." The waiting was the worst; that few minutes of time that stretched for hours while that stupid blue bar crawled along, taking all the time in the world to finish the race. All the while, knowing that someone was coming to catch you, and if they found you, you were dead. Or worse. That's what made waiting so bad; thinking about 'or worse.'
And then there was that moment of completion, and the short lived joy they shared before everything went to hell.
"Oh God." Sable's voice came over the radio, more fearful than Bulma had ever heard him, which was saying a lot, considering what they'd been through. The quiet terror in those two words sent chills down her spine, and she froze in her seat. "It's you."
"It is indeed." Said a new voice, deep and raspy. Definitely male, though no one Bulma could place. She heard the quiet click of a door being closed. Whoever had entered wanted to keep this meeting private. The louder click of a gun being cocked – Sable's pistol; a relic he'd picked up at some interstellar flea market.
"Sable, what's going on?" she demanded, her voice hoarse with fear for her friend. "Sable!" She jumped from her chair, grabbing her microphone in one fist, as though it would convey her urgency to the man on the other end.
"My comrades will arrive soon." The new voice rumbled, ignoring her completely. "I am sure you know what will happen if they find you here alive." There was silence for a moment, in which she imagined two men staring at each other, as though whoever had the strongest glare would somehow be the victor, would somehow come out alive. Then, a resigned laugh from the voice she recognized. Bulma's heart dropped into her stomach.
"You sneaky fucking son of a bitch." Sable breathed, sounding almost amused. "Gotta tell you, man, I never saw this coming."
"Is that not the point?" That gravely voice asked, clearly impatient to have this conversation done with.
"Well done, I guess." There was a short period of silence in which she imagined him smiling. That's when the tears began to well up in her eyes and she knew nothing would ever be the same again. "Take this," Sable said to the stranger, "and get it back to Blue for me, will you?" Bulma heard a click and a beep from the computer. What the hell was he doing? Was that her ghost drive? "Well Blue," he was too smart to use her real name, even in this moment, the last time he'd ever talk to her. "I guess this is goodbye."
"Sable, NO!" she cried, pounding on the desk, "Don't you dare!" No response. "SABLE!"
"I love you, Blue." He said, and then she heard the sound that tore her heart right out of her chest. The bang of the pistol was deafening at such close range, and she screamed aloud, guilt and grief crashing through her like a tidal wave.
"Sable, no!" She screamed, tears streaming down her face. "Sable, Sable no." She moaned, wiping snot and tears on her sleeve. "Oh, Yamcha, no." She lay her head down on the desk in the silence that followed, tears pouring out of her as sobs wracked her frail body. She didn't look up as the others came in to see what the problem was; she couldn't bear to see their faces as they realized this new failure. A failure that cost them all a dear friend.
"Codename Sable is dead." The voice said, ignoring her slip up, cool and callous like he hadn't just witnessed another man blow his own brains out. "I will be your new contact. More information will follow in three days' time."
"Wait!" Krillin stammered, because Bulma, their Radio contact, was unable to. That was definitely a no-no, but it had to be done. "Who…who are you?"
There was a pause in which they all held their breath. It seemed as though the man on the other end was considering something. Perhaps he was so disgusted by their lack of proper protocol that he didn't even want to answer them. Lack of proper protocol could get you killed, in this risky game they all played. Finally, he drew breath. "You will call me Vengeance." He stated.
The line went dead.
"There you are, Prince Vegeta," Nappa grumbled, tapping at his scouter with frustration. "This damn thing is broken or something. It took more than five minutes to lock on to your ki signature, after you took off." Then he noticed the blood spattered walls, and strode forward to see what his prince was standing over.
"Little shit offed himself before we got here." Vegeta growled, giving the body a hard nudge with one gold-tipped boot. "Network's been hacked but there's nothing on him, and no clues as to what they were after. He must've had an accomplice; someone who's already escaped with whatever information they managed to pull."
"Then why'd this guy stay behind?" Radditz asked, stepping into the room. Vegeta frowned, trying to wipe a bit of brain matter from his boot on the dead man's shirt. That question, he could not answer. Radditz had stopped paying attention, however, and was currently trying to deal with the child clinging to his leg.
"Whatsa matter, cub? Never seen a dead body before?" Nappa laughed, and the boy shook his head. Silly question. Of course he'd seen a dead body. He'd seen loads of dead bodies. Some of them, he'd even killed himself. What bothered him at that moment was that particular dead body.
"I think it's all the blood." Radditz said, placing one large hand atop the boy's head. He ruffled the long, spiky black hair, so like his own, and smiled a wolfish grin that was terrifying to those who didn't know the Saiyan, and oddly endearing to those who did. The child swallowed and tried to look brave, tried not to let the tears flow. He didn't want to draw any attention to his predicament, didn't want to make them suspicious. Almost more important, even, was the fact that he didn't want to look weak in front of the prince.
Vegeta nodded his approval; the boy had come a long way from the snivelling mess they'd found a few years ago. He'd even begun to look more Saiyan, especially since they'd made him grow his hair out from that ridiculous cut he'd favoured. In fact, the resemblance between Radditz and the boy was uncanny, though that wasn't so surprising in itself. Radditz was Gohan's uncle, after all.